Martyn Iles: The Bell Is Tolling

From ACL, a timely warning about where our society is heading in regards to the freedom of Christians to be Christian.

 

 

Scripture seldom commands us to do anything directly in relation to the State.

A rare exception is found in 1 Timothy 2, where Paul urges us to pray for those in authority – “for kings and all who are in high positions…”

But it’s not just prayer in general. It is prayer for a specific thing – “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

This is prayer that the governing authorities might grant us to live in peace, even as we live godly lives.

Paul is saying we should pray for religious freedom.

In our own nation religious freedom is on the ropes. As Christians, we are less free to live godly lives than we were a year ago.

Many small changes have come along over the years, but the same-sex marriage law was a decisive moment.

The law on marriage used to tell us not only what marriage is, but that gender is ordered a particular way, sexuality is directed towards a particular end, and family is structured around both gender and biology. It was a heteronormative foundation for society. It taught us a great deal about human relationships.

The law on marriage now tells us something quite different about all of these things. Gender does not matter, sexuality is fluid and open-ended, family is whatever we say it is.

But it’s worse than that.

The great English common lawyer Sir William Blackstone wrote that, in an English legal system such as ours, laws are “rules of right conduct.”

Note that – they are rules. Not mere suggestions. Not symbolic. Not flexible. They are rules… And they are rules concerning what is right and what is wrong.

It is accurate, therefore, for me to say that the law on marriage now tells us that gender must not matter. Sexuality must be fluid and open ended. Family must be a flexible idea.

As Christians, we have a collection of convictions about marriage, creation and the human person which are contrary to the new rules.

We have a collection of beliefs that are, strictly speaking, against the law.

Can such beliefs be declared as true and the alternatives false in our preaching?

Can we declare the same thing in our conversations with others?

Can we create institutions and businesses that not only codify these beliefs, but conduct all of their activities in accordance with them? What about Schools? Campsites? Charities?

Can we be fit and proper people to live in society without suffering disapproval or even persecution? To hold qualifications? To teach in schools? To work in corporations and governments?

ACL’s work in the field of religious freedom indicates that the answer is increasingly uncertain.

A Tasmanian pastor is currently fighting a Supreme Court case to preserve his freedom to write blogs on marriage and distribute Christian literature in the street.

A Western Australian couple are fighting for the right to become foster parents after the agency told them it would be “unsafe” to place young children in their care because of their Christian convictions on human sexuality and gender.

A CEO was summarily dismissed for expressing his opinion on the Safe Schools program at work when challenged by a colleague.

Teachers, university academics, students, public servants and professionals across the nation are being placed under suspension, discipline and are even being sacked for their beliefs.

Faith-based schools are being sued by transgender activists because their policies reflect the belief that God made us male and female.

All these and more are cases receiving aid from the ACL.

Without very robust religious freedom protections, Christians are now sitting ducks. Our beliefs are against the law and it will become increasingly obvious with time.

Now is the time to do something about it. The window of opportunity is fading fast.

It is worth noting that Paul and Timothy could do little more than pray. They did not live in a democracy where political action was possible. They couldn’t vote, campaign, speak to their MP, or run for parliament.

But Paul set us an example for action by making the most of the scant opportunities to speak truth to power when they came his way.

The Lord told Ananias concerning Paul that he would speak to kings.

By Acts 23, Paul is speaking to Governor Felix and in Acts 26 he is telling his testimony to King Agrippa. No opportunity was wasted.

God has given us a great gift: the freedom that comes with life under democratic rule.

We live in an age where we can all make representations to our rulers, either directly or through lobbying platforms that unite and amplify our voices like ACL.

If Paul had contemplated the possibility in his time, I am certain he would have told us to both pray and act.

That is why I am asking you to do three things:

  1. Pray for your religious freedom;
  2. Be ready to engage with our religious freedom campaign once the Ruddock Review is publicly released;
  3. Donate to our end of financial year appeal.

Let’s not squander our gift of freedom whilst we still have it.

Advertisements

#ChangeTheDate Is Against Indigenous People Not For Them

From xyz.com

Quote of the Day: #ChangeTheDate push coming from Greens, not aboriginals

 

Jacinta Price, an aboriginal activist and politican, has been all over TV, the airwaves and social media, defending Australia Day against inner-city based left-wing elites. She makes the point, as I have seen from a number of aboriginal leaders, that the push to #ChangeTheDate of Australia Day is not coming from Aboriginal people themselves.

About a week ago she shared this letter she received from an aboriginal woman. It has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people, and deserves to be seen by more. You can read the full letter at Price’s Facebook page here.

