Quick to Listen

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Each week the editors of Christianity Today go beyond hashtags and hot-takes and set aside time to explore the reality behind a major cultural event.

Episode Date
Does God Really Want Missionaries to Risk Their Lives?
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On Saturday, a gang kidnapped 17 North American missionaries in Haiti as the party returned from an orphanage in a suburb of Port-au-Prince. Since then, the group, known as 400 Mawozo, has demanded a ransom of $17 million for the victims, who include five men, seven women, and five children. While many locals have been kidnapped in recent years as security on the country’s roads has been increasingly threatened, this incident has drawn significant international attention. This kidnapping comes roughly two months after US troops withdrew from Afghanistan. America’s departure and the chaos that ensued led many expats, including aid workers and missionaries, to leave the country. Anna Hampton is the author of Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk, which is based on her doctoral dissertation at Trinity Seminary in Newburg. She’s been in full-time ministry for 28 years, more than 17 of those years in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and other parts of Central Asia and the Middle East. She and her family are now based in the US, but still doing work in Central Asia, so Anna Hampton is a pseudonym. Hampton joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss how the Bible discusses risk, what has shaped Western Christians’ perspectives on this issue, and how saviorism affects how we make these decisions. What is Quick to Listen? Read more. Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow this week's hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 22, 2021
What ‘Ted Lasso’ Understands About Redemption
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Season 1 and Season 2 spoilers ahead. The second season of Ted Lasso ends with an image of Nate. The once kitman, recently promoted Greyhounds assistant coach is not wearing Richmond attire as we see him lead team exercises on the pitch. Instead, he’s in all black, staring at the camera, as we realize he’s the head coach of Westham United, the team recently purchased by season one nemesis Rupert Mannion. Just minutes before, we’ve watched Nate verbally berate Ted during halftime in a game that could put Richmond back in the Premiere League. Nate’s arc, from neglected staff member to dismissive and arrogant coach, who struggles with self-loathing and insecurity, is just one of the themes we want to discuss. But a show known for the kindness and forgiveness of its characters also had much to say this year about toxic masculinity and father and son relationships. The program has also had much to say about actions and consequences, except that we feel that there were a few oversights here this season. Marybeth Baggett is professor of English and Cultural Apologetics at Houston Baptist University and an associate editor for Christ and Pop Culture. Her 2019 book Morals of the Story received a CT Award of Merit in our Book Awards. And she’s working on a book about the philosophy of Ted Lasso with her husband, who is also at Houston Baptist. Baggett joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how the show defines redemption, why it focused so much on father-son relationships, and what Nate can teach Christians about love.What is Quick to Listen? Read more. Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow this week's hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Read Morgan’s Ted Lasso article: ‘Ted Lasso’ Won’t Settle for Shallow Optimism Follow our guest on Twitter: Marybeth Davis Baggett Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 15, 2021
What Francis Collins Changed for Christians in Science
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This week, Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, announced that he would retire at the end of the year. An evangelical Christian who previously worked as the head of the Human Genome Project, Collins’ 2009 appointment still drew scorn. From a 2010 profile in the New Yorker: Collins read in the Times that many of his colleagues in the scientific community believed that he suffered from “dementia.” Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard, questioned the appointment on the ground that Collins was “an advocate of profoundly anti-scientific beliefs.” P. Z. Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota at Morris, complained, “I don’t want American science to be represented by a clown.” Nevertheless, Collins served under three presidential administrations. During the pandemic, Collins has spoken out a number of times in his efforts to dispel misconceptions about the virus and vaccine.  Prior to his term at the NIH, Collins was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also wrote the best-selling book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, which won a CT Book Award.  Elaine Howard Ecklund joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss Collins’s legacy in the scientific and Christian communities. What is Quick to Listen? Read more . Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow this week's hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 09, 2021
Did We Get Tammy Faye Wrong?
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In this third decade of the 21st century, we’ve seen a lot of religious scandals, with Christian leaders abusing their power and position. Too many. Nevertheless, still to this day when you say the words religious scandal—more often than not folks will think of two television personalities of the 1970s and ’80s: Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. The “Jim and Tammy” show was the basis of what became a massive ministry and theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina. It was called PTL, an abbreviation that stood both for Praise the Lord and for People That Love. Then came revelations that PTL had been massively and illegally misusing funds, diverting church funds to pay for their extravagant lifestyle and selling more lifetime vacations at the theme park than the theme park could possibly support. At about the same time, The Charlotte Observer also revealed that Jim Bakker had been engaging in extramarital sex and that ministry funds had been used for hush money. The Assemblies of God kicked them out of the denomination. Jim Bakker went to jail. During Jim’s imprisonment, the couple divorced. Tammy Faye, meanwhile, became a kind of campy celebrity, appearing in a VH1 reality TV show, hosting a syndicated talk show, and becoming a kind of gay icon. In the year 2000, seven years before her death, a documentary came out called The Eyes of Tammy Faye, narrated by drag queen star RuPaul. Last week, a biopic based on that documentary came out with the same title: The Eyes of Tammy Faye. It’s directed by Michael Showalter, stars Jessica Chastain, and is getting a fair bit of buzz for its highly sympathetic portrayal of Tammy Faye as a misunderstood and maligned Christian woman. Christianity Today’s Ted Olsen and Kate Shellnutt talked about Tammy Faye’s enduring appeal with Leah Payne, associate professor of theology at George Fox University and Portland Seminary. She is author of Gender and Pentecostal Revivalism, is working on a book on CCM for Oxford University Press and cohosts the Weird Religion podcast. What is Quick to Listen? Read more. Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts. Follow the podcast on Twitter. Follow this week's hosts on Twitter: Ted Olsen and Kate Shellnutt. Follow our guest, Leah Payne. Music by Sweeps. Quick to Listen was produced this week by Ted Olsen and Matt Linder. The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 24, 2021
Drones Have Changed the Moral Calculus for War
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On August 29, as American troops were accelerating their pullout from Afghanistan, the U.S. military ordered its last drone strike in the 20 year war. The missile destroyed a parked car that military officials said was operated by an Islamic State sympathizer, and contained explosives for a suicide attack on the Kabul airport, where American forces and civilians had gathered for evacuation. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told a news conference, “We think that the procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike.” Last week, separate investigations from The New York Times and The Washington Post questioned those assertions, reporting that the driver was Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime engineer for the California-based aid group Nutrition and Education International. The supposed explosives, said the Times, were canisters of water Ahmadi was bringing home to his family because Taliban’s takeover of the city had cut off his neighborhood’s water. The Times also reported that 10 members of the Ahmadi family were killed in the Hellfire missile attack, including seven children. General Milley told reporters, “We went through the same level of rigor that we've done for years. Yes, there are others killed. Who they are, we don't know. We'll try to sort through all that.” The British-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has counted that the US military conducted more than 13,000 drone strikes in Afghanistan over the years, with at least 4,126 people killed, including at least 300 civilians and 66 children. Drone policies changed over the years under during different presidencies. As did the way the US counted civilian deaths by drone strikes. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has a dramatically higher count for civilians killed in Afghanistan by drones: more than 2,000, with more 785 of them children. If accurate, that would mean that about 40 percent of civilians killed by drones in Afghanistan were children. It appears that drone warfare will continue to play a major role in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, President Biden promised Islamic State—or ISIS-K, “We are not done with you yet. … We will hunt you down to the ends of the Earth, and you will pay the ultimate price.” But without troops in the country, that hunting will almost certainly be done mostly through unmanned aircraft. Back in 2011, CT ran a story asking “Is it wrong to kill by remote control?” This week, we want to revisit that question. Our guest this week is Paul D. Miller, is professor of the practice of international affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He earlier served in the US army, the CIA, and on the National Security Council staff as director for Afghanistan and Pakistan. These days, in addition to his post at Georgetown, he is a research fellow with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and is author of Just War and Ordered Liberty, published earlier this year from Cambridge University Press. Among that book’s chapters is one one on the ethics of drone warfare. Quick to Listen listeners may also remember Dr. Miller from our January episode on Christian Nationalism. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow this week's hosts on Twitter: Ted Olsen and Andy Olsen Follow our guest Paul D. Miller Music by Sweeps. Quick to Listen was produced this week by Ted Olsen and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 17, 2021
Did 9/11 Change How Evangelicals See Muslims?
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This year marks 20 years since 19 men hijacked four planes, driving two of the aircraft into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one into a field in Pennsylvania, after several of the passengers fought back. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people and left 25,000 people injured and were organized by Osama bin Laden, who used his faith as justification for the attacks. Several days after September 11, 2001, President Bush addressed the country: These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it's important for my fellow Americans to understand that. The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Koran, itself: In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil. For that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule. The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war. When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that's made brothers and sisters out of every race. Under the Bush administration, the US initiated the “War on Terror” which carried out a number of military inventions around the world to fight Islamic extremism, which included invading and occupying two majority Muslim nations, Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, all of this political rhetoric and direct action had significant consequences for how the country and church engaged Muslims domestically and internationally.Thomas Kidd is the author of American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism (Princeton University Press, 2008) and works at Baylor University where is a distinguished professor of history, the James Vardaman endowed professor of history and the associate director of Institute for Studies of Religion. His most recent book is Who Is an Evangelical?: The History of a Movement in Crisis. Kidd joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss how American evangelicals interacted with Muslim before 9/11 and what has changed since. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest Thomas Kidd Music by Sweeps. Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 10, 2021
Wisdom, Folly, and Taking Ivermectin to Treat COVID-19
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In recent weeks, some Americans sick with COVID-19 have been looking for a cure from a very unorthodox source: ivermectin. Here’s how the Food and Drug Administration described the situation in a letter to veterinarians and animal health retailers this week: People are purchasing various highly concentrated animal ivermectin drug formulations such as “pour-on,” injectable, paste, and “drench” that are intended for horses, cattle, and sheep, and taking these drugs has made some people very sick. Even if animal drugs have the same active ingredient as an approved human drug, animal drugs have not been evaluated for safety or effectiveness in humans. Treating human medical conditions with veterinary drugs can be very dangerous. The drug may not work at all, or it could worsen the illness and/or lead to serious, potentially life-threatening health complications. People should not take products approved for veterinary use, “for research only,” or otherwise not for human consumption. Fox News as well as other conservative news outlets and radio personalities have promoted this cure. Among those was Phil Valentine, who recently died from COVID-19. He also was not vaccinated and urged his listeners to resist the vaccine. What are people looking to such unusual and potentially dangerous forms of treatment? Do people know when they’re acting foolishly...or becoming a fool? Dominick Hérnandez is associate professor of Old Testament at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University and author of Proverbs: Pathways to Wisdom. Hérnandez joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss fools, folly, and how the book of Proverbs might help us in our current environment where we see people all around us making decisions that make no sense to us. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest: Dominick Hérnandez Music by Sweeps. Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 03, 2021
Slow to Speak: Listeners React to Our Critical Race Theory Episode
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Here's a special, stand-alone Slow to Speak where guest host Kate Shellnutt joins Morgan Lee to read over listener feedback from Episode 271: Critical Race Theory: What Christians Need to Know. If you have feedback for us about any episode, we'd love to hear from you. You can email us at podcasts@christianitytoday.com. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Kate Shellnutt Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 31, 2021
Is the Quest for ‘Meaningful Work’ a Scam?
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This spring and summer, a lot of headlines about the economy sang a similar tune: From CNN: Why American workers don't want to go back to normal The Wall Street Journal: Job Openings Are at Record Highs. Why Aren’t Unemployed Americans Filling Them? The New York Times: Why Aren’t People Going Back to Their Jobs? The Washington Post: It’s not a ‘labor shortage.’ It’s a great reassessment of work in America. Across the country, hundreds of companies and businesses, many of them in the hospitality and service industry, were searching for employees. And they weren’t finding them. Some state governments began to halt the federal government’s unemployment funds, worried that the cash was disincentivizing unemployed people from working. Companies and businesses began to raise salaries and add benefits. But many people weren’t persuaded; they weren’t going back to their pre-pandemic line of work. One restaurant worker in Austin told The Washington Post: “The staffing issue has actually a lot more to do with the conditions that the industry was in before covid and people not wanting to go back to that, knowing what they would be facing with a pandemic on top of it. People are forgetting that restaurant workers have actually experienced decades of abuse and trauma. The pandemic is just the final straw.” Many of us, especially those of us who are professionals, may believe our work matters...or at least it ought to. We’ve heard Christian leaders make the case for work glorifying God and theological arguments being made to stir us to good work. But is this always the case? Has this framework, instead, ever been used to dehumanize and exploit workers? Luke Bobo serves as vice president of networks for Made to Flourish, a ministry that helps pastors and churches better understand work, and economics in light of their faith. He is the author of Living Salty and Light Filled Lives in the Workplace, A Layperson’s Guide to Biblical Interpretation, and Race, Economics and Apologetics. Bobo joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss if the Bible’s instructions about work make sense today, what is different about work in this moment, and how to navigate the additional abuse and exhaustion the pandemic has brought on. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest Luke Bobo Music by Sweeps. Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 27, 2021
'My Heart Is Broken’: An Afghan Pastor Grapples with the US Withdrawal
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Earlier this year, Joe Biden announced that after close to 20 years, the United States would be withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. Last week, as the military began its exit, the Taliban was ready and within days had seized control of the country. The ascent sparked widespread fear and led to thousands arriving at the airport only to find their flights out of the country had been canceled. Some even grabbed a hold of the aircraft in desperation. Biden defended the decision, arguing that Afghanistan’s leaders "gave up and fled the country." He also said: "The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight. If anything, the developments in the past week reinforced ending that US military involvement Afghanistan now was the right decision.” He did concede: "The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.” As the government fell, it was not clear if the US had done anything to protect those who had worked with the military as translators. Plans to resettle Afghans as refugees seemed to be formulated in real time. The rights of women and girls which were suppressed under the Taliban’s previous time in power also appeared in jeopardy. And the lives of Christians, who according to official numbers only make up a miniscule number of the country’s nearly 40 million people, seem in peril as well. David Paiman is an Afghan pastor and evangelist. You can follow his ministry here. Paiman joined global media manager Morgan Lee and news editor Daniel Silliman to discuss how he converted from Islam to Christianity, the withdrawal’s consequences for the church in Afghanistan, and how we can best support the country and people during this time. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow David’s ministry on Facebook Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 20, 2021
Paul's Advice on Letting Conscience Be Your Guide on Vaccines and Masks
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This week, the Christian Post reprinted a blog by Samuel Sey, a Canadian writer, entitled, “Why I am not getting the vaccine.” Sey’s essay didn’t address the scientific concerns he has with the vaccines, though he says he has hired a fitness trainer and is working on maintaining a healthier diet. But the piece is largely in response to several Canadian provinces instituting vaccine passports. When our governments infringe on some of our rights without any significant or collective pressure for them to stop, we tempt them to violate all our rights and freedoms.That is partly why I am not getting the vaccine. The more our governments and culture attempt to force me to get the vaccine, the more unwilling I am to get it. I want our politicians and public health officials to convince me to get the vaccine. I don’t want them to coerce me into getting it.After all, if I violate my conscience concerning the vaccine because of social pressure, that will surely make me vulnerable to violating my conscience on other issues because of social pressure. Sey’s arguments echo those of many who have argued that their conscience has been violated by vaccine mandates, mask mandates, or church closures. Of course, others might argue that implementing or following these decisions or policies enables them to follow their convictions. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss our consciences: when are they reliable? When are they not reliable? And how should we react when someone following their conscience seemingly violates our own? Julien C. H. Smith is associate professor of humanities and theology at Valparaiso University’s Christ College, and author of the new book Paul and the Good Life: Transformation and Citizenship in the Commonwealth of God. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 13, 2021
Rerun: The Fire This Time: How Climate Change Shifts Our Understanding of Suffering
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Due to production issues, we are not running a new podcast today. Instead, we are replaying a unfortunately, once-again-timely episode we recorded last year about California’s devastating forest fires. We’ll see you all next week with a fresh episode. Unless you’ve actually been in an area where you can look out your window and see the view with your own eyes, by now you’ve caught images of an orange sky coming from West Coast. For the past week, hundreds of miles of California, Oregon, Washington, and neighboring states have been covered in smokey air as forest fires rage, driving thousands of people from their homes. More than a dozen people have died in these historically catastrophic fires.As climate change has increasingly worsened fire season, it’s changed how Paige Parry, associate professor of Biology at George Fox University, makes sense of these disasters.“ We know that humans are what’s contributing to the fires,” said Parry. “So in my head, that makes my response and the questions that I ask very different than maybe a disaster that's truly natural and not influenced at all by human action.”Parry, a quantitative forest ecologist, has spent most of her life and research in the West.“ Within this context of feeling like we have so little control over the situations that are unfolding here on the West Coast and feeling like we're just victims of these fires ravaging, there's a part of me that also recognizes that our collective actions and choices have in some ways likely contributed to the situation that we've found ourselves in, which I think leaves us to wrestle with it in a very different way,” she said. Parry joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss why these fires have grown increasingly worse, what types of consequences the fires have even after they’ve been extinguished, and how a Christian response to fires may look different in the wake of climate change. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Learn more about our guest: Paige Parry Visit our guest’s website: The Parry Lab Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Leeand Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 07, 2021
Before Simone Biles Becomes Christians' Next Sports Metaphor
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After one vault on Tuesday, Simone Biles took herself out of the US gymnastics women’s team competition. A day later, she withdrew from the all-around, “in order to focus on her mental health,” read a statement on the USA Gymnastics' Twitter account. Simone also blamed the twisties, where, as the Washington Post describes, athletes “lose control of their bodies as they spin through the air. Sometimes they twist when they hadn’t planned to. Other times they stop midway through, as Biles did. And after experiencing the twisties once, it’s very difficult to forget. Instinct gets replaced by thought. Thought quickly leads to worry. Worry is difficult to escape.” While the majority of fans have reacted to Biles’ departure from these marquee competitions with support, it did draw scorn from some, who see her decision not to compete as quitting or a cop out. As with everything else these days, Biles’ decision became part of the culture wars. And no doubt her decision will make its way into countless sermon illustrations this weekend. This week on the show, we wanted to talk about how our discussion of elite athletics shapes the way we think about Christian discipleship. And when we hear words like sacrifice and redemption in our culture, it’s most often in a sports context. How is that shaping the way the church is talking about those words? Brian Gamel is a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor University’s Faith and Sports Institute, where he is writing a book on athletic imagery in the New Testament. He also wrote a piece for Christian Scholar’s Review earlier this year called “‘Whoever Wishes to Become Great’ – Sports, Glory, and the Gospel.” Tim Dalrymple is the CEO and editor in chief of Christianity Today. He is also a former elite gymnast: When he was a sophomore at Stanford, he was the NCAA’s top-ranked gymnast and a likely Olympics contender, until an accident on the high bar broke his neck and ended his athletic career. Gamel and Dalrymple joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss Paul’s athletic metaphors, a biblical theology of the body and sport, and what it means to actually support athletes in your church.What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow Tim Dalrymple on Twitter Email our guest: Brian_Gamel@baylor.edu Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 30, 2021
Billionaires Are Traveling to Space. Should Christians Celebrate?
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This Tuesday, Amazon founder and the richest man on the planet, Jeff Bezos, entered space for the first time. This was the virgin flight for Blue Origin, the space travel company that Bezos founded, and lasted 10 minutes and 10 seconds. Bezos's trip came just days after billionaire Richard Branson reached the edge of space on board his Virgin Galactic rocket plane. The company currently has more than 600 reservations, a trip that costs his commercial passengers, $250,000 apiece. The company hopes to launch to the public next year. While the White House called Bezos’s flight a “moment of American exceptionalism,” others have been less than thrilled to see the wealthiest in the country head into the heavens.  “Watching the coverage of the billionaires going to space and the notion that it may pave the way for all of us to go in the future. Can I just ask why they think everyone would want to go to space for 8 minutes? And how is this a good use of millions of $? How bout curing cancer?,” wrote former World Vision head Richard Stearns in a series of tweets. “It is estimated that Bezos spent $5.5 billion to achieve his space flight. That same amount of money could have brought clean water to 110 million people who currently have no access. It could also have given a $4000 raise to every one of Amazon’s 1.3mm employees.” After his flight, Bezos thanked “every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer. Because you guys paid for all this.” Bezos says he funds Blue Origin by selling $1 billion of Amazon stock annually. Mark J. Shelhamer is former chief scientist of NASA’s Human Research Program. He is professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, at Johns Hopkins University, where he is also director of the Human Spaceflight Lab. He most recently also became the director and founder of the Bioastronautics@Hopkins initiative. Shelhamer has been involved in human spaceflight research since the 1980s and serves as an adviser to commercial spaceflight federation. Shelhamer joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss whether Christians should celebrate billionaires in space, why not everyone was a fan of spaceflight when it first took off, and and how working in this industry has affected his relationship with God. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Read an essay from Mark Shelhamer Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 22, 2021
Why Some Indigenous Christians Still Have Hope in the Church
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Half a dozen Canadian churches have been set on fire or burned down this summer. This arson has come at a time when multiple mass graves have been found across the nation on the grounds of now-defunct residential schools. Operated by multiple churches, including the Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and United, the Canadian schools were part of a 20th-century government program to assimilate its First Nation community. The government forced students to attend, separating them from their families at a young age. Once there, they were forbidden from speaking their native language and punished severely if they ran away. Many died at the school from disease and suffered from hunger and physical abuse. The trauma brought on by these schools has carried on for generations. Much of it was shared during a Truth and Reconciliation Commission where survivors told stories of their time. Jimmy Thunder teaches indigenous ministry at Horizon College and Seminary in Saskatoon and is the founder of Reconciliation Thunder, a nonprofit focused on helping leaders respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. Thunder joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss the Christian history of Canadian residential schools and learn how many First Nation people regard Christianity today. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Learn more about Reconciliation Thunder Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 16, 2021
After the President's Assassination, What Haitian Christians Really Need from the Western Church
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On Wednesday, Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated. His death came after protesters had demanded his departure for months. Moïse had governed the country of 11 million by decree, even as constitutional scholars and legal experts argued that his term in office had already expired. While the country has long struggled with poverty and unrest, the situation had been exacerbated in recent months as violent gangs had kidnapped children and pastors. Haiti first became a nation after its enslaved population overthrew their French enslavers. But Western nations, scared lest they send the wrong message to the enslaved, launched a trade boycott against the country, greatly impoverishing it for decades. During the 20th century, the US occupied the island from 1915 to 1934. After it left, the country endured several dictatorships and western powers-supported government overthrows.The country has also not been rebuilt after an earthquake devastated it in 2011.Guenson and Claudia Charlot are co-pastors of Discipleship Evangelical Church. Guenson is the president of Emmaus University of Haiti and Claudia is the director of Hand Up Micro Credit. The Charlots joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss how Haiti’s hard history has affected its theology, what keeps the church going in the midst of political and socioeconomic despair, and how American missions organizations have helped and hurt the island. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 09, 2021
Critical Race Theory: What Christians Need to Know
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Christians should be afraid of critical race theory. That’s the message that a number of conservative Christian leaders have shared in recent months. Last fall, the presidents of the five Southern Baptist seminaries issued a statement saying that “affirmation of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality and any version of Critical Theory” is incompatible with the Baptist Faith and Message, the denomination’s core beliefs. This anxiety made CRT a main focus at the denomination’s recent gathering. In recent years, some evangelicals have identified critical race theory as an ascendent ideology in the church that is fundamentally at odds with Christian faith. This anxiety has been mirrored by many conservatives at large and the debate over this ideology has moved from the previous president’s public disgust of the ideology to state legislature measures that would ban it in schools. All of this comes months after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have once again spurred both conversations about how the church ought to respond to racial injustice but also how the church should discuss this reality. One recurring concern for some Christians: that their fellow believers have adopted the worldview and talking points of critical race theory and Marxism. Over time, these charges have been lobbed by Christians at Christians, the latter of whom often feel like this language mischaracterizes the movement, miscasts their efforts, or unfairly shuts down conversations without a hard look at the issues actually at stake. D.A. Horton directs the intercultural studies program at Cal Baptist and serves as associate teaching pastor at The Grove Community Church in Riverside, California. His 2019 book, Intensional, presents a “kingdom” view of ethnic divisions and reconciliation. Horton has written a four-part series on Ed Stetzer’s blog, The Exchange, about CRT and Christian missions. Horton joined global media manager Morgan Lee and senior news editor Kate Shellnutt to discuss what critical race theory is, why it unnerves some Christians, and what can be done to help Christians stop talking past each other when it comes to addressing the reality of racial injustice. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Kate Shellnutt Follow our guest on Twitter: D.A. Horton Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 02, 2021
The Story of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Matters in 2021
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On October 14, 2014, Pastor Mark Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill, the Seattle-based church he had founded and led since 1996. Driscoll gained national attention for the popularity of his church in a largely secular part of the US, but also for his own brash, at times crude, irreverent, and caustic temperament. For years, to the public, this largely manifested in his sermons. But over time, rumors of his abusive leadership style began to emerge. Upon accepting his resignation, Mars Hill Church’s board of overseers stated that Driscoll had “been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner," but had "never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy. Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership.”Prior to his resignation, church planting network Acts 29 had removed Driscoll, its founder, from leadership and Driscoll had also apologized for previous controversy, including plagiarism and making crude comments. After he stepped down, Mars Hill church disbanded, with many of the sites closing or becoming their own independent church. Today, Driscoll leads Trinity Church in Scottsdale, which he founded in 2016. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to revisit this story, partially because it’s the topic of a new Christianity Today twelve-part podcast called The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. But also because so many elements of this story remain influential in how the evangelical world works today. Mike Cosper is CT’s director of podcasts and the host of Cultivated and The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. Cosper joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss how masculinity played a role in Mars Hill’s popularity, why polity mattered to its success and struggles, and what happened to the church after its celebrity pastor departed. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Mike Cosper Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 24, 2021
Critical Race Theory, Sex Abuse, and Southern Baptists
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More than 16,000 Southern Baptists met in Nashville this week for their convention’s annual meeting. The largest crowd in a quarter century, the meeting attracted significant mainstream media attention as tensions over critical race theory and sexual abuse went public. On Tuesday, Alabama pastor Ed Litton won a run-off to become the next president of the denomination. He faced Georgia pastor Mike Stone, a candidate supported by the Conservative Baptist Network, a group which has campaigned actively against perceived liberal drift and “woke” theology in the denomination. On Wednesday, a resolution to investigate 20 years of allegations of abuse claims mishandled by the Executive Committee was approved. It will also examine the two-year-old committee tasked with reviewing abuse and coverup as grounds for dismissal from the convention.This week on Quick to Listen, we will get into the inside baseball of this year’s Southern Baptist Convention meeting and why it matters for Christians outside of the denomination. Senior news editor Kate Shellnutt joined global media manager Morgan Lee and news editor Daniel Silliman to share what she learned from covering the convention this week.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Daniel Silliman Follow our guest on Twitter: Gerardo Martí Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 18, 2021
Rick Warren Mastered the Formula for Suburban Church Growth
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After more than 40 years leading Saddleback Church, Rick Warren has announced his retirement. “This is not the end of my ministry,” Warren told his congregants on Sunday. “It’s not even the beginning of the end. … We’re going to take one step at a time in the timing of God. … God has already blessed me more than I could ever possibly imagine. I don’t deserve any of it, and so this next transition in my life is something I am anticipating with zero regrets, zero fears, zero worries.” The Southern California-based megachurch has begun looking for Warren’s successor.Warren’s ministry has had national and international significance. He is the author of the best-selling The Purpose Driven Life. He championed evangelicals fighting AIDS overseas. After his son died of suicide in 2013, he and his wife Kay began a mental health ministry. Overall, Warren’s ministry has not been as polemical as many of his fellow Southern Baptist church leaders. But he faced controversy after praying at Obama’s 2008 inauguration after he campaigned against same sex marriage that same election cycle. Several months ago, he apologized for Saddleback’s children’s Sunday school curriculum video which used Asian culture stereotypes to teach kids about the Bible. Last month, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Al Mohler criticized Saddleback after it ordained three women as pastors. Gerardo Martí is professor of sociology at Davidson College and the author of numerous well regarded books, including The Deconstructed Church, American Blindspot, and The Glass Church. Martí joined global media manager Morgan Lee and news editor Daniel Silliman to discuss Southern California evangelicalism, how Warren reached the suburbs by looking at amusement parks, and what informed his political strategy during Trump’s presidency. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Daniel Silliman Follow our guest on Twitter: Gerardo Martí Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 11, 2021
Why Chinese Christians Don’t Talk About Family Planning
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China has expanded the number of children married couples can have to three. Home to nearly 1.4 billion people—or more than one billion more people than the US—the country is anxious about its future. Under its current demographic trajectory, China’s labor force is shrinking, numbers which concern economists and government officials. China first began to regulate its population in the late 1970s, under what become known as the one-child policy, although two-child exceptions were made to ethnic minorities and Han families in rural areas who had daughters first. In 2015, the government began to allow all families to have two children. Despite these changes to the law, births have fallen for four years in a row. And many share similar concerns about the lack of family leave and cost of daycare that American families do. In its announcement, the Communist party pledged to improve maternity leave and workplace protections for married couples seeking more children. Raymond Yang has been a house church pastor for 27 years. He is currently enrolled in a PhD program at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University and is a licensed counselor based in northeast China. He has done marriage and family counseling for more than 10 years. Yang joined global media manager Morgan Lee and senior news editor Kate Shellnutt to discuss why abortion is prevalent among Chinese Christians, why the church rarely talks about sex, and how his family made the agonizing decision to have two children. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Kate Shellnutt Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 03, 2021
Homelessness Is Vexing American Cities. Do Christians Have a Solution?
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Across the country, American cities are unsuccessfully grappling with how best to address homelessness. This month, Austin criminalized sitting, lying, or camping in public. Sausalito, an upscale community in the Bay Area canceled its annual art festival when its location conflicted with the proposed place to relocate the homeless population that is currently living on the city’s waterfront. Los Angeles is considering moving forward with establishing a government-funded tent encampment. Nationally, here’s how The New York Times summed it up in March of this year."Homelessness in the United States rose for the fourth straight year, with about 580,000 people living on the streets or in temporary shelter at the start of 2020, according to an annual nationwide survey that was completed before the pandemic.But the report, which was released on Thursday, almost certainly underestimates the spread, depth and urgency of the crisis, and not by a little, federal officials warned.Beyond the myriad factors that leave people on streets, expiring COVID-19 moratoriums on evictions mean that millions may soon find themselves without housing. For decades, Christian ministries have served food and offered temporary housing to people experiencing homelessness. Whose needs have these organizations traditionally met? And how successful have they been?John Ashmen has served as the CEO of Citygate Network since 2007, previously known as the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions and is the author of Invisible Neighbors. Before he went to what’s now Citygate, he served in the COO role of the Christian Camp and Conference Association. Ashmen joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to talk about why homelessness is getting worse, why Christians don’t always agree on the solutions, and what it means for the church to love its neighbor when trying to consider what is best for those on the street, local businesses, and the safety of all. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Learn more about our guest’s organization: Citygate Network Read John Ashmen’s interview at The Exchange Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 28, 2021
Is Praying for Peace in the Middle East Enough?
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For the past two weeks, the world has had its eyes on the violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Each day, new headlines emerge of Hamas launching rockets from Gaza and Israel bombing the strip in return. More than 200 Palestinians and a dozen Israelis have died in the attacks. But before the aggression escalated into direct action, tensions had been simmering for weeks. Thirteen Palestinian families from a neighborhood in a disputed area of East Jersualem were facing potential eviction. Many Israeli families have already moved into this neighborhood. Israeli settlements on land Palestinians believe to be theirs has consistently been a wider source of grievance between the two communities.Then, two weeks ago, police raided the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem during Ramadan. The third-holiest site in Islam is also located on the same land as the Temple Mount, a location sacred to Jews. After 11 days of fighting, a cease-fire has been announced, which will likely halt the rockets and shelling for now. But it’s unlikely to heal the long term rifts between the communities. What’s more: hundreds of people now grieve loved ones, including more than 50 children, who were killed in the past two weeks. Salim Munayer is the executive director and founder of Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation, which has been bringing Israelis and Palestinians together since 1990. Munayer is a Palestinian-Israeli who received his PhD from the Oxford Center of Mission Studies in the UK and has published several books on reconciliation, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Christians in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He is also the peace and reconciliation network coordinator for Middle East and North Africa for the World Evangelical Alliance. Munayer joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen on Quick to Listen to discuss the roots of the violence, the role and responsibility of American Christians in this crisis, and what the ongoing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis can teach us about the racial division in the church. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Learn more about our guest’s organization: Musalaha Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 21, 2021
Why Having Babies Is Controversial in 2021
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Last year, the US birthrate experienced its largest single-year drop in nearly 50 years. For years, America’s 2.1 fertility rate made it an outlier to other developed countries. But for the last decade, the number had begun trending downwards, plummeting to last year’s figure of 1.6 children per woman. These numbers entered the news the same week the New York Times published an essay by columnist Elizabeth Bruenig, “I Became a Mother at 25, and I’m Not Sorry I Didn’t Wait.” Many warmly received and shared the piece, which explores the author’s experience of learning she was pregnant and the many factors that have caused millennial women to delay children including economic concerns, higher education, race, and geography. But for others, it struck a nerve. One NYT commenter wrote, “There are few things more irresponsible than bringing a child into the world in 2021. I know it's difficult to reject the incredible social and cultural pressure that encourages us to reproduce. The easiest thing to do will always be to have children. But a good rule of thumb is that the easiest option-- the one our current paradigm encourages-- generally causes the most damage and suffering.” On Twitter, Jill Filipovic wrote, “I would really love to read more essays and op/eds from women (and men, too) who regret having children as early as they did, regret having as many as they did, or regret having children at all. There's not much about motherhood that remains publicly unexplored, but that does.” Rebecca McLaughlin is the author of Confronting Christianity, named Christianity Today's 2020 Beautiful Orthodoxy Book of the Year, and it's follow-up edition for youth, 10 Questions Every Teen Should Ask (and Answer) about Christianity. Her latest book is The Secular Creed: Engaging Five Contemporary Claims. She joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss the challenges of talking about babies and motherhood in 2021 in the culture at large but also inside the church. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Rebecca McLaughlin Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 14, 2021
Should Christians Cheer Biden’s Plan for Families?
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Last week, President Biden addressed Congress to stump for his latest proposal: The American Families Plan. If passed as is, the initiative would do the following: Provide universal preschool for all three and four-year-olds Offer two years of free community college to young adults Cover childcare costs for families in poverty. Set a $15 minimum wage for early childcare workers. Mandate 12 weeks of paid parental, family and personal illness leave. Make a summer food program serving children from low-income families permanent This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to dive deeper into Biden’s proposal. What is it trying to address? Who is it trying to serve? What changes should Christians see as wins for their own families and for their neighbors? And where should they push back or critique?Rachel Anderson is a resident fellow with the Center for Public Justice, leading the Families Valued project, where her work focuses on work and family policy and faith-based civic engagement. Anderson joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss why paid family leave has not been embraced in America, why so many churches are involved in early childhood education, and why family policy critics often take contrary positions on parents working or not. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 05, 2021
Is It Too Early to Get Excited About a Malaria Vaccine?
