Gospelbound, hosted by Collin Hansen for The Gospel Coalition, is a podcast for those searching for firm faith in an anxious age. Each week, Collin talks with insightful guests about books, ideas, and how to navigate life by the gospel of Jesus Christ in a post-Christian culture.
In his day job for the last 15 years, Daniel Strange has taught church leaders about culture, worldview, and apologetics. He's studied worldviews and philosophy. He talks about “plausibility structures” and “social imaginaries” and “cultural liturgies.” But it's not some kind of vain philosophical exercise. He's trying to help people grow in how they present the person and work of Jesus to their skeptical neighbors.After years as director of Oak Hill Theological College in London, he now directs Crosslands Forum, a center for cultural engagement for mission. And he's the author of the new book Making Faith Magnetic: Five Hidden Themes Our Culture Can't Stop Talking About and How to Connect Them to Christ, published by The Good Book Company. In this book, he tries to help non-Christians find their way to God through the darkness of a skeptical age. He writes:In the 21st-century West, in our version of this history, God is the one who has done the hiding and we are the seekers. And God must have found a great place to hide because we've looked for him everywhere but he's nowhere to be seen.Strange features five magnetic points that he thinks can help non-Christians connect to Jesus. His book explores totality, norm, deliverance, destiny, and higher power. In this episode, we'll talk about J. H. Bavinck, the totality, Goth culture, disenchantment, and more.
Blair Linne's mother planned to abort her before a Baptist minister's words changed her mother's mind. Linne moved 25 times before she set out on her own as an adult. She did not grow up with a father. I won't spoil her new book, Finding My Father: How the Gospel Heals the Pain of Fatherlessness, published by The Good Book Company. But it's a raw, sometimes shocking memoir with a surprise ending.Blair Linne describes fathers as a covering, a shield from danger. But where do you go when your dad needs a place to hide, too? Linne points all of us, no matter how good or bad our dad, to the hope of the gospel. We're not defined by the consequences of fatherlessness, Blair writes:We are not bound to repeat those mistakes and pass on the consequences to another generation. The cross can break any consequences of the sin of the generation before, so that it is not felt by the generation to come.And she points us to the church, where we find our family after God becomes our Father. Linne writes, “[A]ll it takes is a Christian village to break the one-parent-absent-father stranglehold that can burden a child.”Blair Linne joins me on Gospelbound to discuss systemic injustice and personal responsibility, victims and rebels, diverse churches, and family trees.
For as long as I've been paying attention, some 20 years, I've heard Christians complain that we need more attention on the body. I've heard that Catholics have much deeper, more comprehensive theology of the body. I've seen Protestant evangelicals try to make the case, but for some reason or another their arguments don't land. I don't know how to explain the disconnect. We worship the God who became flesh in the incarnation of Jesus. When Paul talks about the body, he's referencing all of life. That's how far our views have diverged from his. We live in a time that esteems self-expression, mind over matter, not self-sacrifice of the type that engages the body. But Sam Allberry aims to help us in his new book, *[What God Has to Say about Our Bodies: How the Gospel Is Good News for Our Physical Selves](https://www.amazon.com/What-God-Has-about-Bodies/dp/1433570157/?tag=thegospcoal-20)*, published by Crossway. Allberry is a world-traveled speaker and apologist and serves on the leadership team at Immanuel Nashville. In this book he encourages Christians to look forward, but not to a time when we'll have a full head of hair and flat stomachs. Instead, we anticipate resurrected bodies that glorify and serve Jesus perfectly. And what good news that is for our broken bodies. Sam writes: The problems we experience *with* our body were never ultimately going to be solved *by* our body. We may be able to ameliorate some aspects of our bodily brokenness—we can cure some ills and ease some pains. But we cannot fix what has been broken. The only hope for us is the body of Jesus, broken fully and finally for us. And by looking to his broken body we find true hope for our own. Sam joins me on Gospelbound to discuss intimacy, technology, *Avatar*, color blindness, masculinity and femininity, and much more.
We're long past the time when we could assume even that dedicated believers in Jesus Christ understood why they should bother with church. The number who identify as Christians is far larger than the number who attend a weekly meeting. Even then, the bulk of the serving and giving in our churches tends to be done by only a few. So it's not as if COVID-19 suddenly convinced Christians they didn't need church. Millions had already made that decision even before gathering involved online registration, social distancing, and masks. Last year church membership fell to less than 50 percent for the first time since Gallup started recording the data 80 years ago.COVID-19 accelerated a long-trending separation between personal faith and organized religion. The shutdowns caught all of us by surprise in their sudden onset and ongoing duration. And it's hard to get back in the habit once it's been broken for months—now, even years, without a clear end in sight.Even so, the body of Christ is essential to our faith. A Christian without a church is a Christian in trouble. That's why Jonathan Leeman and I wrote Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ Is Essential, published by Crossway in partnership with 9Marks and The Gospel Coalition. Leeman serves as editorial director of 9Marks and joins me on Gospelbound to discuss virtual churches, biblical authority after Mars Hill, and fellowship across difference, among other topics. Welcome, Jonathan.
In former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam's new book, Faithful Presence: The Promise and the Peril of Faith in the Public Square (Nelson Books), he asks, “Do our political actions match our theology, or has our theology been taken captive to our political beliefs?”A political book that's driven by theology, Faithful Presence offers a stirring call to justice and mercy with humility. Gov. Haslam sees the “image of God” as the foundational truth that can bridge the gap in our polarized political culture. He says humility is the key to overcoming these differences—when you listen to others, and admit your faults, others will be more likely to listen to you. The only biblical way for us to walk into the public square is the way Jesus walked toward the cross. His was motivated by love for a broken and hurting people, not to be proven right, or to win the argument, or to gain power for himself.Gov. Haslam joined Collin Hansen on Gospelbound to discuss political theology, intolerance, his ideal congregation, and why Christians shouldn't give up on politics.
Jasmine Holmes is the author of Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope (InterVarsity Press) and cohost of TGC's new podcast for women, Let's Talk. Holmes joined Collin Hansen on Gospelbound to discuss politics, race, police brutality, abortion, and everything else you're not supposed to bring up in polite company.
Tim and Kathy Keller joined Collin Hansen on Gospelbound to discuss the link between decreasing marriage and decreasing religiosity, how to know you're ready to get married, how to raise children to prepare them for marriage, and more.
On today's bonus episode of Gospelbound, we're featuring a clip from an interview between TGC senior writer, Sarah Zylstra and her guest, J. D. Greear as they discuss his experience as SBC president, future hopes for the SBC and the global church, and the importance of keeping the gospel at the center of it all. To hear the full episode, head to TGC Podcast episode 169. You can hear more about J. D. in the new book, Gospelbound: Living with Resolute Hope in an Anxious Age.
