Friday, September 03, 2010

The Council of Nicaea – Pictures and Images can be Deceiving

What do many liberals/skeptics/agnostics/atheists (like Dan Brown of The DaVinci Code book and movie fame) , Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and many other people have in common as a mis-perception of Christianity? Sometimes it is just misunderstandings, but sometimes there is deliberate deception and outright lying about what happened at Nicaea. If told often enough, the mis-understanding gets embedding in people's thinking.

“The Council of Nicaea - 325 AD
There are many erroneous things said and written about the famous Council of Nicea.
For example, it was not:
- the beginning of the "Catholic Church". (the universal church among all nations started much earlier than 325 AD)
- when Christianity decided Jesus was divine (He already was known as the eternal Son of God, "God in the flesh" from His time with the disciples, around 26-30 AD)
- when the New Testament was made official” – see
The Council of Nicaea
"At The Council of Nicaea, they chose 4 gospels and rejected 80 others" (total fiction)

They think that the council of Nicea in 325 AD was about which books belonged in the canon of Scripture. A Muslim who called himself Tony called in to the “Answering Islam” program with Dr. White and Pastor Josephhere, about at the 42 minute mark, asking the about a book entitled The Lost Books of the Bible, and the Forgotten Books of Eden, (World Bible Publishers, Alpha House, 1926) and said that Constantine ordered them to come up with the four gospels. How many times have I also heard something similar to this in my 26 years of dealing with Muslims? (and other non-Christians also. I remember several Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and agnostic skeptics saying this to me over me in various evangelistic encounters.)

I quickly pulled my copy of this book off the shelf in my church history section, in order to refresh my memory of some of its contents and details. I remember it being a mixture of legendary texts, Gnostic texts, Infancy Gospels, the Proto-evangelium of James and other Early Church father’s writings, such as the letters of Ignatius. Apparently the publishers and compilers of this book were trying to create doubt on the canonical Bible, by the title they chose for this book, and the comments they make in the introduction.

The wonders of the internet! The book, “The Lost Books of the Bible” is on line here below: (It seems that The Forgotten Books of Eden was not put together with this part of this work here. The book I have is apparently two books in one volume; actually two anthologies of various books put under one book cover to make people think that these were other inspired books that should have been kept by the early church.

The Lost Books of the Bible

One thing that struck me was the picture in the front of the book, opposite the title page – it says, “Members of the Council of Nice presenting their decision to the Emperor Constantine. Fourth Century”.

Deception trick # 1 – Put some ancient artwork up opposite the title page of "lost books of the Bible", and people will think that the Council of Nicaea was about the canon of Scripture. Sprinkle in "from an early Greek manuscript" and tell an outright lie, "Fourth Century" for more cunning deception.

The Muslim “Tony” kept saying, “it says translated from the original Greek!” Published in 1926! Library of Congress . . . !”, etc. as if these things gave it authority.

Council of Nicaea presenting to Constantine:

Image of the council presenting to Constantine

I wanted to try and find another web-site on this art work, to get another opinion on it. Turns out, that according to Getty Images, it is not even about The Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, rather it is about the Council of 2nd Nicaea in 787!

Deception trick # 2 – wrong Nicaea and wrong Constantine, the picture is Constantine VI.

This one says it was 2nd Nicaea and Constantine VI in 787 AD. Getty Images just seems more credible on this issue; what do you think?

“Members of the Second Council of Nicaea presenting their decisions concerning the worship of images and Christian Iconography to Emperor Constantine VI, AD 787.” (Photo by Kean Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

The Muslims, the atheists, the skeptics, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and the Evangelical church today needs to be educated on what really happened at Nicaea. Here is an excellent article by Dr. White:
What really happened at Nicaea?

And another general article on Nicaea

Here is an excellent article and message on Athanasius, who was a deacon at the Council of Nicaea, by John Piper.Contending for Our All


Ken said...

Did you read what he wrote?
What he wrote agrees with other scholarly material.

You cannot dismiss a Doctorate out of hand, just because it is not accredited by the whatever prestigious accreditation boards.

Why don't you interact with the point of my article?

