A Debate On the Moral Argument. Sin Boldly Episode 101

Right and WrongTwo new friends joined me for a debate on the moral argument for God’s existence. Both have studied philosophy and find the argument intriguing. Danny Felty is a philosophy student from Louisiana and Jack Angstreich is an atheist who describes himself as a moral relativist. (That is a technical term!) If you have wondered about the intersection between God’s existence, man’s nature, and how we can say what is right and wrong (or if we can say that anything really IS right or wrong), this show is a great introduction to all of those topics. Thanks again to Danny and Jack for making the time!

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

A Christian Poet and Author Joins Me To Talk Shop, Faith and Race . Sin Boldly Episode 100.

eric-l-farrell-00I made it to 100 episodes! Yay for me. For this episode I had on a new friend and brother in Christ, Stage Poet, AKA Eric L Farrell. Learn more at www.stagepoet.com. We talk about his truly interesting vocation as a working poet who honors ordinary laborers and we also talk about the impact of slavery and race. This was perhaps out of the ordinary for the show but I was really glad Eric could join me. Eric’s poetry has a mixture of humor, insight and Gospel proclamation. You’ll enjoy it.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

On the “Right Side” of History

hrc12636rd_7There are two very basic competing views of man’s progress. The first belief, which is generally rooted in Modernism and the hope that scientific discovery will unleash a utopia for man, is positive. Man’s ethical and spiritual evolution is pushing us to greater and greater heights. Whereas we once were primates and now we are men, we also once endorsed barbaric practices and now we are refined. The course of history is one of men getting better and better, of leaving off the unenlightened shackles of ignorance and embracing man’s destiny as paragons of virtue.

The other view is certainly less positive. It does not view man as being on a course towards moral perfection but says that man is just as likely on a downward trajectory. End times prophecies in the New Testament, for example, speak of wars and man’s moral deprivation in the end times. It is expected that man will fall away from God’s will, not that he will either run to it, or be able to get along just fine without it.

Well, which view is right? Surely we can just look at history and decide, right? Well, kind of. On the one hand, chattel slavery is surely a mark against man and abolishing it does indicate moral progress. On the other hand, slavery remains a very common reality in our world today, only it is most commonly in the form of sex slavery. Arguably, the slavery of the Romans and Greeks was more humane than chattel slavery, so progress doesn’t look to be in an upward move in that regard.

But more people have more “rights” now, so surely that is a good thing, right? For example, women can vote, and segregation has been outlawed. That’s progress, right? Well, that would certainly count as progress, but at the same time, we have legalized a medical practice that has taken the lives of 60 million babies. So, are we on the right side of history if we are just trading off one wrong for another? Wouldn’t real moral progress be seen across the proverbial moral board?  After all, to look at things on a grand scale, more Christians were martyred in the 20th century than all others combined and one need only look at the death tolls in Nazi Germany, Mao’s China and the Killing Fields of Cambodia to ask if modernity has brought us to higher moral ground.

And, by the way, all of this assumes there is some meta-moral worldview that any of us can appeal to in the first place! “Moral progress” assumes there is some ultimate standard of “good” and “bad” and “right” and “wrong” that we all know and can all access. We know we are making progress, because we all know the ideal. But many among us would not affirm an objective, ultimate moral standard, for they know that to do so they would have to affirm God’s existence. And to do that, they would have to acknowledge what God would say about our morality.

And this brings us to the phrase under discussion in this essay: “the right side of history.” This assumes the first positive view of man’s progress: that man is on an upward trajectory and whatever happened in the past is necessarily worse than what will happen in the future. It assumes that when future generations judge this generation, they will judge the moral progress we have made as an obvious good, just as we do regarding slavery, segregation, suffrage, etc. So many live now in fear of what future judgments will be upon this time in history. And they live so as to be on what they believe will be the “right side” of history’s judgement.

The most obvious example of this is what is commonly thought to be our generation’s civil right’s issue: same-sex marriage and now transgender rights. Those who promote changes to our understanding of marriage and gender do so because they assume their vision of the future is what history will judge favorably. What they are missing is that it is not the judgment of future generations that we are to fear: it is the author of all history – God.

For there is no “right side” of history. There is only a “right side” with God. There are only men and women who are bound to the period of history in which they find themselves. During that time, men and women will have to choose if are willing to be faithful to God or not, and let God be the only judge of history that matters. After all, the idea of moral progress is a myth. For all of the hopes of the 20th century, they were burned in the fires of war, genocide, and social experiments that utterly failed. Who is to say that the current experiment we are embarking on will also not fail?

That’s the problem with believing you know what future generations will consider good. This is perhaps possible if you believe God is the author of history. But if you do not, you are likely looking to future, not-even-yet-existing future generations to justify yourself. It would be far better to worry more about God’s judgement than those you will never know.

What’s Up With the Methodists? Sin Boldly Episode 99.

