YouTube: This Journey Called Truth
When we hear someone use a phrase like, This is the gospel truth, we assume they mean their statement could withstand the scrutiny of the most dedicated fact-checker, as true as the truth that Jesus taught. What most people probably do not know is that the Gospels were not written to portray the pure teachings of Jesus. What??? Breathe deep. These authors used the voice and person of Jesus to advance the narrative that has become the basis of all mainstream Christian theology. In other words, the message of Jesus has been politicized.
What does this mean? An idea, or body of ideas becomes politicized when the importance of the narrative overrides the truth of the original ideas. The story about Jesus overshadows what he likely taught. The narrative becomes the gospel, the very definition of truth. Heresy is that which does not align with the narrative.
John summarized the church narrative in this oft-quoted statement: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (3:16). Accept Jesus as the only Son of God and you will be saved. If not, you perish.
Another early writer, Thomas, had a different understanding of salvation. In his collection of sayings, Jesus says: “… the kingdom is within you and it is outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty” (Thomas: #3). This portrayal does not make the person of Jesus the focal point of salvation.
The early church leaders condemned such writings as heretical, not because they were untrue, but because they did not support their official narrative. These works, known as the Nag Hamadi Library, survived only because those who endorsed them managed to protect them from being burned by hiding them in caves in the Egyptian desert.
This journey called Truth leads to the understanding that we are children of the living Father. It is my belief that this example from Thomas reflects the truth of the core message, the gospel of Jesus.