‘In some instances … feticide is undertaken’

“I wrote in November about the Liberal Bill before the parliament here in Adelaide which seeks to make lawful the killing of a foetus right up to the time, and immediately after, his or her birth. The upper house has already passed it. The lower house will vote on the February 3.

Since I first wrote of the bill, an anonymous someone in the Attorney-General’s Department or Health Department has distributed to MPs a document explaining how the Bill the department has drafted will operate.

This is question and answer #5 in that government publication:

Q: What happens in later term abortions?…”

– Retired Federal Circuit Court Judge Stuart Lindsay writes in Quadrant Online about a vile abortion bill. Important, though distressing, reading.

Also read the earlier article with its challenge to the churches.

(Photo: Stand for Life rally, Sydney, September 2019.)

Related:

‘Catholic’ Biden marks Roe v. Wade anniversary with pledge to make abortion available for ‘everyone’ – LifeSiteNews.

Albert Mohler’s The Briefing — 21 January 2021

In his The Briefing for 21 January 2021, SBTS President Albert Mohler takes a close look at the image and the reality of the incoming US Administration.

It’s a preview of the huge cultural and moral shifts coming to the US – and certain to influence Australia.

Victoria’s Conversion Practices Bill is as bad as they say it is

“The Bill creates a powerful set of bureaucratic mechanisms by which religious groups presenting the classic teachings of their faith may be subject to investigation and ‘re-education’ by human rights officers. It arguably makes the presentation of some aspects of Biblical teaching unlawful if the aim of that teaching is to encourage someone to follow that teaching in their own life.

Despite the appearance of addressing horrific and oppressive quasi-psychological procedures inflicted on young people, the Bill goes well beyond this laudable goal, and will make it unlawful to provide assistance in obeying the Bible to those who explicitly and with full understanding request such help. Enactment of this legislation would be a serious mistake. …”

– In an important post, Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia, takes a careful look at the Victorian legislation.

You are Not Your Own

“This set of resources has been produced by Church Society to help Christians learn about the Bible’s teaching on sex and marriage, particularly as the Church of England engages with the Living in Love and Faith material on identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.

The seven topics in the series are designed to help Christians understand the Bible’s teaching on sex and marriage within a broader biblical context. …”

Worth checking out.

Somewhat related: Colin Buchanan sings “You are not your own”.

George Orwell’s ‘1984’ tops Amazon’s Best-Seller List

After a tumultuous 2020 and a similar start to 2021, George Orwell’s “1984” is currently number 2 on Amazon’s best seller list.

There may be a sermon illustration or a gospel opening in that news.

Handling the Bible in Love and Faith

“I want people to be convinced that the word of God is good. God is so generous, and his word saves and enriches and fulfils life. God will offer anyone the opportunity to approach him, unashamedly, in Christ. He will teach us all to let go of the old ways of hate, and separation, and disunity. His welcome is universal and unconditional. …”

– At Church Society, Kirsty Birkett continues her reflections on the approach to Scripture of the Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith.

See also Lee Gatiss’ preview (last October) of Living in Love and Faith:

“The problem here is that we are never allowed to come to a settled mind on this, and it is repeatedly said that clergy are free to preach and teach the opposite of what the church has always believed.”

Albert Mohler on the Georgia elections

In the first of his Briefings for 2021, Albert Mohler explains why the Georgia Senate Runoff Elections on Tuesday are key to what happens in the U.S. Government.

What happens in the US has a major influence world wide, and so should be a matter for prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-4.).

Listen here.

Review of ‘Peter Akinola: Who Blinks First? Biblical Fidelty Against the Gay Agenda in the Global Anglican Community’

“In the early 2000s, Nigerian Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola was twice recognized by Time magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People” on earth. He had distinguished himself as the leader of the Global South’s revolt against the normalization of homosexuality by the Global North’s contingent within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

As the decennial Lambeth Conference loomed in the summer of 2020, Nigerian journalist and media consultant Gbenga Gbesan was enlisted to tell the story of Akinola’s campaign, which spanned his decade of service as archbishop, 2000-2010. …”

– At Books at a Glance, Mark Coppenger reviews Peter Akinola: Who Blinks First? Biblical Fidelty Against the Gay Agenda in the Global Anglican Community.

Availability.

