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Monday, November 13th | Augustine

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
November 13, 2023 9:00 am

Monday, November 13th | Augustine

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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November 13, 2023 9:00 am

In this episode of the Clearview Today show, Dr. Shah gives us the history of one of the most influential figures in Christian history.  

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Can We Recover the Original Text of the New Testament?


Welcome back, everyone. Today is Monday, November the 13th. I'm Ryan Hill.

I'm John Galantis. And you're listening to Clear View Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at Or if you have any questions for Dr. Shah or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-582-5028, or you can email us at contact at

That's right. You guys can help us keep the conversation going by supporting the show. You can share it online with your friends and your family. Leave us some good reviews on iTunes or Spotify so other people can see what God is doing through the show.

We're going to leave you some links in the description so you can do just that. The verse of the day today comes from Psalm 119, verses 9 and 10. How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart.

Do not let me stray from your commands. The Word of God is such—I don't even want to call it a valuable tool. It's literally like, it's the thing. It's the key to life.

I don't even really have words to describe it because every time I want to put words to how valuable the Word of God is, it always ends up falling short. Well, and we can try to liken it to a map or a source that you plug into. But ultimately, all of those comparisons are going to fall short because there is nothing like the Word of God. There is nothing that is on the same level. So we can draw those parallels.

We can draw those similarities. But God's Word is in its own category because it is everything that you need. Now, is it going to tell you how to pass an algebra test? No. But is it going to give you everything you need to know for life and godliness?

Absolutely. And I love what he says in verse 10. It's like, with my whole heart I have sought you. The Word of God, it's not like I can buy a Bible and then leave it sitting on my shelf and it's going to give me that life.

I have to seek after God's life-giving power through his Word, through reading it, through praying on it, through thinking about, throughout the day, what I've read that morning. Right. Such a good reminder for us. And I hate to pivot in such a ham-fisted way, but we have to close out this. We have to bring full circle. This pizza cake zaga.

Last week... I just want to say, before we move any further, this turned into something a lot bigger than I thought it was going to. I thought we were just going to gripe about stinky pizza. This turned into a saga. It turned into a chronicle of betrayal, because I would say that Jackson really betrayed Adam when he revealed the cake. Absolutely betrayed, yes.

So if you didn't listen last week, I'm going to give you a quick recap. Ryan griped about stinky pizza being left in the office. No problem with pizza. No problem with pizza being consumed. No problem with pizza being consumed in the office.

The problem is, when you leave leftover pizza and or grease-soaked cardboard, that it then permeates the office air. Right. The next day, we had the perpetrator on the show... Jackson. Jackson, who's on staff here at Clearview, to defend himself. Rather than doing that, he pointed the finger at Adam, who is another support staff member. He took the phrase, the best defense is a good offense, literally. And he said, I don't understand why you're getting on to me. Adam has two pieces of cake hidden in his desk. I said, take me to the cake. He wasn't lying.

He wasn't lying. So now it was broadcasted last week or the week before last. That show aired. I got a text this morning from Adam's mom that she had sent to Adam.

And this was like a kind of like mother-son moment. So of course I'm going to read it on the air and expose it for all the world to see. Absolutely. From, and also I should say that Sarah, who is Adam's mom, is on the worship team. So it's not like I'm just doing this to a stranger.

We all have a good relationship. But here's what she sent to Adam. Cake! Five exclamation marks. Five.

Yeah, cake. We counted. Five exclamation marks. Four drawer at work. Another five exclamation marks.

Filmed and broadcast on the Clearview Today show for the whole world to see. Four exclamation marks. Son. Seven exclamation marks. Another text. No more of that.

She's waterfall texting him. No more of that. Four exclamation marks. No more cans, cups, etc. left on your desks either. One exclamation mark.

People will question our raising of you. Another five exclamation marks. Then there's a series of angry face emojis. One of them is snorting air. One of them is just angry.

And then another one is angry with a red face. Adam's response. Okay. Literally just sent okay.

She responds to him. Plus it's just gross and nasty. Three exclamation marks. Don't live like that. Five exclamation marks. If you're doing the math, that's 31 exclamation marks in this text. In three text messages. She is angry.

She's angry. It is hilarious. That's pretty stinking funny. His only response was okay.

Okay. Once that episode was recorded, Adam knew about it and he was like, hey, please don't tell my mom. I was like, you know, I was like goofing with him. I was like, you know, I have to tell her. He was like, please, dude, I'm like literally begging. I'm literally begging you not to do this. Not even thinking that it was going to air on the radio.

