Whither God and Australia?

God loves individuals and has plans for them. But he also is concerned about the nations, and has purposes and plans for them. This is clearly demonstrated throughout Scripture. We may not think in terms of God having such relations with the nations, but he does indeed.

Israel of course was a covenant people under God’s rule, but the Old Testament contains many words about the surrounding nations. And while that covenant relationship between Yahweh and Israel was unique, God still responds to the nations, and still has dealings with them.

canberra_parliament_houseThis weekend in Canberra a number of important things have transpired. There were various Christian conferences, such as those of the ACL and the NACL, and the Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast also took place. The homosexual militants of course went ballistic about the ACL conference, and many have questioned why Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was given a major platform to push homosexual marriage there.

This weekend’s NACL conference I have already discussed: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/10/26/god-is-on-the-move/

As to the Parliamentary meetings this weekend, the numbers have been way down, certainly on the Sunday night worship service. This has been happening for a while now. I have often said that much of the decline started 6 years ago when an Islamic Imam was actually allowed to speak at the event. I wrote about that here: billmuehlenberg.com/2008/11/10/islam-and-fifth-columns/

I told the organiser at the time that the word given to Isaiah in Is. 42:8, 11 still stands: “I will not share my glory with another”. That to me was an indication of breaking covenant with God and allowing false gods into the nation’s capital.

Many have documented the Christian history of Australia, and the various covenants made with God by the early Christians here. For a full look at this intriguing spiritual history, see the website put up by Graham McLennan: www.chr.org.au/index.html

One other event which ties into all this took place on Saturday. That was a “National Day of Unity” with Islam. They had an “open day” for mosques around the nation, and here in Canberra there were plenty of politicians and religious leaders to stand with the Muslims. As one news report states;

On Saturday, Australian mosques nationwide threw open their doors to non-Muslims as people across the country celebrated the National Day of Unity on Saturday. In the ACT, the centre hosted a free lunch along with a number of events for children including pony rides, fairy floss and a jumping castle.
US ambassador John Berry presented the centre with a sapling from an oak tree originally planted in the Canberra embassy by Eleanor Roosevelt, 72 years ago. “Today, Muslims in both the United States and Australia work with people of all faiths to build a brighter world,” he said. “Together we uphold our most cherished values – freedom, faith, community, justice, mercy and love.”

Umm, I am not sure those values are actually those of Islam, but this is yet another example of how a religious moral equivalence is spreading throughout the country, including the nation’s capital. On Sunday afternoon a small group of us engaged in some pretty hard core intercession, prayer and spiritual warfare about all these events at the Canberra House of Prayer.

We were on our faces before God crying out for his mercy on this land, and repenting over how we have broken covenant with our God, while allowing false gods and idols to be established here. One text which came to me so strongly was Ezekiel 44, which is all about Israel breaking covenant with God.

It really is an incredible chapter and I encourage you to read the whole thing. Let me here highlight a few verses from it. In Ez. 44:23 we read this about the priests: “They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.”

But they were no longer doing this, and how similar does this sound to what is happening in our churches today? And consider what we find in verses 7-12:

In addition to all your other detestable practices, you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating my temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke my covenant. Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put others in charge of my sanctuary. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites.
The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their sin. They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them. But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the people of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign Lord.

Strong words indeed. As I said, Israel was in a unique covenant relationship with Yahweh, but we all strongly felt these words applied to our situation today in Australia. So we asked God to forgive us for allowing our national capital to move so far away from Australia’s Christian roots, and embracing false religious and idolatries.

We cried out to God that this nation would once again be the “Great Southland of the Holy Spirit” as it was proclaimed to be by Ferdinand De Quiros over 400 years ago. See more on this here: www.chr.org.au/downloads/THE_MEANING_OF_OUR_FLAG.pdf

God is not finished with Australia. He loves this land and has great purposes in mind for it. In our prayer time we felt that we are in a unique window of opportunity here. We have managed to stand strong with Israel, we have managed to withstand the constant push for the destruction of marriage by the homosexual activists, but the question is: Will the church stand and resist the incoming tide of anti-Christian activities and idolatries, or will we simply surrender.

Will our nation’s capital continue to cave in to the various anti-Christian agendas and false religions, or will Christ be honoured here as he once was? Will the Christian churches collectively repent of their apathy, carnality and compromise, and once again be a powerful witness for the risen Christ, or will we continue to drift into irrelevance and spiritual darkness?

