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The World and Everything in It: March 29, 2024


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: March 29, 2024

On Culture Friday, pushing back on anti-Semitism and chemical abortions; a review of the docuseries Testament: The Story of Moses; and when bad news turns good. Plus, the Friday morning news

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Erin Hawley during a press conference outside the Supreme Court, Tuesday Associated Press/Photo by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Hey there, it’s Myrna, and it’s preroll time. We like to remind you when the cupboard is starting to get bare. So if you’d like to introduce the program, please send yours right away, and you may hear it on an upcoming program.

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MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Well, good morning and Good Friday! Today on Culture Friday: the controversy over Christ the King. 

NICK EICHER, HOST: We’ll talk it over with John Stonestreet in just a few minutes.

Also today a new Bible drama on streaming video. It’s titled Testament: The Story of Moses. WORLD arts and culture editor Collin Garbarino had a look and he’ll tell us whether it’s biblically accurate.

And a good news/bad news story that’s all good.

BROWN: It’s Friday, March 29th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

BROWN: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: U.S.-Israel/Palestinian government » The White House says talks are back on track with Israel.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says they’re hoping to reschedule a meeting that Israel canceled this week amid diplomatic tensions.

KIRBY: We are hoping that this meeting can be scheduled in person here in Washington, as was the original plan.

Israel canceled plans to send a delegation after the Biden administration chose not to block a resolution at the U.N. Security Council that demanded an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

The move angered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said the move actually damaged hopes for a cease-fire and of bringing Israeli hostages home.

Kirby says the talks between the two governments right now remain civil.

KIRBY: The tone throughout here has been businesslike and it has been professional. And we expect that it’s gonna stay that way.

U.S. and Israeli leaders had planned to discuss the war, efforts to broker a cease-fire, and plans for post-war Gaza.

Baltimore bridge latest » Cranes are moving into position in Baltimore to begin pulling the mangled remains of the Francis Scott Key Bridge from the lower Patapsco River.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said it’s only the first step of a very long process.

MOORE: Government is working hand in hand with industry to clear the wreck and to move the ship.

A cargo ship lost power before slamming into a bridge support on Tuesday.

Clearing the river is a crucial first step toward reopening the trade-critical Port of Baltimore and eventually, starting construction on a new bridge.

Kansas sues over Biden debt cancelation plan » The Attorney General of Kansas Kris Kobach is suing the Biden Administration over its latest plan to cancel student debt.

KOBACH: You're taking money from people who decided not to go to college, couldn't afford to go to college, maybe worked their way through college.

He said this will likely be an expense of well over $200 billion dollars on the taxpayer dime.

President Biden recently announced the “Save Plan” — promising to lower student loan repayments based on family income.

The supreme court blocked the President's previous loan cancellation program though the administration found other ways to erase almost $144 billion dollars of student debt.

ICE arrests » Immigration and Customs Enforcement — or ICE for short — just carried out a massive crackdown on migrant criminals in cities across the country.

ICE enforcement and removal official Russell Holt:

HOLT: The 216 migrants arrested have a combined total of 456 criminal convictions.

Acting ICE Director PJ Lechleitner said they arrested migrants from numerous countries accused of trafficking drugs like meth and fentanyl. He said it was a job made tougher by sanctuary cities, which often don’t cooperate with ICE.

LECHLEITNER: Although we're always mission ready and capable of conducting large scale operations like this one, it's better all around when law enforcement agencies honor our detainers to keep people like the 216 arrested in this operation off our streets.

The CDC says the United States suffered well over 100,000 overdoses last year.

Push to toss out Georgia election interference case » A judge in Georgia today is weighing whether Donald Trump’s election interference case should be thrown out as Trump’s lawyers argue it should.

In arguments Thursday, Trump attorney Steve Sadow says the former president engaged only in free speech.

SADOW: I don’t think there’s any question that statements, comments, speech, expressive conduct that deals with campaigning or elections has always been found to be at the zenith of protected speech.

But Fulton County prosecutor Donald Wakeford countered …

WAKEFORD: What we have heard here today is an attempt to rewrite the indictment – to take out the parts that are inconvenient and only say, “Well, it’s all speech. It’s all talking. He was just a guy asking questions.”

Prosecutors accuse Trump and others of engaging in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the election results.

The former president says the case is another example of weaponizing the courts for political ends.