On today's bonus episode of Gospelbound, we're featuring a clip from an interview between TGC senior writer, Sarah Zylstra and her guest, Alex Harris about his experience clerking for two U.S. Supreme Court justices and editing Harvard Law Review, his brother Josh's high-profile deconstruction of his faith, whether evangelicals invest too much import in presidential politics, and much more. To hear the full episode, head to TGC Podcast episode 166. You can hear more from Alex in the new book, Gospelbound: Living with Resolute Hope in an Anxious Age.
Because of the gospel, there’s always hope. Even in the rubble, you can find defiant new growth poking through the rocks. A similar hope can be seen in seminary education. One of the greatest success stories can be found in Kansas City at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.The president there is Jason Allen, and under his leadership, the school has grown in enrollment and resources and in quality of education. It's exciting to consider what this turnaround means for generations of churches in the Southern Baptist Convention and beyond.Jason says that “never before in the history of the church has theological education been so accessible—and so needed.” In this episode of Gospelbound, Collin Hansen welcomes Jason Allen to discuss his new book, Succeeding at Seminary: 12 Keys to Getting the Most Out of Your Theological Education (Moody).In this episode, Collin and Jason talk about the promise and peril of online education, why students should still consider residential relocation, and how you know if you’re really ready for this momentous step.This episode Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Faith For Life. More information at thegoodbook.com.
For Shai Linne, the cultural differences in music and dress never seemed to matter compared to unity in the crucified and risen Christ. Shai became a key figure in the growing movement of Christian hip-hop, musically like Wu-tang Clan but lyrically like Billy Graham. The style was appealing, but the crowds seemed more excited about Jesus than anything else. He’s convinced that we’ll look back one day on this era, between 2002 and 2012, as a revival much like the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early ’70s.In 2012, ethnic differences began to re-emerge with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. As Shai writes in his new book, The New Reformation: Finding Hope in the Fight for Ethnic Unity (Moody), the subsequent high-profile shooting deaths of black men and women did not surprise many African Americans. His sense as a 16-year-old was that police beat up Black people all the time. But Christian hip-hop began to decline when White and Black Christians realized they did not see these incidents the same way. He writes: “White Christians were happy to have us as long as we just rapped about the gospel and kept quiet about the things we talk about among ourselves all the time that deeply affect us. But the moment we expressed the pain we felt about ‘racial injustice,’ many White Christians were quick to dismiss us, rebuke us, or silently ignore us.”Even so, Shai’s book points to hope for ethnic unity. It’s a book that cuts through the anger, sarcasm, unforgiveness, and mockery that characterize much Christian discourse today on this sensitive subject. He points us toward a better way of humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another in love. Apart from massive revival, we may not expect the world to overcome these divisions. But in the church, through the power of the gospel, we can strive for unity and be a clear and compelling witness to the world.Shai Linne joined me on Gospelbound to discuss the importance of ethnic unity and how we might get there.This episode Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Faith For Life. More information at thegoodbook.com.
In this live episode of Gospelbound from TGC’s 2021 national conference, Collin Hansen is joined by two esteemed guests who can help explain the origins and shape of Christian nationalism with a view toward the promises of the gospel. Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in California. Justin Giboney is cofounder of the AND Campaign, an attorney, and a political strategist in Atlanta.Whether or not your church would advocate Christian nationalism, it’s become an apologetics challenge for church leaders with public perception. Mike and Justin help by answering a few questions and candidly discussing this topic.This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Brave by Faith by Alistair Begg. More information at thegoodbook.com.
These days, you’ll see many Christians defend the faith by pointing out the problems with others. But owning up to ways the church has fallen short of its own ideals may be the more appropriate path. In his new book, Bullies and Saints: An Honest Look at the Good and Evil of Christian History (Zondervan), John Dickson takes an honest look at the church’s successes and failures.Dickson sums up history by observing, “Bullies are common. Saints are not.” So on Gospelbound, I dug in on his survey and asked whether Christianity has been a bigger contributor to evil compared to atheism and Islam; his high and low points in Christian history; and why Christians are cheerful losers.This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of the God’s Word for You expository Bible study guides. More information at thegoodbook.com.
Maybe you imagine the biggest problem facing Christians in the West today is hostility, whether from media or government or schools. You wouldn’t be wrong to notice how these venues don’t usually look kindly on orthodox, observant Christians these days.But what if we actually face a bigger problem? What if the problem isn’t that our unbelieving friends and family care too much about what we believe—it’s that they don’t care at all what we believe? That’s not a challenge we’re typically prepared to address.Until now, thanks to Kyle Beshears in his new book, Apatheism: How to Share When They Don’t Care (B&H). Kyle is teaching pastor at Mars Hill Church in Mobile, Alabama. I met him when he taught worldview and apologetics at the University of Mobile. Kyle explains of his book, “Atheism believes that God does not exist; agnosticism believes that we can’t know whether or not God exists; apatheism believes God’s existence to be irrelevant.”Kyle Beshears joined Collin Hansen on Gospelbound to discuss the causes and cures of apatheism.This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of the God’s Word for You expository Bible study guides. More information at thegoodbook.com.
Has anyone ever confided in you, “I’m deconstructing”? Maybe you don’t know the phrase, but you know the phenomenon. Yet another social-media post announces departure from the Christian faith. The cause could be sex, race, politics, social justice, science, hell, or all of the above. For many, Christianity is becoming implausible, even impossible to believe. It might be tempting to leave the church in order to find answers, but the new book Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing Doubt in the Church (The Gospel Coalition) argues that church should be the best place to deal with doubts. Deconstructing need not end in unbelief. In fact, deconstructing can be the road toward reconstructing—building up a more mature, robust faith that grapples honestly with the deepest questions of life.Karen Swallow Prior, Jay Y. Kim, and Derek Rishmawy joined me on Gospelbound to discuss deconstruction and the hope that lies in the person and work of Jesus.Gospelbound Book Giveaway Entry Steps: Write a review about the Gospelbound podcast on Apple Podcasts (reviews can take up to 48 hours to appear in the ratings and review section, so be sure to check back after that time period to see your review)Take a screenshot of your reviewEmail us your screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, April 23We'll pick the first 10 entries on April 23 to receive a free copy of Gospelbound, the book.This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Brave by Faith by Alistair Begg. More information at thegoodbook.com.
In this episode of Gospelbound, Collin Hansen is joined by Morton Schapiro and Gary Saul Morson, authors of Minds Wide Shut: How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us (Princeton University Press). Schapiro and Morson describe fundamentalism as “radical simplification of complex questions and the inability to learn either from experience or from opposing views.”Among their proposed solutions is a recovery of casuistry, or employing case studies especially from great literature for experience-based learning.Gospelbound Book Giveaway Entry Steps: Write a review about the Gospelbound podcast on Apple Podcasts (reviews can take up to 48 hours to appear in the ratings and review section, so be sure to check back after that time period to see your review)Take a screenshot of your reviewEmail us your screenshot to email@example.com by Friday, April 23We'll pick the first 10 entries on April 23 to receive a free copy of Gospelbound, the book.This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of The End of Me by Liz Wann. More information at thegoodbook.com.