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In 2019, 400,000 people around the world died of malaria. But it may never reach that high a number again. Early trials of a new vaccine have been shown to be 77 percent effective. This is not the first vaccine that has attempted to fight the deadly mosquito-transmitted disease. But it is the only one that has had this level of efficacy. This news comes when COVID-19 vaccines dominate the international discussion. Some wealthier nations, most notably the United States, have prioritized vaccinating their own people first. This week, however, the Biden administration did announce it would be sharing its enormous stockpile of Astrazenca doses. Other countries, like China and Russia, have been shipping their vaccines around the world, though some have questioned their efficacy. Many poorer countries have worried that they might wait years for their people to be vaccinated and be left with other countries’ lower-quality leftovers.It also comes as scientists have begun thinking through the ways MRNA technology, which was used to develop the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, might be used to combat other diseases. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss the good news about the malaria vaccine, how this will affect Christian humanitarian work around the world, and what it looks like to be a good neighbor when it comes to vaccine distribution. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 29, 2021
Reacting to the Derek Chauvin Conviction
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On May 25 of 2020 police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds killing him. On Tuesday, a jury convicted him of all charges. The jury’s decision comes at a time when national attention is once again being paid to police brutality. On Sunday, a police officer in Minnesota shot and killed 20-year-old Duante Wright after reportedly confusing a taser and gun. Last week, Chicago released body cam footage of a police officer shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo who appeared to have dropped his weapon and raised his hands. A video from December of two police officers pointing guns, pepper spraying, and pushing a black army officer during a traffic stop also circulated this month. These news stories also come at a time when several high profile mass shootings have devastated the country.In previous shows, we’ve talked about white evangelical attitudes towards police and the changing religious beliefs of many African American protesters leading the Black Lives Matter movement. This week on the show, we wanted to discuss the role that media has played in how we understand these phenomena and if it plays any role in perpetuating them. How has video coverage helped us better understand what is happening? How does it further divide and harden us? What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Bob Thomson Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 21, 2021
Why the Transgender Conversation Is Changing
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last Friday, a bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing in middle, high school, and college sports passed in the West Virginia legislature. At least 20 different state legislatures have introduced transgender athlete bans in 2021. While South Dakota’s governor Kristi Noem vetoed a proposed ban, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi have signed these changes into law.  Arkansas’ governor, Asa Hutchinson, did, however, veto legislation that would have banned gender confirming treatments or sex reassignment surgery for transgender youth under 18. That bill would have been the first in the country to ban this practice. Meanwhile, last Monday, GOP legislators in North Carolina introduced a bill that that would prevent doctors from performing sex reassignment surgery for transgender people under the age of 21.  This flurry of state bills—a month ago LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign had counted more than 80—has once again provoked impassioned fighting, much of it centered around children. It’s led to questions of fairness in youth sports, if adolescent judgement and diagnosis should be trusted, and what role and what say parents should have in how their children express their gender. Mark Yarhouse is a pyschology professor at Wheaton College and the director of the Sexual and Gender Identity Institute. His books include Understanding Gender Dysphoria and most recently, Emerging Gender Identities. He joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen on this week’s episode of Quick to Listen. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Mark Yarhouse Go down Ted's music rabbit hole Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 14, 2021
How Churches Can Welcome Both Vaxed and Unvaxed
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week, the number of Americans who have received their first dose of the vaccine will rise to one third of the population. As numbers continue to climb in the US and around the world, some churches will have to contend with yet another set of pandemic-spurred challenges. At what point will churches that have been meeting virtually go back to in-person meetings? At what point will in-person churches drop mask mandates or other COVID-19 protocol? As the vaccine opens up to all US adults, will they start requiring attendees to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before entry? And will white evangelical resistance to the vaccine subside? In February, 45 percent of this population said they would not be taking the vaccine, according to Pew Research Center. But beyond figuring out the logistics of in-person worship, churches will also have to contend with figuring out the role of their online ministries. Will they attempt to balance both? Or will one cannibalize the other? This week on Quick to Listen, we’ll be talking about the challenges pastors and church leaders face at this point in the pandemic, with Jay Kim, lead pastor of teaching at WestGate Church in California’s Silicon Valley and teacher-in-residence at Vintage Faith. He’s also the author of Analog Church: Why We Need Real People, Places, and Things in the Digital Age. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Jay Kim Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 07, 2021
What the Crucifixion and Resurrection Mean for Our Physical Healing
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week, Protestants and Catholics around the world will celebrate Easter, once again in the midst of a global pandemic. At least 2.8 million people have died from COVID-19 and while many affluent countries have begun to vaccinate their people in earnest, this illness still defines most of public life. Because of Lent, many Christians have already been grappling with death in the context of their faith. But this week, the church will be once again sitting with the reality of Jesus’ death and his astonishing resurrection. Of course, for us believers, this astounding turn of events has life-changing ramifications for what comes after our physical deaths. But what does it mean for physical bodies as we inhabit them today? Does the Cross have any meaning for our physical health in this life? Stephen Ko is senior pastor at New York Chinese Alliance Church and formerly a professor of global health and pediatrics at Boston University and a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. He is the co-author of the forthcoming All Creation Groans (Wipf & Stock) and the author of the also forthcoming Incarnational Health . What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Steve Ko Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 01, 2021
What Unites Asian American Christians
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, a gunman shot up three spas in Atlanta, taking the lives of eight people, six of them Asian American. Their names were Soon Chung Park, age 74; Hyun Jung Grant, age 51; Suncha Kim, age 69; Yong Yue, age 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33; Paul Andre Michels, age 54; and Xiaojie Tan, age 49.These attacks, coming just weeks after several reports were released calling attention to racial violence and harassment against Asian Americans. One report from a group called Stop AAPI Hate listed nearly 3,8000 incidents from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021 which included verbal harassment, physical assault, shunning, civil rights violations, and online harassment. While the community currently only makes up about six percent of the population, according to Pew Research Center, by 2055, this may be the largest minority group.It’s also a community with enormous amounts of diversity. The largest communities are ethnically Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to learn more about the influence of Christian faith of Asian American, the US’ fasting growing immigrant group and the obligations of the church at large to welcome and love them. Our guest this week is Jane Hong, associate professor of history at Occidental College and the author of Opening the Gates to Asia: A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion. Her next book book from Oxford University Press is tentatively titled Model Christians, Model Minorities: Asian Americans, Race, and Politics in the Transformation of U.S. Evangelicalism. She is currently co-hosting Centering: The Asian American Christian Podcast. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Jane Hong Visit her faculty page Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 24, 2021
The Equality Act Through the Eyes of a Christian College President
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last month, the House of Representatives voted to approve the Equality Act. If passed, the bill would amend the Civil Rights Act to add sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity to its list of protected classes. The bill has broad implications on the rules for employment, housing, education, nonprofit groups that receive federal funds, and other areas. Many Christian leaders have opposed the bill but say they support expanding federal protections against discrimination. One example is Shirley Hoogstra, the president of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. She told The Washington Post this week “I have come to see that LGBTQ people should have the same ease of movement about their lives. They shouldn’t run into unexpected, dignity-dismissing episodes.” But Hoogstra and others are concerned that the Equality Act offers few protections for religious organizations and institutions that hold to traditional views of marriage and oppose things like gender reassignment surgeries .In fact, the Equality Act specifically says that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, a federal law written to directly protect religious freedom, can’t be used to challenge the Equality Act’s rules on sexuality. This week, as the bill went before the Senate Judiciary Committee, dozens of black Christian leaders published an open letter concerned that the bill would allow “LGBT rights to be used as a sword against faith institutions rather than a shield to protect the vulnerable.” Among the signers of that letter are the international religious freedom ambassador under the Obama administration, Suzan Johnson Cook and CT board member Claude Alexander. Shirley Mullen is president of Houghton College and serves on the board of several Christian institutions, including the National Association of Evangelicals and the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. For many years she was provost at Westmont College, and is a historian of philosophical thought, with doctorates in both history and philosophy. Mullen joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the specifics of the Equality Act and outline what comes next for religious institutions holding to a traditional sexual ethic and loving their neighbor in a pluralistic democracy. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Listen to Quick to Listen’s Episode on Fairness for Fall: If Religious Liberty and LGBT Activists Want to Move Forward, the Courts Won’t Help Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 18, 2021
Honoring Your Father and Mother Is Hard. For Harry, Meghan, and Us All.
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. On Sunday, millions watched Oprah interview Prince Harry and Megan, the Duchess of Sussex. Over the course of the conversation, the couple made several dramatic revelations, the majority about family members. Meghan disclosed that there had been “concerns and conversations” between her husband and his family, the Royal family, about how dark their son’s skin might be. Both Meghan and Harry talked about the challenges of convincing their relatives of the severity of the bad press they received and specifically of the toxicity of the racism leveled at their family. “If a member of his family would comfortably say ‘We’ve all had to deal with things that are rude’ — rude and racist are not the same,” said Meghan. Meghan also added she dealt with suicidal thoughts and after seeking out the professional health at the palace’s HR department and, “I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”-Harry said after leaving the monarchy behind, he realized. “I was trapped but I didn’t know I was trapped,” he said. “My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave.” He also said that his relationship with his father had suffered greatly over the years. At one point his father had stopped taking his calls. “I will always love him. But there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened and I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship.” With this conversation dominating the week’s news cycle, this week on Quick to Listen we wanted to talk about families, specifically adult children’s relationship with their parents. How does one honor their parents and live out the fifth commandment in 2021? What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Leslie Leyland Fields Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 10, 2021
The Bloody Conflict Dividing Ethiopia’s Christians
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. In 2019, prime minister Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee noted that he had given amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinued media censorship, fought against corruption, and legalized previously outlawed opposition groups. Ahmed also received attention for his religious reconciliation work which included mending a split in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and bringing together Christians and Muslims. The son of a Muslim father and Orthodox mother, Abiy is a Protestant Pentecostal, or “Pentay,” like many Ethiopian politicians. But, as of late, things have been tense. CNN recently reported that scores of people were murdered last November by whom survivors believe are soldiers from nearby Eritrea, whose presence they blame on the Ethiopian government. The massacre occurred in the Tigray region, the northern part of the country and one which shares a border with Eritrea. It came just weeks after the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front attacked Ethiopian military forces and the central government responded violently in return. Ethiopia has a long and extensive Christian history. The second country in the world to officially adopt Christianity, for 15 centuries, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has survived estrangement from Rome, the spread of Islam, and repeated colonialization attempts. There’s also millions of people, like Abiy, who identify as Protestant. Desta Heliso was born and raised in Ethiopia and has served as lecturer and director of the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology. He currently resides in London but continues to coordinate the Centre for Ancient Christianity and Ethiopian Studies at EGST in Addis Ababa. He is also a fellow of the Center for Early African Christianity and a visiting lecturer at the London School of Theology. Heliso joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen this week to discuss this tragic and fraught conflict and to offer a robust picture of what Christianity looks like where more than 40 percent of the country identifies as Ethiopian Orthodox and nearly 25 percent as Protestant. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Desta Heliso Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 03, 2021
Did Rush Limbaugh Reshape Christian Radio, Too?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, conservative talk radio personality Rush Limbaugh died at age 70. Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated political show first hit the airwaves in the late 1980s. He was beloved by many who shared or later adopted his political views and his penchant for conspiracy theories. Many of his critics, however, pointed out his cruel and crass remarks. Limbaugh’s legacy was hardly limited to politics. In a tribute to him, one Christian leader wrote for USA Today, that “ Christian talk programs in particular wouldn't even exist today were it not for Limbaugh's success. Christian radio would still be limited to sermons and songs. But instead, radio stations realized the benefit of capturing even a slice of Limbaugh's audience share and offered new hosts and new voices opportunities to join a new, more democratic discussion of the issues.” Mark Ward Sr. is associate professor of communication at the University of Houston-Victoria in Victoria, Texas. His books include The Electronic Church in the Digital Age, Air of Salvation: The Story of Christian Broadcasting, and The Lord’s Radio: Gospel Music Broadcasting and the Making of Evangelical Culture. Ward joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen on Quick to Listen to discuss Limbaugh’s impact on Christian radio, how Christian radio differs from Christian TV, and how the medium does or not does not make the message What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Christianity Today’s most recent article on mixed-gender friendships Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 24, 2021
Don’t Diminish Ravi Zacharias’s Abuse With ‘We’re All Sinners’
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries released a 12-page report about its founder and namesake. It confirmed “abuse by Zacharias at day spas he owned in Atlanta and uncovers five additional victims in the US, as well as evidence of sexual abuse in Thailand, India, and Malaysia.” From CT’s reporting: Even a limited review of Zacharias’s old devices revealed contacts for more than 200 massage therapists in the US and Asia and hundreds of images of young women, including some that showed the women naked. Zacharias solicited and received photos until a few months before his death in May 2020 at age 74. Zacharias used tens of thousands of dollars of ministry funds dedicated to a “humanitarian effort” to pay four massage therapists, providing them housing, schooling, and monthly support for extended periods of time, according to investigators. One woman told the investigators that “after he arranged for the ministry to provide her with financial support, he required sex from her.” She called it rape. She said Zacharias “made her pray with him to thank God for the ‘opportunity’ they both received” and, as with other victims, “called her his ‘reward’ for living a life of service to God,” the report says. Zacharias warned the woman—a fellow believer—if she ever spoke out against him, she would be responsible for millions of souls lost when his reputation was damaged. As once again, we’ve learned the flagrantly sinful double life of a prominent Christian leader, we wanted to discuss how to discuss it in light of what we believe about grace, mercy, and sin. These principles, of course, are the bedrock of our Christian faith, but are especially ones we grapple with in light of Ash Wednesday.  Covenant College professor of theological studies Kelly Kapic joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss if all our sins are equally wicked to God, what it means to extend grace to a person you never met personally, and what it means to hold people accountable for their sins, especially after they’ve died. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 17, 2021
Old Testament Wisdom for Renaming Public Schools
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. One third of San Francisco public schools will be renamed in the coming months following a decision by the city’s school board to remove the names of individuals who had owned slaves, actively participated in segregation, or were colonizers. The decision, which includes 44 school sites, attracted national attention as it includes schools named for Thomas Jefferson Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.The decision has drawn scorn from conservatives who see the decision as yet another example of liberal hysteria but also from other liberals. Last week, The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner grilled Gabriela López, the head of San Francisco Board of Education who refuted some of the historical claims that had been made by the committee which had investigated the named figures. (Read the interview.) But the government isn’t the only actor wrestling over questions of renaming institutions. As Ravi Zacharias’s misdeeds have been exposed in recent months, the ministry named after him has wrestled with whether or not it should continue to bear his name.Of course, renaming places, and people, for that matter is not new. Throughout the Old Testament, God renames places and people. But why? That’s what we wanted to get into on the podcast this week. Carmen Joy Imes is associate professor of Old Testament and program coordinator of Bible and theology at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta and the of author of Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters and its forthcoming sequel, Being God’s Image: Why Creation Still Matters. She also joined Quick to Listen in 2020. (Listen to “When Those in Power Get Sick.”) Imes joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss Old Testament precedent for renaming people v. places, what it means for humans to have the ability to name, and whether or not churches should bear people’s names. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Carmen Joy Imes Read Imes’ blog: Chastened Institutions Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 11, 2021
Sponsored Episode: How the Black Church Holds on to Hope
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This special episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you by CT Creative Studio in partnership with PBS. It’s the first Black History Month since racial unrest erupted in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many Americans are reckoning with systemic racism in politics and culture in ways they haven’t in the past. But, just as it does today, the black church has born witness to justice and righteousness for centuries.On this special bonus episode of Quick to Listen sponsored by PBS, Christianity Today Editor-in-Chief Daniel Harrell facilitates a discussion on the black church as a spiritual, political, social, and cultural movement of the Spirit. He welcomes Dr. Vincent Bacote, Associate Professor of Theology and Director of Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College; Dr. Dennis R. Edwards, pastor, church planter, and Associate Professor of New Testament at North Park University in Chicago; and Dr. Jamal Williams, lead pastor of Sojourn Church Midtown in Louisville, Kentucky.What does it mean to refer to the “black church” when there are many distinctions that separate congregations, ranging from theological nuances to responses to social ills? What are the challenges of shepherding people in addressing racism when those people represent a range of thoughts, experiences, and skin colors?Tune in to hear faithful pastors and scholars answer these questions, share their experiences of the black church, and testify to the glorious hope of the gospel. The Black Church: This Is Our Story; This Is Our Song premieres February 16 and 17 on PBS. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 09, 2021
Should Christians Buy GameStop Stock?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. The last time you heard about GameStop was when you went to the mall to buy video games as a teenager or for your ex-teenager who now has their own teenager. But last week, the brick-and-mortar gaming company was in the news as GameStop prices went thru the roof. This Monday they opened at $315. For reference, as recently as Jan 12, the stock was $19.95. Why? In recent months, members of the Reddit community, Wall Street Bets, have begun encouraging each other to buy up stock of the company, efforts which began in earnest after several hedge funds announced that they would be betting against the antiquated electronics franchise. One of the first storylines to emerge from this was one that pitted the upstart nerds against the greedy hedge funds. But...like most things, the reality is a bit more complicated .Wheaton College assistant professor of economics Enoch Hill joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to break down the craziness on Wall Street and offer some deeper takeaways for those trying to navigate their market and their faith in 2021. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 03, 2021
How American Evangelicals Lost Credibility with the Global Church
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. “Was the US never really a “Christian country,” or was US Christianity corrupted by politics?”That’s the question that Kylie Beach, a writer for the Australian-based Eternity News asked several days after the capitol insurrection and several days before last week’s presidential inauguration. She continued: Did the US only ever appear to be more Christian than other countries, or was its Christianity corrupted by politics? To put it frankly, are the people who declare themselves to be Christians in the US really just ‘cultural Christians’ – people who are ethnically descended from nations where Christianity was the primary religion? Or people who have taken on the outward form of their grandparent’s faith? Have they ever actually had a moment of conversion where they have decided to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour? Do they read their Bibles to try to learn what God is like? Do they pray and listen for his direction? Beach isn’t the only Christian from around the world asking what to make of US evangelicals after Trump. At the UK’s Evangelical Alliance CEO Gavin Calver wrote a column for the Times with the headline, "Let us redefine evangelism after the Trump presidency." He wrote that the word evangelical has become politicized and toxic even in the UK because of Trump politics. René Breuel is the pastor of Hopera, an evangelical church in Rome and has served as a student leader in International Fellowship of Evangelical Students movements in Brazil, Germany, Canada, and Italy. He is also the author of The Paradox of Happiness. Breuel joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how non-US evangelicals saw American evangelicals before Trump, what has changed over the past four years, and what American evangelicals who want to regain this trust must do moving forward. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: René Breuel Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 27, 2021
Should Christians Worry Free Speech Is Eroding?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. For years, one of the primary ways that people experienced Donald Trump was through his tweets. All of that changed on January 8, when, in the aftermath of the capitol insurrection, Twitter banned @realDonaldTrump. “Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regards to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks,” read the statement, which included the text of the tweets. “After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service.” Twitter was not the only social media service to crack down on Trump. Snapchat banned him permanently. Facebook banned Trump's account through the remainder of his term and suggested it could ban "indefinitely." Last week, YouTube suspended Trump for a week because they said he violated a violence policy. This flurry of tech moves has raised questions about free speech and left some Christians wondering how well their First Amendment rights will be protected in the midst of this. John Inazu is a professor of law and religion at the Washington University Law School. He is the author of Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving through Deep Difference and more recently, with Tim Keller, Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference. Inazu joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the complexity of defining “free speech,” what people misunderstand about the First Amendment, and the blind spots that Christians can have when advocating for free speech. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: John Inazu Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 21, 2021
Christian Nationalism Is Worse Than You Think
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. As crowds lined up in front of the Capitol last week, Christian imagery was on display amidst the Trump/Pence 2020 and confederate flags, QAnon memorabilia, and viking helmets. People held crosses, “Jesus Saves” signs and “Jesus 2020.” As protesters crowded onto the Capitol steps, across the street, someone blew a shofar while a woman sang “Peace in the name of Jesus. The blood of Jesus covering this place." In the aftermath of the Capitol attack, many saw a clear connection between the violence and Christian nationalism. As Tish Harrison Warren wrote for CT: The responsibility of yesterday’s violence must be in part laid at the feet of those evangelical leaders who ushered in and applauded Trump’s presidency. It can also sadly be laid at the feet of the white American church more broadly. Paul D. Miller is professor of the practice of international affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He is also a research fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He recently released Just War and Ordered Liberty and is currently finalizing a book tentatively titled Christian Nationalism in the Age of Trump for InterVarsity Press. Miller joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to define Christian nationalism, shed light on its rise in the white evangelical world, and offer advice to church leaders trying to deradicalize members of their own community. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Paul D. Miller Some of Whitehead and Perry’s Christian nationalism numbers Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 13, 2021
Rerun: Why Someone You Love Might Join QAnon
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This podcast was originally released on September 9, 2020. Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. A conspiracy theory that holds that many in the elite are part of a sex trafficking cabal, QAnon’s supporters has increasingly moved into the mainstream. Many also attend evangelical churches. It’s appeal in our community is World magazine’s cover story for this week and also was the subject of recent longform article for MIT Technology Review.  But the phenomena is not limited to the United States, as Mark Sayers, the senior leader of Red Church in Melbourne, Australia, witnessed when he recently saw followers in shirts with symbols tied to the movement in his city.  “It's really interesting, cause as I looked at it, I began to see it less as a conspiracy—I mean, there are elements of conspiracy theory—but it's really a new religious movement,”said Sayers, who is also the author of Reappearing Church: The Hope for Renewal in the Rise of Our Post-Christian Culture. “And I wonder if it's the first great internet religion. It’s not the only one out there, there are other online internet religions growing and other conspiracy theories flying around—this is just one of them. But I think there is some concern in it.” Sayers joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen in a discussion for listeners who are trying to reach family members or other loved ones who have accepted these beliefs. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Mark Sayers Visit our guest’s website: Mark Sayers Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 07, 2021
How Argentina Is Becoming More Evangelical—But Less Religious
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Last week, Argentina became the first Latin America country to legalize abortion. The Senate approved the bill two years after it rejected a similar effort two years ago. The bill allows women to legally end pregnancies for any reason up to 14 weeks. After that, it makes exceptions for rape and the health of the women. It also makes abortions free in public hospitals. Also home of the first Latin American pope, Argentina’s Catholic population has declined in recent years according to a study from the National Scientific and Technical Research Council. In 2019, around 63 percent of the population identified as Catholic, a 13 percent point drop since 2008. The two growing religious groups: evangelicals, who now make up 15 percent of the population, and the nones, or those who don’t identify with any faith, who are now at 19 percent. Josue Fernandez is based in Argentina and serves as the regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean at Overseas Council, a ministry of United World Mission that works to train and educate church leaders around the world by partnering with local seminaries. He has helped pastor Christian and Missionary Alliance congregations in Buenos Aires and Queens. He is also the Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for GATE, a ministry which supports seminary faculty members. Fernandez joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the religious future of Argentina, the type of influence the church has on the region at large, and the events that have led to the dramatic decline of the Catholic Church. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 06, 2021
We Should Remember the Scars of 2020
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As we close 2020, more than 81 million people total have tested positive for COVID-19. Nearly 1.8 million people have died of it. The virus has had significant economic effects and cost many their livelihoods. Prolonged distance from others, of course, has also triggered an increase in depression and other mental health issues. And the pandemic has revealed increasing divisions over masks, meeting in person, and what constitutes an essential business or service. Of course, the pandemic was not the only thing that provoked anxiety in many this year. America will get a new president in January, but current president Donald Trump has refused to concede and made false statements about voting fraud for weeks. In May, a police officer killed Minneapolis’ George Floyd weeks after officers shot Breonna Taylor in her home, actions which sparked demonstrations across the country, protesters fed up with police violence against black Americans. Protests lasted for weeks and were especially heated where protesters, counterprotesters, and outside agitators converged. Many cities suffered looting and some burned buildings.  In a year with so much trauma, we wanted to spend some time talking about how we should start to process and make sense of the year. What should we remember? How should we remember it? And what should we forget? Sheila Wise Rowe is a writer, counselor, speaker, and spiritual director, and most recently the author of Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience for which she won a 2021 Christianity Today Book of the Year Award. She joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editor in chief Daniel Harrell to discuss how our bodies experienced the trauma of the year, what parts of it we should remember, and what Christians might choose to set as a 2021 New Year’s resolution.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Sheila Wise Rowe Visit her website Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 31, 2020
Let’s Nerd Out on Christmas
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Believe it or not, Christmas is this week. Yup, even in a year that felt like it was always winter and that there could not ever be Christmas. And we need a little Christmas, right this very minute. Candles in the window, Quick to Listen scripts in the spinnet. This week on the show, we are talking to Tim Larsen, the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Christmas, a 656-page book all about the world’s biggest holiday. The book is divided into eight sections: history, theology, worshipping communities, the nativity scene, traditions, arts, around the world, and state and society. Of course, we won’t get into all of the 45 articles in here today but we are gonna do some nerding out about this holiday. Merry Christmas everyone! Larsen is a professor of theology at Wheaton College and was recently awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in historical theology from the University of Edinburgh. He was the only author to win the Books & Culture book of the year twice. Larsen joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss why Christians used to love Santa, how KFC became a Japanese Christmas tradition, and how the holiday went from a day of rowdiness to one spent with friends and family. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Convince your library to buy The Oxford Handbook of Christmas Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 22, 2020
Does the Death Penalty Bring Justice for Victims and Their Families?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week the Trump administration carried out its 9th and 10th federal execution of 2020. On Wednesday night, the state executed a 40-year-old man, Brandon Bernard. According to the AP, “when Bernard was 18 he and four other teenagers abducted and robbed Todd and Stacie Bagley on their way from a Sunday service in Killeen, Texas, during which Bernard doused their car with lighter fluid and set it on fire with their bodies in the back trunk.” Bernard’s death comes several months after the Justice Department surfaced a proposal to “reintroduce firing squads and electrocutions for federal executions, giving the government more options for administering capital punishment as drugs used in lethal injections become unavailable.” Last Friday, the government executed Alfred Bourgeois, who has an intellectual disability, whose should have meant he could not have been up for the death penalty. But Bourgeois’s trial lawyers did not present evidence of his intellectual disability to the jury. He was the 17th person executed in the united states this year, and the country’s last scheduled execution for 2020. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss how to wrestle with the death penalty, accountability, justice, and forgiveness from someone who has straddled many sides of this situation.  Jeanne Bishop, a felony trial attorney in the Office of the Cook County Public Defender in Chicago. She is the author of Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer and Grace From the Rubble: Two Fathers’ Road to Reconciliation After the Oklahoma City Bombing. Bishop joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how her work and sister’s murder have impacted how she views the death penalty, what accountability and justice look like outside of the death penalty, and how to pray for those in the criminal justice system during the pandemic.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Jeanne Bishop Visit Jeanne Bishop’s website Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su Read Morgan’s interview with Jeanne: Forgiving Her Sister's Murderer, Face to Face Read Ted’s piece about Pullman, Disney World, and churches Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 16, 2020
"The Crown," "The Chosen," and the Challenge of Historical Accuracy
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Several weeks ago, Netflix dropped the latest season of its highly acclaimed show The Crown. The fourth season tells the story of the British monarchy in the '80s and '90s and depicts the Queen’s relationship with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and features Princess Diana. With so many of the characters depicted still alive and in recent-ish memory for a number of viewers, the show has provoked controversy like never before. While The Crown always creatively depicted the past, this year, this season has drawn criticism from those who claim the show is misleading viewers about the true history of the monarchy. Netflix even recently put out a statement that said it would not issue a disclaimer reminding viewers that the drama was fictional. “We have always presented The Crown as a drama—and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events. As a result we have no plans, and see no need, to add a disclaimer.” This week on Quick to Listen, we thought we would tackle some of the issues stirred up by this season of the Crown by getting a sense of how they’ve been wrestled with by the creator of The Chosen, a series portraying the life of Jesus through the stories of his followers.  Dallas Jenkins is the showrunner of the series The Chosen, which has broken records as the largest crowdfunded media project ever, and has been watched so far by more than 50 million people in 180 countries, and translated into more than 50 languages. Jenkins joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how the show has wrestled with historical accuracy, the challenge of adding and changing characters, and how watching prestige TV affected his approach to making the show. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Watch The Chosen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Yvonne Su Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 09, 2020
Why Christians Stopped Talking About Jesus’ Second Coming
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This Sunday kicked off the beginning of Advent. While the season is generally seen as a time of preparing to celebrate Christ’s birth on Christmas, the focus historically was a time to focus on Jesus’ Second Coming.  The doctrine of Jesus’ Second Coming has traditionally been a major focus of Christian theology: it has been a driving force for missions, it was a source of hope for suffering Christians, it helped to frame Christian worship.  American evangelicals in particular have been shaped by discussion of Jesus’ return—apocalyptic expectation helped to shape the early fundamentalist movement more than 100 years ago. Baby Boomer evangelicalism has been especially focused on the End Times, from Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth of the 70’s to the Left Behind novels of the 90’s. But it seems increasingly rare to us to hear about the Second Coming these days. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to talk about why that might be and why a strong understanding of the Second Coming can serve us well as we navigate the pandemic and other crises. Vince Bacote is associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College. He has been serving as a theology adviser for Christianity Today over the last year and is a contributor to our Advent devotional, “Living Hope,” which you can find on our website this week.  Bacote joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss why Christians aren’t talking about the Second Coming as much these days, how these conversations can serve us during the pandemic, and what responsibly talking about the End Times looks like.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow Vince Bacote on Twitter Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 02, 2020
Why We Can’t Stop Talking about Hillsong's Celebrity Pastors
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. At the beginning of this month, Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz was fired. A day after the news went public, he posted a picture of his family on Instagram admitting he was unfaithful in his marriage. Both before and after the news, Lentz made headlines across Christian and secular media for his popularity and successful ministry—as well as the “hipster” pastor look he popularized. When Lentz co-founded Hillsong NYC with Joel Houston in 2010, the church drew lines around the block and caught the eye of A-list celebrities, none more famous than Justin Bieber. Lentz, who became famous for his wire-rimmed glasses, plunging V-necks, and designer sneakers, himself became subject of a number of profiles, including this 2015 GQ feature from Taffy Brodesser-Akner: “The music! The lights! The crowds!” begins an incredulous woman narrating a CNN segment on Hillsong NYC . “It looks like a rock concert.” The chyron reads “Hipster preacher smashes stereotypes.” They call Pastor Carl a hipster. Carl says he doesn’t know what that means, and he wears a motorcycle jacket when he says this.Pastor Joel is unwilling to acknowledge that there’s something going on here. Yes, he tells me, sure, he likes clothes. But that’s the end of it. I should ask Pastor Carl about the clothes, he tells me. What Pastor Carl does, he says—that’s intentional, and then he laughs. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss the attention around a new generation of fashion-forward pastors. What does it reveal about ministry? But what does our fascination with this aesthetic reveal more broadly about the American and Western church? Anthropologist Katherine Ajibade, formerly a researcher with the British think tank Theos, joins CT’s Morgan Lee and Kate Shellnutt. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Kate Shellnutt Follow Katherine Ajibade on Twitter Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 25, 2020
Spiritual Formation as COVID-19 Gets More Depressing
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. We’re right on the cusp of the holiday season. Except this year it doesn’t feel much like it. Each day this month, thousands of American—record numbers—have tested positive for COVID-19. Even as several vaccines are now on the horizon, many public health authorities have asked Americans to not reunite with extended family over Thanksgiving, requests that will no doubt continue during the Christmas season.  Millions of people have already spent hours more this year inside, apart from their loved ones, houses of worship, and beloved activities. While the summer offered many a respite from their homes, the arrival of cold weather will likely keep people there. This bleakness, of course, comes on the heels of a year of postponed weddings, never organized baby showers, and drive-by birthday parties. And, of course, one of the year’s most agonizing elements has been the disparity with which community and individuals have adopted and practiced social distancing and mask-wearing. These relationship tensions have had both personal and societal polarizing effect.  This week on Quick to Listen, we discussed the reality between the joyous expectations of the holidays—and the darkness we’re all feeling this year with Chris Hall, the president of Renovare, the spiritual formation organization started by Richard Foster. Hall is also associate editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and has written a great four volume series of books on what we can learn from the early church, and was one of CT’s theology editors and advisers. He joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to talk about growing in your relationship with God and practicing spiritual disciplines during a pandemic.   What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Learn more about Renovaré Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 18, 2020
How Faith Issues May Shape a Biden Presidency
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week, Maryland megachurch pastor Harry Jackson passed away at age 65. Over the last four years, Jackson was a member of President Trump’s evangelical advisory board. That consulting team was a marked shift in the role that faith communities had played in the executive branch in recent decades. The focus in the Bush and Obama administrations, by contrast, had been on the ways that faith-based and community groups could work with the federal government on social problems, and on hiring officials who would work on international religious freedom. What role will religious leaders, religious groups, and religion policy play in a Biden administration? And what lessons might Biden take from his presidential predecessors on how church and state can work together, and how they should work separately? This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss the future of faith in the Biden administration. Stanley Carlson-Thies is the founder and senior director of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance (IRFA), a division of the Center for Public Justice. He served with the White House Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives from its inception in February 2001 until mid-May 2002, and later served on a task force of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen on Quick to Listen. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow Stanley Carlson-Thies’ work: Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance Read the Brookings Institute report: A Time to Heal Read more about Fairness for All and the Equality Act Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 11, 2020
Rerun: Why Latino Christians Vote Beyond Immigration
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Hi Quick to Listen listeners. We recorded this episode in 2018 but given the headlines from this week's election, we thought you mind find it constructive and helpful so we decided to drop it in our feed again. As always, send us your thoughts and questions at podcasts@christianitytoday.com or on Twitter at @CTPodcasts. Elections often call attention to white evangelicals whose votes and voices play a significant role in national elections. But their attitudes and values don’t necessarily represent those of evangelicals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Case in point: Latino evangelicals. According to data from the Billy Graham Center Institute at Wheaton College and LifeWay Research, 41 percent of Hispanics with evangelical beliefs voted for Trump in 2016. What were the issues that most influenced their vote?According to the same survey, 19 percent said improving the economy, 14 percent said helping those in need, and 14 percent said a candidate’s position on immigration.“ Most Latinos will tend to be socially conservative on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage but will tend to be social liberals on issues like education and immigration, so we’ve tended to be divided on how we spread the vote,” said Juan Martínez, who currently serves as professor of Hispanic studies and pastoral leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. “This isn’t new; it just stands out more because we’re a larger percentage of the voting block. Those of us who have voted have struggled with this for years because the Democrat/Republican way that this is broken out doesn’t fit us well.” Martínez joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the history of Latino evangelicals and what unifies and divides the community. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 06, 2020
Evangelicals and Election Day 2020: What We Know
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss the election with those who have been following this race closely. On this episode, senior news editor Kate Shellnutt, print news editor Daniel Silliman, and researcher Ryan Burge join global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guests on Twitter: Kate Shellnutt, Daniel Silliman, and Ryan Burge Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 05, 2020
Confronting the Darkness in a Year Full of Death
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Halloween has always been a tricky day for conservative Protestants. It has long been seen as a celebration of the dark—joking about bloody gore, the living dead. But this year, death and darkness doesn’t seem quite so amusing. October 31 comes as more than 1.1 million people around the world have died of COVID-19. Nearly 20 percent of those deaths have occurred in the US, a country where COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise. As parents are making last minute decisions about what to do about trick or treating, as churches cancel their harvest festivals and trunk or treat events, and parties are moved to zoom and even schools forego their annual costume parades, we wondered: Is this weird Halloween in a very weird year the opportunity for better Christian thinking and discipleship? Can rethinking this season where we oddly engage death and darkness help us deal with death and darkness the rest of this covid season, and the rest of our lives? If so, where do we look? Back to Halloween’s connections to All Saint’s Day? Or to other ways that the church has formed its spiritual disciplines around death? CT columnist, a priest in the Anglican Church in North America, and author of the forthcoming book, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work, or Watch, or Weep, Tish Harrison Warren joined global media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss what our celebrations of Halloween say about our beliefs about death, how we might confront our own darkness, and how prayer provides a place for us to wrestle with the night. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Tish Harrison Warren Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 28, 2020
Armenian Christians Are Especially Worried About War
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This fall, violence broke out again between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a contested region in Azerbaijan known as Nagorno-Karabakh. Home of 170,000 people, the majority of its inhabitants are ethnic Armenian and the area itself has been governed by ethnic Armenians since 1994. The countries’ close allegiances with other countries had worried many that the fighting and civilian deaths might spiral into a regional conflict. Armenia, for instance, has close ties to Russia and, to a lesser extent, Iran. Azerbaijan has the strong support of Turkey and some have reported that Syrian militants are also fighting alongside the Azeri. Another complicating level is religion. More than 95 percent of Azerbaijan’s 10 million people identify as Muslim, mostly Shiite. More than 90 percent of Armenia’s three million people identify as Christian, specifically Armenian Apostolic. Armenia also boasts the oldest state church, all the way back to the beginning of the fourth century A.D. This week on Quick to Listen we talked to Felix Corley about the country’s Christian heritage and the extent to which it is playing a role in the current conflict. Corley is editor of Forum 18 News Service, which covers religious freedom issues in the former Soviet Union. He has written extensively on the Armenian Apostolic church in the Soviet period. Corley joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how Christianity first arrived in Armenia, the enduring trauma of the genocide, and how the Apostolic Church engages and interacts with other Christians in the country.W hat is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Learn more about Forum 18 Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 21, 2020
Amy Coney Barrett and the Christian Legal Community
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week, the Senate is holding confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. After Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died last month, with less than two months before Election Day, Trump nominated Coney Barrett to replace her on the bench.The proceedings have been contentious. After Antonin Scalia died in 2015, Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold a vote or hold confirmation hearings after President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the seat more than a year before the election. Their decision to move forward with this nomination has provoked charges of hypocrisy. In addition, Coney Barrett’s relationship with her Catholic-Charismatic community, People of Praise, has drawn scrutiny as critics have asked what type of authority this group might have over her judicial decisions. Given Coney Barrett’s rise, this week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to talk about the state of Christian legal world with Kim Colby, who has worked for Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom since graduating from Harvard Law School in 1981. Colby has represented religious groups in several appellate cases, including two cases heard by the United States Supreme Court. She has filed numerous amicus briefs in federal and state courts. She was also involved in the congressional passage of the Equal Access Act in 1984. Colby joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss what she makes of Coney Barrett’s participation in her intentional Christian community, what it’s like being a woman in the Christian legal community, and what unites and divides Catholics and Protestants together in this world. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Learn more about the Christian Legal Society Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 14, 2020
When Those in Power Get Sick
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, President Trump announced that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, a number of those in his administration and his campaign have also tested positive. In the wake of this diagnoses, the US media has fixated on the political ramifications of these diagnoses. But how might the stories of biblical rulers who suffer disease and sickness speak to the moment? Carmen Joy Imes is associate professor of Old Testament and program coordinator of Bible and theology at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta and the of author of Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters and its forthcoming sequel, Being God’s Image: Why Creation Still Matters.  Imes joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss if scripture treats the illnesses of leaders differently than general illnesses, the difference in the Old Testament between simple illness and illness as judgment, and whether or not it’s possible to link sin and sickness. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Carmen Joy Imes Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 07, 2020
The Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Ravi Zacharias
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week, Christianity Today published an in-depth report on allegations of sexual misconduct by popular apologist Ravi Zacharias:  "Three women who worked at the businesses, located in a strip mall in the Atlanta suburbs, told Christianity Today that Ravi Zacharias touched them inappropriately, exposed himself, and masturbated during regular treatments over a period of about five years. His business partner said he regrets not stopping Zacharias and sent an apology text to one of the victims this month. "RZIM denies the claims, saying in a statement to CT that the charges of sexual misconduct “do not in any way comport with the man we knew for decades.” The organization has hired a law firm “with experience investigating such matters” to look into the allegations, which date back at least 10 years. RZIM declined to answer any further questions about the inquiry." This week on Quick to Listen, we discuss this story with Daniel Silliman, the journalist who wrote it. He joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how he went about reporting this story, what makes this story unique from other stories of other fallen Christian leaders, and why CT reports bad news on Christian leaders, even after they have passed away.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Why we report bad news about leaders: A note from the editors on the Ravi Zacharias investigation Follow our guest on Twitter: Daniel Silliman Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 30, 2020
Bethel’s Sean Feucht’s Protests and Praises Have a History
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. He describes himself in his Instagram bio as a Jesus Follower, Missionary, Artist, Author, Humanitarian, Activist. But right now, Sean Feucht may be best known as a volunteer Bethel worship leader who has spent his summer leading around two dozen outdoor worship concerts. Feucht’s events are “a mix of Christian concert, healing service, guerrilla street theater and spectator mosh pit,” Religion News Service recently reported. They can also turn political. After the city of Seattle recently refused to give Feucht and his worship team permission to host a concert in one of his parks, likely because concerns of masking and social distancing, they held their show on a nearby street. As the concert began, he informed the audience. “Politicians can write press releases, they can make up threats, they can shut down parks, they can put up fences. But they can’t stop the church of Christ from worshipping the one true God. We are here as citizens of America and of the kingdom of God and we will not be silenced.” There’s something really powerful when people when people bring together music and mission, says Leah Payne, associate professor of theology at George Fox University and Portland Seminary.“I found this great quote a while back when I was researching temperance workers who were wanting to use hymns to their cause, and they said music was the key to doing that because they said it was a sentiment maker,” said Payne. “It was magical. It could create within people the emotional logic that they needed to overcome their objections to something. And I think that's something revivalists have been especially good at. They understand that music moves people—any and all kinds of music, harnessed in any particular direction.” Payne joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen and discuss the religious traditions that inspire Feucht’s ministry, if people should be surprised to see worship leaders voicing political beliefs, and why so many popular worship leaders are good at Instagram. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Learn more about our guest: Leah Payne Listen to our guest’s podcast: Weird Religion Check out Sean Feucht’s music on Spotify Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 23, 2020
The Fire This Time: How Climate Change Shifts Our Understanding of Suffering
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Unless you’ve actually been in an area where you can look out your window and see the view with your own eyes, by now you’ve caught images of an orange sky coming from West Coast. For the past week, hundreds of miles of California, Oregon, Washington, and neighboring states have been covered in smokey air as forest fires rage, driving thousands of people from their homes. More than a dozen people have died in these historically catastrophic fires. As climate change has increasingly worsened fire season, it’s changed how Paige Parry, associate professor of Biology at George Fox University, makes sense of these disasters.  “We know that humans are what’s contributing to the fires,” said Parry. “So in my head, that makes my response and the questions that I ask very different than maybe a disaster that's truly natural and not influenced at all by human action.” Parry, a quantitative forest ecologist, has spent most of her life and research in the West.  “Within this context of feeling like we have so little control over the situations that are unfolding here on the West Coast and feeling like we're just victims of these fires ravaging, there's a part of me that also recognizes that our collective actions and choices have in some ways likely contributed to the situation that we've found ourselves in, which I think leaves us to wrestle with it in a very different way,” she said.  Parry joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss why these fires have grown increasingly worse, what types of consequences the fires have even after they’ve been extinguished, and how a Christian response to fires may look different in the wake of climate change.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Learn more about our guest: Paige Parry Visit our guest’s website: The Parry Lab Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 16, 2020
Why Someone You Love Might Join QAnon
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. A conspiracy theory that holds that many in the elite are part of a sex trafficking cabal, QAnon’s supporters has increasingly moved into the mainstream. Many also attend evangelical churches. It’s appeal in our community is World magazine’s cover story for this week and also was the subject of recent longform article for MIT Technology Review.  But the phenomena is not limited to the United States, as Mark Sayers, the senior leader of Red Church in Melbourne, Australia, witnessed when he recently saw followers in shirts with symbols tied to the movement in his city.  “It's really interesting, cause as I looked at it, I began to see it less as a conspiracy—I mean, there are elements of conspiracy theory—but it's really a new religious movement,”said Sayers, who is also the author of Reappearing Church: The Hope for Renewal in the Rise of Our Post-Christian Culture. “And I wonder if it's the first great internet religion. It’s not the only one out there, there are other online internet religions growing and other conspiracy theories flying around—this is just one of them. But I think there is some concern in it.” Sayers joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen in a discussion for listeners who are trying to reach family members or other loved ones who have accepted these beliefs. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Mark Sayers Visit our guest’s website: Mark Sayers Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 09, 2020
Can Christians Justify the Violence on America’s Streets?
