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English, Christianity, 1 seasons, 306 episodes, 3 days 6 hours 57 minutes
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.
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The Case for Hope in a Year of Despair

There’s not a lot making Americans hopeful these days. More than half of the country told pollsters last year that they were “extremely worried” about the direction of the country. One in 4 said that “nothing made them hopeful.” Their anxieties: politics, the pandemic, and inflation. This year, existing worries have likely been compounded by fears and anger over mass shootings, the war in Ukraine, sex abuse scandal cover-ups by church leaders, a massive drought on the Southwest side of the country, climate change inaction, spiking fentanyl deaths, and an explosion in homelessness.In the midst of this, why should Christians hope? Carmen Joy Imes is associate professor of Old Testament at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology. She previously joined the show to nerd out about the Bible in light of Donald Trump getting COVID-19 and controversy over the San Francisco school board seeking to drop the names of well-known Americans from their schools. Imes joined global media manager Mo
01/12/20221 hour 8 minutes 22 seconds
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There's No Good Plan to Stop 100,000 Opioid Deaths a Year

100,000 Americans died from April 2020 to April 2021 due to opioids, according to numbers released this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of the deaths have come via fentanyl, which accounted for more than 75 percent of all fatalities. Most of the time fentanyl has been used in combination with drugs like methamphetamine or cocaine. Who were those who lost their lives? According to the New York Times: The vast majority of these deaths, about 70 percent, were among men between the ages of 25 and 54. And while the opioid crisis has been characterized as one primarily impacting white Americans, a growing number of Black Americans have been affected as well. There were regional variations in the death counts, with the largest year-over-year increases — exceeding 50 percent — in California, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky. Vermont’s toll was small, but increased by 85 percent during the reporting period. This week on Quick t
19/11/20211 hour 1 minute 13 seconds
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Fewer Politicians Are Seeking Compromise. Should Christians?

Last Friday, both chambers of Congress passed an infrastructure bill that will commit more than one trillion dollars to America’s deteriorating roads and bridges, making life easier for pedestrians and bikers, improving broadband access, and renovating suffering public transit systems. This bill has been closely tied to Biden’s Build Better Back, legislation that would invest heavily in climate change and social policies. While the bill had passed the Senate in July, Progressive Democrats in the House had wanted to hold out on passing the bill until Build Better Back first passed.But mustering support for that initiative has been challenging for Democrats, including from within their own party. Last week, West Virginia senator Joe Manchin suggested his refusal to support the bill was because it didn’t share enough of the other side’s interests. "While I've worked hard to find a path to compromise, it's obvious: Compromise is not good enough for a lot of my colleagues in Congress. It's
12/11/20211 hour 2 minutes 2 seconds
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Why the Climate Change Movement Needs the Church

Politicians, business leaders, and activists from around the world are meeting this and next week in Glasgow, Scotland, to make commitments and urge others to do the same to keep the planet from overheating more than it already is. Earth’s global temperature has risen 1.1 C and as the planet has warmed, fires have raged in Australia and California, heatwaves and floods have killed hundreds around the world. So what can be done to keep the temperature from rising .4 or more degrees? Christians have been actively petitioning God for prayer. Believers in Asia, Europe, and North America gathered monthly from spring to fall to offer intercessory prayers ahead of the United Nations climate change conference, in an event organized by Lausanne/World Evangelical Alliance Creation Care Network, A Rocha International, Youth With A Mission England, Christian Missionary Fellowship International, Tearfund, and Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. The Young Christian Climate Network organized about
05/11/202149 minutes 45 seconds
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Should Christians Be Disturbed by Facebook’s Mess?

This week, the revelations from a number of internal Facebook documents came to light, thanks to Frances Haugen, a former employee of the social media giant. The documents reveal that the organization, as The Washington Post summarized, “privately and meticulously tracked real-world harms exacerbated by its platforms, ignored warnings from its employees about the risks of their design decisions and exposed vulnerable communities around the world to a cocktail of dangerous content.” Chris Martin is content marketing editor at Moody Publishers. He studies internet culture and the effects of social media on broader society for fun. He is publishing a book with B&H Publishing in February called Terms of Service that is in the same vein as this newsletter. Martin joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss the revelations that these documents show, what this means for all of us regardless of whether we’re on Facebook or not, and if there’s a “Christian”
29/10/202148 minutes 14 seconds
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Does God Really Want Missionaries to Risk Their Lives?

On Saturday, a gang kidnapped 17 North American missionaries in Haiti as the party returned from an orphanage in a suburb of Port-au-Prince. Since then, the group, known as 400 Mawozo, has demanded a ransom of $17 million for the victims, who include five men, seven women, and five children. While many locals have been kidnapped in recent years as security on the country’s roads has been increasingly threatened, this incident has drawn significant international attention. This kidnapping comes roughly two months after US troops withdrew from Afghanistan. America’s departure and the chaos that ensued led many expats, including aid workers and missionaries, to leave the country. Anna Hampton is the author of Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk, which is based on her doctoral dissertation at Trinity Seminary in Newburg. She’s been in full-time ministry for 28 years, more than 17 of those years in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and other parts of Central Asia and the Middle East. She and he
22/10/202148 minutes 1 second
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What ‘Ted Lasso’ Understands About Redemption

Season 1 and Season 2 spoilers ahead. The second season of Ted Lasso ends with an image of Nate. The once kitman, recently promoted Greyhounds assistant coach is not wearing Richmond attire as we see him lead team exercises on the pitch. Instead, he’s in all black, staring at the camera, as we realize he’s the head coach of Westham United, the team recently purchased by season one nemesis Rupert Mannion. Just minutes before, we’ve watched Nate verbally berate Ted during halftime in a game that could put Richmond back in the Premiere League. Nate’s arc, from neglected staff member to dismissive and arrogant coach, who struggles with self-loathing and insecurity, is just one of the themes we want to discuss. But a show known for the kindness and forgiveness of its characters also had much to say this year about toxic masculinity and father and son relationships. The program has also had much to say about actions and consequences, except that we feel that there were a few oversights here
15/10/202158 minutes 15 seconds
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What Francis Collins Changed for Christians in Science

This week, Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, announced that he would retire at the end of the year. An evangelical Christian who previously worked as the head of the Human Genome Project, Collins’ 2009 appointment still drew scorn. From a 2010 profile in the New Yorker: Collins read in the Times that many of his colleagues in the scientific community believed that he suffered from “dementia.” Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard, questioned the appointment on the ground that Collins was “an advocate of profoundly anti-scientific beliefs.” P. Z. Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota at Morris, complained, “I don’t want American science to be represented by a clown.” Nevertheless, Collins served under three presidential administrations. During the pandemic, Collins has spoken out a number of times in his efforts to dispel misconceptions about the virus and vaccine.  Prior to his term at the NIH, Collins was awarded the President
09/10/202147 minutes 21 seconds
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Did We Get Tammy Faye Wrong?

In this third decade of the 21st century, we’ve seen a lot of religious scandals, with Christian leaders abusing their power and position. Too many. Nevertheless, still to this day when you say the words religious scandal—more often than not folks will think of two television personalities of the 1970s and ’80s: Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. The “Jim and Tammy” show was the basis of what became a massive ministry and theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina. It was called PTL, an abbreviation that stood both for Praise the Lord and for People That Love. Then came revelations that PTL had been massively and illegally misusing funds, diverting church funds to pay for their extravagant lifestyle and selling more lifetime vacations at the theme park than the theme park could possibly support. At about the same time, The Charlotte Observer also revealed that Jim Bakker had been engaging in extramarital sex and that ministry funds had been used for hush money. The Assemblies of God kicked them o
24/09/202156 minutes 5 seconds
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Drones Have Changed the Moral Calculus for War

On August 29, as American troops were accelerating their pullout from Afghanistan, the U.S. military ordered its last drone strike in the 20 year war. The missile destroyed a parked car that military officials said was operated by an Islamic State sympathizer, and contained explosives for a suicide attack on the Kabul airport, where American forces and civilians had gathered for evacuation. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told a news conference, “We think that the procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike.” Last week, separate investigations from The New York Times and The Washington Post questioned those assertions, reporting that the driver was Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime engineer for the California-based aid group Nutrition and Education International. The supposed explosives, said the Times, were canisters of water Ahmadi was bringing home to his family because Taliban’s takeover of the city had cut off his neighborhood’s water. The Times
17/09/202144 minutes 44 seconds
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Did 9/11 Change How Evangelicals See Muslims?

This year marks 20 years since 19 men hijacked four planes, driving two of the aircraft into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one into a field in Pennsylvania, after several of the passengers fought back. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people and left 25,000 people injured and were organized by Osama bin Laden, who used his faith as justification for the attacks. Several days after September 11, 2001, President Bush addressed the country: These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it's important for my fellow Americans to understand that. The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Koran, itself: In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil. For that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule. The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't
10/09/202152 minutes 43 seconds
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Wisdom, Folly, and Taking Ivermectin to Treat COVID-19

In recent weeks, some Americans sick with COVID-19 have been looking for a cure from a very unorthodox source: ivermectin. Here’s how the Food and Drug Administration described the situation in a letter to veterinarians and animal health retailers this week: People are purchasing various highly concentrated animal ivermectin drug formulations such as “pour-on,” injectable, paste, and “drench” that are intended for horses, cattle, and sheep, and taking these drugs has made some people very sick. Even if animal drugs have the same active ingredient as an approved human drug, animal drugs have not been evaluated for safety or effectiveness in humans. Treating human medical conditions with veterinary drugs can be very dangerous. The drug may not work at all, or it could worsen the illness and/or lead to serious, potentially life-threatening health complications. People should not take products approved for veterinary use, “for research only,” or otherwise not for human consumption. Fox New
03/09/202156 minutes 48 seconds
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Slow to Speak: Listeners React to Our Critical Race Theory Episode

Here's a special, stand-alone Slow to Speak where guest host Kate Shellnutt joins Morgan Lee to read over listener feedback from Episode 271: Critical Race Theory: What Christians Need to Know. If you have feedback for us about any episode, we'd love to hear from you. You can email us at [email protected]. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Kate Shellnutt Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
31/08/202123 minutes 48 seconds
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Is the Quest for ‘Meaningful Work’ a Scam?

This spring and summer, a lot of headlines about the economy sang a similar tune: From CNN: Why American workers don't want to go back to normal The Wall Street Journal: Job Openings Are at Record Highs. Why Aren’t Unemployed Americans Filling Them? The New York Times: Why Aren’t People Going Back to Their Jobs? The Washington Post: It’s not a ‘labor shortage.’ It’s a great reassessment of work in America. Across the country, hundreds of companies and businesses, many of them in the hospitality and service industry, were searching for employees. And they weren’t finding them. Some state governments began to halt the federal government’s unemployment funds, worried that the cash was disincentivizing unemployed people from working. Companies and businesses began to raise salaries and add benefits. But many people weren’t persuaded; they weren’t going back to their pre-pandemic line of work. One restaurant worker in Austin told The Washington Post: “The staffing issue has actually a lot m
27/08/202139 minutes 30 seconds
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'My Heart Is Broken’: An Afghan Pastor Grapples with the US Withdrawal

Earlier this year, Joe Biden announced that after close to 20 years, the United States would be withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. Last week, as the military began its exit, the Taliban was ready and within days had seized control of the country. The ascent sparked widespread fear and led to thousands arriving at the airport only to find their flights out of the country had been canceled. Some even grabbed a hold of the aircraft in desperation. Biden defended the decision, arguing that Afghanistan’s leaders "gave up and fled the country." He also said: "The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight. If anything, the developments in the past week reinforced ending that US military involvement Afghanistan now was the right decision.” He did concede: "The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.” As the government fell, it was not clear if the US had done anything to protect those who had worked with the military as translators. Plans to res
20/08/202143 minutes 40 seconds
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Paul's Advice on Letting Conscience Be Your Guide on Vaccines and Masks

This week, the Christian Post reprinted a blog by Samuel Sey, a Canadian writer, entitled, “Why I am not getting the vaccine.” Sey’s essay didn’t address the scientific concerns he has with the vaccines, though he says he has hired a fitness trainer and is working on maintaining a healthier diet. But the piece is largely in response to several Canadian provinces instituting vaccine passports. When our governments infringe on some of our rights without any significant or collective pressure for them to stop, we tempt them to violate all our rights and freedoms.That is partly why I am not getting the vaccine. The more our governments and culture attempt to force me to get the vaccine, the more unwilling I am to get it. I want our politicians and public health officials to convince me to get the vaccine. I don’t want them to coerce me into getting it.After all, if I violate my conscience concerning the vaccine because of social pressure, that will surely make me vulnerable to violating my
13/08/20211 hour 5 minutes 48 seconds
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Rerun: The Fire This Time: How Climate Change Shifts Our Understanding of Suffering

Due to production issues, we are not running a new podcast today. Instead, we are replaying a unfortunately, once-again-timely episode we recorded last year about California’s devastating forest fires. We’ll see you all next week with a fresh episode. Unless you’ve actually been in an area where you can look out your window and see the view with your own eyes, by now you’ve caught images of an orange sky coming from West Coast. For the past week, hundreds of miles of California, Oregon, Washington, and neighboring states have been covered in smokey air as forest fires rage, driving thousands of people from their homes. More than a dozen people have died in these historically catastrophic fires.As climate change has increasingly worsened fire season, it’s changed how Paige Parry, associate professor of Biology at George Fox University, makes sense of these disasters.“ We know that humans are what’s contributing to the fires,” said Parry. “So in my head, that makes my response and the qu
07/08/202159 minutes 4 seconds
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Before Simone Biles Becomes Christians' Next Sports Metaphor

After one vault on Tuesday, Simone Biles took herself out of the US gymnastics women’s team competition. A day later, she withdrew from the all-around, “in order to focus on her mental health,” read a statement on the USA Gymnastics' Twitter account. Simone also blamed the twisties, where, as the Washington Post describes, athletes “lose control of their bodies as they spin through the air. Sometimes they twist when they hadn’t planned to. Other times they stop midway through, as Biles did. And after experiencing the twisties once, it’s very difficult to forget. Instinct gets replaced by thought. Thought quickly leads to worry. Worry is difficult to escape.” While the majority of fans have reacted to Biles’ departure from these marquee competitions with support, it did draw scorn from some, who see her decision not to compete as quitting or a cop out. As with everything else these days, Biles’ decision became part of the culture wars. And no doubt her decision will make its way into co
30/07/20211 hour 4 minutes 12 seconds
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Billionaires Are Traveling to Space. Should Christians Celebrate?

This Tuesday, Amazon founder and the richest man on the planet, Jeff Bezos, entered space for the first time. This was the virgin flight for Blue Origin, the space travel company that Bezos founded, and lasted 10 minutes and 10 seconds. Bezos's trip came just days after billionaire Richard Branson reached the edge of space on board his Virgin Galactic rocket plane. The company currently has more than 600 reservations, a trip that costs his commercial passengers, $250,000 apiece. The company hopes to launch to the public next year. While the White House called Bezos’s flight a “moment of American exceptionalism,” others have been less than thrilled to see the wealthiest in the country head into the heavens.  “Watching the coverage of the billionaires going to space and the notion that it may pave the way for all of us to go in the future. Can I just ask why they think everyone would want to go to space for 8 minutes? And how is this a good use of millions of $? How bout curing cancer?,”
22/07/20211 hour 3 minutes 27 seconds
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Why Some Indigenous Christians Still Have Hope in the Church

Half a dozen Canadian churches have been set on fire or burned down this summer. This arson has come at a time when multiple mass graves have been found across the nation on the grounds of now-defunct residential schools. Operated by multiple churches, including the Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and United, the Canadian schools were part of a 20th-century government program to assimilate its First Nation community. The government forced students to attend, separating them from their families at a young age. Once there, they were forbidden from speaking their native language and punished severely if they ran away. Many died at the school from disease and suffered from hunger and physical abuse. The trauma brought on by these schools has carried on for generations. Much of it was shared during a Truth and Reconciliation Commission where survivors told stories of their time. Jimmy Thunder teaches indigenous ministry at Horizon College and Seminary in Saskatoon and is the foun
16/07/20211 hour 4 minutes 29 seconds
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After the President's Assassination, What Haitian Christians Really Need from the Western Church

On Wednesday, Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated. His death came after protesters had demanded his departure for months. Moïse had governed the country of 11 million by decree, even as constitutional scholars and legal experts argued that his term in office had already expired. While the country has long struggled with poverty and unrest, the situation had been exacerbated in recent months as violent gangs had kidnapped children and pastors. Haiti first became a nation after its enslaved population overthrew their French enslavers. But Western nations, scared lest they send the wrong message to the enslaved, launched a trade boycott against the country, greatly impoverishing it for decades. During the 20th century, the US occupied the island from 1915 to 1934. After it left, the country endured several dictatorships and western powers-supported government overthrows.The country has also not been rebuilt after an earthquake devastated it in 2011.Guenson and Claudia Charlot
09/07/20211 hour 14 minutes 48 seconds
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Critical Race Theory: What Christians Need to Know

Christians should be afraid of critical race theory. That’s the message that a number of conservative Christian leaders have shared in recent months. Last fall, the presidents of the five Southern Baptist seminaries issued a statement saying that “affirmation of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality and any version of Critical Theory” is incompatible with the Baptist Faith and Message, the denomination’s core beliefs. This anxiety made CRT a main focus at the denomination’s recent gathering. In recent years, some evangelicals have identified critical race theory as an ascendent ideology in the church that is fundamentally at odds with Christian faith. This anxiety has been mirrored by many conservatives at large and the debate over this ideology has moved from the previous president’s public disgust of the ideology to state legislature measures that would ban it in schools. All of this comes months after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have once again spurred both conve
02/07/20211 hour 13 minutes 23 seconds
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The Story of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Matters in 2021

On October 14, 2014, Pastor Mark Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill, the Seattle-based church he had founded and led since 1996. Driscoll gained national attention for the popularity of his church in a largely secular part of the US, but also for his own brash, at times crude, irreverent, and caustic temperament. For years, to the public, this largely manifested in his sermons. But over time, rumors of his abusive leadership style began to emerge. Upon accepting his resignation, Mars Hill Church’s board of overseers stated that Driscoll had “been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner," but had "never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy. Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership.”Prior to his resignation, church planting network Acts 29 had removed Driscoll, its founder, from leadership and Driscoll had also apolo
24/06/202159 minutes 9 seconds
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Critical Race Theory, Sex Abuse, and Southern Baptists

More than 16,000 Southern Baptists met in Nashville this week for their convention’s annual meeting. The largest crowd in a quarter century, the meeting attracted significant mainstream media attention as tensions over critical race theory and sexual abuse went public. On Tuesday, Alabama pastor Ed Litton won a run-off to become the next president of the denomination. He faced Georgia pastor Mike Stone, a candidate supported by the Conservative Baptist Network, a group which has campaigned actively against perceived liberal drift and “woke” theology in the denomination. On Wednesday, a resolution to investigate 20 years of allegations of abuse claims mishandled by the Executive Committee was approved. It will also examine the two-year-old committee tasked with reviewing abuse and coverup as grounds for dismissal from the convention.This week on Quick to Listen, we will get into the inside baseball of this year’s Southern Baptist Convention meeting and why it matters for Christians outs
18/06/20211 hour 7 minutes 3 seconds
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Rick Warren Mastered the Formula for Suburban Church Growth

After more than 40 years leading Saddleback Church, Rick Warren has announced his retirement. “This is not the end of my ministry,” Warren told his congregants on Sunday. “It’s not even the beginning of the end. … We’re going to take one step at a time in the timing of God. … God has already blessed me more than I could ever possibly imagine. I don’t deserve any of it, and so this next transition in my life is something I am anticipating with zero regrets, zero fears, zero worries.” The Southern California-based megachurch has begun looking for Warren’s successor.Warren’s ministry has had national and international significance. He is the author of the best-selling The Purpose Driven Life. He championed evangelicals fighting AIDS overseas. After his son died of suicide in 2013, he and his wife Kay began a mental health ministry. Overall, Warren’s ministry has not been as polemical as many of his fellow Southern Baptist church leaders. But he faced controversy after praying at Obama’s 2
11/06/20211 hour 8 minutes 21 seconds
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Why Chinese Christians Don’t Talk About Family Planning

China has expanded the number of children married couples can have to three. Home to nearly 1.4 billion people—or more than one billion more people than the US—the country is anxious about its future. Under its current demographic trajectory, China’s labor force is shrinking, numbers which concern economists and government officials. China first began to regulate its population in the late 1970s, under what become known as the one-child policy, although two-child exceptions were made to ethnic minorities and Han families in rural areas who had daughters first. In 2015, the government began to allow all families to have two children. Despite these changes to the law, births have fallen for four years in a row. And many share similar concerns about the lack of family leave and cost of daycare that American families do. In its announcement, the Communist party pledged to improve maternity leave and workplace protections for married couples seeking more children. Raymond Yang has been a ho
03/06/202147 minutes 46 seconds
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Homelessness Is Vexing American Cities. Do Christians Have a Solution?

