The Superiority of the New Testament
The Da Vinci Code (book and movie) stirred interest in such Gnostic gospels as the Gospel of Thomas and others. Some even seem to think that these non-canonical, heterodox (i.e. contrary to the acknowledged standard of the New Testament) works should be given a prominence equal to, or greater than, the New Testament.
However, when compared to the New Testament these so-called “gospels” provide no Gospel (good news) and are obviously inferior to the New Testament. These non-canonical works such as the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Philip are second and third-century writings while the New Testament is first-century writing that is anchored in eyewitness accounts. For example, the apostle John wrote, “that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled. . . . [W]e have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life [cf. John 1:1-3, 14] which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (1 John 1:1-2). The word manifested here is from phaneroo and refers to the historical appearance of Jesus Christ in the world (Arndt and Gingrich 860). Peter used the same word as his contemporary John when we (Peter) wrote, “He [Jesus Christ] was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:20, emp. added). It was also Peter who wrote, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16, emp. added). Note also Peter’s words that followed when he said, “ . . . [W]e heard . . . when we were with Him . . .” (2 Peter 1:18).
The New Testament case is built upon the incontrovertible testimony of multiple eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 10:40-41; 1 Cor. 15:5-8, et al). Three senses were appealed to (hearing, sight, touch), and the combination of such answered the errors of the heretical teaching of such Gnostics as Cerinthus and others like him who denied the reality of God having come in the flesh (John 1:14) in the person of Jesus of Nazareth (cf. Stott, Epistles of John 41-50). The antichrists of John’s day (1 John 2:18-19, 22; 4:1-3) were answered with the historically verifiable propositions of New Testament Christianity. And the antichrists of the twenty-first century are answered with the same.
Plan your feet squarely upon the firm and sure identity of the Rock of Ages—the Christ of the New Testament. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).