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Bespoken

Tailor-Made Truths for a Discerning Body

State of Theology (Part 4)

Is There Objective Truth? • May 21, 2021

One quarter of self-professing Evangelicals believe that religious belief is a matter of opinion, not about objective truth. Although this sentiment has been expressed in a new way in our postmodern age, the question of objective truth has been asked throughout history. Even Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “what is truth?” (John 18:38). On this episode, Jay, Ryan, and Matt discuss how the Bible and Christians throughout history have thought about truth, especially as it relates to the content of the Christian faith. Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

State of Theology (Part 3)

What Makes Worship Acceptable to God? • April 9, 2021

Roughly 40 percent of self-professing Evangelicals agree that God accepts the worship of all religions. They are not alone: many today believe that all religions are different but valid paths culminating in the same life after death. But the Bible paints a different picture, one that insists on the glory and singularity of Jesus Christ, the one mediator between God and man, and the plan that God is working through Christ to renew the world. Jay, Ryan, and Matt discuss this tenet of Christian faith and its implications. Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

State of Theology (Part 2)

Are Humans Good By Nature? • March 12, 2021

Almost half of self-professing Evangelicals believe that everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature. On this episode, Jay, Ryan, and Matt discuss the witness of the Bible and the church’s tradition on this widespread belief. They also consider why modern people are disposed to this belief, and how the nuance of Scripture allows us to affirm both creaturely goodness and the widespread presence of sin. Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

State of Theology (Part 1)

Was Jesus Merely a Teacher? • March 5, 2021

In this new series, Jay, Ryan, and Matt discuss some of the findings of Ligonier Ministries’ State of Theology survey. About one third of self-professing Evangelicals believe that Jesus was a great teacher, but he wasn’t God. Questioning Jesus’ identity as fully God and fully man has deep historical roots. Why might this belief be so prevalent today, especially among those who claim to be Christians? How should Christians who want to stand on the Bible and in the tradition of the church understand Jesus’ identity? Jay, Ryan, and Matt discuss these questions and more in this episode. Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

Cloud of Witnesses (Part 5)

Francis Grimké: Living Christ's Grace • February 26, 2021 • Matt Gilleskie

Francis Grimke turned down a university presidency to continue pastoring. He helped found the NAACP. And he had some prescient words for white churches in his day and in our own. His message was exceedingly simple – (1) preach, believe, love, share, and treasure the gospel; and (2) obey it with all of your might. Grimke’s understanding of the church’s role in broken hearts and a broken society has much to teach us today. For further reading: - "The Negro: His Rights and Wrongs, the Forces for Him and Against Him," Francis J. Grimke [https://smile.amazon.com/Rights-Wrongs-Against-Classic-Reprint/dp/0331843307/] - "Meditations on Preaching," Francis J. Grimke [https://smile.amazon.com/Meditations-Preaching-Francis-James-Grimk%C3%A9/dp/1948102099] - “Some Reflections Growing Out of the Recent Epidemic of Influenza that Afflicted Our City,” Francis J. Grimke. This sermon was preached after the devastating outbreak of the Spanish flu. It was republished by 9Marks at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic due to its resonance with our time. [https://www.9marks.org/article/some-reflections-growing-out-of-the-recent-epidemic-of-influenza-that-afflicted-our-city/] - "The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors," Thabiti Anyabwile [https://smile.amazon.com/Faithful-Preacher-Recapturing-Pioneering-African-American/dp/1581348274/] Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

Cloud of Witnesses (Part 4)

Amanda Berry Smith: Proclaiming Christ In Word & Deed • February 19, 2021 • Matt Gilleskie

Amanda Berry Smith emerged from slavery and great hardship eager to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. She traveled to Britain, India, and Liberia to do just this: she worked with and supported churches, all the while proclaiming Christ to all who would listen. She later founded the first orphanage for black children in Illinois, funding it partially out of her own pocket. In word, Smith proclaimed true religion; in deed, she exemplified it. For further reading… - "An Autobiography: The Story of the Lord’s Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith the Colored Evangelist," Amanda Berry Smith [https://www.amazon.com/Autobiography-Dealings-Evangelist-Schomburg-Nineteenth-Century/dp/0195052617] - Jasmine Holmes is an author and educator. She is writing a book on the lives of a few remarkable Christian, black women that is coming out in the fall. It has been announced only informally and I can’t find its title, but you can check out her work at her personal website/blog [https://jasminelholmes.com], or see her most recent book project, "Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope." [https://mothertosonbook.com] Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