Across the country, American cities are unsuccessfully grappling with how best to address homelessness. This month, Austin criminalized sitting, lying, or camping in public. Sausalito, an upscale community in the Bay Area canceled its annual art festival when its location conflicted with the proposed place to relocate the homeless population that is currently living on the city’s waterfront. Los Angeles is considering moving forward with establishing a government-funded tent encampment. Nationally, here’s how The New York Times summed it up in March of this year."Homelessness in the United States rose for the fourth straight year, with about 580,000 people living on the streets or in temporary shelter at the start of 2020, according to an annual nationwide survey that was completed before the pandemic.But the report, which was released on Thursday, almost certainly underestimates the spread, depth and urgency of the crisis, and not by a little, federal officials warned.Beyond the myria
28/05/20211 hour 9 minutes 28 seconds
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Is Praying for Peace in the Middle East Enough?

For the past two weeks, the world has had its eyes on the violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Each day, new headlines emerge of Hamas launching rockets from Gaza and Israel bombing the strip in return. More than 200 Palestinians and a dozen Israelis have died in the attacks. But before the aggression escalated into direct action, tensions had been simmering for weeks. Thirteen Palestinian families from a neighborhood in a disputed area of East Jersualem were facing potential eviction. Many Israeli families have already moved into this neighborhood. Israeli settlements on land Palestinians believe to be theirs has consistently been a wider source of grievance between the two communities.Then, two weeks ago, police raided the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem during Ramadan. The third-holiest site in Islam is also located on the same land as the Temple Mount, a location sacred to Jews. After 11 days of fighting, a cease-fire has been announced, which will likely halt the rocket
21/05/20211 hour 9 minutes 9 seconds
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Why Having Babies Is Controversial in 2021

Last year, the US birthrate experienced its largest single-year drop in nearly 50 years. For years, America’s 2.1 fertility rate made it an outlier to other developed countries. But for the last decade, the number had begun trending downwards, plummeting to last year’s figure of 1.6 children per woman. These numbers entered the news the same week the New York Times published an essay by columnist Elizabeth Bruenig, “I Became a Mother at 25, and I’m Not Sorry I Didn’t Wait.” Many warmly received and shared the piece, which explores the author’s experience of learning she was pregnant and the many factors that have caused millennial women to delay children including economic concerns, higher education, race, and geography. But for others, it struck a nerve. One NYT commenter wrote, “There are few things more irresponsible than bringing a child into the world in 2021. I know it's difficult to reject the incredible social and cultural pressure that encourages us to reproduce. The easiest t
14/05/20211 hour 2 minutes 58 seconds
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Should Christians Cheer Biden’s Plan for Families?

Last week, President Biden addressed Congress to stump for his latest proposal: The American Families Plan. If passed as is, the initiative would do the following: Provide universal preschool for all three and four-year-olds Offer two years of free community college to young adults Cover childcare costs for families in poverty. Set a $15 minimum wage for early childcare workers. Mandate 12 weeks of paid parental, family and personal illness leave. Make a summer food program serving children from low-income families permanent This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to dive deeper into Biden’s proposal. What is it trying to address? Who is it trying to serve? What changes should Christians see as wins for their own families and for their neighbors? And where should they push back or critique?Rachel Anderson is a resident fellow with the Center for Public Justice, leading the Families Valued project, where her work focuses on work and family policy and faith-based civic engagement
05/05/202158 minutes
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Is It Too Early to Get Excited About a Malaria Vaccine?

In 2019, 400,000 people around the world died of malaria. But it may never reach that high a number again. Early trials of a new vaccine have been shown to be 77 percent effective. This is not the first vaccine that has attempted to fight the deadly mosquito-transmitted disease. But it is the only one that has had this level of efficacy. This news comes when COVID-19 vaccines dominate the international discussion. Some wealthier nations, most notably the United States, have prioritized vaccinating their own people first. This week, however, the Biden administration did announce it would be sharing its enormous stockpile of Astrazenca doses. Other countries, like China and Russia, have been shipping their vaccines around the world, though some have questioned their efficacy. Many poorer countries have worried that they might wait years for their people to be vaccinated and be left with other countries’ lower-quality leftovers.It also comes as scientists have begun thinking through the w
29/04/20211 hour 11 minutes 5 seconds
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Reacting to the Derek Chauvin Conviction

On May 25 of 2020 police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds killing him. On Tuesday, a jury convicted him of all charges. The jury’s decision comes at a time when national attention is once again being paid to police brutality. On Sunday, a police officer in Minnesota shot and killed 20-year-old Duante Wright after reportedly confusing a taser and gun. Last week, Chicago released body cam footage of a police officer shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo who appeared to have dropped his weapon and raised his hands. A video from December of two police officers pointing guns, pepper spraying, and pushing a black army officer during a traffic stop also circulated this month. These news stories also come at a time when several high profile mass shootings have devastated the country.In previous shows, we’ve talked about white evangelical attitudes towards police and the changing religious beliefs of many African American protesters leading the Blac
21/04/20211 hour 12 minutes 7 seconds
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Why the Transgender Conversation Is Changing

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last Friday, a bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing in middle, high school, and college sports passed in the West Virginia legislature. At least 20 different state legislatures have introduced transgender athlete bans in 2021. While South Dakota’s governor Kristi Noem vetoed a proposed ban, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi have signed these changes into law.  Arkansas’ governor, Asa Hutchinson, did, however, veto legislation that would have banned gender confirming treatments or sex reassignment surgery for transgender youth under 18. That bill would have been the first in the country to ban this practice. Meanwhile, last Monday, GOP legislators in North Carolina introduced a bill that that would prevent doctors from performing sex reassignment surgery for transgender people under the age of 21.  This flurry of state bills—a month ago LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign had counted mo
14/04/20211 hour 13 minutes 26 seconds
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How Churches Can Welcome Both Vaxed and Unvaxed

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week, the number of Americans who have received their first dose of the vaccine will rise to one third of the population. As numbers continue to climb in the US and around the world, some churches will have to contend with yet another set of pandemic-spurred challenges. At what point will churches that have been meeting virtually go back to in-person meetings? At what point will in-person churches drop mask mandates or other COVID-19 protocol? As the vaccine opens up to all US adults, will they start requiring attendees to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before entry? And will white evangelical resistance to the vaccine subside? In February, 45 percent of this population said they would not be taking the vaccine, according to Pew Research Center. But beyond figuring out the logistics of in-person worship, churches will also have to contend with figuring out the role of their online mini
07/04/20211 hour 5 minutes 14 seconds
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What the Crucifixion and Resurrection Mean for Our Physical Healing

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week, Protestants and Catholics around the world will celebrate Easter, once again in the midst of a global pandemic. At least 2.8 million people have died from COVID-19 and while many affluent countries have begun to vaccinate their people in earnest, this illness still defines most of public life. Because of Lent, many Christians have already been grappling with death in the context of their faith. But this week, the church will be once again sitting with the reality of Jesus’ death and his astonishing resurrection. Of course, for us believers, this astounding turn of events has life-changing ramifications for what comes after our physical deaths. But what does it mean for physical bodies as we inhabit them today? Does the Cross have any meaning for our physical health in this life? Stephen Ko is senior pastor at New York Chinese Alliance Church and formerly a professor of global health and pediatrics at B
01/04/20211 hour 5 minutes 36 seconds
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What Unites Asian American Christians

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, a gunman shot up three spas in Atlanta, taking the lives of eight people, six of them Asian American. Their names were Soon Chung Park, age 74; Hyun Jung Grant, age 51; Suncha Kim, age 69; Yong Yue, age 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33; Paul Andre Michels, age 54; and Xiaojie Tan, age 49.These attacks, coming just weeks after several reports were released calling attention to racial violence and harassment against Asian Americans. One report from a group called Stop AAPI Hate listed nearly 3,8000 incidents from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021 which included verbal harassment, physical assault, shunning, civil rights violations, and online harassment. While the community currently only makes up about six percent of the population, according to Pew Research Center, by 2055, this may be the largest minority group.It’s also a community with enormous amounts of diversity. The largest communities are ethn
24/03/20211 hour 6 minutes 3 seconds
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The Equality Act Through the Eyes of a Christian College President

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last month, the House of Representatives voted to approve the Equality Act. If passed, the bill would amend the Civil Rights Act to add sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity to its list of protected classes. The bill has broad implications on the rules for employment, housing, education, nonprofit groups that receive federal funds, and other areas. Many Christian leaders have opposed the bill but say they support expanding federal protections against discrimination. One example is Shirley Hoogstra, the president of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. She told The Washington Post this week “I have come to see that LGBTQ people should have the same ease of movement about their lives. They shouldn’t run into unexpected, dignity-dismissing episodes.” But Hoogstra and others are concerned that the Equality Act offers few protections for religious organizations and institutions that hold to tradi
18/03/20211 hour 3 minutes 54 seconds
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Honoring Your Father and Mother Is Hard. For Harry, Meghan, and Us All.

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. On Sunday, millions watched Oprah interview Prince Harry and Megan, the Duchess of Sussex. Over the course of the conversation, the couple made several dramatic revelations, the majority about family members. Meghan disclosed that there had been “concerns and conversations” between her husband and his family, the Royal family, about how dark their son’s skin might be. Both Meghan and Harry talked about the challenges of convincing their relatives of the severity of the bad press they received and specifically of the toxicity of the racism leveled at their family. “If a member of his family would comfortably say ‘We’ve all had to deal with things that are rude’ — rude and racist are not the same,” said Meghan. Meghan also added she dealt with suicidal thoughts and after seeking out the professional health at the palace’s HR department and, “I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institutio
10/03/20211 hour 4 minutes 8 seconds
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The Bloody Conflict Dividing Ethiopia’s Christians

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. In 2019, prime minister Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee noted that he had given amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinued media censorship, fought against corruption, and legalized previously outlawed opposition groups. Ahmed also received attention for his religious reconciliation work which included mending a split in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and bringing together Christians and Muslims. The son of a Muslim father and Orthodox mother, Abiy is a Protestant Pentecostal, or “Pentay,” like many Ethiopian politicians. But, as of late, things have been tense. CNN recently reported that scores of people were murdered last November by whom survivors believe are soldiers from nearby Eritrea, whose presence they blame on the Ethiopian government. The massacre occurred in the Tigray region, the northern part of the country and one which shares a border with Eritrea. It came just we
03/03/202154 minutes 27 seconds
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Did Rush Limbaugh Reshape Christian Radio, Too?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, conservative talk radio personality Rush Limbaugh died at age 70. Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated political show first hit the airwaves in the late 1980s. He was beloved by many who shared or later adopted his political views and his penchant for conspiracy theories. Many of his critics, however, pointed out his cruel and crass remarks. Limbaugh’s legacy was hardly limited to politics. In a tribute to him, one Christian leader wrote for USA Today, that “ Christian talk programs in particular wouldn't even exist today were it not for Limbaugh's success. Christian radio would still be limited to sermons and songs. But instead, radio stations realized the benefit of capturing even a slice of Limbaugh's audience share and offered new hosts and new voices opportunities to join a new, more democratic discussion of the issues.” Mark Ward Sr. is associate professor of communication at the University of Housto
24/02/20211 hour 2 minutes 12 seconds
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Don’t Diminish Ravi Zacharias’s Abuse With ‘We’re All Sinners’

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries released a 12-page report about its founder and namesake. It confirmed “abuse by Zacharias at day spas he owned in Atlanta and uncovers five additional victims in the US, as well as evidence of sexual abuse in Thailand, India, and Malaysia.” From CT’s reporting: Even a limited review of Zacharias’s old devices revealed contacts for more than 200 massage therapists in the US and Asia and hundreds of images of young women, including some that showed the women naked. Zacharias solicited and received photos until a few months before his death in May 2020 at age 74. Zacharias used tens of thousands of dollars of ministry funds dedicated to a “humanitarian effort” to pay four massage therapists, providing them housing, schooling, and monthly support for extended periods of time, according to investigators. One woman told the investigators that “after he arranged for th
17/02/20211 hour 9 minutes 27 seconds
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Old Testament Wisdom for Renaming Public Schools

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. One third of San Francisco public schools will be renamed in the coming months following a decision by the city’s school board to remove the names of individuals who had owned slaves, actively participated in segregation, or were colonizers. The decision, which includes 44 school sites, attracted national attention as it includes schools named for Thomas Jefferson Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.The decision has drawn scorn from conservatives who see the decision as yet another example of liberal hysteria but also from other liberals. Last week, The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner grilled Gabriela López, the head of San Francisco Board of Education who refuted some of the historical claims that had been made by the committee which had investigated the named figures. (Read the interview.) But the government isn’t the only actor wrestling over questions of renaming institutions. As Ravi Zacharias’s misdeeds hav
11/02/20211 hour 13 minutes 8 seconds
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Sponsored Episode: How the Black Church Holds on to Hope

This special episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you by CT Creative Studio in partnership with PBS. It’s the first Black History Month since racial unrest erupted in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many Americans are reckoning with systemic racism in politics and culture in ways they haven’t in the past. But, just as it does today, the black church has born witness to justice and righteousness for centuries.On this special bonus episode of Quick to Listen sponsored by PBS, Christianity Today Editor-in-Chief Daniel Harrell facilitates a discussion on the black church as a spiritual, political, social, and cultural movement of the Spirit. He welcomes Dr. Vincent Bacote, Associate Professor of Theology and Director of Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College; Dr. Dennis R. Edwards, pastor, church planter, and Associate Professor of New Testament at North Park University in Chicago; and Dr. Jamal Williams, lead pastor of Sojourn Church Midtown in
09/02/202140 minutes 21 seconds
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Should Christians Buy GameStop Stock?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. The last time you heard about GameStop was when you went to the mall to buy video games as a teenager or for your ex-teenager who now has their own teenager. But last week, the brick-and-mortar gaming company was in the news as GameStop prices went thru the roof. This Monday they opened at $315. For reference, as recently as Jan 12, the stock was $19.95. Why? In recent months, members of the Reddit community, Wall Street Bets, have begun encouraging each other to buy up stock of the company, efforts which began in earnest after several hedge funds announced that they would be betting against the antiquated electronics franchise. One of the first storylines to emerge from this was one that pitted the upstart nerds against the greedy hedge funds. most things, the reality is a bit more complicated .Wheaton College assistant professor of economics Enoch Hill joined global media manager Morgan Lee and edito
03/02/20211 hour 5 minutes 59 seconds
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How American Evangelicals Lost Credibility with the Global Church

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. “Was the US never really a “Christian country,” or was US Christianity corrupted by politics?”That’s the question that Kylie Beach, a writer for the Australian-based Eternity News asked several days after the capitol insurrection and several days before last week’s presidential inauguration. She continued: Did the US only ever appear to be more Christian than other countries, or was its Christianity corrupted by politics? To put it frankly, are the people who declare themselves to be Christians in the US really just ‘cultural Christians’ – people who are ethnically descended from nations where Christianity was the primary religion? Or people who have taken on the outward form of their grandparent’s faith? Have they ever actually had a moment of conversion where they have decided to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour? Do they read their Bibles to try to learn what God is like? Do they pray and listen for his
27/01/20211 hour 8 minutes 3 seconds
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Should Christians Worry Free Speech Is Eroding?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. For years, one of the primary ways that people experienced Donald Trump was through his tweets. All of that changed on January 8, when, in the aftermath of the capitol insurrection, Twitter banned @realDonaldTrump. “Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regards to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks,” read the statement, which included the text of the tweets. “After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the
21/01/20211 hour 5 minutes 54 seconds
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Christian Nationalism Is Worse Than You Think

