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The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Alister McGrath: Mere Discipleship (Encore Presentation)

January 11, 2020

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The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Discussing Depression for a Ray of Hope

 

You know someone who is struggling with depression and anxiety. It’s not a sin nor something we need to be ashamed of. We can only address the problem though open discussion and to us we are joined by Dr. Gregory Jantz, here to bring hope and immediate steps.

If you’re not personally struggling with negative emotions, you probably know someone who is. It is the nature of our fallen world that mental suffering is a reality for many. The Bible details the stories of faithful saints who experienced times of darkness and despair. And as evident in the Bible, humans are complex creatures, with a body, mind, spirit and eternal soul.

The approaches to healing for individuals are those that are multifaceted, says, Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of “The Center: A Place of HOPE,” in the state of Washington. For about 36 years, the Center has treated those who seek to overcome depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and the similar issues. A pioneer in mental health care, Gregory talks with Dr. Jeremiah Johnston about what is a common need.

“The World Health Organization says depression is the number one disability in the world. It can be hard to admit you’re struggling. If you’re suffering from depression, we have more resources and more ways of treatment than ever before.”

Clients seeking benefit from care that centers around their medical, spiritual, nutritional, and social needs. Counseling about past issues that are manifesting as things like bitterness and hypersensitivity is ful as well. Gregory encourages sufferers and caregivers to seek . Long-term, successful treatment most often involves personal faith, he says.

In a similar vein, Jeremiah advises listening, or what he calls an engagement principle.

“Ask questions and allow the other person to be the expert. The technique to use with anyone who you feel is struggling is to ask questions. People respond so much better to questions than assertions.”

Anyone will also benefit from listening to God’s words to them, found in the precious promises of the Bible.

Dr. Gregory Jantz is founder of The Center: A Place of HOPE, a speaker, and author of more three dozen books, including “Healing Depression for Life.”

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Your Unanswered Questions: Part 2

 

Professor Craig Evans joins us in answering your collection of sent in questions and ones we have gathered at Christian Thinkers Society events. We continue to discuss Biblical archeology, the historicity of Jesus, the crucifixion, resurrection, and more.

How often do you give thanks, and in what situations? Dr. Jeremiah Johnston says being thankful should be habitual for Christians. He refers to the Roman philosopher, Cicero, who expressed that gratitude is the parent of all virtues. Jeremiah says Christians should remain in wonder of their salvation through Jesus Christ.

“Let us never stop being thankful people. A great barometer of your mental health is your ability to personally experience gratitude. Did you know gratitude will strengthen your immune system, it will lower your blood pressure, it will make you stronger and healthier?”

Thankfulness is also a mark of wisdom because it confirms that we did not accomplish anything on our own. Ingratitude, on the other hand, is the first step toward apostasy, according to the Apostle Paul, who warned in Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Grateful attitudes are exhibited by many exemplars in the Bible, from King David in the Old Testament to James in the New Testament. One of the greatest things Christians have to rejoice over is access to the Word of God.

Scholar and author, Dr. Craig Evans, describes the value of biblical prophecies foretelling the Messiah. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of that prophecy, giving us a right relationships with God, for which we can be forever thankful. Jeremiah reminds listeners of the story in Luke 17:11-17, in which only one of 10 healed lepers came back to thank Jesus.

“I pray that you and I are thankful people. When I think about the fact that Jesus has forgiven us of our sins, wow, that makes me full of gratitude. I never want to lose my awe of my salvation in Christ.”

Dr. Craig Evans is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at Houston Baptist University. He is a sought-after biblical scholar and New Testament expert. His books and teaching have encouraged many.

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Your Unanswered Questions: Part 1

 

Answering your questions on Biblical archaeology, the historicity of Jesus, the crucifixion, resurrection, and more with Professor Craig Evans. In this collection of questions you have sent in to the show and gathered at Christian Thinkers Society events.

No matter how much you know about Christianity or how long you’ve adhered to the faith, you should remain inquisitive and be open to growth, says New Testament scholar, professor, and author, Dr. Craig Evans.

“Questions are important. They are wonderful because, when you ask an honest question, you’re open to new information and the truth.”

Whether one is a skeptic or devout, understanding the need for Jesus’ crucifixion can be bewildering. Addressing the argument that Jesus’ violent death was gratuitous, Craig sets the scene of the crucifixion within its historical context. And he explains that the message of the cross begins at the dawn of humanity.

“From the very beginning, there are some ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts.’ The law is for our own good. God doesn’t just revel in rules, but things are there for our benefit. Humanity has turned its back on God. There are consequences; the beauty is, God said, ‘I will share the consequences.’”

Rather than show cruelty, the violent death and ensuing resurrection of Jesus demonstrate God’s love in a dramatic way in allowing His Son to suffer for us. Craig describes the love of God as a radical concept in the ancient world.

“What God was saying is, ‘I love humanity, and I want to redeem humanity, and I will take risks. If it means Jesus dying on the cross, I will go that far.’ No god outside of the God of Scripture believed that people were made in God’s image – gods in antiquity would not go that far. It’s only in the Judeo-Christian tradition that God speaks of humans with love and speaks for their benefit.”

While God set laws in place, He still came down to struggling humanity, and to restore us to Himself. That is the message the world needs to hear.

Dr. Craig Evans is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at Houston Baptist University. He is a sought-after biblical scholar and New Testament expert. His books and teaching have encouraged many.

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

The Infancy Narrative and Unlikely Characters

 

Danial Darling discusses the group of misfits, societal outcasts, and overlooked characters in the Nativity story. God used each one of them for his divine plan and why is worth thinking about more than once a year. A look at Daniel’s new book “The Characters of Christmas.”

Daniel Darling has authored books on practical faith and relatable theological issues. His latest book, “The Characters of Christmas,” focuses upon the everyday people of the Nativity story. He talks with Dr. Jeremiah Johnston about the work.

“I loved working on all my books,” he says. “This last one was really fun and I enjoyed being able to dig into the Gospels and the story of the incarnation of Christ, and the ordinariness of the characters and how they were part of God’s sovereign plan for history.”

Like many people, Darling enjoys the Christmas season. “We have a whole month to soak in the beauty and the wonder of the coming of the Son of God,” he says. “If you think about it, it’s what separates Christianity from other religions. He is not a distant, angry deity. He visits humanity in Jesus. He loves His image-bearers.”

In “The Characters of Christmas,” Darling takes a closer look at teenage Mary, her betrothed, Joseph, her cousin, Elizabeth, Zechariah, the shepherds, and more. “Each character points us to Jesus and tells us something about who God is, and the Kingdom of God,” Darling says.

While Christians rightly focus upon the story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, the story of the manger has its own rich, theological implications, Darling says. The announcement of the long-awaited Messiah came in a shepherd’s field among some of the simplest people in the culture, demonstrating God’s humble heart. The wise men represent generosity and going anywhere to follow Jesus. The genealogy of Jesus demonstrates that God values and uses women for His purposes, and He redeems stories. The coming of Jesus into Mary and Joseph’s lives shows that Jesus sometimes interrupts our plans.

“One of the things Christians need to do is meditate deeply on the story of Christmas and who Jesus is,” Darling advises. “Let’s be so overcome with the joy of Christ, people will ask, ‘Why is it you love Christmas and why should I care about it?’”

Daniel Darling is the vice president for Communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is a pastor, author, speaker, and columnist. His latest book, “The Characters of Christmas,” was released in 2019.