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In the past week, a video has circulated on social media that appears to show Christian author Eric Metaxas punching a protester in the face following President Trump's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on the White House lawn.  This week, Metaxas addressed the incident to World Magazine.   “For context, just so you know, the guy came at me with his bike and was very menacing for a long time,” he said.  Commentary over Metaxas’ action took off during a week in which a 17-year-old vigilante shot and killed two protesters in Kenosha and a counter-protester was shot and killed in a Portland demonstration. This uptick in civilian violence, which has occurred at protests organized in the aftermath of police brutality, inspired writer Bonnie Kristian’s recent column for The Week, “You Know What Violence Is.”  “The basic, standard definition of violence, that you'll find across the board, has pretty consistent elements,” said Kristian, who is also a columnist for Christianity Today. “One is that it involves the use of physical force; so it can't be purely verbal. And then one is that there's an intent to inflict harm.” Kristian joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss whether silence is violence, if violence always begets violence, and why people often don’t want to own the actions of their side as violence.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 02, 2020
Was Liberty’s Board Set up to Support Falwell or Liberty?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Jerry Falwell Jr. resigned as president of Liberty University on Monday. The news came after Reuters reported that a friend and business partner of the couple had sex with Becki Falwell while Jerry Falwell Jr. watched. Falwell Jr. himself submitted his resignation only to reverse course twice. Falwell Jr. was already on an indefinite leave of absence after he posted a picture on Instagram of him posing with his arm around a woman at a party with their zippers down and midsections exposed. With one notable exception, Liberty’s board has staged largely silent in the wake of Falwell Jr.’s increasingly controversial public statements and financial dealings. For ministry boards which have run into moral or ethic issues with their CEOs, one common mistake is allowing the CEO to recommend too many board members, says Bob Andringa, the managing partner of the Andringa Group who specializes in governance and the relationship between boards and chief executives. “Who's a CEO going to recommend? They’re going to recommend friends,” said Andringa, who has written several books on board governance, including The Nonprofit Board Answer Book and Good Governance for Nonprofits. “And so when it comes down to crunch time, those friends have more loyalty to the CEO than they do to the mission of the whole organization.” Andringa joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the blind spots of Christian boards, what encourages and discourages them in holding leaders accountable, and why more retired people should serve on boards. Take Quick to Listen’s survey! What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 26, 2020
Belarus’s Protestants Want Their President Gone
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko has been in office for 26 years. After last week’s elections, he says he’s won yet another term. But Belarusians are saying enough is enough, with thousands of them taking to the streets in protest and demanding new elections. Lukashenko has shot down this request thus far. The majority of Belarusians identify as Christian. Of the country’s roughly 10 million, 73 percent are Orthodox and 12 percent Catholic, according to Pew Research Center data. Though the Protestant community is tiny, it has not been silent. Last week, the Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists in Belarus, the United Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith in Belarus, and the Religious Association of Full Gospel Communities in Belarus released a joint statement asking for prayer.  Protests in 2010 played a key role in changing Protestants’ minds on Lukashenko and the government, says Geraldine Fagan, the editor of the East-West Church Report and author of Believing in Russia – Religious Policy after Communism.  “I think particularly since then, there's been an increasingly strong pro-democracy movement within the church,” said Fagan. “And that has interacted with the other pro-democracy movements and has just gradually built momentum over the years. I think this is just the dam bursting basically. People just are not prepared to tolerate the restrictions that are actually impinging upon their consciences essentially.” Fagan joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the arrival of Protestant Christianity in Belarus, what religious freedom looks like in the former Soviet country, and what the global church can learn from Belarusian Christians.  Take Quick to Listen’s survey! What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 19, 2020
Why Liberty Finally Reacted to Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Antics
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, a Houston Chronicle reporter tweeted an image from Jerry Falwell Jr.’s instagram. The image showed the Liberty University president posing with his arm around a woman at a party with their zippers down and midsections exposed. By Friday, Falwell Jr. agreed to take an immediate and indefinite leave of absence from Liberty University, which he has led since 2007 as president and chancellor. As CT’s reporting noted: During his tenure—succeeding his father and the school’s founder, Jerry Falwell Sr.—the younger Falwell has expanded Liberty into one of the biggest Christian colleges in the world, now reporting an enrollment of over 120,000 students. But his leadership has also drawn controversy, including around his politics—such as his friendship with President Donald Trump—and personal life—like photos of him and his family at a Miami nightclub.In June, Falwell apologized for a tweet that included an image of the yearbook photo from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s blackface scandal. Dozens of black alumni said he should “withdraw the racist tweet” and resign to focus on politics. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss how Liberty University and its president fit in the larger landscape of Christian higher ed. Bill Ringenberg is faculty emeritus at Taylor University, where he was a longtime history professor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, and the author of The Christian College: A History of Protestant Higher Education in America and The Christian College and Academic Freedom. He joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss where Liberty is positioned the Christian higher ed world, how athletics make a difference in how the school sees itself, and why it took a photo on Instagram for Liberty’s board to react to Jerry Falwell Jr. Take Quick to Listen’s survey! What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 12, 2020
COVID Will Change Christian Summer Camp Forever
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. 2020 has been a year unlike any other for Christian summer camps. Here’s how CT captured the situation in a recent report: Like most businesses and ministries across the country, Christian camps felt the economic halt right away. Church retreats and events were called off in March, April, and May due to bans on mass gatherings across the states. Before long, camps were forced to grapple with the unimaginable: no summer camp.By May’s end, more than 100 Christian camps had announced cancellations. Most of the rest made dramatic changes to summer programming. Summer camp can represent half of a camp’s annual revenue or more, so skipping it for a year comes as a massive financial blow. Many Christian camps did cancel their summers. Some canceled and then reversed course. Some held programming all summer.  This has been a very difficult summer. We've got camps that have been open continuously, even through WWI and WWII, closed down for the first time this summer,” said Jacob Sorenson, the director of Sacred Playgrounds, a ministry offering research and training to camps and congregations. “It's been a very difficult time for the industry as a whole, including secular camps.” One added challenge for Christian summer camps has been politics.  “Christian camps are again caught in this political environment where the ones that have a constituency that tends to be conservative have been under a lot of pressure to open up,” said Sorenson, who researches camping ministry and who contributed to the previously mentioned CT article. “While the ones that have a constituency that tends to be more progressive or Democratic-leaning have been under pressure to close down. And it’s made it very difficult for camp directors to make a good decision for the health of their camp communities.” Sorenson joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the financial footprint of summer camp, what to know about how long a “camp high” really lasts, how many camps are using technology in ways never seen before, and who summer camps serve well and who they leave out.  Take Quick to Listen’s survey! What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 05, 2020
When John MacArthur Reopens His Church Despite COVID-19 Orders
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, John MacArthur announced that his megachurch would hold in-person, indoor services, despite California’s recent COVID-19 restrictions banning in-person meetings. In a statement explaining the rationale for the church’s actions in the midst of a pandemic, the pastor wrote:  Christ is Lord of all. He is the one true head of the church He is also King of kings—sovereign over every earthly authority. Grace Community Church has always stood immovably on those biblical principles. As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture. Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands. What exactly should Christians make of MacArthur’s decision? One way to evaluate it is understanding whether it constitutes conscientious objection, civil disobedience, or something else, says Daniel K. Williams, professor of history at the University of West Georgia. From a historical perspective, “true civil disobedience, at least in its classic form, has been public. It's been an active protest. It has been accompanied by the willingness to accept the consequences,” said Williams. “And that last part is one that I'm not sure if that's always consistently followed.” Williams joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss what separates civil disobedience from merely breaking the law, how evangelicals have changed their mind on the issue in the past 50 years, and the role of empathy in shifting people’s attitudes and beliefs. Take Quick to Listen’s survey! What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola This podcast mentions Quick to Listen episodes 219, 216, and 215. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 29, 2020
J.I. Packer’s Mission Field: the United States
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Despite the fact that the widely esteemed theologian J. I. Packer never lived in the United States, the theologian greatly influenced American evangelicals. One key way this transpired occurred through Packer’s longstanding relationship with Christianity Today. Packer’s first piece—a lengthy article on the opportunity and challenges for evangelicalism—was published in 1958. After the publication of his best-known work, Knowing God, he became contributing editor at Christianity Today in 1983 and then senior editor in 1985. He continued to serve the magazine in similar roles for the next three decades. In 1992, he wrote about how he envisaged his relationship with the publication: One role of CT, which is a features-news-and-thought journal anchored in the historic faith, is to keep you posted, one way and another, on the theological front. I suppose I should see myself as a kind of point man for this purpose. But most of all, I want to be a plumber and sewage man, as I said when I started, and most of all, I want CT always to be showing how head and heart should be joining in mature discipleship today. Head-without-heart journals and heart-without-head journals make for misshapen and underdeveloped Christians. It is important that we should find and follow the better way. Timothy George, distinguished professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School, was a contemporary of Packer’s at CT.  “I would say his role at CT was a mentor to the whole enterprise, especially to all the editors,” said George. “For me and others that worked with him constantly in those days, we respected him and looked to him as someone who was a pioneer in the very thing that we were giving our lives to.” George joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss Packer’s CT legacy, the controversy he sparked over his convictions of the Bible’s inerrancy, and who is following in his footsteps today.  Take Quick to Listen’s survey! Read our JI Packer coverage What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 22, 2020
Your Fellow Christians Don't Share Your Theological Convictions. Now What?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. As Quick to Listen listeners are probably well aware, Christians rarely agree on everything. Take an issue like communion. On the one hand, it would be hard to find a Christian who doesn’t believe participating in Communion is a key part of what it means to practice one’s faith. But for some Christians, this is the focal point of weekly gatherings. Others can go months without partaking. For some, using whatever food and drink is around the house counts as the body and blood of Christ. Others need their priests to have blessed the physical products. And of course, COVID-19’s interruption of church services has introduced other questions about digital v. physical options.  So how can Christians better connect with each other and work each other across real theological diversity? One recent look at how the church might do this better is outlined in Gavin Ortlund’s new book Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Case for Theological Triage which asks when doctrine should divide and when unity should prevail. Ortlund joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss whether evangelicals care too much or too little about theology, how debates about culture have changed how Christians relate to each other and how Christians can both stay true to their convictions and better serve the entirety of the body of Christ overall.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Gavin Ortlund Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 15, 2020
Quick to Listen - Trailer
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Each Wednesday, Christianity Today's Quick to Listen drops a new episode that adds context and complexity to some of the hottest current events in the Christian world. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 09, 2020
Why Christians Have a Reputation for Smashing Statues
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Take Quick to Listen’s survey! The protests that followed the killing of George Floyd in May started with a focus on police brutality. But six weeks later, a dominant theme is the removal of monuments, and memorials. Protesters have torn down or vandalized dozens of statues connected to the Confederacy and to other controversial historical figures like Christopher Columbus. But this isn’t the first time that statues have been torn down en mass amid widespread protests. After Constantine allowed Christianity in the Roman Empire, Christians tore down so many statues that in Athens they reportedly became known as “the people who move that which should not be moved.” Early church battled each other over religious iconography. Reformation Christians inspired another round of eager statue smashing and removal. “What's funny is when I was first getting acclimated to art as a Protestant, and learning that art history mattered, we were embarrassed about our iconoclastic heritage,” said Matthew Milliner, associate professor of art history at Wheaton College. “But what an honor to be known as ‘the people who moved that which should not be moved.’” Milliner joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how much earlier Christian battles over statues echo today’s fights, what Christians have learned that might help us better understand the call to remove statues today, and whether we should even be creating memorials and monuments in the first place.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 08, 2020
Have Pro-Lifers Lost the Supreme Court Fight?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Take Quick to Listen’s survey! In 2014, Louisiana enacted a law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court struck down the law. Legislators said the requirement would improve the level of care that clinics provide for women. Abortion regulations in Louisiana and other conservative states have resulted in clinic closures and corresponded with falling abortion rates nationwide. Beyond the Supreme Court’s power, the federal government plays a key role in terms of shaping public opinion around abortion, says Alexandra DeSanctis, a staff writer for National Review and the host of the For Life podcast. “But I think in terms of what comes before courts, and what actually goes into effect, what actually matters for the everyday American in terms of how they think about abortion, is policy at the state level,” said DeSanctis. “And I think that even among pro-lifers, there are plenty of people who think you couldn't even really pass a ban on abortion through the U.S. Congress. ...So I do think if this is going to be a successful fight for pro-lifers, we have to think first and foremost of the micro-level, local and state policy first.” DeSanctis joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss what was surprising and unsurprising about the SCOTUS decision, what makes John Roberts tick, and if trying to get cases to the highest court in the land should be the goal for pro-lifers.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Alexandra Desanctis Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 01, 2020
How Navajo Christians Are Trying to Serve Their Community During a Pandemic
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Take Quick to Listen’s listener survey! Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. The Navajo Nation continues to be hit hard by COVID-19. The community has reported nearly 7,000 cases and more than 330 deaths. Leaders have ordered businesses closed on weekends in a community that is spread across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The Navajo Nation’s preexisting conditions like poverty, limited running water, and close living situations make it extra vulnerable to coronavirus. The lockdowns have made it challenging for people to access the resources they need, says Donnie Begay, who along with his wife, Renee, directs the Nations Movement, a campus ministry that’s part of Cru. “On the Navajo Nation, there are only about a dozen food grocery stories that cover 27,000 square miles that is the Navajo reservation,” said Begay, who lives in Albuquerque. Many on the reservation live at least an hour away from the border of the reservations and these lockdowns cut them off from the businesses on the other side. “These lockdowns can be very cumbersome to people who need to drive an hour or more just to buy groceries or necessities and food during the pandemic,” said Begay. Begay joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the community’s complex relationship with Christianity, why they’re uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19, and how Navajo millennials are making their faith their own. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Donnie Begay Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 24, 2020
Where China’s Crackdown Leaves the Hong Kong Church
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last month, the Chinese government approved a plan that would give Mainland China the ability to crush any acts in Hong Kong that it deems a national security risk. Despite international outcry, the legislation will go into effect in September. In one of many responses by Hong Kongers, hundreds of theologians, pastors, and church leaders signed a statement accusing the draft decision of “further depriving Hong Kong of freedom and human rights.”The Christian leaders accused the Chinese government of destroying its promises and undercutting the city as an international financial center. At a time where, quote, “darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, we fearlessly and solemnly declare the following confession and promise to our society, including our full embrace of the Gospel of the Kingdom, our sincere repentance towards the Church’s shortcomings, our absolute refusal to authoritarian government, and our determination to walk together with Hong Kong society.” the statement said. As Hong Kong heads to the fall, the church could use prayers “for guidance and clarity for church leaders and Christians in Hong Kong and how we're going to walk this path. Because I honestly have no idea what's going to happen next,” said Ann Gillian Chu, who is completing her doctor of divinity at the University of St. Andrews in the Center for the Study of Religion and Politics and who has written widely on the theology of Hong Kong’s protest movements. “And I think there is also a general sense of weariness and dread on what’s going to happen,” she said. “And obviously, this is entirely out of our control. And so there's nothing else we can rely on, except for God.” Chu joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the state of Christianity in Hong Kong, if the protests will unify or split the church, and if any prominent Hong Kong Christians desire a closer relationship between Hong Kong and China. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Gillian Chu Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 17, 2020
Where the Black Church Is in the Black Lives Matter Movement
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. In recent weeks, American cities, suburbs, and small towns have seen an explosion of protests reacting to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Even as many have commented on the racial diversity of the demonstrators, many of those organizing the marches are young African Americans activists. But while black pastors have organized several marches in major cities like Chicago and Washington DC, they have not been at the forefront of a movement that arguably began back in Ferguson in 2014.  “While you may have had many black pastors and clergy who may have shown up at events, and you may have had a lot of people from black churches who were at these marches and protests, from 2014 to the present, by and large, this has not been a theological movement,” said Watson Jones III, the senior pastor of Compassion Baptist Church in Chicago. “It hasn't been a movement that has started in the basements of churches, in prayer meetings, and altars that flooded out into the streets.” Despite this, Watson believes that some of what is fueling many of the young black activist leaders ties back to this institution.  “Much of how they do what they do are examples of things that early clergy and faithful Christians did in the ’50s, ’60s, and even ’70s, but there is an absence of clergy leading this movement,” he said. Watson joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss why the black church’s approach to activism has never been a monolith, how the community’s preaching is speaking to current events, and the extent to which the black church is struggling to keep young people engaged.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Watson Jones III Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 10, 2020
Why White Evangelicals Love Police More than Their Neighbors
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. In the aftermath of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets to protest police brutality. Video of Floyd’s final moments as a police officer used his knee to pin his neck and his three colleagues looked on prompted a strong reaction from around this country. While perhaps more white evangelicals have spoken out against the police officers’ actions than after previous acts of police brutality made national news, some of the ways that they are framing their statements about law enforcement suggests they actually aren’t getting it, says Aaron L. Griffith, assistant professor of history at Sattler College in Boston. “I worry that many white evangelicals are talking about the problem of police brutality in terms of the exceptions, in terms of the bad apples. And then proposing things like more training or pushing more into the colorblind frame or even mobilizing language like ‘racial reconciliation,’ to say that black Americans have an opportunity to forgive and befriend the officers in their midst,” said Griffith, who is also the author of the forthcoming God’s Law and Order: The Politics of Punishment in Evangelical America.“That is very concerning to me because we've seen this before. We've seen this in moves toward community policing, which envisions the police as more closely connected, and perhaps even friendly, to the neighborhoods they serve,” he said. “But community policing projects are really much more about just changing perceptions of law enforcement, not the practices of how they operate. And really, making police more directly connected to communities, embedding them more closely in communities, often just exposes residents to more interactions and more risks.” Griffith joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the origins of the police, how a desire to reach teenagers affected attitudes toward law enforcement, and if white evangelicals views are changing or not. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Aaron L. Griffith Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 03, 2020
Churches Are Reopening. That Doesn’t Mean Singing's Back.
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. California’s Department of Health’s reopening guidelines for houses of worship contain bitter news for those who love corporate worship.  “Strongly consider discontinuing singing, group recitation, and other practices and performances where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets,” the report warns. In another section it notes, “ Activities such as singing and group recitation negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing.” Absorbing this is tough news for those who feel most connected to God and others through music. “There is something about articulating our emotional state and using music, using song, as a means of expressing ourselves before the Lord. And that's deep in the Christian tradition, from singing and praying the Psalms to the early hymns in the New Testament like in Luke's gospel and peppered through Paul's letters,” said Glenn Packiam, associate senior pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “There was also a reputation that early Christians get. In Pliny’s letter to the emperor, he says, “These strange Christians get together before sunrise and they sing these hymns to Christ as if to a God.” “There's something about song that helps us express more than just what the words of the song are saying,” continued Packiam, who is also the author of the forthcoming book, Worship and the World to Come Exploring Christian Hope in Contemporary Worship. Packiam joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how his church has handled the pandemic from a worship perspective, what makes corporate singing special, and what it means that eschatology is missing from our worship music.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Visit our guest’s website: Glenn Packiam Read more about Packiam’s church: New Life After the Fall of Ted Haggard Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 27, 2020
Prayer amid Pandemic: "All Shall Be Well," She Wrote. But There's More to the Story.
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"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” That these 17 words were uttered by a woman named Julian of Norwich may be the only thing you know about this 14th-century English saint. Historians don’t necessarily know that much more. We’re not even sure her real name. So why do we remember her? In this episode of Prayer amid Pandemic, Amy Laura Hall, the author of Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich and a Christian ethics professor at Duke Divinity School, tell us why we know so little about Julian’s identity but why we still read her writings on the vision she received while sick today. Gideon Para-Mallam, the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students regional secretary for English and Portuguese-speaking Africa, offers this week’s prayer. Read Christianity Today’s latest coronavirus coverage What is Prayer amid Pandemic? Read more Rate Prayer amid Pandemic on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow the host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Music by Urban Nerd Beats, Prod. Riddiman, and Oliver Dúvel Prayer amid Pandemic is produced by Morgan Lee, Mike Cosper, and Erik Petrik Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 22, 2020
What the Bible Says About QAnon
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Plandemic? QAnon? Bill Gates creating the COVID-19?  As the novel coronavirus has traveled around the world, so too have conspiracy theories about the origins of the disease and the winners and losers that have emerged as result. In the past month, a video making claims that Gates and Anthony Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, used COVID-19 to gain money and political power, went viral. At the same time as Plandemic, The Atlantic launched a new series examining conspiracy theories, including an in-depth look at the QAnon, a movement that makes bold claims about the global elite. The Bible has many things to say about conspiracy theories, specifically with regards for how Christians should determine what is real, says Dru Johnson, the director of the Center for Hebraic Thought and who wrote about conspiracy theories for CT in December. “The biblical diagnosis, the biblical impulse here, is not that you have to be afraid of someone lying to you. It's that somebody will always be interpreting your world for you,” said Johnson. “And you have to lean into the wise practices that God has given us as people to discern what is worth listening to and what's not.” “People say that God sent COVID-19 to bring the Church in America together to teach us the lesson. How could we know such a thing?” said Johnson, who also teaches biblical studies and theology at The King’s College in New York City. “But I certainly do believe that God is using this as a test of us. A test of who we trust and how we think about what's worth trusting and understanding.” Johnson joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to share about how the Bible discusses conspiracy theories, what Paul means when he writes about the mysteries of God, and what differentiates a conspiracy theory from a religion.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Dru Johnson Visit our guest’s website: Dru Johnson Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 20, 2020
What Ahmaud Arbery’s Death Recalls About Lynching and Church History
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, a video was leaked of a white man shooting and killing Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery in his neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. While Arbery’s death occurred in February, the alleged shooter and his father were only arrested last week following a massive public uproar following the release of the tape. Many Christians, of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, have condemned the Arbery’s killing. But widespread condemnation from the church for these types of killings was not always the case.For years, for white Christians, “the critique of lynching rarely moved beyond ‘Lynching is anarchy, and we need to kind of reinforce the rule of law,’” said Malcolm Foley, a PhD candidate in Baylor University’s Department of Religion, whose dissertation examines African-American Christian responses to lynching from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Not surprisingly, the black church took a much more forceful response to these atrocities.“Many black pastors were commenting on this and saying, ‘If you can either stand in a mob of thousands of people and watch a black man be set on fire alive, or if you are one of the people holding the rifles that riddled this body with bullets, you're most likely not a Christian,’” said Foley, who is also the director of discipleship at Mosaic Waco. Foley joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the colonial history of lynching, how beliefs about white women provided justification for this violence, and how lynchings changed the theology of the black and white church. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Malcolm Foley Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 13, 2020
What Shocks Russell Moore About Covid Church-State Disputes
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas announced plans for the city’s reopening. Churches are among the institutions that will be allowed to open this month: with one caveat. Any business or establishment that allows people to stay for more than 10 minutes must allow attendees or customers to sign a sheet with all their contact information, to allow for contact tracers to contact them if there was later a COVID-19 outbreak at the establishment.The conservative Christian law firm Liberty Counsel compared Kansas City’s actions those of Nazi Germany. “The Germans did this very thing to Jews – collecting the names and locations of all known synagogue attendees - in the early days of the Nazi regime,” Founder and Chairman Mat Staver wrote in a fundraising appeal. “Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined Nazi-like measures designed to surveil, track and spy upon what was once a FREE American people. Yet that is exactly what Kansas City’s misguided government officials are now demanding.” Kansas City mishandled this situation, says Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm. “I have almost no doubt that this was taking place due to very well-intentioned people, but there's a reason why that raises a sense of alarm in all kinds of people–and not just the conspiracy theory, propagating people who are complaining about having to wear masks in the grocery store,” he said. “...I think governments, even when they're well-intentioned, have to think through what are the implications going to be, how can somebody use this policy I'm putting into place in another time and for another reason, and how am I communicating it?” Moore joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how COVID-19 may shape religious freedom battles in the future, where churches should look for wisdom and guidance as they reopen, and what he finds surprising about how congregations have responded to social distancing. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Russell Moore Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 06, 2020
Should Christians ‘Believe in Science’ in the Midst of a Pandemic?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. As governors across the U.S. consider whether to relax stay at home orders, many are pitting the words “politics” and “economics” against the word “science.” California Governor Gavin Newsom, for example, told the Los Angeles Times.“We are going to do the right thing, not judge by politics, not judge by protests, but by science.” And as Governor Brian Kemp opened up Georgia, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms urged people to “Follow the data, look at the science, listen to the health care professionals and use your common sense.” Similar calls to “believe in science” or “listen to science” are all over policy debates and social media fights. But what does it mean to “believe in science”? And does “science” have a unified answer to questions like “who gets a ventilator,” or whether your child should go to summer camp? We should be cautious when suggesting that science can speak in such a unified voice, says Sy Garte, a biochemist who has taught at New York University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Rutgers University. “The idea that ‘science says’—suggesting that it's easy to come up with a consensus, a uniform, finished version of what is true—that's a problem because that's very rarely the case,” said Garte, who is also the editor in chief of God and Nature, a magazine from the American Scientific Affiliation. “One of the things you find out if you're a working scientist is that almost every answer brings up new questions. So we never actually finish learning anything in any field of science. We are continually trying to get deeper and learn more.” Garte joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the historic distrust between Christians and science, what science can and cannot answer, and how Christians should engage in conversations with neighbors who are suspicious of science. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Learn more about Sy Garte’s Book: The Work of His Hands Read Sy’s testimony Read CT’s coverage of the BioLogos’ Francis Collins event Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 29, 2020
Should Al Mohler’s Vote for Trump Surprise Us?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. In October 2016, an Access Hollywood video clip of Donald Trump making demeaning remarks about women was leaked. In the aftermath of this revelation, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Al Mohler, wrote for The Washington Post. “Trump’s horrifying statements, heard in his own proud voice, revealed an objectification of women and a sexual predation that must make continued support for Trump impossible for any evangelical leader.” But last week, Mohler said that the “partisan divide had become so great” and Democrats had “swerved so far to the left” on issues of abortion, religious liberty, and LGBT issues that he planned to vote Republican for the rest of his life. This, of course, includes voting to reelect Trump this fall. One of the disappointing things about Mohler’s remarks was that they came during a pandemic and a terrible economic downturn, said conservative evangelical writer David French, who has been outspoken about his opposition to Trump since 2016. “While I don't put all that on Trump's feet, he just did some really incompetent things that had a severe cost,” said French. “And then to come in the middle of that, while we're bearing that cost, and to say ‘Four more years,’ seems to be indicating that evangelicals are saying, ‘As long as you're okay on the checklist, no matter your character, no matter what else is happening in the country, we're with you.’ I just found that to be very narrow.” French joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss what white evangelicals can learn about political engagement from black Christians, why white evangelicals by and large have not been disturbed by Trump’s cruelty, and at what points French’s own #NeverTrump convictions have been most-tested. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Find our guest on Twitter: David French Subscribe to The French Press Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 22, 2020
A Major Christian School Just Shut Down Its Biblical Archeology Program
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has the largest evangelical archeology program. It’s also the only evangelical institution to offer a doctoral degree in the field. But this school year will be its last. “We will no longer offer degrees in archaeology because they are incongruent with our mission to maximize resources in the training of pastors and other ministers of the gospel for the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Southwestern announced in a statement.  Southwestern also suggested that its decision was linked to the spread of COVID-19 and the pandemic will curtail some digs this year, says John Monson, associate professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. But ultimately, Monson doesn’t think that the disease is the greatest threat to the discipline. “This is a field that's been around since Napoleon Bonaparte, so about 1799, and it's weathered a lot more than this coronavirus,” said Monson, whose archaeological fieldwork has taken him to Syria, Lebanon, and numerous excavations in Israel. “And there's always been an interest in the Bible and there still is an interest in the Bible in much of the world today….I think the bigger challenge is going to be continued interest on the part of Christians and particularly evangelical institutions.” Monson joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss where Southwestern’s shutdown of their program leaves the state of biblical archeology, how apologetics fits into this discipline, and what happens when what scripture suggests and what is found on the ground doesn’t exactly line up. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 15, 2020
Can Urban Churches Survive a Pandemic?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. As coronavirus government restrictions have curtailed in-person Sunday services, thousands of pastors and church leaders have continued to reach their congregations through livestreams. But not all churches have the same technological infrastructure. And even for churches who might have access to a tripod, smartphone, microphone and Facebook Live--their members might not have bandwidth fast enough for live video or they themselves might not be comfortable accessing these new platforms.  Jonathan Brooks, the senior pastor at Canaan Community Church in Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood, says that he has some fellow pastor friends whose churches are still meeting, in spite of the state’s coronavirus meeting bans. "But it's because of the giving. It's because if they don't physically have church, they won't get any money and their budget is not so that they can miss a Sunday,” said Brooks. “And so it’s such a conundrum, it’s such a quandary. Some folks just stop having church completely because they don't have anybody around them that can help them navigate this new way of being.” While Brooks’ church has been able to meet digitally, he recognizes that few in his congregation have the opportunity to move their work online. “To be honest with you, this is a white-collar pandemic. It's not a blue-collar pandemic,” he said. “The folks who serve us all and make things run still have to go to work, which is the majority of my congregation.” Brooks joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how Canaan has navigated online giving, how he has injected creativity into his online Holy Week services, and what it’s like when your congregation says “Amen” over Zoom. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Jonathan Brooks Learn more about the Churches Helping Churches challenge Learn more about Canaan Community Church Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 08, 2020
Did He Who Made the Lamb Make ‘Tiger King’?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. In recent weeks, we’ve entered a world without professional sports and where millions of people are forced to remain in their homes. In other words, we’re entered a world ripe for a weird Netflix show to become a cultural phenomenon.  Enter Tiger King, a docuseries exploring the bizarre world of Americans who own dozens of exotic animals, including tigers and lions. So what makes big cats so alluring to people anyways? Part of it is their unique intelligence, says Mike Mooring, a professor of biology at Point Loma Nazarene who studies jaguars in Costa Rica.“I think that from time immemorial, people have had both this primeval fear coupled with a fascination with the big cats because they're mysterious,” said Mooring. “They come and go. You don't know where they are. They are elusive. They kind of pop out of the night and then they disappear.” Mooring joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss whether big cats can be tamed, what makes these felines special, and how studying wildlife in Southern Africa led him to Christ. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Read God Loves Protected Species. And the Poachers Who Kill Them. Read The Behemoth’s archives Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 01, 2020
What This Livestream Moment Means for the Church
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Within a matter of weeks, COVID-19 government restrictions have led thousands churches to livestream their services. This week, the Church Online Platform announced that it had reached a record-setting 7 million in church attendance worldwide, about seven times the attendance from just two weeks before. But for some pastors and church leaders, transitioning to this new normal has been challenging or at times painful. “I’m not going to tell you our service today will be awesome and unmissable, or the best online service that will change your life. I was sick and the sermon was just ok,” tweeted New York City based pastor Jon Tyson. “In fact I have found this online stuff sad and hard. Preaching to a camera is not what I was made for.” As pastors and church leaders with little livestreaming experience transition to this mode of communication, they should avoid getting too caught up with perfectionism, says Daniel Fusco, the lead pastor of Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, Washington, whose church has years of livestreaming experience. “For every church, you need to do whatever you're doing in a way that is authentic to who you are,” said Fusco. “...People attend a specific church because it speaks to them.” Fusco joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss livestreaming best practices, how to think creatively in this medium, and what it's like for church leaders to prepare for a livestream v. a traditional Sunday morning service. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Visit our guest’s website: Daniel Fusco Read Daniel’s Preaching Today articles: Preaching, Technology, and COVID-19 Leading a Digital Church Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 25, 2020
Introducing: Prayer amid Pandemic
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Prayer amid Pandemic is a podcast to encourage and sharpen the church during this season of coronavirus. Twice a week we’ll give you stories of Christian individuals and communities whose lives and faith were shaped by sickness. We’ll also get an update on the latest on the COVID-19 situation and pray together, hearing from Christians around the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 25, 2020
Christians Responded to Contagious Diseases with Compassion
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last Sunday, hundreds of American churches closed their doors to congregants, many of whom watched via livestream. It may be like this for weeks. That same day, the Center for Disease Control urged Americans not to congregate in groups larger than 50.  These types of restrictions will have significant repercussions for many churches, where groups of 50 or larger gather on a weekly basis, especially with Easter just weeks away. As church leaders and pastors wrestle with these restrictions as well as navigating weddings and funerals, there’s a larger question we wanted to explore: What type of opportunity does a pandemic like this allow Christians to be remembered for? A strong empathy for the suffering of other people characterized much of the church’s response to sickness during the Roman Empire, says Gary Ferngren, a history professor at Oregon State University who studies the social history of ancient medicine, religion and ancient medicine.“The compassionate model in health care is, I think, the very distinctive contribution that Christians have made,” said Ferngren.  Ferngren joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and president and CEO Tim Dalrymple to discuss the state of healthcare in the Roman era, why the Christian response to the plague of Cyprian stood out, and how Christians came together to open hospitals. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Timothy Dalrymple Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Find all of Christianity Today’s coronavirus coverage  Read What Martin Luther Teaches Us About Coronavirus Read about Cicely Saunders, the founder of hospice care Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 18, 2020
Historically White Christian Ministries Now Have Korean American Male Leaders
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. On Monday, the Christian anti-hunger advocacy organization Bread for the World announced that Eugene Cho would be its next president. Cho is most well-known the founder of Seattle’s Quest Church and the nonprofit One Days Wages. He’s also the latest Korean American Christian male leader to assume a top spot in an evangelical organization. In 2013, Michael Oh became the global executive director/CEO of Lausanne. In 2015, Joel Kim became the president of Westminster Seminary California. In 2017, Alexander Jun was elected moderator of the 45th General Assembly for the Presbyterian Church in America or PCA. Last year, PCA pastor Walter Kim became the president of the National Association of Evangelicals and Julius Kim became the president of The Gospel Coalition. Vanderbilt Divinity School professor Paul Lim joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and news editor Daniel Silliman on Quick to Listen to discuss whether more Korean Americans in leadership will lead to greater cultural representation overall, the long relationship between Presbyterianism and Koreans, and what the church at large can learn from Korean Americans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 11, 2020
Do Democrats Want to Reach Christians?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Super Tuesday is upon us. After a primary here and a caucus there, Tuesday is when the greatest number of US states hold primary elections and caucuses. As the Democratic field narrows down, what type of success have candidates had in reaching out to Christians? The AND Campaign’s Justin Giboney and Michael Wear joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and CEO and president Tim Dalrymple to discuss the efforts that the Democratic field has made to reach religious voters, why white evangelicals vote so consistently for Democrats, and if Republicans will ever court black Christians. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Tim Dalrymple Learn more about the AND Campaign Follow Justin Giboney and Michael Wear Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 02, 2020
Reeling from the Jean Vanier Abuse Allegations?
