I have a long commute to work and I love music, but after spending several hours a week in my car, I easily overplay even my newest and all-time favorite albums to where I start to get bored. Thus, podcasts are a lifesaver.
Other than thought-provoking entertainment, I’ve discovered 3 other benefits to listening to Christian podcasts:
(1) The right podcasts give you access to topnotch Christian scholars, pastors, and thinkers, and these people have a wealth of experience and knowledge.
(2) Even as a seminary student and an avid reader, I’ve come to realize the knowledge I gain from my podcast listening is substantial (and the effort is minimal).
(3) Podcasts are up-to-date and current, addressing topics of importance right now.
So, even if you don’t have a long commute, pick a podcast to listen to while you’re folding the laundry or mowing the lawn or eating breakfast. If you can’t listen to a whole show in one sitting, so what? — Listen to it in parts, even if it’s just for 10 minutes at a time.
To check out these podcasts, I’d recommend using itunes (go under podcasts and do a search). This is the easiest option, but I have also included links to the podcasts, usually on the hosts’ websites. (Click on the address in this article to connect to it.)
Since I have an interest specifically in Christian apologetics (the rational defense of the Christian faith) and theology, most of the podcasts here focus on those subjects. These are the podcasts I most listen to and recommend:
(1) APOLOGETICS 315
Apologetics 315 is a great place for this article to start because it’s a great place for someone new to apologetics to start as well. The format is simple: host Brain Auten interviews Christian writers, theologians, professors, philosophers, pastors, and pretty much anyone else involved in some sort of apologetics. Not only have I benefited from the knowledge passed on in the actual interviews, but also I’ve learned of other great podcasts, books, and websites about Christian apologetics by those being interviewed.
Great in-depth interviews with lots of insight!
Some of the interviews/interviewees can be dry. Some of the scholars use lingo that will lose those not in their field.
The website Apologetics315.com is a great resource itself!
Some recommended interviews:
Tim McGrew, Ravi Zacharias, Gary Habermas, Alvin Plantinga, Ron Rhodes
This British radio show/podcast is primarily debates/discussions between people of opposing views on subjects that fall into the realm of Christianity, whether it is Christians debating atheists or other non-Christians or Christians debating Christians about issues within the church. Justin Brierley, the host, does a great job of fairly mediating the debate/discussion. Some big names on the program include N.T. Wright, one of the world’s leading New Testament scholars, and Richard Dawkins, everyone’s favorite atheist.
Unbelievable? gives you a good look at controversial issues and exposes you to opposing views on that issue.
Episodes tend to be about 1 1/2 hours and sometimes that is barely enough time to scratch the surface of some of these issues.
The debates in all the episodes I have listened to so far have been civil. Hopefully, they all are.
Some recommended episodes:
NT Wright on Paul, Hell, Creation, Adam, Eve, & More; Catholic vs. Protestant debate on Sola Scriptura [scripture alone]; Does the rock and fossil record point to Noah’s flood or evolution?; Darwin’s Doubt – Stephen C Meyer & Charles Marshall debate ID [intelligent design]; Is the Mormon Church having a crisis of Faith?
(3) STAND TO REASON
Another straightforward podcast/radio show: Greg Koukl opens by sharing some thoughts concerning our faith, and then he answers callers’ questions on any number of topics encompassing Christianity — anything from personal application of biblical teachings to interpreting scripture to philosophical issues and apologetics.
Greg Koukl’s ability to confidently, satisfactorily, and evenhandedly answer the vast diversity of questions he receives is testimony to his wealth of experience and what a valuable resource of information one man can be.
A single episode is 3 hours long, so you’ll most likely have to listen in parts or simply skip the calls that don’t interest you. Also, sometimes I find myself waiting for Koukl’s opening monologue to end so we can get to the callers.
Did I mention how impressed I am by Koukl’s ability to smoothly answer the vast array of questions he receives in any given episode?
Some recommended episodes:
You’re pretty much at the mercy of what the callers have questions about, so any given episode covers a variety of subjects. The episode listings give some of the topics covered, so just scan them and see what catches your eye.
