Category: Christianity


Jim Papandrea on Christology, Superheroes, and Science Fiction Films

Is Superman the representation of the Christ figure in the DC Comics universe? And “who” among science fiction characters most closely represents the orthodox view of Christ? And does anybody really understand what “2001: A Space Oddity” was about? Jim Papandrea, associate professor of Church history at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and frequent guest, answers these questions and more as we take a journey through superhero and science fiction cinema to survey how religion is portrayed on celluloid. This is a conversation that not only will enlighten you on popular movies, but will help you understand Christology and soteriology all the better!

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Adam English on St. Nicholas of Myra, the Real Santa Claus (Encore Presentation)

While we are still on an extended sabbatical, we revive a favorite podcast from our archive. Prof. Adam Engish (Campbell University) discusses his book “The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus.” We learn about the true charitable bishop of Myra and his most famous act of charity, how that became transformed into our modern representation of Santa Claus, and many other details about this extraordinary individual who lived during an important era of Christian history.

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Tracy McKenzie on the First Thanksgiving (Annual Encore)

We are taking an extended sabbatical to catch up with other academic-related work and to try to improve some issues with our audio files. In the meantime, enjoy this encore presentation with Tracy McKenzie (Wheaton) on a very seasonal topic — The First Thanksgiving. We hope to return shortly with some new episodes and fresh content, but until then please feel free to dip into our extensive archives that now contain over 350 unique episodes, nearly one for every day of the year!

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James Felak on the Counter-Reformation

As a capstone to our Protestant Reformation Series, we give the “other side” its day in court to make their case. Prof. James Felak (University of Washington) discusses how the Roman Catholic Church reacted to Luther and the Protestant fervor that followed in the decades after Luther sparked a religious fire. We cover everything from the Diet of Worms to the Council of Trent, and to Jesuits, Inquisitions, and Carmelites without shoes. This is an inordinately fun exploration of the 16th century religious landscape.

Listen to all the interviews in the Protestant Reformation Series by clicking the tag to the right or the “read more” link below!

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Robert Nelson on Lutheranism and Nordic Social Democracy

The Nordic states are known for their high levels of socio-economic equality, good governance, and high levels of social trust. While some scholars have attributed this to their unique brand of secular social democracy, Prof. Robert Nelson (U of Maryland) argues that Nordic social democracy has deep roots in the “Lutheran ethic.” We discuss how the Lutheran ethic is different than the Calvinist ethic (as seen by Max Weber), how contemporary social democratic thought in Nordic countries has similar elements to Lutheranism, and what is in store for social democracy.

Check out our other podcasts related to the Protestant Reformation this year!

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James Hudnut-Beumler on the History of Church Financing in the US

While pastors often don’t want to talk about the subject of church funding, it is an established fact that religious groups need finances to survive and thrive. Prof. James Hudnut-Beumler (Vanderbilt University) discusses the importance of thinking about church funding and takes us on a tour of how church financing has changed in the United States over the past two and a half centuries. We cover topics such as pew rentals, competition from benevolence groups, and automatic debiting. Technological and social changes have affected how religious organizations collect revenue and, in turn, has shaped our religious landscape in interesting ways.

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Rodney Stark on Myths of the Reformation

Many misconceptions surround the Protestant Reformation, from it being the birth of capitalism to it prompting Europe’s secularization. Noted sociologist of religion Rodney Stark (Baylor ISR) joins us to discuss these myths and more. With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation just about a month away, this is a great opportunity to refresh on some interesting talking points to engage your friends, family, and colleagues.

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Anne Rathbone Bradley on Christianity and Capitalism

How should Christians think about capitalism? While many religious critiques of a capitalist market exist, Dr. Anne Rathbone Bradley discusses how Christianity is congruent with capitalism. Dr. Bradley is careful to note that the Bible doesn’t advocate any particular economic system, which is contrary to some arguments that view the early Church Fathers as proto-socialists, but she does pass along some biblical insights into human flourishing and addresses the issue of income and wealth inequality.

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Emily Fisher Gray on Luther’s 95 Theses

The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation will be celebrated on October 31st of this year, marking the date that Martin Luther disseminated his famous 95 Theses on papal authority and indulgences. Prof. Emily Fisher Gray of Norwich University contextualizes this historically important document and explains how the themes of liberty and authority play out in this and other of Luther’s writings. We review the impact of this document, as well as Luther’s thoughts about a peasant uprising he inspired.

This is the fourth in our special series on the Protestant Reformation. Visit our archives for more great episodes.

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Louis Markos on the Poetry of Heaven & Hell (Encore Presentation)

We’re still on summer break, so please enjoy this favorite interview of mine (and a few other folks). Prof. Louis Markos of Houston Baptist University explains how images of heaven and hell have changed over the ages, makes a case why Christians should pay attention to pagan writers, and covers territory from Plato to C.S. Lewis.

We are working on some updates on the audio portion of the website and hope to return with fresh episodes soon. Stay tuned.

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