In the Name of Tolerance: Protests at World Youth Day

In just over a week the Pope will arrive in Sydney for the World Youth Day. Being neither a youth nor a Catholic, I will not be going, but I certainly wish the event well. But what is worth noting is a coalition of protestors has been formed which plans to make its presence felt during the week-long event.

The motley crew, called the NoToPope Coalition, features all the usual suspects: Socialist Alliance, Resistance, Sydney Atheists, Australian National Secular Association, International Raelian Movement, Community Action Against Homophobia, The Secular Party, Humanist Society of NSW, Atheist Foundation of Australia, Metropolitan Community Church, and the UNSW Atheists Society. Wow, what a group.

Unfortunately, as bizarre a bunch as this is, there will also be some people calling themselves Christians joining in the protests as well. In truth, the two groups (atheists on the one hand, and pro-homosexual “Christians” on the other) probably deserve each other. Atheists of course have told God to drop dead and get out of their lives. Pro-homosexual believers have effectively done the same, saying they will not submit to his Word or His standard of what is acceptable sexual practice. Both groups are in deep rebellion and seeking to put themselves at the centre of the universe in deciding what is right and wrong, true and false.

Also of interest are some of the comments being made by the Coalition. In addition to juvenile slogans like “Gay is great” and “Condoms save lives”, the comments made by group spokespersons are quite intriguing. Consider some of the following remarks made by the Coalition:

“This pope is homophobic: he condemns same-sex marriage and is condemning millions of people to death through AIDS with his anti-condom policy

“There is no reason why religion has to be homophobic. Religions should embrace all of humanity’s diversity.”

“Pope Benedict is a bigot. By calling homosexuality a ‘disorder’ the pope nurtures bigotry and violence, not love.”

It is worth deconstructing a few of these inane remarks. “Homophobia” is of course simply a catchword, applied to anyone who happens to have another point of view on homosexuality. Calling an opponent names is always easier than actually dealing with their arguments.

And the Pope, along with all biblical Christians I know, do not fear homosexuals. Neither are they bigoted. They want what God wants for all people: sexual wholeness and a life lived in conformity to the designer’s plans. Any lifestyle outside of this is simply going to result in bondage, destruction and death.

Thus real Christian love means telling the truth to homosexuals, and letting them know they can be set free from their addiction, and transformed by Christ’s power. It is never loving to leave someone in their bondage and deception.

And just how it is that the Pope is killing millions of AIDS sufferers is beyond me. He is seeking to get these people out of a lifestyle that is responsible for AIDS in the first place. And the only African countries which are really making headway against HIV/AIDS are those like Uganda which are stressing abstinence, being faithful, and condoms only as a last resort.

And spare us this foolishness about religion embracing humanity’s diversity. Just what is that supposed to mean anyway? I would imagine arsonists, paedophiles and polluters make up this diversity. Should we embrace them as well? And those dead-set against the homosexual agenda would also make up this diversity. So why can’t they be respected as well?

Indeed, organisers are calling for a citizen’s arrest of the Pope on the charge of “conspiracy to murder” because of his stance on contraception and abortion. They also plan to accost the WYD delegates with condoms.

All their talk about love, acceptance, tolerance and diversity is so much hot air. These activists can be the most intolerant and bigoted folk around. Indeed, police are already saying they will be on hand to prevent trouble. And the NSW government has annoyance regulations in place for any confrontations.

But as one letter writer in the Australian put it, “Perhaps those activists who feel thwarted in their attempts to deride and insult people of faith and disrupt a major religious event such as World Youth Day might like to try their luck in Mecca in December during the next annual Hajj pilgrimage. Alternatively, they might like to organise a human rights rally at the Beijing Olympics. Maybe then our ‘annoyance’ regulations will not seem so bad.”

It remains to be seen just how many disruptions and violent protests erupt during this week. But I will not be surprised if ugly scenes do develop. The atheists, activists and amoralists are quite happy to intolerantly impose their agendas on others, and the prospects do not look good for a peaceful gathering.

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46 Replies to “In the Name of Tolerance: Protests at World Youth Day”

  1. What a contrast this is to the reception given to someone like the Dalai Lama. In his case all the leftist groups demonstrate not violence but groveling subservience.

    Ewan McDonald.

