SEEKERS MORE THAN BELIEVERS
Gnostic Christians believed that questioning one's faith was
always important for it to change and grow. More than
accepting a system of beliefs, the meaning of "gnosis" was
"to know" Christ, and faith was led by seeking a vital,
positive relationship with him. Seeking "gnosis" led to
wholeness in a person's relationship to God and the world.
Christ's way was a spiritual journey, encouraging persons
continually to seek God and all truth. "Gnosis" did not mean
secret knowledge as opponents charged; new gospels
(without belittling or replacing biblical gospels) teach it
meant "knowing" Christ and God as one knows a friend.
In contrast to this dynamic way of faith, the early "apostolic
church," also known as the "proto - orthodox," declared its
beliefs and doctrines should never be questioned. Those who
asked questions about these beliefs were not true Christians
and were "heretics." Three hundred years after the death and
resurrection of Jesus, Constantine, for political reasons,
sided with those who said only their understanding of Jesus
was correct. Faith became what one believed.
Now we can learn those slandered as Gnostics believed
faith involved beliefs, but that all beliefs could be challenged,
as faith was about our honest relationship and journey with
the one they called the "living Jesus."
Over the voices of those called Gnostics, Orthodox
Christianity not only prevailed, but it has continued
ever since to define Christianity, foremost as a belief
system, dictated by doctrines. The Gnostic scriptures show
that there was and is a more refreshing, spiritual, honest, open,
loving, and exciting way to be a Christian.
This web site is about a different way of faith inspired by the Gnostics and the Gnostic Gospels. In 1945, new early gospels were discovered in Egypt, and so named because some Christians labeled Gnostics valued them. Slowly, as they are becoming known to the public, they support a contemporary thought or movement. These gospels raise the flag that our faith is more important than our beliefs and doctrines. Of course, we all have beliefs, as did the Gnostics, but more significant than even their beliefs, is a message from Jesus they believed was not heard, or at best, neglected. The message: Faith for Christians was more than believing beliefs set in stone but is led by trust in Christ and an honest and open seeking of truth and God.
It is rather shocking that other gospels than those in the Bible have been found. Then even more so that they were condemned and ordered destroyed, because they did not agree with doctrines and beliefs of the second century church. Their discovery affirms that even the earliest disciples and apostles differed on beliefs about Christ. They believed in Christ but did so in different ways. Yet one church decided, as many after them, that there was only one way for Christians to believe. This way was to believe the beliefs about Jesus that they taught. They claimed this authority by saying their beliefs were those of the apostles, and then implied they were those of all the apostles. Now it is known that the apostles Thomas, Philip, and Mary Magdalene had gospels attributed to them as well as those in the Bible. When read, it appears one reason this early church might not have appreciated them was because they did not support such beliefs as a virgin birth, a bodily resurrection, and only males should be priest. Herein was the problem; to disagree with the church's beliefs made one a false Christian and the path to hell was led by "heretics." Why were they called heretics? Heretic is a word that means "choice."
The Gnostics were among many who were called heretics, but their beauty is not because of their beliefs and myths, but because they recognized that the message and gift of Christ was more than ironclad beliefs -- even theirs. Ones faith in Christ allowed choice and included something more important. Faith was our knowing (gnosis) Christ, and this knowing superseded what one believed. Yes, we all have beliefs, but these gospels give evidence that these Christians embraced a different kind of faith than taught by the church. In this light, the Gnostic Gospels bring the surprising news that these so-called heretics may have something positive to contribute to Christianity. What is evident from these gospels is that their faith in Christ was dynamic, more spiritual, personal, and powerful. How powerful? If the gnostic way of faith had prevailed, there would be a different face on Christianity today. So what is the gnostic way of faith?
