Life and Books and Everything
Life and Books and Everything

Episode · 1 month ago

Abortion, Threats to the Church, and Depicting Jesus


In this episode Kevin and Justin take a long, hard look at abortion in America. With the new law in Texas making news, and a potential challenge to Roe v. Wade, they help us get back to basics with practical resources for changing hearts and minds regarding abortion. They also ask where the primary threat to the American church is coming from. Is it secularism from outside, or corruption and sin inside? And in a moment of light disagreement, they discuss the pro and cons of depicting Jesus in media like The Chosen. Plus, the book recommendations that are not at the top of everyone’s mind. 

Life and Books and Everything is sponsored by Crossway, publisher of The Death of Porn, by Ray Ortlund. 

In The Death of Porn, Ray Ortlund writes six personal letters, as from a father to his son. Ideal for individuals and small groups, it will give hope to men who have been misled by porn into devaluing themselves and others.

For 30% off this book and all other books and Bibles at Crossway, sign up for a free Crossway+ account at .


Eradicate Porn [0:00 – 2:30]

Nebraska vs. Michigan State [2:30 – 6:06]

Abortion [6:06 – 32:12]

Is the greatest threat to the Church internal or external? [32:12 – 50:26]

Problems with Depicting Jesus in The Chosen [50:26 – 1:03:01]

Non-Top-Ten Book Recommendations [1:03:01 – 1:11:55]

Books and Everything:

Resources on Abortion:

The Case for Life, by Scott Klusen dorf

SLED argument against abortion 

Pro-Lifers Shine on Twitter 

Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice , by Francis Beckwith

Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade , by Clarke Forsythe 

Eternal Perspectives Ministries , with Randy Alcorn

Robert P. George and Patrick Lee 

Marvin Olasky, book on abortion forthcoming from Crossway

Non-Top-Ten Book Recommendations:

- From Justin:

Commentary on the New Testament, by Robert Gundry 

Wrestling with an Angel: A Story of Love, Disability and the Lessons of Grace , by Greg Lucas

Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief, by Bruce Milne 

- From Kevin:

True Devotion: In Search of Authentic Spirituality, by Allan Chapple 

Wisdom in Leadership, by Craig Hamilton 

The Book of the Dun Cow, by Walter Wangerin, J r. 

The Everlasting Man, by G.K. Chesterto n

I freetin s and salutations listenersgood to heaven with us. This is life and books and everything I'm KennedyYoung joined with Justin Taylor Collen, is out and about morning the wild cats defeat the handsof Duke, perhaps lighting a candle for the rest of Alabama season, since theyalmost lost to Florida that we do have two thirds of the three musketeers hereand good to be back with you after a few weeks off the schedule, hopefullyfor the rest of this year, is to release a new episode about every otherweek, so good to be with you here and you can subscribe hopefully, and getthese at least twice a month that at least keeps us sane and if you'rehanging on our every episode, then you need to listen to some other podcast,no glad to have you with us and glad to have you listening and glad to havecrossway sponsoring life and books and everything ray ort land's new book. It has a very ray sort of title: It's good the deathof porn and Justin. What is ray talking about?What's he trying to do in this book? Is it? Is it just? I don't want to sayjust another, but my impression is it's more than a sexual purity book, it's that, butthere's other elements to it. Yeah. I think that's right it. Obviously sexualpurity is at the heart of it, but ray is writing to men in particular and with his fatherly voice, addressing thenext generation and calling men to be noble men to recognize who they arecreated to be, and I think one way to put it is that this is not just a bookfor individuals, but Ray really wants by God's grace, to start a movement toeradicate this grade, evil to social injustice that ruins men's, live rooms,families, rooms ruined sexuality. So that's whathe's calling us to do and a few people I'd rather have doing it than a OrlanYep, so check out that book. Just and I are going to start with this-is the part of there's two kinds of l be listeners. There's the group thatsays please talk more sports banter, that's a very small group. I think.Then there is everyone else, I'm hitting the thirty seconds ahead.Thirty seconds ahead get done with this, so okay, you can hit that a couple oftimes, but this is a big week for our friendship, Justin, because Nebraskatravels to East lancing to take on the Spartans, who are surprisingly lookinggood this year, three and Oh up to twenty or twenty one in the latestrankings. How are you feeling Nebraska put up a better than expected showingagainst the sooners yeah? I think Scott Frost, the coachsaid we are good enough to be anybody in the nation and we are not goodenough to lose each week. Tina's pretty much true and you just want thingsfinally to break Nebraska's Bay, but it hasn't done it so far, but I do thinkit was a better than expected joy. You know your team's not elite when you'repraying that you're not completely blown out and embarrassed and where youpray, we you're actually praying that Justin. I did Fran a couple of times Lord. If you just want to be gracious-and I don't know if theologically how to work that out is, but I think well, the Lord tells us topray a lot. All things so they weren't long extended for as there was nofasting, but there were a couple prayers. Do you ever pray for Party so yeah, I party for college and thenall Chicago teams for pro I have prayed with my kids. I've stopped short ofpraying for dubs a prayed that people would do theirbest. Nobody would get hurt in dry, they would yet they would glorify God, God yeah. Certainly in my in my heart,there's been hay. Lord, you can sort this out, probably not theologicallyjustified, but you want to make people like me feel blessed here: here's how you coulddo it yeah so was we Michigan State Nebraska is the only football gamewe've seen together in person yeah, you came and was it just you, as Malachi with youran, goes with me yeah and you wanted to leave early,...