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. As crowds lined up in front of the Capitol last week, Christian imagery was on display amidst the Trump/Pence 2020 and confederate flags, QAnon memorabilia, and viking helmets. People held crosses, “Jesus Saves” signs and “Jesus 2020.” As protesters crowded onto the Capitol steps, across the street, someone blew a shofar while a woman sang “Peace in the name of Jesus. The blood of Jesus covering this place." In the aftermath of the Capitol attack, many saw a clear connection between the violence and Christian nationalism. As Tish Harrison Warren wrote for CT: The responsibility of yesterday’s violence must be in part laid at the feet of those evangelical leaders who ushered in and applauded Trump’s presidency. It can also sadly be laid at the feet of the white American church more broadly. Paul D. Miller is professor of the practice of international affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He
13/01/20211 hour 1 minute 26 seconds
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Rerun: Why Someone You Love Might Join QAnon

This podcast was originally released on September 9, 2020. Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. A conspiracy theory that holds that many in the elite are part of a sex trafficking cabal, QAnon’s supporters has increasingly moved into the mainstream. Many also attend evangelical churches. It’s appeal in our community is World magazine’s cover story for this week and also was the subject of recent longform article for MIT Technology Review.  But the phenomena is not limited to the United States, as Mark Sayers, the senior leader of Red Church in Melbourne, Australia, witnessed when he recently saw followers in shirts with symbols tied to the movement in his city.  “It's really interesting, cause as I looked at it, I began to see it less as a conspiracy—I mean, there are elements of conspiracy theory—but it's really a new religious movement,”said Sayers, who is also the author of Reappearing Church: The Hope for Renewal in the Rise of Our Post-Christia
07/01/202154 minutes 32 seconds
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How Argentina Is Becoming More Evangelical—But Less Religious

Last week, Argentina became the first Latin America country to legalize abortion. The Senate approved the bill two years after it rejected a similar effort two years ago. The bill allows women to legally end pregnancies for any reason up to 14 weeks. After that, it makes exceptions for rape and the health of the women. It also makes abortions free in public hospitals. Also home of the first Latin American pope, Argentina’s Catholic population has declined in recent years according to a study from the National Scientific and Technical Research Council. In 2019, around 63 percent of the population identified as Catholic, a 13 percent point drop since 2008. The two growing religious groups: evangelicals, who now make up 15 percent of the population, and the nones, or those who don’t identify with any faith, who are now at 19 percent. Josue Fernandez is based in Argentina and serves as the regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean at Overseas Council, a ministry of United World
06/01/202158 minutes 33 seconds
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We Should Remember the Scars of 2020

As we close 2020, more than 81 million people total have tested positive for COVID-19. Nearly 1.8 million people have died of it. The virus has had significant economic effects and cost many their livelihoods. Prolonged distance from others, of course, has also triggered an increase in depression and other mental health issues. And the pandemic has revealed increasing divisions over masks, meeting in person, and what constitutes an essential business or service. Of course, the pandemic was not the only thing that provoked anxiety in many this year. America will get a new president in January, but current president Donald Trump has refused to concede and made false statements about voting fraud for weeks. In May, a police officer killed Minneapolis’ George Floyd weeks after officers shot Breonna Taylor in her home, actions which sparked demonstrations across the country, protesters fed up with police violence against black Americans. Protests lasted for weeks and were especially heated
31/12/202050 minutes 58 seconds
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Let’s Nerd Out on Christmas

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Believe it or not, Christmas is this week. Yup, even in a year that felt like it was always winter and that there could not ever be Christmas. And we need a little Christmas, right this very minute. Candles in the window, Quick to Listen scripts in the spinnet. This week on the show, we are talking to Tim Larsen, the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Christmas, a 656-page book all about the world’s biggest holiday. The book is divided into eight sections: history, theology, worshipping communities, the nativity scene, traditions, arts, around the world, and state and society. Of course, we won’t get into all of the 45 articles in here today but we are gonna do some nerding out about this holiday. Merry Christmas everyone! Larsen is a professor of theology at Wheaton College and was recently awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in historical theology from the University of Edinburgh. He was the only author to w
22/12/202051 minutes 56 seconds
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Does the Death Penalty Bring Justice for Victims and Their Families?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week the Trump administration carried out its 9th and 10th federal execution of 2020. On Wednesday night, the state executed a 40-year-old man, Brandon Bernard. According to the AP, “when Bernard was 18 he and four other teenagers abducted and robbed Todd and Stacie Bagley on their way from a Sunday service in Killeen, Texas, during which Bernard doused their car with lighter fluid and set it on fire with their bodies in the back trunk.” Bernard’s death comes several months after the Justice Department surfaced a proposal to “reintroduce firing squads and electrocutions for federal executions, giving the government more options for administering capital punishment as drugs used in lethal injections become unavailable.” Last Friday, the government executed Alfred Bourgeois, who has an intellectual disability, whose should have meant he could not have been up for the death penalty. But Bourgeois’s trial lawyer
16/12/20201 hour 4 minutes 51 seconds
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"The Crown," "The Chosen," and the Challenge of Historical Accuracy

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Several weeks ago, Netflix dropped the latest season of its highly acclaimed show The Crown. The fourth season tells the story of the British monarchy in the '80s and '90s and depicts the Queen’s relationship with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and features Princess Diana. With so many of the characters depicted still alive and in recent-ish memory for a number of viewers, the show has provoked controversy like never before. While The Crown always creatively depicted the past, this year, this season has drawn criticism from those who claim the show is misleading viewers about the true history of the monarchy. Netflix even recently put out a statement that said it would not issue a disclaimer reminding viewers that the drama was fictional. “We have always presented The Crown as a drama—and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events. As a resul
09/12/20201 hour 9 minutes 47 seconds
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Why Christians Stopped Talking About Jesus’ Second Coming

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This Sunday kicked off the beginning of Advent. While the season is generally seen as a time of preparing to celebrate Christ’s birth on Christmas, the focus historically was a time to focus on Jesus’ Second Coming.  The doctrine of Jesus’ Second Coming has traditionally been a major focus of Christian theology: it has been a driving force for missions, it was a source of hope for suffering Christians, it helped to frame Christian worship.  American evangelicals in particular have been shaped by discussion of Jesus’ return—apocalyptic expectation helped to shape the early fundamentalist movement more than 100 years ago. Baby Boomer evangelicalism has been especially focused on the End Times, from Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth of the 70’s to the Left Behind novels of the 90’s. But it seems increasingly rare to us to hear about the Second Coming these days. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to talk ab
02/12/202057 minutes 21 seconds
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Why We Can’t Stop Talking about Hillsong's Celebrity Pastors

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. At the beginning of this month, Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz was fired. A day after the news went public, he posted a picture of his family on Instagram admitting he was unfaithful in his marriage. Both before and after the news, Lentz made headlines across Christian and secular media for his popularity and successful ministry—as well as the “hipster” pastor look he popularized. When Lentz co-founded Hillsong NYC with Joel Houston in 2010, the church drew lines around the block and caught the eye of A-list celebrities, none more famous than Justin Bieber. Lentz, who became famous for his wire-rimmed glasses, plunging V-necks, and designer sneakers, himself became subject of a number of profiles, including this 2015 GQ feature from Taffy Brodesser-Akner: “The music! The lights! The crowds!” begins an incredulous woman narrating a CNN segment on Hillsong NYC . “It looks like a rock concert.” The chyron reads “Hip
25/11/20201 hour 8 seconds
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Spiritual Formation as COVID-19 Gets More Depressing

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. We’re right on the cusp of the holiday season. Except this year it doesn’t feel much like it. Each day this month, thousands of American—record numbers—have tested positive for COVID-19. Even as several vaccines are now on the horizon, many public health authorities have asked Americans to not reunite with extended family over Thanksgiving, requests that will no doubt continue during the Christmas season.  Millions of people have already spent hours more this year inside, apart from their loved ones, houses of worship, and beloved activities. While the summer offered many a respite from their homes, the arrival of cold weather will likely keep people there. This bleakness, of course, comes on the heels of a year of postponed weddings, never organized baby showers, and drive-by birthday parties. And, of course, one of the year’s most agonizing elements has been the disparity with which community and individuals ha
18/11/202039 minutes 34 seconds
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How Faith Issues May Shape a Biden Presidency

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week, Maryland megachurch pastor Harry Jackson passed away at age 65. Over the last four years, Jackson was a member of President Trump’s evangelical advisory board. That consulting team was a marked shift in the role that faith communities had played in the executive branch in recent decades. The focus in the Bush and Obama administrations, by contrast, had been on the ways that faith-based and community groups could work with the federal government on social problems, and on hiring officials who would work on international religious freedom. What role will religious leaders, religious groups, and religion policy play in a Biden administration? And what lessons might Biden take from his presidential predecessors on how church and state can work together, and how they should work separately? This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss the future of faith in the Biden administration. Stanley Carlson-Th
11/11/20201 hour 2 minutes 52 seconds
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Rerun: Why Latino Christians Vote Beyond Immigration

Hi Quick to Listen listeners. We recorded this episode in 2018 but given the headlines from this week's election, we thought you mind find it constructive and helpful so we decided to drop it in our feed again. As always, send us your thoughts and questions at [email protected] or on Twitter at @CTPodcasts. Elections often call attention to white evangelicals whose votes and voices play a significant role in national elections. But their attitudes and values don’t necessarily represent those of evangelicals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Case in point: Latino evangelicals. According to data from the Billy Graham Center Institute at Wheaton College and LifeWay Research, 41 percent of Hispanics with evangelical beliefs voted for Trump in 2016. What were the issues that most influenced their vote?According to the same survey, 19 percent said improving the economy, 14 percent said helping those in need, and 14 percent said a candidate’s position on immigration.
06/11/20201 hour 57 seconds
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Evangelicals and Election Day 2020: What We Know

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss the election with those who have been following this race closely. On this episode, senior news editor Kate Shellnutt, print news editor Daniel Silliman, and researcher Ryan Burge join global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen Follow our guests on Twitter: Kate Shellnutt, Daniel Silliman, and Ryan Burge Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/11/20201 hour 6 minutes 18 seconds
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Confronting the Darkness in a Year Full of Death

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Halloween has always been a tricky day for conservative Protestants. It has long been seen as a celebration of the dark—joking about bloody gore, the living dead. But this year, death and darkness doesn’t seem quite so amusing. October 31 comes as more than 1.1 million people around the world have died of COVID-19. Nearly 20 percent of those deaths have occurred in the US, a country where COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise. As parents are making last minute decisions about what to do about trick or treating, as churches cancel their harvest festivals and trunk or treat events, and parties are moved to zoom and even schools forego their annual costume parades, we wondered: Is this weird Halloween in a very weird year the opportunity for better Christian thinking and discipleship? Can rethinking this season where we oddly engage death and darkness help us deal with death and darkness the rest of this covid s
28/10/202048 minutes 8 seconds
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Armenian Christians Are Especially Worried About War

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This fall, violence broke out again between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a contested region in Azerbaijan known as Nagorno-Karabakh. Home of 170,000 people, the majority of its inhabitants are ethnic Armenian and the area itself has been governed by ethnic Armenians since 1994. The countries’ close allegiances with other countries had worried many that the fighting and civilian deaths might spiral into a regional conflict. Armenia, for instance, has close ties to Russia and, to a lesser extent, Iran. Azerbaijan has the strong support of Turkey and some have reported that Syrian militants are also fighting alongside the Azeri. Another complicating level is religion. More than 95 percent of Azerbaijan’s 10 million people identify as Muslim, mostly Shiite. More than 90 percent of Armenia’s three million people identify as Christian, specifically Armenian Apostolic. Armenia also boasts the oldest state church, all the
21/10/202057 minutes 10 seconds
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Amy Coney Barrett and the Christian Legal Community

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week, the Senate is holding confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. After Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died last month, with less than two months before Election Day, Trump nominated Coney Barrett to replace her on the bench.The proceedings have been contentious. After Antonin Scalia died in 2015, Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold a vote or hold confirmation hearings after President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the seat more than a year before the election. Their decision to move forward with this nomination has provoked charges of hypocrisy. In addition, Coney Barrett’s relationship with her Catholic-Charismatic community, People of Praise, has drawn scrutiny as critics have asked what type of authority this group might have over her judicial decisions. Given Coney Barrett’s rise, this week on Quic
14/10/20201 hour 4 minutes 13 seconds
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When Those in Power Get Sick

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, President Trump announced that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, a number of those in his administration and his campaign have also tested positive. In the wake of this diagnoses, the US media has fixated on the political ramifications of these diagnoses. But how might the stories of biblical rulers who suffer disease and sickness speak to the moment? Carmen Joy Imes is associate professor of Old Testament and program coordinator of Bible and theology at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta and the of author of Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters and its forthcoming sequel, Being God’s Image: Why Creation Still Matters.  Imes joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss if scripture treats the illnesses of leaders differently than general illnesses, the difference in the Old Testament between simple illness and illness
07/10/202054 minutes 16 seconds
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The Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Ravi Zacharias

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. This week, Christianity Today published an in-depth report on allegations of sexual misconduct by popular apologist Ravi Zacharias:  "Three women who worked at the businesses, located in a strip mall in the Atlanta suburbs, told Christianity Today that Ravi Zacharias touched them inappropriately, exposed himself, and masturbated during regular treatments over a period of about five years. His business partner said he regrets not stopping Zacharias and sent an apology text to one of the victims this month. "RZIM denies the claims, saying in a statement to CT that the charges of sexual misconduct “do not in any way comport with the man we knew for decades.” The organization has hired a law firm “with experience investigating such matters” to look into the allegations, which date back at least 10 years. RZIM declined to answer any further questions about the inquiry." This week on Quick to Listen, we discuss this st
30/09/202053 minutes 31 seconds
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Bethel’s Sean Feucht’s Protests and Praises Have a History

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. He describes himself in his Instagram bio as a Jesus Follower, Missionary, Artist, Author, Humanitarian, Activist. But right now, Sean Feucht may be best known as a volunteer Bethel worship leader who has spent his summer leading around two dozen outdoor worship concerts. Feucht’s events are “a mix of Christian concert, healing service, guerrilla street theater and spectator mosh pit,” Religion News Service recently reported. They can also turn political. After the city of Seattle recently refused to give Feucht and his worship team permission to host a concert in one of his parks, likely because concerns of masking and social distancing, they held their show on a nearby street. As the concert began, he informed the audience. “Politicians can write press releases, they can make up threats, they can shut down parks, they can put up fences. But they can’t stop the church of Christ from worshipping the one true God.
23/09/202053 minutes 25 seconds
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The Fire This Time: How Climate Change Shifts Our Understanding of Suffering

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Unless you’ve actually been in an area where you can look out your window and see the view with your own eyes, by now you’ve caught images of an orange sky coming from West Coast. For the past week, hundreds of miles of California, Oregon, Washington, and neighboring states have been covered in smokey air as forest fires rage, driving thousands of people from their homes. More than a dozen people have died in these historically catastrophic fires. As climate change has increasingly worsened fire season, it’s changed how Paige Parry, associate professor of Biology at George Fox University, makes sense of these disasters.  “We know that humans are what’s contributing to the fires,” said Parry. “So in my head, that makes my response and the questions that I ask very different than maybe a disaster that's truly natural and not influenced at all by human action.” Parry, a quantitative forest ecologist, has spent most
16/09/202058 minutes 17 seconds
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Why Someone You Love Might Join QAnon

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. A conspiracy theory that holds that many in the elite are part of a sex trafficking cabal, QAnon’s supporters has increasingly moved into the mainstream. Many also attend evangelical churches. It’s appeal in our community is World magazine’s cover story for this week and also was the subject of recent longform article for MIT Technology Review.  But the phenomena is not limited to the United States, as Mark Sayers, the senior leader of Red Church in Melbourne, Australia, witnessed when he recently saw followers in shirts with symbols tied to the movement in his city.  “It's really interesting, cause as I looked at it, I began to see it less as a conspiracy—I mean, there are elements of conspiracy theory—but it's really a new religious movement,”said Sayers, who is also the author of Reappearing Church: The Hope for Renewal in the Rise of Our Post-Christian Culture. “And I wonder if it's the first great internet r
09/09/202053 minutes 55 seconds
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Can Christians Justify the Violence on America’s Streets?