Atheists and skeptics and liberals and popular media and Muslims and Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons perpetuate these mis-representations, deceptions, and lies about the Council of Nicaea, church history, and the canon of Scripture.

You cannot interact with the facts of the issue, so you go ad hominem on Dr. White.

Shame on you!

Jamin Hubner has a good article on "The Truth about Education and Accreditation":

Dr. White has proven his degrees by the fruit of debating the top academic liberals and skeptics - Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, Robert Price (those alone should cause you to shut your mouth in repentance) and popular darlings of the media and Political Correctness - John Shelby Spong, Barry Lynn, and top Muslim apologists like Shabir Ally and others.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

And furthermore, Dr. White's willingness to debate Christopher Hitchens,(his treatment for cancer had to postpone that indefinitely - we pray God will have mercy on Hitchens and more opportunity to repent, and opportunity to debate Dr. White in the future.) probably the most well-known atheist; and the results of his recent debates with atheist Silverman, and Roman Catholics exude a great handle on the academic subjects, even without wasting time in a liberal doctoral program that seeks to destroy one's faith.

Ken said...

I removed the one above my last one because I had too many typos. The next one is the corrected version of the same thing.

natamllc said...


in response to web, you replied:

You cannot dismiss a Doctorate out of hand, just because it is not accredited by the whatever prestigious accreditation boards.

I beg Web to sight names and their glory among those men of Acts Eleven?

Especially, if he can, which he cannot, because of the Eternal Purpose God is all the time, in light of words like these:

Act 11:1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.

Act 11:11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea.
Act 11:12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house.

Act 11:15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.

Act 11:20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus.
Act 11:21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

Act 11:24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

Now, it truly is a shame on you response to web!

He cannot account for more than the names in the chapter. He cannot account for the "many" brethren in the Chapter.

Notice that web, all the time that he comments in here, adds his little hook, come see me at my website!


I believe if web can turn around and get his priorities right, those of the Lord Himself, he will cease from such foolishness as he displays in here time and time again?

Act 11:26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

Dare I say it? Dr. James White is a Christian and has his Lord's glory and purposes in view which is evident from his many speakings at the church he is an elder at and his many debates published on youtube and his writings, such as the excellent historical overview plainly written for the simple minded, like me, to understand the differences between the Truth and those in error that came into and out of the Council at Nicaea, 325 AD?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"The Council of Nicaea – Pictures and Images can be Deceiving"

And as you noted in the substance of your post, oftentimes what's written about the Council of Nicaea can be deceiving too... along the lines of historical revisionism.

Ken said...

Good points - Natmallc and TUAD.
Thanks for your contributions.

beowulf2k8 said...

Its obvious the council wasn't really about condemning Arius. I mean he was just one stupid guy in one stupid city. Wait a minute, how could Arius claim Jesus was not God without rejecting the gospel of John? Hmmmm....then it looks like Arius must have held a different canon....and a council coming together to condemn him must of necessity, therefore, be about setting the canon. Its all obvious.....if you have a brain. Not to mention that one of the results of the council was Constantine ordering 50 Bibles to produced...for what? To be exemplars from which all other Bibles would be made....hence, to set the canon and the official form of the text. But of course official church sources will try to deny that the council that met for this purpose met for the purpose that it obviously met for.

beowulf2k8 said...

Compare then for example the prayer of Jesus in the Synoptics "Father, let this cup pass from me" and "if there be any other way" and the sweating of great drops of blood with the prayer in John "My soul is troubled, but what will I now say? Father save me from this hour? But for this hour came I into the world! Rather I say, Father glorify Thy Name!" These two prayers close to the cross do not agree. In the Synoptic version Jesus is a man who is afraid of death and begging for the Father to find some way other than the cross to save mankind. In John's version Jesus is a God with absolute resolve to go to the cross, who will not question it nor ask the Father to try and come up with some other way, for He entered the world and became a man for this very purpose. It is obvious John was added to the canon rather late, and that it would have been debated for a long time...even until Nicea. The Arian controversy was obviously more about John's place in the canon than about Arius himself.

beowulf2k8 said...

