Featured Ministry – The Apologetics Group, A Ministry of Eric Holmberg

Many years ago when God first called me out of the darkness (with me very confused as to why he did that…) I saw a film in my church that changed the way I looked at the effects of music on my spiritual life forever. That film was Hell’s Bells, and it opened my eyes to the spiritual war going on that was right in front of me that I’d been totally unaware of. It revolutionized the way I looked at music and made me much more acutely aware of how music effected my life and the lives of my family.

The Apologetics Group, or TAG, once known to many as Reel to Real Ministries, was created by current CEO Eric Holmberg in 2003. Both TAG and Reel to Real have produced presentations such as Amazing Grace – The History and Theology of Calvinism, The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity & Divinity of Christ, God’s Law and Society, and many more great ministry tools.

Eric’s nearly 30 dedicated years of ministry has produced relevant media which has touched many thousands of lives worldwide. He has worked with some of the Reformed world’s greatest theologians, such as the likes of Dr. George Grant, R.C. Sproul, Dr. Stephen Mansfield, Dr. Ted Baehr… and the list goes on.

Anyone who has ever been to one of Eric’s seminars has had the opportunity to experience Eric’s unique and discerning view of media and popular culture from a Christian worldview. Indeed, if you didn’t leave the seminar changed in some way then perhaps you weren’t really paying close attention…

The focus of Eric’s ministry is educating the Christian (and anyone else who has ears to hear) about the world around them – culture, media, church history, doctrinal issues, the abortion industry, etc. Any of the various DVDs produced by TAG can be utilized in such educational settings as a home school, Sunday school, small groups, and as evangelical presentations or outreaches in a church or on a local high school or college campus.

For more information about The Apologetics Group or Eric Holmberg, check out their official website – The Apologetics Group.

Please note: Eric Holmberg and The Apologetics Group (a subsidiary of Reel to Real Ministries) is located in Tennessee and is not affiliated with the website nicenecouncil.com or it’s DBA parent company, Apologetics Group, Inc., which is located in Virginia.

Hope this clears up any confusion.

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Reuchlin and the Reformation

Johann Reuchlin

Reuchlin and the Reformation
By Dr. George Grant
(Originally posted on April 23, 2004 on Grantium Florilegium)

Johann Reuchlin was one of the great scholastic precursors to the Reformation. He was a linguist who wrote the first Latin dictionary to be published in Germany and a standard Greek grammar. But Hebrew was his dearest love. He ferreted out the rules of Israel’s ancient language by study of Hebrew texts and conversed with every rabbi who appeared within his range. His authority became widely recognized.

Alas, his reputation was nearly the cause of his ruin. A converted Jew and a Dominican inquisitor obtained from Emperor Maximilian an order to burn all Hebrew works except the Old Testament, charging they were full of errors and blasphemies. Before the edict could be carried out, the Emperor had second thoughts and consulted the greatest Hebraist of the age: Reuchlin.

Reuchlin urged preservation of the Jewish books as aides to study, and as examples of errors against which champions of faith joust. To destroy the books would give ammunition to church enemies. The emperor revoked his order.

The Dominicans were furious. Selecting passages from Reuchlin’s writings, they tried to prove him a heretic. The inquisition summoned him and ordered his writings burnt. Sympathetic scholars appealed to Leo X. The Pope referred the matter to the Bishop of Spires, whose tribunal heard the issue. On this day (April 23) in 1514, the tribunal declared Reuchlin not guilty.

But the Dominicans were not so easily deterred. They instigated the faculties at Cologne, Erfurt, Louvain, Mainz and Paris to condemn Reuchlin’s writings. Thus armed, they approached Leo X once again. Leo demurred. He appointed yet another commission. It backed Reuchlin. Still Leo hesitated. At last he decided to suspend all judgment. This in itself was a victory for Reuchlin. The cause of the embattled scholar became the cause of the innovators. Reuchlin’s nephew, Philip Melancthon, rejoiced as did the renowned Greek scholar, Desiderius Erasmus.

In 1517 Luther posted his 95 Theses. “Thanks be to God,” said the weary Reuchlin when he heard the news. “At last they have found a man who will give them so much to do that they will be compelled to let my old age end in peace.”

Thanks to Reuchlin, a host of essential Hebrew texts were preserved. His studies formed the basis for most of the better translations of the Old Testament–including Luther’s. And his influence assured Melancthon a position among the learned and a vital place in the Reformation.

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Dr. George Grant is the founder and president of King’s Meadow Study Center in Franklin, Tennessee.

