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A conversation with Jeremiah Johnston - S9.E13

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WORLD Radio - A conversation with Jeremiah Johnston - S9.E13

If you’ve received God’s grace, you should be experiencing God’s peace. So why are so many Christians suffering under the burden of outrage?


WARREN SMITH, HOST: I’m Warren Smith, and today you’re listening in on my conversation with theologian, author and speaker Dr. Jeremiah Johnston. His new book is Unleashing Peace: Experiencing God’s Shalom in your Pursuit of Happiness.

JEREMIAH JOHNSTON, GUEST: I think Jesus's most counter-cultural trait was he was unprovocable. He was able to live the shalom of God because you just couldn't provoke him. And yet, what do we see? Christians are so provoked. And if you're easily provoked, you're not going to live in the shalom of God.

WS: We live in an age of turmoil, divisiveness, anxiety, and unrest. Even Christians are sucked into this chaotic vortex. We sometimes spiritualize our own unbiblical behavior, dressing it up as a righteous anger when we come face to face with the outrages of the world.

But how righteous is it, really? Yes, Jesus overturned the tables in the temple, but we know him best as the Prince of Peace, who willingly submitted to the outrage of the Cross. The Apostle Paul, who wrote more books in the Bible than any other person, began most of his books with the greeting “Grace and Peace.” It’s as if the two go together. If you’ve received God’s grace, you should be experiencing God’s peace.

So why are we not?

Jeremiah Johnston helps us understand why even Christians do not experience God’s peace as we should, and what we can do about it.

Jeremiah Johnston is a New Testament scholar, president of the Christian Thinkers Society, and the author or co-author of 10 books. He and his wife Audrey have five children, and they live in Texas, which is where he was when we had this conversation.

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WS: Well, Jeremiah, welcome to the program. I can't tell you how excited I am for your book, Unleashing Peace, because I think this idea of sort of unleashing shalom, you might say, (or) ‘unleashing peace’, as the title of your book says, is is an idea that is so important, so badly needed. And what, it's one of those ideas that I call ‘hiding in plain sight’ in Scripture. If you read Scripture - it's, it's all through it from beginning to end. And yet too often, we miss it as modern 21st century evangelical Christians, I think. So, congratulations on the book. How's it been going so far? 

JJ: Thank you, Warren, and let me just say this ,you personify, you know, we lead a ministry called Christian thinkers, society, and a Christian thinker is not an oxymoron. But, unfortunately, for some it is that. But you, Warren, you personify what it means to be a Christian thinker. And so I'm always challenged when I get any opportunity to be exposed to your ministry. I love doing webinars with you. I love doing podcasts. And so I'm just delighted to be on your program. So thank you for having me. And let me just say this. Thank you, Warren, I want to say this, you gave me the best endorsement that I received on this book. So I can't thank you enough, Warren, for that. And I hope we can get into kind of what you said in your endorsement, because I've actually been, I've been I've been taking some notes from your endorsement as I've been preaching about this book. So thank you, Warren, for the endorsement. And, you know, this book has really come out of five years of speaking in a lot of different denominations across the US, some in Canada and some in the United Kingdom. And it was this it only is only God could do war. And you know, I didn't plan to have a book called unleashing peace on Shalom be released as we emerge from the pandemic. Only God could have done that. I mean, as you, my publisher will tell you this has been stirring in my heart for five years, receiving 1000s of questions, literally, from believers who lacked God's peace. And the number one birthmark of a Christian is the peace of God. And yet, so many of us find the peace, that peace to be elusive and hard to attain, and what does that look like? And then Warren is, you know, you're a Christian thinker. You get it. There's so much bumper sticker theology out there, as it relates to the peace of God, we want to slap someone with a Bible verse and a bumper sticker in a soundbite, but we really don't take time to actually show them. What does it look like to live in the peace of God? And why is it important? And so, you know, I'm a PhD, Warren. So that means I know a lot about a little, right?  PhDs know a lot about a little. I'm a gospel scholar. And I began to notice that this concept of Shalom is is underdeveloped in the Christian life. It's under studied, I think, actually, in biblical scholarship. It's under taught and the pulpit, and yet it personified the life of Jesus. So that's why I wanted to write a book explaining how we get there. And again, God took God to go over into the rest.

