Think Biblically: Conversations on Faith & Culture

Talbot School of Theology at Biola University / Sean McDowell & Scott Rae

A weekly podcast that offers Christian perspectives on some of the most significant issues facing today's church and culture. In each episode, hosts Scott Rae and Sean McDowell — professors at Biola University's Talbot School of Theology — draw upon biblical wisdom and insights from guest experts as they explore how Christians can thoughtfully and faithfully engage with cultural trends and current events.

All Episodes

Should we be hopeful about the post-pandemic church or concerned? Are churches growing today or dying? In this episode, we talk with Sam Rainer, a pastor and church growth expert, about these questions and more. He gives specific ways to revitalize a church regardless of its current state. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Nov 28

29 min 59 sec

The worldview of Gnosticism, which was one of the first heresies facing the first Christians, is alive and well today-and it has permeated the church. As a result, we end neglecting or disparaging our bodies, seeing them as holding us back from spiritual growth and longing for the day we will be free of them. In this episode, we talk with author and professor Greg Allison about his fascinating and timely new book Embodied. We discuss transgender ideology, plastic surgery, and many more issues that we face as embodied beings. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Nov 20

31 min 30 sec

Sarah Zagorski survived an abortion—that’s right, she survived an attempt to abort her, having been born alive as a result of a botched abortion, her mother refused to let the abortionist end her life. Join Scott and Sean for this amazing story, how that impacted Sarah and she has flourished in her life in spite of those circumstances. Her story comes from her chapter in the new book, Choose Life. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Nov 17

29 min 40 sec

In his new book, co-authored with his wife and psychology colleague, Todd Hall and Liz Hall, lay out a new way of looking at spirituality that takes into account insights not only from the Bible, but also from psychology and the neurosciences. Join Scott and Sean for this insightful look at spiritual formation. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Nov 5

28 min 30 sec

With abortion being so available today, the notion of the unwanted child has become standard fare among defenders of abortion. Bethany Bomberger, herself at one time pregnant in less than ideal circumstances, is married to her husband Ryan, who was conceived as a result of sexual assault. She explodes the myth that children are unwanted-join Scott and Sean for this insightful interview that comes out of her chapter in the new book, Choose Life. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Oct 31

31 min 11 sec

Kyle Strobel brings an insightful critique of the exercise of power in the church today and spells out the way of Jesus as the radical alternative. Join Scott and Sean for this interview with Kyle that will change the way you view leadership and power. Kyle's book, with his co-author Jamin Goggin, is titled The Way of the Dragon and the Way of the Lamb. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Oct 22

37 min 40 sec

What is at the heart of the reason for the decline in Western culture? Cultural analyst Os Guinness argues that it is a faulty view of freedom. According to Dr. Guinness, America is at a vital moment in history in which it is being determined whether it will embrace the revolution of 1776 or 1789. Freedom, quite literally, is at stake. Scott and Sean discuss these ideas with Dr. Guinness, which come from his latest book The Magna Carta of Humanity. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Oct 14

30 min 58 sec

What is the fundamental problem at the core of modern society? According to Alan Noble, it is a faulty view of what it means to be human. This dehumanization in modern society leads to stress, loneliness, and often despair. In this episode, Sean and Scott interview Dr. Noble to understand his diagnosis of modern society and learn how a biblical view of humanity can set us free. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Oct 7

32 min 30 sec

In her years of medical practice as a trauma surgeon, Dr. Katie Butler has seen it all, and also seen the grace and kindness of God in the midst of terrible medical trauma (thus the subtitle for the book—A Doctor’s Reflections on Faith, Suffering and the Goodness of God). Join Scott and Sean for a fascinating discussion as Katie tells some of these stories of how the love of God peeked through in the ICU and ER. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Sep 30

38 min 4 sec

Gilbert Meilander has spent his life at the intersection of theology and bioethics, including being selected for George W. Bush's bioethics commission that ran for most of his two terms as President. In his new book, Bioethics and the Character of Human Life, we get the "greatest hits" of Meilander's work and insight. Join Scott as he discusses Meilander's time on the Presidential bioethics commission as well as wisdom from his new book. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Sep 24

32 min 39 sec

In his new book, One Faith No Longer, sociologist George Yancey looks at the polarization within Christianity that reflects the divides in the broader culture. He looks at what he calls "conservative" and "progressive" Christianity, and concludes that they are not two branches of the same tree, but two entirely different religious trees. Join Scott and Sean for this insightful discussion with this eminent sociologist. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Sep 13

