Faith Debate

Faith Debate Blog

Faith Debate: September 27th, 2020

Theological controversy brings out the best and the worst in the Church.  

If handled correctly, controversy sharpens the understanding of the message of Scripture and its application to the contemporary world, so the church can emerge from a period of theological discussion and debate with a much greater clarity on the issue at hand.  However, if badly handled, contention over a point of doctrine can be destructive and harmful for the church, potentially leading to unnecessary division and ill-feeling between brothers and sisters in both biological families and the spiritual family of God.  Just such a controversy is raging right now over what has been called the “Social Gospel”.

The panel:

Troy Skinner.  Pastor of Household of Faith in Christ.

Jonathan Switzer.  Founder of Crossed Bridges in Frederick, Maryland.

Adam AD Robles.  Host of the “AD” YouTube podcast, used to interact with cultural issues in the church.

Link to Faith Debate podcasts on iTunes here.  Stream, Share, Download, and    Embed past shows using the WFMD “Audio Vault” here.

Here to talk about it with Jon and me is podcaster and minister of the Good News, Adam AD Robles.

Faith Debate: September 20th, 2020

Critical Theory Inside the Church

This marks the fourth installment of a four-episode arc of shows featuring the same three men on the panel.  Each episode has opened with commentary on a political video produced by Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales.  Please don’t misunderstand, the show likes Veggie Tales, and likes Pill Vischer. However, the cartoons do not represent Christ the way that most seem to think. And neither does Phil.

Many Christian families look at Phil and his Veggie Tales creation and trust him as a biblical voice for the Gospel.  Actually, exactly because of Phil Vischer’s work on Veggie Tales he cannot be a trustworthy voice for advancing the biblical Gospel.  Many Christian kids have seen all the videos.  Many Christian parents have laughed alongside their children while imbibing most of the videos themselves.  These animated short stories are examples of good clean fun, highlighting messages of moral behavior.  This is good, particularly when compared to most of what passes for children’s entertainment these days.

However, the Veggie Tales universe is a kindhearted moralistic universe.  It is not a Christ-exulting, cross-centered universe.  Let the body of Christ never forget, moralism is not the biblical message.  The Gospel is the biblical message.  Vischer’s 17-minute political video is well-crafted and advocates for his point of view very effectively.  Yet, as committed Bible students who are humbled by the Good News, the video doesn’t resonate with many followers of Christ because Phil’s not talking to them.  At best Phil’s talking at them, which is about all that Critical Race Theory allows.

Undoubtedly Phil means well, and without doubt you do, too, if you’re one of the thousands who have shared the video with others.  But Phil’s video offers no solution because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the solution… and Phil’s video does not offer Him.  And this is a snapshot of what’s going on in today’s world.

The panel:

Troy Skinner.  Pastor of Household of Faith in Christ.

Jonathan Switzer.  Founder of Crossed Bridges in Frederick, Maryland.

Jonathan Harris.  Writer of the WorldviewConversation.com blog, host of the “ConversationsThat Matter” podcast, author of the new book “Social Justice Goes to Church”.

Link to Faith Debate podcasts on iTunes here.  Stream, Share, Download, and    Embed past shows using the WFMD “Audio Vault” here.

Faith Debate: September 13th, 2020

Awakening to the Dangers of the Woke Movement

The past two shows opened with comments about a political video produced by Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales.  We started there because when discussing big worldview ideologies that use big fancy philosophical terms it can seem so irrelevant to everyday life, so “out there somewhere”.  But it’s right here, right now.  And some are warning that it’s a great danger to the Christian church.

Some, administering a generous dose of “benefit of the doubt”, suggest that goal of people like Phil Vischer is to educate evangelicals who, if the broad caricatures are to be believed, are ignorant of (or at least in denial about) the history and the lasting effects of what Critical Race Theororists call “systemic racism”.  It’s all rooted in white supremacy, don’t cha know?

