Truth Tribe with Douglas Groothuis
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Truth Tribe with Douglas Groothuis

Douglas Groothuis
Truth Tribe with Douglas Groothuis is a podcast dedicated to finding the truth through reason, and evidence about what matters most. Our subjects include how to defend the Christian faith (through apologetics), biblical ethics, and social issues.
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Witnessing to the Truth: The Role of the Holy Spirit
May 27, 2024 - 41 min
Exploring the theme of "Power for True Witness," Dr. Groothuis delivers a sermon at Littleton Christian Church, diving into Acts 1-8 and John 14, 16-17 to discuss the biblical concept of truth, Jesus as the way, truth, and life, and the empowerment to share this truth through the Holy Spirit. The episode highlights Dr. Groothuis' extensive experience in philosophy and academia, celebrating his 31-year tenure at Denver Seminary and his upcoming role at Cornerstone University in Michigan. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
4 Questions Students Must Ask to Avoid Writing Fluff
May 20, 2024 - 10 min
What is Fluff? Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. (Ecclesiastes 12:9-10, NIV). Harry Frankfurt in On BS: The BS-er…is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.[1] Fluff is whatever is extraneous, superfluous, or unseemly. Fluff is the opposite of the substantial or the fundamental. Physical fluff is never desired and easily floats away. No one wants it, unless it is in a pillow, perhaps. Some students pad their papers in order to meet word requirements. Such padding is always fluff and may involve going down rabbit trails unrelated to the thesis of the writing. Much fluff today is autobiographical, and there are far too many memoirs.[2] Entire books may be autobiographical fluff, such as the egregious Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and myriad others.[3] Contemporary writers often cannot resist talking about themselves even when it is irrelevant to the point they should be making. One of the great principles of the classic writing guide, Elements of Style, is to keep yourself in the background. This is what Strunk and White write: Write in a way that draws the reader’s attention to the sense and substance of the writing, rather than to the mood and temper of the author. If the writing is solid and good, the mood and temper of the writer will eventually be revealed and not at the expense of the work. Therefore, the first piece of advice is this: to achieve style, begin by affecting none—that is, place yourself in the background.[4] Exhibitionism is one of the great sins and blind spots of our age. Consider Victor Frankl’s comments about why he reluctantly decided not to anonymously publish his classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning: "I had intended to write this book anonymously, using my prison number only. But when the manuscript was completed, I saw that as an anonymous publication, it would lose half its value and that I must have the courage to state my convictions openly. I therefore refrained from deleting any of the passages, in spite of an intense dislike of exhibitionism."[5] Fluff may also be unseemly, which may or may not include gratuitous personal references. The unseemly is what is inappropriate—the lude, crude, or rude. What Paul applies to speech should be applied to writing. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). To tighten it up: Fluff is what is unnecessary in a piece of writing, either due to BS, redundancy, exhibitionism, or literary boorishness. Fluff can be avoided by removing unnecessary content, by keeping yourself in the background, and by being polite. To avoid fluff, ask yourself these questions: Am I aiming at objective truth? Have I written more than is needed? Have I said too much about myself? Have I been off-putting or offensive to my reader? [1] Frankfurt, Harry G. On Bullshit (p. 56). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition. [2] I wrote a memoir, which I attempted to justify in the first chapter. Douglas Groothuis, “Introduction,” Walking Through Twilight: A Wife’s Illness—A Philosopher’s Lament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2017). [3] Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz (New York: Harper Horizon, 2003). The first paragraph of page 103 is the most absurd and egregious collection of falsehoods I have encountered. [4] Strunk JR., William; White, E.B. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. Pandora's Box. Kindle Edition. [5] Frankl, Viktor E. Man's Search for Meaning (pp. 6-7). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
The Atonement of Christ: 5 Essential Elements Every Believer Should Understand
May 13, 2024 - 47 min
