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Get ready. It's one of America's most important, influential and respected voices on cultural and political issues. An apologist, Christian political advocate and author, here is the founder and chairman of the Citizens for America Foundation, Dr. Chris Hughes.
I'm Chris Hughes. Welcome to The Christian Perspective where we look in God's Word in order to develop a Christian worldview in modern culture. As many of you know, the Citizens for America Foundation is moving our national headquarters to Memphis, Tennessee in January. And I'm excited because we're going to be opening a center for biblical worldview on the campus of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. I want to tell you, it's one of the best seminaries in the country and they have a college as well. You're going to want to learn more about the College of Mid-America and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Anyway, on a recent visit, as I was preparing for our move, I was eating in the cafeteria and had the privilege of meeting Dr. Mikey Mewborn.
Dr. Mikey Mewborn serves as the associate dean of the College of Mid-America, as well as the vice president of student life. And he is the chair of the theology department. Now, what that means is he is a very, very smart man. But what I love about him is, I mean, this is a compliment, so hopefully he won't be offended, is he doesn't come across as one of those deep theologians who can't speak English or communicate with people. He is a great guy, just sweet. He loves the Lord. He loves people.
And he was such a pleasure to get to know over that lunch today. That day I got to visit with Dr. Mewborn and I could tell that he has a real passion for leading others to Jesus. And he has a heart for the word of God, unlike many people I've ever met.
He's developed a new Bible reading challenge, and I've invited him here today to tell us about his new project, because, you know, our goal here is to encourage Christians to develop a biblical worldview and then to take that biblical worldview out into the world, but not just in the world, but into the arena of public policy and politics. And how in the world can we develop a biblical worldview if we don't read the word of God? You can't have a biblical worldview if you don't know what the Bible says. And it might be scary to some of you to think about reading the Bible, but it's not that scary. It's not that hard and difficult to understand. In fact, when I think when the King James, he might correct me here, but I think when the King James was written, it was written on basically a sixth grade level.
So you can understand it. The Holy Spirit will open your eyes if you just get in God's word and read it. But today, Dr. Mewborn has come to tell us about a program he's developed to encourage you to read the Bible.
Dr. Mewborn, welcome to The Christian Perspective. Oh, it's so good to be here with you today, Chris. Really appreciate the opportunity. Well, I'm excited to have you here, and I'm jealous. You're in Memphis today where it's probably a lot warmer.
I live up in the mountains of North Carolina, and it's been cold these last few mornings getting up. And I'm looking forward to being on your campus next year at MidAmerican, just excited about what God is doing there. And I really want to talk about your program. But before we do that, can you just kind of give a commercial? Maybe many of our listeners may not have heard of the College of MidAmerica or MidAmerica Baptist Theological Seminary. Can you kind of give the five-minute little advertisement and tell them a little bit about it?
Absolutely. I serve as the vice president of student life here at MidAmerica Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as the college at MidAmerica. And MidAmerica is located in a perfect place right in the middle of the country that we train pastors, we train leaders, we train people, whether it's in the college level or the master's level or the seminary level, we train them in all types of ways. So we train them in counseling, we train them to prepare for Christian ministry, we train them for leadership and for business and things like this. But we do that because we know that whether a person is bivocational, working a secular job and maybe serving at their church, or if they're called to the ministry, to the vocational ministry, we want to make sure that they are prepared with a heart for Bible, evangelism and missions. And for us, those are the three things that we always want to let people know about is that our school truly believes in the inerrancy and the sufficiency of the Word of God.
So we are all about the Bible. We're all about evangelism because we have requirements on our students to share their faith. So each week our students go out and share their faith with people in the community. And whether they are here locally in Memphis or whether they live in New York City, our students are taking the gospel to the streets.
And so we love that. And then the third part of it is missions. We're such a huge proponent of getting the gospel into any community.
And so missions is a huge thing for us. So we train up leaders to not only be great missionaries in their communities, but also to take the missional heart or maybe the evangelistic heart that they already have and take it into wherever God calls them. And so in order to do that, you have to have solid Bible training. And so everything that we do here with MidAmerica is to train people for solid Bible training and have an orthodoxy that is at the highest level.
There's a couple of words that we talk about at MidAmerica that are very meaningful to me. The first thing is orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is the idea of having the right thinking or knowing the right things and believing the right things. And that's orthodoxy.
But the other side of that is orthopraxy. What we do is we're doing the right things. We're living out the right type of life.
