234 episodes

Ask the Pastor with J.D. Greear is a weekly podcast that answers tough questions and tackles relevant issues in a way that is filled with grace, understanding, and wisdom from God’s Word. Hosted by Matt Love.

Ask the Pastor with J.D. Greear J.D. Greear

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.8 • 601 Ratings

Ask the Pastor with J.D. Greear is a weekly podcast that answers tough questions and tackles relevant issues in a way that is filled with grace, understanding, and wisdom from God’s Word. Hosted by Matt Love.

    Should Christians Gamble?

    Should Christians Gamble?

    Show Notes:

    Matt: J.D., as we’re recording gambling was just legalized in North Carolina this month, like it has been in 37 other states. That has us wondering – is gambling a sin?

    J.D.: Some of our long-time listeners might remember us talking about this 2 years ago, but we thought given its popularity, we’d revisit it. So, look, the reality is that gambling is a HUGE deal right now, especially for young people. If you don’t understand, here are a few numbers:

    At least 20% of the American population has or does participate in sports betting.

    More than 30 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds nationwide do.

    The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) conducted a study on college campuses just last year:

    • 58% of the respondents (college students) have participated in at least one sports betting activity, though the NCAA includes fantasy sports in its definition of sports betting.

    The NCAA examined what it determined risky behaviors, including betting a few times a week or daily; betting $50 or more on a typical bet, or losing more than $500 betting sports in a single day. The survey found that 16% of 18-22-year-olds had engaged in at least one of the risky behaviors.

    The National Council estimates 3 to 4 percent of the population, about 9 million Americans, experience “problem gambling.”

    And those that do have a 20 percent higher risk of suicide.

    So is it morally wrong to gamble?

    Gambling can seem harmless. You throw a little bit of money on a sporting event, on a slot machine, or on a lottery ticket… what’s the harm in that?

    I am going to draw distinction… Vegas type stuff and a $20 office pool

    The issue of gambling is not small in our society. 

    Gambling is at least a $44 billion dollar industry in the US – and that’s just the legal gambling, to say nothing of off-the-books gambling.In fact, as more and more states legalize gambling, it’s getting worse.

    Some studies say up to 10% (6-9%) of young adults experience problems related to gambling.

    But gambling has some big moral ramifications. 

    3 primary problems with it: 

    First, it goes against the work ethic in Scripture. 

    The Bible has a lot to say about honorable work. There’s always chance, but work creates value: win/win. Gambling by definition is win/lose.

    What about the stock market? It’s “risky,” you can win big or lose big. Parable of talents, win big and Jesus commended it. Yes, but even there you are adding value. There’s another kind of playing the stock market that is more speculative and more like gambling.

    Al Mohler says: “Gambling severs the dignity of work from the hope of financial gain, offering the hope of riches without labor, and reward without dignity.”

    Second, the gambling industry intentionally takes advantage of the poor. 

    Grudem: Every single study shows that the largest group of gamblers are those in the lowest financial brackets.It’s no accident that there are so many lottery ticket outlets in low-income areas. 

    One study I read shows that “problem gambling” – which we mentioned earlier – is twice as likely to be an issue for those in the lowest-income areas than it is anywhere else. 

    There’s a certain desperation to turn around their financial situation, and the gambling industry knows that and plays into it. Any honest politician will tell you that lotteries draw most of their money from the poor, seducing them out of their money on the chance of getting rich

    Third, gambling is addictive.

    • 11 min
    Can Christians Be Depressed?

    Can Christians Be Depressed?

    Show Notes:

    Matt: J.D., some people feel like, because we have the Holy Spirit inside of us, we should never have some of these big, mental health struggles like depression or anxiety. The question is, can Christians be depressed? Or if someone is depressed, is that an indication that they’re not saved?

    J.D.: Matt, that’s a heavy question. Let me start here: Lamentations 3:1-8, written by the prophet Jeremiah, one of the most well-known prophets in the Bible:

    I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long. He has made my flesh and my skin waste away; he has broken my bones; he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago … though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.

    No light. No hope. That’s how Jeremiah felt, and maybe you can relate. The “he” that Jeremiah is talking about is God. Maybe you’ve also felt like God is not listening—or, even more, you wonder, “God, are you behind this terrible circumstance? At the very least, you’re not doing anything to stop it.”

    Jeremiah goes on to say, “My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord’ … My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me” (vs. 17–20).

    As you read those verses, you may think, “Is this the Bible? Shouldn’t an editor have weeded this out? This is Jeremiah, after all—the prophet of God! Jeremiah, this is not you at your best. Why don’t you take a nap and a shower and take another swing at this tomorrow?”

