Weekly encouragement and equipping to learn how to defend your faith and engage the world for Jesus. Every week Joel Settecase and a guest tackle an impossible question from a Christian perspective. Join us as we seek "Truth In Conversation." Presented by the Think Institute and Cru Church Movements.
My son has been in the hospital for over six months now. My wife posts updates on our Facebook page, "Pray for Superhero Lukas,", but I have not written much about him (outside of social media). However, as Lukas has been hospitalized, I have been doing a lot of thinking about God’s sovereignty, and I want to share my thoughts. Specifically, I want to talk about how I think the Lord is using my son’s health crisis to accomplish his mission for our family.
So what does God’s sovereignty have to do with Lukas’s stay in the hospital?
Aliza and I have been praying for the Lord to bless our ministry. What we most certainly did not expect were the means by which God was going to do this. What do I mean?
What I mean is that the Lord is using our time here in the hospital to encourage Christians and to evangelize non-Christians. Aliza and I have had opportunities to share the Gospel with nurses and parents of other patients. Aliza’s blog is getting thousands of views–and she is sharing the Gospel in every post. Literally thousands of people are reading and hearing about Jesus Christ through our family’s pain and suffering.
We do not have full insight into God’s plan as to why he has allowed us to enter into this trial. However, we are not afraid. Rather, we are “bold as lions”(Proverbs 28:1) because we know whom we have believed (2 Timothy 1:12). So we pray that God’s word would prove true: that “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22), and that by the means our tribulations, our Sovereign God would accomplish his ends of saving many souls.
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Over the last decade or so, there's been a resurgence of robust theology in many local churches, and all kinds of exciting, Gospel-centered movements have sprung up.
However, in the last year and a half, there has been a disturbing trend of many of those same churches turning away from making the Gospel their top priority and turning instead toward cultural and social activism. Churches chasing after societal improvement seek to address supposed social and political needs, in order to help people live better lives in the here and now. However, while these desired social outcomes are said to be "Gospel issues," there is a real danger that churches are chasing them at the expense of the Gospel.
Certainly, the Gospel has implications for how Christians will function within the broader society, and there is no shortage of social problems to address. Yet our weapon is the word of God--the Bible--and the heart of the Bible is the Gospel.
The Gospel is the cure for sin, and this is what we must bring to the sinful world.
With all the talk about the Gospel, it would help to know what it actually is. So, do you know what the Gospel is? Can you explain it? How well can you articulate it?
First we will talk about the need for Christians to understand the Gospel, followed by what our attitude ought to be toward it, according to Scripture. Then we'll give a very clear and biblical definition of the Gospel and get practical by outlining five ways to communicate it.
We pray this helps you get equipped and encouraged to communicate the best news on earth and the greatest story ever told. Welcome to the Think Podcast. We hope it makes you think.
In this episode we mentioned the Changing Face of Evangelism training. If you want to get this training for your church, contact Joel Settecase: https://thethink.institute/contact. Visit churchmovements.com for more information.
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Is there an overarching plan for your life, the universe and everything? And if there is, just whose plan is it anyway? It has been popular in recent years to personify "the Universe," as though the matter-and energy, space-time reality we inhabit is somehow personal and even governs our lives in some way. In this episode I discuss that trend and how the personification and even deification of "the Universe" is a cheap substitute for the biblical presentation of God as the sovereign Lord over his creation (including us and the universe too).
During the time that I was a pastor at a local church (actually at a couple of local churches), I used to blog on my personal Wordpress site, Settecase.Wordpress.com. I got a lot of traffic over there, and I still do (at least by my standards), but now I write exclusively on the Think Institute site, Truthinconversation.com, so I’m faced with a dilemma. I want to preserve that blog, but I also want to deliver that content to the folks I'm serving through the Think Institute, yet without simply reposting the article onto the T. I. blog.
How do I introduce the articles, resources and content from my personal blog to the new audience of the Think Institute, and the churches I want to partner with for equipping, engagement and encouragement in Gospel ministry?
