Is There Such A Thing As “Healthy Masculinity”?

It’s almost a given today that masculinity is viewed as being a negative and even harmful thing. The most common adjective which is used to describe someone who is overly masculine is that it is ‘toxic’. Due to the impact of the fall, sin has infected every area of life, not least the way we relate to one another as men and women (i.e. Genesis 3:16b). But is there such a thing as ‘healthy masculinity’?

Al Stewart’s latest book, The Manual (Matthias Press, 2022) addresses this precise question. And he answers it brilliantly. Divided into two parts, Stewart first addresses the various reasons why masculinity is under attack, as well as why a healthy masculinity is so vital for human flourishing.

Then in the second half of the book, Stewart addresses six key areas of life to illustrate what this should look like in practice: “manning up” as a son, friend, workmate, single man, husband and finally, father.

Wealth of Wisdom

Stewart is a gifted communicator, both as a speaker as well as a writer. His writing is clear, engaging, insightful and often humorous. Not only that, but having been faithful to the same woman in marriage for over forty years, Stewart has the runs on the board to be able to draw from his own personal experience.

What is particularly helpful though, is the level of secondary reading and secular research that Stewart has done. There is a wealth of material here, and the author has incorporated it really well into his argument. Everyone from Leonard Sax, Jordan Peterson, John Gray, Steve Biddulph, Jonathan Haidt, Bettina Arndt, Rod Dreher and John Eldredge to Alain de Botton.

That said, Stewart faithfully weaves the teaching of the Bible throughout. Stewart is a gifted and experienced Bible teacher, and this shows in how he repeatedly brings the Scriptures to bear on the subject. As such, God’s Word remains the authority, even if the quotes by Jordan Peterson are used more often than I would have liked.

Restoration

Stewart’s main point is that men have become dangerous not because masculinity is in and of itself toxic, but because their humanity is. Hence, the answer is not to make men more feminine, but to see them re-made into the image of God through Jesus. The challenge is to show men what they should be, as opposed to what they should not. As Stewart rightly says,

“It seems to me that some women’s rights advocates in recent times have seen gender ‘equalization’ as a zero-sum game — that is, in order to lift women up, you need to pull men down.”

One of the most powerful chapters for me was “The Power of Just Turning Up”. Stewart persuasively encourages the readers about the value of faithfulness and Christian endurance. Regardless of gender roles, this is a much-needed message today and Stewart does it in a way which is truly like a father talking to his own son. This section alone is worth the price of the book.

Addressing the issue of the roles of men and women in today’s society is — as Stewart himself observes — like sticking your head into a bag of angry cats. See, I told you he had a way with words! One of the reasons for this is, as Stewart says, “popular culture presents men and fathers as incompetent fools.” But in the end, the author is able to come through the discussion essentially unscathed.

This is because he has a genuine love for other people, but most of all for Jesus. In fact, the concluding chapter entitled “Following the Greatest Man” is a terrific example of Stewart’s desire to see men in particular brought into a right relationship with God.

This is a book that deserves — and I pray does receive — a wide readership. The Manual is soaked through with practical wisdom, theological insight and sociological research. It’s the type of book which makes you think of all of the people you want to give it to. My own response was to purchase a copy of everyone on my church leadership team.

PS: Reformers Bookshop currently has a sale on The Manual for $18.74, reduced from the recommended $25.

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Photo by Alena Darmel.

Thank the Source

The Victorian Election: Disheartening, But Do Not Despair

Bad news in Victoria — yet, though earthly governments may fail, we look to our eternal hope in the Lord.

Saturday night was not a good one for Christians, for conservatives, and for those who value freedom, family and other key values. The short story is this: Labor’s vote went down. The Liberals’ vote went down. The vote of some others (Teals, Greens, independents) went up. The Greens, for example, took some seats away from Labor. Despite all this, Labor managed to stay in power, and it looks to retain a majority in the lower house.

If you are pro-faith, pro-family, and pro-freedom, it was another bad election result. It is getting to be a broken record, certainly in places like Victoria. In simple political terms, the Liberals have lost 6 out of the last 7 state elections. One wonders if they will ever recover, given their pathetically weak and useless ability to be a viable opposition.

It would seem clear that Matthew Guy will have to step down, with two losses in a row (although recall that Jeff Kennett had also lost twice). But it is not just the leader, but the whole party: it is utterly hopeless. They believe in nothing, stand for nothing, and have no conservative convictions whatsoever. So why even bother?

Yes, Labor went down in votes (around 7 per cent all up), but it was not enough to see them moved along. And the absolute worst part, of course, is that Dan Andrews easily got back in. Four more years of his tyrannical reign. If Victoria is not already irredeemably damaged, it will be now.

In the lower house, it is simply darkness and defeat. As always, however, it will be a while before we see how the upper house fares. Will some of the freedom and family candidates and parties get some wins on the board? Time will tell. If we get a few more of these folks in, that will be the one bright spot of this election. Otherwise, it has been bad news indeed.

