By Raymond Parnell
We are warned by Scripture that “the love of money is the root of all evil” (I Timothy 6:10). A glaring example of ignoring this advice is presented graphically by Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2006. They said that the highly respected magazine, National Geographic paid over one million dollars for the right to publish the Gospel of Judas!
“The Gospel of Judas paints a different picture of Judas from the one portrayed in the New Testament. In the latter, Judas is the arch-betrayer, the traitor who identified Jesus to the Roman authorities with a kiss. His motive was money; in the Gospel of Matthew, the amount is specified: 30 pieces of silver.” The National Geographic’s gospel offers a totally different version. It says that Judas’s motive in identifying Jesus to the authorities was “at Jesus’ request, enabling Jesus to escape his physical body and enter heaven as pure spirit.”
We see the Gnostic doctrine promoted again! Paul fought it effectively with his letter to the Colossian saints. Chapter 2:8-23 is a straight-forward, hard hitting treatise that exposes the error. Gnosticism is a term derived from the Greek, gnosis, meaning knowledge. Paul revealed that it “spoiled” saints! They depended on philosophy which exalted the person, not Christ; it entailed will-power “touch not; taste not; handle not” (2:21). imagine a testimony service in a church full of Gnostics that glorified men’s will-power.
Paul reminded the Colossians what their baptism had done for them — their soul, mind, and body. Their sins had been washed away because Jesus’ blood and Spirit had operated on the heart. This happened to both men and women in contrast to physical circumcision which only men could employ. God, then, received all the praise.
Paul further warned that Gnosticism could “beguile saints,” taking away their reward of the rapture as they trusted in will-power, not the power of Christ’s redemptive blood. Also, he said, they could go so far as to “worship angels” as they tried to “intrude into those things not seen, vainly puffed by his fleshly mind” (2:18).
The simple solution to this dilemma is to not read this Gospel of Judas, rather study and depend upon holy scriptures. Our obedience to the gospel is repentance, water baptism in Jesus’ name, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost. Gnosticism, no; Jesus, yes!
Rev. Raymond Parnell is Pastor Emeritus of Christ Memorial Temple in Layfayette, Indiana.