Disney - America First Legal, Florida » A non-profit legal group just fired a warning shot across the bow of the Disney corporation. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN: The non-profit group “America First Legal” —AFL for short— sent a letter to Disney declaring that the company’s leadership is “gambling with shareholder money and appears to be violating federal law.”

AFL claims Disney's "woke" policies have alienated customers and tanked its share value by nearly 40% since February of 2021.

The group cites policies like racial and sexual quotas in its entertainment productions. It also points to Disney pushing divisive social and political content on its platforms, such as Disney+.

AFL notes one example in a Muppet Babies cartoon  in which the male character Gonzo wants to wear a dress.

SOUND (Muppet Babies clip): But the girls said I’m not supposed to wear a dress. I don’t want everyone to be upset with me.

But his wish for a Cinderella-like dress is then granted.

America First Legal urges Disney's board and management team to realign with its traditional brand values and address the legal and ethical concerns it raised.

The letter comes amid a proxy battle ahead of the company’s annual shareholder meeting next week.

For WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

FTX Sam Bankman-Fried » The founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, will spend decades behind bars for orchestrating one of the biggest financial frauds in history. A federal judge just sentenced him to 25 years in prison for stealing more than $8 billion dollars from FTX customers.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: The “Christ is King” controversy on Culture Friday. Plus, Netflix tells the story of Moses.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Friday the 29th of March, 2024. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I'm Nick Eicher. Time now for Culture Friday. Joining us is John Stonestreet. John is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. John. Good morning.


EICHER: Well, John, interesting timing, I thought, certainly this week to hear of a controversy over the use of the truth claim “Christ is King.” But controversy is exactly what we had about a week ago, as Ben Shapiro's conservative media company, The Daily Wire, and one of its talk show hosts parted company. At the heart of the issue was anti-Semitism. And the true statement “Christ is King” used as an anti-Semitic dog whistle. Basically used by people who don't believe it. Lots and lots of opinions on this topic, John, particularly on social media. So what is yours?

STONESTREET: I thought Allie Beth Stuckey did a great job in her commentary for WORLD Opinions. Because look, I think the point is, is you don't have a choice whether or not to say “Christ is King,” if you're a Christian. Whatever somebody means, by it, we have to say it because the Bible tells us to say it because the Bible says it's actually the truth about the universe. And I think at some level, you know, you're dealing here, you know, Andrew Klavan, who kind of, you know, initiated this by making a statement that “Christ is King” can be used in an anti-Semitic way. I'm sure at some point in human history, somebody who was anti-Semitic used that phrase to get at the Jews, but that's not what the statement means. On the flip side, I think that in evangelical context, many people tend to think about the Lordship of Christ and the Kingship of Christ in a highly privatized, kind of subjective way. So you know, we say things like, for example, I've made Jesus Lord of my life, but whether or not you've made them Lord of your life, guess what, he's Lord of heaven and earth. And the rule and reign of Christ is a something that's kind of taken for granted as a given, and the outworking of his obedience and work that we remember this week. So it is a timely time, I guess, at some level to have this conversation, isn't it, as we think about Holy Week, and what we mean by it is that this world belongs to him. And I get it. I mean, you know, it's we live in a culture in which it's intolerant, it's, it's wrong to tell someone else that their religious views are wrong or incomplete. And it's particularly tough right now, given the commitment that we ought to have to the Jewish people, and the ongoing persecution that the Jewish people have faced. And that's really what's behind this whole Christ as King controversy. But Jesus Christ is the Messiah. He was promised to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob. He was promised by the prophets. He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament of Old Testament law. And Ben Shapiro is right on an awful lot of things, but the identity of who Jesus Christ is, as the Savior of the world and the King of heaven and earth. He's wrong about that. And it's okay for us to say that.

EICHER: But to be precise, John, Andrew Klavan, whom you mentioned there, he's another Daily Wire host who spent considerable time talking about it last week, points to a current anti-Semite by the name of Nick Fuentes, who says, “Christ is King” to mock Jewish people. And the way he uses it seems more like a thinly veiled attempt to mock Christ who, of course, is not mocked.

