Ask Vince and Jo (October 7-11, 2019)

Friends! (@Interested_In_Ask_RZIM, @Interested_In_Ask_Away)
Exciting news as we have not just one, but two RZIM speakers tag-teaming the Q&A this week. That’s right…we have the Doctors Vitale in the house! :partying_face: It’s like Ask Away, but for a whole week.

So whether it’s philosophy, theology, faith, life, sport or anything in between, do take this opportunity to get a thoughtful answer from two of the most thoughtful and clear thinkers I know. :thinking:

About Vince…
Dr. Vince Vitale is a speaker and author who serves as RZIM’s Regional Director for the Americas and Director of the Zacharias Institute. He was educated at Princeton University and the University of Oxford, and he taught philosophy of religion and served as a faculty member at both universities. It was during his undergraduate studies in philosophy at Princeton that Vince was challenged to read the Bible and took an unexpected journey from skeptic to evangelist. He then completed master’s and PhD studies at Oxford, receiving a Daniel M. Sachs Graduating Scholarship (at the time awarded annually to one graduating Princetonian) and a Clarendon Scholarship (supported by Oxford University Press).

While researching at Oxford, Vince developed a new response to the problem of evil. This response is discussed in Vince’s Philosophia Christi article, “Non-Identity Theodicy,” and in Vince’s and Ravi Zacharias’s book, Why Suffering?: Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn’t Make Sense . In 2017, Vince and Ravi released a second co-authored book , Jesus Among Secular Gods: The Countercultural Claims of Christ . For his work on Søren Kierkegaard, Inter-Varsity Press and Tyndale House awarded Vince the title IVP Young Philosopher of Religion of the Year 2013.

Vince has commended the Christian faith on the campuses of many universities including Yale, Columbia, UC Berkeley, West Point, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and Oxford. He also has had the privilege of speaking at Google Headquarters, Amazon Headquarters, The Brooklyn Tabernacle, and Passion City Church, and he was the keynote speaker at the 54th National Prayer Breakfast of Canada.

In addition to his focus on biblical and philosophical questions, Vince has strong interests in the topics of leadership, contemporary culture, theology of work, and reconciliation, as well as in the intersection of faith and sport. He played varsity soccer at Princeton, was a “double Blue” at Oxford (competing for the university in soccer and boxing), and has traveled with Athletes in Action mission teams to four continents. While teaching at Princeton, Vince served as Faculty Director of the Athletes in Action ministry on campus.

About Jo…
Dr. Jo Vitale is Dean of Studies at the Zacharias Institute and an itinerant speaker for RZIM. Prior to joining the US team, Jo was a speaker for RZIM Europe, where she also served in teaching and pastoral roles at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.

During her time in Oxford, Jo graduated with a theology MA, an MSt in Biblical interpretation, and a DPhil (PhD) in theology, each from the University of Oxford. Interested in the questions surrounding sexism and the Bible, Jo wrote her doctoral dissertation on the topic of how female beauty is depicted in the Old Testament.

Since joining RZIM, Jo has spoken internationally in a variety of contexts, including universities, businesses, churches, schools, conferences, and radio programs. She has also led several weeklong outreach events at universities in the US and the UK. Although a UK national (:uk: :coffee: :cake:), Jo is also based at the Zacharias Institute in Atlanta, GA.

14 Likes

Following!
What an incredible teaming. I so much love Dr. Vince and Dr. Jo. I became more attracted to them during my core module and Doctrine Elective sessions.
Thank you for providing us with this opportunity.
:yellow_heart::purple_heart::blue_heart::green_heart:

6 Likes

YAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

So excited for this!!! @Vince_Vitale @Jo_Vitale Whoooooo Whoooooo

7 Likes

I guess I may be a little early but I will go ahead and post my question so I don’t forget to do so.
This is my question for Jo: If God forgave me why do I still experience shame for past sin?

10 Likes

Good morning Vince and Jo,

I would like to know how many people are a part of this community? And how long has RZIM Connect been around?

3 Likes

Hi Vince and Jo,

This is Jiayun from Singapore. I would like to ask: We often make the claim in evangelism/apologetics that Jesus provides the ultimate satisfaction to our deepest desires. If that is case, why is it that so many Christians struggle to be content with God? Is that empirical evidence that casts doubt on the claim?

Thank you so much for your time!