    See, it’s easy to think that what we need is more positive and encouraging psalms like David’s about the Lord being our Shepherd and still waters and cups running over and stuff like that. That’s what the people like. That’s what sells.

    But God put the book of Lamentations in the Bible, even though it’s depressing and most people will never memorize it, because he wants those of you who suffer in the darkness to know that he knows how you feel. And, like Jeremiah, it’s OK for you to express those emotions to God.

    One of our Summit church planters tells the story of when he first felt called to ministry, how he resigned from his job in Tennessee and moved his family to North Carolina to attend seminary, only to have everything fall apart. His marriage came within inches of destruction; he went into bankruptcy. Keep in mind, this is one of the smartest people I know, and yet it still got that bad. But the worst part, he said, was holding his newborn son as he died in their arms. He said, “I had no words. All I could ask God during that season was, ‘Why?’ I didn’t want to talk about God or preach the words of God. I only wanted to rage against God. All I’ve done is try to follow him, and this is how he treats me?”

    Many believers have gone through dark chapters and thought the same things as Jeremiah, but they’ve suppressed those emotions, telling themselves, “Real Christians don’t ever feel like this.”

    Matt, I’d say we agree on people like Jeremiah and Charles Spurgeon being Christians.

    And yet the prophet Jeremiah said his soul was depressed within him.

    Spurgeon told his congregation, “I have spent more days shut up in depression than probably anybody else here.” He was said by many to be the greatest preacher to ever live, and he frequently considered quitting the ministry because he was so depressed.

    Alright Matt, you’re doing well so far. Last one: Martin Luther, one of the most famous church leaders and theologians of all time. Real Christian?

    Well he went through times so dark that his wife would remove al...

    • 14 min
    Is Cremation Wrong?

    Is Cremation Wrong?

    Show Notes:

    Matt: J.D., is cremation (as opposed to burial in a casket) wrong?

    J.D.: Well, this one’s actually a little more interesting than you might think. If you’ve never thought much about it, you probably (like most people) just think about the fact that when someone dies, they basically have two options—burial in a casket or by cremation, where your ashes are put into an urn. Some people bury those urns, some keep them around…

    In fact, a 2020 study showed that 56 percent of people who died in America were cremated, which is more than double what that figure was 20 years prior.

    That’s a far cry from how things used to be, when in old England, burial by grave/casket was known as a “Christian burial” and cremation was something only the Vikings did.

    You might be surprised to learn that some Christians have strong views against cremation. I’ll lay out that view in just a second. But as we have this conversation, I want to make a few things clear up front because I realize many of you have very dear, important people in your lives that you’ve lost that you know have been cremated.

    So, am I saying that what they chose to do is morally wrong and against some biblical command?

    No, I am not. I see nowhere in Scripture that gives a clear edict that you must be buried in such a manner that your body is preserved.

    Am I saying—like some people claim—that cremation somehow interferes with the resurrection of the Saints when Jesus returns, ruining a Christians chances of eternal life because their earthly bodies weren’t handled properly after death?

    Of course not—that’s nonsense! Our bodies are important, but not nearly as important as our souls.

    And besides—do you really think resurrection after cremation would be “too hard” for God?

    Finally, I of course don’t believe that families who perhaps have to make a decision on how to bury someone and opt for cremation over burial love that deceased person any less than a family that chooses burial.

    So, if you have loved ones who have passed away and been cremated, you can rest easy and of course we mean no disrespect. But I do want to point out the other side of this conversation.

    John Piper is one of the most prominent voices on this. 

    He points out that the Bible teaches us the importance of our earthly bodies—that they’re not prisons for the soul like the ancient Greeks taught.

    “Christianity has always viewed the body as essential to full humanity so that the life to come has primarily been seen as the resurrection of the body in glorious eternal life.”  John Piper

    He argues that ​​Paul’s understanding of burial is that this was a picture of being “sown” in the ground like a seed that will sprout with wildly superior beauty at the resurrection, when the graves are opened at the coming of Christ.

    1 Corinthians 15:37, 42-44

    He also points out how fire always has a negative connotation to us as humans in Scripture – especially when talking about life-after-death, and so, to end your time on earth consumed by fire is a symbol that doesn’t align with Scripture’s portrayal of the believer’s afterlife.

    Now, while arguing all of this, John Piper also calls for churches and pastors to create a culture where expensive, extravagant funerals (and weddings!) are NOT the norm.

    There’s a recognition that burial by casket is more expensive than cremation.

    He even says he feels like churches should help families with these extra costs—not necessarily through a line-item in the church budget but by perhaps establishing an external fund fueled by generous donors.

    You say, “Ok, well, what he’s talking about is all symbolic and has no impact on where ...

    • 8 min
    How Should Christians Vote In the 2024 Election?

