Steve: wow, your reply is just bursting with issues to discuss. like paulianity.
Ed: Thank you :). I do feel that paulianity is a huge diversion from "Christ"-ianity and that very sadly for many people Paul is far more their Lord than is Jesus Himself.
Pseudepigrapha is another interesting topic.
Definition of Pseudepigrapha: Falsely-attributed works, texts whose claimed author is not the true author, or a work whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past.
As much as i love the 4 gospels and believe there is much beautiful truth contained therein, most especially the words of Lord Jesus, it is widely believed consensus within the community of bible scholars that these 4 books were written by anonymous authors, not Matthew (the apostle), Mark, Luke and John (the apostle). It is also widely believed that of the 13 epistles ascribed to Paul, most likely 7 or 8 are authentically written by him and the other 5 or 6 of them are pseudepigraphical. 2 Peter, 1, 2, 3 john, hebrews, revelation and other new testament books are widely believed to be pseudepigraphical as well.
None of this changes that the true God breathed portions of each of these books and epistles are still true, whomever may have written them... and my Spirit leaps at reading the words of Lord Jesus therein, but on a separate note it's important to understand that when these books were originally canonized, one of the primary criteria for choosing these books was the ascribed authorship of certain apostles or other esteemed individuals which turns out to be incorrect. Had it been known at the time that these were pseudepigraphical works, they would not have been included in any canon. This is just one more reason that fundamentalist veneration of the 66 book institutionalized religious system canon that we ended up with is deeply unwarranted and misplaced.
Steve: ... i could distill the whole bible down from 783 thousand words to 83 thousand words and 1 corinthians 13 would be a cornerstone in that, most of the words of jesus, first books of genesis, basic moses and some key psalms and proverbs. from the very beginning of my second calling, i understood the old testament to be the scriptures and the new testament to be the explanatory notes. thats what jesus did - he explained or "fulfilled" the scriptures, as we all should desire to do. a good friend of mine called is "walking out the scriptures." thats what jesus meant when he said to "follow me."
Ed: I do like the idea as one option for people to be provided with a list of the very best one tenth (or whatever portion one would like) of the bible so that new believers among others can focus on a compilation of the most Spirit filled writings rather than getting bogged down in 2000 pages of reading, 90% of which is not as good, spirit filled, exciting or compelling as the other 10%. Yes there would be some subjectivity in selecting which portions to include, but so be it and various people could choose to create their own list of favorites. As a variation of this idea, i encourage people to read Gospel of John first, then usually Matthew and the first half or so of Acts, then Genesis from Abraham through Joseph before making other suggestions afterwards.
Steve: but if i am right that the four living are the four gospels, does that mean we know which four those are? it seems to me that the synoptic gospels have their place in that we have dual or triple witnesses to some of the things jesus said.
Ed: Just some food for thought, you likely know that consensus within bible scholarship is that Matthew and Luke were written from the template of Mark and so all or most of the synoptic verses are based upon them originating in Mark and in being directly copied by the other two authors.
Steve: ...that leaves room for another gospel, and i believe that gospel is thomas. i cant wait to hear an amen on that. i really need to look at it, but what i have seen i am surprised at what it reveals. it says things that have been revealed to me but that are not written anywhere. but they are in thomas.. i also want to know what you think of thomas.
Ed: I have not looked at Thomas recently, but from what i recall i do believe there is much truth therein. I have also heard very good things about "the gospel of the holy twelve" https://thenazareneway.com/ght_table_of_contents.htm and have read a small portion of it as well as Shepherd of Hermas, the Clementine Homilies and other non canonical books. I believe that in the same way the canonized books are not actually 100% God breathed, inerrant and infallible, the same is true with these others. I believe they are partially God breathed and partially man breathed, all to be discerned with an open heart and without institutionally biased preconceived notions. I believe any of these four books among various others could have been canonized and had incorrect God-like characteristics ascribed to them and it likely wouldn't have made much difference in the way the institutionalized church system believes and operates today :).
Steve: i believe the errors in christianity are directly proportionate to the true desire of those in charge to seek the father.
Ed: I agree with and very much like this comment. The control, manipulation, domination, intimidation, murder, etc along the way and into the present day are behaviors of those institutionalized church leaders who were and are religious wolves in sheeps clothing and who were not and are not truly following God.
Steve: jesus told us so many things that arent what we see in the church, like healings and moving mountains and such. its obvious that people have not been doing it right. ...
Ed: While most of the institutionalized church system and its leaders have deeply failed and falsely indoctrinated others in this area, healings and deliverances in Jesus name really do continue to happen today and this has been one important aspect of the ministry i have been in for the past several years. I know several other disciples of the Lord who have seen lots of instant miracles through their prayers as well, just as was true with the Lord's disciples in the gospels and the book of acts. Moving mountains was likely hyperbole, but healing the sick and casting out demons is not :).
Steve: its created a situation where there are christians and atheists and the atheists are the honest ones.
Ed: I agree that there are many dishonest people who call themselves christians, and i believe a lot of atheists are extremely blind and/or dishonest as well, including in the area of rabidly defending Theory of evolution... and Richard Dawkins and his prosthelytes are epitomic examples of this :)... but at least atheists are much more honest than fundamentalist institutionalized church folks about the reality that the bible is not perfect, but even that is typically done dishonestly and with exaggeration and misapplication in various ways and of course without Spiritual eyes.
Steve: i have run out of time but i am interested in looking at some of the errors you see that are not simply a mass misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
Ed: There are various lists and/or videos that i have seen. Of course fundamentalist apologists believe through vigorous mental gymnastics that they can make every contradiction disappear and thus defend their doctrines of inerrancy and infallibility. I believe in some cases their rationale is legitimate but in other instances that they are being either intentionally dishonest or spiritually blind. Of course some of the work in providing bible contradictions and absurdities is done by unbelievers - which actually makes me very different from them because i am pro-God, just anti-lying doctrines - and i have certainly encountered some over-zealousness and poor scholarship and discernment on the part of these unbelievers, while at the same time, they do correctly reveal some true contradictions and absurdities. Thus i feel that some of the proposed objections, contradictions or absurdities of the bible are able to be legitimately explained away by apologists, but not others.
As one example of something i do not believe is God breathed, the supposed misogyny of God Himself is rampant and thematic throughout the entire bible, both in the old testament and the new. I do not believe that the true Heavenly Father is a misogynyst, but rather that errant and culturally biased men misrepresented Him in this way all throughout the bible.