Welcome to Three Chords and the Truth: The Apologetics Podcast! In each episode of this engaging new podcast, Timothy Paul Jones and Garrick Bailey join with top scholars to wrestle with questions related to evidence for the truth of Christianity. Then, in the second half of the show, Garrick and Timothy take a theological look at a classic hit from the history of rock and roll.
Who Are Garrick and Timothy?
Garrick Bailey is a systematic theologian, an unsystematic collector of coffee mugs, and a connoisseur of tacos and coffee who mocks his cohost’s coffee choices. Timothy is a professor, pastor, and collector of as many guitars as his spouse will allow. Timothy is also the award-winning author or coauthor of more than a dozen books, including the Gold Medallion award-winner How We Got the Bible, the CBA bestseller The Da Vinci Codebreaker, and the Christian Retailing Christian Education Book of the Year Christian History Made Easy.
How Did This Podcast Begin?
This podcast began in the doorway between two offices in historic Norton Hall on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. That’s where the two of us discovered that we shared a passion for apologetics, history, and classic rock—and also fountain pens and tacos, but there’s only so much you can fit in one podcast.
At one point, we found ourselves discussing the various versions of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” Our discussion turned to the origin of Dylan’s lyrics in the oracles of the biblical prophet Isaiah, and we wondered whether anyone had ever considered doing a podcast that brought together faith, reason, and rock and roll. A quick search of iTunes revealed that no such podcast existed; the same searches also revealed a relative paucity of high-quality apologetics podcasts. A couple of years later, our discussion of this possible podcast began to develop into reality and became Three Chords and the Truth: The Apologetics Podcast.
Why Three Chords and the Truth?
In the U2 version of “All Along the Watchtower,” Bono dared to drop the final verse of Bob Dylan’s rendition of the song and to replace the jester’s words with a few lines of his own:
“All I’ve got is a red guitar, three chords, and the truth.
All I’ve got is a red guitar. The rest is up to you.”
Of course, the phrase “three chords and the truth” did not originate with Bono. It was Harlan Howard—one of the greatest songwriters in the history of country music—who first spoke these words. According to Howard, a country and western song is “nothing more than three chords and the truth.” Howard’s point was that country music doesn’t need to be complicated; the point of a country song is to tell a true story with a clarity and a simplicity that resonates with the real experiences of people’s lives. Bono probably picked up the phrase from The Edge, who used these words to describe Curtis Mayfield’s classic tune “People Get Ready.” ”Three chords and the truth” as the title of this podcast is our nod to the origins of this project in a discussion of the different versions of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”
But it’s more than that as well.
The phrase also expresses our desire to express deep theological truths in clear and simple ways that resonate with the lives of real people. Theologians and apologists don’t need to be complicated; they need to tell a true story with beauty, clarity, and simplicity. That’s what we aim to do in this podcast.