For her to listen to. Like people at Clearview support the show. They're going to listen to what's happening. This was, this got out of hand quick. This has not gone well for him.

This is not going well, I think for any of us, but definitely him. Jackson kind of got out scot free here because he was on the hook for leaving stinky pizza. He quickly shifted the attention off of himself and did it successfully. In a big way. And I got to applaud Jackson for that because that was excellent strategy. Adam, I'm curious to see how he's going to crawl out of this.

His mother is not happy with him. Also, I should say, I told Sarah this this morning. I asked permission to read this on the air. These are teenagers.

My college dorm. Barely teenagers. They're like, Adam's 19. Correct. He's 19, almost 20. He's engaged. True.

I just love the way she starts it. Cake! Cake!

RIP headphone listeners. Sorry. Anyway, I felt like we needed to bring this saga to a close. We started off talking about stinky pizza.

It evolved into so much more. Now parents are getting involved. What is the resolution? I think we just drop it.

That's not a resolution. That's just sweeping it under the cake-infested rug. That's my specialty, man. I think teenage boys are going to do what teenage boys are going to do. He's almost a married man.

At 19, almost 20, I don't feel like you can claim the teenage status anymore. You groan at this point. You groan. And you know better than to leave cake in a drawer for two months.

Oh, man. Rather than let us know how you would respond if you found out that a loved one, maybe your child, left cake in their drawer and was being roasted, lightly roasted, and all in good fun on national radio. Rather than let us know. The mother is not taking it in good fun. She's not having a good time. Not having a great time. Listen, it doesn't say anything about your parenting. Teenage boys are going to do what they're going to do.

That is true. If you want to join the, let's get Dr. Shah to bring this conversation to a close and move forward in grace and healing. Stay tuned. We'll see you guys soon.

You can worship God in any situation. In the car, at home, in the gym, while cleaning your house. Wherever you are, we'll be right there with you. You can check us out on Apple Music or on Spotify.

Anywhere digital music is consumed. We've got a few singles out right now. We have an EP out as well. And right now, at this moment actually, we are working on our first ever full-length original album.

Hopefully that's going to be out sometime this coming summer. ClearView worship on iTunes and Spotify is your 24-7 place for inspiration and worship. Follow us today and let God's message of hope, love, and faith be a guiding light in your life. Amen.

Let's hop back into the show. Welcome back to Clear View Today with Dr. Abbadan Shah. The daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at Or if you have any questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text at 252-582-5028.

That's right. We are here on this beautiful Monday morning. The studio with Dr. Abbadan Shah, who is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism. Professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and host of today's show.

You can find all of his work on his website. That's Dr. Shah, good to see you.

Stop stepping on me, cuz. I was about to greet Dr. Shah and start the week on right. I got in there first. I said welcome first. That was the first one. That was the first one. I'm the favorite.

I'm the favorite. You ever interact with those kids that are just those neener, neener kids? They do something like, nah, I did it, nah. I was also thinking like how funny it is to like welcome them into the studio. It's like welcome to the studio that you kind of paid for and built for us to have a show in.

I don't see it like that. I appreciate what you guys do. Really, I do. Without you guys, this show would not be possible. So thank you. Amen. Thank you as well. Same goes to you. You want to jump in there, David?

The gratitude train is rolling. I was going to say, without you, the show would not be possible and my life would be rotten. Cut his mic. Oh, David's the one that cuts people's mics.

Is that gone? He holds the power. He just called me Jesus. Come on, David.

You messed up. When the gratitude train starts rolling, David's like, I don't want to toot my own horn, but beep, beep, beep. Beep, beep.

Here we go. So today is a very special day. Today is actually the anniversary. It is the birthday of someone very important, someone very special.

My birthday's in March, though. It's not you. For real? Yeah.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you were not the one I was talking about. I thought I woke up in March. No, no, no, no.

Today, many, many, many years ago, back in, hold on, let me grab that date. 354. 354. Wow. 18. 1954.

Right. 354. 354. 354 AD.

He's old. He's celebrating his, like, 1600th birthday or something like that. That would be Augustine was born. Augustine of Hippo.

That's right. Born in Tagast. And he grew up in a sort of, you know, dad was not a Christian, but mom was a Christian home. And his father had a fiery temper. I preached on him, by the way, one time.

Did a message on Augustine's life. So I have some very bad habits. And unfortunately, kids learn from their parents, you know, good and bad.

And it's kind of convicting when I say that. And Augustine sort of followed his father's footsteps for some time. He got into an immoral lifestyle. He got into drunkenness. He got into a relationship kind of out of marriage and even fathered a child out of wed law.