And so if our orthodoxy is right and our orthopraxy is right, we're going to be right with the Lord wherever we are. And that's our heart as an institution, as a college, in a seminary. We want people to be trained. We want people to excel in whatever they do. And we want to kind of launch them into ministry being the sharpest knife that they can actually be. You know, the Bible is it's called a double-edged sword for a reason.
It cuts to the deepest part. Well, we believe also that we need to sharpen our students so that when they go out, they are piercing and they can kind of hit the ground running wherever they land and they can take the gospel there. And so MidAmerica is one of those schools. I'm a two-time graduate, so I'm a huge fan of MidAmerica. But it's one of those schools that I came here. I moved all the way here from Tampa, Florida. And I moved up to Memphis just for the fact because of the Bible, evangelism, and missions component of it.
And so I wanted to be here because I saw the value of not just knowing what the Word of God has to say, but applying it to my life. And so I'm a huge fan of MidAmerica, but also at the same time, I'm excited to train other people with that same mindset. And so I love MidAmerica. I encourage anyone to check us out. You can do that at mabts.edu. And of course, you can check us out at thecollegeofmidamerica.com. And so there's all kinds of ways to learn more about us, but please give us a call. Check us out, however that is. We'd love to talk to you more about the college and the seminary. Well, thank you. Thank you for sharing that, because, you know, before a couple of years ago, I didn't really know anything about MidAmerica. And a little over a year ago, I had the opportunity to visit the campus for the first time. And what really impressed me in a day and age where so many seminaries are taking in critical race theory and not teaching the sufficiency of scripture and that kind of thing.
That is not the case at Mid America. CRT has not entered and will never enter, I would dare say, the halls of that great institution. You teach the sufficiency of scripture and the inerrancy of the Bible. I love what you said, solid Bible training.
And it's because of that that Citizens for America wants to partner with Mid America to open this biblical worldview center in January. So I can't wait for that. But today we want to talk about a program that you have developed called It Is Finished, the It Is Finished 2022 Challenge. Tell us what that challenge is. All right, I'm really excited.
So if my voice gets a little high pitched in this, just go with it. But this is a Bible reading challenge that lasts for three months. So it's a three month Bible reading challenge that begins in January, January 1, actually, 2022.
And it'll go through March 31 of 2022. And so you can read the Bible, or you can listen to the Bible all the way through in those months, we're going to give you a reading plan for it. It's got everything that you need to be able to accomplish this challenge. And so we're excited to not just take this to our students, or churches in the local area of Memphis, but we're excited that this challenge is actually reaching out into other countries. We have people in Indonesia, Nepal, Romania, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, people are calling us and reaching out to us from everywhere to find out more about this challenge. So check it out. It Is Finished 2022.com.
It is, it's an outstanding program. How did you come up with this? It's kind of a long story.
I'll try to make it as brief as I can. But it's one of those stories for me that came out of a dark time or a hard time for me. Six years ago, I was pastoring Emmanuel Baptist Church, which is a church in Carterville, Tennessee, which is just east of Memphis. And while I was pastoring the church, I developed pneumonia. And it was a terrible case of pneumonia.
I had it for about three to four months. And I could, I could barely walk to the mailbox to get the mail. That's how hard it was on me.
I just all I could do was lie on the couch all day or lie in the bed. It was a very, very dark time. And while I was doing that, while I was just kind of just bedridden, I just picked up my Bible. And I said, You know what, I'm a little nervous about my life right now.
I'm a little nervous about my physical life. And that made me think about my spiritual life. And I just got into the Word of God. And I began reading it starting in Genesis, you know, and, and I just started kind of just jumping all around. But I noticed that there's this major theme throughout the Bible, of course, that we know as theologians, and Bible students is that Jesus Christ is Lord, and He is the Savior of the world.
And of course, this theme, I could just see it every page everywhere I was looking. And as I read the Bible, which I probably read the Bible about two times through in those three to four months, I realized the church needs to be in the Word of God, because they need to hear from the primary source. We hear from a lot of secondary sources these days. There's a lot of books on the shelf. And we can go and read any books any day of the week, it seems like. But the Word of God is a supernatural book. It is a special, God inspired, God breathed book that we need to get in us. And so I was convicted by that. And so I led our church through a Bible reading challenge the next year. And so we actually did a two month Bible reading challenge, which was pretty extreme at the time. And a lot of our folks just shied away from it, or they balked at the idea of it at first.
