Question by Steven M: Why was the early church reluctant to embrace gospel of John?
Why was the early church reluctant to embrace the gospel of John (1, 2, & 3 John) fully?
Answer by Muinghan Life During Wartime
The Gospel of John, the fourth of the canonical gospels, after the synoptics Matthew, Mark and Luke?
Or, the First, Second, and Third Epistles of John?
All four are different …
The Gospel of John was written to unbelievers, the First Epistle of John (John 1) was written to those who were already believers— the Second and Third are pretty much the same.
For the Epistles it is most significant in the clear warning against paying heed to those who say that Jesus was not a flesh-and-blood figure and the rejection of gnostic theology.
Docetic and/or gnostic teachings were prevalent quite early in the history of Christianity, and these views were considered heretical and dangerous by the proto-orthodox Christian church.
The Gospel of John presents a “higher” Christology than the synoptics, meaning that he describes Jesus as the incarnation of the divine Logos through whom all things were made, as the object of veneration, and more explicitly as God incarnate.
Only in John does Jesus talk at length about himself and his divine role, often shared with the disciples only.
Against the synoptics, John focuses largely on different miracles (including resurrecting Lazarus), given as signs meant to engender faith.
Synoptic elements such as parables and exorcisms are not found in John.
It presents a realized eschatology in which salvation is already present for the believer.
The historical reliability of John is debated, particularly by secular scholarship.
In contrast, Grace-oriented churches argue for the total pre-eminence of John.
I’m really confused as to how the question is written –the Gospel of John and the Epistles are FOUR different books.
I can only think that the early church’s reluctance had something to do with the Gnostic, Logos, Trinity, Divinity thing — you know, was Jesus the Son of God or the Son of Man, was he the Trinity, Father, Son AND Holy Spirit or the literal and submissive Son of God, or was he the Logos – the WORD of God, was he the DIVINE Son of God or a chosen Son of God.
This is what broke the church in two during the Great Schism, with the total separation of the Eastern Greek Orthodox Church with the Church of Rome.
This is the only think I can think of.
@ JONATHON – Quibble on my friend, always good to hear from you. I totally agree, it’s not clear.
“The Gospel of John for unbelievers…” is actually NOT an original thought of MINE I picked that one up in school.
J. H. Barbour 1896, “The Structure of the First Epistle of Saint John”. The Biblical World 9
It was discussing the differences between the First Epistle and the Gospel saying it was for the non-believer, but not necessarily the uninformed – it’s been academically stated that the Gospel was purposely written in response to the quite knowledgeable Cerinthus, the Ebionites and other Hebrew groups which they deemed heretical — NOT the ‘common man’. More of a debate than an instructional video …?
We trouble ourselves in keeping in mind that these books were NOT written for US but for certain people of a very different time, for various reasons — they are NOT meant for US to understand but easily understood to those referenced.
Also, Rudolf Bultmann, Lutheran scholar suggested that the text of the gospel is partially out of order and composed in multi-layers over an extended period of time leaving us today scratching our heads.
God knows, we could argue John for days on end but the gist is that John WAS so different than the others Gospels and possibly shouldn’t be grouped WITH the other three.
The book presents Jesus as the divine Son of God, and yet subordinate to God the Father, (and possibly the incarnation of the LOGOS – the “Word” of God) completely opposite of the Roman Trinity. AND these are the same reasons for the separation of the Roman Church and the Eastern / Greek Orthodox Churches.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!