1. Would you say it’s true that everyone comes to know God in a
different way? (because of their friends, after some sort of catastrophe,
etc) Is one way of coming to God as good as another?
2. When people come to know God, how much would you say comes from
people’s own efforts, and how much would you say is God reaching out and
leading people? What if some people just can’t see it or can’t believe
it no matter how much research they do? Is it
okay to have the attitude, “I’ll let him come find me and persuade me.”
3. On the book of Judas ? is this a big deal? Does it give further
proof of the truth of the Bible? Why is this book controversial? What
are the implications of its claims about Judas?
4. Would it be accurate to say that Christianity is always changing?
Critics bring up new things, new discoveries are made?etc. Is this
constant change something that Christians would just have to accept?


I would say that different people come to Christ for different reasons.
God uses a variety of means to call us to a relationship with him. Some
are drawn to Jesus because of a crisis, others due to an unmet emotional
need, still others because they sense that the Bible is true, while some
are drawn to Christian relationships. Obviously, any way God can use to
bring people into a relationship with him is a good thing. None is better
than another. I am not sure I would say that “everyone comes to God in a
different way.” How many ways are there? Ten? One hundred? Surely more
people come to God than that. I do not know what you mean by this

I feel it is not really useful to speculate on what percentage of our
coming to God is due to our own seeking him and what portion is due to him
seeking us. Theologians have debated this with little practical gain.
Some, such as Calvin, have said that it is all up to God, and that there
is nothing we can do to cause God to have a relationship with us. Others
see our responsibililty to seek and respond to God. Let me quote a
passage of scripture which seems relevant. Jeremiah 29:11-14 says, “‘For
I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future. Then you will
call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will
seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found
by you.’ delcares the Lord,” It is a good idea to look at the context of
this passage. God is calling Israel to come back into a blessed
relationship with him after he has judged them for their sinful ways. In
any case, the passage shows God waiting to bless us and to have a
relationship with us. What is required is for us to seek after God with
all our heart. Another relevant passage is Luke 15:11-32, knows as the
parable of the lost son. Here, God is waiting to receive his son and to
bless him, but he does not force himself on his son. His son must choose
to come home. Then God pours his love and blessing. You can find other
passages which prove that God is willing to use people and situations to
call us back to him.

I will summarize it this way. God is trying to reach out to us and to
move us toward a relationship with him, but God does not force us to do
anything. Although we know God is reaching out to us, our attitude should
be to seek God as if it all depended on us. In other words, we should put
forth every effort. We should seek God with all of our heart and
strength. If we do, we have full assurance that we will find God. I
believe it is possible for a person to become lazy and to wait for God to
reach out to that person. This is a foolish mind set. We should make
every conceivable effort to seek a relationship with God. It is my belief
that people who do not “get it,” in other words people who do not find
themselves believing in the gospel of Jesus, it is not because of lack of
evidence, but because their heart is hardened and darkened by their desire
to sin. The evidence is clear, and God is reaching out to us. The
question is whether we will seek him and respond to his call. So, for the
fool who says, “Oh well, I will wait for God to come to me,” I say that
this foolish person will probably find himself in hell one day, wishing
that he or she had not made excuses for not seeking God. There is no
excuse for not believing in Jesus, and God will accept no excuses.

I think I already answered your third question.

The book of Judas is a big deal for those who make it a big deal. This
book is really nothing new. In fact, we know from very early Christian
writers that the book existed all the way back in AD 180. This book is
one of a fairly large number of blatantly gnostic writings from the second
century AD. The Gnostics did not accept that Jesus died on the cross.
The believed in a deeper level of knowledge than that contained in the
Bible. They were not Christians, but were a heretical group. John
labeled them as the antichrist in 1 John 2:22. He calls the person who
rejects that Jesus is the Christ (and by implication his incarnation, see
1 John 1:1,2). The writer of the book of Judas was a non-Christian
pretender. Believers in the Bible should probably look at this book
because many will be asking questions about it. It is a good idea for
believers to acquaint themselves with this false gospel so that we can
answer the questions of others. We can be assured that this is no
alternative gospel. It is the creation of an enemy of Jesus Christ and of
Christianity. I have read the translation and found it to be a very
typical gnostic writing. It has no value at all for Christian learning.
Judas was a traitor to Jesus. How do we know? Because the apostles and
other witnesses to the events said so. We cannot trust the writing of an
author over one hundred years after the events who clearly has an agenda
to undermine the traditional witness of the gospel writers. Who should we
believe, eye-witnesses to the events or an enemy of Christianity who is
writing well over one hundred years after Judas died? That seems to be an
easy question. What are the implications of this book? None! (at least
for Christianity).

I will have to say that I disagree with your proposed thesis for the
paper. It is true that people’s ideas about Christianity have changed,
but the truth does not change. God does not change. The Bible does not
change. I have already discussed with you the history of the New
Testament canon. God ultimately chose the books in the Bible. They are
inspired by him. They are truth, and the truth does not change.
Christians do not have to just accept that religion is always changing.
Christians need to accept that the truth does not change, God does not
change. If we are going to seek the truth, we need to be able to resist
the temptation of human philosophy, selfishness and greed. We need to be
different from the world. We need to seek a relationship with God on his
terms, not on ours. The gospel of Judas does not show that Christianity
changes, but that people will refuse to accept the truth and will make up
their own religion. This has always been true, and I assume that it will
continue. Man makes religion to suit his own desires (2 Timothy 4:2-5)
and we need to continue to preach the truth in the Bible, not human

Anyway, it is up to you what you do your paper on, but if you want to talk
about the gospel of Judas, I propose that you explain the evidence that it
is absolutely not a genuine gospel, but is a second century gnostic
writing from a gnostic non-believer in

John Oakes

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