32 min 11 sec

With the advent of abortion inducing drugs such as RU-486 and others, abortion has become increasingly private and available to anyone without a prescription or supervision of a physician. Join Scott and Sean as they interview Dr. Donna Harrison, about this alarming new trend in the availability of abortion and the risks it poses to women. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Sep 7

33 min 18 sec

How can young people survive the challenges of religion classes in secular colleges? Dr. Michael Kruger is the author of the recent book Surviving Religion 101, which is a letter to his daughter about how to stand strong for her faith in secular college environments. With clarity and insight, Dr. Kruger addresses some of the toughest questions facing young people (and really all people today) about God, hell, evil, the Bible, and more. Sean and Scott interview Dr. Kruger about his latest book and get his advice for both students and parents. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Aug 27

30 min 42 sec

Climate change has been one of the most debated subjects around the world in recent years, with various opinions about its reality, origins and dangers. Join Scott and Sean as they interview theologian Brent Waters about his insightful take on climate change from a distinctly Christian view of the world, that comes out of his book, Just Capitalism. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Aug 19

30 min 9 sec

Bringing the truth of Scripture into discussions of marriage and sexuality can be messy, to say the least. Navigating these potentially messy conversations can be complicated and it helps to have a guide like our guest, Caleb Kaltenbach, from his new book, Messy Truth. Join Scott and Sean as they interview Caleb and draw on his consulting experience with other organizations that are wrestling with these issues. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Aug 16

29 min 16 sec

Is religious liberty important for all people, including Jews, Muslims, and Hindus, or just Christians? How do we make a public case for the importance of religious liberty? In this interview, Sean and Scott talk with Dr. Andrew Walker about his latest book Liberty for All: Defending Everyone's Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Aug 5

30 min 39 sec

How do we truly make a difference in the world? How can we fight for justice in a broken world? Lila Rose is the author of the recent book Fighting for Life: Becoming A Force for Change In A Wounded World. In this interview, she shares the story of becoming a pro-life activist and offers some practical tips for how all of us can defend the unborn. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jul 29

32 min 19 sec

Since mass migration from Africa and the Middle East into Europe since 2015, there has been a marked increase in the sexual assault and harassment of women, especially in public in Europe. Women's rights activist and best selling author Ayaan Hirsi Ali addresses this in her new book entitled, Prey: Immigration, Islam and Erosion of Women's Rights. Join Scott and Sean for a provocative discussion of this controversial subject. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jul 22

30 min 26 sec

What are the most common mistakes Christians make when approaching the Bible? Seasoned biblical scholar Michael Bird takes on seven of the biggest ones, including how the Bible was put together, how to interpret the Bible, and how we know it is true. This episode offers helpful background information, but also some practical steps for engaging and applying the Bible to life. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jul 18

32 min 25 sec

In partnership with the Barna Research Group, Impact 360 has commissioned a massive new study on Gen Z. It focuses on caring for young people, and is a second volume to the initial 2018 study. In this interview, I talk with Jonathan Morrow about some of the unique findings and their implications for ministry to young people today. This is a bonus episode that first appeared on my YouTube channel, which is in partnership with the Talbot Apologetics program. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jul 8

1 hr 3 min

"Purity culture" has a complicated legacy. Some is positive and some needs biblical correction. Rachel Joy Welcher has written an excellent book critiquing purity culture, but also offering a hopeful, biblical way forward. Her story is powerful and instructive for the church. This interview was recorded on Sean's YouTube channel, which is in partnership with the Talbot Apologetics program. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jul 6

1 hr

The conventional wisdom concerning same sex parenting is that it is not substantively different from oppoosite sex parenting-the notion that children simply need to be loved and it doesn't matter by whom. Dr. Walter Schumm, a specialist in family studies challenges the conventional wisdom with new empirical data. Join Scott as he as Dr. Schumm discuss this important topic that is highly counter-cultural in today's environment. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jul 1

32 min 34 sec

Is there actually good archaeological evidence supporting the Bible? Sean interviews archaeologist Joel Kramer about his recent book Where God Came Down. They discuss some of the evidence for the Patriarchs as well as positive evidence that supports the Gospels. This interview was recorded on Sean's YouTube channel, which is in partnership with the Talbot Apologetics program. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jun 29

1 hr 8 min

We hear an increasing number of stories - tragic ones - of recognizable Christian leaders abandoning their faith. What contributes to these accounts of de-conversion? Join Scott and Sean as they interview Dr. John Marriott-a specialist in the subject of de-conversion. He will talk about the factors involved in deconversion and what churches and Christian universities can do to prevent these tragic stories from happening. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jun 28

