Everyone thinks presuppositionally whether they realize it or not. That is, we assume things without evidence before we build a logical train of thought in an attempt to prove other things. Thus an argument and its conclusion may be completely sound based on the premise. But if your premise is false, your conclusion, however sound the reasoning, may be false also.
If you realize this, then you are more likely to be aware of the limitations of your belief system or epistemology. All thinking and logic is ultimately circular. We can know nothing to be true if we cannot latch on to at least one true presupposition without evidence.
If you are epistemologically self-conscious of this stark reality, then you are more likely to be consistent and rigorously logical. You simply accept as a moot point that we each must return to an unprovable premise as a given truth.
I have never debated a “New Atheist” who has understood any of this. Instead, they assume that their “logical conclusions” serve to support their presuppositions and vice versa. Ironically, they claim biblical faith is circular reasoning. But theirs is also a faith that is as blind as any crackpot religion.
If you believe in a God of some type, then you believe that supernatural events are at least possible. Then the question becomes not whether the biblical accounts are possible or even plausible (they certainly are if God exists) but rather whether they likely and reliable given the evidence we have.
If say you don’t believe in God, I will simply reject your presupposition. I will ignore the ridicule you heap on the records of miracles and the supernatural events of the Bible except to point out where your logic is faulty and your presuppositions are fabricated out of thin air. However, I can still dialog with an atheist as to the reliability of the New Testament as a body of literature. This can be shown to be more rock solid than any work from ancient times.
Christianity is a religion that claims to be based on historical fact. Other religions, such as Eastern monism, polytheism and animism are based on allegory. And what’s more, they know it. The reason I accept the historical basis of the life and ministry Jesus and the Apostles as recorded in the New Testament is that the canonicity of these books has a strong pedigree.
Canon Muratorianus: The Earliest Catalogue of the Books of the New Testament was written by S.P. Tregelles, another in a long line of critics in history who was converted to Christ through an honest examination of the evidence. The book is a series of short papers concerning the Muratorian fragment, written by a well-known scholar of the 1800s, who was one of the first people to reexamine the manuscript after it was published (with errors) over 100 years prior to his research. The author writes of his study to correct the errors in the research up to that point and gives us several chapters on the significance of the Muratorian Canon in establishing the canonicity of each New Testament book.
It has been known since the beginning of Christianity, that the canon as we know it today has a pedigree. That is, we have a record in each generation not only of the authors, but also the occasion of the writing. In addition to this testimony of the church fathers (Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius, Papias, the Didache) from the late first century onward, we have this smoking gun from the mid-second century. Whenever I run into people who think that the books of the Bible were “voted on” by a church council many centuries after they were written – either because they read The Da Vinci Code, Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus, heard Elaine Pagels, or saw shows about “The Missing Books of the Bible” on A&E – I point them to the so-called Muratorian Canon.
Although not meant to be a canonical list, it shows that the New Testament we have today matches the “Bible” of the second century. The fragment is also useful in dating the writing of John to the pre-70 AD apostolic age when the Apocalypse of John is said to be written by the “predecessor” of Paul, who wrote to seven churches (Rev 2-3) before Paul wrote to seven churches.
Misnamed the Muratorian Canon, the work is fragment of three pages, likely part of a longer homily that was preserved in rough Latin. The purpose of the sermon was to comment (in some unknown context since only this middle section was preserved by some scribe in the 7th or 8th century) on which books were read in the churches in the mid-second century.
Canon Muratorianus: The Earliest Catalogue of the Books of the New Testament by S.P. Tregelles is short and quite readable. It contains a three page facsimile of the manuscript as well as a Latin transcription and a line by line rendering of the translation with commentary.
Although it contains quite a few quotations in Greek, Latin and German, even if you don’t know a word of those languages, you can read the analysis chapters in which the author shows that each of these books were certainly thought to be canonical by the church fathers as early as the end of the first century. The author also deals quite convincingly with the books the Muratorian fragment does not mention, Hebrews, James, 3 John and 1 and 2 Peter.
Suffice it to say that this is a short yet scholarly antidote to the “many Gospels” and “many Christianities” hypothesis of Elaine Pagels, Dan Brown, the Jesus Seminar and their ilk. The author correctly states in a warm evangelical tone in his introduction:
Accuracy of statement of all points of Christian evidence is of no small importance, if we wish to rise from a mere general and indefinite notion to a clear and distinct apprehension of facts. And as Christianity is a religion based on facts, we have to inquire on what grounds we receive the documents in which such facts are transmitted; for thus we shall know how to meet those who would throw distrust or suggest doubt as to this branch of Christian evidence. It behoves us to know how, from the Apostolic age and onward, there never has been a time in which the historic records of our religion have not been received, held fast, and publicly used; so that all along there have been the same records as to the facts of our Lord’s incarnation, His death on the cross as the vicarious sacrifice appointed by God the Father, His resurrection, ascension, the mission of the Holy Ghost, and the preaching by the Apostles of our Lord of the doctrine of repentance and remission of sins in His name, in obedience to His command.
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“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.)
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.
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High Quality Paperback — 219 pages
Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy
Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.
Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.
Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.
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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.
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.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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