Well, this year-plus-long series is almost at an end. I have tried to be an impartial tour guide over the past 16 episodes (17 if you included the convo with Greg Boyd & Thomas Jay Oord), but now I get to share with you my own conclusions.
I can honestly say that my own theodicy has changed as a result of going through this series together. This conclusion will be in 2 parts. Today, I talk about what to do with the book of Job and the obvious differences in the Old Testament and New Testament. Plus, I will share some nuanced agreements and disagreements with theologians like Karl Barth and Greg Boyd. I'll also talk about points of connection between the Cross, the Big Bang, and evolution.

Finally, I will lay out three categories for interpreting our experiences of pain or suffering that will serve as an important framework for our finale. Are there evil AND good kinds of suffering? How could we discern them and respond properly?

I'm sure questions and disagreements may abound, so I encourage you to participate in the Group Forum discussion on Patreon. You can find these forums on the Deep Talks Patreon page linked below.

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Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more. STARTING THIS MONTH, WE'LL HAVE AN PATREON COMMUNITY GROUP ZOOM HANG-OUT to build relationships with others across the world and to do theology and meaning-making together.

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Ted Kim is senior pastor of Evanston Vineyard. He did his undergrad degree at the University of Chicago and has Masters of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

Ted joins me today to discuss the role of “story” in our quest for meaning in an increasingly “post-secular” America. How should followers of Jesus who believe in a true-overarching story for humanity interact with the stories we are constantly consuming via streaming services, movies, books and podcasts? 

How do we sift through our cultural stories to find points of harmony and dissonance with the grand story of Scripture?

How is Christ at work in the our mythological fantasy stories like The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

What can be mutually gained by expanding our cultural horizons through friendship with people in different macro and micro-cultures?

We’ll discuss all this and more in today’s episode.

To watch the most recent Deep Talks video on Luke Skywalker/Star Wars mentioned in this podcast, visit the Deep Talks YouTube channel at :
https://youtu.be/_7ixhW_Ts7Y

If you find this podcast to be helpful and you want to see it continue ad-free, would you consider becoming a supporter on Patreon?

Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more. Starting in 2021, WE HAVE A NEW BONUS REWARD- A PATREON COMMUNITY GROUP ZOOM HANG-OUT to build relationships with others across the world and to do theology and meaning-making together.

To find out more and help us reach our first goal of 300 patrons which will sustain weekly, ad-free theological and philosophical education to anyone with an internet connection, visit:

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The week after the storming of the U.S. Capitol, I talked with my friend Adam Russell on The Ferment podcast about the historical, theological, & psychological reasons for the development of "Culture War Christianity" and American Civil Religion. How did we get here as Christians in America? What can we do differently in our church communities?

This conversation was released last week on The Ferment podcast and I'm re-airing here this week as I recover from COVID 19. 

Adam has been on Deep Talks several times before. Most recently in Episode 61, where you can hear more of his story and bio.  Here's the link to that convo:
https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-ieq4a-dcee40

If you find this podcast to be helpful and you want to see it continue ad-free, would you consider becoming a supporter on Patreon?

Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more. STARTING THIS MONTH, WE'LL HAVE A PATREON COMMUNITY GROUP ZOOM HANG-OUT to build relationships with others across the world and to do theology and meaning-making together.

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In part 17 of The Problem of Evil series, I talk with theologians Greg Boyd and Thomas Jay Oord about their unique responses to the problems of evil and suffering. Why did each of them find traditional responses to the problem of evil in various forms of classical theism unsatisfying? What is similar and different about their respective positions?

Does either Boyd's Open Theism or Oord's Essential Kenosis/God Can't theodicy provide more satisfying answers than what people like Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Leibniz, Barth provided in the past?

How do they both respond to some of the more challenging theological or philosophical critiques aimed at their ideas?

Dr. Gregory A. Boyd is theologian with advanced degrees from Yale and Princeton, senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is author of numerous books. Some of the more relevant books to today's conversation are:

God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God 
God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict 
Satan & the Problem of Evil: Constructing a Trinitarian Warfare Theodicy
The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Volumes 1 & 2

 

Dr. Thomas Jay Oord is a theologian and philosopher with advanced degrees from Nazarene Theological Seminary and Claremont Graduate University.  He directs the doctoral program at Northwind Theological Seminary and the Center for Open and Relational Theology. He's also authored numerous books and articles including:

God Can't: How to Believe in God and Love After Tragedy, Abuse, and Other Evils 
The Uncontrolling Love of God: An Open and Relational Account of Providence

Defining Love: A Philosophical, Scientific, and Theological Engagement 

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Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more. STARTING THIS MONTH, WE'LL HAVE A PATREON COMMUNITY GROUP ZOOM HANG-OUT to build relationships with others across the world and to do theology and meaning-making together.

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Dr. John Vervaeke is a renowned cognitive scientist at the University of Toronto. He's published groundbreaking research on the cognitive science of "meaning." His popular "Awakening from the Meaning Crisis" lecture series is a massive 50 part video & podcast series with well over 1 million total views on YouTube. In this series, Vervaeke weaves together insights from cognitive science, biology, philosophy, theology, and history to try and help people understand how we've arrived at our current cultural meaning crisis in the West and what he thinks can be done about it.

It really is impossible to give a succinct summary of everything that we discuss together in this extended episode, but what I can say is that it was one of the more mind-blowing and insightful conversations I feel like I've had on this podcast. Plus, it was so great to have such a meaningful discussion with someone who would not profess to share my Christian convictions. Hopefully, we've modeled a way of dialogue together that shows that we can respect each other's convictional differences and still be open to learning from each other. 

