In the vault

The Film Year Book 1983 by Al Clark

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A year’s worth of short film reviews from films released in Great Britain between July 1 1981 and June 30 1982. If one is expecting films from 1983, the 1983 in the book’s title is misleading, but convenient for publishing purposes as the 1983 coincides more or less with its publishing date.
The first of a series of books critiquing films during the 1980’s, there are a number of contributors who offer in the way of cutting-edge criticism which can be helpful in assessing the film’s worth. Entertaining bites of criticism that do well in summoning the film to accountability and should provide guidance for the reader. Not so much on the informative side although in each review there are the usual credits and technical details.
Now that the book is forty years old, it is more useful for film buffs interested in that time or want to discover what films were made then. I discovered that the films then were pretty much a Hollywood Babylon with sex, violence, and unsavory subjects, but with the more interesting ones among the mix such as Mephisto, the generally more palatable ones such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and the suitable ones (The Mouse and his Child).
Comes with extended and very well-written reviews of the best films of the year as well as the turkeys and articles about film industry issues then, including pirating of films, the making of the doomed Heaven’s Gate, and a trivia-style article on what the credits in a film mean, among others.
A worthy book of distinguished critical voice that plies out a film’s undercurrents in the longer articles making for a more than interesting read while the shorter reviews are gems. Plentiful mainly black and white photos, some color, and articles of interest to film buffs, which include “faces of the year” and obituaries in warm tributes.




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Unveiling

They’d say the time is high nigh for taking out books on end of the world scenarios but in the first months of the latest worldwide catastrophe that would have been unthinkable as people were wanting uplifting positive stories. And this is still the case in many places. I remember watching the Care Bears Movie during lockdown, one, because I was strangely curious, and two, it sounded quite a pleasant movie to watch during the time. I didn’t mind seeing those teddies spread their love and care around to those in need. It even had one of those ‘this is why he’s like this’ scenarios and the care bears tried to help him on that, as unlikely as this whole reason for being sort of thing might be for children’s movies, given it is something adults may understand more than kids, yet kids may learn something about being understanding….

A few weeks earlier I was called by a relative and gave my view on the pandemic in the ‘heat of the moment’, as I was trying to piece together a complicated jigsaw from various pieces of information, and wondered aloud if we were in the ‘end times’. It’s something that occurs to me often when a plague occurs, probably because the impression I get in times like these is built on what I hear and believe about out of control events. But as we moved out of lockdown I calmly realized life was getting back back to normal and I had feared what could have happened if we had been getting closer to the end in sudden fashion, due to perhaps paying attention to all those last times preachers.

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Afterwards

The Road to Hell: Everlasting Torment or Annihilation? by David Pawson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Road to Hell ends with the words, “on which sober note we conclude our study”, referring to the author’s statement that those whose names are not in the Lamb’s book of life will suffer torment with the fallen angels in hell, quoting the book of Revelation from the Bible. David Pawson’s The Road to Hell does have that kind of tone at times: a shot to the heart. Yet, The Road to Hell is other things as well. Challenging one out of complacent thinking and living so to avoid the dangers of hell as well as comforting one with thoughts of heaven and grace. Pawson is adamant, however. Getting to heaven is not by ‘cheap grace’ where one can do as they please while still being under God’s grace, but by continuing in the faith in Jesus, not disowning him, and renouncing one’s sins. Hell is a step away with complacency, but Pawson in his gentle manner encourages due diligence in the faith, although a small few of his statements may seem blunt if not preachy, however, one gets the impression in that there are not as many words to always deliver eloquently such an urgent message to Christians and non-believers.

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Saved!

Salvation is one of the perennial themes of my life especially ripe so many years ago when I should have read David Pawson’s Once Saved, Always Saved? (note the question mark) but it had not been written yet. Such a dread and fear of hell led to me to find out if I was indeed saved from hell when I die so a book directing my thoughts towards the subject in a productive way were welcome.

Anyhow, the theme of being saved or salvation has stayed with me that recently my reading has encompassed books with titles The Road to Hell and Once Saved Always Saved? both by David Pawson, who was a Bible teacher. I absorbed much of these books that I barely could fault them. Pawson, in Once Saved Always Saved? clarified much of my thinking, which had been lying dormant there, but that Pawson brought out in his gentle wordsmithing as I read and kept on saying, yeah, I agree! Not that those earlier issues I had over being saved from hell were not dealt to, or else I would have been a cot-case for a good on twenty years. As I am doing Pawson’s short Bible reflections in The Road to Hell, I find I am recapturing much of what I originally believed about some Bible verses and dare I say am wondering why Pawson did not see it the way I did, but on a technicality though.

Once published, always published?

Once Saved, Always Saved?: A Study in Perseverance and Inheritance by David Pawson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This 1996 book explores the “once saved, always saved” doctrine. The general belief of once saved always saved is that when someone believes in Jesus, they can be assured of going to heaven and not hell. They cannot lose their salvation even if they lose their faith. Author of the book David Pawson says many evangelicals accept this view, but within that there is a spectrum of belief.

Pawson explains in the book that once saved always saved (from hell) has its roots in the patristic period but is not what the early church taught. The focus there was more on salvation from sin.

From the early church, to the church fathers, through the Middle Ages, and into the church reformation, to the revivals of the 18th century, Pawson has obviously plied careful research skills to provide an historical overview of the topic. As well, there are philosophical points of interest and practical concerns related to the topic, and two appendices. The last appendix is about the disciple Judas, who betrayed Jesus. Through all this, Pawson makes comments and critiques.

Pawson builds a clear and convincing case against once saved always saved. It is as if an objective and clear mind considered the biblical evidence, as it is, to come to his conclusion. He does provide a most logical, sound thesis and makes weak the arguments for once saved always saved.

He writes thoughtfully and readably, dispels myths and pet sayings, and relates the topic back to himself. A weakness against his case may be that the author has said elsewhere that he fears going to hell (in Explaining End Times), but this may not be a weakness, either. He makes a sobering point that Jesus’ teaching about hell was originally addressed to believers.

However, teaching about hell in modern times has often been directed at non-Christians.
The original, apostolic outreach message was “Repent, believe and be baptized” and not hell, fire, and brimstone nor “once saved, always saved”, explains Pawson.

It is explained in the book well why putting one’s faith in Jesus is a continuing, ongoing thing which means not giving up and being holy because “without holiness no one will see Lord”. This is rather than assuming I’ll be all right and flag the faith.

David Pawson was a prominent Bible teacher and author of numerous books unpacking themes in the Bible and the contemporary evangelical church. He taught many church leaders in his itinerant ministry.

The author of the book suspects that only serous Bible students will see the book through to the end, but this in no way diminishes his case, a case which is rock solid. Once Saved, Always Saved? A Study in Perseverance and Inheritance comes highly recommended.
168 pages, Published 1996, Publisher Hodder and Stoughton.



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