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.
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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.
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Running Time: 130 minutes
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Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
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Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
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Running time: 85 minutes
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Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
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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.
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