Tough Topics

Digital Conference

About Tough Topics

Please join us for our Tough Topics Conference! We’re excited to hear from some really thoughtful people over the next 2 weeks, as we tackle some not-so-easy conversations.Our prayer is that these topics will spark curiosity, conversation, and growth.
You can watch each night’s session live (or afterwards) at 7:30 PM CST on our YouTube channel.

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All sessions are live on YouTube at 7:30 PM CST.


Spiritual Gifts w/ Dr. Rob Reimer

Rev. Dr. Rob Reimer’s passion is to see the kingdom of God advance through spiritual renewal.  As Founder and President of Renewal International, Rob works with pastors, leaders and churches internationally to equip the people of God to live in freedom and to walk in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.  His books Soul Care, Deep Faith, River Dwellers, and Pathways to the King have sold worldwide. In addition to his work with Renewal International, Dr. Reimer is currently Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Alliance Theological Seminary.

He spoke with us about this experience with Spiritual Gifts, and his work equipping others.

Question Recap

0:00 Intro

2:45 Outline of Theological Positions on Spiritual Gifts

4:20 Rob’s Position

5:35 Stories of Personal Experience

16:25 Learning to hear from the Holy Spirit

22:47 Are the gifts a constant presence in your life?

25:22 What is the connection between emotional care and spiritual care?

33 Are they any indicators or cues to help decipher spiritual and emotional issues?

34:41: Suggestions on how to listen to the Spirit.

41:57 Are there any tips or phrases you avoid using?

44:37 What does it look like to incorporate the gifts into a community setting?

48:52 What do you do with prophetic messages that appear negative?

52:20 Thoughts on the idea that supernatural gifts weren’t happening for much of church history.

56:24 How do you see the Holy Spirit working in the midst of CODIV-19?

59:55 People who have had bad experiences.


Hell w/ Dr. Preston Sprinkle

Preston Sprinkle is a professor, speaker, and a New York Times bestselling author. He earned a Ph.D. in New Testament from Aberdeen University in Scotland (2007), and he’s been a professor of theology at Cedarville University (OH), has taught at Nottingham University (England), and Eternity Bible College (CA and ID).  Preston has written several books and dozens of articles. He loves to bridge the gap between the ivory tower and the pew by writing on controversial topics in an accessible and engaging way. He broke into popular-level writing when he co-authored, Erasing Hell, which sold more than 150,000 copies in the first month of its release and reached number 3 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Since then, he’s written several books.


0:00 – Intro

2:15 – The 3 Positions On Hell

5:40 – Dr. Sprinkle’s Background

10:04 – Conditional Immortality

14:09 – Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT)

19:15 – Eternal Fire 22:18 – Christian Universalism

28:16 – Danger Of Believing What You Want To Believe

31:12 – Processing Opposing Opinions On Hell

34:55 – Which Theory To Believe?

37:22 – Passive Tourment

39:57 – Question About Isaiah 66

43:59 – Purgatory

46:28 – How Important Is It To Choose A Viewpoint Of Hell?

50:03 – How Do We Talk To Kids About Hell?

53:22 – Closing


Sexuality & Gender w/ Dr. Preston Sprinkle

Dr. Preston Sprinkle has a Ph.D. from Aberdeen University (Scotland) and serves as the president of The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender. Preston is a New York Times bestselling author, who has written several books including Erasing Hell, Charis, Living in a Gray World, People to Be Loved, and the recently released small group learning experience: Grace/Truth 1.0 and 2.0. Preston has given talks to thousands of people worldwide on the topic of faith, sexuality and gender.


0:00 – Intro

2:00 – Preston’s main areas of exploration and teaching.

7:00 – Preston shares a story of someone struggling with gender identity issues.

12:00 – Clarifying terms around the gender identity issue.

16:00 – Addressing “gender roles.”

17:00 – Preston addresses the idea of “being born in the wrong body.”

22:00 – Advice and resources for parents want to know more.

26:00 – Advice for parents regarding when and how to discuss these topics.

30:00 – Are Christians “giving up ground” on this topic?