The gnostic way of faith is about "knowing" Jesus and God as in a relationship. This relationship is free, open, creative, and not the same for all. One does not have to be told what to believe and even how to act. You can and should use your brain as well as your emotion as faith can change and grow. You have the ability to think for yourself. The gnostic style believes seeking God is more important than finding God by a certain dogma or belief. Faith is more spiritual than accepting any system of beliefs. Thus this web site isn't about accepting Gnosticism or their beliefs or myths (yes, some are strange), but its purpose is to share an early and widespread style of Christian faith that those described as Gnostics heard Jesus teach. Silenced, condemned, and lost, this way of faith allows new knowledge, such as that which now comes from history and modern science, to inform our faith and change not only our beliefs, but how we are Christian in today's world. Instead of those with all the answers, our belief in Jesus is led by seeking all truth, with emotion and conviction, yet with the realization that in faith no one has the corner on truth. In short, the gnostic way of faith affirms we can agree to disagree, as many more are accepting today, because faith --not battling over our beliefs-- was the message of Jesus.
What Follows Are Three Sections about this Different but Suppressed Kind of Faith
(All are recommended but feel free to skip.) First Section:
Even within the development of the church in the New Testament, there were major difference of beliefs and opinions as seen, for example, in the letters to the Corinthians and Galatians. Then, as now, all the early Christians did not believe the same. Yet as the church developed with a growing number of those called bishops, they were able to claim by political power and self-declared authority that there need not be conflict or difference of beliefs for Christians.
Unbelievably, a hundred years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, historical records show that the early church of the second century said in no uncertain terms that only their beliefs were eternal and the unquestionable spiritual truths. There was no need to question or differ from them. Their message was: Only their knowledge (gnosis) of Jesus and God was correct.
As a threat to this purity, the judgment on these who challenged some of the knowledge of the church came to be called "Gnostics,"and were described as "know nothings," which was the intent of the name. Particularly, any belief that differed, for example, belief in a spiritual resurrection rather than a bodily resurrection, was simply false and wrong. End of the story as the church knew the truth! In their writings, they literally say the "truth" of the church was "immovable." By truth, they clearly meant it to be the beliefs and doctrines of their church alone. What was truth, and even what was true or might be, were not open questions. As so many churches after them, truth equaled only their answers. Faith became "accepting" their answers as "the" immovable truth.
The Gnostics begged to differ because they never said truth was a closed issue. As will be seen, they had some different beliefs but never do they say that what they believed was final, unquestionable, and unchangeable truth. In this sense, they were ahead of the times (at least for those today who believe theological diversity is fair). Thus they become viable as an interesting new role model for Christians today because the message they support is:
1. Indeed, our beliefs can change.
2. In regard to faith, we can differ in our beliefs.
3. All beliefs can be challenged.
4. What is true for both the world and religion can be open to question.
5. Faith is more than what we believe or what church to which we belong.
6. Faith is a relationship led by our gnosis (our knowing) the living Christ.
Thus, the Gnostics would argue that this early church got it wrong. What is immovable in Christianity is not our beliefs -- but our faith!
Unfortunately, the Gnostics have been defined mostly for what they believed, and generally it was assumed that they simply had a different set of beliefs than the church. Now that these new gospels can speak for themselves, it will be seen there is more to their story. Totally shocking is that those called Gnostic were, at least, at first, members of the church. In their writings, bishops of the church wail against their participation, and yet, almost unbelievably, a gnostic leader was almost elected Pope after the death of Hyginus in 143 C.E. (that might have changed things). So effective was the cry "heretics," before the Gnostic Gospels were discovered in recent times, many believed they were not even Christians. Now these gospels, attributed to disciples as those in the Bible, show that they believed in Jesus, even as Lord and Savior, and that they are filled with many beautiful expressions of faith in Christ. That was not expected.
Space limits but here a few examples from these condemned gospels.
The Gospel of Thomas, verse 77 states: "Jesus said, It is I who am the light which is above them all. From me did the all come forth. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Life up a stone, and you will find me there."
Verse 16 of the Gospel of Truth says, "... the one who is addressed as the Savior, that being the work he is to preform for the redemption of those who are ignorant of the Father, while in the name of the gospel is the proclamation of hope, being discovered by those who search for him."
The Gospel of Mary says in Verse 8: "The blessed one said, Peace be with you. Receive my peace unto yourselves. For the Son of Man is within you. Follow after him! Those who seek will find him."
