YouTube Documentary on George Mueller

Yesterday, I quoted George Mueller on the Bible.  Here again is what he said:

The vigor of our spiritual life will be in exact proportion to the place held by the Bible in our life and thoughts.  I solemnly state this from the experience of fifty-four years…I have read the Bible through one hundred times, and always with increasing delight.  Each time it seems like a new book to me.  Great has been the blessing from consecutive, diligent, daily study.  I look upon it as a lost day when I have not had a good time over the Word of God.

I thought you might want to know more about this fascinating man of God.  Here’s what Wikipedia says about him in the opening of its article:

George Müller (German – born as : Johann Georg Ferdinand Müller) (27 September 1805 – 10 March 1898), a Christian evangelist and Director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life.  He was well known for providing an education to the children under his care, to the point where he was accused of raising the poor above their natural station in life. He also established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of them being orphans.

Here’s the full article from Wikipedia.  In short, Mueller cared for orphans in the age of Charles Dickens.  And Dickens even came to see him…and commended him.

And here is a one-hour documentary on Mueller’s life.  It’s on YouTube and broken up into six ten-minute segments.  It’s not the best documentary ever produced, but Mueller and his wife were an amazing couple and did a lot for the victims of England’s Industrial Revolution.

By the way, Mueller was a German, living most of his adult life in England.  I have seen his name spelled various ways and you see some of that variety even in this post.

A Review of the Tenth Episode of A.D. The Bible Continues

Apparently, the web site linked below has been publishing a review of each episode of the mini-series.  However, this is the first installment I have come across.  I gave up on watching the series several episodes back.  I’m publishing this review because it demonstrates why I gave up: too many departures from the biblical text.

Not all departures from the Bible are problematic, but some are very problematic.  This latter category would include presenting something as history that contradicts the history presented by the Bible.  The linked review gives some examples of this.

None of this is to say that the miniseries is bad or that I want to discourage people from watching it.  If people find spiritual value in it, I am happy for them.  I just didn’t feel like I could recommend it to anyone.  Reading the first ten chapters of the book of Acts will do you much more good…and take a lot less time.

(10-minute read; 2,355 words)

Source: A.D. The Bible Continues: “Brothers in Arms” Review | Answers in Genesis

“Jesus of Testimony” – New Documentary Testifies to the Historicity of Jesus Christ

First below, I’ve posted the trailer (3:34) for this new documentary, and then the documentary (2:14:34) itself.

Jesus Of Testimony Trailer from Nesch Bros on Vimeo.

Jesus Of Testimony from Nesch Bros on Vimeo.

With Easter approaching, this is the time of year when public television and other networks provide documentaries and similar programming about Jesus of Nazareth.  Only problem is that these documentaries usually invitge unbelieving biblical scholars to be the experts.  Such liberal scholars usually have impressive degrees from schools like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.  While they might not come right out and say that they don’t believe in Jesus, that’s their obvious view – otherwise public television would never have considered them experts, right?

The good news is that the Nesch brothers (whom I otherwise don’t know) have pulled together an impressive set of believing Bible scholars and the result is this documentary:  Jesus of Testimony.  It’s a welcome antidote to the usual fare I’ve been describing, and I enthusiastically endorse it.

I do love this documentary and recommend it highly.  That said, I do have some caveats:

  1. This documentary may seem long and tedious for anyone not intensely interested in the subject matter.  Maybe you should break it up and watch one segment at a time.  Each section is certainly meaty enough.
  2. This documentary might be scratching where you’re not itching; if so, it may seem extra tedious.  This documentary will be most appreciated by 1) people who wonder if there is any scholarly support for the history we see recorded in the New Testament, and 2) people who long to hear from biblical scholars who aren’t hostile to the biblical text and biblical ideas.  If you don’t fall into either of these two categories, there’s no need to watch this film.
  3. I had difficulty with the video streaming.  Perhaps it was just my connection.  I eventually got to the end, but you may want to pay $5.99 for the download to avoid the hassle if it bothers you too much.
  4. This could be a great documentary to recommend to others who might be curious about historical scholarship about Jesus, but first be sure the warnings above don’t apply.  If someone has somehow been unaware of liberal bibical scholarship, why trouble them by bringing them into the argument?

The important point to remember is that this documentary is the other half of the scholarly polemic about Jesus.  Liberal scholars are about all the general public ever sees on broadcast television.  Therefore, if you wonder why these scholars phrase things and frame things the way they do, recognize that they have to coexist with their antagonistic academic colleagues.  Being a believer and a biblical scholar is almost as difficult a professional life as being a believer and a scientist.