You can check out John Vervaeke's "Awakening from the Meaning Crisis" lecture series here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLND1JCRq8Vuh3f0P5qjrSdb5eC1ZfZwWJ

If you find this podcast to be helpful and you want to see it continue ad-free, would you consider becoming a supporter on Patreon?

Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more. STARTING THIS MONTH, WE'LL HAVE A PATREON COMMUNITY GROUP ZOOM HANG-OUT to build relationships with others across the world and to do theology and meaning-making together.

Help us reach our first goal of 300 patrons in order to sustain weekly, ad-free theological and philosophical education to anyone with an internet connection!

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We're nearing the end of our problem of evil series. In today's episode, we'll explore the controversial theology and philosophy known as Open Theism, which was popularized in the 1990's by a group of predominantly evangelical theologians.
These open theists challenged both classical and process views on God and attempted to find a way to make metaphysical sense of what they believed was essential to the biblical narrative. Believing that the entire biblical narrative collapses if we cannot find a way to account for human moral responsibility and that God cannot be good if He acts as the "arsonist firefighter" in creation, these controversial theologians attempted to bring an innovative approach to addressing the problems of evil and suffering.

Did they succeed, or does open theism just fall into the same theodicy problems that both classical and process theists before them faced?

If you find this podcast to be helpful and you want to see it continue ad-free, would you consider becoming a supporter on Patreon?

Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more. STARTING THIS MONTH, WE'LL HAVE AN PATREON COMMUNITY GROUP ZOOM HANG-OUT to build relationships with others across the world and to do theology and meaning-making together.

Help us reach our first goal of 300 patrons in order to sustain weekly, ad-free theological and philosophical education to anyone with an internet connection!

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As we discussed in Part 14 of this series, the 20th century brought unimaginable human moral evils, and yet much beneficial human progress. Our basic understanding of how the universe functions also shifted. Our Newtonian perspective gave way to Einstein and then to quantum physics.
Perhaps, the metaphysics of classical theism need to be reexamined too if we're to properly address the problem of evil? 

Enter the philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead and his new school of philosophy and theology known as process theism (aka process thought, process philosophy, etc).

In today's episode, we'll explore what this new philosophy and theology is all about and how it attempts to address the problems with evil and suffering that proponents feel were inadequately addressed in more classical & traditional theologies.

Is process theism a creative new solution, or is it simply a new kind of gnosticism?

f you find this podcast to be helpful and you want to see it continue on ad-free, would you consider becoming a supporter on Patreon?

Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more.
Help us reach our first goal of 300 patrons in order to sustain weekly, ad-free theological and philosophical education to anyone with an internet connection!

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Today's episode is a unique episode because I'm on the other end of the interview for a change!

 

Steven White is a pastor in Iowa, a long time listener of this podcast, and a member of our Deep Talks Patreon Community. He recently reached out to me to see if we could record an interview together as part of his Master's thesis he is completing focusing on cultural theology & church leadership. I was glad to be of help in that way, so we jumped on for a Zoom call last week. I thought he asked some really great questions about:

-my own journey of faith and theological development

-what the "meaning-making" part of my podcast title means (which I don't know if I ever properly explained on the podcast before!)

- how values are connected to our cultural programming, genetic predispositions, and church environments & traditions

- and some other excellent follow-up questions to material covered in the Christ and Culture series, the Mind Software series, the Hyper-Objects episode, liturgical programming and more.

Steven had some really great insights of his own which really connected some dots together on how all of this stuff is related, so I asked him he wouldn't mind if I shared the recording of the conversation. I thought it might be a great way to recap so many of the things that have been discussed on this podcast throughout the course of 2020.

If you find this podcast to be helpful and you want to see it continue on ad-free, would you consider becoming a supporter on Patreon?

Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more.
Help us reach our first goal of 300 patrons in order to sustain weekly, ad-free theological and philosophical education to anyone with an internet connection!

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This is part 2 of our miniseries. Make sure to listen to part 1 (Episode 78) before you listen to this one.

In this episode we'll explore the differences between masculine & feminine cultures, and the differences between cultures that avoid uncertainty and those that embrace it.
Plus, we'll try to answer some of the initial questions I posed at the start of part 1 and consider how Christians can begin to comparatively discern the values of Jesus' Kingdom of God and the values within their own cultural frame.

For Patreon supporters, there is a PDF download with some helpful notes and visual aides to accompany this two part series.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/mind-software-44833021?utm_medium=clipboard_copy&utm_source=copy_to_clipboard&utm_campaign=postshare

f you find this podcast to be helpful and you want to see it continue on ad-free, would you consider becoming a supporter on Patreon? Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more.
Help us reach our first goal of 300 patrons in order to sustain weekly, ad-free theological and philosophical education to anyone with an internet connection!

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What is behind the Trump vs Biden, lefts vs right cultural divide in America? Why do some people become convinced by COVID conspiracies? Why do some march in Black Lives Matter protests while others fly Blue Lives Matter flags in their yards? Have you ever visited a foreign country and been completely shocked at how different the cultural values and behaviors were? 

In this two-part miniseries, we'll explore how culture acts as software for our minds, shaping our perceptions of reality, and programming our values and behaviors.
We’ll compare cultural values on the macro-national level, as well as look at how local cultures and sub-cultures like church communities develop unique values and attempt to interface with the larger cultural values of their nation.

Are there American cultural values that are at odds with the values of Jesus’ “Kingdom of God” culture?  How would we begin to even see that if our culture shapes our perceptions of reality?

