LISTEN TO HOW THIS CHURCH GOT RIGHT WITH GOD

Bob Gallaty finally realises He was the problem in His church. The reason why churches are not seeing God move is the Holy Spirit is not directing them, particularly their leaders, and true prayer is absent. Pastors in particular need to watch this video.

Robby Gallaty is senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. He spoke with Faithwire about his church having seen 1,048 people baptized from Dec. 20 to April 11. He spoke about how to lead a church, how to make space for the Holy Spirit, and how to pursue God in prayer in effective and meaningful ways.

Those who follow livingeternal.net know that I believe the end times church will be like the church described in the Book of Acts. Church is relational, home groups, and is about making disciples who in turn make disciples of Jesus. Therefore, I am not saying that Bob Gallaty has discovered the right model but he is certainly moving in the right direction.

PRINCE PHILIP’S FINEST HOUR

Prince Philip planned every aspect of his funeral service. The choice of every piece of music played, by the bands before the funeral service and the hymns during the service. He chose the Bible readings and the order of service. He even designed the Land Rover on which he would make his final journey. It was to be simple and humble.

Prince Philip wanted the service to be a testimony to His Triune God. There was no eulogy. He wanted the total focus to be on His God and on all three persons of the Trinity. He also wanted all to know, particularly his family and friends, that he had total confidence his eternity was in the hands of the God he wanted to be made known through the funeral service he had planned.

Note: In the early part of the service Prince Philip puts the focus on our Heavenly Father and His awesome, powerful, wonderful, beautiful creation that proves His existence. He then moves on to Jesus and the Father’s goodness in sending His Son to earth to die in our place, to pay our SIN debt, and provide the only hope for mankind to attain eternal Life. As with most Anglican services there is not enough focus on the role of the Holy Spirit but He is given a mention in the Jubilate and particularly in the Commendation at the end. “Go forth upon thy journey from this world, O Christian soul, In the name of God the Father Almighty who created thee; In the name of Jesus Christ who suffered for thee; In the name of the Holy Spirit who strengthened thee.”

I was so impressed that I felt I had to include the content of the service in my post but I would suggest you go and watch it yourself. You will be moved, even to tears, I was. The four singers contribute powerfully to the service as do the bands.

Prince Philip you have done a great job of providing a powerful witness of your Triune God to the world. Thank you.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin, covered with his personal standard, is carried to a custom Land Rover hearse during his funeral at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021.
“Just stick me in the back of a Land Rover and drive me to Windsor,” Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II‘s husband of more than 70 years, reportedly quipped about his funeral arrangements.

The choir sings these Scriptures

I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. John 11. 25–26

I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another. Job 19. 25–27

We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. William Croft (1678–1727) 1 Timothy 6. 7, Job 1. 21

The Dean of Windsor gives The Bidding – the reason why they are all there today. All sit and the choir then sings

Eternal Father, strong to save, whose arm doth bind the restless wave, who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep Its own appointed limits keep; O hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea. O Saviour, whose almighty word the winds and waves submissive heard, Who walkedst on the foaming deep, and calm amid its rage didst sleep: O hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea. O sacred Spirit, who didst brood upon the chaos dark and rude, Who bad’st its angry tumult cease, and gavest light and life and peace: O hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea. O Trinity of love and power, Our brethren shield in danger’s hour; From rock and tempest, fire and foe, protect them whereso’er they go: And ever let there rise to thee Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Britain Prince Philip
The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin, covered with his personal standard, is carried to a custom Land Rover hearse during his funeral at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021.

The first reading is taken from Ecclesiasticus 43. 11–26 Look at the rainbow and praise its Maker; it shines with a supreme beauty, rounding the sky with its gleaming arc, a bow bent by the hands of the Most High. His command speeds the snow storm and sends the swift lightning to execute his sentence. To that end the storehouses are opened, and the clouds fly out like birds. By his mighty power the clouds are piled up and the hailstones broken small. The crash of his thunder makes the earth writhe, and, when he appears, an earthquake shakes the hills. At his will the south wind blows, the squall from the north and the hurricane. He scatters the snow-flakes like birds alighting; they settle like a swarm of locusts. The eye is dazzled by their beautiful whiteness, and as they fall the mind is entranced. He spreads frost on the earth like salt, and icicles form like pointed stakes. A cold blast from the north, and ice grows hard on the water, settling on every pool, as though the water were putting on a breastplate. He consumes the hills, scorches the wilderness, and withers the grass like fire. Cloudy weather quickly puts all to rights, and dew brings welcome relief after heat. By the power of his thought he tamed the deep and planted it with islands. Those who sail the sea tell stories of its dangers, which astonish all who hear them; in it are strange and wonderful creatures, all kinds of living things and huge sea-monsters. By his own action he achieves his end, and by his word all things are held together.