WS: Well, no, I listened that first of all, I really appreciate what you said about me. It's I'm very grateful that I would say, but right back at you, it's been very nourishing every interaction that I've ever had with you. And you know, and you're right, you think of it, since you’re a Bible scholar, you know, they call it the classic Pauline greeting, right? Grace and peace, right? And it's like, so once we receive the grace of Christ, peace should immediately follow, and yet it often does not in the lives of many Christians. So let's, let's kind of start there. Let's start with diagnosing the problem before we, you know, get to the solution or the prescription. Why do you think that is? Why do you think so many Christians who, you know, they, they've received the grace of Jesus, they they've, you know, been saved from hell from death, then they've been saved for, you know, God's kingdom and for working for God in the world and this beautiful calling that all Christians have been called to, to be at this ministry of reconciliation. And yet we so often even we are not very peaceful. Why?

JJ: Yeah, well, it's because we just constantly believe the lies of the enemy. And we are constantly being assailed by the lies of the world and the culture around us. My heart's been breaking the last 19 months, Warren, with what I'm seeing there is, I hate to say this, because I just wrote a book recently called unimaginable what the world would be like without Christianity. I think the church is the greatest force for good on Earth. I think that I'm an optimistic guy. I'm tired of Christianity being identified by a always a boogeyman. But we have been identified by fear as Christians in the last 19 months when we should have been identified as man. Those are the people you go talk to if you want the peace of God. And here's the problem, to diagnose the problem more and let's get real and transparent. That's what I love about listening in. We're all way more dangerous to ourselves than we are to other people. What are, the statistics tell us there has been - and I want to make sure people hear me - a 51% increase in inpatient hospitalizations. I don't want to date this podcast, but to show your current it is 51% increase in inpatient hospitalizations in 2021, among ages 12 to 18. And the majority, those are females. And just to define it, every state has a different code they call it. But this is when a young person, it goes beyond suicidal ideation to having a timeline method or plan for suicide, they are immediately taken to the emergency room, it's risen by 51%, there was a 30 plus percent increase in 2020. So we all know there's a huge problem. We're all more dangerous to ourselves than we are to other people. But what I've noticed is this fear, this lack of peace, this angst that is lurking in so many churches, and yet worn, we have the answer, it is the shalom of Almighty God that is there for us. And yet, we're allowing our Christian life and our faith to be defined by fear. And so I wanted to write so that was the problem that I wanted to write to. And, you know, you don't want to write a book on quote, ‘mental illness’, nobody's going to hold that up on the southwest. And, you know, I'm reading a book on mental illness is no one's gonna sit by you. Because it's so stigma. Unfortunately, it is so stigmatized in our culture. And that's terrible. But also, I began to realize most believers are don't have the the quotient of the peace of God that they would like to have. And here's a great message for everyone watching and listening. It is God's will for you and me to live in his peace. Yeah, nothing less.

WS: Well, you know, you said, I mean, I get that loud and clear that you don't want you know, if you wrote a book about you know, healing yourself from this book, you might want to be seen reading on an airplane, and yet you also make the observation. At some point, he can't remember exactly where it is Jeremiah, maybe you can help me with that. 48% of people will experience mental illness at some point in their life. That's half of it. I mean, that's either you or me. I don't know which one it out. But yeah, or maybe both of us. And there's somebody else that’s not. And  you also say later in the book, I want to get to this in just a moment, that vulnerability is the real superpower.

JJ: Right.

WS: So, in some ways, just confronting, just acknowledging, admitting that, that mental illness is a real thing, and that we shouldn't be ashamed of it, that we should be vulnerable, before God and before each other, in the midst of that reality is, is a really, really important lesson of your book, it seems to me.

