P4- Evaluating Episode 3: Bible Secrets Revealed – Concluding remarks and Why Christians should care about the New Testament Canon

Introduction and Review of the past couple of posts:

Today we conclude our evaluation and critique of the third episode of the History Channel Series: “Bible Secrets Revealed”.  To review, we noted at the beginning of this current blog series that we would evaluate the third episode along three lines:                                                1.  What story are they telling?                                                                                                      2.  What story does history tell about the development of the Biblical Canon                            3.  Have they told the story right?

We devoted the first two blog posts of this series to evaluate the revised historical story being told by the “Bible Secrets Revealed” panel of “experts”. We dedicated yesterday’s post to detailing what church history and the evidence really tells us about the development of the New Testament Canon.  As was discovered, the current History Channel series does not match the evidence – thus demonstrating it’s bias against historic Christianity and the Word of God. If the reader wishes to review the three just mentioned posts, I will include them at the end of today’s post.

In today’s concluding post we aim to discern whether or not the History Channel has told the history of the New Testament Canon correctly.  We will also end with practical reasons as to why the issue of the New Testament canon is so important to Christians today.

Why Episode 3 of the History Channel Series: “Bible Secrets Revealed” has not told the story of the New Testament Canon well 

1. In having worked through this most recent episode of “Bible Secrets Revealed”, we constructed a timeline of their version of the history of the New Testament Canon.  In doing so we also proposed the possible sources from which they derived these notions.  The revised history being proposed by the History Channel series was found lacking in several key spots.  Most notably missing from the series was any reference or quotations from the early church fathers.

2. As we then turned to history’s telling of the story, we discovered a profoundly different picture and story of the development of the New Testament Canon.  Despite the efforts of the History Channel’s panel of “experts”, the evidence of history reveals their narrative to be in error when it comes to the value and relationship of the Gnostic Gospels to the New Testament.  In short the Gnostic manuscripts of Nag Hammadi (the various Gospels, religious texts) did not contribute anything to early Christianity, but only provided opposition.  The facts explain that the reason for the early church rejecting the documents out of hand was purely due to their radically different teachings about Jesus, salvation, God and Biblical authority.

3. With “Bible Secrets Revealed” telling a story contrary to the mass of evidence, historical documents and centuries of reliable testimony, this blogger would have to conclude that the only story being told thus far in the series is a very modern one.  What is that modern story? That a group of scholars whose agenda is very hostile to historic, orthodox Christianity are attempting to rewrite history and evidence that has stood for roughly twenty centuries.  In an ironic twist, the accusations that the show’s participants make about orthodox, Bible believing Christianity suppressing the truth for the sake of a political agenda or trying to re-invent history instead ends up being the very method they use in presenting their material!

4. “Bible Secrets Revealed” fails to accurately relate the history and story of the development of the New Testament canon. Why?  Because they all commit the one fallacy already mentioned: deliberate disregard for the testimony of the early church fathers, canonical lists and councils.  As church historian Williston Walker as noted: “Gnosticism was an immense peril to the church. It cut out the historic foundations of Christianity.”[1]

Why should we care about the N.T Canon?

As to the practical implications of the material outlined in this final post of this blog series, I can offer no finer comment than the statement made by theologian J.I. Packer:

“We should note that the early church’s concern in this affirming the authority of the apostolic tradition . . .was not just for orthodoxy, but for a person’s knowledge of salvation in Christ to which “sound words” lead on.  By setting the apostolic writings above other church tradition, the church was consciously guarding the gospel against its perverters.”[2]

Closing thoughts                                                                                                                            In conclusion, the revisionist history touted by Episode 3 of the series “Bible Secrets Revealed” leads the viewer to a mistaken understanding of how we got our New Testament and ends up promoting bad theology and poorly given facts.  So the next time you hear a sermon or open up the New Testament to do your devotions, remember that the books you have in your Bible today are just as certain of being all of what God has said to us or needs to say as they were when they were first recorded by the apostles under the Spirit’s inspiration in the first century.  May the reader and viewer use this series of blogs as a resource in the days to come to be more informed and to thank the Lord for a Bible that is trustworthy and incapable of failure.  

[1] Walker, Williston. A History of the Christian Church.

[2] Packer, J.I. Beyond the battle for the Bible.


About pastormahlon

By the grace of God I was converted to saving faith in Jesus Christ at the age of 10 and called into the Gospel ministry by age 17. Through the Lord's grace I completed a Bachelors in Bible at Lancaster Bible College in 1996 and have been married to my beautiful wife since that same year. We have been blessed with four children, ranging from 7-18 years of age. In 2002 the Lord enabled me to complete a Master of Arts in Christian Thought at Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield PA. For nearly 25 years I have been preaching and teaching God's Word and have been studying the original languages since 1994. In 2016 God called my family and me to move to begin a pastorate at a wonderful Southern Baptist Congregation here in Northern New York.
This entry was posted in Canonicity, Contemporary Issues, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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