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29: Has evangelical become a dirty word?


Has evangelical become a dirty word?

with Michael Jensen and Megan Powell du Toit

Trump-supporting fundamentalists or radical social reformers?

*Content warning: In the Marge & Dave section of this episode, the Netflix series discussed contains sexual assault.

For argument’s sake: where we take a debate, cut out the party politics and try to talk it out

Evangelicalism: is it on the nose?

“To own the name evangelical is a difficult thing to do in public these days … It perhaps means what fundamentalist meant 15-20 years ago,” says Michael.

Megan clarifies: It’s often equated with being a Trump voter.

So what does the term evangelical actually mean and how does it apply to Australian Christians today?

Mentioned in this segment:

Further reading:

Be our guest: opening up the conversation to others

Stuart Piggin and Australian evangelical history

Winner of the 2019 Australian Christian Book of the Year award, Stuart Piggin, knows more about the true history of evangelical Christianity in Australia than most. He has been at the forefront of religious history study in Australia for more than three decades as Director of the Centre for the History of Christian Thought and Experience at Macquarie University (2005-16) and Head of the Department of Christian Thought of the Australian College of Theology.

On accepting this year’s award for his book The Fountain of Public Prosperity: Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740-1914written with Robert (Bob) Linder – Piggin said that we’ve “got our Australian history terribly wrong … Jesus has been everywhere in Australia: in every community there are stories of him everywhere.”

On the release of his second book in the series, Attending to the National Soul: Evangelical Christians in Australian History, 1914-2014, Megan and Michael chat with Stuart about the massive impact of evangelicals on our nation.

Mentioned in this segment:

Further reading:

Glossary – Michael has been using big words again:

  • Hegelian synthesis: the philosophy of 19th-century German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel which says there is a higher stage of truth that combines the truth of a thesis and an antithesis.
  • Egalitarianism: the doctrine that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.

Marg and Dave: reviews from two people obsessed by stories, but not always the same ones


*Content warning: the Netflix series discussed contains sexual assault.

Michael leads us into the murky depths of the Netflix true crime series Unbelievable, starring Toni Collette. A dramatisation of the 2008-2011 Washington and Colorado serial rape cases, Unbelievable follows “Marie, a teenager who was charged with lying about having been raped, and the two detectives who followed a twisting path to arrive at the truth.” The miniseries is based on the 2015 news article “An Unbelievable Story of Rape“, written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong.

So what does this series say about the role not only of faith but of evangelicalism in society? Listen in to this episode to find out.

Also mentioned in this segment:

Further reading:


Less aggro, more conversation.

Is it even possible to have a deep discussion without it descending into chaos? Michael Jensen and Megan Powell du Toit think yes, and want to show the rest of us how to do it.

There’s plenty of things they disagree on: free will, feminism, where you should send your kids to school and what type of church you should go to. But there are also plenty of other things that they have in common. They want to talk about all these things with conviction. But they also want the conversation to be constructive. Tune in to find out if that’s possible.





Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. At the end of each season we dedicate an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for?
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