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Truth Tribe with Douglas GroothuisDouglas 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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A Christian Theology of Writing
September 25, 2023 - 25 min
I. Prayer for Those Who Influence Public Opinion (Book of Common Prayer) Almighty God, you proclaim your truth in every age by many voices: Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. II. The Meaning of Logos for Writers (John 1:1-3) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. III. Writing with Integrity A. Luke 1:1-4 B. Ecclesiastes 12:9-10 IV. Risking Failure in Writing Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 V. The Craft of Writing Well A. Need God’s wisdom (James 1:5) B. Don’t add unnecessary words (Ecclesiastes 6:11) C. The need for good editors D. A pleasing style (Philippians 4:8) E. Be clear (1 Corinthians 14:7-9) F. Using one’s imagination to write lively prose (Dorothy Sayers, “The Dogma is the Drama”) Official Christianity, of late years, has been having what is known as “a bad press.” We are constantly assured that the churches are empty because preachers insist too much upon doctrine—“dull dogma,” as people call it. The fact is the precise opposite. It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness. The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—and the dogma is the drama. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
The Hidden Dangers of Carl Jung
September 19, 2023 - 22 min
Several years ago, after giving a message on New Age spirituality at a church in Berkeley, California, I was approached by a distraught middle-aged woman. She asked if I was familiar with Jungian therapy. After I said that I was, she spoke briefly of her mental problems, which were being treated by a Jungian analyst. Looking at me intensely, she asked, “As a Christian, should I be treated by someone like this?” I answered that although Jung provided a few helpful psychological insights, his overall world view was Gnostic and anti-Christian. Therefore, a Jungian analyst would not be able to help her work through her difficulties in accord with her own Christian beliefs. In fact, such a view could do much harm to her soul. Although I am not a trained counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, I did not offer this advice lightly. I warned of the dangers of Jungian analysis not because I reject all psychotherapy as unnecessary or dangerous, as do certain incautious and unsophisticated Christian critics. I accept the legitimacy and importance of integrating a thoroughly Christian world view with psychological insights. However, as a student of new religious movements, I have repeatedly found Carl Jung to be a fountainhead of all manner of spiritual aberrations, whether in non-Christian movements or in Christianity itself. More recently, psychologist and best-selling author, Jordan Peterson, has drawn attention to Jung’s philosophy, which he draws on and uses as a lens to interpret the Bible. Christian counselors and other Christians, however, may be drawn to the fascinating figure of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) for several reasons. Before summarizing some of the hazards of Jung’s thinking, we need to understand something of his strange magnetism… Recommended Reading1. Richard Noll, The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994). Stanton L. Jones and Richard E Butman, Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Approach(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1991). Paul Vitz, Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995). Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary and 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. Find more from Dr. Groothuis at www.DouglasGroothuis.com. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
How Ecclesiastes Saved My Christian Life
September 11, 2023 - 23 min
Ecclesiastes has saved my Christian life too many times to count. In the summer of 1999, this sometimes vexing book—perhaps the black sheep of the Christian canon—was the only book of sacred Scripture that I could stand to read. This is not a testimony to my Christian virtue but to the existential and theological power of this piece of wisdom literature. Ecclesiastes offers us an abundance of topics to consider and verses to ponder. For my purposes, I will ask what Ecclesiastes can teach us about epistemology, which is the study of the nature, means, and scope of knowledge. Link to my original article in Touchstone Magazine: Chasing Wisdom: The True Ways of Knowing in Ecclesiastes Recommended commentary on Ecclesiastes: Jeffrey Meyers, A Table in the Mist (Athanasius Press, 2006). Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
What Is the Sin of Acedia and How Can Christians Combat It?
