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Gospel Conversations

Gospel Conversations

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Gospel Conversations takes a creative approach to attaining a deeper understanding of the gospel and what it means to us today. Our speakers are not ministers, but range from a diverse community of Christian thinkers who lead their various fields of knowledge in history, design thinking, theology, philosophy, and organisational leadership—among others. Each month we host a live event in Sydney, then publish it as a podcast.
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In our last talk Andrew took us deeper into various metaphors for atonement – and asked which best fits scripture and gospel. In this talk, Tony supplements that deep dive by zooming back out and asking, ‘what is the real question, for which the cross and salvation is the answer?’ He concludes that Penal Substitution is the answer to the wrong ques…
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In this episode of our Cross and Creation series, Andrew continues his summarising of the metaphors for the atonement. He argues that every metaphor has its limits and cannot be pushed universally. But he argues that the adoption/sonship model of the atonement offers the best fit for the various metaphors, and that the alternative wrath of God/judi…
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In this talk Tony amplifies the intriguing phrase ‘Circle of Glory’ which David Bentley Hart mentioned in his final talk in our recent GC series. The phrase was coined by Gregory of Nyssa and Tony explores the extraordinary vision of the Trinity bound up in the term – and how it reveals our participation in the ‘circle of glory’. Tony does this by …
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Session 5 - What is humanity’s destiny and purpose? Is heaven more like a marriage or a motel visit? In this final talk, David advocates the age-old vision of the Patristics that ‘God became human in order that humanity may become God’. This breathtaking vision is at once completely orthodox, but almost sounds blasphemous. Together Tony and David e…
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Session 4 - Is the Incarnation a master plan or a rescue plan? David builds on his epic book ‘YOU ARE GODS’ in this session, and widens our view of the incarnation from being a one-off rescue plan, to the master plan for all humanity. Clearly this is an intriguing thought, but it takes some deep conceptual shifts to absorb and that is what Tony and…
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Session 3 - Has the ‘supernatural/natural’ dualism messed up our view of creation? David explains how both religious and secular thinking share a common dualism that distorts our view of reality. For the religious mind, the supernatural God becomes totally separate from the world of nature which it sees as material and fallen. So David and Tony tur…
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Session 2 - Has ‘original sin’ distorted the Christian view of humanity? Augustine’s doctrine of original sin eventually became ‘total depravity’ and it assumes that humans are intrinsically bad and cannot desire the good. It has become the pervasive anthropology of much of Christianity – but is it right? David and Tony explore the alternative view…
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Session 1 - Is the mind a machine? Nothing is more topical than the spectre of ‘artificial intelligence’ and the grim picture of humanity it suggests. David uses our experience of thought and language to demolish the fallacies behind this mechanistic picture of thinking. But he does not end there. He lifts our vision of language from a personal exp…
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In this latest edition in the Cross and Creation series, Tony and Andrew explore some of the metaphors for what happened at Calvary. None of them really fit the Penal Substitution metaphor. They range over several metaphors like reconciliation, and redemption, but focus in on adoption and dominion; Calvary was the great battle for dominion of the c…
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In this panel discussion, two Christian indigenous leaders explain some of their spiritual heritage and how they have found deep resonances with the creation gospel in them. David Hart joins in, and explains that, far from being heretical, their views are close to the original views on creation developed by the church Fathers – and in particular th…
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David Bentley Hart on Suffering This is the first talk from David Bentley Hart during his visit to Australia. He addresses the vexed topic of suffering based on his book ‘The Doors of the Sea’. This talk is followed by a long series of questions which take the topic – and David’s views – deeper and more personal.…
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Tony opens up the wild, imagery laden world of Ezekiel 1 in this talk. He views it through the lens of literature and imagery in particular. And he explains how it is among the most innovative and paradigm shifting chapters in the history of the Old Testament – as Ezekiel discovers the ‘ubiquitous God’ who operates far beyond the tidy religious con…