34:00 – Opinion on how to handle the pronoun debate.

36:00 – Thoughts on traditional views of gender roles.

38:00 – Ways churches can handle these topics.

42:00 – How to talk to a teenager who is forming their identity.

47:00 – Preston addresses LGBTQ pastors or church staff.


Church & Politics w/ Justin Giboney

Justin Giboney is an attorney and political strategist in Atlanta, GA. Mr. Giboney has managed successful campaigns for elected officials in the state and referendums relating to the city’s transportation and water infrastructure.  In 2012 and 2016, Georgia’s 5th congressional district elected him as a delegate for the Democratic National Convention and he served as the co-chair of Obama for America’s Gen44-Atlanta initiative. A former Vanderbilt University football player and law student, Justin served on the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Board of Directors. He’s written op-eds for publications such as Christianity Today.


1:00 – What the AND Campaign is all about

9:00 – How did we get to the extreme polarized system we have today?

11:00 – How can the church approach politics with an eye toward unity?

14:00 – White & Black Evangelical churches, similar belief systems & different conclusions.

16:00 – Conversations around abortion with those that don’t prioritize it as an issue.

18:00 – Justin addresses the “frustrated middle” and shutting down to politics completely.

21:00 – Voting third party, is it just throwing your vote away?

23:00 – Justin’s take on religious freedoms in our nation and the current direction. 

26:00 – The balance between legislation and christian morals.

28:00 – Justin highlights other human dignity issues that we sometimes go too far with. 

30:00 – A solution to unite white and black evangelic churches.

33:00 – Misunderstandings some churches have about a smaller minority church. 

37:00 – Justin shares a story that gives us hope that unity is possible.

39:00 – Justin speaks to thoughts of, “It sounds nice, but is it just idealistic and unrealistic.”

42:00 – Who are some people that have influenced you and helped formulate your stance?

44:00 – Examples of churches & leaders that have gotten the Christian narrative right.

47:00 – Justin addresses a person on both extremes, how they might rethink some of their positions. 

53:00 – Balancing our vote on strong calculations as a Christian.


Women in Ministry w/ Kristen Padilla

Kristen Padilla is an author, speaker, wife, and mom located in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2008 she received a Master of Divinity degree from Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in Birmingham, and has been involved in mentoring young women called to ministry, speaking on the topic of calling at retreats, writing Bible studies, and teaching Scripture at women’s events.  She also has written for Credo magazine, The Well, and The Gospel Coalition. She currently serves as the marketing and communications coordinator for Beeson Divinity School, where she produces the Beeson podcast, magazine, and devotional booklets and she mentors seminary women.  In 2018, she released her book, Now That I’m Called: A Guide for Women Discerning a Call to Ministry.


2:22 – Kristen shares her story.

8:00 – Addresses being called to ministry with no place yet to practice.

13:20 – Kristen describes her prayer life and how she wrestled with what to do.

16:31 – The various different positions surrounding this topic.

18:00 – Kristen talks about Egalitarian and Complementarianism. 

19:15 – Nuances between the two views.

25:15 – Kristen’s views on the theological discussion.

31:15 – What it looks like in Kristen’s denomination and her church she serves.

38:45 – Kristen’s best arguments for both positions.

51:00 – Kristen addresses women who are struggling to find how to serve their church if they sense the call for ministry.

54:00 – Pointers on how to talk to our kids and daughters about God.

57:00 – Practical pointers to get over the challenges of traditional ministry.

1:03 – Kristen responds to 1 Samuel 16.


Immigration w/ Matthew Soerens

Matthew Soerens is the US Director of Church Mobilization for World Relief, where he helps evangelical churches to understand the realities of refugees and immigration and to respond in ways guided by biblical values. He also serves as the National Coordinator for the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition that advocates for immigration reforms consistent with biblical values.  Matthew previously served as a Department of Justice-accredited legal counselor at World Relief’s local office in Wheaton, Illinois and, before that, with World Relief’s partner organization in Managua, Nicaragua. He’s also the co-author of Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis (Moody Publishers, 2016)


3:00 – How Matthew became interested in immigration and World Relief. 