Cloud of Witnesses (Part 3)

Charles Octavius Boothe: Strength In Weakness • February 12, 2021 • Matt Gilleskie

Charles Octavius Boothe was born a slave. He learned to read, was converted, and turned his able mind to the “uplift” of African Americans living under the post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow regime. He planted churches, started schools and colleges, assembled churches’ resources to send missionaries, and much more. His work displays his keen attention to the weak, the powerless, the “foolish” (1 Cor. 1); his efforts betray his conviction that all people ought to have access to the beauty of God via the study of him. Let us know how Charles Octavius Boothe is challenging or encouraging you at bespoken@biblechurch.org. For further reading… - "Plain Theology for Plain People," Charles Octavius Boothe (with an introduction by Dr. Walter R. Strickland II, Assistant Professor of Systematic and Contextual Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) [https://smile.amazon.com/Plain-Theology-People-Lexham-Classics/dp/1683590341] – the Works Cited section at the end of Strickland’s preface provides other resources for further reading - "The Cyclopedia of the Colored Baptists of Alabama: Their Leaders and Their Work," Charles Octavius Boothe [https://archive.org/details/cyclopediaofcolo00boot/page/n5/mode/2up]. See this work if you want to get a glimpse of the growth of African American institutions in the post-Reconstruction era. It is amazing to read the story that unfolds in these pages—a people with nothing grows into a robust community under the most adverse circumstances.

Cloud of Witnesses (Part 2)

Phillis Wheatley: The First Published African-American Poet • February 5, 2021 • Matt Gilleskie

In the second episode of our series investigating the lives of overlooked witnesses to Jesus Christ, Matt introduces you to Phillis Wheatley, the first published African American poet, a significant contributor to the abolitionist cause, and a faithful disciple of Christ. This brilliant sister was a master with words; we encourage you to read some of her poetry and consider her witness to Christ. For further reading: - "Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage," Vincent Caretta [https://smile.amazon.com/Phillis-Wheatley-Biography-Genius-Bondage/dp/0820333387] - "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral," Phillis Wheatley [https://smile.amazon.com/Poems-Various-Subjects-Religious-Moral/dp/1540316785] - You can find individual poems published simply by Googling them. Those I mentioned in the podcast include “To His Excellency, George Washington,” “An Elegiac Poem, on the Death of that Celebrated Divine, and Eminent Servant of Jesus Christ, the Reverend and Learned George Whitefield,” and “On the Death of General Wooster.” - "The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley," edited by John C. Shields [https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/collected-works-of-phillis-wheatley-phillis-wheatley/1100465876] Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

Cloud of Witnesses (Part 1)

Lemuel Haynes: The Black Puritan • January 29, 2021 • Matt Gilleskie

Jay and Ryan are taking a break, so we begin a new series with Matt Gilleskie (our producer) flying solo. In this episode, Matt introduces you to Lemuel Haynes, a remarkable pastor and activist living during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Haynes was the first African American ordained in any religious body in America, the first to receive an honorary graduate degree, and a pastor of character, commitment, and intense hope in the Sovereign God. This brother has much to teach us. For further reading… - "May We Meet in the Heavenly World: The Piety of Lemuel Haynes", Thabiti Anyabwile - "The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors", Thabiti Anyabwile - "Sketches of the Life and Character of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes", Timothy Mather Cooley The books below are scholarly works and thus are quite expensive. I include them here because they may be available at your library or for online reading, if you are affiliated with an institution of higher education. - "Black Puritan, Black Republican: The Life and Thought of Lemuel Haynes", 1753-1833, John Saillant (note: “Republican,” as used in the title, denotes sympathy with the American cause against Great Britain and monarchy generally, not a contemporary political party) - "Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes", 1774-1833, edited by Richard Newman Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

A Dispersed Assembly? (Part 4)