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. When Jean Vanier died last year at age 90, his life and his ministry of working with people with disabilities was nearly universally celebrated. “We don’t often find people born into privilege and status, and highly educated, who then follow the downward path of Jesus,” wrote Bethany McKinney Fox. “But as founder of L’Arche International, Vanier spent decades in community with people with and without intellectual disabilities and embraced the joys, complications, and demands that go along with such a life.” Then, last weekend, L’Arche International released a report, looking over a 30-year span, stating that multiple women told an investigative team about experiences of sexual assault with Vanier. “The relationships involved various kinds of sexual behavior often combined with so-called ‘mystical and spiritual’ justifications for this conduct,” it stated. The report went on to say that the women provided, “sufficient evidence to establish that Jean Vanier engaged in manipulative sexual relationships with at least 6 adult (not disabled) women. This number does not presume that there were no other cases, but takes into account spontaneously received testimony.”This news comes at a time when many are undoubtedly exhausted by the number of scandals and exploits of high-profile leaders.“ Right now, that this is starting to feel very routine is pointing to the fact that the church has done a very poor job of dealing with issues of sexuality and spirituality and power,” said Ruth Haley Barton, the founder of the Transforming Center, an ecumenical leadership organization. “We just don't talk about them and we haven't helped our leaders in our clergy know how to be with themselves around these issues.” For Barton, one of the keys for leaders is submitting themselves to spiritual direction. “It really is almost a non-negotiable if you want to stay the course and stay on your own journey of transformation, stay on your own journey of encounter with God while you are leading others,” she said. “You've just got to have this place outside the limelight where you can bring your whole self.” Barton joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how to handle anger when learning these frustrating revelations, how to look at the relationship between power and sexuality, and how to process this seemingly never-ending bad news of disappointing leaders without losing your faith. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Read If You See Something Say Something Learn more about the Transforming Center Listen to Quick to Listen: Episode 160: Jean Vanier’s Faith Convicts All of Us Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 26, 2020
Five Years Ago, ISIS Executed 21 Christians on a Libyan Beach
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Five years ago this month, ISIS executed 21 Christian men on a beach Libya. Their masked executors stood in all black behind the men, who knelt in a line wearing orange jumpsuits. After the Islamic State released a video of their murders, images of this massacre of Coptic Christians reverberated around the world. But despite the cultural impact left, Egyptian Christians have long experienced persecution, says Archbishop Angaelos, who serves in London. “The interesting thing is, we live it with a sense of resilience, but we have never fallen into a state of victimhood or triumphalism,” he said. “We realize that it is the cross of Christ. …It's not the end of the road because there is a resurrection that comes after the cross and the empty tomb. And so it is in that hope that we continue to live. And it's in that hope that we continue to carry that cross knowing that it will be removed from us.” Archbishop Angaelos, who still remembers the day he learned of the news recently joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Daniel Harrell to discuss why this act of persecution so greatly impacted the global church, the identity of the only non-Egyptian martyr, and whether the church will experience the same decline as it has in the rest of the Middle East. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Daniel Harrell Follow our guest on Twitter: Archbishop Angaelos Listen to Quick to Listen: Episode 38: How the Coptic Christian Church Endures Learn more about the 21 Martyrs film Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 19, 2020
Why Steve Timmis Was Accused of ‘Spiritual Abuse’
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, CT published an investigative report on allegations of spiritual abuse by Steve Timmis, who previously served as the CEO of the church planting ministry Acts 29. But long before assuming the leadership in 2014, Timmis was known for his model of intensive gospel community developed at his 120-person church in England known as The Crowded House and for his books like Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community. But not everyone who was part of Timmis’s close-knit church community felt warmly toward the church leader. According to our report:  Fifteen people who served under Timmis described to Christianity Today a pattern of spiritual abuse through bullying and intimidation, overbearing demands in the name of mission and discipline, rejection of critical feedback, and an expectation of unconditional loyalty. People in these environments aren’t always aware they’re being abused, says Lisa Oakley, the co-author of Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse: Creating Healthy Christian Cultures. “Psychological abuse is not a one-off. It's usually a series of incidents which when told by themselves can seem minimal,” said Oakley, now an assistant professor for the developmental psychology team at the University of Chester. “It's when you put that story together that you actually start to see this pattern of control.” Oakley joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss what people should do if they think they are being spiritually abused, how spiritual abuse can also affect pastors, and why it may be hard for people in close-knit communities to realize the unhealthy state of their church’s leadership. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guest on Twitter: Lisa Oakley Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 13, 2020
What Bethany’s International Adoption Halt Means for Orphans Around the World
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, the largest Christian adoption agency in the United States announced it will end international adoptions. More than 15,000 children had been adopted since the late 1970s through Bethany Christian Services.Bethany’s decision was not because they didn’t believe in the program but because of their “desire to serve children in their own communities,” said Kristi Gleason, the vice president for global services at Bethany, in a statement. “The future of adoption is working with local governments, churches, and social services professionals around the world to recruit and support local families for children and to develop and improve effective, safe in-country child welfare systems.” To that end, part of these efforts has meant turning away from institutionalized care, or orphanages. One of the leaders in this effort has been Ukraine, says Micala Siler, the executive director of A Family for Every Orphan.“From what I've seen in Romania and Ukraine firsthand most recently, because of the hard work of Christians to change cultural mindsets and help refine government system, these countries have the foundation to be countries without orphanages in the next 15 to 20 years.” said Siler. Siler joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the bigger reasons why there’s been a move to move children from orphanages to familial situations, how adoption culture is growing in countries around the world, and the difference Christians have made in this conversation. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Read LifeWay’s research on American Christians and adoptions Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 05, 2020
Prayer in the Time of Coronavirus
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Lunar New Year kicked off last week as millions of Chinese people left the cities they live for the homes they grew up in. For many, their trips coincided with the outbreak of the coronavirus, an epidemic that the government has responded to with intense travel restrictions in Wuhan, the city of 11 million, that’s ground zero for a disease that’s killed more than 100 people. The intensity of the quarantine has raised questions from outside observers like Emory University School of Medicine microbiologist Elaine Burd, who worry about the unintended consequences of the government’s move. As the government has “essentially ordered” the people in Wuhan to wear protective gear, it’s caused a shortage of equipment for those actually treating patients, she says.  “The biggest problem is that health care workers, who are taking care of sick patients, don't have enough protective gear, and this puts them at greater risk of catching the virus while they're taking care of patients,” said Burd. “From reports that I've seen, that seems to have created some panic among the group we call the ‘worried well.’ These people without symptoms but now don't have access to the protective equipment that the local government and public health officials said they should have. And so they feel vulnerable, maybe excessively vulnerable. So I think all of that really, it can create chaos.” Burd joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and CEO and president Tim Dalrymple about what people should know about the coronavirus, God’s call for her to become a microbiologist, and how her experiences working with an Ebola patient inform how she understands China’s current crisis.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Tim Dalrymple Learn more about Eileen Burd Read a prayer from a pastor in Wuhan Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 29, 2020
What This Aboriginal Christian Wants to Tell the Church About the Australia Fires
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Australia's wildfires have consumed million acres of brushland, rainforests, and national parks. More than 30 people have died and according to some estimates, one billion animals have been killed. The area that has burned is roughly the size of England. As CT reported earlier this month, the fires have forced some Christian missions teams to evacuate. Hillsong announced several weeks ago that it had raised more than one million Australian dollars to support those affected by the fire. And the board of directors of A Rocha Australia, part of an international Christian conservation group, said it was building partnerships with Christian and non-Christian conservationists to aid with the recovery. As an aboriginal Christian, Brooke Prentis hopes the tragedy causes Christians and the country at large to commit to listening to the voices of Australia’s indigenous people, who have lived on the land for thousands of years. “My deep prayer and hope is that while this is a tragic situation for us, but maybe it's through tragedy that finally Aboriginal peoples are included as part of the fabric of our political, social, moral, and religious systems in Australia,” said Prentis, the incoming CEO of Common Grace, a Australian organization that organizes ecumenically around justice issues. “And that we can work together to work out how we look at this situation in our present and into our future, and how the past has affected that present and will affect our future if we don't come together.” Prentis joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and CEO and president Tim Dalrymple to discuss why she’s passionate about unity in the church, the tragic significance of January 26 for the aboriginal community, and how to pray for Australia during this time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 22, 2020
Can the Church Lead on Race Relations? Atlanta Christians Think So.
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Next week, we’ll remember the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr, who died 52 years ago this year. It’s also, of course, a time to reflect on the state of race relations within the church. One of those efforts has been the OneRace Movement, a group that has brought more than 500 Atlanta-area pastors of all ethnic and racial backgrounds together in the name of reconciliation and revival. In 2018, the movement hosted a worship service at Stone Mountain, the largest tourist attraction in the state of Georgia—and also where confederate heroes Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson are etched in granite. Why host an event meant to promote strengthening race relations at such a polemic site? “It's a place with a dark history, but also present cultural significance,” said Hazen Stephens, the co-director of OneRace. “...Biblically, whenever reformers would come in, the first thing that they would do is they would go to the high place and they would remove the Asherah poles and they would take down the idols. And we felt like what we were doing at Stone Mountain as we were calling church leaders to go to a place where spiritually an idol was erected over a 100 years ago, and to tear down that idol and say, this is not what our city stands for anymore.” Learning this type of history is part of OneRace’s model: Know the story. Own the story. Change the story. This knowledge is crucial for white Christians trying to gain credibility from Christians of color when they enter into these conversations, says co-director Josh Clemons. “If I were going to say something to the white church, I would say get invested in the story. It's time to listen,” he said. “It's time to hear from African American brothers and sisters. It's time to hear from Hispanic brothers and sisters. It's time to hear from Asian brothers and sisters. And how the story of race and the effects of race has impacted them. And, and then secondly, to be invested in that history so that we can own and ultimately change the story for generations to come.” Stephens and fellow co-director Josh Clemons joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and CEO and president Tim Dalrymple to discuss the name of the initiative, how they’ve tried to make their day on Stone Mountain more than a “mountaintop experience,” and how the movement has also encouraged Christians from different denominations to partner together.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 15, 2020
Introducing Christianity Today’s New Editor in Chief
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Several months ago, Christianity Today’s past editor in chief Mark Galli announced his retirement and Friday was his last day. This also means that Mark’s time as Quick to Listen co-host has concluded. In the interim, Christianity Today’s CEO and president, Timothy Dalrymple, will take the reins as co-host. Christianity Today’s new editor chief? Longtime pastor and writer Daniel Harrell, who most recently served as senior minister of Colonial Church in Edina, Minnesota. Harrell lost his wife Dawn unexpectedly last Easter and the aftermath of his death has been difficult. “A big part of this next season of my life is devoted to her legacy and her love for words and theology and for Christ and wanting to live that well for her, for my daughter, and for myself.  said Harrell. Daniel joined longtime host and digital media producer Morgan Lee and new host Tim to discuss his memories of Billy Graham, the themes of his three books on the Old Testament, evolution, and the saints, and what it’s like to hear a call to ministry at a frat party.  This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you by The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which offers rigorous theological education for future ministers of the gospel. Find out more about Southern Seminary at sbts.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 08, 2020
This New Year, Resolve Not to Forget God
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. When did we forget God? It’s a provocative question. And it’s the name of outgoing Christianity Today editor in chief Mark Galli’s latest book. After years working in this world, Galli believes that evangelical Christians’ strong suit today is the love of neighbor be it prayer gathering to evangelism to social justice to acts of mercy. We talk about God a lot and worship him and pray to him regularly. But on the other hand, relatively few Christians take with equal seriousness the command to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. If we do talk about the love of God, it is said that we love God by loving our neighbor. True enough, but that is hardly a complete answer, nor one that would have satisfied Christians of other eras. So what would look like to love God with this sort of passionate and all encompassing fury today? Or, to put it in classical terms, what it looks like to strive to behold the beatific vision, that is, the vision of God himself, a striving driven by an unswerving desire to know God intimately, face to face, and thus to love him with earthly and heavenly intensity? For his last Quick to Listen episode Galli digital media producer Morgan Lee spoke with Hans Boersma, the author of Seeing God: The Beatific Vision in Christian Tradition, to discuss would look like to love God with passionate and all-encompassing fury today and what difference this move might make in our lives and in the world around us. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Visit Hans Boersma’s website Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 02, 2020
What Lee Strobel Wants Christians to Know About Praying for Resurrections
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, a California couple’s two-year-old daughter stopped breathing and died. In the wake of the tragedy, the parents, Andrew and Kalley Heiligenthal, had an unusual response:  "We are asking for bold, unified prayers from the global church to stand with us in belief that He will raise this little girl back to life. Her time here is not done, and it is our time to believe boldly, and with confidence wield what King Jesus paid for. It’s time for her to come to life,” Kalley, a worship leader and songwriter at Bethel Church, wrote on Instagram, where she has more than 250 thousand followers. In response to her words, hundreds of people posted under the hashtag, #wakeupolive. Reaction to the Heiligenthal’s actions has been polarized. But according to apologist Lee Strobel, the family’s belief in miracles is similiar to that of many others. In a Barna study about prayer and healing that he commissioned for his recent The Case for Miracles, Strobel asked a sample of American adults if there was anything in their life they could only explain as being a miracle. “Thirty-eight percent of American adults said yes,” said Strobel. “Now if you extrapolate that number that would mean that there would be 94 million miracles just in the United States!” Strobel joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what is unique or interesting about Jesus’s miracles, how the Protestant Reformation changed Christians’ understanding of miracles, and whether or not Christians should pray for their loved ones to come back to life.  What is Quick to Listen? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Learn more about Stan Jones’s books Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 20, 2019
Christian Sex Ed in an Age of Ubiquitous Porn
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, four members of Congress wrote to the Department of Justice asking that it "declare the prosecution of obscene pornography a criminal justice priority and urge your US attorneys to bring prosecutions against the major producers and distributors of such material.” This letter came in light of the internet exponentially increasing the proliferation of porn which is “especially harmful to youth, who are being exposed to obscene pornography at exponentially younger ages." As children can increasingly learn about sex from peers and digital devices, parents should be intentional about trying to make sure their kids hear about it first from them, says Stan Jones, who has authored a number of Christian sex ed books, along with his life Brenna Jones. Unfortunately, when it comes to giving their children “the talk,” “parents are often terrified of being asked, ‘Well, what did you do when at such-and-such an age?’” said Jones. “The unresolved hurt, guilt, shame from the past just causes parents to put it off and put it off.” Jones joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how the sexual revolution changed sex, the digital revolution changed sex, and how Christians parents and caretakers can get better at educating kids about sex. What is Quick to Listen ? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Learn more about Stan Jones’s books Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 18, 2019
Don’t Remember Reinhard Bonnke for His Crowd Sizes
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last Saturday, Reinhard Bonnke, a prominent German evangelist in Africa, passed away at the age of 79. Bonnke’s ministry began in 1967 and lasted for 50 years. Millions of people attended his crusades, leading him to be dubbed by some as“the Billy Graham of Africa.” In 2000, CT sent a reporter to see him in Nigeria: Sunday night Bonnke delivered a sermon on the first chapters of Acts—when the apostles received the Holy Spirit. He then told the audience: "Jesus is here with all the fire you will ever need! Raise your voices! Receive the Holy Spirit now!" Thousands in the crowd began wailing, screaming, and crying. Frantically waving their hands in the air, many begged loudly for anointing. Bonnke gave a similar message on Saturday night to 1.3 million people on the crusade ground. Building momentum with the audience, the evangelist instructed the crowd to begin shouting "Alleluia!" until the Holy Spirit entered their bodies. "You are going to speak in new tongues—a language you have never learned," he told them. "It comes from you're heart. Don't be afraid—this is fantastic!" Behind Bonnke’s massive popularity was a deep sense of humility, says Nimi Wariboko, the Walter G. Muelder professor of social ethics at the Boston University School of Theology. “Something that will strike you about Reinhard Bonnke and the way he relates to Africa and the way he works is that he believes in Africa and he loves Africa and he loves Africans,” said Wariboko. “….The man never portrayed himself as one of these white guys coming on the white horse with a savior mentality to save Africa. He didn’t ever pretend that God had called him to the whole world. His focus was on Africa and he never lost that.” Wariboko joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how a German evangelist became passionate about Africa, how he differed from other Pentecostal preachers, and how his work affected the church on this continent. What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, which offers a practical, student-centered approach to seminary. Wesley Seminary’s model connects applicable coursework with active ministry. For more information, visit seminary.indwes.edu. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Christianbook.com, your go-to source for everything Christian. Books, Bibles, gifts, music and more, all in one place. And always from people who share your values. Go to Christianbook.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 11, 2019
Wayne Grudem Tells Us Why He Changed His Divorce Position
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. The prominent complementarian theologian Wayne Grudem has changed his mind about divorce. Last month, Grudem told evangelical scholars at the Evangelical Theological Society that a closer reading of 1 Corinthians 7:15 had led him to conclude that the Bible permits divorce when there is abuse. Many pastors have told the theologian that they have found what he shared extremely helpful, says Grudem, a professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary.  “I just had a pastor write to me just recently saying, ‘I had felt uneasy about what I thought was the biblical position for years, but I couldn't see an alternative.’ He said, ‘Thank you. This is so helpful,’” said Grudem. “...They see the value of this alternative understanding of a ground for divorce, and it seems right to them from their reading of Scripture and from their dealing with real-life situations.” Grudem joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss his process of re-studying 1 Corinthians 7:15 and the role that hearing from victims played in prompting him to return to scripture. What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Visit our guest’s website: Wayne Grudem Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Intensional. D.A. Horton unpacks how God addresses these issues and where to take it from there in his new book Intensional. Go to dahorton.com to learn more about Intensional. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Christianbook.com, your go-to source for everything Christian. Books, Bibles, gifts, music and more, all in one place. And always from people who share your values. Go to Christianbook.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 04, 2019
What to Understand about Christianity’s Decline in America
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last month, Pew Research Center published survey data from 2018 and 2019 on religion and Americans. The big takeaway: the number of non-religiously affiliated Americans was growing; the number of Christians was declining. Here’s how they summed it up: "The changes underway in the American religious landscape are broad-based. The Christian share of the population is down and religious “nones” have grown across multiple demographic groups: white people, black people and Hispanics; men and women; in all regions of the country; and among college graduates and those with lower levels of educational attainment. Religious “nones” are growing faster among Democrats than Republicans, though their ranks are swelling in both partisan coalitions. And although the religiously unaffiliated are on the rise among younger people and most groups of older adults, their growth is most pronounced among young adults." To talk about these numbers and what they suggest about the future of Christianity in the US, Quick to Listen turned to CT’s news editor Daniel Silliman, who has closely studied American religious life. Daniel joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why Christianity continues to decline, the relationship that “nones” have to faith, and what similarities or differences these numbers have with the religious situation in Western Europe. This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Intensional. D.A. Horton unpacks how God addresses these issues and where to take it from there in his new book Intensional. Go to dahorton.com to learn more about Intensional. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Christianbook.com, your go-to source for everything Christian. Books, Bibles, gifts, music and more, all in one place. And always from people who share your values. Go to Christianbook.com. What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Follow our guest on Twitter: D aniel Silliman Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 27, 2019
The Palestinian Priest Welcoming Syrian and Iraqi Refugees in Jordan
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Earlier this fall, the Trump administration announced that the US would accept no more than 18,000 refugees in the coming fiscal year. Here’s how CT reported this news: "President Trump’s administration has dramatically cut the number of refugees admitted to the US every year since taking office. Last year, CT reported on evangelicals condemning the decision to drop the refugee ceiling to then-historic low of 30,000 for the 2019 fiscal year. The year before, it was down to 45,000. Up until then, the cap for resettling refugees in the US hadn’t gone below 70,000 in 30 years." While in many years, the US has frequently accepted more refugees than other countries, the number has almost always been a tiny fraction of its overall population. Meanwhile, Jordan, a country of just under 10 million, is currently home to 762,420 refugees. One Christian working with hundreds of these refugees is Father Khalil Jaar, the priest at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Marka Jordan. Father Jaar ministers to Iraqi and Syrian families by providing them with food, education, and other provisions. Father Jaar joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli discuss his work with Syrian and Iraqi refugees, what happened when he was kidnapped in Iraq, and how God continues to provide for the community. This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, which offers a practical, student-centered approach to seminary. Wesley Seminary’s model connects applicable coursework with active ministry. For more information, visit seminary.indwes.edu. This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Intensional. D.A. Horton unpacks how God addresses these issues and where to take it from there in his new book Intensional. Go to dahorton.com to learn more about Intensional. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Christianbook.com, your go-to source for everything Christian. Books, Bibles, gifts, music and more, all in one place. And always from people who share your values. Go to Christianbook.com. What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 20, 2019
Pentecostals and the President
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. As is now well known, millions of evangelical Christians supported Donald Trump and helped lead him to victory on November 8, 2016 in his stunning upset over Hillary Clinton. Besides Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr., among the better known evangelicals who have support Mr. Trump are James Robison, host of the TV program Life Today, David Jeremiah, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church, a Southern Baptist megachurch in El Cajon, California, Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist, Dallas, Texas, and Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist in Prestonwood, Texas. Until recently, there hasn’t been as much focus on Trump’s more charismatic and prosperity gospel supporters. In fact, many in these circles were convinced to vote for Trump in 2016 because prophets in the movements believed Trump was destined by God to become president as early as 2015. Two lesser-known charismatics who have been on Trump’s Evangelical council are Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor, Free Chapel Worship Center, Gainesville, Georgia, and Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church, a multi-site megachurch of some 36,000 attenders based in Southlake, Texas, near Fort Worth. Two prominent supporters, both associated strongly with the prosperity gospel, are Kenneth Copeland and Paula White, both of whom have also been a part of the President’s council. White has had a particularly close pastoral relationship with President Trump, starting years before he took office. And recently, she’s been appointed by Trump to the Office of Public Liaison, which is responsible for communicating and interacting with various interest groups. On this edition of Quick to Listen, we want to delve more deeply into Trump’s charismatic and properity gospel supporters, and especially Paula White, to better understand the social and political passions and concerns of this religious movement. Our guest is James A. Beverley, research professor of Christian thought and ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Canada. He is also Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Texas. He has been a contributor Christianity Today, Faith Today, and Charisma magazines. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religion and Religions A to Z, and most recently, Donald Trump, God, and Christian Prophecy: A Guide to the Prophets and Prophecies in the Charismatic-Pentecostal World concerning the 45th President. This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Intensional. D.A. Horton unpacks how God addresses these issues and where to take it from there in his new book Intensional. Go to dahorton.com to learn more about Intensional. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Christianbook.com, your go-to source for everything Christian. Books, Bibles, gifts, music and more, all in one place. And always from people who share your values. Go to Christianbook.com. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Meant for More, a nationwide movement of students sharing the gospel at public school in March 2020. To learn more about how you can help equip students to reach their schools for Christ, visit Meantformore.org.  What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Follow our guest on Twitter: Emily Belz Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 13, 2019
When Christian Ministries Ask Their Ex-Employees Not to Talk
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Non-disclosure agreements (NDA) started in the tech world as a way to protect trade secrets. But they haven’t stayed there.A recent World Magazine story noted: "This practice from corporate America is now common among religious nonprofits. Done right, confidentiality agreements help institutions protect members’ privacy and can fend off ruinous litigation. But NDAs can also mask institutional disease and leader misconduct. And even when an institution doesn’t enforce its NDA, the widespread institutional fear of liability can lead to unintended, devastating outcomes." In her reporting, World Magazine’s Emily Belz examined a number of Christian ministry NDAs and spoke with former employees who had signed them. She joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli this week on Quick to Listen to discuss why this practice has become so common among Christian ministries, who it serves, and who it hurts. This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Intensional. D.A. Horton unpacks how God addresses these issues and where to take it from there in his new book Intensional. Go to dahorton.com to learn more about Intensional. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Christianbook.com, your go-to source for everything Christian. Books, Bibles, gifts, music and more, all in one place. And always from people who share your values. Go to Christianbook.com. What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Follow our guest on Twitter: Emily Belz Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 06, 2019
Kanye West's Long, Complicated Relationship with Christianity
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Rapper Kanye West is one of the biggest pop culture personalities of our time. His critically-acclaimed and chart-topping music, premium fashion line, controversial public persona, blunt political opinions and his marriage to Kim Kardashian West keep the Chicago hip-hop artist consistently in the news. Last week, West finally released his much-teased and highly anticipated album “Jesus Is King.” In much the same fashion as anything West does, the reaction to an album full of gospel music and theological lyrics has been enormous and polarizing. Some Christians see Kanye's life as just the highs and lows of an extreme and public display of what it looks like to walk with God over the course of a life. Others may see his conversion as more of a linear event that culminated sometime in the past year, which included this album and also the beginning of his hosting pop-up Christian services around the country. How you understand Kanye’s conversion probably depends on the spiritual tradition someone comes from says Femi Olutade, one of the hosts for the hit music podcast, Dissect. “If you come from more of a classical evangelical background, there's a lot of focus that's on kind of conversion stories and this kind of momentary ‘born again,’ born from above kind of experience, where everything changes,” said Olutade. “You have this overwhelming sense of emotion or thought that is just radically different before and after.”But not all Christians have the same understanding of conversion. "I would say that in the largest span of understanding Christian faith and life, [conversion] is one moment over a much larger period of what it means to follow God,” said Olutade. “...And I think it's something that's a constant struggle, that takes constant repentance, constant forgiveness, constant tears, and constant working through.” Olutade joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and Wes Jakacki to discuss Kanye’s long relationship with Christianity and what is and isn’t different in 2019. This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Christianbook.com. Over five hundred thousand Christian products to choose from, all in one place, and always from people who share your values. Christianbook.com. This episode is also brought to you by the Wheaton College Graduate School. Respected and represented the world over, the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at the Wheaton College Graduate School will inspire, challenge, and equip you to be a servant scholar for Christ and His Kingdom. Learn more at wheaton.edu/QTL What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Wes Jakacki Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Find our guest, Femi Olutade on Twitter, on his podcast, Dissect, and on Medium. Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 30, 2019
John MacArthur Is No Stranger to Controversy
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, John MacArthur celebrated 50 years in the pastorate at a conference at his congregation Grace Community Church. During the event, MacArthur accused the Southern Baptist Convention of taking a “headlong plunge” toward allowing women preachers after women spoke at the SBC’s 2019 annual meeting. That, he said, was a sign the denomination no longer believed in biblical authority.“When you literally overturn the teaching of Scripture to empower people who want power, you have given up biblical authority,” said MacArthur, as a Religious News Service story reported. A moderator also asked MacArthur and his fellow panelists to offer their gut reactions to one- or two-word phrases. When the moderator said “Beth Moore,” MacArthur replied, “Go home.” MacArthur has never shied away from controversy. Last year, he helped organize a controversial statement responding to social justice. He has frequently spoken out against the modern Charismatic movement. Part of the impetus behind MacArthur’s tendency to speak out comes from how he understands his belief in a high authority of Scripture, says Jonathan Holmes, a pastor and counselor who graduated from the Master’s College and worked there for several years. “There are a lot of things many evangelicals would say are non-essentials, for instance, a woman's role in the church, or drinking, or dancing, or creation or the end times,” said Holmes. “But those all become major touchpoints for MacArthur because his view of Scripture is such that if you budge on the grammatical, literal interpretation of the Bible in any of these areas, the whole thing begins to fall apart.” Holmes joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss whether MacArthur is a fundamentalist or evangelical, whether he has ever changed his mind with regards to his own theological convictions, and what to make of a Master’s Seminary grad preaching at one of Kanye West’s Sunday Services. Today's episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Baylor University’s Truett Seminary, where Kingdom-minded women and men are equipped to follow their callings. By learning to think theologically, developing ministry skills, cultivating a community of support, and engaging in spiritual formation, Truett students are uniquely prepared to make an impact in the Church and the world. Learn more at baylor.edu/truett. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Christianbook.com. With over 500,000 products to choose from, Christianbook.com brings everything Christian right to your fingertips. Go to Christianbook.com. This episode is also brought to you by the Wheaton College Graduate School. Respected and represented the world over, the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy at the Wheaton College Graduate School will inspire, challenge, and equip you to be a servant scholar for Christ and His Kingdom. Learn more at wheaton.edu/QTL. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 23, 2019
Trump's Withdrawal from Syria Threatens the Growing Kurdish Church
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week President Trump abruptly announced that American soldiers would be leaving Kurdish-controlled territory in Syria. The news shocked the US military. It was also an unwelcome surprise to Kurdish fighters, whom the US had backed in the fight against ISIS. The announcement was good news for Syria's neighbor Turkey who have long fought the Kurdish guerrilla group known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency inside Turkey and both Turkey and the US consider it a terrorist organization. Shortly after Trump’s announcement, Turkish troops began a military assault on the Kurdish-controlled parts of Syria. Many of the Christians that live in that area have fled to Armenia, says Charlie Costa, who pastors a congregation in Beirut and actively plants churches in the Middle East. “But of course, that empties the area of any Christian witness, at least theoretically or on a human level,” said Costa. “It leaves the place without a witness for Christ. Even those who support the President were disappointed with that because the view in the Middle East is always that America protects Christians.” Costa joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to learn why Kurds are coming to Christ, the community’s long history of persecution, and how Middle Eastern Christians view American Christians.  This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God's Image, a newly updated and combined book by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, from InterVarsity Press. For 40% off and free US shipping on this book and any other IVP title, visit ivpress.com and use promo code POD19. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, which offers a practical, student-centered approach to seminary. Wesley Seminary’s model connects applicable coursework with active ministry. For more information, visit http://seminary.indwes.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 16, 2019
Catholic Leaders Are Discussing Married Priests, Female Church Leadership, and Climate Change
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Right now, the Roman Catholic Church leaders are in the midst of a three-week-long meeting discussing the future of their ministry in the Amazon. Among the issues the synod is investigating: how church leaders should respond to chronic priest shortages, the role of women in official church leadership, and environmental degradation. Under the previous popes, John Paul II and Benedict the XVI, synods—or meetings convening all of the top brass of the Catholic church—were largely symbolic, says Christopher White, the national correspondent for the Catholic publication Crux. Not so with Pope Francis. “His two synods on the family wrestled with, among other issues, communion. And in the end, after two synods and two years of deliberation, Pope Francis issued a document that allowed for a cautious opening to communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, which did move forward the Church's pastoral teaching on that particular issue,” said White. White suggested that the Amazon synod may conclude similarly. “Among the many issues that they're going to be discussing in Rome over the next three weeks is perhaps relaxing the celibacy requirement for priests because there is such a shortage of priests in the particular region of the Amazon. And they're grappling with what to do about it,” he said. White joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the real or symbolic importance of synods, what makes the Amazon region particularly vexing to the Church, and why Protestants should stay abreast of an important Catholic meeting. Today's episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Baylor University’s Truett Seminary, where Kingdom-minded women and men are equipped to follow their callings. By learning to think theologically, developing ministry skills, cultivating a community of support, and engaging in spiritual formation, Truett students are uniquely prepared to make an impact in the Church and the world. Learn more at baylor.edu/truett. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, a ministry-focused insurance and payroll provider serving Christian churches, schools, and related ministries. For more information, visit BrotherhoodMutual.com. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by the MA in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership program at Wheaton College Graduate School, preparing leaders to serve the most vulnerable and the Church globally. For more information, go to wheaton.edu/HDL. What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Follow our guest on Twitter: Christopher White Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 09, 2019
Lecrae Got Baptized Again. Here's Why People Were Upset
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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last month, the hip-hop artist Lecrae got baptized for a second time in the Jordan River. Afterwards, he posted a picture of the event on Instagram. From CT’s reporting:   The Grammy winner responded to one follower who suggested that since Lecrae already has new life in Christ, the Jordan baptism was just a “weird bath in a very significant place.” “1. It’s Mikvah,” Lecrae replied, referencing the Jewish ritual bath that predates Christian baptism and also represented new life. “2. Jesus was God already and still was baptized. 3. Celebrate the heart vs. criticizing the information.”But despite Lecrae’s response, many on social media made it clear that they were still theologically uncomfortable with the hip-hop artist’s decision.   Baptism has long been a divisive sacrament in church history. The argument over Lecrae’s Jordan River baptism stem from a debate over the action really means, says Matthew Knell, who teaches historical theology and church history at the London School of Theology. “[Today], we talk about 'I'm going to get baptized. I want to get baptized,' said Knell. “But the church would say that baptism is something that happens to you, rather than you being the initiator.” In other words, “It's not my initiative, it's the divine work in me that's happening in baptism.” Knell joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why disagreements over baptism have led Christians to persecute other Christians and how the church has sought unity even in their disagreements over the sacrament.W What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Learn more about guest Matthew Knell Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God's Image, a newly updated and combined book by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, from InterVarsity Press. For 40% off and free US shipping on this book and any other IVP title, visit ivpress.com and use promo code POD19. This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Kinship United, a non-profit organization working with every day superheroes like you to rescue orphans and widows from abuse, trafficking, or worse, for the past nineteen years. To learn more about how you can save a life, visit KinshipUnited.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 02, 2019
Does Evangelism Belong at Chicago’s Top Tourist Attraction?
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Most Friday nights during the school year, a group of Wheaton College students takes the train into downtown Chicago together. Their purpose? To share the gospel with the people they meet that night in the city. Last year, Wheaton’s Chicago Evangelism Team traveled to Millenium Park, home to one of the city’s most popular attractions: the Bean. When students began to approach people with pamphlets, a park employee told students they were forbidden from doing so. Similarly, when one student began preaching, they were told that they were breaking a Chicago ordinance. Read The Chicago Tribune’s report. This account comes from the lawsuit four students filed against the city of Chicago last week, alleging that the city’s park rules improperly restricted their freedom of speech. The rules divided up the park into 11 sections and banned the public from “the making of speeches and passing out of written communications” in all but one of the sections. That section was not the Bean, which was where the students specifically wanted to evangelize.  The public’s strong reaction against evangelism comes as more and more companies are aggressively trying to sell you on their brands and products, says R. York Moore, the national evangelist for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA.  “Now, as we see, people tend to associate proselytization with big tech companies or someone trying to sell you a credit card,” he said. “...It’s no longer unique.” Moore joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why evangelism can make us feel uncomfortable, what bad evangelism looks like, and what makes public proclamation of one’s faith beautiful and unique.  This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God's Image, a newly updated and combined book by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, from InterVarsity Press. For 40% off and free US shipping on this book and any other IVP title, visit ivpress.com and use promo code POD19. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 25, 2019
So, What's an Evangelical?
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Though one can argue that evangelical religion has been in crisis from the beginning, starting in November 2016 and the election of Donald Trump, it exploded afresh. Not only did the nation wake up to discover a chasm dividing in the country, so did evangelicals--especially when it became clear that white evangelicals voted for and then supported the new president, depending on the poll, in the range of 75 to 81 percent.  The evangelical left was shocked and horrified by this, and the evangelical right was mystified by their outrage. Many Black, Asian, and Hispanic evangelicals—if they still identified with the term at all--looked at white evangelicals left and right and just shook their heads, wondering if either side really got it. We now have a cacophony of voices shouting at one another, and much of the shouting is about two questions:  “So, what is an evangelical Christian anyway?”  And more to the point, “Does it even matter?” To help explore those questions, we invited Thomas Kidd, the Vardaman Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University, to speak with us. He is the author of many important history books, including The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America ; George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father and most recently, Who Is an Evangelical? A History of a Movement in Crisis. What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Follow our guest host: Kyle Rohane Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Follow our guest on Twitter: Thomas S. Kidd See our guest's books: Books by Thomas Kidd Today's episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Baylor University’s Truett Seminary, where Kingdom-minded women and men are equipped to follow their callings. By learning to think theologically, developing ministry skills, cultivating a community of support, and engaging in spiritual formation, Truett students are uniquely prepared to make an impact in the Church and the world. Learn more at baylor.edu/truett. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Focus on the Family’s Bring Your Bible to School Day powered by students nationwide October 3rd. When you sign up to participate, you’ll also be entered to win a trip to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 18, 2019
Benny Hinn's Prosperity Gospel Message Started Here
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Benny Hinn made an announcement last week. “I am correcting my own theology and you need to all know it. The blessings of God are not for sale. And miracles are not for sale. And prosperity is not for sale,” he said during his weekly TV broadcast. His comments made waves. Hinn is one of the biggest names of a movement known broadly as the prosperity gospel. (His nephew wrote for CT about rejecting its theology.) Those seen as part of the movement—be they Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, or Paula White—are often attacked for their health and wealth teachings. But determining the limits of the movement—especially when it exists around the world—isn’t easy, says Candy Gunther Brown, a professor of religious studies at Indiana University. “Anytime you use a phrase like ‘prosperity gospel’ whether it’s in a North American context or whether it’s the Global South, it’s necessary to be very conscious to not paint things in too broad of strokes,” said Brown. “You need to be careful to respect the variety in the Global South and not idealize any more than you paint under the same brush of criticism. There’s variety in teachings, whether you’re talking about Nigeria or Brazil or South Korea.” Brown joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how much influence prosperity gospel preachers actually have, what President Trump thinks about the prosperity gospel, and where the millennial leaders are in this movement. What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Follow our guest on Twitter: Candy Gunther Brown Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God's Image, a newly updated and combined book by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, from InterVarsity Press. For 40% off and free US shipping on this book and any other IVP title, visit ivpress.com and use promo code POD19. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Focus on the Family’s Bring Your Bible to School Day powered by students nationwide October 3rd. When you sign up to participate, you’ll also be entered to win a trip to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 11, 2019
What 1619 Means for Christian History
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Last month, the New York Times Magazine devoted an entire publication to remembering the 400th anniversary of American slavery. In the introduction to the project, it wrote,The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.But the transatlantic slave trade goes back to the 15th century, when Portuguese merchants began trading North African people as slaves. The industry’s growth happened alongside massive changes in the church, including the Reformation in 1517 and subsequent church fighting and division between Catholics and Protestants.  To understand the church’s beliefs about slavery at the time, you have to go back to the Patristic period, says Michael A. G. Haykin, a professor of church history and biblical spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Augustine and Aquinas argued that while slavery was not part of God’s first intention, it was a result of the fall—a conclusion embraced by the church for years. “The only clear abolitionist in the patristic period is Gregory of Nyssa who argues that slavery violates the image of God in man, to hold another individual as a possession is a violation of his human dignity and value in the sight of God,” said Haykin. Haykin joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the genesis of the church’s views on slavery, how the missions movement affected the slave trade, and the role of the Quakers in pricking the Protestant conscience on this atrocity.  What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Visit Michael Haykin’s blog Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder Today's episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Baylor University’s Truett Seminary, where Kingdom-minded women and men are equipped to follow their callings. By learning to think theologically, developing ministry skills, cultivating a community of support, and engaging in spiritual formation, Truett students are uniquely prepared to make an impact in the Church and the world. Learn more at baylor.edu/truett. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Things Above Podcast: Heavenly Thinking for Earthly Engagement. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, a ministry-focused insurance and payroll provider serving Christian churches, schools, and related ministries. For more information, visit BrotherhoodMutual.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 05, 2019
Another Denomination Changes Its End Times Doctrine
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The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) has changed its position on end times doctrine. The denomination recently voted to drop the word “premillennial” from its statement of faith. So what prompted the change? “We say that we ‘major on the majors and minor on the minors,” the EFCA said in an internal document. The denomination noted that they did not take a stance on the Reformed v. Arminian view of conversion, the age of the earth, infant v. adult baptism, and whether the gifts of the spirit had ceased or were still active. In light of that, “we believe there is a significant inconsistency in continuing to include premillennialism as a required theological position when it is clear that the nature of the millennium is one of those doctrines over which theologians, equally knowledgeable, equally committed to the Bible, and equally Evangelical, have disagreed through the history of the church,” the document stated. The church has held multiple positions on the End Times held by the Early Church fathers, says Daniel Hummel, a historian of US religion and foreign relations. “But in more recent evangelical history, postmillennialism dominated in the early part of American history and colonial history,” said Hummel. “People like Jonathan Edwards saw revivals as inaugurating the millennium, as bringing in this deeply Christian era that would last a thousand years and then conclude with Jesus personally returning.” Then, after the carnage of the Civil War, Americans became more pessimistic, which, in turn, affected their eschatological views. “Premillennialism become sort of the main tradition and the air that a lot of evangelicals breathe throughout the 20th century,” said Hummel. Hummel joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the rise and fall of premillennialism, the influence of Left Behind, and the significance of the EFCA’s decision. What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Visit Daniel Hummel’s website Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Lindor This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God's Image, a newly updated and combined book by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, from InterVarsity Press. For 40% off and free US shipping on this book and any other IVP title, visit ivpress.com and use promo code POD19. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 28, 2019
Coming Next Week: Living and Effective, Season 2
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"It’s certainly not linear. Grief is not like that. Grief is all over the map, that’s part of the difficulty of it. You can feel like you’ve gotten through a lot of it, and then feel like you’re back at the beginning again." - Diane Langberg, author of Suffering and the Heart of God All six episodes release Monday, August 26th. Subscribe now at Living and Effective.com.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 23, 2019
A Christian Satirist Talks The Babylon Bee
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Last month, Snopes fact-checked an article from the satire site The Babylon Bee. On its website, Snopes explained its rationale:The Babylon Bee has managed to confuse readers with its brand of satire in the past. This particular story was especially puzzling for some readers, however, as it closely mirrored the events of a genuine news story, with the big exception of the website’s changing the location. We found dozens of instances of social media users who were puzzled by this article.Meanwhile, The Bee’s CEO told Fox News that Snopes running its fact-check could end up deeming the website as “fake news” and make it harder to share its stories on social media sites. The Bee may be the first Christian satirical piece that Snopes has examined, but it’s hardly the first satirical site that organization has fact-checked. That’s partially because humorous fake news can get anyone, says Bob Darden, the former editor of the late Christian satire magazine, The Wittenburg Door.“ On the cover, we had a statement that said, ‘The world's pretty much only religious humor and satire magazine,’” said Darden, explaining The Door’s method for trying to prevent people from taking its articles too seriously. “That was our tip to anyone who read The Door. When articles or things got picked up by various outlets, we always insisted that we had that little tagline.” Darden joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss what makes satire Christian, how politics changes humor, and why the best parodies make it clear that the subjects are also things the writer loves. What is “ Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Read Politico’s How Trump Turned Liberal Comedians Conservative Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Lindor This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God's Image, a newly updated and combined book by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, from InterVarsity Press. For 40% off and free US shipping on this book and any other IVP title, visit ivpress.com and use promo code POD19. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 21, 2019
The Limits of Pentecostal Women Leaders
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Two weeks ago, the Assemblies of God General Council elected a woman to its executive leadership. After more than 100 years in existence, Ohio minister Donna Barrett now holds the role of Assemblies of God general secretary, the third-highest position in the denomination. In May, the Foursquare Church’s Tammy Dunahoo ran unsuccessfully for the denomination’s presidency. If Dunahoo would have been elected, she would have been the first female president since the denomination’s founder, Aimee Semple McPherson. Though women have largely been absent from denominational leadership structures, that women have been allowed to preach from the beginning of the movement makes them unique among Protestant traditions.Historically, Pentecostals “didn’t prefer the traditional method of leadership identification,” said Leah Payne, the author of Gender and Pentecostal Revivalism: Making a Female Ministry in the Early Twentieth Century. “They did, in fact, reject things like seminary.” People preferred calling because it existed outside of these types of structures and institutions.“Plus you could be five years old and receive a calling,” said Payne. Payne joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why women have struggled to advance past the pastorate, the unique ways Pentecostals understand church leadership, and why many Pentecostal churches have pastor couples that lead churches together. What is “ Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Read Aimee Semple McPherson’s "Is Jesus Christ the Great I Am? Or Is He the Great I Was?" sermon Listen to Weird Religion Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Lindor This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God's Image, a newly updated and combined book by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, from InterVarsity Press. For 40% off and free US shipping on this book and any other IVP title, visit ivpress.com and use promo code POD19. This episode of Quick to Listen  is also brought to you by Focus on the Family’s " Bring Your Bible to School Day" powered by students nationwide October 3. When you sign up to participate, you’ll also be entered to win a trip to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 14, 2019
What Mass Shootings Mean for Loners and Youth Ministry
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Last week, three more high-profile mass shootings rocked the US, once again sparking intense debate about gun control, white supremacy, and the president’s role in inspiring the shootings. In the wake of these attacks, the media also profiled the alleged gunmen, who were dubbed “loners” by those who knew them. They were also all young—the three alleged gunmen’s ages fell between 19 and 24. An LA Times op-ed by researchers who have analyzed data about the profile of mass shooters since 1966 also noted that nearly all of them were traumatized as children. The American church’s youth ministry model hasn’t done a good job of reaching this demographic, largely because of the middle-class’s desire for safety, said Andrew Root, the author of multiple books on youth ministry and a professor of youth and family ministry at Lutheran Seminary.“So all of a sudden, a loner kid comes, who either is bullying or has been bullied, and then comes in and is just a negative presence,” he said. “It can lead young people to say they don't feel safe and lead parents to be very clear to the youth worker that they don't want that kid around because he/she feels unsafe. I think it becomes really difficult that American youth ministry as it classically has been a middle-class phenomenon and that tends to push these young people out. Or not even out, but they just disappear.” Root joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the complexities of welcoming disaffected young people into church, why lack of interpersonal relationships especially hurts young people, and what Bonhoeffer has to offer our current conversation on youth ministry. Note: the date that marked the beginning of the data set in the research published by the LA Times was incorrectly stated on the podcast. It is correct in the show notes and here: 1966. This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Things Above Podcast: Heavenly Thinking for Earthly Engagement. This episode of Quick to Listen is also brought to you by Focus on the Family’s Bring Your Bible to School Day powered by students nationwide October 3rd. When you sign up to participate, you’ll also be entered to win a trip to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C..  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 07, 2019
Responding to Josh Harris's Announcement
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Two weeks ago, Josh Harris, the author of the controversial Christian bestseller I Kissed Dating Goodbye, announced that he and his wife, Shannon, were ending their marriage. Last week, Harris published another Instagram post, this time about the state of his faith:I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. The popular phrase for this is “deconstruction,” the biblical phrase is “falling away.” By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. Many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.Harris’s announcement caught editor Drew Dyck off guard.“I think my shock probably pales in comparison to the shock and even the grief that the people that sat under his ministry for over a decade would feel,” said Dyck, the author of Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Church … and how to Bring Them Back. “There's a lot of consternation when your pastor says he's ‘falling away’ from faith because it's an implicit threat to your own faith.”Dyck joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and CT Pastors editor Kyle Rohane to discuss why people are leaving the church today, why you should react differently to your friend departing the faith than your child, and how to process our emotions and reactions we learn that public figures and loved ones have left Christianity. This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Promise Keepers. The Christian men’s ministry that filled stadiums across America is, once again, calling on men to stand up and be counted. For more information, go to promisekeepers.org. Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Follow our guest on Twitter: Drew Dyck Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 31, 2019
They Tried to Kill Me for My Christian Faith. So I Fled.
