If you’re yet to watch Andrew Bolt’s Thursday episode of the Bolt Report, please make sure that you do.
One of Australia’s more controversial TV personalities, Andrew Bolt is a dogged conservative, and is known to stand up for Christians when he sees them unfairly targeted by political and media elites. Despite this, Bolt has been regular and deliberate in badging himself as an agnostic.
Which is why Thursday’s show is so intriguing.
“As you probably know, I’m not a Christian,” his broadcast begins.
“But there is a man who has made me think that maybe I’ve been a little too arrogant about that.”
This viewer was Paul Barnett, the former Anglican Bishop of North Sydney (1990-2001) and a Fellow in Ancient History at Macquarie University, an academic position he holds among several others. Barnett is a prolific writer on the rise of Christianity and the historical Jesus.
The latter half of the episode is an interview with Paul Barnett. But before the interview begins, Andrew Bolt shares with his audience some eyebrow-raising reflections on the Easter account. It’s the kind of material that Christians have long been praying might be presented to large swathes of secular Australia — and yet God used a secular TV host to do so.
In a pattern stretching back several years now, a growing collection of high-profile secular personalities — including people like Jordan Peterson, Milo Yiannopoulos, Douglas Murray and Dave Rubin — seem to be experiencing something of a Christian renaissance in their personal lives.
If this week’s Bolt Report is anything to go on, it would appear that Andrew Bolt is the latest to be swept up in this move of God’s Spirit.
Bolt explains that the historical record evidence for Jesus’ life is solid — not just from the New Testament but extra-biblical sources, too. He concedes that in an ancient world where “might equals right”, the ghastly, humiliating crucifixion of Jesus should have been the end for the early Christian movement. “But the amazing thing is that it wasn’t,” says Bolt.
“Those followers who thought Christ was God just ended up believing him all the more. And some wrote that they’d actually seen this man three days later come back alive, transfigured.”
“Many of us rationalists today find this absolutely incredible, laughable.”
But the TV host shows no incredulity or humour himself:
“This resurrection… was believed so much by Christ’s disciples that every single one of them, bar one… is believed to have themselves risked their lives and been killed trying to convert the world to believing in Christ too. And the miracle is that these people won.”
“There are around two and half billion Christians. Personally I’m very glad of that because what you find in survey after survey is that they do tend to be people who give more to charity, or work more for others. They tend to be better neighbours. Of course not all, I know that. But the data is pretty consistent here.”
“The more free and democratic societies that we have, where rights are most respected, as you can tell, are essentially Christian societies, or at least founded by Christians. That’s not a coincidence. And that’s of course one reason I worry about the frantic attacks on Christianity in the West, often by people who seem to lack one thing Christ preached particularly — show mercy, show forgiveness, be humble. Let you who are without sin cast the first stone…”
Watch Andrew Bolt’s full show, including his interview with Paul Barnett here.