This series outlines the history of liberal criticism in the church, it fallacious premises and anti-semitic motivating forces, and then proposes some solutions as to how it can be refuted soundly and systematically rooted out of the popular culture.
How liberal academic criticism of the New Testament was co-opted by the anti-semitic 19th century German Higher Critics
All but vanquished in the early 20th century, liberal criticism has experienced a revival in the last 50 years on three fronts – among the intellectual academicians, among liberal “mainline” Protestant churches and in the popular media. The main tenets of liberalism – that Jesus was merely a man and not the Son of God risen from the dead in conquest over sin and death; that the received text of the Bible is unreliable and historically inaccurate; that the miraculous events of scripture did not really occur, but were merely stories told to embellish legendary events – are popular in small pockets of the church especially among British and European denominations and among the faculty of large secular universities with Divinity Schools.
In America, the conservative evangelical churches are far outpacing the growth of liberal denominations to the point where the mainline is no longer the “mainstream.” However, the viewpoints expressed in the books and articles of a liberal elite are given credence by the popular media over their conservative evangelical counterparts, even though the actual numbers of the liberal professors of religion are far fewer than the faculty at more numerous conservative Bible Colleges and Seminaries.
Most conservative Christians in America don’t understand exactly how liberalism within the church began and why its influence is still being felt. We tend to simply dismiss the liberals as skeptics and atheists, as wolves in sheep’s clothing, without giving them a hearing. However, when a group like the Jesus Seminar gets its press releases published far and wide, when books like The Da Vinci Code become runaway bestsellers with movie blockbusters and a myriad of television documentaries in tow, evangelicals chafe at the very suggestion that the biblical doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is not a settled issue among lettered churchmen. Even among those who claim to be conservatives, a “neo-orthodox” influence is felt in the form of a low view of the inerrancy of scripture.
The three greatest controversies in the church began early in its history. The Gnostic threat actually preceded Christianity. Gnosticism was actually a broad tendency in several eastern religions that had infected the Hellenistic Jews in the few centuries prior to Christ. Gnosticism in the church later gave way to Arianism and Pelagianism.
In his History of Redemption, Jonathan Edwards notes the irony that the Arian and Pelagian threats came only after several centuries of Jewish and Roman persecution had failed to quench the revival fire of the early church.
After the destruction of the heathen Roman Empire, Satan infested the church with heresies. Though there had been so glorious a work of God in delivering the church from her heathen persecutors, and overthrowing the heathen empire…. But the church soon began to be greatly infested with heresies; the two principal, and those which did most infest the church, were the Arian and Pelagian.
Indeed, the second century Church Father, Tertullian of Carthage, noted that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” It turned out that heresy within the church was its gravest threat. Gnosticism in its various forms — Mithraism, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, etc. —was a threat to the church from the beginning because these mystery religions influenced nearly every world religion at the time including Judaism. However, the later “Christian” Gnostics did not deny the deity of Christ, but instead perverted the nature of the Godhead and the Incarnation by deemphasizing either the material or spiritual aspect of Jesus.
Likewise, Arianism was a heresy that denied a proper understanding of the Trinity, while Pelagianism compromised the Gospel by denying salvation by free grace. None of these heresies denied that Jesus was divine. Although there have been numerous atheist, pagan, Jewish and Muslim skeptics throughout history, the idea that Jesus was fully God and fully man was a settled issue among Christians long before the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.
Even if we consider the Enlightenment thinkers, rationalists, Deists and free-thinkers of the 1600s and 1700s, who denied the deity of Christ, the attacks were from those rightly called “infidels” — those against the faith — rather than from churchmen who had become liberalized in their interpretation of scripture.
Then beginning in the early 1800s, a group of German theologians began to reexamine and deconstruct the history of the Old and New Covenant Church and along with it question the reliability, integrity and historicity of most of the Bible. Here was the first time in history that skeptics and doubters arose within the church. As Jonathan Edwards noted, it is as though the devil decided that attacks from without could not fail, so therefore he once again fought a battle from within.
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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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“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.
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Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
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Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
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“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.
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