Politics is important, but God is everything

As always, one has to bring God back into the picture. He has not jumped off the throne, and He has not stopped being sovereign. But when horrible political outcomes like this take place, it is easy to get our eyes off God and to become overwhelmed and appalled. I feel it too. Many do.

But Andrews and Labor are not divine and they are not eternal. Their days are numbered. Soon they will be all but forgotten. But Christ and His rule continues forever. That is what we must hold on to. Politics is temporary, and we will win some and lose some. But God’s eternal purposes will not be thwarted.

We now need to trust God even more, we need to pray even more, we need to see the big picture even more. Things will get worse before they get better. If we cannot trust God now, we will be in a hard place in the days ahead as the forces of darkness accelerate and expand.

God is clearly testing His people, while He judges a godless and immoral state. And sadly, God’s people in Victoria suffer along with everyone else. It was the same when God judged Israel and carried off so many into exile. Godly prophets along with members of the remnant also had to go through all that. But their situation did not last forever.

So now is not the time to despair. Now is the time for God’s people to get on their faces before God and repent. It is the time for them to get their priorities right. It is the time for them to stop playing games and pursuing their trivial pursuits. It is time for them to put Christ first — completely first.

In light of this depressing night, it is worth keeping in mind some basic biblical truths. For example, Psalm 2:1-6 says this:

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then He will speak to them in His wrath,
and terrify them in His fury, saying,

“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”

And in Revelation 19:6-7 we read this:

Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory.

It is also worth offering a slight adaptation of Habakkuk 3:17-18:

Though the Andrews government be re-elected,
and he retains his seat,
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

Believers must not cave in now. The fight has gotten harder, the stakes have gotten higher, and the need for prayer has gotten more urgent. But as long as God is on the throne, we have every reason to take heart, to persevere, and to keep on keeping on. That we must do.

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Originally published at CultureWatch. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Thank the Source

Scott Morrison gives Australia the middle finger with the help of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

Scott Morrison lied to the Australian public, again, when he said he would cooperate with the “Inquiry into the Appointment of the Former Prime Minister to Administer Multiple Departments”.  Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has allowed Scott Morrison to get away with the lie and he would have known Scott Morrison was lying as soon as the words left Morrison’s mouth.

Mr Morrison refused to meet with former High Court judge Virginia Bell who headed up the inquiry and instead he answered questions via a lawyer.

Virginia Bell handed down her report on Friday the 25th of November 2022. The report starts off with an overview:

1. On 16 August 2022, following revelations in the media a few days earlier, the Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese MP announced that the Hon Scott Morrison MP had been appointed to administer five departments of State in addition to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (“PM&C”) during his term as Prime Minister. In other words, Mr Morrison had been appointed to administer six of the 14 departments of State. These appointments had not previously been disclosed to the Parliament or to the public.

2. I was appointed to conduct an Inquiry into the appointments. The Terms of Reference require the Inquiry to examine and report on: the facts and circumstances surrounding the appointments; the implications arising from the appointments; and the practices and processes that apply to the appointment of ministers to administer departments under section 64 of the Constitution and directions that ministers hold certain offices under section 65 of the Constitution. I am also asked to recommend any procedural or legislative changes which would provide greater transparency and accountability.

3. The Terms of Reference require me to have regard to the Solicitor-General’s Opinion dated 22 August 2022 (SG No 12 of 2022). In that Opinion, the Solicitor-General concluded that the appointment of Mr Morrison to administer DISER was constitutionally valid. The reasoning applies with equal force to each of the appointments. I approach my task upon acceptance of the Solicitor-General’s analysis and conclusions.

Scott Morrison’s public lies are exposed in the report in paragraph’s 11,12 and 13:

11. In a public statement delivered on 17 August 2022, Mr Morrison justified the secrecy surrounding the appointments on two grounds. In relation to the failure to inform his ministers, Mr Morrison said that he “did not wish Ministers to be second guessing themselves or for there to be the appearance [of] a right of appeal or any diminishing of their authority to exercise their responsibilities”. In relation to the failure to inform the public, Mr Morrison said that “these were emergency, effectively reserve powers”, and there was a risk that the disclosure of the appointments “could be misinterpreted and misunderstood”.

12. However, in the context of my Inquiry, Mr Morrison informed me, again through his legal representative, that “neither [he] nor his office instructed PM&C not to gazette the appointments”, and that he “assumed the usual practice would apply following the relevant Ministerial appointments”. He subsequently explained that he understood the “usual practice” to be that the appointments would be gazetted. This understanding was not consistent with what I was told by PM&C, which is that the announcement of ministerial appointments is the prerogative of the Prime Minister.