...and this was a crazy game, becauseMichigan state was way ahead, the whole game and like by three touchdowns orsomething and we're trying to beat the rush of getting out of there, and itwas a night game, and I had church the next morning and then on. Our walkingaway were stopping looking into bars because Nebraska just kept scoring andalmost came back a miraculous crumble on the part of the SPARTANS. Almost soI left the game early and one of the epic come backs of all time came downto a final play that we watched through a window. Yes, I remember- and I wasabout ready for my evening, which was just going swimmingly to you, like I'm,not spiritual enough to have to get up and preach tomorrow. Now all right, so we'll be texting duringthe the game, seven o'clock or eight o'clock some time Ye. Think, okay, a from the welcome back customers welcomeback now. We are talking about other issues, besides sports, but we shouldjust do a whole sports podcast. Of course, in recent weeks, Texas passedin abortion law, restrictive abortion law and I userestrictive in the good sense, because restricting the killing of human lifeis a very good thing. The Supreme Court has not ruled on thatcase. They have a Mississippi case, which many people are suspecting,hoping praying others fearing. That would strike down row, but what theSupreme Court did in this Texas case was decided not to intervene not to they allowed the law to go into effect,and so that sent some people into apoplectic shock and concern. And ofcourse, if it comes from Texas or Florida that just adds to the. I can'tbelieve Texas and Florida are doing that, but as those who hold to theChristian view that all of life innocent life should be protected, wesee it as a good thing, but I want to use that to talk for a little bit aboutabortion and I'll start here, we'll get to someresources and some apologetic angles. But I wonder if you have this sense,just in that I have. I have here's the pessimist in me. Coming out. I have this pessimistic thought that if the court strikes downrow now, that would be hopefully they will and Christians have been inconservative legal scholars have been working toward that end, and almost youknow even liberals will agree that as a piece ofconstitutional law, it's vacuous, even if you think that abortion should belegal at every stage of a pregnancy as a piece of constitutional law, it has no basis in the constitution. So if row is struck down, thepessimistic Itom sees that many Christians who now are and have beenvery supportive of pro life and and row is bad, might suddenly turn now thatthey are seen as the victors and say. Oh, I don't know this. Maybe we shouldhave you know a number of laws M, maybe that we don't want to go to extreme andwill back pedal if there's a victory and if the thecultural eye is squarely focused on the pro life cause that some Christianswill flinch and say M. Oh, we won this, and now I need to sort of apologize for it. AmI being too pessimistic yeah, I think so, but you do it. You might be acorrect me then. No, I hadn't thought of that angle. I think that my concernis more that there's the the engaged pro lifeactivist who's reading stuff every day, reading books on this thinking aboutthis depatie on it. I think the the General Christian is concerned about it and the big bullseye is take down row and whence row goes. If it goes Lord Willing, then Ithink complacency is probably more likelythan back peddling or apologizing or anything like that. So the focus thenreally shifts to the state legislatures and laws at that level, and I justwonder how many Christians will be energized kind of at the state level. Ithink the way that life is supposed to work is that we're supposed to be moreenergized more involved, the the closer the COCENTI CCIRCLE is to us and itexpands out to the national level and...

...yet the way that media is incentivized,we do sort of just the opposite. We we spend most of our time thinking aboutthe national level and very little thinking as it comes closer into usinto our state politics and and local politics in the lake. I'm sure you'veread these similar articles and you see the polling on row and on the one hand,if you just ask the American public, do you want row to be overturned fairly?Strong majority says no, but then, if you ask people what rowactually does- and you say well, do you want this? Do you think that abortionshould be legal at every point of a pregnancy? Then pretty strongmajorities? Don't so. It shows, among other things, that most people don'treally know what row is and that shouldn't be surprising. Most peopledon't know what it's going to be in any supreme court decision, even one asfamous as row and most people on the street probably will interpretthe invalidating of row. The overturn of Rove weighed as abortion is nowbanned across the country, and that's not what the overturn of row that maybe, what we hope state legislatures will do, but, as you just pointed out,Justin, it then allows for a democratic process for actual laws to determine inactual jurisdictions what they want. The law to be, rather thanmanufacturing out of thin air, a constitutional right to something that no one thinks was intrinsic to the founders originalvision. So I do hope that row is overturned first things. The latestissue had a series of articles. Ro must go and has from a number of differentscholars and angles and Robbie George goes out, and he says I'm going topredict six. Three, that row is going to be overturned and if it isn't, hethinks it's a catastrophic loss and not not only human life. Of course that'smost important, but he says of the whole Conservative, legal, constitutionalmovement or if the Supreme Court tries to find a middle ground and he arguesconvincingly, there really is no legal ground with this Mississippi law andwith row that there they're utterly incompatibleand if the Mississippi Law can be upheld, then row must go so that iscoming, but we don't have to be constitutional scholars here on lifeand books and everything, though we fancy ourselves as as such, but we wantto think Christianly Justin. How would you you got? You know a minute or two withsomeone who's genuinely seems open to persuasion if any of those people exist.Do you have a quick back of the envelope apologetic for pro life yeah? I think that I've really beeninfluenced by Scott Closen DORF, who rode to book for Crossway the case forlife and we're going to do a second edition of it. It'll come up at the endof two thousand and twenty two, but Scott does a wonderful job. You canprobably find on Youtube. Is You know one minute apologetic for pro life and he really wants to focusthe issue, and this is what I would try to do in a conversation if he gave mesixty seconds on an elevator and somebody said: Hey I'd love to talkabout Verton with you. The number one issue is: What is it? Ithink it was great cocoa said you know with my kids yelled me: Hey Dad. Can Ikill this? Everything depends on well, what is it?Is it a cockroach, or is it the the puppy from next door? What what it isdetermines what you can do with it? So the number one question is: What are wetalking about? What what is this and it is a human life and that's thescientific answer I mean we have science on our side in terms of this isa human being, it's an undeveloped human being, but it's a full organismthat is developing according to its own processes, and so cluseret just he'sgot a little acronym, sled S, L E D and says: There's only really four possible differencesbetween a baby in the woman caleotto whatever anda new born baby, that's size, one's bigger than the other there's level ofdevelopment ones, more developed than other there's environment, they'relocated in different places and then there's a degree of dependency. The thebaby inside the room is more dependent than the baby outside of the room, andthe point of that is all four of those things. None of them are morallyrelevant in determining what something is and whether it has a right to life oyou're, not you do have a greater right... life. Based on your side, you have agreater right to life to based upon your dependency, an somebodyon a kidney dialysis machine who is dependent on that to live is not lessworthy of life or has less of a right to life. So that would be one angle tocome at it. Just focusing the issue on what it is. So you could talk about allof these things about economics and those are important issues and the mother, but that question is whatis it that we're talking about killing? So we want, I think, the worse ondebates thrives in euphemism, talk about being pro choice. What Ilike choice, a choice: to do: What is a choice to abort? What does it mean toabort? It means to kill to kill what to kill a human being. So I think that'sthe the way to focus it. The other little technique that clusines es iscalled trod out the toddler. So any any objection that comes you say well whatif this was a toddler that we're talking about? You know talking aboutbringing a child into the world who is unwonted, but what about an unwantedtoddler? Can you kill a toddler? No, you can't what's the difference betweenkilling a toller and killing a baby, that's inside the room, so those aresome angles that I come out it with yeah. That's really good and encouragepeople to Google or maybe we'll put a link to it in the show notes. But thesled acronym from Scott Luson Dorf is really useful, because science knows that life begins atconception. Now the president may have forgotten that he said that or changedhis mind for some reason, but people know life begins at conception. You know your two cells and you'remultiplying and each of us everyone listening to this for human being. Weare the same organism that began at thatmoment of conception. There wasn't at five weeks or five months or five yearsoutside of the womb. Suddenly something else happened. There is an organicconnection. I think also, you know, on a personal level if we're talking topeople, especially you know, someone who's, maybe considering it or we'retrying to help those in crisis, pregnancy, centers who may help thosewho are considering it. I think you you try to project into thefuture and help people realize what what might be. What do you thinkwould be the bigger possibility of regret that you would abort this child and behaunted with the decision for the rest of your life and again you put that in a way,knowing the person you're talking to I'm just speaking and sort of abstractterms, or you know that seems like a very real possibility in actuallylikely versus you have a child and it's difficultcircumstances. In twenty years from now, as this child has grown up, there is,there is no chance virtually no chance. You look, and you say I wish this humanbeing, that I've cared for and loved had just never even come into existence.There's just there's no chance for that. The the abortion debate, even thoughpeople trot out science, it's not really about science. It's tied up with other sorts of personal sociological, cultural issues.You often hear my body my choice. It's often seen as some Dystopian handmaidstail and men putting women in their place, but you look at the one quickrejoinder is you look at the Poles. Women are more opposed to abortion thanmen are so to make it sound like well, women are just all for this and it'sthe men that are trying to control women's bodies. Actually women feelingthe more strongly against it and, of course, to my body. My choice breaksdown if it's another body inside your body and we want to provide as churches asinstitutions, the sort of institutional structure that can help women ingenuine positions of vulnerability and need. So we take that seriously, but it does seem at least on the justthe political angle and the people cheering and yea. Let me say out loudand celebrate my abortion. It's tied to some vision of the family or lack thereof, and somevision of what fulfilled womanhood looks like that. This is a way to bemore fully liberated and I think, as men or we have to do it say you knowwho abortion is going to help a lot.