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The Grand Inquisitor (2) on Miracles as a counterfeit for faith Tony gives us a second talk on the Grand Inquisitor and his assault on God and the re-vitalised Christ. In this talk Tony explains why the Inquisitor sees the human desire for miracles as false religion – and something that denies God what he wants. God wants his presence on earth not …
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In this session they Tony and Andrew look at some of the alternative theories of atonement over the history of the church – and how they have led to the dominance of the ‘penal substitutionary atonement’ theory of today. As always, our spirit is one of inquiry and discovery not dogma – so Andrew and Tony will continue to examine different perspecti…
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Tony Golsby-Smith introduces the upcoming Gospel Conversations conference to be held in Sydney on the 25/26th August. He expresses the excitement that we all hold in anticipation of his visit. He also explains that Gospel Conversations is not just inviting a big name but rather a speaker who can help us to put the Lord Jesus Christ on a much higher…
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Tony continues looking at Ezekiel 12 - 14, this time through the lens of Dostoievsky’s ‘Grand Inquisitor’. Tony takes us into Dostoievsky’s famous imaginary confrontation where the Inquisitor berates Jesus for ‘overestimating’ humanity and wanting too much from them - love rather than servility. He draws a deep comparison between this and the idola…
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Tony looks to the passage Ezekiel 12 - 14 to address the subject of ‘Idolatry in the OT and how modern Christians get it wrong’. “Getting rid of idols in our hearts” is a common refrain in lots of preaching. But is it true to scripture - both in the NT and the OT? Tony dives into the worldview behind idolatry and the real challenge it presented to …
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Introduction; Breakfast with Jesus kicks off again after a short break with a series of meditations on Ezekiel. Tony begins with a big picture introduction in which he compares Jeremiah and Ezekiel, their overlapping lives, and the way Ezekiel pioneers apocalyptic thinking and the hope of resurrection.…
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This is the second conversation with Andrew Baartz in our series on the increasingly controversial doctrine of ‘penal substitution’. The title of our series is ‘The Cross and Creation; can atonement combine both?’ This week Tony and Andrew explore the question - ‘What are the challenges in creation for which the cross was the solution?’…
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In this latest BwJ talk of Jeremiah Tony investigates ‘allegory’ as a way to read the OT in particular. Is it an outdated, and fanciful method – or were the Patristics really onto something in their attraction to allegory as a legitimate way to read the OT stories and prophets?Oleh Gospel Conversations
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This is the first conversation with Andrew Baartz in our series on the increasingly controversial doctrine of ‘penal subsititution’. The title of our series is ‘The Cross and Creation; can atonement combine both?’ True to our approach at GC, we want to explore the topic rather than wading into the blow by blow debate. Our guest is Andrew Baartz. An…
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Jeremiah 17:9 is often taken as a proof text for ‘original sin’ and “total depravity”. But is that a correct reading and is the human heart indeed ‘desperately wicked’? In this talk Tony explores this question and along the way uses the text – and its typical mishandling – as a starting point to explore smarter and more authentic ways to read Jerem…
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Tony takes an extensive look at the way Jeremiah uses the image of the ‘Valley of Hinnom’ (or Gehenna) in his prophecies about Jerusalem and its impending doom. He then looks at how the gospels, Matthew in particular, deliberately position Jesus as the modern ‘Jeremiah’ or ‘prophet’. This positioning shines a new light on what Jesus may have meant …
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Tony Golsby-Smith interviews, Matt Clarke, on the subject of slavery in the 21st century – and how the normal Christian model of retribution and justice can get in the way of innovative solutions. Matt has worked in this field for years and became frustrated at the short sighted interventions of many Not-for-profits in this space. He has just writt…
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This is Tony’s follow up talk on Jeremiah 32 – the story of Jeremiah buying a field. In this talk he dives into the analogy and explores just what insight it offers us as to how to live in the present through the lens of hope. He argues that the lens of ‘self denial’ is not what the analogy really is teaching us about the way our hope for the futur…