In the past week, a video has circulated on social media that appears to show Christian author Eric Metaxas punching a protester in the face following President Trump's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on the White House lawn.  This week, Metaxas addressed the incident to World Magazine.   “For context, just so you know, the guy came at me with his bike and was very menacing for a long time,” he said.  Commentary over Metaxas’ action took off during a week in which a 17-year-old vigilante shot and killed two protesters in Kenosha and a counter-protester was shot and killed in a Portland demonstration. This uptick in civilian violence, which has occurred at protests organized in the aftermath of police brutality, inspired writer Bonnie Kristian’s recent column for The Week, “You Know What Violence Is.”  “The basic, standard definition of violence, that you'll find across the board, has pretty consistent elements,” said Kristian, who is also a columnist for Christi
02/09/202051 minutes 55 seconds
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Was Liberty’s Board Set up to Support Falwell or Liberty?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Jerry Falwell Jr. resigned as president of Liberty University on Monday. The news came after Reuters reported that a friend and business partner of the couple had sex with Becki Falwell while Jerry Falwell Jr. watched. Falwell Jr. himself submitted his resignation only to reverse course twice. Falwell Jr. was already on an indefinite leave of absence after he posted a picture on Instagram of him posing with his arm around a woman at a party with their zippers down and midsections exposed. With one notable exception, Liberty’s board has staged largely silent in the wake of Falwell Jr.’s increasingly controversial public statements and financial dealings. For ministry boards which have run into moral or ethic issues with their CEOs, one common mistake is allowing the CEO to recommend too many board members, says Bob Andringa, the managing partner of the Andringa Group who specializes in governance and the relations
26/08/202057 minutes 34 seconds
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Belarus’s Protestants Want Their President Gone

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko has been in office for 26 years. After last week’s elections, he says he’s won yet another term. But Belarusians are saying enough is enough, with thousands of them taking to the streets in protest and demanding new elections. Lukashenko has shot down this request thus far. The majority of Belarusians identify as Christian. Of the country’s roughly 10 million, 73 percent are Orthodox and 12 percent Catholic, according to Pew Research Center data. Though the Protestant community is tiny, it has not been silent. Last week, the Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists in Belarus, the United Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith in Belarus, and the Religious Association of Full Gospel Communities in Belarus released a joint statement asking for prayer.  Protests in 2010 played a key role in changing Protestants’ minds on Lukashenko and the government, says Geraldine Fagan, t
19/08/202044 minutes 47 seconds
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Why Liberty Finally Reacted to Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Antics

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, a Houston Chronicle reporter tweeted an image from Jerry Falwell Jr.’s instagram. The image showed the Liberty University president posing with his arm around a woman at a party with their zippers down and midsections exposed. By Friday, Falwell Jr. agreed to take an immediate and indefinite leave of absence from Liberty University, which he has led since 2007 as president and chancellor. As CT’s reporting noted: During his tenure—succeeding his father and the school’s founder, Jerry Falwell Sr.—the younger Falwell has expanded Liberty into one of the biggest Christian colleges in the world, now reporting an enrollment of over 120,000 students. But his leadership has also drawn controversy, including around his politics—such as his friendship with President Donald Trump—and personal life—like photos of him and his family at a Miami nightclub.In June, Falwell apologized for a tweet that included an imag
12/08/202047 minutes 57 seconds
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COVID Will Change Christian Summer Camp Forever

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. 2020 has been a year unlike any other for Christian summer camps. Here’s how CT captured the situation in a recent report: Like most businesses and ministries across the country, Christian camps felt the economic halt right away. Church retreats and events were called off in March, April, and May due to bans on mass gatherings across the states. Before long, camps were forced to grapple with the unimaginable: no summer camp.By May’s end, more than 100 Christian camps had announced cancellations. Most of the rest made dramatic changes to summer programming. Summer camp can represent half of a camp’s annual revenue or more, so skipping it for a year comes as a massive financial blow. Many Christian camps did cancel their summers. Some canceled and then reversed course. Some held programming all summer.  This has been a very difficult summer. We've got camps that have been open continuously, even through WWI and WWI
05/08/202056 minutes 46 seconds
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When John MacArthur Reopens His Church Despite COVID-19 Orders

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, John MacArthur announced that his megachurch would hold in-person, indoor services, despite California’s recent COVID-19 restrictions banning in-person meetings. In a statement explaining the rationale for the church’s actions in the midst of a pandemic, the pastor wrote:  Christ is Lord of all. He is the one true head of the church He is also King of kings—sovereign over every earthly authority. Grace Community Church has always stood immovably on those biblical principles. As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture. Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands. What exactly should Christians make of MacArthur’s decision? One way to evaluate it is understanding whether it constitutes conscientious
29/07/202053 minutes 27 seconds
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J.I. Packer’s Mission Field: the United States

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Despite the fact that the widely esteemed theologian J. I. Packer never lived in the United States, the theologian greatly influenced American evangelicals. One key way this transpired occurred through Packer’s longstanding relationship with Christianity Today. Packer’s first piece—a lengthy article on the opportunity and challenges for evangelicalism—was published in 1958. After the publication of his best-known work, Knowing God, he became contributing editor at Christianity Today in 1983 and then senior editor in 1985. He continued to serve the magazine in similar roles for the next three decades. In 1992, he wrote about how he envisaged his relationship with the publication: One role of CT, which is a features-news-and-thought journal anchored in the historic faith, is to keep you posted, one way and another, on the theological front. I suppose I should see myself as a kind of point man for this purpose. But
22/07/202054 minutes 56 seconds
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Your Fellow Christians Don't Share Your Theological Convictions. Now What?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. As Quick to Listen listeners are probably well aware, Christians rarely agree on everything. Take an issue like communion. On the one hand, it would be hard to find a Christian who doesn’t believe participating in Communion is a key part of what it means to practice one’s faith. But for some Christians, this is the focal point of weekly gatherings. Others can go months without partaking. For some, using whatever food and drink is around the house counts as the body and blood of Christ. Others need their priests to have blessed the physical products. And of course, COVID-19’s interruption of church services has introduced other questions about digital v. physical options.  So how can Christians better connect with each other and work each other across real theological diversity? One recent look at how the church might do this better is outlined in Gavin Ortlund’s new book Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Cas
15/07/202048 minutes 52 seconds
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Quick to Listen - Trailer

Each Wednesday, Christianity Today's Quick to Listen drops a new episode that adds context and complexity to some of the hottest current events in the Christian world. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/07/20201 minute 49 seconds
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Why Christians Have a Reputation for Smashing Statues

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Take Quick to Listen’s survey! The protests that followed the killing of George Floyd in May started with a focus on police brutality. But six weeks later, a dominant theme is the removal of monuments, and memorials. Protesters have torn down or vandalized dozens of statues connected to the Confederacy and to other controversial historical figures like Christopher Columbus. But this isn’t the first time that statues have been torn down en mass amid widespread protests. After Constantine allowed Christianity in the Roman Empire, Christians tore down so many statues that in Athens they reportedly became known as “the people who move that which should not be moved.” Early church battled each other over religious iconography. Reformation Christians inspired another round of eager statue smashing and removal. “What's funny is when I was first getting acclimated to art as a Protestant, and learning that art history mat
08/07/202051 minutes 9 seconds
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Have Pro-Lifers Lost the Supreme Court Fight?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Take Quick to Listen’s survey! In 2014, Louisiana enacted a law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court struck down the law. Legislators said the requirement would improve the level of care that clinics provide for women. Abortion regulations in Louisiana and other conservative states have resulted in clinic closures and corresponded with falling abortion rates nationwide. Beyond the Supreme Court’s power, the federal government plays a key role in terms of shaping public opinion around abortion, says Alexandra DeSanctis, a staff writer for National Review and the host of the For Life podcast. “But I think in terms of what comes before courts, and what actually goes into effect, what actually matters for the everyday American in terms of how they think about abortion, is policy at the state level,” said DeSanctis. “And I think t
01/07/202047 minutes 12 seconds
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How Navajo Christians Are Trying to Serve Their Community During a Pandemic

Take Quick to Listen’s listener survey! Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. The Navajo Nation continues to be hit hard by COVID-19. The community has reported nearly 7,000 cases and more than 330 deaths. Leaders have ordered businesses closed on weekends in a community that is spread across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The Navajo Nation’s preexisting conditions like poverty, limited running water, and close living situations make it extra vulnerable to coronavirus. The lockdowns have made it challenging for people to access the resources they need, says Donnie Begay, who along with his wife, Renee, directs the Nations Movement, a campus ministry that’s part of Cru. “On the Navajo Nation, there are only about a dozen food grocery stories that cover 27,000 square miles that is the Navajo reservation,” said Begay, who lives in Albuquerque. Many on the reservation live at least an hour away from the border of the reservations and these lockdowns cut
24/06/202045 minutes 31 seconds
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Where China’s Crackdown Leaves the Hong Kong Church

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last month, the Chinese government approved a plan that would give Mainland China the ability to crush any acts in Hong Kong that it deems a national security risk. Despite international outcry, the legislation will go into effect in September. In one of many responses by Hong Kongers, hundreds of theologians, pastors, and church leaders signed a statement accusing the draft decision of “further depriving Hong Kong of freedom and human rights.”The Christian leaders accused the Chinese government of destroying its promises and undercutting the city as an international financial center. At a time where, quote, “darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, we fearlessly and solemnly declare the following confession and promise to our society, including our full embrace of the Gospel of the Kingdom, our sincere repentance towards the Church’s shortcomings, our absolute refusal to authoritarian go
17/06/202042 minutes 26 seconds
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Where the Black Church Is in the Black Lives Matter Movement

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. In recent weeks, American cities, suburbs, and small towns have seen an explosion of protests reacting to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Even as many have commented on the racial diversity of the demonstrators, many of those organizing the marches are young African Americans activists. But while black pastors have organized several marches in major cities like Chicago and Washington DC, they have not been at the forefront of a movement that arguably began back in Ferguson in 2014.  “While you may have had many black pastors and clergy who may have shown up at events, and you may have had a lot of people from black churches who were at these marches and protests, from 2014 to the present, by and large, this has not been a theological movement,” said Watson Jones III, the senior pastor of Compassion Baptist Church in Chicago. “It hasn't been a movement that has started in the basements of c
10/06/202056 minutes 26 seconds
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Why White Evangelicals Love Police More than Their Neighbors

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. In the aftermath of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets to protest police brutality. Video of Floyd’s final moments as a police officer used his knee to pin his neck and his three colleagues looked on prompted a strong reaction from around this country. While perhaps more white evangelicals have spoken out against the police officers’ actions than after previous acts of police brutality made national news, some of the ways that they are framing their statements about law enforcement suggests they actually aren’t getting it, says Aaron L. Griffith, assistant professor of history at Sattler College in Boston. “I worry that many white evangelicals are talking about the problem of police brutality in terms of the exceptions, in terms of the bad apples. And then proposing things like more training or pushing more into the colorblind frame or e
03/06/202056 minutes 56 seconds
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Churches Are Reopening. That Doesn’t Mean Singing's Back.

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. California’s Department of Health’s reopening guidelines for houses of worship contain bitter news for those who love corporate worship.  “Strongly consider discontinuing singing, group recitation, and other practices and performances where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets,” the report warns. In another section it notes, “ Activities such as singing and group recitation negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing.” Absorbing this is tough news for those who feel most connected to God and others through music. “There is something about articulating our emotional state and using music, using song, as a means of expressing ourselves before the Lord. And that's deep in the Christian tradition, from singing and praying the Psalms to the early hymns in the New Testament like in Luke's gospel and peppered through Paul's letters,” said Glenn
27/05/202053 minutes 29 seconds
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Prayer amid Pandemic: "All Shall Be Well," She Wrote. But There's More to the Story.

"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” That these 17 words were uttered by a woman named Julian of Norwich may be the only thing you know about this 14th-century English saint. Historians don’t necessarily know that much more. We’re not even sure her real name. So why do we remember her? In this episode of Prayer amid Pandemic, Amy Laura Hall, the author of Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich and a Christian ethics professor at Duke Divinity School, tell us why we know so little about Julian’s identity but why we still read her writings on the vision she received while sick today. Gideon Para-Mallam, the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students regional secretary for English and Portuguese-speaking Africa, offers this week’s prayer. Read Christianity Today’s latest coronavirus coverage What is Prayer amid Pandemic? Read more Rate Prayer amid Pandemic on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow th
22/05/202021 minutes 20 seconds
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What the Bible Says About QAnon

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Plandemic? QAnon? Bill Gates creating the COVID-19?  As the novel coronavirus has traveled around the world, so too have conspiracy theories about the origins of the disease and the winners and losers that have emerged as result. In the past month, a video making claims that Gates and Anthony Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, used COVID-19 to gain money and political power, went viral. At the same time as Plandemic, The Atlantic launched a new series examining conspiracy theories, including an in-depth look at the QAnon, a movement that makes bold claims about the global elite. The Bible has many things to say about conspiracy theories, specifically with regards for how Christians should determine what is real, says Dru Johnson, the director of the Center for Hebraic Thought and who wrote about conspiracy theories for CT in December. “The biblical diagnosis, the biblical
20/05/202054 minutes 46 seconds
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What Ahmaud Arbery’s Death Recalls About Lynching and Church History

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, a video was leaked of a white man shooting and killing Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery in his neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. While Arbery’s death occurred in February, the alleged shooter and his father were only arrested last week following a massive public uproar following the release of the tape. Many Christians, of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, have condemned the Arbery’s killing. But widespread condemnation from the church for these types of killings was not always the case.For years, for white Christians, “the critique of lynching rarely moved beyond ‘Lynching is anarchy, and we need to kind of reinforce the rule of law,’” said Malcolm Foley, a PhD candidate in Baylor University’s Department of Religion, whose dissertation examines African-American Christian responses to lynching from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Not surprisingly, the black church took a much more force
13/05/202052 minutes 45 seconds
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What Shocks Russell Moore About Covid Church-State Disputes

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas announced plans for the city’s reopening. Churches are among the institutions that will be allowed to open this month: with one caveat. Any business or establishment that allows people to stay for more than 10 minutes must allow attendees or customers to sign a sheet with all their contact information, to allow for contact tracers to contact them if there was later a COVID-19 outbreak at the establishment.The conservative Christian law firm Liberty Counsel compared Kansas City’s actions those of Nazi Germany. “The Germans did this very thing to Jews – collecting the names and locations of all known synagogue attendees - in the early days of the Nazi regime,” Founder and Chairman Mat Staver wrote in a fundraising appeal. “Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined Nazi-like measures designed to surveil, track and spy upon what was once a FREE American people. Yet
06/05/202055 minutes 6 seconds
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Should Christians ‘Believe in Science’ in the Midst of a Pandemic?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. As governors across the U.S. consider whether to relax stay at home orders, many are pitting the words “politics” and “economics” against the word “science.” California Governor Gavin Newsom, for example, told the Los Angeles Times.“We are going to do the right thing, not judge by politics, not judge by protests, but by science.” And as Governor Brian Kemp opened up Georgia, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms urged people to “Follow the data, look at the science, listen to the health care professionals and use your common sense.” Similar calls to “believe in science” or “listen to science” are all over policy debates and social media fights. But what does it mean to “believe in science”? And does “science” have a unified answer to questions like “who gets a ventilator,” or whether your child should go to summer camp? We should be cautious when suggesting that science can speak in such a unified voice, says Sy Gar
29/04/202055 minutes 30 seconds
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Should Al Mohler’s Vote for Trump Surprise Us?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. In October 2016, an Access Hollywood video clip of Donald Trump making demeaning remarks about women was leaked. In the aftermath of this revelation, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Al Mohler, wrote for The Washington Post. “Trump’s horrifying statements, heard in his own proud voice, revealed an objectification of women and a sexual predation that must make continued support for Trump impossible for any evangelical leader.” But last week, Mohler said that the “partisan divide had become so great” and Democrats had “swerved so far to the left” on issues of abortion, religious liberty, and LGBT issues that he planned to vote Republican for the rest of his life. This, of course, includes voting to reelect Trump this fall. One of the disappointing things about Mohler’s remarks was that they came during a pandemic and a terrible economic downturn, said conservative evangelical writer David
22/04/20201 hour 3 minutes 33 seconds
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A Major Christian School Just Shut Down Its Biblical Archeology Program

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has the largest evangelical archeology program. It’s also the only evangelical institution to offer a doctoral degree in the field. But this school year will be its last. “We will no longer offer degrees in archaeology because they are incongruent with our mission to maximize resources in the training of pastors and other ministers of the gospel for the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Southwestern announced in a statement.  Southwestern also suggested that its decision was linked to the spread of COVID-19 and the pandemic will curtail some digs this year, says John Monson, associate professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. But ultimately, Monson doesn’t think that the disease is the greatest threat to the discipline. “This is a field that's been around since Napoleon Bonaparte, so about 1799, and it's weathered
15/04/202034 minutes 42 seconds
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Can Urban Churches Survive a Pandemic?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. As coronavirus government restrictions have curtailed in-person Sunday services, thousands of pastors and church leaders have continued to reach their congregations through livestreams. But not all churches have the same technological infrastructure. And even for churches who might have access to a tripod, smartphone, microphone and Facebook Live--their members might not have bandwidth fast enough for live video or they themselves might not be comfortable accessing these new platforms.  Jonathan Brooks, the senior pastor at Canaan Community Church in Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood, says that he has some fellow pastor friends whose churches are still meeting, in spite of the state’s coronavirus meeting bans. "But it's because of the giving. It's because if they don't physically have church, they won't get any money and their budget is not so that they can miss a Sunday,” said Brooks. “And so it’s such a con
08/04/202045 minutes 47 seconds
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Did He Who Made the Lamb Make ‘Tiger King’?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. In recent weeks, we’ve entered a world without professional sports and where millions of people are forced to remain in their homes. In other words, we’re entered a world ripe for a weird Netflix show to become a cultural phenomenon.  Enter Tiger King, a docuseries exploring the bizarre world of Americans who own dozens of exotic animals, including tigers and lions. So what makes big cats so alluring to people anyways? Part of it is their unique intelligence, says Mike Mooring, a professor of biology at Point Loma Nazarene who studies jaguars in Costa Rica.“I think that from time immemorial, people have had both this primeval fear coupled with a fascination with the big cats because they're mysterious,” said Mooring. “They come and go. You don't know where they are. They are elusive. They kind of pop out of the night and then they disappear.” Mooring joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director
01/04/202053 minutes 36 seconds
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What This Livestream Moment Means for the Church

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Within a matter of weeks, COVID-19 government restrictions have led thousands churches to livestream their services. This week, the Church Online Platform announced that it had reached a record-setting 7 million in church attendance worldwide, about seven times the attendance from just two weeks before. But for some pastors and church leaders, transitioning to this new normal has been challenging or at times painful. “I’m not going to tell you our service today will be awesome and unmissable, or the best online service that will change your life. I was sick and the sermon was just ok,” tweeted New York City based pastor Jon Tyson. “In fact I have found this online stuff sad and hard. Preaching to a camera is not what I was made for.” As pastors and church leaders with little livestreaming experience transition to this mode of communication, they should avoid getting too caught up with perfectionism, says Daniel F
25/03/202048 minutes 32 seconds
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Introducing: Prayer amid Pandemic

Prayer amid Pandemic is a podcast to encourage and sharpen the church during this season of coronavirus. Twice a week we’ll give you stories of Christian individuals and communities whose lives and faith were shaped by sickness. We’ll also get an update on the latest on the COVID-19 situation and pray together, hearing from Christians around the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25/03/20201 minute 24 seconds
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Christians Responded to Contagious Diseases with Compassion

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last Sunday, hundreds of American churches closed their doors to congregants, many of whom watched via livestream. It may be like this for weeks. That same day, the Center for Disease Control urged Americans not to congregate in groups larger than 50.  These types of restrictions will have significant repercussions for many churches, where groups of 50 or larger gather on a weekly basis, especially with Easter just weeks away. As church leaders and pastors wrestle with these restrictions as well as navigating weddings and funerals, there’s a larger question we wanted to explore: What type of opportunity does a pandemic like this allow Christians to be remembered for? A strong empathy for the suffering of other people characterized much of the church’s response to sickness during the Roman Empire, says Gary Ferngren, a history professor at Oregon State University who studies the social history of ancient medicine,
18/03/202052 minutes 18 seconds
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Historically White Christian Ministries Now Have Korean American Male Leaders

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. On Monday, the Christian anti-hunger advocacy organization Bread for the World announced that Eugene Cho would be its next president. Cho is most well-known the founder of Seattle’s Quest Church and the nonprofit One Days Wages. He’s also the latest Korean American Christian male leader to assume a top spot in an evangelical organization. In 2013, Michael Oh became the global executive director/CEO of Lausanne. In 2015, Joel Kim became the president of Westminster Seminary California. In 2017, Alexander Jun was elected moderator of the 45th General Assembly for the Presbyterian Church in America or PCA. Last year, PCA pastor Walter Kim became the president of the National Association of Evangelicals and Julius Kim became the president of The Gospel Coalition. Vanderbilt Divinity School professor Paul Lim joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and news editor Daniel Silliman on Quick to Listen to discuss whether
11/03/20201 hour 37 seconds
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Do Democrats Want to Reach Christians?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Super Tuesday is upon us. After a primary here and a caucus there, Tuesday is when the greatest number of US states hold primary elections and caucuses. As the Democratic field narrows down, what type of success have candidates had in reaching out to Christians? The AND Campaign’s Justin Giboney and Michael Wear joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and CEO and president Tim Dalrymple to discuss the efforts that the Democratic field has made to reach religious voters, why white evangelicals vote so consistently for Democrats, and if Republicans will ever court black Christians. What is Quick to Listen? Read more Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts Follow the podcast on Twitter Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Tim Dalrymple Learn more about the AND Campaign Follow Justin Giboney and Michael Wear Music by Sweeps Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder The
02/03/202052 minutes 51 seconds
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Reeling from the Jean Vanier Abuse Allegations?

