Australia Evangelism Jesus Christ Liberalism Sex and sexuality

The Schismatic Archbishop, the Secular Press and the Hope of Sydney

72847201_10157645937289120_5018913136439197696_nArchbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney seems to have upset a few people – The Sydney Morning Herald along with much of the media are concerned that he is being a bit extreme in his statements.   Judge for yourselves – this is what he said.

“My own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our Church, they should start a new church or join a church more aligned to their views – but do not ruin the Anglican Church by abandoning the plain teaching of Scripture.” “Please leave us. We have far too much work to do in evangelising Australia to be distracted by the constant pressure to change our doctrine in order to satisfy the lusts and pleasures of the world.”

Media Intolerance

The SMH today had an article, an editorial and several letters having a go at Davies.   The tactics are always the same.  Firstly you get a friendly liberal clergyman to state how the conservative view is ‘divisive’ and ‘unloving’.  It’s even better if they indulge in a little character assassination as well.   Then you portray the one side as being ‘unloving’ and judge them for their judgementalism.  Finally, you dogmatically insist that only your view is the tolerant one and worthy of support in modern society and back this up with a series of accusatory and mocking letters.   All this is done by the SMH, without a trace of self-awareness.

Let’s just take two examples.

“The Archbishop is entitled to his views which he no doubt sincerely believes.  But the Christian church talks a lot about loving thy neighbour.  How does that square with driving out thousands of your own believers who have a different interpretation of one point of the Scriptures?” 

Whilst it is nice of the SMH to allow the Archbishop to have his views – I wonder why the secular SMH feels that it can tell the Church what to do and what to believe?    If the SMH were not so self-righteous, smug and intolerant, they would be prepared to allow answers to their accusations framed as questions.   What if we as Christians think the best way to love our neighbour is to follow the teachings of the God who is Love, rather than the ever-changing zeitgeist of our cultural elites?

Is the Archbishop driving out thousands of believers?  Believers in what?  Believers in whom?   Was he not just asking that Anglican teachers uphold Anglican teaching?  As far as I am aware he said nothing about driving out those who attend the churches who may disagree with their stance.    Furthermore this is not just one minor theological dispute about one point of the scriptures.  It is an issue which the SMH regards as fundamental – to the extent that they feel the need to demonise everyone does not agree with their particular interpretation of doctrine.   If the Sydney Morning Herald is allowed to uphold and promote its own teachings why is the Church not permitted to uphold the teaching of Jesus Christ?

As for ‘driving out thousands of believers’ it is precisely the opposite. The compassionate, Christ centred, robust, biblical theology espoused by Sydney Anglicanism is drawing thousands into the Church (millions all over the world) – including this Presbyterian minister who now attends an Anglican Church. The liberal theology so beloved of the SMH is what is driving thousands away. Atheism has slain its thousands, ‘progressive’ theology its tens of thousands!

(Let me add here that the SMH needs to take the beam out of its own eye – their bias, shoddy journalism and virtue signalling intolerance has driven thousands of newspaper readers away from their paper!  Perhaps if they learned to be more equal, diverse and tolerant they could reverse the slide in their readership?!)…

“Australia is a multi-faith society which, indeed, includes people many people of no faith. Without a basic assumption that we can agree to disagree on some issues, it will not work.  This is not the Middle Ages when heretics were burnt at the stake.” 

So the question then arises – does the SMH believe the Muslims should be compelled to go against what their faith teaches on SSM?    The irony here is that it is the SMH who are arguing that the Anglican Church should not be permitted to disagree with the liberal doctrines.    Heretics are burnt at the stake (at least metaphorically) in the SMH world.  To disagree with the current morality is to open yourself to being fired in some jobs -and even be prevented from playing rugby!  If a politician dared to disagree with the current zeitgeist would the SMH not be demanding that they be sacked because they were unfit to govern in the modern world?  Would the Twitter mobs not be let loose?

