Purifying the Well: Podcasts

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Good stuff in, (more) good stuff out

Last week I wrote of my past misguided attempts to control my tongue and suggested a better (far more biblical) strategy—purify the heart that the tongue may be unleashed rather than censored.

One stream of input of which I’ve made a significant amount of use is podcasting. Below is my annotated podcastography listing some of my current favourites.

Obligatory disclaimer: There are very few podcasts to which I offer wholesale agreement (this would be the same with any medium). However, a mature believer should be able to glean from others believers, engage their ideologies and theologies, and be challenged by the greater community of the body of Christ.

Annotated podcastography

9:31 Growing the Church in Canada. “A podcast about church revitalization [exploring] strategic topics related to church revitalization.”

Practical and ministry oriented. It also doesn’t hurt that they are Canadian conversations, so it hits close to home.

Ask Pastor John. “Daily audio clips of John Piper answering tough theological and pastoral questions.”

Easy listening and, once in a while, the questions dealt with are interesting and most are not uncommon in Christian circles. Obviously, with Piper, he answers from a heavily reformed and calvinistic perspective.

Bible Q&A with John MacArthur. “The program seeks to answer an intriguing listener prompted question on the Bible … .”

It’s less than two minutes long. I mean, even if you don’t come from the exact same theological perspective as J-Mac, who can’t spare 120-seconds to hear biblically saturated responses to common questions?!

Churchman. “… a monthly publication featuring interviews with pastors, for pastors. We discuss current theological issues and challenges facing local church ministry.”

This is probably the podcast I most anticipate each week. Great content, great conversation, solid theologians rooted in sound ecclesiology. I wish it was a more popular recording than some of the others on this list.

Christianese. “This is the show were two Christians and an agnostic expose hypocrisy, search for meaning and talk about life.”

This show takes itself a little too seriously at times, but the production quality is something I enjoy. It’s an easy-listen on the treadmill or somewhere else that doesn’t require my full attention.

Culture Matters. “Matters of culture should matter to us—because they matter to God. … Looking at everything from politics, art, and entertainment to issues such as racial reconciliation and the sanctity of human life, we discuss what it looks like to live faithfully on mission—in the world but not of the world.”

A resource from the Village Church in Texas that occasionally provides interesting conversation.

DTS Chapel Podcast. “DTS invites speakers from around the world to minister to students, faculty, staff, and friends.”

Typically these sermons are biblical and the speakers are polished. Well worth the occasional listen.

Expositor Podcast. “Expositor, hosted by Dr. Steven J. Lawson, provides an informal look into the life and ministry of the expositor.”

Short episodes covering different elements of sermon development, preparation, and delivery given by an experienced preacher who’s ministry centres around homiletics. Nothing really to lose on this one although to anyone who has done a lot of thinking about hermeneutics and homiletics, many of the episodes may simply be decent reminders. But, hey, nothing wrong with that.

Extremities. “Why and how people live in earth's most isolated and extreme settlements.”

This isn’t a Christian podcast at all, but I find it interesting and well-produced. Season one was all about the tiny island of Pitcairn.

For the Church. “Hosted by Jared Wilson … . Another resource for the Church from Midwestern Seminary.”

Discussions and interviews regarding ministry, Christianity, culture, and seminary life. Rarely do I find these in the “can’t miss” category, but they are consistently harmless and regularly encouraging.

Grace Immanuel Bible Church. “Equipping the saints for the work of ministry.”

This is the sermon podcast of GIBC in Jupiter, Florida and the only pulpit to which I regularly listen. The church itself houses the Expositors Seminary and, thus, the preachers are always high quality with the best being their Senior Pastor, Jerry Wragg.

Grace in Focus. “Bob Wilkin and Shawn Lazar discuss the promise of everlasting life to all who simply believe in Jesus for it, and the related yet distinct message that all who faithfully follow Christ will receive eternal rewards.”

Theological conversations from an unapologetically dispensational and free-grace perspective—two things that are regrettably hard to come by these days and that the online world needs far more of in order to combat the flood of reformed and lordship perspectives.

LifeTrac with Chuck Swindoll. “… five-minute programs featuring Chuck Swindoll's best stories. You'll hear his loudest laughs, his funniest experiences, and his famous catch phrases.”

Short and fun. Laughter and theology are not mutually exclusive!

Insight for Living. “Join the millions who listen to the lively messages of Chuck Swindoll, a down-to-earth pastor who communicates God’s truth in understandable and practical terms—with a good dose of humor thrown in. Chuck’s messages help you apply the Bible to your own life.”

The above is a great description. Usually a broadcast is a third of a sermon Chuck delivered at Stonebriar Community Church. He’s solid, biblical, and edifying.

Knowing Faith. “Knowing Faith is a podcast exploring how our faith is founded upon Scripture. Hosted by Jen Wilkin, JT English and Kyle Worley, this podcast dives into Christian story, belief and practice in a way that is accessible to everyone.”

