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Azusa Pacific University and LGBTQ+ Relationships

If you know much about the cultural debate on LGBTQ relationships in California then you will know that it has been a busy week in the news. This week’s podcast covers three of these big stories.

Listen as I discuss these three impactful decisions.

What are your thoughs on these three events? Comment below!

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. If you don’t have iTunes, find the podcast and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player. Finally, if you’d rather stick to the radio, you can listen to the show on 100.1 KGBA every Saturday night from 9-9:30 PT.

Like the Facebook page or follow on Instagram to interact with Ryan and his guests on future shows. Your questions and comments help to make the show more interactive. So, send in those questions at contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

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Always Be Ready with Dr. Hugh Ross

When I started to read Always Be Ready: A Call to Adventurous Faith, I felt like I was back on the mission field. During my four years as a missionary in the Dominican Republic, I often found myself reading missionary biographies. It was so encouraging as a new missionary to hear stories from veterans of how God had worked and done miraculous things.

apologetics

When I came back to the U.S. I began my work in apologetics. Virtually every book I have read over the last three years has dealt with a specific apologetic topic. Some books have stories to prove a point, but I never read, nor was I aware of an apologetic biography. This is exactly what Hugh Ross, Christian astrophysicist and founder of Reasons to Believe, did with his newest book.

Always Be Ready doesn’t focus on an issue in science apologetics. Instead, it is filled with story after story of people coming to Christ and God working to orchestrate divine appointments through the life of Hugh Ross and others. God will often surprise us and give us an adventurous faith if we are ready.

I hope you are encouraged by the testimony and stories just like I was.

If you would like 20% off a copy of Always Be Ready, click here and enter the coupon code “RYAN20”.

apologetics

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. If you don’t have iTunes, find the podcast and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player. Finally, if you’d rather stick to the radio, you can listen to the show on 100.1 KGBA every Saturday night from 9-9:30 PT.

Like the Facebook page or follow on Instagram to interact with Ryan and his guests on future shows. Your questions and comments help to make the show more interactive. So, send in those questions at contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

The March For Our Lives: Cultural Beliefs and Worldview Conversations

Today, the March For Our Lives drew hundreds of thousands around the United States. People were marching for human value and against gun violence.

Image result for march for our lives

However, many don’t realize the worldview assumptions behind this any many other cultural beliefs. We are fighting for human value, which is good. But what makes a person valuable? Do all people have value? In the podcast below, I identify what I believe to be four contradictions in our culture and how we can use those cultural beliefs to have positive worldview conversations.

  1. Should we protect innocent lives or a woman’s right to choose?
  2. Should we celebrate women or is gender a social construct?
  3. Should we have gender reveal parties or is gender not connected to biological sex?
  4. Should I fight to end sexual abuse (#Metoo) or the Hollywood movies promoting such behavior (50 Shades)?

Links mentioned in the show

  1. How do we understand religious freedom vs. discrimination?
  2. Responding To Pro-Choice Arguments – Interview with Megan Almon (Podcast)
  3. Defending the Pro-Life Position – Interview with Megan Almon (Podcast)

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Like the Facebook page and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. You can also see who will be future podcast guests on the Facebook page and send in your questions to be asked on the show! Send in your questions at contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Desperate Hope

In celebration of my 2nd anniversary podcasting, I am giving away 50 copies of Desperate Hope! This opportunity ends in April, so don’t miss out. Simply subscribe to this blog and share it with your friends on social media in order to get your own personalized copy. Once finished, send an email to contact@coffeehousequesions.com with your address and I’ll ship a copy to you completely free!

2nd Podcast Anniversary!

I can’t believe it has been two years since starting the Coffeehouse Questions podcast. It has been an incredible learning experience producing 77 episodes during that time. My favorite part has been getting to know and interview some very smart people along the way.

My guests have included (from most recent to oldest): Dr. Craig Hazen, Dr. Clay Jones, Brett Kunkle, Neal HardinMichael Sherrard, J. Warner Wallace, Kendall Brewer, Dr. Jeff Zweerink, Kenneth Samples, Greg Koukl, Alan Shlemon, Dr. Andy Bannister, Rose Pauly, Megan Almon, Dan BrittonDr. Sean McDowell, and Andrew Covert.

I owe a very special thank you to each of these guests for taking the time to come on with me and discuss some very important issues. I also cannot thank you all enough for actually listening! I really am still surprised that so many of you download the podcast and listen. Thank you and I would love to hear from you!