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Last week, the US hosted its second religious freedom ministerial, an event which calls attention to the plight of those suffering persecution for their faith (or lack thereof), around the world. The same week, Politico reported that some in the Trump administration were advocating to slash the refugee program to zero next year. In light of the significant cuts to the program that the administration has already made, CT asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was organizing the ministerial, to respond to arguments that the refugee program had closed off “one of the avenues that people of minority faiths have to escape their persecution.” His response: This administration appropriately is incredibly proud of how we treat those who are at risk around the world. I think there’s no nation in history that has accepted as many refugees as the United States has, nor whom has an even broader acceptance of people coming from around the world—both to come here to study and to learn, but those who want to come here permanently as well. Our focus here at the State Department has been to do our level best to do what we believe these people actually want: to help them stay inside of their own country, to deliver them goods and services and benefits, and to help shape their government policies in ways that permit them not to have to flee the country but allow them to exist safely and securely inside of their own country. Now on staff at World Relief Dupage/Aurora, Durmomo Gary came to the United States over a decade ago. He left Sudan in the early 2000s after an attempt on his life because of his Christian faith and recently wrote about his experiences for the Daily Herald. "We landed in New York on October 31. As an American you know what day that is,” he said. “We landed in the airport and all I can see around is creepy costumes. Never read about it. Never heard about it. It freaked me out.” Gary and his wife survived the bizarre cultural experience to make their transfer to Chicago and begin the US side of the refugee resettlement process. Gary joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what happens when you find out someone’s trying to kill you, how to get a passport when people are trying to kill you, and what it’s like to be a Christian in Sudan v. America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 25, 2019
Should You Pass Your Church to Your Son (or Daughter)?
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It claims 100,000 members. It owns and operates an evangelical television channel, two schools, the first and only private prison in Korea, and hospitals in Korea and Ethiopia. Forty years ago, Myungsung Presbyterian Church in Korea was founded by Kim Sam-whan, its now pastor emeritus. But the church is currently involved in a crisis over who will be its next pastor. Kim Sam-whan gave his senior pastor position to his son in 2017. But the Presbyterian denomination to which it belongs says that it violated part of the denomination’s constitution, which prohibits the transference of pastor or elder positions to family members. According to CT’s reporting: “Defenders argue that Kim Ha-na was elected in accordance with Myungsung’s laws, and the denomination that Kim Sam-whan once headed should not meddle in the megachurch’s affairs. Critics argue that the denomination’s flagship church is flouting the corporate laws it must heed.” Because the first wave of megachurches started in South Korea, church leaders in that country have been thinking about the proper procedures for succession for several years now, says Warren Bird, the vice president of research and equipping for the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. But this issue is something that churches have been wrestling with for years. “Nepotism came from a church context, nephew-ism. It was where certain priests had certain sons and certain nephews that they wanted to position well in the responsibilities and hierarchies of the church,” he said. “Of course the question was: Did they really father the child?” Bird joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how the Bible handles succession, how it affected the church’s rules about celibacy, and when women are bequeathed the ministry. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 17, 2019
Are Our Ordination Controversies Unique?
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What this sometimes contentious rite looks like in global Christianity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 10, 2019
Here’s What Makes the ‘First-Century Mark’ Saga Complicated
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Last week, CT published a piece about the “First Century Mark Saga.” It’s a complicated, nearly decade-old situation that reveals much about the world of ancient biblical manuscripts. Many Christians may be inclined to primarily connect biblical manuscripts with apologetics or Bible translations, but the ecosystem they inhabit is far more complex, says Christian Askeland, a former Museum of the Bible employee and professor of Christian origins. “With the Gospel of Mark controversy, there's a lot of stuff going on there,” said Askeland. “There is the paleography issue—the New Testament was written in the first century, so just the basic idea that we could have a first century manuscript, that one of those would survive and we would have it. Then there’s the issue of acquiring the artifact—what museums have the right to buy this kind of ancient material culture. And then there's the scholarly issue—how do professionals, specifically Christian scholars look when they are trying to buy this manuscript.” Askeland joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli this week on Quick to Listen to discuss what’s at stake in the ‘First-Century Mark’ saga and illuminate the larger world of ancient biblical manuscripts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 04, 2019
How a US-China Trade War Threatens Christian Publishing
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China is home to some of the worst religious repression in the world. But it also prints more Bibles than any country, thanks to the Nanjing-based Amity Press, which has printed almost 200 million Bibles since 1988 in partnership with the United Bible Societies. So when the Trump administration recently announced that the latest round of tariffs would include books, Christian publishers were alarmed. Last week, several leaders in the industry made their case before trade representatives to exempt Bibles from these proposed economic measures. But how did an industry that just decades ago was operating like a family business become a global one? And what makes China uniquely capable of printing millions of Bibles and other Christian books? Stan Jantz, the executive director of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how globalization transformed the Christian publishing industry, why China is such a crucial place for Christian publishing, and why he hopes his testimony can help the book industry overall. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 26, 2019
African and West Indian Christians Are Changing the UK Church
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How God is working through the Windrush generation and beyond. The number of churches continues to drop in the UK. As CT reported last month, there are only 39,000 congregations left in the country, a quarter drop from 20 years ago. But despite churches increasingly closing their doors and the number of people attending church falling, this bad news isn’t across the board. For Black Majority Churches, the numbers actually look a lot healthier. These congregations began in the wake of World War II, when immigrants began arriving in the UK from the Caribbean, sparking a generation that became known as the Windrush generation, named after the boat that the inaugural group took. “They came over to help the UK,” said Chine McDonald, the media, content, and PR lead at Christian Aid. McDonald’s family came over from Nigeria several decades later, though they didn’t always face a warm welcome from the local congregations. “I remember when we would go to predominantly white churches. We would arrive on a Sunday and were told, ‘What made you choose this church as opposed to a black church that was down the road?’” said McDonald. “...These white majority churches weren’t used to see black people in their congregations, weren’t used to having black friends or black neighbors.” Nigeria is actually responsible for one of the country’s most robust denominations, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, which has more than 800 churches in the UK. McDonald joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the growth of African and West Indian Christianity and how it is changing the UK. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 19, 2019
Beth Moore Is Speaking Up
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In August 2010, CT published a cover story on Beth Moore, “Why Women Want Moore: Homespun, savvy, and with a relentless focus on Jesus, Beth Moore has become the most popular Bible teacher in America.” Intensely popular among evangelical women when the story was published nearly a decade ago, Moore, a Southern Baptist, has increasingly drawn the attention of American Christians at large. More recently, Moore has also begun speaking out on politics, sexual abuse, and the misogyny that she has experienced in the church. Her preferred platform has been Twitter, where she has nearly a million followers. Earlier this year, she tweeted that in 2016, for the first time, she was able to confront the abuses and misuses of power she had seen and experienced in the Southern Baptist denomination. Earlier this month she also provoked another controversy with some Southern Baptist leaders when discussing how she would be preaching at an upcoming church. Yet her influence shows no sign of waning. “I think a lot of evangelical women look to her for shaping their theological views, for understanding how to study the Bible, but then also just in general,” said Sarah Pulliam Bailey, a religion reporter for the Washington Post who wrote the Moore cover story. “She's funny and she's charismatic and quick. … She doesn't have just Southern Baptist fans; it stretches far beyond that. And if she were to somehow shift in her views, it would be a big deal. So I think she has a big voice [among Southern Baptists], but she's not just dependent on the Southern Baptist Convention.” Pulliam Bailey joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how Beth Moore came to hold this platform, when she began to speak out on more controversial topics, and what this means for communities she’s part of. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 12, 2019
This Pastor Criticized Trump When Pence Visited His Church
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Popular Southern Baptist pastor David Platt learned that President Donald Trump was on the way to his church in the middle of the service, as he prepared to take communion. When the president arrived, Platt put his arm around Trump and prayed: “We pray that he would look to you; that he would trust in you; that he would lean on you; that he would govern and make decisions in ways that are good for justice, good for righteousness, good for equity, every good path. Lord, we pray that you would give him all the grace he needs to govern in ways that we just saw in 1 Timothy 2 that lead to peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.” Last year, Vice President Mike Pence visited Metropolitan Baptist Church several days after Trump reportedly referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries.” At the service, Maurice Watson, the senior pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, pushed back on that characterization. "I stand today as your pastor to vehemently denounce and reject such characterizations of the nation’s (inaudible) and of our brothers and sisters in Haiti and I further say whoever made such a statement and whoever used such a visceral and disrespectful, dehumanizing adjective to characterize the nations of Africa,” Watson said. “Do you hear me, church? Whoever said it is wrong and they ought to be held accountable.” Watson’s actions came out of Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4 to speak the truth in love. “It literally means truthing in love, and sometimes truthing in love means that one has to do as Pastor Platt did, and that is to pray for someone even if that person is someone with whom one disagrees,” said Watson. “But also truthing in love is what I believe I did, to speak in a very measured, in a very respectful way, to say if someone made those remarks about these people groups, whoever that person may be, is wrong.” Watson joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and managing editor Andy Olsen discuss what it’s like to have the executive branch show up in your congregation, the challenges of pastoring in DC, and what happens after you push back against the Trump administration while the VP is in the house. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 05, 2019
The Christian Backstory of Hong Kong’s Anti-Government Protests
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In April, nine Hong Kong activists were convicted for participating in the pro-democracy Occupy Central and Umbrella Movement protests. One of those was a Baptist pastor, Chu Yiu-Ming. In the courtroom, he painted a vivid picture of the faith that had transformed his life and inspired his activism: “We have no regrets. We hold no grudges, no anger, no grievances. We do not give up,” he said, speaking on behalf of fellow activists striving to bring universal voting rights to Hong Kong. “In the words of Jesus, ‘Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; The Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!’” (Matt. 5:10) Our coverage of Chu’s sermon was one of CT’s most popular news stories of the year so far, with many on social media praising his bravery. Chu was not the only leader known for his faith. Earlier this month, Joshua Wong, a 22-year-old Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, was returned to prison. Earlier he told World Magazine: As Christians, we are not only responsible for preaching the gospel and then waiting to go to heaven when we die. We need to be bringing heaven down to earth. That seems like a totally idealistic dream, but if we want that dream to come true, how should we let people know that as Christians we don’t focus only on trying to increase our salaries and better our careers? We ask, how can we do more for the people around us?” The Umbrella Movement and Occupy Central Protests have not been welcomed by all Christians. Several years ago, Archbishop Paul Kwong at the Anglican St. John’s Cathedral angered many Hong Kong Christians after saying that pro-democracy activists should remain silent, as Jesus did while being crucified more than 2,000 years ago. “I would like to ask for Christians in the world to pray for Hong Kong—especially for Hong Kong church and Christians—for hearts of love and peace, because I think in the division, we have a lot of hatred and anger in ourselves,” said Wai Luen “Andrew” Kwok, associate professor in the department of religion and philosophy at Hong Kong Baptist University. This week on Quick to Listen we’ll explore what’s at stake in the Umbrella Movement, how Christians have influenced it, but also why it’s divided the church. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 30, 2019
India Is Not Protecting Its Christians
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On Thursday, Indians will learn the results of their country’s massive national elections. For the past five years, the country has been governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Despite Modi’s popularity among much of the country’s Hindu population, his tenure in office has proved difficult for India’s religious minorities. The Hindutva movement—which is made up of extremists who believe that all Indians must be Hindu—have gone after Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, and other religious minorities. “Christians in India are not the only ones facing the brunt of nationalism,” Vijayesh Lal, the general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India. “We know about Muslims being lynched. … That would also be the Communists, who actually subscribe to no religion at all. That would also be the Dalits, or the untouchables.” Since 2014, India has risen 11 spots on Open Doors’ World Watch List, and last year the advocacy group said that more than 12,000 Christians were attacked. Lal joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and theology editor Caleb Lindgren to discuss why he is not optimistic about the election results, regardless of the victor, why the government denies Christians and Muslims affirmative action, and why conversion is complicated. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 22, 2019
Jean Vanier’s Faith Convicts All of Us
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Last week, the Canadian Catholic leader Jean Vanier died at the age of 90. Born into a privileged family, Vanier’s life took an unexpected turn when he founded L’Arche, an international network of communities for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. As Bethany McKinney Fox, the founding pastor of a church inspired by L’Arche wrote for CT: “While many ministries involving people with intellectual disabilities began with a clear separation between those being helped and those doing the helping, slowly the paradigm has shifted toward Vanier’s approach at L’Arche, where all are called to share their gifts as members of one body of Christ, doing the work of the gospel together.” In addition to his legacy of work with intentional communities, Vanier was also a prolific author. “The themes that constitute those books—peace, peacemaking, community, community building, communion—are pretty consistent,” said Michael Higgins, the author of Jean Vanier: Logician of the Heart. “They undergo various kind of elaborations if you like, various more sophisticated iterations, but they are fundamentally the same themes built on the radical simplicity of the gospel that calls for us to live lives for others.” Higgins joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the counterculturally private personal life of Jean Vanier, his relationship with Henri Nouwen, and what evangelicals should learn from this deeply Catholic intellectual and practioner. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 15, 2019
How Christians Can Reach Muslims During Ramadan
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This week marked the start of Ramadan, a 30-day season of fasting and celebrating observed by millions of Muslims around the world. Some Christian communities, especially in the Middle East, have for generations learned how to respect and connect with their Muslim neighbors during this time. As more Americans convert to Islam and Muslims from other countries migrate to Europe and North America, the Western church has been slowly learning the history of this holiday and how to reach the mosque during this time. Fasting is a great way for Christians to connect with Muslims during Ramadan, says Joseph Cumming, who works with Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders and scholars around the world to promote mutual understanding and reconciliation. “Maybe you just fast one day in Ramadan to enter into that experience with them and what you find is when you do that and then you have a conversation with your Muslim friend and suddenly there's this feeling of we are in this together instead of this, ‘I'm in one community and you're in a different community and never the twain shall meet,’” said Cumming. “Actually, we're part of a single group of people having this experience together, and it can lead to beautiful spiritual conversations.” Cumming joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss Christians’ complicated relationship with fasting, the origins and meaning of the season of Ramadan, and things Christians should be especially sensitive to during Ramadan. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 08, 2019
France Loves Notre Dame. Do They Still Believe the Faith That Inspired It?
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Two weeks ago, the Notre Dame caught fire and burned. In the aftermath of the blaze, fundraising efforts to repair and reopen the church have raised millions of dollars. But they’ve also highlighted disparities in the ability of other religious traditions—primarily Protestants and Muslims—to open new places of worship and maintain their existing ones. Currently, a new church opens every 10 days in France, says Raphaël Anzenberger, the director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries for the French-speaking world. But expensive rents often mean that these churches can’t move to the city center, and consequently have a harder time influencing their culture’s leaders. Existing congregations seeking to renovate their buildings also run into challenges. “It's getting really complicated for our pastors, who not only need to feed the flock, which is their first calling, but also to be experts in handicapped law [and how to] fireproof buildings. You have to be a lawyer, a notary, it's just crazy, an architect,” said Anzenberger. And the government isn’t necessarily a friend. “Sometimes what they'll say is, ‘We really like you. We think we understand who you are. We think we understand you're not a cult,’ which is already a good progress, but then they'll say, ‘You know, if we help you then we'll need to help all the other ones.’ And the other ones is basically the Muslims.” Anzenberger joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why the relationship between church and state in France is so terrible, why the fashion industry needs more evangelists, and what’s behind a recent spate of vandalism in French churches. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 01, 2019
The Easter Attacks Are a Turning Point for Sri Lanka's Christians
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Nearly 300 people are dead after suicide bombers attacked three churches and three high-end hotels on Easter Sunday this week. Christians—the majority of whom are Catholics—make up less than 10 percent of the population of the majority-Buddhist nation, and have reported escalating concerns about their religious freedom. Christian persecution has largely come at the hands of Buddhist radicals, so the church has largely responded to the attacks with shock, says Ivor Poobalan, the Prinicipal of Colombo Theological seminary in Kohuwala (Colombo), Sri Lanka. “We expected the threat or danger to come from those quarters,” said Poobalan. “Islam has been around for over 1,000 years and has never been violent.” Poobalan joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and theology editor Caleb Lindgren to discuss how Christianity arrived in Sri Lanka, why the faith has long been associated with privilege, and how he hopes the church will respond to the bombings. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 24, 2019
Valuing Women of Color at Christian Conferences
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everal weeks ago, theologian Ekemini Uwan was interviewed on stage at the Sparrow Conference for Women. But when Uwan, a Nigerian American who frequently speaks out against racism and white supremacy, began doing so at the conference, people in the audience began walking out, according to a report from The Witness. Uwan later tweeted that she had to hire an attorney to force the conference to send her photos and video of her interview. YouTube also removed a video of her remarks at the request of Sparrow, and the conference’s social media did not include her images or quotes, in contrast to those of other speakers. Earlier this year, author Kathy Khang preached at chapel at Baylor University. Khang, a veteran speaker, included an anecdote mentioning an 11-year-old boy who was arrested after not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance. In the middle of Khang’s talk, a Baylor student stood up and said, “That’s not what happened. He was making terroristic threats to his teacher.” The event deeply rattled Khang, both for her personal safety in the moment and also when the same student who attended the event posted a video slamming her. It’s important that the conference organizers who invite women of color to speak—especially when the speakers are delivering a message that may challenge the audience—ensure the audience is prepared to hear their message, says Khang. “If you’re asking me to talk about the church, what are the ways you’ve already prepared your audience to hear this message?” said Khang. “What are the books you’ve had them read? Who are the other speakers who have come in? What is the reception like for them? What is the follow-up you have planned for the event you’re inviting me to?” When attendees find themselves uncomfortable by the remarks of a particular speaker, that can be a good time for their own personal reflection, says author Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, who also frequently teaches at Christian conferences. “We don’t always have to agree, but what is going on here? What are the blind spots?” said Sistrunk Robinson. “Have you been stretched and challenged by this in a good way?” Sistrunk Robinson and Khang joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and theology editor Caleb Lindgren on Quick to Listen, to discuss how Christian conferences and institutions can do a better job supporting the women of color that they invite to address their audiences. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 17, 2019
When the Government Bans Chaplains from Execution Chambers
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Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas could not execute inmate Patrick Murphy if they did not allow his Buddhist chaplain into the death chamber with him. In response, last Thursday, the state of Texas decided to ban all chaplains from entering the death chamber with inmates. Patrick Murphy’s situation echoes the story of Alabama inmate Domineque Ray. Ray, who was executed in February, requested to have his imam be present with him in the execution chamber. Ultimately, his request was denied and Ray was put to death without the presence of his chaplain. Chaplains serve many roles in the final moments of an inmate's life, including comforting family members, says Earl Smith, who served for decades as a death row chaplain in San Quentin State Prison in California. When they’re kept from inmates in their final moments, it can mean there’s no one who is able to relay the individual’s last words. “That inmate was looking for a way to say ‘bye’ in peace and because you said ‘No, you can’t have [the chaplain],’ even in his death, there was no peace,” said Smith. “We often say that when they’re executed there’s going to be closure. Executions don’t bring closure. They just mean someone has died.” Smith joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and theology editor Caleb Lindgren to discuss why Christians should want all death row inmates to be able to be with their chosen chaplain when they die, what it’s like to spiritually walk with prisoners, and the surprising circumstances that led to Smith winding up at San Quentin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 10, 2019
Christians Are on All Sides of the Immigration Debate
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At the beginning of this year, Christianity Today received a grant funding a position for an immigrant communities’ editor. What beat is that, you say? It’s a position that examines “the intersection of immigration, the church, and Christian communities.” As immigration continues to be a volatile current event, we wanted to hire someone who could examine the complex issue from a human and faith-perspective. Enter Bekah McNeel, a longtime education journalist based in San Antonio, Texas. Living and reporting for a number of years on a border state has changed how McNeel understands the immigrant issues—and how she perceives the national news coverage that will suddenly show up and attempt to cover a story without “a deep understanding of the context.” “The coverage was always really jarring,” she said. “You don't understand how normal it is for people to come and go [across the border.] The thought that a truck full of 18 guys could get as far as San Antonio it seems like what?.... The whole thing seems bigger and scarier because you didn't have a context.” McNeel joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to talk about why the immigration issues need less policy discussion, speeches, and sermons and more conversations, how emotions are and are not different on the border, and why she’s excited about this position this year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 03, 2019
The Christian Bookstore Chain Is Dead. What Comes Next?
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In 2013, Christian book retailer, Cokesbury Bookstores, closed all 38 retail stores. In 2017, Family Christian Resources shut down all 240 locations in the midst of mounting debt and bankruptcy. Then, this year, LifeWay Christian Resources, the largest Christian retail chain in America, announced that it would be closing all of its 170 stores this year. While Christian book publishers have sold their products on Amazon for years, these closures still affect their business, says Mark Taylor, the president and CEO of Tyndale House Publishers. “In some ways, Amazon has been a boon to publishers of all types because they are now our largest trading partner and have been for a number of years,” said Taylor. “The key issue that we talk about at Tyndale House is what we call ‘discoverability.’ How will a consumer the new books or the old books that we are publishing?” Taylor recounted a recent trip to Barnes and Noble, where, after browsing through the offerings, he found a book by a longtime Tyndale author Jerry B. Jenkins. “I ‘discovered’ it by seeing it in Barnes and Noble,” said Taylor. “We’ve all had the experience that Amazon is a great place to shop for anything … and their customer service is outstanding. But how do you discover new books?” Taylor joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the golden years of Christian publishing, how publishers have adjusted their selling strategies as brick-and-mortar stores have vanished, and just how significant the Amazon effect is. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 27, 2019
Retirement for Those Who Can’t
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Christianity Today’s March 2019 cover story examined how retirement fits into the Christian vision of faith and work and how assumptions about what retirement looks like are changing for many Americans. We looked at the increasingly diverse ways that Christians are leveraging their post-career years for the good of their families, churches, and communities. A lot of readers wrote in to express appreciation for covering a topic that really matters to so many, but we also got a fair number of responses that were concerned that our take on retirement was too narrow. One reader, Rodney, summed it up this way: "Your article 'Saving Retirement' in the March issue was a good summary of the situation facing retirees today. However, most of the examples of retirees doing something purposeful after retirement were people who had held leading positions in their field of work with presumably large salaries. The article definitely needed to portray what some ‘ordinary workers’ have gone on to do." We agreed with Rodney that there is a much broader picture of post-work life that needs to be acknowledged. Do Christian understandings of work and aging accommodate those who can’t afford to retire? Rev. Amy Ziettlow, pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Decatur, Illinois, and author, with Naomi Cahn, of Homeward Bound: Modern Families, Elder Care, and Loss, joined theology editor Caleb Lindgren and editor in chief Mark Galli to talk about the hopeful vision for retirement she sees in her working-class church community and her recommendations for how retirement-aged individuals and their churches can best partner with each other during the autumn years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 20, 2019
Our Venezuelan Brothers and Sisters in Christ Are Suffering
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Venezuela has been in crisis for years, but the situation there has arguably taken an even greater turn for the worse in recent weeks. Recently, a blackout cut off the entire country from electricity. Citizens have also been victim to frequent water shortages and a currency that is losing its value at unprecedented rates. At the same time, more than three million people have left the country of 31 million people, roughly 10 percent of the population. The country is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, although, like much of Latin America, has experienced the growing influence of Protestantism. According to Pew Research Center’s 2014 numbers, Protestants currently make up 17 percent of the population. Germán Novelli-Oliveros, the Venezuelan-born-and-raised pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how oil brought Protestantism to Venezuela, why pastors won’t speak out politically, and his advice for people who want to help. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 13, 2019
How Christian Art Historically Depicts Women and Their Bodies
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As part of the launch of her latest book, Shameless: A Sexual Reformation, Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber asked would-be readers to mail her their purity rings. Then she took the submissions and had them melted down and turned into a vagina statue. While the action earned attention for its shock value, Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren recently pointed out for CT that this was far from the first example of vaginal (or yonic) art in the Christian tradition. “No reasonable person could say that these Christian yonic symbols indicate that the early church was a bastion of feminist liberation,” Harrison Warren wrote. “In the ancient church, as now, misogyny abounds. Still, at the very least, they show that the female body was not (and is not) deemed dirty, unholy, or otherwise bad.” Christian art has always depicted women, says Robin Jensen, a professor at Notre Dame who specializes in the history of Christianity and liturgical studies. “Surprisingly, though, what you’d expect to find in Christian art is sometimes not there in the initial stages,” said Jensen, the author of Understanding Early Christian Art. “If you were to think about the two most common themes in Christian art from all the centuries of Christian art through and time, you might say the crucifix and the Madonna and child. Neither of those are going to be appearing until much later.” Instead, art based on Bible stories with male and female characters from both the Old and New Testament is what is initially most prevalent, says Jensen. Jensen joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and theology editor Caleb Lindgren to discuss the extent to which fertility is a theme in Christian art, how nudity is generally handled in Christian art, and what’s going on with angels. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 06, 2019
Methodism’s Global Reach Has Changed the Denomination
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For the past four days, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church has been reexamining its doctrines on human sexuality. From Christianity Today’s report from yesterday: The United Methodist Church (UMC) voted Tuesday to maintain its traditional stance against same-sex marriage and non-celibate gay clergy, bolstered by a growing conservative contingent from Africa. The denomination’s “Traditional Plan” passed, with 438 votes in favor and 384 against (53% to 47%), in the final hours of a special UMC conference held this week in St. Louis to address the issue of human sexuality. While this decision will likely have broad global consequences, it is also one that has been heavily impacted by the denomination’s large international presence. The UMC has about 7 million lay members in the US and 5.5 million overseas, and they operate in more than 130 countries. But the denomination's broad reach isn’t anything new. “It’s inherently a global movement,” said J. Steven O’Malley, a professor of Methodist Holiness history at Asbury Theological Seminary, who recently spent the year working on a project called “The Origin of the Wesleyan Theological Vision for Christian Globalization and the Pursuit of Pentecost in Early Pietist Revivalism.” O’Malley joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what was at stake at the most recent UMC meeting, how the denomination came together 50 years ago, and how it ended up around the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 27, 2019
Introducing: The Way to Glory
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Introducing: The Way to Glory by Christianity Today Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 21, 2019
The Struggle to Say ‘I’m Sorry’ in Public
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Note: Quick to Listen now has transcripts! Scroll to the bottom of the episode description to read through our conversation with David Bailey. Last week, the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News published a three-part investigation into the scope of sex abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention. Among one of the seeming fruits of their report was an announcement from the head of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Al Mohler wanted to apologize for the role that he played in protecting his friend CJ Mahaney after he was accused of covering up a sex abuse scandal at his church. In an 850-word statement, Mohler acknowledged his role in supporting Mahaney, even as questions arose about his involvement. He then expressed regret for his former actions and spoke specifically about where he believed he had fallen short. “I can only speak for myself, but I wish to do so clearly, acknowledging these errors, grieving at the harm that was done, and committing to do everything I can to lead well and to serve Christ faithfully.” Like many public apologies today, Mohler’s drew a mixed reaction. Some were frustrated about the length of time it took for him to acknowledge his mistakes. Others were encouraged by the change of heart from a man who it had seemed might never change his mind. “With our leaders, any kind of leadership, people want to know, if something’s wrong, do you see it and are you going to do something about it? Are you going to do the right thing?” said David Bailey, the executive director of Arrabaon, a ministry that helps Christian leaders engage in in reconciliation. “Leadership, a lot of times, is moving on the currency of trust. I think a demand for an apology is ‘Hey, can I trust you? Are you going to do the right thing?’” Bailey joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why it’s hard to offer a good public apology, why it’s significant that we “demand an apology,” and how long is long enough before the start of a “comeback” story. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 20, 2019
No, Millennials Aren't Killing Evangelism
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Half of millennial Christians say it’s wrong to evangelize. This was the headline from CT’s report from new Barna Group research examining the perspectives of millennials, Gen-X, boomer, and elder practicing Christians on sharing their faith. (Note: Barna defines “practicing Christians” as churchgoers who consider religion an important part of their lives.) More than 90 percent of practicing Christians of all generations agreed somewhat or strongly that “part of my faith means being a witness about Jesus” and “the best thing that could ever happen to someone is for them to come to know Jesus.” Millennials were more likely than any other age group to say that they were gifted at sharing their faith with other people. In fact, 73 percent said they were compared to 56 percent of elders, who were the least secure about their ability. But controversially—at least to CT’s Twitter followers—47 percent of millennials said it was wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith. What should we make of these numbers? Alpha USA executive director Craig Springer joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what these figures really mean, why the best way to do evangelism may just be asking questions, and why Christian unity is a good form of Christian witness. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 13, 2019
How This Dutch Congregation Pulled Off a 96-Day Service
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For nearly 100 days, more than 500 Dutch pastors—as well as some from across the continent and the Atlantic—across denominations gathered in Bethel Church for a continuous worship service. Why? To protect a refugee family from deportation. From CT’s report: The Dutch government is generally prohibited from interrupting religious services, so the Protestant congregation kept extending their gathering during the debate over family asylum or kinderpardon. [Last week,] officials agreed to allow the Armenian family at Bethel—along with 700 others who have lived in the country for more than a decade—to have their cases reviewed again rather than face immediate expulsion. Christian leader Axel Wicke was closely involved with the planning and execution of the hundreds of hours–long service. Some of Wicke’s elderly church attendees told him that they stopped by the service in the middle of the night when they woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. “I’m now quite familiar with who of my parish members are night people,” he said. Wicke found the experience transformative for his own spiritual life but also said it offered a profound picture of Christianity for people with little knowledge of the religion. “The reason why we did this was quite sad or depressing … but it was also a really big gift to this parish and to the church in the Hague,” said Wicke. “I still get messages along the line, ‘Finally, I know why there is a church.’ It was a very fundamental way of recognizing, ‘That’s what the church is for.’” Wicke joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how the past couple months changed his views on prayer, how to figure out the logistics of a continuous 24/7 church service, and what type of impact this might have on the Christian community in the Netherlands long-term. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 06, 2019
Why Islamist Terrorists Attacked Christians in the Philippines
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SIS has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 20 churchgoers and soldiers at a Catholic church in the Philippines. Two bombs exploded at a church in the city of Jolo on Sunday, “the first blasting through rows of pews and the second shooting from the entrance to kill scrambling parishioners as well as the guards positioned outside to protect the church week after week,” according to CT’s report. The attack came several days after a key vote in the region’s surrounding islands on a referendum that offered the area greater autonomy. While Muslims in Jolo largely opposed the referendum—part of an effort to end ongoing clashes between Philippine forces and separatists, —it passed anyway. Given that the vote seemingly went in their favor, why did extremists react violently? “What they want to do is pit Muslims and Christians against each other,” said Efraim Tendero, the current general secretary of the World Evangelical Alliance and former national director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches. When he previously visited Jolo, Tendero said he had been welcomed at the airport by one of the region’s Muslim leaders. “You can see that the moderate Muslim community is peace-loving and would like to support peace,” he said. These attacks, then, likely come from a group that doesn’t “really want the peace agreement to flourish so they are trying to sow more terror,” said Tendero, pointing out that many of the casualties were soldiers guarding the area. Tendero joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the relationship between Christians and Muslims in Asia’s most Christian country and the health of the Filipino church in the 21st century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 30, 2019
The Hebrew Israelites in That March for Life Viral Video, Explained
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Videos from last Friday’s March for Life and the Indigenous People’s March have been the subject of intense debate. In footage from a clip filmed in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Friday, high school students, some wearing Make America Great Again hats, appeared to be in a faceoff with a Native American elder. The footage went viral, as many on social media condemned the boys’ apparent actions. Shortly thereafter, a new video showed a group of half a dozen Hebrew Israelites berating and using insults that seem to come out of the Old Testament to the same high schoolers and the Native Americans at the event for more than an hour. For many Americans, this was their first encounter with this sect, started by two African Americans in the late 19th century. Despite the scripture references that many members of the community drop in public, Christians should avoid engaging the Hebrew Israelites should they encounter them on the street, says Lisa Fields, the founder and president of Jude 3 Project, an apologetics ministry focused on serving the black community. “You’re not usually going to get any headway because they’re going to be very insulting, very loud and no matter what scripture you present they’re going to counter it with something else,” said Fields. “…I find the most effective way to engage is 1-1. In a crowd of people, even if you are making some headway or one person is listening to you, the group is going to feed them so they’re not going to show that you’re breaking through at any point. Fields joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and theology editor Caleb Lindgren to talk about where the Hebrew Israelite movement came from, how the black church has responded, and what majority culture Christians need to know about what causes these movements to grow. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 24, 2019
No Sign Language in the World Has Its Own Bible Translation
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Note: Our guest on this week’s show signed his responses so we are also making a video of this podcast available here: youtube.com/watch?v=zgbTsGnQOdQ&t=2651s Donations from the 40,000 attendees at this year’s Passion Conference raised nearly half a million dollars to fund Bible translations for the deaf. These funds will boost projects in Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Moldova, Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, and Russia. No sign language has a full Bible translation, and just 2 percent of deaf people around the world have access to the Gospels in their sign languages. According to CT’s reporting: Sign languages aren’t structured like text-based or spoken languages [and] they require their own processes for passages of Scripture to be told visually through sign. Chronological Bible Translation (CBT) translates the Bible by stories, while Book-by-Book (BBB) translation uses the chapter and verse structure, the Deaf Bible Society explained. The deaf community is made up of visual learners, says Jason Suhr, the director of Scripture Engagement & Translation at the Deaf Bible Society. “We don’t rely on specific words,” said Suhr, through translator William Ross III. “We kind of rely more on images and the context of those images.” When someone is signing, they will first set the scene, often spelling out the weather and where objects, plants, trees, or people might be. “You don’t really get a lot of that in English,” said Suhr. “You have to create that image in your head, whereas deaf people are able to set that up.” Suhr joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to to explore why it’s taken such a long time to provide this community with a translation of the Bible and what it will take to transform this situation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 16, 2019
The Schism Dividing the Orthodox Church
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Last fall, the Patriarch of Moscow cut ties with the Patriarch of Constantinople. This action severed the world’s largest Orthodox church from its historic home and launched a series of events that recently took a sharp turn. Last week, the Patriarch of Constantinople offered the Orthodox Church of Ukraine independence from the Patriarch of Russia, actions that weren’t greeted warmly by the Patriarch of Moscow. All of this is taking place in the context of a half-decade of conflict between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. So is this church fissure over disagreements in doctrine or international politics? One key to understanding it is understanding the concept of symphonia, or the Orthodox perspective of church-state relations. A 2016 CT article characterized symphonia as “institutionalized ‘harmonious relations’ between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state.” “This intentional connection between church and state allows the Orthodox Church to enjoy all the attendant privileges of political preference and feeds into a uniquely Russian national identity,” wrote Andrey Shirin, in “Russia: The Other Christian Nation.” Practically, it means that the Patriarch of Moscow and Russian president Vladimir Putin work closely together, says George Hancock-Stefan, a professor at Palmer Theological Seminary and contributor to Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism. “It behooves this unified front—Putin and the patriarch—to say, ‘What is happening in Ukraine is something we don’t like,’” said Hancock-Stefan. “Therefore Ukraine didn’t like what the patriarch was doing and thus they aligned themselves more strongly with the Patriarch of Constantinople, and as a result, now we have schism.” Hancock-Stefan joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to explore the history of the Orthodox Church, what it really means to cut ties with another church, and what autocephaly is and why it matters. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 09, 2019
This New Year, Build Character
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We make New Year’s resolutions about money, fitness, diets, and technology. But what about personal character? And when choosing virtues to emulate, where should we start? The Bible, Aristotle, and Aquinas aren’t bad places to start, says Jay Wood, a philosophy professor at Wheaton College, who has frequently written about this topic. “What Christians have said about Aristotle is that he gives us good advice for how to flourish in a common human life,” said Wood. “Aristotle’s virtues do not, however, prepare us for the life to come. The great Christian teachers about virtue said we need to have the gifts that the Holy Spirit confers upon us in order to achieve the virtues.” Just for reference, here’s Galatians 5:22–23: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Wood joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the biblical basis for a virtuous life, if Aristotle’s exhortations ever clash with those of the Bible, and what it looks like to actually become a person of character. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 03, 2019
It's Not Just a Blue Christmas. We're Lonely.