Actually, men is going to help men tobe less responsible men to have to take responsibility for that. So we want tofully exhort men who are half of the equation inpregnancy, but often it's seen as something thatis going to liberate women and to not have abortion. Legalized is somehow toput women in their place and send them back to the Dark Ages. What sort ofthought or response would you have to that? Justin Yeah? I think that I mean- maybe it'snot popular to say, but there is that desire to want to have the freedom tobe just like a man, and I understand the existential linked of that reality- that men canimpregnant woman and can just move on can flee. The relationship can move outof state can act as if they have no responsibility. So you know trying toput myself inside the mind of a pro abortion rights woman. I can understandthat and I think the the response there is not to make abortion legal, but tocall men to fulfill their responsibilities. We want greater responsibility. We wantthere to be babies conceived in wedlock and for mento be on the hook for pregnancies that they create. So it isa difficult situation and that's where the the debate sometimes moves beyondjust a debate about biology and a debate abouta kind of constitutional law, but women feeling like they are put in a position.That's inherently unfair, and yet God created male and female and he createdUS differently and created our bodies to do different things. But I think that men should be taking thelead in moving towards women in need and supporting women. What I won't haveit on my finger tips. Maybe we can throw it into the show nos if we canfind it, but there was a woman one time who said on twitter. So those of youwho are pro life out there tell me what have you done personally to help womenin need or who have conceived, babies and difficult circumstances? And it'sprobably one of the most encouraging things on twitter, just to see ow yeah,tens of thousands of responses of people saying well, here's what I amdoing and I think we need more of that sort of narrative to carry the dayagainst the prevailing narrative. That just makes all of this look bad right.So before we moved to another topic, some books that we might recommend so Scott lusent has some really accessible books on thetopic. So you can check out here some the name of the one you guys didescapes me right at the moment, but the case for life. Yes, equippingChristians to engage the culture. Francis Beckwith has a book little morescholarly a thing s that called defending life. Read that one a numberO years ago, I've blogged before about Clark for size book on Rove Wade, and Ijust reposted that nine myths just trying to summarize his research butnine myths about Rov Wade in these myths are trotted out constantly number one. If, before rove weighed,there were just tons of back room back alley, abortions coat hangers womendying in the tens of thousands utterly false, utterly false. The myth that rowwas based on excellent, deep metatl research, alsofalse that people have shown even the very scant information that was putforward was shown very quickly to be cribbed from other sources, not at allreputable. So that's a good book that I've used before if people want to populate these myths again,what are some of your go to and do you have some works in the pipe line atcrossways working on yeah? I mentioned earlier that Kluse Dorf is doing anupdated edition of his book, so that'll be out before the anniversary of robywave. I should mention Randy Alcorn's name toreal yeah is is very sharp, very articulate very passionate has his ownstory of of putting his own financial well being at stake in order to protestabortion, and I think that if you I have people inyour church or you're just wanting to...

