A dangerous precedent for religious freedom in Australia

Posted on May 8, 2019 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars

Here’s a media release from the Australian Christian Lobby:

Israel Folau Has Done Nothing Wrong 

The Australian Christian Lobby continues to stand with Israel Folau and maintains that he has a right to express his beliefs.  

“The decision by Rugby Australia means that quoting a bible verse is now considered a high-level breach against their code of conduct,” said ACL managing director Martyn Iles.

“This is a dangerous precedent for religious freedom in Australia.”

“According to RA, the very act of quoting a bible verse, which is believed by millions of Australians who profess a Christian faith and attend church regularly, is incompatible with being a rugby player.”

“This marginalises and silences a large portion of Australians who believe that sin is real, hell is real, and salvation in Jesus Christ is the equal answer for all, regardless of our identity or background.”

“All Australians should know that they are free to express their beliefs which form part of their identity without fear of being unfairly censored or discriminated against.”

Mr Iles said Israel Folau’s case clearly highlights the importance of religious freedom in Australia.

“We have been seeing the creep of compelled speech and slow removal of freedom for people of faith for some time now. It will fall to the next government to make sure that millions of Australians are allowed to continue to live out their beliefs without fear of discrimination.”

The Australian Christian Lobby will shortly launch a campaign to ensure the rights of millions of Australians for whom religious conviction is fundamental to their identity are protected.

Source. Photo: Players Voice.

Key questions on religious freedom: Freedom for Faith asks the major parties

Posted on May 8, 2019 
Filed under Australia, Resources

Freedom for Faith has done voters a great service by asking both the major parties seven key questions on religious freedom.

(The views of minor parties were also sought, though they declined to respond.)

You can read the Executive Summary, and then scroll down for the full article. Well worth passing on to interested friends.

A Communiqué from the Gafcon Primates Council meeting in Sydney– 6th May 2019

Posted on May 6, 2019 
Filed under Anglican Communion, GAFCON

The GAFCON Primates, meeting in Sydney last week, have released a Communiqué at the end of their gathering. Global evangelism is a key theme:

“Our primary focus this week has been upon the great tasks of mission and evangelism. As a global fellowship we are uniquely positioned to support one another in ministry to a world where mass immigration and globalisation are reshaping our countries.

There are billions who have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, and the field is ripe for the harvest. In this new world every believer has a role in preaching Christ faithfully to the nations. There are even more who have heard, but not understood.  In many situations the main challenge is not ignorance, but unbelief.

We ask you to join us in prayer for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power to break into the hearts and minds of those who have not yet believed.”

Also, the Primates speak of Lambeth 2020 and plan for a Gafcon Bishops Conference in 2020:

“On the one hand, we have no interest in attempting to rival Lambeth 2020.  On the other hand, we do not want our bishops to be deprived of faithful fellowship while we wait for order in the Communion to be restored. Therefore, we have decided to call together a meeting of bishops of the Anglican Communion in June of 2020.”

Read the whole Communiqué here.

SMBC Principal Stuart Coulton to retire

Posted on May 6, 2019 
Filed under People

“Geoff Deane, SMBC Chairman has announced the retirement from SMBC of Rev. Stuart Coulton, Principal, effective January 2020, following over 30 years of service at SMBC with the last eight years as Principal. …”

Announcement from the Sydney Missionary and Bible College. (PDF file.)

Greg Clarke announces resignation as CEO of Bible Society Australia

Posted on May 6, 2019 
Filed under People

“It is with a mix of gratitude, sadness and faith for the future, that the Board of Bible Society Australia accepts the resignation of Dr Greg Clarke from the position of CEO.

Over the last 9 years, Greg has served the Society with absolute distinction – leading us through the amalgamation of the six States into one national body, and the acquisition of Eternity news service, the media company Centre for Public Christianity (which Greg co-founded), the retail book chain Koorong, and two publishing businesses (Acorn Press and Morning Star Publishing). …”

Read the complete press release from Bible Society Australia Chairman Anne Robinson.

Federal election 2019: ‘Labor’s bid to ban anti-gay speech’

Posted on May 6, 2019 
Filed under Australia, Culture wars

“Labor will consider expanding anti-discrimination legislation to shield gay and transgender ­people from harmful speech if elected, in a move that has alarmed lawyers and free-speech advocates. …”

– story from The Australian.

Related:

How Labor Will Impose the Queer Revolution – Quadrant Online:

“In December 2018, the ALP voted on the national platform they will take to the federal election. Among a suite of policies to advance the cause of LGBT rights, it included a statement of strong opposition to the deplorable practice of ‘conversion therapy’. On the face of it, there should be nothing alarming in this…”

What’s Next? Confidently Preaching Christ.

Posted on May 6, 2019 
Filed under Australia, GAFCON

Archbishops Ben Kwashi (GAFCON General Secretary) and Foley Beach (GAFCON Chairman) are in Australia for the GAFCON Primates meeting which has just concluded.

After speaking in Sydney on Saturday 4th May, they will travel to Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth – details at GAFCON Australia.

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

The Drive to reach Australia

Posted on May 5, 2019 
Filed under Australia, Encouragement

“We all want to reach Australia with the gospel. We want to see our friends, family and colleagues come to know and love the Lord Jesus. That’s a rallying point that we can all get behind.