5:00 – Who is World Relief and what do they do?

7:00 – Matthew shares a couple stories of people living amongst immigrants and refugees.

12:00 – Matthew shares a story of someone who may have come over illegally from our southern border.

16:00 – Main changes in our immigration law throughout history.

22:00 – Matthew defines: Immigrant, Refugee and Asylum. 

27:00 – Various sides of the debate surrounding immigration, illegal immigration and refugees.

34.30 – How do Christians balance all of these elements?

42:00 – How do Christians handle the tension of the current laws?

43:00 – Matthew addresses inflammatory attitudes and refugees being defamed.

50:00 – Matthew speaks on deportations and actual realities around the southern border.

59:00 – Risks that immigrants face without organizations in place to help them.


Media & Mass Information w/ Dr. Kristin Lindholm

Dr. Kristin Lindholm, Associate Professor of Communication and Chair of the Communication Department, has been teaching at Trinity International University since 1994. She earned her PhD at the University of Illinois in Urbana specializing in health communication. Her research is primarily in the areas of coping with aging and engaging in end-of-life communication.  Dr. Lindholm teaches courses in subjects such as family and gender communication, mass communication, and communication theory. She is also a member of the National Communication Association.  Dr. Lindholm was the recipient of the Regents Prize for Distinguished Performance at Trinity International University in 2009, was a member of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2004 and 2005, was the recipient of the Teacher of the Year for the College of Arts and Sciences of Trinity International University for the 1997–1998 academic year, and is a member of the National Communication Association.


3:15 – What Dr. Lindholm is currently working on.

5:00 – Dr. Lindholm addresses the landscape of mass media today.

10:45 – Some of the ways that media companies sell “you.”

12:39 – Some warnings about data gathering information.

14:15 – Dr. Lindholm speaks to social media interaction changing communication.

16:30 – What are implications for us spiritually?

18:00 – Media bias, fake news and how to consume communication.

22:15 – Tips on how to decipher facts from bias.

24:00 – Confirmation bias and why people fall prey to it.

26:00 – Dr. Lindholm speaks to how to intentionally view different and opposing viewpoints.

29:21 – Skills for addressing and communicating through conflict.

32:48 – Important things for Christians to understand about communication and mass information.

36:35 – Blogs & grass roots media vs. Large media outlets.

41:30 – Tools and techniques to manage media use.

44:38 – Dr. Lindholm addresses minimal media users.

47:11 – The dangers of a lot of media consumption.

49:00 – Cultural and media effects on the binary nature of news.


Race Relations w/ Dr. Michael Reynolds & Jonathan Reynolds

Dr. Michael Reynolds has extensive experience in the corporate business world, maintains ongoing ministry involvement as the pastor of a growing urban church, and is the director of the Master of Arts in Urban Ministry program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Jonathan Reynolds attended Trinity International University where he received his BA in Biblical Studies. He then furthered his education at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School earning an MA in Urban Ministries. He is the Youth Pastor at Salem Baptist Church of Chicago.
3:00 – Why racial reconciliation has been such a major part of their ministries.
5:00 – Addressing events that have shown racism, white supremacy and why this is still an important issue.
8:00 – Defining prejudice.

11:05 – Their thoughts on profiling and when it becomes prejudice.

16:56 – Defining white privilege.

23:00 – Addressing systematic racism.

28:12 – How systemic racism has lingering effects in today’s world.

31:42 – Their take on social justice and how is that used in common terminology today.

41:00 – Dr. Reynolds speaks about conversations about race he had to have with his sons.

47:30 – Addressing the importance of conversations with each other about our various life experiences.

51:22 – Advice of how to address people locally and online who are tired of this specific conversation.

1:01 – What to do as Christians when we see someone hurting and don’t know what to do about it.

1:10 – Responding to this statement: “We think that the answer to racism is to be colorblind, but I need you to see my color.”

1:17 – Advice on resources on this topic for people wanting to know more.

1:23 – Addressing poverty and crime and how they are or are not related.