...get into this issue, randy may be oneof the best on ramps. He has his own ternal perspective ministry websitewith lots of great articles and then little booklets at just. He Excels, Ithink at accessibility and is a very good researcher as well. I'm a morescholarly level. We've mentioned Robert P, George out of Princeton and guys,like Patrick League, writing books together on Embrio, and he he's just one of one of our bestthinkers in terms of combining legal knowledge, philosophicalsophistication, not making explicitly religious arguments, books, morenatural law arguments, a book we have coming out at crossway again and of twothousand and twenty two beginning to Tousand, and twenty three in January isMarvin Alasky with Co Author Leo Savis for World Magazine Working Title Is Containing Abortion,sixteen twenty nine to two thousand and twenty two, the years how Americanslearned it was unsafe struggle to make it illegal and sometimes make it rareso Lord Willing that book will come out and be able to document that Ro v Wadewas overturned, but Marvin Alasky is probably written. The the best socialhistory of portion- and this is updating his work on that and taking itinto the twenty first century into two thousand and twenty two. So look forthat. That's really good! I can't remember if I just read this in thatfirst thing, so maybe it was from Robbie George, but somebody made theastute observation that there's there's parallels between L, there's parallelsbetween slavery and abortion, debates and issues, and people have pointedthat out before, but I was reading. You know the slavery in Antebellum Americaat the beginning, part of the nineteenth century, there's definitelya sense even in the south. Certainly the upper south that yeah slaveries-it's not good, but yeah. We don't quite know how to get rid of it and it'sdecreasing, and it's probably on its way out and an acknowledgment that thisis really not ideal at certainly- and maybe even some people say it's wrong,but no one, they don't quite have the you know the moral courage to dosomething about it, but that really changes when you get to the eight SI slead up to the civil war that now there are strong apologists that this isreally essential to our way of life. This is really a better way oforganizing society, and your way capitalism in the north is is morebenighted and it takes on a vociferous defense of something and you can. In a general sketch you look back atClinton's famous phrase, safe, legal and rare. You know an acknowledgment inthe s among Democrats least that president, that this is not ideal. This is not what wewant, but let's try to make it so it that's leastaccess to and it's leg. Okay, that's their position. You would be hard pressed to findpeople on that side wanting to say safe, legal and rare, because even that lastword rare suggests this probably not ideal, and at best and now you have let celebrate ourabortions and the infamous scene of what the New York legislature, you knowresounding an applause when they pass these pro abortion bills and people inmarches, with women's anatomy on their heads and it's taken on even in our half a lifetime, such a different Paul-and I you know, I fear you know the Lordlooking upon us and that certainly we have many many sins as a country and itseems Cliche to say that abortion is different, but it really I mean if it'sa life. We've said it's a life. There is no other issue in our contemporaryculture or politics, no matter how bad things are where a whole lot of people are sayingthat life does not deserve to live. Even if youtake the most. You know extreme examples of other sorts ofinjustice and don't put any caveats around it. You still have everyone most everyone saying. Well,that's not good. We just disagree about what we're seeing this with abortion issodifferent in. If the Lord is gracious...

...and we see a change in our laws and inour hearts in this country, no doubt we would look back and say what were wethinking that we have laws? The only places that havelaws as extreme are places like China and North Korea that have laws aspermissive and as extreme as we do in the United States. So that's therethere's the end of my little sermon. No, I think you're a hundred percent rightin it and it somehow it it thrives in euphemism, and it also thrives. I thinkin secrecy that if it was somehow more out in the open and that's why thereare people who advocate showing pictures and saying we need toopen the casket as it were and to show what what's going on here I mean if, ifthere's no morally relevant difference between a toddler and a fetus, whatwould we be thinking if there were fifty million toddlers who had beenkilled? Sixty million toddlers who have been killed? I mean we wouldn't talkabout anything else. That would lead the news every night and yet it's it'sdifferent. It's in secret. We don't see it and we don't talk about it and Ithink, ultimately, at a spiritual level. We don't want to be aware of the sortof crime and injustice against humanity and, ultimately, against God. So May he be merciful upon Artan. Iremember one of Piper's sermons on abortion and he was taking from the line at Jesus trial.You have said so and he was he was playing off of that to say just like a Jesus trial, his opponents,they knew they knew and they didn't want toacknowledge what they could see and what they knew, and so it is with withabortion. You have said so, and I've often thought of that that wedon't want to look at what this is and what it entails. So perhaps that's a good segue to talkabout something that you and I have talked about many times and Collinsbeen in on this conversation and so have a number of our friends and I'mgoing to frame the the question in a way. That's probably the first thing wewant to say is that's not a good way to frame the question, but just to get the question out therethere's it are the problems facing the church in two thousand and twenty one. Are they primarily we're all going to gree they're both,but are they primarily the biggest threat facing the church? Is a secular liberalizing ethos outside thechurch or are the biggest problems facing the church, our own hypocrisy, sinfulness, perhapsthreats from the right within the church, and you do see among people whoagree on many formal statements of theology and faith. You see it play outonline and we see it play out in our own lives, just very different instincts onwhether what we should be most concerned about right now is the marchof a aggressively liberal hyper woke, cancel culture catechizing the church,or is it well of course we don't like that, but is it really? The threat isour own unfaithfulness, our own lack of integrity, our own unwillingness to seeour own sins and that's the danger of young people leaving the church becausethey see how much we've failed to live up to our own Christian values andbeliefs. Obviously the short answer is both of those are evident in places.But how would you answer that question Justin or maybe you want to start byframing the question in a different way? No, I understand the framing of thequestion and yeah. It is one of those that come down to how you define yourterms and what context you're talking about, but I think that the main pointis still clear: where should our focus be and what arewe most suspicious of and what are we kind of working against? And I thinkthat some of the answer to that and, of course, I'm more interested to hearwhat you would say, t versus what I would say. But who are we talking about,is maybe one of my first questions. So I mean you can start at t e, thebroadest level, let's say Global Christendom, because I sort of Iwork into Co. centric circles from...