JJ: It is. And I want to say it positively and negatively. And because I you know, I really believe in what Max Dupree said, leaders define reality. So we have to define reality. We're bio, social, psycho people like we are body, soul, spirit people. And the church has not done a good enough job helping us understand the life of the mind. And Warren, there's been a lot of comments that are well, meaning I don't doubt the motives at all from pastors. But so many pastors teach us, you know, we gotta grab, crush and kill every bad thought and take that thought captive. And the best thing to do is just ignore that thought, you know, it's an intrusive thought, you know, Jesus had intrusive thoughts. I mean, can you imagine I point this out at one point in my book, you know, we again, I'm a gospel scholar. So I think about these things deeply. What did Satan actually show Jesus, when he showed Him the kingdoms of the world? I mean, just let that sink in. You talk about temptation. You talk about intrusive thoughts. And this whole notion that we can't talk about the life of the mind or that's a taboo subject I've, I was speaking to almost 2000 young people from 28 Christian schools last week, and I taught him the Greek word for ‘tattoo’, I said, y'all are gonna go home and tell your parents I taught you how to say tattoo in Greek, but it's the word stigma, stigmatos in Greek, we so many feel this way they feel branded or worn. They feel like they're the lepers of the church, and they suffer in silence. And that's why I opened my book with that wonderful quote, I found in the problem of pain from CS Lewis, he felt it too. He said, mental pain is more dramatic than physical pain. And yet it's, it's it's more hard to bear. He said, it's easier to say my tooth is aching, and my heart is breaking. So even someone who is a great thinker, like CS Lewis, felt that stigma and yet again, we have the answer. And here's the negative thing I want to say, Warren, and I hope you don't mind me being really transparent on this show. There are again, there are exceptions to the rule that I'm about to say there are wonderful exceptions and I could name them. The church has committed malpractice, and how we have avoided this subject of mental wellness in our congregations. How we have ostracized, how we've not given people permission, not to glorify their pain, but to talk about it. I mean, have you read Second Corinthians one? Paul is full of pain. He has the sentence of death within him. And yet he says, Hey, God, God delivered me, he will deliver me now he and he's going to deliver me in the future. But Paul had the space, not to live in this pain, but to learn from it. And we've not done a good enough job helping our people process so much of the pain and the PTSD, and the anxiety and, Warren, pray for me, because I'm feeling led at standing on the foundation of this book, to issue a call to pastors, we have to integrate the life of the mind more in our Bible teaching. We just have to why it Why are there so many passages about renewing our mind? And why do we not preach about specifically how to do that in the pulpit? We need to do more. Sorry to be negative, but that's how I feel.

WS: No, listen, I get it. And I love it. And you know, one of the things that I like about your book is that you know, you you, you say that over and over, you say what you just said over and over in different ways. And one of the ways that you say this was some really great stories. You describe, for example, our friend J.P. Moreland, who was, you know, really battled with, with depression. It's interesting, too, that he, that JP also wrote a book called 'Love  God with all your, your minds'.

JJ: Yeah.

WS: And so it was, uh, but just real quickly, for folks who don't know, a little bit of the story of J.P. Moreland, which you recount in your book,

JJ: He personifies what you said this superpower of vulnerability that we talked about in unleashing PC literally personified it. We were geeking out on a podcast on scientism. But I have this thing in my show where I tell people, I ask people, Hey, if you could ask Jesus anything right now, I probably did it with you, Warren, when you were on my show to like, what would you ask him? And I don't try to answer it. We just leave the show there. Because I want people to know that, hey, Christian thinkers still have unanswered questions, you know, you unanswered questions. That's not dangerous. That's just part of being in faith. We'd been geeking out on scientism for an hour. I asked JP, what's your unanswered question? He gets so vulnerable. He said, You know, I wouldn't want to ask God or Jesus, I can't remember what he said, I wouldn't want to ask Jesus, why he doesn't show up in my life more when I feel like it would be in his best interest to show up. And he said, I've had two nervous breakdowns. The second one I had to stop teaching. And he said, I take great solace in the fact that 28% of the Psalms are psalms of lament, and he just stopped. And you know what, and just to put it in context, for those who may not know J.P. Moreland, he's one of the world's top 25 philosophers, Christian or not. So this man is a brilliant man who has struggled and he evidenced vulnerability. And it was such a powerful moment, Warren. And it's amazing when we get up to speak and when we share about this, when we can get vulnerable with people, that begins the healing process, because one of the lies that I discussed a moment ago, so many people think they're the only person facing this mental crisis, or the anxiety or the depression. And you know, this pandemic has become a trigger, some people who really got over panic anxiety maybe years ago in their life, for some reason, it's been a trigger for them, kind of pulling them back into that world that they thought they'd overcome. And so, you know, we need to know how to negotiate that in this lie that, ‘Oh, I'm the only person.’ J.P. Moreland blew that apart. And he did it. That wasn't just a podcast that was on a radio network. And he just personified the superpower of vulnerability.

And unfortunately, here's what I want to say. And I'm sorry to, again, but we’ve got to share reality. I think I opened that chapter saying, and this isn't original to me, but I heard someone say it, you know, Christians, we’re the only group that shoots our wounded. And all of us need to get more sensitive to the people in our life. We're struggling, we need to get more - what have I learned in five years researching and writing this book? Man, Warren, do I have a spirit of empathy for someone when they say they're struggling. I used to be the bumper sticker guy, you know, 30 seconds and my line, ‘God bless you’. I have, I realized these are complex issues. And something the Lord has taught me writing this - transformation is a process. We come to Christ in a moment. But it is a process to rewire our minds. It is a process to reprogram how we think and declare truth to ourselves. So maybe we can get into that. So a long answer for you. But that's, that's where I'm at.