Politicians, advertisers, talk radio hosts, social media engineers—you name it, they want your attention. They want you to be angry and afraid. But as Christians, we’re called to faith and love—even when we’re scared, even with people who don’t like us.We need to get back to the gospel so we can move forward—together. That’s why we wrote the new book Gospelbound (Multnomah), to help Christians live with resolute hope in an anxious age. My co-author and guest on this episode is Sarah Zylstra, one of my dear friends and a longtime colleague first at Christianity Today and now with The Gospel Coalition, where she is our senior writer. We wrote this book to boost your morale with stories of Christians around the world living for God and loving their neighbors. They’re caring for the weak, loving their enemies, and giving away their freedom for others. They are gospel-bound Christians because they’re bound to the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ—they cannot be shaken by this turbulent world. And they’re bound for glory someday, which is how they can live with such hope in the here and now.Not only will they boost your morale, but these gospel-bound Christians will also give you a model for how live in the chaos. So for more on these stories, I turned to Sarah in this episode of Gospelbound. Gospelbound Book Giveaway Entry Steps: Write a review about the Gospelbound podcast on Apple Podcasts (reviews can take up to 48 hours to appear in the ratings and review section, so be sure to check back after that time period to see your review)Take a screenshot of your reviewEmail us your screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, April 23We'll pick the first 10 entries on April 23 to receive a free copy of Gospelbound, the book. This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of The End of Me by Liz Wann. More information at thegoodbook.com.
When church leaders assume that they can only scan for attacks in one direction, they leave Christians vulnerable to different dangers. What the church needs, then, is what Trevin Wax calls multi-directional leadership—leaders who combine dexterity and discipline. Leaders today must demonstrate faithful versatility. And that’s what Trevin Wax commends in his new book, The Multi-Directional Leader: Responding Wisely to Challenges from Every Side, published by The Gospel Coalition.Wax applies multi-directional leadership to the most contentious issues facing churches right now, including race and politics and gender. Unity and truth can still triumph in a divided age, and that’s what I wanted to talk with Trevin about in this episode of Gospelbound.Gospelbound Book Giveaway Entry Steps: Write a review about the Gospelbound podcast on Apple Podcasts (reviews can take up to 48 hours to appear in the ratings and review section, so be sure to check back after that time period to see your review)Take a screenshot of your reviewEmail us your screenshot to email@example.com by Friday, April 23We'll pick 10 winners on April 23 to receive a free copy of Gospelbound: Living with Resolute Hope in an Anxious AgeThis episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Faithful Leaders and the Things That Matter Most by Rico Tice. There are many books on leadership strategies and church structures, but this one looks at what matters most: the character and attitude of church leaders. More information at thegoodbook.com.
Maybe you’ve seen a sign in your neighbor’s yard that reads something like this:"In this house we believe that:Black Lives MatterLove Is LoveGay Rights Are Civil RightsWomen’s Rights Are Human RightsTransgender Women Are Women"If the “we believe” format and propositions sound familiar, that’s because they are. It’s a creed, albeit a secular one, without reference to transcendent moral authority, whether divine or historical. Rebecca McLaughlin’s provocative new book, The Secular Creed: Engaging Five Contemporary Claims, published by The Gospel Coalition, helps us disentangle the beliefs Christians gladly affirm from those they cannot embrace. And she invites us to talk with our neighbors about the things that matter most—what we’re willing to fight for, our vision of the good life for ourselves and others.Many non-Christians believe these statements will make unity and peace possible. But McLaughlin shows why Christianity is the original source and firmest foundation for true diversity, equality, and life-transforming love. Books referenced in this episode: Homegoing by Yaa GyasiTranscendent Kingdom by Yaa GyasiTen Questions Every Teen Should Ask (and Answer) about Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlinThis episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Faithful Leaders and the Things That Matter Most by Rico Tice. There are many books on leadership strategies and church structures, but this one looks at what matters most: the character and attitude of church leaders. More information at thegoodbook.com.
Joseph Henrich is chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and author of many important works. His latest is The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous. In it, you’ll get pretty everything you want: theology, history, neuroscience, biology, social science, economics, and more. Henrich weaves everything together to explain what separated the West from world history. But his story is neither inevitable nor triumphalist. He argues that if you looked at the world in the year 1000, you’d never imagine that Europe would eventually surpass China or the Islamic world in power and wealth. Joseph Henrich joined Collin Hansen on Gospelbound to discuss his new book and what it means to be “WEIRD,” an acronym that describes tenants of Western culture.This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of The Garden, the Curtain and The Cross by Carl Laferton. This storybook takes children aged 3 to 6 on a journey from the Garden of Eden to God’s perfect new creation, teaching why Jesus died and rose again and why that’s the best news ever. More information at thegoodbook.com.
Andy Crouch and his colleagues at The Praxis Journal wrote an article titled, “Leading Beyond the Blizzard” on March 20, 2020, just one week after the national COVID-19 shutdown began in the United States. Crouch and his team warned us that this crisis would not be a blizzard that rages for a few weeks or a winter that lasted a few months, but an “ice age” of 12 to 18 months that would change our way of life for good, and they were right. Crouch joined Collin Hansen on Gospelbound to lament the losses brought on by COVID-19, assess our levels of social trust inside and outside the church, and look forward to God’s purposes in the next year and beyond.This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of The Garden, the Curtain and The Cross by Carl Laferton. This storybook takes children aged 3-6 on a journey from the Garden of Eden to God’s perfect new creation to teach children why Jesus died and rose again and why that’s the best news ever. More information at thegoodbook.com.
You know an author is worth reading if he can make stones interesting. But after reading Andrew Wilson’s God of All Things: Rediscovering the Sacred in an Everyday World (Zondervan), you’ll be seeing stones everywhere in the Bible, and you’ll understand their significance in ways you never imagined before.Andrew Wilson is teaching pastor at King’s Church London and has theology degrees from Cambridge, London School of Theology, and King’s College London. He is a columnist for Christianity Today and has written several books, including Echoes of Exodus and Spirit and Sacrament. His newest book, God of All Things, teaches about God through the ordinary, physical things we see every day.If you don’t normally enjoy reading theology, I recommend this book. You’ll learn a lot about God, you’ll develop a strong biblical theology from Genesis to Revelation, and you’ll see your ordinary world with new eyes in the process.Andrew joined me on Gospelbound to discuss viruses, pigs, sex, children, trees, and more. This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Being the Bad Guy by Stephen McAlpine. The church used to be recognized as a force for good, but this is changing rapidly. Author Stephen McAlpine offers an analysis of how our culture ended up this way and encourages Christians not to be ashamed of the gospel as it is more liberating, fulfilling and joyful than anything the world has to offer. More information at thegoodbook.com.
Veneetha Rendall Risner has dealt with more than her share of trials, which she recounts in her new book, "Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption", published by Nelson Books. She opens up her thought process for a raw look at the emotional and spiritual wrestling of suffering, anger toward God, and the reason for suffering.This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Being the Bad Guy by Stephen McAlpine. The church used to be recognized as a force for good, but this is changing rapidly. Author Stephen McAlpine offers an analysis of how our culture ended up this way and encourages Christians not to be ashamed of the gospel as it is more liberating, fulfilling and joyful than anything the world has to offer. More information at thegoodbook.com.
