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.

Reclaiming religious freedom in the UK

“Barnabas Fund is seeking a new Act of Parliament in the UK to guarantee seven fundamental aspects of freedom of religion. These seven freedoms have developed in the UK by various mechanisms over the last five centuries but are now under threat. A law to protect and guarantee them is urgently needed.

Tracing the heritage of religious liberty takes us back more than 800 years to Magna Carta in 1215. …

As we will explain in a new booklet which Barnabas Fund will shortly be launching, Magna Carta’s affirmation that ‘the English Church shall be free’ was gradually worked out over the centuries into seven specific aspects of freedom of religion…”

– News from Barnabas Fund, via Anglican Mainstream.

Volunteers told to use gender-neutral words to avoid causing offence

“Volunteers for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games have been told to use gender-neutral language to avoid causing offence.

The Games Shapers handbook, which has been handed to 15,000 volunteers and official staff and contractors instructs workers to avoid phrases like ‘ladies and gentlemen’ and ‘boys and girls’. …”

– Story from News.com.au.

Archbishop of Melbourne calls for ‘intentional conversations’ on same-sex marriage

Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr. Philip Freier:

“I am very conscious of the pain that members of our church who are in same sex partnerships experience at this time when the society has changed in a way that the church hasn’t. …

I propose that we have intentional conversations about this next year. It will be good to prepare for this well and I will be looking for the best way these conversations can take place safely, gracefully and productively.”

The Melbourne Anglican has this story on an Ad Clerum sent by Archbishop Freier to Melbourne clergy just before Christmas.

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.

Why I can’t in conscience write for the Church of England Newspaper any more

“I have been contributing articles regularly for the Church of England Newspaper (CEN) for the past ten years and have found its editor Colin Blakely very congenial to write for.  He is courteous to his writers in contrast to the editors of a couple more thoroughly evangelical publications I have written for.

It is a personally wretched decision for me to have to stop writing for Colin. But his decision to become a trustee of the Ozanne Foundation, which is actively campaigning to change the received biblical teaching of the Church of England on sexual ethics, has made this necessary. …”

– The Rev. Julian Mann, Vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge in Sheffield Diocese, explains his decision, at Anglican Mainstream. (Photo: Julian Mann with Archbishop Ben Kwashi.)

Related: Workers and Wolves – William Taylor on Romans 16:1-23.

Update: Kevin Kallsen and Gavin Ashenden discuss the Ozanne Foundation fallout at Anglican Unscripted #358 – Just Jesus, not ‘just love’ silly.

Senior CofE bishop to front campaign for LGBT inclusion

“The Bishop of Liverpool, Rt Rev Paul Bayes, is to chair a new charity aimed at promoting greater acceptance of LGBT people by working with religious organisations around the world. He has said

He has been named as chair of the Ozanne Foundation, whose director Jayne Ozanne is a high-profile Anglican activist for LGBT inclusivity. …”

Report. (Photo: Diocese of Liverpool.)

One of the Trustees of the pro-LGBT organisation is Colin Blakely, Editor of The Church of England Newspaper, while Steve Chalke is a member of the Council of Reference.

Related:

As Christ is to His church – William Taylor (Video, 2013).

Confidence in God and the word he has given us – Mark Thompson (February 2014).

Appointment of American Bishop leads to split with Nigerian DioceseReform statement (May 2016).

‘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.

‘New Bishop of London … refuses to say where she stands’

“The controversial new Bishop of London refused yesterday to say where she stands on the the Church of England’s most damaging division.

The Right Reverend Sarah Mullally left tens of thousands of worshippers in her new diocese guessing about her views on gay rights after giving a high-profile broadcast interview. …

Bishop Mullally said the CofE has ‘a real diversity’ and is entering ‘a period of reflection’.

Bishop Mullally withheld her own thinking in an interview for BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme in which she was repeatedly pressed for her opinion. …

– Story from Mail Online. Photo: Diocese of London.

Related:

Which Way, Evangelicals? There is Nowhere to Hide – Albert Mohler.

“There will be no place to hide. The forces driving this revolution in morality will not allow evasion or equivocation. Every pastor, every church, and every Christian organization will soon be forced to declare an allegiance to the Scriptures and to the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexual morality, or to affirm loyalty to the sexual revolution.”

When ‘Discernment’ Leads to Disaster – Albert Mohler.

Bishop-elect’s radio interview struggle reveals Church’s unresolved dilemmas – Andrew Symes.

“She would have known that it would come. She would have prepared for it, rehearsing her lines, perhaps with coaches, wanting to appear wise, generous, compassionate, authoritative. It came, finally, at the end of the interview; the dreaded ’Tim Farron question’ – ‘do you think homosexual relationships are sinful?’

Like an England batsman in the nets in Australia she had practiced for this moment … I felt for her as she attempted to answer the inevitable question, and she flannelled and waffled, a combination of the cringeworthy and the hilarious (see transcript below).”

Listen from 1 hour 52 minutes into the audio.

Religious groups and employment of staff

“Can a Christian secondary school require that its teachers not openly advocate a sexual lifestyle that is contrary to the Bible’s teaching? Can an Orthodox Jewish preschool ask its teachers to live in accordance with Orthodox moral principles? Can a Protestant church refuse to hire someone to act on its behalf in political advocacy when that person does not share their religious beliefs?

These are all issues that have come up in recent months. Two of them are dealt with in decisions in connection with judicial proceedings, one in the UK and one from the European Court of Justice. One has been raised by media reports in Australia. In this post I want to flag these three cases briefly and to comment on the issues they raise for religious freedom, and how they should be resolved. …”

– Valuable resources from Assoc. Professor Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia.

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.

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.

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