Have you ever struggled to engage in conversations about hot topics online? Have you ever wondered how to stay humble in your theology while still holding onto the primary truths of the Gospel? In this episode, you’ll learn about this and so much more.

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Episode 194’s guest is the first official male guest: Joel Muddamalle, Director of Theology and research at Proverbs 31 Ministries. This episode follows Joel’s leadership journey and how God led him to work in a predominantly female ministry, Proverbs 31 Ministries. We also discuss why we need to stay humble in our theology as leaders, how we can learn to see multiple sides of an issue, and what we should do when attempting to have conversations about theological differences. We will also hit on the issue of deconstruction and how this relates to our need as Christians to continually evaluate what we believe in light of the Truth of Scripture.

The sponsor for this episode is Esther’s mini-course, Confident Conversations. This course is designed to teach you how to initiate and lead hard conversations as a Christian woman even if you struggle with confrontation, aren’t sure what to say, and want to avoid hurting people in the process. Grab the Confident Conversations mini course here!

Key Points Discussed:

  • Joel’s background, upbringing, and unlikely path to leadership
  • Joel’s leadership journey and how it brought him to working at Proverbs 31 Ministries
  • Why Joel thinks it’s so vital for Christian leaders to remain humble in their theology
  • The importance of reading books from theologians of all backgrounds and engaging in active learning through reading
  • The importance of realizing your faith background is ‘a’ framework, and not ‘the’ framework for theological issues
  • Researching both sides of a viewpoint on an issue to really understand the full scope of the issue
  • How conversations and dialogue about our differences play a role in biblical unity
  • Being able to communicate the opposite viewpoint’s strongest point before engaging in dialogue about an issue
  • The negatives of talking in ‘broad brushstrokes’
  • How to engage in conversation with someone who is not an Orthodox Christian without being fearful
  • As leaders, the importance of being aware of the current generation and context and culture, and knowing that different people have grown up in at different times.
  • How to engage with the concept of deconstruction
  • The line between healthy and dangerous deconstruction
  • The need for critical thinking within deconstruction
  • Leaders are Learners Recommendations from Joel:

Key Quotes from the Episode:

  • “And I had to realize early on, and actually, Lysa [TerKeurst] asked me this often: ‘What are the things that breathed life into me?’ and I kind of have to be aware of those types of things in order to make sure that my leadership is moving in the direction where I think God has wired me versus fighting against the waves, in moving in a direction that is ultimately going to just wipe me out over a long period of time. It’s not that I can’t do it. But I probably shouldn’t do it over a long period of time, because it doesn’t fill me up.” -Joel Muddamalle [12:10]
  • “If we can start with a posture of humility, then I think the way that we do theology, the way that we do conversations, the way that we handle areas of unknown–the gray areas of the biblical text that we all wish weren’t there–will actually get us to a place of deeper understanding and knowing with each other, while still leaving room for personal conviction.” – Joel Muddamalle [15:40]
  • “If you come across a theologian that doesn’t walk with a limp, that’s probably not a good thing.” – Joel Muddamalle [18:45]
  • “We’ve got to be willing to understand the other person’s perspective before we try to just come in and claim our stake in the ground on what we think.” – Esther Littlefield [35:00]
  • “In a culture that we have more information and quicker access to information than ever before, my fear is we’re actually becoming less logical.” – Joel Muddamalle [40:20]
  • “…And so now I’ve deconstructed what I believed has been a flat out lie to me, and I’m reconstructing. The problem is you’re reconstructing another fabricated house, and it’s gonna fall apart in a matter of time. Every social justice movement that we’ve ever had that’s not rooted in the Gospel has fallen apart over a period of time. It’s a fad for a moment, but unless it’s the heart of the Gospel, and the people of God come around it and actually do it, because that’s an imperative of the people of God, it’s gonna fall apart and that’s what we’re seeing as well with deconstruction.” – Joel Muddamalle [53:55]
  • “Our posture before the Lord… our awareness of our finite reality and God’s infinite nature. It’s that humility that makes all this possible.” – Joel Muddamalle [57:50]

Connect with Joel:

Joel serves as the Director of Theology and Research for Proverbs 31 Ministries and Lysa TerKeurst, and is a part of the preaching team at Transformation Church with Pastor Derwin Gray. Joel earned a PhD in Theology under Drs. Patrick Schreiner (NT) and Michael Heiser (OT) with an emphasis on Paul’s household language in Ephesians as it relates to the Old Testament. He loves studying and teaching the brilliant truths found in Scripture and unpacking how they relate to our everyday lives.

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