What the SMH means is that Australia is now a one faith society – the secular humanist one – in which many religious faiths are permitted – as long as they bow the knee to Caesar.   Doubtless the SMH sincerely believe their doctrines – but why should they impose them on everyone else?  If they believe in a multiplicity and diversity of views and insist that they must all be accepted within the Church, why won’t they a diverse and equal representation of views in their own newspaper?

Clergy Compromise

But it’s not just the media or the cultural elites.  There is a section of the professing church, who seem more concerned to follow the culture, than to follow Christ.

The thoughts of some clergy are perhaps best summed up by this tweet from Robyn Whitaker of the Uniting Church

There’s a redefinition of “Anglican” here that is terrifying and must be utterly rejected. Christianity has always tolerated a range of views. What is being advocated by @abpdavies is a fundamentalist cult.

I was intrigued by this, having  appeared on an ABC radio programme with Robyn.   Is it the case that the picture of Sydney Anglicans being taken over by a narrow fundamentalist cult accurate?

Anglican clergy should be expected to teach what the Church teaches – and the Church should teach what Jesus says – as revealed to us in the Bible.  I’m not quite sure why such a view should be considered ‘a redefinition’ of Anglicanism?  Or why actually believing and following Jesus should be considered fundamentalist?

My new-found friend Murray Campbell sums the situation up well in this article.

Whitaker’s use of language here is designed to paint Sydney Anglicans into a religious box where all fanatics and right-wing dangerous religious people belong. The reality is very different. Sydney Anglicans belong to mainstream and historic Christian faith which is practised by many other denominations in this country and across the world. You may not like or agree with the Sydney Anglican Diocese but calling them a cult is intellectually and morally disingenuous. 

Whitaker and other ‘liberals’  of course would have no qualms about imposing their fundamental doctrines upon everyone else.  In that, they are hardly liberal.

image-assetThe people who are changing the Anglican Church, and turning it into a neo-liberal cult,  are not faithful Christian leaders like Glenn Davies, Kanishka Raffel    the Dean of St Andrews Cathedral, and my own pastor, Canon Simon Manchester.  They are not the schismatics, because it is only the teaching of Jesus Christ that brings unity..   In reality, it is those such as the Diocese of Perth who are betraying and changing the Church.  They have just voted to remove the words “in sex outside of marriage” from their code of conduct for clergy and church workers.  Doubtless for this ‘liberal’ attitude, they will be lauded by the SMH, which is perhaps the intention.  But what Jesus thinks about it is given little thought.  Who cares?

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It is astonishing that those who wish to uphold the teaching of Jesus on sex, marriage and sexuality are accused of breaking the Church, whilst those who deny the teaching of Jesus are lauded as the unifiers of the Church.  I have personal and bitter, experience of what these ‘unifying, loving ‘liberals’ do once they get power.  They are by far the most exclusive and vengeful group.

Davies is right to face square on the challenge and intolerance of the liberals as they attempt to destroy the Church of Jesus Christ from within.  Would that Justin Welby and other Anglican leaders would show the same courage, compassion and integrity!

Don’t Be Distracted

But the real challenge that Sydney Anglicans, and other faithful Christians face is not the attack from outwith, or within, on the issue of ant-Christian teaching on marriage, sex and sexuality.  The real challenge is in the Archbishops words about not being ‘distracted from evangelism’.  That has to be our priority – proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ faithfully to all and sundry.  This week in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney I have seen great opportunities for us to get on with the task the Lord has given the Church.  Without the ploughing of the ground and the sowing of the seed, there will be no reaping of the harvest.  We do well to remember that those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy (Ps 126).  There is much weeping over Jerusalam (and Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart!) still to happen….But a heart that weeps, combined with bodies that worship, minds that think and wills that obey – will yet result in a harvest of great joy.  Let’s not be distracted from this great task and hope.

Evangelism in Sydney (and the UK and USA)

19 comments

  1. A great article! Thanks!

    I left a comment a little while ago on the “Letter from Australia 11” post about how the ultra-liberals/progressives in the Diocese of Brisbane are attacking Archbishop Davies’ statement, too, with links to the articles they have written.

    Thank goodness for Bishops like Davies, Richard Condie and John Harrower who are standing up to attempts to change the religion into an idol of their own making.

