Quick to Listen

By Christianity Today

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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
Pastoring in Charlottesville After the Protests
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/sWYZqS1NyRQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 15, 2018
The Bill Hybels News Isn't Just Another Pastor Sex Scandal
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/qSNEwoKykLs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 08, 2018
The Other Family Separation at the Border: Canadian and US Evangelicals
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/PoI1_8e0h1g" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 02, 2018
Surprise! A Conference for Gay Christians Has Sparked Controversy
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/TMO_Ju2Gims" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 26, 2018
Do Church Plants Drive Neighborhood Change?
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/fxFx5EmJllg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 18, 2018
What a Conservative Court Means for Christian Unity
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/5O0T_VVqKLc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 11, 2018
Brazilian Soccer's Evangelical Embrace Mirrors Its Nation’s
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/XQ8H7a7lgJk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 05, 2018
How Charles Taylor Helps Us Understand Our Secular Age
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/xv3y856OlL8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 27, 2018
Between Border Control and Immigrant Families
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/6g1fDkGjEz8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 20, 2018
What South Korean Christians Want for North Korea
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/TQJnl2W8dzI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 13, 2018
If Religious Liberty and LGBT Activists Want to Move Forward, the Courts Won’t Help
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/0fZDmH52Xko" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 06, 2018
What Are Christians to Make of Jordan Peterson?
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/uHmGQVoGSLs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 30, 2018
Are Southern Baptists Experiencing a #MeToo Moment?
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/v3pQfOIsg5s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 25, 2018
Nigerian Christians Are Exhausted From the Terror. Will They Fight Back?
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/YaLaEnRWLXw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 23, 2018
Rwanda Is 95 Percent Christian. So Why Is It Shutting Down Thousands of Churches?
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/ZJg8KvXYaMU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 16, 2018
Why Turkey Is Accusing an American Pastor of Terrorism
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/808ukZA97P8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 09, 2018
What the Bible Says about Abuse Within Marriage
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/Csd91MgtbgA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 02, 2018
Sit With Your Family at Church—But Maybe Not Your Spouse
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/xaTNiAp-y34" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Apr 25, 2018
About That Evangelical Summit in Wheaton This Week
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/YGyg246C-Hw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Apr 19, 2018
Good News for Christians Battling US Sex Trafficking
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/TdR_eMZsfPo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Apr 11, 2018
What Changed for Evangelicals When MLK Was Killed
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/yklT-GVyeZ4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Apr 04, 2018
When You Hear Sexual Misconduct Allegations About Your Pastor
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/r3E_k8Inzc8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 28, 2018
On Being an Evangelical Senator During the Trump Presidency
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/nWVYDhUt8Lw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 21, 2018
Muslim Refugees Are Finding Christ—And Facing Backlash
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/1nHKPqCN-9k" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 14, 2018
China Just Made Life Way Harder for Christians
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/kTuN7HyGrQ4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 07, 2018
Newsweek’s ‘Second Coming Christ’ Problem
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/e5Sq-SYd6uE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 01, 2018
A Billy Graham Biographer Tells All!
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/Y8n5uZLBQPE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Feb 22, 2018
What Made Mental Illness a ‘Sin’? Paganism
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/R9VY9WippTI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Feb 15, 2018
‘Muscular Christianity’ Influenced the Creation of the Modern Olympics
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/4sUppWacVOo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Feb 08, 2018
Why the US Believes Global Religious Freedom Is Good Foreign Policy
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/vEF5t2hgrW8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Feb 01, 2018
Proximity to Poverty’s ‘Destructive Culture’
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/AL_L56tLwmk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jan 25, 2018
Trump Talk Is Relentless. It’s Not Always Newsworthy.
“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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/AQDdjjKVxLA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jan 18, 2018
How Gang Brutality and US Immigration Policies Threaten El Salvador’s Christians
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/qtpuJQj-AXs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jan 11, 2018
What Iranian Christians Want
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/6h_n2LxSv3c" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jan 04, 2018
Why Christians Fall Prey to Fake News
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/__aonH6Aos8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Dec 28, 2017
When Good Charity Looks Like Giving Out Cash
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/dAQVbE6MvKY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Dec 21, 2017
Should Christians Care if America’s Embassy Is in Jerusalem?
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/F8bd3HfSBxM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Dec 14, 2017
Ravi Zacharias and the Case of Christian Credential Inflation
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/Rn1DWy1_vMA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Dec 07, 2017
What the Pope's Myanmar Trip Means for Local Christians
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/mM688Lukvfk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Nov 30, 2017
Q2L’s Listener Appreciation Episode
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!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/KRDNdiGGT9o" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Nov 22, 2017
When Christians Sexually Harass and Assault
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/r3hcys4Nkxc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Nov 16, 2017
The Christian History of America's Guns
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/3LU90T4VJUM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Nov 09, 2017
Countries That Criminalize Conversion and Evangelism
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/-pTCNh6ABRY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Nov 02, 2017
The Museum of the Bible May Change Your Relationship with God’s Word
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/R3C9axm6Q14" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 26, 2017
Supporting the Opposite Gender in the Christian Workplace
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/m9H-ybk0stY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 19, 2017
The Significance of Lecrae Leaving White Evangelicalism
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. <a href="https://soundcloud.com/truthstable/lecrae">Listen here</a> 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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/imP1ZuM-q9A" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 12, 2017
Ministering in a Mass Shooting’s Wake
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/S-mjNeLDbaY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 05, 2017
What Matt Chandler and Tim Keller’s Churches’ Transitions Mean for the Multisite Movement
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/HjNbXbKkWO8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 28, 2017
How Football Culture Shapes Christian Colleges
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/wCish--tuQc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 21, 2017
Why FEMA Should Fund Churches Damaged by Disasters
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/Mxy7yJtMZjk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 14, 2017
Why We Need a Blue-Collar Theology of Work
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/5OziEvF-J04" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 07, 2017
When the Saints March into Post-Harvey Houston
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/w-RpKV--QGw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 31, 2017
How Christian Colleges Can Help Americans Talk to Each Other
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/LpYPluwqLT0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 24, 2017
What the Alt-Right Tells Us about Christianity and Politics
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/Gu04ryDeivw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 17, 2017
Why Christian Charities Help Controversial Countries
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/T0bWQpktl-8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 10, 2017
How God Works in Spite of Immigration Status
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/MTrcqOIhHrU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 04, 2017
Christian Hip Hop’s Oldest Argument Is Still Going Strong
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/CtRjt6Ax_04" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 27, 2017
Can Josh Harris Kiss His Book Goodbye?
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/dSOwYQZL9tk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 20, 2017
UPDATE: Peterson Retracts
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/Zfk18lFTvNI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 13, 2017
Eugene Peterson's New Message
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/FcGWpfWUa1U" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 13, 2017
Quick to Listen’s Summer Reading Edition
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<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/8oXFaYXRT64" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 06, 2017
What Iraqi Christians Want the American Government to Know
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/zR1N9UYnOQk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 29, 2017
Talking Is Not Going to Change the World
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/r5dd3QirjFM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 22, 2017
What Bernie Sanders Revealed about Christian Literacy in the Public Square
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/qh2l51ilRrA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 15, 2017
A Guide to Spiritually Survive the Evil of Terrorism
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/-Cv8_gqHHTg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 08, 2017
Yes, Christians Can Love Jesus and Their Muslims Neighbors Honorably
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/K73rDeBhuFU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 01, 2017
Why Reinhold Niebuhr Still Haunts American Politics
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/o-JM_hYX4C4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 25, 2017
Pursuing a Christian Idea of Criminal Justice in the Jeff Sessions Era
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/327QoqppuQo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 18, 2017
Pastors Frequently Preach Politics. But the IRS Rarely Goes After Them
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/fAhVYFT1wJQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 12, 2017
A Brief History of the Christian Blogosphere
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/jrP9nPfiua0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 04, 2017
Can Christians Affirm Transhumanism?
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/S_WFizgMIc0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Apr 27, 2017
Why Orthodoxy Appeals to Hank Hanegraaff and Other Evangelicals
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/fAbWnVZLMT4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Apr 20, 2017
LIVE: How Should White Evangelicals Respond to President Trump?