But hey, Phil is the creator of the Veggie Tales cartoons and the voice of Bob the Tomato.  Those cartoons are marketed to Christian families, so he absolutely must be a trustworthy voice to evangelicals and followers of Christ everywhere, right?

If you have the time and want to take a deep dive into the variety of errors and biases evidenced in Phil Vischer’s 17-minute video, then watch a different video presented by this week’s Faith Debate guest, who spent lots and lots (and lots and lots and lots) of time digging into the research behind Phil Vischer’s comments.

The panel:

Troy Skinner.  Pastor of Household of Faith in Christ.

Jonathan Switzer.  Founder of Crossed Bridges in Frederick, Maryland.

Jonathan Harris.  Writer of the WorldviewConversation.com blog, host of the “ConversationsThat Matter” podcast, author of the new book “Social Justice Goes to Church”.

Link to Faith Debate podcasts on iTunes here.  Stream, Share, Download, and    Embed past shows using the WFMD “Audio Vault” here.

Faith Debate: September 6th, 2020

Critical Race Theory and the Church

One can only wonder why such an army of professing Christians have offered up teachings (represented pretty well by Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales, in a viral video) as something delicious for other Christians to gobble up.

Consider, for example, that the video does not quote Scripture once.  It does not point to the Gospel even one time.  It does not utter the name of Jesus at all, nor does he even use the more generic (and “politically correct” term) “God”.  Not once.

Instead Mr. Vischer rattles off a long series of political talking points (from a progressive point of view, as it turns out).  The worldview represented is rooted, or influenced by, or at least accidentally borrowing from Critical Race Theory (which is not a biblical philosophy).  In fact, Critical Race Theory is a hindrance to the advance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What does the panel have to say?

The panel:

Troy Skinner.  Pastor of Household of Faith in Christ.

Jonathan Switzer.  Founder of Crossed Bridges in Frederick, Maryland.

Jonathan Harris.  Writer of the WorldviewConversation.com blog, host of the “ConversationsThat Matter” podcast, author of the new book “Social Justice Goes to Church”.

Link to Faith Debate podcasts on iTunes here.  Stream, Share, Download, and    Embed past shows using the WFMD “Audio Vault” here.

Faith Debate: August 30th, 2020

Beginning to Understand the “Woke” Church

If you like to talk to tomatoes, if a squash can make you smile, if you like to waltz with potatoes up and down the produce aisle, then you’ve probably seen the 17-minute video posted in mid-June by the creator of Veggie Tales.

Phil Vischer’s masterfully crafted presentation of his political views has been making the rounds in social media, especially among professing Christians.  As a result, I’ve had several in-person and on-line conversations about Phil’s words.  Now, we’re tackling the topic on the Faith Debate.

What exactly is supposed to be the edifying message for Christians in this video?  The concluding point made by Mr. Vischer is that people should care about the devastating effects of sin.  It took 17 minutes of selective history nuggets, fast-talking statistics, and highly effective marketing language to tell Christians to care about sin?  Any true Christ follower already cares, even before hearing Phil’s words.  So, the viewer might be excused if feeling a little confused, and perhaps even shortchanged for having wasted 17 minutes of their life.

So, what gives?  What is this all about and why should you care?

The panel:

Troy Skinner.  Pastor of Household of Faith in Christ.

Jonathan Switzer.  Founder of Crossed Bridges in Frederick, Maryland.

Jonathan Harris.  Writer of the WorldviewConversation.com blog, host of the “ConversationsThat Matter” podcast, author of the new book “Social Justice Goes to Church”.

Link to Faith Debate podcasts on iTunes here.  Stream, Share, Download, and    Embed past shows using the WFMD “Audio Vault” here.

Program Air Date: Sunday, August 23rd, 2020 – 9am

Cultural Marxism and the Gospel

Do Christians have reason to not support the Black Lives Matter foundation and the movement bearing their name?  What about defunding the police?  How should Bible believers understand the widespread response of rioters?  The political response?  The church response?  In a world that has shifted very sharply into Postmodernism, Deconstructionism, Cultural Marxism, and cries for Social Justice… what is the way forward?