...their. You know talk about the AmericanChurch and then we can make that smaller, the American ProtestantEvangelical Church and then can think about my own denomination or my own church networkand finally, down to my own local church. The whole point of justmentioning. That is that I think that the answer can actually be differentfor, say my local church versus evangelicalism at large. I think thatit's somewhat context dependent. So if I have a church that is located near auniversity and lots of college students coming in and it's a public university,there may be challenges they are in terms of our own body, life together and the sort ofthings that we have to address that may be different than a more ruralcongregation than the smaller town. It may be different depending upon yourdenominational affiliation. You know the the sort of things that southernBaptist Church might be dealing with could be quite different than an o PCchurch in the north eats so I'm not trying to just punt it down the road,but I do think that it's somewhat context dependent and can havedifferent answers. Different legitimate answers, we're all going to agree thatit's both I mean both are problematic, but one might be more problematic basedupon your own cultural situation, denominational situation,ecclesiastical makeup then another one. So now that I punted you give us the realanswer and then I crack with it. Well, you know it to state the obvious:it's no secret of people read what I would I write. They would say wellKevin. I think you are trying to trying to acknowledge both of thosefears and dangers, but you seem to write more about the the dangers fromthe left or you know I wrote a piece recently on the culture catechizing uswith the rainbow flag and sexuality. So that's true, and I try to be honestwith myself, and why do I see that? And what do I see and try to acknowledge the other set of problems and try to dothat in a way that doesn't I don't want to just be throat clearing yeah yeahyeah? We all know that that's, but there's nothing really to talk abouttheir there's. There's millions of Christians there's thousands and tensof thousands of churches even in this country. So in having this conversation,surely one of the places to start is to say I acknowledge on either side how youcom at this to say to our friends whatever the other side is. Iacknowledge that there's no doubt that there's would be plenty of evidence foryou to draw to see things. The way that you seethings- and we don't want to pretend that nothere's there's no threat from the left or you know what none of our churchesever have integrity problems or never sweeps in under the rug or we never act.Hypocritical. Of course, all of those things are happening and then maybeit's helpful to make sure we don't deal with caricatures in either direction.You know sometimes take crt, for example, not Carl Truman.Those are his initials. I was had to think. Why is everyone? What did Carldo but critical race theory there're characters in both ways. There's acaricature from the right, hey you you're talking about justice and you're,saying that there may be lingering effects of Jim Crow that have yet to beeradicated. That's critical race theory! That's just a show. Stopper, that'sJUST A CONVERSATION INDER! You don't have to have critical racetheory to say any of those things. On the other hand, I do sometimes heara very dismissive sort of you know your local BaptistConservative Presbyterian Church. You know if you think that people in your churchare picking up Delgado or whoever and they're readingall of the critical race theoris you're kidding yourselves they're, not readingthat stuff. Well, yeah, that's not exactly the argument that the rank andfile person is passing around primary source, crt material, though Ido think that does happen in some churches. But the argument, rather isthese sorts of ideas and ways of looking at the world in pitting peopleinto groups of oppressor versus oppressed, t seeing racism as...

...systemic and everywhere, rather than perhaps lessening and more isolated.You can argue about the certain tenants of CRT, but it's you can be influencedby those ideas without having people in your church know that they'reinfluenced by those ideas. So I think it's a character if we just sort of setaside and say, look all of your people that they're not reading this stuff. Sotherefore, it's not a real threat, just a few other thoughts. Just in thenknill see what you want to agree or disagree with. Certainly you justgenerations, that's going to make a difference. Are we talking about sixty and seventy year olds, who may watch traditional right wing, mediaand they're picking up on that and there's there's not a danger of them? You know they still have enoughcultural memory of what life was like and church was like, and America waslike that they're not in danger of adopting these other ideologies, andmaybe they need to be pressed on some other ways: love of neighbor or dangersof conflate America with the Kingdom of God. Whereas if we're talking aboutyounger generations, the dangers might be in a differentdirection, and what prompted this discussion that you and I had was someof our friends at several weeks ago- was just thinking about my old is goingoff to college and hearing from friends and others. What many ofthese colleges are like and that's an objective fact? Not just many but theoverwhelming, unless you're going to a college or university thatdistinctively says you know either we are conservative, you know politically, like Hillsdale orsomething or we are distinctively robustly evangelical and Christian. Thedefault of all the other hundreds and hundreds of colleges university isyou're going to find this stuff, and it's not just you're going to find it.It's going to find you, and often it's going to present itself to you thateither you bow down to this. You wear this flag. You wear this shirt, you dothis thing, you march in this thing, or else you're not really a part of our polite society and that that's that's areal danger and I think we're kidding ourselves if we think that that's not going to be the overwhelmingmainstream cultural pressure. Just if you're watching movies listening tomusic watching TV shows the David Wells quote, I always trot out whatever makessin. Look Normal and righteousness looks strange, that's going to be inthe broader culture now your point, Justin is maybe there's a culturewithin your own ecosystem or church that has made abusive, behavior. Look Normal orhiding sin look normal, and that may be the case for sure writ large. Oursociety is giving us one sort of message about what sin is and whatrighteousness looks. Like last thing, I got a lot of thoughts,but just last thing I mentioned to you the other day, just an maybe some smallway forward, as Christians disagree aboutwhat they see and what their suspicions are and where the slope is slipperiestis to state things positively. When we just are chiding one another, why don't you getyour act together? This is the biggest problem of the church we instinctively bristle and we feeldefensive, whereas I think if we were putting morepositively here's our vision for healthy church. Here's our vision forwhat good godly pastors look like they're doctrinally formed they'reethically formed they're, formed by good Christian discipleship, matureunderstanding of themselves and others that I think, there's more agreement onthe positive issue and sometimes when we just look at it and want to make sureeveryone agrees on the criticisms, we're seeing, it can be harder to findsome agreement. So I got other thoughts, that's enough of a Soliloquy. What do you want to say? Yes, no amento Justin Yeah. I think you- and I would have both agree- that at the endof the day, the solution is going to be the same preach. The word pray disciplecatechise. It's going to have different forms, perhaps in terms of application,but...