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/1rHLwc05XfA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Apr 13, 2017
What American Christians Can Learn about Religious Freedom from Russia
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 divinity at John Leland Center for Theological Studies. “The notion that people should be free to exercise their faith or not to exercise any is really uncontroversial,” said Shirin. “It all depends on how this is interpreted.” Shirin joined Morgan and Mark this week on Quick to Listen discuss Putin’s popularity among American evangelicals, whether the country’s evangelicals should be concerned about their future, and how the Orthodox Church kept its credibility after the Communist era.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/EA-4Q1qA6iQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 30, 2017
Why Undocumented Immigrants Are Flocking to This Evangelical Church
Since the beginning of the year, more than 800 congregations in 30 American cities have joined the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM). An interfaith effort organized by Christian activist Alexia Salvatierra, NSM religious institutions have pledged to open their doors to undocumented immigrants worried that authorities may arrest them or separate their families. (Read CT’s interview with Salvatierra.) At this point, most of the churches that have joined the New Sanctuary Movement are progressive congregations. New Season Christian Worship Center in Sacramento is one of the few evangelical congregations that’s announced something similar, what Time Magazine recently called a “safe haven” program. The program is specifically focused on meeting the urgent needs of undocumented immigrants, those fleeing domestic violence, or those affected by gang fights. So far, New Season has set up more than two dozen beds for congregants looking to escape immigration raids and hosted more than half a dozen families. “A safe haven is a place where we can offer a place of rest from turmoil from those things which are troubling people,” said Charlie Rivera, who pastors New Season’s Spanish language ministry and leads the safe haven program. “We offer a sense of hope and spiritual help.” The church’s program is not meant to oppose or thwart the government, said Rivera. “We’re not here to break any law or do anything illegal,” he said. “Our main goal is to assist people who are in need.” Rivera joined Morgan and Mark to discuss why he doesn’t believe his church is harboring criminals, why New Season has seen a surge of Hispanic attendees, and how Christians can encourage undocumented immigrants to do the right thing. (Note: New Season’s pastor, Sam Rodriguez, serves on CT’s board, and recently appeared on Quick to Listen to discuss his rationale for praying at Trump’s inauguration.)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/0pgQn2aWIU0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 23, 2017
The Rise and Struggle of South Korean Missionaries
In the past few months, life has suddenly gotten worse for dozens of South Korean missionaries ministering in China. From CT’s report: In the past few months, China has expelled dozens of South Korean missionaries from Jilin, a northeastern province that neighbors North Korea. News media reported the raids, with estimates of the total expulsions ranging from 30 to 70. “Chinese authorities raided the homes of the missionaries, citing a problem with their visas, and told them to leave,” one human rights activist and pastor told Agence France-Presse (AFP). He said that most were on tourist or student visas. The majority of South Korean missionaries working in China serve North Korean defectors who cross the border. There are at least 500 officially registered South Korean missionaries in China, though this number could be as high as 2,000. While missions took off in South Korea in the late 1970s—making the country the No. 2 missionary-sending country by 2006—its foreign presence has been on the decline in the last decade. In fact, 2017 marks 10 years since 23 South Korean church volunteers were abducted by the Taliban while traveling in Afghanistan on a medical aid trip. They were released 43 days later, but not before two of them were killed. The trauma caused by the event didn’t shake the South Korean church’s resolve on missions, said Julie Ma, a theology professor at Oral Roberts University. “Church leaders said they will still go forward with the gospel but with more caution and wisdom,” said Ma, one of the first South Korean missionaries in the Philippines. “I think this terrible experience taught the Korean church a lot of things.” Ma joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli on Quick to Listen to discuss the rise and decline of South Korean missions, the consequences of the 2007 Taliban hostage situation, and what led her to become a missionary.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/XGMqTMFU9RM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 16, 2017
Does Your Fasting Have a Point?
According to Don Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality, a biblical fast needs a purpose beyond hunger. Christians of a more liturgical bent are in the middle of the ascetic season of Lent, discipling those “desires of the flesh,” hopefully with a measure of cheerfulness. But you don’t have to have high regard for Lent, to appreciate the fact that Jesus didn’t merely command fasting, but instead just assumed his followers would fast. When talking about it in the Sermon on the Mount, for example, he began, “And when you fast.” Why does Jesus—and Piper, Bonhoeffer, and a host of witnesses--think fasting is a normal part of the life of faith? What difference does it really make? Then there is this: If we were to get good answers to those two questions, how exactly do you do it? What constitutes “fasting”? And how can one do it so that (a) it really does increase our hunger for God and (b) brings some cheer into our lives? According to Professor of Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Don Whitney, fasting has a unique quality among the spiritual disciplines. “Unlike any of the other spiritual disciplines, we actually feel this one in our bodies.” It’s this trait that, according to Whitney, serves as a constant reminder of whatever purpose we set out to accomplish through out fast. Whitney joined editor in chief Mark Galli and guest-host, Online Managing Editor, Richard Clark on Quick to Listen to talk about about the reasons we should fast, pitfalls to avoid, and whether a fast from social media really counts as a genuine application of the ancient spiritual discipline.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/QhTGtLhiwVs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 09, 2017
Tim Keller’s 20-Year Plan to Avoid Building a Megachurch
Did you hear the news about renowned evangelical pastor and author Tim Keller? From CT’s report: Later this year, Redeemer Presbyterian will no longer be a multisite megachurch in Manhattan, and Tim Keller will no longer be its senior pastor. Keller, 66, announced at all eight Sunday services today that he will be stepping down from the pulpit. The move corresponds with a decades-long plan to transition the single Presbyterian Church in America congregation—which has grown to 5,000 members since it began 28 years ago—into three particular churches. His last day as senior pastor will be July 1. This plan has been a long time in the making: The transition follows a vision plan Redeemer set in place back in 1997, and preparing Keller’s three successors—the pastors at each of the new particular churches—ended up as a helpful side effect. “This is not primarily a succession plan,” Kathy Keller said. “It is a vision for not being a megachurch.” Each of the three Redeemer churches will remain collegial and still partner together for programs, but will officially be their own congregations with their own leaders and elders (pending a May 20 congregational vote). They also each will plant churches in three more locations—resulting in nine total daughter churches. Keller has been “typically wise and humble” in how he carried out his pastoral succession, said Capitol Hill Baptist Church pastor and Keller friend Mark Dever. “This as a more constructive model than is often done where a large congregation is built very much around the personality of the preacher, and when that preacher’s gone the whole thing kind of dissolves,” said Dever. Dever joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli on Quick to Listen about whether pastors should fight against their church becoming a megachurch, why the senior pastor should share the pulpit, and if pastors should have a say in choosing their successors.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/uu5qMHbfGJ0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 02, 2017
What Message Is Jack Graham Sending to Russell Moore and Southern Baptists?
Last week, two-time Southern Baptist Convention president Jack Graham announced that his church would withhold its donation to the denomination’s Cooperative Program (CP). Southern Baptist churches decide individually whether to donate a percentage of their tithe to a common pot which funds state conventions, national denominational agencies, seminaries, and church planting and missions entities like the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. Less than two percent of the Cooperative Program’s budget funds the Southern Baptist national public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, led by Russell Moore. But the 2016 election demonstrated that Graham and Moore were on separate political pages. In an interview earlier this month, Graham noted an “uneasiness” among church leaders about the “disconnect between some of our denominational leaders and our churches.” While initially a critic of Donald Trump, Graham later joined Trump’s list of faith advisors and penned several editorials explaining his support. Moore, on the other hand, consistently spoke out against Trump and at one point criticized his Religious Right supporters as defined by “the doctrinally vacuous resentment over a lost regime of nominal, cultural ‘Christian America.’” These critiques didn’t sit well with Graham. “There was a disrespectfulness towards Southern Baptists and other evangelical leaders, past and present,” Graham told The Wall Street Journal in an article about SBC pushback to Moore from December. But Graham insists that he’s “not angry at the SBC, and neither are our people.” “I’m not working to start a movement to fire anyone,” he said in an interview explaining his church’s decision from earlier this month. Graham more or less represents mainstream Southern Baptists, suggests Ed Stetzer, who has years of experience working in SBC entities. “Jack Graham is not a fringy character who is accustomed to throwing grenades from the sidelines,” said Stetzer. “…He is well-respected and a mentor to many pastors.” And while Southern Baptists are not always going to agree with every idea or strategy that their CP giving supports, “the goal of the ERLC is to represent Southern Baptists.” “The question is, what does that mean?” said Stetzer, who currently holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College. Stetzer joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli on Quick to Listen to discuss SBC unity in light of the election and how Christian conscience should direct giving to Christian institutions. (Note: since this recording, the SBC’s executive committee announced that it would be studying CP escrowing.)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/pHor6Pgfy5M" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Feb 23, 2017
Why Your Denomination Is Segregated
For researchers to dub your congregation a multiethnic church, the body can’t include more than 80 percent of a given racial group. Today, only five percent of Protestant churches make this threshold. If we applied this same 80 percent metric to American denominations, few would be considered multiethnic. (Assemblies of God and the Seventh-day Adventist Church are key exceptions, according to 2015 Pew Research data.) This wouldn’t have necessarily been the case in colonial America. In fact, for decades, whites and blacks (some who were enslaved and others who were free) worshiped at the same churches—Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian, and Baptist. Not all denominations’ equally reached enslaved people with their message, says Eric Washington, a history professor at Calvin College. The “stodgy” and “erudite” tradition of Anglicanism didn’t resonate as broadly—although former Methodist Absalom Jones was ordained as the first African American Episcopalian priest by the end of the 18th century. In contrast, many African slaves were drawn to Methodism’s theological emphasis on born-again conversions and total depravity and its preachers’ open-air, multiethnic services, says Washington. “[In Methodism,] there was no education requirement to be an exhorter or lay preacher,” said Washington, who is also the director of Calvin’s African and African Diaspora Studies. “So enslaved men who had a recognized gift to preach or exhort—they were encouraged in that.” But congregations began to split when denominations blocked African American men from taking on more official church leadership roles—or, in the case of the Methodists, when church leaders threw out several of their black church members for praying in the “wrong” part of the church. Washington joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli on Quick to Listen to discuss the Great Awakening’s impact on African enslaved and free people, the overlap—if any—between conversion and emancipation, and the history of plantation churches.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/sFndNd0hlAw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Feb 16, 2017
What Will God Do with Betsy DeVos?
