Matters of Life & Death

In each episode of Matters of Life and Death, brought to you by Premier Unbelievable, John Wyatt and his son Tim discuss issues in healthcare, ethics, technology, science, faith and more. John is a doctor, professor of ethics, and writer and speaker on these topics, while Tim is a religion and social affairs journalist. We talk about how Christians can better engage with a particular question of life, death or something else in between.

Abusive leadership: Mike Pilavachi and Soul Survivor, The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, Sigmund Freud's chaise longue, and Paul-Timothy relationships

9 Aug 2023
01:02:45

It’s been almost two years since we recorded an episode about abusive church leadership inspired by the downfall of Mark Driscoll and the Mars Hill church. Today we re-examine that conversation in the light of the latest scandal rocking the British e...

Suffering: Mystery and presence, the lamb slain from the foundation of the world, rediscovering lament and the Gethsemane prayer

2 Aug 2023
01:05:18

We’re bringing you a classic episode of Matters of Life and Death from the archive today, all about suffering. The problem of suffering has been one of the most intractable and painful theological debates for centuries. But is it perhaps not a proble...

Q&A: Karl Barth’s complicated home life, and single Christians considering adoption

26 Jul 2023
00:39:24

In our latest episode tackling some questions from listeners, we begin by thinking about whether it should matter if influential theologians and Christian writers had personal moral failings, and whether we can separate out someone’s theological work...

Covid reconsidered 2: Empty Nightingale hospitals, difficult triage decisions, a failure of Christian leadership, and reconsidering lockdown

19 Jul 2023
00:50:08

Our second ‘lessons learned’ episode looking back at the covid pandemic tackles how our healthcare systems coped, or failed to cope, with the unprecedented crisis of coronavirus. Did we see doctors forced to make impossible choices over who gets a ve...

Covid reconsidered 1: Pandemic amnesia, ‘Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save lives’, lingering Long Covid, and 13.47 billion vaccine doses

12 Jul 2023
00:56:49

This podcast happened to launch a week or two into the first lockdown in spring 2020, and so for the first year almost all we could talk about on the show was coronavirus. But since normality finally returned last year, it feels like nobody wants to...

Dementia: Listening to our bodies, 72 unique behaviours, multi-dimensional personhood, and the sacramental ministry of touch

5 Jul 2023
00:44:49

‘Granny’s body remains, but she was gone’. The public narrative around dementia often presumes that as our ability to talk, move and think gradually withers away, so does our personhood and sense of self. But if we believe as Christians that our huma...

Surrogacy: The intended parents, altruistic versus commercial, ancient Christians saving abandoned babies, and a post-genetic community

28 Jun 2023
00:55:24

The numbers of couples choosing to have children via surrogate mothers has been steadily rising in recent years. Now, the UK authorities are considering plans for a radical overhaul of the laws around surrogacy, making it more heavily regulated but a...

Digital church: Worship on Zoom, pandemic revival, time-shifting and Gnosticism

21 Jun 2023
00:34:00

We're both on holiday this week so we're bringing you an episode we first recorded in 2021 during the covid pandemic. It explores one of the most significant and potentially long-lasting ways the covid pandemic has affected church life – the shift to...

Trans children: Gender dysphoria, diagnostic overshadowing, boy Lego versus girl Lego, and the non-replicated Dutch Protocol

14 Jun 2023
00:54:41

Perhaps the most contentious political, medical and social issue of the day is how to treat and care for young people who are questioning or experiencing distress around their sex and gender. In this episode we speak with Christian community paediatr...

Q&A: Christian pacifism in times of war and the Tower of Babel reconsidered

7 Jun 2023
00:31:29

In this episode we tackle two questions from listeners. The first asks in the light of the conflict in Ukraine whether it is ever right for Christians to become active participants in war. Then we move on to think about how the Genesis account of the...

Surrogacy: The intended parents, altruistic versus commercial, ancient Christians saving abandoned babies, and a post-genetic community

5 Jun 2023
00:55:24

The numbers of couples choosing to have children via surrogate mothers has been steadily rising in recent years. Now, the UK authorities are considering plans for a radical overhaul of the laws around surrogacy, making it more heavily regulated but a...

Digital persecution: Deadly rumours on WhatsApp, a ‘Panopticon’ of censorship, the corrosion of trust, and China’s spreading surveillance state

31 May 2023
46:27

The persecuted church today lives as it always has under the threat of arrest, imprisonment, physical attack, verbal threats and harassment, and even death. But today these traditional methods are supplemented by the technological revolution. Increas...

Q&A: Helping unmarried couples have children and court-ordered blood transfusions

24 May 2023
42:30

Today’s episode was recorded as part of the New Zealand Christian Medical Fellowship’s annual conference. Doctors there sent over two bioethical conundrums for us to chew over as part of a special episode of Matters of Life and Death. The first explo...

Generative AI: Second Contact, avoiding the fate of Nokia, hacking the human operating system, and the resilience of Western democracy

17 May 2023
42:27

A new kind of artificial intelligence software has swept through the internet over the last year. Many are thrilled by the potential and power of AI which can generate by itself impressively creative text, images, sound and video. But others are soun...

Q&A: Introverts versus extroverts, faith in the consultation room, and a moratorium on AI research

10 May 2023
39:53

More quickfire initial thoughts in response to questions from listeners. This week we discuss whether introverts are marginalised in the church, or actually disproportionately likely in the pulpit? We also consider how spirituality might play a role...

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