Who defines the Kingdom of God?
Five reasons not to see The
In The DaVinci Code,
author Dan Brown makes countless false and deceptive claims.
Here are a few of his statements:
descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret
rituals in this novel are accurate.”
not true! Brown's information about historical
dates, documents, secret societies, and significant
events are distorted and falsified (whether
intentionally or due to carelessness) throughout the
page, we will only examine Brown's lies about the Bible.
We prefer not to even mention his blasphemous assaults on the
nature, ministry and character of Jesus Christ, our
commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted
those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and
embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The
earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned….
Anyone who chose the forbidden gospels over Constantine’s
version was deemed a heretic."
opposite is true. The Biblical gospels point continually
to the humanity of Jesus. They showed that He was born
into a poor family as a human boy with the same needs as
all other babies. He grew up as an ordinary child,
worked with His father as a carpenter, and needed food
and water to survive. He grew tired and weary, felt
pain, bled, wept at the death of His friend Lazarus,
then "humbled Himself and became obedient to
the point of death."
contrast, the apocryphal books and Gnostic "gospels" are
full of mystical events that clash with Biblical truth
and presents Jesus as a miracle worker who killed,
created life at a mere whim -- much like the
mythical Romans gods of their times. [See
Anne Rice re-imagines Jesus and Christian
"Fortunately for historians,
some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate
managed to survive. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in
the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert.”
Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1946, not in the
1950s. Hidden by the Jewish Essenes, they contained
important old documents that verified what
already had been included in the Old Testament
Canon. No "gospels" -- true or false -- were included!
4. “More than 80 gospels
were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a
relative few were chosen for inclusion – Matthew, Mark,
Luke, John among them…. The Bible, as we know it today, was
collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great.”
early church never considered "more than 80 gospels."
Nor did Constantine. The Roman emperor merely affirmed
the four gospels that had already been accepted by the
first decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus, those
who were eye
witnesses to His ministry and death shared the "good
news" (gospel) with all who would listen. As the truth about
Jesus was heard and discussed in diverse lands and cities,
Christian communities grew and spread in all directions.
Belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord -- and as the
fulfillment of the Old Testament law and promises --
breached all kinds of national and cultural
preserve the actual accounts -- and to better communicate the
they had witnessed, the early apostles began to write
down what they had seen and heard. Other eyewitnesses showed their agreement.
end of the first century (from 25 to almost 60 years after the
resurrection), the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John were all written and confirmed by
the work of the Holy Spirit. Those four documents became the only
accepted gospels -- the only treasured and authoritative
documents describing the life and teachings of Jesus.
But heretical teachings
had already begun to spread and were
stirring confusion -- even in some churches. As the apostle Peter warned
the new believers:
The apostle Paul refuted some of those early Gnostic
teachings in his letter to the Colossian Christians.
Later, near the end of the second century and several
generations after the four trustworthy gospels had been
written, the Gnostic “Gospel of Judas” was apparently
Full of obvious distortions of well-known facts, it was
quickly rejected by the followers of Jesus. Other
Gnostic writings appeared during the next centuries, but
none found acceptance among true Christians. All proved
contrary to the known documentation and to the witness
of the Holy Spirit.
"...there will be false teachers among
you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying
the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of
truth will be blasphemed...."
2 Peter 2:1-3
common Gnostic heresies included a denial of the
resurrection and faith in a mystical feminine
spirit as part of the Gnostic godhead.
Our Father in Heaven or Our Mother the Earth? and
Christians were accused of having
invented the story
about the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus in order to
perpetuate their movement after the death of their
leader. Of course, such an accusation makes no sense when you
first eyewitnesses to the resurrection were women.
In contrast, the men (His disciples) were afraid and
ran away. Why would the men who wrote the gospels
want to perpetuate such an embarrassing story?
revealed Himself to many more during the time
between His resurrection and Ascension. Those
eyewitnesses gladly traveled to distant lands and
faced deadly dangers to share the good news about
Jesus and His promises. Why would they leave the
comforts of home if they doubted the resurrection?