Betsy DeVos is set to run the United States Department of Education after the Senate confirmed her appointment earlier this week. Many criticized DeVos’s nomination because she has little experience in public education. She attended a private school, and beyond mentoring in the public schools, she has never attended, taught, or sent children to public schools. A Christian, (DeVos has attended Rob Bell’s former church Mars Hill) her appointment has raised questions about Christian support for public schools. In short: Can Christians who homeschool or enroll their children in private school still support public schools? One’s familial education choices don’t affect the extent to which one can support public schools, says Andrea Reyes Ramirez, the executive director of the Faith and Education Coalition for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. (Read Ramirez’s piece offering practical steps from earlier this week.) “At this point, we know that 90 percent of America’s children are in public schools so I think that as believers we need to engage and think afresh about our personal engagement with strengthening the public schools whether our children are at public schools or not,” she said. According to Ramirez, Christians who do opt for homeschooling or private schools should be conscientious of potential unintended consequences of their decisions. “We have to be cautious about being so focused on taking care of our own children that we isolate ourselves from the beautiful, made-in-God’s-image children in our community,” she said. “I think it’s a great discipleship opportunity for the children in our home, to connect the dots and say, ‘We’re thinking about what’s best for our family. We’re praying about how to school you, and in addition, we’re praying about how to make a difference in our community.’” Ramirez joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli to discuss why 2017 is such a seminal year for public education, where she stands on the DeVos appointment, and how asking God to help her better use her brain helped her get through stats class.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/RzZ_KgfGt8M" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Feb 09, 2017
Why Football Will Never Be America’s New Civil Religion
This Sunday’s Super Bowl game is a classic good v. evil showdown. (Okay, maybe that’s editorializing. But it is true that the Patriots have won the Super Bowl 7 times since 2001 and the Atlanta Falcons have never even won a title, making the Falcons the inevitable favored underdog.) But beyond the actual teams, the Super Bowl stands atop a waning list of cultural events that bring America together. Last year, about 115 million Americans tuned in to watch the Broncos, the commercials, or Beyoncé. The fact that there’s something for everyone is one of the Super Bowl’s biggest value propositions, says David Prince, the author of In the Arena: The Promise of Sports for Christian Discipleship. “The commercials during the Super Bowl—it would be impossible for me to have less interest in that. And yet for some people, that’s the main reason they’re tuning in,” said Prince, an Atlanta Falcons fan. “The halftime show—I’ve never watched a halftime show in my life and I don’t plan to start this year—but for others that’s the main reason they’re watching.” Prince joined joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli to discuss whether football be the country’s new civil religion, why losing can be important than winning, and why players’ faith isn’t covered better by the media.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/XyhxHdQsuOU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Feb 02, 2017
Why Christians Fall Prey to Fake News
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/8O-VszTI2es" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jan 26, 2017
Do Pastors Belong on the Trump Inauguration Stage?
This Friday, Samuel Rodriguez will become the first Hispanic and Assemblies of God pastor to play a role in a presidential inauguration, in this case, the swearing in of Donald J. Trump. Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and the pastor of a church in Sacramento, didn’t endorse either candidate during the campaign. He did meet with Trump last summer for “a very healthy discussion” of issues, including religious liberty and immigration. “We also talked about racial unity as it pertains to bringing the country together,” Rodriguez, who also serves on CT’s board, said in a statement. Despite the controversy that has followed Trump throughout his campaign and Rodriguez’s own disagreements with him on immigration, Rodriguez is committed to engaging with his presidency—a position he would take with almost any politician. “Are there any politicians I will not work with? Wow. It would require an extreme sort of agenda coming out of a politician, or rhetoric coming out of a politician, that would prompt me somehow to say, ‘I can’t work with this person,’” said Rodriguez, who has previously advised both Democrats and Republicans. “Something that is so derogatory. Something that is anatema to who we are as Christians.” Rodriguez joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli to discuss why the church should not retreat from culture, what led 60 percent of Latino evangelicals to vote for Trump, and why Christians should register as independent voters.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/mys6ZzvXFbQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jan 19, 2017
Why Christian Persecution Keeps Rising
This week, Christian persecution advocacy group Open Doors announced its annual list of 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian. At the top: North Korea, a country that has held the dubious distinction for 14 years. The majority of the countries are in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. Here’s the full list. The list scores each country in terms in five quality-of-life areas and also looks at religiously motivated violence. For the third year in a row, the scores have gone up, suggesting that persecution against Christians has increased worldwide. American Christians could do so much more to help their vulnerable siblings in the faith, said David Curry, who serves as Open Doors USA’s president and CEO. “If I had the feeling that the American church, in all of my travels, was praying—​at least, praying for the persecuted believers—I would feel much better than I do,” said Curry. “I just don’t think that happens on a wide scale.” Curry joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli to discuss drug cartel persecution in Mexico, what keeps North Korea on the top of the list, and American Christian apathy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/pSmTVopqMFo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jan 12, 2017
Do Women Fighters Undermine the Bible’s Understanding of Gender?
If you were too busy watching college football and the NFL this weekend, maybe you missed the craziest minute of sports since the Olympics. In her first fight back after a stunning 2015 defeat, acclaimed MMA fighter Ronda Rousey lost in 48 seconds. But should Christians watch this fight at all? What are we to think of female MMA fighting itself? And what does our culture’s embrace of female MMA fighting reveal about what it values and how it understands gender? These are the types of questions theologian Alastair Roberts raised in recent piece for The Gospel Coalition. “There’s a lot of celebration of the strong female character, whether that’s Laura Croft or Sydney Bristow. All of these characters represent an image of female strength that’s very much modeled after a model of male strength. As we celebrate these images, what is the actual consequence of this for women?” said Roberts, who is the author of the forthcoming Heirs Together: A Theology of the Sexes. “The more that we celebrate this sort of sport and image of female strength the more we are in danger of devaluing the sort of strength that the vast majority of women have which is a very distinct sort of strength which is not seen in pugilism or the sort of the violent conflict you see in the UFC ring.” Roberts joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli this week to discuss whether the sex of the person fighting affects the morality of MMA, what it will take for culture to more broadly value feminine strength, and what the ministry of women is to the church.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/pcgxdTHoS74" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jan 05, 2017
The Christianity Today Podcast Crew's Favorite Things
This week, the three hosts of CT Podcasts got together to discuss their favorite things, and of course, to fight for favorite-thing supremacy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/YaVY-NpdNBo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Dec 29, 2016
What Evangelicals Can Love about Mary
Hey Protestants, how many of you know what the Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates? If you said Jesus, you’re wrong. Nope, this Catholic celebration honors the church doctrine that Mary was not tainted by original sin. If that belief makes your eyebrows arch, you may not be alone. Catholics, who traditionally venerate Mary much more than Protestants, have a host of beliefs that today we may see as extra-biblical. But that may be because Catholics’ understanding of the development of doctrine differs from Protestants, says Beeson Divinity School dean (and proud Southern Baptist) Timothy George. “Catholics would say, ‘Everything we believe about Mary is somehow or other rooted or grounded in something that’s in the Bible,’” said George. George doesn’t personally believe Catholic teaching on the immaculate conception, Mary’s perpetual virginity, or the idea she was assumed into heaven without physically dying—but he does think that Protestants should find a lot more to love about the mother of God. George joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli this week to discuss how Mary models discipleship, what the reformers thought of her, and whether or not Protestants should pray to her.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/e-b-5C426E0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Dec 22, 2016
How the Coptic Christian Church Endures
Egypt’s Coptic Christians are in a state of mourning after a suicide bomber killed at least 25 people at a Cairo church on Sunday. “Egypt always tends to rally around Christians at moments like this,” said Jayson Casper, CT’s Middle East correspondent. “But over time, [ISIS is] trying to hammer and hammer and hammer the Christians in Egypt and put so much pressure on the internal government that it itself may collapse.” Even if the government does collapse, the Coptic Church “is equipped to deal with it,” said Casper. “They can say, ‘This has always happened to us in our history. It is how God has treated us and he perseveres with us through it.’” While the attack was the worst to target Copts since the 2011 New Year’s bombing of a church in Alexandria that killed 23 people, the population has been the victim of sectarian violence for years. In 2015, ISIS, who also claimed responsibility for the latest attack, beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya. Casper joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli this week to discuss the fascinating and important history of Coptic Christians, how the Egyptian church relates to a changing government, and why this most recent attack is unique.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/MDfp43yhe_I" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Dec 15, 2016
Are Trump's White Evangelical Supporters Racist?
It’s been a month since the election, so you’ve probably seen the exit poll statistic that 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump. (Some polls have disputed this number.) For Christians appalled and morally enraged by Trump’s remarks on race throughout the campaign, this apparent reality feels like “betrayal.” Although many white evangelical Trump voters (51%) said their vote was primarily against Clinton rather than for Trump, many of their fellow evangelicals don’t see this calculus as justified. Last week in The New York Times, Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo wrote, “Evangelicalism was closely associated with the campaign of Donald J. Trump, and more than 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for the president-elect. This, despite large numbers of African American, Latino, Asian, young, and female evangelicals who were fiercely opposed to the racism, sexism, and xenophobia of Mr. Trump’s campaign.” So. Are white evangelical Trump supporters racist? “When we limit [racism] to strictly individual terms, we fail to see how people are using it,” says Wheaton College assistant professor of communication Theon Hill. “If we’re talking about racism in the context of this election, it may not always be that this person is or is not a Bull Connor descendent. It may be that this person is participating in a racist structure, intentionally or unintentionally.” Hill joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli this week to discuss what he means by calling someone a racist, when believers should “try a little tenderness,” versus cleansing the temple, and why the church has a particular call to address racism in its ranks.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/b9SvZHKx4Tk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Dec 08, 2016
How Complementarian Churches Can Support Female Leadership
Where can complementarian women go to find female teachers? For many, the answer lies outside of the local church. Because of theological beliefs, most complementarian churches don’t let women preach. Many also struggle to elevate women’s voices within their own congregations, indirectly encouraging women to look outside the church—at times to blogs, social media, and Christian publishing—for leadership. (Read CT’s previous coverage.) Part of the reason for the lack of voices stems from a historic distrust of female leadership, argues Wendy Alsup, who formerly led women’s ministries at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. “I think more and more people who identify as complementarian are putting away suspicions that women want to remove men from their places of leadership but it’s taken work to get to that place where their gifts are welcome,” she said. But women’s ministry can thrive in complementarian settings. A pastor and church elder board which seeks to affirm women’s voices is characterized by a “celebratory attitude” that values “every member of the body of a Christ,” says Elizabeth Inrig, who previously led women’s ministries for the Evangelical Free Church of America Inrig and Alsup joined Morgan and Richard on Quick to Listen to discuss the practical ways that complementarian churches can be intentional about including women’s voices, the roles of pastors wives, and how male participation at church affects female involvement.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/L5VEcYkHTJ0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Dec 01, 2016
How to Redeem Thanksgiving
For many Americans, our thoughts drift to North American’s original people only once or twice a year. But thanks to the Cleveland Indians’ World Series appearance and the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, you may have thought about Native Americans at some point before our national holiday. Thanksgiving offers a critical time for many of us to reflect on our nation’s history, says Randy Woodley, a Keetoowah Cherokee and professor of faith and culture at George Fox University. “Thanksgiving is a deep mythology within the American psyche,” said Woodley, who suggests that many of us have sanitized the holiday. “For three days they had this festival and no one questions what happens after,” he said. “The story is so treacherous and ugly that our mythology only includes what we want to feel good about.” For decades and later centuries after this peaceful and celebratory meal between the Pilgrims and Native Americans, settlers clashed violently with Indians and forcibly converted them to Christianity and “civilized” them. There was little understanding from Americans that Natives had something to offer them and their culture. They still do, says Woodley: the values of generosity and consensus. Woodley joined Morgan and guest-host Richard Clark to discuss why he himself chooses to celebrate Thanksgiving, how he learned to love Jesus despite the religion’s ugly impact on his ancestors, and the uncomfortable conditions it took for settlers to share their faith with Native Americans.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/79saZ7XYJyg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Nov 22, 2016
Should #NeverTrump and Pro-Trump Evangelicals Reconcile?