At some point, Christians were viewed by many in the West as annoying, perhaps prudish, even self-righteous. Sometimes Christians set themselves as an example of holiness that the world could not or did not want to attain. To be called “holier than thou” was common.But those days are long gone, says Stephen McAlpine, author of the new book Being the Bad Guys: How to Live for Jesus in a World That Says You Shouldn’t, published by The Good Book Company. McAlpine is a pastor, blogger, and ex-journalist who lives in Perth, Australia. He’s written some of the most provocative and creative commentary on this cultural moment that I’ve seen. And that’s why I was eager to read this book and talk with him for Gospelbound.This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of The God Contest by Carl Laferton. This storybook will help children see how the God of the Bible proved himself to be the one true God. More information at thegoodbook.com.
Solomon prayed for wisdom, and the Lord granted his request. Oh, how we need more Solomons in our day! At least the early Solomon, before all the foreign wives.Brett McCracken is here to help with his new book, The Wisdom Pyramid: Feeding Your Soul in a Post-Truth World, published by Crossway. Brett works as director of communications and senior editor for arts and culture with The Gospel Coalition. You may also know him from his excellent earlier books, especially Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community, which I strongly recommend.The Wisdom Pyramid is like the food pyramid, only for the health of our souls when it comes to our media diet. I have a hard time thinking of anything more urgently needed for the church than men and women saturated in Scripture, rooted in their local church, and amazed by the wonder of God’s creation. This is the lean protein we need in a world pushing Skittles and Doritos. Brett joins me on Gospelbound to discuss social media, books we disagree with, what makes the internet different, and more.This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of The God Contest by Carl Laferton. This storybook will help children see how the God of the Bible proved himself to be the one true God. More information at thegoodbook.com.
By this point I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying the debate over social justice in the church will not progress through Twitter accounts and YouTube rants. Events and face-to-face conversations have been hindered by COVID-19. But at least we have books.We’d be in much better shape inside the church if the debate were informed by books like Confronting Justice Without Compromising Truth, published by Zondervan. The author, Thaddeus Williams, is an associate professor of systematic theology for Talbot School of Theology at Biola University in La Mirada, California. I don’t suspect his book will necessarily convince many in the camp he labels Social Justice B, in contrast to the view he supports, termed Social Justice A. But I do think many readers caught in the middle will gain clarity about what’s at stake.I’ve long thought this debate has suffered from confusion about whether we’re talking about the world or the church. It can both be true that the world peddles a gospel-denying version of social justice while the church has often failed to live up to the biblical one. So I’m hopeful that Williams’s book will protect the church from the world and also call the church to a more robust pursuit of justiceThis episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Meals with Jesus by Ed Drew. These simple 10-minute family devotions in Luke’s Gospel explore Jesus’ character through nine meals that he shared with people. More information at thegoodbook.com.
If I want to read anyone’s reflections on recent years, it’s Russell Moore. The president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC hasn’t been as visible or vocal as he was before 2017, at least until the last week following the attack on the U.S. Capitol. But his newest book, The Courage to Stand: Facing Your Fear Without Losing Your Soul, published by B&H, is even better than a tell-all memoir. It’s a grace-infused reflection on where and how to stand tall when it feels like the world is going to crush you.Moore says, “The courage to stand is the courage to be crucified.” Indeed, Jesus sets the tone for this book. And if you’re going to worship and follow a Savior who submitted to the cross, you’re not going to follow the world’s typical mode of courage.I see this book as seeking to reclaim Jesus, or at least his reputation and authority, among evangelicals. Moore observes, “An entire generation is watching what goes on under the name of American religion, wondering if there is something real to it, or if it is just another useful tool to herd people, to elect allies, to make money.” Elsewhere he writes, “I’m not surprised now when I see Jesus used as a mascot to prop up some identity politics or power agenda, or even to cover up private immorality or public injustice.” We’ve seen that recently with the Jericho March, and then the protests-turned-attack at the Capitol.Moore joins me on Gospelbound to tell us what scares him, how to lead when no one seems to be following, ambition masquerading as conviction, and much more.
As 2020 finally ends, it feels appropriate to look back on what we've learned and ultimately celebrate what God has done, even in the midst of one of the most difficult years ever collectively experienced.In this special bonus episode of Gospelbound, host Collin Hansen is joined by TGC colleague Melissa Kruger, who co-hosts the Let's Talk podcast. They discuss big trends and stories from 2020, share their hopes for 2021, and reflect on God's faithfulness displayed through TGC and many other areas of life.Books, articles, and other resources referenced in this episode:"Why Is It So Hard to Read My Bible These Days?" by Megan Hill (article)"George Floyd and Me" by Shai Linne (article)The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel WilkersonCaste: A Brief History of Racism, Sexism, Classism, Ageism, Homophobia, Religious Intolerance, Xenophobia, and Reasons for Hope by Isabel WilkersonWhite Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngeloThe Color of Compromise by Jemar TisbyHow to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice by Jemar TisbyStamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. KendiMother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope by Jasmine HolmesGay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill PerryKnowing God by J. I. PackerEvangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J. I. PackerThe Pilgrim's Progress by John BunyanThrough the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth ElliotWherever You Go, I Want You to Know by Melissa KrugerGrowing Together: Taking Mentoring beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests by Melissa KrugerGospelbound: Living with Resolute Hope in an Anxious Age by Collin Hansen and Sarah Eekhoff ZylstraKeeping the Heart by John FlavelThe WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous by Joseph Henrich12 Faithful Men edited by Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson12 Faithful Women edited by Melissa Kruger and Kristen WetherellLet's Talk: Building Friendships with People Unlike Yourself (podcast episode)Gospelbound: From Mother to Son on Race, Religion, and Relevance (podcast episode)The Social Dilemma (documentary film)TGC 2020 Book Awards (article)TGCW21: Steadfast (national women's conference)TGC21: Jesus Is Greater (national conference)
A recent article in New York Magazine included this bombshell, "Roughly 30% of American women under 25 identify as LGBT. For women over 60, that figure is less than 5%."Now, I can't find anyone who believes this number can really be that high. To acknowledge such a dramatic shift in such a short period of time would be nothing short of a world changing revolution. But, we know about rapid onset gender dysphoria among adolescents and teens. We've seen the prevalence of social contagion in our Instagram age. So, is such a revolution in human sexuality so unthinkable? This revolution may be sudden if it's actually happening, but it's no more dramatic than what we've seen unfold in the west in the last 60 years. Historian, Carl Trueman covers that ground in his new book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution, published by Crossway.But, he locates the sexual revolution within a broader change in views of the self and identity. Trueman joins me in this special extended episode of Gospelbound, to help church leaders understand what's happening. I've heard Carl say that apologetics used to be about explaining the church to the world, but now it's more about explaining the world to the church. That's what he does in The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, which is my pick for the most important book published in 2020. I'm eager to learn more about this road to revolution, and also pose some of our listeners' questions on this subject. This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by Crossway, publisher of The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution by Carl Trueman.
