Experiential Calvinism: A Functional Theology of the Doctrines of Grace (with J. A. Medders)

What are the so-called doctrines of grace? And what bearing do they have on our lives? Jeff Medders joins me to talk about Calvinism and the practical ways it ought to manifest in those who believe it.

Access the episode here. (Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.)

A Christian Assessment of News Consumption (with Jeffrey Bilbro)

In a world in which our consumption of news is increasingly polarized and sensational, and disinformation is all too common, how do we combat such unhealthy habits to form a better relationship with the news? And what, after all, is the news even for? What is a particularly Christian mode of engaging and consuming news? In his book, Reading the Times: A Literary and Theological Inquiry Into the News, Jeffrey Bilbro provides a theological, even historical, perspective on the function and impact of the news in our lives, a diagnosis of our problem, and a reframing of how we might construct alternative practices.

Access the episode here. (Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.)

Some key concepts and ideas from the book:

  1. “Macademized minds” (or fragmented attention)

Our attentions are overloaded; we are unable to attend in meaningful ways because there’s too much to attend to.

As a result, presentations of the news become competingly sensational in order to compete for our distracted attention.

Thus, we need to develop better habits for shaping what we give our attention to.

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Marks of a Church (Diagram)

The following is a chart that seeks to capture the logic of the following confession from Article 29 of The Belgic Confession:

The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and holding Jesus Christ as the only Head. By these marks one can be assured of recognizing the true church—and no one ought to be separated from it.

Marks of a Church

Preaching the Gospel – What creates the church, a community of those who believe the gospel.

Administration of the Ordinances – What marks out and makes known the boundaries of that believing community.

  • Baptism = the initiating rite to mark off those who belong to Christ and his church.
  • The Lord’s Supper = the ongoing rite which continually marks off those who constitute the church.

Exercising Church Discipline – What maintains the proper boundaries of the church, i.e., those who demonstrate lives consistent with their profession of faith in Christ.

On Biblical Theology (with Oren Martin)

How do God’s dealings in the Old Testament relate to Christ and the message of the New Testament? How does the whole Bible fit together? How are we to think about themes like kingdom, temple, land, etc.; and how do they help us better understand the scriptures as centered in Jesus? These are all questions that Biblical theology seeks to answer. In this episode, I sit down with Oren Martin, one of the authors of 40 Questions About Biblical Theology, to discuss what Biblical theology is and why it matters.

Access the episode here. (Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.)