  2. This is so sad to read about. I live in New Zealand and my best friend left in the early hours of this morning to fly over to Melbourne to start preparations with her group for WYD. Having learned a lot about it from her and others I know who are going, it’s such a shame to hear that people are trying to cause trouble about it. It’s meant to be a gathering for peace, for people to unite together out of love and good will. It is not even an exclusively Catholic event – I am a baptist and I was invited to go, and I even know of a person who doesn’t believe in any faith at all and she is going along. I think it’s a beautiful display of unity of people and it’s really disappointing to read about how others are reacting to it. Those who disagree with the Pope’s views are obviously only taking into account one part of his opinion and ignoring the rest (for example, he is not against the use of condoms because he thinks everyone should go out and have sex all the time without them, but because they enable people to go out and abuse the act of sex).
    Chelsea Kenning, NZ

  3. Bill

    I think these Marxist and postmodern ideologues and demagogues are just looking for the next mass media event that they can rally around and use as an excuse to push their views on to others. You see, it has been a long time since the Iraq war got under way. They are merely opportunists looking for a pulpit.

    Damien Spillane

  4. I remember a certain monk from Wittenberg was not overly impressed with what the papacy stood for and he was certainly regarded as a trouble maker.

    Not all who speak peace are on the side of truth as, Jeremiah reminds us. Yes, the pope occupies the same ground as evangelicals on some issues, but that should not blind us to the real differences about which the Reformers contended.

    ‘Justification by faith alone’ is central to protestantism and some of our forefathers suffered greatly in its defense. The differences on that issue and others of significance have not changed.

    John Nelson

  5. These groups I believe are self-righteously demonstrating from what they claim to be the high moral platform. Outrage and indignation at the supposed oppressions of the homosexual victim outfit, by Christians , are the basis for their slogans. But not only do the homosexuals’ claims to experience disproportionately more abuse and marginalisation than any others (such as the unborn baby, children, disabled and elderly) need to be firmly refuted and exposed for what they are – pure lies – but that they, quiet apart from pursuing a suicidal lifestyle, are themselves violent, predatory, discriminatory, intolerant, added to which in pursuant of this narcissistic lifestyle are happy to see many law-abiding, responsible people, end up in prison.

    We must not allow them to take advantage of our overly-sensitive consciences. We are so quick to confess and condemn ourselves, whilst they, having their consciences seared, are only too willing to oblige us with a push in the direction that we will naturally fall. The Christian conscience, in the west, has been weakened by humanism with its false philosophy of human kindness (no smacking), its about time we allowed out consciences to be guided solely by God’s word and to hate, with all the hatred we can muster, all forms of evil, especially that found within ourselves.

    Proverbs 6:16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
    Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

    At the end of the day we have to choose between a homosexual’s right to have What He Wants When He Wants ( ) and our children. The Christians gathering at this event should not be dismayed but remember James’ instruction which was to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. What sort of faith is that cannot withstand attack? In fact 2 Tim. 3:12 says, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”

    John Nelson, I also share your concerns, regarding Roman Catholicism, but during World War II, people were either on the side Hitler, or the side of freedom. Perhaps this is not the moment to argue about eternal issues but to join forces with those who wish to defend the flesh and blood of the here and now, our children, who are the ultimate prize of the homosexual outfit. It also seems to me that it is primarily the Roman Catholic Church, compared with any other denomination, that has stood out against this evil.

    Mark 9:38ff “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.

    David Skinner, UK

  6. Dear David,
    Islam shares some of our traditional values too, including condemning homosexuality, abortion and pre-marital sex. Shall we link arms with them too?

    John Nelson

  7. Bill,

    My understanding is that the protesters also include groups representing victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, and also Catholic groups opposed to that church’s stance on contraception. I think they both have a legitimate right to voice their opinions. The Catholic church has a terrible record of priestly abuse, particularly in the USA, and the response of the church hierarchy has been to cover it up. There are also many Catholics who believe the church should not dictate family planning practices.

    Let’s face it, but for those who protested in the past we would all be Catholics today.

    Juliana Simbroski, Darwin

  8. Thanks John

    Yes we should. And actually we already do. It called co-belligerency. Often to achieve certain goals, it is expedient to work with others. For example, on an international level, often the feminist and homosexual agendas are thwarted at the UN and elsewhere when Muslim nations join the US, the Vatican, and other nations. A number of pro-family and pro-family victories have been won that way.

    So yes, I have worked with all sorts of groups over the years in the interests of protecting and promoting certain values. That of course does not mean we do not have theological differences. And as a Protestant, I obviously have some theological differences with my Catholic friends.