And yet, at present, we’re facing an increasingly uphill battle. The average church size is no more than 70 across Australia, and ‘No Religion’ is now the fastest growing category of belief in Australia (ABS Census). What’s more, 56% of Aussies say they don’t even know anything about their local church. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Andrew Heard announces the launch of Reach Australia, and passes on news of their first conference.

“Welby’s Lambeth invite apology smooths way for Anglican Consultative Council to walk together”

Posted on May 5, 2019 
Filed under Anglican Communion

“Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, working with others, preserved the unity of the 17th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council on May 4 by apologizing for his 2020 Lambeth Conference decisions about bishops in same-sex relationships and agreeing to renew the communion’s 21-year-old promise to listen to the experiences of LGBTQ people.

‘I ask your forgiveness where I made mistakes,’ Welby said.

The April 28-May 5 meeting came close to breaking down during the afternoon of its last business day, not over the Lambeth Conference, but over the larger issue of how much the council ought to say about the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the church. …”

– This report from The Episcopal News Service speaks of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s apology for seeking to disinvite the spouses of bishops in same-sex marriages from the 2020 Lambeth Conference.

Photo: Archbishop of Canterbury’s website.

For some historical perspective on the trajectory of the Anglican Consultative Council, see this post from ten years ago (June 2009) from the American Anglican Council:

Corrupting the Anglican Communion Listening Process:

“The next stage of the Anglican Communion’s attempt to resolve its differences over theology, sexuality and the authority of scripture will involve more “listening processes,” but this time those processes will be paid for by a retired Episcopal priest who advocates same-sex blessings. The money given by the Episcopal priest will be monitored by a group of sex “experts” who advocate a vision of sexual freedom and “justice” that bears little resemblance to mainstream Christian doctrine or tradition …“

and also this June 2009 statement from then President of the Anglican Church League, Rev. Dr. Mark Thompson –

Apostasy and deception: Statement on ACC-14 from the Anglican Church League:

“The reports from the 14th Anglican Consultative Council meeting being held in Jamaica make for depressing reading. ‘Assume incompetence rather than malevolence’, the old saying goes. That is becoming harder and harder to do, even for the optimists amongst us.

The intervention of the Archbishop of Canterbury at crucial points to serve the interests of TEC and its presiding bishop and to thwart the attempts to bring real accountability to bear on those who have abandoned the teaching of Scripture and are pursuing the property of faithful Anglicans through the courts, undermines any suggestion that he is providing genuine leadership at this crucial time. The activities of other officials from the Anglican Communion Office were even more openly serving the revisionist agenda. …”

Plus this report from Canon Phil Ashey in 2012 –

A Report from the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Auckland:

“In terms of what schemes seem to be emerging, I would respectfully suggest the following as a ‘pincer’ movement that ACC/ACO is going to place upon confessing Anglicans:

1.  Through Continuing Indaba dialogue and stories, bolstered by the work of the BILC resources, Biblical interpretation of human sexuality and its limits will be rendered value-neutral with no limits on Biblical interpretation within the Communion. Lambeth 1.10 will be declared in effect non-binding;

2.  Then, through the new Code of Conduct and the Safe Church resolution, any objection to sexual expressions that are not Biblical will be deemed ‘harassment,’ chilling any speech and bringing consequences to those who, in Anglican communion meetings, dare to raise the subject.

I pray I am mistaken, but that is my best look into the future. …”

– and many other posts on our website.

GAFCON Affirms it will not attend or observe Lambeth

Posted on May 4, 2019 
Filed under Anglican Communion, GAFCON

“At an event hosted by GAFCON Australia today here in Sydney, Archbishop Foley Beach (Primate of the ACNA and now chair of the GAFCON Primates Council) reaffirmed that they will be turning down Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation to attend the 2020 Lambeth Conference. …”

– David Ould reports.

Bishop of Grafton speaks on Israel Folau

Posted on May 4, 2019 
Filed under Australian dioceses, Culture wars

“He claims that free speech gives him the right to say anything he wants and blames others for the offence they take.

While he is free to hold to particular religious views, how he expresses these views in public is another matter. Free speech is not hate speech and should not be used to vilify others. Threatening people in this way cannot be disguised as protected religious activity. …”

– Bishop of Grafton, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Murray Harvey, has issued this Media Statement. (PDF file.)

Related:

SMBC “Hot Topics” paper on “Religious Freedom in Australia” delivered by Associate Professor Neil Foster on 01 May 2019 (PDF file).

Reflections on the Israel Folau affair – Associate Professor Neil Foster, 14 April 2019.

“…the question seems to boil down to this: can a statement that ‘homosexuals’ (along with ‘drunks’ and ‘thieves’ and others) are destined for eternal punishment unless they repent, be said to be ‘hateful’ or ‘vilifying’?

Of course many in the community will reject the notion of a God who created the world, who cares about the behaviour of human beings whom he made in his image, who judges their rebellion, and who has graciously offered a way out of condemnation through sending his son Jesus Christ to die and rise again.

But those are doctrines that have been held by the majority of people who have lived and died in the Western world for thousands of years. … These are the clear teachings of the Bible…”

Photo: Diocese of Grafton.

God’s multidimensional wisdom

Posted on May 3, 2019 
Filed under Encouragement, Theology

“Do you think that God, the one who created all things, is boring? If you do, it might be because your view of God is one-dimensional. …”

– Encouragement which should lead to praise – from Ephesians 3:9-11 – via Dr Lionel Windsor.

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