WS: No, it's a great answer. And I and I do want to use that though, as a pivot, because you kind of alluded to just a moment ago, you know, you've gone from being the bumper sticker guy to something else. And I want to talk a little bit about what that can and should be. And one of the things that you say is part of the solution to this problem is that we all need to exercise what a friend of mine calls the ministry of showing up.

JJ: Yes.

WS: The way you describe it in your book is the, is basically the ministry of presence. Can you say more about that?

JJ: It's amazing when someone is having a mental health crisis in our country. And by the way, this is like the worst place in the world to live, the United States of America if you're struggling with mental health because you either end up in jail or the emergency room, and that should not be. And Greg Laurie who wrote the foreword to my book, he really personified, I can share so many different stories of people that personify this. You know, when he, when his son died, people just showed up, and they did not leave Greg and his wife and his family alone, they were there. And I saw this in my own life. I've seen it. So many of us, we think that we need to be educated. We think we need a mental health degree. We think we need psychology training or counseling training. But guess what, all we need to do is show up in people's lives. Say, ‘I'm here, I love you,’ because Warren, what psychologists will tell us is the most devastating punishment you can give to a human being is to isolate that person. What's happened in this pandemic? We've been so isolated, people have died alone. And so I believe, you know, what does James say? James says practicing religion is showing up for the widows and orphans. But if you look at the force of the Greek, it's showing up at the person's greatest point of need. That's the force of the Greek of, yes, it's widows and orphans, but it's more than that. Warren, when you have, when you are at your worst, we need to be there for you. We need to be around you. And guess what, we don't need to give you a sermon. We don't need to quote a quick passage to you. Just be there and say, ‘you know, this really stinks’. And, and I want to say this, our ministry has branded on helping people answer questions. And you know what I've been saying lately, especially when you study the Minor Prophets, like Habakkuk. And by the way, we all pray way too religiously. But that's another story. Some questions, Warren, they don't have answers. We live in a fallen world. And we have to trust God's promises, not explanations. And we get into that in the book as well.

WS: Yeah. Well, you know, there's a I can't remember, Jeremiah, whether you use this quote in your book or not, I should, I should know that. But I just can't remember right now. Maybe you can help me. There's a great line in The Lord of the Rings, where Sam says to Frodo, I, you know, ‘I can't carry the ring for you. But I can carry you’.

JJ: Yes.

WS: And it seems to me that that's really what you're saying that, don't just, you know, we we can't, you know, in Greg Laurie's case, you know, we can't erase the fact that his son tragically died in a, in an automobile accident. But we can be relentlessly present in his life and just let him know that we're not going to go away. And that's sometimes hard to do, but the necessary thing to do.

JJ: This psychology actually backs that up to by the way, and I cite this study that. And so and here's the problem. This is why your point’s so important. So many of us, we don't know what to say, we don't want to say the wrong thing. So we don't show up. We just kind of, we paralyze, we freeze. And yet, Dr. Tan who's at Fuller, he shows that the lay person, the lay counselor, if you will, is just as effective in the healing process as the qualified biblical counselor because they show up. And so this is where, again, my message to churches when someone is grieving because grieve is mental pain. Are you kidding? Grief is in that in that context. For some reason, we like love to do prayer rallies and food, food delivery around people that are struggling with terminal illness, but it's like we can't step back fast enough when it's in their mind. And that's when they need us, Warren. And they need us to show up and say, ‘Hey, I'm just gonna come sit with you’ or ‘hey, let's, or let's get out of the house and do some cheap therapy and walk for two minutes for two miles.’ You know, that's the cheapest therapy you can do, get out of that. I mean, and maybe we can talk about some of the practical things, too, that we can do that help our mental health. Because it all happens, it doesn't happen ‘til we have a plan. And unfortunately, and I've been speaking about this book now in our, in our events, step one is hope. And peace will always come when I have a plan. But most people do not have a plan for shalom for themselves or for their family and it's to their own detriment. That's why they struggle to live in the peace of God.

WS: Well, I do want to get to that, we don't, we, let's just stipulate for the record that we can't cover everything that's in the book.

JJ: Right.

