This solo episode looks at a handful of issues. We begin with an article by Herman Mehta who accuses a Christian author of calling all Atheists immoral. Are they? Or do they have no standard by which they can ground the morality they want to affirm? (I should have said, but didn't on the show that a denial of God is in itself an immoral act, but at the time I'll confess I was thinking of civic life, not the spiritual life. But yes, atheism is always immoral and atheists are always spiritually immoral so long as they deny God. But they can be civically moral by secular legal standards.) We also look at if religion is keeping abortion legal by ghettoizing the cause and a Super Bowl of Bible Stories.
Well, I did it again. I way outpunched my weight class and I had three wonderful guests on Sin Boldly to look at the critical question of Church Growth in the Church today. I was honored to be joined by a literal titan of church growth, Dr. Gary McIntosh of the Talbot School of Theology, Karl Vaters, author of "The Grasshopper Myth", and Houston's own Eugene Wilson. All three have looked at the issues of church growth generally, the Church Growth Movement specifically, and the benefit and role of small churches in the Kingdom of God for many years. I had hoped to go longer given the collected wisdom, but I believe a sequel is in the works already and perhaps even a conference...we'll see. Many thanks again to Gary, Karl and Eugene.
I was joined to start the show by Pr. Steve Gjerde who offered his thoughts on the two-year daily lectionary, a great help in learning the grand sweep of the Bible. The rest of the show looked at an article written that day by titular Lutheran Garrison Keillor on the inauguration of President Trump, the common evolutionary view of religion, and "The Exorcist" author William Blatty's two regrets upon his recent death.
I was delighted to be joined by Neal Harmon, the CEO of VidAngel, a streaming service that allows extensive filtering of non-family-friendly content. VidAngel is fighting an important lawsuit that could be critical for streaming law in the future. For those of us who want the right to be able to filter streamed content, its an interesting service. I was also joined by new friend and pastor Jess Knauft. We continued our conversation on the charismata, really looking here at the question of tongues. Is this gift still around? How should it be employed. Thanks to both guests for their generosity.
This show is a rundown of a handful of issues. We look at the staggering number of Christians who died for their faith in 2016, the top 5 heresies of 2016 (poor Andy Stanley!), Mark Zuckerberg's newfound "religion", a bizarre article about people marrying themselves (yes, marrying themselves), and a pretty controversial article about whether Christians should partake of women fighting in the UFC.
This episode looks at Christmas reflections by people of three faiths: Jewish, Christian, and atheist. (Yes, atheists have faith.) There's also a slight detour in there about the logic behind arguing the pro-choice position because we aren't equipped to care for "unwanted" babies. A guest-free smattering, you might say. Merry Christmas season!
I was joined by Eric Hernandez and Spencer Hawkins to talk about the reasons that Eric could never be an atheist. After a bit of a late start and some technical difficulties, we had an interesting conversation. It focused on whether evolution can produce true beliefs or if atheists necessarily have a defeater for their own views, and then a look at substance dualism. You'll see I was outgunned, so I mainly let the experts do the talking. Learn more about Eric at www.erichernandezministries.com and check out Spencer's book here.
What a pleasure it was to be joined by best-selling author Dr. Larry Schweikart to take a look at his own work and contrast it to Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. If you're not familiar with it, Zinn's magnum opus is the virtual bible of left wing American history. Schweikart examines the nature of history and specific claims that Zinn and others make about America and asks if they're accurate. He also makes a passionate plea for American exceptionalism and looks at the pillars that make her so. Many thanks to Dr. Schweikart for being a guest on the show!
Alex and Carey from Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) stop by to discuss abolitionism. What are the differences between an abolitionist and a pro-lifer? What do they experience when they speak at abortion clinics (mills)? Why is abortion even wrong? Those are just a few of the interesting and thought-provoking questions we tackle when taking on the subject of abortion. Thanks to Alex and Carey for stopping in, especially on short notice! Learn more at www.abolishhumanabortion.com.
This solo episode looks at a phrase that is remarkably mainstream now: white supremacy. It seems if you're white and a little right of center, you're probably a white supremacist, even if you're not a Nazi or member of the KKK. Why has this phrase found a renaissance? What is meant by it? Is white supremacy really the definitional problem in America? There is so much that one could say, but I simply tried to summarize the meaning and offer what I think is really going on.
