The Pros and Cons of Listening to Theological Podcasts

Over the last couple of years, the number of Zion members listening to theological podcasts is beyond what I am able to count or keep track of. I am overjoyed by how enthusiastic you are for learning more about God’s Word and how it relates to your everyday life. It also keeps me plenty busy, as those podcasts often inspire your personal discipleship, and good students ask follow-up questions. Thank you for keeping me on my toes, and also for inspiring me to learn more about the topics that concern you most!

This month’s Newsletter hopes to do two things. One, I want to encourage those not yet on the “podcast train” to get on board. Two, I want to discuss two things to always keep in mind while listening to podcasts.

First, as the conductor of the train cries, “All aboard!” Since we are a commuter church, most of us have pretty long commutes to Zion and/or to work/school. This is the perfect time to listen to a podcast that you can downloaded either on your phone or other electronic device (such as a voice recorder that also can download mp3 files). Here are my personal top three different podcasts worth checking out:

• #1: Issues, Etc. LCMS Pastor Todd Wilken is the host of the radio-turned-Internet show that has every topic under the sun. Simply go to issuesetc.org and either search whatever topic is on your mind in the search bar, or else go to the “talk” tab and scroll to the “on demand” archives and see what’s most recent. Scroll through the archives until you find something that piques your interest. There’s literally something for everyone on Issues, Etc.

• #2: Gottesdienst. Go to gottesdienst.org to find a bit “heavier” theological and liturgical topics than you’d find on Issues, Etc. You can either read the “Gottesblog” for short essays, or else check out their podcast series. It’s not as easy to navigate topics on this site as it is on Issues, Etc., but it is still one of the best sources for contemporary issues in the church. Guests’ tone can be a bit off-putting at times especially if you aren’t used to Christians getting fired up when airing their laundry, so be prepared to engage in 21st century polemics. But you will learn something! LCMS Pastor Jason Braaten is the host, and IMO some of the best podcasts are when LCMS pastors David Petersen, Ben Ball, and David Ramirez are the guests.

• #3: Word Fitly Spoken. This podcast has a whole host of contemporary topics that will get you thinking theologically about issues that you very likely have not thought about before (such as the paranormal and UFOs!). The usual hosts are LCMS pastors Zelwyn Heide and Willie Grills. Some of the best episodes are when Professor Adam Koontz from Fort Wayne is a guest. Make sure you go to wordfitlyspoken.org, NOT awordfitlyspoken.life, which is a podcast by two Baptists.

The second purpose of this Newsletter article is to mention two cautions regarding podcasts. Podcasts are intentionally set up to be a discussion between the host(s) and guest(s). While they obviously prepare for the discussion, sometimes the focus gets derailed. This means, by nature, there will be off-the-cuff remarks. While there is nothing wrong with this, these can either sometimes be not well thought out, ill-toned, or even in some cases erroneous. Podcasts do not go under doctrinal review, so they absolutely cannot and should not replace published books. My first caution, then, is don’t let podcasts replace reading your Bible! Start with Scripture and end with Scripture, which is the only certain source of norming truth!

Remember, also, that there are typically no counter arguments being made on podcasts. A lot of times the hosts and guests are simply citing their personal opinions, research, and practice. In other words, just as podcasts do not go under doctrinal review, they are also not peer-reviewed. It can be very convincing to listen to someone who speaks very clearly and intelligently without the “other side” of the argument being presented. The second warning, then, is to be careful to listen critically. If you aren’t sure about something said, taught, or mentioned, talk to your pastor with your questions and concerns. It is very easy to spout off on certain issues in a podcast, it’s another to implement changes pastorally in the parish. Podcasts can often create a lot of zeal for change as you grow in your knowledge of God’s Word. Be patient. Learn to be content with what God has given you in your church and pastor (Phil 4:11), and pray for wisdom for not only you, but also your spiritual leaders!

Happy listening as you continue to grow in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4)!

Your servant in Christ, Pastor Hromowyk

WORSHIP SCHEDULE
Sunday Services  8:00 AM & 10:30 AM
with Holy Communion
Midweek Services Wednesday 7:00 P.M.


Please visit our YouTube Channel or Facebook Page for links to recorded services.

LCMS-U at OSU

Join us at OSU for LCMS-U weekly Vicar-led Bible Study!

Tuesdays at 4:00 P.M.

Meeting Location: Ohio Union Milestones Room

Facebook Group is fb.com/groups/LCMSUOSU.

Wednesday Night Service/Bible Study

The First Wednesday (June 1st), the Service, beginning at 7:00 PM, will be Divine Setting Three, with Holy Communion. On Wednesdays (June 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th), the Service will be Compline, and will begin at 7:00 PM; there will be a Bible Study following the Services, in the Family Room. Private Confession and Absolution will be available from 6:15-6:45 PM, in Pastor Hromowyk’s Office, Wednesdays, except for June 29th