...also think we need to remember.Judgment begins at home inside the church and we move outside, and so it'sgoing to require wisdom. It's also going to require, I think, not living by anecdote to lone. So youand I each have friends, one one friend might say I get calls every week frompastors talking about the threats coming from the right. Another friendget calls every week about the challenges coming from the left thatI'm trying to talk pastors through and both are true. We need to not live byanecdote alone, but tried to see what the state of the church is andtry to move beyond, just our own personal experience, because it's sotempting to take personal experiences and thenextrapolate that upon all churches and all pastors and all situations- andit's really the case so at the end of the day they answer is both and thencontext dependent. I think it's going to depend on where we're at and what what the call of the hour is in ourparticular context, as we speak and minister- and it is one of the challenges withour digital age- is we see everything and we see everythingfrom everywhere and I used to think that. Well, you can explain this person'sview in this person's view because of where they're situated and if you werein a conservative, Baptist situation or if you were in New York City you'd bedifferent. But I don't think that's the case anymore, because we can. We can find online plenty of evidence, anecdotes argumentsto reinforce how we already see things. So you could, you could put me, I mean,maybe I'm sure something would change, but you could put most people you canput them in rural Alabama. You could put them in Manhattan, you can put themin San Francisco and you know you could put one sort of person in San Franciscowho says this is why we need to be pushing so hard back against the left,because brothers, I'm living it. It's right here, it's on our doorstep andsomeone else might say in that very same spot. Well. This is why we need tobuild bridges, because they have so many stereotypes and they see all thesethings and if we don't lead with love, we're never going to win a hearing andboth of those things could be true, and so maybe this is putting. You knowmy cards a little bit on the side of the secularizing militant left of seeing that as a concern greater concern- I don't know,but I do think it's the case- that we have thought for a while that, if wethat we can out nice their flank and if we, if we just double down on whatgreat people we are and we're not causing a Ruckus we're not causingtrouble, and we really really are going to be your your best neighbors in thewhole world. Of course, we want to be the best neighbors and with some folksthat will now that's what we want to do to Adorn the Gospel Full Stop. If we think as a grand culturalstrategy that is going to prove sufficient. No, I don'tknow what does prove sufficient other than we pray and we live likeChristians and we preach the Gospel. So I don't have an answer that leads to twenty yearsfrom now. You know everything looks better, but I do think it, inparticular, with younger generations, sometimes feel like. If I keep my headdown and I'm really really nice I'll be able to skate through and that's notgoing to happen, that's not going to happen in your workplace. That's notgoing to happen with the way online works you and if you it will buy you afew extra minutes, then your friend down the road. But eventually, if yousay no, I think we don't just choose our biological gender. It's given to usand it's a gift from God and it's not mutable, and I think that not all formsof sexual desire and fulfilment are pleasing to God or good for humanflourishing. And no I'm not going to like your postabout love is love or with the rainbow flag. Then, at that point, no matter how muchof a great guy or a woman you are you're going to get buried and we needto help our people to be prepared for that yeah. An the two poster boys inthis example, I think, is Max Licata and Louis Giglio. I mean you criticize them for various things.Nobody has ever said that those are not nice, men, they're, just kind. GentleCulture Warrior has never been their stuff no, and yet both of them havebeen cancelled for giving hate filled...

...sermons on homosexuality that weredelivered years ago and yeah you're not going to nice. Your way out of theculture word all right, we'll come back to that sometime when we have Colin who can set us all straight, but so he will havethoughts. He has. He has thought theories, even one of the things wetalked about before we'll just do this quickly and then we'll finish with somebooks, but you and I thankfully agree on most things, which is really goodbecause we're both right. So it's good that we can. We can see that one thing that we disagree on. It maynot be a way ter matter of the law, but we've talked before about thistelevision series, the chosen, not the life of Jesus and we'll just it's a lot of people love it,and some people have questions about it. I have increasingly got questions forpeople pastor or professor. What what's your take on the chosen? It's, unlikeother version, other attempts at this there's high production value. There'sgood acting it's it's entertaining to watch. It is trying to present faithful to the biblical story line, soI have my reasons for being not in favor of it, and you have some reasonsfor thinking yeah, it's basically a good thing, so we don't have to do alot of back and forth, but just our listeners can listen and they candiscern for themselves and at least get what's your you know, Elder Justin Taylor. My family is watchingthe chosen every Sunday night. Is that a good thing? Should we be doing that? What say you yeah? I think that it is a good thingon balance, anything I think that gets US thinking about the biblical Christ.I think is a good thing and I think that it should always have governorsaround it and we probably the more people get into it. The more we need toremind them that there is only one authoritative account and it doesn'thave special effects and one of the things about the chosen is they do somecreative story lines and I don't think, do anything contrary to scripture butfill in some details. I mean it doesn't take reading the Bible very long torealize the Bible S oftentimes, not interested in going into a lot ofdetails. You know they don't say: Hey here's some background on this person,here's the sort of lifestyle that they grew up in or thechallenges that they faced as a boy. So as a storyteller, sometimes you youhave that liberty to come up with back stories. I mean. Maybe a more interestingdiscussion would be the. I think it's called Luma series that does thegospels and there's literally no dialogue other than the Gospel e t.what's in the text, so there's no creative story lines. There is stilldepicting Jesus, which is one thing that I don't know. If you want to getinto that, we I do disagree a bit all right. Well, go for it! What's theproblem with picking Jesus, is it more theological, exogenic Al for you or isit more practical in terms of the the dangers on the ground as a pastor? So it's both and this is not front and Center and mysermons or ministry, and so I'm sure that, whetherit's this series you just mentioned or it's the chosen or back in the day thethe Jesus film, which I assume is still being passed out in Vangelisti settings, do I do I question that people aregenuinely helped by this drawn into the scriptures that God has done. Goodthings yeah. I acknowledge that. So my concerns are on both of thoselevels you mentioned so on the direct theological, and this is stronger in the Westminster traditionthan in others, and it's there in the larger catechism. And you know, anumber of ministerial candidates will take some level of exception to the theWestminster strong stance against images of Jesus and part of it isbecause it says even mental images of Jesus that's hard to completely put a agovernor on, but I do think it is telling that we don't know what Jesuslooked like and you could say in a way that Jesusthe incarnation quote broke the second commandment. Okay, I get that and I getthe danger of thinking of a docetic Jess. He wasn'treally human, and could we really see him? So I understand those concerns yeh andyet to President Jesus in realistic...

