Presbyterian Church of Australia re-affirms the biblical view of marriage

presbyterianHere’s a post from John Wilson, the newly commissioned Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia. In part, he says,

“Wednesday evening saw the reaffirmation of the Presbyterian Church of Australia’s resolute commitment to uphold the biblical and traditional view of marriage … For the sake of transparency, we held the debate in public. We took the risk that our debate might be disrupted or our decisions misreported.”

Full comments below:

Wednesday evening saw the reaffirmation of the Presbyterian Church of Australia’s resolute commitment to uphold the biblical and traditional view of marriage. The Presbyterian Church has always believed and still believes that marriage is the lifelong union of one man with one woman, voluntarily entered into, excluding all others.

Through informed and thorough theological debate, the Church demonstrated that it has not moved from its historic position or the commitments expressed in 2013.

This week, the church strengthened its position by declaring that it cannot allow its ministers to conduct celebrations of same sex marriage.

The church went even further this time. It debated the point at which it should withdraw as a denomination from cooperating with the state in celebrating and registering marriages under the Marriage Act. The major alternatives were: at the moment the Marriage Act is redefined to include same-sex marriages (if it is changed), OR, at a later point – yet to be determined – when we are forced by legislation to conduct same-sex marriage. The church chose the second option.

The Presbyterian Church has been at the forefront of the spiritual battle in Australia to uphold and preserve the biblical and traditional view of marriage. It has been resolute in its opposition to same-sex marriage. The church maintains that while God provides forgiveness of, and redemption from, all sin through Christ, he condemns homosexual behaviour, along with all other forms of sin.

For the sake of transparency, we held the debate in public. We took the risk that our debate might be disrupted or our decisions misreported. Sadly, an online article was published without consultation by Eternity News on Thursday morning that placed our position in a different light.

Rev John P Wilson

Moderator-General
Presbyterian Church of Australia.”

Posted 17th September 2016.

New Presbyterian Moderator-General

john-and-paula-wilson-2The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia is meeting in Sydney this week.

David Cook concluded his three-year term as Moderator-General. Read his final address here.

John Wilson, Clerk of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, was installed as Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia. He is pictured here with his wife Paula. Read his address to the GAA (PDF).

Archbishop Glenn Davies was present to convey greetings to the Assembly.

Please pray for our Presbyterian brothers and sisters in their commitment to share the gospel of Christ with our nation. (See John Wilson in this video on Presbyterian plans to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with evangelism.)

Photo courtesy Gary Ware.

Adrian Reynolds to be Training Director for the FIEC (UK)

adrian-reynolds-sm2News from The Proclamation Trust:

The Trustees of The Proclamation Trust (PT) today announce that Adrian Reynolds, Director of Ministry for the Trust since 2009, will be leaving his post at Easter 2017 to take up a role as Training Director for the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC)…”

Full announcement here.

Latvian Lutherans end ordination of women priests

Riga_cathedralThe General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia … has voted to end the ordination of women to the priesthood…”

News from last month via Anglican Ink: a counter-cultural move in Latvia. (Photo: Riga Cathedral.)

Church of Scotland votes to allow ministers to be in same-sex marriages

church-of-scotland-ga-2016“The Church of Scotland’s highest law-making body has voted to allow its ministers to be in same-sex marriages.

The church’s general assembly, which opened in Edinburgh on Saturday, voted in favour of extending a law passed last May that permits ministers to be in same-sex civil partnerships.

The decision, after years of deliberation, means the church maintains the traditional view marriage as between a man and woman, but allows individual congregations to ‘opt out’ if they wish to appoint a minister or deacon in a same-sex marriage or civil partnership…”

– Story from The Guardian. (Photo credit: Church of Scotland.)

Related (from June 2012): St. George’s Tron, Glasgow, secedes from Church of Scotland.

“We believe the Church of Scotland is choosing to walk away from the biblical gospel, and to walk apart from the faith of the worldwide Christian Church.”

Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh elects new Bishop

Jim Hobby, Pittsburgh“The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh elected a Georgia pastor Saturday to be its next leader in a landmark election to succeed the retiring Bishop Robert Duncan, who led the diocese’s break with the Episcopal Church eight years ago.