To attempt to answer these questions, we'll be using the groundbreaking research of the 20th-century Dutch social psychologist, Geert Hofstede. Hofstede's initial research into the four dimensions of culture will be an absolutely transformative tool for helping you understand the world, your own upbringing, church community or religious experiences, and the divisive cultural moment we are living in here in America in 2020.

THIS IS PART ONE OF A TWO-PART MINISERIES. PART TWO WILL BE RELEASED ON 12/9/20 ALONG WITH A PDF RESOURCE FOR PATREON SUPPORTERS.

f you find this podcast to be of some help in your life and you want to see it continue on ad-free, would you consider becoming a supporter on Patreon? Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more.
Help us reach our first goal of 300 patrons in order to sustain weekly, ad-free theological and philosophical education to anyone with an internet connection!

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In our dis-enchanted secular age, many of us struggle to believe in "spiritual" entities and powers. In fact, only 4 out of 10 Americans believe that "spiritual beings" exist, yet many people believe in "hyper-objects" like systemic racism, the stock market, climate change, or the "deep state." Are there any points of commonality between this relatively new philosophical concept called "hyper-objects" and the ancient, biblical notion of cosmic spiritual powers?

In today's episode, we'll explore the concept of hyper-objects, cosmic spiritual powers in the writings of the Apostle Paul, and how C.S. Lewis' "Space Trilogy" might help us remain open to there being more going on in reality than we usually like to admit in our Western, post-Enlightenment culture. 

The discussion between Paul Vander Klay & John Vervaeke mentioned in today's episode is available to watch here:
https://youtu.be/GCeHJtdQ0fg?t=5784

To access the article on the Apocalyptic Paul mentioned in today's episode, become a member of the Deep Talks Patreon Community here:
https://www.patreon.com/deeptalkstheologypodcast

 

If you find this podcast to be of some help in your life and you want to see it continue on ad-free, would you consider becoming a supporter on Patreon? Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more.
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Paul Vander Klay is back on the program today to discuss a variety of topics and issues including:
- The Post-COVID Church
-Unplugging from the Culture War Matrix by following Jesus
-The Rise and Fall of the Jordan Peterson zeitgeist and whether Peterson's theology was more Augustinian or Gnostic.
-Why his church is in decline while his online influence keeps growing.
- Why everyone believes in God
- When dinosaurs causes a faith crisis
- suffering with Christ and the problem of evil

-the tension we experience on the narrow way
-and so much more!

Paul Vander Klay is a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church and a YouTuber/Podcaster who explores the intersection of theology with our cultural quests for meaning.

Here's was our first discussion back in episode 18:
https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-cne6s-ae7587

And here was our second discussion back in episode 36:
https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-c6irj-bea95a

Check out Paul Vander Klay's YouTube Channel at:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGsDIP_K6J6VSTqlq-9IPlg

If you find this podcast to be of some help in your life and you want to see it continue on ad-free, would you consider becoming a supporter on Patreon? Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more.
Help us reach our first goal of 300 patrons in order to sustain weekly, ad-free theological and philosophical education to anyone with an internet connection!

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As we discussed in part 13, the scientific discoveries of the 19th century posed monumental theodicy challenges...especially to those trying to find God in reason and in nature. The 20th century only brought greater theodicy challenges when the two worst wars in human history unleashed unimaginable moral evils.
Perhaps the problem of evil had killed God.

In the midst of this, a Swiss theologian named Karl Barth claimed that God's revelation wasn't to be found in nature or reason because it was "hidden" in the suffering Christ.

Barth had unique ideas about evil and suffering arguing that not all pain, suffering, or even death should be thought of as evil. In Barth's attempt to distinguish the goodness of God from the real forces of evil in the cosmos, did he go too far and fall into the ditch of hyper-dualism?

How did he respond when his own son died in a rock-climbing accident?

If you find this podcast to be of some help in your life and you want to see it continue on ad-free, would you consider becoming a supporter on Patreon? Members of the Deep Talks Patreon Community receive bonus Q & A Episodes, articles, charts, forum discussions and more.
Help us reach our first goal of 300 patrons in order to sustain weekly, ad-free theological and philosophical education to anyone with an internet connection!

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The 19th century marked a time of significant discovery in geology and biology, but with these scientific discoveries came a picture of a much older, more violent, and less human-centric world than people previously imagined. In many ways, it was this era that marked the beginning of the "science vs. faith" debates in Western civilization that continue on to this day.
Can we really blame Adam and Eve's fall for the existence of disease, famine, and natural disasters when it becomes clear that these things were around for millions of years before humans?
Was there an atheistic conspiracy to use this new science to do away with Christianity, or were people like Charles Darwin thrust into a crisis of faith after their scientific discoveries?
Does evolution make God a moral monster, or does it make God's world filled with more mystery and wonder? Is it all just a matter of perspective?

Plus:
-Frankenstein's monster as a theological symbol of this era's quest for meaning, 

-the discovery of dinosaurs

-the horrific details of real parasites in creation that act like Xenomorphs in the Alien movies,

-the historical roots of the young-earth creationism apologetics and a priest who said Darwin was right and Christians better start dealing with it.

and so much more!