5731f7ea00702_churchmethodist630I was joined by two Methodists to discuss the current state of the Methodist Church. Like all mainline denominations, they are currently divided over issues of Biblical authority and interpretation, sexuality and marriage…and more. Christy Thomas is a retired elder in the Methodist Church and currently blogs over at Pathos at www.christythomas.com. She argues for a more inclusive approach and for a church less dominated for purity concerns. Keith Boyette is an attorney and Methodist minister who is President of the Wesleyan Covenant Alliance (https://wesleyancovenant.org). He argues that the Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline should not change and the Biblical teaching on sexuality is clear. It is not uncommon for disagreeing factions within the church to speak about each other. My aim was to get them to speak to each other in the midst of the dispute.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Does the Church Need to Repent? Sin Boldly Episode 98.

repentu-turnI was joined by Todd Bullis, an activist against abortion with Abolish Human Abortion (AHA). In particular, Todd protests churches for their apathy concerning abortion. This has raised not a few concerned voices about the nature of intra-church fighting and caused some to ask just how much should/can we do about this evil? Todd is also the adoptive father of six foster children and speaks first about that vocation. It forces one to ask: how much ought Christians to be doing to truly be salt and light in the world today? Is it enough that we call ourselves Christian? I’ll say as a disclaimer that I have ecclesiological and theological disagreements with Todd, but I did want to give him free range to express himself. No doubt, some might have pushed harder against Church Repent. And I do not lay the guilt of abortion – at least not all of the guilt – at the feet of the Church, just as I do not lay the guilt of other sins at the feet of the Church. The Body of Christ needs the gift of patience as the message of repentance is proclaimed…and often ignored. However, the Church does need to be encouraged to do more, and on that point, Todd and I agree.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Three Examples of Modern Theological Liberalism. Sin Boldly Episode 97.

1412068359390On this solo episode, I look at three examples of theological liberalism in my former church body, the ELCA. One is the Naked and UNAshamed, er, ministry. The other is a new church start tentatively called St. Jezebel’s. And the third is Decolonize Lutheranism. While each is relatively small, they seem to accurately represent where theological liberals are headed. They indicate a pretty clear lack of theological boundaries and postmodern attempts to redefine and reclaim evils of the past. As always, I’m open to dialogue on these or other movements if you’re interested. Just email me!

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

“Does God Exist?” Debate Review. Sin Boldly Episode 96

PrintThe congregation I serve, First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Houston, TX, hosted a debate on God’s existence a few Saturdays ago. This episode is dedicated to reviewing that debate. What arguments were made? What concessions were granted? Who was the most consistent? Who focused on the topic? How did each participant answer the question? We look at the highlights…and lowlights, and try to figure out who was successful in the debate after we offer our criteria for such an event.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Sin Boldly BONUS, with Eric Hernandez: Does God Exist? (And lots of callers.)

dbeee6317e1280bd61d27b628ef8ca2fI was delighted to be on KPFT’s “Voices” again and to have the offer to present the Christian worldview on secular radio. KPFT 90.1 FM in Houston is community-supported radio and has a large audience of folks from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. It will be a while before I’m able to do this again (thanks a lot, vacation!) but it sure is fun to get this kind of audience feedback. Today I was joined by Christian apologist and friend Eric Hernandez. We looked at only one argument for God’s existence before the calls came rolling in. Friend me on Facebook to get notification of these shows in the future if you’d like to call in. And thanks Eric for your time!

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Self-Feeders and Watered-Down Messages. Sin Boldly Episode 95.

1715_thumbnailBack in January, Dr. Gary McIntosh, Dr. Eugene Wilson and Karl Vaters and I gathered to talk about the Church Growth Movement at large. There was so much to talk about, we did it again, only this time without Dr. McIntosh (who is a very busy man and we hope to catch up with later!). We look at the need for small groups and the need for Christians to be “self-feeders”, as well as whether or not churches can grow if they preach the “hard sayings of Jesus.” Also, how do pastors of small churches deal with the frustration of churches that aren’t growing and what do they do in the wake of that reality?

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

One Post. Two Sin BoldlyEpisodes: A Joel Osteen Review Live on Houston Radio and a Kooky episode on All Manner of Cultural Changes

17817449_1835101686757073_1162669315137208320_n-300x300For the first time in Sin Boldly’s history, I moved from the HD channel of KPFT to the flagship FM band. My goal for this show has always been to offer a defense of the Christian faith on secular radio. There are already more than enough incredible Christian podcasts. This is a radio show first and a podcast second. So it was fun to get the opportunity. I believe it may become somewhat regular, but we will see.

The content is probably already familiar to regular Sin Boldly listeners as I did a review of a portion of a Joel Osteen sermon and a quick discussion on the relationship of Christianity and capitalism. I got several calls during this episode which looked at other questions as well. My goal was to introduce the broader KPFT audience to the kind of show I do and given that Pr. Osteen pastors about a mile from KPFT studios, I thought an evaluation of his preaching would be worthwhile. Some of the callers seemed to agree.

At my normal time slot, I looked at a handful of topics: the contraction of the Church due to perpetual adolescence; a parent’s rights in a transgender case; a 1952 Planned Parenthood pamphlet that calls abortion the killing of a baby; and the Kooks Burrito company being forced to close because of “cultural appropriation.”

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Joel Osteen Review and Capitalism:

All Manner of Kooks: