Theology

Five “Fake News” Stories That People Believe about Early Christianity

There’s been a lot of chatter about “fake news” in recent months. Some stories, even though they have no basis in fact, are told so often, and with such conviction, that large numbers of people end up believing them anyway.

And some of these fake news stories even dupe legitimate political figures who repeat the story without realizing it is false. And, of course, once a mainstream political figure repeats a story then it becomes even more entrenched in the national psyche.

While some of these fake news stories are rather harmless, others have become quite dangerous. Most famous perhaps is the “Pizza Gate” incident in 2016 where a man shot up a pizza place thinking it was host to a child sex trafficking ring (thankfully, no one was hurt).

Given this rash of “fake news,” I thought it might be interesting to observe that an analogous phenomenon can be seen in the study of early Christianity. There is quite a bit of “fake news” out there regarding . . .

{Below is list of the 5 points, details on each point by navigating to the source page}

  1. Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.
  2. The divinity of Jesus was not decided until the council of Nicea in the fourth century.
  3. Christians did not have a “Bible” until the time of Constantine.
  4. The “Gnostic” Gospels like the Gospel of Thomas were just as popular as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  5. The words of the New Testament have been radically changed and corrupted in the earliest centuries.

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I heard this on the White Horse Inn, and I thought it was brilliant in how it sums up American Christianity.

“I believe in God who once was Almighty, but sovereignly chose not to be sovereign.

And in Jesus, my personLordandSavior, Who loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life, Who came into my heart when I asked him to, and is now seated at the right ventricle of my belief in him, Who walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way, and tells me I am his own, Who shall come again with secrecy to rapture us outta’ here, Whose kingdom shall last exactly one thousand years;

And in the Holy Ghost, who did some weird stuff at Pentecost, but doesn’t do much more anymore except speak to the hearts of individual believers.

And I believe in this local, independent, and powerless church, insofar as it is in line with my personal interpretation of the Bible and does stuff I like; in one Believer’s baptism for the public proof of my decision for Christ; and in giving my personal testimony for soul winning.

And I look for the identity of the Antichrist, and know that the Last Days are upon us.

– Ay-men”

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A very good post by Jeff Zweerink that demonstrates Big Bang cosmology with the creation account in Genesis days. 

Life abounds on planet Earth. We are familiar with numerous forms like people, pets, insects, and fish. Using microscopes we see a host of bacterial and viral organisms. Digging in the dirt reveals bones of enormous dinosaurs. Life takes many different shapes, sizes, and lifetimes. Scientists find life in virtually every environment where they suspect life could live and even in many they once thought life impossible. Bacteria thrive in boiling water, bubbling tar, extremely dry deserts, frozen glaciers, rocks two miles below Earth’s surface, and even environments with radiation that would destroy cockroaches. The ubiquity of life on Earth can make it seem like it should also abound in the universe.

Over the past few decades, scientists have realized that both Earth and the universe underwent significant changes that permit life so readily on Earth. In the beginning, the universe could not host life. When Earth first formed it was also hostile to life. To evaluate the possibility of life “out there,” it is useful to remember what …

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Outstanding! If only those white churches with American flags in their church’s sanctuary would listen.

 

In any election year (especially one as tumultuous and exhausting as 2016), there will be claims and counter-claims about what values and principles should guide the United States of America.

And such debates inevitably lead to appeals to the history and heritage of our country.  What principles guided the founding fathers?  Were the founding fathers Christians?  Were the founding documents Christian in nature?

Thus we come to the next phrase in our “Taking Christianese” series: “America is a Christian nation.”

Our purpose in this post (as in all the posts in this series) is simply to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this phrase.  We will do this by asking three questions:  (1) Why do people use this phrase?  (2) What is correct or helpful about this phrase?  and (3) What is problematic about this phrase?

Why Do People Use This Phrase?

There are a number of reasons this phrase is used by believers.  Some may simply use it historically. It is a phrase that attempts to capture some historical truths about our country and how it was conceived.  As for whether this phrase accurately captures such truths, that is something we will address below.

But other believers may use it as more of an argument.  Given the rapid moral and cultural decline of our country, the idea that “America is a Christian nation” is designed to stem the tide.  It is a way of pushing back against . . .