THE CHOIR SINGS THE JUBILATE

O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands: serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song. Be ye sure that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and speak good of his Name. For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting: and his truth endureth from generation to generation. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

THE SECOND LESSON John 11. 21–27

Read by the Archbishop of Canterbury

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”

PSALM 104

The Duke of Edinburgh requested that Psalm 104 should be set to music by William Lovelady.

Originally composed as a cantata in three movements, it was first sung in honour of His Royal Highness’s 75th Birthday.

My soul give praise unto the Lord of heaven, In majesty and honour clothed; The earth he made will not be moved, The seas he made to be its robe. Give praise. The waters rise above the highest mountain, And flow down to the vales and leas; At springs, wild asses quench their thirst, And birds make nest amid the trees. The trees the Lord has made are full of vigour, The fir tree is a home for storks; Wild goats find refuge in the hills, From foes the conies shelter in the rocks. My soul give praise unto the Lord of heaven, In majesty and honour clothed; The earth he made will not be moved, The seas he made to be its robe. Give praise. O Lord, how manifold is your creation, All things in wisdom you provide; You give your riches to the earth, And to the sea so great and wide. You take your creatures breath and life is ended, Your breath goes forth and life begins; Your hand renews the face of earth, Your praise my whole life I will sing. My soul give praise unto the Lord of heaven, In majesty and honour clothed; The earth he made will not be moved, The seas he made to be its robe. Give praise.

PRAYERS including The Lords Prayer

THE COLLECT

The Dean of Windsor shall say

O Merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life; in whom whosoever believeth shall live, though he die; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in him, shall not die eternally; who also hath taught us by his Holy Apostle Saint Paul, not to be sorry, as men without hope, for them that sleep in him: We meekly beseech thee, O Father that, when we shall depart this life, we may rest in him, as our hope is this our brother doth; and that, at the general resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable in thy sight; and receive that blessing, which thy well-beloved Son shall then pronounce to all that love and fear thee, saying, Come ye blessed children of my Father; receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. Grant this we beseech thee, O merciful Father through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer. Amen.

THE CHOIR SINGS THE ANTHEM

Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant with thy Saints: where sorrow and pain are no more; neither sighing, but life everlasting. Thou only art immortal, the Creator and Maker of man: And we are mortal, formed of the earth, and unto earth shall we return. For so thou didst ordain, when thou createdest me, saying, Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. All we go down to the dust; and, weeping, o’er the grave, we make our song: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

As the Coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault, the Dean of Windsor shall say

THE COMMENDATION

Go forth upon thy journey from this world, O Christian soul, In the name of God the Father Almighty who created thee; In the name of Jesus Christ who suffered for thee; In the name of the Holy Spirit who strengtheneth thee; May thy portion this day be in peace, and thy dwelling in the heavenly Jerusalem. Amen.

TIMING OF END TIMES WRATH OF GOD

When Jesus was addressing his disciples questions about His second coming, Jesus said, “the days of Noah would be like the days of His coming.”

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:37-39

Jesus therefore tells us that most people will be living their lives as if life is normal, nothing unusual is happening for them. However, we know for Christians this time will be a time of get distress, even great tribulation, when they reject the Mark of the Beast/Antichrist.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:9-12

Jesus attests to the fact that the Flood narrative is an Old Testament account that parallels the return of Jesus. Does this even include parallels between the number of days of the Flood and the final Wrath? Does God’s Word tell us plainly how long the Wrath of God lasts, and will it be a surprise to almost everyone?

Nelson does a great job of answering all these questions and more.

