“Forcing Religious Institutions to become coercive extensions of State power”

“…The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has filed suit against the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. The case is now formally known as The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary vs. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The suit has been filed before the Sixth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. Now, we entered that suit along with the sister institutions to take a stand for religious liberty. Because that vaccine mandate, handed down by the administration, would effectively turn religious institutions into coercive arms of the administrative state.”

– In his The Briefing for 10th November 2021, Albert Mohler reveals that The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is going to court over vaccine mandates in the US.

See also:

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary v. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Christmas comes early!

“Density limits have been lowered to 2m2 and singing is back for churches from Sunday November 14, according to an easing of restrictions announced by Premier Dominic Perrottet.

Freedoms for the fully vaccinated in New South Wales that were to be introduced on Dec 1 have been brought forward to Monday, Nov 8. But freedoms for the unvaccinated will now not be introduced until Dec 15. …

Singing will return but masks are still mandatory indoors until December 15. From the intial government information, it appears that those not yet vaccinated, although they can attend church, will not be allowed to sing. See the government timeline here.”

Read the latest at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Bringing people back to church: A pastor’s word

“In one of our congregations, we recently conducted an online poll of the challenges people are facing as we head towards re-opening church.

One of the most commonly identified challenges was learning to manage our fears and anxieties as we step back into meeting in person. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Nathan Walter looks at what is a very real pastoral question for many people at the moment.

80% opening date for churches brought forward a week in NSW – with Bishop Michael Stead

“Churches will be free to open for vaccinated and unvaccinated people a week earlier than had been expected in New South Wales.

With 80% of NSW adult population fully vaccinated, a new Public Health Order comes into force from Monday 18 October 2021.

We talk with South Sydney Anglican Bishop Michael Stead about the implications of the new PHO, contradictions between it and the COVID safe plan, and what to do about ventilation.”

Here’s an extra edition, released this afternoon, of The Pastor’s Heart.

Preparing to Open Up – and caring for the COVID cautious

“Churches in New South Wales will be permitted to re-open for vaccinated people once the vaccination rate reaches 70%.  At 80%, vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be permitted by the government to come to church.

Churches have the chance to pioneer people living together again, vaccinated and unvaccinated side by side. …”

The latest edition of The Pastor’s Heart – Nigel Fortescue, Sandy Grant, Murray Campbell and Lee McMunn join Dominic Steele.

Covid Vaccines and the “Mark of the Beast”

“In this time of pandemic, in which vaccines have been quickly developed and rolled out across the world, some Christians are asking whether the vaccines are the ‘mark of the beast.’ The ‘mark of the beast’ comes from Revelation 13. …

Now, lots of Christians read this chapter with one eye on the news to see if anything happening in our world today lines up with the weird and wonderful imagery of Revelation’s rich apocalyptic world. And some have suggested that the Covid vaccines seem to match the description of the mark of the beast.”

– Dr. George Athas, Director of Research and Lecturer in Old Testament and Hebrew at Moore College, has written a very helpful post, putting ‘the mark of the beast’ into its historical and theological context. At With Meagre Powers.

80 percent easing on weddings, funerals and services

“At 80 percent [of full vaccination], churches and places of worship can continue to open with one person per 4 sqm, with no singing.

Those who are not fully vaccinated will be allowed, while in other areas of society they will not be allowed out of most restrictions until December 1.”

– Russell Powell has the latest on today’s announcements from the NSW Government.

Image: SydneyAnglicans.

The road map back to public church meetings in NSW – with Michael Stead

Dr Michael Stead, Bishop of South Sydney, is Dominic Steele’s guest on The Pastor’s Heart to discuss how churches in NSW will likely need to adjust when they reopen (possibly from 31st October). A very helpful discussion.

Watch or listen here.

Lifting our voices to God — Wednesday at 7:00pm

Anglican churches across the Diocese are encouraged to join together and pray at 7:00pm on Wednesday, September 22 at the Lifting Our Voices to God livestream event.

In the one-hour online event, Christians will be encouraged to corporately lift their hearts, minds and vision to God during the pandemic. Read more

COVID Vaccination and The Church

“The recent announcement by the Australian government that increased freedoms would be available to citizens who were double vaccinated for COVID-19, or have exemption on medical grounds, has caused significant consternation in the Christian community. Issues of conscience and concerns about exclusion have been raised as reasons why such measures should not be introduced.

This paper has been written to consider how Australian churches should respond. …”

– The Gospel Coalition Australia has republished this very helpful article by Dr. Megan Best (palliative care doctor, researcher and bioethicist).

Well worth taking the time to read and consider.

Jesus, Freedom and Authority in Lockdown

ACL Council’s Lionel Windsor is continuing his series on “Jesus, Freedom and Authority in Lockdown” at Forget the Channel.

Part 1. How should Christians in lockdown respond to authorities? 1 Timothy 2:1–7 tells us to pray. But it’s not a bare command—it also tells us why.

Part 2. God is not an alternative or enemy to human governments. Rather, he is the Lord over them. That’s why we are to pray to him.

Part 3. When our physical horizons are narrowed down in lockdown, our gospel vision can also become narrowed to ourselves and our group.

Also published at The Australian Church Record, which already has Part 4 online.

Find Life that lasts: A national co-ordinated evangelism campaign

“How could we build back better after COVID?  Could evangelicals unite together to rebuild the church with a national co-ordinated evangelistic campaign?

COVID has created an unprecedented opportunity for evangelism, but churches and church leaders are feeling fragile and weary.

In Great Britain, churches are getting set for a national campaign leading up to Easter 2022, under the banner ‘Find life that lasts. It’s closer than you think.’…”

– Watch at The Pastor’s Heart.

Archbishop Raffel on Sunrise 13 September 2021

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel was interviewed on Seven’s Sunrise this morning, 13 September 2021.

The interview highlights the desire to minister to all while acting responsibly during the COVID outbreak.

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