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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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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.

All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.

$12.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!

Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.

Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!

Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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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

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