In today’s interview, Janet Parshall, host and executive producer of In The Market with Janet Parshall, talks with me about biblical content in contemporary culture, while also sharing with us some highlights of her long-running career in radio and providing encouragement for us to go where God leads.
JM: Janet, your show has a well-deserved stellar reputation for delivering biblical content in conversation with contemporary cultural issues. how do you go about keeping the content levels up in this fast moving action world called daily radio shows?
JP: Bill Belichick, the coach of the New England Patriots, has always challenged his team to play what he calls “situational football.” It means having a key sense of what’s going on around you on the playing field. I think keeping an ear tuned to what’s being discussed in the marketplace is a great way to harvest topics for talk radio. Paul walked around Athens for a year and a half before he gave his address in Acts 17. He did a whole lot of listening before he did any talking. That’s key for preparation for what we call “talk” radio.
JM: Why do you think biblical content is important today?
JP: We live in an information saturated age. But information does not equate with wisdom. Wisdom can only be built on truth. Biblical content is, by its very definition, eternal truth. It’s content does not change due to shifts in cultural opinions. It is the plumb line by which we can measure all other ideas. It helps us separate the straight from the crooked.
JM: Why do you think it’s important to address contemporary cultural issues and be bold and out front about Christian worldview today?
JP: I love this question because I think it’s one that had stymied the Church for some time. The directive we have been given is to “go and tell.” Cultural issues can be used effectively as bait when we go “fishing for men.” Everyone has an opinion on current events and, in truth, we can usually find aspects of morality, ethics, or virtues woven into so many of the cultural dilemmas we deal with in society. That becomes an open door to engage for the sake of the Gospel. Francis Schaeffer referred to this as “pre-evangelism.” But it’s all about first principles. Oswald Chambers says “we are not called to make men converts of our opinions, but to make them converts of the Cross.” Cultural engagement is an open door to a lost world. As long as I realize it’s not about changing someone’s mind, but praying for someone’s change of heart because of what Jesus did for us, I understand what true cultural engagement is all about.
JM: You’ve interviewed some pretty memorable people over the years; got any favorite “moments”?
JP: I praise God for the very humbling opportunities He has given me over the years. I have interviewed presidents, princes, and Prime Ministers. But my most impacting moments, personally, are the conversations I have with people who can tell me what Jesus has done for them. I am moved by the stories of the families who pressed through in the face of adversity by wholeheartedly trusting God, or the person who said “yes, Lord” even if it might cost them their life, or of the individual who forgave another person when the most horrific action had been done against someone they loved. Those conversations remind me over and over again who Jesus is. I am so grateful that I have a “mute” button on my microphone because these stories have brought me to tears more times than I can count. But they’ve also brought me closer to Jesus.
JM: What do you think are the key biblical truths under challenge today?
JP: The biggest issue we face today is whether or not the Truth exists. A recent cover of TIME magazine was emblazoned with the headline “Is Truth Dead?” If the answer to that question is “yes,” then every issue that Scripture identifies as truth is up for debate. Marriage, the sanctity of human life, justice issues, just to name a few, all emanate from the core principles of biblical truth. When we abandon the northern star of His word, our little ship gets tossed and blown on the stormy seas of opinion and situational ethics. It is why I am so passionate about taking up the directive found in Jude to “contend” for the faith. We must not be ashamed of the truth. In fact, we should so love it that we run compassionately into a lost world with His hope on our lips and His love in our hearts.
JM: What do you think are the key cultural in the market issues that we need to think right about?
JP: I find this question to be very difficult because I believe it should be “the whole truth, of the whole gospel, to the whole world.” God has created a sensitivity in the hearts of believers for different issues. Some are passionate about social justice, or sex trafficking, or the pro-life movement, or the protection of marriage, or the eradication of the deadly impact of pornography. Some want to make sure that children have a choice in education, or that national debt isn’t passed on to future generations. The Lord has dominion over all, so under His canopy, all issues matter because all people matter. I take great comfort in knowing that spending time at the feet of Jesus, by being immersed in His word, can create in the heart of every one of us a passion to serve wherever He calls us. I have found the Lord to be very faithful when we ask Him to give us “the desires of our heart.” And, He will always lead us when we simply say, “yes, Lord.”
At God Centered Life, we are currently providing a series of interviews about biblical content and its importance today in contemporary culture and the church. Read other interviews in this series: Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner.