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Articles of the Veridican Faith

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About
Rev. Edward J. Gordon


 

 

Veridican Gospel of Jesus Christ

Preface



The Veridican Gospel of Jesus Christ (VGJC) is not new. It's the same Gospel story that has existed for two thousand years. It's the same Gospel that is found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and also the Gospel of Thomas. It's the same Gospel message from God to mankind that will never disappear. What makes the Veridican Gospel different is not the message it contains but how it conveys that message: The Veridican Gospel of Jesus Christ is a modern, true, Gospel harmony.

Historically, a true Gospel harmony was an attempt to unite the four Gospels of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) into a single narrative. The earliest known Gospel harmony is the Diatessaron written by the 2nd-century Christian apologist, Tatian. Tatian (120-185 A.D.) was a student of Justin Martyr in Rome but later became the leader of an Assyrian Christian sect known as the Encratites.

His Diatessaron would go on to be the standard Gospel record for the Syriac-speaking churches until the 5th century, after which the dominant Roman Church embraced, in its canon of scripture, the four separate gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Thereafter, the Diatessaron fell into disuse and eventually came to be considered a heretical document.

Variations based on the Diatessaron, however, continued to appear even into the Middle Ages. In the 16th century, there was a decided increase in the writing and publishing of Gospel harmonies, but unlike the Diatessaron, those harmonies were written in a parallel column structure (or PCS).

A PCS Gospel harmony takes the four Gospels of the New Testament and compares the verses side-by-side in four columns attempting to line them up in such a way that they all support each other as if all are telling one unified story. That is not, however, the same thing as creating a single Gospel record out of the four. In other words, a PCS Gospel harmony is not a true Gospel harmony--not like the Diatessaron.

However, one problem with trying to create a true Gospel harmony (a single Gospel record out of the four) has always been that the Gospels don't match up all that well. Matthew and Luke, for instance, have a lot of information not contained in Mark and John such as the birth narrative and the genealogies--not to mention there are conflicting accounts of the miracles Jesus performed, the crucifixion, and His resurrection.

Nevertheless, the Christian Church maintains that each of the four Gospels is Divinely inspired, and thus, separately or together, they represent the inerrant Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church, therefore, maintains that there are no contradictions, that the Gospel is a singular story, and PCS harmonies can be used to show how similar the separate Gospel accounts are to one another, but they can never be combined into one Gospel account like the Diatessaron. That is considered heresy even today.

But the New Testament Gospels do contradict each other, and they are not telling the same story in total, and in my opinion, as one who wants to honestly follow the real Jesus Christ, that discordance needs to be corrected; it has always needed to be corrected--just as Tatian thought it needed to be corrected. Therefore, the Veridican Gospel of Jesus Christ sets out to do exactly that. In the spirit of the Diatessaron, The Veridican Gospel represents a true Gospel harmony.

That said, however, the VGJC is not without its own issues.

Authority is the first issue. Who has the authority to be the editor who cuts up and reassembles the Gospel records so they fit together as one? Does one need inspiration from the Holy Spirit as we believe the first Gospel writers had? Does that inspiration need to be recognized by the Church? Does one need to be a prophet acting on direct instructions from God regardless of the Church? And who could judge that?

Certainly, as the author of this work, I believe I was led by God to create it, and I have faith that the Holy Spirit has guided me in the editorial decisions I made during the process, but I cannot be my own authority on that. You will have to be my authority. In the end, each reader will have to decide for themselves if the Veridican Gospel is Divinely inspired or not. Ultimately, only a reader who is truly looking for Jesus Christ can judge the veracity of this new Gospel harmony, and that's as it should be.

But what readers? Readership is the second issue. In creating a true Gospel harmony, I am unequivocally creating what must be considered a heretical document from the perspective of the Christian Church, so mainstream Christians are unlikely to read it--much less accept it. Those who are not Christians, or not religious, and might not care about any supposed heresy are at the same time unlikely to be interested in a Gospel narrative about Jesus Christ. Thus, the only readers likely to read the Veridican Gospel are those who choose to follow the life and teachings of Jesus Christ yet place themselves outside the mainstream Christian Church. Such individuals are rare, making the audience for this Gospel quite narrow.

In addition to authority and readership, the Gospel of Thomas is admittedly another complication: The Gospel of Thomas was first discovered at the beginning of the twentieth century in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, and its complete form was rediscovered as a part of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945. It contains important Gospel information, and it's thought by some scholars that the only reason it wasn't included in the canon of the New Testament is that it wasn't known to exist, or they didn't have a copy of it at the time (around 300 A.D.).

Thomas contains 114 sayings of Jesus Christ, some of which are in none of the other Gospels. It is believed by some scholars that Thomas may be the closest thing to the original Gospel record (a hypothetical Gospel called the Q-document) that has ever been discovered. Few read it without immediately recognizing and being touched by its transformative power, and now that it has been discovered and translated from its original Greek, it makes the New Testament seem incomplete without it.

I know that my reading of Thomas in the early 1990's changed my understanding of Jesus Christ, and it became the catalyst of my motivation to write the Veridican Gospel. It seemed to me then (and still does today) that if Thomas was left out of the Bible, and clearly should have been included in the Bible, then perhaps the Catholic Christian Church got their canon wrong all those centuries ago. Perhaps all along they should have taken the four New Testament Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas and used their ecclesiastical authority to create a single Gospel record. But they did not; they will not today, and so I did.

Thus, the Veridican Gospel of Jesus Christ is a compliment to the four New Testament Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas. It does not replace them, it unifies them. Where there are problems of inconsistency among the individual Gospels, the VGJC adjudicates them. Where there are contradictions among the separate accounts, the Veridican Gospel irradicates them. As the writer of it, I am confident that the editing is Divinely intended and inspired. As a follower of Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God, I am honored He used me to bring it into existence.

It is said that the Holy Spirit guided the early writers to record the Gospels without error, but it's also a fact that the identity of those writers is lost in history. No one knows their real names or where they came from. For that reason, we can never know their actual motivations or qualifications for writing a story about Jesus Christ. We only know the effect of their writing. The effect is that it leads us to salvation in Christ. Perhaps then it is the same with the Veridican Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the mere author of it, I am no one in particular, but if one reads it and has a revelation of Jesus Christ, then obviously it has accomplished its purpose.

Since I was young, I've been drawn to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The Veridican Gospel of Jesus Christ is an attempt to honor Jesus and the Gospel record of his life. To the extent I have been successful in that mission, I must leave to the good judgment of my readers.


~ Edward Gordon, 2012

 

CHAPTERS

Preface
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Chapter 41
Chapter 42
Chapter 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46
Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49
Chapter 50
Chapter 51
Chapter 52
Chapter 53