Many verses, such as these, are not usually what one hears are in these gospels, but from these alone one can see how the concept of seeking was essential to the faith of the Gnostics. Seek and you will find is not a closed answer but a process -- a part of our faith journey. Clearly, these express a belief and trust in Jesus, and that is also often not heard or known. Instead, the most common charge is that they contain only false beliefs and myths. That is why most people and churches are not even interested and don't realize their power.
To be clear, the truth is that they do contain myths that most of us reject today (these will be discussed), but what is actually attractive to some of us is that these gospels bring first-hand evidence that they did differ with the church on several doctrines and positions. For examples: The Gospel of Philip raises questions about the virgin birth. (Is this a requirement for faith?) The Gospel of Truth and several others argue for a spiritual resurrection. One church father wrote, "Anyone who denies the resurrection of the flesh is a heretic, not a Christian" (a clear example of the early demand for necessary or correct belief). The Gospel of Mary Magdalene makes it clear that even all the disciples did not agree (she argues boldly with Peter) and gives support that women should be priest.
Now some of us may agree, and some, disagree, with these positions and may still even have strong feelings about these. Yet, what becomes clear is that there were major differences of beliefs even in the early formation of Christianity. Of course, the mythological beliefs of the Gnostics have all but been proven false. Yet the question becomes, even if they were wrong, does this make these believers false Christians? That is what the church called them.
An analogy might be if one today doesn't believe creation happened literally and exactly as told in Genesis, does such a belief also make one a false Christian? Yet, like so often today, because they interpreted Genesis differently, and say not as a scientific textbook, they too were called unchristian and not true believers -- as if that was required for faith.
The shock of these gospels is that these Christians had a faith greater than their myths, and they remind us that our own myths, beliefs, and doctrines need to be open to change and truth. Unfortunately, the image and understanding of these gospels has has been led by the traditional view of religion -- "this is what the Gnostics believed." It is as if their beliefs and myths could not change and their history was set in stone. To be clear, there is much debate over their history and meaning, and it is clear the early church was the winner in defaming them as total heretics. Yet these new gospels, which the church literally tried to destroy, at least, bring new information and insight. Thus even it the fathers were absolutely correct, like calling them a dangerous cult, and that other gospels were full of lies (now questionable), it is the Gnostics' way of faith, not just arguing their history, that brings fresh air for how we are Christians today.
These gospels do something dramatic and transforming for faith. They make us rethink the message of Jesus. If he wanted all to believe the same way, why didn't he set forth beliefs and doctrines in writings himself? Yet a radical take from these gospels is that they make it exceeding clear that one form of Christianity won and established over others what were to become the correct or orthodox beliefs of the faith. This was a watershed for Christianity as the focus became on beliefs. With such need to be right and "the" orthodox, deep emotional battles over beliefs began in earnest. Christian wars were to come. Faith became led by what we believe, and it lasted long into history as evident in the major Protestant/Catholic divisions, which are now thankfully beginning to show signs of peace. The point is that somehow between Jesus and Christianity, too often, faith became defined by what one believed, what one's church believed, and particularly, what one believed about Jesus.
Thus it seems natural that many want to just put the Gnostics as a part of this battle for beliefs, but their beauty is that these gospels bring forth a different kind of faith than just establishing another belief system. To have beliefs is not wrong, and to argue our differences, is the cure for just believing anything. Believe anything? No, they would argue that is why we have the right and need to challenge each other. Yet to insist that one's beliefs are the only way to know God is -- arrogant or blind judgment -- not faith, and the deeper power of Christ gets lost. Thus, their way of faith, not the beliefs of the Gnostics, reopens, incredibly, faith as a relationship with the one they often called both the real and spiritual "living Christ." Indeed, because of hearsay, and a long and uninformed tradition, some still try to claim the Gnostics is the last place one would hear that faith is more than what we believe. Yet, both directly and indirectly, this is what the Gnostics have to offer. Faith is foremost a living trust in a God who loves us, and the Gnostic Gospels give support to those who believe faith, not immovable beliefs, was the message of Jesus.