But then, on January 1, they started. And an overwhelming majority of our folks at our church started reading through the Bible with me. And so we went through it, and I preached messages that went along with what we were reading. And we saw a tremendous revival take place. We saw relationships restored. We saw evangelism happening like I haven't seen before at our church. We saw marriages strengthened. We saw parenting strengthened. We actually saw Sunday School classes really doing Sunday School in a special kind of way. All that was happening.
And so God just blessed our church. What was so neat about it for me is that even though some people didn't finish reading in two months, each month after that, somebody would come up to me, or a few people would come up and say, I know it took me two months, or it took me three months, but I finished reading the Bible. I know it took me four months, but I finished. Five months.
Probably the greatest experience for me was in the month of September. So nine months, nine months into that year, an older gentleman came up to me and he said, Hey, Pastor, I know that you gave us a challenge at the beginning of this year. Well, I know... This show is brought to you by Generous Joes, the coffee company with the Christian perspective. This is the answer that Christians and conservatives have been looking for. A coffee company that gives back to causes you care about.
Order your coffee today at shopgenerousjoes.org and even subscribe to a subscription coffee plan and never forget the coffee you love or the causes you care about. No, I'm in month nine, but I just finished reading all the way through the Bible and it just changed my life. And he was crying in front of me and grabbed me and hugged me. He says, I'm so proud to have you as my pastor. Well, that was one of the highlights of that year for me because this man said, I've never read a book in my life, but I read the Bible this year. And so it's things like that. I saw truly lives change.
And so that kind of got me thinking about how can we take this to the world? Well, life happened as you can expect. And we were blessed.
We had a little baby boy and we built a house. And so a lot of things were going on, but this year kind of fast forwarding this year, I'm at the Southern Baptist convention with so many of my closest friends, right? 16,000 of us probably there or something like that was really funny, but we were all there and we were, um, we were, we were hearing a lot from the stage and I heard a lot of talk going on in the audience about the inerrancy of scripture and the infallibility of scripture and the sufficiency of scripture. And I was so convicted because as I sat there and hearing everybody debate these topics and talk about these things, I just thought about infallibility and inerrancy and sufficiency. They're all great things, but they don't mean anything.
If you don't actually read the Bible, it's kind of like I kid around about this. I love, um, Toyota vehicles. I love them. And I actually have a Toyota truck.
I love them. Um, and so one of the things about, I believe in the reliability of a Toyota truck or really do well if I don't have one, the idea of its reliability for me doesn't really make any sense. And I kind of think the same way about sufficiency of the scripture.
It doesn't matter how sufficient I think it really is. If it's not in me, it can't work in my life. And so I kind of came to that realization at the same time while I was at the Southern Baptist convention, I get a text from my mom who said, Hey, you need to call your dad. He is really reading the Bible. And so I called my dad and he said, man, I heard you preach your sermon recently. And it really compelled me to study the scripture.
So I just started reading and we talked for a few weeks and within six weeks, my dad had completed reading the entire Bible. And when that happened, I knew that God was impressing on my heart. I needed to do something about this. And so that led me to push forward with a, with a website and with launching this challenge and bringing this to our students here at Mid America, and also bringing it to my church and all different people that I was involved with. And so that's what I've been doing. And so that's how the, it is finished.
2022 challenge started. It started with just a, with a, a time of sickness and a time of hurt, which led to that same kind of hurt for our nation and for our convention and for, uh, for the world. Are we getting the gospel? Are we getting the word of God into people? Because we know one thing's for sure, the Bible works. And so if we can get it in us, we know, we know it's going to bring blessings.
Um, like we just can't imagine. So that's kind of how it started. That's a neat story. And, and you're right because most Christians are people that profess to be Christians never read their Bible or hardly ever. And, um, George Barna has a survey where he said less than 10% of pastors preach the whole word of God. So, and I think if I think a faithful Christian to someone who attends church, according to a survey once every three weeks.
So if you're only, let's just say you go every week, you know, if you're only going to church on Sunday, you hear a 30 to 45 minute sermon, and you're just getting like a happy meal instead of some deep meat on Sunday morning. And then you never read your Bible yourself. How do you know what God's word says? And I tell people, you know, they're like, God doesn't hear me, doesn't listen to me. Well, you know, you have to get, if you want to hear what God's saying to you, you've got to get into God's word and read his word, and he will speak to you in a mighty way.
