I present here the Einstein puzzle. It is said that you have to be a genius to solve it. If you use pure memory, then it is true. But if you make a diagram using colored pencils you should be able to solve it within half an hour. A few organizational skills are necessary. It helps to write out the remaining paired categories from the hints and then use the process of elimination.
I gave this to my high school English classes today to work on. Within 20 minutes, a few had figured out the order and color of the houses and a few other details. Some immediately jumped to a conclusion. They gave the wrong answer wanting me to tell them if their “guess” was correct. I told then they needed to show how they arrived at their answer, to show their work. I also told them I hadn’t solved the puzzle yet, so I couldn’t tell them the answer. Later, in the day it took me about 20 minutes to figure it out.
Supposedly, Albert Einstein wrote this riddle, and said 98% of the world could not solve it.
There are 5 houses in 5 different colors. In each house lives a man with a different nationality. The 5 owners drink a certain type of beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar, and keep a certain pet. No owners have the same pet, smoke the same brand of cigar or drink the same beverage.
The question is: “Who owns the fish?”
The Brit lives in the red house.
The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
The Dane drinks tea.
The green house is on the left of the white house.
The green house’s owner drinks coffee.
The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.
The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.
The man living in the center house drinks milk.
The Norwegian lives in the first house.
The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.
The man who keeps the horse lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.
The owner who smokes Bluemasters drinks beer.
The German smokes Prince.
The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
The man who smokes Blends has a neighbor who drinks water.
There are no tricks, pure logic will get you the correct answer. And yes, there is enough information to arrive at the one and only correct answer. If you think you know the answer, but are not sure, you haven’t solved the puzzle correctly. Once you solve it, you will know every color of every house, who lives in each house, what each man drinks and smokes, and which pets each owns.
So what has this to do with discerning Gospel truths?
It occurred to me while doing the puzzle that the five houses in Einstein’s riddle are a lot like the four Gospels. We are given hints in each Gospel that answer many questions as to the one reliable historical narrative of Truth. It’s necessary to look at the parts from different books to form a whole picture. I recently showed how one may demonstrate that the Apostles James and John were the first cousins of Jesus using isolated hints from four separate Gospels to come to this remarkable conclusion.
This method of comparing scripture with scripture revealed a truth that helps explain several other puzzles, such as why John is singled out as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and why according to Old Testament law did Jesus require John to take care of Mary as he would his own mother.
One may ask: Why didn’t the Gospel writers simply say: “Now James and John were Jesus’ first cousins”?
The answer to this question is found in Isaiah 28:10-13
“Whom will he teach knowledge?
And whom will he make to understand the message?
Those just weaned from milk?
Those just drawn from the breasts?
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little.”
For with stammering lips and another tongue
He will speak to this people,
To whom He said, “This is the rest with which
You may cause the weary to rest,”
And, “This is the refreshing”;
Yet they would not hear.
But the word of the Lord was to them,
“Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little,”
That they might go and fall backward, and be broken
And snared and caught.
The method of interpreting the Bible requires that we know the whole Bible and let scripture interpret scripture. God dispenses truth as He sees fit. When encountering Bible difficulites, we have to understand that there are no short cuts or trick questions. There are also no contradictions, but many Bible difficulties. The reason why the difficulties are there is so that we may discover the self-authenticating truth of scripture.
The four evangelists wrote in such a way that when we search for agreement in passages that seem disparate, most of the time we will find a harmony of the Gospels that transcends what four human beings writing independently could have concocted. This harmony is placed there for two reasons:
1. The harmony of the Gospels shows us the reality of the divine and supernatural inspiration of scripture.
2. The harmony of the Gospels also points us to which books belong to the canon by virtue of the fact that they are self-authenticating.
Men wrote scripture, but the Holy Spirit directed them in such a way that there is no complete picture of the truth in any one narrative or letter. In putting the pieces of the puzzle together, we are left with the strong impression that these men did not conspire to create a puzzle for us to solve. Instead the Holy Spirit has revealed mysteries to those who will bother to search some of the “difficult passages” for a harmony.
The Higher Critics are like my students who wanted to use conjecture to immediately jump to a wrong conclusion. Liberals use the modern tools of criticism to interpret scripture, but in analyzing the parts they miss the whole. Jesus said it best when he criticized the experts in the Law in His own day, “You strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel.”
The skeptics are like those students of mine who insisted that the puzzle could not be solved or was too difficult to be solved. Since they reject inspiration from the outset, the Higher Critics are blind to the marvelous pattern of scripture in which truth becomes self-authenticating.
For instance, I wrote recently about the self-authenticating quality of the book of Acts. The narrative begins with a sermon preached by Peter to a crowd of thousands of Jews who had come from all over the world to visit Jerusalem on the feast of Pentecost. The converts who heard Peter’s sermon were the very ones who purportedly returned to their cities a few years later after being scattered during persecution. These were the people who would have been able to confirm the account of Acts 2 as genuine and accurate.
If the Book of Acts were not authentic and reliable, it immediately would have been perceived as pseudepigrapha by the purported eyewitnesses. In other words, if the men who witnessed the miracle of Pentecost had not returned to their own cities and founded churches, then there would exist only those in these same churches who would be able to reject these stories as unreliable. The very fact that the book of Acts was accepted and quoted by the earliest of the church fathers as scripture proves that eyewitnesses existed who confirmed the accounts.
The scenario proposed by the skeptics is that the Book of Acts was written under a pseudonym many years after the events. But this begs the question: Why would a man calling himself Luke, a companion of Paul, write an unreliable history and deliver it to people who would be in an immediate position to recognize it as spurious? Did the eyewitnesses of first century Christianity not live within the context of their own history or did they simply appear for a time convenient to the critics’ scenario and then vanish into thin air?
«- Assumptions of the Higher Critics on the Reliability of the Gospels
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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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“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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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
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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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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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