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The Jeremiah Johnston Show

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October 12, 2019

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The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Greatest Interviews: A Best-of Show

On episode 52 of The Jeremiah Johnston Show, Dr. Johnston looks back with fondness over the year and thanks listeners for their support. “Every broadcast has been powerful and poignant,” he says.

In commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the Faith Radio program, Johnston replays clips from several of the recent, moving episodes.

Guest Alister McGrath emphasizes that the Christian faith is meant to be lived with other Christians. “All of us need to ask, ‘Are there people who can help us grow in our faith?’ And ‘Can we help others as well?’ A mentor is someone who helps you see things in a different way,” he says.

The Bible is applicable today, and it’s important that Christians seek to offer meaning to the culture around them, McGrath says. “We listen to Scriptures for the answer and listen to our culture for the questions. We need to figure out how to do it,” he explains. “The real problem is people see Christianity as the answer to questions of the past. We need to answer the questions people are asking.”

David Limbaugh says that the Bible is self-proving. For him, the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament clarified the divinity of Jesus Christ. “It’s amazing,” he says. “You begin to see the Bible as integrated.”

Ronnie Floyd and Angie Smith talk about the devastating effects of loss of life, and how believers can remain open-hearted toward God and others. Rick Renner shares his story of God’s guidance in his life. “Sometimes it’s a process,” Renner describes. “God doesn’t always reveal His full will to you. Sometimes, He just gives you enough to keep you moving.”

Shelia Walsh focuses upon passionately following Christ rather than strict legalism. When Christians seek to obey Christ, they naturally are convicted to walk in His ways. Walsh says, “There’s never been a better day to be the fragrance of Christ in a broken world.”

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Unanswered Questions: A Best-Of Show

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston looks back at guests’ unanswered questions from The Jeremiah Johnston Show’s history as the program reaches its nearly one-year anniversary. Johnston talks about the early days of his ministry organization, Christian Thinkers Society.

Reflecting on the success of his goals is reminiscent of Acts 14:27, when early believers reported on what God had done among them, he says. “Little is much when God’s in it,” Johnston says.

At the encouragement of his wife, Johnston welcomed questions from the audience during the early days of ministry. That set the tone for much of his focus going forward, and paved the way for the book, “Unanswered: Lasting Truth for Trending Questions,” as well as a study and tour.

From the inception of his ministry until the present time, Johnston became known for welcoming and addressing controversial and difficult queries. He encourages people to ask meaningful questions. “It is not ungodly to ask God ‘why?’” he says.

Out of thousands of questions, the top topics Johnston has received have been 1) suicide and mental health, 2) the silence of God, 3) the paranormal, 4) the resurrection of Jesus, 5) the Bible, and 6) evil, suffering, and pain.

Through his radio program, Johnston has welcomed pastors, speakers, writers, scholars, professors, and professionals who share their own unanswered questions. Knowing that others with powerful faiths have struggled is an encouragement to anyone who might be tempted to feel isolated in his or her pain or doubt, Johnston says.

Among the guests unanswered questions were sentiments surrounding loss of loved ones, God’s lack of interference, suffering, unfairness, expressing the Gospel, healing, pain in children, the creation story, waiting, reaching loved ones, and the fragility of life.

In each of these matters and more, Johnston reminds listeners that it’s not a sin to ask God questions. In doing so, believers learn more about God and His Word, and deepen their relationships with Him.

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Mental Health, the Most Important Question in Apologetics

 

Issues of mental health and wellness are not generally well-addressed in the church setting across the board, says Dr. Jeremiah Johnston. He believes questions surrounding mental health are some of the top apologetics needs of our time.

“The Christian truth should be able to withstand the most difficult questions,” he says. “The job of apologetics is answering questions people have about the faith today.”

A secular worldview that espouses no life purpose and design leads to horrible results, Johnston says, including devaluing human life. “If there is no God, there is no humanity and it becomes law of the jungle. I can walk by this ‘animal’ not created in God’s image. I can walk by them and feel no shame if they end their life. That’s what fills the void if there is no Christ,” he says. “Most people find it difficult to believe that God really loves them. We must remind people that God loves them.”