The following breakdown of the documentary is taken from the film’s website.  Because the film lasts 2:14:34, I have inserted the starting point and duration time for each section so that you can go directly to a particular section that interests you more.  I also add some short commentary where I thought it might be helpful.  The film begins with a minute-and-a-half segment in which scholar Richard Bauckham lays out the false dichotomy which the film will dispel: that “the Christ of faith” is somehow different from “the Jesus of history.”  Bauckham seeks to replace both with the term “the Jesus of Testimony” – hence the name of the film.  From the film’s website:

A feature length film exploring the evidence for Jesus’ existence and the reliability of the New Testament gospels.

In Part 1: Lord or Legend [starts at 0:01:30; lasts 0:17:50], the historicity of Jesus Christ is demonstrated by the important non-Christian historical sources that are available to us today.  [The documentary starts not with the Bible, but with the evidence outside the Bible.  This makes a great beginning to the historical case.]

Part 2: Are the Gospels Reliable? [starts at 0:19:20; lasts 0:41:00] examines the historical reliability of the Gospels as eyewitness testimony to the life of Jesus.  [This is the longest section, but the length is very appropriate and everything here is meaty.  You could actually divide this segment into two sections: the history of the Gospels through oral tradition and the history of the Gospel texts.  Both sections are worthy of the time they are given.  The focus on oral transmission of the life and teachings of Jesus lasts until 0:42:57, which is 23:37 into the segment – the remaining 17:23  is given over to the discussion about written transmission of that information.  The reasons for believing what the Gospels tell us – rooted in both a strong oral culture of the 1st Century and an exceedingly abundant chain of textual evidence since then – are quite strong.  To the point of the film, the testimony of Jesus is substantial; there is no valid reason to see a conflict between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith.]

Part 3: Miracles [starts at 1:00:20; lasts 0:18:18] provides strong evidence that miracles happen today and happened in history.  [This segment could have been longer considering the fact that Craig Keener has published extensive research on miracles both ancient and modern.]

In Part 4: The Testimony of Prophecy [starts at 1:18:38; last 0:14:56], many of the Old Testament messianic prophecies are quoted along with their New Testament fulfillments which establish a solid confirmation of Jesus’ credentials as the Messiah.  [There were good graphics of the relevant Scriptures in this segment – that is, Old Testament prophecies matched with New Testament fulfillments.  However, they are not matched to the audio and so it’s hard to follow what’s written and what’s spoken at the same time.  Michael Brown – a Jewish believer and scholar – is used very effectively in this segment.]

In Part 5: The Resurrection – Fact or Fiction? [starts at 1:33:34; lasts 27:29] the case is presented for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  [The scholars talk a lot about crucifixion as well as resurrection; problems because of the Quran which says Jesus never really died.  Gary Habermas and Mike Licona have devoted practically their entire careers to establishing the evidence for Christ’s resurrection, so they make this segment particularly strong.]

Finally, Part 6: The Good News [starts at 2:01:03; lasts 0:11:57] concludes that the portrayal of Jesus in the Gospels, dependent on eyewitness testimony, is more plausible than the alternative hypotheses of its modern detractors and presents the Jesus’ message of the Gospel.  [Some of the scholars speak quite personally in this short section.  The music is helpful, and the effect is appropriately uplifting.]

Credits [start at 2:13:00; lasts 00:01:34]

As I’ve said, if you don’t enjoy listening to scholars talk, you could find the film quite tedious.  That said, the 11 scholars participating in the project bring great content to the screen.  I have read most of them in the past and recommend their work.  Moreover, the directors add useful narration and helpful graphics at key points.  Here are the scholars interviewed:

Richard Bauckham – New Testament scholar, author, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

Craig Blomberg – New Testament scholar, author, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels

Greg Boyd – pastor of Woodland Hills Church, author, The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition [co-author with Paul Eddy, listed below]

Michael Brown – PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, author, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus : Volume 3: Messianic Prophecy Objections [This is but one of five books in a series on Jewish objections; Brown is a Jew]

Paul Eddy – PhD from Marquette University, author, The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition [co-author with Greg Boyd, listed above]

Steve Gregg – Bible teacher, radio talk show host, The Narrow Path

Gary Habermas – PhD in History and Philosophy of Religion, author, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ

Craig Keener – PhD in New Testament and Christian Origins, author, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts

Michael Licona – PhD in New Testament Studies, author, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach

Dan Wallace – PhD in New Testament Studies, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts

Ben Witherington – PhD from University of Durham, England, author, The Jesus Quest

More detail on each of these scholars can be found on the About page of the documentary’s website.