Donald Trump is now the president-elect, the winner of at least 279 votes and 81 percent of the white evangelical vote, according to exit polls. Many people--including white evangelical leaders--did not see Trump’s victory coming. “I’m surprised,” said Ed Stetzer, who holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College. “This is an overwhelming statement. It’s a repudiation of a lot of the system and President Obama.” The election revealed a split between “rank-and-file” evangelicals and leaders. Prior to the election, more than 60 percent of pastors told LifeWay Research they were not voting for Trump or were undecided. About 1 in 5 “evangelical insiders” told World Magazine at the end of the summer that they backed Trump. “Most evangelical leaders I know are not enthusiastically supporting Donald Trump,” said Stetzer, who formerly headed LifeWay Research. Despite this split, the group still represents people the same spiritual beliefs, said Stetzer, who recently worked with the National Association of Evangelicals to create a new definition of “evangelical.” And the goal of leaders isn’t necessarily to represent those beliefs of the masses. “It’s to be prophetic,” said Stetzer. Stetzer joined Morgan and Mark to discuss the limits of the evangelical umbrella, how white evangelicals’ voting affects evangelicals of color, and why Christians aren’t listening to their leaders.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/__1noXVhfHQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Nov 10, 2016
LifeWay's Hatmaker Decision: What Evangelical Institutions Can Learn
Best-selling author and blogger Jen Hatmaker’s books are no longer sold by LifeWay Christian Stores. Last week, the national Southern Baptist bookstore chain announced that it would no longer sell Hatmaker’s books because her perspectives on LGBT issues “contradict LifeWay’s doctrinal guidelines.” LifeWay’s announcement came several days after Hatmaker commented on same-sex marriage. “From a civil rights and civil liberties side and from just a human being side, any two adults have the right to choose who they want to love,” said Hatmaker in an interview with Religion News Service. “And they should be afforded the same legal protections as any of us. I would never wish anything less for my gay friends.” LifeWay’s assertion of its theological standards on LGBT issues offers Christians clarity in a post-Obergefell world, says author and writer Rosaria Butterfield. “It isn’t just enough to tip your hat to a creed that was buttressing the gospel at a different point in time,” said Butterfield. Organizations which require employees (and at times, other individuals affiliated with them) to sign a statement of faith remind people “that there’s actually a price to be here,” said Butterfield. Butterfield joined Morgan and guest host Ted Olsen, CT’s director of editorial development, to discuss the relevance of ancient creeds, how LGBT rights affect the future of evangelical institutions, and how the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision affected society’s definition of personhood.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/v3OliNljBOQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Nov 04, 2016
Does America’s History Justify Rigged Election Fears?
Two weeks from today, Election Day will be over. But will we have a president? Yes. Well, maybe not. “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense,” GOP candidate Donald Trump said at the last presidential debate after the moderator asked if he would accept the election results. Trump’s suspicion towards the system reflects the views of 4 in 10 Americans who agreed that the election could be “stolen” from him as a result of voter fraud. This is but one area in which American democratic institutions have come into question. In recent years, law enforcement and the criminal justice system have been increasingly accused of racism and racial bias, while former Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders accused the country’s economy of being “rigged.” Some of the other rigged accusations may have merit, says Elesha Coffman, an assistant professor of history at Baylor University. But applying this term to the United States’ elections is “horrifying.” “It is unprecedented to say, ‘I don’t know, I’ll keep you in suspense,’” said Coffman. “It was profoundly undemocratic and profoundly destabilizing, and you really wonder if and when Trump goes down … what all is he taking down with him.” Coffman joins Mark and Morgan on Quick to Listen to discuss whether the Gilded Age should be seen as an aberration or norm, the problem with trying to use the criminal justice system to make a point, and whether gerrymandering leads to accusations of rigged elections.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/OzVFUgZVgmc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 27, 2016
Should Evangelical Intellectuals Despair 'Books and Culture’s' Demise?
After 21 years, Books & Culture will cease publication after the release of its November/December 2016 issue. "Publishing print in a digital age is hard. Publishing print that is thoughtful is even harder,” writes Christianity Today president and CEO Harold Smith in the last issue. “And as a result, all that red ink has sadly forced Christianity Today to end the exceptional run of this outstanding Christian thought journal with this issue." When Christianity Today created B&C in 1995, “some people thought Books and Culture was going to be sort of a culture war vehicle, like Chuck Colson but a little more intellectual,” said John Wilson, the first and only editor of the publication. “I honestly think that if it had been like that it would have been more financially viable, but that wasn’t the intention from the outset,” said Wilson. “…We weren’t a movement magazine.” B&C co-chair Mark Noll helped start the publication in 1994, the same year his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind was released. “I’m quite depressed about the state of the world as is reflected in its closing,” said Noll, a history professor at Notre Dame University, who believes the magazine thrived because of Wilson’s vision and expertise. “John’s singular ability in an age of polemics and partisanship and gotcha-journalism was to emphasis the long-term, to be thoughtful rather than reactive, to try to bring insight rather than onslaught,” said Noll. Noll and Wilson join Mark and Morgan to discuss where B&C’s departure leaves the evangelical intellectual world, the specific conditions that made the publication possible, and how Noll’s Calvinist convictions inform his attitude towards the closure.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/A8Qoputl42Q" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 20, 2016
Trump Tape Forces Deeper Conversations on Evangelical Ethics
By now, you’ve probably seen the 2005 video of Donald Trump bragging to then–Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush about his aggressive groping and kissing of women. If you’re running for election as a Republican, it may have encouraged you to change your strategy. (Arizona Senator John McCain dropped his endorsement. GOP House Leader Paul Ryan has said he’ll stop campaigning for Trump.) But so far, Trump’s most vocal evangelical supporters—including James Dobson, Eric Metaxas, Tony Perkins, and Jerry Falwell—haven’t wavered in their support. (Read CT’s full report.) “The whole thing is baffling yet predictable,” said Jemar Tisby, the president and co-founder of the Reformed African American Network. While allegations of Trump’s previous sexual attacks on women currently make the news, his campaign won the primary while proposing a ban on Muslims from entering the US and attacking a Mexican-American judge for his heritage, actions indicative of a larger thread in Republican history, said Tisby. “That Donald Trump, out of 16 candidates, would end up being the nominee is on one hand utterly perplexing. On the other hand it doesn’t surprise me in the sense that what he’s playing to what has been present in the GOP for decades,” he said. But will this be true in the future? “I’ve seen a lot of people want to say ‘The Religious Right is finished. They don’t have the clout that they had,’” said Matthew Lee Anderson, the founder of Mere Orthodoxy. “I think that it’s way too premature to say that sort of thing. We do need a couple of election cycles…One of the things that I will watch very carefully will be what happens at Liberty University on November 8.” Tisby and Anderson join Morgan and Christianity Today’s editor-in-chief, Mark Galli, on Quick to Listen this week to discuss what has and has not changed for evangelicals following the latest Trump scandal, how Billy Graham’s political philosophy shaped Christian engagement, and what personal blind spots have been revealed in their own lives over the course of the election.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/6CIONzp2Iqo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 13, 2016
Are Our Churches Full of Heretics?
Do people have the ability to turn to God on their own initiative? Can individuals contribute to their own salvation? Did God create Jesus? These are 3 of nearly 47 positions LifeWay Research asked 3,000 Americans in a recent study for Ligonier Ministries on heresy. The study, which included a sample of 586 evangelicals, asked respondents their beliefs on 47 theological statements. When the report was released two years ago, the results indicated that many self-identified evangelicals held unorthodox views on the Trinity and salvation. This year, the National Association of Evangelicals and LifeWay Research developed a new definition of evangelical. But the results were similar. LifeWay Research director Scott McConnell doesn’t think researchers’ definition of evangelical needs to change, but he does believe the survey suggests just how “shallow many people’s beliefs are.” “The fact is that God’s message to us and God’s relationship to us is really a tapestry. Each of those threads of belief and love and relationship are woven together,” said McConnell. “It takes an individual really loving God enough to want to know this whole message and want to understand how it fits together.” One potential obstacle: People—evangelicals—don’t take or make this time to learn about God. “Sometimes, as Christians in America, we’re so busy running from one thing to another without taking the time to really closely see how this relationship with God works,” said McConnell. “I think you can see this in the variety of responses [to this survey] where people are in the right theologically on several questions and then completely missing it on others.” McConnell joined Morgan and Ted on Quick to Listen this week to discuss what contributes to Christians’ misunderstandings of the Holy Spirit, what the limits of these findings are, and if pastors should preach any differently in light of the survey results.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/3qpencslPRc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 06, 2016
Katelyn Beaty's Last Show
Katelyn Beaty is moving on. Christianity Today’s first female and youngest print managing editor, the leader of This Is Our City and founder of Her.meneutics, and one of CT’s first podcast hosts, Beaty cemented her legacy in her nine years at the organization. Katelyn spoke with Morgan and The Calling’s Richard Clark this week on Quick to Listen as they discussed the last decade. On the success of Her.meneutics: I don’t attribute that to my stealth leadership. It was really about starting a conversation, gathering more women writers, and giving them a chance to write for the print magazine…A lot of those writers ended up having a larger platform to the broader church and not just staying in their lady cocoon. On her first CT editorial calling Christians to stop bashing Hillary Clinton: “Jim Wallis liked it. I guess that’s no surprise.” On reading CT in college: “I remember printing [the editorials] off as if ‘this is the premiere Christian opinion on this topic. This is a model on cultural engagement.’” On the importance of genre: Working on this upcoming Ann Voskamp profile, for awhile I thought, ‘Should this just be a straight interview?’ She’s super interesting to listen to. Very articulate. Speaks in complete sentences which is not true of all our interview subjects. But I ultimately decided to go with the profile genre because it allowed me to draw in what others have said about her. On the internet: “I think the temptation is to look at what’s happening online and try to replicate it in a print magazine.”<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/7P7_Q3nZrPA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 29, 2016
Refugees Aren't Skittles.