    But it would be silly in the greater battles to cut off allies. When atheists and secularists attack us, then by all means I am happy to work with other believers, be they Catholics, Orthodox or what have you. Some of these battles are far too important for us to retreat into our little sectarian enclaves. There is a place for standing up for one’s sectarian beliefs. But on some of these big battlegrounds, we either work together with allies (co-belligerents), or we simply lose big time.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  9. Thanks Juliana

    There is of course a place for protest, but I for one will not be joining arms with the socialists, anarchists, atheists and homosexual activists. And of course my piece was not meant to be a blanket endorsement of the Catholic Church and all its teachings and practices. All churches have shortcomings, because all Christians have shortcomings. But in the greater scheme of things, I know which side of this particular debate I prefer to be on.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  10. I have to agree with David Skinner when he says the Roman Catholic Church has done more to confront the evil of abortion than has any other denomination and that is to the shame of the Protestant denominations. As a Protestant myself I agree with Bill in that this doesn’t mean we endorse all Catholic teaching.

    I dare say that all Christian denominations especially those in the Western world would contain a percentage of true believers and a percentage of false converts. The respective percentages would vary according to the orthodoxy of the doctrine being preached. My observation is that the Roman Catholic church is no different in that in spite of those doctrines with which we Protestants would disagree, there is enough Gospel truth present so that true converts can be found there. Having said that, I do know an awful lot of people who regularly attend the Catholic who don’t demonstrate very much evidence of true conversion.

    Ewan McDonald.

  11. Dear John (Nelson), although I’m not Catholic and can understand there are differences between the Protestant and Catholic denominations, don’t forget that Catholics suffered under Protestant rule as well (i.e. during the reign of Elizabeth I aka “Bloody Bess” in England, for example). It was a two way street of hatred, torture and vilified for many years. Please mate, let’s focus on what we have in common with the Catholic church if it is best for the individual, family and best for society.

    Andrew Dinham, Hope Valley SA

  12. Whilst it may seem admirable that the pope emobodies what Christianity teaches it becomes important to analyse why we should protest against Catholicism. Certainly I would never consider joining such a group. I believe that homosexuality is a sin and denying people the right to use a condom (if people have sex by God’s rule – marriage) only means bigger families and praise God, more children….
    God bless, Andrew Lacey

  13. Thanks Andrew

    The arguments about Protestant versus Catholic theology are of course well-rehearsed and can be found on countless websites, among other places. And being a theology lecturer I know the pros and cons fairly well. But I don’t really want to rerun that debate here. Other venues can be used for that purpose.

    As I say, in some of the major conflicts we are involved in as believers, working with other allies is both sensible and necessary. Theology is important, and I would be the first to champion good theology. But so too are the various wars we are in, and we need to work together where possible.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  14. As a Christian and practicing Catholic, I have worked with many people who come from different religions (or none) to protect the ‘Culture of Life” at the United Nations. If you are pro-family and pro-life then surely different religions can and must work together to defeat the ‘Culture of Death” that is running rampart in western society.
    As contraception seem to be the stumbling block for many, the very reason we oppose contraception is that it can result in the killing of a new human being.
    As Bill has stated, the African nations that have rejected condoms are the ones that are winning the war against HIV /AIDS.
    Let us pray for those whose intention it is to disrupt WYD08 that they too will receive the power of the Holy Spirit.
    While absolutely condemning the abuse by Catholic priests, it is important to actually name the abuse for what it was, either pedophilia or homosexual.
    Madge Fahy

  15. John Nelson, to return to the dilemma, “ Shall we link arms with them too,” I agree that this is a difficult one and the whole of church history has been one of schism, one of which is dramatically taking place, within the English Anglican Church, even today, Monday 7th July, when the synod votes on whether or not, to ordain women bishops. I am sure that you too, even within your church, whatever denomination that is, must experience tensions over doctrine. I certainly do:

    But having communion with believers is a totally different thing to fighting alongside others, outside the fellowship, as did William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln, for justice and righteousness. I also have marched alongside Muslims, up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, protesting against the gratuitous sex and violence on the TV and the effect it has on our children. We draw the line, and part company, however, when they unfurl banners in Arabic to distract us, as actually happened on this occasion, and start using the event to extol Allah.

