Pastor Bob O'Bannon
In the sermon this past Sunday, I sought to encourage the people of New Life to develop a “yearning for learning,” based on multiple Proverbs that encourage Christians to be people who grow in the acquisition of knowledge and instruction (see Prov. 9:9-10, 20:15, 19:2, 11:9, 12:23, 10:14, 15:14). While the reading of the written word is a primary way for this to happen, it is certainly appropriate to learn by hearing. In fact, Prov. 23:12 says, “Apply your heart to instruction, and your ear to words of knowledge.”
We live in a day and age that offers many opportunities to learn through the use of the ear, and one of those is the Podcast. In Sunday's sermon I recommended three Podcasts. To those three I have added another three that I listen to with some regularity, and I recommend all six to you now:
The Briefing. Perhaps my favorite Podcast is “The Briefing,” which is Al Mohler’s commentary on cultural events from a thoughtful and rigorously theological perspective. These days it seems like a new controversial issue is brought to our attention almost daily, and “The Briefing” goes a long way to help us process these things from a balanced Christian perspective.
The World and Everything in It. For many years, World magazine has been doing an outstanding job reporting national and international news from a Christian perspective. "The World and Everything in It” is World’s “half-hour audio news magazine” that is available by Podcast. This provides a daily reporting of the previous day’s news event, and then offers more in-depth analysis of selected issues, much like you might hear on NPR radio.
The Reformed Forum. This is one of the best kept secrets in the world of Reformed theology. Hosted by some young OPC pastors, the Reformed Forum engages in seminary-level discussions with reformed scholars on topics like the New Perspective on Paul, civil disobedience, the image of God, and Biblical church government, with frequent allusions to reformed luminaries like J. Gresham Machen and Geerhardus Vos. Perhaps not for the recent convert, yet the hosts actually do manage to handle these weighty topics in a fresh and conversational way.
The Gospel Coalition. Much like you’d find on the Gospel Coalition web site, this Podcast offers analysis and commentary from the likes of Collin Hansen, Tim Keller, Nancy Guthrie and others on various theological, historical and pastoral issues. Not as heavy as “The Reformed Forum,” but still very stimulating and always relevant.
Preaching and Preachers. Obviously this appeals to a smaller group of people (pastors primarily), but anyone who teaches or preaches on a regular basis will find these brief conversations instructive and inspirational. It’s hosted by Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Seminary, who frequently invites a guest to talk with him about topics like “5 Reasons Sermons Fail” and “The Preacher and Personal Evangelism."
Q. Only recently did I discover this Podcast, so I recommend it tentatively, but the idea is compelling — to "help equip Christians to engage our cultural moment.” Topics covered include managing technology, the East Africa hunger crisis, whether religion contributes to society, and a very intriguing conversation between Dave Bazan and David Dark that I just noticed but haven’t listened to yet. Better set that up for tomorrow!
Other Podcasts I enjoy, but which are not directly related to ministry, are “What Should I Read Next,” “Fresh Air” and especially “My Favorite Album,” where musicians talk about their favorite records and why they like them so much.
So there — that should get you started. Just don’t let Podcasts distract you from your books!