Summary: The Gnostic gospels were never “lost.” But they have been thrown out many times. We throw garbage away because it’s worthless. Theologically, the Gnostic “Gospels” are every bit as worthless as anything else we throw out. So is "The Secret."
Other Scriptural passages:
Psalm 25 or 25:3-9
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Amen. (Psalm 19:14)
One of my favorite television programs when I was a child was “I’ve Got a Secret.” This was back in the stone age of television, when changing the channel meant getting off the couch, walking over to the television and twisting a knob with only 12 numbers on it, 2 through 13. Only three of those numbers carried a signal, since there were only three broadcast networks.
CBS first aired “I’ve Got a Secret” in 1952, and it was a big hit. The format was simple: a contestant with a secret was brought out and seated next to the moderator, and a panel of four celebrities took turns asking questions to try to figure out the person’s secret. The contestant received a small cash award if the panel couldn’t guess his or her secret.
Probably the best secret in the show’s history aired in 1955 when a 95-year old man came out and the audience saw his secret: He was the last survivor of the audience that was present at Ford’s Theater the night President Abraham Lincoln was shot.
He said the only thing he could remember was seeing John Wilkes Booth grab hold of an American flag and crash to the stage. The contestant was five years old when that happened. He didn’t know who Booth was but had a vivid memory of him falling unto the stage. It was a powerful moment in early television history. And his secret was first-hand knowledge of something other people had merely heard about.
We like finding out secrets. I believe that psychologically we think that if something is a secret, it must be good information because only a select few know about it.
And if we can wheedle ourselves into that select group, we’ll have knowledge that others don’t and be ahead of the rest of our competition in the rat race.
The Gnostics had a similar view in the early history of the Christian Church. They believed that salvation came from a special, secret, magical knowledge; that all material things, including our physical bodies and all of creation, are evil; and that only the spirit is good. Thus, since our bodies are already evil, anything you choose to do with your body is OK, since you’re not able to make it any worse. So sin is not an issue.
Life as a Gnostic, which means one who knows, is the most pessimistic existence in all theology. Life is a mad rush to free oneself from this corrupt universe, and if we only knew the correct words, we could undo the cursed spell of our existence.
That mindset has resurfaced recently, with a plethora of books discussing the so-called “Lost Gospels,” such as the Gospel of Peter or the Gospel of Thomas.
The truth is these “Lost Gospels” were neither lost nor Gospels. They were written by people other than those claimed in the titles, many years after the supposed authors’ deaths, and contradict many of Christ’s teachings. They were recognized by the early church as forgeries and false doctrine and were not lost, they were discarded and never considered truth.
Copies of them have existed since the first century, and have been reprinted many times since then. They have never been “lost.” But they have been thrown out many times.
No one walks into their kitchen and says, “Honey, our garbage from last night is lost.” We throw it away because it’s worthless. And no one goes out to the San Diego landfill searching for the lost garbage of Pastor Austin. Theologically, the Gnostic “Gospels” are every bit as worthless as anything else we throw out.
I know it sounds harsh, but listen to what the Apostle Paul had to say about the false Gospels that were surfacing in the first century. In his letter to the church in Galatia (1:6-9) he writes:
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let that person be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let that person be under God’s curse!"