Seminary Dropout 69: Mike Bird, Co-Author of ‘How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature’

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My guest today is Mike Bird. Dr. Bird is Lecturer in Theology at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia, and author of ‘The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus’, and more recently was a contributing author of the book we’ll be discussing, ‘How God Became Jesus’.

In his recent book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee historian Bart Ehrman explores a claim that resides at the heart of the Christian faith— that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. According to Ehrman, though, this is not what the earliest disciples believed, nor what Jesus claimed about himself.

The first response book to this latest challenge to Christianity from Ehrman, How God Became Jesus features the work of five internationally recognized biblical scholars. While subjecting his claims to critical scrutiny, they offer a better, historically informed account of why the Galilean preacher from Nazareth came to be hailed as “the Lord Jesus Christ.” Namely, they contend, the exalted place of Jesus in belief and worship is clearly evident in the earliest Christian sources, shortly following his death, and was not simply the invention of the church centuries later. -From the Publisher.


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Seminary Dropout 68: Jordan Seng, Author of ‘Miracle Work: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Supernatural Ministries

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Joining me on the show today is Jordan Seng. Jordan is pastor of Bluewater Mission in Honolulu, Hawaii, and a speaker on issues related to healing & prophetic ministry, church planting and missions, worship, and small groups.

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Jordan’s book is ‘Miracle Work: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Supernatural Ministries.

From the interview:

  • How did you come to experience supernatural ministries in your life?
    It happened frequently in college. The real story is this. I grew up as a believer not in a believing family, not in a church going family. I actually had some babysitter introduce me to Lord, when I was quite small and my family moved around a ton when I was a kid. We were actually running from the law and hiding under assumed names which is another story. But one thing was I didn’t get much church community and church acculturation. My view of collective Christianity came just from reading bible stories. So when Jesus called his followers, as I saw his helpers to do ministry, it always had a huge supernatural component preaching that the kingdom of God is here. In other words they should make stuff happen, and then heal the sick, heal the blind, cast out demons. I just thought that was the way it worked. So, I was open to supernatural experiences from a very young age, and had some from a very young age. I also assumed God speaks directly to his followers, and so I began having dreams and listening in my little prayers. And then, when I got to college that was the first time I really got the privilege of having fellowship in any way. I eventually stumbled into church that was doing some supernatural ministry.

 

  • Why is it not that we can’t YouTube miracles and see somebody genuinely healed or start walking or something like that? Why don’t we see it where we are today?
    Christian history so thoroughly peppered with miracle stories. So that was a tension for me. It doesn’t seem that the people around me are doing this stuff, but everything I read tells me how important it is. So what’s the deal? Why miracles are seen plentiful in history and but not plentiful in places that I frequent. That was actually an important question for me when I started learning about supernatural ministries. What I discovered and is my take on it, is that supernatural ministry is hard to deal with. It takes sacrifice, it takes commitment in a way natural ministries do not. So what we see in church history breakout and miracle seasons or sometime you see as revivals and then fade out. Miracles have never been absent from the church. But they have never been universal among churches either and has always been a little bit here, a little then, a little now and my explanation of the variability has to do with the effort required not only just to get into supernatural ministry but to sustain it over time. I call it miracle work because it turns out the miracles actually take work. But you want people to invest sacrificially and tell them to be supernatural people, which is really unpopular today. What we like is very reasonable spirituality that is not too humiliating. Miracles have never been absent and I think a person is dedicated to searching out supernatural Christians, will always find them. And in fact if you google, YouTube miracles you can find videos of people getting healed. Somebody send me a YouTube link from ministers that I trust and they are to be trust worthy.

 

  • If you Wikipedia ‘Ouija Board’ those things have been tested out in scientific laboratories. Why has the scientific community not investigated prayer and healing?
    What I find is that a scientific community occasionally investigates but not very well. The example a lot people know about is has to do with efficacy of prayer for hospital patients. There is a new study. Which uses a double blind study, where a hospital patients are selected to be prayed for. And you have prayer groups that pray for them anonymously. The scientific investigators investigate outcomes if prayers has improved human health, and actually the result of the studies are very impressive to neutral. My gripe with those studies is that they are not actually measuring supernatural study as Jesus demonstrated or taught. There is no quality control on people trained. The law of faith plays the large part in the success of miracles, we see that in Jesus stories. Faith moments count.

