CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Say No To a Counsel of Despair

Aug 15, 2017

The Christian is both an optimist and a realist. We are optimistic because of God. God is greater than all our problems, all our calamities, all our trials, and all our opposition. With God we can overcome, we can have victory, we can see the enemy defeated.

But the Christian is also realistic because we know that we live in a fallen world, we are up to our ears in sin and death, the enemy is at work big time, many are falling away, and even those claiming to be fellow Christians will betray and desert us.

So the biblical Christian is a person of faith with great hopes and expectations, but he is also aware that until Christ comes again, everything done in this life will be partial, limited and far from perfect. Even with the risen Christ and the indwelling Spirit we only see partial and imperfect works in this life.

Thus some people get healed and some do not. Some battles are won and some are lost. Some souls are saved and some remain lost. Some enemy outposts are torn down while others continue to stand. Some places warmly receive the gospel and others fiercely resist it.

All this is what we call living between the ages. The old age of sin, destruction and death is still with us, but a new age has been inaugurated with Christ’s first coming. But that will not be fully realised until his second coming. So the Christian life now is a mixed bag, with some wins along the way and some loses.

Thus we must avoid two unbiblical extremes here: we must guard against unwarranted triumphalism, where we think we will always have victory and success, and we must guard against overwhelming pessimism and despair, where we have no hope and no expectation of winning.

The theological case for this concept of living between the ages I have made elsewhere, so for more on this have a look at this piece: www.billmuehlenberg.com/2008/01/28/living-between-the-ages/

And see also this one: www.billmuehlenberg.com/2010/05/07/v-e-day-and-the-end-of-the-world/

I write all this because Australian Christians are right now caught up in a huge debate about a vitally important issue. Or at least they should be caught up in it. I refer to the ongoing war on God’s institutions of marriage and family. They have long been under attack and the latest on this is a postal vote on whether homosexual marriage should be legalised.

I have already penned pieces on the apostates, the men-pleasers, and cowards, and the progressive Christians who actually say it does not matter how this vote goes, or, worse yet, side with the ‘Yes’ case. I have zero time for these folks. They are traitors not to just marriage, but to God and his word as well.

See here for more on these reprobates: billmuehlenberg.com/2017/08/14/morally-derelict-christian-leaders/

But here I have another category of Christian in mind. I refer to those who are basically onside. They are pro-faith, pro-family, and pro-marriage, and do not want fake marriage legalised. However, I have seen a number of them now effectively putting up a white flag of surrender.

They seem convinced that we will lose this one, that the outcome is certain, and there may not be much we can do about it. They are pessimists who think the battle is lost already. While I feel their pain, and while I also know how tough a battle this is, I cannot share in their despair and defeatism.

I remind these believers that folks like the Christian abolitionist and politician William Wilberforce knew all about such words of despair. He was told over and over again, even by many claiming to be on his side, that the attempt to overturn slavery was just too difficult and just too unlikely to succeed.

They offered him a counsel of despair instead of much needed hope. And on a purely human level it certainly seemed like the critics were right. Humanly speaking it seemed an impossibility to overturn this great evil. It was too entrenched in the culture, with even many Christians a part of it.

The entire English economy depended on the slave trade, and there were far too many vested interests associated with it. Anyone seeking to take on this colossus of evil was almost doomed to failure. But Wilberforce and others like him had hope and faith – not in themselves but in God Almighty. Thus they persevered, year after year, putting up new bills in parliament, only to see them knocked back over and over again.

But their prayers, hard work, determination and persistence finally paid off. Today millions of blacks can thank God that Wilberforce did not listen to the nay-sayers, the doomsday prophets, and the pessimists. Had he done so we might still be battling slavery today.

So what about the postal vote? Does it look like the ‘No’ vote has a chance of winning? Once again, from a human point of view, no way. The odds are stacked against us. We seem to be fighting an uphill battle here. It does not look good at all.

But God.