Um, and I love it. And he didn't know about this challenge that you have. My son, a 17 year old son earlier this year, um, told me, dad, I'm going to, I'm going to start reading more out of my Bible. I think, you know, he might've been reading, I call it a, and I'm not picking on him here.
I'm not talking about him, but I've been guilty of this in my life where I'm sure you've never done it. Cause you're a pastor and seminary professor, but I call it Bible roulette. You know, I got to read something today. So let me just grab real quick and open my Bible, kind of like swirling, you know, the, the revolving of, of a revolver of a good, let me just open my Bible anywhere. We're read a couple of verses and go.
And that's not really what God intended us to do because those verses could be out of context, or you don't know the story behind them or whatever's going on. So my son, uh, actually read the whole Bible in less than three months and it was less than an hour a day. People don't realize in about 70 hours, I think is, and you probably know better than me, uh, thinking around 70 hours, you can read the entire Bible.
So it can be done. You know, we read other things. We read newspapers.
We, most of us spend, uh, more time than that on Facebook every day. So just if we dedicated some of that time to reading God's word, and I can tell you my son's life and not, and he wasn't a bad kid before, but I have seen such a maturity in him in the past year. And so he did that. And now he's going back and things that he read and he was interested in.
He's doing a deeper dive and a deeper study into some of those topics. And he's told me numerous times, you know, I had no idea the Bible said that, or had no idea that God said this. And, and he doesn't go to a Christian college. He's an engineering student in a school in Florida, and it's given him the opportunity to witness to his friends and have deep discussions about what the Bible says. And if he had not read it, he wouldn't know those things.
So I'm proud of you for coming up with this. Amen. That's a wonderful testimony. And I totally agree with what you're saying about context and what your son is saying, that when you read the Bible in a short time like this, what it does is it puts everything in context for you. It's just, it's this idea of knowing where Mel, Melchizedek fits, or it's a rubable or, or where even just the Gospels, what they're really saying and how the resurrection played out.
All that stuff matters within context. I think we live in a, in a world today that is built on sound bites and talking points and hashtags. And I think anyone can take our sound bites and make them their own, or they can change them to mean something that we might not intend them to mean. And what happens when you read the Bible as a whole, as a true redemptive story that God has revealed to us, what it does is it puts things in perspective and in context so that we know what God meant when he was saying a specific thing. So I love the idea of getting all that together, reading it as a true narrative and taking in the true context that God has for us.
So that's, man, that's wonderful to hear that. So as we're entering the year 2022 and people are thinking about resolutions or goals that they have for the next year, if someone would like to read their Bible in three months, and it is good to have a guide to do this, how do they sign up and what exactly is, I know you have a website, what's available to them? Is it, is it just a reading plan or what all is available to them on the website and how do they do it?
Yeah, that's a great question. So the best way to sign up is to go onto our website, which is, it is finished, 2022.com. On the website, you're going to see some testimonials of people that have already done this. They're also going to read about the importance of a study like this. And then there's ways to connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube and things like that.
And so there's going to be a community of folks that are going to be working together doing this at the same time. And I think that's good for accountability as well, but the signup is so simple. Once you go onto the website, it'll have some tabs that says, accept the challenge. And then once you click on that, it'll take you to the signup sheet.
You fill that in. And as soon as you've done that, it'll send you an email from me that'll say, welcome to, you know, to the challenge. Thank you for taking the challenge, all that. And then it'll give you an opportunity for you to, um, to, to receive, or it'll give you the, uh, the reading for each day. So January 1st, we'll have a certain amount of reading in January 2nd, I'll have a certain amount of reading. And so it'll have those, there's a couple of grace days at the end of February.
And so you get a little bit of time, maybe it's a catch up day. Um, but whatever it might be, uh, you can definitely, um, uh, you can definitely find out more about it there on the website. So that's really important. You mentioned when you were a pastor and you may still be, but when you were pastoring your church and y'all were doing this, that you preach sermons with it, have you, and you may be doing this already. Have you thought about providing like a, uh, a sermon guide, if you will, to pastors there, if their church takes this challenge that maybe the pastors could do like you did and preach certain messages to go along with the reading at that time.
Yeah. So I've got kind of a plan of ways to do that. And a lot of pastors are just kind of reaching out to me about that and saying, Hey, I'm thinking about doing this and thinking about doing that. And so what I do is I just, I just send them whatever they need or whatever I've done the past.
