Engaging with the Media — A worthwhile endeavour

Posted on June 25, 2021 
Filed under Encouragement, Evangelism

Recently I decided to enter the fray of letter writing.

It was in response to a piece written by Nikki Gemmell, published in The Weekend Australian, “Why the Anglican church must evolve or die”. (Sorry – link is via subscription)

The thrust of her article was aimed at the Anglican Archbishop of the Sydney Diocese of the time, Glenn Davies (and Anglicans like him), who believe what the Bible and the Lord Jesus teaches about marriage – that it is between a man and a woman. However, according to Gemmell, the church needs to become like the world if it wants to survive and thrive; specifically, it needs to get on board with the pansexual zeitgeist of the modern western age.

Gemmell writes:

“the majority of Australians do support same-sex marriage. It feels like the archbishop is damaging his church and Jesus’s teachings of tolerance, gentleness and inclusivity.”

“The church has been on the wrong side of public opinion recently on abortion as well as same-sex marriage. It’s slowly killing itself by refusing to open its heart to others.”

So in response to her article, I wrote the following:

Ms Gemmell in her article “Archbishop You have Lost me”writes, “the Bible as we know is open to interpretation – pick and choose at your will”.

To read the Bible in this way is to make the reader the author. There is a significant difference between interpreting the Bible and understanding the Bible.

Understanding the Bible requires a person to listen to what God has said and submit to His authority. When we seek to understand, understanding submits our reason, tradition and contemporary circumstances to God’s Word. When we seek to interpret, interpreting submits God’s word to our reason, traditions and contemporary circumstances. Archbishop Davies is simply issuing a clarion call to fellow Anglican Bishops to do the former instead of the latter, which is what they promised at their ordination.  

It does not matter if the church is on the wrong side of public opinion. If there had been opinion polls in Jesus’ day, the results would have been disastrous. People wanted him dead the moment he was born, he was accused of being a blasphemer, demonic, promoting sin, a law-breaker. Jesus said things that made people hate him, made people want to kill him, made followers leave him, and compelled close friends to deny and betray him, and he was crucified on a Roman Cross.

The Lord Jesus also said that to his followers

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19)

The message of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will never be cool or popular to our world, the Lord Jesus was none of those things.  If the church did what Ms Gemmell suggested, and mirrored the world, the church would be indistinguishable from the world and in essence have nothing to offer.

Although only what is underlined above made it to print, it made it to print.

Thus to have the Christian world view published in a culture that increasingly cares nothing for such a world-view I hope serves as encouragement to more of God’s people that engaging with the secular media is still a worthwhile endeavour.

– Joshua Bovis is the Vicar of St John The Evangelist in Tamworth.