STONESTREET: Yeah. It's not because the statement “Christ is King” is wrong, it's because he doesn't have any idea what he means when he says it. And look, there's already enough evidence why we shouldn't be listening to him anyway. And not to mention a whole lot of other people. And, you know, look, at some level, this conflict is being fed by the hard time we have telling people on our side of the political aisle, that they're wrong about stuff or that we don't fully agree. And that basically shows for some, at least, that political loyalties outweigh theological loyalties or faith loyalties, and that's getting it exactly backwards. Because “Christ is King” is fundamentally a political statement. As much as it is a theological statement and a cosmological statement and spiritual statement and a moral statement and every other kind of statement you can possibly make,

EICHER: Right. Well, Christ is King. Christ is risen. That's right.

BROWN: Christ is risen indeed. Well, John, let's talk about the argument at the Supreme Court this week over chemical abortion. Now to get to the issue, they'll have to get past the question of standing, meaning and whether those who brought the suit have the legal standing to bring it. But what did you think of the case?

STONESTREET: Well, look, I'm just always so impressed with, you know, I feel like we have some of the smartest, most talented leaders in America. And this is a case where three of them lined up. And by the way, all three of them were women. And they're kind of examples like that think... Hold on. It may be that all three have made appearances on my wife's Strong Women podcast. And I think and I'm talking of course of Erin Holly, who is just a tremendous attorney and brilliant legal mind, who is committed to the right things. And of course, she was featured in The Wall Street Journal in the New York Times this week. And folks had a hard time saying the bad stuff about her, because, I think, of her giftedness and talent. And of course, Kristen Wagoner, creating space within ADF for Erin's talent, and of course, herself one of the great legal minds of our day. And the client here for this lawsuit against the FDA is Christina Francis. And that's a name many people may not know, but she is a fantastic leader, the Association of pro life obstetrician and gynecologist or AAPLOG. She is at the forefront of pushing, I think, the pro-life movement to really figure out what it means to navigate the days of chemical abortion to the degree that we need to. And that has to do with abortion pill reversal. That has to do with, you know, kind of dealing with the legal issues in which the FDA is wanting to handout and has enabled the handing out of mifepristone as if it were Tic Tacs, as if there were no complications, not the and obviously as if there's not a life ending, but even as if it doesn't actually present any greater risks to the woman. So that's why this case was so important. And I think also, for those who have been wringing their hair out as if Trump were bringing back The Handmaid's Tale through the Supreme Court, what we saw, I think, in the oral arguments was that this court wants the court to be the court, and doesn't want the court to be the legislature, doesn't want the court to be the emperor. And so most of the questioning was about standing. And I think that is a challenge on—legally speaking here—that became obvious. But, you know, unfortunately, we need to get to the point where every life is protected. Where, you know, the guaranteed rights, fundamentally, to live and to be protected and not have your life taken, has to be applied to the preborn. And I think science is going to take us there. I think philosophy is going to take us there. And I hope that the pro-life movement will help push us there. And I think with folks like Christine Francis, we're in better shape than we used to be. I'm just a big fan of their work. But there's a long road, and I'm grateful, really grateful for the leadership of these three individuals, these three women who are really showing the way. 

BROWN: Well, John Stonestreet is president of the Colson center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. Thank you, John, so much. 

STONESTREET: Thank you both.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, March 29th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: a new drama based on the Bible.

Fans of The Chosen are a little disappointed at the moment. The fourth season of the popular TV series about the life of Jesus was supposed to be available to stream for free by now. But show runner Dallas Jenkins is attempting to distance himself from Mormon-owned Angel Studios, and it’s led to a legal tussle that’s delayed release.

EICHER: But a different Bible drama debuted on Netflix this week, just in time for Easter. It’s called Testament: The Story of Moses. Is it faithful to the Scriptures? Arts and culture editor Collin Garbarino will tell us.

GOD: I am what I am. And what I will be.

COLLIN GARBARINO: In the last few years, we’ve seen the entertainment industry start to pay more attention to faith-based projects. Movies and series with religious themes have improved in quality, and many are finding bigger audiences. But Netflix’s new miniseries Testament: The Story of Moses shows that designing religious entertainment for the widest possible audience can have its risks.

MOSES: I beg you, let us go to the desert to worship our God.

The series consists of three 80-minute episodes. The first begins with Moses’ life as a prince in Egypt and takes him into the land of Midian where he fled after killing an Egyptian taskmaster. The second recounts Moses’ attempts to convince pharaoh to let the Hebrews go and the various calamities God unleashed on the stiffnecked ruler. The third episode begins with the final plague and culminates with Moses’ giving the Ten Commandments.

