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These include a number of apocryphal gospels, such as the famous Gospel of Thomas.

When were the NT writings first recognised as the NT - as sacred scripture?

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Some would even deny that God reveals himself to humankind at all except through the natural world.

Interestingly, radical Christians are often every bit as critical of their conservative brethren as are anti-religious atheists.

It is well known that conservative Protestants typically hold to a ‘high’ doctrine of biblical inspiration: indeed, it is one of the defining features of their faith.

Suffice it here to quote from the well-known 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches….

Further to the theological left, we find radical Christians who fiercely attack the idea that the Bible is to be regarded as authoritative and infallible - it is, they claim, nothing of the sort.

Nor, indeed, is it inherently superior to the Qur’an, the Bhagavad Gita, the Buddhist scriptures or any other religious text.

The Bible and the creative Word of God are not the same thing, though people of faith claim that the Bible contains the Word of God, or is one of the places where we encounter God….

[T]he Bible is not definitive for Christians in the way that the Koran is definitive for Muslims.

The Bible is part of the tradition of the it is one of the ways in which the Christian experience of God has been provisionally expressed.

This is why Christians claim that their faith is based upon a living word, the man Jesus, not upon a written word, though the written word does bear important witness of him.

A famous example is Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong:[H]ow long could the educated folk of the twentieth century continue to be literal about such things as a conception that occurred for a couple when both were well beyond menopause, the visit of the angel Gabriel, a pregnancy without a male agent, an angelic choir that sang in the sky, a star that roamed through the heavens, shepherds that had no trouble finding a baby in a city crowded with people called to a special census, and a king named Herod who would rely on three men he had never met before to bring him an intelligence report about a pretender to his throne who was said to have been born just six miles away? Does Christianity depend on a grave that was empty, on a body that has been resuscitated, on angels that descend in earthquakes and roll massive stones away from the mouth of a tomb, or on a figure One curious feature of liberal Christian thought deserves particular mention.

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