It is up to God’s people – as always – to come back to their first love, to repent, and to seek again God’s face. It is up to us if we will put Christ first, seek to be powerfully led by His Holy Spirit, and renounce our selfishness, trivial pursuits, and indifference.

This is our great challenge today. Will we rise to the occasion, or will it just be business as usual? The choice is ours.

www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-islamic-centre-thanks-the-act-on-national-day-of-unity-20141025-11bo00.html
www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/bill-shorten-tells-the-australian-christian-lobby-he-believes-in-god-and-gay-marriage/story-fnizhakg-1227102032339

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19 Replies to “Whither God and Australia?”

  1. Hi Bill,
    A couple weeks ago when I was getting ready to preach a message on holiness, I had one of those experiences where I went to the prayer room before the service and my Bible opened to Ezekiel 22 (I didn’t preach from that text) and my eyes fell to verse 26…

    “Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean…”

    Later we read in verse 30, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”

    I sensed the Lord encouraging me to be faithful to build up the walls and stand in the gap and be among the “priests” who DO distinguish between the unclean and clean! May God strengthen and grace you in abundance to continue doing the same.

  2. Hi Bill,

    Would you say that God deals with nations differently in light of the coming of Christ? That is to say, does God judge the nations in the same way as before given that Jesus takes away the sin of the world?

    Nick Davies

  3. Thanks Nick. In some ways the nations are discussed in less detail in the New Testament, but the principles we glean from the Old Testament would seem to still be operative.

  4. This religious moral equivalence stuff is certainly on the spread. It’s as if there is a bunch of people out there who are aiming to bring every type of religion under a single flag, by claiming that they actually all worship the same God. And they’re beginning with Muslims and Christians.

    Now, many folk might think this is an absolutely great idea, to “neutralise” all the religions and thus wipe out the need for fighting, wars, etc. Certainly chimes with the New-Age fanatics, a coerced “unity” that worships a one-size-fits-all kind of Deity.

    The unanswered question is, who is trying to create this “unity” and what is the real purpose behind it? A jolly old “fun day with bouncy castles” is the very thing that seeps into people’s consciousness and they start to think that merged religions aint such a bad idea after all. The Devil works by stealth.

  5. The one I got was Psalm 1:-

    Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and has not stood in the way of sinners, and has not sat in the seat of the scornful.
    Psa 1:2 But his delight is only in the Law of Jehovah; and in His Law he meditates day and night.
    Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivulets of water that brings forth its fruit in its seasons, and its leaf shall not wither, and all which he does shall be blessed.
    Psa 1:4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
    Psa 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
    Psa 1:6 For Jehovah knows the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

  6. A day of “Unity” with a false religion is akin to the Old Testament idolatry that the Israelites were so heavily and repeatedly punished for. Do any of the Christian ‘leaders” involved read their Bibles at all?

  7. Hi Bill,
    Could you please elaborate on your comment, “…many have questioned why Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was given a major platform to push homosexual marriage there.” Are you suggesting that the ACL should have revoked his invitation when he stated that he was going to speak on his support for SSM?

    I must confess that I was quite surprised to get an email from the ACL asking me to give the Hyatt a 5-star rating. Yes, I was disgusted at the corporate espionage of the Gay Lobby using the Hyatt rating system as a protest. However, I’ve never stayed at the Hyatt – my brother lives in Canberra and so I probably never will stay there – how could I give it a 5 star rating in good conscience? I don’t have Facebook, so it is redundant for me, but I’m concerned that the ACL took the low ground on this!

    Matt Harris

  8. Thanks Matt. The ACL knew all along what his views were and that he would push them at such a venue, so they never should have invited him in the first place. We know that homosexual marriage, abortion on demand, etc, is official Labor party policy. Why give people who oppose everything you believe in – or at least many absolutely vital things – free air time to push their agenda at a national conference like this? I think it was a dumb idea. Everywhere these diabolical ideas are getting free air time, so why give them a golden platform like this at an event of a group which is supposed to be defending and promoting Christian values, not allowing them to be attacked?

  9. Yeah, I’m inclined to agree. The desire to appear bipartisan is a big trap. I too was surprised that the ACL applauded Shorten for calling for civil discourse, yet left they left him unchallenged in his views (no discourse took place). Shouldn’t our lobby group lobby our parliamentarians rather than have them lobby us! It certainly wouldn’t happen the other way around.