WS: So everybody listening, go out, get the book, read the book, and digest the book. And I do want to get to some of those really practical suggestions. But, but before we get there, Jeremiah, I want to, I want to spend at least a couple minutes, I want you to spend a couple of minutes on one thing that we should not do. And that is something that a lot of Christians do, I mean, that and that is that we misuse the Bible, we take Bible verses out of, you devote an entire chapter, misreading and weaponizing the Bible in ways that are just, you know, let's just face it are not really that helpful.

JJ: Yes, the scripture has been vandalized. It has been weaponized to say things that, in the interpretation, it was never meant to say. I can't remember if this story made it in the book or not. But I was speaking in Tulsa at a women's event. And a woman came up to me after I spoke and she said, I'm going to go home and sleep tonight. And I'm not passing along the emotion. It was like she hadn't slept in years. Her husband, who was the senior pastor of their local church, had tragically died by his own hands in suicide. And either an associate pastor or deacon quoted an obscure passage from Isaiah about like the righteous going down and said, ‘Oh, well, that's the unpardonable sin, your husband's in hell’. And of course, that flies in the face of everything the Scripture says, I have a whole chapter also on the unpardonable sin. And she thanked me for bringing biblical clarity to her question. And she said, I don't know if it was like 12 years or eight years, she said, I'm gonna go home and sleep tonight - in God's peace. And you see, then that's a perfect example of how the Bible can be weaponized. Another way it can be weaponized, is just some of these problems, they're all complex. And don't don't think you're doing God a favor to just slap a Bible verse on somebody and think that you've kind of, you know, I've done my job. Snap out of it bootstraps up, you know, .Greater is he who is in the world...,’ you know, I, again, that spirit of empathy. And I saw this, when I spoke in Alabama, along alongside some other speakers in a breakout session, specifically, where a dad came up and said, yes, we've got here me, I'm a Bible scholar, I believe in the power of the Word of God. But I believe in the word of God being applied medicinally, and exegetically. But not firing off a Bible verse and just saying, you know, ‘snap out of it’ - that doesn't work. And that's part of that malpractice. And that's why I wanted to get into these passages and really explain what they mean, and explain how they have been misused, and why we need to be careful. We're not doing that.

WS: Yeah. Well, like I said, a few moments ago, Jeremiah, I do want to get to the prescriptions. But you've raised one issue that I think it's worth pausing on for a moment or two, and that is this question of suicide. When we're talking about mental health, unfortunately, we have to talk about suicide. And, and that's a tough issue for a lot of Christians, as you said, you know, this, this church leader who said that, you know, suicide is the unpardonable sin. It's not the unpardonable sin. Can you talk about that just a minute more like, biblically speaking, how are those of us who might have, you know, been up close and personal, I guess you could say, with death by suicide? How are we to relate to that?

JJ: Yeah, there's so many important things. And first, I would just say this, our conversation doesn't ever replace a conversation between someone and their counselor or their therapist or their psychologist. So this is two brothers in Christ speaking about what we believe the Bible has to say. And that's a key thing to say.

WS: It is important to say and I'm glad you did, because you, throughout your book, you you have nothing but great things to say about the importance of professional therapy, professional counseling, we should destigmatize that, too, shouldn't we?

JJ: Totally, and some of them, Warren, some of the people who God is using the most right now, who you and I are friends with, they see a therapist regularly. You don't just see a therapist when things are bad. So let me get to your question number one, and I really believe that we need to be so careful about how we answer this question because there is a tendency for some of the, it's almost like deconstruction right now, some of these stories can be almost romanticized. And we need to really speak very clearly about what the Bible has to say about the unpardonable sin and what the scripture has to say about suicide. There are seven suicides in the Bible. And I love how Frank Minirth said it, I cannot improve on how he said it. None of these people who took their life were in the will of God when they did so. It is never God's will for you to take your life. And I just love how he says that. And so, while we can speak about the unpardonable sin not being suicide, we also need to say the seven suicides in the Bible, none of these people were in the will of God when they made that decision. It is God's will for you to be in peace, not commit suicide. Having said that, as a gospel scholar, I devote an entire chapter to what the unpardonable sin is, and we only have soundbites here, but we're in the unpardonable sin is rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That is the only sin that God cannot and will not forgive. Now, having said that, only God knows what's going on in a person's heart when they tragically take their life. And it is terrible to suggest that a true believer in Jesus Christ - by the way, a true believer in Jesus Christ, as you know, with your ministry, leadership is capable of committing all the same sins a non Christian can commit because they get out of God's will for their life. In fact, it's interesting when I was just talking to a friend, you know, you think about Saul. God kills saw because he sees a necromancer. And what is David's prayer because the spirit leaves, this is a different dispensation, the spirit leaves Saul, what is David's prayer when he sinned, when he failed, ‘take not your Holy Spirit from me’ because he had literally seen the effects of the Holy Spirit being withdrawn from Saul. And so the unpardonable sin is rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And I also get into dangerous sins. You know, the Bible talks about sins unto death. I mean, sin is dangerous, but thank God that Jesus's blood is so much greater than our worst sins. And that's the message - it's a chapter that ends on forgiveness.