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. When Jean Vanier died last year at age 90, his life and his ministry of working with people with disabilities was nearly universally celebrated. “We don’t often find people born into privilege and status, and highly educated, who then follow the downward path of Jesus,” wrote Bethany McKinney Fox. “But as founder of L’Arche International, Vanier spent decades in community with people with and without intellectual disabilities and embraced the joys, complications, and demands that go along with such a life.” Then, last weekend, L’Arche International released a report, looking over a 30-year span, stating that multiple women told an investigative team about experiences of sexual assault with Vanier. “The relationships involved various kinds of sexual behavior often combined with so-called ‘mystical and spiritual’ justifications for this conduct,” it stated. The report went on to say that the women provided, “suffic
26/02/20201 hour 3 minutes
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Five Years Ago, ISIS Executed 21 Christians on a Libyan Beach

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Five years ago this month, ISIS executed 21 Christian men on a beach Libya. Their masked executors stood in all black behind the men, who knelt in a line wearing orange jumpsuits. After the Islamic State released a video of their murders, images of this massacre of Coptic Christians reverberated around the world. But despite the cultural impact left, Egyptian Christians have long experienced persecution, says Archbishop Angaelos, who serves in London. “The interesting thing is, we live it with a sense of resilience, but we have never fallen into a state of victimhood or triumphalism,” he said. “We realize that it is the cross of Christ. …It's not the end of the road because there is a resurrection that comes after the cross and the empty tomb. And so it is in that hope that we continue to live. And it's in that hope that we continue to carry that cross knowing that it will be removed from us.” Archbishop Angaelos
19/02/202048 minutes 52 seconds
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Why Steve Timmis Was Accused of ‘Spiritual Abuse’

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, CT published an investigative report on allegations of spiritual abuse by Steve Timmis, who previously served as the CEO of the church planting ministry Acts 29. But long before assuming the leadership in 2014, Timmis was known for his model of intensive gospel community developed at his 120-person church in England known as The Crowded House and for his books like Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community. But not everyone who was part of Timmis’s close-knit church community felt warmly toward the church leader. According to our report:  Fifteen people who served under Timmis described to Christianity Today a pattern of spiritual abuse through bullying and intimidation, overbearing demands in the name of mission and discipline, rejection of critical feedback, and an expectation of unconditional loyalty. People in these environments aren’t always aware they’re being abused, says Lis
13/02/202048 minutes 25 seconds
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What Bethany’s International Adoption Halt Means for Orphans Around the World

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, the largest Christian adoption agency in the United States announced it will end international adoptions. More than 15,000 children had been adopted since the late 1970s through Bethany Christian Services.Bethany’s decision was not because they didn’t believe in the program but because of their “desire to serve children in their own communities,” said Kristi Gleason, the vice president for global services at Bethany, in a statement. “The future of adoption is working with local governments, churches, and social services professionals around the world to recruit and support local families for children and to develop and improve effective, safe in-country child welfare systems.” To that end, part of these efforts has meant turning away from institutionalized care, or orphanages. One of the leaders in this effort has been Ukraine, says Micala Siler, the executive director of A Family for Every Orphan.“Fr
05/02/202045 minutes 27 seconds
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Prayer in the Time of Coronavirus

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Lunar New Year kicked off last week as millions of Chinese people left the cities they live for the homes they grew up in. For many, their trips coincided with the outbreak of the coronavirus, an epidemic that the government has responded to with intense travel restrictions in Wuhan, the city of 11 million, that’s ground zero for a disease that’s killed more than 100 people. The intensity of the quarantine has raised questions from outside observers like Emory University School of Medicine microbiologist Elaine Burd, who worry about the unintended consequences of the government’s move. As the government has “essentially ordered” the people in Wuhan to wear protective gear, it’s caused a shortage of equipment for those actually treating patients, she says.  “The biggest problem is that health care workers, who are taking care of sick patients, don't have enough protective gear, and this puts them at greater risk o
29/01/202051 minutes 26 seconds
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What This Aboriginal Christian Wants to Tell the Church About the Australia Fires

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Australia's wildfires have consumed million acres of brushland, rainforests, and national parks. More than 30 people have died and according to some estimates, one billion animals have been killed. The area that has burned is roughly the size of England. As CT reported earlier this month, the fires have forced some Christian missions teams to evacuate. Hillsong announced several weeks ago that it had raised more than one million Australian dollars to support those affected by the fire. And the board of directors of A Rocha Australia, part of an international Christian conservation group, said it was building partnerships with Christian and non-Christian conservationists to aid with the recovery. As an aboriginal Christian, Brooke Prentis hopes the tragedy causes Christians and the country at large to commit to listening to the voices of Australia’s indigenous people, who have lived on the land for thousands of ye
22/01/202050 minutes 17 seconds
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Can the Church Lead on Race Relations? Atlanta Christians Think So.

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Next week, we’ll remember the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr, who died 52 years ago this year. It’s also, of course, a time to reflect on the state of race relations within the church. One of those efforts has been the OneRace Movement, a group that has brought more than 500 Atlanta-area pastors of all ethnic and racial backgrounds together in the name of reconciliation and revival. In 2018, the movement hosted a worship service at Stone Mountain, the largest tourist attraction in the state of Georgia—and also where confederate heroes Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson are etched in granite. Why host an event meant to promote strengthening race relations at such a polemic site? “It's a place with a dark history, but also present cultural significance,” said Hazen Stephens, the co-director of OneRace. “...Biblically, whenever reformers would come in, the first thing that they would do is
15/01/202055 minutes 33 seconds
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Introducing Christianity Today’s New Editor in Chief

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Several months ago, Christianity Today’s past editor in chief Mark Galli announced his retirement and Friday was his last day. This also means that Mark’s time as Quick to Listen co-host has concluded. In the interim, Christianity Today’s CEO and president, Timothy Dalrymple, will take the reins as co-host. Christianity Today’s new editor chief? Longtime pastor and writer Daniel Harrell, who most recently served as senior minister of Colonial Church in Edina, Minnesota. Harrell lost his wife Dawn unexpectedly last Easter and the aftermath of his death has been difficult. “A big part of this next season of my life is devoted to her legacy and her love for words and theology and for Christ and wanting to live that well for her, for my daughter, and for myself.  said Harrell. Daniel joined longtime host and digital media producer Morgan Lee and new host Tim to discuss his memories of Billy Graham, the themes of his
08/01/202050 minutes 43 seconds
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This New Year, Resolve Not to Forget God

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. When did we forget God? It’s a provocative question. And it’s the name of outgoing Christianity Today editor in chief Mark Galli’s latest book. After years working in this world, Galli believes that evangelical Christians’ strong suit today is the love of neighbor be it prayer gathering to evangelism to social justice to acts of mercy. We talk about God a lot and worship him and pray to him regularly. But on the other hand, relatively few Christians take with equal seriousness the command to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. If we do talk about the love of God, it is said that we love God by loving our neighbor. True enough, but that is hardly a complete answer, nor one that would have satisfied Christians of other eras. So what would look like to love God with this sort of passionate and all encompassing fury today? Or, to put it in classical terms, what it looks like
02/01/202042 minutes 14 seconds
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What Lee Strobel Wants Christians to Know About Praying for Resurrections

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, a California couple’s two-year-old daughter stopped breathing and died. In the wake of the tragedy, the parents, Andrew and Kalley Heiligenthal, had an unusual response:  "We are asking for bold, unified prayers from the global church to stand with us in belief that He will raise this little girl back to life. Her time here is not done, and it is our time to believe boldly, and with confidence wield what King Jesus paid for. It’s time for her to come to life,” Kalley, a worship leader and songwriter at Bethel Church, wrote on Instagram, where she has more than 250 thousand followers. In response to her words, hundreds of people posted under the hashtag, #wakeupolive. Reaction to the Heiligenthal’s actions has been polarized. But according to apologist Lee Strobel, the family’s belief in miracles is similiar to that of many others. In a Barna study about prayer and healing that he commissioned for his r
20/12/201958 minutes 46 seconds
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Christian Sex Ed in an Age of Ubiquitous Porn

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, four members of Congress wrote to the Department of Justice asking that it "declare the prosecution of obscene pornography a criminal justice priority and urge your US attorneys to bring prosecutions against the major producers and distributors of such material.” This letter came in light of the internet exponentially increasing the proliferation of porn which is “especially harmful to youth, who are being exposed to obscene pornography at exponentially younger ages." As children can increasingly learn about sex from peers and digital devices, parents should be intentional about trying to make sure their kids hear about it first from them, says Stan Jones, who has authored a number of Christian sex ed books, along with his life Brenna Jones. Unfortunately, when it comes to giving their children “the talk,” “parents are often terrified of being asked, ‘Well, what did you do when at such-and-such an age?
18/12/201954 minutes 44 seconds
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Don’t Remember Reinhard Bonnke for His Crowd Sizes

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last Saturday, Reinhard Bonnke, a prominent German evangelist in Africa, passed away at the age of 79. Bonnke’s ministry began in 1967 and lasted for 50 years. Millions of people attended his crusades, leading him to be dubbed by some as“the Billy Graham of Africa.” In 2000, CT sent a reporter to see him in Nigeria: Sunday night Bonnke delivered a sermon on the first chapters of Acts—when the apostles received the Holy Spirit. He then told the audience: "Jesus is here with all the fire you will ever need! Raise your voices! Receive the Holy Spirit now!" Thousands in the crowd began wailing, screaming, and crying. Frantically waving their hands in the air, many begged loudly for anointing. Bonnke gave a similar message on Saturday night to 1.3 million people on the crusade ground. Building momentum with the audience, the evangelist instructed the crowd to begin shouting "Alleluia!" until the Holy Spirit entered th
11/12/201942 minutes 20 seconds
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Wayne Grudem Tells Us Why He Changed His Divorce Position

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. The prominent complementarian theologian Wayne Grudem has changed his mind about divorce. Last month, Grudem told evangelical scholars at the Evangelical Theological Society that a closer reading of 1 Corinthians 7:15 had led him to conclude that the Bible permits divorce when there is abuse. Many pastors have told the theologian that they have found what he shared extremely helpful, says Grudem, a professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary.  “I just had a pastor write to me just recently saying, ‘I had felt uneasy about what I thought was the biblical position for years, but I couldn't see an alternative.’ He said, ‘Thank you. This is so helpful,’” said Grudem. “...They see the value of this alternative understanding of a ground for divorce, and it seems right to them from their reading of Scripture and from their dealing with real-life situations.” Grudem joined digital media producer Morgan
04/12/201948 minutes 47 seconds
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What to Understand about Christianity’s Decline in America

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last month, Pew Research Center published survey data from 2018 and 2019 on religion and Americans. The big takeaway: the number of non-religiously affiliated Americans was growing; the number of Christians was declining. Here’s how they summed it up: "The changes underway in the American religious landscape are broad-based. The Christian share of the population is down and religious “nones” have grown across multiple demographic groups: white people, black people and Hispanics; men and women; in all regions of the country; and among college graduates and those with lower levels of educational attainment. Religious “nones” are growing faster among Democrats than Republicans, though their ranks are swelling in both partisan coalitions. And although the religiously unaffiliated are on the rise among younger people and most groups of older adults, their growth is most pronounced among young adults." To talk about th
27/11/201953 minutes 1 second
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The Palestinian Priest Welcoming Syrian and Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Earlier this fall, the Trump administration announced that the US would accept no more than 18,000 refugees in the coming fiscal year. Here’s how CT reported this news: "President Trump’s administration has dramatically cut the number of refugees admitted to the US every year since taking office. Last year, CT reported on evangelicals condemning the decision to drop the refugee ceiling to then-historic low of 30,000 for the 2019 fiscal year. The year before, it was down to 45,000. Up until then, the cap for resettling refugees in the US hadn’t gone below 70,000 in 30 years." While in many years, the US has frequently accepted more refugees than other countries, the number has almost always been a tiny fraction of its overall population. Meanwhile, Jordan, a country of just under 10 million, is currently home to 762,420 refugees. One Christian working with hundreds of these refugees is Father Khalil Jaar, the prie
20/11/201939 minutes 36 seconds
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Pentecostals and the President

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. As is now well known, millions of evangelical Christians supported Donald Trump and helped lead him to victory on November 8, 2016 in his stunning upset over Hillary Clinton. Besides Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr., among the better known evangelicals who have support Mr. Trump are James Robison, host of the TV program Life Today, David Jeremiah, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church, a Southern Baptist megachurch in El Cajon, California, Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist, Dallas, Texas, and Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist in Prestonwood, Texas. Until recently, there hasn’t been as much focus on Trump’s more charismatic and prosperity gospel supporters. In fact, many in these circles were convinced to vote for Trump in 2016 because prophets in the movements believed Trump was destined by God to become president as early as 2015. Two lesser-known charismatics who have been on T
13/11/201945 minutes 47 seconds
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When Christian Ministries Ask Their Ex-Employees Not to Talk

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Non-disclosure agreements (NDA) started in the tech world as a way to protect trade secrets. But they haven’t stayed there.A recent World Magazine story noted: "This practice from corporate America is now common among religious nonprofits. Done right, confidentiality agreements help institutions protect members’ privacy and can fend off ruinous litigation. But NDAs can also mask institutional disease and leader misconduct. And even when an institution doesn’t enforce its NDA, the widespread institutional fear of liability can lead to unintended, devastating outcomes." In her reporting, World Magazine’s Emily Belz examined a number of Christian ministry NDAs and spoke with former employees who had signed them. She joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli this week on Quick to Listen to discuss why this practice has become so common among Christian ministries, who it serves, and who i
06/11/201946 minutes 40 seconds
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Kanye West's Long, Complicated Relationship with Christianity

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Rapper Kanye West is one of the biggest pop culture personalities of our time. His critically-acclaimed and chart-topping music, premium fashion line, controversial public persona, blunt political opinions and his marriage to Kim Kardashian West keep the Chicago hip-hop artist consistently in the news. Last week, West finally released his much-teased and highly anticipated album “Jesus Is King.” In much the same fashion as anything West does, the reaction to an album full of gospel music and theological lyrics has been enormous and polarizing. Some Christians see Kanye's life as just the highs and lows of an extreme and public display of what it looks like to walk with God over the course of a life. Others may see his conversion as more of a linear event that culminated sometime in the past year, which included this album and also the beginning of his hosting pop-up Christian services around the country. How you
30/10/20191 hour 7 minutes 50 seconds
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John MacArthur Is No Stranger to Controversy

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week, John MacArthur celebrated 50 years in the pastorate at a conference at his congregation Grace Community Church. During the event, MacArthur accused the Southern Baptist Convention of taking a “headlong plunge” toward allowing women preachers after women spoke at the SBC’s 2019 annual meeting. That, he said, was a sign the denomination no longer believed in biblical authority.“When you literally overturn the teaching of Scripture to empower people who want power, you have given up biblical authority,” said MacArthur, as a Religious News Service story reported. A moderator also asked MacArthur and his fellow panelists to offer their gut reactions to one- or two-word phrases. When the moderator said “Beth Moore,” MacArthur replied, “Go home.” MacArthur has never shied away from controversy. Last year, he helped organize a controversial statement responding to social justice. He has frequently spoken out a
23/10/201953 minutes 50 seconds
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Trump's Withdrawal from Syria Threatens the Growing Kurdish Church

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last week President Trump abruptly announced that American soldiers would be leaving Kurdish-controlled territory in Syria. The news shocked the US military. It was also an unwelcome surprise to Kurdish fighters, whom the US had backed in the fight against ISIS. The announcement was good news for Syria's neighbor Turkey who have long fought the Kurdish guerrilla group known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency inside Turkey and both Turkey and the US consider it a terrorist organization. Shortly after Trump’s announcement, Turkish troops began a military assault on the Kurdish-controlled parts of Syria. Many of the Christians that live in that area have fled to Armenia, says Charlie Costa, who pastors a congregation in Beirut and actively plants churches in the Middle East. “But of course, that empties the area of any Christian witness, at least theoretically or on a
16/10/201950 minutes 39 seconds
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Catholic Leaders Are Discussing Married Priests, Female Church Leadership, and Climate Change

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Right now, the Roman Catholic Church leaders are in the midst of a three-week-long meeting discussing the future of their ministry in the Amazon. Among the issues the synod is investigating: how church leaders should respond to chronic priest shortages, the role of women in official church leadership, and environmental degradation. Under the previous popes, John Paul II and Benedict the XVI, synods—or meetings convening all of the top brass of the Catholic church—were largely symbolic, says Christopher White, the national correspondent for the Catholic publication Crux. Not so with Pope Francis. “His two synods on the family wrestled with, among other issues, communion. And in the end, after two synods and two years of deliberation, Pope Francis issued a document that allowed for a cautious opening to communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, which did move forward the Church's pastoral teaching on that par
09/10/201947 minutes 37 seconds
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Lecrae Got Baptized Again. Here's Why People Were Upset

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last month, the hip-hop artist Lecrae got baptized for a second time in the Jordan River. Afterwards, he posted a picture of the event on Instagram. From CT’s reporting:   The Grammy winner responded to one follower who suggested that since Lecrae already has new life in Christ, the Jordan baptism was just a “weird bath in a very significant place.” “1. It’s Mikvah,” Lecrae replied, referencing the Jewish ritual bath that predates Christian baptism and also represented new life. “2. Jesus was God already and still was baptized. 3. Celebrate the heart vs. criticizing the information.”But despite Lecrae’s response, many on social media made it clear that they were still theologically uncomfortable with the hip-hop artist’s decision.   Baptism has long been a divisive sacrament in church history. The argument over Lecrae’s Jordan River baptism stem from a debate over the action really means, says Matthew Knell, who
02/10/201948 minutes 38 seconds
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Does Evangelism Belong at Chicago’s Top Tourist Attraction?

