Almost Heretical

By Tim Ritter & Nate Hanson

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Two ex-pastors (Nate Hanson and Tim Ritter) daring to question the so-called orthodoxy of American evangelicalism. Conversations on faith, the Bible, church and more. (Email us:

Episode Date
34: Authority over a man (1 Timothy 2:11-15)
Part 5 on Christianity and gender. Nate and Tim begin to tackle 1 Timothy 2 by considering the context of the letter, the significance of the goddess Artemis, and the Greek word translated as “exercise authority”. Once again we see that paying close attention to the gender passages in light of their original context opens up whole new avenues of interpretation.
Aug 15, 2018
33: Silencing women (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)
Part 4 in a series on gender. Nate and Tim discuss some of the more infuriating ways complementation theology affects Christian women and explore the frustrating passage where Paul seems to tell women to sit down and shut up. But what is Paul really saying? And how could he tell women to be silent while simultaneously encouraging them to preach and prophecy in the church gatherings?
Aug 06, 2018
32: Husbands and slave masters (Ephesians 5:22-6:9, Colossians 3:18-4:1)
Part 3 in a series on Christianity and gender. Nate and Tim discuss two more key passages related to gender, trying to understand why Paul grouped husbands & wives, children & fathers, and slaves & masters. What do wives, children and slaves have in common? And what does Paul say to them? And how does he address husbands, fathers and slave masters? Listen to see how Paul’s theology of power makes surprising sense of it all and shows how these passages mean the exact opposite of what many claim they mean.
Jul 23, 2018
31: Authority over her own damn head (1 Corinthians 11:2-16)
Part 2 in a series on gender and the Bible. Nate and Tim discuss the first of six key New Testament passages pertaining to gender that have traditionally been used to support male authority. What is Paul really getting at about women covering their heads? Does “the head of the woman is man” really mean men are supposed to be in charge? Who gets authority over women’s bodies? And what in the world do angels have to do with any of this? All this and more as Nate and Tim take a closer look and show how most of us were taught that Paul was saying the exact opposite of what he really meant.
Jul 19, 2018
30: Jesus ended hierarchy
Part 1 in a series on Jesus and gender: Nate and Tim discuss some prerequisites to looking at New Testament texts pertaining to gender. Jesus explicitly taught that his disciples were to follow his example and abandon all sense of status, power and hierarchy. This was Christianity 101 to the apostles and early church and therefore any interpretation of the gender passages that today seem so offensive to women must acknowledge this overarching Christian ethic. If Jesus said there weren’t even supposed to be positions of status in the church, and Paul believed every Christian was to lay down their power over others, how could the New Testament possibly “teach” that men are supposed to have authority and women are supposed to submit?
Jul 16, 2018
29: Let's start talking about gender
Get ready for some episodes talking about gender. The church has a long history of oppressing and silencing women, and using the Bible and Paul to justify that. We are going to push back on that and show that Paul thought the opposite. Tell your friends, tell you dad, tell your mom.
Jul 11, 2018
28: Immigration and kidnapping the Bible
Last week Jeff Sessions used the Bible to justify kidnapping children, separating families, and continuing one of the cruelest immigration policies in US history. We're sickened, so we put out an impromptu episode calling BS on that. Our theology matters because it can lead to death or life. Which will you choose?
Jun 25, 2018
27: Connecting #churchtoo, Kaepernick and Christian nationalism
What is the connection between rampant pastoral abuse in evangelical churches and evangelicalism’s collusion with conservative politics? Nate and Tim discuss how American slaveholder religion instilled a reverence for authority that is the root of both these issues. Listen in as they touch on #churchtoo, Colin Kaepernick, protecting the status quo, the notion that we’re all just supposed to be grateful for authorities, and more.
Jun 20, 2018
26: Jesus and self defense
Tragically, school shootings happen seemingly every week in America these days, and every time they do a debate breaks out over guns and the right to bear arms. Many believe it’s “a God-given right” to own and use a gun, and many think that Jesus affirmed and even commanded armed self-defense. Others insist that Christianity is inherently pacifist and that following Jesus means giving up one’s right to bear arms. This week Tim finally went out to the shed to record an episode looking at where Jesus really stood on self-defense.
Jun 06, 2018
25: Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove - Slaveholder Religion
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove reflects on the painful reality that much of white American Christianity is more akin to slaveholder religion than the Christianity of Christ. He discusses how to distinguish between the two and shares some of his own journey of reconstructing the gospel.
May 30, 2018
24: Post traumatic history disorder
Acknowledging the truth of our history can be painful, overwhelming and even traumatic. The history itself is also one of traumatization. Nate and Tim continue the conversation about the tragic truth of American church history by reflecting on last week’s discussion with Mark Charles and more.
May 23, 2018
23: Mark Charles - The truth of our history
Mark Charles retells the founding of America to expose political, social and spiritual implications. You may need to sit and process for a while after this episode. What if we're remembering Abraham Lincoln and our founding all wrong? What if the systemic issues of our national history are still unresolved today?
May 16, 2018
22: The risk of believing differently
Is it worth losing the certainty you once had to pursue a better picture of God? What if God becomes harder to believe in? Tim and Nate talk about doing better and deeper theology and how that might make for a harder story to believe.