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Welcome to 2023 and our first Breakfast with Jesus talk for the year. in this talk Tony discusses the famous story of Jeremiah buying a field in the face of Jerusalem’s doom – a very stupid thing to do – and how this shines a light on how we might act in our lives according to the logic of hope. I position this talk inside a hot topic of modern Chr…
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Tony builds on his recent talk on the new covenant in Jeremiah by exploring how the Epistle of Hebrews uses this new covenant promise in the NT. Hebrews 8 quotes the Jeremiah passage in full – the longest OT quotation in the NT. What is interesting is how the writer uses the Jeremiah passage and takes it further by explaining how the contract based…
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Leisa finishes the year off for GC with a profound summary of her doctorate on ‘hope’. It is full of gems and very relevant for an anxious and despairing world. Her doctorate was targeted at the secular world of clinical psychology, but in this talk we get a ‘Christian’ version of this important work where Leisa can be explicit about the theologica…
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This is the second of three short talks from Gospel Conversations supporters as a response to Esther Meek's Covenant Epistemology. Mark Ridgeway explores the thought of Esther Meek in the context of Discipleship. He follows the contours of Covenant Epistemology, explores the practice of inviting the real and concludes with some practical recommenda…
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This is the first of three short talks from Gospel Conversations supporters as a response to Esther Meek's Covenant Epistemology. In this talk Ron Winestock addresses the big questions of the universe and how Covenant Epistemology can help us see clearly through the two levels of knowing. Ron argues that since Isaac Newton we have emphasised the fo…
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In this talk Tony explores the extraordinary declaration of the ‘new covenant’ in Jeremiah 31 and asks “What is ‘new’ about this new covenant?” He argues that is far more ‘new’ than most Christians assume: it is a paradigm shift that overturns the very nature of contract and conditions.Oleh Gospel Conversations
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This is the continuation of Esther's second talk where she continues to explain the practice of Subsidiary Focal Integration with an emphasis on how the concept of Integration works. At the end of the session participants are asked to share their examples of Subsidiary Focal Integration in operation.…
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Lots of Christian preaching frames ‘forgiveness of sins’ as the big offer of the gospel. But this does not lead us far enough. It also implies holiness and wrath as the key attributes of God. Jeremiah 9 takes us somewhere else – the knowledge of God and his work on the earth is the end game of the gospel. Tony unpacks these epic verses in this late…
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Where do we put Jesus into our philosophy of knowledge? This talk by Mark is a compacted, brilliant answer to this question. He takes Jesus out of the religious box (which limits his Lordship to morality and ritual) and positions him as Lord of the cosmos – including politics and history. To make this real for us, he takes us on a whirlwind tour of…
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The 2022 Gospel Conversations conference has been considered a great success. This is the first talk to be released; an introductory talk by Dr Sarah Golsby-Smith on Romanticism and Knowing. As always Sarah’s talk is inspiring and offers a fresh look at theology through the lens of literature. In particular she argues that the Romantic era led the …
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Tony argues that the word ‘hell’ is not only a mistranslation – which nobody can deny – but he goes on to explain how the medieval choice of this word has distorted the gospel and its impact. He takes us to Jeremiah to get closer to the real meanings of what Jesus may have meant by his use of the original word (Gehenna) that was mistranslated as ‘h…
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In this latest BWJ talk Tony looks at an intriguing mistranslation by the NIV of a key verse in Jeremiah 7 – and unpacks how that ‘mistranslation’ actually shines a light on the big current debate over the ‘holiness’ of God versus the ‘mercy of God’. He puts forward this controversial claim: “if you start with the ‘holiness’ of God as his primary a…
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Tony takes us on an intriguing literary journey in this short talk. He compares Old Testament literature to Homer and Greek literature and explains how they offer contrasting views of reality. He then turns this contrast onto Jeremiah and explains how Jeremiah offers the climax and the resolution to much of Kings and the anger of God in the histori…
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