Second, of three sections: Introduction for "A Different Way of Faith"
As said in the introduction, these gospels encourage a more dynamic, refreshing, open-minded, spiritual, loving, and exciting way to be a Christian. A different way of faith, as some might assume from preconceptions about these gospels, doesn't mean some radical, secret, or cultic way to believe but refers to a dramatic shift in the focus of faith. This focus becomes a dynamic connection to a vital inner experience of God's spirit that Jesus says (in the Gospel of Thomas) is both "within us" and "beyond us." Christianity becomes not merely a collection of facts but an honest and open quest, as this gospels says, to "bring forth" Christ's spirit for both ourselves and the world. Together as a whole, the discovery of these new early gospels puts more emphasis on "how" we believe.
The "how" is about our personal relationship with the one these gospels refer to as both the "living Jesus" and the "living Christ." They lift up the same Jesus as found in the New Testament gospels (another shock), but more than beliefs about him is building our own vital relationship with him. As will be learned, the word gnosis meant not a block of knowledge, but our knowing Christ -- as one knows a friend! This makes a huge and positive difference.
Of course, the church didn't understand gnosis this way, as for them it meant ones "knowledge" of God. Thus because these gospels did not fully support such doctrines as the virgin birth, a bodily resurrection, and gave the right for women to be clergy, their "knowledge" was judged false. These positions could be found in The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Philip, and The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, so, needless to say, these gospels were false. As will be learned, these difference of beliefs were a major reason they were lost!
Although there is written record (from the early bishops themselves) that these gospels did exist and would have been read alongside the biblical gospels, one hundred years after the life of Jesus, those in power in the church decided for Jesus (and us) that these gospels were worthless. And those who read them were "Gnostics" because their gnosis was erroneous.
So in a sense, this is how the name "Gnostic Gospels" came to be; it was because these Christians appreciated them. And because these gospels contained elements of the Gnostic myths, it was convenient for the church to dismiss them as Gnostic Gospels. Yet now that we know these gospels contained expressions of faith beyond these myths, it can be argued a better name would have been "other" early gospels and writings (there are only a few gospels and many more writings in the collection known as the Gnostic Gospels).
Nevertheless, labeling one's enemy has been helpful in vilifying those we oppose, and in this case, calling all the books "Gnostic," was quite effective in limiting what these Christians meant by gnosis. It appears that the church gave them very little chance to explain what they believed was a more powerful way in understanding the meaning of gnosis --as a way of knowing another. For them, it particularly meant knowing Jesus and God.
Still some argue (and sadly many just accept as if historical truth) that gnosis meant their "secret knowledge." No block of "secret knowledge" is found in these gospels! The secret seems to be that we can know the living Christ in different ways and not just the way dictated by the church. It is true that these gospels are often titled secret, e.g., the "Secret Gospel of Thomas." Yet no one is for sure why they are called "secret." They may have been described such because they were deemed forbidden writings. Some put them as advanced or special teachings akin to when Jesus in the Bible (in Matthew and Mark) draws some disciples away and gives them special or --secret -- teachings. Many still today do associate the word gnosis as meaning some kind of secret wisdom or some very deep spiritual insights, as they do stress the spiritual over the religious. Yet what is really stressed is that faith is "Beyond Belief" -- the title of one of Elaine Pagels' books. Thus some might hope (and even try to teach) that these books can tell us the secrets of what is beyond belief, but to the disdain of those who believe gnosis means secret knowledge, these gospels do not tell us what these insights or wisdom might be.
Yet this is what the church wanted people to believe about the Gnostics because it made it appear they were just like a cult who knew it all and knew the secrets of the divine and the cosmos. Now it is clear from these gospels that this was an effective tool to slander them as "know it alls," and it worked well; it also becomes clear now from these gospels -- they did not!