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Research shows our society's widespread isolation. What's the church's role in alleviating it? While technology, living situations, and neighborhood have all played roles in perpetuating these feelings of loneliness, arguably so have many of churches, says Ashley Hales, the author of Finding Holy in the Suburbs: Living Faithfully in the Land of Too Much. “There’s a sense that our church structures have made people more lonely,” said Hales. “People can just come as they please. If they’re really unknown, they’re not getting plugged into any smaller forms of community.” Part of it is changing cultural expectations of church, said Hales. “We want church to be this customizable religious experience, instead of saying this is the bride of Christ, it’s going to be painful to be a part of, that it’s one of the only organizations where people of every tribe, tongue, and nation are getting together amidst different socioeconomic and racial differences,” she said. “ Hales joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the structural and existential reasons for our loneliness, how to be a good neighbor, and why it’s the small patterns of our life that make a big difference when it comes to relationships. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 26, 2018
Not Just Asia Bibi: Pakistan’s Very Vulnerable Christians
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After years behind bars and on death row, Asia Bibi was recently acquitted of blasphemy charges by Pakistan’s Supreme Court. But although the verdict technically liberated the mother of five, many in Pakistan responded to the announcement in anger, with protests erupting in the country’s major cities. Her family is currently in hiding and seeking asylum in a Western country. Overwhelmingly Muslim, Pakistan is a challenging place for the Christian (and Ahmadiyya community.) It ranks No. 5 on the 2018 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom also classifies Pakistan as a Tier 1 Country of Particular Concern. It recently booted out 18 international non-governmental organizations, including the Christian nonprofit World Vision. The reality is that most of the country’s Christians are people who historically are from a lower caste system, which although officially abolished, still exists in the country, says Michael James Nazir-Ali, a former Anglican bishop in the Church of England, who was born in Pakistan. “The bulk of the Christian population comes from these people who were landless, casual labor, just as Asia Bibi is, and were discriminated against and despised by many of the wealthier people around,” said Nazir-Ali. This week on Quick to Listen we’ll talk about what it’s like to be a religious minority. Nazir-Ali joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the history of Pakistan’s Christian community, whether blasphemy laws will ever be abolished, and what role the United States plays in improving religious freedom in the country. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 19, 2018
The History of the Fundamentalists Facing a Massive Abuse Scandal
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On Sunday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published a four-part series on more than 400 allegations of sexual misconduct affiliated with the independent fundamental Baptist movement. The scope of their reporting spanned nearly 1,000 churches and organizations across 40 states and Canada. The report noted: One hundred and sixty-eight church leaders were accused or convicted of committing sexual crimes against children, the investigation found. At least 45 of the alleged abusers continued in ministry after accusations came to the attention of church authorities or law enforcement. But what is the independent fundamental Baptist movement? Historically it has meant a firm belief in the “fundamental doctrines, that is to say, the essential doctrines of the Christian faith” and “an insistence that you should only extend Christian fellowship to people who profess to believe the gospel.” said Kevin Bauder, a research professor of systematic theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of a two-part volume on Baptist fundamentalism. But that’s not necessarily what people hear, Bauder acknowledges. “The term ‘fundamentalist’ has sort of been co-opted by Martin Marty’s Fundamentalism project, where he made it a sociological designation for any extreme group,” said Bauder. “None of us are really happy with that label these days, because of the connotations it carries now.” (Perhaps one way to see it could be as the inverse of historian George Marsden’s remark: “An evangelical is someone who likes Billy Graham.”) Bauder joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the history of fundamentalism, why he thinks the movement is dying, and the circumstances that led it to part ways with Billy Graham. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 12, 2018
The Hard Truth About Pastors' Pay
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We’re in the midst of what could be a significant transition for American pastoral salaries. A lawsuit challenging the longstanding clergy housing allowance is in the court of appeals. Last year’s tax reform bill made significant changes to the standard deduction, which could have dramatic effects for the level of giving churches have historically relied upon. As CT Pastors recently reported, “staffing costs typically account for 45 to 55 percent of a church’s budget. But with recent changes in costs, demographics, and giving in US churches, many are questioning that model.” Beyond these larger changes, churches, whether part of denominations or nondenominational, have long struggled with knowing how to fairly compensate pastors and other employees, says Brian Kluth, who currently leads the National Association of Evangelical’s Financial Health initiative, which seeks to improve the financial health of pastors and church. “There are real critical pay issues for people in church and really at all levels and all genders,” said Kluth. Kluth joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the inconsistent ways pastors are compensated, how American Christian giving (or lackthereof) affects this conversation, and the perks and breaks pastors receive and how they should be considered when determining salary. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 05, 2018
What John Allen Chau's Missions Agency Wants You to Know
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A little over a week ago, a 26-year-missionary was killed by members of an isolated tribe on a remote island near India, Myanmar, and Thailand. As CT reported: According to news reports based on Chau’s journal entries, the Oral Roberts University graduate shouted, “My name is John, and I love you and Jesus loves you,” to Sentinelese tribesmen armed with bows and arrows. He fled to a fishing boat when they shot at him during his initial visit, with one arrow piercing his Bible. The young missionary did not survive a follow-up trip on November 17. Chau was working with All Nations, whose stated mission is “to make disciples and train leaders to ignite church planting movements among the neglected peoples of the earth.” Mary Ho, the international executive leader at All Nations, described Chau as a “very interesting young man” and “very focused.” “Since he was about 18 years old, I believe, he took a mission trip and on that mission trip he really felt a call to be a missionary,” Ho said. “Around that time he started researching all the different people groups and he came across the North Sentinelese people.” Chau really felt that “his life’s call was to take the love and goodness of Jesus Christ to the North Sentinelese,” said Ho. “Since then, every decision he has made has been to prepare himself for his life’s call.” Today on Quick to Listen, we want to learn more about John Chau, the Sentinelese, and other “neglected peoples”—and especially the challenges and perils of bringing the gospel to isolated people groups. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 28, 2018
How Christians Can Partner with Muslims on Religious Freedom
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How Christians Can Partner with Muslims on Religious Freedom by Christianity Today Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 21, 2018
This 'Religious War' Isn't Religious
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It’s been a bloody year in the Central African Republic. Two months ago, a massacre claimed the lives of dozens of people in the country after suspected Islamist rebels attacked a group of civilians. The massacre was just the latest in a wave of violence for the country of 4.5 million. At the beginning of this year, the CAR’s capital had been considered a safe haven in the war-torn country. It was the only place the government claimed control, as three-quarters of the landlocked nation is occupied by armed groups. But since the spring, the country has witnessed an upsurge of violence, notably with attacks targeting churches and church leaders in the capital city, Bangui, and Bambari, another important city in the country. Four Catholic priests were targeted, with three of them killed in separate Islamist attacks. In response to the violence from the past couple years, a militia composed primarily of Christians has also committed atrocities against Muslims. But the unrest hasn’t divided the church, says Paul Mpindi, the director of Mission French Africa; a radio ministry that focuses on evangelism, discipleship, and stewardship in French-speaking Africa. “I’m so thankful for the Catholic Church and Protestant church because they are working together,” said Mpindi. “The bishop there has been at the forefront of the peace transition, helping the government, helping the rebels, and working with the Muslims.” Mpindi joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli on Quick to Listen to discuss why violence is once again on the upswing, who really makes up the country’s “Christian militia,” and what it will take for peace to prevail in the country. This podcast is brought to you in part by Christianbook.com, a huge selection of Christian books, Bibles, gifts, music, and more. This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you by Kingdom At Work, a movement that seeks to inspire, equip, and ignite leaders to advance God’s kingdom through their influence in the marketplace. To attend one of their workshops or learn more, visit KingdomAtWork.com. What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more Subscribe to Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee Follow our guest’s website: Mission French Africa Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee, Richard Clark, and Cray Allred Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 14, 2018
Why Latino Evangelicals Vote Beyond Immigration
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Elections often call attention to white evangelicals whose votes and voices play a significant role in national elections. But their attitudes and values don’t necessarily represent those of evangelicals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Case in point: Latino evangelicals. According to data from the Billy Graham Center Institute at Wheaton College and LifeWay Research, 41 percent of Hispanics with evangelical beliefs voted for Trump in 2016. What were the issues that most influenced their vote? According to the same survey, 19 percent said improving the economy, 14 percent said helping those in need, and 14 percent said a candidate’s position on immigration. “Most Latinos will tend to be socially conservative on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage but will tend to be social liberals on issues like education and immigration, so we’ve tended to be divided on how we spread the vote,” said Juan Martínez, who currently serves as professor of Hispanic studies and pastoral leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. “This isn’t new; it just stands out more because we’re a larger percentage of the voting block. Those of us who have voted have struggled with this for years because the Democrat/Republican way that this is broken out doesn’t fit us well.” Martínez joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the history of Latino evangelicals and what unifies and divides the community. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 07, 2018
What to Make of James MacDonald Suing Julie Roys
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A Chicagoland megachurch pastor has sued a Christian media personality and two former church-members-turned-potential-whistleblowers for defamation. According to Harvest Bible Chapel pastor James McDonald, former Moody Radio host Julie Roys and bloggers Ryan Mahoney and Scott Bryant published and helped publicize false and damaging financial information about the congregation. But should Christians so at odds actually be taking each other to court? In many cases, no, says Ken Sande, the founder of Peacemaker Ministries and the current president of Relational Wisdom 360. “Typically, conflict between Christians involves some foundation of sin,” said Sande. “Lawyers can dress that up in legal terms, but what it really comes down to in 99 percent of the cases is sin. Keeping one’s word. Slandering. False representation. Bitterness. Anger. Unforgiveness. Those are all spiritual issues that the church has jurisdiction over and a judge can’t touch.” Sande joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss conflict resolution—or lack thereof—when it comes to Christians, the power of seeing people confess sin to one another, and how these processes play out in a #MeToo era. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 31, 2018
Iraqi Christians Waited Years for American Funds. Is Now Too Late?
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Last year, Vice President Mike Pence pledged support to Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities forced out of their homelands in Iraq by ISIS. Religious freedom advocates and groups in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq cheered the news. Then, the money didn’t come. Last week, the Trump administration announced a multimillion-dollar assistance plan to bring the total funding over the past year for religious minorities in Iraq to nearly $300 million. The money will be used to rebuild communities, preserve heritage sites, secure left-behind explosives, and empower survivors to seek justice. Those charged with administering the funds have their work cut for them. “From the time of the US invasion to now, you have seen a Christian church of over a million people that has been reduced to 100,000 people,” said Mindy Belz, senior editor at World Magazine, who has visited and reported from Iraq frequently over the past two decades. When Saddam Hussein’s regime was first toppled, Christians were hopeful, says Belz. But as the US stayed on, things got worse for the community. “When the US had troops on the ground and were essentially running the government to it, we were not paying attention to the minorities—the Christians, the Yazidis, the Shabak, the Turkmen. We were not looking out for them,” said Belz, who is also the author of They Say We Are Infidels. “They did not have sufficient political representation that would look out for them, and they were getting no favors from the Iraqi government so the jihadists were targeting them with impunity.” Belz joins associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what went wrong with last year’s plan to send money to Iraq, how ISIS changed how Christians relate to their fellow religious minorities and their Muslim neighbors, and what life is like on the ground in Iraq right now for the church. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 24, 2018
Climate Change Divides the US Church. It Unites the Global One.
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Last week, the world’s leading climate scientists released a sobering report, which claimed that there are only a dozen years to keep the Earth’s climate from increasing by 1.5 degrees Celsius. If the planet fails to do so, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned, the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people will massively increase. To avoid barreling toward this future, the entire world will have to make massive changes in the way it currently consumes energy. “It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now,” Debra Roberts, a scientist who worked on the report, told The Guardian. “This is the largest clarion bell from the science community and I hope it mobilizes people and dents the mood of complacency.” But upending the status quo is incredibly difficult work, says Peter Harris, cofounder of A Rocha, an international Christian nature organization. A former parish minister, Harris says he sees parallels between his conservation work and his life in church ministry. “I had to sit next to the bedside of a dying friend. It was good to be there. It was good for us to share the presence of God and the hope of the resurrection,” he said. “And sometimes we know when we’re potentially going to lose the conservation battle—and honestly I doubt if we will keep the temperature rise below two degrees within the next 15 years—what we have to do it out of is that the Lord will not abandon his creation. He’ll stir up his church worldwide.” Harris joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss UN report’s warnings and predictions, the human impact of climate change, and why a Christian response to this report must be rooted in a bigger vision than halting climate change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 17, 2018
Should Christians Trust Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince’s Promises of Reform?
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Last week, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He was never seen again. Now, Turkish officials believe Khashoggi, a longtime critic of the country, was murdered by Saudi officials. That same week, US officials visited the Saudi Arabian capital city of Riyadh and reported that the country seemed to be loosening some of its harsh religious laws, including reforming its religious police—once tasked with enforcing shari’ah law on the streets and in homes—and has instituted new government programs to quash extremism. Last fall, the 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans last October to modernize Saudi Arabia and return the restrictive Muslim country to “what we were before: a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world.” And while the Crown Prince, whose often known by his nickname MSB, has made real strides in advancing freedom, including letting women drive, incidents like Khashoggi’s reported death, suggest that things may be more complicated than they seem. “Critics will say that MBS’ reforms are lip service, eye candy, it’s trying to fool the West into thinking that Saudi Arabia is changing when in reality it’s still the same old, repressive, authoritarian regime it’s always been,”said Robert Nicholson, the founder and executive director of the Philos Project, a leadership community dedicated to promoting positive Christian engagement in the Middle East. “I actually think both are true. Anytime a woman can drive in a country and she couldn’t drive the day before is good news. I’m not going to be picky about how many other things are left undone,” said Nicholson. “...I also think it’s true that Saudi Arabia is nowhere near being a beacon of human rights and has a long, long way to go.” Nicholson joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how Saudi Arabia’s relationship with Iran matters, why the few Christians in the country are likely to be migrant workers, and how Christianity first arrived in that part of the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 11, 2018
What Tim Keller Wants American Christians to Know About Politics
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Last week, millions of Americans were caught up in the Senate’s Supreme Court hearings. There, psychologist Christine Blasey Ford testified that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually attacked her while the two were in high school. Several hours later, Kavanaugh emphatically refuted Blasey Ford’s allegations. The hearings came months after Justice Anthony Kennedy, long seen as a swing vote on the court, announced his retirement. This news prompted alarm from the pro-choice community who feared that the new balance in the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. Despite their fears, Kavanaugh’s confirmation seemed on track until Blasey Ford’s allegations went public. Shortly after the hearing, a book excerpt from Tim Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, appeared in The New York Times. “Christians cannot pretend they can transcend politics and simply ‘preach the Gospel,’” he wrote in his latest book Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy. “Those who avoid all political discussions and engagement are essentially casting a vote for the social status quo. … To not be political is to be political.” But that doesn’t mean that Christians have to hold convictions about every moment of political life, said Keller. One example: knowing exactly who or what to believe about Kavanaugh and Ford: “Neither you nor I are decision makers at all. We’re not being asked to make a decision. If I was in a position where I had to make a decision—I had a vote or I had to do something about it—then I would be doing everything I could to get to the bottom of things,” Keller told CT. “I’m not sure why everyone on Twitter feels like they have to come to a position. That’s actually kind of new.” Keller joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how he follows this news, where his political convictions come from, and just how great the stakes are of politics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 03, 2018
Maria Devastated Puerto Rico. It Didn’t Destroy the Church.
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Earlier this month, you couldn’t turn a television on without seeing footage of Hurricane Florence. As of recording, the storm has been blamed for the deaths of 42 people in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and costing billions of dollars of damage. Yet, in many ways, national attention has already moved on. That’s something that Puerto Rico knows too well. It’s been a year since the storm claimed 64 immediate deaths and catalyzed the exodus of thousands of Puerto Ricans from the island and a sense of hopelessness in the territory at large. The loss of community was especially hard for Puerto Ricans like Gadiel Ríos, a pastor in Arecibo, who stayed on the island. “Everyone lost their friends, everyone lost family,” said Ríos, who is also the founder of the ministry ReformaDos. “The main problem we are facing now is despair and then because of their despair people tend to [fall] into depression...People feel lonely and frustrated.” Ríos joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how the church is ministering to the overwhelmed, how Mainlanders encouraged those on the island, and the state of Puerto Rico’s evangelical community. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 26, 2018
Just 23 Iranian and Iraqis Refugees Have Come to America This Year
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Several years ago, the Obama administration set a target of resettling more than 110,000 refugees for resettlement in fiscal year 2017, the highest goal since 1995. This week, the Trump administration set the ceiling on the number of refugees that can be resettled in the United States next year at 30,000. Even as the number of refugees allowed in America has dropped since Trump took office, the State Department has named international religious freedom as one of its primary goals. To some extent, these two policies work against each other, says Jenny Yang, who provides oversight for all advocacy initiatives and policy positions at World Relief. “The countries from which Christians are most persecuted are those that there are the most refugees from,” said Yang. Only 18 and 5 refugees from Iraq and Iran respectively—countries where many Christians have been persecuted in recent years—have been resettled in the US since the beginning of the year. “You have a lot of persecuted Christians who are refugees and become refugees because of their faith,” said Yang. Yang joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the US government’s rationale for the decline in numbers, what’s happening at a global level to solve the refugee crisis, and what Christians who care about refugees can do regardless of whether the communities settle in their countries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 20, 2018
John MacArthur's ‘Statement on Social Justice’ Is Aggravating Evangelicals
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Last week, John MacArthur and a dozen other Christian leaders launched a website presenting The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel. In the statement, the signatories claim that the social justice movement endangers Christians with “an onslaught of dangerous and false teachings that threaten the gospel, misrepresent Scripture, and lead people away from the grace of God in Jesus Christ.” Over the course of 14 sections, the Statement addresses cultural narratives “currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality” and argues that a secular threat is infiltrating the evangelical church. At the time of this recording, the Statement has received around 7,000 signatures. The statement comes at a time when a series of blog posts and sermons attacking social justice from MacArthur, a popular California pastor and author, had sparked controversy in the evangelical community. The harsh reaction to MacArthur’s ideas was shaped by the events of the past four years, says Washington DC pastor and Gospel Coalition council member Thabiti Anyabwile. “They land in the midst of an evangelical movement that is already fraying and fracturing under the weight of the last five years, if I’m dating this back to the Mike Brown shooting and the fallout,” said Anyabwile. “Evangelicalism as a movement splintered instantly as to how they understood that issue and different quarters circled one another in suspicion and sometimes outright attack.” Further, the statement’s specific attacks on particular nomenclature have been troublesome because its drafters haven’t defined their terms, says Anyabwile. “They’re so imprecise in the terms that are used and defining those terms. What exactly is meant by social justice?” he said. “What are we talking about when we talking about reconciliation or intersectionality or critical race theory? These are things that are thrown out there that are red meat for one quarter of evangelicalism and might be acceptable parlance, depending on how you define it, in other quarters.” Anyabwile joined associate digital producer Morgan Lee and theology editor Caleb Lindgren to offer context about MacArthur’s remarks, explain how intersectionality shows up in the Bible, and what church unity (not uniformity) should look like. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 12, 2018
A Bill Banning Reparative Therapy Spurred an Unlikely Relationship
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This spring, California assemblyman Evan Low introduced legislation that would have designated paid “conversion therapy” services as a fraudulent business practice. Until last week, Low’s measure seemed set to pass. It moved through both of California’s legislative chambers and governor Jerry Brown had shown no sign of opposition. But last Friday, Low quashed his own legislation after meeting with Christian leaders who had expressed concerns about how the bill might affect their ability to minister to those in the LGBT community. “Some would say this is crazy,” Low, who is gay and the chairman of the legislative LGBTQ caucus, told The Los Angeles Times. “Why would you pause when you don’t need to, when you’re in the driver’s seat?” One answer was Low’s relationship with Kevin Mannoia, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals and a leader in the Free Methodist Church. Over the course of the summer, Mannoia met with and developed a relationship with Low. Last week, Mannoia wrote an op-ed for The Orange County Register expressing his opposition to the bill—and to reparative therapy. Low dropped the bill the next day. In his years working as an evangelical leader, Mannoia has learned to build relationships with those with whom he may disagree. So what does it take? “Being willing to commit to them as people … and what we believe to be right and appropriate in reflecting Christ well,” said Mannoia. “Not primarily driven by the political agenda, nor even the possibility that we may be used or manipulated, but simply doing what is right because it’s right.” Mannoia joined Morgan Lee, associate digital media producer, and Richard Clark, director of editorial development for SmallGroups.com and PreachingToday.com, to discuss how this story unfolded and what it says about the future of relationships between evangelicals and the LGBT community in one of the country’s most progressive states. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 06, 2018
What Evangelicals Need to Know about the Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal
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The Catholic world is reeling after a devastating month of sexual abuse revelations. At the beginning of August, a Pennsylvania grand jury reported that hundreds of priests abused at least 1,000 children since the 1940s and that dozens of church officials covered it up. Then, this past week, a prominent archbishop claimed that Pope Francis knew about—and covered up—the actions of Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal who has been accused of sexually harassing adult seminarians and abusing a child. For lay Catholics, the litany of sex abuse stories has been devastating. “The ultimate source of authority and power that the normal Catholic needs week to week is their priest,” said John Armstrong, the president of ACT3 Network, an organization which works to foster Christian unity. “It’s not the Vatican, not the structure of the Vatican, not even the Pope, though he’s the Holy Father to Catholics.” Because of this close relationship, the church betraying their trust can feel even more intense. “When the priest is an abuser, it breaks all confidence and trust in the authority of the church, which extends all the way to the Vatican because this priest would not be ordained if had not gone up the chain of command and has ultimately the blessing of the Holy Father who is the pastor of pastors and the shepherd of the whole church,” he said. Armstrong joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the nature and extent of the abuse in the Catholic church, the Vatican’s historically contentious relationship with the media, the politics affecting the whole situation, and how it affects evangelical churches. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 29, 2018
The Church Doesn't Get Men. Can It Learn from Non-Christians Who Do?
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Check out this headlines from the past decade: “Why Don’t Most Men Go to Church?” Christian Century, October 2011 “Why Men Still Hate Going to Church” CT Pastors, Summer 2012 “7 Actions to Engage Men in Your Church” Pastors.com, March 2014 “Why Do Men Hate Church and What Can Be Done About It?” The Tennessean, Jan 2015 Mending Men’s Ministry, Christianity Today, June 2018 And then there’s a newsletter, The Masculinist, which reflects on a monthly basis on the factors driving men men from church. Aaron Renn, The Masculinist’s author and creator, said the idea for his project came both from the knowledge that church attendance skewed female and the realization a number of non-Christian writers, authors, and cultural commentators were grabbing this group’s attention. “What is it that all of these people are reaching men with essentially a secular self-help message and the [church’s message] isn’t working?” said Renn. “...When I became a Christian I maybe naively took everything in. I felt like the teachings that I was getting about how to be a man and how to interact with women and things of that nature frankly were just not working.” His unhappiness with his church’s teachings led Renn to ask a lot of questions and ultimately “reformulate” himself as a man. Renn joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why how churches can still be unwelcoming to men despite the fact that men still hold most church pastoral positions, whether this reality of fewer men at church is true when factored by class, race, or education level, and how Christian piety became gendered. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 22, 2018
Pastoring in Charlottesville After the Protests
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This week was the first year anniversary of the alt-right’s violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Over the course of that weekend, attendees and counter-demonstrators engaged in violent confrontations and one alt-right member drove a car into a crowd, killing a woman and injuring dozens more. The city has subsequently elected a new mayor and lost its city attorney, police chief, and city manager. Meanwhile, many in the city are divided over whether last year’s brazen racist attitudes came from those outside of the city or that only embodying of the town’s racist lineage. Walter Kim was interviewing for a pastoral job the weekend of the protests and moved down to Charlottesville later that month. The pastor for executive leadership at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Kim’s first year on staff has been radically shaped by their aftermath. At his own church, “there has been lament. An urge to repent. A galvanizing toward action. A befuddlement about what that action should be. A desire to individually and institutionally engage. But again, a complexity in knowing what exactly does that look like?” said Kim. “It’s not a challenge where we can say, ‘Let’s do something this year and then we can move onto other issues.’” Responding appropriately is both a sprint and a marathon, Kim says. “It’s a spring in that there are some pressing issues because of the events of August 12 that require us to engage with a measure of urgency but it’s a marathon in the sense that whatever solutions, engagement, or redemptive transportation that our church will be privileged to be a part of will not happen quickly,” said Kim. “The solution needs to match the longevity of the problem. We’re in it for long-haul in seeking redemption, reconciliation, and justice.” Kim joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the disconnect between how Charlottesville sees itself and last year’s events, how churches across the city came together this past weekend, and we can pray for Charlottesville. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 15, 2018
The Bill Hybels News Isn't Just Another Pastor Sex Scandal
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Note: Listeners interested in the issues raised by the Bill Hybels allegations may also be interested in Episode 102: When You Hear Sexual Misconduct Allegations About Your Pastor or Episode 80: Supporting the Opposite Gender in the Christian Workplace. Last year, Willow Creek Community Church founder and lead pastor Bill Hybels announced he was passing the baton to two heirs and would be retiring in October 2018. A lot has changed in 10 months. Since that announcement, 10 women have accused Hybels of misconduct. Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that one of leader’s former assistants accused the Willow Creek founder of repeatedly groping her. And on Sunday, Steve Carter, whom Hybels who indicated would succeed him as teaching pastor, announced his resignation. All of this occurred several days before Willow’s Global Leadership Summit, an annual event hosted at Willow’s Barrington campus and streamed at hundreds of locations around the world. As CT, the Chicago Tribune, and now The New York Times have reported on allegations of sexual misconduct and complaints about the Willow Creek board’s response, some less familiar with Willow Creek wonder why the ministry deserves all this attention. “Willow Creek was revolutionary in that previously, churches assumed that all that was needed to reach unbelievers with the gospel was simply to say it one more time and not do anything particularly different,” said Marshall Shelley, a longtime editor for Leadership Journal. Rather than just continue to sling religious language at the world, Willow’s leaders realized that “our culture is spiritually blind and is not going to respond to positively to a message that has grown overly familiar or has grown stale,” said Shelley. “Willow Creek said ‘We need to communicate in a way that is going to get people’s attention. Not say it the way we’ve said it thousands of times before but say it in a way that they’ve never heard it before.’” This insight grew the ministry of the church and spawned the Willow Creek Association, a network for like-minded churches thousands of congregations strong. It’s this latter ministry that organizes the annual Global Leadership Summit, which is simulcast around the world at hundreds of locations. Shelley joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what influenced and drove Hybels to do church the way he did, what inspired the church’s leadership and business mentality and focus, and what’s next for Willow in the wake of allegations of misconduct against its founder and former leader. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 08, 2018
The Other Family Separation at the Border: Canadian and US Evangelicals
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It’s been an interesting year for Canadian evangelicals. This winter, the Canadian government announced that organizations applying for summer youth employment grants had to first affirm their support for abortion. Several weeks ago, in a 7-2 vote, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled against what might have been the country’s first and only Christian law school. Trinity Western University had been in court for years after several provincial law societies declined to accredit the school because of its student covenant, which prohibits sex outside of traditional marriage. And on top of that, their Christian cousins to the south’s perceived support of Donald Trump has made many weary to claim this religious identity as their own. “I would say that there’s a hesitation to even use the word evangelical,” said Karen Stiller, a senior editor with Faith Today magazine, which serves Canada's estimated four million evangelicals. “There’s a sense that we probably believe all the Christian doctrinal positions that define us as evangelicals, but we don’t like to be slotted as Americans, to be honest.” Stiller joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli on Quick to Listen to discuss Canadian evangelicals’ relationship to politics, the ups and downs of their relationship with the American church, and how God is working in the Canadian church. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 02, 2018
Surprise! A Conference for Gay Christians Has Sparked Controversy
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Here’s how the Revoice Conference describes itself: “Supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can flourish while observing the historic, Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality.” (Read Quick to Listen host Mark Galli’s interview with its founder.) Since the website first went up, many in the evangelical Twitter world and blogosphere have debated the merits of the conference and of the “spiritual friendship” movement in which the conference is grounded. Some are concerned that “supporting and encouraging” Christians of these “sexual minorities” (as the website names them) is a slippery slope ending in a liberal, relativistic Christianity that has lost its ethical moorings. Others believe that if one observes “the historic, Christian doctrine of marriage,” Christians of any orientation should be able to gather together and talk about their concerns—and thus be supported and encouraged by one another. At stake in these conversations: the debate over whether same-sex attraction in itself is a sin—or if only the acting on that attraction is the sin. “We’ve all heard sermons that say, ‘If you’re being tempted, that’s not sin. It’s only sin if you give into the temptation,’” said Phillip Cary, a professor of philosophy at Eastern University. “Let’s call this the soft line on temptation.” But it turns out that this view isn’t necessarily one that’s been taught by the Protestant greats. “Luther and Calvin and their friends took a hard line on this. They said that the desire that makes up our temptation is already sin, even before we give in or consent to this,” Cary said. And turns out Augustine had his own ideas on the topic. Cary joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how the Bible defines temptation, why it’s hard for Christians to disentangle sin and temptation, and what it means when some of the pillars of faith reached radically different conclusions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 26, 2018
Do Church Plants Drive Neighborhood Change?
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In 2011, The New York Times profiled several church plants in New York City trying to make it in Manhattan: "In recent decades the number of English-speaking evangelical churches south of Harlem has grown tenfold, to more than 100, said Tony Carnes, a researcher ... who has studied New York churches since the 1970s. Without fanfare, the newcomers have created networks to pay for new churches and to form church-planting incubators, treating the city as a mission field." That was seven years ago. More recently, these church plants are moving into Harlem and into boroughs and neighborhoods less financially well off as center-city Manhattan. These characteristics of New York church planting are part of a larger tension across the country, as dozens of churches increasingly open up in some of the urban area’s most disinvested communities. As they launch, the neighborhoods they inhabit often begin to change—begging the question: Are these churches drivers of changes in the community or merely swept up into economic and social forces outside of their control? José Humphreys is a pastor and was part of a team that founded a church in one of these neighborhoods. “Church plants need to be more is a little more mindful, discerning and self-critical. Look at the different ways they show up. What does your incarnational presence communicate to the community around you? “What do you bring in your embodied presence, in your body, skin, class, your education?” said Humphreys, the author of the forthcoming "Seeing Jesus in East Harlem: What Happens When Churches Show Up and Stay Put." “My wife and I realize that just because her last name is Lopez and my first name is José doesn’t necessarily mean we automatically identify with people in East Harlem.” Humphreys joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and associate theology editor Caleb Lindgren to discuss the catalysts behind church plants entering under-resourced neighborhoods, what separates church plants from the storefront churches, and if people should move into the neighborhoods in which they worship. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 18, 2018
What a Conservative Court Means for Christian Unity
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Christian conservatives praised President Trump’s decision to nominate Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace outgoing Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore declared that Kavanaugh would be a “strong defender of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights, especially our First Freedom of religious liberty.” “I pray that Judge Kavanaugh will serve for decades to come with a firm and unwavering commitment to our Constitution’s principles,” said Moore. “I join with Baptists and other evangelicals in calling upon the Senate to confirm Judge Kavanaugh without delay.” Others applauding Kavanaugh’s nomination include Wheaton College Billy Graham Center executive director Ed Stetzer, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president Sam Rodriguez, the American Center for Law and Justice chief counsel Jay Sekulow, and many of Trump’s evangelical advisors. (Read CT’s report.) But aside from Rodriguez’s support, few evangelicals of color have lauded Kavanaugh’s nomination, a reality which doesn’t surprise Thomas Berg, a professor of law and public policy at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota). “A lot of black and Hispanic brothers and sisters will not appreciate the things that the conservative court is likely to do,” Berg said. “These justices are more likely to restrict affirmative action. They’re more likely to reject claims of voting rights. … White evangelicals haven’t seen those as part of their agenda.” As Berg sees it, a lack of Christian consensus over the Supreme Court reveals that the “divide between white and black Christians keeps getting deeper.” “People share such strong gospel beliefs and conservative social values, but they’re so divided on other issues,” he said. “Many people who come into this country as immigrants will be born again Christians, but that doesn’t translate into agreement on other issues besides abortion. It’s sad to see the church divided on so many other things including issues of justice.” Berg joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and associate theology editor Caleb Lindgren to talk about how Kavanaugh’s appointment could affect religious liberty and abortion and why the Supreme Court’s future could affect Christian unity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 11, 2018
Brazilian Soccer's Evangelical Embrace Mirrors Its Nation’s
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Brazil has won the World Cup five times, and as of press time, appears well on its way to its sixth. The team dramatically imploded at the World Cup it hosted in 2014, but rebounded to win the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. On the podium, its star Neymar continued the long Brazilian tradition of sporting religious attire on the field, with one key difference: his headband boasted the phrase “100% Jesus,” a nod to the country’s increasingly ascendant evangelical population. At least 25 percent of the 2018 World Cup team has identified as evangelical. One of Brazil’s biggest evangelical movements is the Assembleias de Deus (Assemblies of God), which includes more than 20 million people. For years, it emphasized a believer’s connection to the Holy Spirit. But increasingly, its broadened its spiritual formation focus, says Marcos Simas, a former editor of Cristianismo Hoje, CT’s Brazilian sister publication. “Assemblies of God is becoming more and more rational,” said Simas. “They are studying the Bible more and more.” The denomination recently published a study Bible, which sold 50,000 copies the year it came out. “[Assemblies of God doesn’t want to only offer] healing or spiritual gifts,” said Simas. “Instead they are offering tools for their members to learn more about God, doctrine, and theology.” Simas joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why Brazilians are embracing evangelicalism, the troubling prevalence of prosperity gospel, and the history of one of Brazil’s most well-known (and somewhat infamous) congregations, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 05, 2018
How Charles Taylor Helps Us Understand Our Secular Age
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Ever heard a Christian author or speaker refer to our current moment in history as "a secular age"? Or perhaps you've heard someone explain culture in terms of "subtraction stories"? Or "social imaginaries"? "the age of authenticity"? "the immanent frame"? Some of these terms are strange and unfamiliar, but for many thinkers today, they provide a helpful way to understand the seismic cultural shifts we've seen happen in the last couple of generations. From Tim Keller to Russell Moore to Rod Dreher, a lot of Christian thought leaders and quite a few academics are using these ideas to help understand our modern world and it is all based on the work of a guy named Charles Taylor. Charles Taylor is a Canadian Catholic philosopher from Montreal, Quebec, known primarily as a political philosopher and philosopher of social science, but his work spans many topics and disciplines. His 2007 book, A Secular Age, a dense argument against the "secularization thesis" proposed by Max Weber and others, has particularly captured the evangelical intellectual imagination recently. So, in a marketplace crowded with explanations for advancing secularism, why are Taylor’s ideas so popular? Colin Hanson, executive editor of The Gospel Coalition, thinks it has to do with the way that Taylor helps unpack and clarify the cultural changes we're all experiencing but find hard to describe. "A lot of what Taylor does is he'll take something that is rather obvious, but that nobody has named before or that nobody has described," Hanson explains. "It's almost like somebody who gives you language to describe the air that you breathe. Or somebody like David Foster Wallace who talked so much about the fish in the water. You don't even realize what water is because you can't survive without it. The 'social imaginary,' is that thing that is so obvious that nobody needs to talk about it....A lot of things we talk about as Christians just do not comport with the social imaginary." Hanson joined associate theology editor Caleb Lindgren and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what Christian intellectuals find so valuable in Taylor's work and discuss some of the key insights that Taylor gives us into our changing cultural landscape. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 27, 2018
Standing Between Border Control and Immigrant Families
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Last month, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to enforce a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to immigration. Here’s one way he described how this would look: "If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law," he said. "If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border." Months before he made this promise, Sessions had already started making good on it. Three weeks prior, the The New York Times had reported that since October, more than 700 children have been taken from adults claiming to be their parents, including more than 100 children under the age of four. As Sessions’ immigration policies have drawn national attention, evangelical leaders have been increasingly speaking out. A letter from the Evangelical Immigration Table said this to President Trump: While illegal entry to the United States can be a misdemeanor criminal violation, past administrations have exercised discretion in determining when to charge individuals with this offense, taking into account the wellbeing of children who may also be involved. A “zero tolerance” policy removes that discretion—with the effect of removing even small children from their parents. The traumatic effects of this separation on these young children, which could be devastating and long-lasting, are of utmost concern. Other Christian female leaders also started a #notwithoutmychild campaign in which they wrote a letter with more than 2,500 signatures to Sessions and Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Sister Norma Pimental, the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley on the border of Mexico, has seen most of this situation unfold firsthand. “We need to look at our laws and make sure we protect our laws and country, but at the same time, we cannot overlook that we are talking about human beings,” said Sister Norma. “Our laws can be humane and can be a process that can address things correctly without ignoring that these are human beings, and we must listen to their story and understand why they’re here.” Sister Norma joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the reality of what’s happening on the United States–Mexico border, her relationship with border control, and what impact the attorney general’s words have on those traveling north. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 20, 2018
What South Korean Christians Want for North Korea
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Will North Korea’s recent diplomatic efforts be an answer to South Korean Christians’ prayers? Hopefully, says Sang-Bok David Kim, the chancellor of a South Korean evangelical graduate school, Torch Trinity Graduate University. “North Korea has been threatening South Korea two or three times a year. [They say], ‘We want to make Seoul a city of fire.’ They make weapons. They shoot our navy boat down. They shoot cannonballs into South Korean islands,” said Kim. “We are very sorry they have behaved like that.” But this aggressive behavior hasn’t kept South Korean churches from praying for their Northern neighbors. Instead, South Korean Christians pray frequently for “freedom, for evangelism, for the transformation of the North Korean leaders, that God will be merciful to them and to us so our nation will be unified so we can go up there and evangelize in North Korea and plant 15,000 churches,” he said. Kim joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss his ambitious North Korea church planting plan, how the South Korean church has welcomed refugees from the North, and the surprising way God entered his family’s life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 13, 2018
If Religious Liberty and LGBT Activists Want to Move Forward, the Courts Won’t Help
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he US Supreme Court has ruled on the biggest religious liberty case of the year. In a 7–2 vote, the Court sided with a Christian baker who declined to decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding. The baker, Jack Phillips, who had provided cakes for gay customers in other circumstances, argued that making a cake for a same-sex wedding would be an endorsement of the marriage and a violation of his beliefs. In its narrow ruling of Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Court stated that the penalties a Colorado human rights commission had levied against Jack Phillips violated his First Amendment rights. For the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that “Phillips was entitled to a neutral decisionmaker who would give full and fair consideration to his religious objection as he sought to assert it in all of the circumstances in which this case was presented, considered, and decided.” While legal scholar Robin Fretwell Wilson found much of Kennedy’s opinions compelling, she ultimately doesn’t think a decision that serves both groups can be made through the courts. “There’s a pernicious outcome about the fact that we Americans like to litigate,” said Wilson. “When you have the Supreme Court take a case like Masterpiece, it stalls all the work in state legislatures where people are really trying to write a new script because they think, well, maybe this is going to be swamped by the Supreme Court, there’s going to be a new result reached, and why, in any event, should we spend political capital when the court’s going to do this for us?” Wilson joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss just the true impact of the SCOTUS’ decision, why the Court took the case in the first place, and why adoption agencies are the next critical place where these clashes will play out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 06, 2018
What Are Christians to Make of Jordan Peterson?