    The Hyatt Facebook page was replete with invective directed towards Christians. One catch phrase was “Homophobia has no place in our society”, which strikes me as odd as saying “Arachnophobia has no place in our society”. I quickly learnt that ‘Homophobia’ has been redefined to mean anyone who disagrees with the Gay Lobby. However, I was made aware of Jim Wallace’s comments here:
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/appalling-law-lets-schools-expel-gay-students-20110211-1aqk2.html

    I agree that an openly Gay student – directly challenging a Christian school from within, should be able to be dismissed – however, does that lead to a student who speaks out against Gay lifestyle and promotes Christianity in a state school – should be able to be expelled too? Homophobia (by its new definition) is becoming morally unacceptable in society. We have a clash of values. So, Christian students are forced to privatise their faith and values.

    How do we wind this back? It seems too late, we’ve gone too far! It seems to me that there is nothing left but to proclaim the truth and steel ourselves for persecution.

  10. Matt Harris:

    I agree that an openly Gay student – directly challenging a Christian school from within, should be able to be dismissed – however, does that lead to a student who speaks out against Gay lifestyle and promotes Christianity in a state school – should be able to be expelled too?

    No, they are not equivalent. The Christian school has Christian values that it has a right and a duty to uphold. A school run by homosexuals would have the right to expel a student who spoke against the homosexual lifestyle, but a state school, funded by Christian as well as non-Christian taxpayers, has a duty to be neutral, not to support the homosexuals.

  11. Phillip,

    I just don’t think that your argument is convincing. You say,

    A State school would not deem itself values neutral, they would regard they have the duty to uphold current social ‘values’. If, as I said above, any objection to homosexual lifestyle is unacceptable in modern society (revised definition of Homophobia) – then State schools will want to reflect that social value.

    It is within the context of ‘values’ that the argument will sit. Seeing as though Independent Schools get a substantial sum of money from the taxpayers too, indeed, from both secular and religious taxpayers, it seems that your point is rather moot.

    I don’t think hanging on to this law does us any good at all. If we want a civil and free public square, we should ensure that we create a free and civil discussion in the Christian classroom.

  12. It’s great to hear that you and the folk at C-HOP were engaged in spiritual warfare over Canberra with all those other things going on. We were just outside of Canberra on a most awesome prayer retreat also praying over the city and the nation. We were up til the wee hours of the morning on Saturday night and again til after midnight on Sunday night. It was an incredible weekend and we will be doing it every three months. It’s awesome how God coordinated intercession to be going on in at least two places on the same weekend. It must be a significant moment for Canberra!

  13. Matt,

    I took your question “should they be expelled too”? to be asking what we would think is consistent with our stand; i.e. if we (Christians) want the right to expel pro-homosexual students from Christian schools, aren’t we being inconsistent if we don’t allow state schools the same right? My point was that the two are not analogous. Sure, the people who run the state schools might see that differently, and think that they are just upholding “their” values, but you weren’t asking them their opinion, you were asking us our opinion.

    But there’s a further problem with your argument, and that is the assumption that “any objection to homosexual lifestyle is unacceptable in modern society”. Unacceptable to whom? It certainly is unacceptable amongst certain groups who are very influential in society, such as educators and journalists, but it doesn’t follow that the general population are on side with them to the same extent.

    Nor does it follow that the general population would be so on side with them if they were exposed to both sides of the argument, even in proportion to the numbers of people holding different views. To illustrate with some figures plucked from the air, if only 30% of the population opposed homosexuality, but 30% of the views aired in the media and the education system were views opposing homosexuality, I fully expect that that figure of 30% of the population would rise over time. The only reason so many people accept homosexuality is that that’s about the only view they are ever allowed to hear. So your argument about what’s “unacceptable in modern society” amounts to saying that they’ve got the right to suppress opposing views (by expelling students) because they’ve succeeded in suppressing opposing views.

    I don’t accept the argument about independent schools getting funding. Such funding makes up only a fraction of their income (most(?) is from parents paying fees or etc.), and even the government fraction comes in part from (and perhaps vague proportion to) dissenting taxpayers.

    Furthermore, governments deem themselves to have the right to control the education of students they are not financially supporting, such as home-schooled students, so I’m not sure that the money argument is relevant anyway.

    I don’t think hanging on to this law does us any good at all. If we want a civil and free public square, we should ensure that we create a free and civil discussion in the Christian classroom.