Why would anyone think a preacher from 2,000 years ago would be relevant today? Assume for a second you don’t believe in the resurrection. What did his age know of nuclear weapons, space exploration, and microchip computers? Many would say that if that preacher wants to speak for today, his followers will need to translate and update.But that’s not Becky Pippert’s view. Her new book, Stay Salt, argues that while the world has changed, our message must not. Pippert, author of the bestselling 1979 book Out of the Saltshaker, doesn’t see lack of interest or response to the gospel. Rather, she sees Christians scared to tell others about Jesus. If instead we assume people want to engage in spiritual conversations, Becky says, and we ask God to show us where he’s working and open doors to tell others about Jesus, he will. She recommends we balance confidence with sensitivity.I think Becky’s also correct when she says, “I wonder if the verbal aspect of evangelism has to be re-learned as an active choice and a sacrificial commitment.” Is that because social justice causes and acts of mercy have become popular, but evangelism is not? We’ll ask Becky in this episode of Gospelbound. This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by LifeWay, publisher of Rethink Your Self, by Trevin Wax. In this book, Wax encourages readers to rethink some of our society’s most common assumptions about identity and happiness in a helpful, practical way. When we look up to learn who we were created to be, we discover our true purpose and become our truest selves. Get your copy of Rethink Your Self wherever books are sold or at bhpublishinggroup.com
On Gospelbound I typically interview authors whose ideas intrigue and encourage me. And today is no different with my guest Brad Vermurlen, author of the new book Reformed Resurgence: The New Calvinist Movement and the Battle Over American Evangelicalism, published by Oxford University Press.Vermurlen works as a research associate in the sociology department at the University of Texas at Austin. His book is revised and expanded from his PhD dissertation at the University of Notre Dame, working under Christian Smith. Through dozens of interviews, argus-like monitoring of social media, and on-ground experience with leading churches, Brad documented and assessed the rise of New Calvinism in American evangelicalism.For listeners who know my work, you realize that Brad has given much more comprehensive study to the work I started back in 2006 with my cover story for Christianity Today called “Young, Restless, Reformed.” I can’t wait to ask Brad all my hard questions, as usual for Gospelbound. But it’s going to be a little different this week, because I’ll be asking him in part about my own work. ***Send us your questions related to sexual identity and cultural trends on Instagram or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tune in to a special interview with Carl Trueman, author of 'The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution', right here on Gospelbound on Tuesday, November 17.
The year 1976 marked a turning point in American and evangelical history. It was the year of the evangelical, with a born-again Southern Baptist, Jimmy Carter, capturing the Democratic nomination and narrowly defeating the Republican incumbent, Gerald Ford. And it was the end of the New Deal elections, when factions had been divided along class and regional lines. From then until now, American elections would be engulfed in ideological culture war between right and left.Daniel K. Williams is one of the most accomplished historians of the Religious Right and evangelical political engagement. In his new book, The Election of the Evangelical: Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and the Presidential Contest of 1976, published by University of Kansas Press in their American Presidential Elections series, Williams helps us understand how we reached this point of religious and cultural polarization. Carter was the last Democrat to win almost the entire South. And the last candidate who brought together black Christians, white Southern evangelicals, and Northern Catholics and Jews. He preserved this coalition by somehow convincing Southern conservatives he was a pious budget hawk while at the same time signaling to Northern progressives that he would champion the causes of civil rights for minorities and equal rights for women.Williams joins me on Gospelbound to discuss this turning-point election and what we can learn from it about evangelical witness and political engagement.This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by LifeWay, publisher of The Courage to Stand, by bestselling and award-winning author, Russell Moore. In this book, Moore calls us to a Christ-empowered courage by pointing the way to real freedom from fear—the way of the cross. That way means integrity through brokenness, community through loneliness, power through weakness, and a future through irrelevance. Get your copy of The Courage to Stand wherever books are sold or at russellmoore.com.
Imagine you spent countless hours studying scientific and philosophical objections to Christianity. You enrolled in the classes. You read the books. You practiced the arguments.And you found out that no one really cared.That’s the post-Christian world described by Sam Chan in his new book, How to Talk About Jesus (Without Being That Guy): Personal Evangelism in a Skeptical World, published by Zondervan. Chan is a public speaker for City Bible Forum in Australia and the award-winning author of Evangelism in a Skeptical World.He says, “Our friends aren’t nonbelievers because the defeater beliefs on that list are stopping them from believing; our friends are nonbelievers because they don’t even know why they need to believe in the Christian God of the Bible.” Further, he argues, “It’s of no relevance to them. And deep down, they suspect that the gospel is a tool of oppression used by those who used to be in power. They are hermetically shut off from the good news of Jesus.”Sounds daunting—even depressing. But Chan wants to prepare us for effective evangelism even in post-Christian times in the West. He joins me on Gospelbound to discuss the most powerful factor in determining belief, why we need to merge our universes and put ourselves in others’ debt, the secret hidden sauce, and why we need to study counselors more than preachers. Today’s episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by the Christian Standard Bible, a translation that presents the truth of God’s Word with accuracy and clarity for today’s readers, equipping them for lifelong discipleship. With hundreds of Bible designs to choose from, everyone can find a CSB Bible that they enjoy. Learn more at CSBible.com.
“Time for another Reformation” has been a rallying cry of many Protestants since, well, the original Protestant Reformation. And in the last 20 years you’ve heard this cry from a particular group that wants a new kind of Christianity more attuned to our times.Alisa Childers wants another Reformation, too. But not one that leaves behind historic Christianity. As she writes in her new book, Another Gospel? A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity, published by Tyndale Momentum, she’s not looking for a Reformation that looks down on early believers as less enlightened and more primitive in their understanding of God. Like many other Christians before her, she’s looking to rediscover the original definition of Christianity when sometimes even our churches bear little resemblance to the Bible.Childers is a blogger, speaker, and former member of the CCM recording group ZOEgirl. She doesn’t hold back in her critique of progressive Christianity and its denial of orthodoxy. But I also appreciate how she recognizes the challenges of growing up in the church. For example, she writes:“If more churches would welcome the honest questions of doubters and engage with the intellectual side of their faith, they would become safe places for those who experience doubt. If people don’t feel understood, they are likely to find sympathy from those in the progressive camp who thrive on reveling in doubt.”Childers joins me on Gospelbound to discuss whether we can be more tolerant than God and why Christians should demand more study and not invite less, among other questions. Today’s episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by the Christian Standard Bible, a translation that presents the truth of God’s Word with accuracy and clarity for today’s readers, equipping them for lifelong discipleship. With hundreds of Bible designs to choose from, everyone can find a CSB Bible that they enjoy. Learn more at CSBible.com.
