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Jesus, Mohammed, Shakespeare: Did they really exist? (part 1)

For about a year now, I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around the cultural phenomenon known as the “Jesus-as-myth” hypothesis. It’s an idea that is gaining steam, not with credible historians and scholars, but among “popularizers” who state categorically as fact that “Jesus never existed” on numerous websites, blogs and discussion boards. This crackpot conspiracy theory may be simply stated as follows:

Since there was no contemporary historian living in Judea in the first century who recorded the life of Jesus, then there is no proof that Jesus existed.

What is being contended against is not the historicity of the miraculous works, the resurrection, or the divinity of Jesus, but the very existence of a historical person named Jesus of Nazareth. The Jesus-myth hypothesis was first proposed by Bruno Bauer in a work entitled Christ and the Caesars in 1877. Prior to the 1800s, no pagan, Jewish, Muslim, or atheist critic of the New Testament ever thought to challenge the veracity of the person called Jesus. Then Bauer came along and claimed that the bulk of the New Testament was written in the late second century — a full 150 years after Jesus lived — and took skepticism to the next level by claiming that the very existence of Jesus was doubtful.

At the time, Bauer was thought of as a radical fringe free thinker. Even his former students, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, both atheistic communists, sought to distance themselves from his writings. The idea then gained some popularity among scholars in the early 20th century, but when serious critics began to see the solid evidence for the first century dates of New Testament books — still interpreting them as pseudonymous works written after the time of Apostles, but accepting that they were written early enough to have been read and circulated by the earliest Christians — they rejected Higher Criticism for a modified form of liberalism.

The works of Bauer and the German Higher Critics were not respected even in their own day, even by atheists and skeptics such Mark and Engels. Most of their works have never been translated into English. One liberal theologian, Dr. John Henry Ludlum, one of the greatest linguistic scholars ever to come out of Yale University, began to study the Higher Critics in German only to see that the whole thrust of their work as baseless conjecture to support a political agenda of anti-semitism. In fact, Bauer and several of the 19th century German critics sought to prove that Christianity could not have had its roots in Semitic Judaism. Therefore, the Jesus-as-myth hypothesis has had a serious credibility gap even among liberal theologians.

To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ myth theory. It has ‘again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars.’ In recent years, ‘no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus’ or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary. – Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels (Scribner, 1995).

There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more. – Burridge, R & Gould, G, Jesus Now and Then, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004, p.34.

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.)

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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.)

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The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

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

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

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.

“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan

Running time: 85 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

Watch these pro-life videos on-line.

“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California

“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter

$4.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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