I didn't realize that. Oh, yeah. Daddy Augustine. A church father like Daddy Augustine. Not good.

Yeah. I mean, he got into a cult. Augustine, what are you doing, man? Geez, Luis.

Tighten up. They don't put all this stuff in the front page of his biography. Yeah.

Gracious. I've sat in seminars with students talking about, you know, when the Pelagian controversy began, Augustine was such a stalwart of the fit. It's like, that biography would be hidden in sock drawers if people in the fourth century had worn something.

Like, they would not have worn that. Right. He lived with a mistress for a while. Augustine. Oh, yeah.

My goodness. He's in a cult. He's a baby daddy. He is living with a woman. Drinking. To whom he's not married. He's drinking. He's partying.

And he's not just like, you know, this guy who is just horrible and just pray for him. He's smart. I mean, he's studying rhetoric.

Right. So this is like, he's studying law. He's studying logic. He's studying politics. He's headed to the big time. He's not like a frat boy loser.

No, no, no, no, no, no. He is smart. And that sort of makes it bad when you're smart and you're not walking with God. When you're smart and you're not wise. That's a dangerous combo. Yes, yes.

Dangerous combination. And his mother was a Christian and she tried everything she could to get Augustine to see that he needed Christ. She never stopped praying for him. And at the age of 32, he sat weeping in the garden of his friend. His friend had his garden and he just was at the low point in his life.

Kind of like my telephone booth moment. He was at that low point in his life and he was just sitting down and just weeping. And the reason he was weeping is that he felt that he was too weak to break away from these habits. How can I walk away from this lifestyle? How can I give this up? This is so much fun.

I have fun, but I'm empty. So there was some conviction about these things. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, your mom is a Christian. So it's not like he just grew up in some pagan home in North Africa or something like that.

No, he actually grew up in a good setting. And as he sat there, he heard the voice of a child, maybe in a neighbor's house. And the child was singing, tole lege, tole lege, which means pick up and read, pick up and read. Now, I don't know if that song was about the Bible.

I don't think so. I think it was just like, you know, let's read. Let's do our ABCs kind of song. And so when he heard that song, he saw a scroll nearby that his friend had been reading. And guess what that scroll was? It's the book of Romans.

Wow. Book of Romans, the same book of Romans that all of us have in our Bibles. Yeah, same one. Same one that maybe is sitting on your dashboard or lying in the backseat of your car. The one that you know you ain't read in about three or four months.

Yeah, collecting dust or you forgot to do your devotions with. He picked up that book. And the verse that he read was Romans 13, 14, which is, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust. Wow.

Wow. Make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. That's the verse that changed his life. We all have those verses, I think, that just like once you know, you know. And sometimes even you have to look back, but that's such a real verse for where he was in his life. Yeah, such a profound moment for him to be led, I mean, not just led to the Word of God, but led to a verse like that that kind of hits right where he's struggling. I think we talked about this on the show before where if you don't have that verse, you should get one.

Like every Christian should have that verse that kind of turned it around for you or at least brought you to a new understanding of Christ. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, by the way, just to let you guys know, he was not just a smart guy. He was not just, you know, a wise fool. He was also a professor.

He was a professor of rhetoric in Milan. So he was an authority figure. Wow.

Oh, yeah. He was a professor. He was that cool professor that everybody wants to be like, you know.

Wow. Like he had a cool English teacher on a motorcycle. Oh, the professor during the day partying at night. Got the hair. Yeah. He got it going on.

Yeah. He comes to class in like a leather jacket and jeans and a motorcycle helmet. Hey, Professor A. Hey, Professor A.

You never really see him drive the motorcycle, but he always has the helmet. Yeah. That probably, if I were to do a contemporary version of Augustine's life, that's probably what he would look like. Wow. That's pretty insane. Yeah. Walks in. Without even opening the textbook, he can start talking about rhetoric and everybody's like. Wow. Without last night partying.

I saw you. Yeah. He only assigns readings that have to do with like disestablishment. Yeah. Like tearing down the establishment. Yeah. Sticking it to the man.

That's like cool English teacher. But at the end of the day, his heart was still empty. Just empty. Empty.

Empty. And I mean, I mean, of course, this is the guy who said, you know, God, you have made us for yourself and our hearts are empty until, or restless until they find their rest in you. That's right.

This is the guy who wrote that. I mean, does take on a whole deeper meaning when you realized his past and where he came from. Yeah.