37 min 5 sec

Does life really have any meaning? Are all human beings actually equal? These are some of the big questions of life, which we wrestle with in this episode. At its core, these are deep worldview questions that have powerful and practical implications for how we live our lives. Embracing a biblical perspective on these questions, as opposed to a secular worldview, helps us love our enemies and find joy in hardship. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jun 22

33 min 39 sec

Is the scientific data pointing towards a universe of design or towards a universe that needs no supernatural explanation? In this interview, Sean and Scott talk with leading intelligent design proponent Stephen Meyer about his latest book The Return of the God Hypothesis. Dr. Meyer argues that cosmology, physics, and biology all point to the existence of a transcendent mind and that God is making a comeback in both academia and the wider culture. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jun 17

41 min 31 sec

From certain reproductive technologies to divorce and to same-sex marriages, our culture focuses far more on the desires of adults than the rights of children. In her book Them Before Us, Katy Faust argues that we need a movement that restores the rights of children to be raised by their mom and dad in a stable home. In this interview, she discusses how the rights of children is an issue that Democrats and Republicans can both agree on. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jun 10

39 min 16 sec

Prayer is often a hard subject to talk about, and one reason for that is the guilt that it induces as people inevitably face up to the challenges and failures in their life of prayer. Talbot spiritual formation professors Kyle Strobel and John Coe, take a new look at prayer, offering helpful realism and insightful practices to make prayer more real and vibrant. Join Scott and Sean as they interview Dr. Strobel about this new book. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jun 2

37 min 43 sec

Since the summer of 2020, Critical Race Theory, and Critical Theory in general, have come out from the academic world and moved into popular culture. Helen Pluckrose, a self-described "exile from the humanities" and James Lindsay, have co-authored a detailed assessment of these Critical Theories. Join Scott and Sean as they interview Helen and she makes a complex subject accessible for those unfamiliar with the topic. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

May 21

35 min 52 sec

The people of God are called to engage with the issues of the culture, which can involve at times, some difficult and challenging conversations. How to insure that the church's cultural engagement remains a positive contribution instead of furthering division is the subject of well-known scholar Darrell Bock's new book, Cultural Intelligence. Join Sean and Scott for this helpful guidance on engaging culture productively. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

May 13

38 min 26 sec

What is "progressive Christianity" and why is it so important to understand today? In this interview, we talk with Alisa Childers about her latest book Another Gospel? A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity. As Childers explains, progressive Christianity is a popular movement that holds a different view of the gospel, biblical authority, and a range of important Christian doctrines that thoughtful Christians must recognize with discernment. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Apr 30

32 min 47 sec

The intersection of the transgender movement and sport is at the forefront of sport policy discussions. Dr. Higerd recently finished his doctoral dissertation examining the effects that transgender sports policies would have on girl's track and field. In this episode, Sean and Scott discuss with Dr. Higerd why biology matters for sports competition and how deeply transgender athletes would dominate girl's sports. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Apr 23

29 min 45 sec

Is there a difference between sex and gender? What does it mean to be transgender? And what about intersex? In this interview, Sean and Scott talk with Dr. Preston Sprinkle about these important questions and more. They discuss his latest book Embodied: Transgender Identities, the Church, and What the Bible Has to Say. The interview focuses on understanding the transgender phenomenon scientifically and biblically so Christians can love transgender people well. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Apr 19

31 min 59 sec

Many consider the Equality Act the most serious threat to religious liberty in our lifetime. What is it? And how should Christians respond? Sean interviews author Caleb Kaltenbach, who has researched the issue extensively, to understand it better and to discuss how Christians can best respond. Caleb consults with Christian organizations in regard to religious liberty, so he has some practical suggestions too. This BONUS episode was first recorded on Sean's YouTube channel, which is in partnership with the Talbot Apologetics program. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Apr 12

1 hr 7 min

What does it mean to truly live the abundant life that Jesus described? And why are so many Christians not experiencing it? Ken Baugh is a longtime pastor and writer who offers a roadmap for spiritual growth in this interview and in his latest book: Unhindered Abundance. The book is rooted in Scripture, but also brings in recent scientific findings about the body, the brain, and relationships. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Apr 9

26 min 11 sec

Is it wrong for pro-lifers to get the vaccine when it was developed through cell lines that come from aborted fetuses? Are Christians obligated to get the vaccine out of love for their neighbor? Scott and Sean discuss these questions, and many more, related to the ethics behind the COVID-19 vaccine. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Apr 7

46 min 57 sec

Join Scott and Sean as they interview well known theologian Dr. Wayne Grudem about his new book on ethical issues at the beginning of life. It moves fast since we cover a lot of ground, but Dr. Grudem does it with clarity and compassion both. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Mar 26

