All Heart with Paul Cardall

The Bible, Homosexuality, Christian Tradition, the Atheist and Agnostic

Episode Summary

Commons Church founding member Pastor Jeremy Duncan was not raised in a very religious home. However, as a young adult, Christianity gradually became the center of his life. A friends invitation to attend a church youth group led an introduction to his future wife and the pursuit of a bachelor's degree from Eastern Bible College. A Master's in Theology from Ambrose University followed as well as a decade of service as an associate pastor at Westside King's Church. During his time there, he began to ask bigger questions with intellectual honesty, spiritual passion and with Jesus as the center of his life. Paul and Jeremy discuss today's challenges with biblical translation and a modern understanding of how to interpret the Bible with intellectual honesty. Is the word "homosexual" the correct use of St. Paul's Greek word "Arsenokoitai" in 20th century translations? What about traditions and rituals? How do they help Christians in today's complex world? Finally, Paul asks Jeremy how he talks with agnostics and atheists who have disassociated themselves from religion and a belief in God.

Episode Notes

Commons Church founding member Pastor Jeremy Duncan was not raised in a very religious home. However, as a young adult, Christianity gradually became the center of his life. A friends invitation to attend a church youth group led an introduction to his future wife and the pursuit of a bachelor's degree from Eastern Bible College. A Master's in Theology from Ambrose University followed as well as a decade of service as an associate pastor at Westside King's Church. During his time there, he began to ask bigger questions with intellectual honesty, spiritual passion and with Jesus as the center of his life. Paul and Jeremy discuss today's challenges with biblical translation and a modern understanding of how to interpret the Bible with intellectual honesty. Is the word "homosexual" the correct use of St. Paul's Greek word "Arsenokoitai" in 20th century translations? What about traditions and rituals? How do they help Christians in today's complex world? Finally, Paul asks Jeremy how he talks with agnostics and atheists who have disassociated themselves from religion and a belief in God.

 

Background, Experience, Education

Jeremy discusses his background growing up in a quasi-religious family. Church attendance consisted of holidays and seasons where his family would attend a Pentecostal denomination regularly. In high school, a friend invited him to a church youth group where he made friends and met his future wife. Christianity slowly became the center of his life. The church pastor encouraged Jeremy to go to Bible college for a bachelor's degree. He was hired at a church in Toronto where his mind began to expand outside of his environment. Jeremy admits he didn’t have expansive experience with church culture since his was limited to the Pentecostal denomination, Bible college and a church in Toronto. He left church ministry and started his own business for several years until a church in Calgary offered him a job. He began to do things a little differently and started asking bigger questions. He wrestled with what it means to be a pastor. He was at the church in Calgary for 10 years while completing his master's. He enjoyed leading and was able to try some different things and shape Christian communities. After all his church experience, he was able to plant Commons Church in 2014. Commons offers Christians a new way to discuss the Gospel with intellectual honesty, acknowledgement of the complexities of biblical translation and even larger biblical issues. Commons is near a university. Its congregation is full of educated people who believe faith is important and who want to bring their education and reason into their spirituality.


 

Homosexuality and Biblical Translation: Is it correct?

Paul and Jeremy discuss the Bible as the “infallible Word of God” and his interpretation of what that means. Paul asks about the 1946 RSV Bible translation that introduced the English word “homosexual” to the 20th century Christianity for St. Paul’s word “aresinacoitos.” St. Paul used the word to describe a sexual practice in 1st century Greco-Roman culture. For pastors and scholars like Jeremy, the word “homosexual” is considered an incorrect use of the word and what St. Paul was teaching. They discuss homosexuality from a 1st century perspective and what Jeremy believes St. Paul meant when describing non-consensual, predatory, unhealthy relationships vs. monogamous, covenant, healthy sexual relationships uncommon in the world St. Paul was living in. Jeremy believes when it comes to translation “there always has to be this open-handed humbleness with the Bible to say God is speaking to me through this but there will always be this level of miscommunication and uncertainty, but what is going to come through is the grace, compassion, and love Jesus is teaching us to embody."