    Thanks once again for writing this, Pastor. God bless.

  2. Very interesting that you should be posting on this today David. I’ve come across some censorship form a Christian organisation who deemed the following not to relate to a passage on Esther that was being discussed. Even if this were true, in context others have shared personally in a way that is not “relevant” to a particular passage at other times and I’m not aware of such censorship having occurred before.

    I was told the post was taken down but it remains there strangely.

    Here it is:

    “What stands out to me today is “destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies… many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.”

    This week for me marks the 35th anniversary of my graduation from an HND course in the Royal Air Force. In the graduation ceremony there was a dedication made by myself and my peers to be faithful to ourselves, to others and the call of Christ to wholeness. To be truthful, honest and just in our dealings with others and to gratefully develop our talents and qualities for the benefit of others.

    And a prayer said, “teach us good Lord to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not heed the wounds, to toil and not seek for rest, to labour and not ask for any reward except to know we do your will.

    Which is all good, honourable and about sacrificial service. Its a shame that in making that pledge, political powers can take advantage and not reciprocate.

    I am proud (not arrogant) about my service in the RAF, leaving with exemplary conduct and an honourable discharge. But as it hinted at the opening question, to have a desired and right outcome we may need to push and push and yes I am not unfamiliar with having to do that to get the outcome I need.

    Within Christianity and other areas of life I feel under pressure to be “nice”. And if doing something that meets with disapproval I can be met with a passive-agressive “that’s not nice” and the expectation to be “nice” which in reality is to be made impotent.

    For the sake of Christ, I repent of this and endeavour to live more in keeping with the honourable dedication I made in the Air Force to serve the Lord, to give, to do his will, to be faithful, honest and just to myself and to others and to gratefully develop my talents and qualities for the benefit of others.

    And furthermore I commit to not allowing fear of man to deter me from this. If someone feels intimidated and afraid in my presence and want’s to feel comfortable because of this then it is their problem. It’s not my responsibility to alleviate that problem for them.

    And yes – fear, they should experience fear. Already I have been falsely accused of bullying in a new position and as mentioned yesterday great is your reward in haven if you are hated because of Christ. My accuser must choose either to repent or experience the consequences of his lies. And this is an instance of it not being the right thing before God to be silent but to stand in Christ.

    “Resist the devil and he will flee”. The devil is a bully and all bullies are cowards. My accuser is a hypocrite. It is him that is the bully. And I was raised as the eldest with responsibilities for my three siblings part of which being to stand up to bullies.

    I feel that what I have written for me has been cathartic today so thank you for indulging me and for listening if you have made it this far. But I don’t think it has been entirely self edifying, I think it is relevant to the passage today and the question asked, to “fight the good fight”.

    May you know God’s blessing in whatever trials you may be facing of mistreatment and pursuit of justice with faithfulness to yourself and others and in the service of the Lord.”

    I think the whole point about Jesus is that he is at times “divisive”. And where we can agree to disagree, there are times where it be better to shake hands and part company than to try and contrive to have some pseudo -unity. All we have to do is to look to politic and that shambles that our honoured representative make of “debate” over Brexit in the Hose of Commons to see what “tolerance” looks like.

    Indeed what you do say is true of what might be termed “preachers of equality” to coin a phrase by the German philosopher Neitzche, describing such as tyrannical and using the metaphor of tarantulas to whom he would poke holes in the webs they weave. https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/n/nietzsche/friedrich/n67a/chapter29.html

  3. Thanks, David for another challenging and informative article. The revisionist stance on the bible lacks biblical endorsement and power. Indeed we should not be distracted or alarmed by the pressure to conform to the standards of this world but get the word out that in sowing the seed, a harvest may inevitably be produced. Every blessing and encouragement in your ministry.

