Prior to the advent of Christianity individuals belonged to the city, body and soul. If an individual had any value at all it was only by reference to some organised collective. Christianity changed all of that, the proclamation by the apostles that God had become man obliterated this view that individuals had no value that had predominated in the ancient world.
If Jesus is a person as the apostolic and patristic fathers of the early church proclaimed and He died and was raised as a representative of the entire human race then we are infinitely more valuable than society and the state makes of us. Suddenly, our identity is in view, we were created by our Heavenly Father in His image.. Our separation from Him was of our own making i.e. our rejection of His lordship over our lives.
How liberating is the following verse.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
This concept of the value of the individual is being attacked as society increasingly rejects God and His followers. People are increasingly identifying themselves and others in terms of the groups they belong to. The God group is of course being increasingly marginalised. It is from the group they obtain their solidity and source of meaning. Critical Race Theory and Black Lives Matter are good examples of this onslaught. The unique person made in God’s image that is underneath these labels, the person Jesus died on The Cross to redeem is lost. Jesus said that in the last days lawlessness will abound and that Christians will be persecuted. Sadly, many will fall away but the one who endures will be saved.
“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 because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:9-10, 12-13
Start living your lives now with an eternal perspective. Trust God and His promises and He will use you for His purposes in these last days. The Holy Spirit will direct your steps and you will move in power with the gifts of the Spirit evident. You will truly be a light in a dark place. Many will be saved through your witness and acts of kindness.
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
I have assembled this post from a great article by Greg Sheridan in The Weekend Australian, “Respect for women: Society will pay for loss of its Christian ideals”.
As we have moved away from our traditional Judaeo Christian roots our cultural leaders have been telling us now for more than five decades, that we can transition into a neo-pagan culture and this will somehow be good for women. Obviously, when it comes down to survival of the fittest men are going to be the winners. The teaching of evolution in our schools has undermined the very foundation of those Judaeo Christian roots and yet the latest science reveals that this highly complex universe was created. Life itself is built on highly complex codes (DNA) and the laws governing the universe can only derive from a highly intelligent mind beyond our comprehension.
In Australia, this past five weeks, from the shocking accounts of the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins and other disgraceful sexual assaults in Parliament House to the overwhelmingly powerful National Press Club address of abuse survivor and Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, have provided a wrenching examination of the national soul.
The problem with sexual assault lies with men. They are the perpetrators. But all of this — men and women — exist within a culture. And what’s happening to the culture affects what happens to the human beings within the culture.
The progressive orthodoxy, that we used to be overwhelmingly sexist and we’ve made great progress but we’ve still got a long way to go, is only about a quarter right. On some things we have made progress. On most we’ve gone backwards.
My father, and countless men of his generation, did not treat women with disrespect. Nor did the culture mandate that he should. Our culture, right now, has the greatest trouble treating anybody with respect.
We are on the brink of becoming a majority atheist nation. The loss of religious belief in society affects the way we see human beings, men and women. It goes without saying that Christians frequently do not remotely live up to their ideals, but Christian ideals nonetheless have a lot to offer the culture in this moment of truth-telling and contradiction.
Elements of popular culture today work to degrade women, and men as well. This is beyond politics. The big mistake of the Me-too movement is not to become too sharply critical of men, but to turn their movement into a left versus right culture wars battleground. Abuse and disrespect transcend ideological lines.
The astonishing abusiveness of Twitter is dehumanising. While everybody who ventures into that sewer faces some foul level of abuse, it is far worse for women because so often the abuse is sexualised and violent in its imagery.
The ubiquity of ever more degrading pornography propounds implicitly the idea that women are primarily objects. Conservatives should welcome the Me-too movement in its late discovery of pornography’s damage.
John Dickson, the historian and popular Christian author, and presenter of Australia’s No 1 religious podcast, Undeceptions, wrote a book, A Sneaking Suspicion, about Christianity, in which in the first chapter he made a measured, gentle, friendly and wise argument for sexual fidelity within marriage and even a culture of purity. About six years ago, the culture had become so intolerant of this outlook that some anti-religion zealots managed to get it banned from NSW government schools for a month or so on the grounds it was “dangerous” (the ban was later overturned).