The panel:

Troy Skinner.  Faith Debate host and moderator.

Jonathan Switzer.  Founder of Crossed Bridges in Frederick, Maryland.

Darren Gerald.  Pastor of Strong Tower Christian Church in Frederic, Maryland.

Link to Faith Debate podcasts on iTunes here.  Stream, Share, Download, and    Embed past shows using the WFMD “Audio Vault” here.

Program Air Date: Sunday, August 16th, 2020 – 9am

Looking to Answer “Race” Questions Biblically

On social media a self-professing Christian who grew up in the church said to me, “Do I think you or white conservative Christians are less likely to oppose murder?  No, absolutely not.  However, are you more likely to try to justify the actions of a white police officer killing an unarmed black man?  Are you less likely to recognize the long-standing, systemic problems that have led to these killings?  Are you less outraged when there is no accountability for officers involved in these killings?  Are you as concerned about insisting on accountability in these cases?  Perhaps, you could tell me.”  So, this episode works toward telling him.

The panel:

Troy Skinner.  Faith Debate host and moderator.

Jonathan Switzer.  Founder of Crossed Bridges in Frederick, Maryland.

Darren Gerald.  Pastor of Strong Tower Christian Church in Frederic, Maryland.

Link to Faith Debate podcasts on iTunes here.  Stream, Share, Download, and    Embed past shows using the WFMD “Audio Vault” here.

Program Air Date: Sunday, August 9th, 2020 – 9am

A Christian Conversation About Ethnocentrism

A friend of Troy’s recently remarked that, what he called white Christians, “Have lots of posts about riots, unrest, and damage, but almost none about George Floyd’s death or the many victims who preceded him without receiving justice.  These posts tell me pretty clearly what’s more important to them.  It’s incredibly disappointing to see a discernible group of people who think his death was not worth posting about or commenting on.”  The show’s panel discusses what’s happening on the streets, in the news, within the church, and throughout culture.

The panel:

Troy Skinner.  Faith Debate host and moderator.

Jonathan Switzer.  Founder of Crossed Bridges in Frederick, Maryland.

Darren Gerald.  Pastor of Strong Tower Christian Church in Frederic, Maryland.

Link to Faith Debate podcasts on iTunes here.  Stream, Share, Download, and    Embed past shows using the WFMD “Audio Vault” here.

Program Air Date: Sunday, August 2nd, 2020 – 9am

Seeing Things in Black and White

On Facebook recently Troy had a long exchange with someone holding a progressive (deconstructionist) view of the world.  During part of this exchange he wrote:  “I took note of your reference to the ‘evil’ we witnessed in the killing of George Floyd because so many white and conservative Christians have run away from this issue.”  Is this accurate?  Are conservative Christians, especially white Christians, running form the issue?

The panel:

Troy Skinner.  Faith Debate host and moderator.

Jonathan Switzer.  Founder of Crossed Bridges in Frederick, Maryland.

Darren Gerald.  Pastor of Strong Tower Christian Church in Frederic, Maryland.

Link to Faith Debate podcasts on iTunes here.  Stream, Share, Download, and    Embed past shows using the WFMD “Audio Vault” here.

Program Air Date: Sunday, July 26th, 2020 – 9am

Reflections on Black and White Relations

Many black people have said that they have little expectation of being treated fairly by police in any situation.  Even worse, lots of them say they have a high expectation of being demeaned, abused, and being treated violently in any encounter with law enforcement.  And yet there are those among them who say that ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, but is a SIN problem.  If you want to better understand this complex issue and be an agent of reconciliation, then perhaps our discussion here today will provide help along those lines.

The panel:

Troy Skinner.  Faith Debate host and moderator.

Jonathan Switzer.  Founder of Crossed Bridges in Frederick, Maryland.

Vaughn Thurman.  Follower of Christ who is a former lay leader within the church.

Link to Faith Debate podcasts on iTunes here.  Stream, Share, Download, and Embed past shows using the WFMD “Audio Vault” here.