    David Skinner, UK

  16. Hi Madge,

    There are many different kinds of contraception, condoms, IUDs, withdrawal, the Pill etc. There are also several different kinds of contraceptive pill.

    Which of these do you believe can result in the killing of a new human being?

    Juliana Simbroski, Darwin

  17. Thanks Juliana

    The short and easy answer is all those which are not actually contraceptives (preventing conception) but in fact are abortifacients, in which conception has taken place but the new embryo is prevented from developing by various means. The IUD is a good case in point. So is the so-called morning after pill.

    Some so-called contraceptives have both properties. The pill for example acts both as a contraceptive and as an abortifacient. As to the latter, the pill works to harden the uterine wall, making implantation difficult. Implants such as Norplant, also have both properties.

    The really worrying this is that so many Christians are ignorant of these matters. The use of genuine contraceptives is a matter of debate between Catholics and Protestants. But all Christians should agree to never use anything which in fact acts as an abortifacient.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  18. I agree wholeheartedly with you Bill regarding the fact that so many Christians are ignorant of these abortifacient contraceptive issues. In my own experience I attended two or three different Protestant churches for most of my life and don’t remember hearing anything about the subject and it wasn’t until my wife read a book written by a Catholic that we were enlightened and have not used those types of contraceptives since. It’s just another example of the sad state of our churches.

    Ewan McDonald.

  19. Juliana,

    May I suggest that you read “Contraception, The Hidden Truth” by Christine de Stoop or “A Consumer’s Guide to The Pill and Other Drugs” by John Wilks, B.Pharm.M.P.S. (Foreward by Bernard N. Nathason M.D., P.C.)

    Madge Fahy

  20. The most beautiful and enlightening source on the topic of sexuality, contraception and promiscuity is ‘Theology of the Body for Beginners’ by Christopher West.
    Or …
    – a great resource for anyone teaching young adult groups about the beauty and meaning of sexuality.

    Bill, I really appreciate your attitude of uniting to oppose the ‘culture of death’. What unites Christians (i.e. our love for Jesus Christ) is far greater than that which divides us.

    WYD is certainly putting its money where its mouth is on the importance of Christian unity. Guy Sebastian wrote and is performing the WYD theme song with Paulini (they’re not Catholics). At the main concert on the Friday night, Darlene Zschech is also performing – she’s well known from Hillsong…

    In the fight to protect life, we Christians have to understand who our enemy really is. In order to overcome pro-life forces, all the devil has to do is to divide and conquer.

    Donna Murphy

  21. Donna, I also noticed the WYD organisers have invited non-Catholic performers, but I would just like to point out that the people you mention are considered by some (OK, by me) to be representatives of ‘pop’ Christianity and are perhaps not great examples of Protestant thought and action. I understand why at a predominately youth event they would be included but I hope the Catholic youth movement aspires to something higher than to emulate contemporary Christian music stars which seems to be the preoccupation of the youth in many evangelical churches these days.

    Ewan McDonald.

  22. Donna,

    Having watched a sample off the internet, I think it’s fair to say that the TOB4T is probably going to lose non-Catholics very early in the piece. For something a little (actually, a lot) more accessible to other Aussies especially, maybe also look at Jason Stevens’ dvd, Worth The Wait as a conversation starter. I’ve watched it, and I would highly recommend it.

    Mark Rabich

  23. Thanks Mark.
    Yes, I bought the DVD for my children back in 2005 and it’s very good. I also know of a good Catholic youth evangelisation team that regularly uses it as one of its resources. There’s another great DVD by Dr. James Dobson (protestant), on the dangers of pornography. The Catholic school my boys attend show this to their Year 12s each year.
    I return to my original point. In the fight to protect life, and may I add to protect the purity and chastity of our youth, we Christians have to recognise who the real enemy is.
    Donna Murphy

  24. Contraception not only includes abortafacients but also onanism and its modern equivalents. The biblical account from the Old Testament also includes these things as contrary to Christian intimacy. The Catholic Church, following the Bible, actually rules out onanism. On another issue of abortion, there was a time earlier before these culture wars in which the Southern Baptists in the USA were not as strong on opposing abortion ‘because that what Catholics do’ and so they didn’t all come around until they began to feel embarassed by their non-biblical stance. (I’m being a smart alec in the phrase ‘non-biblical stance’ for good reason because so many non-Catholics use it to subconsciously, consciously or perhaps even in total ignorance to imply that Catholic teaching has to always be held up as somehow not always biblical – which from my understanding is simply not true).
    Michael Webb

  25. The Pope’s speech today contained some good material criticising moral relativism, secularism, and abortion. Unfortunately he also included some political correctness by way of praising Rudd’s tokenistic and ultimately baseless apology to the so-called ‘stolen generations’. It seems he also said something about the “ancient heritage” of aboriginal Australians which was presumably a reference to the unbiblical notion that this heritage extends back somewhere between 40 and 60 thousand years.