From merely a natural as opposed to a supernatural point of view, this is what we are up against:

-the postal vote is not the ideal way to go about this
-the other side basically has all the money, all the resources, and the mainstream media, all the free airtime, and all the clout
-the chances of this vote being rigged are fairly good
-the other side has no problems at all in cheating, in lying, in playing dirty, in using every low down rotten trick in the book to win this vote. So it sure does not look good at all.

But God.

However there have been plenty of other very dark moments in human history when all seemed to be lost. As but one notable example, I penned a piece recently on the miracle of Dunkirk. By all accounts it should have been a bloody disaster, but it turned out to be a mighty deliverance, because God was at work big time. See here: billmuehlenberg.com/2017/08/03/prayer-nations-rees-howells-dunkirk/

So to all those allowing despair and defeatism to overwhelm them at this point, let me say this: sorry but I see no reason to proclaim defeat at this point. I see no reason to wallow in despair. Nothing is inevitable here. The outcome of this battle is still to be decided.

And it will require every single person who names the name of Christ, or simply cares about marriage, family and our children to stand strong, to work as hard as they can, and to never give up. If you are a Christian, you need to be praying and fasting and spending time on your face before Almighty God like you have never done before.

I sure will keep praying and working. Will you? Let me finish with a few encouraging quotes:

“At least five times the Faith has to all appearances gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases, it was the dog that died.” G. K. Chesterton

“Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God is with you, who can be against you? Are all of them stronger than God? O be not weary of well doing! Go on, in the name of God in the power of His might.” Letter from John Wesley to William Wilberforce

“Let us rejoice that we see around us on every hand the decay of institutions and instruments of power…For it is precisely when every earthly hope has been explored and found wanting…that Christ’s hand reaches out sure and firm”. Malcolm Muggeridge

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King Jr

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Winston Churchill

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” The late Archdiocese of Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George (1937-2015)

Postscript

While I am not saying here we will win this battle (no one knows that for sure), I am saying we need to work, fight and pray like never before. We must do all we can and leave the results up to God. But we do not want to be responsible for sending others into despair, complacency and inactivity.

As we find in The Fellowship of the Ring:

‘I wish it need not happened in my time,’ said Frodo.
‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’

And this very interesting news item has just appeared: “Betting markets are increasingly pointing to a shock ‘No’ result in Australia’s vote on same-sex marriage”.

www.businessinsider.com.au/same-sex-marriage-australia-betting-odds-2017-8#Ay9mOjcLOLl32QqT.99

[1556 words]

31 Responses to Say No To a Counsel of Despair

  • I hope this happens… www.businessinsider.com.au/same-sex-marriage-australia-betting-odds-2017-8

    We need to trust in God and keep fighting no matter what. “[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair..”

  • Ah, what beautiful words..But God… Thank you Bill

  • Thanks Jo. Yes I added that link a short while ago. Hope it is accurate!

  • Great article Bill,
    One little nitpick. Slavery was never exclusive to black people.
    When Wilberforce was fighting the good fight there were Irish and Scotsmen condemned to slavery as criminals, Spaniards Portuguese and French enslaved as war prisoners all slaving in the sugar plantations of South America and the West Indies. Many other europeans were rowing in the Turkish galleys.
    When you blithely repeat the “Black people were saved” line you are buying into the leftist racism argument which is not true. Blacks were preferred in the sugar and cotton plantations because they didn’t die of heat stroke and sunburn nearly as quickly. Whites were preferred in other climes.

  • Thanks Jeremy. Yes I am well aware that there were many non-black slaves. But this post of course was about homosexual marriage and the need to persevere, with a fleeting reference to Wilberforce. It was not an academic treatise on the complexities and nuances of the slave trade. Thus I am not ‘blithely repeating’ anything and I am not ‘buying into the leftist racism argument’. But thanks for your thoughts nonetheless.

  • Hi Bill, thank you for forcefully dishing out the truth. As Sylvester Stallone famously quoted in his last Rocky movie; “It ain’t over till it’s over”. We don’t have to roll over like so many of our neighbours from Europe and the Americas. We can still be on our faces before Almighty God, He alone can heal our land. Bill I would like to think that for every tonne of “hate mail” you receive from the other mob, that you receive TWO TONNES OF SUPPORT MAIL from all of us. Bless you heaps, Kel.

