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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.
18 Episodes
In this episode, Pastor Raef challenges every Christian to take seriously the work of Apologetics and defending your Christian faith. Christianity is under attack from every direction, but Christians need not feel that secular argumentation has in any way dealt a blow to their Christian faith. In this episode we engage with Atheist scholar Sam Harris and expose why it is irrational to hold to an atheistic materialistic worldview.
When the New York Times shared the idea of a Reality Czar working with the President, it brought back memories of the classic dystopian novels 1984. Pastor Raef shares why human bias makes this potential role dangerous. Plus, we hear the inspiring story of one pastor in India who despite intense persecution continues to serve the Lord Jesus. 
Last Sunday was Pro Life Sunday in America and Pastor Raef preached a full sermon title 'A Biblical Response to Abortion.' In this follow up podcast, Raef responds to a number of questions and talking points that are often brought up when discussion abortion in an attempt to bring clarity for Christians to engage in a meaningful way.
After President Biden used the word unity more than any other President in their inauguration speech, Past Raef asks "Is Unity in America Possible?" Hear what he has to say in this weeks episode of The Christian Optimist. 
Riots in Washington DC

Riots in Washington DC


We all witnessed something that had hadn't happened since the war of 1812 when citizens took over the Capitol building. How are we as Christians to respond. Pastor Raef tackles this sensitive topic in the season premier of The Christian Optimist. 
What is apologetics, and why are we called to know it? Pastor Raef is joined this week with the founder of The Think Institute - Joel Settecase; and they breakdown the importance of apologetics and the different kinds there are.  
With us entering Advent, Pastor Raef shares an encouraging devotional to prepare your for this Christmas season. Plus, Raef breaks down one of the most unique verses in the Old Testament. 
Was Jesus a Wizard?

Was Jesus a Wizard?


Part 1: When Christian Leaders Have Moral FailureAnother well known Christian leader is removed from the pulpit due to moral failure. How should Christians respond? And what can the Church do to protect against future failures like this?Part 2: Was Jesus a WizardPastor Raef breaks down a recent  article at Yahoo asking if Jesus was just a wizard? Other figures in history seem to be able to do the same types of miracles Jesus is claimed to have performed? What should Christians do with these stories?
This week Pastor Raef talks about why raising a child in a Christian household takes on a different responsibility than the rest of the world, and why one Supreme Court ruling may effect the future of Christian religious liberty surrounding foster care and adoption in America. 
Pastor Raef highlights key takeaways from John Piper's thoughts on the upcoming Presidential Election taking place this week. How do we balance and consider Trump's character in light of Republican vs. Democratic policies.
This week Pastor Raef discusses the process of deciding how to host church services indoors as weather gets colder, and how John MacArthur's call to action is sparking a nation wide debate with church leaders around the country. We also take a look into Chris Pratt's outspoken faith has highlighted a bigger issue in media and our current culture. 
Pastor Raef discusses one of the most controversial documentaries on Netflix - The Social Dilemma; and then shares how Bill Nye uses everything but science when it comes to the topic of abortion.   
This week Pastor Raef breaks down 3 questions from recent sermons (linked below) in the first edition of Quick Fire Q & A. Then he breaks down a Ted Talk from Atheist, Sam Harris, and how it makes Atheism look silly. Sermons:Romans 13: God's Plan for Earthly Government: 9: The Doctrine of Unconditional Election:
What is logic, why does math work, and what do both of these things have to do with the character of God? We tackle this and more on the debut episode of The Christian Optimist. 
How is God moving in one of the most Atheist filled areas in Chicago? A caffeinated Pastor Raef shares some exciting news! Plus, Pastor Raef shares what Gods says on the topic of Transgender Women effecting women's athletics & how to navigate that conversation back to the Bible. 
In this episode Pastor Raef discusses the topics of the Existence and Knowability of God. This episode was originally a class taught at Park Community Church's Systematic Theology course covering Wayne Grudem's textbook. The topic of the Existence and knowability of God get into classic arguments for apologetics (a big piece of this podcast). In this episode we'll cover the classic arguments for God and look at their strengths and weaknesses and how to use them in regular evangelism encounters. While a presuppositional approach to apologetics is always recommended, a working knowledge of the classic arguments for the existence of God is helpful.
We see them on corners and our front doors, but do we really understand Jehovah's Witnesses? Are they a denomination of the Christian Church or are they a cult? Pastor Raef goes deep into the history of the Jehovah's Witness and highlights the key differences between Christianity and their faith.  
This week, Pastor Raef tackles the topic of The Moral Dilemma by interacting with a video in which Richard Dawkins attempts to answer the Moral Dilemma from an atheistic worldview. We'll discover not only why atheism has no foundation to make moral claims, but why Christianity stands above all other worldviews when it comes to this topic.  
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