Make Christianity Weak Again – Toward a Biblical Worldview of Political Involvement

I examine biblical data on the origin and purpose of government and contrast it with the traditional right and left wing outlooks as classically formulated by Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine and carried on to this day, arguing that there is some validity in both approaches, but that the biblical worldview differs in some significant respects. I ultimately seize on the idea that Christians should prefer to live in something more akin to a libertarian society.

The histories of the Christian left and right are also briefly discussed.

Audio:
http://www.cantus-firmus.com/Audio/20170307MakeChristianityWeakAgain.mp3

Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjKyh-oyxeQ

For Three Redactions, Even for Four — Amos and the Documentary Hypothesis

As an addendum to the previous podcast discussing the Documentary Hypothesis and the Pentateuch,  I recorded this brief excursus on the book of Amos to see how the Documentary Hypothesis shapes how critical scholars read it and imagine how it might have evolved over time through various redactions. Included is some discussion on the circularity of such proposals.

 

Podcast link:
http://www.cantus-firmus.com/Audio/20161123-DocumentaryHypothesisandAmos.mp3

Music:
“The Itis” by Polyrhythmics. Licensed under CC BY 3.0
http://www.needledrop.co/wp/artists/polyrhythmics/

A Priest and a Deuteronomist Walk Into a Bar – the Documentary Hypothesis

We examine the Documentary Hypothesis of the Pentateuch–the idea that the first five books of the Bible did not originate with Moses but were originally at least four distinct written sources edited together by a later redactor. We also highlight the problems with this view. My co-host was Jackson Ferrell who can be found (among other places) at https://chocolatebook.wordpress.com/ and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCApG0JBkT6PzJEWLMZ0IZOw

Podcast link:
http://www.cantus-firmus.com/Audio/20161017-DocumentaryHypothesis.mp3

Music:
“The Itis” by Polyrhythmics. Licensed under CC BY 3.0
http://www.needledrop.co/wp/artists/polyrhythmics/

The Transcendence Argument – The Self-Disclosure of the God of Israel

Piggybacking on the ideas of Yehezkel Kaufmann and John Oswalt, this argument builds on the uniqueness of the ancient Israelite claims about the divine to show that such a perspective could only have come about through divine revelation. My co-host was Jackson Ferrell who can be found (among other places) at https://chocolatebook.wordpress.com/ and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCApG0JBkT6PzJEWLMZ0IZOw

Podcast link:
http://www.cantus-firmus.com/Audio/20160919-TranscendenceArgument.mp3

Resources mentioned:
Yehezkel Kaufmann’s The Religion of Israel:
https://www.amazon.com/Religion-Israel-Beginnings-Babylonian-Exile/dp/0805203648/

John Oswalt’s The Bible Among the Myths:
https://www.amazon.com/Bible-among-Myths-Revelation-Literature/dp/0310285097/

John D. Currid’s Against the Gods:
https://www.amazon.com/Against-Gods-Polemical-Theology-Testament/dp/1433531836/

Tom Gilson’s counter-argument to the Jesus legend theory:
https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2014/05/the-story-of-jesus-is-unimaginably-great-therefore-its-true/

Interview with Dr. Bill Ury – Social Trinitarianism

Dr. Bill Ury

This podcast features an interview with Dr. Bill Ury. Dr. Ury received his doctorate from Drew Univeristy and is an adjunct professor at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. The topic of discussion was Social Trinitarianism– the view that God ought to be thought of primarily in His relational threeness as opposed to a more static oneness. One insight of this view is that personhood as modeled upon the Trinity is necessarily relational– that if we are made in the image of God, then, like God, we cannot be persons without being in relationship to other persons. He also pointed out how this perspective shapes our view of God, the church, sovereignty, and ethics, particularly in contrast with other perspectives on the Trinity.

link:
http://cantus-firmus.com/Audio/20141117-UryInterview.mp3

Additional Resources:

Trinitarian Personhood by William (Bill) Ury

The Trinitarian Faith by Thomas Torrance

Let’s Start with Jesus by Dennis F. Kinlaw

Can Christians Own Possessions and Still Love the Poor?

In reflecting on my recent debate regarding who had the better moral philosophy, Jesus or Ayn Rand, I thought about a question my debate opponent Ben asked me that I didn’t give a very good answer to. The question had to do with my claim that all humans were equally valuable because we are made in the image of God. If this is so, Ben reasoned, shouldn’t Christians only keep as much money, and own as much possessions, as needed to survive and give everything else up to the poor? I thought it was a fair question, and I wanted to provide a thoughtful response.

link:
http://www.cantus-firmus.com/Audio/20141010CanChristiansOwnPossessions.mp3

Who Had the Better Moral Philosophy: Jesus or Ayn Rand?

This is a debate I took part in with an Objectivist named Ben Doublett. I emphasized the relational nature of humanity since we are made in the image of God as well as the fact that Christian morality is rewarding and doesn’t require sacrifice for no good reason. I also tried to bring out the arbitrariness of self-interest as the primary moral motivator and the lack of grounding for objective morality on Rand’s view. Great debate!

link:
http://www.cantus-firmus.com/Audio/BenDoublettVsCodyCook-JesusOrAynRandMorality.mp3

An Interview With Jehovah’s Witnesses Part 2

I had the opportunity of interviewing an older Jehovah’s Witness couple regarding some of the central JW teachings. They were both quite knowledgeable and the husband had even worked for the headquarters in Brooklyn at one time. They were also very friendly, as is evidenced by their willingness to dialogue with me. I posted this interview in hopes that they might be instructive for those who are curious about what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe and the arguments they are likely to use in dialogue with Christians. Topics that came up during this discussion include the deity of Jesus, the 144,000, and the trustworthiness of the JW’s New World Translation.

link:
http://www.cantus-firmus.com/Audio/CantusFirmus-Conversation-with-JWs-Part2.mp3