THOUGHTS ON BEING A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST

DEEP GRATITUDE

On the way to Jerusalem he (Jesus) was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.Luke 17:11-19

The only thing we can ever offer to God is Deep Gratitude for HIS amazing, undeserved Grace.  In the above account, it is interesting that nine of the healed lepers (who presumably were Jews) lacked such gratitude because they did not see themselves as being in need of such grace, while the Samaritan ‘foreigner’ did!

A salutary warning to those of us, like me at 84 years of age, who have benefitted over many years from the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit: we can be too prone to take for granted our spiritual growth, and to think this growth is somehow our contribution to God, rather than His gift to us for which I am eternally grateful.  I like the verse of the old hymn about the Holy Spirit’s work in us: “And every virtue we possess and every victory won, and every thought of holiness, are His alone.” 

THOUGHTS ON MINISTRY

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.  Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.  On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-3

What great comfort and instruction these verses provide for us as we labour in the work of the Gospel.  Once we have experienced for ourselves the rich and comprehensive blessing of God’s saving grace, we have an overwhelming desire to share this blessing with others, especially those close to us and those who are really struggling with the burdens of our troubled world.

The Apostle Paul reminds us of some very important truths to keep in mind as we struggle.

Firstly, our own salvation, and our taking hold of it, was never a result of our work/efforts, but is only ever brought about by God’s Sovereign Mercy!

Secondly, and because of this, we must never lose heart – If God managed to soften my proud, rebellious, self-centred, self-sufficient heart, he can do the same for anyone else as well!

Thirdly, we must never resort to using the world’s tactics/weapons, or to ‘watering down’ the claims of the Gospel, just to ‘get people in’.  As he wrote to the Christians in Corinth: “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Fourthly, although it might be twisted and deadened by SIN, Man-made-in-the-image-of-God still has a conscience that the Holy Spirit can use to convict of “sin and righteousness and Judgement” (John 16:8)!

Fifthly, it is not our job to change people – nor is it ever within our skill-set!  Only God can remove the ‘veil’ that prevents people from coming to repentance-and-faith and thus dissociating themselves from all those who are ’perishing’.  Our only job is to proclaim the Good News, Faithfully, Persistently and Prayerfully, whenever and wherever we can, and then to leave the outcome in God’s hands (1 Corinthians 3:6)! 

LEADERSHIP IN THE KINGDOM

You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labours at it.  I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you.  For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.” 1 Corinthians 16:15-18

Note Stephanas and his household ‘devoted themselves’ (the word speaks of a dedicated and disciplined lifestyle) to serving others.  As these folk began to meet the needs of their fellow-Christians, people began to recognise in them the marks of true Christian leadership.  Paul felt able to urge the Corinthians to ‘be subject’ [‘submit’] to such people, ie to respect their leadership gifts.  This insight challenges our notions, but particularly our practice, of leadership.  We tend to give leadership to those who have received one particular kind of education, who have a measure of articulacy and general ability to think and speak on their feet, who measure up to worldly criteria of leadership.  Do we ever take with proper seriousness the perspective Paul provides on leadership as SERVICE?

Jesus taught the same truth: ‘Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.’ (Matthew 20:26). This indicates that the authentic, solid leadership of a local church will come from people who give themselves to SERVING the saints.  Such leadership does not depend on education, qualifications, degrees, or natural charisma.  It comes from the grace of God equipping his people with gifts which enable them to be SERVANTS OF OTHERS in the fellowship of believers. 

“So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” Luke 17:10

The point of Jesus’ parable of the servant coming in from the field (Luke 17:7-10) is quite sobering.  In it, the Lord of Creation, the Son of Man who will one day come in all his glory to reveal his Kingdom (Luke 17:20-37), is reminding us just who we are: Servants of God.  This is not an easy truth for us to come to grips with.  We were made in the image and likeness of God, but we are not God; and in the end we will all be accountable to the One who is God for the way we have served Him.

How many in His church today, truly see themselves as servants of God and worse lack gratitude for all that He does for them.

PENTAGON DEVELOPS MICROCHIP THAT DETECTS COVID -19

Medical researchers at the Pentagon have been working to develop what is, in essence, a microchip capable of detecting a COVID-19 infection when inserted under the skin.

While it might sound like science fiction — or akin to the unfounded conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 vaccines currently in circulation are laced with microchips — the technological development is entirely true.