    Also there was the obligatory reference to global-warming with the statement that “Some of you come from island nations whose very existence is threatened by rising water levels” The truth is that sea levels are not rising but you wouldn’t know that by listening to the global-warming alarmists.

    Ewan McDonald.

  26. Ewan,

    I am no fan of the Catholic Church, but the fact that the church acknowledges the findings of mainstream science about the history of the universe and this planet does not make its views unbiblical. Christians who wage war with science only damage our credibility and portray a false image of Christianity as backward and anti-intellectual. The notion that it is unbiblical to accept an ancient earth results only from an obsessively literalist and subjective interpretation of Genesis. You are entitled to believe anything you want about history, but you are not entitled to claim that only your view is biblical.

    Juliana Simbroski, Darwin

  27. His comments on small island natons and the comments on reconciliaton with Aboriginals were not an endorsement of the political correctness. He never mentioned global warming merely the situation of rising water in some small island nations. He never endorsed stolen generations either by name but just the charitableness that we Christians must show towards the real cases of hurt. The politically correct statements were actually made by ABC and other journos in the commerical yuppy media. The Pope didn’t say those things. The media implied and assumed it all.
    Michael Webb

  28. Ewan is right, while Juliana Simbroski hasn’t a clue. It’s rather the appeasement by the Church of secular philosophies masquerading as science that has lost credibility for the Church. What she ignorantly calls the “obsessively literalist and subjective interpretation of Genesis” is actually the grammatical-historical, as understood by Josephus, most Church Fathers (e.g. Basil the Great), Thomas Aquinas, most medieval Jewish exegetes, all the Reformers (including Luther and Calvin), John Welsey, and most Hebrew scholars today.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  29. You will find that whilst individual clergy or nuns can sometimes be airheads in some of their trendy remarks in an attempt to show that the Church is ‘relevant’ etc you will find that in the magisterial documents of the Church these philosophies and fads are not found( except when Rome actually qualifies or anathametises them).
    Even if the Pope agreed with those ABC commentators on climate change and the ‘stolen generation'( which he doesn’t by the way) it is not done under the defining of the articles of faith and morals powers that he holds as Successor of Peter. It wouldn’t meet the conditions anyway.
    He has to address the whole Catholic world by making solemn and defining statements in the teaching mode.
    Trust the ABC to put their own ideas into the commentary in roder to make out that the Pope said thigns he didn’t.
    Statewide with Quentin Dempster with the NSW politics wrapy up did the same tonight. It is see through nonsense for educated Catholics. Sadly many are lapping up media these days without engaging their critical faculties.
    Michael Webb

  30. John Nelson, I agree.

    Most sincere Christians forget or belittle the doctrine of separation in scripture, they cannot see the subtle links that lead us astray.

    Scripture teaches that we are not even to associate with false brethren, and we are simply called to believe and trust in faith that God has a reason for teaching this.

    On a humanist level/fleshly level however i agree, lets get together with all those we agree with, then we’ll jump back in the trenches against the same people when the pendulum swings back.

    Sorry guys, i am not a fan of the humanist way of working things out. Scripture is clear that when we align ourselves with error, even in areas of agreement, it does not take long before we convert to the natural fleshly state of those we oppose today, we only have to look at history to confirm this.

    But what are WE to do? Thats the point isn’t it? Its not about WE, its about trusting in God, its about having enough faith in his commands to allow HIM to do HIS work in HIS time.

    Sadly we have not believed this in time passed and today we are paying for this negligence through a state of CRISIS management that only the return of Christ will ultimately restore. (condolences to those who think the Church will undertake this restoration today when its very failure led us TO today)

    Biblically we separate, humanly we come together.

    Edi Giudetti

  31. Interesting thoughts and comments on various theologies to read. We should be careful when utilising one doctrine/verse and base our entire theology on that. It becomes a form of “weaponised” Christianity that uses verses as weapons of mass destruction rather than weapons of TRUTH (“the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God”)

    This approach, used by every denomination, is really what can be called “theme based Christianity”. It is essentially where all the “isms” come from and most have very little to do with Jesus Christ at all. Even our doctrine can become a “sacred cow” which in the end creates an obligation for God to destroy it.

