228 episodes

Join the faculty of Mid-America Reformed Seminary as they discuss everything from theology to cultural issues from a Reformed perspective.

*The opinions presented in each episode are those of the individual speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of the Seminary.*

MARSCAST Mid-America Reformed Seminary

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 26 Ratings

Join the faculty of Mid-America Reformed Seminary as they discuss everything from theology to cultural issues from a Reformed perspective.

*The opinions presented in each episode are those of the individual speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of the Seminary.*

    228. Redemption Unveiled: Calvin on Christ in the Law

    228. Redemption Unveiled: Calvin on Christ in the Law

    In this episode, Dr. Beach explores John Calvin's teachings on how fallen humanity can find redemption in Christ according to Book 2, Chapter 6 of his famous work The Institutes of the Christian Religion.

    Calvin argues that true knowledge of God is useless without also having faith in Him as our Redeemer through Christ. He explains how the Old Testament law was never intended to provide a way to achieve righteousness through our own efforts but rather to expose our depravity and desperate need for God's redemptive grace.

    Dr. Beach walks through Calvin's threefold "uses of the law" - to show our sin, restrain evil, and instruct believers in righteousness after being freed from the law's condemnation through Christ. We learn how even the Old Testament ceremonies foreshadowed the coming of the gospel promises fulfilled in Jesus.

    Throughout, Calvin masterfully shows how the way of salvation through grace alone in Christ alone was the same essence in both the Old and New Testaments. The law served to drive us to the Redeemer, in whom alone we can be justified and reconciled to God.

    • 21 min
    227. Calvin on Human Freedom and Depravity

    227. Calvin on Human Freedom and Depravity

    In this episode, Dr. J. Mark Beach explores John Calvin's views on human nature and free will as presented in Book II, Chapters 2-3 of his influential work Institutes of the Christian Religion.

    Calvin grapples with the difficult question of human freedom in light of the Fall and original sin. He warns against the perils of complacency if we deny human ability, or boastfulness if we overestimate our capabilities apart from God's grace.

    Calvin distinguishes three types of freedom - from necessity, from sin, and from misery. He argues that while humans are not under external compulsion, our wills are bound and enslaved to sin and misery because of our corrupt nature inherited from Adam.

    Dr. Beach explores how Calvin viewed the human faculties of understanding and will after the Fall. He saw the intellect as still capable in earthly matters due to God's common grace but blind to spiritual truths without divine illumination. The will, though enslaved to sin, still makes choices flowing from our fallen inclinations.

    Calvin rejected the term "free will" as puffing up human pride yet affirmed that humans are still willing agents who make real choices, just not the ability to change their sinful nature apart from God's remedying grace.

    Dr. Beach also touches on Calvin's perspective on natural law, the purpose of the Ten Commandments, human society and political order, and the need for God's restraining grace to hold back the full effects of human depravity.

    • 20 min
    226. Examining John Calvin's Doctrine of Total Depravity

    226. Examining John Calvin's Doctrine of Total Depravity

    In this episode, Dr. J. Mark Beach dives deep into Book 2 of John Calvin's seminal work, The Institutes of the Christian Religion. After covering knowledge of God as Creator in Book 1, Calvin turns his attention in Book 2 to understanding humanity's fallen, depraved state and need for redemption.

    Dr. Beach provides an in-depth analysis of Calvin's teaching on the gravity of Adam's sin, his rebellion against God's word and authority. He explores Calvin's view that Adam's fall impacted not just himself but all of humanity, passing down a "contagion" of sin and corruption to all his descendants.

    Calvin's doctrine of original sin or total depravity is unpacked - that from birth, mankind is infected with sin, unable to will or do true good, deserving of God's wrath. Yet this is not a doctrine of pessimism but a sober assessment following Scripture's teachings.

    The episode examines Calvin's nuanced view that while human nature is gravely impacted, through common grace, people can still do civil good outwardly. But the root issue remains - only God's intervening grace can remedy our inward fallenness and inability.

    Throughout, Dr. Beach shows how, for Calvin, rightly understanding our desperately sinful condition is crucial to grasping our need for redemption in Christ alone. This foundation sets the stage for his later teachings on salvation and the work of Christ as Redeemer.

