Acts, Catholic Epistles, and Revelation
Excerpts from "THE CHRIST" By John E. Remsberg.
The Acts of the Apostles is supposed to have been written by the author of the Third Gospel. Like this book it is anonymous and of late origin. It contains historical inaccuracies, contradicts the Gospel of Matthew, and conflicts with the writings of Paul. Concerning the last, the Bible for Learners (Vol. III, p. 25) says: "In the first two chapters of the Epistle to the Galatians, he [Paul] gives us several details of his own past life; and no sooner do we place his story side by side with that of the Acts than we clearly perceive that this book contains an incorrect account, and that its inaccuracy is not the result of accident or ignorance, but of a deliberate design."
This book purports to be the product chiefly of three minds: that of the author who gives a historical sketch of the early church, and those of Peter and Paul whose discourses are reported. And yet the three compositions are clearly the products of one mind -- that of the author. The evident purpose of the work is to heal the bitter dissensions which existed between the Petrine and Pauline churches, and this points unmistakably to the latter part of the second century as the date of its appearance, when the work of uniting the various Christian sects into the Catholic church began. Renan considers this the most faulty book of the New Testament.
The seven Catholic Epistles, James, First and Second Peter, First, Second and Third John, and Jude, have never been held in very high esteem by the church. Many of the Christian Fathers, rejected them, while modern Christian scholars have generally considered them of doubtful authenticity. The first and last of these were rejected by Martin Luther. "St. James' Epistle," says Luther, "is truly an epistle of straw" (Preface to Luther's New Testament, ed. I524). Jude, he says, "is an abstract or copy of St. Peter's Second, and allegeth stories and sayings which have no place in Scripture" (Standing Preface).
The First Epistle of Peter and the First Epistle of John have generally been accorded a higher degree of authority than the others; but even these were not written by apostles, nor in the first century. Dr. Soury says that First Peter "dates, in all probability, from the year 130 A.D., at the earliest" (Jesus and the Gospels, p. 32). Irenaeus, the founder of the New Testament canon, rejected it. The Dutch critics, who deny the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel, and assign its composition to the second century, say: "The First Epistle of John soon issued from the same school in imitation of the Gospel" (Bible for Learners, Vol. III, p. 692).
Second Peter is a forgery. Westcott says there is no proof of its existence prior to 170 A.D. Smith's Bible Dictionary says "Many reject the epistle as altogether spurious." The brief epistles of Second and Third John are anonymous and of very late origin. They do not purport to be the writings of John. The superscriptions declare them to be from an elder, and this precludes the claim that they are from an apostle. The early Fathers ignored them.
Revelation is the only book in the Bible which claims to be the word of God. At the same time it is the book of which Christians have always been the most suspicious. It is addressed to the seven churches of Asia, but the seven churches of Asia rejected it. Concerning the attitude of ancient churchmen toward it, Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, says: "Divers of our predecessors have wholly refused and rejected this book, and by discussing the several parts thereof have found it obscure and void of reason and the title forged."
"The most learned and intelligent of Protestant divines," says the Edinburgh Review, "almost all doubted or denied the canonicity of the book of Revelation." It is a book which, Dr. South said, "either found a man mad or left him so." Calvin and Beza both forbade their clergy to attempt an explanation of its contents. Luther says: "In the Revelation of John much is wanting to let me deem it either prophetic or apostolical" (Preface to N.T., 1524).
Considered as evidences of Christ's historical existence and divinity these nine books are of no value. They are all anonymous writings or forgeries, and, with the possible exception of Revelation, of very late origin. While they affirm Christ's existence they are almost entirely silent regarding his life and miracles.
ITEM:Josephus - Tacitus
ITEM:Acts, Catholic Epistles, and Revelation
ITEM:Sources of the Christ Myth
ITEM:The Epistles of Paul
1 THROUGH 72THE INFANCY OF CHRIST
73 THROUGH 267THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST
268 THROUGH 399THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST
400 THROUGH 469THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST / CONTINUED
470 THROUGH 610HIS CHARACTER AND TEACHINGS
RETURN TO:HARRINGTON SITES
Revealing the Spiritual duality of the Bible, for it serves neither God nor truth to try and rationalize irrational things the Bible has said of God.