Dangerous? Maybe Christianity has some useful things to say about men and women and how they relate to each other. Rodney Stark, the foremost sociologist of religious history, argues in The Triumph of Christianity that it was Christianity’s pro-woman stance which more than anything led to its rapid expansion 2000 years ago.
Paul’s statement of universality in his letter to the Galatians was revolutionary: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Larry Siedentop, the great Oxford scholar, in his history of liberalism, Inventing the Individual, judges Paul’s interpretation of Christian universalism as being directly responsible over the centuries for the evolution of liberalism. Destroying the religious distinction between men and women led eventually to destroying the civic distinction between them.
Given that the problem of sexual assault in particular, and domestic violence, of which there is a plague in Australia, is a problem with men, men could do much worse than look to Jesus as to how a man should behave towards women.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus rebukes male power and patriarchy. In the Gospel of John there is one of the most affecting of all the scenes in the New Testament. A woman caught in adultery is brought before Jesus. The sexism inherent in the ancient world is evident in the fact that the man she was presumably caught with is not brought for punishment. Her accusers want Jesus to command death by stoning, which was the punishment in the law.
Instead, Jesus is mostly silent. He writes on the sand in the ground, and ancient tradition has it he is writing some of the crimes committed by the accusers. He then says: “Let he among you who has not sinned be the first to throw a stone.” The crowd, which had been menacing and unruly and full of that sense of violence a mob can possess, dissipates. I do not condemn you, Jesus tells the woman, go and sin no more.
If you’re not familiar with the Gospels, the best place to start is with Luke. His is the loveliest of the Gospels, because it has the most women in it, and has the most about women. Luke recounts a dinner Jesus attends at the home of a local big shot named Simon. A “notorious” woman shows up uninvited and Simon is furious. But Jesus rebukes him and defends the woman. She is welcome in my company. She is the recipient of Jesus’ love.
There are women, too, of great heroism and agency in the Gospels. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one. She is an activist, an agent of history, she takes charge of her unexpected pregnancy. I have always liked the idea that she gave Luke all his great scoops about the incarnation of Jesus, which would show Mary already directing her story and directing history.
All the way through the Gospels the women are more faithful and more courageous than the men. The first human being to proclaim Jesus was a woman. At the cross, when Jesus was dying, there were three women, among them Mary, and only one man, John. And when Jesus rises from the dead, the first person to see him is Mary Magdalene, who tells the apostles. She is the apostle to the apostles. But with Easter soon approaching, let’s return to how Jesus treats women. As he is dying on the cross, over three hours in the most excruciating death we can imagine, as his body grows cold, as the birds find he is defenceless, as each breath is an agonising struggle to lift his shoulders and grasp some air, at that time, the last words he addresses to a human being are concern for Mary, his mother.
He tells his best friend John to look after Mary: “This is your mother.” Forget the theology of this, look just at the human love that is there.
Part of the Christian sexual revolution was to make marriage, for the first time, an institution of mutual love and respect, which was not the way it was conceived in the ancient world. Perhaps the central word in Christianity is respect, respect for human beings and human dignity. Christianity allowed its portrayal of human sexuality to become way too negative over the past 150 years. But its understanding that sex is really a big deal was a rejection of a central element of the barbarism of the pagan world.
Dr Emma Woods, in a fascinating piece on the ABC Religion and Ethics website, argued recently that just teaching the importance of consent, while obviously absolutely essential, is not enough to get respect back into relationships; there is a need to teach a morality of sexual ethics.
She contrasts the dominant cultural paradigm of today that sex is mainly recreational with the traditional human moral intuition that sex is a matter of great significance. Men’s brains are a little inferior because it’s easier for them to fall into the mistake of thinking it’s just recreation. Women are more hard-wired, according to Woods, to treat sex as something of great significance.
If it is something of no significance then it is naturally much harder for women and girls to say no — not legally or ethically harder, but psychologically. Yet this paradigm ultimately offends the innate nature of humanity.
One of the most important Christian elucidations of human sexuality is the Theology of the Body, which John Paul II, the greatest of the modern popes, produced. It is too little studied and promoted by Christians, even, weirdly, by Catholics. It is a profoundly rich meditation which cannot be easily summarised.
It starts with the inherent human dignity of each person, created in the likeness and image of God. It also sees the sexual relationship as an intrinsically divine element of human nature. Christians understand God as one being, but also, as the Holy Trinity, as a divine community of love. Both the Old Testament and the Gospels talks of marriage meaning that “the two shall become one flesh”. JP II sees this as a divine likeness in humanity to the community of love in the Trinity.
