Abortion, Canada, and the relentless wave of Authoritarian Secularism

“I love taking Claude (family greyhound) for an early morning walk through the streets of Parkdale and Mentone, and to listen to the Bible as we go. Today in the Psalms, I was struck by Psalm 8:2, which says,

‘Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.’

Afterward, I was catching up on the news and heard a report about a recent announcement by Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Organisations applying for Government funding for the Canadian Summer Jobs program, must now sign an attestation that they support abortion. …”

– Murray Campbell in Melbourne looks at the Canadian example as a foretaste of what Christians in Australia can expect.

Large fine for refusing to supply same sex wedding cake upheld in Oregon

“There have been a number of ‘wedding industry’ religious freedom cases arising in the United States and the UK over the last few years.

On 28 December 2017 the Oregon Court of Appeals, in Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries … upheld a $135,000 fine levied on the Kleins, wedding cake makers, for declining to make a cake for the wedding of Rachel and Laurel Bowmen-Cryer.

The case is another example of religious freedom (and, arguably, freedom of speech) being over-ridden in the name of ‘dignitary harm’ to same-sex couples. It is a good example of the issues being presented to the current Ruddock Inquiry into Religious Freedom being conducted in Australia at the moment. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Assoc. Professor Neil Foster takes a look at the Oregon wedding cake case.

He writes, “Attempts to learn from overseas experience and provide a clear legislative solution to the issues were defeated in the passage of the legislation enacting same sex marriage for this country.” He encourages Australian readers to make their views known to the Ruddock Enquiry.

The Condition of the Stable

“As we enjoy the sounds and smells of our Christmas — roast turkey, excited children, and the amicable throng of the communion table — they are different from the first Christmas. Its outward smells and signs are dung, urine, and the sounds of fear as a child is born under reprobate appearance.

But nothing we have can match the glory of that Bethlehem Christmas. For here the Son of God has come into the world …”

– A Christmas editorial from The Australian Church Record, December 1986.

‘Get with the Program’ — The Church of England votes to ordain Women Bishops — 2014

“Writing about the age of John Milton, the British author A. N. Wilson once tried to explain to modern secular readers that there had once been a time when bishops of the Church of England were titanic figures of conviction who were ready to stand against the culture.

‘It needs an act of supreme historical imagination to be able to recapture an atmosphere in which Anglican bishops might be taken seriously,’ he wrote, ‘still more, one in which they might be thought threatening.’…”

This 2014 piece from Albert Mohler is worth re-reading to remember how much has changed in such a short time in the Church of England.

And do pray for those gospel-minded leaders in the C of E, that they will be filled with wisdom, and will stand firm in the faith.

Related:

St. Helen’s Bishopsgate relationships with other deanery churches ‘temporarily impaired’.

Anglican Unscripted #357 – Welby revokes Carey’s Permission to Officiate.

Can Evangelicalism survive Donald Trump and Roy Moore?

“For centuries, renewal movements have emerged within Christianity and taken on different forms and names.

Often, they have invoked the word ‘evangelical.’ Followers of Martin Luther, who emphasized the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, described themselves in this way.

The Cambridge clergyman Charles Simeon, who led the Low Church renewal movement within the Church of England, adopted the label. The trans-Atlantic eighteenth-century awakenings and revivals led by the Wesleys were also often called “evangelical.” In the nineteen-forties and fifties, Billy Graham and others promoted the word to describe themselves and the religious space they were seeking to create between the cultural withdrawal espoused by the fundamentalist movement, on the one hand, and mainline Protestantism’s departures from historic Christian doctrine, on the other.

In each of these phases, the term has had a somewhat different meaning, and yet it keeps surfacing because it has described a set of basic historic beliefs and impulses…”

– In The New Yorker, Tim Keller lays out what ‘evangelical’ means – in the context of the label being used by every man and his dog.

A Prodigal’s Christmas

“Everyone seems to love the story of a prodigal’s return. In fact, we often hear people say “ah, the prodigal has returned”. I imagine Christmas has often been the occasion of returning prodigals.