The answer is this: I’m taking some of my most popular articles from my personal blog and bringing them over to the Think Institute in audio format--i.e. as podcast episodes. I did that already with "30 Questions for Atheists, Agnostics & Skeptics, which was one of the articles on my personal blog that had gotten the most hits. And now I’m doing it with this article. I hope it's helpful and "I hope it makes you think."
Take your study further:
Ravi Zacharias on the four questions of a coherent worldview: https://www.rzim.org/listen/just-a-thought/a-coherent-worldview
Cornelius Van Til on God’s Transcendence and Immanence: https://corneliusvantil.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/transcendence-and-immanence/
A helpful diagram of God’s Lordship Attributes (John Frame's concept) by Neil Robbie: https://transforminggrace.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/john-m-frame-on-the-lordship-attributes/
“One or Two?” by Peter Jones: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/one-or-two/
“The Universe Has A Plan, Kids” – a blog post by Virginia Pasley that helped inform this post: https://thoughtcatalog.com/virginia-pasley/2013/11/the-universe-has-a-plan-kids/
When did Christianity really begin? The church began at Pentecost in or around the year 33 A. D....right? It was then that God sent the Holy Spirit to the disciples of Jesus. Yet the church's roots go back much further; it is also the continuation of the special relationship with God that believers enjoyed for thousands of years before Christ.
Those B. C. believers put their hope in the same Messiah that A. D. believers (i.e. Christians) hope in today. They were looking forward to his first coming, whereas we look back on his first coming and forward to his second coming. There is continuity between the Church of Jesus Christ and the believers who came before (as a particular example, Christians are said to have the same faith as Abraham).
Enter the Old Covenant Law (A. K. A. the Law of Moses). The nation of Israel, the covenant people of God in the B. C. era, were given 613 laws and told to obey them in order to maintain the terms of their covenant with God.
As believers today, this side of the events of the life, death, resurrection and reign of the Messiah, how should we view those commands? Should we obey them all? Is that even possible today? Should we keep some but not others? Should we unhitch from them all? And how do we know? In this episode, Dan Osborn and Joel Settecase sit down to address the question of the Law of Moses and Christians today. We hope it makes you think.
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The SONS OF THUNDER (Joel and Parker) are back, and there are many things the brothers can't agree on.
For starters, which one of them is the host, and which one is the "co-guest"?
Second, should these Sons of Thunder episodes fall under the auspices of the Think Podcast, or is this its own separate thing?
And the third thing they can't agree on is what should be the catchphrase at the end of each Sons of Thunder episode? (You'll have to listen to the end to see what they came up with--also, in the spirit of the Marvel Cinematic Universe we may have left a few "post credit scenes" for you to enjoy as well).
Alright, so these guys might not see eye-to-eye on everything, but one thing they absolutely, unequivocally *do* agree on is that Christian Theism is correct, rational and satisfying, while atheism (naturalism, materialism, and every form of "physicalism") is, well, not so much any of those things.
There are many excellent arguments Christians may use to support the truth of the Christian message, but in this episode the brothers analyze two similar arguments (so similar that they're sometimes thought to be two versions of the same one), one from philosopher Alvin Plantinga and the other from author C. S. Lewis. Plantinga's "Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism" and Lewis's "Argument from Reason" both make the case that, if God did not exist, then (for reasons illuminated by the arguments) human beings would have no reason to trust their conclusions (including their conclusion that God does not exist!). It gets technical, but it's a fun and engaging conversation, and (probably) overly-inflammatory as well, which is what you expect from a couple of guys intentionally calling themselves the Sons of Thunder.
Parker does a lot of the heavy philosophical lifting on this episode, bringing to bear his study of the two arguments and two men making the arguments.
He also makes a shameless plug for his pretentious, pretentious blog (his words), which you can locate, read, educate yourself with at http://www.trendsettercase.wordpress.com. Seriously, his blog is incredible, and you'll want to check it out.
Follow along with the Think Institute on Twitter (@ThinkInst), Facebook and Instagram (both are @TheThinkInstitute), or get more articles and resources to help you get equipped with knowledge, encouraged to share and defend the Christian message, and engaged in conversation with unbelievers as you seek "Truth In Conversation" at http://www.truthinconversation.com.
Psalm 19:1 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour out speech;
night after night they communicate knowledge.