    At times, I too can be terminally dogmatic like many contributors on this blog, but somehow I am consistently impressed by the verse “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”

    I know people will take exception with the meaning of the word “brethren” (as in who should be counted amongst the brethren). In answer to this I would say that Jesus himself said “if I be lifted……I will draw ALL men unto me” (“to the non-contextual literalist this means women are excluded?”).

    I think it is time as the body of Christ to let go of the “us four and no more mentality.” It has to be “ALL the body or NOBODY.” Christ will return for his bride not just an arm or a leg.

    Yes there will be differences and apostasies/false prophets that will arise, but Jesus said “He will build His church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

    In closing, another great book on sexuality for young people that addresses the topic from a Biblical and practical perspective is the “Every Young Man’s Battle/Every Man’s Battle/Every Womans Battle” series by Fred Stoecker and Stephen Arterburn.

    Mihael McCoy

  32. John Sarfati, I don’t see how it really matters whether one church (which just happens to be the Catholic one in this instance) takes an old or young earth approach. This is because in all honesty, I don’t see hard evidence in Biblical Genesis that the earth is only around 1,000-8,000 years old (young earth theory). To me, the earth could be young, old or somewhere in the middle. Either way, I believe there are much more important issues to be fighting as Christians than the age of the earth and who and which church thinks what about it – think abortion, euthanasia, declining standards in society etc.

    Andrew Dinham, Hope Valley, SA

  33. Jonathan,

    Surely we can have a difference of opinion about the meaning of scripture without your resorting to statements like “Juliana Simbroski hasn’t a clue”. Your argument from authority could easily be countered by other arguments from other authorities, particularly from today’s great theologians who have the benefit of current knowledge about the past that the ancients did not have.

    Ultimately we all have to make judgments about what is historical in the Bible and what is allegorical, but as Christians we should be able to come to different conclusions about earth history without denigrating others, or claiming the biblical high ground for oneself.

    Juliana Simbroski, Darwin

  34. Mihael McCoy “Even our doctrine can become a “sacred cow” which in the end creates an obligation for God to destroy it.”????

    That is one of the silliest things i have heard said on this blog, God will destroy his own doctrine????

    When i read of “Christians” using negative connotations to dogmatism i wonder why God decided to say anything at all. I mean if we all can simply pick and choose what we want to believe as true why bother stating a clear teaching in holy writ?

    No my friend, God’s teaching in scripture are not determined by the whims of those who read it.
    The greatest problems we have in Christianity is the fleshly desire to abandon the text of holy writ to please man. Forgetting it is simply impossible to serve Christ while pleasing man.

    (For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Gal 1:10)

    Thats the point that has led this mad world become so mad. “Christians” the world over rejecting the Word and accepting the world.

    Who is it that still loves his word enough to believe it?

    Edi Giudetti

  35. I forgot to mention that the Pope also had some very good comments on the issue of sex and violence as subjects for entertainment. And yes Michael, I agree the media did put their own spin on some of the Pope’s words but I still think he should have chosen those words better.

    Andrew Dinham, you won’t see any evidence in Scripture for millions of years. The evidence for an approximately 6000 year old Creation is clearly implied for anyone who cares to examine the genealogies. If you undermine the authority of Scripture by adoption of compromise theories of Creation then you weaken the foundation of Christian arguments against “abortion, euthanasia, declining standards in society etc”. Christian arguments against abortion and euthanasia especially, rely on the biblical doctrine of the imago dei (Man made in the image of God). Long age compromise views of Creation have a different anthropology. Theistic evolution has man descending from apes. This is akin to saying Man is made in the image of an ape!

    Juliana, if a belief about the history of the universe contradicts that history recorded in the Bible then it is by definition ‘unbiblical’. The Bible seems to teach that only descendants of the first man Adam can be saved. If you believe Australian aboriginals to have a history that predates the creation of Adam (and we know from the genealogies when that was), then aboriginals cannot be descendants of Adam. I wonder then if you bother trying to convert the aboriginals you must encounter in Darwin?

    Ewan McDonald.

  36. Juliana you are either wrong or your are right, if you are wrong than you haven’t a clue of what you are talking about, if you are right than we no longer have a Bible we can put any faith in whatsoever, now truth must be determined by the degenerating mind of man.