It’s not that Africa needs a different kind of Christianity. But many common challenges for ministry in Africa simply don’t arise in books published in the West. That’s why Conrad Mbewe wrote God’s Design for the Church: A Guide for African Pastors and Ministry Leaders, published by TGC and 9Marks with Crossway. The need for such a resource is tremendous: while about 9 million Christians lived in Africa at the beginning of the 20th century, that number reached 380 million by the year 2000. And it’s still growing.Conrad Mbewe has served as pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia, since 1987. He’s a senior lecturer at African Christian University, founding Council member of TGC Africa, and past keynote speaker for The Gospel Coalition National Conference. In this book you’ll get biblical and theological guidance that transcends time, continent, and culture. You’ll see much appreciation for the strengths of African churches. And you’ll also get Conrad’s clear-eyed analysis of their weaknesses. For example, here are his comments on African preaching:"The popular sermons today are motivational speeches. They are based on worldly principles that promise people earthly benefits if they say the right words or do the right things. These draw the crowds, but the people are not interested in growth in holiness. They want entertainment and earthly treasures. There is also a very high turnover of congregants. Many become disillusioned because the principles they are being taught are not working for them and so they leave quietly. Many more come in and take their place, hoping that the magic formulas will work for them."I don’t think you’d write something much different about the United States.Conrad joins me on Gospelbound to discuss witchcraft, tribalism, the relationship between evangelism and mercy ministry, among other topics. Today’s episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by the Christian Standard Bible, a translation that presents the truth of God’s Word with accuracy and clarity for today’s readers, equipping them for lifelong discipleship. With hundreds of Bible designs to choose from, everyone can find a CSB Bible that they enjoy. Learn more at CSBible.com.
Elections have consequences, but not nearly as much as we probably think. That's what I concluded after reading David Platt's new book, Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask, published by Radical. Here's a sober dose of biblical reality from Platt in the book: "Even if we lose every freedom and protection we have as followers of Jesus in the United States, and even if our government were to become a completely totalitarian regime, we could still live in abundant life as long as we didn't look to political leaders, platforms or policies for our ultimate security and satisfaction."It's not exactly the way you run fundraising and get out the vote operations in today's American politics, but Platt's book includes lots of counter-cultural advice, saturated with biblical references on humility, freedom, and duty, along with David's characteristic perspective informed by the global church. Platt serves as lead pastor of McLean Bible Church in Northern Virginia, a congregation where employment for many depends on the outcome of the November elections. David joins me on Gospelbound to discuss voting, abortion, and President Trump's visit to McLean Bible Church. Today’s episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by the Christian Standard Bible, a translation that presents the truth of God’s Word with accuracy and clarity for today’s readers, equipping them for lifelong discipleship. With hundreds of Bible designs to choose from, everyone can find a CSB Bible that they enjoy. Learn more at CSBible.com.
It happened before. Can it happen again? I’m talking about secession. That’s the question that animates David French’s new book, Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation, published by St. Martin’s Press. I’m pretty skeptical about books that seem to oversell such catastrophic outcomes. It seems like scare tactics to sell books. But the way French sets up the book I hadn’t quite realized the scenarios that would make secession politically advantageous for both parties. And I have to admit French’s imagination has haunted me ever since.The book is about how to avoid secession. And if you’re familiar with French’s writing as senior editor of The Dispatch, you’ll recognize his appeal to pluralism as our way forward. French joins me on Gospelbound to discuss how Christians can coexist peacefully beside neighbors with quite different notions of a life well-lived. And maybe even how we can introduce them to Jesus. Today's episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by the Christian Standard Bible, a translation that presents the truth of God’s Word with accuracy and clarity for today’s readers, equipping them for lifelong discipleship. With hundreds of Bible designs to choose from, everyone can find a CSB Bible that they enjoy. Learn more at CSBible.com.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, American religiosity had been in steady decline.When American religiosity peaked in 1960, one in two adults in the United States attended any religious service in a given week. Now it’s a little more than one in three. Membership in religious bodies has declined from more than 75 percent to 62 percent. And the number that gets all the attention is the “nones,” the Americans who claim no religion. That’s now 25 percent, compared to just 5 percent in 1960.It’s hard to see that trend reversing with the unprecedented disruption of COVID-19. My own pastor estimates we’ve lost 25 percent of our church during the pandemic.Lyman Stone is an expert on both the decline of American religiosity and also the spread of COVID-19. Stone is an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a research fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, and a former international economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He blogs about migration, population dynamics, and regional economics at In a State of Migration. His work has been covered in the The New York Times, TheWashington Post, TheWall Street Journal, and numerous local outlets.He joins me on Gospelbound to discuss his 2020 report “Promise and Peril: The History of American Religiosity and Its Recent Decline.” Today's episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by the Christian Standard Bible, a translation that presents the truth of God’s Word with accuracy and clarity for today’s readers, equipping them for lifelong discipleship. With hundreds of Bible designs to choose from, everyone can find a CSB Bible that they enjoy. Learn more at CSBible.com.
A number of years ago, I grew distressed with the number of friends and colleagues who had left ministry amid controversy and scandal. I tried to learn what had gone wrong and how to keep it from repeating. From that study came several books devoted to helping pastors endure, especially as they learn from historical and present-day mentors who have fought the good fight.I’m grateful for Paul Tripp’s latest contribution to this cause with his new book, Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church, published by Crossway. This is one of the most bracing but also balanced books you’ll find on church leadership and the particular challenges in our day. Paul has written specifically for pastors, but this book broadens the lens to consider the whole leadership culture of a church. Because he believes we have major problems. He writes:“How many times are we going to see the same sad story of the demise of a ministry leader, and the destruction of the leadership community that surrounded him, before we recommit ourselves to God’s values and to our ambassadorial calling, and as we recommit, cry out that he would, in love rescue us from us?”Paul helps church leaders see that when he calls us to ministry, he calls us to suffer. He warns us to expect “dangerous adulation and harsh criticism.” He points us to Jesus, because the unpredictable and uncomfortable world of church leadership is not a safe place to look for identity and inner security.” Paul joins me on Gospelbound to discuss our leadership crisis in the church and how we can fight against it in the power of God’s grace. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Rooted Reservoir, an online resource by Rooted Ministry. The Rooted Reservoir is packed with youth ministry curriculum, training videos, teaching illustrations, and an online community to help youth ministers disciple students toward lifelong faith in Jesus Christ. Sign up by Wednesday, September 30, and save $20 with code GOSPELBOUND at rootedreservoir.com.
What's most important about humanity never changes. We're made in the image of God and separated from our creator by our sin. We need a savior lest we fall under God's judgment. It doesn't matter where you travel or what time period you study, this story doesn't change. But every culture around the world and across the ages highlights some aspects of this story and ignores others. It's the work of cultural apologetics to discern and explain these changes for Christians seeking to walk faithfully and teach effectively across varied contexts.One of the best cultural apologists I know is Josh Chatraw, author most recently of Telling a Better Story: How to Talk about God in a Skeptical Age, published by Zondervan. Josh serves as executive director of the Center for Public Christianity and as theologian in residence at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also co-author of Apologetics at the Cross, and co-editor of The History of Apologetics. Josh is one of my go-to sources on book recommendations and just overall insight on how to follow Christ in this secular age. It's a pleasure to welcome him on Gospelbound and discuss the better story, late-modern apologetics, and more. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Rooted Ministry's 2020 Conference. Join Rooted on Thursday, September 24, for a one-day youth ministry conference, online or in person at a local gathering. The conference will feature worship with Sandra McCracken, encouraging speakers, instructional workshops, and fellowship with other youth ministers. Register by Monday, September 7, to get a free swag bag. To learn more and register, visit rootedministry.com/conference
Everyone loves a good story. Especially in these hard times. Or maybe not. Should we be swapping yarns while the world burns? Maybe we need less levity, more solemnity, when we see so much wrong in the world.As a professional storyteller, Sean Dietrich brings together the levity and solemnity in his new book, Will the Circle Be Unbroken? published by Zondervan. Also known as Sean of the South, Dietrich regales readers with stories of family, faith, and food. But this memoir of learning to believe you’re going to be ok deals with serious themes of fatherhood, suicide, education, and physical abuse. In his novel Stars of Alabama, published last year, Dietrich likewise explores themes of poverty, faith, friendship, religious hypocrisy, and hope.Sean of the South joins me on Gospelbound to discuss hope and heartache during the best and worst of times. Maybe we can even get him to tell a few good stories. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by the Sing! Global Conference from modern hymnwriters Keith and Kristyn Getty. This four-day online event will bring together an array of more than 100 Christian leaders and artists from around the world—such as John Piper, Trip Lee, Joni Eareckson Tada, and David Platt—to examine how the songs of Scripture build deep believers in the 21st century. Register here by Tuesday, August 25, and save 20 percent with the code GOSPELBOUND.
You’ve probably noticed that the views toward and practices of marriage have changed. But how? And how do Christian views and practices differ?That’s what Mark Regnerus set out to discover in a global study of Christians from across denominations. You’ll find the results in his new book, The Future of Christian Marriage, published by Oxford University Press. Mark is a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of many important books, including Cheap Sex and the Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy and Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers.You might not read a lot of sociology. But if you’re a church leader, you need to read this book. He put into words what I’ve observed but did not understand. He gave me context for the trends and a sense of urgency about the consequences.Mark found that marriage is no longer something Christians pursue in order to meet life goals. It’s something they aspire to do someday if life works out in the meantime. The result is far fewer marriages, of course. But this shift means a lot more, not only for Christian marriage, but for Christian ministry. Mark describes the intrusion of the market mentality into our homes, marriages, and bedrooms. He writes, “Our most intimate relationships are being treated as a means, often discarded, to attain those ends and acquisitions that have been most effectively marketed to us.”And what is the result for Christian marriage? Nothing good, Mark warns: “Young adults are offered no guidance about maturation, mortgages, or marriage—save for words of caution, counsel to delay, and cost-benefit evaluation.”Mark joins me on Gospelbound to discuss the “monumental, consequential, and subtle” shift in Christian marriage and way too many questions than I have time to ask. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by the Sing! Global Conference from modern hymn writers, Keith & Kristyn Getty. This four-day online event will bring together an array of more than 100 Christian leaders and artists from around the world like John Piper, Trip Lee, Joni Eareckson Tada, and David Platt, to examine how the songs of Scripture build deep believers in the 21st century. Register here by Tuesday, August 25, and save 20% with the code GOSPELBOUND.
“No one can help or hurt a child like a parent can.” Do you doubt this observation? Try finding a memoir that isn’t an extended meditation on the author’s parents. And if you’ve read the memoirs I have, you don’t want your children to grow up and write one.The story of growing up with two parents who loved you and loved the Lord doesn’t make for good drama. But it can help set you up for a lifetime of faithfully serving God and neighbors. Matt Chandler aims to help parents toward this goal in his new book, Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home Through Time, Moments, and Milestones, co-authored with Adam Griffin and published by Crossway.Chandler, lead pastor of teaching at the Village Church in Dallas, Texas, has three children with his wife, Lauren. I’m thankful they’ve extended this glimpse into their home to learn what family discipleship can look like. Because what better time than a global pandemic lockdown to turn our attention toward this call to family discipleship. If you don’t think you have time now to make this a priority, then it’s time for new priorities. Chandler and Griffin write this:“Your child is not only your progeny; he or she is your protégé. Everything you have learned from and about following Christ is to be passed on to your children to the best of your ability.”Matt Chandler joins me on Gospelbound to discuss moments and milestones, models and mishaps in family discipleship. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by the Sing! Global Conference from modern hymn writers, Keith & Kristyn Getty. This four-day online event will bring together an array of more than 100 Christian leaders and artists from around the world like John Piper, Trip Lee, Joni Eareckson Tada, and David Platt, to examine how the songs of Scripture build deep believers in the 21st century. Register here by Tuesday, August 25, and save 20% with the code GOSPELBOUND.
“Nothing we expected, yet everything we need.”That’s what Michael and Lauren McAfee suggest you’ll find when you read the Bible for yourself. That’s their charge to the millennial generation in their new book, Not What You Think: Why the Bible Might Be Nothing We Expected Yet Everything We Need, published by Zondervan.Michael and Lauren write this book to millennials, those born between 1980 and 1995. Believe it or not, this is the largest generation in American history: 78 million, or one in three adults today. Within five years this generation will account for 75 percent of the U.S. workforce. Michael and Lauren write to their millennial peers, which includes me, born in 1981.In Not What You Think, Michael and Lauren are honest about themselves and Bible. Which is appropriate, since unpolished honesty is what you get in the Bible. They write:“The Bible is a unique source of comfort because, compared with all the other books on the market today, the Bible is the most honest about the failures of humankind. . . . You will not find a more authentic ancient religious text than the Bible.”You may think Job is about finding a job, as Michael’s friend did. Well, you’re in for a rude awakening. But the story of might be just what God intends to carry you through crisis.The McAfees join me on Gospelbound to discuss happiness, authority, suffering, and the surprises we find when we read the Bible for ourselves.
I don’t know that any religious conversion is more unlikely than another. After all, we’re only born again because a perfect man who is God died on a cross and rose from the dead on the third day. That’s not a likely story. We’re all equally dead in our transgressions before Jesus saves us.But I know what Randy Newman means in his new book, Unlikely Converts: Improbable Stories of Faith and What They Teach Us About Evangelism [Read TGC's review], published by Kregel. We all know someone who’d really surprise us if he or she professed faith in Jesus Christ. And his book draws lessons for our evangelism from those stories.Newman is a senior teaching fellow with The C. S. Lewis Institute in Washington, D.C., author of the bestselling Questioning Evangelism, and veteran of more than 30 years in campus ministry. He writes that coming to Christ takes time, that people tend to come to faith communally, that they come to faith variously, and that nothing is too difficult for God. And he joins me on Gospelbound to discuss more observations from these unlikely converts as we seek to share Christ in a contentious age. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Southeastern Seminary. In a changing ministry landscape, Southeastern’s four-year master of divinity and master of business administration program was built on a foundation of rigorous theological training and practical vocational training. Learn more at sebts.edu.