This week, we’ve been having a national conversation about candy. "If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?'' states a tweet posted by Donald Trump Jr. earlier this week. "That's our Syrian refugee problem." "This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first." Trump Jr.’s image has gone viral—but not necessarily because its message resonates with the truth. “There are theological problems with comparing human beings made in the image of God to candy,” said Matthew Soerens, the US director of church mobilization at World Relief, a group which helps the government resettle refugees. He added: “It’s a good rhetorical tool but it’s based on bad data.” Only two refugees out the thousands that have been admitted since the 1970s had committed terrorist attacks, said Soerens, citing a recent report from the Cato Institute. “There’s been none since the 1980s.” “If you include that, the odds of being killed by a refugee who commits terrorist activity in the United States if you’re an American is 1.36 billion,” said Soerens. In spite of this debate, this past fiscal year, the US welcomed more than 10,000 Syrian refugees. But while Christians have been increasingly persecuted by ISIS, fewer than 150 entered the country this year. So where are they, asks Nina Shea, who directs the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute. “They are facing genocide by ISIS...the worst human rights violation of all,” said Shea. “They are not coming into the United States in the proportion that would be fair.” Soerens and Shea joined Morgan and Katelyn to discuss what obstacles may be facing Syrian Christians trying to enter the United States, why many may have remained in their homeland, and whether the US should double the number of refugees it admits annually.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/uuKS_Fw38Ms" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 22, 2016
Why Crossway Stopped Translating the ESV
Last week, the Crossway board of directors and English Standard Version (ESV) Translation Oversight Committee announced that, after 17 years, it would be making no further revisions to the ESV translation. “The decision now to create the permanent text of the ESV was made with equally great care—so that people who love the ESV Bible can have full confidence in the ESV, knowing that it will continue to be published as is, without being changed, for the rest of their lives, and for generations to come,” the publishers wrote in a statement. (Read CT’s story.) What’s behind Crossway’s decision? Craig Blomberg, who has advised the translation teams of the ESV, New International Version, Holman Christian Study Bible, and New Living Translation in various capacities in his professional career, shared his insights on Quick to Listen this week. “The ESV is produced by a publisher, and men on the committee, many of whom I know, are of the mindset that they want to foster confidence in the Bible as God’s Word,” said Blomberg, who is also New Testament professor at Denver Seminary. “I don’t know to what extent the word has gotten around to media, publishers, general public, but when the ESV was first created, the committee continued to meet on a regular basis, as do other Bible translation committees, and made a number of comparatively minor changes and updates to what they believed were improved translations to various passages and then simply introduced them in the new printing without any publicity or any fanfare.” Here’s Craig Blomberg, a New Testament professor at Denver Seminary, offering Morgan and Katelyn an inside scoop into the translation process, whether the number of translations serves or hinders the church, and what’s up with the dozens of Bibles tailored to moms, athletes, and small children.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/T48-nVcTmv0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 15, 2016
Our Prison Ministries Are Too Small
From a numbers perspective, for every American church, there are about two people returning home from incarceration annually. Yet, just 1 in 5 churches (22%) that average 250 or more attendees have formal ministries for people leaving correctional facilities according to a LifeWay Research survey of 1,000 evangelical and mainline pastors conducted earlier this year. Many pastors just aren’t aware of how dramatically incarceration affects their congregation, says Dominique Gilliard, a pastor at Convergence Covenant Church in Oakland, California. “Churches have created a cone of silence around this issue. It becomes so stigmatized. I can’t tell you all the times I go and preach or teach at a church and the pastor is completely unaware that people are dealing with this,” said Gilliard, who is writing a book about restorative justice. “People are lined up after service to come to talk to me because this is the first time that they heard their church talk about this.” Once church leadership and attendees decide they do want to address the issue, they should start by educating themselves. “I always tell people that they have to examine their internal biases because we all have them,” said Miea Walker, the Second Chance Alliance outreach coordinator for the North Carolina Justice Center. “It starts with understanding the landscape of mass incarceration. Often times people will want to just come in and help, Oh those poor souls, they need us. We really miss the big picture. We are not reading and learning how we got here.” Gilliard and Walker join Morgan and Katelyn to discuss the nitty gritty of supporting families of those incarcerated, why the church must work with criminal justice reform beyond prisons, and why not all Christians’ work on this issue will or should look the same. Further Reading for Subscribers http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/september/life-after-prison.html http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/september/does-your-church-talk-about-prison.html http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/september/criminal-justice-reform-prison-ministry.html http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/september/our-back-from-prison-family.html<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/p_nXJVKNpzc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 08, 2016
Quick to Listen Presents: Katelyn Beaty on The Calling
Katelyn and Morgan are off this week, so we're presenting Quick to Listen listeners with Katelyn's recent appearance on Christianity Today's other podcast: The Calling. In this episode, Katelyn chats with The Calling's host Richard Clark about being a woman on the cutting edge of evangelical leadership, her new book, A Woman’s Place, and personal and professional challenges she's encountered when pursuing her calling. Quick to Listen will return with a new episode next week.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/9xJEYEjznHc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 01, 2016
Should Filmmaker Nate Parker's Rape Allegations Stay in the Past?
In anticipation of his upcoming film about Nat Turner, a slave who led a rebellion against the system, its filmmaker and star, Nate Parker told CT that he hoped the movie would unsettle American Christians. “[I hoped] Christians would be put at a crossroads, that this would be a moment where they have to ask themselves, Wow, this is the Word, but it's very clearly being used to oppress—Where is the line?” the Birth of Nation creator said in an interview with CT earlier this month. “I ask myself: if Christ was here, how would he react to the misuse and misrepresentation of his name and his actions? How might we be more effective in holding ourselves as Christians accountable to his actual word? I, for one, believe that partisanship should have nothing to do with the actions of Christ. You're either Christlike, or you're not.” In the past two weeks, however, Parker has come under scrutiny after Variety reported that the woman who accused Parker and his college roommate of raping her while they were students at Penn State in the late 1990s had committed suicide. That accusation had led to Parker’s arrest and trial. In 2001, he was acquitted of the charges of sexual assault, and has maintained recently that what happened was consensual. His roommate—who is also the film’s co-writer—was convicted, but the conviction was later overturned on appeal after the accuser declined to testify for a retrial. Along with Parker’s faith and race, the nature of the accusations and the fact that Birth of a Nation also features a sexual assault scene has caused a maelstrom of angry, sad, and conflicted reactions. Alissa Wilkinson, Christianity Today's chief film critic, has been a fan of the film since she saw it at Sundance. “I certainly believe that his faith is sincere. I believe people change and mature and grow in their faith and they often look back on things that they did when they were younger in horror,” said Wilkinson. But she’s been disappointed with Parker’s reaction--largely because Birth of a Nation’s deep understanding of systemic oppression doesn’t seem to have mirrored in the filmmaker’s responses about sexual assault. Christians asking why Parker “should own something he did not do,” have an incomplete understanding of what Christians are called to in these situations, said Ekemini Uwan. “I think a lot of Christians are calling for cheap grace, which is grace without truth, which is unacceptable,” said Uwan, a recent graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary. “You don’t receive salvation unless you confess sin and live in the light.” Uwan and Wilkinson join Morgan and Katelyn this week to discuss how Christians should make sense of the allegations against Parker, how we understand the complicating role that race plays in our reactions, and whether or not we can separate the artist from his or her art.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/dlaDcjIEGr4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 25, 2016
How Much Should a Christian Olympian Give Up for Gold?
Did you see the Americans’ sweep the hurdles last night? Do you go to bed at night still thinking about Katie Ledecky breaking her own world records? Do you have dozens of hours of unwatched pool play handball games on your DVR? We have a podcast for you. Two-time Olympian Josh Davis—who swam with Michael Phelps in his last Olympics—and recently-returned-from-Rio correspondent Tim Ellsworth joined Quick to Listen this week. Despite the euphoria of attending the games and winning medals—Davis won five medals during his trips to the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 games—making the transition back to the real world can be difficult at times. “I think everyone experiences it to varying degrees, but there is a letdown,” said Davis. “When you come off a church retreat, church camp, summer project, mission trip, and you come back to the regular world, it’s like ‘Oh man.’ It’s kind of like leaving heaven.” Sharing his experiences with young people across the country ultimately made the transition easier, says Davis, a public speaker, who just got a job leading Oklahoma Christian University’s new swim program. London 2012 gold medalist David Boudia would relate to the letdown feeling, says Ellsworth, who along with Boudia, recently co-wrote Greater Than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption, about the gold-medalist diver's life and faith. “Even though he had become a believer and even though in 2012 he knew that a gold medal was not the pinnacle of his existence and most precious thing in his life, I think there was still a part of him that thought that that would bring a sense of satisfaction in his life that he didn’t have otherwise,” said Ellsworth. Instead, Boudia soon realized that few things had changed—except the level of media attention and scrutiny—and the temptation to “put himself as the center of everything.” An eventual antidote: Boudia’s marriage to his wife, Sonny, and the birth of their daughter Dakota, helped him reset his priorities. Davis and Ellsworth joined Morgan and guest host Ted OIsen to talk about the biggest misconceptions that the public has about the games, finding Christian community in the Olympic village, and where evidence of athletes’ faith has been on display during the games.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/Ok7Ml_NUrcM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 19, 2016
Is It Time for a Pivot from National Politics?