In no way do these gospels (or the Gnostics) have all the answers. In fact, these gospels, which supplement, not supplant, the biblical gospels, are for the most part inferior to them, but they are powerful in the sense that they unlock that faith is limited to those who tell us that which we must believe -- or else! Rather, they move faith as being on a journey to seek our positive relationship (gnosis) with God through Christ and his living spirit. Interestingly, then, our spiritual life is something we experience now and is not just another world that comes only when we die. The spirit of Christ is with us now!
The Gnostic Gospels were unexpectedly discovered in Egypt in 1945. To be clear, their discovery was two years before that of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which absolutely contained no gospels. Yet they are often confused with the Scrolls, and many Christians don't realized their separate importance. This was a different discovery in Egypt, and it contained news that many Christians didn't want to hear -- there were other early gospels. For many of us it is still shocking that originally there were not only the gospels in the Bible but also gospels attributed as well as to Jesus' first disciples, Thomas, Philip, and Mary Magdalene.
Yet in spite of this shocking news, what many don't realize is that they contain beautiful teachings of Jesus, and scholarly sources have determined they are as old as the gospels in the Bible. So a natural question, and one that should be disturbing to modern day Christians, becomes why most of us never knew or heard of them? And, then from a little known fact, why were they officially ordered destroyed three hundred years after the life and resurrection of Jesus? The short answer is these gospels did not support the doctrines that the church said represented the narrow and exclusive truths of Christianity.
The details and documentation as to why, most likely, you, and even I as an ordained Presbyterian minister, had never heard of these gospels is explained further in this web site's files and even more fully in my book, The Hidden Messages of Jesus: How the Gnostic Gospels Change Christianity (by Rev. Larry A. Angus). It came to be because of the responses to this original web site and written to give scholarly and further support for what this web site presents. First written in 2012, its fourth edition won the prestigious CIPA Merit Award in 2014. This may help some interest in the book, and there is more on the book below. Yet, in addition, for those who find all this interesting so far, there will be a place for you to sign on for free quarterly Newsletters (see the Contact Page). In those, I try to bring updates and resources for those interested, but you can always unsubscribe, as I want you to believe what you do, not what I may. Faith in Christ is greater than what either you or I believe.
Thus you may agree or disagree, but the real story of these gospels make it clear that some early Christians believed Christianity was more a journey of faith than accepting certain beliefs and doctrines. The gnostic way of faith was seeking God in spirit and in truth. Thus the Gnostics believed our beliefs and myths, which we all have, can change -- even theirs; yet what remains constant is our faith.
This is what changes. Until the discovery of other early gospels, the way to be Christian was simply "to believe." This Orthodox or Fundamentalist interpretation of Christ made Christianity another religion -- to oppose others. "Believe in Christ as we do or go to hell." "The only way to know God is limited to our chosen books." "Obey and believe the beliefs and rules of our church -- and its God given authority." In doing so, you would receive the gift of salvation. This was the orthodox message from Jesus -- to be a "believer."
In contrast, and in summary: The Gnostics were "seekers." It was far more important to seek God through all kinds of knowledge rather than "just believe." They were believers in Christ, but they heard a different message from Jesus. They had beliefs, as we all do, but they did not insist they had the corner on -- or final -- truth in interpreting the world or God. Christ's message was more spiritual than religious -- not bearing all the answers. The place to find God was within oneself, not in externals like beliefs, dogma, or dictates of the church. Their interpretation was that we could experience the living Christ and God, by seeking, not finalizing God. Your faith is not what you believe about Christ but your relationship with Him. For them, gnosis meant more than head-type knowledge (that could change as it does with time), but knowing Jesus and God as you know another person. As faith is a two way relationship, it is also essential to know yourself and be touched by what the Gospel of Philip calls the transforming power of "love and light." Seeking God and this relationship, because of Christ and his messages, both in his words and in his actions from the cross (which they called a living book), was the true act of faith. That is the gnostic style and spirit found in the exciting materials often called, the Gnostic Gospels!
(Third Section) :
Introduction to the Gnostic Way of Christianity
International Dateline Scott Angus
Gnosticschristians.com is a web site
for those who are interested in learning
about a different way to be Christian that was literally suppressed because it held that Jesus' message was more spiritual than establishing a set of required beliefs about him.