WS: Yeah, yeah. Well, okay, Jeremiah, let's finally pivot and try to land this airplane, so to speak. What are some practical suggestions? Someone's listening, I get it. You know, I'm not experiencing the peace of Christ that I know God wants for me, what Scripture implores and encourages and exhorts me towards. What can I do? What are some practical suggestions?

JJ: Okay? First off, you're in excellent company, because I want to remind you that the apostle Paul had four experiences of seeing the Lord Jesus Christ. And, as I write in my chapter on vulnerability, he heard the voice of Jesus answer his prayer, by the way, saying, ‘No, Paul, My grace is sufficient’. He literally heard Jesus, it wasn't God speaking to his heart. He heard Jesus's answer to his prayer. He has five experiences with God. And yet Paul is still a professional worrier, ladies and gentlemen. He's such a professional worrier, that he has to write this incredible anti-anxiety passage that comes from Philippians 4:7-9, specifically, in verse six, we’re to rid our minds of worry, literally, ‘stop worrying, Philippians about everything, pray about everything’. So we rid our mind of worry, but then we fill our mind with something. And then Paul's prescription, which is God's prescription for peace from Dr. Jesus. It's six adjectives, two nouns and one verb. And the peace of God is secured with how you think. The peace of God comes through thinking. It comes through action, and it comes through focusing our thoughts on truth. You cannot help what crazy intrusive thought comes into your head, like Martin Luther said, we've often said you can't keep a bird from flying over your head, you can keep - its attributed to him - you can keep it from getting a nest in your hair. This is the same of the believer, what, the only thing that you can focus on is what you do with those lies, those thoughts. I mean, Warren, when you think about people touch their phones 2000 times a day, they see 10,000 media messages a day, they're full of lies. And so you're gonna have to do this again and again. 

So the steps for peace, Paul said we have to learn peace. That's the point. If you study Philippians 4, he had to keep learning it. And I think that's the big takeaway from my book is:  I wish, Warren, you and I, like with a peace Nerf gun, could just shoot people with the peace of God. Then they'd have it immediately. But we can't do this for them. I can't do it for you. You can't do it for me. We have to own the peace of God in our life. But guess what? There are steps and so step one is ‘Shalom comes when I have a plan’. What is your plan for peace? You know, so there's guardrails we need to put up. And then there's things we need to be committed to. We need to be committed to truth, we need to be committed to living by faith in God's promises and not in explanations. And so it goes on from there. And I think that there are some super practical things I want to tell people. Stop obsessively checking the news. I mean, seriously, check your sources. Don't contribute to the panic. By all means, if you're, if you have fear, talk to a trusted helper, or friend or counselor, but let's not contribute to the panic. Something that's come to light after I finished my book - it's amazing what I've learned after I finished my book - is, Warren, I think Jesus's most countercultural trait was he was unprovocable. He was able to live the shalom of God because you just couldn't provoke him. And yet, what do we see? Christians are so provoked. And if you're easily provoked, you're not going to live in the shalom of God.

[begin theme music]

That brings to a close my conversation with Dr. Jeremiah Johnston. We’ve been discussing his new book “Unleashing Peace: Experiencing God’s Shalom in your Pursuit of Happiness.

I should also mention that I did a 2018 interview with Jeremiah, about his excellent book “Unimaginable: What Would Our World Be Like Without Christianity?”

You can hear that interview by going to the WORLD News Group website and typing “Jeremiah Johnston” into the search engine. The interview will pop right up.

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In addition to my earlier interview with Jeremiah Johnston, you can also find more than 400 other interviews I’ve done over the past eight years by going to the World News Group website and using the search engine to find what you’re looking for. That’s WNG.org.

The producer for today’s program is Leigh Jones. She gets technical support from Johnny Franklin, Carl Peetz and Kristen Flavin. Our executive producer is Nick Eicher. I’m your host Warren Smith. And you’ve been Listening In….

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WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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