13. It is difficult to reconcile Mr Morrison’s choice not to inform his ministers of the appointments out of his wish not to be thought to be second guessing them, with his belief that the appointments had been notified in the Commonwealth Gazette (the “Gazette”). While few members of the public may read the Gazette, any idea that the gazettal of the Prime Minister’s appointment to administer the Treasury (or any of the other appointments) would not be picked up and quickly circulated within the public service and the Parliament strikes me as improbable in the extreme. One might have expected Mr Morrison to inform the affected ministers of the appointments had it been his belief at the time that they were being notified in the Gazette. Finally, there is the circumstance that Mr Morrison was repeatedly pressed at his press conference on 17 August 2022 about his failure not only to inform his ministers but also to inform the public of the appointments. The omission to state that he had acted at all times on the assumption that each appointment had been notified to the public in the Gazette is striking.

If you read the full report more of Scott Morrison’s lies are exposed but the above gives a quick overview. (Click here for a copy of the full report or click here to go to the Inquiries website)

The failings of the Inquiry

Virginia Bell has not recommended any action against Scott Morrison as it was not her job to do so and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said he will not be taking any action.

There is still a huge question about whether or not it was legal for Scott Morrison to appoint himself to numerous Ministries. The government did get advice from Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue that Scott Morrison’s appointment to additional ministries was “constitutionally valid”. But that is only one person’s opinion which has never been tested and once again Virginia Bell was not asked for her opinion and was told to assume it was a fact that the appointments were valid as per paragraph 3 of her report.

The problem is “former High Court justice Bill Gummow has questioned Scott Morrison’s decision to take on extra ministerial portfolios, saying the “clandestine appointments” were invalid because of the secrecy involved.” (Click here to read more) Given Bill Gummow’s educated legal opinion why didn’t Anthony Albanese ask Virginia Bell for her opinion given she was already looking at the issue? Why didn’t Anthony Albanese get legal opinions from other legal sources?

Anthony Albanese set the Inquiry up to do the bare minimum

Anthony Albanese could have given Virginia Bell the ability to subpoena witnesses for the Inquiry, either in its current structure or if not make it a Royal Commission, which would have forced Scott Morrison to give evidence. It is only then we might have come close to the truth about why Morrison appointed himself to so many Ministries. Was he funnelling money to his mates via secret tenders or grants etc?

But I suspect Anthony Albanese did not want to set a precedent that could be used against him if he lost an election or retired.

So, because of Anthony Albanese’s self-interest, Scott Morrison was never forced to give evidence even though he implied a couple of months ago he would. The bottom line is Scott Morrison has not been held to account in any shape or form and has walked away while giving Australia the middle finger.

Given Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has not tried to hold Scott Morrison to account on this issue what chance is there that National Anti-Corruption Commission will hold people to account?

Anthony Albanese had a great opportunity to hold Scott Morrison to account for his numerous ministerial appointments and start restoring the public’s faith in politics which Albanese said he would do during the 2022 election campaign but he has failed badly.

At the next election, many voters will look at the scoreboard to see how many corrupt Liberal and National politicians were held to account by the Anthony Albanese government and I suspect the answer will be zero.

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Millions Support Men and Boys

International Men’s Day 2022 was marked by people all over the world on 19 November, demonstrating their support for men and boys everywhere.

“I’d like to say a massive thank you and give my support to all the men who do their best each and every single day for their loved ones, for society, for humans in general, to make the world go round. Thank you, it’s very much appreciated.” These are the words of praise from a young woman from Ireland called Cat Dobson, celebrating International Men’s Day.

Cat Dobson’s comment can be found as one of thousands — possibly tens of thousands — of comments on the Dads4Kids International Men’s Day Facebook page. When you start to add up all the different organisations and NGOs promoting International Men’s Day, you are probably talking about millions of collective comments in support of International Men’s Day.

Groundswell of Support

Certainly, from a social media point of view, International Men’s Day is growing amazingly. Last year the paid social media global campaign reached over 6 million people. This year, with the same expenditure, the team at Dads4Kids reached 14 million. True to form, the intrepid MPs in the UK Parliament set aside official time to talk about men’s issues in the halls of Westminster in London. In this, they are leading the world.

The pushback against the celebration was relatively miniscule this year; less than last year. The trend has been all positive for a number of years. The big countries for International Men’s Day this year were India and Nigeria! Here are some more samples of social media posts by men and women from over the world.

David Ukpong from Nigeria said, Congratulations!!! Happy Men’s Day to All the Men in Nigeria and The World Over.”

Jenny West from South Africa said, It is just as important to celebrate men’s day as it is women’s day. Let’s celebrate the men that have made and continue making a difference. Give them the respect they deserve. Honour them, apply TLC and spoil them tomorrow and every day thereafter. They’re worth it.”

Hema Maraj Ramjit from India said, Happy International Men’s Day to all those loving and hardworking fathers, sons, brothers and men who always ensure their families are well taken care of, and by extension, all human beings. Thank you all.”