There was a time in Australia when most Aussies would have known where the expression came from. In case you don’t let me tell you. It is a Bible expression drawn from the story of two prodigals and a loving father that was told by Jesus Christ. …”

– Bishop of Armidale, Rick Lewers, on saying sorry and forgiveness at Christmas.

Hold on to the Good, Reject what is Evil: Headship and Submission in a World with Domestic Violence

“How do you feel when you hear the words ‘domestic violence’ and ‘headship and submission’ together? Uneasy? Embarrassed? Apologetic? There was a time when I felt all those things. Before coming to Moore College, I would have tended towards burying my head in the sand when it came to engaging with the doctrine of headship and submission as it came up in relation to the terribly confronting issue of domestic violence. How can we address the terror effectively while still holding to this doctrine?

Of course, domestic violence is utterly incompatible with the doctrine of headship and submission. That is a truth with which many convinced complementarians are (rightly) very familiar. Nevertheless, this doctrine is despised by the world and is often used against us, being viewed as something that actually fuels abuse.

Now more than ever we need to be ready to give a reason for the hope that we have—that the truth found in God’s word is not only still applicable and relevant, but also good. I can say from my experience as a former student and wife of a current student that Moore College – this firmly complementarian institution – has been a guiding light in thinking hard about how to deal with the evil of domestic violence in light of God’s good design for men and women. …”

The Australian Church Record published this opinion piece by Kirsten McKinlay in October. It’s still relevant.

The Slippery Slope was a Precipice after all

“For all the talk of slippery slope arguments, when it came to it the same sex marriage decision in Australia was not a slippery slope. It was a precipice after all.

And in such times we need precipitous thinkers. We need leaders in our church who are not content to wait for the cultural changes to come our way, dodging and weaving until the last minute, but who lean into the changes and prepare their people with the ropes and tackle a precipice requires. …”

Stephen McAlpine writes to encourage Christians and Christian leaders in the face of what is to come.

‘5 Most Ridiculous Books to ever become Christian Bestsellers’

“If you were to scan the lists of the best selling Christian books of all time you’d see some truly amazing books there. You’d see some books that have helped us better understand who God is and books that have instructed us. and how we as Christians can live lives of obedience to Him, and like you, I’m genuinely thankful for these books.

Sadly though, you’d also see some truly flat-out awful books. Today I’ve narrowed down that list to the five most ridiculous books to ever become Christian bestsellers…”

– Tim Challies provides his list – with reasons.

Related (sort of): The Babylon Bee’s Top Ten Books Of 2017 (satire).

Franklin Graham isn’t preaching in England for another nine months, but already he’s getting trashed

“Here’s how the piece by Harriet Sherwood began:

Opposition is mounting to a planned visit to the UK by a leading American conservative evangelical Christian who has made Islamophobic and anti-gay statements, with critics saying it will promote prejudice and damage interfaith relations.

Several MPs, including a government minister, have urged the home secretary to consider refusing UK entry to Franklin Graham, with some suggesting his comments contravene British laws on hate speech. …”

– at GetReligion, Julia Duin writes about the UK campaign against Franklin Graham.

Photo: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Australia adopts same sex marriage: law and religion implications

“Legislation re-defining marriage to include same sex couples passed its final third reading stage in the Commonwealth House of Representatives this evening Australian time, December 7. The Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 will soon become law when it receives the Royal Assent.

In this post I want to start exploring some immediate implications for religious freedom and other ‘law and religion’ issues. …”

– Associate Professor Neil Foster shares some insights into the same-sex marriage legislation passed today.

He also addresses the idea that Bible-believing ministers should “‘hand in their license’ and no longer participate in solemnising any marriages for the purposes of the Marriage Act.”

When freedom has been taken away

“What can we do? This is a question I’ve been asked several times since we lost the plebiscite battle for the definition of marriage.

Last week’s rejection of freedom of speech by the Senate has sent shock waves through churches, mosques and Christian and Muslim schools.

The House of Representatives, which is this week debating Liberal Senator Dean Smith’s same-sex marriage bill, is unlikely to improve things. …”

– Lyle Shelton at the Australian Christian Lobby writes about the challenging days ahead.

See also: Religious freedom protections must not be delayed – Freedom for Faith, 27 November 2017.

 

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