Real Life Conversations were created so we can have a conversation on relevant cultural topics we face each day from a biblical perspective. From social media and television to friends and family members, it’s easy to find it hard to navigate some of these topics or even know where to start.
But what does the Bible say? How can we apply it? These conversations are not designed to tell you what to think; instead, we want to give you insight into what the Bible says and help you draw your conclusion using wisdom from experts who have spent years studying the topics.
A Conversation on LGBTQ+ and Christianity
Rusty sits down with Becket Cook and Caleb Kaltenback to talk through LGBTQ+ and Christianity. Are the two mutually exclusive? What does the Bible say on this topic? Can you live in alignment with God if you identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community? Becket and Caleb share stories from their lives that greatly impacted them and their faith journey.
About Becket Cook
Becket Cook was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He attended Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas. After college, Becket moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of writing and acting, finding success in both. He eventually went on to become a production designer working with the top photographers and directors in the world on fashion shoots for magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and for ad campaigns such as Gap, L’Oréal Paris, and Nike.
Finding a new sense of freedom in L.A., Becket also fully engaged in his new life as a gay man. He had a series of many relationships with men throughout the next fifteen years. In September of 2009, Becket met a stranger at a coffee shop in Silver Lake who invited him to his church in Hollywood called Reality L.A. Becket reluctantly agreed to attend the service. After hearing the sermon that Sunday, Becket was utterly transformed by the gospel and gave his life to Christ. He also knew on that day when God revealed Himself to him that homosexuality was a sin and that he could no longer live that life. Becket was more than happy to count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord.
About Caleb Kaltenback
Caleb Kaltenbach is Research Pastor at Shepherd Church in Los Angeles and founder of The Messy Grace Group where he helps churches love and foster community with LGBTQ individuals without sacrificing theological convictions. He’s the author of Messy Truth, God of Tomorrow, and Messy Grace (where he discusses being raised in the LGBTQ community, following Jesus, and how loving others doesn’t require shifting beliefs).
A graduate of Ozark Christian College and Talbot School of Theology (Biola University), he received his doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to having served as a lead pastor and associate pastor, Caleb has served on the boards of ministries and colleges. He and his family live in Southern California.
A Conversation on Politics
Voting is a critical part of our society, but often times it can be hard to decide who and what to vote for. Does the party matter? How to view local politics vs national. The answer isn’t simple, but does the Bible say anything about politics? Can the Bible teach us what or who to vote for? Dr. Sean McDowell joins Rusty to help answer how we can think about politics biblically.
About Dr. Sean McDowell
Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for equipping the church, and in particular young people, to make the case for the Christian faith. He connects with audiences in a tangible way through humor and stories while imparting hard evidence and logical support for viewing all areas of life through a biblical worldview. Sean is an associate professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University. He is the Resident Scholar for Summit California.
Sean still teaches one high school Bible class, which helps him have exceptional insight into the prevailing culture so he can impart his observations poignantly to fellow educators, pastors and parents alike. In 2008, he received the Educator of the Year award for San Juan Capistrano, Calif. The Association of Christian Schools International awarded Exemplary Status to his apologetics training. Sean is listed among the top 100 apologists. He graduated summa cum laude from Talbot School of Theology with a master’s degree in theology and another in philosophy. He earned a doctorate in Apologetics and Worldview Studies in 2014 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
A Conversation on Transgender Identities
What does the Bible say about transgender identities? Does Jesus specifically address the issue? How are Christians supposed to respond? What do you do when a young person is navigating this topic? Our next guest has spent a great deal of time with people from this community as well as studying and looking for answers to those questions from a biblical perspective. Dr. Preston Sprinkle gives such incredible insight into this topic and how we can look at it as a Christian.
About Preston Sprinkle
Dr. Preston Sprinkle is a biblical scholar, speaker, podcaster, a New York Times bestselling author, and is the co-founder and president of The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender. He earned a Ph.D. in New Testament from Aberdeen University in Scotland (2007), and has taught theology at Cedarville University (OH), Nottingham University (U.K.), and Eternity Bible College (CA). But when he grows up, Preston’s dream is to move to a tropical island and become a professional surfer. Unfortunately, his surfing skills are sketchy at best.
Preston loves talking and writing about hot-button cultural and theological issues with thoughtfulness, honesty and grace. He is passionate about approaching topics that everyone wants to know about, but few are willing to talk honestly and graciously about. Topics like sexuality, gender, race, violence, patriotism, hell, politics, war, and what it means to follow a Jewish prophet-king who was executed for treason. He works hard to challenge himself and others to read the Bible with conviction and humility, while holding their predetermined beliefs loosely.
Preston has written a dozen books including Erasing Hell (w/ Francis Chan), Nonviolence, Scandalous Grace, People to Be Loved, Living in a Gray World, and Embodied. Preston also hosts a popular bi-weekly podcast titled Theology in the Raw, where he engages in honest conversations with interesting people.
A Conversation on Can we Trust the Bible
Real Life Conversations are designed to give you a biblical perspective on many of the issues we face in our society. But before we dive into those issues, how do we know we can trust the Bible? Joining Rusty on this episode is Dr. Mark Moore, who helps us tackle the question of whether we can trust the Bible.
About Mark Moore
Mark has served on staff at Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) in Peoria, Arizona, since July 2012 as a teaching pastor. CCV currently has nine locations and 35,000 in weekly attendance.
Prior to joining the CCV team, Mark was a Professor at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri (1990-2012).
Currently, he is an online professor for Ozark, an Adjunct Professor at Hope International University in Fullerton, California and Haus Edelweiss, Vienna, Austria.
Mark is also the author and co-author of many books, mostly on the Life of Christ, book of Acts, and Revelation.
The audience members had a chance to ask Dr. Moore some questions based on his conversation with Rusty.