In today's special episode, we delve into the profound topic of Christ's atoning work on the cross, a cornerstone of Christian theology. I had the privilege of sharing a sermon I recently delivered at the Reformed Baptist Church of Northern Colorado, where we explored the essential elements of atonement through a theological lens. During the sermon, I discussed the multifaceted aspects of atonement, including propitiation, expiation, redemption, justification, and the victory over evil forces, all of which underscore the comprehensive nature of Christ's sacrifice. This discussion was enriched with scriptural references and theological insights, aiming to deepen our understanding of these doctrines and their implications for our faith and daily lives. Moreover, I addressed several common objections to the doctrine of atonement, providing thoughtful rebuttals to ensure that we, as believers, are equipped to defend our faith effectively. The sermon also emphasized the importance of evangelism and the assurance of salvation, encouraging us to live out our faith boldly and share the transformative power of the Gospel with others. This episode is not just a reflection on theological concepts but a call to action to embrace the full implications of Christ's work on the cross, ensuring it resonates deeply in our personal and communal spiritual lives. Join us as we explore these truths and their enduring impact on our journey of faith. For those interested in a deeper exploration of Christian apologetics and the atonement, I recommend checking out my book, "Christian Apologetics," where I delve further into these topics. Thank you for tuning in to Truth Tribe. If you found this episode enlightening, please consider sharing it with others and joining us again as we continue to seek and celebrate the truth about the things that matter most. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
30 Simple Steps You Can Take Today to Be a Better Public Speaker
May 6, 2024 - 8 min
Stepping into the world of public speaking can be daunting. Whether you're a newbie feeling the jitters or a seasoned pro looking to fine-tune your skills, we've got thirty simple tips you can do today to immediately level up your public speaking game. From taming those butterflies in your stomach to perfecting your delivery style, these strategies are your secret to becoming a confident and charismatic speaker. Let's get ready to unleash your inner orator! 1. Pray before speaking. I pray something like this, “Lord, help me to speak the truth in love with wisdom such that knowledge is imparted that sticks to the soul spreads through the world for your glory.” See Ephesians 4:15; Titus 2:7-8. 2. Say something worth saying. Time is short, Psalm 90:12; Ephesians 5:16. 3. Study adequately. It is better to over-study (if there is such a thing) than understudy, especially in preaching. See James 3:1-2. 4. Never rely on your charisma. Rely on God and the knowledge you have to offer people. 5. Learn how to speak grammatically and with the best version of your voice you can offer. You may want to talk with a speech coach. 6. Have water with you on the podium, but don't take large gulps, but small sips. The water should be warm, not cold. Cold water constricts your throat and hurts your voice. Want to know the rest? Listen to today's episode of Truth Tribe to unlock these great tips!  Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
Blaise Pascal’s Critique of Culture and Politics
April 29, 2024 - 20 min
The great scientist and philosopher, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), understood humans as disposed royalty—royal by virtue of creation in God image, but ruined through the fall. However, there is hope in the ruins because of the achievements of Jesus Christ on our behalf. I have written extensively of Pascal’s apologetic elsewhere, but we focus on his critique of society, which is as profound and pertinent as any aspect of his wide-ranging and brilliant work. What follows is an excerpt from Douglas Groothuis, Beyond the Wager: The Christian Brilliance of Blaise Pascal (InterVarsity, 2024). Living as deposed royalty in a fallen world means observing the corruption of culture and politics by vanity and concupiscence, to use two of Pascal’s categories. Ever the astute student of human nature, Pascal trained his gimlet eye on the pretenses, postures, dissimulations, and hidden absurdities of everyday life. His concern and critique were both universal and particular to his day. Humans east of Eden are, when studied soberly and carefully, ineluctably odd and inexplicable creatures—that is, until they are deciphered by the divinely revealed categories of creation and the fall. Human culture, which proceeds from the greatness and wretchedness of humanity, likewise generates odd patterns of custom, habit, fashion, and more; it, too, needs to be deciphered according to a higher wisdom. Can the madness of the world be brought to heel through criticism? “Men are so inevitably mad that not to be mad would be to give a mad twist to madness.” Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
3 Principles for Pastoring Animals
April 22, 2024 - 18 min
