Kenneth W. Brewer

There are thousands of podcasts available on just about every conceivable topic from cooking, finance, entertainment, news, and politics, to “Couples Therapy,” “Serial Klllers,” “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” and “Drinkin’ Bros.” You can also find lots of pastors, sermons, and inspirational podcasts. You might have wondered: Are there any podcasts out there that would be intellectually stimulating for those interested in the study of the Bible and theology?

The answer is, “Yes.” I have found the following six podcasts to be not only very informative but entertaining as well. One thing they all have in common is that they each approach the Bible and Christian faith from a progressive evangelical or a “post”-evangelical perspective. Podcasts are great because you can listen to them in the car, while you are doing chores, or falling asleep at night. As a university professor in theology, I have found that most of my students listen to podcasts regularly. Listening to podcasts is one way I stay in touch with them.

First, “ReKnew” is hosted by Dr. Greg Boyd, one of the most influential pastor/theologians in the country today. He is well known as an Open Theist and has recently published a massive two-volume work on The Crucifixion of the Warrior God. This podcast comes out three times a week and most are short, 3 to 7 minutes each. The format of “Reknew” is one in which Boyd answers questions from listeners on topics that range from perplexing theological and hermeneutical issues to everyday questions of morality and church practice. My biggest complaint about Boyd’s podcast is that it is too short. I want to hear more!

Second, “Homebrewed Christianity” is hosted by Dr. Tripp Fuller, a graduate from Claremont Graduate University, well known as the center for process philosophy and theology. Each episode focuses on a different thinker, theologian, or philosopher. The average episode lasts about an hour and is conversational in nature. Tripp’s approach is from a relational/process perspective influenced heavily by his mentor at Claremont, Phillip Clayton. If you’re looking for an academically challenging theological podcast, then this one’s for you.

Third, “Theology in the Raw” is hosted by Dr. Preston Sprinkle, who possesses a PhD in NT studies from St. Andrews University in Scotland. Sprinkle’s podcasts are usually 20 to 30 minutes long. He looks at a myriad of topics – homosexuality, sex, porn, drinking, immigration, race, violence, ISIS, President Trump, guns, patriotism, as well as numerous other topics. Sprinkle typically will address questions his listeners send to him. Since Sprinkle is trained in NT, most of his content is exegetical in nature. Another feature of “Theology in the Raw” is that it is the most traditionally evangelical of the six podcasts reviewed here.

Fourth, “The Bible for Normal People” is a weekly talk show hosted by Dr. Peter Enns. Enns has a PhD in Hebrew Bible from Harvard University and taught at Westminster Theological Seminary until he was fired because of his views on biblical inspiration. “The Bible for Normal People” focuses mostly on the biblical text and examines it by employing critical methods of interpretation. Enns often has scholarly guests who have a particular expertise in some area of biblical studies. Some of the topics he explores are: “Who Wrote the Pentateuch?,” “Disconverting from Certainty,” “Is the Bible True?,” “Reimagining the God of the Bible,” “Understanding Deuteronomy and the Story of Israel’s Kings,” and “Authority, Revelation, and Inspiration,” just to name a few.

Fifth, “The Liturgists” is hosted by the musician Michael Gungor and “Science Mike” McHargue and deals with some of the most important and intriguing contemporary topics through the lens of art, science, and faith. The Liturgists Podcast is highly conversational and nothing is off the table for discussion. They are noted for what they call a “progressive spirituality.” Some of the most recent topics discussed are: social media, mysticism, tongues, the ethics of f***ing, body image, embodiment, evangelicalism, and the Enneagram. Science Mike also hosts a weekly podcast dealing with specific issues related to science and faith.

Sixth, “The Bad Christian Podcast” is hosted by three southern millennials who grew up in highly conservative/fundamentalist Christian churches: Matt Carter, Toby Morrell, and Joey Svendsen. They are not trained scholars but take on academic issues regularly. This podcast is largely a public space for Matt, Joey, and Toby to bust on one another and work out what they call a “Post-Christian” perspective on faith. Actually, they are not post-Christian in any sense but rather are best described as post-evangelical. They like to think of the Bad Christian Podcast as a place to have honest conversations about sex, marriage, faith, politics, art, science, technology, culture, and anything that interests them. They joke around a lot, are irreverent, and frequently swear. So, if you have sensitive ears, be forewarned.

Posted Sep 17, 2018

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