Absolutely. He's just the guy that wrote pretty words. It's like, oh yeah, I can see what you're saying. But like, but again, this is a gift that you have is making these people into real humans that we relate to and who go through the things that we go through. So now I see like, this is who this person was and what he struggled with. I've struggled with things like that and now that truth hits harder.

Oh, absolutely. And so he got converted. He came back to Milan. He kind of went away for a while, came back. He was baptized by Ambrose and later through different circumstances, whatever, whatever, he's ordained priest at Hippo, which is in North Africa. And he even wrote to Jerome requesting translations of Bible commentaries, Jerome's church father.

He knew him. And then he became the Bishop of Hippo in 396. Wow. So born when? 354. 354. 396. So how many years is that?

Let's do a little bit of math. 64, 74, 84, 94. 46. 42 years of age. At 42 years of age, he became the Bishop of Hippo. And then in AD 400, that would be what, 54 to 400 would be 46 years?

At the age of 46, he wrote the Confessions. Wow. And when I surrendered the call to ministry, I mean, my life changed sort of. I was already saved. But when I surrendered the call to ministry, it's like I went from looking here, looking there. I'm going to maybe go into aeronautic engineering. Maybe I'll be a heart surgeon. Maybe I'll do this.

Maybe I'll do that. To all of a sudden it's like, oh, I want to take Bible classes now. And so my whole focus changed. And I was in preaching classes. The few electives that were left for me that I was going to use in broadcast journalism, but everything was taken up. I mean, I had taken every class they could offer. But still had a few electives left.

So I was like, I would have wasted them. Like take tennis or something. You know? I'm like, oh, no, I'm taking preaching. And I'm taking pastoral ministry. And I'm taking this and that. So in those classes, I heard about the Confessions.

That's pretty good. One of my professors talked about Augustine's Confessions. Well, even in his example and in your example, even today, all these years later, you're still in ministry. And it's one of those things that I think it's the opposite of what you see now, which is people who are really young giving their life over to the ministry because they think that's going to be an easy life, an easy vocation.

And then they end up maybe five, 10 years down the road shying away from it. But you going in and even with Augustine going in and saying, I see my life going in this other pass, but there's this legitimate call to the ministry. Oh, yeah. And that sticks. It did.

And for me, that was my first book that I read after I surrendered my call to ministry was Confessions. Wow. Wow. And at first it was like, oh, this is a lot. But then when I got into it and I checked the books out of the library, I should have bought a book, but I was like, didn't even know if this book could be bought. I was like, maybe these are all old books.

I have to check them out. And it really helped me. For someone who's never read Confessions, do you have just a brief synopsis of what that is?

Yeah. It's a story of his life and some of his prayer to God. Let me see if I can find a couple of references by him because it's just really worth hearing some of his points there. I remember having to read it in school. Not the entire thing, but we had to read excerpts from it. But I know that's one of those works that everybody knows exists, but not everyone.

Few people know exactly what it is. Yeah. Confessions of Augustine is one of those staples of Christian reading that I feel like few people actually end up reading at some point in their life.

Yeah. So his life has touched so many people. I mean, there were so many controversies that happened. He stood for the faith.

The Donatist controversy, the Pelagian controversy. But Confessions, I found some from this website. He wrote between AD 397 to 401 AD. He wrote the Confessions. And his most famous one, which I just read a second ago, is found in the Confessions. He said this, and man wants to praise you.

Man who is only a small portion of what you have created, and he goes about carrying with him his own mortality. The evidence of his own sin and evidence that you resist the proud, yet still man. This small portion of creation wants to praise you. You stimulate him to take pleasure in praising you because you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.

Wow. That's beautiful. I think one of the things that struck me about that book was just the dichotomy between his past self, his journey from the young, troubled man that he was, and then this position of authority where he's the bishop. And you just see this winding path that God has taken him on, and then that clear midpoint of that calling. It's a beautiful thing, and I think that doesn't get told a lot in modern stories today. We see that a lot in the Bible, too. You have these characters who are central to the story. You have Abraham, you have Isaac, you have Jacob, you have these heroes of our faith, but who are deeply flawed individuals, and the writers of the Bible don't hide their past. They don't sweep that under the rug.

Neither do they celebrate it, but they count it as part of the story. And it's that picture of how God takes things, even bad things, even bad decisions that we make, and redeems it. And I think there's another thing with someone like Augustine, too, is that he's so famous and so well-known that even though he's not part of the canon of Scripture, he's still a character in God's story, and if we saw ourselves like that in ministry, if we saw ourselves like that, like, I'm nothing like Moses, I'm nothing like Augustine, but why don't we see ourselves as a character that God is using to act out this drama of Scripture?