...terms, I think, is a is a violation ofmaking image you're, showing God I mean the son of God- and there's only one way that the sonof God wish to be seen, and we can't see that right now, and so we talked about this, for I think thedanger is. I think that theological danger is actually greater with theseries like the chosen or the Jesus Film. I think it's less inmore abstract pieces of art, or you know, I think, the great the dangerousgreater in children's books that try to present cartoonish Jesus then in booksthat present, obviously more abstract. You know some thinking of the you knowthe biggest story story, Book Bible coming out and there's going to be somepictures of Jess it's hard to do four hundred pages without ever showingJesus. But it's it's. You know, he's green and he said no you're, notthinking that's what these people really look like. I think there's lessof a danger for that, and maybe that's where I'm not as hardcore as some of mypresbyterians friends would be so you have that showing God he came in the flesh. We don't knowwhat he looked like. We don't have that then there's the the practical sort ofexistential and is connected to the first that II'm. I worry that a steady diet of that becomes very hard, not in your to notform in your mind's eye. Well, that is what what Jesus lookslike the famous Walter Salmon. You know painting of Jesus Course Very. You know you know Anglo or teutonic or somethinglooking and, of course, that's not accurate and I don't think it's wrongto present pictures you know to depict Jesus is different cultural settingsand yet, if you grow up with that and your Sunday school around your dinnertable, it's hard not to then, when you close your eyes and you're. Thinking of you know, praying in Jesus name thatthat picture comes in and that's mistaken and with with a series like the chosen inorder to the gospels, don't make good TV because they're not interested byand large, in the things that good stories are interested, and that soundswell, it's the greatest. It's the greatest story ever told. Well, it is,but you think about the crucifixion there's detail, but it never focuses on.You Know Mel Gibson, like the the utter pain of it. It's on the shame and it'son the sin and to present compelling artistry and entertainment andtelevision or movies. You have to do a lot of character development. You haveto do a lot of what's going on inside. You have to presume a lot of thingswith and you have to have the lighting and the music. All of those are tellinga story, and I guess my contention is they're not as negligible as we thinkthey actually are very essential in telling and making the story and theybegin to shape us and disciple us every music crescendo, every close up everysort of let they're shaping us as to what the stories were like. I know Imight concern that Justin Taylor or some of our are watching an episode andall of a sudden they they can't do good exegesis. No, but I think, if that's your diet of Jesus, even if you're a great reader ofthe Bible, I think it just can't help but form in shape the way you thinkabout him in a way you understand those stories and all of those elements areextra biblical, even if they're trying to be faithful to the general thrust ofit. I remember I wrote a paper. This is the sort of person I am. I wrote apaper in seminary against the Jesus Film and one of the the lines Iremember from there is people were reflecting. You know it's like seeingJesus and there's another he's. You know just giving the Gospel. Is it lukethat they use it's like seeing Jesus in real life? Well, no, it's not it's aBritish actor who's there portraying Jesus and I think in evangelistic settings. It'sparticularly dangerous. You've you're is one thing for people like us whohave been around it. Our whole lives to then see it and have the grid tointerpret it, but an Advanta setting. How can you not help but think? Wellthat that's the person? That's who it is? That's, even if they tell me it'sjust a movie, that's sort of the shape and how I I understand this Jesus to beso. I think there are real dangers in...

