‘Billy Graham was on the wrong side of history’??

“When Billy Graham stands before the judgment seat of God, he may finally realize how badly he failed his country, and perhaps his God. On civil rights and the environmental crisis, the most important issues of his lifetime, he championed the wrong policies.

Graham was on the wrong side of history.

The world’s most famous evangelist let his apocalyptic anticipation of the coming kingdom of God blind him to the realities of living in this world. …”

– Well, that didn’t take long. From The Guardian.

Sadly reminiscent of this April 2000 article by John Shelby Spong, one-time bishop in the Episcopal Church of the USA –

“If Christianity is to survive into the future, it will have to evolve radically beyond the images employed by Billy Graham. It will be forced to become something new and different. It will have to surrender its claims to miracle, magic and exclusiveness. …

A radically reformed Christianity will have to rethink the traditional understandings of Jesus who will become not a rescuing divine savior who paid the price of sin on the cross of Calvary…”

Those who know the Lord Jesus also know that Billy Graham was on the right side of history. Photo: BGEA.

Will we be Free?

“Until last week, Sky News’ Paul Murray supported the same-sex marriage campaign.

But the goodwill is fading. Speaking on his nightly program, Murray conceded what we have always forewarned: rainbow advocates are now asking for all protections for religious freedom to be ‘blown up.’

That is, the scant protections that already exist. Not new ones.

Murray agrees that there are people in the activist parts of the rainbow movement who will force churches to marry same-sex couples and deny Christian schools the right to hire staff who share their faith. …”

– Martyn Iles, the new Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby writes about the battle ahead, and shares his organisation’s submission (PDF) to the Expert Panel on Religious Freedom.

The Tragedy of Adultery

“The adultery of the Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, has raised many questions for public debate. But sadly, the debate has only illustrated the incompetence of our media and politicians, and the inadequacy of the Australian culture to deal with these questions.

From the outset, let me make it clear that this article is not written from a political bias. Similarly, I have no private knowledge or personal involvement with the people caught up in this tragedy. I call it a ‘tragedy’ because it is. Nobody involved is now happier than beforehand. While I am sorry for them and would offer to help if I knew them, I am writing about the principles this tragedy illustrates, not sitting in judgement on the people involved (I know I’m a sinner unable to throw any stone, John 8).

My concern is the inadequacy of the debate and the way principles have been ignored, obscured or distorted by the media and politicians alike …”

– Take the time to read this strong piece by Phillip Jensen – read right to the end.

Related: To walk away from marriage is to abandon your duty (link via Anglican Mainstream).

When heresy is accepted in the Church of England

“If one is to claim that a certain teaching is heretical, we need to be clear what we mean by the term.

Alister McGrath writes, ‘Heresy arises through accepting a basic cluster of Christian beliefs – yet interpreting them in such a way that inconsistency results. A heresy is thus an inadequate or deficient form of Christianity. By its very deficiency, it poses a threat to the Gospel.’ The reason why heresy gains traction in the church is because it contains at least an element of truth; as such it is parasitic on orthodoxy. ‘In the Catholic faith, we recognise that a heresy is not so much a false doctrine as an incomplete doctrine. It has rejected part of the truth and is representing what is left over as the whole truth. But what a heretic usually ends up doing is attacking the greater truth.’

Jayne Ozanne illustrates this well.

In July 2017, Ozanne placed a private member’s motion to the General Synod meeting in York (GS 2070A) calling upon the Synod to effectively repudiate the practice of conversion therapy for those who experience same sex attraction. …”

– Melvin Tinker takes a sobering look at a very important topic.

Top image from Jayne Ozanne’s persuasive speech at the Church of England General Synod, 8th July 2017. (Youtube.) How persuasive was it?

See the voting result for the Private Member’s Motion.

The full text of the Private Members Motion may be found here.

Religious Freedom Implications of Same Sex Marriage in Australia

“I am presented a paper at a conference on “Freedom of Religion or Belief: Creating the Constitutional Space for Other Fundamental Freedoms” … The paper, “Protection of Religious Freedom under Australia’s Amended Marriage Law: Constitutional and Other Issues” is linked here for those who are interested: Freedom of Religion or Belief paper Foster.

I argue that, while some religious freedom rights are protected under the amended marriage law, there are some serious gaps in protection for some involved deeply in the celebration of same sex weddings, and also a failure to deal with a range of other issues, such as the ability of faith-based schools to operate in accordance with their fundamental commitments in both engagement of staff and teaching pupils, and whether people who conscientiously believe that same sex relationships are not best for human flourishing will be penalised in the workplace or elsewhere.

