Around Australia – 24th September 2018

Here are a few recent stories from around Australia which may be of interest:

After a long struggle, the Uniting Church becomes the first to offer same-sex marriage – SBS News.

Bill Hayden, former Labor leader, turns to God despite atheist past – ABC News.

Former atheist and political leader Bill Hayden baptised at age 85 – Catholic Leader.

“There’s been a gnawing pain in my heart and soul about what is the meaning of life. What’s my role in it?” Mr Hayden said.

At What Price Awakening? Examining the Theology and Practice of the Bethel Movement – Gospel Coalition Australia.

Brisbane Cathedral Pride Evensong Offers Prayers to “Erotic Christ” – David Ould.

 

Should we call ourselves Feminists?

“The New York Times magazine labelled 2015 as ‘the year we obsessed about identity’, and it’s an obsession that isn’t finished yet. Answers to questions of personal identity – ‘Who am I’ and ‘What do I identify as’ – are now shaping public discourse, and increasingly the answers are expressed in labels. I even discovered recently you can now ‘identify’ as vegan!

And one of the labels people are obsessing over is whether or not to be a feminist.…”

– Dr. Claire Smith asks, Should we call ourselves Feminists?, in her first article on the topic of ‘The Challenge of Feminism’ – at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

Church of England should avoid only calling God ‘he’, Bishop says

“The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, bishop of Gloucester, the Church of England’s first female diocesan bishop, said: ‘I don’t want young girls or young boys to hear us constantly refer to God as he,’ adding that it was important to be ‘mindful of our language’. …”

–Story from The Telegraph.

(Photo: Diocese of Gloucester.)

Where to from here? Assembly of Confessing Congregations national conference meets in Sydney

This week (Monday 17th – Wednesday 19th September 2018) the National Conference of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations within the Uniting Church of Australia meets in Sydney.

The most important business will be a response to the Uniting Church’s decision in July [earlier related posts] to have two different and contradictory doctrines of marriage, thus allowing for same-sex marriage while pretending to have not changed anything important.

Doubtless, all attending the conference would value your prayers for godly wisdom.

In the September 2018 issue of their ACCatalyst magazine, The Rev Dr Tim Patrick, Principal of the Bible College of South Australia, writes (“Uniting Sin & Farce”),

“So where to from here? I am incredibly encouraged by the evangelical Uniting Church ministers who have called their congregations to forty days of prayer as they discuss next steps. I have no privileged inside knowledge, but I know they are talking together about the best group action that can be taken. There could perhaps be a fellowship established within the Uniting Church that parallels the GAFCON movement in the Anglican Communion. Or maybe a mass exodus to another denomination or accrediting body. Or something else. This is not my decision to make, but I do think that a coordinated approach will best serve the evangelical churches and congregation members far better than if each just independently started heading off in different directions.

There are, however, two possibilities that I would particularly love to see explored. The Uniting Church as a whole could turn back to its historic doctrine and thus abandon the sinful and absurd outcome of the recent Assembly. This would bring real joy to so many as the great desire of our hearts is to experience that unity for which the church is named with those whom we dearly love as our sisters and brothers. However, if this cannot happen, perhaps those who are so keen for the change should consider leaving the denomination. …” (pages 32 and 33).

The same edition of ACCatalyst notes (page 4) that the Assembly of Confessing Congregations was granted observer status at GAFCON 2018 in Jerusalem.

Of possible interest for ACC members is “The Crisis of ’77” by The Rev. Bob Thomas, on the 1977 decision by some in the Presbyterian Church to ‘continue’.

Why the Welsh Bishops are calling evil good

“ ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.’ (Isaiah 5:20)

These words were addressed by the prophet Isaiah to the people of Judah as part of his warning of forthcoming divine judgement. They warn that God will judge those who seek to justify sin by arguing that it is not really sinful at all because good is evil and evil is really good. They came to mind this week following the announcement this week that the Governing Body of the Church in Wales had voted to support a proposal from the Welsh bishops to explore ‘formal provision for those in same-gender relationships.’

In this post I shall explain why the words of Isaiah apply to the Welsh decision. …”

– At his blog, Reflections of an Anglican Theologian, Martin Davie considers this week’s announcement by the Bishops of the Church in Wales that “it is pastorally unsustainable and unjust for the Church to continue to make no formal provision for those in committed same-sex relationships”.

Photo: Archbishop of Wales, John Davies (courtesy The Church in Wales.)

Church in Wales to explore formal provision for same-sex couples

“The Bishops of the Church in Wales have been given the go-ahead to explore formal provision for same-sex couples in church. …

They voted with a clear majority in favour of the bishops looking at new approaches which could be brought back to the Governing Body for approval at a later date.

The private ballot followed a presentation to the meeting from the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop Mark Strange…”

– Report from The Church in Wales. (Graphic: The Church in Wales.)

Eucharistic Signalling

“You may not have heard of a Rainbow Eucharist. But the idea has been around for a while, and is celebrated in the gay press.

Sometimes it might be called a Pride service, and the Lord’s table can be draped in the Pride flag. The associated rhetoric is usually of inclusivity, diversity, and equality (and who wants to argue against those nowadays?).

There is a service like this planned for 22nd September at Wells Cathedral. …”

Church Society Director Lee Gatiss comments on the use of the Lord’s Supper for virtue signalling.

Related:

Rainbow revolution progresses as Bishop of Taunton announced as celebrant at Cathedral LGBT Eucharist.

Melanie Phillips in conversation with John Anderson

In seeking to share the gospel, Christians are concerned with objective truth and reasoned argument.

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson recently spoke with British journalist, author and broadcaster Melanie Phillips about the tumultuous changes taking place in western society, including the death of reason and absolute truth.

The interview runs for 56 minutes.

Rainbow revolution progresses as Bishop of Taunton announced as celebrant at Cathedral LGBT Eucharist

“Wells Cathedral in Somerset is the latest to show its allegiance to the cause of LGBT ‘radical inclusion’.

The What’s On section of its website advertises a “Rainbow Church Eucharist”, under the banner of a stylised rainbow coloured cross …”

Andrew Symes at Anglican Mainstream highlights the latest white flag of surrender to the popular culture.

St. John’s Cathedral Brisbane ‘celebrating and supporting’ Brisbane Pride Festival

St. John’s Cathedral Brisbane, the ‘mother church’ of the Diocese of Brisbane, has announced it will be “Celebrating Pride and supporting the Brisbane Pride Festival throughout September”.

Announced via the Cathedral’s Facebook page.

Church of England Bishop gives backing to rainbow eucharist

“A Eucharist to celebrate LGBT Pride has taken place in the Diocese of Oxford with the full backing of the local suffragan Bishop and Archdeacon.

After the service on 30th August, well known LGBT activist and lay member of General Synod Jayne Ozanne tweeted a photo the service in Reading Minster (Oxford Diocese), where the Communion table is covered in the rainbow flag …”

– Report from Anglican Mainstream. Photo: Jayne Ozanne.

Banning ‘Conversion’ Therapy, what does it mean?

“Media outlets have renewed a campaign to outlaw gay conversion therapy (GCT). The Age published an article on the weekend with the title, Churches, LGBTI Christians urge crackdown on ‘conversion’ therapy.

The headline is somewhat misleading, for according to the SOCE website (the group who are asking the Federal Government to ban GCT), only four churches have signed their statement along with 3-4 church ministers. No doubt there other supportive Churches, but nothing like the groundswell of ecclesial enthusiasm that the newspaper implies. …

While the SOCE Survivors document is vague at points, a spokesperson from SOCE has this week responded to a friend of mine who was also seeking clarification from them. The spokesperson said,

‘Anything other than the full affirmation of lgbtiq individuals as fully equal (including in the church, with a move toward correcting the poorly translated words currently classed as “homosexual” in the bible) is really unacceptable.’ … ”

Murray Campbell takes a close look at what proposals to ban ‘conversion therapy’ actually involve. You should read this.

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