If voter turnout is any indication, Americans don’t care that much about local elections. During presidential elections, about 60 percent of those eligible head to the polls. During midterms, it's only about 40 percent. It gets worse. During municipal elections, voter turnout falls another 20 points, with only 1 in 5 of those eligible voting for mayor. But local level politics--often affecting housing, transportation, education, and business--can have significant repercussions for communities. And it’s more than voting, says Stephen K. Reeves, the associate coordinator of partnerships and advocacy, for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Reeves advises Christians to start showing up at city meetings and spending time with their local leaders. “In our current political climate in Washington, there’s so much gridlock,” said Reeves. “People often turn to the state and local level to get things done, [the level] where you have more problem solvers, people who are more about making a difference in a more immediate way, versus [fighting] an ideological battle that may [exist] at the national or state level.” Reeves joined Morgan Lee and guest host Richard Clark on Quick to Listen to discuss what happens when your political opponent shows up at your church, why policymakers’ responsiveness depends on their proximity to people, and how churches can make the most effective cases to local officials.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/jTxp0YuVcdg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 11, 2016
In a Trump v. Clinton Election, Should Character Matter?
Last week, theologian and ethicist Wayne Grudem offered his endorsement of GOP candidate Donald Trump. In “Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice,” Grudem conceded that Trump had been far from perfect: He is egotistical, bombastic, and brash. He often lacks nuance in his statements. Sometimes he blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon. He insults people. He can be vindictive when people attack him. He has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters. He has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages. These are certainly flaws, but I don’t think they are disqualifying flaws in this election. Grudem concedes that while Trump’s character is problematic, he concludes that the billionaire is “a good candidate with flaws” because “most of the policies he supports are those that will do the most good for the nation.” Trump isn’t the only candidate whose reputation has taken a hit because of moral transgressions. Hillary Clinton has also been rebuffed for her character, most recently for using her own personal email server, rather than the State Department’s, when sending classified emails as Secretary of State (ultimately resulting in both FBI and State Department investigations). Our views on the role of government—whether it’s there primarily to protect people or “keep the peace,” plays a significant role in the priority we give character when judging candidates, says Messiah College historian John Fea. “If you believe that government has the responsibility to promote the common good and general welfare and moral good of the society and it’s ordained by God to do that, then for me, I would probably want someone with character and is interested in those questions at least,” he said. Fea joined Morgan Lee and guest host Amy Jackson to discuss how Americans have historically voted on character in previous elections, how the mass media has changed the country’s understanding of a candidate’s moral failures, and when, if ever, the ends justify the means.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/xDKN-mxjKm8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 04, 2016
The Deep Roots of Our Hillary Hostility
Earlier this week, ESPN’s analytics site FiveThirtyEight gave Hillary Clinton a 60 percent of winning the presidency in November. Should Clinton win this fall, however, it’s unlikely she’ll be thanking many evangelicals. According to a Pew Research Study from earlier this month, only 16 percent of evangelical voters said they would vote for her. Not only that, when asked about their motivation, an overwhelming number suggested that they were either voting for Donald Trump because they didn’t like Clinton or were only voting Clinton because they disliked Trump more. (Overall: 30 percent supported Trump and would vote for him, 45 percent said they would vote for Trump because they did not want Clinton to win, 10 percent would be voting against Trump for Clinton and only 6 percent said they would vote Clinton because they backed her. Read CT’s report.) This disdain has been around for a long time. Alan Noble, an English professor at Oklahoma Baptist University, remembers listening to talk radio disparaging Clinton back when he was a kid in the ’90s. “Every time I [hear] the name Clinton, there’s all this baggage, rhetoric, language, fear, anxiety, corruption, sliminess, conniving, big government baked into me [from when I was a child]” said Noble, who is also the editor-in-chief of Christ and Pop Culture. What’s behind these visceral reactions? “The history of American evangelicalism is critical in understanding how many things Clinton stands for that contradict the deeply held values of politically engaged evangelicals since the 1960s,” said Kristin Du Mez, a historian at Calvin College and the author of a forthcoming book about Hillary Clinton’s faith. “On so many issues, Hillary Clinton—her politics and the way her faith informs [them]—run against the values that the religious right has held dear. … There are very real religious and political differences here.” Both Du Mez and Noble joined Morgan and Katelyn to discuss how Clinton’s “baking cookie” comments alienated her from stay-at-home moms, why she’s largely stopped standing up for evangelicals, and how gender has affected her popularity among Christians.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/JVOxT9c2SkA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 28, 2016
Obsessed with Pokémon Go? Don't Be Ashamed.
The world can be divided into two camps: people who are playing Pokémon Go and people who haven’t realized what they’re missing. Drew Dixon falls in the former camp. An avid gamer and editor-in-chief of the nonprofit Game Church, the Nashville resident has spent the greater part of this month catching Pokémon, while exploring his city and making new friends. Earlier this week, Dixon wrote for The Local Church on what Christians miss by turning the gaming phenomenon into a recruitment tool. “I’m beginning to suspect that by plotting ways to leverage Pokémon Go to get more people in their pews, many churches are missing out on the exploratory, community-building spirit that makes the game such a powerful cultural force—the same spirit, in fact, that represents its greatest opportunity for churches nationwide,” he wrote. One question churches might start asking themselves instead: ”How could we possibly engage in this game redemptively in a way that would be loving to our neighbor and would celebrate something in creation that is good?” Dixon joined Morgan and Katelyn this week to discuss the allure of video games, how churches have positively responded to Pokémon Go players, and why we love to play. Plus, everyone shares their favorite game.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/D7xBZzTFssw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 21, 2016
What Black Christians Need from White Christians Now
On Tuesday, President Obama honored the lives of the five Dallas police officers shot dead last week by a sniper in Dallas. He also reflected on the deaths of two black men, Philando Castile and Anton Sterling, who were shot dead by police officers last week, and of the suffering he’s witnessed during his time in the White House. “I’ve seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change,” said Obama. “I’ve seen how inadequate my own words have been. And so, I’m reminded of a passage in John’s Gospel, ‘let us love, not with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.’” (Note: We’re aware that the president actually quoted 1 John.) In the wake of last week’s shootings, Joshua DuBois, the former head of the White House’s Office of Faith Based Partnerships, responded with action, creating a form letter for citizens to send their local police chiefs. As of writing, the tweet has been retweeted nearly 5,000 times. “I live outside of DC and realized I had never had a conversation with my police chief in my town...I wanted to have that dialogue to affirm the hard and difficult work that police officers are engaged in every day, but also to ask questions about how prepared they are to deescalate conflict and address bias,” said DuBois, who now leads Values Partnership, a consulting firm. “What’s fascinating is that people are writing their own chiefs and their chiefs are responding,” DuBois joined Morgan and Katelyn this week to discuss what led him to create this letter, how majority culture Christians can avoid shutting down conversations with those of color, and why anger should not be a deterrent to engagement. (10:10) Joshua, what went into your decision to create this police department form letter? (15:08) In circumstances like last week, what voices should be elevated? How should they be elevated? (20:25) What is a powerful example of what solidarity looks like?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/ybdLGYsZKKg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 14, 2016
Depression or Spiritual Warfare: What If It’s Both?
“As a psychiatrist, I diagnose mental illness. Also, I help spot demonic possession.” That’s the headline from a Washington Post essay from Richard Gallagher, a Catholic Ivy-league educated mental health professional who has worked for decades with priests to determine the difference between the two phenomena. While Gallagher’s colleagues have raised their eyebrows at the nature of his work, “careful observation of the evidence presented to me in my career has led me to believe that certain extremely uncommon cases can be explained no other way,” he writes. Part of that comes with experience, says Eric Johnson, a professor of pastoral care at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. When “you have experience with people with schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder and someone that is demon-possessed, you know the difference,” says Johnson, recalling what others who have worked with those in both situations have told him. (Johnson has not himself worked directly with anyone he believes suffered from demonic possession.) Johnson joined Katelyn and Morgan to discuss studying the supernatural, how our understanding of mental health makes sense of spiritual warfare, and the importance of holistic health. • (5:45) As a psychologist, how do you discern the difference between the demonic and mental illness? • (13:30) When did people start studying mental illness as a phenomena? • (21:18) You talk about the importance of keeping an open mind while also being skeptical when it comes to these issues. What part of the church does this apply to? • (5:45) As a psychologist, how do you discern the difference between demonic and mental illness? • (13:30) When did people start studying mental illness as a phenomena? • (21:18) You talk about the importance of keeping an open mind while also being skeptical when it comes to these issues. What part of the church does this apply to?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/Mw-coDYHCxA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 07, 2016
Quick to Listen's Precious Moments Holiday Extravaganza!