I note that at least one State in the US has enacted legislation to deal with these issues, which has survived one challenge in the US Supreme Court, and I recommend that Australia seriously consider also legislating in this way.”

– Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

Challenge for new Oak Hill President in avoiding ‘Good Disagreement’ trap

“With the leadership of the Church of England increasingly expecting its future ministers to be enthusiastic about theological diversity, the new president of the one distinctively Reformed Anglican training college, Oak Hill in north London, faces a demanding task.

The Revd Jonathan Juckes took up the newly created role of college president last month at the age of 56. This was after the college council decided to appoint a president to work alongside the academic principal following the sudden death last year of former principal Dr Michael Ovey (1958-2017).”

Julian Mann’s opinion piece is a good reminder to continue to pray for Oak Hill College – and to give thanks for the great blessing that college has been for so many.

And continue to pray for Moore College, of course, as the ministry year begins.

Photo: Jonathan Juckes at Oak Hill College.

Is there a place for women on a theological college faculty?

“In recent days a conversation has taken place among complementarians and a few others about whether it is appropriate for a woman to serve on a theological college faculty (or in American terms, as a seminary professor).

The catalyst was a response by John Piper to a question on his ‘Ask Pastor John’ podcast. John Piper, a highly respected evangelical leader in America with deep complementarian convictions, responded with basically a five point argument …

I share many, if not most, of Piper’s complementarian convictions.…

However, while I respect Piper’s convictions, I do not agree with his conclusions. Why is that? I have four reasons. …”

– Principal of Moore Theological College in Sydney, Dr. Mark Thompson, writes at Theological Theology.

Jordan Peterson: an antidote to chaos?

“If you use the internet enough to have found this blogpost, you will almost certainly have seen references to That Interview between Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson and Channel 4 News’ Cathy Newman.

If you haven’t watched the full half-hour exchange (like 5.5m already have), go and do so now. I’ve wagered with half a dozen people who claimed not to be interested that if they watch just five full minutes of the interview, they could then close it down if they so wished and I wouldn’t nag ever them again to see it. They have all watched the whole thing from start to finish. A one-word text, five minutes in, from my initially sceptical brother: ‘Hooked.’ …”

– At Church Society’s blog, Tom Woolford considers Jordan Peterson and his message. What should Christians think?

Iowa University Christian student group reinstated by judge

“…it used to be widely accepted that a person who is heterosexual in ‘orientation’ may legitimately choose not to indulge their sexual preferences, by living in chastity outside marriage, or indeed in celibacy if so called to this option (for example, if marriage is not entered into).

That such honourable choices seem unbelievable to many in the highly sexualised world of the secular West, does not mean that they are not made all the time. Why then is it not possible to accept that an organisation may be perfectly happy to accept as a member a person of homosexual orientation, so long as that person indicates that they undertake not to act on their sexual preferences?  …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Assoc. Prof. Neil Foster provides some details from the American case, and then asks the legitimate question above.

Where can Justice and Forgiveness find satisfaction at once?

“I want to direct you to one of the most winsome and compelling testimonies I have ever heard, by a convinced and articulate Christian named Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast who was first molested by Nasser when she was 16.

In her testimony, you will hear her pain. … But if you skip to the 25:40 mark in the video you can see and hear Mrs. Denhollander address Nasser directly and speak Gospel truth into his life. …”

– The American Anglican Council’s Phil Ashey looks at the testimony so many have been talking about this week.


12 Rules for Life – A Christian Perspective

“I have been asked so much about my article Is Jordan Peterson the New Messiah? … that I decided to … write a full review of 12 Rules for Life, complete with quotes so that you can judge  for yourselves –  Peterson is not a preacher but there are enough quotes here to keep a preacher happy for many sermons!  of course reading the book is better.

The following is my review from a Christian perspective. I have to say it is a long time since I have been so excited about a book!”

– At his blog The Wee Flea, David Robertson reviews Jordan Peterson’s influential new book.

Related: Jordan Peterson interviewed on Channel 4 in the UK. (via Rod Dreher.)

God, History and Australia Day

“I arrived in Australia at the age of seven, in October 1972.  I am tremendously thankful for Australia. I share the experience of thousands of migrants from dozens of countries that Australia has offered freedom to pursue countless opportunities, with few barriers put in my way on account of where I came from.  Most of all, here, God made himself known to me through his gospel, and my local church nurtured my faith.

I am struck therefore with the painful contrast between my experience and that of so many indigenous people of Australia. …”

– Dean of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, reflects on Australia Day and how Christians should think of it. At SydneyAnglicans.net.

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