by David Roach
DURHAM, N.C. (BP) — Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear has launched a podcast that allows him to engage listener-submitted questions about biblical, ethical, theological, political and practical issues.
“Ask Me Anything: Honest Answers, Quick Questions” debuted Monday (Oct. 22) with three episodes, the first of which addressed what podcast co-host Todd Unzicker called the “number one question” Greear gets asked: “Pastor J.D., are you a Calvinist?” Ask Me Anything launches along with the LifeWay Leadership Podcast Network, which is carrying the podcast.
“You pick it, I’ve been asked it,” said Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. “So the podcast questions will follow that same pattern. Whether you’re leading a prominent ministry, struggling along in a tiny church, staying at home with your children, working in a downtown high-rise or staying up until 2 a.m. as a fulltime student, this podcast will have something for you.”
Greear is the first SBC president to launch a podcast during his presidential term, LifeWay Christian Resources said. And while he often has the chance to interact with other church leaders, his vision for the new podcast is to engage anyone, anywhere.
“I wanted to create something that could appeal to anyone, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey,” Greear said. “For pastors and leaders, I hope this informs how they shepherd their people. For other believers, I hope this provides applicable wisdom they desperately need.”
Questions will be submitted via the podcast website. The first three episodes are available for immediate download. Among the questions tackled in early episodes:
— Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
— Should Christians attend a homosexual wedding?
— How should Christians approach politics?
In the first episode, Greear said Calvinism “is never an issue to me until it becomes one to you. And then when it becomes one to you, then I’m on the opposite side of whatever you are because I just don’t feel like it’s a central thing.”
Citing Deuteronomy 29:29, Greear said believers should “ponder” the “mysterious things” in Scripture like the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human freedom. “They’re brought up for a reason. But there’s another sense in which what we should be doing is clear, and that is sharing Christ.”
Unzicker interrupted, “That’s all really good, but now really answer the question” — Are you a Calvinist?
Greear replied there is “room for variance” on the “particulars of how” some biblical doctrines “play out.” Yet “there are some things Calvinists traditionally teach” that are not “exclusive to Calvinism” and “that I think all Christians should agree on.” Among them:
— “It is God’s glory and not man’s good that is the ultimate value in the universe.”
— “It’s God who has to make the first move in salvation.” Greear noted Romans 3:10 and Philippians 2:13 and said, “If you have a desire to come to God, it’s because God is drawing you.”
— “God is sovereign over the evangelism process, [the] salvation process.” God “obviously” has “some level of control over who is hearing the Gospel when and where, and [is] putting the right people in the right places at the right times,” Greear said.
Some individuals on both sides of the Calvinist debate, Greear said, “have a theory about these things” and effectively “cut the Bible verses off” that don’t fit their theory. The biblical way to approach salvation is to share Christ aggressively and “lengthen your theology, even if it means you leave some unresolved tensions.”
Launching in conjunction with “Ask Me Anything” is the LifeWay Leadership Podcast Network, which is carrying Greear’s podcast. The network will host several other leadership podcasts:
— “5 Leadership Questions,” hosted by Todd Adkins and Daniel Im, asks five questions in each episode of different guests or on a particular leadership topic.
— “New Churches Q&A,” hosted by Im, Adkins and Ed Stetzer, provides insight on church planting, multisite, multiplying, leadership development and discipleship.
— “Established Church,” hosted by Sam Rainer, Micah Fries and Josh King, offers solutions to everyday issues church leaders face as they navigate the complexities of congregational life.
— “Making Disciples,” hosted by Robby Gallaty and Chris Swain, offers insights on disciple-making at the local church level.
— “Group Answers,” hosted by Chris Surrat and Brian Daniel, is aimed at resourcing, training and encouraging small group leaders.
— “The One Thing,” hosted by Scott Sanders and Derek Hanna, explores various ministry topics that are relevant to different contexts.
The two previously-existing LifeWay Leadership podcasts, 5 Leadership Questions and New Churches Q&A, have been downloaded a total of more than 2.5 million times since they launched in 2015.
“It’s humbling to see how many people we’ve served through our two LifeWay Leadership podcasts,” said Im, the network’s executive producer.
“And since we started those two with the sole purpose of serving the church in her mission of making disciples, we wanted to partner with other like-minded podcasts,” Im said. “This is why we’re excited to announce the launch of the LifeWay Leadership Podcast Network.”
Im said more podcasts will likely be added in the future. The network is intended to be an extension of LifeWay Leadership’s mission to “equip church leaders in their mission of making disciples.”
Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.