September 4, 2023 - 31 min
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up - Galatians 6:9. Acedia - the sin of sloth or laziness -- is the enemy of moral achievement and the agent of cultural bone rot. Isaiah exposed this in his day when he lamented, “So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter” (Isaiah 59:14). Secrecy and camouflage accompany its weakening of the conscience and vitiating of the will. Acedia easily becomes a habit of the heart, a way of being that blends in with the moral mediocrity—or even debauchery—of the day. Vice it is, but a crafty one. Monks and nuns of the medieval age understood acedia, both in experience and in concept. They called it “the noonday demon.” Theologians, such as Thomas Aquinas and John Cassian, wrote about it in depth. Yet Christians today hardly mention it or even know its meaning. Scripture condemns laziness, warns of its results, and commends diligence in doing goodness. Many of these anti-indolence texts are proverbs. Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks—Eccles 10:18. One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.—Proverbs 18:9 In a longer proverb, King Solomon tells us to look to the ant for rebuke and exhortation. Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—11 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man (Proverbs 6:6-11). If the lowly ant is industrious in its realm, then how much more should God’s image-bearers get about the work of having dominion over the creation (Genesis 1:26). Jesus, in The Apocalypse, issues these flaming words against laziness: To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 4:14-16). Jesus, whose ardor led him to the Cross to please God and redeem God’s people, does not tolerate tepid religion. He did not take up and go to the Cross to make us comfortable in our conformity to custom and convenience. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
Books and Authors Who Influenced Me, Part 2
August 28, 2023 - 20 min
Last week I went through ten authors and a number of books that have shaped my life and thinking. I include the full list below. This quote from Neil Postman highlights the significance of reading. One must begin, I think, by pointing to the obvious fact that the written word, and an oratory based upon it, has a content: a semantic, paraphrasable, propositional content. This may sound odd, but since I shall be arguing soon enough that much of our discourse today has only a marginal propositional content, I must stress the point here. Whenever language is the principal medium of communication—especially language controlled by the rigors of print—an idea, a fact, a claim is the inevitable result. The idea may be banal, the fact irrelevant, the claim false, but there is no escape from meaning when language is the instrument guiding one’s thought. Though one may accomplish it from time to time, it is very hard to say nothing when employing a written English sentence. What else is exposition good for? Words have very little to recommend them except as carriers of meaning. The shapes of written words are not especially interesting to look at. Even the sounds of sentences of spoken words are rarely engaging except when composed by those with extraordinary poetic gifts. If a sentence refuses to issue forth a fact, a request, a question, an assertion, an explanation, it is nonsense, a mere grammatical shell. As a consequence a language-centered discourse such as was characteristic of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America tends to be both content-laden and serious, all the more so when it takes its form from print. [Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (pp. 49-50). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.] Books and Authors W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy and The Pursuit of God. Blaise Pascal, Pensées, many editions. I prefer the Penguin ed. See also the collection The Mind on Fire. Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, 6 vols. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Abolition of Man, Miracles, God in the Dock, Screwtape Letters. Francis Schaeffer, all of his books, but especially The God Who is There, He is there and He is not Silent, How Should We Then Live?, True Spirituality, and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Harold Netland, Dissonant Voices and Encountering Religious Pluralism Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind. I. Packer, Knowing God and Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City and Love Your God With All Your Mind. James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalogue, Habits of the Mind, and Scripture Twisting: Twenty Ways Cults Misinterpret the Bible. John Calvin, The Institutes. John Stott, The Cross of Christ and Basic Christianity. Ken Myers, All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death, Technopoly, and The End of Education. Os Guinness, The Dust of Death, God in the Dark, Prophetic Untimeliness, A Time for Truth, The Call, and all the rest. J. Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, The Messianic Character of American Education, This Independent Republic, The Nature of the American System, The Politics of Guilt and Pity, and many more. Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Women Caught in the Conflict and Good News for Women. Richard John Neuhaus, The Naked Public Square. Augustine, The Confessions. Thomas Sowell, The Politics and Economics of Race and A Conflict of Visions. Walter Martin, Kingdom of the Cults. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