The “subdermal implant,” as scientists are calling it, is now in the late-stage testing phase and was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a top-secret Pentagon unit established during the Cold War to study emergent technologies for military use, “60 Minutes” reported.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Bill Whitaker reports on the Pentagon projects that helped combat COVID-19 and may help end pandemics forever.

Many of the innovations deployed to counter the coronavirus were once obscure Pentagon-funded projects to defend soldiers from contagious diseases and biological weapons. The life-saving vaccine developed in record time owes a debt to these programs. To learn more, we met the man who has been leading the rapid vaccine effort, retired Colonel Matt Hepburn. An army infectious disease physician, he spent years with the secretive Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), working  on technology he hopes will ensure COVID-19 is the last pandemic.

Dr Hepburn said the beauty of the DARPA model was that we challenged the research community to come up with solutions that may sound like science fiction. And we were very willing to take chances with high-risk investments that may not work. But if they do, we can completely transform the landscape.

More than 60 years ago, DARPA was born, after President Eisenhower was caught off guard when Russia launched the first satellite, “Sputnik”, into orbit.

The small Defense Department agency was given a single purpose: prevent surprises like that from ever happening again. So Dr. Hepburn finds academics, companies, inventors working in garages — and pushes them to deliver.

Dr. Matt Hepburn: What we don’t do — we don’t say, “Okay, here’s our problem. Here’s your blank check. Come back to us in three to five years, we’ll see how you do.

Bill Whitaker: You’re on them?

Dr. Matt Hepburn: Active program management is what we call it. Okay? (LAUGH)

Dr. Hepburn showed us a few current projects, some sound like they’re from an episode of “Star Trek.” Consider a ship like the USS Theodore Roosevelt — hobbled last year when 1,271 crew members tested positive for the coronavirus. What if everyone on board had their health monitored with this subdermal implant, now in late-stage testing. It’s not some dreaded government microchip to track your every move, but a tissue-like gel engineered to continuously test your blood.

Dr. Matt Hepburn: It’s a sensor.

Bill Whitaker: This tiny green thing in there?

Dr. Matt Hepburn: That tiny green thing in there, you put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body and that signal means you are going to have symptoms tomorrow.

Bill Whitaker: Wow. There’s an– an actual transmitter in that–

Dr. Matt Hepburn: Yeah. It’s like a “check engine” light.

Bill Whitaker: Check this sailor out before he infects other people?

Dr. Matt Hepburn: That’s right. Sailors would get the signal, then self-administer a blood draw and test themselves on site.

Bill Whitaker: Look at that.

Dr. Matt Hepburn: We can have that information in three to five minutes; as you truncate that time, as you diagnose and treat, what you do is you stop the infection in its tracks.

The technology that makes the Biblical mark of the Beast/Antichrist possible is with us today. It is just another one of the signs that Jesus spoke of that alerts us to the coming tribulation and persecution of Christians and Jews that precedes His return. Church are you ready.

FRANKLIN GRAHAM SCORES A BIG WIN IN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM CASE IN UK

After a legal fight lasting several years, evangelist Franklin Graham has won an important case for religious freedom in the UK. A County Court Judge Claire Evans has ruled that the 2018 Lancashire Festival of Hope was discriminated against when ads promoting the event were pulled from buses in Blackpool, in an effort to ban him from preaching. In 2018, the Blackpool Council and Blackpool Transport Services removed bus advertisements displaying the words “Time for Hope,” citing that members of the community complained about Graham’s association with the festival. The transportation company said they received feedback from members of the community who were concerned over the evangelist’s religious beliefs on marriage and sexuality. Complaints referenced Graham’s biblical views about LGBTQ matters like same-sex marriage.

Some falsely accused him of “preaching hate” or being “racist.” Jane Cole, managing director at Blackpool Transport said, “The removal of these adverts is as a result of us listening and acting on customer and public feedback which we aim to do at all times. Blackpool Transport is a proud ongoing supporter of the Pride and LGBT+ communities and in no way did we intend to cause any distress or upset.” After the decision was announced, additional complaints were made about the removal of the advertisements by members of the public who saw the move as bias against Christians, censorship, and a restriction of free speech. Moreover, the court concluded that the ads themselves were inoffensive and the transportation company had actually violated the UK’s Equality Act 2010. The law forbids discrimination against anyone because of religion or belief.