Send me a message and enjoy this short recap of the last two years.

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Like the Facebook page and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. You can also see who will be future podcast guests on the Facebook page and send in your questions to be asked on the show! Send in your questions at contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Should we love God with our heart or our mind?

While getting my undergrad in theology, I remember people telling me to be careful not to look at God and scripture only with an academic lens. It is common to think that studying theology and apologetics will cause someone to develop an academic approach to their relationship with God. It happens to people all the time, and it is something we have to be careful of. But because of this, some are afraid to learn more about God in order to maintain their emotional or relational connection with Him. Do we have to pick between these two? Listen here and find out!

Comment below with any questions!

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Like the Facebook page and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. You can also see who will be future podcast guests on the Facebook page and send in your questions to be asked on the show! Send in your questions at contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?

I find that our culture has a difficult time discussing controversial issues like homosexuality. We are quick to jump to conclusions and start calling people names. It is possible that we quickly jump to name calling because we don’t really know what to say. We may have not thought through our position, so we simply assume that the other side is ignorant or hateful for not seeing it our way. I could be wrong about this, but I have met people who admit to being much more calm in discussions after truly understanding what they believe.

But before I get onto another point, it is refreshing to see this issue be discussed with clarity and compassion by two people on completely different sides of the debate. Sean McDowell, author and professor at Biola University, defended the position that biblical marriage is the exclusive union of one man and one woman for life. Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian and founder of the Reformation Project, defended the position that biblical marriage also includes monogamous same-sex relationships.

You know it is going to be a good conversation with two leaders discussing their positions. I hope that you watch the discussion below with an open mind and learn how to have a positive conversation on this issue. I learned so much from this and I hope you do too.

Comment below with your thoughts!

How can we understand the sexual confusion of our culture?

The topic filling the airwaves more than anything else right now is the issue of sexual harassment. There have been allegations against both politicians and Hollywood elite. However, how can we understand the morality of this in a secular culture? What makes sexual harassment wrong?

A few weeks back I did an activity with my students. I gave them this list of sexual acts and asked them to classify each one as being either morally permissible and morally wrong.

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 9.55.25 PM

Listen to see what my students did and how this activity can help us understand the sexual confusion of our culture.

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 11.03.25 PMWhere would you draw the line? Why is it drawn there? Is there even an objective line? Comment below!

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Like the Facebook page and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. You can also see who will be future podcast guests on the Facebook page and send in your questions to be asked on the show! Send in your questions at contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Why doesn’t everyone believe in Jesus if he came to earth?

I often get the question, “Why doesn’t God do something that would just make everyone believe in Him?” I often ask, what would that be?

Students respond by saying things like:

“He could give everyone a dream!”

“He could stand right in front of me and tell me He is God.”

“He could do miracles!”

To this I respond, He has already done that. This Christmas, we celebrated the fact that Jesus, God incarnate, came to this earth, lived, and did miracles in front of many people. However, many did not believe in Him after this. Why not? Listen to this week’s podcast.

Why do you think people don’t believe?

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. You  can also find it and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player.

Like the Facebook page, watch live, and interact with Ryan by asking questions and commenting. You can also see who will be future podcast guests on the Facebook page and send in your questions to be asked on the show! Send in your questions on FacebookTwitter, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Kim Kardashian and the Moral Questions of Surrogate Motherhood

1200px-Kim_Kardashian_West_2014

You might not know much about Kim Kardashian. You also might not know much about surrogacy. The average young adult knows much more about the former than the latter. I often quiz students on their knowledge of the culture, and most students are able to tell me about Kim Kardashian, who she married, and even the names and ages of her two children. And if you haven’t heard, Kim is going to be having her third child. Unlike her first two children, her child will be born to a surrogate mother due to medical reasons.

Since many students are probably aware of this situation, and since it might come up in a conversation at school, it would be a good time to discuss the moral questions surrounding surrogate motherhood. We want our students to see how the biblical worldview addresses important issues instead of being influenced only by culture. My goal is not to determine if surrogacy is right or wrong. Instead, I want look at some important questions on this issue to help get the conversation started.

What is surrogate motherhood?

Merrian-Webster defines surrogate motherhood as “a woman who becomes pregnant usually by artificial insemination or surgical implantation of a fertilized egg for the purpose of carrying the fetus to term for another woman.”

