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Episode 481: Admitting the Skeletons in Christianity’s Closet with John Dickson


What is Christianity’s contribution to history and has it been positive or negative? John Dickson says Christians should obey Jesus’ command to remove the plank from our own eye and admit the many ugly truths about church history. Only then will we be able to see clearly the parts of church history that conform to the way of Jesus. Skye talks to Dickson about his new book, “Bullies & Saints: An Honest Look at the Good and Evil of Christian History.”


Also this week, a conspiracy filled speech by the actor who played Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ” has gone viral. Why are evangelicals more susceptible than others to such nonsense? And was Bonhoeffer right that stupidity is more dangerous than malice? Plus, why does the Bible forbid witchcraft? (Hint: it has nothing to do with patriarchy.) And, PETA is trying to change our language to protect the feelings of cows and chickens


News Segment:

Celebrating Halloween? [3:32]


PETA urges MLB to change ‘bullpen’ term [8:10]



Jim Caviezel quoting Bravehart at a QAnon conference [19:25]



Interview with John Dickson:

Bullies and Saints: An Honest Look at the Good and Evil of Christian History - https://amzn.to/2ZLgOE4 Centre for Public Christianity - https://www.publicchristianity.org


Interview Start [48:06]


Why church history? [49:31] Tribalism and the plank in our own eye [53:05]


How do we explain Christians doing terrible things throughout history? [58:27] How to talk with people about church history [1:13:00] Is Christianity really still needed? [1:18:36] https://undeceptions.com/podcast/christian-revolution/


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17 Comments


With all the polarization going on in evangelical circles, I find I've recently been drawn to reading more by (and about) the late John Stott. (He was probably almost as big in England as Billy Graham was in the US.)


As part of that, I've been going through Tim Cheter's biography of him; stuff like this is pure gold IMO (Chester quoting Stott re: divisions w/in the church):


"When we stay apart, and our only contact is to lob hand grenades at one another across a demilitarized zone, a caricature of one’s “opponent” develops in one’s mind, complete with horns, hooves and tail! But when we meet, and sit together, and begin to listen, not only does it become evident…

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I wonder if instead of calling American Christians stupid we might consider it a loss of imagination. We have long failed to cultivate biblical imagination within our frameworks of discipleship and spiritual formation, and the inevitable fruit of this failure is the loss of our theological, moral and ultimately social and political imagination(s). Most American Christians (on either side of the political spectrum) simply cannot conceive of any alternative way of engagement, not due to any failure of intelligence or cognition, but because of a failure of imagination.

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daleringham
daleringham
Nov 11, 2021
Replying to

Except that whatever you call their difficulty, it is extremely hard to debate the issues with them. Which separates them from the rest of us, sadly. I have no wish to be lobbing hand grenades as Rob Claydon describes above. But I am having to learn how to catch them!!

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daleringham
daleringham
Nov 09, 2021

I may not get to read it each week, but particularly liked the Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote!! I seem to be talking to a lot of stupid people at present..by his definition. But that was only on one issue.

On others they are quite sensible.

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Christine Roosa
Christine Roosa
Nov 09, 2021

A couple years ago, an actual conversation in my house. Children were 6 and 8 at the time.


6 y/o: if I had a pet chicken, I'd name it "nugget."

8 y/o: that's actually offensive to chickens.


Still not even done with teh news segment yet on this episode. Need to get back to listening now.

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Sandra Roffel
Sandra Roffel
Nov 05, 2021

"Churches are at their best when they don't try to be relevant" (I was driving so it was close to that.) Thanks for that John Dickson. I'm in absolute agreement with this!

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