Judge Evans ruled “overwhelmingly in favour” of the Lancashire Festival of Hope, saying that Blackpool “had a wholesale disregard” for the Festival’s right to freedom of speech. It prioritized the rights and opinions of members of the LGBT community. “We thank God for this ruling because it is a win for every Christian in the U.K.,” Graham said. Despite removal of the ads, the Lancashire Festival of Hope brought 9,000 people together in Blackpool, garnered more than 50,000 online views worldwide, and saw more than 400 people commit their lives to Christ. “It is a significant day for religious liberty,” said James Barrett, chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association UK. “The court recognized that Blackpool Council cared more about appeasing the LGBTQ community than upholding the rights of local churches to advertise a Christian festival.” He added, “The judge summarized it best in her ruling when she said, ‘This is the antithesis of the manner in which a public authority should behave in a democratic society.

POPULAR ABC SHOW REVEALS BIBLICAL CHRISTIANS NOT WELCOME

Q & A – a popular ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) show on prime time TV. Martin Isles is on the far right.

The Sydney Morning Herald thought this week’s Q and A was a significant cultural moment. They compared it with another one in 2008 where the shibboleth question for our culture , that of homosexuality, came up.  It was indeed a revealing programme – telling us a great deal about where Australian culture, politics and religion are at – and where we are heading. 

Hamish MacDonald, the host, was joined by Trent Zimmerman, Liberal Member (Homosexual) for North Sydney; Anika Wells, Labor Member for Lilley;; Antoinette Lattouf, Journalist, diversity advocate, and author; and Teela Reid, Wiradjuri/Wailwan, Lawyer; and Martyn Iles, Managing Director, Australian Christian Lobby.   

It was the appearance of Martyn Iles that was too much for some people – even before he had been on the show. Those who believe in love and are opposed to hate speech were quick to share the love…

“Just saw the line up for #QandA and omg the creep from the Australian Christian Lobby is on? “

Honestly, giving people like Martyn Iles a public platform is very unhealthy for society. The ACL is a hate group. I dearly wish we had laws against this”

“I’d rather hear from a Satanist or someone other than that man…”

The Church that believes in love, unity and diversity was also quick to show us just how loving, united and diverse they are:

Just want to pre-emptively comment on tonight’s #qanda. This man is likely to slander and bear false witness against LGBTIQ+ people and communities. He does not represent the Church, nor the majority view of Christians in Australia.”  Leichhardt Uniting Church.

And it’s not just liberals – mention Iles name in some evangelical circles and eyebrows are raised, knowing looks exchanged and a general impression is given that we don’t really want to be associated with that sort of thing.  

What did we learn from the show? We learned a great deal about contemporary Australian society… Here are some of the lessons….

1. For some, ‘lived experience’ trumps everything.  

Facts, truth, democracy, morality, religion – everything is subordinate to what is called ‘lived experience’.  Martyn was asked “have you lived experiences, heard, shared and acted upon?”  The implicit statement being that unless you have walked in their shoes then you cannot represent, speak about or disagree with.   “I don’t think Martyn can walk in a gay man’s shoes”.  All of this sounds so true.  But in ABC culture that only applies to some groups.  Nobody on the panel (which was largely hostile to Martyn) seemed to grasp that they did not have Martyn’s lived experience as a Christian – but that did not stop them commenting on it and condemning it.

One panellist spoke of Lil Naz X as being a hero because of his Satan’s shoes video.  She declared that this shows that you cannot speak unless you feel the hate, it doesn’t matter what the intention of the speaker is. She has a point? I felt that her speech, and much of the rest was full of hate for people like Martyn and me – i.e., biblical Christians.  By her own standard she was guilty of hate speech.  Or does this not work both ways?


When Martyn mentioned the story of the Canadian man who went to jail because he misgendered his teenage daughter, he was told – “I think that’s a very specific example and we don’t know all the details…I’m not interested in speaking this specific example”. So, some stories are not worth telling and don’t count as evidence?


Within a few minutes of that we were listening to someone who identified as “an aboriginal queer non- binary person” who went on to tell the story of a relative who died in prison.  That very specific example was of course not going to be questioned.

Just before the programme I saw an advert for another ABC show – You can’t say that – where we were told that everyone has a story and deserves to be heard!  But is that true?  Would the ABC allow my story to be told?  Or that of a transgender detransitioner?  Or someone who is ex-gay?  Sadly, in our society today, your story only matters if it fits in with the pre-determined narrative?

