Result of Senate debate on amendments to SDA

Posted on December 3, 2018 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars

“A brief update on Parliamentary developments. The Senate debate on the ALP-sponsored Bill to amend the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 took place today. While initially the Bill had been subject to a tight time limit which meant it would have passed today if not actually voted down, at the last minute a Government motion amended this arrangement. The result is as follows:

Debate on this bill will continue at a later date.

It seems that the bill [reportedly identical is likely to be referred for consideration to a committee, and the debate will presumably be picked up in the New Year.

There was a similar Bill, however, introduced into the House of Representatives this morning by the Leader of the Opposition. At the moment it is not clear whether this Bill will be debated again this week. More updates will be provided when more is known.”

– Thanks to Assoc-Professor Neil Foster for this update.

Photo: Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Shorten, who has introduced a similar Bill into the House of Representatives.

Anglican Church of Tasmania finalises list of properties for sale

Posted on December 2, 2018 
Filed under Australian dioceses

“The Anglican church has finalised its list of properties for sale, with 73 set to be closed and sold-off.

Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, the Right Reverend Richard Condie, said the church had listened and responded to community feedback. …”

– Report from The Advocate.

See also: One third of Anglican Church properties removed from sale list – Diocese of Tasmania.

Pakistani clerics who led violent protests over blasphemy acquittal are charged with terrorism

Posted on December 2, 2018 
Filed under World news

“Leaders of a hard-line Islamist group that staged violent protests across Pakistan after a Christian woman was acquitted of blasphemy will face charges of terrorism, according to the Government. …

Since she was freed on October 31, Ms Bibi and her family have been constantly threatened. Several countries have offered her asylum, however it is not known if she and her family have left the country.”

– Report from ABC News.

Contacting Parliament on sex discrimination amendments

Posted on December 2, 2018 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars, Resources

“A number of Christian and other religious organisations are deeply concerned about the proposals in the ALP-sponsored private Bill due to be debated in the Senate on Monday Dec 3. As I have discussed in previous comments (here and here) the Bill, which started out as an agreed measure to stop religious schools from expelling gay students on the basis of their “orientation” alone, has a number of other serious consequences for religious freedom, not only for schools but for churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious organisations (such as, for example, University student ministries.)

The Bill amends the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 to remove some clauses which have previously provided protection for Christian organisations to operate in accordance with their religious beliefs. …

I have been asked how concerned citizens can contact their Parliamentary representatives. …”

Associate Professor Neil Foster shares some points you might make to your Parliamentary representatives. (Emphasis added.)

Why Australian Religious Freedom is under legal threat

Posted on December 2, 2018 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars

“Religious Freedom in Australia is under immediate legal threat.

A new bill introduced into the Senate last week (due to be debated this Monday, December 3rd) will, if passed unamended, severely erode Religious Freedom in our land. Especially for religious schools. …”

At the Gospel Coalition AustraliaAkos Balogh urges Christians to pray and act, and explains why.

Government amendments to religious schools bill

Posted on December 1, 2018 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars

“For those following the debates about proposed amendments to discrimination laws removing religious freedom from faith-based schools, the LNP Government has now tabled a number of amendments to the ALP Bill released earlier this week.

While these amendments are a move in the right direction, there are still some serious concerns about their effect on religious schools and their ability to operate in accordance with their religious beliefs. …”

– Associate Professor Neil Foster continues his coverage of the debates about religious freedom in Australia, at Law and Religion Australia.

Praying through Advent 2018

Posted on December 1, 2018 
Filed under Resources

Andy Geers shares some helpful resources you can access through PrayerMate.

ALP Bill on religious schools and students

Posted on November 29, 2018 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars

“Senator Wong, leader of the Opposition in the Senate, has introduced a Private Senator’s Bill aimed at removing the power of religious schools to discriminate against same sex attracted students.

Unfortunately, the amendments do much more than stop schools expelling students on the basis of their internal sexual orientation (a goal all sides of politics agree on.) They will have a serious impact on the ability of such schools, and other religious bodies, to operate in accordance with their religious beliefs. A more nuanced approach is needed. …

Despite the assurances offered in the Explanatory Memorandum, I think there is a real danger that the amendments made by this Bill will seriously impair the religious freedom of faith-based schools, and more legislative clarification is required to avoid this outcome. As noted below, it will also have an impact on other institutions.”