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Why do we need a new Reformation? What was so special about the Reformation in the first place that makes a second one so worthwhile? Through the middle ages, Christianity became entangled with the vines of superstition, ignorance, and spiritual lethargy—the same thing we see all around us today.

When Luther uncovered the theological scandal, the fragile Roman scaffolding began to creak. The essentials of the Reformation were doctrinal. It was part of the Renaissance to call for a return to the original sources, so it made sense that Christian scholars returned not only to the great classics of Western civilization and to the early fathers but to the Biblical text itself. So, the Reformation was the greatest back-to-the-Bible movement in the history of the church since the death of the apostles. But, they went back to the Bible not simply as an end in itself but in order to recover the essential truths that the Bible proclaimed and that the church had either forgotten or actually rejected. Those essentials were Scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, and to God alone be glory.

Now notice how the . . .

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 | January 3 at 7:00 AM | Washington Post

This opinion piece is by Michael Horton, a theology professor at Westminster Seminary California.

Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration will include Paula White and possibly other members of his inner circle, Darrell Scott, “Apostle” Wayne T. Jackson and Mark Burns. They’re all televangelists who hail from the “prosperity gospel” camp. They advocate a brand of Pentecostal Christianity known as Word of Faith.

Inaugurations are always curious rituals of American civil religion. It would not be surprising to see a non-Christian religious leader participating. But what’s problematic for me as an evangelical is how Trump’s ceremony is helping to mainstream this heretical movement.

The prosperity gospel — the idea that God dispenses material wealth and health based on what we “decree” — is not just fluff. It’s also not just another branch of Pentecostalism, a tradition that emphasizes the continuation of the gifts of healing, prophecy and tongues. It’s another religion.

In terms of religion, this inauguration exhibits the confluence of two major currents of indigenous American spirituality.

One stream is represented by Norman Vincent Peale’s longtime bestseller “The Power of Positive Thinking” (1952). The famous Manhattan pastor is Trump’s

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THIS IS A very interesting post in which I can have some agreement, but when I see a pastor or Christian writers expresses a theologically opinion like this I am often disappointed with their other theological positions because often the other opinions are usually NOT orthodox. 

However posted because it is provocative. Take it for what it is worth because I don’t know much about Preston Sprinkle, but I do agree with the idea that “grace” is messy: 

By Preston Sprinkle

“You cannot sanitize grace. You can’t stuff it into a blue blazer and make it wear khakis.”

Christian subcultures are an entertaining phenomenon. Multiple brands of Christianity claim the same Lord and read the same Bible, and yet they promote a set of values sometimes as different as apples and orangutans.

I once heard a story about a Christian woman from the East Coast who confronted a West Coast youth-pastor, who allowed “mixed bathing” at youth events. “I can’t believe any so-called Christian leader would allow boys and girls to swim together!” She expressed her concern, all the while puffing on a cigarette. The youth pastor couldn’t help but smile, speechless at the irony.

I attended a conservative Brethren church when I lived in Scotland. Some of the women wore head coverings and none of them spoke in church. When I had our Irish pastor and his wife over for dinner, I asked them what he would like to drink. “Beer please,” the preacher said. “And for you, madam?” “I’ll take . . . 

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The MERRY CHRISTIAN that many are trying is very anti-Christmas. Check out the latest White Horse Inn evaluating the Theology of popular Christmas carols:

Hosted by Adriel Sanchez, Kim Riddlebarger, Michael Horton, and Rod Rosenbladt
Have you ever taken the time to really listen to and think about the lyrics of the various Christmas carols that you hear on the radio and in the shopping malls at this time of year? On this program the hosts will do just that as they consider popular songs like “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” to more traditional carols such as “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night.” Finally, they’ll explore the theology expressed in the world’s first Christmas carols recorded for us in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke.

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About Me

Marboro
Greeting Friends,

My name is Timothy but I will be known as Timotheus on this blog. I am a Reformed Christian man living in Charleston, West Virginia (USA).

My blog will have entries of my personal, theological, philosophical, and political views from a Reformed perspective (or as I currently understand it).

To learn more about Reformed Theology read the article Reformed Theology by the late James Montgomery Boice by CLICKING HERE!.


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