Archbishop Davies to Sydney Anglicans: Enrol to have your say in the postal plebiscite

Posted on August 21, 2017 
Filed under Culture wars, Resources, Sydney Diocese

Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. Glenn Davies, has recorded a brief video message, and has written to Sydney Anglicans with an encouragement to participate in the postal plebiscite.

His letter may be downloaded from this link (PDF file). We have reproduced the text below:


16 August 2017

Dear brothers and sisters

In a matter of weeks, Australians will be asked to decide whether to change the definition of marriage, via a voluntary postal vote.

This is a monumental decision for the Australian public. Since the beginning of creation marriage been defined as the exclusive and life-long union of a man and a woman. As Christians we know it is God’s plan; but it is God’s plan for humanity, not just the people of God. It is the best structure for society and for the procreation of children in the secure nurture of a family with a mother and a father. Furthermore, this understanding of marriage is reinforced by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 19, where he tells his disciples that marriage is God’s idea, and is uniquely expressed in the union of a man and a woman.

Our opposition to including same-sex couples in the marriage bond is not a homophobic reaction. Rather it is our contention that retaining the definition of marriage is best for our society, and especially for the socialisation of children. At the moment, same-sex couples have access to all the benefits that a married couple enjoys, except for the descriptor of ‘being married’. There is good reason for this distinction, as same-sex couples cannot by virtue of their biological sameness conceive children. The bearing of children is intricately connected to the sexual union of a man and a woman.

While the proponents of change use the mantra of ‘marriage equality’, the use of this phrase is deceptive. We recognise that all people are equal in God’s sight, regardless of their sexual identity. No one denies that loving relationships can exist between two persons of the same sex. However, men and women are not the same. It is the very differences between the sexes that enhance the marriage union and create the opportunity of the bearing of children.

However, there are also distinct and serious consequences in changing the definition of marriage. We know from recent experiences in the United Kingdom and North America that the ramifications of such a change are profound. Their experience shows us that if the law is changed, it will have direct impact on people of faith and faith-based institutions.

Despite the claims of some, that religious freedom will be protected, all proposed legislation to date has been totally inadequate to safeguard people who work for church-run institutions such as schools, hospitals and universities. It is also unclear whether church-based organisations will be free to employ staff who share their church’s teachings and ethos. In some countries where marriage has been redefined, schools are prevented from teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman, even in faith-based schools.

For these reasons, the Diocese of Sydney has committed to being a lead partner in the Coalition for Marriage. This is a newly-founded partnership of over 80 organisations which has been formed to support the campaign to defend Australia’s man-woman definition of marriage.

I invite you to consider helping this Coalition by signing up as a volunteer or providing financial support, both of which can be done at the Coalition’s website:
http://www.coalitionformarriage.com.au/anglican

Our most urgent task is to ensure that everyone who supports marriage between a man and a woman is enrolled to vote by Thursday, 24 August.

If you haven’t already done so, please enrol to vote now. If you have recently moved, ensure your details have been updated with the Australian Electoral Commission. Please ensure that all of your adult family members have done the same. More information and the relevant links are also available at the Coalition For Marriage website.

I also encourage you to be informed about these issues. In February this year, we produced a booklet entitled What has God Joined Together? It explains God’s pattern for marriage, why it is best for society as a whole, and the negative consequences of same-sex marriage. Please make use of this resource, which is available from your rector, and also online at
http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/marriage.

The voluntary postal vote has been called a referendum on religious freedom and freedom of speech, and it’s very important we all make our voices heard. As Australians, we are not imposing our views on others, rather we are expressing our views as citizens of the country, which we believe is for the good of all Australians.

Please prayerfully consider how you will support this campaign.

Grace and peace

Glenn N Davies
Archbishop of Sydney.

Love says No

Posted on August 21, 2017 
Filed under Culture wars, Encouragement

“It is a terrible thing when Christian love and kindness becomes so misdirected that we wound the souls of the very people that we are trying to help.

Let us not think, in a ghastly fit of blind spiritual arrogance, that we know better than Jesus, and can love better than Jesus.

Let’s humble ourselves, and trust that he knows best, and submit to him, and love people the way he loves them, and wants us to love them. …”

— Campbell Markham at Cornerstone in Hobart says Christians should vote “no” out of love for their neighbours, and for Jesus. Read it all.

Reformation Rally at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Saturday 26th August

Posted on August 21, 2017 
Filed under Encouragement, History

Be sure you don’t miss the Reformation Rally at St. Andrew’s Cathedral on Saturday.

A morning of hearing Dr Gerald Bray speak on the Reformation’s relevance and what we can learn from this historical event today.

After morning tea, the Dean of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel will lead a 1552 Prayer Book service of Morning Prayer. The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies will preach.

Date: August 26 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM (9:00 AM TEA AND COFFEE)

Venue: St Andrew’s Cathedral, Cnr of George and Bathurst Streets, Sydney

Cost: This is a Free Event – No registration is required

Details from Moore College.

Oak Hill’s Commentary magazine — Summer 2017

Posted on August 20, 2017 
Filed under Resources

Oak Hill College’s magazine, Commentary, for Summer 2017, is now on their website. (PDF file.)

Is the Catholic Church a Christian church?

