Call to pray for Australia

The Bishop of South Sydney, Dr. Michael Stead, has written to all Senior Ministers in Sydney diocese, asking them to encourage their congregations to pray for our nation, especially for the 21 days leading up to the Federal election on May 18 –

“Christians across a wide range of denominations are joining in 21 days of prayer, commencing this Sunday (28 April). Each denomination will do this in their own way. …

In particular, people are being encouraged to pray for the following 4 things.

  1. Pray that God would rule over this election that righteous leaders would be elected to govern this nation in truth and justice because, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice.” Proverbs 29:2.
  2. Pray God’s blessing upon all our current parliamentarians and leaders, including their families and all the candidates of all the parties standing for this federal election. 1 Timothy 2:1-3.
  3. Pray for a multiplication of prayer and unity across the Body of Christ in Australia that people will wake up to the dangers facing our nation and respond in prayer. Ephesians 5:14.
  4. Pray for a Spiritual Awakening for Australia, Revival and Transformation for our nation and the proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:16.

The organisation behind the Canberra Declaration have prepared 21 daily devotionals, for optional use. People who wish to can register to receive a daily email here – https://canberradeclaration.org.au/prayer/election-2019.”

Archbishop Foley Beach, Easter 2019

The Anglican Church in North America has published this Easter Conversation with Archbishop Foley Beach, incoming Chairman of GAFCON.

(Hear Archbishops Foley Beach and Ben Kwashi in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth in early May 2019 – details here.)

An Easter message from Archbishop Ben Kwashi

Archbishop Ben Kwashi gives an update from GAFCON this Easter, and asks for your support.

What’s Next? Confidently Preaching Christ. Saturday 4th May.

Archbishops Ben Kwashi (GAFCON General Secretary) and Foley Beach (GAFCON Chairman) will be in Australia for the Gafcon Primates meeting in April.

Following the meeting they will be speaking and answering questions at Moore College in Sydney on Saturday 4th May, and in Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth on the following days.

Their topic is: What’s Next? Confidently Preaching Christ.

You can use the links above to register for the events, and to see a message from Bishop Richard Condie.

Reflections on the Israel Folau affair

“Celebrity rugby player Israel Folau is in a complicated legal position. He shared a ‘meme’ on social media site Instagram recently, the text of which was: ‘Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You – Repent! Only Jesus Saves.’

To this he added his own personal comment: ‘Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.’ …

His remarks were not well-received by many members of the public, and in particular by the peak bodies in rugby. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster offers some comments on the latest news relating to Israel Folau.

Final Letter from Archbishop Okoh as GAFCON Chairman

“My dear people of God,

This month is the last time I write to you as Chairman of the Gafcon Primates Council before I hand over later this month to my beloved brother in Christ and fellow Primate, Archbishop Foley Beach.

As I look back over nearly three years in which I have been privileged to serve the cause of the gospel in this way, I am full of gratitude to Almighty God for his continued favour. By His grace, we have gone far, but it is because the Lord has helped us. Just as Samuel raised his Ebenezer, the stone of remembrance, I also humbly ask that we remember and do not forget how God has blessed this movement far beyond what we deserve and far beyond what our own efforts could have achieved. …”

Read Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s full letter.

‘Folau Sacking is Religious Discrimination’

Here is a media release from the Australian Christian Lobby* –

“The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed deep disappointment with Rugby Australia over plans to sack Israel Folau just for stating his beliefs.

We continue to stand with Israel Folau and support his right to express his beliefs,” said ACL’s managing director, Martyn Iles.

‘Far from being homophobic, Israel Folau’s social media post was very inclusive – drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, and idolaters – is a list which includes everyone, affirming the Christian teaching that all are equal in our need of salvation.’ …”

– Read it all at The Australian Christian Lobby.

Related: Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union statement regarding Israel Folau.

* The Australian Christian Lobby and the Anglican Church League have the same initials, but are separate organisations.

