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Observations of Heretical Christian Scholars

The Christian sect of the Ebionites belongs to the time of Paul and flourished
in the first century. The Ebionites strongly opposed Paul and considered him an
apostate. Although they acknowledged the Gospel of Matthew they claimed that
the present Gospel, attributed to Matthew by the followers of Paul, is quite
different from the original Gospel. They also claimed that the first two chapters
of the Gospel did not belong to it. According to them these two chapters and
many other verses of this Gospel were later additions. The famous historian Bell
said with regard to these people:
This sect acknowledged only the Pentateuch of the Old Testament and
despised the names of David, Solomon, Jeremiah and Hezekiel. They accepted only the Gospel of Matthew from the New Testament but they
changed even this Gospel in many places and excluded its first two chapters.
Similarly the Marcionites were one of the ancient sects of Christianity. They
rejected all the books of the Old Testament and denied their being divinely
revealed. Likewise they disacknowledged all the books of the New Testament
except the Gospel of Luke and the ten epistles of Paul. This gospel, too, was
considered by them to be different from the one we know today. The historian
Bell said:
This sect used to reject all the books of the Old Testament and only
accepted the Gospel of Luke from the New Testament and even of this
Gospel they used to reject the first two chapters. They also accepted the ten
epistles of Paul but rejected many parts that they did not like in these letters.
Lardner showed in volume 8 of his commentary with regard to alterations
made by this sect that they rejected many parts of the Gospel of Luke. The parts
of Luke’s Gospel which were distorted or omitted by this sect are the first two
chapters, the event of the Christ’s baptism by John, the genealogy of Jesus in
chapter 3, the tempting of Jesus by Satan, his entry into the temple, his reading
the book of isaiah in chapter 4, verses 30, 31, 32, 49, 50 and 51 of chapter 11,
the words “but the sign of Jonas, the prophet,” verses 6, 8 and 20 of chapter 12,
verses 1-6 of chapter 13, verses 11-32 of chapter 15, verses 31. 32 and 33 of
chapter 18, verses 28-46 of chapter 19, verses 9-18 of chapter 20, verses 8, 21
and 23 of chapter 21, verses 16, 35, 36, 37, 50, 51 of chapter 22, verse 43 of
chapter 23, and verses 26 and 28 from chapter 24. The above details were given
by Epiphanius. Dr. Mill added that they also omitted verses 38 and 39 of
chapter 4. In volume 3 of his commentary Lardner quotes, through Augustine,
the words of Faustus, a great scholar of the Manichaeans in the fourth century:
Faustus says: I totally refute the things that your forefathers have
deceitfully added in the New Testament, marring its beauty, because it is an
established fact that the New Testament was neither written by Christ nor by
his Disciples. The author is an unknown person, who has attributed his work
to the Disciples fearing that people would not accept him as an eye-witness
of these accounts. Thus he defamed the Disciples by writing books that are
full of errors and contradictions.
It can be said without fear of denial that the above scholar, even though he
belongs to a heretical sect, is absolutely correct in his above three claims. We
have already reproduced Norton’s opinion regarding the falsity of the
Pentateuch and his claim that the present Gospel of Matthew is not in fact the original book written by him, but only a translation which has itself been altered
and distorted.
The above is enough to have an idea of the views of non-Christian scholars
and those of Christians who are considered heretics by the majority of other Christians.
Observations of Christian Theologians
We reproduce below the opinions and statements of celebrated and widely
trusted scholars and theologians of the Christian world.

Observation No. 1: Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke said on page 369 of vol. 5 of his commentary:
It is customary that the number of the writers on the lives of great men
has always been large. The same is true of Jesus and the Apostles; that is to
say the number of narrators of their lives is also great but many of the
statements they make are erroneous. They used to write fictional events as if
they were facts. They also made mistakes, deliberate or accidental, in other
descriptions, especially the historians of the land where Luke wrote his
Gospel. For this reason the Holy Spirit imparted appropriate knowledge to
Luke so that the faithful might know the true accounts.
This gives us to understand that prior to Luke’s Gospel there were many
false gospels present replete with errors and mistakes. The above statement is a
plain admission of the dishonesty of their authors. His words that they made
deliberate or accidental mistakes is enough evidence of this fact.

Observation No. 2: The Apostle Paul

In his Epistle to the Galatians Paul said:
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the
grace of Christ unto another gospel; which is not another but there be some
that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
The above statement of Paul brings out three important facts, firstly that
there was a gospel called the Gospel of Christ in the time of apostles; secondly
that there was another gospel that was different and contrary to the Gospel of
Christ; and thirdly that there were some people who wanted to distort and
change the Gospel of Christ, even in the time of Paul, not to speak of subsequent periods when there was nothing left of this Gospel but its name.
Adam Clarke under his comments on the above verse said in vol. 6 of his
commentary:
It is established that many minor gospels had become common in the
early centuries of Christianity. The abundance of such false and incorrect
accounts led Luke to write his Gospel. We read about more than seventy
such gospels. Some parts of these gospels are still in existence and available.
Many such gospels were collected and published in three volumes by
Fabricius. Some describe the obligatory nature of the laws of Moses, the
validity of circumcision and imperativeness of the Gospel.
The above implies that many spurious gospels were present before the
compilation of the Gospel of Luke and Paul’s letter to Galatians. It also proves
that Paul referred to a properly compiled Gospel and not to the meanings that he
had conceived in his mind, as sometimes is contended by the Protestants.

Observation No. 3: The Gospel of Christ

The fact that a gospel called the Gospel of Christ existed in the time of the
Apostles is certainly true and was also testified to by Eichhorn and many other
German scholars. Similarly scholars like Leclerc, Grabe, Michael, Lessing,
Niemeyer and Marsh also agree with this opinion.

Observation No. 4: Another Statement of Paul

In his Second Epistle to the Corinthians Paul said:
But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which
desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.
For such are false apostles deceitful workers, trans-forming themselves
into the apostles of Christ.
The above statement of Paul is a clear admission of the fact that there were
many false apostles present in his time. Adam Clarke under his comments of
this verse said:
They falsely claimed to be the Apostles of Christ while in fact they were not
apostles. They used to deliver sermons and take pains in worship but they aimed
at nothing but their personal interests.
We read the following in the First Epistle of John: Beloved, believes not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of
God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
John too joined Paul in admitting the presence of false prophets in their time.
Adam Clarke made the following comments on this verse:
In the past every teacher used to claim that he received inspiration from
the Holy Ghost, because every true prophet received inspiration. The word
’spirit’ at this place signifies the man claiming that he was under the effect of
the spirit. Put them therefore to test. Such preachers should be examined
with arguments. His phrase ‘many false prophets’ refers to those who were
not inspired by the Holy Ghost especially from among the Jews.
The above is enough to show that there were many false claimants to
prophethood at that time.

 

 

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