Brian Beitz from Australia said, Males fulfil such an important role in families and society in general and it is a real shame that man-bashing appears to be a big thing in recent times. Bad behaviour by some males is not acceptable at any time and decent males feel this way also. Valuing everyone’s contribution is so much better than negative stereotyping. Happy International Men’s Day.”

Pamela Jean from St Lucia in the West Indies said, Happy men’s day to all the men around the globe, especially the real men who hold on to their responsibility as loving and caring fathers to their families no matter how difficult it has been. Happy men’s day to the men who love and respect women and children, it’s a blessing, your children will be loved and respected by others. Hats off to you all.”

International Men’s Day now has its own identity on Facebook. In other words, even Big Tech, which has often bought into the campaign of misandry hook line and sinker, are recognising the cultural shift across the globe. More and more women like Jenny West from South Africa epitomise the cultural shift, which is coming at a grassroots level to even the playing field for the male of the species.

Reaching Out

There are still issues that women face that need to be addressed collectively, by both men and women, but the same now goes for men, and has been so for many decades. Last week I spoke at a large prison to the staff about International Men’s Day. The overall theme was improving men’s health. It was well received. The opening session was about Celebrating Mateship. Did you know that having no close friends (as we say in Australia, “mates”) is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day?

This is the sort of important information that is getting into circulation through the wonderful work of men’s groups, men’s educational charities, NGOs, business groups, government organisations and the men’s movement in general. Australian Men’s Health Forum is one of those groups and they are doing an amazing job.

Let me finish by sharing a few new videos marking International Men’s Day. The first is by a courageous Australian female men’s advocate, Daisy Cousens, titled “Never Underestimate Men’s Suffering“, celebrating International Men’s Day 2022. Daisy has many great videos in support of men.

Check out this great short 1-minute 50-second video commemorating International Men’s Day 2022: Veolia ANZ Celebrating Mateship: Australia & New Zealand”. It is a positive push for men’s health in the workplace and deserves huge congratulations.

Last but not least, we go to an oldie but a goldie, the Brilliant Indian Men’s Day “Show Men Some Love”  anthem from 2015. Sure to get your feet dancing. This YouTube clip has English subtitles.

Lovework

Watch some of the great International Men’s Day YouTube videos or read some of the very encouraging International Men’s Day posts on the International Men’s Day Facebook page.

Your children need to know that helping boys and men is just as important to you and your family as helping women and girls because, together, we can make a difference.

Yours for Boys & Men,
Warwick Marsh

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First published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Ksenia Chernaya.

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The Daily Wire Announces Film Adaptation of Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle

Bestselling Christian novelist Stephen Lawhead’s Roman retelling of King Arthur is being prepped for the big screen.

Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing announced a multi-film adaption of the six-book series, The Pendragon Cycle, during what is the conservative media company’s equivalent of a state of the union address on Friday.

Testifying to Lawhead’s impact on him during his formative years, Boreing told a gathering of stakeholders,

“There’s a series of books I read as a teenager, that more than any other helped shape my worldview. It’s based on perhaps the most impactful myth in the Western tradition: The legend of King Arthur.”

Advent of Christendom

With enthusiasm, the 43-year-old political commentator, screenwriter, and Daily Wire executive exclaimed,

“I’m beyond thrilled to announce that Daily Wire+ has secured the rights to this unbelievable work. This is an incredible story about the fall of the Roman occupation in Great Britain, and the rise of Christianity in the blood-soaked, pagan islands.”

The Pendragon Cycle follows Arthur’s rise in a post-Roman British landscape, an era from which many believe the Arthurian legend sprung.

Lawhead draws from Celtic sources, reminiscent of 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes and historian John Morris, who argued in favour of the historical Arthur being a ‘Romano-British leader fighting against Anglo-Saxons in the 5th/6th centuries.’

Deadline, one of the first media outlets to give the news wider reach, explained that Lawhead’s Roman retelling is set at the end of an era: the fall of Roman Britain, where ‘pagan tribes rose to war against Saxon and Pict invaders.’

Adding to their brief synopsis, Christian fantasy pop-culture podcasters Lorehaven said the saga ‘combines Arthurian legends with Atlantis myths and early Celtic lore, exploring themes of love, friendship, and destiny.’

To make the films, Daily Wire will work alongside filmmaker and rising star Bonfire Legend.

BL announced the news on their Instagram page yesterday, writing that it was an ‘absolute honour to be able to bring Stephen R. Lawhead’s poetic words and characters to life!’

Pendragon Cycle adaptation

Aware of the enormity of the task, Jeremy Boreing said that adapting Lawhead’s Arthurian tale to film will be “the most ambitious thing we’ve ever set about to do. It’s going to be incredible.”

The film version of The Pendragon Cycle is set for a 2023 exclusive release on The Daily Wire’s subscription entertainment streaming service, Daily Wire+.

While most replies to the announcement on Twitter welcomed the news, some leftist critics took to Gamespot to complain.