A pastor cares for his or her flock through tender concern, prayer, teaching, and insight into his or her parishioners. But one may be pastoral without being called to be a pastor of a church. I know a young man who graduated from Denver Seminary who has never held a pastoral position, but who is more pastoral with friends, family, and strangers than most pastors I know. He recently befriended a lonely man dying from a neurological disease and continued to pastor him until his death. Matt is a pastoral non-pastor. Sadly, we find non-pastoral pastors. I will argue that ordinary Christians can be pastors to animals. Certainly, there are no paid positions in this field, but life is bigger than a salary. A stanza from old poem by Frances Alexander sets the tone: All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small,All things wise and wonderful,The Lord God made them all. Along with all creation, animals are owned by God. Some creatures display aspects of the Creator’s character. Sheep, for example, are meek (Isaiah 53:7), and Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29). God invokes his design of the animal kingdom in answering Job from the whirlwind (Job 38-42).  The righteous care for their animals (Proverbs 12:10). Rebekah’s concern for camels was a sign from the Lord that she was to be Isaac’s wife (Genesis 24:12-14). Our Lord, Jesus Christ, tells us to consider God’s care for creatures: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they (Matthew 6:26). God has made a covenant with all of creature, not merely humans.  As he told Moses: Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark (Genesis 9:9-10). Through the prophet Hosea, God further promises a future covenant for the animal creation. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety (Hosea 2:18). Three Principles First, animals deserve prayer and are part of the creation longing for redemption. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time (Romans 8:19-22). Second, an animal pastor works to strengthen the animal-human bond and to honor the death of beloved animals.   Prayer for One Grieving Over the Loss of a Pet   I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?—Ecclesiastes 3:17-22, King James Version. Oh Creator of all living things, and Giver of every good and perfect gift, we thank you for the gift of living creatures. You have made each thing according to its kind, each finds its place in your creation. You have given us dominion over the earth and put living things into our care, including our pets. We thank you for these animal friends, and while we know they cannot provide the fellowship given by members of our own kind, we thank you for the love and joy that comes from these fellow creatures. We ask you now to comfort the master of a beloved pet who has gone the way of all flesh. All the living will likewise die, and the death of one of your image-bearers is far more consequential than that of a dog or cat. Yet the master grieves the loss of an animal companion, one put in his or her care. Fond memories of pet can last a lif
A Royal Ruin: Pascal's Argument from Humanity to Christianity
April 15, 2024 - 12 min
The Bible is God's anthropology rather than man's theology.— Abraham Joshua Heschel We humans often puzzle over our own humanity, scanning our heights and our depths, wondering about and worrying over the meaning of our good and our evil. No other animal reflects on its species like this. Here, and in so many other ways, we stand unique among living creatures. Why does such evil strike so hard and so erratically? And what explains our greatness in thought and action? Blaise Pascal writes: “What sort of freak then is man! How novel, how monstrous, how chaotic, how paradoxical, how prodigious! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm, repository of truth, sink of doubt and error, the glory and refuse of the universe!” Blaise Pascal answered this be appealing to our greatness as made in God’s image and our wretchedness because of the fall and our sinfulness. “Man's greatness and wretchedness are so evident that the true religion must necessarily teach us that there is in man some great principle of greatness and some great principle of wretchedness." In the context of surveying human greatness and misery in many dimensions of life, Pascal says: "It is the wretchedness of a great lord, the wretchedness of a dispossessed king."  He further writes: “Know then, proud man, what a paradox you are to yourself. Be humble, impotent reason! Be silent, feeble nature! Learn that man infinitely transcends man, hear from your master your true condition, which is unknown to you. Listen to God.” The biblical account of our creation and fall best fits the facts of human reality. However, we must "listen to God" — that is, attend to what God has spoken in the Bible — to discover this liberating truth. Pascal further counsels us that the biblical account reveals that there is a Redeemer for royal ruins — Himself, a King, who became a man in order to rescue those who are "east of Eden" and standing at the brink of eternity. Pascal says that in Him we find hope for our deposed condition: "Jesus is a God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair." Though we are royal ruins, we can find total forgiveness, redemption, and eternal life through the one who truly understands our condition. (See John 3:16-18; 10:10; and Romans 5:1-8.) For more on Pascal’s thought, see Douglas Groothuis, Beyond the Wager: The Christian Brilliance of Blaise Pascal (InterVarsity—Academic, 2024). Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
