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The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Alister McGrath: Mere Discipleship (Encore Presentation)

January 11, 2020

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Unanswered: Is Paranormal the New Normal?


Fascination with the paranormal is not something that’s on the fringes of society, says Dr. Jeremiah Johnston. Instead, dabbling in the darkness has become a cultural phenomenon evidenced in things like scary movies, psychic consultations and witchcraft.

            “Human beings are spiritual beings,” Johnston says. “We hunger for the spiritual, but when we’ve sent God out the door, we mock the Christian faith. We buy into the lies and become entrapped and confused.”

            Johnston illustrates the prevailing confusion by pointing out that some psychics and others working in the paranormal industry claim to be Christians. “The paranormal is a slippery slope,” Johnston says. “Once you open the door to the spirit world, it will only affect your life negatively.”

            Johnston says that Christians must compare what they see in the world with the truth of God’s Word. He gives these points:

  1. We need to recognize that the paranormal is attractive and has become normal in our society.
  2. It preaches a false gospel, makes promises it can’t keep, and will always bring the participant into bondage and confusion.
  3. Only Jesus Christ can set us free. Only in Him can each of us experience lasting peace and can know the truth.

Believers are instructed in I John 4:1 to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Also, they are instructed in I Timothy 4:7: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.”

Johnston warns that the things God forbids can seem appealing. “How do we respond to the fascination – and even attraction – with the paranormal world around us?” he asks.

Johnston reminds listeners that Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and that we are to be sober-minded since “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (I Peter 5:8).

He answers a question from Jaden through about doubting one’s salvation. Johnston reminds him that when believers have thoughts that don’t align with the Bible, we can “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).


What Christians must understand about Suicide and Mental Health


Radio show host, Dr. Jeremiah Johnston, opens the show with a question for
listeners: “What is the most important apologetics question of our time?”

He says, “The Church has an amazing opportunity right now. If the Church can articulate an answer to this question in a biblically powerful way, this could be the key to unlocking a serious revival in our Church.”

Many people in the Church struggle with mental illness either personally or through the connection of a loved one. The number one question that Christian Thinkers Society receives revolves around suicide and mental health.

“I want to equip you and you minister to people who are hurting,” Johnston says. He says that, 1) Christians should stop the silence surrounding mental illness, 2) we must stop the shame and exclusion, and 3) we need to understand mental illness and be present.

Johnston gives examples of Christians who have struggled with mental illness in history and today. Yet, most pastors rarely, if ever, address mental health. “Mental illness is no one’s fault,” he says. He draws parallels between common physical infirmities and mental ones.

“Do you know the Bible has a lot to say about mental health, right thinking, loving God, and training our mind?” Johnston asks.

Mark 2:17 “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”

Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Johnston advises Christians with these thoughts: 1) Every family struggles, 2) make a commitment to love instead of judge, condemn, and misunderstand, 3) build support groups for every age level for addressing mental health disorders, and 4) encourage the mentally ill in our church communities to serve.

Selma asks through if it is alright for a Christian to a person end his or her life. Johnston tells her that God is the controller of all life. “It is terrible to watch people we know and love suffer,” he says. “But when people suffer, you never know how God is using the suffering to win other people to Jesus Christ.”


Unanswered: Body of Proof – Evidence for the Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central point of Christianity, and has been since the earliest days of the faith. Followers of Christianity do not have to take the bodily resurrection of Jesus on faith alone, says Dr. Jeremiah Johnston.

 “The claim that Jesus was truly resurrected assumed a heavy burden of proof. What persuaded Jesus’ followers to speak of Jesus’ resurrection was their conviction that Jesus had died, had been buried in a known place, and had exited that place,” he says. “These factors, in combination with His appearances, convinced His followers that Jesus was indeed the bodily resurrected messiah.”
Early believers had little to gain in their society and everything to lose for believing in the risen Lord. Jesus was a pariah in both Roman and Jewish cultures. Yet, His resurrection gave proof that He was Lord, and that followers of Christ could experience eternal life as well. John 14:19: “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
  Johnston says, “I have great news for you today. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and He lives, and there are great evidences for that belief.”
 He advises that 1) we must recover a resurrection-centric faith, 2) we should refresh our minds with evidence of the resurrection, and 3) we should recommit to live the mission of the resurrection.
“No matter what life throws at you, the resurrection promises that God is a God of new beginnings,” Johnston says. “The resurrection changes everything.”
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to disciples and followers changed the course of history, and Christianity continues to influence the world for good. The hope that is found through Jesus is the basis for the Gospel. Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (I Corinthians 15:14). He goes on to say, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:20).
“Wherever you’re at, I pray this program equips you with evidence for the faith,” says Johnston. “Let the power of the resurrection fuel you this Christmas season to be bold for your faith.”