Describing the book series as “dull,” the woke cancel-culture trolls wrote off the adaptation as “white supremacy propaganda” and wished for the series to end in “a disaster of epic proportions.”

With a projected revenue of USD $200M for 2022, the fringe-dweller criticism is likely to bounce off Boreing, who was also buoyed by The Daily Wire team reaching over 1 million subscribers.

Filling a Need

Tackling Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle, by all counts, is a genius move.

As John Nolte explained in his recent Breitbart piece discussing Quentin Tarantino’s diagnosis of the movie industry, there is a massive gap in the market, ready for anyone to fill with contemporary films made on the timeless film formula forged between the 1920s and 1980s.

Using Top Gun: Maverick as a high-point example, Nolte said that people are keen for fun films, full of action, adventure, smart comedy, dialogue, and freedom.

The problem is, Nolte asserted, ‘the entertainment industry has been captured by fascist social justice warriors.’

If The Daily Wire, alongside Bonfire Legend, applies the same well-rounded production, quality scriptwriting, and cast that the media company has shown it is capable of producing (see here), then the planned Lawhead films are set to compete well against Amazon’s LOTR themed Rings of Power, and Netflix’s planned adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, which will be co-produced by C.S. Lewis’ stepson, Douglas Gresham.

The Daily Wire taking on Lawhead’s King Arthur saga is also a massive boost for Christian writers. The decision recognises the quality content produced by many writers, such as Frank Peretti, Jeff Gerke (Jefferson Scott), Ted Dekker, Dee Henderson, Lori Wick, Jannette Oke, and Francine Rivers (to name a few).

My only beef with Boreing’s news is that he didn’t pick Stephen Lawhead’s Hood Trilogy first!

WATCH:

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Photo by Gioele Fazzeri.

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Book Review: “Against the Great Reset”

To understand the diabolical nature of the Davos deities, read this book.

This is not the first book to appear in recent times critiquing the Great Reset, Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum, and related matters. Some of these volumes I have already reviewed. But this is the newest and perhaps the best. At nearly 500 pages, the collection of essays found here is first-rate.

The editor has assembled a great lineup of leading intellectual heavyweights, including Douglas Murray, Victor Davis Hanson, Conrad Black, Roger Kimball, Angelo Codevilla, David Goldman and a number of others. All up the book has 16 important essays, plus introductory and concluding pieces by Walsh.

All the key issues are examined here: Covid tyranny, socialism, globalism, economics, politics, China and the social credit system, Big Tech, national sovereignty, the WHO, the WEF, Schwab, Bill Gates, critical theory, green energy, population matters, politicised science, cultural Marxism, climate alarmism, health fascism and so much more.

Against the Great Reset bookIt is good that all the bases are so carefully covered here. Given the rapid pace at which the nefarious agenda items of the Davos elitists are being realised, this book could not be more timely. The plans the activists have for their globalist utopia are not something that lies ahead — all this is already well underway.

Walsh explains early on why such a volume is so very much needed. It will be too late if we wait around for the history books to look back on the Great Reset. The issue NOW is whether “the formerly free world of the Western democracies will succumb to the paternalistic totalitarianism of the oligarchical Resetters.”

False Religion

He is right to speak of how the secular left West is so receptive to all this: “In an age of atheism and disbelief, note the religious fervour of neo- and cultural-Marxism and the messianic quality of Schwab’s anti-humanistic Great Reset.” Quite so. Once you ditch Christianity, plenty of false religions will rush in to take its place.

His closing paragraph nicely informs us of just where we are heading in the Schwabian dystopia:

“The satraps of Davos don’t want to simply reset a post-Covid world. Or a post-fossil fuels world. Or even a post-racial world. They want to run it, forever, and while they no longer have need of a god, they’ll always need an enemy. They may not believe in a power higher than themselves, but they certainly believe in demons, and their most irksome devil is you.”

Others pick up on the quasi-religious nature of all this. As Hanson puts it in his essay, “When ‘great’ is applied to a proposed transnational comprehensive revolution, we should also equate it with near-religious zealotry.” Marxism and radical greenism have both been pseudo-religions, and they come together in the Great Reset.

Absolute Control

He and others of course note how Schwab and Co have capitalised on Covid, and want the whole world under their thumb in order to ‘keep us safe’ from further pandemics, including climate change disasters they assure us are just around the corner.

Many of the writers give us terrific descriptions of who these folks are and what they want. But I especially like how Conrad Black characterises our Davos Divines:

Davos is for democracy, as long as everyone votes for increased public sector authority in pursuit of green egalitarianism and the homogenization of all peoples in a conformist world. …

The Covid-19 pandemic caused Davos Man to break out of his Alpine closet and reveal the secret but suspected plan: the whole world is to become a giant Davos — humorless, style-less, unspontaneous, unrelievedly materialistic, as long as the accumulation and application of capital is directed by the little Alpine gnomes of Davos and their underlings and disciples.