  • A much needed article. I am confounded by the number of Christians who keep using the word “inevitable” with respect to same sex marriage; its so fatalistic.
    Whoever our heroes are – Esther, Wilberforce, Luther, Doss and yes even good old Frodo, we’d do well to be like them and not give in to this “inevitability” mentality. Go in to the King, take yet another bill to parliament, nail those theses to the door, go back for “just one more” and keep plodding towards Mt Doom with the ring. At such a time as this we need to prayerfully and graciously help people know what the God of love has said on this issue.

  • But God …
    Parted the Red Sea.
    Gave His only Son that man (sigh humankind) should not die but have eternal life.
    Has continually shown miracle after miracle even nowadays eg Survivors of the holocaust, born again believers from people of other faiths or not faith at all.
    So it is not inevitable ssm will become law here in Australia, there are countries that have rejected ssm.
    And all it takes for evil to thrive is for one good man to stay silent. So instead of saying Who is my voice? Say my one voice is valuable to God and this vote. I’m saying NO what about you?

  • Dear Bill, I hope I don’t fall into the “white flag” category.

    I hope and believe we will win the postal plebiscite but I am conscious of the price we seem to be willing to pay for that victory — the projection of an image of believers as now accepting of the normality of the sodomy lifestyle; particularly, but not limited to, the ACL who seem to prefer to be known in this debate by those three letters, lest anyone be reminded of what the “C” stands for (like how a health conscious KFC wanted us all to forget that the “F” stood for “fried”.)

    However I do worry that after the next election we will have a Shorten Labor Government that will legalise fake marriage irrespective of the people’s will as expressed in the plebiscite. I pray fervently that I am wrong but with the Liberal Party following the same path of self destruction discovered by the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor Party it seems inevitable. I don’t think this is running up a white flag — we fight but must acknowledge the challenges we face.

    The biggest battle, and the one we cannot lose, is for Christianity itself. If we win will it not be a Pyrrhic victory if it is won by avoiding any mention of Jesus, and publicly accepting that homosexuals have and indeed should have equal rights in all things other than marriage? Doesn’t that empower the Nathan Campbell / Creek Road “nice Christianity at all costs” narrative, and affirm that it was fine for the RICE Sowers fundraising dinner organisers to hire a practicing homosexual chef and then silence their keynote speaker John Anderson’s right to speak in defence of traditional marriage for fear of offending the feelings of this sodomite chef?

  • Thanks Peter. The battles we must engage in are never ending, so we fight them one at a time. Now we fight the vote. Then we fight other battles. Bear in mind the quote I offered above, as it reminds us that we are in for the long haul!

    “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” The late Archdiocese of Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George

  • Bill,

    Is the Australian Federal Parliament attempting to deregulate the civil “registered marriage” practice? Yes. The civil marriage law can only regulate (control) one natural human behavioural practice in order to protect the public (society) from harm. The harmful sexual behaviour of sodomy is very different from the harmful sexual behaviour of adultery, and both of these negative behaviours have been decriminalised in Australia for harm minimisation reasons. If the Australian Federal Parliament accepts legal sodomy as the marital act to consummate a civil “registered marriage” then Christians and conservative married people will separate their “one flesh” marriage from the civil “registered marriage” practice by identifying as an “independent marriage” (ABS census 2016 – “separated but not divorced” – separated from the civil “registered marriage” practice but not divorced from a “one flesh” marriage covenant). Christians and conservative married people will want to defend and maintain their public commitment to a lifelong, faithful “one flesh” marriage between husband and wife. A “one flesh” marriage is self-sufficient in supporting all of its members, and they want to protect their marriage/family from the harm of coveting-adultery-divorce. My husband and I don’t need the status of civil registered marriage nor legal divorce which doesn’t deal with the harm of adultery, and we don’t receive any government welfare benefits for spouse, children nor family.