    • 22 min
    225. Justification Hijacked: How the Medieval Church Lost Paul's Doctrine

    225. Justification Hijacked: How the Medieval Church Lost Paul's Doctrine

    In this episode, Dr. Alan Strange joins the podcast again to discuss the development of the doctrine of justification, particularly in the medieval period. He explains how Augustine recovered key aspects of Paul's teaching on justification being by grace alone while still viewing it as an ongoing process of being "made righteous" rather than a punctiliar declarative act.

    Dr. Strange describes how in the centuries after Augustine, there was confusion and lack of clarity around his actual views, with some of Pelagius' works even being mistakenly attributed to other church fathers. He contrasts Augustine and Aquinas' view of faith involving "caritas" or love/obedience to the law with the Reformers' view of faith as fiducia or trust in Christ alone.

    The discussion covers the key distinctions between the medieval Catholic view of justification as a process involving meriting grace through the sacraments and purgatory versus the Protestant Reformation's understanding of justification as a decisive declaration that happens at the moment of faith in Christ. Dr. Strange argues that the Reformation position actually recovered the biblical, Pauline view of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

    • 17 min
    224. Medieval Church Councils: From Ecumenical to Ecclesial Power Plays

    224. Medieval Church Councils: From Ecumenical to Ecclesial Power Plays

    In this episode, Dr. Alan Strange continues the discussion on medieval church history. The conversation focuses on the major church councils and influential theologians from the Middle Ages. Dr. Strange begins by distinguishing the first seven ecumenical councils, which are recognized across Christian traditions, from the subsequent medieval councils after the East-West church schism in 1054.

    He highlights the Lateran Councils, held in Rome from the 12th-13th centuries, which solidified papal authority and church doctrine like transubstantiation. Other notable councils like Lyons, Vienna, Constance, and Basel aimed to resolve issues like the Great Schism when there were multiple claimants to the papacy.

    Dr. Strange also covers some of the influential medieval theologians and philosophers, including Boethius, John of Damascus, the debates between Ratramnus and Radbertus on the Eucharist, and John Scotus Eriugena's perspective integrating faith and reason. In evaluating this period, Dr. Strange praises the serious attempt to integrate faith and all areas of life while critiquing how the doctrine of the church overshadowed the doctrine of salvation.

    • 16 min
    223. Scholasticism vs. Mysticism: Reason and Experience in Medieval Theology

    223. Scholasticism vs. Mysticism: Reason and Experience in Medieval Theology

    In this episode, Dr. Alan Strange discusses scholasticism and mysticism in the medieval era of church history. He provides an in-depth look at scholasticism, explaining its origins in the monas-tic schools of the 9th and 10th centuries and how it contributed to the rise of universities in the 12th and 13th centuries. He analyzes the strengths and potential pitfalls of the scholastic method, which emphasizes making distinctions and applying Aristotelian logic to theological problems. The conversation then turns to mysticism, which arose partly in response to the arid intellectualism that scholasticism could produce at times. Dr. Strange examines the mystics' pursuit of direct, immediate experience of God and union with the divine. He weighs both the insights and ex-cesses of mysticism, contrasting its quest for the affective and experiential aspects of faith with the more rationalistic tendencies of some scholastics. Throughout the discussion, Dr. Strange provides historical context on key figures from both traditions, offering a nuanced perspective on scholasticism and mysticism as interconnected streams of medieval theology and philosophy. We hope this episode deepens your understanding of these influential movements while highlighting the need to ground reason and religious experience in God's revelation.

    • 16 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

Elrostelemnar ,

Best theology podcast!

Where else can you go to get theology than to the experts? Mid America’s podcast discuss theology from the perspective of those who know it best, real professors who know their Reformed theology and that seek to explain it to every person out there

2Angelsmom ,

Excellent and Edifying Discussion

Technology has come a long way in the 22 years since I’ve graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. But one thing stays the same. This seminary has excellent faculty who are careful and biblical in their theological discussions. I am obviously biased because I was educated there, but I believe Mid-America Reformed Seminary should be one of the first seminaries to consider a theological education. Listen to a few of these excellent podcasts and you will see why. I’m so happy I can keep up with them in the podcast arena.

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