May 09, 2018
21: Brian Zahnd - Making Christianity possible again
Brian Zahnd joins us to talk about how to make Christianity viable for this generation and generations to come.
May 02, 2018
20: Rachel Held Evans - Using and abusing the Bible
Rachel Held Evans joins us to discuss the Bible and what to do with it.
Apr 25, 2018
19: The myth of the slippery slope
If you start believing things outside your faith circle you might fall down a slippery slope... Should you be afraid of that? According to the ancient Christian tradition, the slippery slope might be the way to true spiritual maturity.
Apr 18, 2018
18: Wrath and Liberation
How does getting crucified liberate anyone? Is liberation the central driving force behind the gospel? And is the wrath of God something we need to be liberated from or instead something that liberates? This week Nate and Tim examine atonement through the lens of liberation.
Apr 11, 2018
17: God isn't the problem
Jesus saves us from ourselves, not from God. Today we look at 10 different ways to think about the atonement that are key in the Bible.
Mar 28, 2018
16: I used to be terrified of God
Nate shares why he used to be afraid of God. We explore why penal substitution is worth fighting back on. Part 2 in a series of discussions on what happened at the cross, we continue the critique of PSA and the uglier aspects of Calvinistic theology and answer questions from Nate’s grandma about hell, judgment and universalism.
Mar 21, 2018
15: Mako Nagasawa - Beyond penal substitution
Is Penal Substitutionary Atonement really the gospel? Is it even true? And what other options are there for making sense of Christ's death? This week we're joined by Mako Nagasawa to kick off a series of conversations all about atonement. He breaks down the problems with penal substitution, discusses an alternative "medical" view of atonement and explain the need to discern between retributive and restorative justice.
Mar 14, 2018
14: Give up power like Jesus (Part 4)
Contrary to popular evangelical practice, the call to follow Jesus is an invitation to relinquish power over others. Part 4 in a series on the Bible as a story about power, we contrast this ethic with the theology of power and submission that is rooted in American slavery and is alive and well in the American church today.
Mar 07, 2018
13: Power for the powerless (Part 3)
If you want power, you probably shouldn’t have it. This week we explore the relationship between the Jewish exile and power, the idea of two Jewish messiah figures and how Jesus was the key to unlocking the human problem with power.
Feb 28, 2018
12: The Bible speaks truth to power (Part 2)
The Bible is trying to tell a story about power. Will we let it? The Old Testament weaves together two ideas: Humanity needs to wield power in order to set things right, but everyone who seeks this power proves incapable of handling it justly. This episode explores how the prophets and the prophetic nature of the Bible play an important role in telling this story.
Feb 14, 2018
11: The Bible is a story about power (Part 1)
So much abuse and hurt is rooted in issues of power, yet power is rarely discussed in church. Though it’s been largely ignored, the danger and corrupting influence of power is a theme that runs throughout the entire Bible. Nate and Tim start a new series exploring how the Bible tells a vitally important story about power that evangelicalism desperately needs to listen to.
Feb 07, 2018
10: When theology hurts (Stories)
Last week Tim and Nate discussed why theology even matters. It matters because ideas have consequences and bad theology hurts people. This week we stop talking and listen to stories from people who have been affected by bad evangelical theology.
Jan 31, 2018
09: Taking responsibility for our theology
Nate and Tim step back from the Old Testament theology to reflect on why theology matters at all. Ideas trickle downstream. The affects of this trickle-down and the consequences of our theology matter, especially when they’re coming from the top of white evangelicalism and may be propping up some of our nation’s ugliest ideologies.
Jan 24, 2018
08: Giants and genocide
The episodes on the Fall introduced some crazy stuff about gods engaging in a battle to take over the human bloodline. Now we jump into the heated conversation on divine violence by reinterpreting the conquest of Canaan in light of this mythological worldview. Did God decree genocide or gianticide, and what difference does it make?
Jan 17, 2018
07: Is God more tolerant of other religions than we are?
Rethinking the Fall (Part 5) — The reinterpretation of the Fall sparked further questions, so Nate and Tim slow down to reflect on some its implications. How does this all affect the theological debate about God being in control? And what does it imply about the Bible’s attitude toward other religions?
Jan 11, 2018
06: God gives up (sort of)
Rethinking the Fall (Part 4) — Nate and Tim take a fresh look at the strange story of the Tower of Babel and piece together some surprising biblical passages that tell of God giving up and delegating other gods to rule the nations.
Jan 08, 2018
05: Eve and a war for power
Rethinking the Fall (Part 3) — Nate and Tim continue re-examining the Fall by piecing together clues in the Bible that point to a war for power initiated by the gods.
Jan 05, 2018
04: Nate has questions
Rethinking the Fall (Part 2) — Nate has some good questions in response to the previous episode on the Fall and Tim tries to answer them.
Jan 02, 2018
03: Why is there a snake in the garden?
Rethinking the Fall (Part 1) — Tim Ritter kicks off the first episode in a series rethinking the Biblical idea of the Fall. There’s more to the Adam and Eve story than we’ve been led to believe.
Jan 01, 2018
02: In the beginning
Is there just one god? Tim Ritter and Nate Hanson jump into the theological deep end as they rethink the very essence of Biblical monotheism. Buckle up as they start to uncover surprising ideas behind the story of the Bible.
Jan 01, 2018
01: Ex-pastors in a shed
How can we move forward after seeing the dark underbelly of Evangelical church world? Tim Ritter and Nate Hanson kick off Almost Heretical by starting the conversation.
Jan 01, 2018