The attacks are unprecedented. From inside, the prosecution of the church by the Tasmanian Anti-discrimination Commission, and from outside, the coordinated terrorist attacks in France.
The Bishop of Hobart and the (national) Catholic Bishop’s Conference have now both been charged with alleged offences in a schools booklet confirming marriage as between male and female. Such charges threaten freedom of speech and this even before the possibility of same-sex marriage being made legal.
The critical issues for the church are freedom to speak truth, to teach truth and Christian values to our children and ultimately our freedom to even believe what we regard as being universal truth, God’s truth.
The principal attacks on these freedoms have come from homosexual activists with the push for same-sex marriage and the adoption of homosexual values and gender fluidity to our children. This has extended to attacks on the definition of family, tolerance for and then pushing for special privileges for transgender identities and has gained support by anti-discrimination advocates and is loosely supported by people who decide truth for themselves.
And it is mind-boggling that it should be so prominent in the media and in the minds of politicians when there is so much else of importance in our nation and world that demands action.
The “slippery slope” progress of these attacks has been from “permission to compulsion”. Compulsion is denied but is already happening with the present charges.
Other issues that relate to God’s creation are the attacks on the intrinsic value of human life as created in the Image of God – abortion, sex selection, eugenic selection, cloning, euthanasia etc.
Some Christians are confused on values of love, mercy, compassion, equality.
In response we need a church that
• is awake to evil
• joins together in worship and prayer, understanding the nature of spiritual warfare
• understands the issues that will bring down a nation
• has a united voice in confronting these issues
• understands Christian responsibility in behaviour when it comes to choosing between good and evil.
The Revelation to John on the island of Patmos is God’s revelation to the church. It tells of things to come and that God is in charge. The message was first of all to go to the churches in Asia (Turkey) closest to Patmos and then to God’s people of all generations until Jesus comes again.
Blessed is the person who reads aloud this prophecy and those who hear and obey.
It is a message of certainty in a time of uncertainty. In the context of the decline of the West, the turmoil of the Middle East and Islamic terrorism it is a message for our time.
But it is more. The messages to the angels of the seven churches are from Jesus to the church, messages of condemnation, confrontation, encouragement and blessing. They are to wake up, to confess the sins of lukewarmness and compromise and tolerance (!) and to be faithful and victorious to the end.
They are messages to us today. They are to prepare us for the future. Blessed are those who hear.
Lachlan Dunjey, 17 November, 2015.