Most Friday nights during the school year, a group of Wheaton College students takes the train into downtown Chicago together. Their purpose? To share the gospel with the people they meet that night in the city. Last year, Wheaton’s Chicago Evangelism Team traveled to Millenium Park, home to one of the city’s most popular attractions: the Bean. When students began to approach people with pamphlets, a park employee told students they were forbidden from doing so. Similarly, when one student began preaching, they were told that they were breaking a Chicago ordinance. Read The Chicago Tribune’s report. This account comes from the lawsuit four students filed against the city of Chicago last week, alleging that the city’s park rules improperly restricted their freedom of speech. The rules divided up the park into 11 sections and banned the public from “the making of speeches and passing out of written communications” in all but one of the sections. That section was not the Bean, which was w
25/09/201950 minutes 39 seconds
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So, What's an Evangelical?

Though one can argue that evangelical religion has been in crisis from the beginning, starting in November 2016 and the election of Donald Trump, it exploded afresh. Not only did the nation wake up to discover a chasm dividing in the country, so did evangelicals--especially when it became clear that white evangelicals voted for and then supported the new president, depending on the poll, in the range of 75 to 81 percent. The evangelical left was shocked and horrified by this, and the evangelical right was mystified by their outrage. Many Black, Asian, and Hispanic evangelicals—if they still identified with the term at all--looked at white evangelicals left and right and just shook their heads, wondering if either side really got it. We now have a cacophony of voices shouting at one another, and much of the shouting is about two questions: “So, what is an evangelical Christian anyway?” And more to the point, “Does it even matter?” To help explore those questions, we invited Thomas Kidd,
18/09/201952 minutes 13 seconds
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Benny Hinn's Prosperity Gospel Message Started Here

Benny Hinn made an announcement last week. “I am correcting my own theology and you need to all know it. The blessings of God are not for sale. And miracles are not for sale. And prosperity is not for sale,” he said during his weekly TV broadcast. His comments made waves. Hinn is one of the biggest names of a movement known broadly as the prosperity gospel. (His nephew wrote for CT about rejecting its theology.) Those seen as part of the movement—be they Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, or Paula White—are often attacked for their health and wealth teachings. But determining the limits of the movement—especially when it exists around the world—isn’t easy, says Candy Gunther Brown, a professor of religious studies at Indiana University. “Anytime you use a phrase like ‘prosperity gospel’ whether it’s in a North American context or whether it’s the Global South, it’s necessary to be very conscious to not paint things in too broad of strokes,” said Brown. “You need to be careful to respect the v
11/09/201950 minutes 13 seconds
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What 1619 Means for Christian History

Last month, the New York Times Magazine devoted an entire publication to remembering the 400th anniversary of American slavery. In the introduction to the project, it wrote,The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.But the transatlantic slave trade goes back to the 15th century, when Portuguese merchants began trading North African people as slaves. The industry’s growth happened alongside massive changes in the church, including the Reformation in 1517 and subsequent church fighting and division between Catholics and Protestants.  To understand the church’s beliefs about slavery at the time, you have to go back to the Patristic period, says Michael A. G. Haykin, a prof
05/09/201952 minutes 34 seconds
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Another Denomination Changes Its End Times Doctrine

The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) has changed its position on end times doctrine. The denomination recently voted to drop the word “premillennial” from its statement of faith. So what prompted the change? “We say that we ‘major on the majors and minor on the minors,” the EFCA said in an internal document. The denomination noted that they did not take a stance on the Reformed v. Arminian view of conversion, the age of the earth, infant v. adult baptism, and whether the gifts of the spirit had ceased or were still active. In light of that, “we believe there is a significant inconsistency in continuing to include premillennialism as a required theological position when it is clear that the nature of the millennium is one of those doctrines over which theologians, equally knowledgeable, equally committed to the Bible, and equally Evangelical, have disagreed through the history of the church,” the document stated. The church has held multiple positions on the End Times held by
28/08/201941 minutes 54 seconds
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Coming Next Week: Living and Effective, Season 2

"It’s certainly not linear. Grief is not like that. Grief is all over the map, that’s part of the difficulty of it. You can feel like you’ve gotten through a lot of it, and then feel like you’re back at the beginning again." - Diane Langberg, author of Suffering and the Heart of God All six episodes release Monday, August 26th. Subscribe now at Living and  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/08/20197 minutes 40 seconds
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A Christian Satirist Talks The Babylon Bee

Last month, Snopes fact-checked an article from the satire site The Babylon Bee. On its website, Snopes explained its rationale:The Babylon Bee has managed to confuse readers with its brand of satire in the past. This particular story was especially puzzling for some readers, however, as it closely mirrored the events of a genuine news story, with the big exception of the website’s changing the location. We found dozens of instances of social media users who were puzzled by this article.Meanwhile, The Bee’s CEO told Fox News that Snopes running its fact-check could end up deeming the website as “fake news” and make it harder to share its stories on social media sites. The Bee may be the first Christian satirical piece that Snopes has examined, but it’s hardly the first satirical site that organization has fact-checked. That’s partially because humorous fake news can get anyone, says Bob Darden, the former editor of the late Christian satire magazine, The Wittenburg Door.“ On the cover,
21/08/201953 minutes 1 second
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The Limits of Pentecostal Women Leaders

Two weeks ago, the Assemblies of God General Council elected a woman to its executive leadership. After more than 100 years in existence, Ohio minister Donna Barrett now holds the role of Assemblies of God general secretary, the third-highest position in the denomination. In May, the Foursquare Church’s Tammy Dunahoo ran unsuccessfully for the denomination’s presidency. If Dunahoo would have been elected, she would have been the first female president since the denomination’s founder, Aimee Semple McPherson. Though women have largely been absent from denominational leadership structures, that women have been allowed to preach from the beginning of the movement makes them unique among Protestant traditions.Historically, Pentecostals “didn’t prefer the traditional method of leadership identification,” said Leah Payne, the author of Gender and Pentecostal Revivalism: Making a Female Ministry in the Early Twentieth Century. “They did, in fact, reject things like seminary.” People preferred
14/08/201949 minutes 29 seconds
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What Mass Shootings Mean for Loners and Youth Ministry

Last week, three more high-profile mass shootings rocked the US, once again sparking intense debate about gun control, white supremacy, and the president’s role in inspiring the shootings. In the wake of these attacks, the media also profiled the alleged gunmen, who were dubbed “loners” by those who knew them. They were also all young—the three alleged gunmen’s ages fell between 19 and 24. An LA Times op-ed by researchers who have analyzed data about the profile of mass shooters since 1966 also noted that nearly all of them were traumatized as children. The American church’s youth ministry model hasn’t done a good job of reaching this demographic, largely because of the middle-class’s desire for safety, said Andrew Root, the author of multiple books on youth ministry and a professor of youth and family ministry at Lutheran Seminary.“So all of a sudden, a loner kid comes, who either is bullying or has been bullied, and then comes in and is just a negative presence,” he said. “It can le
07/08/20191 hour 48 seconds
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Responding to Josh Harris's Announcement

Two weeks ago, Josh Harris, the author of the controversial Christian bestseller I Kissed Dating Goodbye, announced that he and his wife, Shannon, were ending their marriage. Last week, Harris published another Instagram post, this time about the state of his faith:I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. The popular phrase for this is “deconstruction,” the biblical phrase is “falling away.” By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. Many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.Harris’s announcement caught editor Drew Dyck off guard.“I think my shock probably pales in comparison to the shock and even the grief that the people that sat under his ministry for over a decade would feel,” said Dyck, the author of Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Church … and how to Bring Them Back. “There's a lot of consternation when your
31/07/201955 minutes 32 seconds
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They Tried to Kill Me for My Christian Faith. So I Fled.

Last week, the US hosted its second religious freedom ministerial, an event which calls attention to the plight of those suffering persecution for their faith (or lack thereof), around the world. The same week, Politico reported that some in the Trump administration were advocating to slash the refugee program to zero next year. In light of the significant cuts to the program that the administration has already made, CT asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was organizing the ministerial, to respond to arguments that the refugee program had closed off “one of the avenues that people of minority faiths have to escape their persecution.” His response: This administration appropriately is incredibly proud of how we treat those who are at risk around the world. I think there’s no nation in history that has accepted as many refugees as the United States has, nor whom has an even broader acceptance of people coming from around the world—both to come here to study and to learn, but those
25/07/201953 minutes 17 seconds
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Should You Pass Your Church to Your Son (or Daughter)?

It claims 100,000 members. It owns and operates an evangelical television channel, two schools, the first and only private prison in Korea, and hospitals in Korea and Ethiopia. Forty years ago, Myungsung Presbyterian Church in Korea was founded by Kim Sam-whan, its now pastor emeritus. But the church is currently involved in a crisis over who will be its next pastor. Kim Sam-whan gave his senior pastor position to his son in 2017. But the Presbyterian denomination to which it belongs says that it violated part of the denomination’s constitution, which prohibits the transference of pastor or elder positions to family members. According to CT’s reporting: “Defenders argue that Kim Ha-na was elected in accordance with Myungsung’s laws, and the denomination that Kim Sam-whan once headed should not meddle in the megachurch’s affairs. Critics argue that the denomination’s flagship church is flouting the corporate laws it must heed.” Because the first wave of megachurches started in South Kor
17/07/201947 minutes 18 seconds
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Are Our Ordination Controversies Unique?

What this sometimes contentious rite looks like in global Christianity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/07/201947 minutes 1 second
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Here’s What Makes the ‘First-Century Mark’ Saga Complicated

Last week, CT published a piece about the “First Century Mark Saga.” It’s a complicated, nearly decade-old situation that reveals much about the world of ancient biblical manuscripts. Many Christians may be inclined to primarily connect biblical manuscripts with apologetics or Bible translations, but the ecosystem they inhabit is far more complex, says Christian Askeland, a former Museum of the Bible employee and professor of Christian origins. “With the Gospel of Mark controversy, there's a lot of stuff going on there,” said Askeland. “There is the paleography issue—the New Testament was written in the first century, so just the basic idea that we could have a first century manuscript, that one of those would survive and we would have it. Then there’s the issue of acquiring the artifact—what museums have the right to buy this kind of ancient material culture. And then there's the scholarly issue—how do professionals, specifically Christian scholars look when they are trying to buy thi
04/07/201959 minutes 33 seconds
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How a US-China Trade War Threatens Christian Publishing

China is home to some of the worst religious repression in the world. But it also prints more Bibles than any country, thanks to the Nanjing-based Amity Press, which has printed almost 200 million Bibles since 1988 in partnership with the United Bible Societies. So when the Trump administration recently announced that the latest round of tariffs would include books, Christian publishers were alarmed. Last week, several leaders in the industry made their case before trade representatives to exempt Bibles from these proposed economic measures. But how did an industry that just decades ago was operating like a family business become a global one? And what makes China uniquely capable of printing millions of Bibles and other Christian books? Stan Jantz, the executive director of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how globalization transformed the Christian publishing industry, why China is suc
26/06/201951 minutes 54 seconds
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African and West Indian Christians Are Changing the UK Church

How God is working through the Windrush generation and beyond. The number of churches continues to drop in the UK. As CT reported last month, there are only 39,000 congregations left in the country, a quarter drop from 20 years ago. But despite churches increasingly closing their doors and the number of people attending church falling, this bad news isn’t across the board. For Black Majority Churches, the numbers actually look a lot healthier. These congregations began in the wake of World War II, when immigrants began arriving in the UK from the Caribbean, sparking a generation that became known as the Windrush generation, named after the boat that the inaugural group took. “They came over to help the UK,” said Chine McDonald, the media, content, and PR lead at Christian Aid. McDonald’s family came over from Nigeria several decades later, though they didn’t always face a warm welcome from the local congregations. “I remember when we would go to predominantly white churches. We would a
19/06/201948 minutes 47 seconds
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Beth Moore Is Speaking Up

In August 2010, CT published a cover story on Beth Moore, “Why Women Want Moore: Homespun, savvy, and with a relentless focus on Jesus, Beth Moore has become the most popular Bible teacher in America.” Intensely popular among evangelical women when the story was published nearly a decade ago, Moore, a Southern Baptist, has increasingly drawn the attention of American Christians at large. More recently, Moore has also begun speaking out on politics, sexual abuse, and the misogyny that she has experienced in the church. Her preferred platform has been Twitter, where she has nearly a million followers. Earlier this year, she tweeted that in 2016, for the first time, she was able to confront the abuses and misuses of power she had seen and experienced in the Southern Baptist denomination. Earlier this month she also provoked another controversy with some Southern Baptist leaders when discussing how she would be preaching at an upcoming church. Yet her influence shows no sign of waning. “I
12/06/201949 minutes 38 seconds
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This Pastor Criticized Trump When Pence Visited His Church

Popular Southern Baptist pastor David Platt learned that President Donald Trump was on the way to his church in the middle of the service, as he prepared to take communion. When the president arrived, Platt put his arm around Trump and prayed: “We pray that he would look to you; that he would trust in you; that he would lean on you; that he would govern and make decisions in ways that are good for justice, good for righteousness, good for equity, every good path. Lord, we pray that you would give him all the grace he needs to govern in ways that we just saw in 1 Timothy 2 that lead to peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.” Last year, Vice President Mike Pence visited Metropolitan Baptist Church several days after Trump reportedly referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries.” At the service, Maurice Watson, the senior pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, pushed back on that characterization. "I stand today as your pastor to vehemently denounce an
05/06/201947 minutes 42 seconds
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The Christian Backstory of Hong Kong’s Anti-Government Protests

In April, nine Hong Kong activists were convicted for participating in the pro-democracy Occupy Central and Umbrella Movement protests. One of those was a Baptist pastor, Chu Yiu-Ming. In the courtroom, he painted a vivid picture of the faith that had transformed his life and inspired his activism: “We have no regrets. We hold no grudges, no anger, no grievances. We do not give up,” he said, speaking on behalf of fellow activists striving to bring universal voting rights to Hong Kong. “In the words of Jesus, ‘Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; The Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!’” (Matt. 5:10) Our coverage of Chu’s sermon was one of CT’s most popular news stories of the year so far, with many on social media praising his bravery. Chu was not the only leader known for his faith. Earlier this month, Joshua Wong, a 22-year-old Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, was returned to prison. Earlier he told World Magazine: As Christians, we are not only respo
30/05/201951 minutes 48 seconds
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India Is Not Protecting Its Christians

On Thursday, Indians will learn the results of their country’s massive national elections. For the past five years, the country has been governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Despite Modi’s popularity among much of the country’s Hindu population, his tenure in office has proved difficult for India’s religious minorities. The Hindutva movement—which is made up of extremists who believe that all Indians must be Hindu—have gone after Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, and other religious minorities. “Christians in India are not the only ones facing the brunt of nationalism,” Vijayesh Lal, the general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India. “We know about Muslims being lynched. … That would also be the Communists, who actually subscribe to no religion at all. That would also be the Dalits, or the untouchables.” Since 2014, India has risen 11 spots on Open Doors’ World Watch List, and last year the advocacy group said that more than 12,000 Christi
22/05/201953 minutes 5 seconds
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Jean Vanier’s Faith Convicts All of Us

Last week, the Canadian Catholic leader Jean Vanier died at the age of 90. Born into a privileged family, Vanier’s life took an unexpected turn when he founded L’Arche, an international network of communities for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. As Bethany McKinney Fox, the founding pastor of a church inspired by L’Arche wrote for CT: “While many ministries involving people with intellectual disabilities began with a clear separation between those being helped and those doing the helping, slowly the paradigm has shifted toward Vanier’s approach at L’Arche, where all are called to share their gifts as members of one body of Christ, doing the work of the gospel together.” In addition to his legacy of work with intentional communities, Vanier was also a prolific author. “The themes that constitute those books—peace, peacemaking, community, community building, communion—are pretty consistent,” said Michael Higgins, the author of Jean Vanier: Logician of
15/05/201954 minutes 23 seconds
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How Christians Can Reach Muslims During Ramadan

This week marked the start of Ramadan, a 30-day season of fasting and celebrating observed by millions of Muslims around the world. Some Christian communities, especially in the Middle East, have for generations learned how to respect and connect with their Muslim neighbors during this time. As more Americans convert to Islam and Muslims from other countries migrate to Europe and North America, the Western church has been slowly learning the history of this holiday and how to reach the mosque during this time. Fasting is a great way for Christians to connect with Muslims during Ramadan, says Joseph Cumming, who works with Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders and scholars around the world to promote mutual understanding and reconciliation. “Maybe you just fast one day in Ramadan to enter into that experience with them and what you find is when you do that and then you have a conversation with your Muslim friend and suddenly there's this feeling of we are in this together instead of this
08/05/201951 minutes 12 seconds
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France Loves Notre Dame. Do They Still Believe the Faith That Inspired It?

