Almost Heretical

Two ex-pastors (Nate Hanson and Tim Ritter) daring to question the so-called orthodoxy of American evangelicalism. Conversations on faith, the Bible, church and more. (Email us:

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    27: Connecting #churchtoo, Kaepernick and Christian nationalism

    What is the connection between rampant pastoral abuse in evangelical churches and evangelicalism’s collusion with conservative politics? Nate and Tim discuss how American slaveholder religion instilled a reverence for authority that is the root of both these issues. Listen in as they touch on #churchtoo, Colin Kaepernick, protecting the status quo, the notion that we’re all just supposed to be grateful for authorities, and more.

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    26: Jesus and self defense

    Tragically, school shootings happen seemingly every week in America these days, and every time they do a debate breaks out over guns and the right to bear arms. Many believe it’s “a God-given right” to own and use a gun, and many think that Jesus affirmed and even commanded armed self-defense. Others insist that Christianity is inherently pacifist and that following Jesus means giving up one’s right to bear arms. This week Tim finally went out to the shed to record an episode looking at where Jesus really stood on self-defense.

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    25: Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove - Slaveholder Religion

    Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove reflects on the painful reality that much of white American Christianity is more akin to slaveholder religion than the Christianity of Christ. He discusses how to distinguish between the two and shares some of his own journey of reconstructing the gospel.

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    24: Post traumatic history disorder

    Acknowledging the truth of our history can be painful, overwhelming and even traumatic. The history itself is also one of traumatization. Nate and Tim continue the conversation about the tragic truth of American church history by reflecting on last week’s discussion with Mark Charles and more.

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    23: Mark Charles - The truth of our history

    Mark Charles retells the founding of America to expose political, social and spiritual implications. You may need to sit and process for a while after this episode. What if we're remembering Abraham Lincoln and our founding all wrong? What if the systemic issues of our national history are still unresolved today?

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    22: The risk of believing differently

    Is it worth losing the certainty you once had to pursue a better picture of God? What if God becomes harder to believe in? Tim and Nate talk about doing better and deeper theology and how that might make for a harder story to believe.

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    19: The myth of the slippery slope

    If you start believing things outside your faith circle you might fall down a slippery slope... Should you be afraid of that? According to the ancient Christian tradition, the slippery slope might be the way to true spiritual maturity.

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    18: Wrath and Liberation

    How does getting crucified liberate anyone? Is liberation the central driving force behind the gospel? And is the wrath of God something we need to be liberated from or instead something that liberates? This week Nate and Tim examine atonement through the lens of liberation.

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    17: God isn't the problem

    Jesus saves us from ourselves, not from God. Today we look at 10 different ways to think about the atonement that are key in the Bible.

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    16: I used to be terrified of God

    Nate shares why he used to be afraid of God. We explore why penal substitution is worth fighting back on. Part 2 in a series of discussions on what happened at the cross, we continue the critique of PSA and the uglier aspects of Calvinistic theology and answer questions from Nate’s grandma about hell, judgment and universalism.

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    15: Mako Nagasawa - Beyond penal substitution

    Is Penal Substitutionary Atonement really the gospel? Is it even true? And what other options are there for making sense of Christ's death? This week we're joined by Mako Nagasawa to kick off a series of conversations all about atonement. He breaks down the problems with penal substitution, discusses an alternative "medical" view of atonement and explain the need to discern between retributive and restorative justice.

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    14: Give up power like Jesus (Part 4)

    Contrary to popular evangelical practice, the call to follow Jesus is an invitation to relinquish power over others. Part 4 in a series on the Bible as a story about power, we contrast this ethic with the theology of power and submission that is rooted in American slavery and is alive and well in the American church today.

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    13: Power for the powerless (Part 3)

    If you want power, you probably shouldn’t have it. This week we explore the relationship between the Jewish exile and power, the idea of two Jewish messiah figures and how Jesus was the key to unlocking the human problem with power.

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    12: The Bible speaks truth to power (Part 2)

    The Bible is trying to tell a story about power. Will we let it? The Old Testament weaves together two ideas: Humanity needs to wield power in order to set things right, but everyone who seeks this power proves incapable of handling it justly. This episode explores how the prophets and the prophetic nature of the Bible play an important role in telling this story.

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    11: The Bible is a story about power (Part 1)

    So much abuse and hurt is rooted in issues of power, yet power is rarely discussed in church. Though it’s been largely ignored, the danger and corrupting influence of power is a theme that runs throughout the entire Bible. Nate and Tim start a new series exploring how the Bible tells a vitally important story about power that evangelicalism desperately needs to listen to.

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    10: When theology hurts (Stories)

    Last week Tim and Nate discussed why theology even matters. It matters because ideas have consequences and bad theology hurts people. This week we stop talking and listen to stories from people who have been affected by bad evangelical theology.

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    09: Taking responsibility for our theology

    Nate and Tim step back from the Old Testament theology to reflect on why theology matters at all. Ideas trickle downstream. The affects of this trickle-down and the consequences of our theology matter, especially when they’re coming from the top of white evangelicalism and may be propping up some of our nation’s ugliest ideologies.

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    08: Giants and genocide

    The episodes on the Fall introduced some crazy stuff about gods engaging in a battle to take over the human bloodline. Now we jump into the heated conversation on divine violence by reinterpreting the conquest of Canaan in light of this mythological worldview. Did God decree genocide or gianticide, and what difference does it make?

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    07: Is God more tolerant of other religions than we are?

    Rethinking the Fall (Part 5) — The reinterpretation of the Fall sparked further questions, so Nate and Tim slow down to reflect on some its implications. How does this all affect the theological debate about God being in control? And what does it imply about the Bible’s attitude toward other religions?

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    06: God gives up (sort of)

    Rethinking the Fall (Part 4) — Nate and Tim take a fresh look at the strange story of the Tower of Babel and piece together some surprising biblical passages that tell of God giving up and delegating other gods to rule the nations.

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    05: Eve and a war for power

    Rethinking the Fall (Part 3) — Nate and Tim continue re-examining the Fall by piecing together clues in the Bible that point to a war for power initiated by the gods.

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    04: Nate has questions

    Rethinking the Fall (Part 2) — Nate has some good questions in response to the previous episode on the Fall and Tim tries to answer them.

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    03: Why is there a snake in the garden?

    Rethinking the Fall (Part 1) — Tim Ritter kicks off the first episode in a series rethinking the Biblical idea of the Fall. There’s more to the Adam and Eve story than we’ve been led to believe.

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    02: In the beginning

    Is there just one god? Tim Ritter and Nate Hanson jump into the theological deep end as they rethink the very essence of Biblical monotheism. Buckle up as they start to uncover surprising ideas behind the story of the Bible.

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    01: Ex-pastors in a shed

    How can we move forward after seeing the dark underbelly of Evangelical church world? Tim Ritter and Nate Hanson kick off Almost Heretical by starting the conversation.

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