(Photo: PlayersVoice.)

The outrage mob is out to get Folau

“The outrage mob is out in force following rugby star Israel Folau’s latest social media comments.

The mob wants to more than disagree with Folau’s opinion, as is our right in a free society. It wants to ban him from expressing it, which is totalitarian. …”

– Morgan Begg,a research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, writes in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Related:

Israel Folau to be sacked by Rugby Australia over homophobic comments – ABC News.

What the hell, Australia? – David Ould.

See also earlier posts – mainly from April 2018, including a media statement, at the time, from Archbishop Glenn Davies:

“The way Israel Folau is treated will be a test of Australian Rugby’s ‘inclusion’ policy.

Israel Folau should be free to hold and express traditional, Biblical views on marriage and sexuality without being penalized – just as other players have spoken out with their differing views. …”

The 2019 Federal Election and Religious Freedom issues

Freedom for Faith Executive Director Michael Kellahan writes,

“The long awaited election has been called for 18 May. …

All the parties voice a commitment to religious freedom. What we need to know though is how this stated commitment will find expression at law. We have written to the parties asking a series of specific questions which will help you understand their positions heading into the election. We will publish a table of their responses.”

This article from Freedom for Faith board member Professor Patrick Parkinson discusses the key religious freedom issues. “Religious Freedom after Ruddock”:

“With the federal election campaign just around the corner, it would be understandable if people of faith were confused about the stance the major political parties take on religious issues, particularly given the differing responses of these parties to the Ruddock Report on religious freedom, which was completed in May 2018.”

High Court upholds abortion buffer zone laws

“In an important decision on free speech issues, the High Court of Australia, in its decision in Clubb v Edwards; Preston v Avery [2019] HCA 11 (10 April 2019), has upheld the validity of laws in Victoria and Tasmania prohibiting communication about abortion within 150m of an abortion clinic.

The decision may have serious implications for free speech about other issues on which religious believers have deep-seated convictions contrary to the general orthodoxy of modern Australian society. …”

– Associate Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

See also:

Kathy Clubb’s storyAustralian Christian Lobby.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – David Ould.

Standing with the Suffering

“At the end of February, Gafcon held a conference hosted by Bishop Michael Nazir Ali and Bishop Azad Marshall of Pakistan which, though much smaller than last year’s Jerusalem Conference, will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on all those who attended and the wider Anglican Communion.

From 25th February to 1st March, 138 delegates, including four Primates and 31 bishops and archbishops, gathered in Dubai for ‘G19’. The conference was designed for those who had been unable to attend Gafcon 2018 in Jerusalem for political reasons and many came from contexts where there are severe restrictions on Christian witness.

In his opening address, Gafcon Chairman Archbishop Okoh of Nigeria set the tone of the conference…”

– GAFCON’s Membership Development Secretary, Canon Charles Raven, wrote this article for Evangelicals Now.

Good Friday – not just good, but glorious

“Childhood impressions linger, don’t they? I’m so grateful for (most of) them. My earliest memory of 1950s church life is full of happy thoughts, good people and full Sundays. Sunday mornings, afternoons and evenings – there was always something engaging and purposeful to do (yes, Sunday afternoons: Christian Endeavour).

As helpful as all that was, there are someone boyhood memories that need tweaking or straightening out later.

Each year, our evangelical Baptist church gave huge attention to Palm Sunday, followed five days later by a much more sombre Friday morning service. Even without specific instruction, this pattern taught me to celebrate the joy of Palm Sunday but to tone it down on Good Friday. This was the order of things, from glory to gloom: after the glory of the triumphal march into Jerusalem we must move to the gloom of the Cross. Which prompted, of course, that perennial childhood question: “Dad, why is Good Friday good? Isn’t it bad, what they did to Jesus?”

Reflecting on this glory to gloom transition, I now wonder if it needs correction. …”

– Presbyterian Moderator-General, John P Wilson, reflects on why Good Friday is glorious.

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