I watched a cartoon with my 4 year old grand daughter this morning. My Big, Big Friend is a cartoon series about a tiny little girl who has a giant blue pet elephant. The elephant is a constant source of joy and delight for the little girl and her friends, one of whom has a pet giraffe. In this particular episode, one of the girl’s friends is frustrated because his parents believe he’s too young to care for a pet dog. When someone asks the lad to keep their puppy for a week, the tiny little pooch requires so much care and attention that the little boy realizes he should wait until he’s older and more responsible.
It’s a practical and popular lesson: a puppy requires so much attention that not every child is ready to be dog owner. But only a four year old child could accept that message without being distracted by the medium: a story line about a little girl who has no problem feeding and caring for a full grown elephant! I suppose that’s why My Big, Big Friend is a kiddie cartoon rather than a major motion picture.
That juvenile cartoon came to mind later in the day when I came across this headline in the news: “Ancient Document Mentions Wife of Jesus.” The Smithsonian Institute and a variety of major media outlets were celebrating a breakthrough discovery that will “force scholars to rethink the history of Christianity!” A tiny fragment of a document dating back to the Fourth Century after Christ seems to hint at Jesus having a wife.
The scholar who produced the tiny fragment explained that it doesn’t prove Jesus had a wife, but does prove that some early Christians thought he did. Not exactly. Why aren’t we talking about this giant blue elephant in the room?
- The fragment was reportedly found years ago among a collection of Gnostic documents.
- The fragment is being championed by a Gnostic scholar named Karen King.
- Gnosticism was not a sect of the Christian Faith. It was a religion about esoteric secret knowledge. It existed before Christ came and attempted to co-opt some of the teachings of Christ once Christianity began to grow and thrive in the Roman Empire. Gnostic ideas were rejected by the Church. Today it is a dead religion.
Other scholars have already denounced the fragment as a modern day forgery, but even if it were authentic, it wouldn’t prove that early Christians believed Jesus had a wife. It could only hint that perhaps one non-Christian Gnostic believed that idea 400 years later. This is hardly a breathtaking discovery and it will certainly not cause scholars to rethink the history of Christianity. You can’t accept the message without being distracted by the medium.
Lift up the Cross!