The Apocryphal Gospels Were Rejected By the Church For Good Reasons

The mainstream media loves the apocryphal gospels.  When discussing Jesus – usually around Easter or Christmas – it’s typically hinted that the real story of Jesus appears in these lost gospels. The juicy story is that nothing was agreed upon for the first four centuries of Christianity and that there were hundreds of stories about Jesus. Only after Constantine’s arrival that the church decided to keep Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and suppress the rest. The implication is that the four gospels have no more historical validity than that of the so-called gospels of Thomas, Peter, or Judas.  Conspiracy theories sell like hotcakes, but we should note that the apocryphal gospels have been known for … Read more

Video: The Early Use of the Gospels: Evidence for Traditional Authorship

Previously I’ve discussed what the early church fathers said about the authorship of the Gospels. We saw that they believed Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote them, and there wasn’t a shred of disagreement over it. This attestation of authorship is early and geographically diverse, and there’s no competing tradition.  But there’s even earlier evidence we can look at — the early use of the Gospels. Many early church writers use the Gospels without mentioning or describing their authors. This takes us back even further than the evidence in the earlier video.  If you’re quoting something as authoritative to your audience, it means you assume they’ll recognize the quotes and accept them as genuine. That’s … Read more

6 Bad Reasons to Reject the Traditional Authorship of John’s Gospel

Nearly every shred of evidence that we have from the early church fathers tells us that the Apostle John wrote the fourth Gospel. And in a previous video, we saw plenty of internal evidence that points to John being the genuine author. Despite all this, there’s a lot of pushback offered from the critics. You’ll often hear there’s a vast scholarly consensus against the traditional authorship of John.  But when you dig into the arguments from biblical critics, they often turn out to be pretty weak. In this video, I address some of the more common ones.  Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball … Read more

Video: 3 Bad Reasons to Doubt the Traditional Authorship of Matthew

Skeptics like Bart Ehrman say that we don’t know who wrote Matthew’s Gospel. In Bart’s own words, “Whoever wrote Matthew did not call it “The Gospel according to Matthew.” The persons who gave it that title are telling you who, in their opinion, wrote it…” Now, the early church fathers all agree that Matthew wrote it. And all the ancient manuscripts we have attributed it to Matthew. We’ve looked at this in previous videos. So what are the main reasons Ehrman thinks that someone other than Matthew wrote it? In this video, I look at three bad reasons why many biblical critics reject the traditional authorship of Matthew and why they fail. Erik ManningErik is … Read more

Video: Money Matters in Matthew’s Gospel

Skeptical critics like Bart Ehrman tell us that we have no idea who wrote the Gospel of Matthew. They argue that all the internal evidence tells us it had to be written by someone else. But is that really so? The Gospels tell us that Matthew was a tax collector. So if Matthew did write a Gospel, we’d expect to see an unusual degree of interest in financial matters. And as it turns out, that’s exactly what we find to be the case. Matthew is all about the Benjamins, much more so than any Gospel writer. And it isn’t even close. In this video, I look at the internal evidence of money-mentions in Matthew’s Gospel … Read more

Video: Who Wrote The Gospels? These 6 Ancient Sources Tell Us

Skeptical New Testament scholars like Bart Ehrman argue that the Four Gospels in our New Testament are anonymous. In his bestselling book Jesus, Interrupted, Ehrman writes: “Some books, such as the Gospels…had been written anonymously, only later to be ascribed to certain authors who probably did not write them (apostles and friends of the apostles).” But wouldn’t the early church be in a better position to know who wrote the Gospels than contemporary critics? I’d certainly think so, and as it turns out, the early church fathers were unambiguous and united about who wrote the Four Gospels.  In this video, we look at the witness of 6 early church fathers and learn that the authorship … Read more

Manuscript Evidence Proves the Gospels Were Not Anonymous

Skeptical New Testament scholars argue that the Four Gospels in our New Testament are anonymous. There was no original “Gospel According to Matthew,” and the same goes for Mark, Luke, and John. Their titles were left blank originally. Or so the theory goes.  These four gospels allegedly were distributed without titles for almost a hundred years before scribes attached them to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, well after these apostles were dead. Names got assigned to give the four gospels more prestige. Skeptics like Bart Ehrman go on to conclude that because these books were anonymous, they probably aren’t based on eyewitness testimony.  While many NT critics have latched onto this anonymous Gospel theory, I … Read more

Why Everyone Should Believe That the Apostle John Wrote the Fourth Gospel

Skeptical Biblical critics like John Shelby Spong say that it’s impossible that the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John. Spong writes: “There is no way that the Fourth Gospel was written by John Zebedee or by any of the disciples of Jesus. The author of this book is not a single individual, but is at least three different writers/editors, who did their layered work over 25 to 30 years.”  Spong isn’t alone in this criticism, even some conservative evangelical Christians have cast doubt on the traditional authorship of John for various reasons. But there are quite a number of reasons to think that John the Son of Zebedee really wrote John. First, let’s consider … Read more

Busting 7 Arguments Against the Traditional Authorship of John

When arguing for the traditional authorship of John, you’re going to encounter a significant amount of pushback. Skeptics will often say that there’s a vast scholarly consensus against Johannine authorship, but when you look at their arguments, many of them are quite weak. In this post, I’ll address some of the more common ones.  1. Wouldn’t someone close to John sound more like the Synoptic writers?  No, not if John had different purposes for writing his Gospel. The early evidence from the church fathers says that his Gospel was intentionally supplemental. Clement of Alexandria wrote:  “Of all those who had been with the Lord only Matthew and John left us their recollections (hypomnēmata), and tradition … Read more

6 Ancient Sources That Identify the Author of the Fourth Gospel

In my last post, I went over a ton of internal clues in the Gospel of John that support the argument that John, the Son of Zebedee, is the author of the Gospel of John. I noted in my intro that just about every bit of evidence we have from the writings of the early church tells us that John wrote it. But just so you know that I’m not pulling a “dude, trust me” type of argument, let’s examine the external evidence for John’s authorship.  Before we dive in, it’s important to point out that there’s no recorded challenge to the traditional authorship of the Gospels until around the early 5th-century by Faustus the … Read more

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