The Existential Intimacies of Jazz
April 8, 2024 - 8 min
Jazz, at its best, inducts its own into aesthetic alliances, some long-lasting, others fleeting, but all meaningful. Musician and listener can find fellowship musically. Meaning is experienced when we find something of value, something worthwhile. When two or more agree on meaning—especially in music—the fellow-feeling may run deep and true. The late Pat Martino, jazz guitarist extraordinaire, along with a good friend helped this happen to me in the summer of 2012 in Chicago at The Jazz Showcase. This event is sweetly and securely lodged in my memory and often brings tears to my eyes. Perhaps my short story of his encounter will ring true and trigger a certain grace of understanding and experience. Jazz is, at its best, relational. It moves from person to person, from instrument to ear, and not from product to consumer. Jazz, as one of life’s many gifts, can open doors to a treasury of free and freeing fellowship where art and heart meet and kiss. And I thank my God for it. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
How Jazz Can Shape Our Apologetics
April 1, 2024 - 16 min
Jazz is a national treasure, but is no longer a common pastime. First, rock and then hip-hop eclipsed its popularity long ago. Historian Gerald Early claims that three things uniquely define America: the Constitution, baseball, and jazz. Yet the sale of jazz records accounts for only a small fraction of the music market. The last time I checked, it was 4%. Many of my students at Denver Seminary and at other institutions where I teach know very little about it, and are a bit puzzled if not flummoxed by my references to it. Others claim they “do not understand jazz,” perhaps with a twinge of guilt that they should. Last summer, a very intelligent and godly campus minister and long-time friend attended a jazz concert with me. Afterward, he said, “The music has a center, but I cannot find it.” I humbly or not-so-humbly told him that I had found it and that I loved it. I love it for many reasons. One outstanding reason is that it can help inform and reform our apologetics engagements through its distinctive genius. All that is needed is a bit of transposition from the sensibilities of jazz to the skills of apologetics. . . . Jazz Skills for Apologetics Know the standard arguments in apologetics. See Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, 2nd (InterVarsity, 2022) and Douglas Groothuis and Andrew Shepardson, The Knowledge of God in the World and in the Word (Zondervan, 2022). (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3) Spend time in the woodshed. Study and practice. (2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 5:11-14) Improvise according to your knowledge. (John 15:5) Learn to syncopate, or be creative in apologetics. (Luke 19:1-10; see also Acts 17:16-34) Recommended books William Edgar, A Supreme Love. Robert Gelinas, Finding the Groove. Ted Gioia, The Imperfect Art. Ted Gioia, Douglas Groothuis articles about jazz at AllAboutJazz.com. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
Easter Life and the Facts of History
March 25, 2024 - 9 min
Easter commemorates and celebrates a historical event unlike any other: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  But what is the significance of the resurrection? And how can we know it really happened?   The four Gospels report that Jesus predicted his death, burial, and resurrection. He was born to die. All of his wondrous teachings, healings, exorcisms, and transforming relationships with all manner of people—from fishermen to tax collectors to prostitutes to revolutionaries—would be incomplete without his crucifixion and resurrection. Shortly before his death, “Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priest and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matthew 16:21). Peter resisted this grim fact, but Jesus rebuked him.  There was no other way (vs. 22-23).  For, as Jesus had taught, he “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).  Easter is the core of the Christian faith and life. Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no gospel message, no future hope, and no new life in Christ. With the resurrection, Christianity stands unique in all the world: no other spiritual movement is based on the resurrection of its divine founder. When Jesus announced, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 10:25), he meant it and he demonstrated it.  Let us, then, leave our dead ways and follow him today and into eternity. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
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Meet Your Host
Meet Your Host
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary. He is the author of nineteen books, including Fire in the Streets (a critique of critical race theory or wokeness) and Christian Apologetics, A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith.

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Website: https://www.DouglasGroothuis.com
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