Five Great Christian Podcast
I went to a small Christian college before I attended Houghton College. While there, the president of the school constantly reminded us that we needed to be lifelong learners and to take charge of our learning. One of the ways I've tried to follow through on this is by listening to podcast of preaching and lectures by strong Christian teachers. I know not everyone enjoys listening to podcast or lectures, but, if you're like me and find them to be a great way to learn and redeem time, then here are some of the best choices. All of these podcast can be found on iTunes for free, but I'll also include links to the ministry's main site.
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul's podcast are twenty-five minute, in-depth lectures that tend to be more intellectual than emotional. This can be a pro as well as a con; the information that he shares is great and will leave your brain feeling well fed but it can lack the heart of some other pastors. Not to say that Sproul is without passion, he loves God with all that he does; it's just that his teachings are focused more on apologetically study.
What's great about Renewing Your Mind is that, while they topics can get a bit heady, they're always presented in digestible segments. Even when doing a multi-part series, it never feels like too much, as each lesson stands on its own. Some of my favorites are The Life of Joseph and What is Reformed Theology. Sproul has been doing this for years and the podcast will cycle through the old as well as the new. These lessons may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it should definitely be tried by all.
John Piper is the most convicting pastor out there. His sermons pull no punches and the Desiring God podcast is not for those looking for safe, feel good messages. Piper preaches heavily on God's sovereignty and our role as created beings. The big theme that plays throughout is the argument for Christian hedonism or "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him". This doesn't mean a self-esteem message but one where we find our complete pleasure in God.
Piper's podcast can range from forty minutes to an hour or more. These are full sermons, straight from his church's pulpit and he can get emotional; often switching from anger to compassion within the same paragraph. But he's a thinker and offers strong Biblical evidence for his views. I've listened to some of his older sermons, and he's definitely gotten sharper in the years he's been doing this. Recommended for those tired of easy, fluffy pastors.
Grace To You
John MacArthur is a deep thinker, who doesn't read a verse of the Bible without first explaining what it meant. There's no excuse for taking a verse out of context with MacArthur, he's going to dig into the Word as long as he can. He's a great teacher, being easier to understand and listen to than Sproul, but still retaining the knowledge. I heard him speak at a conference once and the whole audience was asking for more when he was done, his teaching is extremely rich.
Grace to You is full sermons cut into multiple pieces for easy listening. MacArthur teaches on topics and does full sermons on each point. They're easy to sort and simple to work through. He's a warm pastor, which doesn't mean soft, he simply speaks with a friendlier tone than some others and he's great about summarizing and making sure the audience understands the thought. When he covers big ideas and topics, it's done is such a way that it's a joy to listen to. He does a lot on Christian living; such as prayer, assurance, and spiritual stability. Grace to You might be easier to get into than others, but you don't lose anything by it.
Let My People Think
Ravi Zacharias is more for those looking for Christian teachings on philosophy and ethics. He's a heavy apologetic and wants Christians to think about their actions and lives, and he wants them to love just as much. He's as demanding as Piper but as thought-provoking as Sproul. He covers a wide variety of topics, such as classic literature and modern day actors. He references The Picture of Dorian Gray quite a bit, especially in his sermon The Problems of Pleasure, one of the best lectures I've heard in a long time.
Let My People Think is usually an hour long sermon split into two parts. In this way, it's easy to work through multiple sermons without feeling too overwhelmed. Zacharias is a polite teacher but he gets fired up easy and won't back down from a point if he believes it to be important. He's from India and, while now living in America, has very little patience for the American dream when it comes up against the Bible. I suggest him to everyone with no hesitation.
Mars Hill Church
Mark Driscoll is the youngest pastor on this list and it's also in his favor. His teachings feel more contemporary and he's easier to relate to than some. His age, however, is not an indication of lesser quality. Driscoll is a hard hitter, in many ways reminiscent of John Piper. He's straight out of the Bible and has spent years just teaching on one book at a time. Recently, he just finished a segment on Christian marriage which is rich with teaching and Biblical truth, and should be listened to by all those who are getting or are already married.
Mars Hill Church's podcast are full sermon length, running from forty minutes to an hour long. As said, Driscoll teaches on a subject until he's felt it's been properly expounded on. He's a bit crasser than the others above and will simply say things that others might tiptoe around. He's not afraid to talk about harder topics and he makes strong call to Christian living. Despite being younger than the above pastors, he has plenty of newer thoughts and ideas and should definitely be given the chance by those looking for straight teaching.
And plenty more!
I only listed the five I listen to the most. There are plenty of other great teachers out there on iTunes. Alistair Begg is another wonderful teacher who has warmth and heart wrapped around deep truths. Sinclair Ferguson is a great pastor who I've listened to in the past and go back to every now and then. One of the fun things about those two is that they’re both Scottish so you get a great sermon in a great accent.
If I left out your favorite or you disagree with my choices, let me know in the comments below!