    George Washington, my German forefathers, married couples from 1788-1856, many ethnic cultural married couples, my husband and myself have never been forced to purchase a legal state marriage certificate for a public wedding ceremony. My husband and I have never purchased our NSW Marriage Certificate because this isn’t our “one flesh” marriage and this piece of paper from the government has never kept our “one flesh” marriage/husband-wife-children family as healthy, loving, respectful, lifelong and stable. Adam and Eve were never forced to purchase a legal state marriage certificate for a public wedding ceremony. My husband and I have our marriage recorded in a Christian church, family history books, the our Family Bible and we have a church marriage certificate (no state number). The civil registered marriages in Australia have become a paper marriage and paper family as the no fault divorce made it no longer based on sexual intercourse and a lifelong contract.

    The Australian Federal Parliament can only regulate a civil “registered marriage” practice by registering genuine bonafide marriages in order to detect “sham marriages” from rorting government marriage benefits. However, the government doesn’t own the natural human behavioural practice of “one flesh” marriage nor the harmful behaviours of fornication, adultery, sodomy, abortion, sexual immorality – prostitution, family violence, corruption, dishonesty and even murder.

    The NSW Marriage Registry website has recorded the history of marriages in NSW as marriages were only recorded in the Christian churches from 1788-1856, and there were no same-sex marriages recorded because same-sex partners are unable to perform the marital act of consummation (sexual intercourse) between a husband and wife as they can naturally procreate new-life (natural human reproduction). The government forced Christian ministers to register all marriages in the NSW Marriage Registry from 1857 in order to keep accurate records for the illegitimacy of children and inheritance. Therefore, a civil “registered marriage” practice was established because of the harm of adultery in society which often lead to divorce and family breakdown which have been a massive cost for government and children suffer the most. Australian law was inherited from the British Law which included the 10 Commandments. God commanded children were to honour their father and mother so it is obvious that God never intended for children to be legally separated from their father or mother. Also, God warned about coveting another man’s wife which leads to adultery and causes divorce. The current British Marriage Law requires man-woman married couples to consummate their marriage in order for it to be considered a genuine marriage which can’t be annulled by the church/state, and adultery is grounds for divorce. The identity words “gay,” “lesbian” and “transgender” are all psychology/psychiatry words which have nothing to do with the marital act of consummation (sexual intercourse) between husband and wife as they can naturally procreate new-life. Christians and conservative people don’t believe natural human reproduction should be contaminated by scientific experimentation of human reproduction.

    A “same-sex marriage” normalises the placing of children with unrelated adult/s and children, despite the evidence from the Royal Commission into Institutional child sexual abuse which showed all children were sexual abused by an unrelated adult/child in the legal institute of a church, school, club etc. The majority of these abusive cases were only reported as an adult and many years later after the sexual abuse. How will government agencies detect or prevent the grooming, abuse including sexual abuse of children when government place children with unrelated adult/s and children in the legal institute of a family? Does the government support legal surrogacy in order for 2 men (gay or undetected pedophiles) have a right to become legal parents like the “Handmaid Tales”?

    Christians and conservative people need to understand the reason governments have registered people and regulated practices in order to protect the public (society) from harm such as nursing, medicine and “one flesh” marriage/adultery. The government would have never established a civil “registered marriage” practice if it only registered people’s romantic relationships and never naturally procreated new-life. Unfortunately, there are some people in Australia who can no longer identify any complimentary sets such as a cup and a saucer or a seatbelt with a buckle and latch or a married man and woman. Somehow they believe 2 cups or 2 saucers are a complimentary set or people can remove the handle on a cup and serve a biscuit in it and now call this a saucer. KLM airlines for gay pride claimed that it didn’t matter who you clicked with as they illustrated 2 buckles, 2 latches, and then a seat belt with a buckle and latch. However, it is obvious to most people that the complimentary seat belt made up of a buckle and latch is the only one people could choose for their own safety. Therefore, it should be obvious to most people that not all relationships are the same, and people can choose between married, defacto, same-sex, step-blended, single-parent but they should identify that only a man-woman couple can naturally procreate new life and a married husband-wife relationship is the best environment to procreate, nurture and raise children to maturity.

  • Thanks for that Sheryl.

  • Bill, the whole of Romans 5 is wonderful, and particularly Romans 5:1-6. I will just quote Romans 5:6, which often cheers me: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”

    At just the right time. When we were powerless.

