Once again, we haunt the halls of Van Til as it's time for the annual Preaching Conference at Westminster Theological Seminary. Much to our delight (and surprise!), they've invited us back. However, we know better than to think we're the hot commodity when sharing the stage with the likes of Rev. David Helm. Rev. Helm is founding pastor of Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, and Chairman of the Charles Simeon Trust. Also an avid author, he's written many resources aiding the spiritual growth and development of Christians young and old. This year's conference is about sermon preparation and Rev. Helm is well worth the listen and a great improvement from the balding alternatives.
You should confess all your lustful thoughts to your spouse...
Is this a good idea? Unfortunately, this advice is being encouraged (and even taken!) within the evangelical world and Carl, Aimee & Todd discuss their concerns, teasing out the collateral damage such confessionals could cause. The whole crew agrees: There's good reason why we can’t read each other’s minds! Should we leave every idle thought only to God? Whether you're navigating the seas of singleness, dabbling in dating, entering engagement or managing marital bliss this is an important conversation to consider.
We have Dr. Timothy Witmer with us today, and what a story he has to tell! Dr. Witmer is an author and Westminster Theological Seminary professor of Practical Theology. He's also a "Moses" figure for leading St. Stephen Reformed Church, a once United Church of Christ church, to the PCA (or "Promised Land", though Carl & Aimee may beg to differ with Todd on that!). Being a preacher and a teacher of preachers for many years, Dr. Witmer lends a seasoned perspective from the podium to the pulpit and shares the tale leading a congregation to Reformed theology. What a good reminder to us all how God chooses to use his people as a means to fulfill his kingdom purpose.
"Who did you vote for?" It's a loaded question, but for Carl he simply pulls the green card. So is there such a thing as piety in the poll booth? How should Christians vote? In our recent presidential election, Carl, Aimee & Todd sniff out some sloppy theology that surfaced during and after the vote, and they share pros and cons to Trump's future leadership. Thankfully for the Christian, our hope and firm foundation is not found in a mortal man or woman or a political party ... no matter who goes "home" to the White House, we know who reigns on high.
Today's guest is a Billy Graham wanna-be, city-slickin' Scotsman who believes in emoticons but struggles with social cues. He invited himself to our recording to eat all our pastries and lingered while we interviewed two guests. He's none other than Liam Goligher, Senior Pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church, and now two-time guest/delinquent on our little show, (the latter being his greater accomplishment).
Thankfully he does know a thing or two about preaching a sound sermon so we asked him (in between each scone): How were you called to preach? What are common mistakes made behind the pulpit? Can you actually teach a man to preach? Aside from hearing him answer these, it's well worth the listen to find out what celebrity used his office loo once upon a time…
A while back, we welcomed Dr. Anthony "Tony" Esolen on the show. He was a striking presence discussing how cultural norms destroy the imaginations of our children. Tony resurfaces today as a hot topic in controversial circumstances. In the wake of a thought-provoking piece recently published by Crisis Magazine, Tony critiques the "diversity" culture that is out of line with biblical doctrine yet pervasive at Providence college, a Roman Catholic institution.
Tony's biblical convictions now threaten his career as Professor of English. This shouldn't surprise us. The trend, even within the church, is one growing in tolerant conformity to secular culture and a shut-down on free-speech. How can we stand for what we believe and be protected by the Constitution? And what matters more: tone or doctrine … being politically correct or biblically correct? What happens to Tony should matter to us, and may we not buckle under the same opposition.
"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know" - Louis Armstrong.
Well, if ever there was someone to ask about jazz in our circles, it's Dr. William Edgar, Apologetics Professor at Westminster Theological Seminary, President of the Huguenot Fund, and gifted jazz pianist. Dr. Edgar's interests extend far beyond the walls of Van Til Hall to French culture and the arts. But we have more to chat about than berets, baguettes, and piano keys. He recently published a book, Does Christianity Really Work?, as part of a series that asks the "big" questions of the faith. Dr. Edgar offers helpful insights into the common barriers of the skeptic and the Christian seeking the unsaved. One of his boldest critiques: "many Christians enjoy life inappropriately", weakening an otherwise bold witness for Christ.
Does anyone wear black to a funeral anymore? Seems increasingly common to have "celebrations of life" in lieu of funerals. As Christians, we mourn but not as those without hope, but that's just it, we do and should mourn our losses. So why is grief displaced with "happiness", as if we were throwing a party? And is this happiness genuine or are we genuinely in denial that something legitimately sad has happened? Beware Church, you may be sending mixed messages with these "celebrations". Just how difficult is a pastor's job made by all this confusion? To help us consider it, we have a Scotsman who weaseled his way into the recording studio after trading in his kilt for some urban slims.
"We live with an odd mix of immature people incapable of adult responsibility and yet full of extreme self-confidence,” said an English menace. But perhaps Carl is onto something - what of this Neverland with its abundance of "Lost Boys"? Not surprisingly, women complain of immaturity in the opposite sex, but they themselves aren’t spared this epidemic.
What makes us mature adults? Maybe saying "I do" or buying a mini-van? Not really. In today's culture, there’s a restless, sexualized childishness - an endless adolescence, and we want to know who (or what!) is to blame! Carl, Aimee, & Todd have their theories …
It's not Reformation Day anymore but we are still a-buzz about Luther and more specifically, the Biblica Germanica. Our Spin bookworms gawk over its beautiful calligraphy and the black and white illustrations, which Todd mistakenly took for coloring pages ... we knew better than to let him bring his crayons. It's another chance to discuss God's providential work through Martin Luther, a man so instrumental in bringing the Word of God to the common layperson of his day.