Pastor Miles began this week's message by telling a story about how he was approached by a White man who informed him that Miles was the first Black man he had ever shaken hands with.
Miles admitted that he wasn't sure if this guy was trying to impress him or how exactly he should react, but it quickly became clear that he did not know the whole story. This man was a former White supremacist and had just been released from prison, where God spoke to him and changed his life, such that he was able to shake Miles' hand.
Seeing the Whole Picture
This kind of occurrence, where not all the facts are clear at first, are so common that the Bible devotes multiple verses to help us avoid acting prematurely, or what it calls "folly."
Proverbs 18:13 states He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him, while Proverbs 18:17 says The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.
What we must realize is that God always knows both sides of the story, and we must seek the facts from Him, not books like "The Da Vinci Code."
The In-Validity of the Gnostic Gospels
Miles continued his discussion of the Gnostic Gospels from last week, this week setting out to destroy their credibility based on historical fact. While "The Da Vinci Code" claims that the current Canon ("Standard of measurement") of Scripture that we have today is inaccurate, the authors and the dates of the current Gospel's writing helps disprove Dan Brown's theories.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all written between the years 40 and 90 A.D., while the Gnostic Gospels were written much later, between 140 and 400 A.D.
Wait a minute, you say, but they are attributed to known people, for example Judas and Thomas!
However, because these people were dead by the time their Gospels were put together, it is clear that people such as Thomas and Judas could not have written their namesake's Gospel. Not only this, but our current New Testament Gospels were verified by eye-witnesses, while the Gnostic Gospels were not.
The Q Document
After these points, Miles set out to refute the mysterious Q document, or Quell, which means source. Though this document has never been found, some scholars claim that Matthew and Luke used it to craft their Gospels, based on the similarities the two writings share.
Scholars argue that since these similarities never mention Christ's resurrection, it stands to reason that neither does Q, and thus Jesus rising from the dead was a fabricated story added at a later date. However, until this alleged document is ever found, this argument holds no more water than a leaky Dixie cup.
The Historic Authenticity of the Bible
With all of these facts in place, The Da Vinci Code hardly has a leg to stand on, but Miles hadn't even hit the home stretch yet.
He next shared that according to the standards set in place today, for a piece of writing to be considered historically authentic, there needs to be at least seven copies that date within 1,000 years of the original. The Gnostic Gospels, which many are so quick to believe as truth, has only been verified by one discovery in Nag Hammadi, while the New Testament alone has been verified by over 31,000 manuscripts, some dating to within 15 years of the originals.
If one were to add all the historical manuscripts in the world other than the Bible together that date before the printing press, the Bible would still have more.
Miles finished things off by noting that for a book to be considered for the canon of Scripture we have now, it needed to agree with the Old Testament, and to be accepted by the early Church. The Gnostic Gospels were vehemently rejected by the early church, and thus, have no place in the book we today call the Bible.