The Bible, Old Testament and New, is full of love, and the celebration of love, human as well as divine. Just read The Song of Solomon. But there is always the sense of the need for restraint, in order to respect oneself and to respect other people. Christian churches need to preach their positive vision of human relationships much more clearly. And the secular culture, racing to the confused and disastrous entropy of its neo-paganism, would do well to listen.
Dr. Alister McGrath is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University. He holds three Oxford doctorates: a doctoral degree in molecular biophysics, a Doctor of Divinity degree in theology,and a Doctor of Letters degree in intellectual history. McGrath is a prolific author on many topics including science, faith, apologetics, C.S.Lewis, doctrine,and church history.
When asked, “Was there something in particular about C.S.Lewis that drew you to his writing”? his response will hopefully encourage you to start or read more of C.S.Lewis.
“You mustn’t laugh, but I had just become a Christian and was asking my Christian friends all these difficult questions. They got fed up and one of them, exasperated, said: “Why don’t you read C S Lewis?” I knew he had written a book about lions and wardrobes or something, so I bought one of his books and started to read. And it was as if someone turned the light on as if something clicked. I suddenly realised this makes sense. Nearly 50 years later I’m still reading, I’m still getting more out of C S Lewis because there’s so much there to discover.”
If you have not read any of C S Lewis books then can I suggest you start with Mere Christianity. Perhaps Screwtape Letters. You decide once you have heard Dr Alister McGrath.
Another brilliant expose on Christianity by Prof. John Lennox titled The Logic of Christianity. He explains Christ’s birth and life as one of historical truth. Prof. John Lennox is a Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and an internationally renowned speaker and author of numerous books on the interface of science, philosophy, and religion.
A must watch for Christians and non-Christians alike. Both will be enlightened and hopefully as a result will be better people with hope for the future.
The chief dangers that confront the world today are politics without God, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without the justifying work of the Holy Spirit.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has revealed its Davos2021Agenda, confirming the annual gathering of political and business elites next month will be a digital event heralding the public unveiling of its GreatResetInitiative (essentially a one-world government). “This global pandemic has demonstrated again how interconnected we are. We have to restore a functioning system of smart global cooperation structured to address the challenges of the next 50 years. The Great Reset will require us to integrate all stakeholders of global society into a community of common interest, purpose, and action,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.
What the world really needs is a “church reset”. Churches back to their New Testament roots as described in the Book of Acts. This includes upholding the inerrancy of God’s Word and its account of the history of the Cosmos including the miraculous. The miraculous events of creation, Noah’s worldwide flood, the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel which created the nations, Jesus incarnation, and resurrection.
God does intervene in history to alter reality. He has done it in the past and will continue to do so in the future. His Word tells us that the catastrophic world events unfolding right now signal Jesus’ return to this earth is not too far distant.
It seems that for many liberal theologians those “mighty, saving acts of God and of judgement” are symbolic, images, rather than extra-mental realities. As a result, theology takes on a whole new nonsensical meaning. It no longer explains anything but only expresses the effects symbols might and perhaps should have in the spiritual lives of individuals and groups. Moreover, they are oblivious to the promise of Jesus second coming as are the scoffers described by Peter “knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4
Churches must undergo a reset that begins with getting back to the authority and truth of God’s Word and then obeying His commandment to complete the Great Commission to share the Gospel with others, to make disciples who will, in turn, make disciples. The church described in the Book of Actsand by Jesus in Matthew.
“I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:16
The “keys” signify the authority given to Christ’s church to stand against the powers of “Hades,” or Hell. The church needs to start walking in this authority
Christians are under attack as never before. Now, those who believe in the biblical definition of marriage and just two genders created by God are being labelled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and, schools.
Intercessors can change the atmosphere in their cities through prayer, worship, and a corporate spiritual authority far greater than any demonic threat or attack. The posture of our hearts and the words from our mouths determine the atmosphere in a place. The power of our praises and our prayers can shift atmospheres in a room, a building, a neighbourhood, and even an entire city.
We are still to see what God’s response will be to the prayers of the thousands of saints that gathered to pray in Washington just prior to the election.