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He’s a Canadian psychology professor. A YouTube star. A bestselling author. He’s Jordan Peterson. Here’s how New York Times columnist David Brooks describes him: In his videos, he analyzes classic and biblical texts, he eviscerates identity politics and political correctness and, most important, he delivers stern fatherly lectures to young men on how to be honorable, upright and self-disciplined — how to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives. Despite his success, Peterson is an increasingly polarizing figure. He hates Marxism (and is unafraid to suggest his political opponents are acting in ways consistent with this ideology) and has rankled a number of feminists because of his statements about gender. However, these attitudes aren’t likely the source of his broad appeal, says Wyatt Graham, the executive director of the Gospel Coalition Canada, who has written about Peterson’s work. "I think [most people] see him as essentially, get up with your shoulders straight, be responsible, don't be that 30-year-old whose parents are trying to evict him right now on CNN, and be responsible for your life,” said Graham. “A lot of young people, a lot of young men in particular, love that part of his message.” Graham joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what makes Peterson different from other self-help gurus, what to make of his more controversial convictions, and how Christians should view his what types of theological concerns believers should have about his messages. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 30, 2018
Are Southern Baptists Experiencing a #MeToo Moment?
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It’s been quite a week for Southern Baptists. Since this podcast was recorded, Baptist Press reported that a senior professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary had resigned over “personal and spiritual issues.” It’s been quite a week for Southern Baptists. Since this podcast was recorded, Baptist Press reported that a senior professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary had resigned over “personal and spiritual issues.” The same article also reported that an Alabama pastor had resigned as executive director of Connect316 and publisher of SBC Today over a Facebook post that seemed to make light of gang rape at the expense of a number of prominent Southern Baptist leaders. This news came just hours after Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Al Mohler published a piece he headlined “The Wrath of God Poured Out: The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention.” And just hours before, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees removed Paige Patterson as president. That’s just from this week. We could go back further. So what’s going on? We asked longtime Southern Baptist leader Ed Stetzer, now executive director of Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center, to shed light on everything happening to America’s largest Protestant denomination. Stetzer joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss whether or not the denomination is truly in a #MeToo moment (like Mohler has claimed), why Southern Baptist leaders generally don’t publicly criticize each other, and what role the internet and social media have played in the events of the past month. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 25, 2018
Nigerian Christians Are Exhausted From the Terror. Will They Fight Back?
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Nigerian Christians have had enough. Thousands took to the streets this week after an attack during a church service left nearly two dozen dead last month. Among the victims were two priests, spurring Catholic leaders to protest the government for failing to do enough to protect the Christian community. Divided between a predominantly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south, the country is home to some of the world’s most vicious scenes of religious conflict. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a spate of attacks on Christian in the last decade. But, in recent years, the community faces another enemy known as the Fulani Herdsmen, the group behind the most recent attacks. Nigerian Christians need the support of their brothers and sisters in Christ, said Gideon Para-Mallam, the former regional secretary for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, the international version of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. “It’s important that believers all the world pray for us,” said Para-Mallam. “It’s also really important that the governments of the world really, really look closely and critically at what is happening in Nigeria. Just look at the sequence, from the systemic to the frontal attacks, to the killing of Christians, and now you’re beginning to ask Christians to move away from their ancestral homes. It’s pointing somewhere and I think we need to discover that.” Para-Mallam joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the history behind the country’s Muslim-Christian conflict, why the government has been so ineffective at fighting Islamists, and why there may be a bigger threat to the church than extremism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 23, 2018
Rwanda Is 95 Percent Christian. So Why Is It Shutting Down Thousands of Churches?
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Over the past two months, authorities have closed more than 7,000 churches across Rwanda for failing to comply with health, safety, and noise regulations. As CT has previously reported: President Paul Kagame welcomed the shutdowns but was stunned at the scale: “700 churches in Kigali?” he said during a government dialogue in March. “Are these boreholes that give people water? I don’t think we have as many boreholes. Do we even have as many factories? This has been a mess!” The government isn’t clamping down only on what it deems to be issues of physical safety. Current laws allow Rwandans to open churches without requiring pastors to go through any training. A new law specific to faith-based organizations will require potential pastors to get a theology degree before they plant a church. Many Christian leaders aren’t bothered by these increased regulations, including Charles Mugisha, the founder and chancellor of Africa College of Theology. “The government gets irritated when you start preaching the type of American prosperity gospel which many African preachers are learning from American television and YouTube,” said Mugisha, who also is also a pastor and the leader of the nonprofit African New Life. “The government becomes protective of its citizens if a church or preacher begins to manipulate it.” Mugisha joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why he believes the government is closing churches for good reasons, how Rwanda’s excruciating genocide affected its faith, and how he became friends with Saddleback pastor Rick Warren. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 16, 2018
Why Turkey Is Accusing an American Pastor of Terrorism
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Andrew Brunson had been ministering in Izmir, Turkey, for nearly a quarter of a century before it all changed. In 2016, the American pastor was arrested and thrown in jail, without knowing his charges and without bail. When Brunson’s trial finally started last month, he learned that he had been charged “of fueling unrest in the country through alleged involvement with exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an insurgent group.” Both movements are seen as enemies and threats to the Turkish government. Brunson is the “Christian pawn” in Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan’s political schemes, says Brian Stiller, the global ambassador for World Evangelical Alliance. Turkey wants the United States to extradite Gülen, making Brunson’s nationality a bonus for the regime, he suggested. While Brunson’s faith isn’t the only reason that he’s been singled out by the Turkish community, it does reinforce the fact that Turkey is a hard place for Christians, says Stiller. “It’s a country of 150 churches in a state that is 80 million people,” said Stiller. “You are a small minority. You are persecuted in many social and psychological ways.” Stiller joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how Turkey’s political unrest fueled Brunson’s arrest and why the Christian community is so fragmented. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 09, 2018
What the Bible Says about Abuse Within Marriage
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Note: Malachi 2, ‘I hate divorce.’ Said by guest as 5:2, says “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect.” In 2000, Paige Patterson was asked about women who are abused by their husbands. Here’s what the now-president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary said: It depends on the level of abuse to some degree. I have never in my ministry counseled that anybody seek a divorce, and I do think that’s always wrong counsel. There have been, however, an occasion or two when the level of the abuse was serious enough, dangerous enough, immoral enough that I have counseled temporary separation and the seeking of help. I would urge you to understand that that should happen only in the most serious of cases. . . . More often, when you face abuse, it is of a less serious variety. These comments recirculated on social media over the weekend, not surprisingly sparking fierce criticism of Patterson’s remarks. On Sunday, Patterson released a statement where he clarified that his happiness in the situation came from seeing this woman’s husband return to church. He also said that physical or sexual abuse should be reported to the appropriate authorities, “as I have always done.” Patterson also stated that, “I have also said that I have never recommended or prescribed divorce. How could I as a minister of the Gospel? The Bible makes clear the way in which God views divorce.” Patterson’s statement seemed to suggest that abuse was not included as one of the ways in which divorce is biblically sanctioned. But that understanding isn’t really a biblical one, says Justin Holcomb, an ordained minister and the co-author of Is It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence. “Sometimes people like to out-conservative the Bible. … I appreciate the desire stay to close to the authority of Scripture,” Holcomb said. But some Christians may be wary about sanctioning divorce after abuse because it’s not explicitly mentioned as a cause to end a marriage, despite the fact that the Bible speaks frankly about violence and abuse, he says. “In Psalm 11:5, the psalmist, referring to God, says ‘I hate the one who does violence and abuses,’” said Holcomb. “Some people want to quote Malachi 2, ‘I hate divorce.’ If that’s how that’s interpreted—which I’ve already put a question mark to—well you can find a whole bunch more passages that say that God hates the violent and the oppressor. Holcomb joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to explain how he interprets Malachi 2, if there is a theology or faith practice that correlates with spouse abuse, and if there’s a real tension between pursuing a biblical marriage and taking a hard line on domestic violence. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 02, 2018
Sit With Your Family at Church—But Maybe Not Your Spouse
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Rebecca McLaughlin doesn’t sit with her husband at church. After reassuring her church friend that her family’s seating choices had nothing to do with the status of her marital relationship, she felt compelled to explain why. McLaughlin wrote for CT Women: Every Sunday, my husband and I walk into church and see someone new sitting alone. If possible, we go and sit with them. If there are two people, we divide. It’s often awkward and uncomfortable but nonetheless worth it. Why? Because the gospel is a story of juxtaposition in community: Jesus sat with a Samaritan woman and asked her for a drink. Phillip got into the chariot with an Ethiopian eunuch. The early church ate together. She expanded on this idea for Quick to Listen. “I don’t for a minute question that we should sit together as a family at church,” said McLaughlin, who is the co-founder of the consulting organization Vocable Communications. “I’m questioning what family is. It seems to me that the New Testament drives a truck through our modern, Western, dare-I-say American conception of family as being a mom and dad and 2.4 kids.” McLaughlin joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen this week to talk about the strong feelings her actions have provoked, how to show hospitality to extroverts and introverts at church, and how cultural backgrounds are at play in how we welcome other people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 25, 2018
About That Evangelical Summit in Wheaton This Week
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Several dozen evangelical leaders from across the country gathered at Wheaton College on Monday and Tuesday this week. In anticipation of the event, The Washington Post teased the meeting: “Dozens of evangelical leaders meet to discuss how Trump era has unleashed ‘grotesque caricature’ of their faith.” But the meeting turned out not to be a giant pilgrimage opposing Trump. “No, absolutely not,” said Harold Smith, Christianity Today’s president and CEO, who attended the summit. “It was like a neighborhood gathering that got some press attention as people were expecting something bigger than ever this meeting had hoped to be,” said Ted Olsen, CT’s editorial director, who also attended. “This was like a large luncheon more than anything else.” Yet both men acknowledge that summits and conferences have played a critical role in the evangelical movement. Olsen and Smith joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee on Quick to Listen this week to discuss how conferences can help different generations of the church better hear each other, the extent to which conferences affirm versus challenge their audiences, and the role that advances in international travel have played in Christians getting together from around the globe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 19, 2018
Good News for Christians Battling US Sex Trafficking
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Last week, the US government shutdown the classified advertising website Backpage.com on allegations that the site was profiting off of illegal prostitution. The website and its affiliates were seized by a joint effort of the FBI, Post Office, and IRS. Online classifieds have long been criticized for facilitating sex trafficking. In 2010, human rights activists called Craigslist the "biggest online hub for selling women against their will.” (Craigslist gave up its adult service page listings in 2010.) In 2012, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof called Backpage “a godsend to pimps, allowing customers to order a girl online as if she were a pizza.” Online classifieds can quickly become part of traffickers’ “business plan,” says Sandra Morgan, director of the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University. “Finding ways to manage the internet highway is how we do a better job protecting our communities,” Morgan said. Morgan joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how Backpage’s departure will affect sex trafficking in the United States, how new federal legislation could impact how traffickers get prosecuted and why evangelicals are so passionate about helping the sexually exploited. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 11, 2018
What Changed for Evangelicals When MLK Was Killed
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This week, we are remembering the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.who was assassinated 50 years ago on April 4, 1968. Among the many events scheduled for this week, The Gospel Coalition and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission are holding a summit in Memphis on racial unity. But finding evangelicals willing to align with the Civil Rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s was much more difficult. Reformed Theological Seminary professor Carl Ellis participated in the Civil Rights movement. But when he became a (Protestant) Christian through his relationships with several evangelical leaders, he quickly began to feel a tension between his newfound faith and his commitment to King’s cause. “That unspoken evangelical thing came upon me, ‘You should not be concerned about Civil Rights,’” said Ellis about the time after his conversion. “I never read any explicit stuff about it but just the sense that I got, it was part of the whole ethos of what it meant to be an evangelical back then.” That “ethos” and environment is what Michael Hammond, a dean at Taylor University’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Biblical Studies has studied. “When we talk about October of 1956, Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 and that sets off a year-long bus boycott in Montgomery,” said Hammond. The Supreme Court ultimately issues a ruling banning segregation on public transportation in November 1956. “That’s a month after CT is first published,” said Hammond. “Imagine that ramp-up, if you can think of Christianity Today in 1955, 1956, these are issues that at the forefront of the American news.” In a special episode of Quick to Listen, Hammond shares about Christianity Today responded to MLK and the Civil Rights movement and Ellis talks about how his own experience of faith and activism in the 1950s and 1960s with associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 04, 2018
When You Hear Sexual Misconduct Allegations About Your Pastor
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Last week, the Chicago Tribune reported on multiple allegations against Willow Creek Community Church founder and longtime pastor Bill Hybels. “The alleged behavior included suggestive comments, extended hugs, an unwanted kiss, and invitations to hotel rooms. It also included an allegation of a prolonged consensual affair with a married woman who later said her claim about the affair was not true.” Hybels and his church have denied the allegations reported by the Tribune. Hybels, is of course, not the first megachurch pastor, or even pastor, to be embroiled in allegations of adultery and sexual misconduct. Throughout the years, Christianity Today has reported on a number of high-profile ministry leaders who lost their jobs after they confessed to sexual sin. (In fact, news that Southern Baptist leader Frank Page resigned from ministry over a “morally inappropriate relationship” broke right after this podcast was recorded.) Most pastors who have been guilty of inappropriate relationships aren’t in a great place spiritually, says Jim Wilhoit, a professor of Christian formation at Wheaton College who has counseled church leaders who have confessed to sexual misconduct. “No one that I’ve talked with that has had an affair has had what I would say at that time a vital and well-developed relationship with Christ,” said Wilhoit. “I’m just not very sanguine about the spiritual life of many American pastors.” Wilhoit joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why pastors commit sexual sin, when congregations should know about allegations against ministry leaders, and how the expectations of the modern pastorate may make it hard for a pastor to maintain a grounded spiritual life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 28, 2018
On Being an Evangelical Senator During the Trump Presidency
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Oklahoma politician James Lankford became a US Senator in 2015, the year before Donald Trump officially became the Republican Party’s candidate. Lankford didn’t support Trump in the GOP’s primary but ultimately backed him during the election. “What I really look for in a presidential candidate is someone who is a great role model, and I didn’t get that this time,” said Lankford. “I was very frustrated. I didn’t have a good option. I didn’t have that person who I would say is a great role model for my daughters and for my family.” Lankford has served nearly a decade in Washington, DC. But before that, the Southern Baptist thought he had found his calling as a Christian summer camp director. When he decided to transition, he found peace in his change in calling after observing the Bible’s attention to politics. “There are about 36 and a half books in the Old Testament that are written to, by, or about a political leader. It was often the prophet going to a king, King David writing in a psalm, or Solomon writing in Proverbs,” said Lankford. “A third of the New Testament was written to a political leader: the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts.” Lankford joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why he started a bipartisan Bible study, what he thinks of the president’s tweets, and why he’s challenging white people when it comes to race. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 21, 2018
Muslim Refugees Are Finding Christ—And Facing Backlash
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Over the past decade, hundreds of Muslim migrants in Europe have encountered Christianity and embraced the gospel. In 2012, CT reported on the dozens of Iranian Muslims who had converted after moving to Germany. David Cashin, who has worked in ministry in Sweden and Bangladesh and taught courses in Islamic history, theology, and Muslim-Christian relations, believes something similar is also happening in Sweden. “The largest revival in the last 100 years is going on right now, and it’s primarily Muslims becoming Christians,” said Cashin, a professor of intercultural studies at Columbia Biblical Seminary. In recent years, as refugees have arrived in Western Europe from Iraq and Syria, some members of these communities have in turn become Christians. Yet, Christian communities in Germany and Sweden, comprising both those from the historic Middle Eastern church as well as recent converts, have been subject to abuse and harassment from radical Muslims. In 2017, Open Doors surveyed 123 Christian asylum seekers in Sweden. According to the report: More than half of all participants in the survey (53%) reported that they have been affected by violent assaults at least once, due to their Christian faith. Almost half of all participants (45%) in the survey reported that they have been threatened to death at least once and 6% reported that they have been a target of sexual assaults. Cashin joined associate editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why Iranian migrants, more than any others from the Middle East, are drawn to Christianity, whether or not all these conversions are bona fide, and what the Western Europen governments must do to better protect migrant religious minority communities. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 14, 2018
China Just Made Life Way Harder for Christians
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Last week, China announced that it would drop presidency term limits, effectively allowing current president Xi Jinping to serve indefinitely. The leader is currently concluding his first five-year term, one not particularly positive for the country’s Christians. During his time in office, a provincial government engaged in a multi-year campaign to remove crosses from the tops of churches and Xi suggested that religions that inadequately conformed to Communist ideals threatened the country’s government, and therefore must become more “Chinese-oriented.” Last fall, the Communist party reportedly visited Christian households in Jiangxi province, forcibly removing dozens of Christian symbols from living rooms and replacing them with pictures of Xi. In February, the government hit the faith community with another set of restrictions. Under these regulations, religious groups must gain government approval for any sort of religious activity, including using one’s personal home for a religious practice, publishing religious materials, calling oneself a pastor, or studying theology. The government accepted the “worst possible version” of the restrictions, said Fenggang Yang, the director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University. The government could have been more pragmatic in its approach and treated this as a “social management issue.” “But these [restrictions] are not,” he said. “It’s going to be very difficult or impossible to implement or enforce the restrictions.” Yang joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the roots of the government’s anti-religion attitudes, how Christians are speaking out against the recent term limits, and the fledgling Chinese missions movement. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 07, 2018
Newsweek’s ‘Second Coming Christ’ Problem
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In 2013, IBT Media purchased the acclaimed American magazine Newsweek. This acquisition had immediate positive effects for the floundering publication when its new owners announced a return to print. But some wondered about the identity and desired endgame of its new owners. “Who’s Behind Newsweek?” asked a 2014 Mother Jones report. “Why are the new owners so anxious to hide their ties to an enigmatic religious figure?” The article went on to identify the true owner of the publication as Korean religious figure David Jang, whom CT had profiled two years earlier. “The Second Coming Christ Controversy” explained that Jang and his followers had founded a number of media outlets including The Christian Post, Christian Today, and the International Business Times. In addition, they’d started a Christian college in California known as Olivet University (no relation to Olivet Nazarene University) and were key influencers in the World Evangelical Alliance. But the group wasn’t just a Korean evangelical ministry expanding its ministry to the West. Sources also alleged that the group had encouraged the belief that Jang was the “Second Coming Christ.” In the years since CT and Mother Jones’s reporting (much of which revealed illegal work arrangements for Olivet’s primarily immigrant students), IBT Media (now known as Newsweek Media Group) has experienced a number of controversies. Last week, three editors were fired after fighting with management over what they believed had been a breach of journalistic ethics in this story, “Why is the Manhattan DA looking at Newsweek’s ties to a Christian university?” Ben Dooley, who authored Mother Jones’s piece, joined associate digital media producer and former Christian Post reporter Morgan Lee and editorial director and co-author of CT’s 2012 Jang report Ted Olsen to discuss the group’s bizarre theological claims, how their media properties relate to their desire for influence in the evangelical world, and whether this latest controversy will change anything about how they operate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mar 01, 2018
A Billy Graham Biographer Tells All!
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Evangelist Billy Graham died this week. Christianity Today published more than two dozen articles on our site as part of our special commemorative coverage. But when you lived 99 years it can be hard to capture a life, even with this volume of pieces. This week on Quick to Listen historian and author of America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation Grant Wacker joined associate editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to talk about the regrets, paradoxes, and surprises of the life of the most prolific religious people our time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 22, 2018
What Made Mental Illness a ‘Sin’? Paganism
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Is suffering from mental illness the result of personal sin? Last week, many Christians felt two prominent evangelical ministries affirmed that this was the case. At last week’s evangelical women’s conference the IF Gathering, speaker Rebekah Lyons, in telling about her daughter’s anxiety attacks, suggested that mental illness could be healed through prayer. The incidents at IF occurred several days after John Piper’s Desiring God ministry tweeted “We will find mental health when we stop staring in the mirror, and fix our eyes on the strength and beauty of God.” Nearly 500 people responded to the tweet, saying that the message implied that counselors and medication were unnecessary to cure mental illness. Both ministries later distanced themselves from these comments. IF Gathering founder Jennie Allen later clarified that the ministry supports counseling/medication and doesn't think mental illness is sinful. Desiring God apologized for “leaving off the link that gives the context quoting Clyde Kilby from more than 40 years ago when ‘mental health’ didn’t have the same technical connotations as today.” This link between mental illness, sin, and spirituality “isn’t really a Christian or religious idea,” says Amy Simpson, the author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission. “It’s really rooted in superstition and a misunderstanding of what mental illness is,” said Simpson. In the 20th century, psychiatry and psychology were heavily secular practices and Sigmund Freud saw religion itself as a form of neurosis. “Many people responded to that, distancing themselves from psychiatry and psychology and thinking they’re anti-God, they’re anti-religion, they’re anti-faith, therefore we don’t want to have anything to do with them,” said Simpson. Simpson joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss spiritual oppression and mental illness in the Gospels, how our understanding of the brain has transformed in the past 50 years, and where sin fits into this discussion. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 15, 2018
‘Muscular Christianity’ Influenced the Creation of the Modern Olympics
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The ancient Olympics lasted more than a millennium before they were stopped by—you guessed it—Christians. It’s true: In AD 390, Emperor Theodosius I criticized the games as pagan and banned them. Ironically or not, faith also played a role in the beginning of the modern Olympics. One of the theologies undergirding the resurrection of the Olympics was “muscular Christianity,” a philosophy of “developing leaders with moral integrity and grit while also being physically strong,” said Nicholas Watson, a professor of sport and social justice at York St John University in the United Kingdom. “[Modern Olympics father] Baron de Coubertin’s vision and philosophy for the Olympics came by welding together ideas from the philosophy of the ancient Olympics in Greece and muscular Christianity that was birthed in the UK,” Watson said. This week on Quick to Listen, Watson joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss Western Christian beliefs about exercise in the 19th century, why world peace was a goal sought by the Olympics’ creators, and the countercultural narrative presented by the Special Olympics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 08, 2018
Why the US Believes Global Religious Freedom Is Good Foreign Policy
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Last week, the US Senate confirmed Sam Brownback as America’s next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. The appointment came six months after President Trump had nominated the former Kansas Republican governor. Brown’s position is part of the Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF), a State Department office which monitors persecution and discrimination on a global scale. Created during the Clinton administration in 1998, the IRF exists as part of a larger American foreign policy strategy of promoting international religious freedom. “It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Melissa Rogers, who previously served as the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in the Obama administration. “We find that when societies embrace religious liberty for all, they reap all kinds of benefits like building a more peaceful, just, stable, and more productive society. It makes the world a more peaceful and productive place.” Rogers joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the US strategies for advocating for religious freedom, why Western Christians’ speaking up for religious minorities in their own nation helps the persecuted church overseas, and if this office is just another way America imposes its values on other countries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Feb 01, 2018
Proximity to Poverty’s ‘Destructive Culture’
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Writer Rod Dreher’s recent comments on poverty and immigration have sparked intense criticism by Christians and non-Christians alike. In a recent post, Dreher wrote about his conflicted feelings on Trump’s derogatory remarks about African countries by drawing a comparison to immigrants from these countries and public housing: Let’s think about Section 8 housing. If word got out that the government was planning to build a housing project for the poor in your neighborhood, how would you feel about it? Be honest with yourself. Nobody would consider this good news. You wouldn’t consider it good news because you don’t want the destructive culture of the poor imported into your neighborhood. Drive over to the poor part of town, and see what a s---hole it is. Do you want the people who turned their neighborhood a s---hole to bring the s---hole to your street? No, you don’t. Be honest, you don’t. Russell Jeung has lived with his family for more than two decades in one of Oakland, California’s most dangerous neighborhoods. While Jeung loves his community, living in the Murder Dubs hasn’t always been easy. When he was a graduate student, his laptop was stolen. He’s also witnessed shootings and knows sex traffickers work out of his neighborhood. “Do we want the poor’s ‘destructive culture’? No, of course not. The poor don’t want the destructive culture in their own communities,” said Jeung, who is also the chair of Asian American studies department at San Francisco State University. “Nobody wants murder, violence, or theft...All God’s children long for his wholeness, long for life to be lived under his rule and to have that peace and justice.” Russell joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss our tendency to overly romanticize or stigmatize the poor, the best and worst times of life in Murder Dubs, and how Christians should decide where they live. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 25, 2018
Trump Talk Is Relentless. It’s Not Always Newsworthy.
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“This is Your Brain on Trump TV,” is the title of a recent piece at The American Conservative published in between the president’s incendiary tweets about North Korea and his leaked disparaging remarks about those from African countries and Haiti. While the former comments caused concern, the latter led to what has now become a routine cycle of debate, criticism, analysis, and pushback. “Trump fascinates all Americans, it seems,” wrote Gracy Olmstead. “We hate him or love him, fear him or idolize him.” Christians are not immune to these reactions, a state that can often leave news consumers exhausted, burned out, and unclear about how to separate inflammatory but ultimately unsubstantial reports from stories reporting on news with severe or dire consequences. “The style of Trump’s comments are like something you’d expect to see out of a soap opera or something on TV and yet they’re happening in the real world, so how are supposed to react to something that in essence seems too incendiary or sensational to take seriously but could threaten nuclear war?” said Olmstead. “What’s the wise and measured stance to take as a media person? As a citizen?” Olmstead joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how to avoid news burnout, the media’s particular challenge in the Trump era and internet age, and the extraordinary prescience of Neil Postman. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 18, 2018
How Gang Brutality and US Immigration Policies Threaten El Salvador’s Christians
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In 2001, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck El Salvador, killing nearly 1,000 people. In the wake of the humanitarian disaster triggered by the natural disaster, the United States welcomed nearly 200,000 Salvadorans to live and work legally. (Undocumented Salvadorans already in America could also apply for status.) For more than 15 years, this population has existed under temporary protected status. This week, the Trump administration announced that this program will end in fall 2019. “We’re in 2018, 17 years on, and the country has in fact largely recovered from the earthquakes. The Trump administration at least on that point is absolutely correct,” said Stephen Offutt, an associate professor of development studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. “What’s not been taken into account is the fact that El Salvador is still a dangerous place.” While Salvadorian churches at times offer the only options for gang members hoping to leave that life behind, “that’s not the whole story,” said Offutt. Instead, as CT reported last year, pastors and other religious leaders have been kidnapped or extorted by the gangs. “One of the reasons I respect pastors in these communities so much is because they stay there,” he said. Offutt joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and guest host, managing editor Andy Olsen, to discuss how US immigration policies may defund Salvadorean churches, the intensity of the violence in the country, and how pastors instruct their congregations to interact with gangs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 11, 2018
What Iranian Christians Want
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For more than a week, thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets to protest their government. Spurred by anger over a weak economy and increasing fuel and food prices, their grievances accompany frustration that loosening economic sanctions have had little effect on their everyday lives. Nearly all the protesters are Muslims—no surprise in a country where 99 percent of the population adheres to Islam. Despite Muslims’ numeric dominance, some researchers say there’s no country in the world where Christianity is growing faster than in Iran today, according to David Yeghnazar, the executive director of Elam Ministries, a nonprofit that serves Iranian Christians. “Iranians have become the most open people to the gospel,” said Yeghnazar. Unlike in other parts of the Middle East, the country’s historic churches have increasingly taken on an evangelistic role and committed themselves to praying for nonbelievers in their country, he says. Yeghnazar joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how Iranian Christians feel about the latest protests, how recent political history has opened the country to the gospel, and how long Christianity has existed in Persia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jan 04, 2018
Why Christians Fall Prey to Fake News
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This episode previously aired in January 2017 and showcases some of what we believe Quick to Listen does best. Enjoy and see you next year! --- So, fake news. In recent months, these two words have been used as a weapon by the president to discredit the media (e.g., CNN) or describe the fabrication of a bogus report on Clinton voter fraud. Fake news isn’t new—nearly a decade ago, people started sharing reports of Barack Obama’s alleged Muslim faith as fact. Further, Christians have at times been responsible for spreading these false reports. (“I think it’s really important for your readers to know that I have been a member of the same church for almost 20 years, and I have never practiced Islam,” Obama told CT back in 2008.) But at least one Christian can take credit for challenging the church and society to take the information age much more seriously. Twentieth century French Christian philosopher Jacques Ellul thought deeply about the impact of mainstream media. Ellul was particularly interested in the century’s obsession with efficiency, says Lisa Richmond, who recently translated his Presence in the Modern World from French. When this was concept was applied to communication, Ellul referred to it as a propaganda. “Propaganda, to Ellul, is a way of using language and images to accomplish a particular objective. It is the most effective way to achieve the outcome that you want to get,” said Richmond, paraphrasing Ellul. “Ellul would argue that for the propagandist, truth is simply a tool to be used when it is the most effective way to accomplish your goal. If it is not the most effective way, then you use falsehood.” Our society has largely learned to communicate within this framework, says Robinson. “Once propaganda is at work in society, it forces other people to engage propaganda,” she said. “That can be contrasted with an ethical true desire to communicate in which our hope is that we understand truth more fully. That’s not the objective of the propagandist. It is to accomplish a certain outcome. If truth serves that outcome, great. If not, discard it.” Robinson joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli to discuss how propaganda gives us a sense of belonging, why Christians are complicit in our culture of information overload, and whether journalists can ever escape bias. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 28, 2017
When Good Charity Looks Like Giving Out Cash
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Once a year, many Christian international anti-poverty nonprofits release Christmas catalogs filled with items they hope you’ll purchase—only the gifts aren’t for anyone you know. Instead, most catalogs sent by groups like World Vision, Heifer International, and Compassion International boast items like livestock and other agricultural products that they’re hoping you’ll buy for those in need overseas. But is the strategy the best model to fight poverty? Why not give cash? “We tend to trust our family members with cash gifts,” said economist Bruce Wydick. “But in the past, at least, we’ve had much less trust for how people spend cash.” In CT’s December cover story, Wydick explores research that suggests giving cash may be one of the best ways to fight poverty. “One of the things that’s liberating about this system is that people are accountable to themselves for how they use the money,” he said. “No one is holding their hand, telling them they should do this or that.” Wydick joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the biblical tension between generosity and accountability, fighting paternalism in development work, and how cell phones connect to fighting poverty. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 21, 2017
Should Christians Care if America’s Embassy Is in Jerusalem?
