On the Conviction of Cardinal Pell

“The recent conviction of Cardinal George Pell on five counts of child abuse has shaken the Roman Catholic Church in Australia and around the world.

Cardinal Pell was Australia’s most famous Roman Catholic leader – elevated to a position of high responsibility in the Vatican after a significant career in Australia, which including serving as Archbishop in Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. …”

– Assoc Professor Neil Foster reflects on Cardinal Pell’s case from a Biblical and legal perspective – at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

Tactics, not truth, over same-sex marriages

“It would seem that the response by the bishops of the Church of England to the latest attempt in the House of Lords to force clergy to conduct same-sex weddings was driven by tactical considerations rather than by transcendent truth.

Although the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft [pictured], resisted the amendment by Lords Faulkner and Collins to remove the CofE’s exemption from solemnising same-sex marriages, his remarks were notable for their political tone…”

The Rev. Julian Mann discerns an attempt by the Bishop of Oxford to placate the 100+ evangelical clergy in his diocese who signed a letter ‘of grave concern’ in January.

Making Bricks for Evangelical Pharaohs

“I worry that an awful lot of modern day ministry is about making bricks for evangelical pharaohs.  Whether those pharaohs are actual people, or whether they are systems and philosophies of ministry that have been put in place, doesn’t matter all that much; making bricks is the paradigm of much modern ministry.  And it’s leaving a trail of exhausted people in its wake. …”

Stephen McAlpine’s observations may resonate with many in ministry.

The Power of the Gospel and the Meltdown of Identity Politics

“American politics increasingly resembles a soap opera and, at least for now, Virginia has taken center stage. The drama in the state continues to unfold as the Commonwealth’s top three Democrats face pressure to resign. …

Virginia serves as a prime example of the self-destructive nature of identity politics – a political philosophy that expansively designates identity by race, social background, or gender at the expense of other identities.”

– Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler argues that “the biblical worldview is the only antidote to identity politics” in his latest column.

Knowing where we stand

“Sometimes, in just one public argument, all the worst winds gather together as a perfect storm. Perhaps no article in recent months fits that mould more than an opinion piece that ran just days ago in The Washington Post by veteran columnist Richard Cohen. The headline of the article reads, ‘It’s Not Just Northam. Republicans Must Confront the Bigotry of the Pences Too.’ …

Cohen makes a now familiar argument – he creates a moral parallel between the question of racism and anyone who believes that LGBTQ behaviors and relationships are sinful. He equates discrimination based on skin color with the moral agenda of gay rights.”

– Once again, Albert Mohler reminds Bible-believing Christians of the challenges coming.

Bigoted Quackery?

“Let me be the first to engage in some bigoted quackery and talk conversion.

That is to quote Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who has announced plans to ban so-called ‘LGBT conversion therapy.’

Speaking on Sunday at Melbourne’s Midsumma Pride March, Andrews vigorously criticised the idea that someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed, calling it ‘a most personal form of torture, a cruel practice that perpetuates the idea that LGBTI people are in some way broken.’

‘We will drag these practices out of the dark ages and into the brightest of lights.’

Then he called it ‘bigoted quackery’ – see my opening remark.

This is at first bewildering for the average Christian reader if only because few have ever heard of something called ‘LGBT conversion therapy.’ It’s a term invented by them, not us.

So, we are left to ask what it means. …

The Human Rights Law Centre and La Trobe University … report condemns the ‘insidious practice’ of churches having a ‘welcoming but not affirming’ policy akin to the adage, ‘love the sinner but not the sin.’…

– The Australian Christian Lobby’s Martyn Iles unpacks some of the challenges facing Christians in Victoria, and across Australia.

Pink is for Death

“Pink has become the colour of death. When a baby girl came into the world, friends gave gifts of pink shoes or a pink outfit. It may be a social convention, but does that matter? Pink was the colour for girls. Like so much else, another insidious social movement has replaced something good with the representation of evil.

Last night in Manhattan, the skyline changed to a pinkish glow, as New York State celebrated the passing of a law which will enable the killing of babies up until birth. …”

Murray Campbell in Melbourne adds his voice to the outrage, but reminds us what Christians must not neglect.

Yesterday New York signed off on Toxic Humanity

“Forget toxic masculinity. Don’t even mention toxic femininity. Yesterday’s move by the New York legislature to enshrine abortion up to full term in New York State is a prime example of one thing: toxic humanity.

But more than that. The true toxicity is not in the signing of the legislation, but in the unadulterated celebrating of it. …”

Stephen McAlpine writes with sadness of celebrations in New York.

Thanksgiving

“On September 28th 1863 Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States of America, asking for an Annual Day of Thanksgiving. …

I had a deep sense of sadness when I read this, reflecting on our own nation that appears so confused and divisive. We live in a nation with a myriad number of commemoration days set aside and sometimes even a whole a week to remember certain things, but do we stop as a nation to offer thanksgiving? Someone has said ‘The worst moment for the atheist is when he/she is really thankful and has no-one to thank.’…”

–  At the Diocese of Armidale website, Bishop Rick Lewers reflects on what Australia needs as we enter a new year.

Christmas: Satan’s field day?

“Now the title of this article might appear a little too shocking for the ‘merry’ Christmas season… but let me highlight some of the ways that the great deceiver tries to take our minds off Christ during the Christmas period, before suggesting some ways to respond.  …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Mike Leite encourages you to swim against the tide this Christmas.

The Derby Cathedral scandal and the alleged establishment bias of conservative evangelicals

“Derby Cathedral has given biblical orthodoxy a great boost by banning the Revd Melvin Tinker from preaching at a university Christian Union carol service.

The ban has built a tremendous platform for Mr Tinker and his supporters to demonstrate how intolerant of biblical Christianity the Church of England establishment is increasingly becoming.

But it is important to reflect on something Mr Tinker said in the course of the controversy in an interview on Anglican Unscripted. …”

– The Rev. Julian Mann writes this opinion-piece at Anglican Mainstream.

For the background, see Kevin Kallsen’s interview with Melvin Tinker at Anglican Unscripted.

Religious liberty and Australian culture

“Roughly 40% of Australians voted No to same-sex marriage and, according to a recent Newspoll, roughly 40% also reject the legitimacy of religious protections for Australians who disagree with same-sex marriage. The debates taking place in Federal parliament regarding religious liberty are culturally significant.

The cultural reformation of the 1960s has transformed social views on sex, marriage, family, and, increasingly, gender. And yet clearly not all have gone with the tide. …”

– Dr Stephen Chavura argues that ‘religious liberty and freedom of conscience is not religious privilege”.

Related:

Calls for Macquarie University to distance themselves from Christian Academic (March 2017).

Is It Discrimination for Christian Groups to Require Christian Leaders? – Patheos.

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