(4) THE BRIEFING
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, examines current world news from a Christian perspective. New episodes are posted every Monday through Friday, each episode is about 20 minutes long. Dr. Mohler gives an overview of the news stories, and then he follows with commentary.
Great, quick way to keep up on important news and issues that should interest Christians one way or another (and are not always covered by the mainstream media).
Since it’s a 20-minute podcast and Dr. Mohler covers several stories, don’t expect a lot of depth. (Though the amount of information he packs into 20 minutes is impressive!)
Being a SBTS student, I was, of course, aware of Dr. Albert Mohler, but when I first listened to the podcast, I was surprised (and impressed) by his smooth, radio-friendly voice, which reminds me of newscasters of old.
(5) BACKPACK RADIO
I like Backpack Radio because the hosts take theology and apologetics seriously without taking themselves too seriously. So don’t be surprised to hear some talk about G.I. Joe, Star Wars, or Mr. Bill between serious discussions about our faith. Hosted by Vocab Malone, a former hiphop artist and current seminary student and pastor, along with two senior pastors, Vermon Pierre and Bob Korljan. Pastor Bob, being the older, more experienced pastor, is a great foil and “straight-man” to Vocab’s youthful energy and goofiness. The show is meant to have a “street level” young, urban feel. It does this well without overdoing the whole “street” thing or underplaying the Word.
A good balance of seriousness and fun that few can pull off.
Sometimes the goofing around can get them off subject (but this also gives Backpack Radio its unique charm). Also, they don’t usually have the “big names” some other podcasts do, but again, this gives the show its unique charm; the guests tend to be “everyday” types as opposed to fancy-pants scholars, which is part of their “street level” flavor.
Backpack Radio introduced me to quality Christian hiphop! Thanks!
Some recommended episodes:
False Teachers & Lyrical Theology; Being Black and Reformed; The Mailman Apologist; Reformation History; Facebook Epistemology
(6) WAYNE GRUDEM’S SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY
Wayne Grudem is one of the top biblical scholars in the world, and his Systematic Theology book is required reading for many seminary students. These podcasts are recordings of classes Dr. Grudem taught at his church, going through his entire book subject-by-subject, covering all of the essential teachings of Christianity. Do you have questions about the Atonement, the Trinity, or the inerrancy of scripture? How about miracles or church government? The person of Christ or the Holy Spirit? It’s all covered (and more)! Dr. Grudem also interacts with the class in discussions and addresses questions, which furthers understanding.
Like his Systematic Theology book, Dr. Grudem explains Christian theology in a clear, easy-to-follow manner that is not light on scriptural support or depth.
The series has long been finished, so there won’t be any new episodes posted.
Despite being a “big name” in the Christian academic world, Dr. Grudem’s humility comes through in these podcasts, and he’s a great teacher. To have access to him, thanks to modern technology, is a huge blessing. (And he might have one of the most contagious laughs I’ve ever heard.)
(7) SERMON PODCASTS
OK, maybe you don’t want apologetics, philosophical or theological arguments, or debates. You just want to make it through the day and you need to be fed by God’s Word. Most pastors post their sermons on itunes or their churches’ websites. So, a simple search should bring up plenty of options.
Don’t have anyone in mind?
You can’t go wrong with sermons from pastors/authors Tim Keller or John Piper:
(8) RADIOLAB “THE GOOD SHOW”
Finally, I’d like to recommend a specific episode of NPR’s Radiolab, one of my favorite non-Christian podcasts/radio shows. Radiolab is a science-based show that takes a theme each episode and explores it through highly entertaining and interesting segments. “The Good Show” (Show #901 – Season 9) attests to altruism in nature, and indirectly confirms the Christian worldview of loving our neighbors, sacrificial love, and turning the other cheek. The hosts start the show by stating that evolution is based on meanness (survival of the fittest), then they ask: Is there niceness in nature? Trust me; check it out. (Then let me know what you think.)
http://www.radiolab.org/archive/ *Season 9: The Good Show – show #901
**If you check out any of these podcasts, please be sure let me know in the comments below & to share your thoughts on them!**