John Tierney carefully looks at how science and medicine were politicised during Covid, and concludes his chapter with this dismal outlook:

The Great Reseters will create jobs for the laptop class and subsidies for crony capitalists while stifling the economic growth that lifts people out of poverty. While promising “environmental justice,” they will burden the poor and the despised middle class with regressive taxes and higher energy costs. Their war on fossil fuels will be devastating to sub-Saharan Africa, where half the homes still lack electricity, but it won’t stop technocrats from flying to Davos for conferences on “climate equity.”

Hmm, did we not pretty much see all of that during the past few years? We will just be getting more of the same. The elites then, as during the past few years, will not feel any ill effects from this. It is us mere peons who will fully face the awful consequences.

Revisionism and Fake Compassion

History of course is under attack here. As Jeremy Black writes:

History’s place at the fore of culture wars is no surprise. The destruction of alternative values, of the sense of continuity, and of anything short of a self-righteous presentist internationalism, is central to the attempt at a “Great Reset”.

Moreover, in a variety of forms, including cultural Marxism and, particularly and very noisily at present, critical race theory, such a “reset” is part of a total assault on the past, one that is explicitly designed to lead the present, and determine the future.

With the assault on history goes an assault on open discussion and free debate. He continues:

“What is possibly most striking is the apparent suspension of any real sense of critique of the new order. Maybe, debate is so beneath you when you possess all truth. Much better just to steamroll people into compliance. Debate is seen as oppressive. Those who hold contrasting views are readily dismissed and shunned…”

Of course, freedom itself is going to be the biggest casualty here. As Walsh says in his concluding piece: “The Great Reset’s gambit is to mask and cloak itself, like an obedient handmaiden, in good intentions while stealing you blind and enslaving you. It positively radiates concern for its billions of fellow men even as it consigns them to indefinite house arrest.”

But on a lighter note, humourist Harry Stein manages to find a ray of hope in all this:

When the Soviets banned typewriters, the good guys produced samizdat by hand and continued on with the business of undermining an empire. We’ve now got podcasts and Substack and the emergence of alternative social-media platforms. We’ve got Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais, and The Babylon Bee. The truth is, we couldn’t be more fortunate in our enemy.

Dissident wise guys looking to bring down the Iron Curtain had only the likes of anabolic women weightlifters and a glowering Leonid Brezhnev as material, but in our current war with the elites we’ve got high school “girl” track stars with balls, a non compos mentis Biden, and largely peaceful demonstrators trashing our history and burning down our cities. Tell me that isn’t funny. Better yet, tell it to Klaus Schwab and his band of anti-merry men. We’re already laughing at them, too!

It should be noted that a wide spectrum of views is found here with the authors. Sure, they all oppose Schwab and the Davos madness big time. But other differences exist. Consider religious convictions: we have Christians and non-Christians writing here. Walsh for example prefers talking in terms of ‘Greek and Roman’ instead of ‘Judeo-Christian’. Contrast that with how James Poulos concludes his helpful chapter on Big Tech.

He says our “technoethical elites” are worried about whether they can “wield powers denied them by God. In this fateful moment, our digital politics is revealed to be a spiritual war. To survive victorious, we must remember: the greatest spiritual weapon against errant human reset is divine revelation.”

In sum, the revolutionaries always want to create a new world order, but always end up destroying man and civilisation in the process. Nothing new here. But the Davos elites have no interest in history. We should, however. If we will not learn from history, the prospect looks very bleak indeed. Hopefully, a volume like this will wake up enough people to take a united and forceful stand against this great globalist evil.

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Originally published at CultureWatch. Photo: Natalie Behring/Wikimedia Commons

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Vital Gospel Lessons from Acts 18: Share the Truth

There is a lot of encouraging material to be found in this chapter of Scripture. We are called to share the Gospel with others.

The Apostle Paul told us that ‘all scripture is… profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Thus the Christian in his daily Bible reading should be getting something of real value out of what he has just perused. The Spirit should be bringing God’s word to life as we read it and study it.

I am back in the book of Acts once again, and I was struck by how chapter 18 seems to be filled with all sorts of valuable lessons for the contemporary believer. These are not just stories of what happened long ago, but life-changing truths for us today. Three major lessons at least popped out at me, so let me look at each one in turn.

Acts 18:5-6 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.

Expect Pushback

A few obvious truths emerge from this incident. One, those who share the Christian Gospel WILL get opposition. There is no getting around this. And Jesus had said that this would of course take place, as we find in Luke 10:3: “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”

Or as he said in Luke 6:22-23:

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracise you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.”