Clergy and lay delegates elected the Rev. James Hobby, who got his start in ministry in Southwestern Pennsylvania a quarter century ago…”

– Story from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

See also this report from the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Photo: Trinity Anglican Church, Thomasville.

Easter messages 2016

gospel-message-outside-melbourne-cathedral-19-mar-2016-smEaster is a wonderful opportunity to speak with clarity about the meaning of the Lord Jesus’ death, and the implications of his Resurrection.

Please pray that church leaders will communicate that message as they should, that Christ will be honoured, and that men and women will turn to him in repentance and faith.

Here are some of the messages we’ve spotted so far.

Will our messages to the world this Easter be as simple and clear as the sign in the photo? –

Diocese of the Northern Territory, Bishop Greg Anderson

Political commentator Mungo MacCallum recently described Malcolm Turnbull’s performance in the top job as ‘a hugely disappointing resurrection’.

Maybe it is good that the word resurrection still has some place in today’s media. But the first resurrection sets the benchmark. All other so-called resurrections, including the PM’s, are inevitably hugely disappointing. They all, in the end, run out…”

Diocese of Armidale, Bishop Rick Lewers

“What is surprising about Easter is that the death of Jesus on the cross is all about clemency. Not His, but ours. It is where God would take upon himself the sins of the whole world, accepting the blame for what we have done in preference to leaving us stranded in our blameworthiness with no hope of forgiveness…”

Presbyterian Moderator-General David Cook

“Toplady’s hymn expresses it well:

‘Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling;
Naked turn to you for dress;
Helpless look to you for grace;
Foul I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.’

By dying on that cross, Jesus won our salvation…”

Diocese of Melbourne, Archbishop Philip Freier

“What is the resurrection promise of Easter Day? – God’s love will endure and continue, no matter what. Christians look to Jesus’ rising from the dead as not just an historic action but as the promise of his presence with us today – even in the worst of circumstances…”

Australian Baptist Ministries, National Ministries Director Keith Jobberns

“The Easter celebration is a reminder that humans have been given a second chance. The Easter narrative records that in Jesus, and through relationship with Him we can find freedom from the shackles of fear, acceptance despite our faults and the opportunity to begin anew with God and our fellow humans…”

Diocese of North Queensland, Bishop Bill Ray (PDF)–

“Yes, Christians believe that ‘on the third day Jesus rose from the dead’, but Christianity is more than just believing, it is living this new life in Christ and bringing it to others…”

(Photo: Bicycle bearing a gospel message, in Federation Square, Melbourne, with St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in the background, 19th March 2016.)

Presbyterians plan to celebrate — with evangelism

David CookTo celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the doors of the castle church in Wittenberg, the Presbyterians want to proclaim Christ with a national campaign.

What a great idea.

Freedom of conscience clause ‘eliminated’ by Church of Iceland

iceland-map-wikipedia“The Church of Iceland has scrapped its freedom of conscience clause, ending the right of clergy to refuse to solemnize same-sex marriages…’

– George Conger reports at Anglican Ink.
(Map: Wikipedia.)

See also:

Bishop speaks out for gay marriageIceland Monitor.

The Bishop who is spring cleaning the churchNordic Labour Journal.

Liberalism and the Church of Scotland

David RobertsonDavid Robertson, minister of St. Peter’s Free Church in Dundee, has been reflecting on the direction of the Church of Scotland. (Ten Reasons Why the Church of Scotland is in Decline – March 20, 2015.)

As a result, he was recently invited to take part in a public conversation with a prominent Church of Scotland minister.

The full transcript of the only recording (mp3 file) is both disturbing in what it reveals of classic liberalism, and most encouraging in David’s example in speaking the truth.

Bishop of Stockholm wants crosses removed, directions to Mecca added

bp_eva_brunne“The Bishop of Stockholm has proposed a church in her diocese remove all signs of the cross and put down markings showing the direction to Mecca for the benefit of Muslim worshippers…”

– Story from Breitbart.com. Image: Wikipedia.

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