TALK RADIO AND THE CHRISTIAN
Talk Radio is a means of mass communication usually associated with conservative politics and the religious right. It serves as a balance to liberal and left-leaning media outlets.
Conservative Talk Radio has generally been supportive to Christians, although not all Talk Radio hosts are Christians themselves. Christians realize that they have found a place where their voices are heard and respected, and thus tune their radios or stream the internet to programs such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, Mark Levin, and Dennis Prager.
Christians should continue to engage in Talk Radio. Our influence in political discourse can limit or prevent evils such as abortion, perverse sexual activity, and the advances of statism or false religion such as Islam.
Talk Radio can also be misused by Christians. It must not replace Bible study. I found if I begin my day with Talk Radio instead of God’s Word, my soul is undernourished. For the last few months I have been reversing the trend of misusing Talk Radio by listening to the Bible instead. I begin each day listening to Scripture. I can get through entire books such as Hebrews and Paul’s Epistles in only 30-45 minutes. One Sunday afternoon I listened to Romans, Matthew, John and Revelation. I doubt I would have the mental disipline to read these pages without many breaks in between. Listening to the Scripture seems to soak into my inner being better than words on a page too.
- Talk Radio makes me an angry person, but listening to God’s Word causes me to love my enemies;
- Talk Radio makes me self-righteous, but hearing the words of Scripture causes me to realize my own sinfulness;
- Talk Radio causes me to assault my enemies; the Bible enables me to disarm them;
- Talk Radio causes me to worry about the state of the nation; the words of Jesus bring peace to my troubled soul.
I intend to continue listening to Talk Radio and participate in online political discussions. But gone are the days where these valuable tools will replace Bible study.
Since I made this change of priority, I have found that my opinions are more respected when I engage in political dialogues. My influence in the world has improved. Greater opportunities to effectively minister to others arise at every turn (or perhaps I notice them now). I am certain this is not a coincidence.
Here is the link to the audio Bible I’ve been using.
In particular I am fond of the readings by Max McLean:
PHILOSOPHY BOOKS AND THE CHRISTIAN
I enjoy reading books on philosophy. The study of philosophy provides me with an understanding of issues crucial to the Christian task of apologetics. It also increases my appreciation for the riches and depths of the things revealed in Scripture.
The tendency among many Christians, especially among the “Fundamentalist” variety, is to drop out of the lofty realms of academia. This often involves a rejection of critical thinking, fundamental rules of argumentation and logic, or scholasticism. These things should be the primary arena of a Christian’s activity! We should be learning and honing these skills, using them as often as we can.
There are some Christians, however, that have adopted Western philosophy as a handmaiden of the Bible; instead, it should be the other way around.
“COMPARATIVE” RELIGIOUS BOOKS AND THE CHRISTIAN
You might be wondering why I put the word “comparative” in quotes. I wanted to be clear that nothing compares to Christianity. Nothing compares to the Bible. Why is this so? Because Jesus Christ, our Head, is incomparable. He is without equal. Since He is in a class by Himself, so are His people … and so is His Book.
Christians, especially those with a heart for missionary work, like to read about religions other than their own. It helps us understand the presuppositions we will encounter when interacting with them. We also read books from religions hostile to Christianity, such as Islam. It helps us expose their errors and prepares us for their attacks.
I own one of the largest libraries on Islam in the Southwest. It may exceed the number of volumes in most mosques. A friend and I once joked as we shopped in a lonely, mostly vacant Islamic bookstore in Michigan that the only business these Muslims had were Christians missionaries like us who frequented the place in search of research materials.
In my pursuit of exposing the false teaching and errors of the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, I wasted valuable time reading books on these cults. In the late 1980s I traveled with a wise missionary in Japan who rebuked me for wasting my time on the wrong things. “You do not learn truth,” he said, “by studying error.” At the time I thought he was just a crazy old man. How I wished I had listened to him!
The morale of the story: If you want to be a great defender of the Bible, then read the Bible!
FICTION NOVELS, MOVIES, AND THE CHRISTIAN
Movies with Christian themes are making a comeback. Christians are also writing attention-grabbing novels that are being read by those who otherwise would not be interested in what we have to say. There are even cartoons and children’s stories that parents can use to help raise their families with the morals and convictions necessary for a stable home.
Unfortunately these things are replacing dedicated, quality Bible reading. Many American Christians’ eschatology is grounded in Left Behind movies. Their view of Satan and demons is formed by Frank Peretti’s Christian horror books. Consequently, American Christians are drinking sugar water instead of a rich, nourishing Bordeaux.
I find Christian fiction books and movies about faith are an alternative source of entertainment to the mindless junk produce in Hollywood, but they must never replace Bible study.
DEVOTIONAL BOOKS AND THE CHRISTIAN
Many Christians like devotional books about the Bible. I must concede, however, that I am really not sure I understand the difference between “devotional” books about the Bible and serious Bible study. In my own experience, studying the Bible seriously is an act of devotion.
Is it possible that devotional or theology books can be a hindrance to Christian growth? If it becomes a substitute for Bible reading, I answer positively yes!
THEOLOGY BOOKS AND THE CHRISTIAN
At the end of the day I am content snuggling in my big fluffy chair with volumes of Systematic Theology stacked all around me. Those who forage for spiritual food in political and philosophy jungles are creatures who don’t know where the best food is.
What I enjoy most about Christian theology is that it is both challenging and relaxing — at the same time! Theology is an art that needs training and skill. It is very hard work. Yet, there is a certain irony in this labor: when I read Christian theology I feel “rested.”
Unlike modern sciences (such as bioscience and evolutionary biology), Theology Proper never changes. It teaches the same truths as it did when it was first revealed. Good Christian theology is careful to be precise in all its declarations. Christian theology is the prince of all sciences, and studying it is more intellectually satisfying than anything else the world offers. In comparison, philosophy and political sciences are for amateurish truthseekers. I will just get off the fence and say that those who make it their life’s work studying philosophy and politics never truly grow up; hence, they possess the minds of children. My experience is those who do not find an interest in Christian theology are anti-[true] intellectual and anti-[true] science.
Theology books help me understand difficult passages in the Bible. Questions such as “Does God change His mind?” are answered in theology books. Apparent contradictions in the Bible (really they are paradoxes) are resolved in these works.
Call me strange, but I can find spiritual nourishment in Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament!
As much as I appreciate quality theology books, they are rubbish compared to the vast treasure found in God’s Word.
Next step: Stop reading this blog and listen to the Gospel of Luke instead.
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