11 Likes

My favorite podcast ever! <3

My question is about music. I love the Lord and enjoy reading the Bible and discussing Christianity and philosophy, but I don’t love music. Most of the time, I don’t even like it, though I do enjoy some of the old hymns in limited quantities. I never play music at home and never listen to it on the radio.

Often, preachers tell us that we’d better like worship (meaning singing) because that is what we will be doing forever in heaven. That does not sound like heaven to me. Every week at service, I try to find something to entertain myself for half an hour while everyone else sings, usually reading the chapters for my Tuesday Bible study. With the praise choruses, they all sound the same to me. Should I be forcing myself to try to like music?

5 Likes

Thank you all so much!

The people in my life spend a lot of time following current events – what happened yesterday is tomorrow’s conversation around the coffee pot. The recent tragic situation in Dallas has certainly brought to head many complex issues. I feel like I don’t have a good grasp on the interaction between justice, grace, and forgiveness in my Christian walk myself, and I’d really welcome any suggestions and wisdom you all could share for those conversations.

4 Likes

Hello,

Excited to see Jo and Vince here!

My question is about doubt. I know from YouTube that Vince has gone through doubt at times. I was wondering if you could tell us a bit about your experience and how you have overcome difficult questions you have had about Christianity. I hope Jo can share some of her experiences and how she dealt with any doubts if she has had any.

Thanks! Looking forward to the answers!:slight_smile:

5 Likes

Hello RZIM community! I love Ask Away, and am so thankful you all have equipped me with perfectly articulated answers and perspectives to have and take for life’s toughest questions.

My question however, is about all the non questions the people I care about the most dont care to have! It seems to me that there are more and more people in America who don’t care about any faith or why we are here, etc., I’m 34 years old, and the majority of all my friends with families or not, in New York, California, Florida, etc. mostly “believe” in a higher power, but life is going just too great for them to care about which one, and I assume don’t want to start feeling convicted about how they are currently living because it’s fun! This situation is the hardest for me to confront or to try and dive deeper into. Currently i typically use a tragedy that happened in my family (6 year old niece died suddenly from a rare heart condition no one knew about) to try and reason with why faith is so important, but it feels depressing, and almost like a scare tactic! There must be a batter way!! Lol How do you two connect with people who say the same to you around this country?

Thank you so much in advance! You guys seriously rock!

Allie

6 Likes

Hello Mr&Mrs Vitale
I admire you and your work as well. It’s an honor for me to get answered by you.
I would like to pose my questions
This is for @Vince_Vitale . This is one of most common questions. My question is, when God knows that sin is going to takes place why he has created us in the first place? Though love is supreme ethic why he needs to create when there is possibity of sin.
This question is for @Jo_Vitale
Mam I have heard that your studies are in old Testament. My question is why God seems so angry in old testament and loving and caring God in New testament?
Thank you:)

3 Likes

I’ve read Vince’s book, Why Suffering? Which has greatly impacted me and deepened my confidence in God. I thank you from the depths of my heart. And I’m now a regular listener of Ask Away, I love you Jo and the perspective you bring, thank you for this also.
Verses such as Mark 11.25 “ask anything in my name…”, John 16.24 “ask and you will receive…”, John 15.7 “ if you abide in Me and I abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done unto you”, can imply that if you’re walking with Jesus, being obedient and excercising faith that you should be able to ask and see God deliver what you’ve asked for. I know from my own experience this is not how it works. I’d love to hear your interpretation of these verses (and others like them). From an unbelievers perspective It could easily appear to be a bait and switch tactic - give your life to Jesus and look what He can do… until He doesn’t.

5 Likes

Hi Vince & Jo,
First - thank you for your time! My question is in reference to Jeremiah 31:31-34. Is this “new covenant” the 1st coming of Jesus and the giving of the Holy Spirit? I’m wondering because of vs. 34 where it says “no more shall every man teach his neighbor…saying ‘know the Lord’ for they all shall know me…” Thanks.

2 Likes

Hi Terina!

Thank you so much for your encouragement, I am so glad that you are enjoying the Ask Away podcast.

I am also delighted that you asked this question, because this is a topic that I spend a lot of time thinking about myself. On the one hand, anyone who has been a Christian for a while has certainly learnt firsthand that there are nuances to Jesus’ instruction to ask for anything (not least, that we are to do so “in his name”, meaning “under his authority”, or “in accordance with his will”, rather than simply on the basis of our own whims)!