If you haven't gone through the previous episodes in this extensive series, check them out at :
https://deeptalkstheologypodcast.podbean.com/p/the-problem-of-evil-1572355242/

Deep Talks is trying to reach a goal of 300 patrons on Patreon to sustain weekly, ad-free episodes. Supporters on Patreon get access to bonus Q&A Episodes, articles, and other resources. Please consider supporting free theological and philosophical education for as little as $2 a month by going to:

https://www.patreon.com/deeptalkstheologypodcast

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I'm an 80's/90's kid who grew up in the evangelical heyday of Christian subculture. "Christian" music, movies, tv, bookstores, and even our own brand of science was all part of a larger culture war movement. A lot of people my age eventually abandoned right-wing, republican Evangelicalism but simply traded it for left-wing, progressive post-evangelicalism (if they didn't reject Christianity altogether) not realizing they were still combatants in a culture war even though they switched teams.

How does the culture war lure people into a false sense of community?

 

Why is cultural influence so much easier to attain if we just play the culture war game?

How might serious reflections on historic Christology and philosophical theology on the nature of the Truth help us transcend the culture war?
What possible dangers should we brace for if we attempt to leave the constant cycle of culture war? 

Deep Talks is trying to reach a goal of 300 patrons on Patreon to sustain weekly, ad-free episodes. Supporters on Patreon get access to bonus Q&A Episodes, articles, and other resources. Please consider supporting free theological and philosophical education for as little as $2 a month by going to:

https://www.patreon.com/deeptalkstheologypodcast

 

Interested in how we see theological and philosophical ideas embedded in comic book mythology? Check out Paul's latest video on YouTube exploring the deep ideas embedded in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice:

https://youtu.be/_eZkgte8Tx4 

 

To Subscribe & Review on Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/deep-talks-exploring-theology-and-meaning-making/id1401730159

 

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How should Christians in America navigate the "culture war"? Are we forced to choose between either being angry cultural combatants or being passively assimilated into ideologies & guiding stories foreign to the way of Jesus?
How do narratives, especially the hero myths that fill our comic book pages and movie theater screen, invite people to explore theology, ethics, and philosophy? Where might Christ be at work in those stories to reveal what is true, good, and beautiful?

And why might you be watching entire series of The Office for the 100th time?

Our guest to helps us explore these questions is Dr. Russell Moore.

Russell Moore is president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. Dr. Moore is the author of several books, including Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel and The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home. A native Mississippian, he and his wife Maria are the parents of five sons.

Make sure to check out his forthcoming book Courage to Stand here:
https://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/products/the-courage-to-stand-2/

To find out more about Dr. Moore's work at the ERLC, visit their website at :

https://erlc.com

Deep Talks is trying to reach a goal of 300 patrons on Patreon to sustain weekly, ad-free episodes. Supporters on Patreon get access to bonus Q&A Episodes, articles, and other resources. Please consider supporting free theological and philosophical education for as little as $2 a month by going to:

https://www.patreon.com/deeptalkstheologypodcast

 

Interested in how we see theological and philosophical ideas embedded in comic book mythology? Check out Paul's latest video on YouTube exploring the deep ideas embedded in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice:

https://youtu.be/_eZkgte8Tx4 

 

To Subscribe & Review on Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/deep-talks-exploring-theology-and-meaning-making/id1401730159

 

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You can also give a one-time donation for this episode directly at:

https://cash.app/$PaulAnleitner

 

Is the role of a pastor becoming obsolete?

One thousand years ago, the role of a pastor (or priest) had a radically different value in society than the role they occupy today in Western culture. Understanding how we shifted from a worldview filled with magic and enchantment where pastors were seen as powerful wizards of white magic to modern CEO's of private spiritual corporations won't merely be helpful for pastors to understand but will be transformative to anyone who's spent any amount of time in church.

Our guest to help us explore these important questions and ideas is Dr. Andrew Root. Dr. Root is a theology professor at Luther Seminary. He earned his PhD from Princeton as well as a Master’s in Theology and a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.
He's also the author of several books including The Pastor in a Secular Age: Ministry to People Who No Longer Need God, which we spend our time discussing together today.

Get a copy of Andy's book here:
https://www.amazon.com/Pastor-Secular-Age-Ministry-People/dp/0801098475/ref=sr_1_1?crid=PV70T0M3AVPJ&dchild=1&keywords=the+pastor+in+a+secular+age+by+andrew+root&qid=1600184508&sprefix=the+pastor+in%2Caps%2C177&sr=8-1

This summer, Deep Talks is trying to reach a goal of 300 patrons on Patreon to sustain weekly, ad-free episodes. Supporters on Patreon get access to bonus Q&A Episodes, articles, and other resources. Please consider supporting free theological and philosophical education for as little as $2 a month by going to:

https://www.patreon.com/deeptalkstheologypodcast

 

To Subscribe & Review on Apple Podcasts:

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You can also give a one-time donation for this episode directly at:

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In my formative years when I first started getting into theology and philosophy, I used to really enjoy watching debates between Christian and atheist apologists on the question "Does God exist?"
But the deeper I went on my journey the more I realized that this question, and many of my conceptions of God, were fundamentally flawed. I had misunderstood what the word "God" meant.

When we properly understand what that word means, it becomes clear that everyone (yes, even Richard Dawkins!) believes in God. It also becomes clear, that not every Christian believes in the same God.

In this episode, I'll share a bit of my own journey and lay out the case for why the question, "Does God exist?" is dead.

This summer, Deep Talks is trying to reach a goal of 300 patrons on Patreon to sustain weekly, ad-free episodes. Supporters on Patreon get access to bonus Q&A Episodes, articles, and other resources. Please consider supporting free theological and philosophical education for as little as $2 a month by going to:

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Like Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schleiermacher believed that our reasoning ability has its limits. With growing anti-religious attitudes spreading throughout Europe in the 18th century, Schleiermacher set out to make Christianity relevant to the "cultured despisers" of religion as the Enlightenment shifted into the 19th century.

