Listening In preview – Derwin Gray


NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next, an excerpt from tomorrow’s Listening In.

This week, Warren Smith talks with former NFL linebacker Derwin Gray. After a six year career in pro football, Gray earned a degree from Southern Evangelical Seminary. Today he’s an apologist and pastor, leading one of the largest and most ethnically diverse evangelical churches in Charlotte, North Carolina.

DERWIN GRAY: When I became a follower of Jesus and the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and I developed a passion for theology in the Bible. My grandmother, who had a Jehovah’s Witness background and my Mormon family and friends—cause half of my wife’s family’s Mormon—they would tell my wife and I: “well, you guys are wrong.”

And so as a football player you studied a playbook to play good, I knew, well, if I had a playbook as a football player God must have a playbook and that’s the Bible. And so that’s what developed my heart for apologetics and theology is, it was survival. I had to know what I believed and why. And as we studied theology, we studied apologetics, both my wife and I began to grow in our faith. And one of the things that we noticed early, is that a lot of Christians didn’t know what they believed or why they believed it.

WARREN SMITH: And so, that birthed in you. Ultimately this strong love for apologetics and you ended up studying under Norman Geisler, sort of the grandfather of apologetics. 

GRAY: Yeah, yeah, so in 1998 I came to the Carolina Panthers as a free agent. In 1999 my wife and I became a part of a local church and the pastor introduced me to Dr. Geisler and we sat down over lunch for like three or four hours, and I had read some of his work. And just connected with him and eventually I ended up getting my master’s from Southern Evangelical Seminary. And then I went on to get a doctorate in New Testament, from Northern Seminary in Chicago.

And so I view myself first and foremost as a disciple of Christ but also as a pastor, theologian, apologist. I believe that it’s important to equip the church to understand what they believe and why they believe it—not to win arguments, but to display love and be a part of the kingdom of God on earth.


EICHER: That’s Derwin Gray talking to Warren Smith. To hear the complete conversation, look for Listening In tomorrow wherever you get your podcasts.


(Photo/B&H Publishing)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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