There are different types of surrogate motherhood. Genetic surrogacy is when the surrogate is inseminated with sperm from the male. The surrogate will carry the child and has a genetic relationship to the child since she supplies both the egg and the womb. Gestational surrogacy is when the surrogate doesn’t have a genetic relationship. The infertile couple will remove eggs and sperm, and will have in vitro fertilization (IVF) performed. The embryo will then be implanted into the surrogate.

There are also two possible arrangements with surrogate motherhood. Commercial surrogacy is when either of these types of surrogacy are done for a fee. The surrogate mother will be reimbursed beyond medical expenditures. Altruistic surrogacy is the term used to describe a surrogate arrangement in which a fee is not paid.

What does the Bible say?

Even though the Bible never mentions IVF or any other reproductive technologies, it does give a few guidelines that can help us in this discussion. One that I will mention here is that the Bible establishes a clear definition for marriage and also says that procreation should happen inside of that relationship (Gen. 1-2). This definition would mean that any premarital or extramarital sexual relations are against God’s design. Even though the Bible does describe many relationships that went against God’s design for marriage and procreation, the Bible often describes historical events that are not prescriptive for us. Things in Scripture like surrogacy are often allowed but are never accepted as the best option.

This doesn’t mean that surrogacy is strictly forbidden in Scripture, because it’s not. All I’m saying is that we do see a difference between the biblical design for procreation and surrogacy with the addiction of the third-party contributor. This should cause us to spend more time thinking through the issue before jumping to a conclusion. However, this is also a public policy issue and doesn’t only raise theological questions.

Who is the mother?

The definition of “mother” has been blurred with the advancements in reproductive technologies, and this is a critically important definition in this debate. Is the mother the woman who gave birth to the child or the woman who donated her egg? If we define “mother” as the woman who gave birth, then the surrogate would be the mother in both types of surrogacy. If a genetic relationship is required to be a mother, then the surrogate is only a mother when genetic surrogacy is performed.

Either way we define mother, genetic surrogacy would then entail taking the child away from its mother. Is it ethical to intentionally enter into a surrogate relationship knowing the mother will hand the baby over the moment it’s born?

Gestational surrogacy would have different issues since the surrogate doesn’t have a genetic relationship to the child. This is exactly why it is critically important to get our definitions straight. Is the child being taken from its mother or not? What if we sign a contract establishing that the surrogate isn’t the mother?

Does signing a contract solve the issues?

There is an important principle that I constantly remind my high school ethics students: Just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should do it. It is clear that something isn’t moral simply because it is possible. The same is true for surrogacy and signing a contract. Just because we can sign a contract stating that the surrogate will hand over the baby at birth doesn’t mean that she should do it. What do we do when the surrogate forms a connection with the child eight months into the pregnancy? In this situation, the surrogate would be forced to give up the child should she have second thoughts.

Should we see genetic surrogacy as an adoption process since the surrogate is the mother? Doesn’t a mother have the right to raise her child given that she wants the child and is a good mother? Does the idea of “renting a womb” turn procreation into a business deal? Simply creating a contract doesn’t make the moral issues disappear.

Is there a potential for exploitation?

Even though it is not common, commercial surrogacy does have a potential for exploitation. Some people may choose to be surrogates because they want to help an infertile couple while others may become surrogates to make money. Surrogates in the United States cost roughly $40,000 to $50,000. This is a big difference compared to surrogates in other countries that cost around $6,000 to $10,000. Should we be going to other countries in order to find poor women willing to be surrogates for a fraction of the price? How will this affect the lives of those women?

If allowed, should certain conditions be met?

Kim Kardashian has mentioned that she desired to be pregnant with her third child but was physically unable due to medical complications. Should surrogacy be seen as a last resort and reserved only for women who are physically unable to carry a child? What about a woman who is physically able to carry a child but is too busy to be pregnant?

Another condition that should be considered is the payment. Does the morality change between commercial and altruistic surrogacy when a payment is introduced? Will this change how we see children and pregnancy as a blessing and turn it into a business contract? Should a surrogate being paid to have a child she isn’t going to keep receive maternity leave?

Conclusion

There are other issues that could be discussed, but hopefully this is a good start to the discussion. The most important detail to remember is that a child’s worth is not based on how they were created. IVF, surrogacy, and other reproductive technologies don’t make a child any less valuable, and we cannot treat people differently based on how they were conceived. All human beings are created in the image of God and are intrinsically valuable. This is why we have to consider what the Bible says, the definition of a mother, contract issues, possible exploitation, and what conditions should be met if allowed. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean it is good. It is for this reason that we need to think through issues from a biblical worldview instead of being influenced only by culture.

What do you think about this issue? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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