Any pretence, even by Athanasius himself, that Arius somehow accepted John's gospel and yet still didn't believe Jesus was God, is obviously false -- it is just one of those Catholic tricks of pretending that their opponents are in more agreement with them than they are. Arius obviously (like Gaius of Rome in the 2nd century) rejected the gospel of John. Gaius indeed rejected it as a forgery written either by Valentinus or some other Gnostic (I don't remember which one) but Arius may have rejected it on other grounds, but he clearly did reject it, and thus the council supposedly about him was really about the authority of John's gospel, thus about setting the canon once and for all.

Ken said...

Beowulf -
All the historical evidence shows that Arius and Arians were indeed following the same books of the Bible as the rest of the Christians at that time were.

Arius and the Arians used John 14:28 (along with other verses from canonical books) to make their case that Jesus was lesser than the Father and not eternal and not "homo-ousias" with the Father.

So, Arius believed in the Gospel of John as "God-breathed" and hence, as canon (criterion, principle, rule, law). So, again, it was not about the "canon". they agreed on the same books that are "canon".

So, it you who need to use your brain and actually not be lazy, but go back and study the actual history of the Arian controversy and the council of Nicea and Athanasius and other's writings on it at the time.

The Arians used other verses from the same books that are today 'canon', like Romans and Colossians and Proverbs.

So, your 3 last posts are soundly refuted.

beowulf2k8 said...

"All the historical evidence shows that Arius and Arians were indeed following the same books of the Bible as the rest of the Christians at that time were." (Ken)

They read John just like they probably read the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermes. But they clearly didn't believe it to be canonical in the sense of actually being inspired.

"Arius and the Arians used John 14:28 (along with other verses from canonical books) to make their case that Jesus was lesser than the Father and not eternal and not 'homo-ousias' with the Father." (Ken)

Merely a case of using the books accepted by their opponents to prove their point. Doesn't Tertullian attempt the same with Marcion's gospel even though he doesn't believe it is canonical? Don't Marcion's followers also use the gospel of John in the Dialogue of Adamantius where it suits them, even though it is NOT in their canon?

"So, it you who need to use your brain and actually not be lazy, but go back and study the actual history of the Arian controversy and the council of Nicea and Athanasius and other's writings on it at the time." (Ken)

I have read Athanasius' writings on the subject. I think if you read them again you would see there is a sort of argument by Athanasius in defence of John's gospel. He doesn't come outright and say "Arius says John doesn't belong in the canon" but he does take time to defend John and obviously he accuses Arius of rejecting John. He could mean he only rejects the true meaning, but it is obvious it means more than this. Yet as I said, it was always Catholic practice when writing such polemic to make your opponent agree with you more than he does. Because these works are written not retain what they have left and what better way than "the heretics accept the same books as Scripture--they just are idiots who don't understand them" even when the reality is that the debate is on the canon and not the meaning. This Catholic trick works well.

Ken said...

If you really did really read all of Athanasius' anti-Arian literature and other primary sources on the history of the Arians and the Council of Nicaea, then you would not be making the arguments you are making. The Arians believed in the same books; the Arians interpreted them wrong -ie, that the Son was not eternal, (contra John 1:1-5 and 17:5) that He was a creature; and not homo-ousias.

James Swan said...

Mr. webulite,

Your comments will be deleted because....

Finally! I Get To Say What I Want To Those Mean Anti-Catholics!

You’re fooling yourself if you think you can leave comments attacking James White, William Webster, David King, Eric Svendsen, etc. I don’t forward your comments to them. There is a very good chance I will simply delete your comments if you get personal. It’s acceptable to interact with their work, but I respect these guys too much to allow slander. You can attack me all you want, but still, be careful with your polemical passion.

beowulf2k8 said...

Ken, its not that cut and dry. Have you never encountered anyone from groups that deny the inspiration of certain books and yet use verses from the very same books to establish certain points? Apparently you just don't have the experience to understand a controversy like the Arian controversy. Book learning alone will not do in a case like this.

Lvka said...

I think you (as well as others here) will find this article on the subject (containing 5 videos) very helpful, interesting, and well-done..