So it sounds like the more we study the heavens, or outer space, the more we ought to come to glorify God. We might expect modern scientists to be the most devout Christians, and yet many of the scientific fields are dominated today by atheists and unbelievers.
My guest today wants to change that situation and show everyone how astronomy and astrophysics, which unravel the mysteries of the universe, bring glory to God.
On this episode of the Think Podcast I speak with Dan Ray. Dan is a former schoolteacher and lay astronomer. He earned his Master’s in Christian apologetics from Houston Baptist University and his thesis explored the contemporary relevance of C. S. Lewis’s cosmological imagination in the Chronicles of Narnia. He also hosts an excellent podcast called “Good Heavens.”
This was an important discussion because of the nature of Dan’s book, the Story of the Cosmos, which recently debuted on Amazon and made a big splash. It’s a new book that brings over a dozen different scientists, apologists and thinkers together to answer the question, what do the heavens teach us about the glory of God?
Over the next hour you’ll hear us discuss: how the book came together, the Hubble Deep field photographs, which amazed me as a kid, the awe and wonder of looking up at the night sky filled with stars and realizing how truly tiny we are, human significance… or is it insignificance? (we get into that), the meaning and purpose of stars from a biblical perspective, the importance of connecting various fields of study and “taking every thought captive” and the unity of the church as we examine the glory of the heavens and unite around the truth, and we even delve into spiritual warfare and how cosmological studies play a role in that.
We also bring up the founders of modern science, men like Kepler, Brahe, Galileo--and how their faith contributed to their pioneering scientific efforts.
Before our dialogue ended we did get into some apologetical argumentation, using the Cosmos as our jump-off point, talking about how modern science, at least when done naturalistically, assumes the intelligibility of the universe w/o a reason. And we talked about how this led to a dilemma for Albert Einstein.
Dan ended with recommending to our listeners the value of having a personal encounter with nature, of just Looking up at the night sky in a dark sky park, and he might even motivate our listeners to invest in a telescope. I know I’d be considering it if I didn’t live in the light-polluted metropolis of Chicago.
He makes some really valuable recommendations for those who want to take their study of the night sky further, so make sure you listen all the way through.
Follow Dan Ray:
Podcast: “Good Heavens! A podcast about the universe with Wayne and Dan.” https://www.patreon.com/GoodHeavens
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*****Enjoy this BONUS EPISODE*****
We are changing up the regular routine of weekly podcasts in order to post this bonus episode offering (what we hope will be) a really useful resource.
The other day I received a comment on one of my posts from a friend of mine who identifies as an atheist. He was offended by my post (it was about how science is not accounted for by atheism), and his comment really made me think.
My goal isn't to offend anyone, but in the course of putting so much content out on apologetics, it's bound to happen.
I want to equip believers to be ready for any questions that they encounter about their faith. I talk about how to answer questions a lot, but in this episode I want to change things up a little bit, and talk about how to go on the "offensive" without being unnecessarily "offensive," and ask a few questions of our own.
Of course, it’s common for Christians to be confronted with questions and objections from non-Christians about the Christian message. We need to be ready for such questions (1 Peter 3:15). But we also need to be equipped with questions of our own.
After all, we aren’t the only ones presenting a worldview. The atheist, agnostic or skeptic also has a worldview. And like most everyone, there are likely to be aspects of that worldview he or she hasn’t fully thought through.
Encouraging an unbeliever to really examine their own worldview can be a powerful apologetic tool.
The goal is not to win the argument but to engage in meaningful dialogue, to seek "truth in conversation" (the Think Institute motto) and, if the Lord gives the opportunity, to point the person to the Good News about Jesus that alone can give them forgiveness and eternal life. I hope you enjoy this and, of course, "I hope it makes you think."
Help us spread the word about the podcast and get more listeners, so we can equip, encourage and engage more Christians to know, share and defend their Christian faith.
If you like the Think Podcast, give us a 5-star rating and write a review on Apple Podcasts. It takes one minute and really has a big effect on our visibility. We may never reach the popularity level of Joe Rogan or Serial, but we can't help but think that the more believers we can get our content in front of, the greater impact we can have for Christ's kingdom.