In honor of the long weekend, Morgan and Katelyn thought they would take some time to appreciate the good things in life. Joined with podcast producer and host of CT’s other podcast, The Calling, Richard Clark, Morgan and Katelyn discuss the precious moments they look forward to, a few great articles they’ve read in the last week, and suggest some things our listeners can check out to enrich their weekend.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/ydegJPGr18A" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 01, 2016
Steph Curry and the Complicated Nature of Christian Sports Fandom
On Sunday, Lebron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 at home in Oakland. At one time, the Warriors had led the series 3-1, before they lost three in a row for the first time since 2013. During the Warriors’ Game 6 loss to the Cavaliers, Steph Curry fouled out for the first time all year before throwing his mouth guard into the stands. He was then suspended after swearing at the referees. Later, his wife Ayesha Curry tweeted that the game was “absolutely rigged for money” before she later deleted it. Not everyone was happy with the reaction of either Curry, a couple known for their Christian faith. (Some called for the NBA to suspend Steph, while Ayesha deleted her tweet following criticism on Twitter.) While Steph is open about his faith, he has largely communicated this through his actions, rather than bold proclamations of faith, says columnist Marcus Thompson, who has covered the Warriors for nearly two decades. “In the absence of words, you should probably look at how people live,” said Thompson. “Steph’s not going to be the one out there touting himself because in moments like Game 6, when he is human, it will get held against them, whereas if anybody did the exact same thing, there would be no discussion about it. Thompson joined Morgan and Katelyn on Quick to Listen this week to talk about the mentality of Christians athletes, why fans should cut Steph a break, and what Lebron teaches us about what redemption looks like in the world of sports. (9:45) What are most media missing about this story? (14:53) How does Steph deal with the tensions of being a Christian superstar? (25:45) What does redemption mean in sports? What can be redeemed on the court and what can’t?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/WTfvcRZSxm0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 23, 2016
How Social Media Fails Our Orlando Grief
Forty-nine people lost their lives after a gunman opened fire in an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning. In the days since the shooting, mainstream and social media responses have discussed and analyzed hatred and violence against LGBT communities, the merits of gun control, anti-Muslim sentiments, whether prayer is an appropriate response to tragedies, and if Christians who hold to traditional views on marriage are complicit in anti-LGBT violence. Are the array of opinions and facts available on our phones or television screens actually helping us? “We use media when we can’t be present,” says Andy Crouch, CT’s executive editor.   While this type of technology makes many things possible--including this very podcast, and the article you are currently reading--it has several major disadvantages, Crouch says. “The one thing that media are really bad at doing is the one thing needed in the immediate wake of any trauma for any person or community: the silence that’s possible when you’re present in the body but impossible to communicate through media,” he says. Crouch joined Morgan and Katelyn on Quick to Listen this week to discuss social media’s specific disruption to reacting to tragedies, whether our cynicism over prayer is merited, and the dangers of responding to horror as an ideologue. (7:23) Andy, you have previously lamented the way media broadcasting runs on constant information and analysis without leaving room for mourning in silence or prayer. Did we see media work in a similar way in covering the Orlando shooting? (18:31) At what point after tragedy do we start offering up analysis or policy recommendations? (27:30) After tragedy, are there ways prayer inhibits us from action?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/j4719iFfkCk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 16, 2016
Actually Trump, All Americans Bring Their Culture to Their Jobs
Former Trump University students say their school duped them into paying as much as $35,000 for its real estate seminars. So they sued and the case is currently in court. You probably know what happened next. Last week, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump went after the judge presiding over the civil fraud lawsuits—because of his ethnicity. “He's Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico,” said Trump, who claimed that the Indiana-born US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel faced an “absolute conflict,” in ruling on the billionaire’s case. Trump’s words were the “textbook definition of a racist comment,” said GOP Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Trump has since suggested that his remarks were “misconstrued.” Trump’s words were wrong, but it’s also incorrect to think that someone can do their jobs without their ethnic background coming into play, said Gabriel Salguero, the founder and president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, who joined Quick to Listen this week. “God’s sovereign will places us into the context into which we’re born,” said Salguero. “Does that impact how we see the world? Of course it does! The Christian shouldn’t see diversity as a deficit but as a gift.” One reason why we often see others as threats: fears of limited resources, says Alma Zaragoza-Petty, the daughter of Mexican immigrants. who recently completed her Ph.D in educational policy and social context at UC Irvine and who also came on Quick to Listen. But “God’s love is abundant,” said Zaragoza-Petty. Zaragoza-Petty and Salguero joined Morgan and Katelyn on Quick to Listen this week to talk about whether a person’s ethnicity should affect how their work and who decides who gets to be an America. (6:50) Are there times when our ethnic background actually should or can influence the way we do our jobs? (14:50) How do we determine who is an American, and who gets to decide that? (23:20) How have you seen fears of scarcity of resources in your own community and how have you responded to it?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/8Sv8w7QUS3c" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 09, 2016
A Dead Gorilla Highlights Zoos' Bigger Problem
Last Saturday, a four-year-old boy climbed the wall of the Cincinnati Zoo’s gorilla exhibit and tumbled into the moat. After Harambe, the zoo’s 17-year-old gorilla, dragged the boy through the water multiple times, a zookeeper shot and killed the animal. Over the weekend, the story provoked national speculation, fury, and sadness over parenting, zoos, and dead animals. While zoo officials were right to kill Harambe to protect the toddler, the Bible is clear that animals have value, says Karen Swallow Prior, an English professor at Liberty University, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States. “Let’s go back to Genesis and the Bible. Very clearly there is something that we as human beings share with animals, in terms of having animation, having a moving spirit,” said Prior. “We are made in God’s image, animals are not, but we still have the breath of life in us. God himself indicates in the Genesis account that there is a special relationship between humans and animals because God gives Adam the job of naming animals.” Prior joined Morgan and Katelyn on Quick to Listen this week to talk about the history of zoos, if we should apply human emotions to animals, and whether animals go to heaven. (6:50) What are the objects of the public’s love in this story? (14:50) For many, this story pits animals against humans. Is that a false choice? Why do we prioritize the child’s life over the gorilla’s? (21:20) What do zoos assume about the way the world should be?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/kOm1EZJp_hA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 02, 2016
Transgender Confusion Goes beyond Elementary School Bathrooms
This week, 10 states announced that they would sue the Obama administration following its executive order mandating that school districts allow transgender students to use their bathroom of their preferred gender. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed an amendment aimed at preventing the US government from withholding federal funds from North Carolina, after the state passed its controversial “bathroom bill,” requiring people to use the bathroom that matches their birth certificate this March. This comes on the heels of the Justice Department’s decision to sue the state for the law for “state-sponsored discrimination.” Few of these political fights have helped anyone better understand the nuances of transgenderism, says Mark Yarhouse, the author of Understanding Gender Dysphoria and founder of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity. “People experience legislation as an attack on the things that they believe in, and other people think that legislation is symbolic of the things that matter the most to them,” he said. “You could easily have two sides speaking past each other. I think that’s what we have today.” CT believes that God created people with male and female identities and would generally encourage integration and alignment of gender identity with biological sex, based on a creational account of male and female (Gen. 1-2) and the overall goodness of bodies and embodiment. But what does that belief mean for how Christians engage this topic in the world? Yarhouse joined Morgan and Katelyn on Quick to Listen this week to discuss what’s behind the term cis-gender, what the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage may mean about evangelicals’ response, and how one transgender Christian has handled the bathroom conversation in her church. (5:30) What do bathrooms have to do with larger discussions about gender identity and the broader LGBTQ movement? (8:45) Is it accurate to describe transgender people as an immutable class or is it more complicated than that? (14:20) What ways other than politics and reality shows that Americans can learn more about the transgender experience?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/HhXtRQDiysE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 26, 2016
Can We Trust Facebook to Be Fair with Conservative News?