Paul asks Jeremy if he believes in a closed or open canon of scripture. They discuss what this mean, the different books and formulations of scripture within the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Bibles. Also, should the canon be open to include new books to help us have a full, flourishing life here on earth. In other words, Jeremy answers the question do we need need additional scripture to help mankind meet the full measure of their creation? Yes, it's closed but because we are constantly learning new things about ourselves with science, psychology, sexuality and these things have to be incorporated into our story. We are absorbing the canon so well that it becomes the water that we breathe in. This can help us make new judgement calls and face new challenges appropriately with guidance from the Holy Spirit. Jeremy argues that complex issues not addressed in the Bible, such as euthanasia or homosexuality, can be understood by being so deeply immersed in the story of God that Christians can wrestle and find the appropriate response.

SIDE NOTE: The first time the word “homosexual” appeared in any bible was in the Revised Standard Version (RSV) published in February 11, 1946. In the RSV’s translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9, the word “homosexual” was used in lieu of the Greek words “malakoi” and “arsenokoitai.” Researchers agree today these words translate loosely to “effeminacy,” and “pervert,” or “sexual pervert.” The decision to use the word “homosexual” instead of the accurate translations was voted on by the RSV committee.


 

Traditions & Rituals: Are they good?

Paul asks Jeremy his thoughts on religious traditions, rituals, the complexity of starting a Church with good intentions but then having to implement policies and rules that can overshadow what the founders initially intended. Jeremy explains the purpose of traditions and rituals. He discusses how they are powerful tools to shape our relationships with God and one another. He says “if you come from a certain religious tradition and it’s meaningful for you, celebrate that, embrace that and hold onto it tightly but ask yourself how is it shaping me? Is it making me a kind person or is it turning me into a person who views things only my way. Jeremy says at Commons they believing in being 1) Intellectually honest 2) Spiritually passionate 3) Jesus at the center. Overall, we need to appreciate all the streams of Christianity.


 

Talking with the agnostic and atheist who have disassociated themselves from religion and even belief in God.  Paul asked Jeremy the best way to communicate with those who no longer believe in God. Jeremy says Jesus is the closest we’ll ever come to seeing divine love in our human story. All truth is God’s truth. Whenever we encounter truth, then this is the same divinity we see in Jesus. Science is an expression of the same truth we see in Jesus. Every time there is generosity, selfless giving and love, regardless of the religious paradigm, that is an expression of Jesus. Though other religions partake in these expressions of love, Jeremy believes Jesus is the core and that Christianity is the fullest expression of this divinity. The more calm, patient and peaceful he is about converting them to his way of thinking then the more open people are to having real conversations about his convictions. Overtime, Jeremy has witnessed countless agnostics and atheists find a stream of Christianity that gives them a clear understanding of themselves and the universe. Jeremy discusses what it means to be born again. He compares this to God removing our narrow view of the world and helping us relearn everything with our eyes wide open.


 

Jeremy Duncan, is the Lead Pastor M.A B/TS, Commons Church 

COMMONS CHURCH https://www.commons.church/jeremy

BLOG: https://www.jeremyduncan.ca

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/duncanjeremy/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/realjeremyduncan

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ABOUT THE HOST PAUL CARDALL

Steinway & Sons considers Paul Cardall one of today's most prolific pianists. Born with half a heart, the Dove Award Winning artist has endured a lifetime of complex surgeries that culminated in a heart transplant in his 30s. As a teenager, Paul discovered he had a gift of composing for piano without any formal training. “Playing the piano healed my heart and it’s been my life’s work to use music to heal other hearts,” the pianist told Forbes Magazine. With more than 3 billion lifetime streams and 11 No. 1 Billboard chart debuts, the pianist and entrepreneur recently founded All Heart Publishing, an independent record label patterned after Stone Angel Music, another company he founded in 1999. The Stone Angel Music catalog and artist roster, both sold to Anthem Entertainment in 2018. Cardall’s holiday album, Christmas, was awarded the Gospel Music Association’s prestigious Dove Award for Instrumental Album of the Year. Over the years, Cardall has collaborated with many prestigious performers including Grammy winning artist CeCe Winans, Thompson Square, Tyler Glenn (Neon Tees), David Archuleta, Ty Herndon, Kristen Chenowith, and Rachael Yamagata. He recently founded All Heart Publishing, an independent record. Forbes Magazine reported the pianist as saying, "Music has helped healed my heart and it's my life mission to use music to heal your heart." He is the host of the popular podcast, “All Heart with Paul Cardall” and lives in Nashville, TN.

All Heart with Paul Cardall is sponsored by doTERRA, whose products are designed to offer hope and healing. For more information on Paul Cardall, please visit https://paulcardall.com/ or find him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, andYouTube.