Radio Show on the Genocide in Darfur

Mark and DennyAfter my last post, I guest hosted the "Jerry Johnson Live" radio show in Dallas, Texas. We were able to get an interview with Captain Brian Steidle, about whom I wrote in my previous post and who was a witness to the genocide in Darfur.

I also interviewed author Alan Sears on his book The ACLU vs. America.

Mark Overstreet co-hosted the show with me and did an outstanding job.

You can dowload an MP3 of the show by right-clicking on the following link and selecting "save as": Jerry Johnson Live – Genocide in Darfur.

Or you can read the instructions for subscribing to my podcast.

Spectator to Genocide in Darfur

DarfurBurningWorld magazine has run an important article on the work being done by former Marine captain Brian Steidle to get the United States involved in the crisis in Darfur. The atrocities that are happening there are just too awful to believe.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you need to read Priya Abraham's piece, "Spectator to Genocide." Then you need to go fill out an electronic postcard to President Bush at the "Save Darfur" website:

Proverbs 24:10-12
10 If you are slack in the day of distress,
Your strength is limited.
11 Deliver those who are being taken away to death,
And those who are staggering to slaughter,
O hold them back .
12 If you say, "See, we did not know this,"
Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts?
And does He not know it who keeps your soul?
And will He not render to man according to his work?

For readers in the Dallas area, Captain Brian Steidle will be lecturing here on April 26 at the Dallas Peace Center

(HT: Jim Hamilton)

See also: "Fiddling While Darfur Burns" – New York Times

American Idolatry

Carl TruemanIn light of my last post, perhaps a little more serious biblical and theological reflection on the cultural phenomenon of American Idol is in order.

Carl Trueman has done just that in a little piece on the Reformation21 blog. In the essay “American Idolatry,” Trueman explains why this show has become such a smash hit in America today. This is a good piece, and you ought to check it out.

(HT: Joe Blankenship)

Southern Pride and American Idol

American Idol LogoThis is something I hate to admit, but I am an American Idol fan. Yes, it's true. My wife and I both are hooked.

Today's Washington Post may have unlocked the mystery of why we like the show so much. It turns out that the most successful people on the show are southerners who learned to sing in church. Here's an excerpt:

For five years, the most wildly popular talent contest on American television has been dominated — thoroughly, totally and completely — by kids from Southern Hicksville, USA. Seven of the eight top-two finishers in the first four years were from states that once formed the Confederacy, and five of the seven remaining finalists this season are, too.


Home towns of winners and runners-up: Burleson, Tex. Columbus and Snellville, Ga. Birmingham and Huntsville, Ala. Chapel Hill and High Point, N.C. The lone outsider in the top tier, last year's winner, Carrie Underwood, only emphasizes the point — she hails from Checotah, Okla. (pop. 3,400). This is Merle Haggard, "Okie From Muskogee" territory. . .

It is tempting to draw the cultural connection here. Southern kids grow up singing in churches and small-town festivals in a region that emphasizes the voice, whether in storytelling or song, and thus are possessors of raw cultural gifts (source).

The story goes on to downplay the cultural connection, but I think it may nevertheless be correct. Clearly the most talented and cultured people in America are from the south. Or, perhaps I am merely invoking my southern pride in an unconscious attempt to defend my taste for what would otherwise be considered a pretty goofy show.

In either case, the South still rocks. 🙂

N. T. Wright on the Necessity of Believing the Resurrection

N. T. Wright, Bishop of DurhamI used to think that the "N. T." in N. T. Wright stood for "New Testament." He's such a fine scholar of the New Testament, it only made sense. However, having read his comments in The Australian, I am not so sure. Contrary to 1 Corinthians 15, and Romans 10:9-10, and a host of other scriptures, the Bishop of Durham thinks that belief in the bodily resurrection of Christ is unnecessary in order for one to be a Christian. He says,

I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians who do not believe in the bodily resurrection. But the view I take of them – and they know this – is that they are very, very muddled. They would probably return the compliment.

Marcus Borg really does not believe Jesus Christ was bodily raised from the dead. But I know Marcus well: he loves Jesus and believes in him passionately. The philosophical and cultural world he has lived in has made it very, very difficult for him to believe in the bodily resurrection. I actually think that's a major problem and it affects most of whatever else he does, and I think that it means he has all sorts of flaws as a teacher, but I don't want to say he isn't a Christian.

I do think, however, that churches that lose their grip on the bodily resurrection are in deep trouble and that for healthy Christian life individually and corporately, belief in the bodily resurrection is foundational (source).

This is very sad. Here is the guy who is a Bishop in the Church of England and who wrote what is probably the definitive defense of the bodily resurrection of Christ, and he doesn't even see how essential such a belief is for being a Christian.

(HT: Al Mohler)

Good Friday and the Ransom to Satan

Eugène Delacroix - Christ on the Cross (1845)Several years ago on the Saturday before Easter, I heard Paul Harvey share a story on his radio program. It was a sweet story, but it represented a fairly common misunderstanding of Jesus' atoning work on the cross. My aim is not to criticize Paul Harvey; I've always loved to listen to his show. However, I think the anecdote does reflect an unwitting error that Christians are prone to make–namely, that Jesus' death was a payment to Satan. You can read the story here: "The Bird Cage."

In spite of its shortcomings, we should acknowledge that the story does illustrate a couple important truths. First of all, it illustrates God's love for sinners through Jesus' sacrificial work (e.g. John 15:12; Rom 5:8). It also rightfully proclaims that Jesus' death on the cross releases sinners from the ruling power of sin, which includes satanic bondage (Acts 26:18; 2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:13; 2 Tim 2:26).

However, the story completely misunderstands the Bible's teaching about the payment that Christ made in behalf of sinners. In the story, Christ's sacrificial death is pictured as a payment to Satan. Satan has humanity caged up, and unless he's properly paid off all humanity will be damned. So Jesus steps in and pays the ransom to Satan in order to release sinners who are held captive by him.

Continue reading Good Friday and the Ransom to Satan

New Podcast

For anyone who may be interested, I am now podcasting. Right now, some of my appearances on the radio show here in Dallas are available. Here's the feed:

I will keep a link to this feed on the right sidebar. To add this podcast in iTunes, follow these directions:

   1. Click on the “Advanced” button at the top of iTunes
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It’s done! You are now subscribed to my podcast!

Continue reading New Podcast