If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably glanced at--and maybe clicked into--the trending headlines on your timeline. Maybe you thought these stories were generated by an algorithm. You’d be wrong. Instead, Facebook employed a team of people who selected these stories, with a bit of influence from management. Higher-ups repeatedly instructed the team to keep “stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users,” reported Gizmodo, which broke the story. “Facebook’s bottom line and their shareholders’ best interests are Facebook’s best interests,” said our guest Adam Graber, who writes about technology and the church. “Facebook wants to keep you on their site and keep you clicking. If they can keep a trending topics bar to help you do that, they’re going do that. Yes, they’re looking to keep their users happy but their users aren’t necessarily the ones driving the value of their site.” Graber joined Morgan and guest co-host Ted Olsen to discuss why we value neutrality, how algorithms can both benefit our lives and warp our realities, and whether there’s overlap in CT’s own practices and those of its trending curators. (3:09) What is an algorithm? (5:25) What makes Facebook’s actions so distressing? (12:27) Given previous decisions, can and should Facebook, as a content distributor and business, actually be neutral? (20:26) How can we consume content and order information in ways that are inherently more or less Christian?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/7r8ifeMv1pY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 19, 2016
Thabiti Anyabwile on Why Voting 3rd Party Shouldn’t Ease Your Conscience
Last week, John Kasich and Ted Cruz suspended their presidential campaigns, making Donald Trump the presumptive Republican nominee. The news left many evangelicals praying for Nebraska senator and avid Trump critic Ben Sasse to jump into the race as a third party candidate and sharing Russell Moore’s article on voting for “the lesser of two evils.” D.C.-based pastor and writer Thabiti Anyabwile took a different tact. “Let the hate begin,” he tweeted earlier this week. “But if choice is between [Hillary] Clinton and Trump, I'm voting Clinton. I'll go back to not voting when this man is defeated!” But a lot of people aren’t convinced. Just prior to Cruz’s concession, polls showed anywhere between 16 percent to 24 percent of churchgoing evangelical voters faced with a Trump vs. Clinton matchup, would choose to stay home or vote for a third-party candidate. (Here’s a deep dive into the numbers.) Anyabwile, who has emphatically stated that he is no fan of Clinton, has abstained from voting in recent previous presidential elections. “For the last several elections, I’ve been that principled guy saying ‘I just can’t vote for anybody,’” Anyabwile said. “But this particular election has brought me to a place where I’m staring my principles in the face and I have a different type of crisis of conscience. I can’t opt for a personal type of quietism here, where I palliate my own conscience. I actually have to inform my conscience.” Anyabwile joins Katelyn and Morgan on this week’s Quick to Listen to discuss third party options, what it’s historically like to vote as an African American, and what makes the Trump option different. (5:49) In response to Trump's likely Republican win, many Christians are advocating for a third-party option. Thabiti, you have explicitly critiqued that option. Why? (15:42) What does it mean to inform your conscience? How should our consciences play a role in determining how to vote? How can they also mislead us? (17:35) It’s rare that most people have found candidates who represent all their interests—in fact, many times minorities have had candidates representing their parties who have little love or interest in serving their needs. To what extent are those calling for a third party candidate showing their privilege in expecting to have a candidate that primarily agrees with them?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/1iR1nRURLeM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 12, 2016
The Lost Hope of 'The Biggest Loser'
Everything’s possible if you work hard enough. At least that’s what shows Biggest Loser (NBC), Extreme Weight Loss (ABC) and Fit to Fat to Fit (A&E) suggest to their audiences. But it’s not necessarily true, as The New York Times reported this week in an in-depth examination about the lives of Biggest Loser contestants—many of whom regained the weight they had lost over the course of the show after they left. As the Times reports, biology—specifically one’s metabolism—plays a significant role in determining a person’s weight and their ability to lose weight. This news may bring relief to the former contestants, but it also ought to challenge society about its own assumptions about individuals and weight. “As Christians we want to be welcoming to everyone and not judge someone based on their size but when it gets down to it, a lot of times we may think What is wrong with this person that they haven’t taken care of their health?” says CT’s online associate editor and reality television show fan Kate Shellnutt. Shellnutt joins Morgan and Katelyn this week in Quick to Listen to discuss the relationship between social media and weight loss, how reality TV shames the wrong people, and how we can honor ourselves. One of the main contestants profiled in the NYT piece is a pastor in North Carolina who gained back a significant amount of weight after going on the show. He says his metabolism is now so slow, “It’s kind of like hearing you have a life sentence." How does this idea challenge common conceptions about people who are overweight or obese, such as, "It's all their fault," "they're lazy," etc.? What's going on in our attraction to reality TV shows? How do they speak to our particular cultural moment or spiritual desires? What's holistic health? Are there specific ways Christian communities can lead on the issue of holistic health?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/ug3xCf0CvlA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 05, 2016
Beyonce's 'Lemonade' as a Redemptive Work with Zakiya Jackson
On Saturday, Beyoncé released her 12-song visual album, Lemonade, in which the 20-time Grammy award winning artist known for “Single Ladies,” “Irreplaceable,” and “Crazy in Love,” explored themes of anger, loss, redemption, and resurrection. The album’s lyrics and imagery also included a plethora of Christian references, including mentions of the “Holy Book,” “baptism”, and visuals of the Bible. “Chapters” within the visual album are named “emptiness,” “forgiveness,” “resurrection,” and “redemption.” “[I] went to the basement, confessed my sins, and was baptized in a river,” Beyonce says at the beginning of “Intuition.” “I got on my knees and said 'amen'... and said 'I mean.'” In “Anger,” text reading “God is God and I am not” momentarily appears on the screen, a section that moved Zakiya N. Jackson, who wrote about her initial reaction to the album’s release on Collected Young Minds. “It really is about being frustrated and angry, this sense of this isn’t right, what I have experienced. But even in the midst of this, there’s this acknowledgement that I can’t control all of this,” she said. “I love that because this place of letting go is acknowledging that God is bigger than me and that I can’t make everything the way I want it to be.” Jackson joined Morgan and Katelyn on this week’s Quick to Listen to discuss what Beyonce means to black women, what makes her message stand apart, and whether it’s time to make more lemonade. -What makes Beyonce unique? What about her work moves you? -As Christians, how did you interpret or perceive the religious references in the visual album? -It seems like the significance of Beyonce’s work is tied to her identity as a black woman. Why is that important? Why does that that resonate?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/eX_ARJqk73Q" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Apr 28, 2016
Darrin Patrick, Pastors, and Pride with Barnabas Piper
Last week, Darrin Patrick, vice president of the Acts 29 church planting network and founding pastor of The Journey megachurch in St. Louis, was fired. (Read CT’s story.) Among the Reformed pastor’s offenses: “domineering over those in his charge,” “misuse of power/authority,” and “history of building his identity through ministry and media platforms.” TL;DR: pride. The son of uber popular Reformed pastor John Piper and author and blogger in his own right, Barnabas Piper joined Quick to Listen this week to offer his perspective to this thorny and recurring issue. “With the internet being what it is, local church ministry is no longer local church ministry,” says Piper, pointing to the number of pastors who publish books, host their own podcasts, and maintain an active social media presence. “Pride is an occupational hazard for all of us: if you have a byline, if your name is on a book, or you have a podcast, it comes with pride.” Here’s Piper’s chat with Morgan and Katelyn about what may make Acts 29 leaders prone to arrogance, what a pastor’s kid thinks other pastor’s kids are thinking after their parent messes up, and the circumstances under which a pastor should be restored.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/fmQN0PaR0bc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Apr 21, 2016
What Christians Have in Common with LGBT Activists
Less than a year after a Supreme Court verdict guaranteed same-sex marriage across the country, Christian conservatives and LGBT rights advocates remain at odds. The object of discontent: legislation that proponents say would guarantee the rights of people of faith to make hiring and employment decisions based on that faith, but which opponents claim would be used as a weapon to discriminate against LGBT people. CT recognizes that Christians hold a broad array of perspectives on these issues and invited Thomas Berg, a religious liberty scholar, to share his thoughts on the bills’ cultural and legal context. Berg teaches at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis and has had his work cited by the Supreme Court. In the latest episode of Quick to Listen, Berg chatted with Morgan and Katelyn about the significance of non-discrimination ordinances, why LGBT activists feel especially threatened by much of the recent legislation, and why he thinks the two sides actually share something important in common.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/KbMZUpZU8c0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Apr 14, 2016
'God’s Not Dead' Scratches an Evangelical Itch
You’ve heard the story before. Christian filmmakers make a movie about themselves. The title: God’s Not Dead. The focus: Evangelical persecution in the United States. Their $2 million creation opens on the big screen. It grosses $60 million during its theatrical run. Two years later comes the sequel, God’s Not Dead 2. Okay, so maybe we haven’t heard this exact story before. So how did Pure Flix, the production company behind these films, strike gold? Film critic Alissa Wilkinson discusses this question with Morgan and Katelyn in the latest episode of Christianity Today’s weekly podcast, Quick to Listen. Wilkinson, CT’s critic at large, recently reviewed the film for Flavorwire and analyzed the film against the Christian movie genre for the Thrillist. (Wilkinson previously juxtaposed the original to Fifty Shades of Grey.) “In the Bible, winning looks very different for people than it does in this film,” Wilkinson noted about the movie, where a teacher goes to court after quoting from the Bible in her classroom. “Sometimes you won’t win, even if you believe all the right things and have your apologetics straight.”<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/MT_lmGv87U0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Apr 07, 2016
Processing Persecution in Pakistan with advocate of persecuted Christians, K.A. Ellis
More than 70 people died on Easter Sunday after Taliban suicide bombers blew themselves up at a children’s park in Lahore, Pakistan. The majority of the victims were Muslim, but its targets were Christians, a spokesperson for the terrorist group said. Life hasn’t been easy for Pakistani Christians in the past 50 years, says K. A. Ellis, an ambassador for the Christian persecution advocacy group, International Christian Response, who points to the country’s blasphemy laws and recent terrorist bombings of churches. “If it’s hubris to violate the image of God in any innocent being, it seems an even more profound offense to violate the name of Christ that believers bear,” says Ellis, a Ph.D. candidate in Church History at Oxford Center for Mission Studies. “God is grieved by the death of all men, but those who bear his name are precious in his sight.” Ellis joins Morgan and Katelyn this week as they process how Western Christians should grieve and act following this latest attack. What makes the Pakistan attack unique? What types of stories about persecution make the most prominent headlines? Should Christians grieve the death of other Christians differently than they do other victims? What can our support for persecuted Christians look like?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/wbXcPxw3mRk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 31, 2016
The Flint Water Crisis with Political Science Professor Kevin R. den Dulk
The ongoing Flint water crisis has reminded many of us of the role that government plays in providing water to the public. While evangelicals may not be inclined to see access to clean water as a faith or justice-based issue, Calvin College political science professor Kevin R. den Dulk makes a case for why Christians should care about the human “right to water”. “For Christians, access to water ought not be about the arbitrariness of birth and geography or the vagaries of power,” writes the Michigan-based professor for The Center for Public Justice. “It is a matter of justice, and our response is grounded in God’s call to seek shalom, in this case by addressing the access problems and inevitable conflicts that arise when a good is both basic and unevenly distributed.” On this week’s Quick to Listen, Kevin R. den Dulk joins Morgan and Katelyn to discuss the Flint water crisis through the lens of public justice. With the Flint crisis in mind, what do bodies “owe” us citizens? Is water a human right? What does a public theology of water look like?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/j-w0Mcat0kA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 23, 2016
Christians and Protest with Pastor and Activist Jonathan Brooks
Political Rallies. Black Lives Matter. March for Life. Westboro Baptist. If voting is the most popular way that Americans voice their concerns and frustrations, protests may be the second. (Time Magazine even named Ferguson protesters a runner up in its 2014 annual Person of the Year.) Jonathan Brooks, who leads Canaan Community Church on the city’s South Side, has experience organizing around issues of juvenile incarceration, inequitable school funding, and unfair policing practices. He’s also participated in several protests against police brutality after the city released a video showing a police officer shooting teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times last November. On this week’s Quick to Listen, Chicago pastor and community activist Jonathan joins Morgan and Katelyn to talk about protests. What makes a successful protest? Beyond protests, what other types of political actions must happen for social change? How do you define civil disobedience and how should Christians feel about it? We answer these questions, and preview CT’s April cover story on why all Christians should consider civil disobedience.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/podcasts/christianitytoday/~4/Zkm7VJCdbX0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Mar 18, 2016