  4. More reporting on this. As you would expect, the English left-wing tabloid The Guardian is sympathetic towards the ultra-liberal Brisbane and Perth dioceses against Sydney’s Biblically-faithful stance:

    https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/17/anglican-churches-reject-sydney-archbishops-stance-on-same-sex-marriage?fbclid=IwAR3XI0IdrbaiDcqyZt5RFh15F79RYsKul8lkzucb3xlHDGH8KkLzob4POJ8&__twitter_impression=true

    Again, some of the usual suspects like Jeremy Greaves and Jonathan/Josephine Inkpin are cited, along with Kay Goldsworthy.

    🙁

  5. More:
    https://mobile.twitter.com/bairdjulia/status/1184790400361328640

    “The rest of the church” – for one thing, Baird must be ignoring the Diocese of Tasmania with its very low-church, Calvinist culture and GAFCON-aligned bishop., Richard Condie.

    I imagine the Diocese of North-West Australia would endorse Glenn Davies’ statement as well.

    It is possible we will see a split in the church between GAFCON-aligned dioceses and Canterbury-aligned liberal/Anglo-Catholic ones eventually though. It has been heading that way for years.

  6. but do not ruin the Anglican Church by abandoning the plain teaching of Scripture.”

    There is more than a dollop of irony here as the Christian church has schismed so many times throughout its history because of almost innumerable interpretations regarding the plain teaching of Scripture”, it’s a wonder there is a ”Church” at all.

    Davies’ views are nothing new and pretty much par for the course as far as Christians go, and I for one agree with him.
    The more sects there are the more unrecognizable the Christian church becomes.

    Besides, from the Roman Catholic perspective – the originators of the Christian religion – everyone else is pretty much a heretic anyway!

    1. “Besides, from the Roman Catholic perspective – the originators of the Christian religion…”

      I think the Eastern Orthodox churches have something to say about that, Ark! 😉

      1. Hmmm …. unfortunately the unholy Trinity of Constantine and his best buddies, Athanasius and Eusebius would have something to say about that too.

      2. Absolutely. I have a Singaporean friend who is a Malayali lawyer of the Syrian Church and he was asked by an Englishman about the history of Christianity in Kerala . The inquiry ended with “when did your people join the Christian congregation”.

        “Quite some time before the English” , came the polite and chronologically correct reply.

  7. Since Pastor David mentioned the liberal Uniting Church minister Robyn Whittaker and I drifted onto the subject of ABC bias, I will show you something that ties both threads together, then I will be quiet for a while since I have been commenting a lot lately and I don’t want to hog this site too much.

    During the same-sex marriage debate, Whittaker wrote an article expressing her fringe liberal Christian views on the matter which the ABC published:

    https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-23/same-sex-marriage-what-bible-has-to-say-robyn-whitaker/8831826

    Someone from Moore College named Lionel Windsor then wrote a rebuttal, expressing the traditional/mainstream Christian belief on this matter:

    https://www.abc.net.au/religion/the-bible-and-same-sex-marriage-a-response-to-robyn-whitaker-and/10095464

    The ABC also published this, so they can claim to be fair and balanced in presenting both sides of the debate. However, look at the URLs more closely. Whittaker’s article was published on the main news site. Windsor’s response was “only” published on the ABC Religion and Ethics page which, sadly, has many times less viewers. Therefore, in the lead-up to the plebiscite on the issue, the taxpayer-funded media was imbalanced in its exposure of the two sides of the argument. (I know the BBC is nowadays accused of the same kind of blatant liberal bias.). 🙁

    By the way, Robyn Whittaker lectures at Trinity College in Melbourne which is where many liberal Anglo-Catholics, including none other than Archbishop Philip Aspinall of Brisbane, are trained.

    Melbourne’s evangelical/Calvinist equivalent is Ridley College, from where the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania sources most of its ministers.

    Okay, I’ll take a break from commenting for a while now. I hope all of this information helps, Pastor David (and fellow readers).

  8. LOL – my refrain from commenting didn’t last long but I have a good excuse for this exception. I just saw on Twitter you are down in Hobart today! Really looking forward to hearing your impressions. 🙂

    Where are you going? If it is Saint David’s Cathedral, you should find Bishops Richard Condie and Chris Jones great people with whom to work. 🙂 Chris and his mother Esther are lovely.