Two, there will be instances when we should no longer spend time with those who reject the Gospel. When folks close themselves off to the Gospel, it may well be time to move on. Jesus Himself instructed the disciples on this matter in Matthew 10:11-15:

And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Jesus also spoke about not casting your pearls before swine and the like (Matthew 7:6). So we need wisdom and discernment when we share truth with others, be it evangelistic truth, or truth about the culture wars and so on. Not everyone will be receptive to the message, and it can become counterproductive and a waste of time to spend too much time with some of these folks. We need to be prayerful and careful here.

Acts 18:9-11 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

Let me proceed with a bit of caution here. Not all biblical promises are universal in scope and application. While this was a specific word to Paul for a particular time, it did not always apply to him. We know that he was attacked and harmed often. Simply read his various lists of hardships and persecutions, such as in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28:

Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one — I am talking like a madman — with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.

Not all of us will be able to claim that no one will attack us or harm us, as millions of believers throughout church history well know. So this was a specific one-off promise to Paul. But still, there is some great stuff here that we can take hold of.

God Is With Us

The part of this passage that I especially want to emphasise is in verse 9: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you.” That is something all believers can embrace and take to heart. We must keep speaking out. We must keep sharing truth.

We must not remain silent in other words. We dare not zip the lip when the world is starved of truth and is so very desperately in need of hearing it. And yes, what I said above needs to be tied in here. The world needs the Gospel, but we should move on from those who want nothing to do with it and go to those who seem to be more open and receptive.

The promise of God being with us is something we can all rejoice in. That is what makes our evangelistic and missionary efforts — indeed, all our Christian efforts — worthwhile and effective. Without God being with us, we have no hope of doing anything of value for Christ and the Kingdom. But with Him and in His power and for His glory, we can do great things.

Acts 18:27-28 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.

Two things can be mentioned here. First, this is just one of many occasions in which the disciples publicly took part in debates and discussions with Jews and others. Indeed, earlier in the chapter we read about how Paul was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks (v. 4).

This practice of seeking to debate, argue, reason and persuade is found in many places in the book of Acts. And usually, the same Greek word is used for what Peter had said about “always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). In both cases, our English word ‘apologetics’ comes from this Greek term.

So there is certainly a place to defend the faith, to deal with objections and questions, and to seek to show the reasonableness of the gospel. Apologetics is a type of pre-evangelism where we seek to clear up misconceptions and deal with wrong views about Gospel truths. It is defending the faith.

Boldness

Second, notice how the disciple did not shy away from doing all this boldly and bravely in public. So often today, we have wimpy or lefty Christians telling us that such public debates and discussions are not worth engaging in, and we should just win people over by building relationships and by being nice and loving.

Sure, sometimes we need wisdom in when and where is the best time to share with others. And often it is neat if we can have a nice cup of coffee with a non-Christian friend as we share truth with them. But developing long-term relationships first is not always possible or desirable.

If that was the only way for Christian witness to properly take place, then notice that Jesus and the disciples almost always got it wrong. In the great majority of cases, they simply proclaimed public truth to complete strangers — often large crowds of strangers.

They did not have time or make time to have nice one-on-one-chats with folks over a nice leisurely meal at their fave restaurant. Things like that may have happened now and then, but for the most part, they proclaimed the Gospel wherever they went and to whoever they met. There was no prior relationship-building going on, nor were there any thoughts that just being nice would suffice.

Indeed, while we certainly should be loving, biblical love always means willing the highest good for the other person. The most loving thing we can do for non-Christians is to share biblical truth with them. It is NOT loving to withhold from them that which they need the most. They need to hear the Gospel, plain and simple.

And as Paul made clear in Romans 10:14-17:

How then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

So proclaiming the Gospel — with words — will always be necessary. And that we find happening in just about every chapter of the book of Acts. If that was good enough for the early church, that should be good enough for us. So let us take heart here and let us redouble our efforts to share truth far and wide.

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Originally published at CultureWatch. Photo by Jonathan Cooper.

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Don’t Trust Me, I’m a Doctor

With the ongoing censorship of health professionals, how can we truly trust their medical advice?

I was recently accused of lying. This was a little hard to swallow, as it was over a directly referenced quote. At the same time, I found the accusation understandable. So much has happened over the past two and a half years, it’s difficult to know who to trust anymore.

Take this example: Pfizer recently admitted they didn’t test for transmission because they were too busy moving at the ‘speed of science’ (to be honest, they really didn’t need to admit it — just ask any double, triple, quadruple-jabbed person whether they’ve had the virus yet). Yet we were repeatedly told by authorities that the vaccine would stop the virus in its tracks. Trustworthy?

Or this example: The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) revealed it did not know the myocarditis risks of the Pfizer and Moderna products until five months after provisionally approving them for use. Five months! Trustworthy?

Meanwhile, adverse event reporting systems around the world indicate more adverse events in Covid vaccines than all previous vaccines developed over the past 50 years, combined. Yet we were subject to months of multimedia messaging that claimed the vaccines were both ‘safe and effective’. Trustworthy?

It turns out that for a small (but significant) number of people, the vaccines are neither safe nor effective.