Welcome to the Think Podcast, freshly renamed from This Is Apologetics. We are branching out now beyond apologetics into the areas of worldview, theology and evangelism. We're seeking truth in conversation with pastors, missionaries, thinkers, and others every week. Tonight, however we are continuing with the common theme of apologetics. Joel Settecase & Think Institute contributor Chaseton Hahn discuss the benefits of a local church having an apologetics ministry. It's about more than just outreach.
The ever-increasing secularization of Western culture has been accompanied by a rapid decline of esteem for Christian morality and ethics. Followers of Jesus in the United States must come to grips with a rather unfortunate reality: we are living in a post-Christian nation.
Our culture and its guiding ideas are constantly changing. Because of this, the need for the prophetic voice of the Church in the world has never been needed with greater urgency. Apologetics helps the church build discernment—an essential skill that must be cultivated in order for Christians to be fully prepared to give account of their hope in Christ when the culture comes demanding an answer. The definitive purpose for including apologetics in your church is that it points to and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.
You can read the full article by Chaseton Hahn and Joel Settecase at /https://thethink.institute/articles/top-10-benefits-of-bringing-apologetics-into-the-life-of-your-church.
Follow along on Twitter (@thinkinst), Instagram (@thethinkinstitute), Facebook (@thethinkinstitute), and online (http://www.truthinconversation.com).
Connect with Chaseton on Facebook or on Twitter: @Chaseton_Hahn.
Hey! Want to help the Think Institute grow the Think Podcast and equip more believers to know what we believe, share the Gospel, and engage in meaningful conversation with non-believers? There is a really important way that you can help.
Help us get the word out about this ministry and podcast by writing us a review and giving us an honest, 5-star review on Apple Podcasts. It takes two minutes tops and really helps us grow our audience, so we can equip, engage and encourage more believers. This also helps us connect with more pastors and local churches, so we can partner for worldview, evangelism and apologetics trainings.
Science & Religion: BFFs or best frenemies?
This is a topic that I've been getting very much into lately, and that is the intersection of science and biblical faith.
We talked about how the biblical worldview provides the foundation for scientific inquiry by way of a three-fold basis: the cosmos which was given in order to be studied, the human mind which was given in order to study it, and God's revelation which was given in order to make sense of them both.
In true Presuppositional fashion, we examined the biblical data first, then we stepped into the unbelieving worldview for the sake of argument, demonstrating that it does not provide the basis for its own conclusions (namely that it is possible to do science and to know that God does not exist).
We also saw how the same Bible that reveals the basis for science also reveals our sin and our need for the Savior, so we got into the Gospel a little as well.
For further reading:
The Story of the Cosmos: How the Heavens Declare the Glory of God (Paul M. Gould and Daniel Ray, general editors): www.amazon.com/…/ref=sr_1_1_ssp…
The Physics of Einstein: Black Holes, time travel, distant starlight, E=mc^2 (Jason Lisle): www.amazon.com/…/B0…/ref=sr_1_1…
"An Argument From Science" (Joel Settecase): settecase.wordpress.com/…/this…/
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Taylor Swift's new single, "You Need to Calm Down," calls out social conservatives and (especially in the video) Christians for opposing the freedom and dignity of her friends.
We look for the presuppositions being brought to the table and what kind of worldview best supports the values she promotes in her song, then we commend the biblical worldview and the Gospel.
The hope with this episode is that believers will be encouraged to talk about these issues with their non-Christian friends, and that nonbelievers who listen would hear the truth, that sin is a serious matter, but there is true freedom and abundant life with God, through Jesus.
We're back after a week off. In order to defend the Christian message, you have to know what that message is. In tonight's episode Joel gives an introduction to the biblical worldview. It's part one in an extended series on what Christians believe. We hope it makes you think.
For the Think Institute's worldview and apologetics training resources, go to https://thethink.institute/print-resources.
Theme song: Whiskey on the Mississippi. Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
It's the premier of the SONS OF THUNDER, a podcast-within-a-podcast that has been years in the making.