For more info on Reuchlin, you can go to this page:

Christian Media Resources

For immediate release:

THE APOLOGETICS GROUP ANNOUNCES A
Newly Released DVD Presentation:

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of Historicity & Divinity of Christ

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Who is the real Jesus?

Since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archaeology 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 archaeology 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 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 specials that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts – perfect for individual, family and classroom study – viewers will introduced to the One who is “able to save to the uttermost” through “the power of an indestructible life.” (Heb. 7:16, 25) He is the real Jesus.

Featured Scholars:
Dr. George Grant (King’s Meadow Study Center)
Dr. Ted Baehr (Christian Film and Television Commission)
Dr. Stephen Mansfield (Bestselling author and historian)
Dr. Raymond C. Ortlund (Author and Old Testament scholar)
Dr. Jay Grimstead (International Council on Biblical Inerrancy)
Dr. Phillip G. Kayser (Biblical Blueprints)
David Lutzweiler (Lamplighter Educational Service)
James P. Holding (Tektonics Ministries)

Product Details
Producers: John Rogers & Eric Holmberg
Written and Directed: John Rogers
Studio: The Apologetics Group
Format: Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
Language: English
Running Time: 139 minutes
DVD Extras: Red Pill Forum “Who Is Jesus” by Erik Hollander and Eric Holmberg
Region: Region Free

Right now get 20% Off retail price!

To Order or for more information go to The Apologetics Group (TAG)
official website:

The Real Jesus DVD

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Amazing Grace – The History and Theology of Calvinism ReMastered

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This is anything but a dry treatise on theology. Clever analogies, thoughtful commentary by some of today’s great reformed theologians and creative production will keep you engaged… and as always, Eric Holmberg’s gentle, sure voice of reason breaks through even the most dense fog of doubt or misunderstanding about the great gospel truths of the doctrines of Grace. Dr. George Grant, the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, Dr. Stephen Mansfield, Dr. R.C. Sproul, and others lend their voices to this colloquium…

This is undoubtedly a superb study tool that takes the deep doctrines of the great reformers and breaks them down so well that anyone with even a rudimentary Bible knowledge can understand it. I believe this should become a standard part of any church-goers library, whether you’re a leader or a layman. Another great production from The Apologetics Group – Way to go, Eric!

( Eric Holmberg is the founder and director of The Apologetics Group/ Reel to Real Ministries. He has been in ministry for nearly 30 years and lives with his wife and 5 children in Middle Tennessee.

First released in 2004, the newly Remastered version of Amazing Grace – The History and Theology of Calvinism can be had at a fantastic discounted price at the Official Apologetics Group website… The Apologetics Group

To see a clip of this video go here: Amazing Grace : Jesus Christ’s Limited Atonement?

Happy Reformation Day!

With all the focus on costumes and candy, one would think that Halloween is the only significant event of any importance occurring on this date. But today is a day which had more impact on our history than almost any other besides the death and birth of Jesus. And not just for Christians, but for all Western Civilization as we know it.

On October 31st, in the year 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenburg, Germany. Because of his bold actions on that day and on others, the people were eventually set free from subservience to the papal doctrines of salvation by works.

After a particularly frightening experience during a thunderstorm in which he was almost struck by a lightning bolt, Luther became a monk. He faithfully practiced a life of fasting, prayer, confession and “holy” pilgrimages, as this was the practice of the day for Christians. But all this only served to make him more aware of his own inability to overcome his sinful nature.

“I lost hold of Christ the Savior and Comforter,” he once lamented, “and made of him a stock-master and hangman over my poor soul.” His Christian life had turned into a life of despair and uncertainty.

Having earned several high religious degrees and a teaching position by his early thirties, he came to the realization that, according to Scripture, Christians were justified by faith alone and not by works as the church of that day was teaching. He wrote a letter to Albert, the Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg protesting the sale of indulgences. With the letter, he included his 95 Theses, titled Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, which challenged the church to examine it’s doctrines of salvation and it’s practices for raising funds for building it’s churches.

Luther had come to believe that salvation was attainable through sincere faith in Jesus Christ as savior and not by works. By the end of 1571, the 95 Theses had been widely circulated throughout Europe. By 1520 Luther had published three of his best works. Three years after his letter and Theses were delivered, Rome responded to Luther’s writings with a papal bull calling for his excommunication unless he recanted particular written statements within 60 days. Luther burned the papal bull publicly in Wittenberg on the 10th of December, 1520, and was subsequently excommunicated on January 3rd, 1521.

While Luther remains a controversial figure because of some of his writings, his actions nonetheless were the pivotal point for all Christendom. It is a wonderfully liberating day to celebrate for anyone who calls Jesus their Lord and Savior.

Let’s share the gospel with those who come to our doors this evening seeking edible sweets – let them know of the sweetness of Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24-25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23-25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law, or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us … Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark 13:31).

Martin Luther, in the Schmalkald Articles

Luther After His Death - Photograph by Paul T. McCain

Bible Battles: King James vs. the Puritans

I thought this was an interesting article on the history of the KJV and how it became the “Authorized” version…
Done by the Religious Studies dept of the University of Wyoming.
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http://www.uwyo.edu/news/printrelease.asp?id=17721

Religion Today Column for Week of Oct. 7-13

(Religion Today is contributed by the University of Wyoming’s Religious Studies Program to examine and to promote discussion of religious issues.)

Bible Battles: King James vs. the Puritans

By Paul V.M. Flesher

King James VI of Scotland was raised as a Presbyterian. Even though his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, had been a Catholic, he was baptized by a Calvinist figure no less prominent than John Knox, sent by John Calvin to Scotland.

You would think that when James ascended to the English throne in 1603 that he would have been sympathetic to the English Puritans, for their beliefs also derived from Calvin and his teachings. Instead, within a year of becoming King James I of England, he initiated a project that would attack the Puritans. This project was a new Bible translation; he called it the Authorized Version, but in America it became known as the King James Version.

Why would a Bible translation have this effect? The answer lies in the character of the national English Church, the Anglicans, which derived from two important events in the 1530s.

First, John Calvin began preaching in Geneva. His increasingly popular ideas argued that all aspects of the Catholic Church had misled Christianity. From its theology and Bible to its hierarchy, ritual and pageantry, the Church needed to be reformed. He left the Catholic Church to form a new one following his teachings.

Second, King Henry VIII of England also broke with the Catholic Church in the 1530s. He was not interested in reform or even in theology; he just wanted a divorce. Since the Pope would not give him one, Henry declared that the English church would become independent, with himself as the Church’s head.

It was not until Queen Elizabeth I, Henry’s daughter who ruled from 1558 to 1603, that the Anglican Church underwent reform. Elizabeth set a tone of compromise early in her reign. The English would adopt some of Calvin’s theological positions, but they would keep the hierarchy and much of the ritual. The end result was a church with both Protestant and Catholic characteristics.

While many liked this compromise, there was a growing number who did not. These people became known as the Puritans. They did not like the compromise but wished instead to follow Calvin’s lead in banishing all Catholic elements from the church. They wished to “purify” Anglicanism.

The Puritans had their own Bible translation, the Geneva Bible. Not only was it small, and therefore inexpensive, but it also had extensive notes that explained biblical passages using Puritan theology. Since this Bible was the only book many people owned or read, it was effective in winning people over to Puritan theological beliefs and keeping them there.

Although most of the notes were innocuous or “merely” radical Calvinist theology, other notes argued against current political and religious structures. In particular, Calvinism believed in neither the divine right of kings to rule, a belief strongly promoted by James, nor that the church should be governed by bishops, but rather by presbyters elected by congregations. The former angered the king, while the latter incensed the Anglican hierarchy.

To combat this subversive Bible, James and the bishops decided to create a new Bible translation. James authorized the new translation with a decree that included several guidelines for the translators. The most significant of these was the command to have no notes in the text (apart from short remarks about translation from Hebrew or Greek). This stricture prevented remarks linking the biblical text to unwanted theological perspectives and political positions.

After the King James Version was published in 1611, the Geneva Bible was banned in England. Indeed, James made ownership of it a felony. The King James Bible became the pulpit Bible for Anglicans and inexpensive copies were published for sale to the masses. At first, it was not very popular; several of its early publishers went broke from poor sales.

The King James Version began to gain popularity only when different publishers began to add explanatory notes to the text, in direct opposition to James’ expressed wishes. The KJV became the most popular Bible version in 20th-century America when a set of notes written by Cyrus I. Scofield was added in 1909 and then revised in 1917 into the Scofield Reference Bible. These notes promote the theology of dispensationalism, based in part on Calvinist theology that James rejected, and have helped promote that theology’s popularity, just as the Geneva Bible promoted Puritan theology.

Flesher is director of UW’s Religious Studies Program. Past columns and more information about the program can be found on the Web at http://www.uwyo.edu/relstds.

To comment on this column, visit http://religion-today.blogspot.com. Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007