With All Due Respect
Michael Jensen and Megan Powell du Toit

In these days of much division between Christians, it is more important than ever that we bring ourselves together as one, as Jesus commanded us to be (John 17:21).

A few years ago, two Christian leaders in Australia decided to do just that by starting the With All Due Respect podcast.

Connected with Eternity News and The Bible Society, this wonderful podcast was born out of a two-day long running debate on Facebook between the two hosts, Megan Powell du Toit and Michael Jensen. As Powell du Toit humourously points out, where else does anyone argue?! Jensen adds that debates on social media, including those between Christians, can be very aggressive. So they both wanted to show that it is possible to disagree and remain friends. 

With All Due Respect

 

"[T]his wonderful podcast was born out of a two-day long running debate on Facebook between the two hosts, Megan Powell du Toit and Michael Jensen. As Powell du Toit humourously points out, where else does anyone argue?! Jensen adds that debates on social media, including those between Christians, can be very aggressive. So they both wanted to show that it is possible to disagree and remain friends."

Powell du Toit is a Baptist minister and publishing manager at the Australian College of Theology, and describes herself as being on the more progressive side of faith. Jensen, on the other hand, is an author, lecturer and rector at the Anglican parish of St Mark's Church, Darling Point, in Sydney, and is self-described as being on the more conservative side.

Starting in 2018, the podcast releases an episode approximately every two weeks. Each episode runs for a little more than half an hour and includes a robust discussion of the main topic they have chosen to discuss, as well as some other gems which both hosts use to challenge each other. 

The very first episode shows the strong views of both as they discuss their views on politics. As the show develops over further episodes however, their friendship develops as they realise that friendship is more important than winning an argument.

Many of the earlier episodes included books that one host asked the other to read and then review. This has seen some insightful discussions arise, as the hosts are sometimes surprised at how much they agree with in the book they have been asked to read, while at other times they are affirmed in their preset views.

Another part of earlier episodes has been a section called ‘Marg and Dave’ where both hosts play the part of famed movie reviewers, Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton, and discuss a recent movie release.

More recent episodes have included interviews with such people as Senator Deborah O’Neill, Kristen Kobes Du Mez (author of Jesus and John Wayne), and American author and Christian commentator, Karen Swallow Prior.

Martin Luther King said once that people “hate each other because they fear each other". "They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other”.

Getting to know each other is what brings barriers down. Jesus demonstrated this in His choice of disciples. He chose a Zealot and a tax collector. It was like these days choosing an anti-vaxxer and a medical doctor to work together and get along.



So, as well as the great witness this podcast is, it also shows the relevance of Christian faith to all of life. Powell du Toit and Jensen discuss the most pressing issues of the day for many Christians. Some of what they discuss includes the ethics of COVID-19 vaccines in a time when some Christians have concerns over links with aborted foetal cells, the cult of Christian celebrity in the wake of the recent Christianity Today podcast about the rise and fall of the Mars Hill church in the US that was headed by Mark Driscoll, church politics, cancel culture, and a fascinating discussion about heresies.

As well as having much to disagree on however, the two hosts discover that they have much in common. It shows the diversity of the Body of Christ and how it can indeed flourish with such a wide range of views. It is a reminder of the old adage, “in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity”, variously attributed to St Augustine and John Wesley.

The With All Due Respect podcast has also paved the way for the WADR Project, which promotes gracious conversation. 

At this time of our history, especially with the current uncertainty and stress which can easily bring out the worst in us, the With All Due Respect podcast is a program for its time. It is needed now more than ever. It is a wonderful witness between two intelligent, engaging people who are living out the command of Jesus for Christians to be in unity despite our many differences.