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The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Alister McGrath: Mere Discipleship (Encore Presentation)

January 11, 2020

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The Best of Biblical Archeology

 

Christians have much more than faith to rely upon in standing on their beliefs. Dr. Jeremiah Johnston puts it simply: “We are truly living in the golden age of Christianity. Unlike any other religion or ‘ism’ in the world, Christianity says that it is verifiable with history. The first historian, Dr. Luke, begins his gospel this way in Luke 1:1-4:

‘Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who, from the first, were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.’”

Israeli archeologist Eli Shukron, who is credited with several major finds including the Pool of Siloam, says that, while archeology can’t prove the entire Bible, it does line up with the biblical narratives.

Dr. Craig Evans, who has taught and authored extensively on the historical Jesus and the New Testament, says, “To deny the existence of Jesus, not only do you deny literature – Christian, Jewish, Greek and Roman – but you have to ignore archelogy as well. If the writers of the gospels didn’t know what they were talking about, how did they get so much right?”

Archeologists themselves rely upon Bible passages, knowing that the places, historical figures and event accounts are reliable; they would not heavily reference the texts if the writings were myths, Evans emphasizes.

Dr. Scott Stripling adds that archeology further illumines Scripture. “We can’t deny the relationship once we’ve excavated the material,” he says.

“We have a faith that is rooted in evidence,” says Johnston.


Eli ShukronS.StriplingCraig Evans Special guests Eli Shukron and Dr. Scott Stripling, archeologists, and historian and professor Dr. Craig Evans, are each experts in biblical history.

David Limbaugh shares how he went from skeptic to committed Christian

 

Coming to faith was the culmination of the work of the Holy Spirit and his own research for author and attorney David Limbaugh. With a legal background, Limbaugh says he mined for evidence around him and in the Bible itself. The messianic prophecies of the Old Testament helped convince him that the Christian faith is valid.

“It’s so amazing when you see that the Bible is integrated. The Bible is internally self-proving. There’s such an overwhelming body of evidence confirming the truth of Christianity, that even if I do have some lingering doubts from time to time, I know the body of evidence is so strongly in favor of the reality of Jesus Christ being who He says He is,” he says. “So, I don’t ultimately have doubts I can’t reconcile.”

While it has been claimed that “man made God in his image,” rather than the other way around, Limbaugh says, “Christianity is grounded in history; it’s not just some idea that man made up. The Bible is accessible to all of us. I think we have a duty in obedience to minister in whatever area we can.”

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston affirms that, as believers, we are instructed to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others, as written in Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

Lee, a show listener, asks, “How can I overcome the fear of sharing my faith?”

Not only does God tell us to share the Gospel, but He empowers us to do it, Johnston says, referencing Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Once a person comes to faith, he or she can still struggle with condemnation from others or with internal guilt. Johnson replies to Cole, who asks, “How can I get over my past that still haunts me?”

Johnston says, “We learn from the past but we don’t live there. We build for the future.

Make sure you forgive yourself because God has already done it.”


David LimbaughDavid Limbaugh is the author of several New York Times bestsellers. His most recent work is “Jesus Is Risen: Paul and the Early Church.” As a lawyer, nationally syndicated columnist and political commentator, he has shared his expertise on hundreds of national and local television and radio shows. Limbaugh has practiced law for more than 30 years.

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Greg Laurie and the Jesus revolution

 

Greg Laurie writes about the Jesus Movement in his latest book, which he entitles, “Jesus Revolution,” as a nod to the 1971 Time Magazine cover of the same name. The move of God that brought about so many conversions to Christianity can be learned from and its lessons applied to current evangelistic outreach, Laurie says.

Speaking with show host, Dr. Jeremiah Johnston, he outlines the main characteristics of the Jesus movement:

  1. A sense of anticipation; expecting God to move
  2. Heartfelt and passionate worship
  3. Bible exposition
  4. Evangelism
  5. A readiness for the return of Jesus
  6. An openness to the move of the Holy Spirit

“Revival is restoration. If you want to see revival, do revival-like things,” Laurie says.

Johnston and Laurie iterate that sharing the Gospel must be done in a way that is winsome, and with terminology that listeners can understand. Whether the conversation is one-on-one or is an address to a stadium crowd, the speaker should empathize with the perspective of listeners.

Ultimately, even as culture changes and worldviews change, the message of the Bible and of the Gospel carries power that reaches every generation. While we cannot control God’s Spirit, Laurie suggests believers can “pre-prayer” for revival, as outlined in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

A new believer named Daniel asks, “What’s the first, most important step in my Christian journey to be a good witness?” Johnston replies that he should live for Jesus Christ, and then maintain relationships with others who also need to hear the Good News. He says, “Make no mistake, the world would be a far different place if there were no Christians. Don’t allow the cultural confusion to confuse your spiritual life. There is more evidence available today to prove the validity of Christianity than at any other time in history.”

 


Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian FellowshipGreg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship. His sermons, crusades, devotions, books and ministry advance the Gospel and inspire the next generation of truth-seekers and truth-speakers. His latest book is “Jesus Revolution: How God Transformed an Unlikely Generation and How He Can Do It Again Today.”

 

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Sean McDowell on role-playing the resurrection

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston and Dr. Sean McDowell practice sharing their evidence for the validity of Christianity surrounding its central tenet, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Dr. Johnston shares these power tips for showcasing the truth of the bodily resurrection of Jesus:

  1. The resurrection of Jesus is the only way we ultimately make sense of the suffering in our lives.
  2. He foretold it in Mark 8:31, Mark 9:31 and Mark 10:33-34.
  3. He demonstrated resurrection power.
  4. It’s not what his Jewish disciples anticipated.
  5. The written sources and archeological finds overwhelmingly support the Christian narratives.
  6. It is the only convincing explanation for the conversion of those who didn’t follow Jesus during his earthly ministry.
  7. It is the only convincing explanation for the fact that everywhere the Christian faith goes, culture is changed.

