In this part we will finish our survey of biblical reliability with a look at the books that are a part of the New Testament and why it is those books that are included. One of common criticism is that the New Testament is made up of the books chosen by a bunch of old white men in the 4th Century to push a competing agenda. As a result, other perfectly good books such as the Gospel of Thomas were excluded. In having this discussion, we are going to tie tightly into the last article on dating and authorship and go a bit further from there.
First of all, these extra-biblical ancient texts are known collectively as the “Apocryphal New Testament.” Do not confuse this with what is known simply as the Apocrypha, which are the several extra books added to the Old Testament in the Roman Catholic Bible. While there are several groupings of the Apocryphal New Testament that includes a variety of acts, gospels, letters, etc., I generally divide it into two groups: the Gnostic gospels and everything else. The reasons for this will become clear as we proceed. (more…)