Church in Wales issues draft Bill for same-sex blessings

“The Bishops of the Church in Wales have published their proposals to authorise formal blessings in church of same-sex partnerships and marriages.

A draft Bill that would permit the blessing in parish churches of same-sex couples after a civil partnership or civil wedding has been circulated to members of the Church’s Governing Body ahead of a debate in April. …”

– Report from The Church Times.

Image: Archbishop of Wales John Davies, from his 2020 Christmas Message.

See also:

A Bill to authorise experimental use of proposed revisions of the Book of Common Prayer (service of Blessing following a Civil Partnership or Marriage between two people of the same sex) – Church in Wales website.

Responses to the Appellate Tribunal Opinion

Essential reading on the 11 November 2020 Opinion issued by the Appellate Tribunal:

St Helen’s Bishopsgate announces “Broken Partnership” with House of Bishops

Excerpts from a Statement issued by St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in London:

“In good conscience, St Helen’s is no longer able to remain in gospel partnership with the House of Bishops until they again speak and act consistently in accordance with the plain reading and plain teaching of scripture on sex and marriage, as recognised by the church down the centuries. …

St Helen’s is not leaving the Church of England and will remain a member of its Deanery and Diocesan structures for the most part. However St Helen’s will be withdrawing from those activities which indicate full spiritual partnership. This is likely to include the selection and recommendation of people going forward for ordination, as well as planting new Church of England churches.”

Read the full statement below:

Date 16 December 2020

ST HELEN’S BISHOPSGATE ANNOUNCES “BROKEN PARTNERSHIP” WITH HOUSE OF BISHOPS

St Helen’s Bishopsgate, following much prayer and reflection, has announced a state of broken partnership with the House of Bishops of the Church of England.

St Helen’s and many other churches have over a prolonged period called for and prayed for Bishops, as the denomination’s senior leaders, to uphold their vows to teach what the Bible says, including in the area of sex and marriage, and to deny false teaching and practice. Instead the House of Bishops is divided on sex and marriage; its official orthodox doctrine is expressly undermined by how some bishops speak and act, and by the failure to speak and act of many others. This has resulted in a muddled message and confusion for churchgoers across England. Despite their consecration vows, Bishops have overseen the appointment to influential leadership positions of people who openly advocate change to the Church of England’s doctrine and/or forms of service, and Bishops have permitted alternative services and events that do not uphold the Church of England’s stated doctrinal position on sexual ethics.

Seven years ago the House of Bishops published the Pilling Report which called for ‘facilitated discussions’ on sexuality. Earlier this month the House of Bishops published the Living in Love and Faith book, course, and library of resources which call for yet further discussion. Living in Love and Faith demonstrates the division in the House of Bishops with some sections setting out the orthodox biblical teaching but others erroneous alternative views. The overall effect suggests that the clear biblical teaching on sex and marriage is not clear. The House of Bishops is responsible for upholding biblical doctrine in the Church of England. Whilst St Helen’s is encouraged by the faithful work of some involved in the LLF project, the clarity and consistency of the bible’s teaching on sex and marriage is in marked contrast to the House of Bishops’ muddled message.

In good conscience, St Helen’s is no longer able to remain in gospel partnership with the House of Bishops until they again speak and act consistently in accordance with the plain reading and plain teaching of scripture on sex and marriage, as recognised by the church down the centuries.

The loving summons of the Lord Jesus to ‘repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand’ leads his followers into a life of rich fulfilment that stretches into eternity. Thus, when Church of England bishops depart from proclaiming and defending clear biblical teaching, it is not just a breach of the Canons of the Church of England, but more seriously it is unloving and painful to the many people within the Church of England who want to live faithful and sacrificial lives following Jesus, and it risks causing others to stray from the way of salvation revealed in the scriptures.

St Helen’s has a deep love and concern for those in the church who experience same-sex attraction, and seeks to provide support and care for such men and women in our own congregations. Sadly when Church of England leaders contradict or fail to promote the clear teaching of scripture in the area of sexual ethics, they are heard by our and other congregations to say that scripture does not matter and the personal obedience of committed Christians desiring to be faithful to Jesus’ teaching does not matter.

St Helen’s, like the great majority of Anglicans around the world, believes that scripture clearly and consistently teaches that it is God’s good plan that the only loving and God-honouring place for sexual practice is within the marriage of one man and one woman, and that this is a matter of primary biblical importance. It is not merely a ‘secondary matter’ over which faithful Christian disciples can ‘agree to disagree’, rather it is a matter of the authority of God’s word to which all disciples of Jesus Christ should seek to submit (and not reword).