Absolutely. You talk about Scripture, but Scripture was also very important to Augustine, especially in his confessions. Listen to what he said about this. In Scripture, he says, Seek the Lord and your soul shall live, so that the earth may bring forth the living soul. Be not conformed to this world, restrain yourself from it. The soul's life is in avoiding those things which are death to seek. So who is this God, and how do I find him? His answer comes back, do I call upon God to know him, or must I know him to call upon him?

That's a good point. Sounds like a freewill debate going on, bubbling under the surface there. And then he says another, I'm just kind of randomly quoting here from, not randomly, there's a point here, O highest and best, most powerful, most all-powerful, most merciful, most just, most deeply hidden, and most nearly present, most beautiful and most strong, constant yet incomprehensible, changeless yet changing all things, never new, never old, making all things new, bringing the proud to Dilke, and they know it, always acting and always at rest, still gathering yet never wanting, upholding, filling and protecting, creating, nourishing and bringing to perfection, seeking although in need of nothing. That's how powerful God's word is.

This is how he talks about God in his confessions. You can always tell when someone just truly loves the word of God. You can tell when there's a deep-rooted appreciation and love for scripture. That comes through in your preaching, Dr. Shaw, in the way that you talk about the Bible. Even when you talk about very technical things like textual criticism, issues, variants and different readings, even the way that you talk about those technical issues, you can tell that there's a genuine love for God's word and a desire to see his word uplifted and upheld. It baffles my mind when there are scholars like Bart Ehrman or like David Parker who devote their entire lives to the Bible when they don't believe it. They don't love the scripture, and yet their entire life is devoted to, what, to disproving it? It doesn't make sense.

David Parker, I don't know where he stands on that. Definitely Bart Ehrman claims to be an agnostic, maybe even an atheist. I don't even want to use the word spite, but how far can trying to disprove this text that people love and life from, how far can that really take you in life?

I agree. I hope I never get to that place, and I don't think I will because I have the Holy Spirit. I won't never get there because that's a very sad, meaningless existence, that you're going to do all this to do what?

To benefit humanity? It doesn't even care about you, and after a few decades, your work will be superseded by somebody else. Exactly, because the Bible has been around since the beginning of time, since God spoke the world into creation.

It's never going to go away, so it's almost like you're wasting your life, dedicating your life to this fruitless endeavor. We know the Bible will outlast all of us. Of course, of course. Now, Augustine was one of the most brilliant minds of his time, and even to this day, I mean, you just read that sentence. Don't think of these guys as living in caves or something. We have a very poor understanding of how people lived back then. They lived in nice chateaus, and think about a Roman villa.

He's living in it. He's a bishop of Hippo, North Africa. They were smart people. They were probably much more of a deep thinker than we are, and yet, they had a faith in the living God. I won't agree with everything Augustine stood for, okay?

I won't. I'll tell you that, but boy, do I respect and admire him and count him as one of my heroes of the faith. If you had to, I guess, summarize or give a takeaway for our listeners or our viewers today, what are some things that we can glean from Augustine's life? One I would say is just his way of loving God. He loved God. Just that statement of him describing how near, how far, how close, all this. He truly loved God, and he had a very living faith. Also, he was very hardworking. This man wrote so much. That's when I look at some of my writings and go, my goodness, how did this guy do this?

What was he eating, and how can I get some? Just know when somebody says this and that and the other about our faith and how we're not smart, we're not thinkers, they have no idea what they're talking about. They have their head in the sand. We have some of the most brilliant minds in history who had a living faith in Jesus Christ God's son. God used him all with that troubled past and everything. He didn't hold it against him.

It didn't disqualify him from being one of the great, like you said, heroes of the faith. Absolutely. Amen. So if God can use him, how much more can he use us as well?

That's right. If you guys enjoyed today's episode, maybe you learned something about Augustine and how to apply the truth from his life to your life and your faith, write in and let us know. 2-5-2-5-8-2-5-0-2-8. I want you guys to check us out on and click that donate button to become part of our Cleaview Today Show family. Stand with us shoulder to shoulder as we impact the nations with the gospel. John, what's coming up on tomorrow's episode?

Well, you know, we are still in November. We're going to be talking about that heart of gratitude that's going to be keeping us going all the way through Thanksgiving. Love it. Attitude to gratitude. We love you guys. We'll see you on Cleaview Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-13 10:16:31 / 2023-11-13 10:29:42 / 13

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