Another resource from the Village Church in Texas. Once in a while there are some good conversations on this feed. I find myself often wishing that Wilkin would talk more than she does.

Lead On. “Dr. Jeff Lorg discusses leadership, calling, and ministry.”

The only leadership podcast I’ve found helpful and thought-provoking, probably because it doesn’t feel often like a leadership podcast! Instead, issues of theology and ministry are usually tackled.

Mortification of Spin. “Mortification of Spin is a weekly casual conversation about things that count. Join this engaging and thought-provoking conversation on the challenges the Church faces and what counts in the Christian life. Served up with a healthy dose of germane cultural references.”

From a Presbyterian perspective. I find the hosts entertaining, their guests interesting, and their conversation edifying. It never hurts (for me, at least) that it’s produced well also!

Open Book. “Books by R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur have had a profound impact on so many people. But which books influenced their lives and ministries? Listen each week as we hear about the books that shaped their thinking.”

It’s an interesting concept for a podcast and I’ve found some great book recommendations through its conversations. I look forward to forthcoming seasons and new theologians being interviewed.

The On Preaching Podcast. “This is a place where we can sit together and talk about the important, nature, and practice of faithful, Christ-centered, biblical preaching.”

H. B. Charles Jr. discusses issues related to the preaching of God’s Word. Easy listening, practical, and occasionally helpful.

Pastor Well. “Conversations with prominent pastors, teachers, and leaders sharing key insights on their experience in faithful ministry.”

Interviews and discussions led by Hershael York (SBTS). Another easy-listening podcast I regularly enjoy while doing things like walking to work or cutting the grass.

Pastor Writer. “… a series of conversations and reflections on the Christian life through reading and writing.”

Occasionally provides interesting interviews that give a behind-the-scenes peek into the publishing process. I’ve never published anything (nor do I suppose I will), but as someone who enjoys books, this is a bit of a “how the sausage is made” peek behind the scenes.

Pastors’ Talk. “… a weekly conversation between Jonathan Leeman and Mark Dever about practical aspects of the Christian life and pastoral ministry.”

Decent time-filler from a calvinistic, baptistic, lordship perspective.

Preaching and Preachers. “A podcast hosted by Midwestern Seminary President Dr. Jason K. Allen.”

Discussions on all things preaching.

Preaching Source. “… weekly conversations on relevant issues in preaching from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.”

Discussions on all things preaching with mostly baptist preachers and homileticians.

Randy White Ministries. “… home to those who want to learn the Word of God verse by verse through Randy White's exegetical style of preaching.”

Lots of content from a dispensational, fundamentalist point of view. RW is hardcore blazing his own trail, challenging the common narrative in evangelicalism, and, if nothing else, he’s biblical and often fun to listen to! His zeal is if nothing else entertaining.

Renovation Podcast. “Dr. Christopher Cone and John Oglesby explore practical aspects of the Christian life – wrestling with tough theological issues and talking about why the questions and answers are relevant.”

Cone is one of my current favourite authors/theologians. Very biblical and committed to a more revised dispensationalism, he’s also thoughtful and articulate. Some of the conversations seem to be targeted at a younger audience, but they’re typically beneficial.

Soteriology 101. “Discussing the Biblical Doctrine of Salvation. … Other topics to include: Predestination, Election, Depravity, Atonement, Once saved always saved, and much more.”

A full-frontal attack on calvinistic soteriology and its leading proponents. A much-needed articulated alternative even if the conclusions aren’t shared by the audience.

Simply Put. “This is a weekly podcast to help you build your Christian vocabulary, one word at a time. Each week, we explain a different theological term in clear, concise language and share stories and illustrations that apply it to your life.”

Well-produced, good quality, and easy listening. Perhaps one to recommend to new believers (although from a reformed perspective).

The Babylon Bee. “This is the official, authoritative, inspired podcast of the Babylon Bee … America's most trusted source for Christian news satire.”

Just for fun!

The Briefing. “… a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.”

Al Mohler (SBTS) holds the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other, dissecting current events through a theologically conservative lens.

The Table Podcast. “… hosted by Darrell Bock, Executive Director for Cultural Engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary and features weekly guests on a variety of topics.”

I’d say one-in-four episodes provide an interesting guest, topic, or both. Well, maybe every-other. I don’t know. But it’s one to keep your eye on and download the ones that peek your interest.

Thinking in Public. “… a series of conversations with the day’s leading thinkers.”

Al Mohler, again, but this time interviewing authors and popular thinkers. There are times the discussions are surrounding themes and books I would never even be interested in picking up myself, but to hear two intelligent people talk about weighty subjects is rarely a total waste of time.

Trinity Radio. “Trinity Radio exists to bring Christian theology, biblical studies and sound philosophical considerations to worldview issues and current events.”

In small doses I find the conversations around apologetics and philosophy interesting, if for no other reason than to think through what apologists think through. I do, however, appreciate some of the hosts’ less-than-popular theological convictions.