MOSES: You should not have another God before me.

Each episode dramatizes the life of Moses as he grows into becoming the liberator and lawgiver of the Hebrew people. In many ways, the miniseries looks and feels like other dusty Bible epics, and the production values are reminiscent of The Chosen, though perhaps a little better.

Netflix didn’t break the bank with the budget, but the visual effects of the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea are satisfactory. The script and dialogue aren’t bad, but the actors slip into annoying mock–Middle Eastern accents. I was also annoyed that the actor playing Moses was about 40 years too young.

MOSES: Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Honor your father and mother.

But Testament: The Life of Moses isn’t merely a dramatization. It also pretends to be a serious historical documentary, interspersing expert interviews between each scene. Tom Kang is the lead pastor of a nondenominational church in Los Angeles. And he’s the only commentator who offers explanations that are consistently faithful to the Bible.

TOM KANG: Everything that you might know about the Bible in some way, shape, or form can be drawn back to Moses, his life and his ministry.

Liberal Bible scholar Peter Enns is also meant to offer a Christian perspective on the life of Moses. But the series also includes Jewish rabbis and Muslim teachers who offer their own commentary.

CELENE IBRAHIM: The prophet Moses is mentioned in the Qur’an upwards of a hundred times. And so it’s very unique in the sense that very few prophets have their entire life story told in the Qur’an.

The three Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, all recognize Moses as a prophet, but they don’t interpret Moses’ importance the same way. This Netflix series glosses over significant differences of opinion, offering a syncretic perspective on the lawgiver.

One might expect the Christian and Jewish views of Moses to be fairly compatible, but in this miniseries they diverge considerably. The Christian tradition relies exclusively on the Pentateuch for the details of Moses’ life, but the rabbis featured in this series introduce events and interpretations found in extra-Biblical midrash. Similarly, the Muslim teachers rely on speculative stories found in their own traditions.

SHADY NASSER: In the Qur’an, there’s a funny story where Zippora—in Arabic it would be Sephora—she was walking in front of him and then the wind blows…

The series purports to offer a history of Moses, but it lacks scholarly rigor because it grants any source that mentions Moses equal authority regardless of authorship or date of composition.

People unfamiliar with the Bible will finish this series confused about who the Moses of Scripture was, but Christians firm in the faith might be interested in watching the show to get a glimpse of how other faiths view Moses.

For example, this series spends a lot of time investigating the relationship between Moses and his adoptive Egyptian mother Bathiah, whom you won’t find in the Bible. Just like Moses, Bathiah forsakes her brother the Pharaoh to leave with the Hebrews during the Exodus.

BATHIAH: Moses, listen to me. My brother had a dream, a premonition. Hundreds of arrests have been made. Those arrested are tortured!

I was glad the series didn’t try to debunk the miracles that surrounded Moses’ life, but it fundamentally misses the mark concerning Moses’ importance. To his credit Pastor Kang mentions Jesus in relation to Passover, but for a show that’s debuting the week before Easter, you might expect a more thorough explanation of the relationship between Passover and Christ’s crucifixion.

TOM KANG: For the Christianity, this is a foreshadowing of the New Testament and Jesus Christ. Blood of the lamb. Sacrifice of the lamb. And it’s only by His blood that you’re gonna be saved.

Apart from this brief mention, this Netflix series neglects how the story of Moses points to Christ. Much of the commentary seems to read the life of Moses through the lens of 21st-century concerns. Instead of being a type of Christ, or even a Hebrew lawgiver, this Netflix version of Moses comes across as a broad-minded multicultural prototype of ourselves.

I’m Collin Garbarino.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday March 29th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Up next, a Good Friday reflection on “bad news.” Here’s WORLD Radio Executive Producer Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER: Newspaper columnist Doug Larson quipped in 1990: “Bad news travels fast. Good news takes the scenic route.” It’s a delightful turn of phrase on an old adage that nothing seems to spread faster and farther than bad news.

But what Larson’s proverb doesn’t say is that sometimes, bad news takes a U-turn.

I’m not just talking about looking for silver linings on cloudy days. You know, those platitudes we tell ourselves when we’re stuck in traffic and are about to be late to church, again. Or words of comfort like: “perhaps it was angelic intervention that kept us from a head on collision…” I’m not even talking about Romans 8:28, that great verse many of us memorized as kids: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

No, what I’m talking about is that sometimes what appears to be bad news, upon further reflection, just isn’t.

