Saturday, March 31, 2007

Christian Apologetics Podcast Reviews

I listen to a variety of podcasts pertaining to Christian apologetics, so I thought I'd put together a few reviews. Perhaps the people running them may read this feedback and find it useful, who knows?

The Dividing Line: I listened to this web cast long before I even knew what a podcast was. Consequently, after a hiatus from listening to the Dividing Line, I was very glad to see that they now have a podcast. I really must congratulate James in the way his show has really prospered. It maintains a unique sense of consistency and it is really quite informative. I'd say it is probably one of the best Christian apologetics podcasts out there, at least out of what I've seen so far. James pulls no punches and has a great deal of passion about the subjects he covers, but he also maintains a very scholarly and level-headed composure on the show. He really demonstrates a willingness to work through issues and interact with people on a very mature and scholarly level. James focuses mainly on Textual Criticism, Islam, Mormonism, and issues pertaining to Reformed theology. He frequently debates people and interacts with their material. The material James presents can be long-winded, but not in the murky sense. It is always presented in a cogent and effective manner. The emphasis on Textual Criticism and high-level surveys of Reformed Theology may make this show slightly out of the "area of interest" in a person just looking for general apologetics info, but for the serious individual who is commited to study, it is great!

The Narrow Mind: This podcast is perhaps more general than The Dividing Line. While it is still focused on apologetics, it covers a broader range of issues, often getting into eschatology, etc. A good deal of the content tends to do with debating with atheists and talking about Reformed Theology. The show has a great deal of variety and is very lively. It can be very fascinating and it has a great deal of dedicated listeners. Gene if a Reformed Baptist pastor and follows the apologetical style of Greg Bahsen. Gene gets some real interesting characters (or "cases"?) on his show. Particularly interesting was the time he had Dan Corner on the show and another time when he had a very far-out "Black Supremisist" sort of person online. Despite the positives, I do have some complaints about The Narrow Mind. While I like this show in many ways and find it stimulating, some aspects of the show are disheartening. I think the way some guests are handled only serves to reinforce certain stereotypes as to what evangelical Christians are like. I find some of the rhetoric to be rather harsh and also the sarcasm/satire sometimes become a bit excessive. I appreciate Gene's stand for the truth and I also understand that satire/sarcasm have their proper place, but the show is sometimes conducted puts me in the position where I can't recommend it without qualification. I think things could be done in a more charitable fashion. Don't get me wrong, there really is much that is very good about this show and I don't want my criticism of it to detract from that.

Faith and Reason: This is a radio show in Idaho run by Matt Slick. It is also available as a podcast and is run in conjunction with CARM (Christian Apologetics Research Ministries). Matt does a fine job of covering a number of different subjects and discusing them rationally and in a way that is faithful to the Scriptures. Matt gets all sorts of different callers and there really is a great deal of interaction and variety in the shows. I think he earns the respect that his callers give him, even those who disagree with him. He also has a tremendous amount of zeal and thirst for new ideas, new input, and reaching out in new areas. Sometimes the show gets a bit tedious when Matt either continues very long on one subject (you could call it a 'rant') or sometimes bringing up an interesting subject but then getting sidetracked by something else, leaving his listeners hanging! And his jokes get a bit corny sometimes (and repeated ad nauseum). That being said, Matt does a find job of intellectually defending the faith and doing it in a very charitable and patient way. Much can be learned in listening to how Matt interacts with people. Matt is a great example of how to remain friendly and charitable while still standing strong for the truth. His show is high quality just like his website

All three of these radio shows have the following: frequent guests, interesting topics, and hosts who are theologically sound and knowledgable. They have their own strong points and weak points. Two of them I can recommend without qualification (Faith&Reason and The Dividing Line). One I can recommend with one fairly important qualification (The Narrow Mind). It is wonderful to think that such shows exist with hosts that are providing a solid basis for the Christian faith.

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