Australia Books Films History Jesus Christ Music Theology

The New Saturday Review 8 – Folau, Jesus v. Evangelicals, Jesus Ascended, The Invincible Family, Ardennes 1944, Saving Private Ryan and Rachmanioff Piano Concerto No.2

The New Saturday Review 8

 The purpose of this is to give general reviews – not detailed – in order to encourage (or in some cases discourage!)  your reading, viewing and listening.   After each review I give a mark in terms of the value, beauty and worthwhileness.

Folau –

 This is a two part documentary series from the ABC about Israel Folau.   Folau refused to cooperate with this and I can see why.   The programmes were interesting and revealing – mostly of the inherent bias within the ABC and others of the Establishment Elites in Australia.

A few comments.     Of course rugby Australia supported a yes vote in the SSM debate.   Though what this has to do with rugby no one wanted to say.    Corporate Australia is into ‘diversity’ (meaning non- diversity – just like this programme – only one point of view is permitted).  Corporate Australia has the money.  Therefore corporate Australia gets what it wants.

It is interesting the values that rugby Australia has.  They can’t abide someone quoting the Bible on his own social media, but they let those who have been convicted of domestic violence and others serious crimes continue.  Apparently that doesn’t hurt their brand image!  They ban people from making offensive posts – but I guess it all depends what you call offensive.  I find some of their posts offensive – but what does that matter?!

It was assumed that changing gender on birth certificates was the right and civilised thing to do.  Why?

It was amusing to hear Peter Fitzsimmons say that it was not the media that led the charge against Folau.  This from a man who wrote incessantly and negatively about him.    Media and social media fed off one another.   Social media is the mob.  Peter Fitzsimmons and other mainstream media were the mob leaders.

The lack of diversity and balance from the ABC was shown in their interviewing of several gay Pacific islanders, and not one pastor or leader who could give the biblical perspective on marriage.

No one seems to see the inconsistency in rugby Australia saying they were ‘open to all – this is an inclusive sport’’’ and then banning Israel Falou!  Likewise the NRL chairman who stated

“We believe in inclusiveness and that position would not allow us to sign Israel Folau”.  I guess when you are deeply closeted in your own closed world view and virtue signalling, you don’t see the illogicality in that!  Likewise when GoFundMe refused to allow him to fundraise because they were for ‘equality’.    It appears in this Brave New World, some people are more equal than others.

I was intrigued at the demonisation of the Australian Christian Lobby in general and Martyn Isles in particular.  They even speculated whether the ACL were the ones really pulling the strings and manipulating Falou.  I guess conspiracy theories are ok when they are the conspiracy theories of the Progressives!

It was not surprising but still astonishing when one ‘expert’ declared that Israel was free to say what he likes, but he could still lose his job.  The usual claims were made about religion nothing being immune from criticism.  That’s a straw man – because no one is arguing that.  Criticism is one thing.  Discrimination and intimidation is another.

The same expert also stated “ I have a problem with this issue of protecting an idea.”.   And yet SSM and the whole philosophy surrounding it is an idea!  It is an ideology which should be open to critique – but apparently this new State Progressive religion is not permitted to be questioned.  To do so is blasphemy.

And finally the suicide card was played.  Apparently if you do not affirm everyone’s life style (apart from Christians?)  then you are guilty of causing them to commit suicide.  It’s a facetious, irrational and emotionally blackmailing argument.  But that doesn’t stop it being used.

I’m afraid the whole programme was largely at that level – lacking intellectual depth and emotional balance it was in effect a propaganda piece designed to discredit Falou – and anyone who dares to question the new moral absolutes of our culture.


Israel Folau – Heretic or Hero?


Jesus v. Evangelicals – Constantine R Campbell

 This is a really frustrating book.  It makes several good points and could have been a clarion call and a clear warning to the wider church.   However it gets lost in its own politics and judgementalism – ironically in the name of non-judgementalism.   Campbell judges evangelicals (which for him is a pretty wide term – incorporating all sorts of evangelicals in the US – including those who don’t believe the evangel but are just political evangelicals).

The politics and logic is somewhat naïve and  illogical.  Eg “In the same way, gay marriage need not alter nor undermine the institution of marriage, despite evangelical protestations to the contrary.” Campbell seems unaware that in order to have SSM, marriage for everyone has to be redefined and so undermined.   He also suggests that the worst case scenarios have not come to pass – I would suggest that he is really out of touch with what is happening throughout wider society, as the institution of the family is continually undermined with the resultant mass confusion that occurs.

Campbell comes up with an interesting thesis – that there are acceptable and unacceptable sins amongst evangelicals.  Not if they are really evangelical!  All sin is repugnant to God.  All sin is an offence to God.  We don’t get to make our own lists.

The book is full of sweeping (and condemnatory) judgements – ie. ‘Evangelicals have tended to pit social action against evangelism” – not in my experience…or tradition.  Doubtless there are some (I have come across them) but you can’t extrapolate from that and apply it to most evangelicals.

There are some good insights and information in this book and it is very readable – but overall it is too simplistic, too personal and too shallow in terms of its biblical understanding and cultural analysis.  The title is just a somewhat silly (and judgemental) attempt to shock.   I hope that Campbell will reflect and rewrite…he could have a lot more valuable things to say.

I may write a fuller review later. It is a subject well worth following up.