But did Schleiermacher adapt and redefine Christianity too much? Was he right to believe that we should do away with ideas about the Devil? After all, does believing that Satan exists or not even really change the problem of evil at all? Listen to his arguments and let me know what you think.

This summer, Deep Talks is trying to reach a goal of 300 patrons on Patreon to sustain weekly, ad-free episodes. Supporters on Patreon get access to bonus Q&A Episodes, articles, and other resources. Please consider supporting free theological and philosophical education for as little as $2 a month by going to:

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In this week's episode, we'll explore how theology, philosophy, and the quest for meaning has been the spark that ignited revolutions throughout history, especially since the advent of mass communication beginning in the 15th century. 

Why do revolutionaries seek to change aesthetic symbols and "holy-days" on their path towards changing a culture's guiding story?

Historically, how has something as small as work of theology or philosophy been the seed for eventual political revolutions, civil wars, and mass cultural changes?

Why is training in theology, philosophy, and meaning-making absolutely necessary during these tumultuous times in America?

Is Frozen 2 an example of how new guiding stories seep into the cultural consciousness? (but seriously...)

How do followers of Jesus deal with new or different "guiding stories" without falling into either the ditch of cultural assimilation on one side or a failed "culture war" on the other side?

 

To watch the Bible Project video on "The Way of the Exile" that I referred to in this episode, go to this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzWpa0gcPyo&t=6s

This summer, Deep Talks is trying to reach a goal of 300 patrons on Patreon to sustain weekly, ad-free episodes. Supporters on Patreon get access to bonus Q&A Episodes, articles, and other resources. Please consider supporting free theological and philosophical education for as little as $2 a month by going to:

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Our journey through history searching for insights and answers to the problem of evil has brought us to the height of the Enlightenment era where the limits of reason, especially as it relates to the problem of evil and Christian theology, were stretched and challenged.

What happens if you were to only use reason and "natural" theology to determine what God is like and how reality is structured? This is was Deism attempted to do. Is there a danger to this hyper-rationalism that would eventually lead to the idea of God becoming obsolete, especially in the face of a confusing, painful universe?

What if when it comes to understanding God and figuring out why evil exists at all, we reach a point that is beyond reason? Immanuel Kant thought this was the case and tried to offer a very different, and revolutionary, philosophical framework with a very different theodicy from the Deists, Gottfried Leibniz, or even early Christian thinkers like Calvin, Aquinas, or Augustine.

This summer, Deep Talks is trying to reach a goal of 300 patrons on Patreon to sustain weekly, ad-free episodes. Supporters on Patreon get access to bonus Q&A Episodes, articles, and other resources. Please consider supporting free theological and philosophical education for as little as $2 a month by going to:

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Dr. Dwight N. Hopkins was born and raised in the segregated south, but through the support system of his loving family and the African American church community, he grew to become a renowned theologian. Hopkins is the Alexander Campbell Professor of Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Graduating from Harvard, Hopkins went on to earn PhD's from Union Seminary and the University of Cape Town (South Africa).

Those of you who listen to this program regularly know that I have credited Dr. Hopkins as being the one who's work first exposed me to the idea of culture as spirit, aesthetic, and labor. 

In today's conversation, I talk with Dr. Hopkins about:
-his personal journey of faith and calling into theology

-how his experiences in African American church communities shaped his interest in cultural theology

-culture as spirit, aesthetic, and labor; and if "spirits" aren't just psychologically symbolic

-how he would theologically and personally evaluate the recent phenomenon of the tearing down statues and monuments throughout America (his answer surprised me!)

-and more!

This summer, Deep Talks is trying to reach a goal of 300 patrons on Patreon to sustain weekly, ad-free episodes. Supporters on Patreon get access to bonus Q&A Episodes, articles, and other resources. Please consider supporting free theological and philosophical education for as little as $2 a month by going to:

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The Problem of Evil series returns with part 10! In this episode, we'll review some of the reasons why theology shifted towards natural theology and rationalism during the Enlightenment and we'll see how a Christian rationalist like Gottfried Leibniz (a man who invented calculus, mechanical calculators, and artificial intelligence over 300 years ago) attempted to solve the problem of evil with his "best of all possible worlds" theodicy.

You find all the previous episodes in this series at:
https://deeptalkstheologypodcast.podbean.com/p/the-problem-of-evil-1572355242/

This summer, Deep Talks is trying to reach a goal of 300 patrons on Patreon to sustain weekly, ad-free episodes. Supporters on Patreon get access to bonus Q&A Episodes, articles, and other resources. Please consider supporting for as little as $2 a month by going to:

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As the old guiding stories found in traditional religious structures seem to be breaking down, why are horror films and nihilistic comedies like Rick and Morty apparently growing in popularity? What sorts of theological and philosophical ideas are embedded in these expressions of popular culture?

To help unpack these ideas, we're joined by author and pastor, JR. Forasteros. JR writes, podcasts, and speaks extensively about the intersection of theology & pop culture. He's got a Master's in Religious Studies, New Testament, and Early Christianity from the University of Missouri-Columbia. To find out more about JR.'s work, check out his website at :

http://jrforasteros.com/

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Nearly one year ago, we released a podcast in our Christ and Culture series called "Battle of the Gods." When it was released last year, some people struggled to see how modern people really did have these same liturgical practices of worship as people in ancient civilizations. I wanted to revisit that episode in light of the recent wave of statues and historical monuments being toppled and destroyed throughout the U.S. 

I believe these events and revived debates about appropriate postures of adoration & devotion to things like the American flag make it even more clear that we are engaged in a battle of the gods.

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This week's guest is Bonnie Kristian. Bonnie is a contributing editor at The Week and has also been featured in Christianity Today, USA TodayTime and many other publications. She also holds a Master's in Christian Thought from Bethel Seminary. 

Bonnie has been studying the QAnon movement and the growing conspiracy theory culture which centers around Donald Trump as a messianic figure. This movement has been both influencing American Christianity and developing as its own religious cult.

Check out some of the articles referred to in today's discussion here:

 

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Today's guest is Adam Russell. Adam is the Lead Pastor at Vineyard Campbellsville in Kentucky, National Director of Vineyard Worship, and host of The Ferment Podcast.

In our conversation, we discuss transformative spiritual experiences and what we do as pastors when people ask us if psychedelic experimentation should be added to the list of normal Christian practices that open us up to God. Plus the deep theological connection between sex and Christian spirituality, 90's revival stories, and whether Joe Rogan has more influence on young men than most pastors. 

Make sure to check out The Ferment Podcast at:
https://www.thefermentpodcast.com/podcast-episodes

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The Bible has strict prohibitions on creating & practicing idolatry but yet also sometimes seems to bless the creation of sacred, symbolic art like the ornate features found in Moses' tabernacle and Solomon's temple, so what distinguishes the use of art and symbol as being idolatrous from something blessed as a sacred? What deeper, existential implications may we need to consider about the role of symbols and how we are to interact with them? How are we not all that different today from ancient people who would worship statues?

For previous episodes exploring the intersection of theology & the arts/culture, including last week's discussion with singer-songwriter Andy Squyres check out:
https://deeptalkstheologypodcast.podbean.com/p/theology-and-culture/

 

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Andy Squyres is a singer-songwriter & pastor from Charlotte, North Carolina.  
He's got a new record coming out. You can hear the first two singles wherever you stream music or over at andysquyres.com
To listen to Andy's first appearance on the podcast where he shared about his backstory and journey of faith you can go here:

https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-gvt9h-a550aa

 

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In this week's Reconstruction Story, we'll hear from someone who grew up in fundamentalism, left to pursue New Age spiritualities and psychedelic exploration, and eventually became a holistic follower of the Way of Jesus. And yes, we have some extended conversation about psychedelic drugs because I know so many listeners who have questions on the subject.

My guest today is Paul Risse. Paul is a husband, father, and a bit of modern Renaissance man. He's a business owner. He builds tiny homes. He's a carpenter, a trainer, a firefighter, and writes about his adventures in the world and what he's learned from them.

You can follow him on Instagram at instagram.com/paulrisse

I got connected to Paul Risse when he became a member of the Deep Talks Patreon Community.

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There's been a significant movement of "exvangelicals" over this past decade. In their process of deconstruction, they come to a point where they no longer see the Christian story they've heard as viable. Deconstruction can often turn to devastation, but is reconstruction possible?

In today's episode, we'll meet Rick Guttersohn, a leadership consultant & licensed master social worker who grew up with me in our small, Charismatic church & school community. Rick went through a significant process of deconstruction that led him to become suicidal, but thankfully that wasn't the end of his journey.

You can find out more about Rick's work by visiting:
www.rickguttersohn.com

If you're a parent with young children, make sure to check the awesome videos Rick put's out for helping kids and parents talk about difficult emotions:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnUwCIozuZ4

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Maybe as you are stuck at home during this quarantine, you find yourself binging a lot more Netflix than you normally would. 

Whether you are aware of it or not, you are actually binging theology.

 

In today's episode we'll explore why "cultural texts" like movies, tv,  and even memes are all works of theology, and I'll give you some tips using Kevin Vanhoozer's Everyday Theology as a guide for how you can discern theological messages.

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Today I recorded a short video to hopefully offer some "difficult encouragement" in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic. This is the audio version of that encouragement, but if you want to watch the video too you can do so at this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKsLbsqtj1I&feature=youtu.be

 

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As a global pandemic rapidly affects the way we do normal life, I have been thinking quite a bit about the 20th-century philosophical masterpiece by existentialist philosopher and author, Albert Camus.

Long after our own plague subsides, there will be lingering questions for millions about God, meaning, & how one ought to live in this world that Camus' novel can help us explore. 

We'll discuss some of the basics of existentialist philosophy, and I'll take you through a short synopsis of the book even if you haven't read it. There is a haunting aspect to some of the parallels in this fictional story with our own real experiences in the world right now. These parallels only serve to help us give language to the deep, existential questions that emerge in unprecedented times like these. We'll explore the symbolism behind how the books central characters respond to the plague, their quarantine, and the ethical choices in front of them.

If God is dead, then can there even be heroes and villains, sinners and saints in a story? Can we create our own values and meaning without God? Is Christ secretly embedded in this "godless" story from Camus? Is Christ present in our own calamities in people and places we've overlooked?

 

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Christians make unique claims not only about Jesus being the Son of God, the Savior of the World, fully God and fully human, etc but they also hold to the unique belief that Jesus is the supreme example for how we are to live in the world. If this is true, why are there such diverse opinions among Christians about how we are to live in the world? In America alone, you bump into MAGA/Trump-loving Christians and Woke Progressive Christians with preferred pronouns. How can this be?

At least one factor that contributes to this, is an easy Bible-reading mistake that gives people an imaginary Jesus instead of the Jesus of the Gospels. It's a simple mistake I made for years too, but I think there's a better way.

