Radio-show professor intends to be “unapologetic, pre-modern provocateur”

The world today is brimming with perspectives and experts on all sorts of subjects, and theology is no exception. To help Christians sift through the barrage of opinions and voices, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s radio studio will produce “Laus Deo,” a live, weekly radio program broadcast over Sirius satellite radio.

Listeners can tune into the inaugural show Sunday, Sept. 10, at 4 p.m., on Sirius channel 159, a new, Christian-oriented channel from the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“We have all of these perspectives swirling around, almost like a merry-go-round, and it’s hard to appreciate what in those voices is worth holding on to and what is not,” said Paul Wolfe, host of “Laus Deo,” (which is Latin for “Praise be unto God”). “Going hand-in-hand is a concern of my own that evangelical or conservative influences on the church have not fully appreciated the pastoral value of careful theological thinking.”

Wolfe, who is assistant dean for Biblical studies and associate professor of New Testament at Southwestern Seminary, noted that the program will cover a wide range of topics such as church discipline, early Christian creeds, sanctity of the body and gender relations and women in ministry.

“It’s not driven by the news of the day; it’s not issue-oriented,” Wolfe said. “It is instead driven by an attempt to think through Christian faith and its implications … The purpose of this program is to promote orthodox Christianity.”

The first program will be titled “Faith in the Personal God of the Bible: An Emotional Crutch, an Intellectual Crock or Fidelity to the Truth.” Guests for the first show will be Dr. Douglas Blount, Southwestern associate professor of philosophy, and Dr. Joe Barnhart, professor of philosophy at University of North Texas and member of the National Council for Secular Humanism.

Wolfe said the weekly radio program is a project of Doulos Ministries and is targeted to a general audience. “Its for anyone who wants to engage in serious theological thinking … and I hope to make it entertaining as well,” he said.

Once a month the show will host a segment called “Philosophers in Studio,” in which philosophers will join Wolfe to discuss issues important to Christian thinking and Christian living. Initially, the guests will be drawn from the faculty at Southwestern Seminary, but in time Wolfe hopes to draw on guests from other seminaries and universities.

Another recurring feature of the show is “Virtue and Vice.” During this segment, examples of ethical, moral and theological courage will be celebrated, and instances of moral, ethical and theological errors will be exposed. The feature would be produced when there was material for it.

“For example, we could examine the issue of African bishops in the Anglican communion who have stood up to the American Episcopal hierarchy in their ordination of gay clergy,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe said the idea for doing a radio program came to him when he saw that  Christians often miss out on properly utilizing media to convey the Gospel message. Most Christian radio programs, he noted, are sermons that are either aired live or rebroadcast at a later time. While Wolfe believes such programs are valuable, he felt there was a place for scholarly voices that are overlooked.

“In my estimation, much careful theological thinking is what it is because it draws from the best thinking and understanding throughout the centuries,” Wolfe said. “I had a concern to help people understand Christianity’s story in a broader sense. Consequently, I have referred to myself in my role through this program as an unapologetic, pre-modern provocateur.”

Wolfe also takes inspiration for the program from some of the things he has learned in 19 years of academic study of the Pastoral Epistles: First and Second Timothy and Titus.

“The Apostle Paul there was very clear that careful, disciplined, healthy thinking is inextricably connected with careful, disciplined, healthy living,” Wolfe said. “In an effort to provoke people to good deeds, as the writer to the Hebrews said, I’m trying to take what I hope would be the strengths of me as the teacher in the classroom, and others, and carry that over into radio.”

Listeners can call in during the show toll-free at 1-866-374-3920. Recordings of the shows will be available on CD, free of charge, at www.lausdeoradio.net. A donation is encouraged to help sustain costs of the program. Wolfe said he also anticipates that Podcasts of the program will soon be available.

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