A lot of times guys that are doing this, they may have a certain style and if they have a certain style, they might say, well, I just want to preach this chapter of the book of Joshua, or I just want to preach this chapter over this focus on Isaiah in Isaiah. And when they do that, um, as they set it up, they will, um, they might kind of come up with their own plan, but yeah, I am more than happy to give whatever I have. And so a lot of pastors have reached out to me and so they're taking it to their churches and it's been kind of neat to see, um, to see them embrace it and then create their own plans as well, because they may want to do something for every service. So if they have a Sunday morning, um, service, and then Sunday night service, maybe a Wednesday night service, they, they try to dial in for each of those, a different way of sharing what they're studying.
So that's kind of a neat way to do it. Can they, if a pastor wants to do, if they're listening and they want to reach you, can they reach you through that website? Um, they can through, uh, they can definitely reach me and I don't mind giving them my, my actual email address, which is mikeymewborn at gmail.com. That's the way I usually encourage people to reach me. So, uh, I don't mind giving that out to them and they can reach out to me in that way. Um, but that is something that we will, we're going to be posting on the website very soon, ways to get in touch with us because it's very, very important as things go on that they can, they can reach out.
And so absolutely. And also we're going to be very involved through, uh, social media. So if somebody wants to send something into us through social media like Facebook, they're more than welcome to do that and we'll be able to connect with them that way. And is there a merchandise for selling the website or maybe promotional materials that people can use in the church to help promote it?
Yes, exactly. We do have some promotional stuff. And so we have some t-shirts, we have some, uh, some journal things and they can go on online and get some of that merch if you want. Uh, but also what we're going to do is a challenge. We're calling a, be it as finished challenge where people will hold up their shirt and they're going to invite people to be a part of the challenge with them. So it'd be kind of like, if you remember the ice bucket challenge or something like that, um, it'll be like that, but they'll have their t-shirt and say, Hey, I've accepted the challenge to read through the Bible in three months. It's called it is finished 2022 challenge. Come and join me. I'm going to do this.
I challenge you that type of thing. So we're going to be doing that this coming week and also into next week. So that would be something that we do. Um, and then, uh, also we're going to start posting and we're going to start, um, uploading this to our website, a church section, whereas somebody wants some items to be able to push to their church, whether it's logo things or whether it's posters or anything like that, it'll be available for them on our website as well.
So that's something that's coming as well. So, uh, it's kind of neat. We're in this process of developing all of this, but at the same time, people are just grabbing ahold of it and saying, I want to do it. So we're, we're trying to work with people as, uh, the best that we can, because there's a great need for it.
This is exciting. So we've only got about a minute left. If people participate about how long will they need to set aside each day to read their Bible?
What I tell people is it's about, it's about 30 to 45 minutes a day. And I know it seems like there's a little bit difference in there, but the new Testament is going to go a lot faster, but the old Testament, you kind of work through a little bit. Um, so I encourage people, uh, they want to read it for themselves, or if they want to listen to it, you can always turn the speed up if you're listening to it. And, uh, you can do that on any Bible app. I use the ESO I use the ESV Bible app for a lot of my stuff. And so I just kind of crank up the speed a little bit and listen to it.
And it's always, um, it's always easy to do while you're working out or doing your chores or things like that. That's a great idea to listen to. Uh, so Dr. Meuborn, can you tell them the website one more time? Yeah, it's, it is finished 2022.com. So come and check us out, sign up and accept the challenge.
So it is finished 2022.com, or you can email him at MikeyMeuborn at gmail.com. Dr. Meuborn, thank you so much for allowing God to use you in this way. I just think you're going to be blessed mightily. And thank you so much for being on the program today.
Awesome. Thank you so much, Chris, for having me. Folks, thank you for joining me today. I'm Chris Hughes, and this is The Christian Perspective. Please subscribe and like our podcast and share it with your friends on social media. Now let's go change the culture for Jesus.
Thank you for listening. The Christian Perspective with Chris Hughes. Learn more about impacting the culture for Jesus. Visit christianperspective.us. This show is brought to you by generous Joes, the coffee company with the Christian perspective. This is the answer that Christians and conservatives have been looking for. A coffee company that gives back to causes you care about. Order your coffee today at shopgenerousjoes.org and even subscribe to a subscription coffee plan and never forget the coffee you love or the causes you care about.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-03 19:47:58 / 2023-06-03 20:00:36 / 13