The City Podcast: Rites of Passage

by Timothy Motte on March 17, 2014

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Cate MacDonald, Dr. Holly Ordway, Peter Gross

When did you realize you were an adult?

Anthropologists tell us that rites of passage, either intentional or de facto, are a very crucial signal of entering adulthood. What was yours? Did you have one? What does a specifically Christian rite of passage look like?

Peter David Gross, Director of Wheatstone Ministries, is working with many Christian youth and inviting them into Christian adulthood. This could change your entire view of youth ministry. Or it could merely change how you interact with the Christian youths in your life.


Email us at with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.

You might also enjoy this podcast from our archives: Don’t Just Sit There. Do Something!

The City Podcast: Communism in Practice

by Timothy Motte on December 9, 2013

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Dr. Barbara Elliott, Cate MacDonald, Dr. Holly Ordway, Dr. John Mark Reynolds

HBU professor, Dr. Barbara Elliott, has received the Eleanor Roosevelt human rights award, been very active in the non-profit sector, served in the Reagan administration, been the editor of the journal Imprimis, and worked as an international television reporter.

But most importantly for this podcast, she was there when the Berlin wall came down, and in her helping refugees to escape she discovered the story of the role of people of faith in that momentous event. That story is told in her book, Candles behind the Wall: Heroes of the Peaceful Revolution That Shattered Communism.


Email us at with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.

You might also be interested in The City Podcast: Human Perfectibility and the Role of Govenment.

On Debating Dan Barker

by John Mark Reynolds on November 22, 2013

Originally posted at Wheatstone Writes. John Mark Reynolds is a Founder of Wheatstone Ministries. He blogs, advises, and speaks for Wheatstone regularly. Visit for more information.

I was excited to debate Dan Barker. Why? First, Barker’s story is very much like my own, but with a different conclusion. We had similar childhoods and followed a pathway into Christian ministry. Right about the time his first book came out, I was deciding whether to remain a Christian. [click to continue…]

The City Podcast: Poetry in Bible Translation

by Timothy Motte on July 15, 2013

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Dr. David Capes, Dr. Holly Ordway, and Dr. John Mark Reynolds

The Bible is the most owned, but least read, book.

Does having yet another translation contribute to that problem or its solution?

Dr. David Capes, Professor of Christianity at HBU, was the lead scholar, on a team of over 100, for a new translation called The Voice. One of the unique aspects of this project is that they intentionally brought in poets and novelists alongside the scholars and professors.

Capes says, “Many translations get the words right, but miss the poetry.”

You’ll hear a breathtaking example of Biblical poetry in the first few minutes of this podcast. Dr. Ordway and Dr. Reynolds also address many other important questions with Dr. Capes about Bible translation and study.

  • Is it better to have one translation for a shared culture or many translations to get at the fullness of the original?
  • Should the Bible be read in public or in private?
  • Why don’t daily devotionals work for everyone?
  • Is it the church’s job to re-educate a post-literate culture?

Listen and then email us your thoughts at


Check out our previous conversation with Dr. Capes.

You may want to listen to Dr. Capes radio program, “A Show of Faith”, Sunday nights from 7-9pm Central on KNTH.


The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: David Gilbert, Cate MacDonald, and Dr. John Mark Reynolds

“By your age, [C.S. Lewis] was reading the Faerie Queene for fun.” –Dr. Reynolds

Cate MacDonald is the Director of The Academy at HBU, which helps high schoolers get some college credits in advance.

She says that much of what we do in college should begin at age 12.

Was creativity encouraged in your family? Did you have a TV growing up? Did you discuss your entertainment with others or just consume it? Did your parents read to you?

Is your mind now asleep or awake?

Joining Cate and John Mark to discuss this is David Gilbert, who teaches at The Academy. There are a lot of good thoughts about parenting in this conversation. Listen, and you will be edified.


Let us know how you are doing at


A to Z with C.S. Lewis: R is for Reason

by Lou Markos on April 4, 2013

Faith and Reason United

John Paul II’s papal encyclical, “On the Relationship between Faith and Reason” (Fides et Ratio) is an important work that should be read by all thinking Catholics and Protestants who care about the life of the mind.  And yet, though I am a great proponent of the encyclical, I feel a great sadness that it had to be written in the first place!

In the centuries before the Enlightenment seized control of our wisest and best educated scholars, no one would have been surprised to see the words “faith” and “reason” placed side by side.  After all, the Catholic Church invented the university, and the Christian worldview shaped some of the finest minds in history: Augustine, Dante, Aquinas, Luther, and Pascal, to name but a few.  Likewise, the scientific achievements of such men as Roger Bacon, Copernicus, Galileo, Francis Bacon, Kepler, and Newton were all underwritten by their faith in a super-natural Creator.

Had C. S. Lewis grown up in the medieval or renaissance periods, his training in logic and rhetoric would have been carried out in direct conversation with the doctrines of Christianity.  As a citizen of the modern world, he was trained instead by an atheistic tutor named Kirkpatrick who used reason to inoculate Lewis’s mind against religious “superstitions.”

But life has its little ironies.  When Lewis became a Christian, he did not forget Kirkpatrick’s teachings.  Rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater, Lewis marshaled the full weight of logic and reason to defend the faith from its modern detractors.  With great boldness, Lewis restored a great truth that had been forgotten: namely, that reason is on the side of the angels.

In Miracles, for example, Lewis argues that naturalism (the belief that nature is all that there is and that nothing super-natural exists) is self-refuting.  If we are merely products of evolutionary forces guided (or “un-guided”) by time and chance, then we have no reason to trust our senses or our powers of logic to arrive at the truth.  In fact, if naturalism is true, then truth itself becomes impossible—for truth stands outside nature, but the naturalist says nothing stands outside nature.

The modern naturalist too often overlooks the fact that the laws of naturalism rest on abstract principles that lie outside the supposedly closed system of nature.  To formulate such principles we must step outside the flow of nature to achieve a perspective that is, quite literally, super-natural.  But if naturalism is true, then we cannot do that.  If the naturalists are right and nature is a vast, impersonal, unguided mechanism, then how can we have any knowledge of that mechanism?  Surely an objective judge who is not pre-committed to a naturalistic worldview would conclude that our knowledge and understanding of nature cannot be a part of nature.

So Lewis explains it in Miracles, but it is in his Screwtape Letters that he drives the message home with a bracing wit that is not soon forgotten.  Again and again, senior devil Screwtape advises his nephew to do whatever he can to prevent his patient from engaging his reason.

The job of the devil is not to make us think but to fuddle our minds—to keep us endlessly fixed on the daily stream of life.  God, in contrast, would fix our attention on things we cannot see, on laws and theorems and principles that transcend the stream.  It was God, Screwtape concedes, who created reason and logic; against it, the devils can only offer propaganda, jargon, and spin.