Posted on August 20, 2017 
Filed under Resources, Theology

“Sometimes, as Evangelicals approaching Roman Catholicism, we look at various parts of Catholicism without considering how they relate to the whole Catholic system.

For example, some might say Roman Catholics believe in the Trinity and the ancient creeds but that they have got the doctrine of Mary, Christ, salvation, the Bible and the church wrong at various key points. This atomization of Catholic teaching can lead us into saying things like, ‘The Roman Catholic Church is Trinitarian and creedal, and therefore more Christian than the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormons’. …”

– At GoThereFor.com, Mark Gilbert encourages clear thinking so that we don’t forget our Catholic friends need Jesus too.

Our friendships are shattering

Posted on August 18, 2017 
Filed under Culture wars, Opinion

“Don’t trade Jesus’ truth for friendship. The greatest need for people in our lives is not our friendship, but Christ. The greatest need is not peaceful and quiet relationships, but Jesus’ saving death.

Yes fight hard to keep your relationships, but never at the expense of truth, or by keeping the kind of silence that communicates ambivalence about the truth. …”

– Campbell Markham at Cornerstone Presbyterian in Hobart (reportedly the subject of a complaint to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission) writes about the tragic breakdown across the country, and the choices facing Jesus’ people.

Related: Push to change Tasmanian anti-discrimination laws rejected ahead of same-sex marriage vote – ABC News.

Albert Mohler on the Australian Plebiscite

Posted on August 17, 2017 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars

In his daily commentary, The Briefing, for 17th August 2017, Albert Mohler speaks about the Australian plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

Worth hearing an outsider’s perspective.

Related: ABC offer helpline to staff distressed by same-sex marriage debate – Nine News.

Christianity in the Modern World

Posted on August 17, 2017 
Filed under Theology

“The brotherhood of man has failed to eventuate, and while we have an abundance of gadgets, and an increasing facility for satisfying all our material needs, our deepest needs are not met, and men in general are farther from satisfaction at the deepest level than they were. …”

– Dr Leon Morris could have been writing yesterday, but this piece from The Australian Church Record’s archives was first published in May of 1955.

Marriage Resources for the postal plebiscite

Posted on August 16, 2017 
Filed under Culture wars, Resources

Australia will soon have a postal plebisciite on whether to change the definition of marriage to enable same-sex marriages. Here are some resources –

The Coalition for Marriage

The Coalition for Marriage is coordinating the campaign to oppose changes to the Marriage Act.

The Diocese of Sydney is a lead partner in the Coalition for Marriage, joining with over 80 organisations in support of the campaign to defend Australia’s man-woman definition of marriage. If you would like to support the Coalition for Marriage, you can sign up as a volunteer or provide financial support.

What has God Joined Together?

The Diocesan booklet entitled What has God Joined Together? is available online.

It explains God’s pattern for marriage, why it is best for society as a whole, and the negative consequences of same-sex marriage.

Last Chance to Register for the Postal Vote on Marriage

If you have moved house, or recently become eligible to vote in Australian elections, you need to update your electoral enrolment by 24 August 2017 to participate.

You can go to the AEC website to check or change your registration, or register online. More information and the relevant links are also available at the Coalition For Marriage website).

GAFCON: What it does and why it matters

Posted on August 16, 2017 
Filed under GAFCON

“At GAFCON 2013, Dr Peter Jensen (the General Secretary of GAFCON) moderated a session entitled We are not alone.

In this session Dr Jensen introduced and encouraged members of the Anglican Communion to share their experiences as Anglicans standing up for and promoting the authority of Scripture and the Lordship of Christ. A constant refrain from those who presented was that the GAFCON movement had shown them that amidst severe persecution from governments or litigation by their own diocese they were not alone. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Caitlin Hurley continues here three-part series on GAFCON. (Part 1 here.)

Marriage Once More

Posted on August 15, 2017 
Filed under Opinion, Theology

“Finally it seems to have come to a head. There’ll be a postal plebiscite on marriage redefinition. Lyle Shelton, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, tweeted:

“Well, it’s game on to save marriage, freedom & gender. This is the fight of our lives.”

Regulars here know I am committed in this debate. I have written and spoken publicly in multiple venues in favour of classic marriage, on radio, newsprint, blogs and lectures.

However, Shelton is wrong. The marriage definition debate is not “the fight of our lives”.

The fight of our lives occurred two thousand years ago. And we did not win it. Christ won it for us, when he died on the cross – for the sins of people like you and me – whether black or white, male or female, civilized or wild, straight or same-sex attracted!

And whatever happens in the Australian marriage debate, Jesus will still be on his throne. He’s seated at the right hand of God, risen from the dead, conquering the grave. By that resurrection, Jesus was publicly declared by God as King of his Universe, far above all earthly powers and authorities. No politics can change that!

And Christians will still be able to live out their marriage vows as best they can, struggling to be faithful, to care for their kids, and offering forgiveness when we each fall short.

But God has placed us as citizens in a democracy. So we ought to vote and advocate for what is best for humanity. And God’s ways are good! …”

– In his Minister’s letter last week, Sandy Grant at St. Michael’s Cathedral Wollongong helps us keep the plebiscite in perspective. Read it all.

See also 1 Timothy 2:1-6 –

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

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