And yet, I also strongly want to resist the idea which I feel like I hear all too often in Christian circles, which is that prayer is simply about falling in line with God’s will so that he can go on and do what he was already going to do anyway (which leaves one wondering, “really, if that is the case, why bother praying for anything at all?”)!

I believe Jesus when he says “you do not have, because you do not ask”, just as I believe James who wrote “the prayers of a righteous man (personally, I think women would count too!) are powerful and effective.”

My concern is that oftentimes Christians have become so disillusioned and laid back about prayer that we’ve stopped taking Jesus at his word and praying bold prayers, which in turn leads us to a fragile prayer life that inevitably doesn’t see God move in power, because truthfully, we never really expected him too and prayed accordingly.

The real challenge for us is in understanding how the two come together: how we can both live with a vibrant faith that eagerly anticipates God doing exceedingly more than we ask for or imagine in response to our prayers, and yet also has the patience to not grow disheartened or give up when God answers according to his own timing, or his greater understanding of what the true “best” is in a given situation.

There is a LOT more to say here. But as you are an ask away listener, and because your question IS deserving of so much more time, might I direct you to our episode of Ask Away where we engage specifically with this topic at some length? I think (hope) you will find it helpful.

I’d also love to encourage you to read Craig Hazen’s new(ish) book, “Fearless Prayer: Why we don’t ask and why we should”.

It’s a good one!

Thanks so much for your question, Terina. Thanks for caring deeply not only about your own prayer life, but about the expectations of new believers and how to disciple them well into prayer so that they don’t experience a “bait and switch”. It’s certainly been my experience both that there are prayers I’ve prayed for decades (and am still waiting for the Lord to answer), and yet at the same time the growing realization that the more I dare to ask, the more I do truly see God answer prayer in beautiful and transformative ways. It’s my experience of the latter that in turn gives me patience to keep asking for the former, even as I trust God’s timing and God’s heart.

I hope that in your own walk you might find the same to be true, and that the Lord lifts your spirits and encourages your heart through your conversation with him, and the petitions that you bring him.

Blessings,

Jo

9 Likes

Hi Jo and Vince! Thanks for answering our questions. Here’s mine:

How, if at all, has becoming parents (congratulations!) changed your understandings of God’s love for each of us as his sons and daughters?

3 Likes

Hey Jo and Vince,
My question is about salvation I think. I was listening to a sermon about romans 8 and 9 and the message was essentially this: God must first enable a person to have faith in Him for that to even be possible, God chooses not to enable everyone to have faith in Him, God then punishes those who never came to saving faith, and all this is done to make to the chosen people feel more grateful that they have been chosen. Is all of this true?

3 Likes

Good day @Jo_Vitale & @Vince_Vitale glad you guys are here! I would like to ask a question around being a CHRISTian parent. Congrats by the way! My 8 year old daughter asked me recently “if GOD created everything, who created GOD?” What do you think is an effective way to respond to such a question? This might be helpful for you in the future.

1 Like

Good Afternoon,

I am so thankful for your time and consideration of the these questions! My question is on how you approach the gospel when in relationship with an atheist? Do you have any doors that you test when seeking to discern how to bring the conversation towards Christ?
I am regularly meeting with elderly Jewish (cultural - not religious) gentleman who likely only has a few months left to live. He has had a full life as an artist and model builder, veteran and firefighter. He shared that he believes life just stops when you die, and has no belief in God or an afterlife. Our conversations have centered on his interesting life and family, but I am hoping you might have some insight/experience on possible paths to fruitful conversation.

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration!

Nathan

1 Like

Hello! Vince I am very much excited to ask questions… I saw many church so called Revival Church and perform prophecies miracles… But it hard to trust for me… We saw even in televengelist ministry who perform miracles, immediate healing in public, exorcism and claim prophet mostly in Africa country … Can such uniqueness power be posses in our time? Or How can we respond in such issue.

In The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan says that a loving God would not allow children to suffer for no reason. As children do suffer, either no God exists or if He does, he is neither just or good, because He allows for the suffering of little children. He says it would be better for people to have comfort and ease than the suffering and difficulty that Christ asks us to take. In the book, Ivan’s christian brother Alyosha has no deep verbal answer to this. Does Vince have an answer, other than to read his book?