    Either way you need to move away from your postmodern thought, obviously picked up from one of the modern liberal colleges, and make a decision.

    Hath God said?

    Edi Giudetti

  37. As a Catholic, I yawn when I hear and read about people who believe in the earth being 6000 years old and other simialr things. The early Church Fathers of both East and West never brought this idea forward for acceptance by the Church’s Magisterium. The Orthodox ( who have apostolic lineage form the Apostles as does the Catholic Church) are of simialr mind.

    The Church has not accepted the fundie view even before the advent of modern science. Catholics hold to teachings that come form the Apostles themselves and which have immediate historical linkages to the immediate post Apostolic bishops, some of whom knew and heard and went to Mass said by Apostles such as John, Paul and so forth. Therefore I must be a big fan of the Catholic Church to be in touch with real time history not phantasy as supplied by private interpretation of the Scriptures about from a real in-time Church.

    Michael Webb

  38. Ewan, I do believe that human beings are created in the image of God (I recall Psalms 139:13,15 esp). I just don’t see why arguing for whether it was 6000 years ago or billions of years ago helps with any arguments to do with the issues we as Christians are facing today (the issues I’ve implied). To me, there is ample hard evidence on both sides of the fence (old earth: here and young earth: here.

    Andrew Dinham, Hope Valley, SA

  39. Thanks guys

    The issue of the age of the earth is an important one, but it is a topic which is straying from the original article here, so we might for the moment wind down that particular debate.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  40. Edi, I would mostly agree with your comments. Where I would differentiate however is on our role to “persuade” others who go off track and also when “man’s” terminal dogmatism becomes an impediment to other’s receiving Christ and the unity of the brethren is at stake. I am not talking about unity for the sake of unity and I totally accept the Scriptures as the ultimate authority and TRUTH. What I take exception with is when individuals engage in isogesis(individual interpretations) as opposed to exegitical study(Scripture interpreting Scripture). This is sectarianism and is unscriptural.
    Much of the disunity that the Christian church faces today arises from “idolatry” of doctrine and glorification of “knowledge”. Scripture is clear on the subject of idolatry and any “image” or “thought” that exalts itself above His name. The Bible also says “Wisdom builds the house” NOT knowledge. The apostle Paul admonishes believers to avoid arguments on contentious and unlearned questions. There is good reason for this. We are also to bring every “thought” or “high thing that exalts itself” into captivity and subjection to the Word of God. This act of humility and obedience is what empowers believers to focus on Jesus’ new commandment “to love one another as I have loved you”.(John 13:34) Paul also prayed that “our love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.”(Philippians 1:9-11) Love is far more important as a witness than doctrinal nazism and perfect knowledge does not make good on salvation-which only comes through faith Jesus Christ. Anything else is “works” and “law” and we all know what that brings.
    Mihael McCoy

  41. Edi Giudetti, I totally agree that we should stand up for right doctrine but I don’t think that the injunction by Paul to not associate with false brethren should be extended to Catholicism in general. Sure we should dialogue about questionable teachings, but the Catholic Church officially adheres to the early church creeds, such as the Nicene Creed, in common with Protestants and Orthodox. The Nicene Creed sets out the non-negotiables of Christian faith in the early church and today. If a church doesn’t adhere to these beliefs, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, then we shouldn’t consider them as brothers and sisters in Christ. In my opinion, since Protestantism only happened fairly late in the picture in church history, we shouldn’t try and impose a specifically Protestant or Evangelical outlook on a church with much more ancient roots. The reformers were right to challenge the corruption of their day and fight to recover the importance of salvation by grace rather than works but are the issues still the same today? Sure I think the Catholic Church is probably in error in some ways but maybe as Evangelicals we should consider the possibility that we also are in error in ways that Catholics have got it right! Let’s consider some of our own blindspots before pointing the finger at others who are genuinely trying to be faithful to God. Thanks.
    Conor Ryan

  42. One of the blindspots in the so-called evangelical argument is that they single out the Catholic Church but not the Orthodox churches which are almost the same doctrinally to the Catholics than to the so-called evangelicals.
    This is a massive contradiction that Protestants/’evangelicals’ have towards the historic churches. The other big one is the acceptance of early church councils but not later ones.
    Michael Webb

  43. Thanks Michael,

    Please recognize that true unity cannot come from agreeing to disagree, I’m sure you’d agree, the Bible presents clearly that we are to unite in truth, (1 John 4:6) It speaks of a Spirit of truth (John 14:17, John 15:26, John 16:13).