1. Identity Politics is polarising and dividing Australia.  

Martyn was told that ‘you don’t have skin in the game when it comes to women’s issues”.   That assumes a narrow fundamentalist individualistic view of what a human being is.  All of us were ‘born of a woman’ and most of us had a mum as did Martyn. Martyn is young and not married but he has colleagues and friends who are women.  I would suggest as a Christian he has a lot of skin in the game.  He cares about issues such as the sexual exploitation of women and the trans attack on the very notion of what a woman is.  

2. Most Australians don’t have a clue about Christianity and are hostile to what they do not know.

This was exemplified by the tweets that ABC put up on the screen. In itself it was revealing that the only tweets that I saw them put up were hostile.  I’m sure they received some supportive ones for Martyn but that did not fit their narrative.  He was there to be mocked and abused. 

3. Shallow superficial soundbites have largely replaced substantive discussion as the primary discourse in Australian politics and media.

There were so many examples of this in the show.  The lack of depth and thought was quite frightening.  Take this one example.   Anika Wells stated: “In the Bible there are 3,000 references to poverty and very few to homosexuality, so why can’t the ACL spend their money on that? “  This was retweeted as Gospel truth – but it’s just factually wrong. Clearly they had not bothered to read Mark Powell’s response to this oft made fake claim a couple of years ago – https://www.spectator.com.au/2017/11/abc-anything-but-biblical-christianity/

The point is that it sounds right, and they want it to be right, so the claim is made and left completely unchallenged.

Or take Trent Zimmermann’s claim that “any person should be able to decide what future they want from their own life and their body is part of that”.  So if someone feels they are too fat they should be allowed to starve themselves?  Or if people decide they want to change sexuality they should be allowed to seek conversion therapy?  After all its their body!

Trent Zimmermann then went on: “we have to be careful about questioning whether transgenderism is a legitimate course for an individual to take…’ after pointing out that transgender people are much more likely to attempt suicide.  Again, the host and other panellists, seemed to miss the rather obvious point that if being transgender does lead to such a high risk of suicide, perhaps we should question it a lot more?

But transgender is a very protected category on the ABC – the host gave out the Lifeline number after the discussion on trans….“if this conversation raises any issues…” which of course led to the inevitable tweet “If you have a guest on #qanda that makes you need to announce the LifeLine phone number that should tell you what sort of guest you have”.

4. The Cultural Elites don’t do diversity or equality.  

At times this whole show felt like a put-up job.  I think four of the questions were hostile to Martyn.  The host questioned whether Martyn was just raising the Israel Folau issue (Israel was sacked from playing rugby after a Biblical post on Facebook that stated homosexuals were destined for Hell) as an attempt to increase the ACL’s membership, he also challenged Martyn’s figures on transgender. These are legitimate questions – the problem is that he made no similar challenges on the rest of the panel.  He stated that Rugby Australia officials were not there to defend themselves – but permitted a series of attacks on Folau, who also wasn’t there to defend himself.   He told Martyn ‘you’ve had plenty time, make it quick’ which again would have been fair enough if it were not for the fact that it was four (five?) against one and most of the questions were directed against him.

The audience seemed far more diverse than the panel (something noted by the Twitterati – some of whom objected that such people were even there). One young man made the telling statement “if you express your faith, then you will be met with severe career ending consequences”.  This show was ample evidence of that.

Adapted from a report in The Australian Presbyterian by David Robertson

RESPONSE OF SOME EVANGELICALS TO PERSECUTION

Many evangelicals in the USA have been anticipating some kind of confrontation with the changing social order. Crawford Griffen writes about it in his new book Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America – Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest. Over the last five years, he says, ” I’ve been writing about what might be one of the most significant trends among American evangelicals – a migration movement into the Pacific Northwest that has resulted in the formation of some very successful and increasingly influential intentional communities.

