Friday, 18 July 2014

The Gospel of Barnabas Part 2

Some Muslims use the Gospel of Barnabas to preach the message of Islam on their websites and they make some pretty extraordinary claims about it. 

Within these extraordinary claims they will drop some names of some great Christian leaders from the early church and some names of important places from the early church’s history and say that: “This shows that the Gospel of Barnabas was in circulation in the first and second centuries”. But the one thing you will also see, is they will never provide you with any references as to where these details can be found (at least not until the references are from books written after the 16th century).

Let’s have a look at some of these claims:
1.) The Gospel of Barnabas was accepted in the Churches of Alexandria till 325 A.D.

2.)  Irenaeus of Lyons (130-202) opposed Paul for injecting pagan Roman religion and Platonic philosophy into Christianity. 

3.)  Irenaeus had quoted extensively from the Gospel of Barnabas showing that the Gospel of Barnabas was in circulation in the first and second centuries of Christianity.

My comment on these three points:
1.)  You will notice that in each of the websites that quote this point, the author of the website provides absolutely no evidence for the statement that they have made. Quite frankly, I believe that this claim is totally baseless and will continue to do so until some evidence is provided to the contrary.

2.)  Once again, no references are provided even though the works of Irenaeus are divided into book, chapter and verse and can be referenced very easily.  Irenaeus quotes extensively from the four canonised Gospels, the Book of Acts, Paul’s letters and the letters from the other apostles. I have not found anywhere where he opposes Paul or Paul’s writings; on the contrary, he quotes Paul’s letters to make his case within his series of five books called “Adversus Haereses” (Against Heresies) in which he defends the Christian faith against Gnosticism.

3.)  And again, the writers of the various web pages provide no references.  In the works of Irenaeus, I have found many direct quotes made from the four canonised Gospels but nothing from the so called “Gospel of Barnabas”.  But because the Gospel of Barnabas parallels some parts of the canonised Gospels one could make the assumption that Irenaeus was quoting from the Gospel of Barnabas. However there are some mark differences between the Gospel of Barnabas and what Irenaeus quotes.  For example Irenaeus quite often refers to Jesus as the “Word of God” which found in Gospel of John and not in the Gospel of Barnabas.  He also talks about the death and resurrection of Jesus found in the four canonised Gospels but not in the Gospel of Barnabas.

The works of Irenaeus’ can be found at this web site.

There are a lot of websites out there that say all sorts of things and make all sorts of claims, but what I say is this:  

Please do not just accept or reject the words of this website or for that matter any other web site without first checking out for yourself the claims that have been made.  

It’s the truth that matters, not the ideas, opinions or agendas of those who would want to gain the power of influence over us.  It was God who gave us our minds; not so that we would blindly follow someone else, but so we could use our minds, determine what is the true and then to do what is right.

Seek out the truth; it is the truth that sets us free. 

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