The Gospel according to John

Is the Gospel of John a thelogical reflection that was composed by and from the early communities understandings of what they thought about Jesus after his death? Or was it that the Gospel was Divinely Inspired? With or without the consensus of the varying faith communities?
In conclusion, I wonder if the article linked here
is an accurate description of what the Church teaches about the Gospel of John?

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That’s not the domain name for the Archdiocese for the Military Services.

What’s up with that?

No actually it is the domain of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. But I am having issues opening their website, never mind the full link…Hacked???

Ahh… ok, it seems to be down at the moment.

It is an “ecumenical” document. Written by a “committee” of people both Jewish and Christian. It is not the position of the Church.
The “Gospel of John” as a Canonized book has already been declared Divinely Inspired. And that is that. Being a Dogma this cannot change.
It is a historical fact that it is the last book to be written in the Apostolic Era. The Apostle John was the one who lived the longest and that made a huge impact on what he wrote. The notion that it was not written by the Apostle John is a novel one. Jimmy Akin had a program dedicated to this notion. Check it out it is very illuminating.
He fleshes out all the varying theories that have been proposed.


Just like in errors pointed out in 16,17,18 from

All the books of the Bible are divinely inspired. And all of them were written by human authors in various types of literature over [often-times] long periods of time.

John’s gospel is certainly the most theologically reflective; and likely has small sections that were expanded or highlighted by disciples of John after his death.

But, without a doubt, he is the author of the gospel, and the vast amount of the text was written by him personally.

His gospel contains much first-person evidence that demonstrates his eyewitness account. His unusually long life also provided more time to compile what he included in the text.

A cursory look at the link provided includes a statement quite similar to that of the USCCB that explains references to “the Jews” throughout John’s gospel. This is simply to clarify that all people are responsible for the Lord’s death through their sinfulness and not just the Jews. A shorter statement to that fact is included in most missalettes for the reading of John’s Passion on Good Friday.

Reflecting on John’s gospel is one of the most fruitful things we can do during Lent; it absolutely succeeds in accomplishing what John wrote in the gospel - to convince you that Jesus is truly the Son of God.

Deacon Christopher

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Yeah, I’m not sure how that article is consistent with what the Church taught at Vatican II:

Dei verbum

  1. Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven.

The article is mostly correct about the different emphases of each Gospel for (the accusation against St. Luke of “soft-pedaling” to make nice with a certain audience is ironic, given the point of this document seems to be “soft-pedaling” to make nice with a different audience).

The document also seems to neglect divine inspiration, especially when it talks about “unfortunate” word choices. The Holy Spirit does not do anything “unfortunately.” Again, from Vatican II:

Dei verbum:

In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (2) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, (3) they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. (4)

Of course, fallible humans later may have used such words as a pretext for “unfortunate” (and worse) choices, but the inspired authors are not to blame.

In any event, as you point out, we need to keep in mind not to embrace these errors of the Modernists when it comes to the Gospel of John. Here’s a link to an easier to access version of document imaged above.


In addition to what everyone else said, that document gives the impression that there’s a consensus that Matthew the Apostle and John the Apostle did not write the respective Gospels of Matthew and John. There is no such consensus as far as I know. Scholars debate authorship, with some arguing that the two Apostles are the authors and others arguing that others are the authors.

The document seems to be some sort of ecumenical resource, maybe for a specific program, and I can’t even find where the main website links to it.

Is the Gospel of John a thelogical reflection? Yes

Do you think the apostles and apostolic men did not reflect on their experience with Jesus? Is your question part of a theological reflection? Do you think it did not occur to whoever wrote the gospels? What is an alternative answer?

that was composed by and from the early communities understandings? Yes

The apostles and their successors formed communities by preaching the Word of God and baptising people as children of one Father. Where else could they write? As far as we know, no one went off as a hermit and wrote unaffected by the faith and gifts of others.

of what they thought about Jesus after his death? Yes

They were written after the death of Jesus. How could they not express what they thought? I do not understand how else they could be written?

was it that the Gospel was Divinely Inspired? Yes

The Holy Spirit came to Mary at the Annunciation, to the Twelve at Pentecost, and to every Christian since at their baptism. In a special way it came to the Evangelists to write the gospels with them. The Holly Spirit’s gifts work together for the good of all. They did not override the other gifts of the evangelists or of anyone else, but all worked together to spread God’s Word.

With or without the consensus of the varying faith communities? With

The Holy Spirit brought the community of John’s church together to aid the apostle in his theological reflection on his experience with Jesus. When it was the right time to compose the gospel, it told the story they had heard for many years. They supported the evangelist as he shared the stories and the message they had heard for years.

You spelled irenic wrong.

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Okay so John’s Gospel is a theological reflection.
Therefore is it the official theology of the Catholic Church, or are his theological reflections considered dogmatic? From what I’ve read official theology is something that can be reformulated whereas dogma cannot, does that sound right?

I think for every statement that is made in the article the question should be asked …

what is the evidence you have for your opinion?

I suspect the evidence for their opinion is not very compelling and their own theological assumptions are at the base of their opinions for John’s Gospel.

Scripture is the soul of theology, as St Jerome said. The gospels are that and more. The gospels are more than dogma, more important, more authoritative, etc. etc. To call the Gospel of John dogma would be a downgrade.

That is why interpretation of it is so important!

I am not sure what you mean by “reformulate.” I think everything is constantly subject to reformulation so that it remains meaningful to people. God’s word is alive, it pierces more surely than a two edged sword. There are always underlying “theological facts” that are constant, but their language can be reformulated. See John XXIII’s opening address to the Second Vatican Council.

The position of the Church has long been that interpretation must be done within the bounds of the Church. “Thinking with the Church” develops out of that practice. That is the basis for talking about the communities that supported the writing of Scripture. Is that what you are having problems with? I am just trying to help you clarify what you are trying to say.

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What is the basis for your suspicion? I have the opposite suspicion, that people who question the summary have weak bases for their doubts. I would like to know what assumptions lie beneath questioning a document like this.


The Gospel of John inspired by God to write his gospel from the theological reflection of the early Christian communitiies. If someone didn’t Know any better they just might as we could say there own theology and when questioned they say that they were inspiured by God is this faulty thought or is:(bit

I am asking for evidence Sovekin. There is nothing weak in asking for evidence.

Why there is doubt over such an article is complex and if fully explored would open up the discussion in new directions. We can go in that direction if you like. When I have asked for evidence of such things presented I find that the assumptions made by the writers in such cases are very much not sound but conjecture on conjecture.

One obvious reason for doubt for such articles is the lack of evidence presented therein when an assertion is made.

Yes this is an assertion that needs the evidence presented in order to judge the reliability of the assertion.

As a consumer of the article the weakness is on taking this assertion uncritically and not asking for evidence of what is asserted.

I do not understand what you are trying to say, the syntax of it. “They just might say their own theology and claim to be inspired” is that the core of it?

This is what was said by many about the gospel of John. There was some opposition to including it in the NT, though it was not major. Most recognized it as expressing the faith of the Church, ie that it was inspired by God.

It was their own theology, which was inspired by God. The evangelists wrote within the Church, and not apart from it. The Holy Spirit works within the Church and not apart from it. What is the alternative?

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