Many thanks to David Bahnsen of The Bahnsen Group for taking the time to talk about his father's (Greg Bahnsen) legacy and the relationship between capitalism and Christianity. Having read and come to know a small fraction of his father's work, I was curious as to what he was like as a man. And given that David lives in the world of wealth management, I wanted to spend time talking about what was actually so good about capitalism and wrong, even evil, about socialism. Thanks again to David for his generosity.
Christian (Presuppositional) Apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate (www.proofthatGodexists.org) stops in to take a look at a different way of thinking about our knowledge of God. Do we immediately know that God exists, or mediately know that God exists? Is it knowledge that every person possesses by virtue of their nature, or is it knowledge all people come to because it is so easily seen by natural revelation? We also look at how we can be certain of anything, and how we can know we can trust the Bible as a foundation for all knowledge. It was heady stuff for me, to be sure! Many thanks again to my brother in Christ Sye for sharing his time and expertise!
Does God love everyone? In what way does he, if so? I was delighted to be joined by two very well known guests, Christian apologist Matt Slick and philosopher Jerry L. Walls. Walls' new book, "Does God Love Everyone" offers a stinging critique of Calvinism as a system that must admit that God simply doesn't love all people. Where does this leave the Calvinist, then, in understanding God? And is it in accordance with the scriptures? This debate got a little heated as both thinkers are passionate about their positions. Thanks to both for their time and their expertise in these matters!
Have the charismatic gifts ceased? It's an interesting question that bears on Christ's Church this very day. Two Lutherans, myself and Pastor Jess Knauft of Immanuel Lutheran in Redondo Beach, CA, look at the ways in which particular gifts have ceased, whether the canon is closed, and if the office of Apostle is still open to the Church. We still have a lot left to discuss, but it was an interesting back and forth to get the ball rolling. Thanks Jess!
And sorry in advance for the blowout at the beginning. I promise the level was low but for some reason, the recording level was quite high. I guess better too high than too low...
In this solo episode, I look at a handful of related stories: Pope Benedict XVI's comment's about the church tax in Germany, evangelical's public support for Donald Trump, and the trouble with speculating about what Bonhoeffer would do. Well, they're kind of related.
Dr. Steven Pena of Saint Thomas University joined me to take a look at philosophy and faith. Yes, its a big topic, and as I am not a philosopher, we discussed some of the big issues at an introductory level. We also looked at the role of revelation in coming to know if God exists...yeah, it does matter. Like, a lot. Thanks to Dr. Pena for coming on!
Many thanks to writer and filmmaker Rena Montedoro for joining me to take a look at the Church of Wells, a controversial church in a small Texas town that has managed to gather a lot of publicity, often for bad reasons. Rena's film to be released in the future is called Machine, and you can learn about it here. We take a look at this small congregation and ask if it is a cult, and what makes something a cult in general. This congregation often has a presence at conferences and college campuses, and is a church we should definitely keep our eye on. Thanks again Rena for your time!
Katherine Ozment, author of Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose and Belonging in a Secular Age, joins me to discuss the "Nones" or those no longer affiliated with any religious identity at all. Questions of worldview abound as well as what turns people off from religion. Is there a real hope that the Nones can become a unified group with meeting communities of their own? Can Christianity be effectively replaced?
A brief look at Zechariah, chapters 7 and 8 which are sermons Zechariah offered to the people of Israel. There's plenty of application here, namely, what kind of nation will America be if we believe we can rebuild? Worthy of thought as we watch presidential debates...
This sermon looks at a combination of texts that address the topic of money. It also looks at how spoiled we are generally in terms of making demands on God for sufficient revelation and grace.
Buddy Griffin visited over 100 congregations as an anonymous church shopper. He followed the same protocol very time. He documented his findings in his book "What in Heaven is Going on at Church?" He joined me to talk about the book, all the things churches do wrong, and what they do right.
The title says it all...
This sermon looks at 1 Timothy 2:1-7 wherein Paul encourages Christians to pray for kings, and he says that God desires to save all men...or is it all kinds of men? The Gospel lesson is the curious teaching of the dishonest manager with the takeaway (among many to choose from) being that our honesty or dishonesty in small things has bearing on the large things.
Sermon for Pentecost 17.
This Adult Sunday School class looks at Zechariah, Chapters 3 and 4.