Jerry Johnston interviews Saint Andrews’ Professor N.T. Wright

Everything in Christianity hinges on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Sociologist Rodney Stark, PhD, told me yesterday that no one in human history made the impact of Jesus Christ. The absolute axis of the Christian faith rests on the resurrection. In Gospel narratives we observe the behavior of the closest followers of Jesus before His resurrection: timid, afraid, vacillating. Afterward, they are transformed, unstoppable, and authenticate their faith by their own martyrdom. Peter was audacious enough to stand in front of thousands in Jerusalem during the festival of Pentecost and boldly proclaim. Fifty days earlier, he could not stand up to a young girl who questioned him regarding his association to Christ. Life transforming? No question. How else do you explain it?

More than anyone in history, Jesus is controversial. On our film journey, Cristie Jo and I have listened as He has been both vilified and praised – certainly not ignored. Everyone knows who He is … the top leaders of atheism, agnosticism, secularism, sociology, and humanism. To some, Jesus is an expletive (interestingly, we don’t swear using the names of other religious figures), and yet to many others, Jesus is worshiped and adored. Stark confirmed to me, as I have been told, that one of the largest Christian populations in the world is in China, a communist nation – he wrote an entire book on that subject. How did Jesus defy obscurity after two millennia? Easter Sunday, Jesus draws a bigger crowd in America than the Super Bowl, hands down!

I asked one of the brightest thinkers in the world, British theologian N. T. Wright, author of The Resurrection of the Son of God (740 pages!), why Jesus was so unique and why the resurrection was so important. He spoke about Jesus in a manner, I must admit, I have never heard before … one of absolute familiarity. Candidly, I left the interview wanting to know more, much more, about Jesus.

N.T. Wright:

“1 Corinthians 15 is extremely important first because it includes the very early testimony which has already become kind of a formula. Paul says you know what the gospel was, the Messiah Gnostic says according to scripture was buried, raised on the third day according to scripture and was seen. And Paul is there quoting a formula which he knows the Corinthians will recognize and which he knows the other apostles too will have preached the same thing. But then Paul goes on to explain it and it’s one of the longest sustained arguments that he writes anywhere and it’s a very carefully structured argument and it has fulfilled the ancient scriptural prophecies and Paul is quoting several of them. And in particular it has launched new creation. 1 Corinthians 15 is really working with Genesis 1 and 2 in saying as in Adam, but now selling the Messiah. So that what’s happened is the beginning of new creation and that’s the only way you can understand it.”

Researchers, Drs. Jerry and Cristie Jo Johnston, are Executive Producing a quick-paced film via trans continental, staccato interviews documenting the shocking rise of the non-religious.

Jerry Johnston’s Full Interview with Philip Renner of Philip Renner Ministries out of Moscow Good News Church

Dr. Jerry Johnston on the Rise of Christianity in Russia – Philip Renner of Philip Renner Ministries Full Interview.

Learn all about CTS LIVE Unanswered Tour with Museum of the Bible at

Jerry Johnston on the Rise of Christianity in Russia – Philip Renner Interview

Christianity on the rise in Russia? Meet Philip Renner, son of Rick and Denise Renner, founders of the Moscow Good News Church, which runs 4,000 in attendance in the heart of Russia’s mega-city of 13,000,000. One Russian leader states, “Nowadays it is hip to be religious in Russia.” There are 30,000 churches in Russia and they are gaining in prominence. Cristie, myself, and friends, Rick and Denise, were equally inspired early in our careers by Dr. William Bennett, pastor of First Baptist Church, Ft. Smith, AR. Who could forget Dr. Bennett’s 5:00a.m. breakfast meetings when he would want to conjugate a Greek verb and talk about biblical texts?

The Christian Thinkers Society with Jeremiah Johnston now sets it site on a ministry tour in the 15 union republics of the former USSR. Philip Renner, young and dynamic, is impressive and has a distinct worship ministry imbued by parents “who do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (2 Cor. 4:18). He has visited ministered in many of those republics. The day he came to Houston, he was with us he was fasting. We were so impressed with his faith and look forward to working with him in the future.

Has America’s Christianity become impotent? Why are the nones on the rise? Did you know the “nones” are now actually forming quasi-churches? Faith in the USA is in serious trouble whether we recognize it or not.

Conversely, Philip Renner grew up in Moscow. The entire interview with Philip Renner, which is absolutely fascinating, can be found on the Christian Thinkers Society Facebook page and

JERRY: Tell us about that facility (church) in Moscow, it’s gorgeous- the pictures I’ve seen.

PHILIP: Well, God said, “Build the church in Moscow.” And to build the church in Moscow is very very difficult, extremely expensive. A lot of people would say it’s just impossible. Laws about building in Russia and Moscow they’re changing all the time. But that building’s there because we live by faith and not by sight and we speak things that are not as those they were, as though they are – Romans 4:17. God took what was invisible and made it visible.

JERRY: I recently listened to the pastor at Resurrection Life in Grand Rapids talk about the multiplied thousands of people that Good News Church and Rick Renner Ministries, and Philip Renner, your brothers have done.

PHILIP: Well the church is about 4,000 people which is one of the biggest churches in Moscow.

Researchers, Drs. Jerry and Cristie Jo Johnston, are Executive Producing a quick-paced film via trans continental, staccato interviews documenting the shocking rise of the non-religious.