Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Dr. Jerry Walls

Dr. Jerry Walls is a scholar-in-residence and professor of Philosophy in the School of Humanities of HBU. His primary teaching focus is philosophy of religion, ethics and Christian apologetics. His many publications include a trilogy on the afterlife: “Hell: The Logic of Damnation,” “Heaven: The Logic of Eternal Joy” and “Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation.”

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Dr. Jerry Walls discussed what he calls “the most interesting issues about the stuff that matters most” at Houston Baptist University with Dr. Jerry Johnston, HBU VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing. Walls is a scholar-in-residence and professor of Philosophy in the School of Humanities of HBU. His books reflect the depth of his study and his adroit handling of complex theological matters.

“A lot of contemporary philosophy has become very technical and narrow, with lots of detailed arguments about very small issues. A lot of times big issues get lost in the debate – what’s the meaning of life, does God exist, what is the nature of evil, faith, reason? This is the kind of stuff that was on the plate of all the major Western philosophers,” Walls says. “All these people dealt with arguments for God’s existence. Philosophy of religion focuses on the big questions that have animated philosophy from its very inception. We are made in the image of God. Genuine love, trust, worship, and obedience has to be freely given.”

Walls and Johnston talk about matters outlined in his plainly titled book, “Why I Am Not a Calvinist,” co-authored with Joseph R. Dongell.

Johnston notes, “I came to Christ because a girl stuck out her hand and said, ‘Sit with me’ in a meeting. But I heard the Gospel. One of the byproducts of Calvinism is that it kills evangelistic fervor. Why is it becoming popular?”

Walls reminds listeners of the “TULIP” espoused by Calvinism: total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints.

“It’s really the three in the middle that are at the heart of Calvinism,” Walls says. “Calvinists have done a brilliant job of selling the idea that they’re the ones who take the Bible seriously – who believe in a sovereign God. They have done a great job. I believe in biblical authority, too. The question is about the character of God – does God truly love all people?”

God’s love is for everyone, and His gift of free will to humanity is the result of His love, Walls says. “It’s precisely because God is love that hell makes sense,” he says.

Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Joe Hale

Joe Hale started his first international school in 1983 while serving as a missionary in Korea. Since then, the Network of International Christian Schools has become 17 schools across 15 countries serving thousands, and is growing.

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Education took the forefront during a conversation between Joe Hale, founder of the Network of International Christian Schools, and Houston Baptist University’s Dr. Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing.

While Jesus’ words in the Great Commission includes an exhortation to “teach,” Hale, who served as a missionary, didn’t associate that with schools. More than three decades ago, he and his wife, Ann, were serving in Korea when they needed classes for missionary children. Soon, responsibilities surrounding providing an education to a growing group of children took up their time.

“I was praying, ‘When can I get back to the main thing?’ He kind of let us know that the main thing had changed,” Hale says. “We were seeing more people come to Christ through that school setting than the rest of our ministry.”

From there, the Network of International Christian Schools was formed. “The Lord has allowed us over a lifetime to be involved in some things we didn’t plan on. You know how God does that sometimes,” Hale remarks.

Thousands of students are served in 17 schools across 15 countries – and growing. The home countries of the students include about 120 nations. Many of the students and their families hear the Gospel for the first time through school and school-related events.

“I’m absolutely convinced that the new missionary visa is a teaching credential,” Hale says. “Your teaching credential will get you into more places than anything. There are basically no closed doors. By placing Christian teachers into these schools, the influence is really amazing. Our hope is to reach everyone we can reach with the Gospel.”

When young people, many of whom are future leaders, become Christians, the ramifications in their lives and in their home countries are exponential. “We’re going to influence the nations by influencing the children. They can impact their countries. That makes me excited to get up every day,” Hale says. “We have to be consumed with seeing His glory taken to all nations.”

 

 

Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Lynne Jordal Martin

 

 

Lynne Jordal Martin, senior opinion editor of Fox News, draws from her decades of experience in television, including more than 17 years at Fox. She shares her reflections on the importance of thinking with a balanced perspective and enjoying life.