 

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In today's episode, we'll do a deep dive exploration into one of the more troubling books of the Bible - Ecclesiastes. Is everything meaningless? 

 

We'll explore both Biblical scholarship and insights from psychology to help us unpack how this book can help us in our own crisis of meaning.

 

Thanks to Deep Talks Patreon Member, Nathan for this week's excellent question.

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One of our Deep Talks Patreon members, Sam, asked a great question about 1 Corinthians 3 and whether the Apostle Paul believed in purgatory. Is Paul teaching "salvation by works" here?

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My guest in today's episode is Justin Brierley. Justin is the longtime host of Unbelievable?, an award-winning show in the U.K. where skeptics, atheists, historians, scientists, theologians, and philosophers exchange meaningful conversations about God, Christianity, philosophy, and the big questions of life.
Along with Unbelievable?,  Justin also hosts Ask N.T. Wright Anything.

 

In our conversation together, I talk with Justin about how he began this program and what he's learned in nearly 15 years of hosting the show. Justin discusses a shift he has seen in the last decade with a movement away from the New Atheism of Richard Dawkins into a new curiosity about Christianity and religion sparked by curious agnostics like Jordan Peterson and Tom Holland.

 

For more information about Justin Brierley, Unbelievable?, his book or any of his upcoming events visit:

https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable

https://www.unbelievable.live/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0714CP5M9/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

https://www.youtube.com/user/PremierUnbelievable

 

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In our last episode in this series, we explored how Molinism attempts to solve the problem of evil; but in today's episode, we will explore some of the objections to Molina's creative theodicy. How might Hitler and the Joker get us to reconsider whether this theodicy does what it sets out to do?

Plus, how did the evil and suffering perpetrated by "Christians" in the 16th-18th century lead to the beginnings of secularism?

What is natural theology? How did the scientific revolution lead to its popularization? How did natural theologians like Gottfried Leibniz attempt to address the problem of evil? What are the strengths and weaknesses of trying to do theodicy within the framework of natural theology?

 

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Jen Meyerson is the Director of Relief for Preemptive Love, an NGO that focuses on disaster relief in some of the most war torn places on the planet. Jen has worked extensively in places like Iraq & Syria, bringing medical relief, education, and support to those most tragically effected by the devastations of war.

Jen has also worked for the United Nations serving those experiencing the horrors of war, genocide, and famine.

In today's episode, I ask Jen to help us understand the conflicts in Iran, Iraq, and Syria, and share the personal stories of the real people caught up in the geopolitical conflict. 

In the midst of so much tragedy and suffering, is there any evidence of hope? What can we possibly to do stop the cycle of violence and to bring relief to those who need it most?

This is an important conversation you don't want to miss.

You can find out more about Jen's work for Preemptive Love at:
https://preemptivelove.org/

 

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Luther and Calvin both made a strong case for evil as the "alien acts of God." Calvin made an especially strong argument that the implications from the theology and metaphysics of people like Augustine and Aquinas should lead to a belief in God's predestination of all things. His argument was so strong that it forced people to reassess the "classical" doctrines of God and the metaphysical beliefs about the nature of reality in order to try and find a way to maintain a belief in libertarian free will and human responsibility for their choices.
One of the first challenges to this classical position emerged as a slight variation away from the classical view by a 16th century Jesuit name Luis De Molina. Molina's new ideas would become known as Molinism. 

In today's episode, we'll explore the basic concepts of Molinism and see how Molinist's attempt to give answers to the problem of evil. Maybe even a couple of well-known movies can help us understand this complex school of thought...

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The era known as the Protestant Reformation is among the most important eras in recorded history. Most Christians who aren't Catholic or Eastern Orthodox can trace their theological influence directly back to Martin Luther and John Calvin. Luther and Calvin are not only a couple of the most important theologians who have ever lived, but they are among the most controversial... even within Protestant circles!

Luther and Calvin both believed they were reclaiming historic Augustinian Christianity from the corrupt Roman Catholic church, arguing for God's predetermining of all things even evil, suffering, and the damnation of the wicked. But were they right? 

Don't make up your mind until you've heard their explanations.

 

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In part 6 of The Problem of Evil we head into Europe's Middle Ages, a time of horrific moral and natural evils. From plagues to crusades, many superstitious explanations abounded for why these evils occurred.
Simultaneously, this was an era filled with significant advancements in the arts and education. 

Arguably the greatest medieval philosopher and theologian, Thomas Aquinas believed that the existence of God was not threatened by the philosophical and theological challenges that evil and suffering presents. 
In this episode, we'll explore his famous "Five Ways" or the five logical arguments he thought proved the existence of God. Plus we'll see how Aquinas differed philosophically from Origen and Augustine and how that philosophical difference affected his understanding of evil, suffering, and the fundamental nature of God's creation.

TODAY's EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Shema Apparel

https://shemaapparel.com/

Deep Talks Patreon Community
https://www.patreon.com/deeptalkstheologypodcast

Become a member of the Deep Talks Patreon Community to help support this podcast and receive bonus content, Q & A opportunities, and more!

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In part 5 of The Problem of Evil, we explore the theology of Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine in the 4th-5th Century. These two men would become pillars of the Christian traditions of the East and West. It's really important to have listened to Part 4 where we discussed Plotinus and Origen in order to make sense of the theology of both of these men.

We'll see in today's episode how Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine answered questions related to the problem of evil such as:
- How do we define "evil"?

-Will evil ever end? Will God save and restore all things eventually...even the most wicked people?

-Are we born into the world evil, good, or neutral?

-If we do have sinful souls, how did they get to be sinful?

-Are humans free to chose God and the True, the Good, and the Beautiful? Do we have free will at all?

 

It's hard to underestimate the importance of these men (especially Augustine) in how they influenced most Christians throughout the history that follows on how we think about God, evil, sin, salvation, and even sex.

 

TODAY's EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Shema Apparel

https://shemaapparel.com/

Deep Talks Patreon Community
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Become a member of the Deep Talks Patreon Community to help support this podcast and receive bonus content.

To Subscribe on Apple Podcasts:
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Connect on with Paul Anleitner on Twitter at:
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In part four of The Problem of Evil, we continue on in church history into the 3rd Century where we'll explore how controversial theologians Tertullian and Origen attempted to address the problem of evil. Plus we'll take a look at one of the most important Greek philosophers of that era- Plotinus.

How does Tertullian attempt to reconcile the seemingly different explanations in the Old Testament and New Testament for the causes of evil and suffering?
What made Origen's theodicy so controversial? How might it be similar and different to his philosophical contemporary, Plotinus? 

What if evil doesn't actually exist?

Special thanks to Deep Talks Patreon Community member, Paul R.! Thanks for charitable support of this podcast! There will be a special bonus episode later this week for all Patreon members, so become a member here:

https://www.patreon.com/deeptalkstheologypodcast

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TO LISTEN TO THE PREVIOUS EPISODE'S IN THIS SERIES, FOLLOW THIS LINK:
https://deeptalkstheologypodcast.podbean.com/p/the-problem-of-evil-1572355242/

In part 3 of "The Problem of Evil", we'll explore the first two centuries of church history where Gnosticism and Marcionism provided a challenging alternative to genuine Christianity. One of the significant appeals of these movements was how they answered the problem of evil and explained the causations for suffering. In the face of these challenges and the threat of martyrdom, early church leaders like Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus provided crucial responses to these challenges and key insights into how early Christians understood the root causes of evil and unjust suffering.

To Subscribe on Apple Podcasts:
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This is part 2 of an extended series exploring the problem of evil. 

In today's episode, we'll explore perspectives contained in the Old Testament and New Testament for why there is evil and suffering the world and how to respond. We'll examine several possibilities for why there seems to be a stark contrast between the Old Testament & New Testament on who causes these things.

We'll also explore books written between the Old & New Testament found in the Dead Sea Scrolls which were important in Jewish thought in the 1st Century and may give us clues as to how the worldview of New Testament authors seems so different in many regards compared to the Old Testament authors. These wild intertestamental stories tell of fallen angels, Nephilim giants, Satan, final judgement, and the deception of humanity.

To Subscribe on Apple Podcasts:
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A couple of important references in this series:

https://www.amazon.com/Christian-Understandings-Evil-Historical-Trajectory/dp/1451484550/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=charlene+p.e.+burns&qid=1570420228&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/How-Read-Job-ebook/dp/B017J89YZW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=how+to+read+job&qid=1570420568&sr=8-1

 

Come to "Tackling our Deepest Questions" at Hope Community in Corcoran, MN on October 27th at 6pm. More info here:
https://www.myhopecommunity.com/events?sapurl=Lys5NjQ4L2xiL2V2LytrY202cTNoP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

This is Part 1 of an extended series exploring the problem of evil.

Few things call into question our beliefs about God & challenge our sense meaning & purpose like experiences of evil, suffering, and injustice.
In this episode we'll introduce the historic challenges to Christian understandings of God that the problem of evil presents. and then we'll dive into a detailed examination of the book of Job in the Old Testament.

What insights does Job give us as we wrestle with the problem of evil? What are some of the common misconceptions and wrong answers people mistakenly pull out of this story? What is and isn't going on in this book?

To Subscribe on Apple Podcasts:
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Connect on with Paul Anleitner on Twitter at:
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Major references/works cited in this episode:

https://www.amazon.com/Christian-Understandings-Evil-Historical-Trajectory/dp/1451484550/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=charlene+p.e.+burns&qid=1570420228&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/How-Read-Job-ebook/dp/B017J89YZW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=how+to+read+job&qid=1570420568&sr=8-1

To Subscribe on Apple Podcasts:
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/deep-talks-exploring-theology-and-meaning-making/id1401730159

 

John Mark McMillan is a Platinum-selling songwriter & artist best known for his songs How He Loves, Future/Past, King of My Heart. In today's conversation, I talk with John Mark about our shared experiences in the Charismatic tradition, his journey of holding on to the best theology of his past while searching for a more complete picture of God, and making music that helps people experience the transcendence & the immanence of God.

You can find out more about John Mark McMillan, his discography, tour information and more at :

https://www.johnmarkmcmillan.com/

To become a Deep Talks Patreon member and support this podcast go to:
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Connect on with Paul Anleitner on Twitter at:
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In Acts 17, the Apostle Paul is in one of the premier cultural centers of the ancient world- Athens. While preaching in Athens, he's called to share his message on the God of War's Mount.

 

This is one of the best examples of cultural theology that we have in the Bible, so after spending quite a bit of time in our Christ and Culture series this year I thought I'd shared a sermon I gave on this famous scene in Acts.

 

Also out this week is our new Patreon Q & A episode where I try to answer some tough questions from Deep Talks Patreon members about the wrath of God, transhumanism concerns, and more.
As a supporter of Deep Talks on Patreon, you can listen here:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/september-q-of-30181850

 

To become a Deep Talks Patreon member and support this podcast go to:
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Listen/Subscribe on Apple Podcasts go to:
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Connect on with Paul Anleitner on Twitter at:
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