An Open Source Gospel

I’ve recently finished The Story of Christianity, Volume 1 by Justo L. González. He presents a great summary of one of the reasons the early church was unfazed by the multiple witnesses of the canonical Gospels: the early church viewed it as a positive good. Here’s his summary:

“… the church at large sought to show that its doctrines were not based on the supposed witness of a single apostle or Gospel, but on the consensus of the entire apostolic tradition. The very fact that the various Gospels differed in matters of detail, but agreed on the basic issues at stake, made their agreement a more convincing argument. Against Marcion’s expurgated Gospel of Luke, the church offered the consensus of a number of Gospels—sometimes three, and sometimes four, since the Fourth Gospel was somewhat slower in gaining universal acceptance. Against the secret traditions and private interpretations of the Gnostics, the church had recourse to an open tradition, known to all, and to the multiplicity of the witness of the Gospels.” —Justo L. González.

At it’s best, Christianity is open source, and everyone has access to the data we’re working with.