Program Air Date: Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 9am

Injustice Should Make Us Angry

These words were recently written by a black man, “I’m angry because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.  I’m angry because white people don’t get it.  I’m angry because black people don’t get it, either.”  And he added that more than 150 years since the abolition of slavery, you’d think that by now we’d have reached real parity between people of different skin tones.  He then continues that, “A lot of white people believe that’s actually where we are.  A lot of black people know we aren’t.”  What does the biblical Christian church say in response to this?

The panel:

Troy Skinner.  Faith Debate host and moderator.

Jonathan Switzer.  Founder of Crossed Bridges in Frederick, Maryland.

Vaughn Thurman.  Follower of Christ who is a former lay leader within the church.

Link to Faith Debate podcasts on iTunes here.  Stream, Share, Download, and Embed past shows using the WFMD “Audio Vault” here.

Podcast

Sundays 9AM to 9:30AM

The Frederick Faith Debate is designed to be an open an honest forum for local faith community leaders to share and discuss their views of the truth.  Lady Bird Johnson once said, “the clash of ideas is the sound of freedom”.  In that spirit, the show seriously wrestles with important ideas… the participant often disagreeing with one another.  The hope is that through this wrestling a better understanding of the truth will develop with regards to the most important issues facing the world.

In other words, The Frederick Faith Debate is home to conflict resolution on the issues that matter most.  We can’t truly resolve anything without understanding.  And we can’t gain authentic understanding without honesty.  So, that’s what you get here.  A safe haven for honesty.  We share what we hold to be true and why.  Where there’s disagreement, we hash it out.  Because we know why we’re here, there’s no worry over hurt feelings.  At the end, if we fail to persuade each other within the confines of our program’s allotted time, we will at least know not only where we stand, but the reasons that we camp out where we do.

Host Bio

Troy is a lifelong Chicago sports fan who worked at several Chicago radio and TV outlets before moving to Orlando where he worked at country music station WFIV as the morning sports anchor and afternoon disc jockey for three years. He then worked as a news reporter/anchor/producer at News Talk station WWNZ for several years.

Troy also served as the network producer of the Orlando Magic Radio Network for this NBA team’s first two years of existence. He also became the senior producer/sidekick of a daily sports radio show before then being offered the opportunity to host his own call-in sports radio program on a network of seventeen stations throughout the state of Florida. Affectionately known to listeners as “Mr. Cub”, Troy’s wife, Dina became known as “Mrs. Cub” after he proposed to her live on the air. (Their two children were later dubbed “Babies Cub”.)

Troy departed Orlando to become Executive Producer of WSYR in Syracuse. One year later he was named Assistant Program Director for News Talk WSYR and Sports Talk WHEN. One year after that he added the title of MAPs Director. (Marketing, Advertising, and Promotions Director.) After one more year Troy was named Program Director for both WSYR and WHEN; before adding the responsibilities of News Director, as well.

During his time in Syracuse WSYR was the recipient of numerous local and regional Associated Press awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award for news excellence, and the National Association of Broadcaster’s Crystal Award in recognition of service to the community.

Troy departed Syracuse to join the Affiliate Sales division of national program syndicator Westwood One. Then in 2001, Troy was in Frederick as a member of the WFMD/WFRE local sales team, where he was elevated to Local Sales Manager in 2004, General Sales Manager in 2007, and later to Director of Sales before leaving for a stint at WRBS radio in Baltimore, and then returning to WFMD/WFRE.

Troy holds a Master of Divinity Degree from Reformed Theological Seminary, and in 2004 began hosting The Frederick Faith Debate with Jonathan Switzer of Crossroads Valley Church and Crossed Bridges. Guests on the program have ranged from Buddhist to Baha’i. Roman Catholic to Eastern Orthodox. Atheist to Agnostic. Mormon to Muslim. Unitarian to Jewish. Charismatic to Presbyterian. Esoteric New Age Psychology adherent to Conservative Fundamentalist.