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Misgoded reading continued

Click here for previous session       To be fair, Gnostic ideology did have a place in many, if not most, or even all groups regarded as dissenters from orthodoxy. But then again, Gnosticism has a place in orthodoxy as well, for what is gnosis if not the belief that its initiates possess some esoteric but essential knowledge necessary for salvation, which can neither be explained nor justified? And what has this discussion thus far exposed, if not the lack of scriptural foundation for the canon of Trinitarian orthodoxy? Of the above groups, the Paulicians (whose name possibly derived from their devotion to Paul of Samosata) hold special interest. Paul of Samosata reportedly took his teaching from Diodorus, head of the Nazarene Church in Antioch. His teachings in turn branched off the trunk of apostolic ideology through individuals such as…

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Misgoded reading continued

Click here for previous session       In recent years, many have found their doubts strengthened by a trail of engaging theories in books of critical Christian challenge. One such work, The Jesus Conspiracy by Holger Kersten and Elmar R. Gruber, is of particular interest with regard to the subject of this chapter, for the authors present powerful evidence that whoever was wrapped in the Shroud of Turin did not die. Kersten and Gruber proposed that the Catholic Church realized the devastating impact this theory, if true, could have. After all, if the evidence suggested that Jesus had been wrapped in the shroud but did not die, the church would be left without a death, without an atoning sacrifice, without a resurrection and, in short, the…

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Misgoded reading continued

Click here for previous session     In any case, Jesus in Matthew 12:40 reportedly taught, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” This simple verse opens the gates to a relatively uncharted territory of thought. “Three days and three nights” must be assumed to mean exactly what it says, for otherwise it wouldn’t have been stated with such clarity. However, if we believe the Bible, Jesus spent only one day and two nights—Friday night, Saturday day and Saturday night—in the sepulcher following the alleged crucifixion. Does this pose a difficulty? We should think so, because the above quote is Jesus’ response to the request…

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Misgoded reading continued

Click here for previous session       Crucifixion   The report of my death was an exaggeration. —Mark Twain, Letter to the New York Journal, in response to rumors of his death while in Europe If there is a keystone to orthodox Christianity, it is the doctrine of the crucifixion. However, if Christians expect others to adopt their belief, they have to satisfy the demand for supporting evidence. Everyone knows the story. Everyone knows the biblical record. But everyone also knows that other myths have been propagated over longer periods of religious history, and the duration and popularity of a deception in no way validates it. So while many accept the crucifixion unquestioningly, many others…

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Misgoded reading continued

Click here for previous session     Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. This verse not only clarifies the human nature of some “spirits” (i.e.,…

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