Here are a few choice excerpts:

“Over the last few days we have seen The Greens party cause a huge division between us, Indigenous pitted against Indigenous, Black against whites in what I can say is some of the most vile and racist hate speech I’ve ever seen, those defending the Greens have played right into their hands like the puppets you are, you think you’re smart but you’re not. Have you ever read the story of The Pied piper? The Greens are the piper and you’re the rats.

“I see so much screaming and crying over the date, the 26th of January, the national day of Australia, Australia Day but not the correct date of the first fleet arriving, more fool you. So foolish to believe that the people crying for changing the date actually care about you? They don’t care about you! They care about division, widening the gap not closing it, a fool is easily parted from his family.”

“You cry and you scream about changing the date while there are children like me, little boys and girls living the same life I did as a child, living in constant fear of violence and sexual abuse. No, white man didn’t oppress me, white man didn’t commit those repulsive abhorrent acts, white man failed me in the way that he failed to take me and my brother away from my mother. But we mustn’t talk about the real issues effecting the indigenous community to this day! To this very day! Is it racist to speak out? NO! You professional victims cry about a date while real victims suffer horrors only seen in nightmares or in a movie, no, that’s not accurate, the greatest horror writer on the planet would cringe if he heard my story, the story of children still suffering today.

“You say it’s “racist” to even speak of these issues, it’s not racism, it’s realism. I have no time for you and your virtue signalling change the date crap. Your voice is only loud when you want to play the victim.”

“Personally I’ll keep the date, some of the good memories I have is from that date, you see I spent most Australia Days with my nan, she would have BBQ’s where family and friends would get togeather and play cricket and laugh, us kids would play and play, I never wanted those days to end. My nan always taught me that it was about unity not division, she taught me not to hate.”

XYZ Quote of the Day.

Australia Day

AustralianFlag.jpg

After weeks of pounding heat and hardly any rain (3 mm since before Christmas) last night we had one of those huge storms that dumped 33 mm of rain. It just kept raining for most of the night. There is water in the creek again, and you can almost watch the land greening up.

So here is my favourite Australian poem for Australia Day.

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze …

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

**

Happy Australia Day!

Australia Day- The Latest Target Of Haters

AustraliaDay_jpg.jpg

It’s funny how Australia Day has become THE litmus test for political correctness. The leftist SJW’s insist that all indigenous people are offended by the date and it must change. The rightist patriots are saying it’s a sacred date that must never change.
Twenty years ago we didn’t even have the public holiday on the day- just on the nearest Monday. Now it’s a fight to the death.
Growing up, it was the last fling of summer before school went back and life got busy. We went to the beach sometimes, we had a barbecue sometimes. Most people were vague about what it was about- pretty much the same as it is today.
Stop being offended by a date one way or the other. Maybe the solution is just to go back to the old way. Make it the 4th Monday of January.
Instead of the perpetual offence-taking let’s celebrate the contributions that indigenous people, British settlers and more recent immigrants have made to making this nation such a wonderful place. Let’s face up to our history with all its good and bad points, admit the massacres and racism and decide to move forward in a better way together.
For one day, let the politicians and professional activist/ offence takers be locked up in a cupboard somewhere and let ordinary people talk to each other about what life is really like.
We can do this, because for every noisy, whiney opportunistic outrage-maker, there are a hundred people who just accept people for who they are, want to give each other a fair go and get on together. That’s who we are and that’s why Australia is worth celebrating.

The Same Sex Marriage Vote

voting

We had our say, and the nation overwhelmingly voted “Yes” to same sex marriage. I am disappointed but not surprised.

What should Christians make of this?

Firstly, it should be a wake up call for anyone who maintains that Australia is a “Christian country.” It is not, and 60% of the population showed that they are not in favour of a strictly Christian society. Interestingly, the electorates where there was a majority “No” vote were those with a larger than average immigrant population- both Middle East and Asian.

Secondly, it should be a sign to the church that we need to be more intentional in missions. That is, we must take the message of Christ to the streets, to the workplace, to our neighbourhoods. There will be a temptation to withdraw from the public square, to sit in our comfortably padded pews and hope that nobody notices. Instead we need to get out and win hearts, minds and souls to the kingdom.

Thirdly we need to prepare for persecution for our beliefs. By that I don’t mean that Christians will be thrown into prison for being Christians. No it will be much more subtle than that. Human Rights Tribunals and other quasi-judicial bodies will prosecute individuals and groups who oppose the dominant narrative. If you dare to state that marriage should be between a man and a woman in any context other than a place of worship you may soon be liable to a complaint. If you think that is unlikely, consider the Bishop of Tasmania who was forced to appear before that state’s tribunal for publishing a booklet explaining the church’s position on marriage and supporting the current legal definition of marriage.