From small towns in northern Idaho, and elsewhere in the region, writers, artists and polemicists are publishing books with Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Random House, and broadcasting talk-shows on Amazon Prime. While offering different perspectives, they present a similar sense of crisis. The nation is no longer held together by common values, they explain. They argue that the teaching of evolution in public schools, the debates about abortion, gender and marriage, and the guidelines that shut down churches for reasons of public health are different fronts in a long war against Christianity. They recognize that the neutrality of the public square is an impossible ideal. They understand that politics is always about coercion. And so they proposed their solution. While, in the grand scheme of things, the believers who have migrated to the Pacific Northwest are not numerically significant – although they may number in the tens of thousands – they do project considerable soft power. Many of these believers live very visible lives. The community of several thousand members that has been established in Moscow, Idaho, for example, supports a publishing house, a music conservatory and an impressive liberal arts college. Led by Douglas Wilson, whose many publications include a book that he co-authored with Christopher Hitchens, this community sets out to make Moscow a Christian town.

Other migrants into the region prefer more secluded lives. They are attracted by the idea that this region could form an “American Redoubt,” as James Wesley Rawles has argued, a hold-out for those who want to resist the cultural powers that be. Rawles is the author of several novels and preparedness manuals, which are published by Penguin, and his website, survivalblog.com, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every month. His work sets out a more ambitious agenda for survival and resistance, in which readers are encouraged to adopt evangelical piety while being ready, if necessary, for less spiritual forms of defensive combat. For obvious reasons, those who follow Rawles’ agenda prefer not to attract attention. But for all their differences, Wilson and Rawles agree that believers need to expect an extraordinary cultural crisis in the short to medium term, and prepare for the new world that will follow. While their tactics for dealing with opposition are sharply different, their vision of the future is much the same. Dark skies are on the horizon, but they predict huge numbers of Americans will be converted, the social and political life of the nation will be renewed, and the policy of a renewed republic will be built around the demands of biblical law. Their optimism is appealing but I don’t believe Biblical prophecies such as these two by Jesus supports this optimistic view.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.Matthew 24:21-22

I believe the Bible reveals that those Christians that adopt a praying church as it was in the Book of Acts intent on making disciples in their own communities, loving their neighbours and honouring Jesus regardless of the cost, will have the most impact for the Kingdom in these last days. The power of the Holy Spirit will be once more evident in this Home Church environment.

OUR PRIMARY MISSION – GET INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD

Chan shared that his latest book, Until Unity, was inspired by John 17, where Jesus prays for unity among the Body of Christ. Though he didn’t want to write another book, the bestselling author felt compelled to do so after seeing the severe lack of unity among believers. 

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Francis Chan criticises Western church for lack of unity and obsession with busyness

“When I look at Scripture, I see how much God wants unity. This is why Christ died on the cross; to make the two one. And I see how Ephesians four says that we actually grieve the Spirit of God by our disunity. I really believe this is God’s desire. And I just saw the Church getting worse and worse, and I would see the way people would bash each other. We’re getting further and further away from what God wants.”

The Crazy Love author emphasized the power of silence, citing Exodus 14:14, which reads “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still,” and Proverbs 10:19: “When words are many, transgression is not lacking.” We don’t know how to quietly be in awe of Almighty God together. If we did, we’d find ourselves on our knees, in tears,” he said. 

Unity, Chan stressed, “has to start with Christ; it has to start with, ‘Wow, I was created in the image of the triune God.”

“But how many people wake up in the morning and have this reverent awe?” he lamented. “And because we don’t have that, and we’re not spending time marveling in silence at God and our oneness with Him, we try to jump to, ‘OK, let’s all get along.’ And I’m going, ‘No, we cannot all get along if we’re not in shock that we are one with Him and He’s given us His glory so that we can become perfect.’”

“The reason why we fight and the reason why we’re so sure of our opinions … is we don’t get into the presence of God,” he said. “All of this horizontal stuff is because we really aren’t truly, with all of our hearts, soul and mind loving Him, and entering into His presence.”

The author said he fears that many Christians are becoming the “Second Timothy 3 group that are always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.”

“I don’t want to be one of those that are constantly acquiring information but not knowing it,” he said. “I worry about my friends, everyone else that grew up in the same type of evangelical faith that I did that it’s busy, and we don’t take time to meditate and know these truths. If we did, we wouldn’t be so quick to speak.”

“Get alone with the Lord,” he advised. “Let Him open you up. You may find issues and He may find issues in you that you need to know are wrong. You may have thought you’re just going in for a checkup, and He cuts you open. We’ve got to get back to getting people into the presence of God.”