Tracey, a member of St Helen’s who knew she was gay when she was 12, lived an active gay lifestyle in her twenties until she became a Christian a few years ago.

She says, “Now that I’m a Christian it doesn’t mean that I have become straight. I’ve always been attracted to girls. The thing that helped me was understanding that temptation and sin were different things. I have a choice: I can either honour God with my actions or dishonour him.”

She continues, “I find it upsetting when Christians take different bits of the Bible and say, I’ll go with this and not that, as it was quite clear to me what the Bible taught on homosexuality. There is a cost and it is tricky, but holding onto the truths in the Bible, I choose to honour Jesus. I have a wonderful church family who are incredibly supportive.”

St Helen’s is not leaving the Church of England and will remain a member of its Deanery and Diocesan structures for the most part. However St Helen’s will be withdrawing from those activities which indicate full spiritual partnership. This is likely to include the selection and recommendation of people going forward for ordination, as well as planting new Church of England churches. We have been in regular communication with both the current Bishop of London and her predecessor about our developing concerns. We are grateful that the Bishop of London has, in response, proposed working with St Helen’s to assess how the potential consequences of broken partnership could be addressed.

William Taylor, Rector of St Helen’s says, “The House of Bishops has responsibility for spiritual leadership in the Church of England–teaching the truth, correcting error and exercising discipline. Their failure of leadership over many years is responsible for the confusion that the Church of England now finds itself in. By contrast the Bible’s teaching is clear, authoritative and loving as is the historic doctrine of the Church of England. Sadly, therefore, we find that although authentically Anglican, we are not, for the time being, in gospel partnership with the House of Bishops. We feel obliged to take this step to differentiate ourselves visibly from the House of Bishops.”

He continues, “We are grateful for the ongoing faithful ministry of the Bishop of Maidstone, Rod Thomas, who is not himself a voting member of the House of Bishops but has repeatedly and faithfully raised these concerns about departure from the Scriptures. Rod will review me annually in my role as Rector of St Helen’s, with input from the churchwardens and other members of the team at St Helen’s. We will also continue to pray for the leadership of the Church of England and for the House of Bishops, especially that they will stand strong in the orthodox truths and have the confidence to be unashamed in preaching the gospel as set out in scripture – the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, no matter how counter-cultural it may seem to contemporary society.”

Many local church leaders, from different Anglican churches across the country, share similar concerns to those expressed by St Helen’s. We wish to support and remain in full partnership with these likeminded churches, who seek to teach the good news of Jesus with faithfulness and compassion and provide on-going care, love and support for those within their congregations experiencing same-sex attraction.

Ends

Source: St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.

Image of William Taylor courtesy of St. Helen’s.

The Spirit of Truth

As I explained in my previous blogpost, ‘theological reflection’, a process of hearing God’s revelation not just in Scripture, but in human wisdom and the changing circumstances around us, has become very popular in the Church of England. It is often given justification from John 16:13. Even when not linked directly to theological reflection, this verse is taken as reason to expect devout Christians, in conscience, to come to new conclusions about life and doctrine that are different from the received view, perhaps even different from biblical teaching.

Is this what Jesus actually taught in John 16:13? …

Such an interpretation of John 16:13 in the Church of England is relatively new, but has a back story. In the background is the influence of John Henry Newman and the Oxford Movement. …”

– At Church Society, Kirsty Birkett continues her series responding to the Living in Love and Faith resources with an examination of John 16:13.

Gafcon Australia Statement about Wangaratta

Gafcon Australia has released this statement:

“The Board of Gafcon Australia notes with regret that a blessing of a civil marriage of two men has taken place in the Diocese of Wangaratta. This is inconsistent with the teaching of Christ that marriage is between a man and a woman. The Anglican Church of Australia has no other doctrine of marriage. Actions of this type in other Anglican jurisdictions around the world have deeply impaired fellowship between Anglican provinces and resulted in the most serious, and in some cases, formal and ongoing breaches of unity within and between Dioceses.  Gafcon Australia remains committed to supporting faithful and orthodox Anglicans wherever they may be, and invites any who are concerned about these recent developments to contact us for prayerful encouragement and support at info@gafconaustralia.org.”

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