Books and Authors Who Influenced Me, Part I
August 21, 2023 - 30 min
W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy and The Pursuit of God. Blaise Pascal, Pensées, many editions. I prefer the Penguin ed. See also the collection The Mind on Fire. Carl Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, 6 vols., Confessions of a Theologian. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Abolition of Man, Miracles, God in the Dock, Screwtape Letters. Francis Schaeffer, all of his books, but especially The God Who is There, He is there and He is not Silent, How Should We Then Live?, True Spirituality, and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Harold Netland, Dissonant Voices, Encountering Religious Pluralism, Christianity and Religious Diversity. Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind. I. Packer, Knowing God and Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City and Love Your God With All Your Mind. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
Why Christians Should Be Conservatives and Conservatives Should Be Christians
August 14, 2023 - 42 min
Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America. I. What is Christianity? A. Ultimate reality: an infinite-personal, triune, eternal God (Exodus 3:16) B. The universe is created by God out of nothing (Genesis 1; John 1) C. Humans made in God’s image, but fallen (Genesis 1-3) Have unique and incomparable value in God’s world; basis for objective human rights (Genesis 1:26; Psalm 8) Need redemption from a source beyond and above them (Romans 1-8) D. God has revealed himself in nature, Scripture, and Christ so that we might be redeemed, honor God, and be salt and light in the world (Romans 1:18-21; Hebrews 1:1-4) E. State and society are not identical (Matthew 22:16-23) F. Civil government is ordained by God, but not the ultimate authority State has “the power of the sword” (Romans 13:1-7) The danger of the sword (1 Samuel 8: Ezekiel 28:1-10; ; Isaiah 14:1-12; Revelation 13) G. The Kingdom of God is not fully realized through politics or human efforts and achievements II. What is Conservatism? A. Key figures: Edmund Burke, John Locke, Founding Fathers, Federalist Papers, F. Hayek, Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, Richard Weaver, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Roger Scruton, Thomas Sowell B. Adopts the constrained vision of man not an unconstrained vision (Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions) American Revolution: inspired by theism through John Locke, Samuel Rutherford (Lex Rex) and others. Constrained vision French revolution: inspired by Rousseau; irreligious and totalitarian. Unconstrained vision. C. Conservativism denies utopianism; the state cannot regenerate human beings or create a perfect world. See Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed D. Advances human rights as extended to property rights, which curtain the incursions of the state into private matters E. Advocates a limited state as one form of government that does not have jurisdiction to regular, control, and tax everything F. State as insuring natural negative rights: not be murdered or plundered G. Separation of powers as a safeguard against the consolidation of power Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely—Lord Acton. H. The state is under a higher authority and may lose its legitimation Declaration of Independence When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. American Constitution: First amendment as restraining state power Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Teaches the rule of law, not the whim of man; Democratic Republic (under a Constitution), not democracy or democratic socialism Free market is the best engine of wealth, best antidote to poverty, and gives freedom to individuals (Jeremiah 29:7) III. Conservatism and Christianity A. Christianity gives the best philosophical foundation for Conservatism Authority of God over the state (and all else); basis for a limited state Religious perspective (prophetic) can call the state to account for its abuses. Martin Luther King, “I Have a Dream” The greatness and limits of human beings: the constrained vision Human rights based on humans bearing the image of God (Genesis 1:26) Humans cannot be saved or redeemed through politics. Christians are given liberty in their salvation and through the wisdom and power of Holy Spirit; they must not worship the state, mak
Why You Should Celebrate the Hollywood Strike
August 7, 2023 - 31 min
Given the strike of Hollywood actors and writers, it is an apt time to reflect on our use of media and entertainment. A quote from Neil Postman’s class book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, can guide us. "Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death." [Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death (pp. 3-4). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.] We may want to pull away from entertainment, especially focusing on the moving image, and immerse ourselves in reading unelectrified books in pursuit of a more Christian mind and way of taking in the world. As Paul exhorts us: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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." (Romans 12:1-2). Consider the biblical warnings about images, as discussed by Postman. "In studying the Bible as a young man, I found intimations of the idea that forms of media favor particular kinds of content and therefore are capable of taking command of a culture. I refer specifically to the Decalogue [Exodus 20:1-18], the Second Commandment of which prohibits the Israelites from making concrete images of anything. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water beneath the earth.” I wondered then, as so many others have, as to why the God of these people would have included instructions on how they were to symbolize, or not symbolize, their experience. It is a strange injunction to include as part of an ethical system unless its author assumed a connection between forms of human communication and the quality of a culture. We may hazard a guess that a people who are being asked to embrace an abstract, universal deity would be rendered unfit to do so by the habit of drawing pictures or making statues or depicting their ideas in any concrete, iconographic forms. The God of the Jews was to exist in the Word and through the Word, an unprecedented conception requiring the highest order of abstract thinking. Iconography thus became blasphemy so that a new kind of God could enter a culture. People like ourselves who are in the process of converting their culture from word-centered to image-centered might profit by reflecting on this Mosaic injunction. But even if I am wrong in these conjectures, it is, I believe, a wise and particularly relevant supposition that the media of communication available to a culture are a dominant influence on the formation of the culture’s intellectual and social preoccupations." [Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death (p. 9). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.] Recommended reading1. Douglas Groothuis, “Television: Agent of Truth Decay,” Truth Decay (InterVarsity, 2000).2. Jacques Ellul, The Humiliation of the Word (Eerdmans, 1985).3. Herman Melville, Moby Dick.4. Kenneth Myers, All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture (Crossway, 1989).5. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death (Penguin, 1985)6. Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There (InterVarsity, 1968). Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary and 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. Find more from Dr. Groothuis at www.DouglasGroothuis.com. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
Six Enemies of Apologetic Engagement
July 24, 2023 - 20 min
The evangelical world today suffers from apologetic anemia. Despite the fact that holy Scripture calls believers to give a reason for the hope we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15; see also Jude 3), we sadly lack a public voice for truth and reason in the marketplace of ideas. We do not have a strong intellectual presence in popular or academic culture (although some areas, such as philosophy, are more influenced by evangelicals than others). The reasons for this anemia are multidimensional and complex. These are the six enemies, which the podcast addressed biblically. Indifference Irrationalism Ignorance Cowardice Arrogance or intellectual vanity Superficial techniques Recommended Reading Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, 2nd (InterVarsity-Academic, 2022). Douglas Groothuis web page: DouglasGroothuis.com Os Guinness, Fit Bodies, Fat Minds (Baker, 1994). Alan Jacobs, How to Think (Currency, 2017). P. Moreland, Love Your God with All Your Mind, 2nd ed. (NavPress, 1997; 2013). Both editions are worth having, since the second edition left out good material contained in the first. Mark Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Eerdmans, 1994). John Piper, Think (Crossway, 2010). Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary and 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. Find more from Dr. Groothuis at www.DouglasGroothuis.com. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
A Cheat Sheet on Conservatives and Liberals on Values and Issues
July 17, 2023 - 10 min
The following is not meant as a nuanced treatment of the subject. Notice the title "Cheat Sheet." I originally wrote it for a friend who is just getting interested in politics. So, please don't howl in disgust that I misstated your liberal or conservative view. This charts the territory from a pretty high level of abstraction and in light of recent developments in liberal or leftist thinking. A. Preserve vs Transform Conservatives want to preserve American ideals found in the Declaration and the Constitution. Liberals want to “fundamentally transform America” (Barack Obama) through politics. They will subvert the principles of the American system to attain their ends. B. Basically Good vs Deeply Flawed Conservatives believe that America is flawed, but basically good, and self-reforming. Abraham Lincoln: America is “the almost chosen nation.” Conservatives are not afraid of American exceptionalism or putting their national interest ahead of other nations. As such, they are patriotic. Liberals believe America is deeply flawed and must be discredited and transformed since its origins lie in black slavery and other evils. Appeals to patriotism are typically taken as jingoism and noxious nationalism. Discover more Christian podcasts at lifeaudio.com and inquire about advertising opportunities at lifeaudio.com/contact-us.
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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