 

Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing for Houston Baptist University, visited with Lynne Jordal Martin, senior opinion editor of Fox News. The two discussed the 24-hour news cycle and the convergence of news and social media.

In the years since she was on the staff of CBS News, Martin has witnessed a rapid expansion of media providers beyond the “big three” that dominated the American news realm for many years.

“Now there’s an unlimited menu — a giant smorgasbord of media,” she says. “And if 60 percent of Americans are getting some of their news from social media, those (channels) are media companies too.”

As overseer of the opinion section for the station with one of the largest audiences on cable TV, Martin seeks to find and promote pieces that come from an informed, thoughtful perspective, and that offer a counterbalance to dominant voices among the noisemakers in media.

“I think that people see a story that maybe is not from a very reputable source, and they believe every word,” she says. “My goal is that people think a little bit before they react and make judgments based upon one source and one story.”

Not only have media organizations and conduits increased, the way in which news is disseminated has grown in complexity as well. Outlets like Fox increasingly rely upon software algorithms, search engine optimization tactics and analytics to determine direction for decisions ranging from article headlines to story placement.

“It’s a bit of a dance. You want to be creative for a real human, but you also have to please the machine,” Martin explains. “The future of our whole business is digital.”

Martin shares her reflections on the importance of thinking with a balanced perspective.

“My feeling is that, in this very competitive, overheated media market we are in, discernment is necessary,” she said. “News is much like food. We can’t swallow it whole. We need to savor it, chew it, and taste it. When you read a story, you need to understand context and understand the story.”

As she has matured in her career, Martin says she has learned to work less, not more, cherishing moments with her family and volunteering. She serves as a mentor with Education for Ministry, a theological study program which deepens participants’ understanding of the Christian faith.

“I feel so blessed that I can lead this life,” she says.

Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Dinesh D’Souza

 

Dinesh D’Souza is an author and filmmaker. He is known for making apologetics points and writing patriotic manifestos and political tell-alls. D’Souza’s well-known books include, “The Big Lie,” “What’s So Great About America” and “What’s So Great About Christianity.” His film documentaries include “2016: Obama’s America,” “America: Imagine the World Without Her,” as well as “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.”

Visit DineshDSouza.com.

 

Preeminent conservative voice, Dinesh D’Souza, spoke with Houston Baptist University’s Dr. Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing for HBU, about the state of politics and civility in America today.

D’Souza recalls his time as a Reaganite in the 1980s. “In the 80s and early 90s, American politics was kind of a gentleman’s fight. We agreed on goals like prosperity and strong communities, but disagreed on means. All of that really broke down,” D’Souza says.

Since then, D’Souza has experienced and witnessed retribution and monitoring comparable to those of communist societies for openly criticizing figures including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

“The government began to deploy the instruments of the state against their critics. This represented a breakdown in civility that created a declaration of war between the two sides. That’s how we got Trump,” he says. “The left is operating like gangsters, so we kind of need a mob boss on our side. I see Trump as the necessary response to this kind of craziness that’s going on.”

Alignment with the views of the left has become the stock of much journalistic messaging. “The media is only too willing to subordinate themselves to the climate,” D’Souza says. “They’re not really journalists. These are partisans masquerading as journalists. Twitter is the only unfiltered way to reach the American people uninterrupted by the interpretive lens put on.”

The vitriol directed at the presidential administration doesn’t necessarily need a basis, such as allegations of detrimental involvement with Russia, D’Souza concludes.

“I think it’s a very serious coup attempt underway,” D’Souza says. “I think the left’s view is, ‘We have to get him on something.’ It doesn’t matter if it’s plausible or not. Make it stick.”

The pull for control of American minds and American resources is palpable.

“There’s a death struggle between the wealth-creators, or the entrepreneurs, and progressivism,” D’Souza says. “That’s what the fight’s about; everything else is disguised. To my mind, we’re not living in a normal time.”