The Jesus of Testimony website (which includes the full documentary, available for online viewing without cost)

The Jesus of Testimony FaceBook page

ht: The Poached Egg (Ratio Christi)

Christianity Today Reviews the Movie “Son of God”

Christianity Today shows little enthusiasm for this production, but does say this:

To the extent that the script is at all an exegesis, producer Mark Burnett has repeatedly said he wanted The Bible miniseries to be first and foremost a proclamation of God’s love and Jesus’s deity. It is hard to criticize a Jesus film that gets those two messages right, regardless of what media is used to deliver them.

Those are surely two important points to make.

The review makes clear that the movie was stitched together from film originally made for TV – a series that was widely viewed last year (The History Channel’s miniseries The Bible).

Movies based on the Bible are often a disappointment to believers, but their existence is better than their non-existence, even if you yourself never see them.

(6 min read; 1,401 words)

via Son of God | Christianity Today.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed with Ben Stein (full movie) – YouTube

I’m not a fan of modern documentaries because of their generally forceful and polemic nature.  This one is no exception.  However, it does bring to light the strange double-standard that seems to exist in the academic community regarding science and the study of origins.

Here’s how the double-standard works:  if you’re a scientist and believe in evolution, no problem.  However, if you’re a scientist and have some concerns about Darwinian or Neo-Darwian theory, then you’re probably not a scientist.  Instead, you’re probably a religious person trying to impair science by the practice of your religion.  It’s a bizarre notion, but there it is and this movie exposes it.

The word “intelligence” in the title is an allusion to “Intelligent Design” – a scientific theory that seeks to plug some of the holes it sees in evolutionary theory.

I’m sure that there there are more things that need to be said for the evolutionary side to balance out this narrative (though indeed both sides were interviewed).  And I’m also sure I could have done without some of the histrionics herein.  However, I’ve experienced enough with academics and evolutionists to know that the dynamic described in this documentary is all too real.  Ben Stein knows that, too, and that explains his involvement.

By the way, one of the scientists interviewed is Stephen C. Meyer.  If you want to see more of him check this post which includes an extended interview with him.  He’s highly intelligent and highly articulate.  Even though I’m not at all science-oriented, I enjoyed hearing him speak.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (full movie) – YouTube.

Rejecting God’s Word Leads to an Unsatisfying Prayer Life

If you believe a book like this…

…you will end up with a prayer life like this:

Thom Stark wrote the book depicted above – The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (And Why Inerrancy Tries to Hide It) – a book which I reviewed extensively here.  In this book, Thom disparages the idea that the Bible is God’s word.  My review champions the idea that the Bible is His word because it was written by prophets and apostles that He Himself commissioned.

Thom is also a filmmaker.  He wrote and directed the film short depicted above, which is titled Who Art in Heaven.  Since God Thom rejects the idea that God has spoken to us clearly in the Bible, it’s understandable that his film would portray a man disillusioned by God’s “silence.”  Of course, God is not silent, but if you reject the idea that the Bible is His word you’ve effectively “silenced” him, which is what Thom has done.  I don’t think he understands that the frustration of the film’s protagonist is self-induced.  Nor do I think that Thom understands that his book will lead anyone who believes it to the kind of prayer life described by the film short – a person who cries out to God but never hears anything in return.

As Jesus said, “To him who has shall more be given, but to him who does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him”  (Luke 8:18).  That is, if Thom would accept the Bible and what it has to say, he would receive even more communication from God when he prays.  Since, however, Thom rejects the Bible as the word of God, he loses he what he thinks he has – which is the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6:9-13.

Because Thom will not believe that God spoke through the prophet and apostles, he cannot muster the faith that God can speak directly to him.  Only when Thom is able to say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 13:33-35), will he be able to experience the flow of the Holy Spirit (who speaks for God) in his own heart.

I’ve reached out to Thom to appeal to him about the error of his book and the damage it causes, but he thinks I am the one who is off base.

Take heed from Jeremiah’s warning:

“The wise men are put to shame,
They are dismayed and caught;
Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD,
And what kind of wisdom do they have?  (Jeremiah 8:9 NASB)

JOHN HUS – Movie – YouTube

JOHN HUS – YouTube.  This film about the Czech priest and reformer Jan Hus (1369-1415) lasts 54:40.

The 15th Century gave us John Hus (1369-1415).

The 16th Century gave us Martin Luther (1483-1546), whose 95 Theses were posted 1517, and John Calvin (1509-1564 ).

The 17th Century gave us Brother Lawrence (1614-1691).


The Visual Bible – Gospel of John – YouTube

From the YouTube description:

The Gospel of John is a 2003 film that is the story of Jesus’ life as recounted by the Gospel of John. It is a motion picture that has been adapted for the screen on a word-for-word basis from the American Bible Society’s Good News Bible. This three-hour epic feature film follows John’s Gospel precisely, without additions to the story from other Gospels, nor omission of complex passages.

(Length: 2:53:13)