    How Should Christians Vote In the 2024 Election?

    Show Notes:

    Matt: Welcome. J.D., here’s a softball… What are your thoughts on the 2024 election? It’s now officially decided through primary votes that we’ll have a re-match of Trump v. Biden in November.


    We as the church didn’t respond well last time… we are getting a gracious mulligan

    I have a handful of pieces of counsel to that end, 

    Let me give a CAVEAT before I share them: Some of you will try to interpret these thoughts as me urging you to vote one way or the other—oh, he means that we should definitely not for this person or that we definitely should vote for this one. That is precisely what I’m not doing. Some of this counsel will pull in different directions. Politics is an imperfect process—we are trying to hold different things in tension and weigh out what is overall the wisest or most moral course for our country.

    So, my counsel to Republicans: 

     Don’t equivocate about character. Righteousness exults a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

    Don’t equate your secondary strategies with biblical imperatives. Don’t draw straight lines where they should be dotted lines. 

    What is your proactive solution to help the poor (if you feel like the great society was a failure, where the greatest argument against progressive politics is the state of progressive cities, what is your solution? 

    My counsel to Democrats: 

    There are several things in your platform that are expressly evil. Speak out about them. 

    Be careful not to equivocate about things that are not equal. What I mean by that is you hear some say, “Oh yeah, well we get abortion wrong but Republicans get poverty relief wrong, as if those things we equal. Many Republicans, whether they are right or wrong, believe that the economic policies they embrace are what’s ultimately best for the poor—they might be wrong, but abortion is the state-sanctioned murder of the unborn. It is wrong to equivocate and act like those things are morally the same. They are not. There may indeed be reasons in certain elections that you think make voting left or abstaining from voting is the wisest choice, but be careful of moral equivocation. 

    Realize that someone can share your compassion for the poor, but disagree with your methodology. 

    John 17 matters. It was one of the last things Jesus prayed before he gave his life, as he prayed for the unity of the church. I realized that there are things that are deeply emotional. There are things that are clear issues of justice, and we need to talk about them thoroughly and passionately, and we need to never compromise where the Bible teaches clearly. But I also realized that the same Savior that gave us these commandments and the Savior that gave us these moral imperatives, He also He also prayed for the unity of the church and said that this is what he wanted. This is how the world would know him. The apostle Paul, taking a cue from him, was willing to say about a lot of things that, you know what, I know Paul felt like my convictions are correct in this area, talking about eating meat, you know, Romans 14, but he would not hold that position or push that position in ways that disrupted the unity of the church unnecessarily.

    Matt:  Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and be sure to check out YouTube and subscribe @J.D.Greear.


    • 18 min
    Does Modesty Matter?

    Does Modesty Matter?

    Show Notes:

    Matt: Welcome. 

    Today we have a question today from someone who sent this in named Ronnie. She asked, "Is modesty a biblical virtue or is it a relic of the patriarchy?"

    J.D.: So for our listeners that are like, what's really the question here behind the question? I grew up in the, the purity culture. Josh Harris was, wrote the famous book I Kissed Dating Goodbye and the emphasis was on, girl you have to take care of your brother's headspace. And basically it was almost presented as if the guy can't help but think of you as nothing but a sex object. And so dress in a way that keeps him from thinking about that all the time. And it's not that the modesty piece wasn't important, it just left out what is even a bigger issue—the guy needs to not see women in that category. He needs to see them as fellow human beings made in the image of God. The extreme version of modesty culture was it kind of heaped all kinds of shame and responsibility onto the girls' side for what really was the guy's problem. That is unhelpful and untrue. It's even dangerous as abuse can get blamed on what she was just asking for because of what she was wearing.

    There was some correction that took place to that purity culture that so strongly emphasized modesty that I think was a helpful correction. But, you know, as with a lot of things we have to be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater when it comes to modesty. And so what I'm talking with my kids, my family, when I'm talking with people in my life about modesty.

    Two tension points:

    1.) Style's change from generation to generation. Every generation sees what the next one wears as immodest. What is considered a modest bathing suit today would be considered scandalous 60 or 70 years ago.

    2.) The second thing is that modesty is a genuine biblical principle. We are taking into account what other people are thinking about us. And so I tell my kids, there's two anchor points when it comes to how you dress. First of all, what does your dress say about you? What does what you wear say about you? What does it draw attention to? Does it emphasize and flaunt the sexual parts of you that really ought to be reserved for a marriage partner?

    Now again, it's not your fault if somebody's looking at you and lusting after you. We're not saying that, but on the other side of that truth is you can dress in a way that certainly draws attention to that. And if it's drawing attention to that and emphasizing that, you should ask yourself why you're doing that. And is that really what God wants you, is that the most important part of you to present to the world?