For example, here’s a personal story: A little over a year ago, a friend from church found out that his temporary, unpaid furlough from work was now “official unemployment.” He was in his mid 60’s, suffering from long COVID, and he lost his job. He realized that it was unlikely that he’d find another. Then, more bad news. His best friend was diagnosed with cancer. It was beginning to feel a lot like a Job scenario.

But then one day—in the midst of driving his friend to his doctor's appointments, picking up his groceries, and general help with housekeeping, he realized: if he hadn’t lost his job, he wouldn’t have been able to care for his friend, which he did for many months…through weakness…through illness…through hospice.

We buried that dear friend a couple months ago. At the funeral, the man had come to realize God’s great kindness in taking away his job. That piece of bad news meant he was available for the long, difficult, but very blessed goodbye.

Here’s another example you may be more familiar with: in 1956, five young missionary men were attempting to make contact with a violent tribe in the Ecuadorian jungle. And when they did, they were speared to death.

LIFE magazine did a full feature on the tragic news. In the years following their deaths, missionary wife Elizabeth Elliot wrote two of her most beloved books: “Through Gates of Splendor” and “Shadow of the Almighty.” The account of their lives spurred on a new generation of missionaries full of zeal and prepared for great sacrifice. They understood the potential cost, and they went anyway. Not only that, but a handful picked up the work among the Auca Indians, even living and working among the missionary killers. Including wives, sisters, and children of those killed. Ultimately God worked through them to reach and transform the tribe for Jesus Christ. God could have worked in a different way, but He chose to expand His kingdom through “bad news.”

Of course, this time of year, we can’t help but think of the ultimate bad news that turned out to be good news. Most of us have come to embrace Christ’s brutal death at the hands of rebellious leaders as good. We call this day: “Good Friday.”

But I would suggest looking even further back, all the way back to the garden. Is there any worse day in human history than our first parents taking a bite of that forbidden fruit? Then blaming each other? Then God’s creation for a decision they made?

They had no idea what it would mean for thousands of years of human history.

So how is that worst of days, that worst of news, good? Well, through it we can learn things about God we couldn’t see in a world without sin and brokenness. His justice, His mercy, His grace, His sacrificial love for wicked and broken people.

The resurrection we celebrate on Sunday not only makes this day Good Friday, but it also reverberates backward through time restoring what God spoke over His initial creation. That it is good. Adam and Eve brought death, yet because of the resurrection, we can say with the apostle Paul : “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” Of course the resurrection continues to echo in our day.

Even as we Christian journalists cover bad news, we acknowledge that God is divinely active. Wars, famine, political/cultural/and social upheaval, all bad news. But God, even in these things—no matter what happens—His purposes will stand.

So maybe Doug Larson had it right after all. Bad news does travel far and fast, but the good news is that God is taking the scenic route and one day will restore all things for His glory. And if He can redeem the ultimate bad days, he can certainly do the same for our bad news today.

For WORLD, I’m Paul Butler.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Well, now it’s time to thank the team who helped to put the program together this week:

Mary Reichard, David Bahnsen, Emma Perley, Will Inboden, Mary Muncy, Lindsay Mast, Maria Baer, Leo Briceno, Onize Ohikere, Chelsea Boes, Leah Savas, Carolina Lumetta, Jenny Lind Schmitt, Cal Thomas, John Stonestreet, and Collin Garbarino.

Special thanks to our breaking news team: Lynde Langdon, Steve Kloosterman, Kent Covington, Travis Kircher, Lauren Canterberry, Christina Grube, and Josh Schumacher.

Thanks also to our breaking news interns: Tobin Jacobson, Johanna Huebscher, and Alex Carmenaty.

And the guys who stay up late to get the program to you early: Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Our producer is Harrison Watters.

Our Senior producer is Kristen Flavin and Paul Butler is Executive producer.

Additional production assistance from Benj Eicher, Lillian Hamman, and Bekah McCallum.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio. WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Bible says,  “And when they had called in the disciples, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” —Acts 5:40–42

Worship with brothers and sisters in Christ in Church this Easter weekend, and, Lord willing, we’ll meet you right back here on Monday.

Go now in grace and peace.

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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