In this "unnecessarily inflammatory" (and much longer than usual) episode, Joel and Parker Settecase lay down the groundwork for talking about apologetics--the defense of the truth of the Christian faith. They get into how to get apologetics wrong and how to do it right--in a way that stays true to Scripture and honors Christ. This episode delivers way more content than "This Is Apologetics" typically goes, but sometimes it's fun to drink out of a firehose (or so they tell me).
Music from filmmusic.io:
"Killers" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licence: CC BY (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
How can you prepare your children to have the kind of faith today that will answer tomorrow's challenges? We look at three keys: Principles, Practice and Prayer.
A shorter episode tonight, but packed with a lot of really practical recommendations.
A sampling of them:
Catakids (Kindle): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SW1SQ9F
The Rizers (YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/user/therizers
Dana Dirksen (Amazon Music): https://music.amazon.com/artists/B0014B3006?ref=dm_sh_0f6d-b88e-dmcp-f935-291bd&musicTerritory=US&marketplaceId=ATVPDKIKX0DER
Did you know nearly one out of every 3.5 people on earth is a Muslim? Christians have been commissioned to disciple the nations, yet historically we have sent precious few resources to bring the Gospel to this incredibly massive portion of the human population.
In episode 10, Joel Settecase and N. G. (name withheld to avoid it coming up in search results) pull up a couple of chairs to discuss the goal, motivation and method of sharing the Gospel and defending the Christian message to Muslims. They get deep and wide in this conversation, which ranges from the theological to the practical. We hope it makes you think.
Does Christian hypocrisy mean that Christianity is false? Some initial comments related to recent pro-life legislation and a now infamous tweet about Christian hypocrisy that unleashed a massive conversation last week. Then I do an internal critique from the biblical perspective of the idea that hypocrisy discredits the messenger or voids the message, and then analyze whether the unbelieving worldview can account for the kind of moral standard needed in order to condemn hypocrisy as immoral.
Theme song: Whiskey on the Mississippi Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
My old friend, Pastor Brandon Cooper (Cityview Community Church) joins me to discuss what makes the Christian worldview stand out from all the rest. We get into metaphysics, the exclusive claims of Christianity and Pluralism, Hinduism, eschatology, and why the biblical Gospel is truly unique. If you're a Christian, this will help you articulate and defend what you believe. If you're not, it will challenge your assumptions and encourage you to entertain new ideas you perhaps hadn't considered. Either way, I hope it makes you think.
In this epic episode, Joel Settecase and Alan Kern discuss the nature of truth and whether the concept of truth makes any sense without God.
This was a very interactive video, both between the two of them and with the viewers. The guys directly addressed questions from the viewers, including one who asked how he can know which God is the true one.
Whiskey on the Mississippi Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Talking to strangers can be a scary thing. But for Christians, it can be a very rewarding endeavor. We introduced what spiritual conversations are and why we ought to seek them out. Then we looked at some biblical examples and two or three examples from my own life. Finally, I shared two stories of spiritual conversations I had recently, both on airplanes and discussed the benefit of having a "captive audience."
Tonight Joel Settecase addressed the Dreaded Question: "Do you *really* believe all those crazy stories in the Bible?"
The Bible says that a donkey talked, a man got swallowed by a fish and lived to tell about it, and that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
How crazy are these stories really? Does the Bible provide any good reasons for believing them? Are there good reasons to doubt them?
We hope tonight's episode fortifies your faith and challenges your doubts; in short we hope it makes you think.
Pastor Dan Osborn has been teaching through the "I Am" statements of Jesus in the John's Gospel, and he joins Joel Settecase for tonight's conversation.
The two discussed the biblical identity of Jesus and challenges to that identity. Could Jesus have been a mere prophet? Was he a great moral teacher but nothing more? Was he in fact a liar or perhaps delusional? And what do we do with all those fantastic claims he made about himself?
Joel Settecase gets personal in this one, talking about his son Lukas and the very real objection that many people have to Christian faith, known as the Existential Problem of Evil. So why does the good God allow suffering? Here's one man's take on it.
Tonight Joel Settecase addressed a common objection to the Christian faith: that it is illogical. He looked at the laws of logic, what they are, what they are like, and whether an atheistic or biblical worldview allows us to believe in them and use them.