Two weeks ago, the Notre Dame caught fire and burned. In the aftermath of the blaze, fundraising efforts to repair and reopen the church have raised millions of dollars. But they’ve also highlighted disparities in the ability of other religious traditions—primarily Protestants and Muslims—to open new places of worship and maintain their existing ones. Currently, a new church opens every 10 days in France, says Raphaël Anzenberger, the director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries for the French-speaking world. But expensive rents often mean that these churches can’t move to the city center, and consequently have a harder time influencing their culture’s leaders. Existing congregations seeking to renovate their buildings also run into challenges. “It's getting really complicated for our pastors, who not only need to feed the flock, which is their first calling, but also to be experts in handicapped law [and how to] fireproof buildings. You have to be a lawyer, a notary, it's just
01/05/20191 hour 5 minutes 25 seconds
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The Easter Attacks Are a Turning Point for Sri Lanka's Christians

Nearly 300 people are dead after suicide bombers attacked three churches and three high-end hotels on Easter Sunday this week. Christians—the majority of whom are Catholics—make up less than 10 percent of the population of the majority-Buddhist nation, and have reported escalating concerns about their religious freedom. Christian persecution has largely come at the hands of Buddhist radicals, so the church has largely responded to the attacks with shock, says Ivor Poobalan, the Prinicipal of Colombo Theological seminary in Kohuwala (Colombo), Sri Lanka. “We expected the threat or danger to come from those quarters,” said Poobalan. “Islam has been around for over 1,000 years and has never been violent.” Poobalan joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and theology editor Caleb Lindgren to discuss how Christianity arrived in Sri Lanka, why the faith has long been associated with privilege, and how he hopes the church will respond to the bombings. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/04/201954 minutes 57 seconds
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Valuing Women of Color at Christian Conferences

everal weeks ago, theologian Ekemini Uwan was interviewed on stage at the Sparrow Conference for Women. But when Uwan, a Nigerian American who frequently speaks out against racism and white supremacy, began doing so at the conference, people in the audience began walking out, according to a report from The Witness. Uwan later tweeted that she had to hire an attorney to force the conference to send her photos and video of her interview. YouTube also removed a video of her remarks at the request of Sparrow, and the conference’s social media did not include her images or quotes, in contrast to those of other speakers. Earlier this year, author Kathy Khang preached at chapel at Baylor University. Khang, a veteran speaker, included an anecdote mentioning an 11-year-old boy who was arrested after not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance. In the middle of Khang’s talk, a Baylor student stood up and said, “That’s not what happened. He was making terroristic threats to his teacher.” The eve
17/04/20191 hour 15 minutes 16 seconds
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When the Government Bans Chaplains from Execution Chambers

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas could not execute inmate Patrick Murphy if they did not allow his Buddhist chaplain into the death chamber with him. In response, last Thursday, the state of Texas decided to ban all chaplains from entering the death chamber with inmates. Patrick Murphy’s situation echoes the story of Alabama inmate Domineque Ray. Ray, who was executed in February, requested to have his imam be present with him in the execution chamber. Ultimately, his request was denied and Ray was put to death without the presence of his chaplain. Chaplains serve many roles in the final moments of an inmate's life, including comforting family members, says Earl Smith, who served for decades as a death row chaplain in San Quentin State Prison in California. When they’re kept from inmates in their final moments, it can mean there’s no one who is able to relay the individual’s last words. “That inmate was looking for a way to say ‘bye’ in peace and because you said ‘No, you
10/04/201956 minutes 51 seconds
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Christians Are on All Sides of the Immigration Debate

At the beginning of this year, Christianity Today received a grant funding a position for an immigrant communities’ editor. What beat is that, you say? It’s a position that examines “the intersection of immigration, the church, and Christian communities.” As immigration continues to be a volatile current event, we wanted to hire someone who could examine the complex issue from a human and faith-perspective. Enter Bekah McNeel, a longtime education journalist based in San Antonio, Texas. Living and reporting for a number of years on a border state has changed how McNeel understands the immigrant issues—and how she perceives the national news coverage that will suddenly show up and attempt to cover a story without “a deep understanding of the context.” “The coverage was always really jarring,” she said. “You don't understand how normal it is for people to come and go [across the border.] The thought that a truck full of 18 guys could get as far as San Antonio it seems like what?.... The
03/04/201953 minutes 9 seconds
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The Christian Bookstore Chain Is Dead. What Comes Next?

In 2013, Christian book retailer, Cokesbury Bookstores, closed all 38 retail stores. In 2017, Family Christian Resources shut down all 240 locations in the midst of mounting debt and bankruptcy. Then, this year, LifeWay Christian Resources, the largest Christian retail chain in America, announced that it would be closing all of its 170 stores this year. While Christian book publishers have sold their products on Amazon for years, these closures still affect their business, says Mark Taylor, the president and CEO of Tyndale House Publishers. “In some ways, Amazon has been a boon to publishers of all types because they are now our largest trading partner and have been for a number of years,” said Taylor. “The key issue that we talk about at Tyndale House is what we call ‘discoverability.’ How will a consumer the new books or the old books that we are publishing?” Taylor recounted a recent trip to Barnes and Noble, where, after browsing through the offerings, he found a book by a longtime
27/03/201956 minutes 31 seconds
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Retirement for Those Who Can’t

Christianity Today’s March 2019 cover story examined how retirement fits into the Christian vision of faith and work and how assumptions about what retirement looks like are changing for many Americans. We looked at the increasingly diverse ways that Christians are leveraging their post-career years for the good of their families, churches, and communities. A lot of readers wrote in to express appreciation for covering a topic that really matters to so many, but we also got a fair number of responses that were concerned that our take on retirement was too narrow. One reader, Rodney, summed it up this way: "Your article 'Saving Retirement' in the March issue was a good summary of the situation facing retirees today. However, most of the examples of retirees doing something purposeful after retirement were people who had held leading positions in their field of work with presumably large salaries. The article definitely needed to portray what some ‘ordinary workers’ have gone on to do."
20/03/201950 minutes 43 seconds
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Our Venezuelan Brothers and Sisters in Christ Are Suffering

Venezuela has been in crisis for years, but the situation there has arguably taken an even greater turn for the worse in recent weeks. Recently, a blackout cut off the entire country from electricity. Citizens have also been victim to frequent water shortages and a currency that is losing its value at unprecedented rates. At the same time, more than three million people have left the country of 31 million people, roughly 10 percent of the population. The country is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, although, like much of Latin America, has experienced the growing influence of Protestantism. According to Pew Research Center’s 2014 numbers, Protestants currently make up 17 percent of the population. Germán Novelli-Oliveros, the Venezuelan-born-and-raised pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how oil brought Protestantism to Venezuela, why pastors won’t speak out politically, and his advice for people
13/03/201949 minutes 23 seconds
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How Christian Art Historically Depicts Women and Their Bodies

As part of the launch of her latest book, Shameless: A Sexual Reformation, Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber asked would-be readers to mail her their purity rings. Then she took the submissions and had them melted down and turned into a vagina statue. While the action earned attention for its shock value, Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren recently pointed out for CT that this was far from the first example of vaginal (or yonic) art in the Christian tradition. “No reasonable person could say that these Christian yonic symbols indicate that the early church was a bastion of feminist liberation,” Harrison Warren wrote. “In the ancient church, as now, misogyny abounds. Still, at the very least, they show that the female body was not (and is not) deemed dirty, unholy, or otherwise bad.” Christian art has always depicted women, says Robin Jensen, a professor at Notre Dame who specializes in the history of Christianity and liturgical studies. “Surprisingly, though, what you’d expect to find
06/03/201953 minutes 57 seconds
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Methodism’s Global Reach Has Changed the Denomination

For the past four days, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church has been reexamining its doctrines on human sexuality. From Christianity Today’s report from yesterday: The United Methodist Church (UMC) voted Tuesday to maintain its traditional stance against same-sex marriage and non-celibate gay clergy, bolstered by a growing conservative contingent from Africa. The denomination’s “Traditional Plan” passed, with 438 votes in favor and 384 against (53% to 47%), in the final hours of a special UMC conference held this week in St. Louis to address the issue of human sexuality. While this decision will likely have broad global consequences, it is also one that has been heavily impacted by the denomination’s large international presence. The UMC has about 7 million lay members in the US and 5.5 million overseas, and they operate in more than 130 countries. But the denomination's broad reach isn’t anything new. “It’s inherently a global movement,” said J. Steven O’Malley, a pr
27/02/201942 minutes 54 seconds
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Introducing: The Way to Glory

Introducing: The Way to Glory by Christianity Today Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
21/02/20191 minute 59 seconds
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The Struggle to Say ‘I’m Sorry’ in Public

Note: Quick to Listen now has transcripts! Scroll to the bottom of the episode description to read through our conversation with David Bailey. Last week, the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News published a three-part investigation into the scope of sex abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention. Among one of the seeming fruits of their report was an announcement from the head of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Al Mohler wanted to apologize for the role that he played in protecting his friend CJ Mahaney after he was accused of covering up a sex abuse scandal at his church. In an 850-word statement, Mohler acknowledged his role in supporting Mahaney, even as questions arose about his involvement. He then expressed regret for his former actions and spoke specifically about where he believed he had fallen short. “I can only speak for myself, but I wish to do so clearly, acknowledging these errors, grieving at the harm that was done, and committing to do everything I can to
20/02/201956 minutes 19 seconds
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No, Millennials Aren't Killing Evangelism

Half of millennial Christians say it’s wrong to evangelize. This was the headline from CT’s report from new Barna Group research examining the perspectives of millennials, Gen-X, boomer, and elder practicing Christians on sharing their faith. (Note: Barna defines “practicing Christians” as churchgoers who consider religion an important part of their lives.) More than 90 percent of practicing Christians of all generations agreed somewhat or strongly that “part of my faith means being a witness about Jesus” and “the best thing that could ever happen to someone is for them to come to know Jesus.” Millennials were more likely than any other age group to say that they were gifted at sharing their faith with other people. In fact, 73 percent said they were compared to 56 percent of elders, who were the least secure about their ability. But controversially—at least to CT’s Twitter followers—47 percent of millennials said it was wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different
13/02/201958 minutes 53 seconds
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How This Dutch Congregation Pulled Off a 96-Day Service

For nearly 100 days, more than 500 Dutch pastors—as well as some from across the continent and the Atlantic—across denominations gathered in Bethel Church for a continuous worship service. Why? To protect a refugee family from deportation. From CT’s report: The Dutch government is generally prohibited from interrupting religious services, so the Protestant congregation kept extending their gathering during the debate over family asylum or kinderpardon. [Last week,] officials agreed to allow the Armenian family at Bethel—along with 700 others who have lived in the country for more than a decade—to have their cases reviewed again rather than face immediate expulsion. Christian leader Axel Wicke was closely involved with the planning and execution of the hundreds of hours–long service. Some of Wicke’s elderly church attendees told him that they stopped by the service in the middle of the night when they woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. “I’m now quite familiar with who of my parish m
06/02/201951 minutes 42 seconds
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Why Islamist Terrorists Attacked Christians in the Philippines

SIS has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 20 churchgoers and soldiers at a Catholic church in the Philippines. Two bombs exploded at a church in the city of Jolo on Sunday, “the first blasting through rows of pews and the second shooting from the entrance to kill scrambling parishioners as well as the guards positioned outside to protect the church week after week,” according to CT’s report. The attack came several days after a key vote in the region’s surrounding islands on a referendum that offered the area greater autonomy. While Muslims in Jolo largely opposed the referendum—part of an effort to end ongoing clashes between Philippine forces and separatists, —it passed anyway. Given that the vote seemingly went in their favor, why did extremists react violently? “What they want to do is pit Muslims and Christians against each other,” said Efraim Tendero, the current general secretary of the World Evangelical Alliance and former national director of the Philippine Coun
30/01/201956 minutes 53 seconds
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The Hebrew Israelites in That March for Life Viral Video, Explained

Videos from last Friday’s March for Life and the Indigenous People’s March have been the subject of intense debate. In footage from a clip filmed in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Friday, high school students, some wearing Make America Great Again hats, appeared to be in a faceoff with a Native American elder. The footage went viral, as many on social media condemned the boys’ apparent actions. Shortly thereafter, a new video showed a group of half a dozen Hebrew Israelites berating and using insults that seem to come out of the Old Testament to the same high schoolers and the Native Americans at the event for more than an hour. For many Americans, this was their first encounter with this sect, started by two African Americans in the late 19th century. Despite the scripture references that many members of the community drop in public, Christians should avoid engaging the Hebrew Israelites should they encounter them on the street, says Lisa Fields, the founder and president of Jude 3
24/01/201955 minutes 46 seconds
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No Sign Language in the World Has Its Own Bible Translation

Note: Our guest on this week’s show signed his responses so we are also making a video of this podcast available here: Donations from the 40,000 attendees at this year’s Passion Conference raised nearly half a million dollars to fund Bible translations for the deaf. These funds will boost projects in Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Moldova, Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, and Russia. No sign language has a full Bible translation, and just 2 percent of deaf people around the world have access to the Gospels in their sign languages. According to CT’s reporting: Sign languages aren’t structured like text-based or spoken languages [and] they require their own processes for passages of Scripture to be told visually through sign. Chronological Bible Translation (CBT) translates the Bible by stories, while Book-by-Book (BBB) translation uses the chapter and verse structure, the De
16/01/201940 minutes 57 seconds
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The Schism Dividing the Orthodox Church

Last fall, the Patriarch of Moscow cut ties with the Patriarch of Constantinople. This action severed the world’s largest Orthodox church from its historic home and launched a series of events that recently took a sharp turn. Last week, the Patriarch of Constantinople offered the Orthodox Church of Ukraine independence from the Patriarch of Russia, actions that weren’t greeted warmly by the Patriarch of Moscow. All of this is taking place in the context of a half-decade of conflict between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. So is this church fissure over disagreements in doctrine or international politics? One key to understanding it is understanding the concept of symphonia, or the Orthodox perspective of church-state relations. A 2016 CT article characterized symphonia as “institutionalized ‘harmonious relations’ between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state.” “This intentional connection between church and state allows the Orthodox Church to enjoy all the attendant privileg
09/01/201946 minutes 56 seconds
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This New Year, Build Character

We make New Year’s resolutions about money, fitness, diets, and technology. But what about personal character? And when choosing virtues to emulate, where should we start? The Bible, Aristotle, and Aquinas aren’t bad places to start, says Jay Wood, a philosophy professor at Wheaton College, who has frequently written about this topic. “What Christians have said about Aristotle is that he gives us good advice for how to flourish in a common human life,” said Wood. “Aristotle’s virtues do not, however, prepare us for the life to come. The great Christian teachers about virtue said we need to have the gifts that the Holy Spirit confers upon us in order to achieve the virtues.” Just for reference, here’s Galatians 5:22–23: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Wood joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the biblical basis for
03/01/201939 minutes 40 seconds
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It's Not Just a Blue Christmas. We're Lonely.

Research shows our society's widespread isolation. What's the church's role in alleviating it? While technology, living situations, and neighborhood have all played roles in perpetuating these feelings of loneliness, arguably so have many of churches, says Ashley Hales, the author of Finding Holy in the Suburbs: Living Faithfully in the Land of Too Much. “There’s a sense that our church structures have made people more lonely,” said Hales. “People can just come as they please. If they’re really unknown, they’re not getting plugged into any smaller forms of community.” Part of it is changing cultural expectations of church, said Hales. “We want church to be this customizable religious experience, instead of saying this is the bride of Christ, it’s going to be painful to be a part of, that it’s one of the only organizations where people of every tribe, tongue, and nation are getting together amidst different socioeconomic and racial differences,” she said. “ Hales joined digital media pr
26/12/201854 minutes 56 seconds
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Not Just Asia Bibi: Pakistan’s Very Vulnerable Christians

After years behind bars and on death row, Asia Bibi was recently acquitted of blasphemy charges by Pakistan’s Supreme Court. But although the verdict technically liberated the mother of five, many in Pakistan responded to the announcement in anger, with protests erupting in the country’s major cities. Her family is currently in hiding and seeking asylum in a Western country. Overwhelmingly Muslim, Pakistan is a challenging place for the Christian (and Ahmadiyya community.) It ranks No. 5 on the 2018 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom also classifies Pakistan as a Tier 1 Country of Particular Concern. It recently booted out 18 international non-governmental organizations, including the Christian nonprofit World Vision. The reality is that most of the country’s Christians are people who historically are from a lower caste system, which although officially abolished, still exists in the country, s
19/12/201856 minutes 7 seconds
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The History of the Fundamentalists Facing a Massive Abuse Scandal

On Sunday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published a four-part series on more than 400 allegations of sexual misconduct affiliated with the independent fundamental Baptist movement. The scope of their reporting spanned nearly 1,000 churches and organizations across 40 states and Canada. The report noted: One hundred and sixty-eight church leaders were accused or convicted of committing sexual crimes against children, the investigation found. At least 45 of the alleged abusers continued in ministry after accusations came to the attention of church authorities or law enforcement. But what is the independent fundamental Baptist movement? Historically it has meant a firm belief in the “fundamental doctrines, that is to say, the essential doctrines of the Christian faith” and “an insistence that you should only extend Christian fellowship to people who profess to believe the gospel.” said Kevin Bauder, a research professor of systematic theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary and th
12/12/201850 minutes 31 seconds
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The Hard Truth About Pastors' Pay

We’re in the midst of what could be a significant transition for American pastoral salaries. A lawsuit challenging the longstanding clergy housing allowance is in the court of appeals. Last year’s tax reform bill made significant changes to the standard deduction, which could have dramatic effects for the level of giving churches have historically relied upon. As CT Pastors recently reported, “staffing costs typically account for 45 to 55 percent of a church’s budget. But with recent changes in costs, demographics, and giving in US churches, many are questioning that model.” Beyond these larger changes, churches, whether part of denominations or nondenominational, have long struggled with knowing how to fairly compensate pastors and other employees, says Brian Kluth, who currently leads the National Association of Evangelical’s Financial Health initiative, which seeks to improve the financial health of pastors and church. “There are real critical pay issues for people in church and rea
05/12/20181 hour 34 seconds
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What John Allen Chau's Missions Agency Wants You to Know

A little over a week ago, a 26-year-missionary was killed by members of an isolated tribe on a remote island near India, Myanmar, and Thailand. As CT reported: According to news reports based on Chau’s journal entries, the Oral Roberts University graduate shouted, “My name is John, and I love you and Jesus loves you,” to Sentinelese tribesmen armed with bows and arrows. He fled to a fishing boat when they shot at him during his initial visit, with one arrow piercing his Bible. The young missionary did not survive a follow-up trip on November 17. Chau was working with All Nations, whose stated mission is “to make disciples and train leaders to ignite church planting movements among the neglected peoples of the earth.” Mary Ho, the international executive leader at All Nations, described Chau as a “very interesting young man” and “very focused.” “Since he was about 18 years old, I believe, he took a mission trip and on that mission trip he really felt a call to be a missionary,” Ho said.
28/11/201840 minutes 45 seconds
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How Christians Can Partner with Muslims on Religious Freedom