Jesus Ascended  by Gerrit Scott Dawson


I have just finished reading this for the second time.  Again if I get the time I would like to write a fuller review but suffice it to say that I would regard this as one of the best theological books I have every read.    There are few books which I would regard as life changing but for me this is one of them.    To be honest I had not reflected on the ascension of Christ nearly as much as I should have done.    Dawson subtitles this ‘the meaning of Christ’s continued incarnation’.  And he gives us it.  This is theology on fire, practical theology, emotional theology – life changing theology.  If I ever end up pastoring a church again I think I would use Jesus Ascended as a core text.   Highly recommended.


Where is Jesus Now? – Apologetics 101 .No. 11

The Invincible Family – by Kimberly Ells

I can hardly describe how important a book this is. I was put on to it as a ‘game changer’ by the Coalition for Marriage.  I was cynical but to be honest the half was not told!  I have taken over 20 pages of notes.   Rather than pass them on to you perhaps I should let Kimberly speak for herself as to who the book is for – “The Invincible Family is for people who value the family and oppose child sex, including policy makers and parents. The book will resonate with people who believe the family is a social good and will assist them in articulating that position. The book will also appeal to people who have unanswered questions about the effects of same-sex marriage on society, people who are seeking to understand the transgender movement, as well as the pro-life community, the donor-conceived community, and parental rights advocates.”

It is not a specifically Christian book (I don’t know where Kimberly stands on Christianity) but it does argue for the Christian position – and provides us with a mine of information.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.   If you were only able to get one book this year – this is the one I would recommend – (I only wish that Constantine Campbell – see above – had read and digested it before writing his own work!).

Here are just a few quotes:

Confucius: “If your plan is for one year, plant rice; if your plan is for ten years, plant trees; if your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.”

Engels’s dream was that marriage would disappear, uncommitted “sex love” would flourish, somebody else would take care of the kids, and life would be a great big, happy utopia full of sex and plenty of shared money without any family responsibilities to worry about. This is precisely the type of society that socialists are still zealously working for today.

If men and women do not inherently possess their biological children, there is little need for a wedding other than to spend money to show people you love each other. This is what most modern marriage celebrants understand marriage to be: a state-recognized party about the sexual affection of adults—not a means of biological and legal tethering that secures possessorship of potential children to their fathers through their mothers.

In short, same-sex marriage annihilates the idea that men and women are complementary. But transgenderism annihilates the idea that men and women inherently exist at all. Firestone dreamed that a day would come when “transsexuality would be the norm.”37 That day is upon us.

Research indicates that nearly two-thirds of abortions in America occur under situations of coercion wherein sexual partners, family members, sexual abusers, or other entities pressure the pregnant woman to abort her child.

Convince women (and all of society) that work done for money is more important than work done in the name of love. Portray pregnancy as an unnatural, dangerous injustice to women. Portray abortion as a safe practice that brings justice and empowerment to women. Present children as burdens rather than assets.

Take heart. The family cannot be destroyed. It can only be abandoned. Mothers, fathers, stand fast. Do not step aside. Your child is uniquely yours and no one else’s. Do not be dissuaded. Do not abandon your post. Do not surrender your greatest treasure. Guard it with your life.


Ardennes 1944 – Hitler’s Last Gamble by Anthony Beevor


Beevor is one of the finest historical and military writers ever.  His Stalingrad had a huge impact upon me.  Ardennes (think ‘Battle of the Bulge’) is of a similar style – a grand sweeping overview filled with the most fascinating details.      The main lesson from it comes at the end – speaking of the (mainly American) troops who stood up to the German onslaught Beevor writes “Their sacrifice bought the time needed to bring in reinforcements, and this was their vital contribution to the destruction of Hitler’s dreams.  Perhaps the German leadership’s greatest mistake in the Ardennes offensive was to have misjudged the soldiers of an army they had affected to despise”   (p.369)


Film – Saving Private Ryan

 I recently rewatched this – and was again struck by how powerful it is.  Spielberg’s direction is as always, outstanding.  He certainly brings out the brutality of war (as does Beevor in his book).   What struck me was the number of times that Scripture was quoted!   This was a different culture from today’s!This gives an example! 


Music – Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 – Anna Federova

 I have listened to, watched this so many times!    I’m not the only one – it has been viewed over 38 million times on YouTube – which is astonishing for a piece of classical music!    It is such a beautiful piece of music, played by an incredible pianist, Anna Fedorova,  in the stunning setting of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.   The conductor and orchestra are also magnificent.  This shows wonderfully the fact that human beings are made in the image of God and have the capacity to create extraordinary beauty.  I know of no more beautiful piece of music than the 2nd movement (about 11 min 30 seconds in).


See you next week.










  1. I think Kimberly Ells is a Mormon…a church where family life is vitally important.

    1. Yes indeed , and so was LDS Polygamy until 1890 when the Church abolished it in the face of an imminent Govt ban.

  2. Excellent summary of the “Folau” doco. But this especially:

    “Apparently if you do not affirm everyone’s life style (apart from Christians?) then you are guilty of causing them to commit suicide. It’s a facetious, irrational and emotionally blackmailing argument.”

    Perhaps we could coin a new phrase: “Reverse Gaslighting”?

    And in relation to your coupling of “Ardennes 1944” and “Saving Private Ryan”, I would also recommend the TV mini series co-produced by Spielberg with Tom Hanks and another notable historian of WW II, Stephen E Ambrose, “Band of Brothers”, which covered the Ardenne Forest campaign in detail.

  3. Thank you for the Rachmaninov vid.

    Here’s the great man himself playing Handel :

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