 

  • What does participating in supernatural ministries do in the life of a believer?
    Sometime people who chase super natural experience can get wrapped up in emotionalism but people who do super natural ministry they try to use supernatural power to help other people, to heal people, to free people from other demonic depression. 
    Supernatural Christians are world changers and if you don’t teach people and demonstrate they can do the impossible they will be hesitant.

 

  • “Faith makes miracles more likely. Faith is environmental. Testimony is great way to increase faith and built the sense of expectation and to change the impossible into the possible. Faith is extremely powerful. “

 

  • “One of the thing we need to recognize about the universe is that God partners with us to get things done. This is just a key principle of reality in kingdom of God, and we understand that about all ministries we consider normal.”

 

  • “To do supernatural ministry is other worldly. We have to come up against a lot of friction to do it, we become very odd people. Supernatural power within us tends to be sacrificial and it also requires a lot from our life to do it powerfully and to sustain it for a long period of time.”

 

  • If someones doesn’t have a background doing supernatural ministry where can they start?
    There are so many resources available. Tons of online resources. What I would encourage you do to more than anything is to TRY. One practical bit of advice to churches to groups of people, I will encourage you start small until you get testimonies. So you have a small group that does healing ministry. And once they get healing stories then you can do a congregational service. Start small, get a few stories and then go big.

 


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Seminary Dropout 67: Jesse Carey of Relevant Magazine & Podcast

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If you’ve read Relevant Magazine you’ve probably read something written by Jesse Carey and if you’ve listened to the Relevant Podcast you’ve laughed out loud at something he’s said.

Jesse joins me to talk about said magazine and podcast, also journalism, and being star struck when he met Lebowski himself, Jeff Bridges.

 


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Seminary Dropout 66: Austin Channing Brown, Exploring Civil Rights Sites, Sacrificing a Dream Home, & the Role of the Church

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My guest today is Austin Channing Brown. Austin collaborates with various Christian ministries who are moving forward a vision of racial reconciliation and socioeconomic understanding. She also works as a Resident Director and Multicultural Liaison for Calvin College. Whether speaking, training, facilitating dialogue or planning strategies, Austin loves the messy work of reconciliation.

You can find Austin’s blog at austinchanning.com.


 

 

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The folks over at Logos Bible Software asked me to review their new Logos 6 software, so here it goes:

Some of you may be aware of Logos Bible software. Logos has recently come out with Logos 6. The folks at Logos gave me a copy of Logos 6 and asked me to review it, and here is that review.

The word that comes to mind when I play around in Logos 6 is ‘exhaustive’. You can use this software for the rest of your life with no updates and still never get through all of the content. This is essentially a biblical studies doctorate in a box.

If you’re a pastor or someone who gives sermons fairly regularly then this is a no brainer, you absolutely have to get this program. If you’re a seminary student or even someone who just wants to study the bible more in depth then I can’t think of a single better tool to invest in.

Just to run through a few features of Logos 6; it’s got interactive maps -there’s this amazing tool where you can see a picture of a present day sight of a biblical landmark, then you can swipe over that picture to reveal a rendering of what that landmark looked like in biblical times, there are tons and tons of language tools in Logos 6, even if you’ve studied ancient Greek & Hebrew you probably don’t speak it fluently, you probably can’t look at a any random work in the text and translate it with all of the subtleties and nuances, but Logos 6 can! Logos 6 also contains other texts besides the bible such as extra biblical texts, commentaries, and words from important historical figures within Christianity. There are even graphics for sermon notes, and they look good!
Logos 6 has several different versions. There’s a standard version and versions specific to different faith traditions including Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentacostal & Charismatic, Reformed, and Seventh Day Adventist. Beyond that there are packages of all different prices to meet anyones needs and budget.

Some might be intimidated at the price of some of the advanced versions, but when you calculate the virtual library of information you’re getting, the cost is well worth it, and if those versions are just too much for you (information or cost), then the basic version is affordable and you can upgrade at any time.

If you purchase and use the code: BLACKSHEAR6 at checkout you’ll get 15% off and a portion of your purchase will go to support Seminary Dropout. 

Go to logos.com/blackshear for more info or to purchase.


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Seminary Dropout 65: Josh Butler, Author of ‘Skeletons in God’s Closet’

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Josh Butler is a pastor at Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon.  He oversees the church’s city ministries in areas like foster care, human traffichikng, and homelessness; and develops international partnerships in areas like clean water, HIV-support, and church planting. Butler is also a worhsip leader who enjoys writing music for the life of the church.

