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The Christian Optimist

Author: Raef Chenery

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Pastor Raef Chenery tackles the real world issues and questions you face every day head on from an eschatologically optimistic perspective. Rooted in the Word of God, we’ll look at worldview, apologetics, politics, news, theology, evangelism encounters, and so much more. The aim is to allow God’s Word to inform and guide you through each and every moment.
65 Episodes
A powerful interview with a member from our Church, telling the story of how Christ delivered him from an addiction to Heroin. A story of hope, and a reminder of the power of the Gospel in every Christian's life.
In this episode Pastor Raef shares the audio of a powerful evangelistic encounter that took place outside of an abortion clinic in Chicago. Throughout the episode, we pause to examine the conversation and what we can learn about evangelism from it.
In this episode Pastor Raef considers June in America, what has now been labeled as Pride Month. We'll consider Pride Month in general, what happened to Target, a new law regarding homosexuality in Nigeria, and then we'll take Listener Q&A focused specifically on navigating LGBTQ issues in the workplace.Articles Discussed
In this episode Pastor Raef digs into one of the core divisions between Catholics and Protestants, the doctrine of Justification.This episode correlates to a blog post that Pastor Raef wrote on this topic that can be found here: We Together?: A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism by RC Sproul
In this episode Pastor Raef interviews his wife Sara Chenery as they discuss the topic of adoption. Raef and Sara have two adopted daughters through Chicago's foster care system, and Sara Chenery oversees Park Community Church's Adoption Fund. They discuss they're own journey with adoption and foster care, challenges and blessings throughout the process, practicals of what it looks like to be involved. And of course, a bit of Roman history to balance it all out. :)For more information on Park Community Church South Loop, visit
In this episode Pastor Raef sits down with Mike Rolfes, the President of Renew Chicago, to discuss politics in Chicago and the priorities of our new
In this episode, Pastor Raef first discusses an apologetic response to the problem of Evil. Then takes Listener Q&A on the topics of Artificial Intelligence, Becoming All Thing to All People, and Male Headship in the Home.To learn more about Park Community Church South Loop visit: visit Pastor Raef's blog visit:
In this episode Pastor Raef interviews Juan Riesco who leads a ministry in Chicago called Love Life Ministries aimed at caring for women with unplanned pregnancies. We discuss his conversion to Christianity, how Christ led him away from homosexuality, his remarkable story of how he tried to make much of Christ when the organization BLM violently and criminally shut his successful business down through threats and persecution, and his current work with Love Life.ResourcesTestimony of Former Abortion Provider, Dr. Anthony Levatino: the Wall Black: The Story of Nini's Deli:
Last week Sam Smith & Petra's performance of their song 'unholy' was performed on live TV at the Grammy's in what was some kind of tribute or celebration of Lucifer. In this episode Pastor Raef considers this cultural moment and explores what possible good can come of something as overtly Satanic as this. We'll explore a bit of the nature of spiritual warfare and how Christians are called to "stand firm."
In this episode, Pastor Raef Chenery navigates different questions that have been submitted to the podcast over the last few weeks. The topic range for theology to pastoral care.Quotes from Charles Hodge Systematic Theology
In this episode Pastor Raef digs into a new front on the sexual revolution, that of Polyamory (when a person has one or more romantic partners at the same time, with the enthusiastic consent of everyone involved). What should Christians think about this? And what are the Gospel implications? Article References
In this episode we look at a recent scientific study that concluded, "Females on Average Perform Better Than Males on a ‘Theory of Mind’ Test Across 57 Countries." Are men and women wired differently? And if so, why? What purpose does God have in the differences between men and women? A brief intro video to Complementarianism I taught at a Systematic Theology class a few years ago.
In this episode Pastor Raef digs into 5 disciplines every person ought to develop in their life as they develop their faith, and reveals 3 traps that will keep you from the godly/disciplined life. A critical message for us as we head into the new year.
In this episode we take a look at a new bill that has already passed the senate titled the Respect for Marriage Act which legislates the redefinition of marriage to include Gay Marriage.  We ask how Christians should engage in a culture that is wrestling with questions like these. We then jump into listener Q&A on topics such as Marriage, Divorce, and Contentment.
In this episode Pastor Raef and Josh discuss the fallout from the overturning of Roe v. Wade, particularly looking at heated exchanges that took place on a Social Media post Pastor Raef had on Facebook celebrating the end of Roe v. Wade, much of the heated exchange coming from other Christians. How should handle ourselves in those situations? How do we act and love like Christ?  Additionally we'll deal with two user questions, one on the Lectio Divina, the other on translation questions.User Questions Begin at 43:12
In this episode we look at a recent court ruling that gave life in prison, rather than the death penalty, to a person who killed many people in a mass school shooting. We'll discuss the idea of justice, and how we might answer whether or not the Death Penalty is just?
In this episode Pastor Raef and Josh Fried look at Ligonier Ministry's State of Theology, a bi-annual survey that tracks the theological convictions of Evangelicals. In the second half we ask a user question around how to navigate a family relationship with a transitioning sibling.See this episode for more info on the Transgender Conversation: Gender Dysphoria by Mark Yarhouse:
Revelation is possibly the most questioned and misunderstood book in the entire Bible. In this episode, I try to walk you through the major ways to interpret Revelation. Ultimately, I challenge some of the more popular Futurist views of modern interpreters, and try to demonstrate why most scholars, theologians, and Reformers throughout history held to the Preterist view of Revelation. I'll then demonstrate why I hold to a view of Eschatology that I refer to as 'Optimistic Amillennialism.'  Also known as 'Modern Postmillennialism.' This is the last episode of Season 3 before I head out on a Sabbatical with my family. 
Last week the Southern Baptist Convention released a 288 page report detailing horrendous findings in their inquiry into sexual abuse allegations. We'll look at how God brings judgment first to the house of God. Then we'll look outward to culture as we try to wrestle with how Christians should respond during "Pride Month" in our cities.
Can I Trust the Bible?

Can I Trust the Bible?


In this episode Pastor Raef discusses the Bible, which forms the basis for Christian knowledge of God. The bulk of this content was originally taught during a Systematic Theology course in 2021 at Park Community Church. In it we discuss what the Bible is? How did it come to be? How do we know it is authoritative? When was it written? What are competing ideas about the Scriptures?  All of this is aimed at deepening your resolve in Christ and confidence in the Word of God.
Comments (2)


Thank you for this episode. I wish I had discovered it and your church at the time this aired.

Aug 2nd

Tony Argent

Hilarious delusional podcast. The bible is not factual and is not God's word. Zero evidence. It's a magical book written by power and control hungry men nearly a century after Jesus. Morals derive from critical thinking and the desire to live and survive together as demonstrated by most animal species not just humans. The bible is full of sexism, slavery, genocide, homophobia and child abuse. And you say that's the source of morality? Very funny podcast. Delusional nonsense

Jul 25th
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