This different way to believe is inspired by those we now know as GNOSTICS --pronounced "Naw-stics." Surprisingly, at least, at first, the Gnostics were actually members of early Christian churches and not an organized denomination or even a church unto themselves. They were a fairly diverse group of the earliest Christians, who accepted the gospels that would become biblical, but also they were those who found value in other gospels. This was not acceptable to one form of the church led by bishops who declared any gospels that did not directly support their beliefs were false. Around 200 C.E., Bishop Irenaeus insisted there were only four true gospels and all others were worthless. This little known Bishop became extremely powerful in silencing other gospels and declaring only the beliefs of his church were precisely those of Jesus. To believe differently was heresy; heresy means "choice." There was no need for choice, and it was a sin to question any of the church's teachings.
In contrast, those vilified as Gnostics (a term they did not call themselves but was what the bishops called them), believed other early disciples of Christ should be heard and also that Jesus' message was more than establishing hard-core beliefs. Further, as they believed that Christian beliefs could be open to change, particularly with new knowledge, they were seen as a threat to "true" Christianity. This judgment was made primarily by bishops who were organizing themselves as the "apostolic church." Only the beliefs of this church were true because they were exactly those of the apostles. Who better could know the truth? Now it is known that some apostles like Mary Magdalene and Thomas were overlooked, but it was established that to believe the truths of their church (and those apostles with whom they agreed) was the way to be Christian. Today, the Gnostics do not call us to their beliefs or myths, but can inspire us to be Christians who are free to seek and learn new truths, and by our faith always seek our vital and honest relationship through him with God.
The Gnostic Gospels, written in the same time period as the New Testament, were and are known to exist primarily by negative attacks in the writings of early Bishops of the Church. Since these attacks were made around 200 C.E., it is hard to argue these were just later creations. Also it is known that these Bishops boldly declared that those who disagreed with any of their beliefs were "false teachers." These false teachings included the gospels of Thomas, Philip, and Mary Magdalene, and in 367 C.E. (obviously 300 years after the life and resurrection of Jesus), they were officially ordered destroyed.
This is almost unreal that some would want early gospels silenced and not even heard. Yet the fact is they were amazingly successful, as it is fairly common still today that most Christians don't know about them, or they believe, as told, that they are totally false (without even reading them). Even many churches brush them aside (although they could find a source for great renewal in them) because of the tradition brought by Irenaeus and latter Constantine that there was no Christian value in them. Thus it is natural to question their worth, but a new truth that might be discovered, for those with open minds, is that these new gospels can actually strengthen through their different kind of faith the spiritual vision found in the Bible.
Gnostics were not the only ones that were labeled heretics. The "apostolic church," as first the early bishops described it, gave this label to anyone who had other beliefs than theirs. Yes, there were many. Yet Gnostics were given the severest of attacks, because as members of the church, they were like a cancer within. Nevertheless, they have been portrayed as not even being Christians. Because they believed differently and challenged some of the beliefs of the church, it was taught because they believed in myths (as if the apostolic church had none), their faith in Christ was simply mythical. Most were told that Jesus wasn't a real person, but now that these gospels can speak for themselves, there is a new story and evidence about their strong faith and belief in a real Jesus. In spite of their faith in him as Savior, the elimination of writings judged "heretical," "false," and "impure," was almost successful. But thanks to some monks, who most likely hid the forbidden works in a mountain cliff in Egypt, near a village called Nag Hammadi, the Gnostic Gospels and writings can now speak for themselves.
In 1945, fifty-two texts (including such titles as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Truth) were found in Egypt at the base of a high mountain ridge having at least 150 caves. Interestingly, a farmer named Muhammad Ali (al-Samman), looking for softer soil for fertilizer in the talus below one of the caves, found a large jar filled with thirteen books written on papyrus, bound in leather. Muhammad's mother actually burned some pages to kindle a fire, but thankfully, he decided to take them to an antiquities dealer. As had long been rumored, we now know indeed there were other Christian gospels written as well as those in the Bible in the early development of Christianity. Careful research has declared them authentic. Finally, after fifty years of study and translation by scholars, they are available to the general public. They raise questions, which have the potential to free Christianity from centuries of simple answers, and for many, unacceptable positions and beliefs, allowing all truth to be a part of the process of faith.