    If it is the Presbyterian Church, David Jones (whom you met at Ann Street in Brisbane) was formerly a pastor there.

    I hope that, through your work, God blesses the city and its people.

  9. Words and particularly ordination VOWS or promises made by church leaders, have meaning. I am not familiar with the ordination vows made by those entering the ministry or priesthood of the Anglican denomination, but I would think there are avenues for the Church to counsel and potentially discipline clergy who may show a straying from their stated grounds for entering the Ministry/priesthood of Word and Sacrament. As we are all ‘fallen’ human beings, it is realistic to expect that some will fail in their perceived ‘calling’. Integrity is involved, and surely when some fall from their promises/vows, perhaps for intellectual and/or moral reasons, there must be some process to handle this situation. But so much seems to depend upon the honesty and integrity of the person in question. Perhaps, the issue is also clouded because of wrong motives. And it is possible that some individuals may have resorted to ‘tongue in cheek’, when assenting to certain serious and compelling vows or promises.

    I was pleasantly surprised to read the following in the Anglican ‘The Book of Common Prayer’, which I gather still has a role even if the wordings may have been modified. ‘Question put by the Bishop’: “Will you be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God’s word;…” – as taken from ‘The ordering of God’s Priests’.

    Dr James Haire, a former President of the Uniting Church has attempted to tackle a major issue within his denomination; and noted in 2018 that: “…the church’s life cannot begin to be understood in terms of the structures and events of the world. Equally, God’s inexplicable will to be God with, and for, humanity implies that we should always understand our life as Christians theologically.” (School of Faith Keynote Address at the 2018 ACC Conference – as in ‘Catalyst’ of 18th Sept., 2018.) See: http://www.confessingcongregations.com/uploads/ACCatalyst_12_2018.pdf

    Part of another denomination’s vows for ordination, uses the following words when seeking ascent to specific and binding doctrinal statements: “… and do you engage [promise] firmly and constantly to adhere thereto and to the utmost of your power to maintain and defend the same? “ This is no easy to ‘water down’ type of vow/promise! Ultimately, of course, the clergy/ministers of the Gospel are not answerable to the public or to the Media, in all of its supposed ‘glory’. A reminder of this is the final of several questions put to candidates for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church:
    “All these things you profess and promise through grace; as you shall be answerable at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ?”

    Thank God for Christian leaders like Anglican Dr Glenn Davies, who courageously stand up for Truth, integrity and compassion, in the face of an obvious disease within his wider denomination and within society. And still manages to look outward and upward! And he reminds clergy of the importance of being, ‘… a guardian of ‘the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3).

    And thank you, David Robertson for your reminder that: ‘We do well to remember that those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy (Ps 126)’.

    1. “Thank God for Christian leaders like Anglican Dr Glenn Davies, who courageously stand up for Truth, integrity and compassion, in the face of an obvious disease within his wider denomination and within society. And still manages to look outward and upward! And he reminds clergy of the importance of being, ‘… a guardian of ‘the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3).”

      Yes, sadly Jude is the most relevant book of the Bible when it comes to the Anglican Church in Australia today. There are faithful bishops (like Glenn Davies, Richard Condie and Chris Jones) and pastors but there are many more who are apostate wolves in sheep’s clothing. Sadly, it is the latter, who gain most of the positive reporting from the media. Heresy amongst is rampant through many dioceses. I only hope and pray they do not lead too many parishioners astray but judging by declining attendance numbers in these dioceses, people are seeing through the false teachers.

  10. Sigh. More attacks on Sydney from the ultra-liberal Brisbane diocese, courtesy of Inkpin. He/she has such a twisted morality he/she is calling on them to repent(!)

    https://mobile.twitter.com/blessedimp/status/1186904339958267904

    🙁 🙁 🙁

    “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20

    I think this verse seems to speak about the Brisbane liberals these days, like Inkpin, Dean Peter Catt, Jeremy Greaves and Jeanette Jamieson. Woe on them indeed for twisting God’s word.

    On that note, it is time to take a break from commenting for real for a while. I will keep reading though, of course.

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