– Associate Professor Neil Foster tracks the latest twists and turns in the religious freedom issue – at Law and Religion Australia.

Religious liberty and Australian culture

Posted on November 29, 2018 
Filed under Culture wars, Opinion

“Roughly 40% of Australians voted No to same-sex marriage and, according to a recent Newspoll, roughly 40% also reject the legitimacy of religious protections for Australians who disagree with same-sex marriage. The debates taking place in Federal parliament regarding religious liberty are culturally significant.

The cultural reformation of the 1960s has transformed social views on sex, marriage, family, and, increasingly, gender. And yet clearly not all have gone with the tide. …”

– Dr Stephen Chavura argues that ‘religious liberty and freedom of conscience is not religious privilege”.


Calls for Macquarie University to distance themselves from Christian Academic (March 2017).

Is It Discrimination for Christian Groups to Require Christian Leaders? – Patheos.

Jesus Christ makes everything good for everyone, everywhere.

Posted on November 29, 2018 
Filed under Apologetics & Evangelism, Resources

“We have to engage in cross-cultural mission respectfully, wisely and lovingly. The Bible tells us to obey the emperor and the government of the land in all things lawful and good. Christians who develop a calling or sense of urgency about the eternal salvation of any particular person or group need to be very prayerful, very wise and take lots of very good counsel.

We see a model of this in Paul’s missionary journeys through Acts. He and his team are certainly prayerful, as is the church in Antioch and elsewhere. Paul takes counsel to go or to stay in a place. He operates within the law, even when the law is used against him. He is respectful to jailers and governors, challenging them only when it comes to the claims of the Gospel itself.

Missions-minded Christians go all over the world legally, respectful of local laws and cultures and customs, breaking down every barrier in order to win the right to bear witness to Jesus. We go as humble servants of the Word. …”

The Gospel Coalition Australia speaks with Dr Wei-Han Kuan, State Director of CMS Victoria, about the motivation of would-be missionary John Allen Chau, on North Sentinel Island in the Andamans. (Image credit: NASA / MODIS.)


Glen Scrivener speaks about criticism of John Allen Chau published in The Independent.

Tim Challies shares some thoughts:

“Suddenly the whole world is talking about Christian missions. In his own way, John Allen Chau has sparked a conversation that now rages within the church and outside of it. I’ve spent the past week gathering my thoughts about his situation, and would like to offer a few points I hope you find helpful. …”

New Bishop for North Queensland

Posted on November 28, 2018 
Filed under Australian dioceses

“Anglicans from all over Diocese of North Queensland including the Torres Strait and the West met in Townsville on Saturday November 24th to elect a new Bishop following the retirement of Bishop Bill Ray in September.

The Very Reverend Dr Keith Joseph is the seventh Dean of Darwin. He holds a PhD in philosophy, in the area of applied ethics, and prior to ordination worked as a lecturer in philosophy, but also was a soldier and officer in the Australian Army, and an administrative officer with the Australian Federal Police. In the Army he was a logistics contracts manager, and had a similar role in the Solomon Islands with the Peacekeeping Force from 2004 to 2006. He was ordained as a as a priest in the Diocese of Central Melanesia in 2006 when he took up full-time ministry, remaining in the Solomon Islands.

At the end of 2010 he returned to Australia from Melanesia, and was a parish priest in the Diocese of Newcastle. He took up his current ministry as Dean of Darwin in November 2013 and began his role on the board of Anglicare in December 2013. …”

– From a Diocese of North Queensland press release.

David Ould provides some further background:

“Dr Joseph is an outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage, the key matter of contention facing the Anglican Church of Australia today. …”

Photo: Anglicare NT.

On Earth as in Heaven

Posted on November 28, 2018 
Filed under Resources

The team at Speak Life in the UK have released the first of two videos for Christmas.

“Reaching the heavens was hard enough. But Christmas reveals an even greater mission.”

Watch it here.


The Apollo 8 crew read from Genesis chapter 1, Christmas 1968.

Meet the Nativity – the 2017 Christmas videos from Speak Life.

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