Finally we need to pray as never before. We must pray for our friends and neighbours to receive the gospel. People have been rejecting God for a couple of generations now and that trend is not showing any signs of being reversed. We live in a society that is increasingly narcissistic, because it is made up of people who think they are gods. We must repent of our own self-centredness and give ourselves anew to serving God and God alone.

 

Inclusiveness Seems To Run Only One Way

From Andrew Bolt, a disturbing development in Queensland schools.

The Left’s hatred of Christianity is suicidal and deeply intolerant.

So is its hatred of free speech:

Talking about Jesus, exchanging Christmas cards and encouraging Christianity have been targeted under an unofficial policy from education bureaucrats that takes aim at junior evangelists in Queensland primary school yards.

Christian groups and free-speech advocates have expressed alarm at the recent edict from the Queensland Department of Education and Training contained within its latest review into religious instruction materials and warning that principals were expected to take action against students caught evangelising to their peers.

“While not explicitly prohibited by the (legislation), nor referenced in the Religious Instruction (RI) policy, the department expects schools to take appropriate action if aware that students participating in RI are evangelising to students who do not,” says the department’s ­report into the GodSpace ­religious instruction materials, released earlier this year.

“This could adversely affect the school’s ability to provide a safe, supportive and inclusive ­environment.”

Departmental policy defines “evangelising” as “preaching or advocating a cause or religion with the object of making converts to Christianity”.

Examples of evangelising cited in the review, as well as two earlier reviews into religious ­instruction providers, include sharing Christmas cards that refer to Jesus’s birth, creating Christmas tree decorations to give away and making beaded bracelets to give to friends “as a way of sharing the good news about Jesus”.

How can Leftist bureaucrats claim to want a “safe, supportive and inclusive ­environment” when they ban, discriminate and persecute?

Is there a similar schoolyard ban on students discussing green ethics, global warming evangelism, animal rights, Buddhism, Islam or the new tribalism – all of them far more troubling ethically than Christianity?

This is not just an attack on the free speech of students. It is also an attack on a faith that is life-affirming and preaches a system of ethics that actually underpin this “safe, supportive and inclusive” culture of ours.

These Leftist educationalists are in fact waging a suicidal war on the faith that best guarantees the freedoms and values these hypocrites claim to uphold.

The Gospel Heals Families

afamily2977

The ABC has been making misleading reports about how evangelical men are the most likely to abuse their wives. It’s simply not true. The report actually said that men who occasionally attend an evangelical church are more likely to engage in violence than men who don’t attend church- that’s a whole different bunch of information. But the ABC  never lets the facts stand in the way of a good opportunity to bash christians.

Here is a different view from movemenets.net

Recently the (Australian) ABC reported that the men most likely to beat their wives were evangelicals. It’s not true, they made it up. There is no evidence. What evidence exists points to the transforming power of the gospel.

In the US, Conservative Protestant men who attend church regularly are found to be the least likely group to engage in domestic violence.

Marxist feminist Elizabeth Brusco set out to study the impact of evangelical conversion on family life in Columbia. Here’s what she discovered by careful research:

The asceticism required of evangelicals brings about change in the behavior of male converts, particularly in relation to the machismo complex in Latin America. Drinking, smoking, and extramarital sexual relations are forbidden. By redirecting into the household the resources spent on these things, such changes have the effect of raising the standard of living of women and children who are in varying degrees dependent on the income of these men.

My data on Colombian evangelical households support the conclusion reached by virtually every other analyst of Latin American Pentecostalism, that is, that conversion of both a woman and her husband improves the material circumstances of the household. Quite simply, no longer is 20 to 40 percent of the household budget consumed by the husband in the form of alcohol. Ascetic codes block many of the other extra-household forms of consumption that characterize masculine behavior in Colombia: in addition to drinking, smoking, gambling, and visiting prostitutes are no longer permitted.

Furthermore, an emphasis on male as well as female fidelity within marriage prohibits a man from keeping a woman other than his wife, and so a man’s limited resources are no longer split among two or more households dependent on his wage.

In re-forming male values to be more consistent with female ones (i.e., oriented toward the family rather than toward individualistic consumption) the movement provides a “strategic” challenge to the prevailing form of sexual subordination in Colombia. [pp 5-6]

Bruscho concludes:

The tangible changes and improvement in the standard of living of women and children in dependent households is only a symptom or an indicator of something much more remarkable that is happening.

With conversion, machismo is replaced by evangelical belief as the main determinant of husband-wife relations. The machismo role and the male role defined by evangelicalism are almost diametrical opposites . Aggression, violence, pride, self-indulgence, and an individualistic orientation in the public sphere are replaced by peace seeking, humility, self-restraint, and a collective orientation and identity with the church and the home. [p 139]

Read the article here