The City Podcast: N.T. Wright

by Timothy Motte on July 28, 2014

Dr. Capes had a wonderful opportunity to sit down with renowned theologian N.T. Wright and have a satisfying talk about the theology, especially the christology, of the Apostle Paul. And today, you get to hear it.

Featuring: Dr. N.T. Wright, Dr. David Capes

The City Podcast. Smart. Sane. Spiritual.


Mentioned in this podcast:

(When you purchase either of these books after clicking on the link, HBU will receive a (small) portion of the profits.)

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The City Podcast: Joy in Prison and Other Epiphanies

by Timothy Motte on July 21, 2014

No one knows a text better than a scribe.

When you painstakingly transfer a text word-by-word from one medium to another, you develop a deep familiarity with it. The slowness of the process allows you to ponder and meditate upon what it says. The exactitude required means that you don’t miss any details. 

That’s what Rachel Motte does. As the editor of, it’s her job to transcribe Dr. Sloan’s vast archive of recorded sermons and adapt them for easy reading in a text format. Because he is both a very learned New Testament scholar and an excellent communicator, she reports that living with his preaching so intimately has taught her volumes about the Bible.

In this podcast, Rachel sits down with Dr. David Capes (another New Testament scholar at HBU) and shares some of the insights she has gathered while working on Dr. Sloan’s series on Philippians.

What do you do when you want to learn a text well? Have you tried copying it word-by-word?

Featuring: Rachel Motte, Dr. David Capes

The City Podcast. Smart. Sane. Spiritual.


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

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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…]

Advice to My Son 4: The World Is Full of Magic

by Lou Markos on September 19, 2013

Ever since you were a boy, I’ve tried to convince you of one simple truth. The world is full of magic: you just have to have eyes to see it and ears to hear it. That’s why I spent so much time reading fairy tales to you and your sister. Fairy tales remind us that there is magic, deep magic, in every tree, every rock, every sunset, and especially every person.

Western religions have traditionally focused on the transcendence of God: God exists outside of time and space and is radically other than us or our world. Eastern religions, on the other hand, have put their focus on the immanence of God: God does not dwell outside the world but exists in and through it. [click to continue…]

The City Podcast: Mere Christianity in a Mythic Moment

by Timothy Motte on April 30, 2013

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

Featuring: Mary Jo Sharp, Dr. Holly Ordway, Cate MacDonald, and Dr. John Mark Reynolds

HBU is in a mythic moment.

There are many factors contributing to this, and that is why Dr. Reynolds brought in amazing apologetics professor Mary Jo Sharp to discuss it.

The melting pot nature of the city of Houston, and the mere Christian mission of HBU bring to light the ways in which Christians from vastly different denominations can work closely together while still maintaining their doctrinal distinctiveness.

Also, in this episode, you will find out which Lord of the Rings character Dr. Reynolds thinks President Sloan looks like.


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A to Z with C.S. Lewis: T is for Tao

by Lou Markos on April 18, 2013

Laozi and Kong Fuzi

Mere Christianity is Lewis’s best known and most complete work of apologetics.  In it he begins with a general argument for theism (the existence of God) and then expands that argument into a specific defense of the Christian gospel.  From there, he goes on to explain and support the central moral and theological principles of Christianity.

Although Lewis believed firmly in the authority of scripture, he knew that many of his modern readers did not share his belief.  Accordingly, Lewis carefully builds his apologetical arguments on common ground: on facts and observations about our world and ourselves that all people, regardless of their religious beliefs, can see, understand, and acknowledge.

That is why he begins Mere Christianity with an unexpected statement that seems, on the surface, to have little to do with a defense of the Christian faith.  Did you ever notice, Lewis writes, that when two people disagree about something, they argue about it rather than fight?  Though most of us likely did not notice this phenomenon before, the moment we read Lewis’s statement, the truth of it becomes apparent. Of course we argue instead of fight!

And that’s when Lewis hooks us.  Whether we realize it or not, two people cannot argue about something unless they agree (often unconsciously) to a fixed standard that transcends them both.  When we argue, we take that standard for granted and then make a case (sometimes rationally, sometimes irrationally) that our side of the argument better approximates that standard.

In a case where two former business partners are suing each other for fraud, neither party says: “yes, I swindled my partner, and I was right to do so.”  If he did, he would not be sent to jail; he would be sent to an asylum.  Now, one party might partially confess to fraud, but then he would follow the confession by offering mitigating circumstances to show that the “fraud” was actually justified.  In other words, he still holds to the accepted standard that fraud is wrong.

On the basis of our shared experience of such ethical debates, Lewis posits that a universal, cross-cultural moral code exists and is binding.  In The Abolition of Man, he gives that law code a name: the Tao.  Many Christians are confused by this: why should Lewis borrow a word from Taoism (a branch of Buddhism) to bolster his case for the Christian faith?  The answer is simple: to show that all people (east and west) recognize the Tao, even though they continually break it.

Many relativists will balk against Lewis’s assertion of the Tao, claiming that morality veers wildly from culture to culture and is a man-made (rather than a divinely-given) thing that alters from age to age.  But those same so-called relativists will quickly change their tune if someone robs them.  “It was wrong of you to do that,” they will say, and if the person who robbed them says, “in my culture it is OK for me to steal,” the relativist will not accept the excuse.

The fact is everyone knows the Tao exists, for whatever our own personal ideology, we expect other people to treat us in accordance with the Tao.  Indeed, if there were no Tao, then no court could have tried the Nazis or Saddam Hussein or the perpetrators of apartheid.  The Tao does exist, but if it exists, then it makes necessary a director of the Tao who transcends all times and cultures.  It requires, in short, a super-natural Creator who inscribed the Tao into our conscience.