    The second anchor point I always say is what effect does what you wear have on other people? And again, I'll just say it once more. I'm not saying it's your fault that if they think of you in those objectifying ways, but we do recognize that how we dress can have an effect on somebody else and it can make them think about certain things. And I do want to make it easy for people. And I think a believer should be thinking about that. How can I make it easier for my brothers and sisters in Christ to not have one more thing that they're trying to avoid looking at or thinking about because it just makes it too easy for them to get into not a good headspace.

    Matt: I'm just kind of curious, because when we talk about modesty, it is typically our women dressing modestly, but it's interesting. I remember back when I did college ministry, eight or nine years ago, on summer project, we had all these rules about what people were allowed to wear. And I remember somebody in the end of summer feedback form asked something like,"I don't understand why you have all these rules for what women can wear, but you let this guy wear a tank top up on stage while he's teaching every week."

    • 9 min
    How Do I Share the Gospel With a Staunch Atheist?

    How Do I Share the Gospel With a Staunch Atheist?

    Show Notes:

    Matt: Welcome

    J.D., you’ve heard from a member at The Summit Church’s own Chapel Hill Campus who asked you how to share the gospel with a staunch atheist, which we felt like would be a great topic for this week’s episode.

    J.D.: Yeah Matt, I’m sure many of us have been in a situation like this where God lays someone on your heart to share the gospel with, but you know they’re firm in their belief—or unbelief—as an atheist. And it can feel like, “Where do I even begin to share the love of God with them when they don’t believe that any sort of god exists?”

    A lot of prayer: pray 1st, 2nd and 3rd

    Don’t overwhelm them. Don’t talk about it all the time

    Pray for opportunities to show extraordinary grace (Acts 16)

    Invite them to read the Bible. Heb 4:12: Charles Spurgeon talked about the Bible like a caged lion: all we have to do is let it out because who’s ever heard of defending a lion? Read the Bible… 

    After you’ve had a couple of intentional conversations, shift more to answering questions 1 Peter 3:15. Trust the Spirit of God to do the work and think of it more like fishing.

    Now, that said… 

    Of course, I do think it’s wise to be prepared for conversations like these, and I’ll try to be as practical as I can in that.

    Theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer talked about “taking the roof off” of various worldviews that people might hold. 

    Everyone has some kind of worldview – even an atheist – and Schaeffer meant that a person’s worldview is kind of like a house that they construct. But there’s only one “blueprint” that can effectively explain all aspects of life, support all the evidence in the world, and be lived out consistently with all of that, and that’s a Christian worldview. All other worldviews are defective in one way or another.

    So to “take the roof off” of an atheist’s worldview, I’d ask questions. 

    On that topic, Randy Newman has a great book called Questioning Evangelism, where he talks about evangelizing through questions like these. He even points out how often Jesus asked questions of skeptics and people curious about his ministry.

    One of the very best questions we can ask people in these conversations, Newman writes, is very simple: “Really?”

    Questions like, “Do you really believe we came from nothing, and yet life is so meticulously and miraculously held together?” Or, “Do you really believe that nothing happens when we die?”

    Gavin Ortlund, Why God Makes Sense in a World that Doesn’t

    Christianity versus naturalism in relation to the basic elements that all stories have: origins, meaning, conflict, and hope. The constant question will be: Which is telling us a better story—a story that better accounts for the strangeness, the incompleteness, the brokenness, and the beauty of our world?

    A Christian apologist once remarked to me that on university campuses thirty years ago he was asked more questions about Christianity’s truth (Does God exist? Did Jesus rise from the dead? etc.); today he is asked more questions about Christianity’s goodness (Is the church intolerant? Are Christians homophobic? etc.).

    Matt:  Next up we're answering the question, "Does Modesty Matter?" Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and be sure to check out YouTube and subscribe @J.D.Greear.


    • 15 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
601 Ratings

601 Ratings

Carltonxmoore ,

A Great way to start the day

Appreciate the pastoral perspective on tough questions

Sgpbball ,

Biblical and True!

JD Greear‘s answers to life’s toughest questions are founded in Biblical truth that will bring the aroma of life to those following it and the aroma of death to those against it (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). It’s no surprise that the ones leaving negative reviews are the ones smelling the aroma of death and rejecting what JD has been empowered by the Holy Spirit to say. The answers are meant to be convicting, because they go against our sinful choices, so some people won’t like what he has to say. Stop doing AND supporting what is right in your own eyes, and turn your eyes and hearts to what God says is right (Judges 21:25).

JewelzKader ,

Always Insightful

JD Greear answers the questions you never thought to ask. Always encouraging and insightful to hear the gospel perspective.

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