It’s going to get worse before it gets better. We’re facing opposition far more intense than anything Christians in the United States have experienced in the last century.That’s the message from Luke Goodrich in his new book, Free to Believe: The Battle Over Religious History in America, published by Multnomah. Goodrich, the leading religious-freedom attorney at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, has fought and won in the Supreme Court. But he’s concerned that we’re not prepared for the changes that now confront us.He writes: “We’ve long lived in a country where religious freedom was secure, and we didn’t need to give it much thought. Now we’re realizing the country is changing and we might not enjoy the same degree of religious freedom forever. If we don’t start thinking about it now, we’ll be unprepared.”Goodrich joins me on Gospelbound to help us get ready. We discuss how we can suffer with joy, what we can learn from the Quakers, why some courts seem so incredulous about Christians acting as Christians, and more. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Southeastern Seminary. In a changing ministry landscape, Southeastern’s four-year master of divinity and master of business administration program was built on a foundation of rigorous theological training and practical vocational training. Learn more at sebts.edu.
Jerry Mitchell remembers what so many others want to forget. For more than three decades, he worked as an investigative reporter for The Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi. During that time, his dogged reporting helped put four Klansmen in jail after they had eluded justice year after year for their heinous crimes in the 1960s.Mitchell tells this story of justice delayed and finally done in his new book, Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era, published by Simon & Schuster. Mitchell captures so many of the complexities and contradictions of the Deep South. For example, he writes this: "This was Mississippi, a place where some of the nation's poorest people live on some of the world's richest soil, a place with the nation's highest illiteracy and some of the world's greatest writers,” and I might add as a resident of Alabama next door, a place also known for being first in religion and last in just about everything else. A place like much of the South where the churches are full and where racism has so long flourished alongside.Mitchell joined me on Gospelbound to discuss what compelled him to seek justice, the Christian pretensions of the Ku Klux Klan, and whether the gospel can finally bring healing to this beautiful and broken land. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Southeastern Seminary. In a changing ministry landscape, Southeastern’s four-year master of divinity and master of business administration program was built on a foundation of rigorous theological training and practical vocational training. Learn more at sebts.edu.
Everyone agrees that we’re drowning under a rising tide of atheism. Right? Actually that’s how author Alec Ryrie describes early 17th century Europe. We’re talking about the century following the Protestant Reformation, a century marked by wars of religion fought between Protestants and Catholics, and civil war in England. It’s the century that gave us these words: “What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever” from the Westminster Shorter Catechism. What seems to us as an era defined by religion seemed to many at the time to be marked instead by unbelief.Atheism and religious skepticism has a long history in the West, as Ryrie shows in his new book, Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt, published by Harvard University Press. Ryrie is professor of the history of Christianity at Durham University and president of the Ecclesiastical History Society. He traces doubt from the blasphemous lips of gamblers to the poisonous pen of Nietzsche. He identifies anger and anxiety as the emotional hallmarks of doubt, through a massive transformation effected by World War II until our own day.Ryrie joins me on Gospelbound to discuss doubt, Reformation-induced incredulity, and how Hitler became the potent moral figure in Western culture and the swastika overtook the cross as packing the biggest emotional punch. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Southeastern Seminary. In a changing ministry landscape, Southeastern’s four-year master of divinity and master of business administration program was built on a foundation of rigorous theological training and practical vocational training. Learn more at sebts.edu.
Tim Challies visited 25 different countries in his memorable year. And I think he may have even eaten McDonald’s in each of these countries. He attended worship services on every continent. He searched high and low for the artifacts that would help him tell the story of 2,000 years of Christian history. And he brings us along that journey in his new book, Epic: An Around-the-World Journey through Christian History, published by Zondervan.I loved following along on social media as he traveled north and south, east and west. I admire his zeal to introduce us to long-lost heroes of the faith, and even to warn us against some wrong turns in the journey. This book matches what we’re doing with Gospelbound, searching for firm faith in an anxious age. Because he looks back on God’s faithfulness even as he looks forward to what God might yet do before Jesus returns.Challies writes, “If I learned anything from my journey around the world, it’s the simple truth that the Lord is always at work.”Indeed, he is. Challies is the noted blogger of challies.com and author of several books, including Visual Theology and The Next Story. He joins me on Gospelbound to share more about this remarkable journey around the world and how we might grow in faith by learning from the past. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Southeastern Seminary. In a changing ministry landscape, Southeastern’s four-year master of divinity and master of business administration program was built on a foundation of rigorous theological training and practical vocational training. Learn more at sebts.edu.
I don’t know how exactly to describe Jamie Smith’s new book, On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts, published by Brazos. I just know I recommend it.Smith himself describes the book as one last take at Christianity for someone tempted to leave the faith behind. Augustine is the guide—so ancient he’s strange, so common in his experiences that he feels contemporary.Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin University and author of many thought-provoking books. And he is himself an excellent guide to Augustine. Yet in this book he goes beyond telling us about Augustine. Smith uses Augustine to help us answer our deepest questions and satisfy our deepest longings.“Humans are those strange creatures who can never be fully satisfied by anything created,” Smith writes. “Though that never stops us from trying.”Smith joins Gospelbound to discuss conversion as compass, authenticity as loneliness, and ambition as bottomless. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Southeastern Seminary. In a changing ministry landscape, Southeastern’s four-year Master of Divinity and Master of Business Administration program was built on a foundation of rigorous theological training and practical vocational training. Learn more at sebts.edu.
“God is in the longest-lived, worst marriage in the history of the world.”That’s from Tim and Kathy Keller in their short new book, On Marriage, part of the How to Find God series with Penguin Books. They continue: “God is the lover and spouse of his people. But we have given him the marriage from hell.” But God has been faithful even when we were not. He sealed this union with us through Jesus Christ in his cross and resurrection. Tim and Kathy write, “Your marriage to him is the surest possible foundation for your marriage to anyone else.”The gospel grounds what Tim and Kathy write not only in this new book but also in their previous works The Meaning of Marriage and The Meaning of Marriage: A Couple’s Devotional. I work with many young couples preparing for marriage, and their work is the first resource I hand them. You want to know the secret of a great marriage? Then you need to understand the mystery of Christ in the church, in Ephesians 5:32.Any great marriage on earth points toward that one in heaven. If you’re looking for the One, you’ll only find him in Jesus. The gospel saves us from expecting too much from marriage, which makes us more likely to get divorced, and from expecting too little, which makes us less likely to ever get married in the first place.Tim and Kathy join me on Gospelbound to discuss the link between decreasing marriage and decreasing religiosity, how to know you’re ready to get married, how to raise children to prepare them for marriage, and more. This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Southeastern Seminary. In a changing ministry landscape, Southeastern’s four-year Master of Divinity and Master of Business Administration program was built on a foundation of rigorous theological training and practical vocational training. Learn more at sebts.edu.