Are you a person who thinks, beyond the twenty-seven books in the New Testament, chosen by early Bishops, that other gospels and writings written in the same time period, ought to be heard?
Are you one who questions certain beliefs or "articles" of faith in the Apostles' Creed, such as the virgin birth or a bodily resurrection?
Are you one who thinks religions other than Christianity may have validity?
Do you believe women have the right to be clergy?
Are you one who thinks your own relationship with God and Christ is more important than what a church tells you is unquestionable belief?
Is your style of faith honestly seeking what is true about the world and God rather than blind belief?
If you answered "yes" to most of these questions, you could be interested in learning more about these powerful early Christian resources that were suppressed until 1945. (These manuscripts now can be purchased in paperback in a collection called, The Nag Hammadi Library in English, edited by James M. Robinson.)
To register yourself as one who believes, seeking God, is more important than finding God by a certain dogma or belief, go to the "contact us" icon (top of this page), where you can make comment and may sign on for the Seeking Christians Newsletter. This seeking way of faith is also expounded in other files accessed above. Although it is not essential to sign on, many have found the book described next, as very inspiring and helpful -- see the reviews at amazonbooks.com.
"Christ's Way Was A Spiritual Journey"
The Outback Journey--Australia Scott Angus
A Book is now published from Responses to this Web Site which was first initiated in 2006.
What follows is information on the Award Winning Book inspired by responses over the years to this web site, so you may want to move on to a different file or page above, such as the Summary or Contact Page, if not interested in the book. Of course, I hope you consider buying it as I think it tells the story best and explains why these gospels dramatically change the concept of faith. Clearly, by the reviews, most like it, but if you don't, send me your receipt with the book, and I will refund the cost plus mailing. I even have a limited number of books free if you are interested but just can't afford it.
The Hidden Messages of Jesus: How the Gnostic Gospels Change Christianity, by Larry A. Angus, was first published in April 2012. It won the nationally respected CIPA (Colorado Independent Publishers Association) 2014 Merit Award in the category Spirituality/Religion. It also won the Reader's Favorite Five Star Award. The book gives footnotes and much scholarly ground for the validity of the information presented in this web site.
It is available as an e-book or in print from most outlets. A picture of the both the book and author are below. More information on the author is in the file -- "Gnostics Christians" -- and more so in the "Introduction" to the book.
You can preview the book at "Inside the Cover" at amazon or barnes and noble books (type in its name: The Hidden Messages of Jesus). Certainly, it is not essential for you to have the book to sign on to this network, but it expands and gives reasons for those open to -- a different kind of faith.
Why Consider the Book? In the book, you will learn much about the Gnostic Gospels, how and why they were ordered destroyed, who the Gnostics were, and why they were considered heretics. By demonizing them, facts are given how Bishop Irenaeus and Constantine together, but separately, decided what true Christians had to believe, and how this laid the groundwork for many battles and even wars, not for faith, but for Christian beliefs.
Not just presenting facts, the book shows why the new understanding can inspire us today. There is the revelation that these new gospels bring the unexpected news that there were early Christians who were not locked into narrow and absolute beliefs and myths. Instead, they surprisingly teach that "gnosis" for them meant one's relationship--as in knowing another, especially Christ and God--not some secret knowledge!
This knowing was led by searching for the truth--not declaring it as so many have done, including bishops in the early church, who literally put in writing that only they knew the truth of God. Gnostic Christians, in contrast, believed faith was not a closed system of beliefs but foremost a spiritual journey.
To be clear, the book isn't about making one a Gnostic or promoting Gnostic Churches --it is about what might be called developing or affirming a "gnostic way of faith." It is about how these hidden gospels can inspire Christians, in your own church, or for those of you may have left certain churches, to be, as the Gnostics tried to be, honest, open, loving, seekers of God. For more information, open the tabs at the top of this page. Thanks!