    We can only be truly UNIFIED in truth as truth is singular (united in one), error is multi faceted therefore no person on the earth can unite in error, ‘unity in diversity’ is an oxymoron, its another one of those self refuting statements I see people making so often these days.

    This doesn’t mean we are not to consider those souls born again that are in error, we are to love them and pray for them, we are also taught to restore them if they are in error ( Galatians 6), this is not easy to do as there are not many who believe they are in error, you only have to look at blog sites to figure that one out.

    Michael, Paul’s admonition of doubtful disputations (Rom 14) are not in any way related to matters of clear doctrine, but in matters of areas practical for the believer in meats and days and unclean/clean things, how we should love one another who are born again. But we must never carry that thought into doctrinal issues that lead men astray, areas as those I mentioned above are vile Satanic deceptions that continue to lead people to Hell. Paul himself admonished Peter for his error (Gal 2:11) not to forget the bountiful exhortations and warnings of false teaching, false brethren, doctrines of devils, contending for the faith, warnings of ‘another gospel’ etc we find throughout the scriptures. We can know the Biblical position of this issue.

    Think of how many people today that have been “baptized” as babies and think they are saved?
    How many today think our works can save us?

    God knows the true state of the hearts of men, we don’t, God warns us of the danger of letting in just a little Leaven, why? Because that is exactly how Satan has corrupted so much of the body of Christ, like the thin end of a wedge, error splits the Church.

    The Devil also must love the negative connotations given to the idea of truth by those who reject its premise (dogmatic, arrogant, sectarian, bigoted etc, etc ad-nauseam).

    I honestly believe if we tried trusting the clear teaching of the Bible we would find God honored again and his blessings flow. The west was blessed because of the move away from the Papacy, revival broke out, laws formed, truth exalted and society prospered, watch what happens now that we have rejected truth and just hold hands singing “I am the walrus… coo-coo-ca-choo”.

    Lets pray “the age of Aquarius” ushers in our Lord.

    God Bless, Edi Giudetti

  44. Edi,
    I share your enthusiasm about the Second Coming. The very thought of Christ returning brings to mind the verse “I would that none would perish”. This motivates me to acknowledge my own weakness as a sinner and accept it is “not by works of righteousness(including doctrinal perfection), but by His grace alone”.
    The gift of salvation so graciously given to us is for all of mankind and Jesus was a Master at communicating this message to people. Did His message offend people? You bet, because the cross is an offence to many people and the religious order of the day resented His influence and message. Given this fact, I don’t want to “add or subtract” to its message by placing additional “stumbling blocks” along the way through my “style” (or lack ) of sharing or religious pride. I have faith that the Holy Spirit is the one really at work when sharing the truth of the Word to others. The reason for this is because I know that I am not, and never will be the sole repository of all truth. However, I do have the WAY theTRUTH the LIFE residing and dwelling within me and trust that “He will teach us ALL things”. At the same time we remain to be perfected fully.

    We can’t “know” everything and it brings me great peace to at least “know” this. (1 Corinthians 8:2 “If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know;”)

    I am also comforted by the verse “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12) We will eventually know fully and through the Holy Spirit we can receive greater revelation of truth now.

    I also agree we need to be alert to Jude’s warning of “impostor’s” and other Apostolic injunctions to take great caution lest we ourselves slip or are caught unawares. However, in the book of TImothy we are exhorted that “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and a sound mind.” This is so empowering and encouraging that even though I am aware of the dangers, I am not persuaded by nor am I distressed by what goes on around me (now unto Him who is able to keep me from falling). Jesus said certain things must happen before He would return and we should not fear them. We also know that He is coming for a bride without spot or blemish (not from its own righteousness but because His blood covers).

    At the end of the day, we can be assured of our faith and know that “His grace is sufficient for me.”

    Mihael McCoy

  45. Ewan, I hardly think Paulini going to a night-club and having a dance and a drink is evidence of not living a good Christian life. I know plenty of good young Christians (myself included) who go to night-clubs and have a dance and a few drinks (personally speaking, not excessively). How, Ewan, does that make us poor examples of Christian youth? Furthermore, I wonder how accurate these so-called gossip columns really are?
    Andrew Dinham

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