Unanswered: What do we do when God seems silent?

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston explores the concept of God’s silence and its impact on our faith. In his Bible study, book and video series, “Unanswered: Lasting Truth for Trending Questions,” he seeks to provide meaningful responses to the questions that many hold.

 “Just because you become a follower of Jesus does not mean that the questions stop,” he says. “After more than 10 years of serving as one of the pastors and teachers at a vibrant, local church, I began to notice that we had sincere Christians who still did not possess the confidence to answer the tough questions about Christianity. Many believers struggle with their own big questions about their faith.”

One of the most pressing questions Johnston has observed and personally dealt with is, “How do we respond when it seems like God is on mute?” Johnston’s takeaways are 1) God’s silence is real, biblical personal, common and not always bad; 2) when the silence is real, a person should saturate himself in the Psalms; and 3) silence should always lead me to a “stone of remembrance.”

He refers to the example of Jesus in agony on the cross. Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Just as Jesus did, we can turn to the Psalms as well in our pain. Johnston also points to biblical figures who endured times of waiting on God, including Joseph and David. “Remind yourself that some of the tallest figures of the Bible persevered right through God’s silence,” Johnston says.

In addition to internal trials, believers often face external challenges to their faith in the form of cultural pressure. Johnston says, “Here is culture’s message: ‘There is no God; there is nothing special about Jesus and He wasn’t raised from the dead.’” Christians must understand their faith and be able to defend it.

He welcomes Brian Daniel of Lifeway Christian Resources who expounds upon the importance of studying the Christian faith. “In terms of taking the message and making it part of who you are and facilitating transformation, we believe that group Bible study and group ministry are the vehicles for that,” Daniel says.

Brian DanielBrian Daniel is a manager of Groups Publishing at Lifeway Christian Resources. He s facilitate effective content creation for reading and study by Christians and within churches.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd: How Prayer Can Revive Our Nation


 Dr. Ronnie Floyd and Dr. Jeremiah Johnston discuss the importance of prayer and individual relationships with God. “The country is broken because families are broken. Relationships are broken because we’re individually broken,” Floyd says. “We really have to take this on spiritually.”
  In his latest book, “Living Fit: Make Your Life Count By Pursuing a Healthy You,” Floyd explores what he calls the five gauges of life: spiritual, physical, relational, financial and emotional. “We need to deal with the gauges and not wait until they are off,” he says. “We need to look at them every day.”
 A key part of maintaining health is to know the Word of God, Johnston says.
Philippians 2:5 “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
 Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
 “There is psychological warfare and there is a battle raging for your mind,” Johnston says. “So many of the devil’s schemes are when the enemy plants thoughts in our minds that do not square with who we know we are in Christ. I can’t know the mind of Christ without knowing the Word of God.”

Floyd affirms the centrality of Scripture. “Begin your day with God,” he says. “That is the most valuable thing you can do in your life spiritually. God shows you brand new things all the time. The more I’m in His Word, the more I hear His voice.”

Knowing the Bible s a person filter through things in culture such a horoscopes, haunted houses and psychics, Johnston says. He answers a mother’s question who inquires if it’s okay for her daughter to read a horoscope. Again, Johnston iterates that a person should consult God’s word for its precious promises.

Daniel says through that he doesn’t feel saved. In reply, Johnston gives the wisdom that feelings are a dangerous barometer. Again, believing in the promises of God’s Word becomes the answer.

Ronnie FloydDr. Ronnie Floyd is senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. He has served as a strategic leader in the Southern Baptist Convention for decades. In 2017, Dr. Floyd was named the president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. He has authored books that marry faith and practicality, including the recent, “Living Fit: Make Your Life Count By Pursuing a Healthy You.”