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Assumptions of the Higher Critics on the Reliability of the Gospels

The following is a thought experiment.

In 1827 to 1830, a popular story about an American hero was widely told. Later, separate authors writing in different parts of the country published their version of the story in newspapers and magazines. The story was reprinted so often that today no one can agree on which version of the story is the earliest. It is assumed that the original manuscript of each author is lost. By now the story has been quoted and reprinted so many times that it is well known, but some doubts remain as to whether the story can be proven to be completely factual.

There are some basic propositions agreed upon by everyone, but widely different conclusions. Read each of the following propositions and choose either “a” or “b” as the better logical conclusion based on the facts and common sense.

1. The four most widely accepted accounts of the story purportedly come from two eyewitnesses and two reporters. Each has written a similar story. Why are they so similar?

a. The writers must have copied from each other.

b. The two eyewitnesses arrived at a similar account independently; the reporters by interviewing the other eyewitnesses available to them.

2. Each of the four stories has minor variations in details, chronological order, wording, spoken words by the main characters, etc. Why do these variations exist?

a. These variations can be explained by examining hypothetical motivations and personal agendas on the part of the writers.

b. These variations are taken for granted in that they are due to normal differences in point of view.

3. Each of the stories has a named author. What can we know about him?

a. The eyewitness claim of the author is not to be believed; rather each story was compiled by a committee of editors who used a name of a popular figure from the time period as a pseudonym.

b. The story was most likely written by the named author.

4. In the story, the main character correctly predicts that a war will take place in a few years during which the capital city of his state will be burned. What are we to make about this fulfilled prediction?

a. The story was obviously not written prior to 1865, but was probably written 10 to 50 years after the event.

b. This prediction shows remarkable foresight on the part of the main character.

5. If one wishes to test the truthfulness of the accounts, which method is better?

a. We should be skeptical and distrust the accounts of friends and acquaintances as “biased” and distrust even the testimony of credible historians because they were not necessarily contemporary eyewitnesses to the events.

b. We should examine the corroborating testimony of people who were personal acquaintances of the authors or of credible historians who lived within a generation of the events.

6. In order to discern whether or not the account is to be understood as fiction or non-fiction, as factual or allegorical, which method is better?

a. The reader must make some educated guesses using the modern tools of source criticism, form criticism and redaction criticism. Each person reading the account in the 21st century must decide for himself what the characters in the story really did and said way back then.

b. The reader must take into account exactly how the stories were accepted and interpreted as recorded in the source literature and commentaries of the 19th century.

Your comments are welcome!

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

“Here I stand … I can do no other!”

With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.

The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.

Running time: 105 minutes

Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.

Watch a clip from Martin Luther.

$9.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!

“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l

Running Time: 40 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine

Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese

Running Time: 28 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

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