Easter & Other Bits

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Easter is such an amazing time in the Christian calendar as it marks the time in which Christ was murdered but then triumphantly rose from the dead (after giving the devil a good kicking for 3 days in Hades!). Wow what an awesome God we serve!

This Easter perhaps more than most which have gone before, our faith is being questioned and challenged and we need to be able to give an answer "..to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.." (1 Peter 3:15) in order to give glory to God.

As the release of the Da Vinci Code film is upon us and their court case was victorious many believe that this best selling book challenges the foundation of Christianity by alleging that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene. Personally I can't believe that the Catholic church gave this book credibility by condemning and banning it. Let's just say that if the DaVinci Code rocks your faith then your faith is built on sand, same as the foolish man's house! (Mt 7:26-27). Faith built on rock would never be shaken by a book which ultimately is about sex and more specifically, about older men justifying perverted sex - read it and you'll know what we're saying!

So the supposed 'main' challenge to our faith this Easter is the 'Gospel of Judas'. We had directed readers to Ben Witherington's Blog and again we would advocate you read his Blog if you want a bit more technical background than we can offer. However, we will address a few issues. Firstly, the codex (Gospel of Judas) was written around 180AD or approximately 150 years after Jesus death so there is no way on this planet that Judas wrote it. Secondly, many 'commentators' are saying that it is a Coptic translation of a Greek original. However, no one can offer any positive evidence that a Greek original ever existed (Ben Witherington deals with this point very well). Finally, many commentators are arguing that this so called Gospel challenges the core beliefs of Christianity. How exactly? This codex reveals quite a lot about 2nd & 3rd century Christianity & Gnosticism and as such is a useful document for New Testament and other Biblical scholars but let's be clear here, this so called Gospel offers nothing new in terms of Christ's birth, life, death & resurrection. The most contentious issue this codex raises is that of Judas Iscariot's reputation (which was fully deserved, see John 12:6) and let's face it even Saatchi would have a problem restoring Judas's reputation. Simply put, this codex offers nothing new other than an insight into early Christianity and Coptic beliefs (by the way, the Gnostics would have had a vested interest in restoring Judas's reputation).

On a more cheerful note, we were delighted to see that the Bishop of York, John Sentamu is into full immersion baptism of believers and conducted 4 baptisms outside the minster on Sunday. You can see more about this story on the BBC website: Worshippers take outdoor baptism. Praise God for people such as John Sentamu who are prepared to make a public stand for the true gospel of Christ!

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