We expect the secularists and God-haters to persecute Christians – and they do. But we don’t expect Christian organisations to persecute Christians – but it seems that they do as well. It seems we have another tragic example of this very thing happening right here in Australia.
I have already discussed the sad story of Troy Williams, the Tassie chaplain and Scripture Union worker who was raked over the coals for daring to tell the truth about homosexuality: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/08/05/when-the-pink-mafia-are-in-control/
Of course the homosexual militants and PC politicians foamed at the mouth about this, demanding his head on a platter. But we didn’t expect the Christian group he works for to end up doing much the same. I have been communicating with Troy and his wife, and praying for them. This has just come in from Troy:
What? Fired? Breach of conduct? What in the world does that mean? Is it now unacceptable for Christians to tell the truth about homosexuality? And in this case, he simply quoted from a lesbian activist. So was she being homophobic in her remarks? This is lunacy.
Actually all this may not be surprising. Earlier this year an article about the Tasmanian SU sent alarm signals to many of us. It began: “Scripture Union has emphasised its support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community in the wake of concerns from an advocacy group.”
And it concludes:
Scripture Union Tasmania chief executive Ruth Pinkerton said Tasmanian school chaplains were specially trained in working with LGBTI students. “We are aware of the statistics, they’re a minority group that have a lot of issues and are really susceptible to suicide, so we are seeing them needing more care,” she said. “There is no sense of wanting to exclude these students.” Ms Pinkerton said chaplains were not in schools to make judgments. “They are there to support all members of the school with personal and spiritual work.”
The real question here is, what exactly do they mean by “support”? Does that mean affirming the lifestyle and lying to students about what the Bible says concerning homosexuality? Or does it mean telling them the truth about the issue as Troy tried to do? It seems that for SU, support means just being nice, affirming, and having a listening ear.
That is fine, but of course any pagan counsellor can do that. If they – for whatever reason – cannot or will not tell biblical truth to these and all other students, including sharing the gospel that can transform people’s lives, then what is the point of being there?
Some defenders of SU argue that they can just find other ways to be a Christian witness, even if they cannot really verbalise the gospel. But again, what is the point of being there in that case? If they cannot provide the most important thing students need – the life-changing truth of the biblical gospel – then they may have passed their use-by date.
As Romans 10:14-15 makes perfectly clear, the gospel must involve words, speaking and listening. Just being “nice” or having “a presence” is not enough for the biblical Christian. We must be able to share truth, and that means sharing it verbally as well. When we lose the right to speak truth, then we might as well pull out, and let others show “support”.
Also, this case again shows the very real problems of any Christian group relying on government funding or even approval. I spoke about this broader issue earlier, including funding issues and compliance with state directives. See here: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/06/19/school-chaplaincy-under-attack/
We may have come to the point where we have to think long and hard about how effective and how strategic various parachurch groups are that work in the public arena, and receive government funding, and/or permission to do so. It is great that groups like SU are there, and they have done great work in the past.
But if they are now effectively being curtailed or stymied in presenting biblical truth, and if they in fact fire their own workers for doing so, then it is time to reassess things, big time.
In the meantime we must keep praying for Troy and his family. They are going through the wringer right now, being hated by homosexuals and the state alike, and seemingly abandoned by their own Christian organisation.