30 min 44 sec

With the election of 2020 and the events surrounding the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the phenomena of Christian nationalism became front page news. While different than loving one's country, Christian nationalism, described by one observer as "wrapping the cross in the flag" is challenging to define and holds some theological assumptions that merit close scrutiny. Join Scott and Sean as they discuss this unique fusion of Christian faith and country and they answer the questions around the American founding as a Christian nation. While upholding love of one's country, they also point out some of the dangers of Christian nationalism to the church. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Mar 21

37 min 58 sec

What would a modern investigation into demons, exorcisms, and ghosts reveal? What is the evidence they exist? In this interview, Sean and Scott talk with journalist Billy Hallowell about his latest book Playing with Fire. They discuss some recent research and public stories that provide compelling evidence for the existence of the supernatural. And then they offer some insights and practical advice for believing Christians today. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Mar 11

33 min 27 sec

Critical Race Theory (CRT) has recently moved from academic circles to popular culture and has been the subject of both praise and critique. In this episode, journalist and former religious freedom lawyer David French discusses the merits and shortcomings of CRT. Join Scott for this informative conversation that took place during his 2020 visit to Biola's campus. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Mar 5

39 min 16 sec

How can Christians respond to some of the toughest questions today related to evil, hell, unanswered prayer, the unevangelized and more? In this interview, Sean and Scott talk with New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg about his latest book Can We Still Believe in God? Dr. Blomberg uniquely addresses these questions from within his training as a New Testament scholar, and thus offers some fresh insights. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Feb 26

35 min 56 sec

The report revealing the sexual misconduct of apologist and evangelist Ravi Zacharias is heart-breaking. In this episode, Sean and Scott reflect on lessons we can learn from this scandal and what it might mean for ministries moving forward. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Feb 23

35 min 3 sec

In our divided political and cultural landscape, the combination of conviction and compassion is more necessary than ever. Join Scott and Sean as they interview author and founder of the AND Campaign, Justin Giboney about his new book—Compassion and Conviction: The AND Campaign’s Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Feb 16

30 min 15 sec

One of the key element in racial reconciliation is recognizing the experience of minorities in majority cultures. Pastor Mark Vroegop maintains that the practice of lament, both individually and corporately, is an important first step in that process, yet a practice that many Christians are unfamiliar with. Join Sean and Scott for this stimulating conversation about the spiritual discipline of lament. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Feb 5

28 min 41 sec

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has recently responded to some of the biggest challenges to the truth of their faith. This includes the plural wives of Joseph Smith, the book of Abraham, DNA studies, and more. In this interview, Sean talks with Eric Johnson, of the Mormonism Research Ministry, about their responses. This interview first aired on Sean's YouTube channel, which is in partnership with the Talbot Apologetics program. We hope you enjoy this in-depth look at some of the historical, scientific, and theological challenges facing the LDS Church today. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Feb 2

1 hr 20 min

Win by Two is a gripping story about two men, Adam Donyes and Derrick Derrell, from very different backgrounds whose lives intersected on the basketball court and around a shared friendship and eventually a shared faith in Christ. Join Scott and Sean as they interview Adam and Derrick—you’ll be encouraged by their story. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jan 28

39 min 25 sec

HIn this interview, Sean goes behind the scenes with Biola professor JP Moreland to discuss the people, experiences, and books that shaped his life. JP shares about the challenges of growing up without a father, the key people who influenced his life, his favorite book of the Bible and more. This interview is a bonus episode that first aired on Sean's YouTube channel, which is in partnership with the Talbot Apologetics program. We hope you will enjoy this "inside look" at one of Biola's most influential professors. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jan 27

1 hr 1 min

How deeply has secularism infiltrated our society and the church? In his latest book, The Gathering Storm, Dr. Albert Mohler argues that Western civilization and the church stand at a consequential crossroads in regard to its future. Scott interviews Dr. Mohler about the ideologies threatening society as well as the church and how to best contend for the faith today. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jan 22

35 min 1 sec

Grammy Award winner and hip hop artist Lecrae tells his story of artistic success, battle with addiction and depression, and being restored in this fascinating new book. Lecrae is vulnerable and open about his background, mistakes he made and how his restored faith in Christ is making a difference in his life going forward. Join Scott and Sean for this conversation with Lecrae. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jan 16

35 min 55 sec

Darryl Strawberry is a legendary baseball player who had everything the world has to offer, and yet he was broken and hurting inside. In this interview, Strawberry shares some powerful stories from his life that led him to become a follower of Jesus and experience a transformed life. He uses sports as a metaphor to offer some memorable and helpful spiritual insights. [Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at www.biola.edu/thinkbiblically]

Jan 8

28 min 39 sec