    I also recall the Israelites, stuck between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea. That looked pretty bad, didn’t it?

    As an aside, your own writings have encouraged me often. This last Sunday I preached re “Safe Schools”, SSM etc. I am not a big fan of preaching politics from the pulpit. And I didn’t. I spoke the (Scriptural) truth in love. How that is taken up by individuals is up to them, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I think your articles have strengthened both my resolve and my ability to articulate my Biblical worldview. Thank you.

  • Dear Sheryl, what you wrote reminded me of a couple of things:-

    I think one of the weaknesses in our moral case is how we as Christians have done so little to have no fault divorce repealed, that stain on God’s institution of marriage.

    Here in Sydney we have an Anglican Diocese that publicly says all the right things in defence of traditional marriage and complementarianism, yet the Jensen family — the First Family of the Sydney Diocese — acts very differently in private.

    They have a son, who is now a minister too who is reputed to be a steroid user but we know definitely he:- 1) engaged in premarital sex that resulted in pregnancy; 2) divorced the mother of this children; 3) married another woman and continues to live in sin with this woman (Matthew 5:31-32). And what was the then Archbishop of Sydney’s response when his wayward son told him he had impregnated his girlfriend? It was “loving and gracious” according to his testimony.

    When you mentioned the Royal Commission into Institutional child sexual abuse all I can think of is oh dear, I know we need to work with the Catholics in the marriage debate but can they please just shut up about their priests’ right to not report pedophiles being a religious freedom issue!

  • I hope and pray that God elects to preserve marriage in Australia, but if not Sheryl raises an interesting point. If the Australian government elects to define marriage as sodomy and other acts then Christians will elect to distinguish between marriage, and government marriage. The Presbyterian Church has mooted switching to an ecclesiastical marriage model – something more akin to the pre-1857 NSW model I presume, and other denominations may consider doing likewise, but what would it mean for individuals? If the government defines marriage in a fashion that is abhorrent to God, should Christians get government marriages, or would ecclesiastical marriages before God and their local church community be a more ethical option? I don’t see the need for government intervention in marriage, but so long as the government recognises marriage as marriage there’s no conflict. In redefining it however does government marriage then become something Christian ought abstain from? It’s an issue I’m somewhat confused about.

  • Dear Andrew, if sodomite marriage is ever made legal I would be happy for my children to marry in the eyes of God and in the presence of Christian witnesses but NOT in the books of the state.

    Unfortunately many members of my church take the opposite view. We are members of a Chinese Australian church and Chinese culture places great importance on a persons status within in the established governing order. Chinese are not naturally nonconformist.

  • The cost of being “more than conquerors” has been known to include…”trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword…”. What counts is to know and enjoy the love of Christ amid the hue and cry of conflict.

    The present struggle is but one battle in a war which has been waged by the Tempter since the days of Paradise Lost. Our Conqueror Himself took the road to victory via the Via Dolorosa and Golgotha.

  • Chinese Australian Church? Awesome. 加油 🙂 For some reason I always think of Law as a quintessentially Anglo-Saxon name.

    I accept conformity plays a significant role in Chinese culture, but what of Christians in mainland China? There are reportedly millions of illegal believers and it may soon be the largest Christian country in the world despite the government’s hostility. For the record I probably tend towards conformity myself and generally don’t like causing trouble.

  • Fantastic article. Thanks Bill.
    Nothing is inevitable with our Almighty God.

  • A quote comes to mind in these situations … Take Gods side , expect a miracle , never give up.

  • Thank you so much Bill for your great encouragement just at the right time for me. I will choose not to not allow myself to slip into despair but press on regardless of the opposition we face.

  • Bill,
    Why do some Christians and conservative people identify themselves with the psychology/ psychiatric words such as “heterosexual,” “opposite-sex,” “cisgender,” “straight?” All these identity words are ambiguous, and God’s word never describes his people by these words. The word “heterosexual” originally meant a person attracted to the same-sex and the different sex. The word “opposite-sex” is often used with the word “same-sex” because all males and females could choose to practice sodomy, and there is a reason people deliberately avoid “complementary-sex” as this can only mean man-woman sexual intercourse which can consummate a genuine marriage as this can naturally procreate new-life (natural human reproduction).