On Feasting As a Spiritual Discipline • January 22, 2021

Restrictions on gathering during the pandemic call for robust reflection on the church’s life together. That’s why Jay, Ryan, and Matt are investigating the theological and practical import of the physical gathering of the local church. This episode takes the theme in a slightly different direction than previous episodes in this series. Jay, Ryan, and Matt talk about the spiritual practice of feasting — not gluttony - but celebrating over a meal with friends. How does God work through such a practice? Is that even in the Bible? Tune in to find out. If you’re interested in this topic, check out some of these resources: - For an in-depth audio treatment of this topic, check out Mark Hampton’s Bespoken series on a theology of food [https://shows.acast.com/bespoken/episodes/food-for-thought-part-1] - For a deeper theological treatment of this topic in book form, see "The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection" by Robert Farrar Capon [https://smile.amazon.com/Supper-Lamb-Culinary-Reflection-Library/dp/0375760563] - For convicting and practical books on a related topic, hospitality, see Rosaria Butterfield’s "The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World" [https://smile.amazon.com/Gospel-Comes-House-Key-Post-Christian/dp/143355786X] and "A Meal With Jesus" by Tim Chester [https://smile.amazon.com/Meal-Jesus-Discovering-Community-Mission/dp/1433521369] Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

The Challenges of Seeking Unity In the Aftermath of the Capitol Hill Riot

January 13, 2021 • Jay Thomas

Since its inception, CHBC has been known as a gathering of believers from diverse backgrounds of thought and culture. And, while such diversity is often a blessing; loving agreement in Christ between those who disagree politically presents unique challenges for pastoral shepherding. In this episode, Jay and Ryan discuss those challenges. They name the difficulties and the joys associated with pastoring a diverse congregation. They clarify other statements that the church has made on the riot at the Capitol. They discuss the "how" of communication (the means used to deliver a message). And they examine and explain their motives and intentions, which have guided their responses. Near the end of the episode, Pastor Jay references a sermon by Zack Eswine called, "What Does Jesus Say About God and Country?" Watch the message here: https://subspla.sh/5mw6hpt Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

A Dispersed Assembly? (Part 3)

The Internet "Church" • December 4, 2020

Restrictions on gathering during the pandemic call for robust reflection on the church’s life together. That’s why Jay, Ryan, and Matt are investigating the theological and practical import of the physical gathering of the local church. This episode builds on the conceptual foundation of the previous episode. Given that the physical gathering of the local church is essential to being a church and discipleship in the way of Jesus, what place do internet and digital media have in church? Can these complement the physical gathering of the local church? Do these detract from the life of the church? Jay, Ryan, and Matt try to understand the proper uses and limits of technology in the church’s regular, gathered worship. Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

A Dispersed Assembly? (Part 2)

Why Should We Physically Assemble? • November 27, 2020

Restrictions on gathering during the pandemic call for robust reflection on the church’s life together. That’s why Jay, Ryan, and Matt are investigating the theological and practical import of the physical gathering of the local church. In this episode, they introduce the theological basis for the claim that Christian discipleship requires physical presence. They also reflect on their experience of returning to the physical gathering after months of online worship. Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

A Dispersed Assembly? (Part 1)

What Is a Church, Really? • November 20, 2020

Restrictions on gathering during the pandemic call for robust reflection on the church’s life together. That’s why Jay, Ryan, and Matt are investigating the theological and practical import of the physical gathering of the local church. In this series’ first episode, they ask, What is a church, really? They discuss the essential marks of the church presented in the Bible (and perpetuated in church history) and the implications of some of the images used to describe the church: a flock, a family, and God’s possession. On the episode, Jay recommended for further reading "The Enduring Community: Embracing the Priority of the Church" by Les Newsom and Brian Habig. If you’re interested in a more academic treatment of this subject, check out "The Church: The Gospel Made Visible" by Mark Dever. A ministry that originated at Dever’s church, 9Marks, has an abundance of free resources on the subject as well.

The H3 Conference

and What's Next • November 6, 2020

Jay, Ryan, and Matt reflect on the H3 conference, discussing its high points and sketching how CHBC plans to move forward. They also preview Bespoken's next series, lasting through the end of the year. Have questions or ideas for a future episode? Email them to bespoken@biblechurch.org. Bespoken is a weekly podcast by Pastors, Jay Thomas and Ryan McKee. Each week we cover spiritual topics and issues that will help you grow closer to God and deeper in Christ.

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