How Christians Can Partner with Muslims on Religious Freedom by Christianity Today Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
21/11/201843 minutes 5 seconds
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This 'Religious War' Isn't Religious

It’s been a bloody year in the Central African Republic. Two months ago, a massacre claimed the lives of dozens of people in the country after suspected Islamist rebels attacked a group of civilians. The massacre was just the latest in a wave of violence for the country of 4.5 million. At the beginning of this year, the CAR’s capital had been considered a safe haven in the war-torn country. It was the only place the government claimed control, as three-quarters of the landlocked nation is occupied by armed groups. But since the spring, the country has witnessed an upsurge of violence, notably with attacks targeting churches and church leaders in the capital city, Bangui, and Bambari, another important city in the country. Four Catholic priests were targeted, with three of them killed in separate Islamist attacks. In response to the violence from the past couple years, a militia composed primarily of Christians has also committed atrocities against Muslims. But the unrest hasn’t divided
14/11/201835 minutes 8 seconds
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Why Latino Evangelicals Vote Beyond Immigration

Elections often call attention to white evangelicals whose votes and voices play a significant role in national elections. But their attitudes and values don’t necessarily represent those of evangelicals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Case in point: Latino evangelicals. According to data from the Billy Graham Center Institute at Wheaton College and LifeWay Research, 41 percent of Hispanics with evangelical beliefs voted for Trump in 2016. What were the issues that most influenced their vote? According to the same survey, 19 percent said improving the economy, 14 percent said helping those in need, and 14 percent said a candidate’s position on immigration. “Most Latinos will tend to be socially conservative on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage but will tend to be social liberals on issues like education and immigration, so we’ve tended to be divided on how we spread the vote,” said Juan Martínez, who currently serves as professor of Hispanic studies and pastoral
07/11/201859 minutes 31 seconds
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What to Make of James MacDonald Suing Julie Roys

A Chicagoland megachurch pastor has sued a Christian media personality and two former church-members-turned-potential-whistleblowers for defamation. According to Harvest Bible Chapel pastor James McDonald, former Moody Radio host Julie Roys and bloggers Ryan Mahoney and Scott Bryant published and helped publicize false and damaging financial information about the congregation. But should Christians so at odds actually be taking each other to court? In many cases, no, says Ken Sande, the founder of Peacemaker Ministries and the current president of Relational Wisdom 360. “Typically, conflict between Christians involves some foundation of sin,” said Sande. “Lawyers can dress that up in legal terms, but what it really comes down to in 99 percent of the cases is sin. Keeping one’s word. Slandering. False representation. Bitterness. Anger. Unforgiveness. Those are all spiritual issues that the church has jurisdiction over and a judge can’t touch.” Sande joined associate digital media produc
31/10/201853 minutes 46 seconds
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Iraqi Christians Waited Years for American Funds. Is Now Too Late?

Last year, Vice President Mike Pence pledged support to Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities forced out of their homelands in Iraq by ISIS. Religious freedom advocates and groups in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq cheered the news. Then, the money didn’t come. Last week, the Trump administration announced a multimillion-dollar assistance plan to bring the total funding over the past year for religious minorities in Iraq to nearly $300 million. The money will be used to rebuild communities, preserve heritage sites, secure left-behind explosives, and empower survivors to seek justice. Those charged with administering the funds have their work cut for them. “From the time of the US invasion to now, you have seen a Christian church of over a million people that has been reduced to 100,000 people,” said Mindy Belz, senior editor at World Magazine, who has visited and reported from Iraq frequently over the past two decades. When Saddam Hussein’s regime was first toppled, Christians
24/10/201858 minutes 10 seconds
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Climate Change Divides the US Church. It Unites the Global One.

Last week, the world’s leading climate scientists released a sobering report, which claimed that there are only a dozen years to keep the Earth’s climate from increasing by 1.5 degrees Celsius. If the planet fails to do so, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned, the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people will massively increase. To avoid barreling toward this future, the entire world will have to make massive changes in the way it currently consumes energy. “It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now,” Debra Roberts, a scientist who worked on the report, told The Guardian. “This is the largest clarion bell from the science community and I hope it mobilizes people and dents the mood of complacency.” But upending the status quo is incredibly difficult work, says Peter Harris, cofounder of A Rocha, an international Christian nature organization. A former
17/10/201846 minutes 7 seconds
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Should Christians Trust Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince’s Promises of Reform?

Last week, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He was never seen again. Now, Turkish officials believe Khashoggi, a longtime critic of the country, was murdered by Saudi officials. That same week, US officials visited the Saudi Arabian capital city of Riyadh and reported that the country seemed to be loosening some of its harsh religious laws, including reforming its religious police—once tasked with enforcing shari’ah law on the streets and in homes—and has instituted new government programs to quash extremism. Last fall, the 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans last October to modernize Saudi Arabia and return the restrictive Muslim country to “what we were before: a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world.” And while the Crown Prince, whose often known by his nickname MSB, has made real strides in advancing freedom, including letting women drive, incidents like Khashoggi’s
11/10/201850 minutes 2 seconds
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What Tim Keller Wants American Christians to Know About Politics

Last week, millions of Americans were caught up in the Senate’s Supreme Court hearings. There, psychologist Christine Blasey Ford testified that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually attacked her while the two were in high school. Several hours later, Kavanaugh emphatically refuted Blasey Ford’s allegations. The hearings came months after Justice Anthony Kennedy, long seen as a swing vote on the court, announced his retirement. This news prompted alarm from the pro-choice community who feared that the new balance in the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. Despite their fears, Kavanaugh’s confirmation seemed on track until Blasey Ford’s allegations went public. Shortly after the hearing, a book excerpt from Tim Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, appeared in The New York Times. “Christians cannot pretend they can transcend politics and simply ‘preach the Gospel,’” he wrote in his latest book Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy.
03/10/20181 hour 2 minutes 17 seconds
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Maria Devastated Puerto Rico. It Didn’t Destroy the Church.

Earlier this month, you couldn’t turn a television on without seeing footage of Hurricane Florence. As of recording, the storm has been blamed for the deaths of 42 people in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and costing billions of dollars of damage. Yet, in many ways, national attention has already moved on. That’s something that Puerto Rico knows too well. It’s been a year since the storm claimed 64 immediate deaths and catalyzed the exodus of thousands of Puerto Ricans from the island and a sense of hopelessness in the territory at large. The loss of community was especially hard for Puerto Ricans like Gadiel Ríos, a pastor in Arecibo, who stayed on the island. “Everyone lost their friends, everyone lost family,” said Ríos, who is also the founder of the ministry ReformaDos. “The main problem we are facing now is despair and then because of their despair people tend to [fall] into depression...People feel lonely and frustrated.” Ríos joined associate digital media produc
26/09/201833 minutes 46 seconds
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Just 23 Iranian and Iraqis Refugees Have Come to America This Year

Several years ago, the Obama administration set a target of resettling more than 110,000 refugees for resettlement in fiscal year 2017, the highest goal since 1995. This week, the Trump administration set the ceiling on the number of refugees that can be resettled in the United States next year at 30,000. Even as the number of refugees allowed in America has dropped since Trump took office, the State Department has named international religious freedom as one of its primary goals. To some extent, these two policies work against each other, says Jenny Yang, who provides oversight for all advocacy initiatives and policy positions at World Relief. “The countries from which Christians are most persecuted are those that there are the most refugees from,” said Yang. Only 18 and 5 refugees from Iraq and Iran respectively—countries where many Christians have been persecuted in recent years—have been resettled in the US since the beginning of the year. “You have a lot of persecuted Christians w
20/09/201854 minutes 13 seconds
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John MacArthur's ‘Statement on Social Justice’ Is Aggravating Evangelicals

Last week, John MacArthur and a dozen other Christian leaders launched a website presenting The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel. In the statement, the signatories claim that the social justice movement endangers Christians with “an onslaught of dangerous and false teachings that threaten the gospel, misrepresent Scripture, and lead people away from the grace of God in Jesus Christ.” Over the course of 14 sections, the Statement addresses cultural narratives “currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality” and argues that a secular threat is infiltrating the evangelical church. At the time of this recording, the Statement has received around 7,000 signatures. The statement comes at a time when a series of blog posts and sermons attacking social justice from MacArthur, a popular California pastor and author, had sparked controversy in the evangelical community. The harsh reaction to MacArthur’s ideas was shaped by t
12/09/20181 hour 2 minutes 32 seconds
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A Bill Banning Reparative Therapy Spurred an Unlikely Relationship

This spring, California assemblyman Evan Low introduced legislation that would have designated paid “conversion therapy” services as a fraudulent business practice. Until last week, Low’s measure seemed set to pass. It moved through both of California’s legislative chambers and governor Jerry Brown had shown no sign of opposition. But last Friday, Low quashed his own legislation after meeting with Christian leaders who had expressed concerns about how the bill might affect their ability to minister to those in the LGBT community. “Some would say this is crazy,” Low, who is gay and the chairman of the legislative LGBTQ caucus, told The Los Angeles Times. “Why would you pause when you don’t need to, when you’re in the driver’s seat?” One answer was Low’s relationship with Kevin Mannoia, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals and a leader in the Free Methodist Church. Over the course of the summer, Mannoia met with and developed a relationship with Low. Last week
06/09/201841 minutes 23 seconds
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What Evangelicals Need to Know about the Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal

The Catholic world is reeling after a devastating month of sexual abuse revelations. At the beginning of August, a Pennsylvania grand jury reported that hundreds of priests abused at least 1,000 children since the 1940s and that dozens of church officials covered it up. Then, this past week, a prominent archbishop claimed that Pope Francis knew about—and covered up—the actions of Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal who has been accused of sexually harassing adult seminarians and abusing a child. For lay Catholics, the litany of sex abuse stories has been devastating. “The ultimate source of authority and power that the normal Catholic needs week to week is their priest,” said John Armstrong, the president of ACT3 Network, an organization which works to foster Christian unity. “It’s not the Vatican, not the structure of the Vatican, not even the Pope, though he’s the Holy Father to Catholics.” Because of this close relationship, the church betraying their trust can feel even more inte
29/08/201856 minutes 16 seconds
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The Church Doesn't Get Men. Can It Learn from Non-Christians Who Do?

Check out this headlines from the past decade: “Why Don’t Most Men Go to Church?” Christian Century, October 2011 “Why Men Still Hate Going to Church” CT Pastors, Summer 2012 “7 Actions to Engage Men in Your Church”, March 2014 “Why Do Men Hate Church and What Can Be Done About It?” The Tennessean, Jan 2015 Mending Men’s Ministry, Christianity Today, June 2018 And then there’s a newsletter, The Masculinist, which reflects on a monthly basis on the factors driving men men from church. Aaron Renn, The Masculinist’s author and creator, said the idea for his project came both from the knowledge that church attendance skewed female and the realization a number of non-Christian writers, authors, and cultural commentators were grabbing this group’s attention. “What is it that all of these people are reaching men with essentially a secular self-help message and the [church’s message] isn’t working?” said Renn. “...When I became a Christian I maybe naively took everything in. I felt
22/08/201857 minutes 1 second
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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
15/08/201851 minutes 50 seconds
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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, an
08/08/201845 minutes 27 seconds
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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 posi
02/08/201847 minutes 5 seconds
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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 thes
26/07/201841 minutes 51 seconds
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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 merel
18/07/20181 hour 1 minute 19 seconds
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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 Sekul
11/07/201852 minutes 4 seconds
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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 st
05/07/201847 minutes 19 seconds
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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
27/06/201847 minutes 25 seconds
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Standing 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 det
20/06/201841 minutes 43 seconds
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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 t
13/06/201840 minutes 37 seconds
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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 compell
06/06/201842 minutes 40 seconds
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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 res
30/05/201851 minutes 3 seconds
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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, Sou
25/05/20181 hour 7 seconds
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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
23/05/201859 minutes 1 second
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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
16/05/201847 minutes 21 seconds
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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. “I
09/05/201848 minutes 5 seconds
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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 Sunda
02/05/201857 minutes 52 seconds
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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 t
25/04/201850 minutes 12 seconds
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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 differ
19/04/201840 minutes 14 seconds
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Good News for Christians Battling US Sex Trafficking

Last week, the US government shutdown the classified advertising website 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
11/04/201841 minutes 32 seconds
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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
04/04/20181 hour 19 minutes 48 seconds
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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 relationship
28/03/201847 minutes 13 seconds
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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 p
21/03/201853 minutes 35 seconds
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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 Chris
14/03/201848 minutes 55 seconds
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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 religiou
07/03/201844 minutes 43 seconds
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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 eva
01/03/201850 minutes 28 seconds
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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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/02/201839 minutes
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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 quoti
15/02/201843 minutes 15 seconds
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‘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 exerci
08/02/201847 minutes 38 seconds
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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
01/02/201845 minutes 39 seconds
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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
25/01/201855 minutes 56 seconds
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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 incendia
18/01/201847 minutes 23 seconds
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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 Offu
11/01/201843 minutes 55 seconds
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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
04/01/201836 minutes 17 seconds
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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 particular
28/12/201753 minutes 26 seconds
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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 ass
21/12/201747 minutes 8 seconds
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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 Palesti
14/12/201742 minutes 17 seconds
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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 multip
07/12/201738 minutes 13 seconds
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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 edito
30/11/201747 minutes 21 seconds
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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! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/11/201742 minutes 51 seconds
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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
16/11/201747 minutes 50 seconds
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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
09/11/201750 minutes 26 seconds
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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
02/11/201750 minutes 31 seconds
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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
26/10/201744 minutes 22 seconds
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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
19/10/201741 minutes 58 seconds
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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. Listen here In response to a question about whether he “divorced white evangelicalism,” he said: I spoke out very frequently throughout 2016 in many different ways and it affected me. I went from a show that may have had 3,000 there to 300 but that was the cost. But those 300 people were people who I knew loved Lecrae, the black man, the Christian, all of who Lecrae was, not the caricature that had been drawn up for them. Lecrae’s decision to distance himself from evangelicalism is personally familiar to Carl Ellis Jr., a senior fellow at the African American Leadership Institute and a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, who doesn’t consider himself reflec
12/10/201750 minutes 22 seconds
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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 overnigh
05/10/201742 minutes 33 seconds
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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
28/09/201745 minutes 27 seconds
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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 dif
21/09/201746 minutes 51 seconds
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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 engageme
14/09/201739 minutes 29 seconds
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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
07/09/201739 minutes 22 seconds
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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 ou
31/08/201738 minutes 44 seconds
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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 v
24/08/201738 minutes 54 seconds
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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 ed
17/08/201736 minutes 52 seconds
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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 th
10/08/201739 minutes 45 seconds
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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 ce
04/08/201741 minutes 19 seconds
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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 t
27/07/201742 minutes 47 seconds
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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 s
20/07/201743 minutes 21 seconds
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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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
13/07/201711 minutes 5 seconds
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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 di
13/07/201741 minutes 24 seconds
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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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
06/07/201739 minutes
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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
29/06/201738 minutes 14 seconds
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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 o
22/06/201738 minutes 6 seconds
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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 Differ
15/06/201741 minutes 14 seconds
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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 Rea
08/06/201739 minutes 11 seconds
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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 als
01/06/201745 minutes 32 seconds
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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,
25/05/201744 minutes 31 seconds
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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 joi
18/05/201744 minutes 9 seconds
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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 th
12/05/201740 minutes
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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 t
04/05/201745 minutes 29 seconds
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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 t
27/04/201738 minutes 23 seconds
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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
20/04/201743 minutes 51 seconds
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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 Baptis
13/04/201755 minutes 1 second
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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 count
30/03/201743 minutes 17 seconds
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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 fa
23/03/201736 minutes
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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
16/03/201727 minutes 19 seconds
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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 Souther
09/03/201738 minutes 14 seconds
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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
02/03/201735 minutes 7 seconds
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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 a
23/02/201746 minutes 33 seconds
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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 cen
16/02/201739 minutes 17 seconds
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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 child
09/02/201749 minutes 29 seconds
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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 y
02/02/201748 minutes 23 seconds
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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 Fren
26/01/201752 minutes 57 seconds
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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,
19/01/201735 minutes 29 seconds
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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 ass
12/01/201735 minutes 14 seconds
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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 celebr
05/01/201743 minutes 28 seconds
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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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/12/201630 minutes 23 seconds
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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 abou
22/12/201632 minutes 45 seconds
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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 Morga
15/12/201640 minutes 13 seconds
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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
08/12/201646 minutes 1 second
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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 characteri
01/12/201633 minutes 3 seconds
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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 Chri
22/11/201640 minutes 40 seconds
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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, sa
10/11/201633 minutes 33 seconds
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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 Butterfi
04/11/201635 minutes 55 seconds
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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 s
27/10/201633 minutes 45 seconds
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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 w
20/10/201635 minutes 27 seconds
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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
13/10/201649 minutes
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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
06/10/201637 minutes 57 seconds
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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 cult
29/09/201636 minutes 8 seconds
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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 b
22/09/201638 minutes 24 seconds
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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
15/09/201633 minutes 14 seconds
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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
08/09/201634 minutes 50 seconds
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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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/09/201646 minutes 11 seconds
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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 whil
25/08/201640 minutes
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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
19/08/201638 minutes 5 seconds
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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 differ
11/08/201637 minutes 21 seconds
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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 ca
04/08/201636 minutes 14 seconds
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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
28/07/201647 minutes 24 seconds
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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 wou
21/07/201634 minutes
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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 convers
14/07/201633 minutes 57 seconds
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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 be
07/07/201631 minutes 51 seconds
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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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/07/201618 minutes 1 second
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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 w
23/06/201641 minutes 42 seconds
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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 p
16/06/201641 minutes 28 seconds
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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. “G
09/06/201631 minutes 21 seconds
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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
02/06/201633 minutes 39 seconds
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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
26/05/201629 minutes 51 seconds
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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
19/05/201630 minutes 30 seconds
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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
12/05/201625 minutes 36 seconds
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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 s
05/05/201626 minutes 43 seconds
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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 experience
28/04/201632 minutes 13 seconds
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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 m
21/04/201632 minutes 54 seconds
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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 shar
14/04/201630 minutes 30 seconds
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'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 th
07/04/201627 minutes 38 seconds
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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 mak
31/03/201635 minutes 54 seconds
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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
23/03/201629 minutes 29 seconds
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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
18/03/201624 minutes 19 seconds