Apparently all the disciples except John faced torturous death
for their faith. If they had actually falsified
the facts behind the gospel, why would they
willingly face hatred, loss, imprisonment, and cruel
death for it?
section below shows the criteria used by the early
Christians to determine a gospel's validity:
"How the New Testament
Canon Was Chosen"
God’s Word in Your Life
Pastor John MacArthur, 2003
... comes from the Greek word kanon,
meaning 'a rod or bar,' 'a measuring rule, standard, or limit.'3
This Greek term kanon
originally came from a root word that meant 'a reed.' In Bible times a reed was
used as a Hebrew unit of measure. So, the word came to mean, in a metaphorical
sense, a measuring rod, or standard.... The Bible is our
standard—efficient, sufficient, infallible, inerrant, and authoritative. As
God’s standard, it is binding and determinative in evaluating any other writing,
concept, or idea."
How the New Testament
Canon Was Chosen
"Tests used by the early Christian church to determine New
Testament Scripture were somewhat the same as those used for the Old Testament
1. "Was the book authored by an apostle or someone closely
associated with an apostle? ...to be inspired it had to be written by
an apostle, someone who had walked and talked with the Lord or someone who had
been a close companion of an apostle. For example, Mark was not an apostle, but
he was a close associate of Peter. Luke, the only Gentile writer of the New
Testament, was not an apostle but he worked closely with Paul who was an apostle
through his special experience on the Damascus Road....
2. "Another test applied by the early church was content.
Did the writing square with apostolic doctrine? In those early years of the
church, heretics such as the Gnostics would try to slip in a phony book, but
none ever made it. If it didn’t square with apostolic doctrine, it didn’t pass.
The doctrinal aberrations were too easy to spot....
3. "A third test asked if the book was read and used in the
churches. Did the people of God accept it, read it
during worship, and make its teachings part of daily living? ...
4. "And the final test determined whether the book was recognized
and used by the next generations after the early church, especially by the
apostolic fathers. Church leaders, such as Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, Jerome, and
Augustine, used and approved the apostolic writings. It is important to note,
however, that the church leaders did not force certain books on the church. No
one man or group of men made a certain book canonical. God determined the canon;
man discovered it through long and steady usage. The canon finally emerged
through the combined conviction of church leaders and church members working in
harmony and guided by the Holy Spirit.
"As with the Old Testament, a formidable group of apocryphal
New Testament books also sprang up. These included the Epistle of Barnabas, the
Apocalypse of Peter, the Gospel of Nicodemus, and the Shepherd of Hermas. There
were also 'Gospels' of Andrew, Bartholomew, Thomas, and Phillip. But all these
failed to make the final New Testament canon because they failed one or more of
the key tests of authenticity...."
How the Old Testament
Canon Was Chosen
"Two basic tests were used to determine whether a book
belonged in the Old Testament canon: (1) Was it inspired by God, written by a
prophet or someone with the gift of prophecy? (2) Was it accepted, preserved,
and read by God’s people, the Israelites?"
What Happens When You
Add “More Revelation”?
"The apocryphal books of the Old and New Testaments (also
called the pseudepigrapha, “false writings”)
were only the first attempts to add “other revelation” to Scripture.
Down through the centuries, and into our present day, different individuals and
groups have claimed their works and writings are equal to the Bible in authority
and inspiration. ...
"The Mormons have put three such works on par with the
Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants,
Pearl of Great Price, and the Book of Mormon.... The Christian Scientists have elevated Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
to a scriptural level....
To Sum It Up
"The 'canon of Scripture'... includes the sixty-six books that have been determined
to be the infallible rule of faith and practice for the church for all time.
Since the close of the New Testament canon in the fourth century, some people
have wondered if we shouldn’t be able to add to the canon. After all, God has
continued to act and speak since those first centuries through the Holy Spirit
of Christ. But Revelation 22:18 clearly states: 'For I testify to everyone who
hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things,
God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book.'...
"To abandon, or even downplay in the slightest way, the uniqueness of
Scripture as the only truly inspired Word of God is to invite a spiritual
Copyright © 2003 by John MacArthur
Order John MacArthur's book from
Grace to You website at
Five reasons not to see The DaVinci Code,
Who defines the Kingdom of God?