In the early Church, unity was so strong that Scriptures speak of a “great grace” that was released in the city. This grace opened the door to miracles, signs, and wonders, and salvations on a daily basis (see Acts 4:32-34). Earlier in this same chapter, it speaks of their daily fellowship and breaking of bread. Because of these things, God’s grace empowered them to do far beyond what they could have done in the natural.
This should be our desire as we come together as watchmen in prayer over our cities and nation. We can pray in such agreement with heaven that the atmosphere over the city begins to be permeated with the grace and favour of the Lord. Our spiritual adversary will continually find ways to spread fear, chaos, turmoil, and hopelessness over the land. It is our responsibility to displace those demonic spirits by keeping our corporate prayer altars ablaze.
We must use our authority in Christ to displace rulers in high places and declare the work of the cross and the power of Christ’s resurrection. Let’s agree together to speak life instead of death, order instead of chaos, and faith instead of fear.
Are our worldviews merely philosophical speculations with no right or wrong answer and therefore with no consequences. No! One of them begins with the basic premise that God does not exist, the other with the premise that He does. They are therefore mutually exclusive therefore one is true and the other is not.
It is essential you know whether or not God exists as there is no third option. How we relate to God is the foundation for our thinking because it determines the way we view our world.
You need to make the right choice, as I pointed out in a recent post there are only two outcomes: eternal life offered as a free gift by your Creator or face the judgement of God and then the second death in the Lake of Fire.
Your choice of worldviews will shape how you live your life on earth. If you believe God exists then you will want to live your life according to His statutes but if not, then their are no restraints on how you live your life, only those imposed on you by society. You are the product of blind chance random mutations. There is no basis for good or evil, right or wrong. There is no hope of life after death. This is all there is so make the best of it. There are no answers to the big questions of life – why am I here , what is the meaning to life, what is my purpose, what is my ultimate destiny?2
Oxford Professor of Mathematics John Lennox says it well: “What divides us is not science… but our worldviews. No one wants to base their life on a delusion but which is the delusion? Christianity or atheism?”
Sadly, I think most people are afraid to look reality in the eye because it may take them in a direction they do not want to go. It is probably one of the great flaws in human character. We stubbornly hold on to our beliefs because it is how we want life to be rather than how life should be as established by our Creator.
Dr. Francis Collins was Director of the Human Genome Project (ENCODE). Dr. Collins directed over 2000 scientists work on ENCODE. It was the most complex biological research project of all time. He has a powerful testimony on coming to faith in God.
“As a graduate student in physical chemistry in the 1970s, I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics, and chemistry. But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients. Challenged by one of those patients, who asked “What do you believe, doctor?”, I began searching for answers.
I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as “What is the meaning of life?” “Why am I here?” “Why does mathematics work, anyway?” “If the universe had a beginning, who created it?” “Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?” “Why do humans have a moral sense?” “What happens after we die?”
I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments, and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds. My earlier atheist’s assertion that “I know there is no God” emerged as the least defensible. As the British writer G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, “Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative.”
But reason alone cannot prove the existence of God. Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind. You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page. Ultimately, a leap of faith is required.
For me, that leap came in my 27th year, after a search to learn more about God’s character led me to the person of Jesus Christ. Here was a person with remarkably strong historical evidence of his life, who made astounding statements about loving your neighbor, and whose claims about being God’s son seemed to demand a decision about whether he was deluded or the real thing. After resisting for nearly two years, I found it impossible to go on living in such a state of uncertainty, and I became a follower of Jesus.
What about your journey? What worldview do you live out? Does it answer all of the difficult questions of life? When you become a follower of Jesus, God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to be your counsellor, comforter and teacher. You will then know God exists and you are one of His children.
Jen Hatmaker, Christian pastor, speaker and author faced backlash in 2016 when she departed from traditional Christian teachings and declared same-sex marriage to be “holy”.
One of her daughters, Sydney recently revealed she is gay. At the introduction of the lengthy conversation between Hatmaker and her daughter Sydney, the “For the Love” podcast host said the episode was not “an announcement,” because her family has known for quite some time that Sydney is homosexual. It was, though, the first time she’d shared the revelation with her listeners and readers.
Sydney Hatmaker , with the agreement of her mother, said it’s “not enough” for pastors and Christians to just love LGBT people; they need to also fully embrace their lifestyles.