    The Victorian anti-dicrimination recognises that all people have a right to self-determination, and no one including LGBTIAQ activists nor researchers can assume a person identifies with an identity, and no one has a right to discriminate or be prejudice against a person by labelling him or her as “cisgender” and “straight.” A German psychologist invented the word “homosexual” in the 1800s as no one before this time believed in a persona of a homosexual. The Bible warned against the sexual behaviour between 2 men or 2 women but never used the identity of a homosexual, queer, intersex, heterosexual, transgender, cisgender etc.

    Christians and conservative people need to understand the reason they become registered into any legal practice and the reason a legal practice is regulated in order to protect the public (society) from harm. The state governments around Australia regulate a legal prostitution practice by registering sex workers. Christians and conservative people understand the reason they don’t register into this legal prostitution practice and can easily discriminate their non-sexual relationship or “one flesh” marriage from this legal practice. The Victorian state government regulates a legal abortion practice, and females who have had a spontaneous abortion can discriminate their miscarriage as not requiring to be registered by the state unlike the registration of a neonate’s death from 20 weeks of gestation or a healthcare professional documentation on the legal killing of an unwanted neonate. “Independent midwives” are registered midwives who believe in the natural rite of passage – pregnancy, birth and breast feeding and they discriminate against the medical interventions of abortion, caesarian delivery and forcep deliveries. A single person doesn’t need a certificate from the state to claim the status of single. Therefore, a “one flesh” married couple doesn’t need a certificate from the government to claim an “independent marriage.”

    The Victorian government is debating about including a legal assisted suicide practice into the nursing/medical practice. Most registered/medical doctors understand that assisted suicide isn’t care nor treatment. If they were to assist a family member to suicide then this would be considered to be murder. If the Victorian governments includes the practice of legal killing in healthcare then there will be registered nurses and doctors who will become “independent healthcare practitioners” as they wish to protect their conscience and believe that intentionally killing of patients isn’t healthcare.

    The Australian government could include a legal prostitution practice into a civil “registered marriage” practice by offering short-term marriage contracts which would allow people to give benefits (money) to sex workers as tax free benefits. Christians and conservative people have to realise that governments can change a legal practice which goes against their conscience/ religious beliefs. I can’t defend, maintain, support nor protect a civil “registered marriage” practice which supports and protects a legal sodomy practice which can only lead to scientific experimentation of human reproduction like the “Handmaid Tales”.

    Christians have experienced persecution in countries which have changed their civil “registered marriage” practice. They tried to defend and maintain their public commitment of marriage in a practice which no longer recognised an exclusive union between one man and one woman. This is the reason Christians and conservative people in Australia will have to separate from a civil “registered marriage” practice if it changes.

    An “independent marriage” will allow Christians and conservative people their ability to defend, maintain, support and protect their “one flesh” marriage and husband-wife-children family. All Christians have struggle with the flesh, but I don’t need to be a registered nurse if this means I would be forced to legally and intentionally kill unrelated patients/clients with their legal consent under Victorian laws. Also, I don’t need to identify with a civil “registered marriage” practice if this means a legal sodomy practice which supports and protects scientific experimentation of human reproduction.

    Bill, your comments on so many things have been so helpful to many people including myself. When we understand the truth about “one flesh” marriage, adultery, sodomy and sexual immorality then we can stand firm against progressive people who demand for change. I want to protect my 3 children and 15 nieces and nephews from registering their “one flesh” marriage in a civil “registered marriage” practice if it is changed to regulate legal sodomy and scientific experimentation of human reproduction. All Christians and conservative people need to stand up for the truth which is only found in the Bible as this is God’s word. A “same-sex marriage” is a oxymoron which doesn’t make sense and is based on the sexuality and gender theories which can’t discriminate the truth from a lie, moral from immoral, healthy from unhealthy, natural from unnatural, normal from abnormal. This Marxist ideology directly attacks the English language, scientific evidence and the basis of the Christian belief system – 10 Commandments which all discriminates the truth from a lie. God warns in the 10 commandments about idolatry, dishonesty and worshipping oneself which includes the sexuality and gender theories.