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Is God a sadistic torturer? Coldhearted Judge? Genocidal Maniac?

‘The Skeletons in God’s Closet’ debunks society’s caricatures of God.


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Seminary Dropout 64: Karen Swallow Prior, Author of Fierce Convictions

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Karen Swallow Prior is a Professor of English at Liberty University inLynchburg, Virginia.

She is a contributing writer for Christianity Today, The Atlantic, In Touch, and Think Christian. Her writing has also appeared at Comment, Relevant, Books and Culture, Fieldnotes, The Well, and Salvo. She has spoken at numerous writing conferences including the Festival of Faith and Writing and the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference.

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Dr. Prior’s latest book is Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More – Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist.

The enthralling biography of the woman writer who helped end the slave trade, changed Britain’s upper classes, and taught a nation how to read.

The history-changing reforms of Hannah More affected every level of 18th-Century British society through her keen intellect, literary achievements, collaborative spirit, strong Christian principles, and colorful personality. A woman without connections or status, More took the world of British letters by storm when she arrived in London from Bristol, becoming a best-selling author and acclaimed playwright and quickly befriending the author Samuel Johnson, the politician Horace Walpole, and the actor David Garrick. Yet she was also a leader in the Evangelical movement, using her cultural position and her pen to support the growth of education for the poor, the reform of morals and manners, and the abolition of Britain’s slave trade.

Fierce Convictions weaves together world and personal history into a stirring story of life that intersected with Wesley and Whitefield’s Great Awakening, the rise and influence of Evangelicalism, and convulsive effects of the French Revolution. A woman of exceptional intellectual gifts and literary talent, Hannah More was above all a person whose faith compelled her both to engage her culture and to transform it. -From the Publisher

 


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Thanks to Derek-Brent, Izzy Cool, & V.Vulpes for leaving ratings & reviews on iTunes recently!

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Seminary Dropout 63: Arleen Spenceley, Author of ‘Chastity is for Lovers’

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Arleen Spenceley joins me on the show with a better way to talk about sex, singleness, and chastity.

Arleen has a master’s degree in rehabilitation and mental health counseling from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the same university.

On her blog arleenspenceley.com you’ll find posts designed to encourage critical thought about relationships and sex; to encourage readers who practice chastity; to provide insight into an alternative way of life for the readers who don’t; and to explore how American culture impacts Christianity.

 

Arleen is the author of Chastity is For Lovers

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Seminary Dropout 62: Kyle Canty on Privilege, Ferguson, and History

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Kyle Canty is a married father of three. He works for Lifeway as the P2 Missions and World Changers City Representative for Philadelphia. He is also an assistant pastor at Great Commission Church located in Philadelphia. He holds a B.S. (Bible) and M.S. (Christian Counseling) Degrees from Cairn University and an MDiv (Urban Studies) from Biblical Theological Seminary (Hatfield, PA) and is currently working on an DMin degree in Urban Missiology at Biblical Theological Seminary (Hatfield, PA). As an aspiring blogger he looks forward to writing more around the intersection of Christian theology, African American History and the marginalized. His blog The Rooftop can be found at thecityrooftop.com or follow him on twitter at @kcanman.

Kyle’s post on Christianity Today: Christ is the Answer to Our Race Problem


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Seminary Dropout 61: Carl Medearis on Israel, Isis and Tea with Hezbollah

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carl-medearisCarl Medearis is an international expert in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations.

He acts as a catalyst for a number of current movements in the Middle East to promote peace-making, as well as cultural, political and religious dialog leading toward reconciliation. He is the author of the acclaimed book on these issues, Muslims, Christians and Jesus.

Carl, his wife Chris, and three kids lived in Beirut, Lebanon for 12 years. Through their unique and strategic approach around the Arab world, they encouraged university students, business professionals and political leaders to live their lives by the principles and teachings of Jesus in order to change their societies and nations.

Today Carl spends much of his time working with leaders both in the West and in the Arab world with the hope of seeing the Arab Middle East and the West experience full and fruitful relationships through the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

 


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Seminary Dropout 60: Shauna Niequist

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Maybe you know Shauna Niequist from one of her many books or maybe you know her from the Relevant Podcast. Shauna has been writing for awhile about faith, food, and life. We talk about all of this plus her upcoming book and more.


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