Johnston discusses mental health needs in the workplace with John Gibson, an experienced business leader. “You just have to teach people that caring about people should be the number one issue,” Gibson begins.

Gibson relays stories about his work experiences, and says helping create a successful workplace environment is paramount. Caring about one’s employees or coworkers comes from a faith-filled life, he says. “That kind of love and caring comes from a heart that loves our Lord and serves Him,” he says.

In addressing mental health in the workplace, Gibson advises work leaders to educate themselves, establish processes for handling issues, and care about employees. Finally, he reminds employers to look after their own needs as well. “Ask for help,” Gibson concludes. “The Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation.”

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

‘The Dark Side:’ What to do in Spiritual Battles

 

The story of the fallen angel, Lucifer, who set out on a path of rebellion against God, is central in Genesis and Revelation, book-ending the Bible. Dr. Jeremiah Johnston explores the antagonist of the Christian faith.

“If you’re a follower of Jesus, you’re in a battle,” Johnston says. “No one wants to be in a battle, but let’s face it, as Christians, we’re in a spiritual battle.”

Revelation 12 describes Satan as a dragon, a serpent, as an accuser, as the devil, and as someone who leads the whole world astray. 2 Corinthians 11:14 describes Satan as a being who masquerades as an angel of light. John 8:44 says he was a murderer from the beginning and a liar. In John 10:10, Jesus describes the devil as a thief who steals, kills, and destroys.

Thankfully, believers know that Satan is a defeated foe whom God threw out of heaven and whom Jesus conquered. The Bible promises in James 4:7 that if Christians submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee. Furthermore, the devil’s accusations against believers are countered by God’s grace because there is no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1).

During his earthly ministry, Jesus encountered and healed the demonically possessed. His ability to exorcise became well-known in the region. “It was known that if you invoked the name of Jesus, the demons ran,” Johnston explains.

I John 4:4 further illuminates the victory over darkness Christians have because of Jesus: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

While Scripture records that Jesus was tempted by Satan, Jesus overcame the trials. “Anytime you move for God in your life, anytime you take a step of faith, reach someone, or shine the light of Jesus Christ, you can immediately expect demonic opposition. Spiritual attacks are going to come, but we can be victorious. Make sure you pray, study Scripture, and never forget who you are in Christ,” Johnston advises.

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Virtuously Integrating Faith with Culture

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston discusses culture and reaching others with Dr. Karen Swallow and Dr. Josh Chatraw. The guests recently authored, “Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues.” The book provides a panoramic view of Christian responses to the pressing issues of our time. The writers explore aspects of culture including formal ideas and worldviews that are passed on, precognitive assumptions, and social and physical dimensions of life.

“We’re all swimming in this thing called culture,” Chatraw explains. “Culture is inevitable. It’s the phone I use, this radio podcast. We can’t jump out of culture; we can jump out of particular parts of culture.”

To have a historical, ideological, and intellectual framework for current cultural issues, Christians do well to educate themselves by reading. “All that good books can do for us, and even truth itself, is something we still have to receive and apply,” Swallow says. “Good books can expand our understanding and knowledge, but only if that’s what we are really pursuing. When we read good literature, we express the image of God in us. We understand ourselves and our world through language. We are narrative creatures who live our lives with an understanding of story. We are expressing our humanity and expressing God’s image within us.”

Not only reading, but listening well, is imperative in order to understand and converse regarding other perspectives. Of course, knowing Scripture is the basis for our beliefs as Christians.

As Chatraw points out, I Peter 3:15 says we should have a conversant faith that hinges upon gentleness and respect.

Johnston says, “Are you a good listener? If we’re not good listeners, we’ll never be good at evangelism. If I’m not a good listener, I’ll never be good at witnessing. I want to empathize. When you look at the episodes in the gospels, in these long conversations that Jesus had with individuals, notice what a great listener He was. What a great reminder to us today.”


Dr. Joshua D. Chatraw and Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, authors of “Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues,” address hot-button issues including sexuality, gender roles, immigration, and more. Prior is a professor of English at Liberty University, and Chatraw is the director of the Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement for Liberty University.