Many people, especially those who are far from the Church and its many-sided life often blam the Church of Christ for the fact that it does not accept and include in the Holy Scripture numerous so-called “gospels” and “letter of the apostles”, considers them false, calls them apocrypha and the works of gnostics. The fathers of the Church and ancient Christians, who denied such books as false and spiritually danger ones, are accused of dull thinking, religious fanaticism, and intolerance towards other views and disrespect towards other people’s opinion. However, is it really? We can easily check this with the example of apocryphal “Childhood Gospel of Thomas”, the book that is not accepted by the Church and falsely attributed to Apostle Thomas, whom we commemorate on October 6 (October 19).
It will be enough for us to mention just several episodes from this pseudo-Christian work. In the very beginning of the apocryphal story, it is described how little Jesus was playing with water and clay, when He decided to make some small birds figures of clay. That was happening on Sabbath. One boy, the son of the scribe, saw that. Then he took a branch of a willow and dispersed all the water. “And when Jesus saw what was done, he was wroth and said unto him: O evil, ungodly, and foolish one, what hurt did the pools and the waters do thee? behold, now also thou shalt be withered like a tree, and shalt not bear leaves, neither root, nor fruit. And straightway that lad withered up wholly, but Jesus departed and went unto Joseph’s house. But the parents of him that was withered took him up, bewailing his youth, and brought him to Joseph, and accused him for that thou hast such a child which doeth such deeds” (The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, III).
As we can see, this short episode speaks for itself – its nonsense is not even worthy to be discussed. Any loving heart that confesses Jesus Christ as our Lord and God will never accept such story and will never believe in such controversial and cruel miracles that contradict the spirit of the Gospel of Christ.
There is another episode that only confirms the strangeness of the apocrypha in relation to the Christian tradition. “After that again he went through the village, and a child ran and dashed against his shoulder. And Jesus was provoked and said unto him: Thou shalt not finish thy course (lit. go all thy way). And immediately he fell down and died. But certain when they saw what was done said: Whence was this young child born, for that every word of his is an accomplished work? And the parents of him that was dead came unto Joseph, and blamed him, saying: Thou that hast such a child canst not dwell with us in the village: or do thou teach him to bless and not to curse: for he slayeth our children” (The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, IV).
Even the most cursory examination of the text of this apocryphal “gospel”, which contains no Good News at all, lets us understand at once why the Apostolic Church did not recognize that text as the one that related to the Holy Scripture of our tradition, and what is more, proclaimed it a fiction distorting the elementary understanding of good and evil. This is why Apostle Thomas just cannot be the author of this story, although his name is mentioned in its title. Christians were taught long ago by Apostle Paul that they had to recognize and differentiate the Word of God from fictive stories. Apostle Paul appealed to us then and appeals today as well: “not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come” (2 Thessalonians 2:2).
By John Nichiporuk,
a Bachelor of Theology,
specialized in Biblical Studies.
specialized in Biblical Studies.
The Catalog Of Good Deeds