McDowell says his two-part advice for talking with unbelievers is first, ask questions, and secondly, listen. He says that both believers and unbelievers grapple with the problem of suffering.

“I think Christianity offers the best answer to the problem of evil of any worldview,” McDowell says. “When we suffer, God hasn’t abandoned us. He hasn’t left us alone. When we believe that God is good, it helps us transcend what we’re going through, even if He doesn’t give us the answers we want.”

Johnston advises a caller named David, who asks, “What are some good resources for people to look into to learn more about the Christian faith?”

In addition to reading supplementary materials, Johnston says that believers should read their Bible from cover to cover.

“There are answers to your questions and they are found in the Word of God,” Johnston says. “There is more evidence today to prove the claims of Christianity than at any other time in history. We are truly living in the golden age of the Christian faith. In I Peter 3:15, we’re told, ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.’ That verse is for every single one of us.”


Dr. Sean McDowell is an apologist, extensive author, and an associate professor at Biola University. McDowell is a sought-after speaker who inspires Christians to share their faith, and seekers to examine the evidence for Christianity. In addition to his own scholarship, McDowell has written several books with his father, Josh McDowell.

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John Gibson and Jeremiah on faith and business integration

 


Welcoming respected business leader John W. Gibson, Jr. to the show, Dr. Jeremiah Johnston asks,

“Is it possible to maintain a vibrant Christian faith and also be successful in the business world?”

Unequivocally, Gibson states that it is possible to be a leader professionally and spiritually.

“It does mean that you have to have a set of standards and values,” Gibson says.

Gibson expounds on the importance of considering consequences, duty, truth, and both short-term and long-term ramifications for each decision.

Caller Philip Nation, a pastor, asks, “How can we help people make this shift in their own lives from just consequence-based thinking to more of a faith-based, Kingdom-expanding decision-making for leaders in the community?”

Gibson replies, “Can I sleep at night? Does it violate any of my principles and my duties? You have to do what the Holy Spirit leads you to do even if the consequences for yourself are not necessarily the best.”

Johnston points to the biblical figure of Phoebe, mentioned in Romans 16:1-2. He holds her as an example of a businessperson who makes a difference in his or her sphere.

“Wherever you’re listening from, let the light of Jesus shine through you,” Johnston says. “Make a commitment to be a second Phoebe.”

Gibson encourages listeners to allow their faith to come up naturally in conversation, and to be bold at times as the Holy Spirit directs.

“We’re depending on the Holy Spirit to open up the people we’re meeting with – not us,” he says. “You have to take the risk the Holy Spirit puts before you. I’ve never done what the Holy Spirit led me to do and not seen fruit from it.”

In addition to seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit, Gibson advises people to seek wise counsel as well.

Gibson says, “Great leaders always ask for help. It’s very biblical. We look for great advisors. As a leader, you have to be prepared to make a decision when you have contrary advice. Every time I’ve asked for help and found the right helper, it’s been outstanding.”


John W. Gibson, Jr. is chairman of Energy Technology with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. John W. Gibson, Jr. is chairman of Energy Technology with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. He has served in numbers leadership roles including president and CEO at Landmark Graphics, Paradigm Geophysical, Tervita and Halliburton. He has served as a distinguished lecturer on ethics, and recently completed a book on ethical leadership. He has served in many volunteer capacities.

 

 

Sheila Walsh and JJ discuss your unanswered questions

 

Inspirational teacher, author and vocalist Sheila Walsh shares how a movement away from over-introspection and independence can strengthen believers’ faith and purpose. She says,

“I think the last thing we need is self-help. What we need is God-help.”

“Somehow in western Christianity we are so ‘me-focused’ as opposed to ‘Christ-focused.’ You can spend the rest of your life trying to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t,’ and trying to be the best Christian. Or, you can spend your life passionately following Christ who has said, ‘It is finished.’ I want to encourage men and women to take a shift from staring at ourselves in the mirror.”

Walsh tells about her experience growing up in a Christian home in which her father committed suicide. She realized as an adult that she had been spending her life trying to be perfect for her heavenly father since that tragedy. She encourages listeners like Brian, who asks,

“How can I see God’s plan in my life if it feels like it’s been such a miserable experience?”

Drawing on the life of the Old Testament Joseph, Walsh explains how Joseph was able to persevere through the trauma of rejection, injustice and pain. The hero of the faith had to wait many years before his God-promised destiny unfolded. She says of Joseph,

“At every single turn, you read, ‘and God was with him.’ His circumstances do not change his character. He continues to serve and be the man God created him to be.”

Both Walsh and show host, Dr. Jeremiah Johnston, encourage listeners to share their struggles and questions openly with God. Johnston says,

“I struggled at one time in my life. It led me down a path of greater dependence on God. God’s a big boy and he can take your questions.”

Walsh exhorts believers to remember that the level at which we communicate with God indicates our trust for Him. She suggests writing a letter to God in order to fully express one’s thoughts.

When it comes to evangelism, and even talking with other believers, Johnston says Jesus sets the example by asking more than 300 recorded questions in the Gospels. Johnston gives this power tip for witnessing:

“I want to encourage every Christian: be curious in your Christian life. Individuals respond so much better to an inquisitive conversation rather than just an assertion.”


Sheila Walsh is a sought-after speaker, best-selling author, vocalist and Christian program host. Her latest book, “It’s Okay Not to Be Okay: Moving Forward One Day at a Time,” inspires readers to live beyond the life they had imagined. A native of Scotland, she and her family now call Dallas, Texas home.