MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Friday, December 28th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s now time for your listener feedback!
REICHARD: Yes, our last one of the year. And before we get to it, we’d like to stop to say thank you for making this year such a success.
We’ve heard from so many of you via phone calls, emails, social media. Our reviews on iTunes have literally increased ten-fold over a year ago. We are blown away by your support.
EICHER: Yes, and I know our managing editor J.C. Derrick will second that. He’s here now with a stack of feedback.
REICHARD: Morning, J.C.
J.C. DERRICK, MANAGING EDITOR: Good morning! You’re right—I, too, would like to give a hearty thanks a tip of the cap.
And let’s not forget we also had a successful listener survey this year. More than 700 of you filled it out. And that’s so important. As we always say, we want to hear about what you like, and even what you don’t.
EICHER: And another thing we need to know is when we flub up. So let’s start with a couple of mishaps we had on the program this month.
First, in our recent conversation with WORLD’s Jamie Dean, I said she came to WORLD 13 years after Joel Belz founded the company in 1986. Well, that would have been 1999. But Jamie actually joined WORLD 13 years ago from this year—meaning 2005.
REICHARD: You know what they say about journalists and numbers…
DERRICK: Ha, yes, and it certainly applies to me!
Next, we need to make a correction to this month’s Classic Book segment. Emily Whitten introduced us to a book designed to make the writings of 18th century theologian and pastor Jonathan Edwards more accessible.
The co-author’s last name is spelled S-T-R-A-C-H-A-N. But longtime listener David Jealous from Northern Virginia pointed out it doesn’t sound like it looks.
JEALOUS: You’re talking about the Classic Book of the Month, The Essential Jonathan Edwards. And you said the authors were Owen Strachan and Douglas Sweeney. I believe that Strachan is actually pronounced “stran.” Owen Stran, like in man.
EICHER: Of course, David is correct! We realized it ourselves shortly after the segment aired and wrote to Owen Strachan to apologize. And he sent us a very gracious response, saying, “Trust me, I’ve heard far worse with this Scottish last name!”
REICHARD: In that same segment, we referenced a conversation between the book’s other co-author, Douglas Sweeney, and Joe Tyrpak. We should have noted that took place in a documentary Tyrpak produced. It’s called “The Life of David Brainerd Devotional and Documentary” and you can find it online.
EICHER: Finally, we got a third email about that Classic Book segment—this one a good bit more serious. Listener Todd Olson questioned why we seemed to gloss over the fact that Jonathan Edwards owned slaves and refused to free them in his will when he died.
Olson pointed out that Edwards had lived during a time where abolition of slavery was beginning to grow. He wanted to know, how did we account for this lack of compassion and grace even beyond his time on earth?
DERRICK: Well, I don’t think any of us can account for it. There’s no excuse for it. I think it’s important to note Emily brought this up in the context of saying the book did not gloss over this glaring error in Edwards’ life. So I would point you to the book first.
But I do think it’s fair to say we should have covered this more fully in the segment. I would venture to guess many listeners may not have been aware of this fact about Edwards’ life.
Thankfully, some theological heavyweights of our own time have tackled this issue. And The Gospel Coalition has compiled those in a resource page. You can hear what Charlie Dates, John Piper, and others have to say on this issue.
But I also want to play a clip now from pastor Thabiti Anyabwile. He talked about this very issue at Trinity International University.
ANYABWILE: Edwards was wrong to own slaves. I regard Edwards as having sinned against his fellow man and sinned against God in the owning of slaves. We have to say it’s wrong.
Something else that we can say pretty quickly, and that is, Edwards, like all of our heroes, has clay feet. Has blind spots. Just as all of us have blind spots.
But even if after we’ve said those things plainly and quickly, we can’t stop there. That’s not saying enough, because if we just stop with Edwards is wrong, we’re liable to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And if we just stop with Edwards has clay feet, we’re liable to give the appearance that we’re winking at a serious evil and atrocity.
And so we really have to understand Edwards in his time, in his social location. Try to think about what might have been Edwards’ blind spots so that we might be able to think about our own blind spots and live more faithfully in the world in which we inhabit.
EICHER: Next we go back to the listener feedback line at 202-709-9595. Alan Star called in from Indiana.
STAR: I just got finished listening to the to the podcast and Leigh Jones’ “All Is Well” talking about Christmas was amazing. And I just wanted to thank you guys for the work that you do, for putting together an excellent radio program… So, thank you guys. God bless you and have a Merry Christmas to all the WORLD Radio folks.
REICHARD: Thanks, Alan! We love hearing from listeners who call in to the feedback line. And we also love hearing from listeners who connect with us on social media and leave reviews on iTunes.
I want to read from one we received last month. This listener appreciates our coverage of important news events, as well as in-depth features that are thought-provoking. This listener recommends the program to others and says he plans to come back … over and over.
DERRICK: And speaking of iTunes, listener Jack Klein emailed us to say thanks for making The World and Everything in It so readily available on multiple podcast platforms. He said he regularly shares segments with friends through our website. He says he made a donation for our fund drive and that he appreciates WORLD’s delivery of faithful news in a world of less-than-faithful news.
EICHER: We will, Jack. And it’s thanks to listeners like you that we can. As most of you know, we’re in the final few days of our year-end giving drive—and we’re grateful for your support.