People like Tyson Illingworth (known to his millions of fans as ‘tyDi’). He is an acclaimed composer, songwriter, and DJ with a swag of awards. Like so many others trying to ‘do the right thing’, he stepped up for his first dose with ‘complete faith and trust in (Australia’s) leadership and medical system’.

What happened next was alarming. He writes,

‘Within days I started to feel severe and unbearable shooting pain and paralysis in my hands and feet.’

Soon afterwards, Tyson was rushed to the hospital.

‘I couldn’t believe the vaccine could do this to me, especially when we were all told it was safe and effective and if there was a reaction it would be minor.’

But there was worse to come. Before his release from the hospital, Tyson was strongly advised to get the second vaccine by the neurologist.

‘I acted on the neurologist’s advice and ended up taking the second vaccine… in hindsight, I cannot believe I listened to her, as I have always thought of myself as a critical thinker, and instead I took advice from a doctor who had no regard for my personal situation.’

Tyson’s symptoms were further exacerbated by the second dose, and he was rushed to the hospital once again.

‘I was unable to move, my hands felt like they were on fire, and I struggled to get through the day… I thought my life was over…’

A couple of months later he contracted the virus, sending him to the hospital yet again.

Tyson’s life has changed immeasurably. Where there should be touring, performing and interviews, instead is terrible pain, medications and doctor’s appointments, and a new understanding of the state of medicine in Australia.

Vaccine Claims and Censorship

The COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme was established to help people receive financial support if they’ve experienced harm because of a Covid vaccine. The application process could be described as complicated, at best. Many patients find they are ineligible to claim due to the limited list of recognised adverse effects. In addition, submitting a claim requires a doctor to complete a 10-page report documenting their medical opinion and link to vaccination — something many doctors are unwilling to put their name to.

Tyson experienced this also:

‘I had 5 different doctors confirm that my condition was caused by the vaccine, and they all said they cannot go on record.’

Thank you, AHPRA position statement

(The position statement makes clear that any health advice which undermines the national immunisation campaign may result in investigation and regulatory action. Result? Many doctors are too scared to report an adverse event for fear they might be investigated.)

Despite these limitations, the claims scheme budget is set to blow out to almost $77 million by July 2023. That’s a lot of claims.

Un-informed Consent

Tyson rightly questions the advice he was given recommending he take the second dose of the vaccine.

‘One would think that when a patient presents with severe neurological issues in hospital a specialist would think first, “I will do no harm and disclose the risk”… The information about neurological side effects was available to every clinician at the time, a simple Google search would have revealed this.’

A formal complaint from Tyson to the Queensland health ombudsman returned a letter acknowledging that although the doctor advised him to get a second vaccine, despite being injured by the first, the practitioner was (conveniently) indemnified.

However, an April 2021 letter from Greg Hunt to both the AMA and the RACGP released under freedom of information outlines the parameters of this ‘indemnity’ and confirms ‘as with all vaccines, informed consent is required before the administration of each vaccine dose’.

The Australian government’s six-page consent form lists only a handful of potential and ‘rare or very rare’ side effects including blood clotting and heart inflammation. There is no mention of neuropathy or potential for other serious side effects emerging or not yet known, due to incomplete safety data of these provisionally approved injectables.

So, what exactly is informed consent?

Every health practitioner should know ‘consent is a process, not a form’, says medical professional insurer Avant.

‘Gaining consent from your patient means more than just going through a checklist of risks… you need to understand the risks that are material to your patient.’

Medical professional insurer MIPS agrees that it is important that professionals ‘identify the risks that the patient is most concerned about.’

Given the nature and severity of Tyson’s reaction to the first dose, it would be reasonable to be concerned about the risk of a reaction to the second.

This ‘un-informed consent’ story is all too common and one I have heard repeated time and again. Being simply handed a form to read and sign does not equate to informed consent. It never has. Especially when administering a provisionally approved medical product.

If the government’s indemnity scheme is dependent on informed consent, and informed consent didn’t happen, what happens when the patient suffers a vaccine injury? Where does the buck stop?

It stops with the patient, the person at the receiving end of this bureaucratic mess. In this case, that person was Tyson, who now suffers debilitating symptoms.

How Bureaucracy Undermines Trust

The recently amended National Law, which regulates medical practitioners, is set to give AHPRA even more power to silence doctors if they are deemed to be undermining ‘public confidence’. This means if doctors disagree with public health messaging, like a ‘safe and effective’ mantra, they risk disciplinary action.

How then will patients be able to trust they are receiving the best health advice for their individual circumstances alongside up-to-date evidence, and not the government-endorsed public health message of the day?

They won’t.

For someone who used to trust our medical system, like Tyson, I’m not sure that trust can be earned back. And with the way things are heading, I wouldn’t trust it either.

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Originally published at The Spectator Australia. Photo by Chokniti Khongchum.

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