  • G’day Bill,

    Your shortest sentence, ‘But God’ brought tears to my eyes. Tears of hope and determination to keep going. Thank you.

    Sure we must pray, but what do we do to keep our powder dry? We still have to do the hard yards. Perhaps you could pen an article on a list of ideas twhat us ordinary people can do to help the cause.

    Andrew Campbell
    Stanborough

  • Dear Andrew, that is an excellent question and I will try to give a worthy reply. And Bill I apologise in advance for the length of this comment.

    But firstly Andrew let me note your grasp of Chinese vernacular is excellent. Some Christian leaders have said the future of Christianity in Australia is Chinese. If they are correct, you will certainly fit in!

    Obviously all Chinese are not the same. For the last 25 years the majority of Australian Chinese Christians have come from Hong Kong. These Chinese are aspirational, value law & order, and want the opportunity to work hard and enjoy the fruits of their labours. For this group, Job 1:10 is a favourite bible verse. One of our churches’ retreats was named 樂富 (“happiness & abundance” or “happiness & wealth”) which is what we expect and hope for in our faith. We do not preach a prosperity gospel, we do not expect to receive God’s blessings in proportion to our giving, but we believe if we work hard and provide for ourselves God will ensure we have everything we need in this life and the next.

    Community is very important to us, and Cantonese-speaking churches provided immigrants from Hong Kong with a community to join and one that helped us maintain our culture. We are socially conservative — perhaps even more than the people in Hong Kong are today — and we concentrate on the teachings that align with our traditional values. (See also my last paragraph if you ever seek to evangelise to the Chinese.) We don’t like being lectured with sermons about the Good Samaritan and prefer to hear about Romans 13. This is why I am particularly worried about the legalisation of fake marriage and how our instinct to follow the law might lead Australian Chinese Christians to accept sodomite marriage.

    What we call the Cantonese congregations in our churches are now in the early stage of decline — we assess this based on resources provided by the Baptist Union of NSW — and our outreach is now focused on growing our Mandarin congregations. Unfortunately in our churches the two congregations don’t socialise and interact with each other very much — one or two joint celebrations but for the rest of the year each congregation does its own thing. Understanding this shows how important community is to us, even within Christianity we Chinese divide ourselves.

    Despite these divisions our Mandarin congregations are made up of similar aspirational Chinese. Mainlanders coming to Australia now are either already rich or they are aspirational, the latter group is the one becoming Christian. Rich Mainlanders both here and in China are harder to reach with the Gospel because they believe they are already blessed with 樂富 without Jesus.

    In Mainland China the motivations for becoming a Christian are different. The closest to Chinese in Australia are the members of the official churches, which are controlled by the Communist Party. They seek God’s blessings in this life and the next, while knowing they are part of an institution that upholds the social order. These Christians are conformists like us.

    Chinese who join underground churches are different. They are like the Christians in the Apostolic Age. They challenge authority which is why the Communist Party fears them so much. They are millennial and defiant of the governing order, believing that God’s judgement is coming and soon to sweep away and punish the state authorities. The more the state apparatus oppresses them the firmer is their conviction that the End Times are upon us. They are not conformists.

    If you want to understand the differences you need to understand that Australian Chinese Christians teach from the same resources you use, though we may have a different focus to yours. In the underground churches yes they have the Bible translated into Chinese but they don’t have the Bible commentaries and other resources we have. That results in all kinds of weird interpretations that would make these underground churches quite alien to even us and definitely to you. Their pastors can make up whatever they want without having to answer to centuries of Reformed Christian literature, teaching and tradition. The worst and most infamous is Eastern Lightening, see link below. The quote “Eastern Lightning is very adept at making Biblical verses seem highly relevant to Chinese culture, so it’s easy for Chinese people to understand what they’re preaching,” could apply to all Chinese churches to some extent.

    www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/07/27/chinese-police-arrest-18-members-banned-female-jesus-cult/amp/

  • Dear Bill,

    Thank you for this particularly inspiring article. I have to admit that I have been one of those who have been pessimistic about the possible outcome of the postal vote on so called ‘marriage equality’.