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Last week, President Trump announced that the United States would be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While many Middle Eastern Christians have been critical of this decision, some American evangelical leaders have praised the move. “I think a lot of evangelicals support Israel for a sense of justice,” said Gerald McDermott, the author of Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land. “They see Israel as a light of freedom and democracy in a Middle East that is filled with the darkness of tyranny.” McDermott, who has traveled to Israel more than a dozen times, acknowledged that the move can make things complicated for Palestinian Christians. “They’re rightly afraid that anything the United States does will be used again them by their Muslim cousins,” said McDermott. “They’re often considered subversives because they’re Christians, the United States is considered a Christian country, and anything the United States does that the Palestinian leadership doesn’t like must be supported by Palestinian Christians.” McDermott joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss whether Christians should care about the location of the American embassy, the divide between Middle Eastern and American Christians over Jerusalem’s recognition as Israel’s capital, and where biblical prophecy fits into this discussion. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 14, 2017
Ravi Zacharias and the Case of Christian Credential Inflation
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Earlier this week, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) released a statement addressing its namesake’s credentials, which have recently been under fire. “In earlier years, ‘Dr.’ did appear before Ravi’s name in some of our materials, including on our website, which is an appropriate and acceptable practice with honorary doctorates,” stated RZIM. “However, because this practice can be contentious in certain circles, we no longer use it.” From CT’s report: "According to the biography currently posted on RZIM’s website, Zacharias received a master of divinity degree from Trinity International University and 'has conferred ten honorary doctorates, including a Doctor of Laws and a Doctor of Sacred Theology. "Up until earlier this year, the RZIM bio had not used the phrase 'honorary doctorates;' instead, it had stated that Zacharias had been 'honored with the conferring of six doctoral degrees.' The site also previously referred to him as 'Dr. Zacharias' through 2014, as did multiple press releases, news features, and event postings." Apologist and religious studies professor John G. Stackhouse wasn’t surprised by the news. “There’s a long and not very edifying tradition of Christian evangelists and speakers inflating their credentials,” said Stackhouse. Stackhouse says that he personally confronted two RIZM employees about problems he saw with Zacharias’s credentials but that no changes were made after the conversation. “Ravi Zacharias is the biggest name in apologetics currently,” said Stackhouse. “As he goes, so goes apologetics so it’s really important that he be scrupulous in everything he does.” Stackhouse recently joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the temptation for Christian leaders to inflate their credentials and achievements, what responsibility the church has in encouraging that sort of behavior, and how we might better hold each other accountable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 07, 2017
What the Pope's Myanmar Trip Means for Local Christians
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Pope Francis’ trip to Myanmar this week has highlighted its small but inspiring Christian community. Less than 10 percent of the population, Christians are most likely to be represented in the country’s minority ethnic groups, communities that have long clashed with the Buddhist-influenced federal government. Despite this decades’ long violence that’s persisted even as the country has transitioned to a constitutional democracy, the Christian community has remained passionate about their faith, says Steve Gumaer, the founder of Partners Relief & Development, a ministry that has long worked with Myanmar’s minority ethnic communities. “These young guys were running around in a war zone where people were getting raped and killed and beaten to death and they were out there starting churches among these displaced people,” said Gumaer, who first traveled to the country in the 1990s. “I was completely inspired and blown away.” Gumaer joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss Burmese Christians support of the persecuted Rohingya, how Christianity first traveled to Myanmar and why the Pope’s visit has disappointed him. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 30, 2017
Q2L’s Listener Appreciation Episode
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We asked you to write us reviews and ask us questions. Many of you did! This week on Quick to Listen, hosts Morgan Lee and Mark Galli offer you their thoughts on changing people’s minds, where evangelicalism is headed, and their favorite music of the year. Also, Morgan shares another secret talent! Thanks everyone for listening and happy Thanksgiving! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 22, 2017
When Christians Sexually Harass and Assault
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Allegations of sexual impropriety against the longtime Religious Right celebrity and current Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore have forced the church to wrestle once again with sexual harassment and assault. While we don’t know whether the claims that seven women have leveled against Moore are true, in general, when people claim to have been victims of sexual assault or abuse, Christians ought to believe them, says Liberty University English professor Karen Swallow Prior. “People are denying the reality that most women grow up and live their lives being harassed, if not assaulted, and being propositioned or being pursued inappropriately,” she said. “Almost every woman I know, including myself, has had something like that happen to them. This is just the world we grow up in.” Prior recently joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how quick we should be to distance ourselves from those who sin grievously or egregiously misrepresent us and what public repentance and confession might look like. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 16, 2017
The Christian History of America's Guns
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It’s just days after the worst mass shooting in American history on a church property. As CT reported earlier this week: "At least 26 worshipers, ranging in ages from 5 to 72, have died from First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, according to Texas authorities. Another 20 worshipers were injured." Read Bart Barber’s response to the Sutherland Springs shootings: A Small Rural Church Is Hard to Kill Increasingly, the aftermath of these shootings has devolved into a furious national debate over guns, with little consensus or resolution in sight. Christians need to step up and moderate the rhetoric, says Bart Barber, who pastors a Baptist church in Texas and holds a PhD in church history from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “The more that those calling for gun control legislation mock those calling for prayer, the less likely constructive dialogue is,” said Barber. “The more people calling for Second Amendment protection bristle at taking common-sense measures and castigate people as out-of-touch, unrealistic, wild-eyed liberals, the less likely we are to have a constructive conversation.” Barber’s church includes many gun owners, including those who bring their weapons to church. While he doesn’t directly preach about guns, he has taught on passages of the Bible that discuss revenge, the role of authority, and Christ’s teaching on how to treat one’s enemies. “There will be people all over the country this week that go to church Sunday carrying a concealed weapon, telling themselves, ‘If this comes to my congregation, protecting my children is going to be more than lying on top of them. If this comes to my congregation, the people sitting next to me in the pews, I’m going to do something to try to save them,’” said Barber. “In the back of the mind they may be saying, ‘and save me too,’ but this is the way the theological conversation takes place.” Barber recently joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the United States’ historical relationship with guns, the role that Quakers played in passing the Second Amendment, and why evangelicals continue to own guns today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 09, 2017
Countries That Criminalize Conversion and Evangelism
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In October, Nepal criminalized Christian conversion and evangelism. The law criminalizes sharing one’s faith and threatens would-be lawbreakers with fines of more than $700 and up to five years in prison. Support for anti-conversion laws isn’t limited to Nepal’s secular government. CT’s coverage of Nepal’s decision was shared by Hindu nationalist activists hoping to convince the Indian government to make the same decision. Anti-conversion laws already exist in nearby Sri Lanka, and the State Department has previously flagged them and blasphemy laws as some of its biggest concerns for religious freedom globally. These laws are a result of the fallen human condition, says Chris Seiple, the president emeritus of the Institute for Global Engagement, a religious freedom advocacy group. “It’s a rare thing when you don’t have immaturity and insecurity among the majority,” said Seiple. “To have that type of security and accept other faiths and to allow for free competition of ideas and beliefs as good for the country is not the norm.” Seiple suggests that the story of Jesus talking to the woman at the well is a model for those who do wish to share their faith in countries hostile to religious freedom. “If we can be in conversations, we can be a position to evangelize, not proselytize, when we’ve earned the right to speak into a relationship,” he said. Seiple joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss if there’s ever an upside to anti-conversion laws, how politics and culture enable or discourage these measures, and how to change a government’s mind on religious freedom. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 02, 2017
The Museum of the Bible May Change Your Relationship with God’s Word
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Next month, the half-a-billion-dollar, genre-busting, and technologically groundbreaking Museum of the Bible will open its doors in Washington, DC. Here’s what visitors can expect, courtesy of our November cover story: Looking up, a visitor might see a sprawling digital canopy of trees, one of five possible scenes playing on a ceiling-mounted 140-foot-long LED display. The light emitted by the false sky intensifies in surrounding glass walls and polished floors; bystanders are awash in illumination. At the end of the hall, a floating staircase winds up into the air without the aid of steel supports; docents clad in Ancient Near Eastern garb shuffle by to assume stations in the world of the distant past. It’ll be something else. In addition to its impressive technology and exhibits, the museum may also help address anachronism, one of the biggest problems with current Christian Bible engagement, says Glen Paauw, the senior director of content at the Institute For Bible Reading. “It’s so tempting to read the Bible as if it were written directly to us, in our situation, skip the parts that are about other people in other places, and find the little pieces that seem to speak directly to me today without any mediation,” said Paauw. “A museum experience like this has the potential to widely open our eyes to the fact that the Bible is immersed in real, ancient history, but it’s very different than ours.” Christians should be encouraged by the museum putting the Scriptures in context, says Paauw. “The very first step to great Bible engagement is understanding the Bible in its own world and on its own terms,” he added. Paauw joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen on Quick to Listen to discuss what it means to “engage” the Bible rather than “read” it, the role that Bible-related experiences play in our understanding and delighting in the Word of God, and what makes museums special. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 26, 2017
Supporting the Opposite Gender in the Christian Workplace
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Editor’s note: This podcast makes reference to sexual assault. One of Hollywood’s biggest open secrets is now out in the world: heralded producer Harvey Weinstein’s notoriously long track record of sexual harassment against women. These revelations have sparked a national conversation about the relationship between men and women in the workplace, and the prevalence of sexual assault, harassment, and unwanted attention. Regardless of a workplace’s affiliation to faith, speaking out about colleagues’ bad behavior is challenging for most people, says Halee Gray Scott, the director of Denver Seminary’s Kaleo Project, who is currently writing a book exploring how men and women can work well collectively in ministry. The obstacles just manifest themselves in different ways. “I’ve worked in Christian organizations for 20 years and there is a tendency to think that everyone’s doing everything right,” said Gray Scott. “[Everyone believes that] everyone’s trying to do the godly thing. … You end up having that discretion moment where you ask, ‘Is something going wrong? I’m not sure that it is. It can’t possibly be.’” On the other hand, there may be a broader acceptance of questionable behavior at a non-religious company, she says. “In secular organizations, there is a tendency to accept a certain level of sexual impropriety as flirting or goofing off or someone having a good time,” said Gray Scott. Gray Scott joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the difference between enabling and showing discretion, why culture cares more about sexual harassment than in decades past, and how the Billy Graham rule fits into this discussion. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 19, 2017
The Significance of Lecrae Leaving White Evangelicalism
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Several weeks after Lecrae dropped his latest album, the biggest name in Christian hip-hop joined the podcast Truth’s Table. The topic of conversation: the rapper’s musical and personal transformation since his last album, a three-year period during which Lecrae become increasingly vocal in speaking up about racial injustice. Listen here In response to a question about whether he “divorced white evangelicalism,” he said: I spoke out very frequently throughout 2016 in many different ways and it affected me. I went from a show that may have had 3,000 there to 300 but that was the cost. But those 300 people were people who I knew loved Lecrae, the black man, the Christian, all of who Lecrae was, not the caricature that had been drawn up for them. Lecrae’s decision to distance himself from evangelicalism is personally familiar to Carl Ellis Jr., a senior fellow at the African American Leadership Institute and a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, who doesn’t consider himself reflected in the movement. “I cannot identify with much of what evangelicalism identifies with,” Ellis said. “Yes I believe Scripture to be the inerrant, inspired, infallible Word of God and all of that, but on the other hand, there’s so much baggage that goes along with it.” Like Lecrae, another obstacle for Ellis in connecting with the movement was its lack of emphasis on justice issues. “I was very active in the civil rights movement,” said Ellis, who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. “But when I got saved, I somehow got the subliminal message that I had to leave all of that behind. I think Lecrae was picking up on the fact that there’s something wrong here.” Ellis joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the genesis of Lecrae and John Piper’s relationship, what it means when someone stops identifying as evangelical, and what Lecrae’s actions and words suggest about where the church is on issues of racial justice. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 12, 2017
Ministering in a Mass Shooting’s Wake
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David Uth learned about the Pulse nightclub massacre after he woke up and saw the news push-notifications on his phone. “I sat down on the side of the bed and I said, “Lord, help me and help us to look like you right now,’” said Uth, the pastor of the 16,000-person First Baptist Orlando. “I knew anger was my first feeling.” With no playbook about how to respond to a tragedy of this scale, Uth reached out to other megachurch leaders. First Baptist opened their doors for a prayer vigil that was attended by the governor and mayor. Uth told his congregation to actively solicit the victims’ needs so that the church could assist with them. “We need to go out there and find out as many needs as we can,” Uth told them. This week, Uth spoke with a friend of his who pastors a church in Las Vegas, a community currently grieving the mass shooting that left 59 dead. “He asked me, ‘What do we need to do?’” said Uth. “I was thankful to give help and guidance. Immediately, we sent him $10,000 overnight because I said, ‘You’re going to run into needs that you never dreamed you would run into. I want you to be able to do it without thinking about your budget.’” Uth joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how the Orlando massacre changed his approach to ministry, how the tragedy changed his church’s relationship with the LGBT community, and the lasting trauma his community still suffers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 05, 2017
What Matt Chandler and Tim Keller’s Churches’ Transitions Mean for the Multisite Movement
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Has one of the biggest trends in evangelical churches been eclipsed by a new one? Multisite congregations number more than 5,000 and researchers say this trend is as ubiquitous as the megachurch movement was 20 years ago. The Village Church, one of Texas’ largest multisite congregations, announced this week that it would be transitioning into five distinct congregations over the next five years. This news comes several years after its Denton location became an independent congregation “In part, Denton leaders and members didn’t want to build their strategy on the Matt Chandler brand,” CT reported in 2015. What’s been the key to this inaugural site’s success? “It’s because the people in that congregation have said that although this campus pastor hasn’t been preaching every week, this campus pastor has done our weddings, funerals ... is doing our shepherding, leading our staff, and in our neighborhood,” said Daniel Im, the author of Planting Missional Churches. “Yes we hear this really fantastic preacher Matt Chandler very often but what actually ties the church together?” Im joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the genesis of the multisite movement, what can make this model challenging to sustain, and the latest trend in churches that may not be on most Christians’ radar. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 28, 2017
How Football Culture Shapes Christian Colleges
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Earlier this week, accusations that five Wheaton College football players had brutally hazed their teammate made national headlines. This news marked the biggest football scandal at a Christian school since five Baylor University players received charges of rape and assault. (The incident also led to the removal of Baylor president Ken Starr and head coach Art Briles and the resignation of athletic director Ian McCaw.) While details of the Wheaton case continue to emerge, football’s unique impact on Christian college campuses can’t be denied, said Dan Wood, the executive director of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). “Football leads. If it’s a Christian college, I will tell you it’s the primary sport,” he said. Football is the most physical sport most colleges offer and its position as a fall sport means that athletes often return earlier than other students, a period that reaffirms their status as the center of the campus life, he said. “Football brings a different culture,” said Wood, who cautions Christian colleges before they add football programs. “We are putting [athletes] on pedestals,” Wood said. “Sometimes that’s our fault. Sometimes that’s their fault. But nonetheless, that’s where we find them way too often on the Christian campus.” Wood joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss whether Christian schools have different student-athlete environments than their secular counterparts, the purpose of the NCCAA, and if sports build character—or only reveal it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 21, 2017
Why FEMA Should Fund Churches Damaged by Disasters
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Houses of worship and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, otherwise known as FEMA, are at odds—after Hurricane Harvey. From CT’s report: Three Texas churches impacted by Hurricane Harvey sued FEMA this week for deeming them ineligible for disaster relief grants. The agency’s policy excludes sanctuaries that serve as shelters after natural disasters. Conflicts between FEMA and houses of worship aren’t new. In 1995, there was a debate over whether churches could use federal aid to repair damage from the Oklahoma City bombing. (Congress passed a law saying yes, they can.) In 2002, the Justice Department said Seattle churches were eligible for earthquake aid. In 2013, the House voted overwhelmingly to say churches can get FEMA funds for Hurricane Sandy but the bill ultimately died in the Senate. Part of the reason why there’s been no federal statute solution is that there isn’t always political urgency around the issue, said Chelsea Langston Bombino, the director of strategic engagement for the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance at the Center for Public Justice. “I would love to see the broader nonprofit community say, ‘We don’t all have to agree on our mission. We live in a diverse society, and we need diverse organizations to meet the needs of that society,’” she said. There are more than 350,000 congregations in the United States contributing economically to their communities and offering architectural and artistic value to their neighbors, and the majority offer services for people beyond their congregations, Langston Bombino said. “To restore a community you have to restore its institutions in which that community lives their lives,” she said. “That would include small business, non-profits, community centers, and houses of worship.” Langston Bombino joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen this week to discuss why FEMA’s denial of funds is a religious freedom issue, why a recent Supreme Court case could be important on the court’s ruling, and how we can love our neighbors through politics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 14, 2017
Why We Need a Blue-Collar Theology of Work
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Just over 100 years ago, churches and labor unions had a close relationship. From a Christian History piece: Some labor unions gathered members in their halls and marched together to church to hear the special messages. Newspapers reprinted the sermons the next day, and ministers were invited to address workers at their shops. These events brought together people who did not often mingle. "Both sides discovered that each had been misunderstanding the other," [Presbyterian minister Charles] Stelzle wrote. "Many a preacher, in his study, preparatory to the service, got a new vision of what the labor movement stands for; and many a workingman, listening to his Labor Day address, caught a glimpse of the purpose of the Church, which he had never dreamed of." Despite this once close relationship with labor, most current thinking around theology and work focuses on white-collar Christians and leaves out the majority of Christian workers. “When we begin to think of faith/work integration, who has more time to think about that?” said Kent Duncan, who wrote his master’s thesis on blue-collar work and vocation. “Who is it that’s more likely to ponder abstract concepts about faith and work?” Duncan, who pastors a church that is predominantly blue collar, says that this population has “often not given a lot of thought to their vocational choices.” Regardless of type of work, however, everyone needs more than “just showing up on Sunday singing hymns, declaring truth, offering up prayers,” he said. “[We need to know that] what we do on Monday through Friday all matters to God.” Duncan joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the limitations of the current theology of work conversation, the spiritual needs of blue-collar workers, and how pastors can best lead professionally diverse congregations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sep 07, 2017
When the Saints March into Post-Harvey Houston
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You’ve probably seen the video, images, and numbers conveying the magnitude of Harvey, the storm that’s flooded large parts of Houston over the past week and has continued to pour as it heads east. As the city waits for the water to recede, disaster relief organizations have begun deploying their staff and volunteers to America’s fourth largest city. The destruction caused by Harvey is overwhelming, even to longtime Samaritan’s Purse employee Tim Haas. “I know even with all the resources that Samaritan’s Purse (SP) has, we can’t touch the enormity of what’s out there,” said Haas, who serves as SP’s manager of US disaster relief. Because of that, serving a community after a disaster often relies on volunteers drawing close to their faith. “God opens doors and we walk through them, many times not knowing the full impact of what we’re going to face but other times understanding this is our opportunity, this is our time to rally the churches, this is our time to be a beacon, and this is our time to minister,” he said. Haas joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what SP does once weather forecasters have identified a storm, the role faith plays in the work they do, and whether people should bring their own boats and trucks without contacting ministries first. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 31, 2017
How Christian Colleges Can Help Americans Talk to Each Other
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The United States’ colleges and universities rest in the middle of some of the country’s most contentious conversations. Whether it’s race, freedom of speech, religious freedom or student loans, universities have plenty to wrestle with. Christian higher education is no exception. Much of the frustration for those seeking solutions to these issues is knowing how to speak to each other, says Shirley Hoogstra serves as the president of Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). “Today, we are not as equipped to work with difference. Sometimes we want to shutdown difference. Sometimes we want to demonize difference,” said Hoogstra. In times when dialogue is a challenge, Christian colleges have done a good job of welcoming different viewpoints, even those they adamantly disagree with, and responding civilly to these perspectives, she said. “Just like we want the government to be committed to this freedom of speech and freedom of association for religious concepts, beliefs, and values, Christians have to be concerned about beliefs, values, and commitments they may not agree with either and model this sort of convicted civility...that makes America this great democracy that is still a beacon to the world.” Hoogstra joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the tensions of online education, how one CCCU school president made peace with a prominant LGBTQ state legislator, and why Christian colleges have a leg up on their secular counterparts when discussing race. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 24, 2017
What the Alt-Right Tells Us about Christianity and Politics
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President Donald Trump’s campaign coincided with the increasing mainstream awareness of the alt-right, a group which has gained recent national attention after it organized an ultimately violent protest in Charlottesville last weekend. But while public name recognition of this group has increased in the past two years, the full extent of their breadth and popularity are not always clear. For starters, one important way this group differs from previous far-right movements is their relationship with Christianity. “The alt-right is now mostly ignoring the religious question,” said George Hawley, the author of the forthcoming book, Making Sense of the Alt-Right. “That sets it apart from earlier far-right movements. Obviously, the KKK presented itself as an explicitly Protestant movement…The alt-right seems to be of the view that Christianity is becoming marginally irrelevant, at least in American politics, and as such it seems to be largely avoiding the subject.” Hawley joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli on Quick to Listen this week to discuss the true influence and popularity of this community, its connection—or lack thereof—with Christianity, and what role the church could play in fighting its message. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 17, 2017
Why Christian Charities Help Controversial Countries
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Founded less than 70 years ago, today World Vision is one the largest nonprofits in America. But its work primarily focuses outside of the US. Throughout its history, the organization has helped Vietnamese refugees, those devastated by the Ethiopian famine, the African AIDS crisis, and those affected by the Syrian civil war. Its sponsor child program assists one million children, in addition to the millions reached by its community health, microlending, and clean water work. In recent years, due to a combination of economic development and humanitarian work, more and more people around the globe have emerged out of poverty. But those left behind are increasingly those who live in countries marred by incompetent governments or corrupt regimes, says Richard Stearns, who is currently serving his 20th year as president of World Vision. “There’s kind of a conundrum that we face,” said Stearns. “Countries that have all those human rights abuses and challenges happen to be the places where the most vulnerable people live so we tend to work in those places because we feel like God has called our organization to the most vulnerable.” Stearns joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss World Vision’s plan on how not to create dependency, how evangelism factors into their work, and what India’s decision to shutdown Compassion International means for his organization. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 10, 2017
How God Works in Spite of Immigration Status
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A bill proposing to halve legal immigration and preference English speakers sparked outrage this week—nothing new for an issue that has long been a hot topic in the United States. (The current president made building a wall a key campaign promise.) As our country continues to debate immigration, millions of relative newcomers continue to build their lives here. Here’s how our recent story, “Immigrants Are Reshaping American Missions” sees it: "To some experts, these immigrant-led efforts look like the future of missions. They are informal and highly relational, operating outside legacy missions structures. They are, to a degree, an extreme version of mainstream evangelical mission projects." While these efforts are altering how we understand missions in this country, they’re also challenging perceptions that natives have about immigrants. “There’s a prevalent narrative in the United States that the immigrant community is perpetually in need of help or legislative protection. There’s certainly truth to that but there’s another part of the story,” said Andy Olsen, the author of the story and CT’s print managing editor. “Immigrant Christians in many of these communities are doing some amazing things, and there is robust ministry happening,” he said. “In some ways, if there’s a case to be made for supporting these communities, it might not be because we need to protect them as victims. It might be because God is doing some pretty transformative things through them and as the church this may be something that we should be paying attention to.” Olsen joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to explain the conditions that have made this transformation possible, how the United States’ political decisions about immigration affect ministry, and what legacy missions organizations can learn from these efforts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aug 04, 2017
Christian Hip Hop’s Oldest Argument Is Still Going Strong
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Earlier this month, a debate long familiar within the Christian hip-hop (CHH) community resurfaced when rapper Shai Linne released "Still Jesus." Throughout the album Linne suggests that CHH musicians whose tracks focus less explicitly on Jesus and who now professionally or personally associate with secular artists could be risking the integrity of the community. CHH musicians have the freedom to change the focus of their music, says DJ Cut No Slack, a former member of early CHH group I.D.O.L. King. For those who say, “‘Hey, I don’t want to be called Christian MC anymore.’ Okay, well why? That would be a question I’d have,” said Slack. “Why don’t you? I think there needs to be a real answer or clarification as to why you don’t want to be, especially since you came out that way, and I’ve been following you for years and now you want to switch. But guess what? You have the right to change your mind.” Part of that means that fans must be willing to let their favorite artists change. “On the church’s side, we have to make space for people to be who they are and change because they are not mandated in Scripture that everything you did in artistic form must proclaim the birth and resurrection of Jesus,” he said. Slack joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the historical context of Linne’s critique, what fans and MCs owe each other, and what Christians without a public artistic presence can learn from the controversy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 27, 2017
Can Josh Harris Kiss His Book Goodbye?
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We’ve hit the 20-year anniversary of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, a book that’s provoked a reaction through the decades for its take on young romantic relationships. Back in 2001, one author wrote for CT, “Joshua Harris hasn't made my life any easier. In fact, thanks to him, my future wife—wherever she is— may very well have given up the idea of ever dating.” This author wasn’t the only one questioning the book’s advice on dating, sex, and love—over the next two decades, a number of people influenced by the book began to push back. Today, Harris is a former megachurch pastor enrolled in seminary and is currently reconsidering some of the book’s arguments and perspectives. Harris has begun engaging his critics and is trying to raise money to film a documentary about the book’s negative feedback. “I’ve wanted to move on from this book for some time, but I’m trying to talk to people who are sharing stories with me about ways the book really hurt them and damaged them. It’s partly for my own sense of closure to come back and reevaluate it and even to admit ways that I have now changed in my thinking,” Harris said. Harris joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the consequences of ideas, the arguments in I Kissed Dating Goodbye that he still finds appealing, and whether he’d recommend the book today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 20, 2017
UPDATE: Peterson Retracts
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A day after an interview where Eugene Peterson stated that he supported same-sex marriage was released, the creator of The Message Bible retracted his statements. Quick to Listen host Morgan Lee speaks with online managing editor Richard Clark and online associate editor Kate Shellnutt about what's new, what's known, and what's still up in the air. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 13, 2017
Eugene Peterson's New Message
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Kevin Miller didn’t see Eugene Peterson’s support for same-sex marriage coming. Miller, pastor of the Anglican congregation Church of the Savior, has read Peterson’s 30 works, visited him at his congregation and home, interviewed him multiple times, and considers the creator of The Message Bible paraphrase a personal hero. But Miller, former editor at Leadership Journal, wasn’t expecting Peterson to tell writer Jonathan Merritt that he would be willing to marry a same-sex couple if asked. “Eugene has written so beautifully in his Spiritual Theology series about how we listen to the word,” said Miller. “He is a writer who engages Scripture at some of the deepest listening levels and he is prophetic in his gift and temperament as well as pastoral. To invoke the culture shift as though the culture shift has anything to say to us as a church, I was just like ‘Eugene, that’s not what you taught us to discern theses kind of issues!’” Miller joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editorial director (and guest host) Ted Olsen to discuss the tension of learning from theologians after they’ve changed their convictions, the hallmarks of Peterson’s ministry, and what it means for the future of reading The Message. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 13, 2017
Quick to Listen’s Summer Reading Edition
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What’s summer without a sinking your teeth into a good book? This week on Quick to Listen, assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli talk about what they’ve been reading. Full list below: • White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America – Joan C. Williams • Unfamiliar Fishes – Sarah Vowell • Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather • Euphoria – Lily King • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – Matthew Desmond • The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert : An English Professor's Journey into Christian Faith – Rosaria Butterfield Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jul 06, 2017
What Iraqi Christians Want the American Government to Know
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June has been quite the month for Iraqi Christians in America. From CT’s report: "More than 100 Iraqi Christians arrested in immigration raids earlier this month will get to stay in the United States—at least for another two weeks, according to an order issued yesterday by a federal judge in Detroit." Of the more than 1,000 Iraqis who live in America, 300 of them were Christians slated to be deported later this summer, a move which provoked significant outcry from the community. “This is about the conditions we are sending people back to. We are imposing a death penalty through the back door,” said the lawyer of one of those affected. This news came just weeks after Vice President Mike Pence attended an event highlighting the plight of persecuted Christians. Pence also hosted the top leaders from churches in Iraq and Syria. “Mike Pence been really outspoken in support of our community. We couldn’t really ask anything better from the vice president,” said Martin Manna, the president of the Chaldean Chamber and Foundation in Detroit, Michigan. Finding a political home has been challenging for the Iraqi Christian American diaspora, said Manna. The community was frustrated at George W. Bush for invading Iraq but also blamed Barack Obama for not responding urgently enough to ISIS, which has terrorized Christians in their homeland. While President Trump promised to protect them, his administration has moved to deport Iraqi Christians in America. “It’s a very conservative community. It’s always faith first and family,” said Manna. “… Republicans—while they appreciate our Christian beliefs and they fight for us when we talk about the persecution of Christians—when you talk about immigration they seem to shut down. On the other side, when you talk to Democrats, they want to rally around social justice and immigration reform but when we talk about the persecution of Christians, it goes to a deaf ear.” Manna recently joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why Iraqi Christians originally immigrated to America, why longtime members of the community are at risk of deportation, and what their relationship with Arab Muslims looks like in their new country. Listeners may also want to check out Quick to Listen, Episode 27, which discussed why so few Syrian refugees have been Christians. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 29, 2017
Talking Is Not Going to Change the World
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Here’s how Quick to Listen producer Richard Clark introduced this podcast last year: I’ve been fascinated by the potential of podcasts because I see them as an opportunity for listeners to opt-in to become part of a captive, actively listening audience. Podcasts provide us with opportunities for active listening, a chance to hear multiple perspectives on a subject without the temptation to click away or draw conclusions too soon. … Quick to Listen is about giving ourselves the opportunity to hear, really hear, one another. Our hope is, at the end of each episode, we might be one step closer to the truth of these complex situations. So taking in arguments, learning from experts, and gathering broader context has been part of our master plan at Quick to Listen since its inception. Hopefully your participation in this practice goes beyond our weekly podcasts. This month, CT published a piece entitled “Why We Argue Best with Our Mouths Shut.” As author Christine Herman wrote: If it seems obvious that arguing is not an effective way to win someone over, it doesn’t stop people from trying. From Facebook to family gatherings, our disagreements regularly erupt into arguments. … If we have any hope for healing the divisions in our society, families, churches, and communities, it will serve us well to learn how to have better conversations. Herman recently joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what listening is and is not, why people feel loved when you ask them questions, and why changing your mind can be such a big deal. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 22, 2017
What Bernie Sanders Revealed about Christian Literacy in the Public Square
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Christians were left scratching their heads about Bernie Sanders’s grasp of their theology at a political hearing last week. Last year, Wheaton alumnus Russell Vought, President Donald Trump’s pick for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, had written about his own faith last year after a professor at his alma mater was suspended for beliefs about Islam. Drawing on Vought’s statement, Sanders accused Vought of being Islamophobic and making statements that were “indefensible” and “hateful” and challenged his conviction that salvation was secured through Christ alone. “I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. I really don’t know, probably a couple million. Are you suggesting that all of those people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned too?” said Sanders, a secular Jew. While some suggested that Sanders’s statements were essentially a religious test, John Inazu, the author of Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference, wasn’t so sure. “On the charitable reading of this, it’s important to ask nominees questions about whether they are going to treat people of different religions fairly or not,” said Inazu, a professor at Washington University School of Law. Sanders’s comments raise questions about what Christians expect non-Christians to know about the fundamentals of their faith and how they should express the nuances of their theology to an increasingly pluralistic and non-religious country. “It was a reminder that baseline level of knowledge is not that deep when it comes to more elite members of the Democratic Party and also other members of society,” Inazu said. Inazu joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss if Sanders’s questions pose a future significant religious liberty issue, how Christians should communicate their beliefs to the public, and the extent to which we should assume that the public is eavesdropping on our conversations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 15, 2017
A Guide to Spiritually Survive the Evil of Terrorism
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Terrorism will likely be a constant part of the news cycle for the foreseeable future. Less than two weeks after a suicide bomber killed himself and more than two dozen others at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, terrorists showed up in London. Last Saturday, three men killed seven people and wounded 48 others after driving a vehicle into a crowd on London Bridge, exiting the vehicle, and proceeding to stab people. This month, the United States will sadly remember the one year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub attacks, where a gunman killed 49 people in Orlando. Despite the rise of headlines about terrorism in recent years, these attacks on civilians aren’t new. In fact, we can find references to these types of atrocities throughout the Old Testament. What’s more, they’re often wrestled with at a visceral level in the largest book of the Bible. “One of the biggest issues in Psalms is warfare and the threat of violence from enemies,” said Tremper Longman, the author of How to Read the Psalms. In particular, the writers of the Psalms wrestle with their feelings of vindictiveness toward their enemies and desire of justice from God. At times, they even implore God to cause horror to befall their foes. However, there is one key distinction about imprecatory prayers that Christians sometimes miss, said Longman. “The psalmist isn’t saying ‘Give me the opportunity and resources and I will kill my enemies,’” he said. “What he’s doing is turning his anger over to God and saying ‘God you take vengeance against my enemies.’ … You’re taking your anger and fear to God, and you’re expressing hope that God will answer you.” Longman joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli on Quick to Listen to discuss whether the Bible ever justifies revenge, what the Psalms teach us about dealing with our feelings of helplessness in the face of terrorism, and how Christians can offer hope to their loved ones who do not believe in God. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 08, 2017
Yes, Christians Can Love Jesus and Their Muslims Neighbors Honorably
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When it comes to the relationship status between American Christians and Muslims, it’s complicated. But that relational gap is a chasm that Dallas pastor Bob Roberts has committed to bridging. For years, Roberts, who leads Northwood Church, has led pastor-iman retreats, taken local clerics on hunting trips, and built relationships with Saudi royalty, even in the face of opposition in his own community. “Sadly, one evangelical pastor gets up in the pulpit—he has a pretty big audience—and yells ‘Muhammed was a pedophile,’” said Roberts. “Boy, that’s really going to make Muslims want to follow Jesus. … It may be good for his politics, but it’s lousy for someone who wants people to be open about the Jesus of the New Testament.” Roberts has never been quiet about his faith. He has shared about Jesus on stage an annual gathering on Islam before thousands of young people, or what he jokingly calls the “Muslim Passion Conference,” and discussed it during iftar gatherings during Ramadan. He also asks Muslims plenty of questions about their own faith. “Sometimes we have to understand that witnessing is listening as much as it is talking,” said Roberts. Roberts joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what it looks like for evangelicals to love their Muslim neighbors well, how Americans can better educate themselves about Islam, and the opportunity of Ramadan. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jun 01, 2017
Why Reinhold Niebuhr Still Haunts American Politics
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A couple weeks before President Trump fired James Comey, we learned that the then-FBI director was an admirer of 20th century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Thanks to sleuthing by Gizmodo, we learned that Comey’s Twitter display name was named after the father of Christian realism and that he had written his college thesis juxtaposing Niebuhr and Jerry Falwell. A recent article at CT made a case for how Comey’s recent actions may have been influenced by the theologian: "A Christian has an obligation to seek justice, the theologian argued, and this means entering the political sphere because that is the realm where one can find the power necessary to establish whatever justice is possible in the world. Comey’s decision to work for the FBI can be understood as a way of fulfilling Niebuhr’s vision of Christianity as a defender of justice." Comey’s not the only recent public figure influenced by the late theologian, whose admirers include people on the left and right, including Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, John McCain, and David Brooks. But what shaped Niebuhr’s worldview? “You really can’t understand Niebuhr’s political theology unless you appreciate the fact that his life was really bracketed by war,” said Joseph Loconte, a history professor at The King’s College in New York City. Niebuhr was a young man during World War I and had come into his own as a “Christian Protestant public intellectual” just prior to World War II, a period in which he embraced pacifism and socialism. As totalitarian socialism and fascism took off in the 1930s, “what had become settled beliefs for him, now they’re being upended by the realities in which he finds himself,” Loconte said. Niebuhr himself admitted that his ideas shifted not as the result of “study, but the pressure of world events,” Loonte said. Loconte joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss what Niebuhr’s theology does and does not justify, what America’s foreign policy decisions on Iraq and Syria look like through a Niebuhrian lens, and what happens when people with good intentions make decisions with unintended consequences. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 25, 2017
Pursuing a Christian Idea of Criminal Justice in the Jeff Sessions Era
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Since assuming office, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has shown little interest in expanding the efforts of his predecessors in curbing policies that criminal justice reform advocates blame for America’s high rates of mass incarceration. Instead, he’s doubled down, recently instructing federal prosecutors to pursue the harshest penalties for drug dealers and gun violence offenders. (Read his memo.) Sessions’ intentions are discouraging news for those who have long pressed for reform, a group which includes Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship. They also present an opportunity for Christians to speak into America’s anti-drug policy, one of the “biggest catastrophic failures in American history, says Craig DeRoche, Prison Fellowship’s senior vice president of advocacy and public policy. Christians ought to get “involved because our values are are at stake and a lot of human lives that God cares about...are at stake,” said DeRoche. “This is an invitation for Christians to engage.” DeRoche joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the good intentions behind mandatory minimums, what the Old Testament has to say to our current legal climate, and how Prison Fellowship ended up partnering with the NAACP and ACLU to support previously incarcerated people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 18, 2017
Pastors Frequently Preach Politics. But the IRS Rarely Goes After Them
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Last week, President Trump issued an executive order. From CT’s coverage: The order entitled “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty” professes to extend political speech protections for pastors and religious organizations, aiming to let them talk about politics without penalty. The executive order’s key feature: fulfilling a Trump campaign promise to end the Johnson Amendment, legislation that has discouraged non-profits, including churches, from endorsing political candidates for six decades. (Despite Trump’s claims that many wanted this relief, research from last year didn’t support this statement.) While most non-profits and churches have refrained from explicit endorsements, the IRS has largely taken a hands-off role in enforcing the law. “The IRS usually has not enforced the provision,” said Thomas Berg, a religious liberty scholar. So what keeps the government silent? While it makes sense that the government would want a check on “powerful, tax-exempt organizations using the benefit of tax-exemption to toss the election one way or another with big money,” the IRS would quickly run into First Amendment issues if it actually tried to stop churches, said Berg. Pastors could get in trouble for telling their congregations “I think really the only candidate who meets the moral test is this one,” said Berg. The problem is that “you can violate the provision with less explicit statements than that.” Berg joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli to discuss how The Christian Century lost its tax-exempt status, the case for churches to pay taxes, and the best way for pastors to shepherd their congregation on the issue of politics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 12, 2017
A Brief History of the Christian Blogosphere
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Last week, CT Women asked “Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?” Author Tish Harrison Warren writes: "The rise of the blogosphere in the early 2000s yielded the genre of the 'spiritual blogger.' From the comfort of their living rooms, lay people suddenly became household names, wielding influence over tens of thousands of followers. A new kind of Christian celebrity—and authority—was born: the speaker and author who comes to us (often virtually) as a seemingly autonomous voice, disembedded from any larger institution or ecclesial structure." One daughter of this phenomena was Her.meneutics, a Christianity Today blog specifically centering the voices of women writers, which ran until last year. Washington Post religion reporter and Acts of Faith editor Sarah Pulliam Bailey was a co-founder. Around the time she joined CT, she read a profile about a Mormon “mommy blogger,” which presented this new group of female writers as a phenomenon. “There are these religious bloggers, and they’re … writing about depression and motherhood and really serious issues connected to motherhood,” Pulliam Bailey said. She realized how much this content resonated with readers and how beneficial creating a similar space for evangelical women could be for this under-targeted group. Out of that came Her.meneutics. So how did Her.meneuetics legitimize its writers? Pulliam Bailey joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and guest host and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss this challenge, the days when you could read the entire Christian blogosphere, and what local church oversight over spiritual teachers can practically look like. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 04, 2017
Can Christians Affirm Transhumanism?
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Move over Fitbits and Apple Watches. Technology is coming with radical implications for our physical bodies this century. “The next frontier, the next real step-change in human history, is biological,” said author Andy Crouch in an interview with CT last week. “The next ‘easy everywhere’ in the 21st century is about permanently modifying the conditions of human embodiment.” Crouch’s prediction isn’t new. In fact, CT ran a major story announcing the upcoming arrival of the “techno sapiens” back in 2004. But for the most part, most Christians have paid scant attention to the implications of this technological revolution—and of the transhumanist ideology parallel to it, says Douglas Estes, a theology professor at South University with a lifelong interest in science. “It seems to me that the biggest misunderstanding of Christians for transhumanism is that they think that it’s just science fiction, that’s it’s some crazed scientist idea that is never going to happen.” said Estes, pointing to Captain America as an example. “I think that dismissing this issue would be a huge mistake for us because it would not allow Christians to engage in this issue.” Estes joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli on Quick to Listen to discuss just how fast technology is changing, why Christians may be willing to genetically modify their children, and the best way to understand transhumanism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 27, 2017
Why Orthodoxy Appeals to Hank Hanegraaff and Other Evangelicals
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Last week, the radio personality many Christians know as “The Bible Answer Man” announced his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy. From CT’s report: Last Sunday, 67-year-old Hank Hanegraaff and his wife entered into Orthodox Christianity at St. Niktarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. The former Protestant is well known among evangelicals as The Bible Answer Man. Since 1989, Hanegraaff has been answering questions on Christianity, denominations, and the Bible on a nationally syndicated radio broadcast. A champion of evangelical Christianity, he’s best known for arguing against cults, heresies, and non-Christian religions. Hankegraaff’s conversion didn’t surprise James Stamoolis, the author of Eastern Orthodox Mission Theology Today, who has previously written on why evangelicals are attracted to this older iteration of Christianity. Stamloois points to Orthodoxy’s highly sensory services which include both incense and icons, as well as “the whole idea of authority.” “I know a lot of people who have converted from Protestantism to Catholicism and Orthodoxy because it’s fixed. It’s settled. 'We don’t have women priests. We’re never going to have women priests,'” said Stamoolis, who grew up in the Orthodox tradition but now identifies as a “card-carrying evangelical.” Ironically, Orthodoxy’s association with tradition came after the church proved to be highly successful at contextualizing across different cultures, says Stamoolis. “A lot of it has to do with their theological methodology,” he said. “[They] were successful and imbued so much in the culture.” Stamoolis joined Morgan and Mark on Quick to Listen this week to discuss why there are so many different Orthodox traditions, the theological underpinnings of theosis, and what Christianity is like without the theological ideas of Aquinas and Augustine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 20, 2017
LIVE: How Should White Evangelicals Respond to President Trump?
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Perhaps no group can take more credit for Donald Trump’s victory than the 81 percent of self-identified white evangelicals who elected him into office last November. Following an inauguration that featured evangelical leaders Franklin Graham and Sam Rodriguez, Trump has named evangelicals to more than half of his cabinet positions and fulfilled a key campaign promise with the arrival of Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Yet, for Trump’s white evangelical critics, concerns about his treatment of refugees and immigrants, among others, have persisted. Many are also worried about white evangelicalism’s witness to both fellow Americans and evangelicals of color. Earlier this week, Quick to Listen co-host and CT editor-in-chief Mark Galli led a discussion with three evangelical leaders to discuss their collective opposition to Trump during the election and how they understood the state of the evangelical movement now. Dan Darling, the vice president of communications for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Katelyn Beaty, former Quick to Listen co-host and CT’s print managing editor, and Julie Roys, host of the national talk show Up For Debate on the Moody Radio Network joined Galli on the stage at the Evangelical Press Association’s annual convention in Lombard, Illinois. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Apr 13, 2017
What American Christians Can Learn about Religious Freedom from Russia
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Last year, the government passed a number of laws making it harder to share one’s faith. The legislation required missionaries to have permits, made house churches illegal, and limited religious activity to registered church buildings, effectively restricting Christians from evangelizing outside of their churches. (The jury’s still out on whether the legislation will hold up in court.) Earlier this year, the Russian government took another step in its decade-long crackdown against Jehovah’s Witnesses. From CT’s report: The Justice Ministry submitted a Supreme Court case to label the Jehovah’s Witnesses headquarters an extremist group. This would allow Russia to enact a countrywide ban on its activity, dissolving its organization and criminalizing its worship. The ban would impact about 175,000 followers in 2,000 congregations nationwide. “Without any exaggeration, it would put us back to the dark days of persecution for faith.” Jehovah’s Witnesses make up a tiny percentage of the country’s population--but their unpopularity has made it awkward for Russian Protestants who “don’t consider themselves as extreme—or as annoying—as the Witnesses, and they aren’t too eager to speak out against the recent case against them.” One key group contributing to this complicated environment is the Russian Orthodox Church which staunchly believes that faith should have a “robust communal dimension,” — not confined to a private relationship between a person and God, says Andrey Shirin, who moved to the US from Russia more than 25 years ago and currently works as an assistant professor of divini