Hatmaker explained that it is “maybe even more cruel” to love LGBT people while also believing homosexuality to be contrary to biblical teaching.
“It is not enough, Christians, to say, ‘Well, we love you, anyway,’” she said. “I don’t want to be ‘loved anyway.’”
All of this comes on the heels of the release of Hatmaker’s newest book, “Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You.” She wrote in the book that she has largely exchanged evangelical theology for “the wild terrain of the wilderness.”
Sydney explained a particular moment, which Hatmaker described as “a terrible day,” when she picked up a book by an unnamed pastor who “didn’t know where he landed [on homosexuality] but knew that he loved the gay people in his life, systematically going through the Bible and, verse by verse, coming to the conclusion that gayness is sin.”
“That was just — destroyed me,” she told her mom, recalling having a “full meltdown” that day. “[I] read the whole thing in one day, just fully feeling in that moment like God didn’t love me.”
Hatmaker argued many pastors preach as if only heterosexual people are in their congregations, when, in reality, “every single church is just filled with gay kids and gay moms and dads.”
“It’s just so irresponsible to break their hearts,” she added.
Historian Tom Holland is known primarily as a storyteller of the ancient world. Thus, his newest book Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, came as something of a surprise for several reasons. First, Tom Holland is not a Christian. Second, Holland’s book is one of the most ambitious historical defences of Christianity in a very long time.
While studying the ancient world, Holland writes, he realized something. Simply, the ancients were cruel, and their values utterly foreign to him. The Spartans routinely murdered “imperfect” children. The bodies of slaves were treated like outlets for the physical pleasure of those with power. Infanticide was common. The poor and the weak had no rights.
From There to Here …
How did we get from there to here? It was Christianity, Holland writes. Christianity revolutionised sex and marriage, demanding that men control themselves and prohibiting all forms of rape. Christianity confined sexuality within monogamy. (It is ironic, Holland notes, that these are now the very standards for which Christianity is derided.) Christianity elevated women. In short, Christianity utterly transformed the world.
Holland’s passionate defense of Christianity is fascinating because it appears to be part of a trend. As the West becomes definitively post-Christian, many secularists are suddenly realizing that Christianity may have been more valuable than they thought. While many — including Holland — cannot quite bring themselves to believe Christianity is true, they are starting to believe that Christianity might be necessary.
Douglas Murray, the conservative author and columnist, is also an atheist. In recent years, however, he has started to warn that the decline of Christianity is a dangerous thing. Society now faces three options. First, Murray says, is to reject the idea that all human life is precious. “Another is to work furiously to nail down an atheist version of the sanctity of the individual.” And if that doesn’t work? “Then there is only one other place to go. Which is back to faith, whether we like it or not.”
Murray now occasionally refers to himself as a “Christian atheist.” Speaking with Esther O’Reilly on the Unbelievable podcast, Murray lauded the “revolutionary moral insights” of Christianity. He told her that while visiting the Sea of Galilee, he couldn’t shake the feeling that “something happened here.” And he admitted that as atheists consider morality, “the more we may have to accept that … the sanctity of human life is a Judeo-Christian notion which might very easily not survive [the disappearance of] Judeo-Christian civilization.”
Speaking on The Darren Grimes Show last month, he was even blunter. “There seems to be little point to me in a life spent talking about Labour Party politics rather than God.”
Listen to the Warnings of the Atheists — Christianity is Necessary
These strange struggles also deliver a warning to the West. Without Christianity, we are heading into a thick and impenetrable darkness. Christianity gave us human rights. It gave us protection for the weak. Compassion rooted in commands to love. Forgiveness for enemies. It revolutionized the world. We are now in the process of undoing that revolution. In fact, we are replacing it with the Sexual Revolution.
We should look at what we are destroying before we carry on. We should ask why fences were built before tearing them down. We should listen to the atheists nervously telling us that Christianity is necessary. And we should fight to ensure that our post-Christian culture is again a pre-Christian one.
God’s word tells us this won’t happen, the truth is, the only hope Christians have is that Jesus will return in the not too distant future to rule and reign on earth with a “rod of iron”. God has given us a detailed picture in His word of the last seven years on this planet before He returns. Berean Christians won’t be taken by surprise when the tribulation and even great tribulation that is prophesied happens.