    This is partly because of what happened in Ireland a so called ‘Catholic’ country. You can imagine how disappointed my husband was being Irish and being old enough to remember [82 yrs] just how faithful the Irish once were to Sunday Mass. He remembers walking with his mother and sisters three miles in the snow and rain rather than miss Mass on Sundays.

    Another reason is because I have heard very little to counteract the blanket coverage from the MSM promoting sodomite marriage from our Christian leaders. Pastor Margaret Court has been the only one I have heard of. It is therefore understandable that ordinary Christians can think that the defence of traditional marriage is unwinnable but you are right Bill, Christians must not give way to despair on this issue. If they love God and His son Jesus then they too must stand up and fight this evil. If they don’t they will one day have to meet God face to face over ‘what they failed to do.’

    Apparently the Christian Lobby has sprung into action and are looking for volunteers so my husband and I have volunteered to drop leaflets in letterboxes. This is the least we can do to honour our marriage. To do nothing would be an act of ingratitude to a Loving, Merciful God who blessed it and allowed us to be good companions for 62 years. May he give us the strength to do it.

  • Thanks Bill – brilliant as usual.
    Peter Law – can you please lay off the ACL.
    I don”t understand your antagonism towards them?
    Sure, they have made mistakes in the past and I’m sure they would be the first to admit it but they are working tirelessly on this, taking all the knocks, the media vile and everything else thrown at them. Apart from Bill Muehlenberg- I can’t think of a single Christian leader who has stood up against the tirade of hate and continues to do so on a daily basis than Lyle Shelton. I have not always agreed with their strategies but I have no doubt about their integrity and passion to see the will of God prevail on Earth. Please consider praying for Lyle as he faces so much pressure and abuse both from SSM advocates and from some Christian circles.

  • Thank you, Bill.

    Let’s hope it does not come to Christians hiding in the catacombs and creating a subculture both socially and economically to avoid the oppression of immorality but this raises another point. The activists from the other side have repeatedly claimed that redefining marriage is of economic benefit but the evidence from overseas is the reverse – either economies have stagnated or they have retracted and this is supported by many of the claims here. What other choice do Christians have other than to avoid the standard economies and social constructs if they are to maintain morality but just imagine the opposite. Imagine if Australia was a place where moral people could confidently come and avoid immoral oppression. Image if people like from Ashers bakery and Barronelle Stutzman were able to work in a place without these constraints and oppression but we don’t really have to imagine much because this is exactly what happened previously to allow Western civilization to prosper in the first place and what allowed us to escape many of the snares involved in immorality that continually hold us back.

  • Dear Roseanne, I too pray for Lyle Shelton but my prayer also asks for Lyle to not compromise God’s truth.

    Would you be happy for Christians to deny Jesus (Matthew 10:33, Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26 & 12:9, etc.) in order to win the postal plebiscite?

    I am not.

    Are you happy for our children to hear that we as Christians support equal civil rights for sodomites except in marriage and adoption?

    I surely am not.

    We have a son who is 20 years old and we find ourselves fighting the messaging of the ACL in our own home and in our church. I appreciate the ACL’s work and what they endure but that does not mean I must support everything they do and say.

    The ACL’s “don’t mention Jesus” messaging seems to be driven by their polling and focus groups. If you agree with me I pray you won’t remain silent. If enough of us speak up, if the Body of Christ speaks with one voice, the ACL will take notice and represent us better.

    If in doubt I would just ask you one question:- If the Devil offered a bargain, deny Jesus and he will banish the ssm issue forever, would you accept it?

    Your Brother-in-Christ,
    Peter

  • And in defence of the ACL I am totally appalled at the mainstream media’s minimising of Jaden Duong’s terrorist attack on the ACL’s head office last December — even the usually reliable Daily Telegraph is joining the whitewash. The media should call it what it is:- Anti-Christian domestic leftist terrorism.

Leave a Reply