...that all right. I've, given my eightminute sermon here, and I will give you the final word. My friends have told meon the PODCAST. When I say you get the last word. I always then say somethingafterwards. So I'LL! Actually, let you respond to that and will be done with.It are the rumors true that you actuallywent on submission trips and handed out copies of your paper before the teamgot there and showed that Jesus go yes and then we many thousands, came to know the Lord.That way. I think that you make a lot oflegitimate points, and I think that it's more compelling when you talkabout the the practical ramifications in terms of some of the drawbacks,because we by and large especially outside ofconfessional Presbyterian reform strikes, tend not to think about any ofthe drawbacks. These things only think about what how it aids us and- and yetI would say, I think that there's a continuum so everypastor, who has preached on Easter Sunday and goes into any level of creative meditation embellishment thinking through different aspects ofwhat must it have been like for our savior, is doing something that goesbeyond strictly the text. There is a form of creativity and a form ofmeditation, and yet we need to be careful about it,and so you know do audio bibles that put music behind the reading. There'san interpretive effect. The the Bible narrator we're talkingabout just about audio at this point, but there's an imperative level there.That's that's trying to go into emotion, so I would find ithard to just be strictly black and white, and just it's all or nothing. Ithink we can be aware of the dangers on the theological side. I'm lessconvinced that it s it s problematic, to depict in any form the humanity ofJesus. I think the disciples have memories of Jesus and they saw himin their memory. Is it wrong for them to have had mental images of Jesus? Ifit's not wrong to have mental images would have been wrong for them tosketch something. I don't think the shroud of Turin is probably legitimate, but it seems like a goodWest Ben Styrian. Confessional mist would have to burn the shroud of tornbecause there there may have been an image of the Christ on there. So you saw Jesus,you can have a a picture of him in your head. We at that. If you've seen him inperson, they get an exception when they take their vows right. Well, it wasn't written for theapostles. So all right, that's that's! Those arethose are good points and I have other thoughts, but I did say you have thelast word. So this is the the final thing talk about books. We talked about lots of differentcategories of books and some of our favorites and most influential give me two or three books that you've loved. Let's letlet's stipulate Christian books edifying Christian books that aren't oneverybody's top ten list, or you know the the JI packer, the John Piper TimKeller, the Calvin, the Bab vink. So do you have two or three that you foundand it don't have to be world changing, but you think wow. Those were reallyhelpful and I don't hear people talking about them and to be worth mentioning. Yeah, two or three come to mind. One of them is Robert Gundry'scommentary on the New Testament, so the the sub tail is verse by verseexplanations with a literal translation and Robert gundry as a retired NewTestament, professor, he was actually the guy that John Piper was respondingto him on the imputation of Christ and the active obedience of Christ heatedthe commentary on the entire De Testament translated the tigre detestent to kind of literal translation and then just offers commentary on it, andit has been one of the best resources I found Hendricson put it out and Baker.I don't know what the backstory is on the book. I think it may be coming outnow in two volumes, but it is one of those that, if you're doing devotionson your own or you're getting ready to teach something or you preach something,it's always worth consulting he's, very concise and very helpful. Another bookthat comes to my just a completely different genre is by Greg Lucas a wrestling with an angel, a story ofLove, disability and the lessons of grace cruciform put out this bookseveral years ago, and I I was honored... do in a little endorsement for itand you probably haven't heard of Greg Locus he's a police officer in WestVirginia, who has a son. Jake was seventeen years old. I thinkwhen he wrote it and is an adult now, but just talking through disability andour second youngest son Zephania has threeraposy and it's not verbal and is uses a wheelchair and Walker. So justlistening to a theologically oriented Christ, centered father writing aboutraising a son with disabilities was just very moving to me and encouragingto me. So there would be somebody who's Greg's, not lighting up the world. Interms of the conference speaking circuit, the book was undoubtedly not abest seller, but a quiet, faithful book that I really appreciated, and maybe just to pluck one from thethe Theology Room Bruce Milne's little book tell the truth. Just summarizing compactly doctrinebooks like when Gredos make theology now farsurpass that in terms of reception and sales, but that's abeautiful little book that I've appreciated over the years and worthgoing back to if you're thinking about something theologically. So those aretwo or three that come to man. Those are good. I knew I was going to ask thequestion- and I didn't take enough time to peruse my bookshelves and come upwith all the answers, so I'm sure I'm forgetting books that I've read so muchof the books that we love are when we read them. Did we read them and theyjust hit right at that moment when we needed to hear or we read them when wewere new, Christians were really growing in our faith and it became a goto book. I sometimes have those books. I think that's not a go to book for you.I've always go back to the because it was when I read it. A few things.There's a book called true devotion by Allen. Chapel Chapel think it'spublished by an Agacin, Publishing House and I think, he's Australian.It's called in search of authentic spirituality and it's a yeah publishedby what Latimer something Latterman House and yeah, I'm looking at it, buttrue devotion. I've used this for a staff book before Latimer Trust is whatit is came out in two thousand and fourteen. I was in the UK one time andheard William Taylor who's at Saint Helen's and his friend of mine, and hewas introducing me and he said how much he liked. What is the mission of thechurch, and he said I had her whole staff, but go through staff, go throughit and he said that's the second best book I've had our staff read. So I hadto say: Oh well, that was nice. What was the first book, they said. Well,sorry is the book this book by an Chapel, true devotionin search of authentic spirituality, and it's it's a look at evangelicalspirituality. It goes after some of the Richard Foster ways of doingspirituality, and it goes back to the Bible, but also to the reformers, tothe puritans and and says some of the things that we take for default. Evenangelical spirituality. We're actually not in our for fathersand mothers and simple things like prayer is a conversation where I speakto God, and then I listen to God. He Says No, they said prayer. Is Youspeaking to God? The Bible? Is You listening to God? So it's a sort ofbook well opens people's eyes. People may not agree with it, but I found thatto be helpful. There's also a book just sticking with Ozzy's wisdom and leadership. I'vementioned before published. I think Mittie, MediaHamilton is the author and it's a big thick book and it's lots ofchapters on leadership, and you know he says there they're the pastors, whoread John Stot and DA cars on their pastors, who read Bill Hi bles, it'sdated they might not do that anymore and the leadership stuff and he'strying to say: Hey, I'm this guy, who wants to read Carson and Stot, but wehave something to learn from thinking about with it. The books too long, butit's got lots of chapters is really practical and helpful for leaders inthe Church and then a book. Maybe I mentioned before when we were talkingabout fiction books, I don't read a lot of fiction, but Walter windring bookthe book of the Dun Cow. I was surprised how much I liked it. Ihad my wife read it and she was sort of yeah. I don't know. Why did you likethis so much, but I found it captivating and in moving and last one is sort of cheating becausepeople have heard of gk Chesterton. But...

I think if they've read, Chestertonthey've, read Orthodoxy and I think my favorite book of his might be theeverlasting man. It's not the easiest freedom having our staff go through itand right now and I think they're thinking. Why did you have us read thisbook he's a very witty writer he's very Affaristi in the way he writes, whichcan be good and bad, but he's really looking at the the sweep of the historyof man and the history of Christ and it's over it's almost a hundred yearsold and it's just very relevant still today. So that's a book by an authorpeople, probably heard of, but maybe haven't, read that book any last word,Mr beat party, Co huskers all right well, give us aprediction, and let's should we put something on on the line for thisprediction? I can't eat little caesars anymore, but what's a good repeat like a good glut and free product, howabout five guys there there I can get there all right so well. Do I have topay for your entire family to go or just to you yeah it's over a hundreddollars for entire family. Just me, okay, we'll put a five guys all you caneat meal plus the peanuts which are back and if it so I'm going to say party thirty, eight Nebraska, thirty one. What say you first numbers that came to my mind withthirty five, a D, twenty one huskers, okay, all right Bert of her first.Thank you just in ways appreciate talking to my friend until next time orif I got enjoy forever and read a good book, a.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (41)