    Sorry, but I’m not clear on what “law” you are referring to there. But otherwise your point is the very thing that Christians want, but often aren’t allowed to have! To illustrate from an analogous situation that I am more familiar with, many Christian schools teach both evolution (warts and all) and creation, whilst state schools only teach evolution. But the attitude of some governments is that those Christian schools who are being more neutral than the government’s own schools are the ones who are in the wrong, and want to stop even Christian schools from teaching creation.

    Incidentally, on this theme, in the U.S. 90% of the population wanted only creation or both creation and evolution taught in government schools, but that is “unacceptable in modern society”, so only evolution is allowed to be taught.

  14. Thanks Phil,

    I’m sorry – I don’t think that I have been clear. In this link,

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/appalling-law-lets-schools-expel-gay-students-20110211-1aqk2.html

    Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby supported a law still on the books in NSW. The law allows Private schools to expel openly Gay students. I question the wisdom of the ACL supporting such a law and I question it on the basis of the possibility of having Christian students expelled from school for taking a stand for traditional Christian values (that Homosexual behaviour is sin, a sexual perversion and medically dangerous behaviour).

    I guess I’m not convinced that they are not analogous. The reasons that you gave were:

    1. The antithesis of a Christian school is a Homosexual school.
    I don’t find this compelling as I don’t know what a Homosexual school is. The Homosexual Lobby is the very definition of a single issue group. There isn’t, nor can there be a Homosexual school (unless it teaches Homosexual acts. Shudder!). The opposite to a Christian or Faith-based school is a secular school. This is what the State school system is. So I don’t find this compelling.

    2. State schools are taxpayer funded, therefore they should be neutral.
    Firstly, I don’t know what a values-neutral school could or would look like & I certainly believe that State schools shouldn’t be values neutral. Lastly, faith-based schools are taxpayer funded too – and despite your denial of this, they are significantly Government funded. Parents pay about 28% of the cost of educating a child. See:
    http://www.ceomelb.catholic.edu.au/our-schools/funding-of-catholic-schools/

    So, I’m not so convinced that I’ve made a False analogy here. I think, as a Bible-believing Christian that we should show the love of God, stand on Biblical teaching, share the Gospel and present reasons for our worldview in a Christian School. Not expel dissenters, either moral or ideological.

    I’m happy to be proved wrong on this issue. I believe that Homosexuality is morally wrong and that it’s current advocacy groups are a threat to Religious freedoms. So, I don’t want to get this wrong.

    The three things that the Gay Lobby hurled at the ACL on the Hyatt Facebook page was:

    1. This group is Homophobic (meaning they object to the Homosexual lifestyle). I can deal with this Objection!

    2. That Jim Wallace said that Homosexuality is more dangerous than smoking. He is spot on with this and I can deal with this objection. Male Homosexuality, in particular, is medically dangerous – every Biology textbook dealing with different epithelial tissue would lead you to that conclusion.

    3. Christian Schools should be allowed to expel Gay students. I just can’t support him on this – maybe I should support this. I’d like to hear a good reason though. If it was the hiring or firing of a Gay teacher in a Christian school; that is a different issue. At the moment, I can’t support it.

    Absolutely everything else that you say I agree with. Thanks for dialoguing – I hope that this is okay, despite having strayed from Bill’s article.

    Blessings,

    Matt Harris

  15. The antithesis of a Christian school is a Homosexual school.
    I don’t find this compelling as I don’t know what a Homosexual school is.

    A “homosexual school”, in the context of my comments, is a non-government school that promotes homosexuality as acceptable (or more) as part of its ethos. I could have been clearer on this, but it need not be run by a single-issue group. Christian schools are not the only non-government schools around. There are schools run by other religions also, and in principle, that could include atheist-run schools. That such doesn’t exist is, I would suggest, primarily because they’re effectively controlling the government schools paid for by taxpayers, so why set up their own private schools?

    The opposite to a Christian or Faith-based school is a secular school. This is what the State school system is.

    It may be the opposite in practice (per my final point in the paragraph above), but not in principle. The opposite of a theistic religion such as Christianity is an atheistic religion such as Secular Humanism. Nobody would overtly argue that government schools should be atheistic; they would say that such schools should be neutral regarding competing claims from both camps.

    Firstly, I don’t know what a values-neutral school could or would look like…

    Neither do I! But that merely means that schools and the organisations that run them (including governments) should be open about their biases, and not attempt to impose those biases on the students (as government schools effectively do). If anything, this is an argument against governments running schools; it’s not an argument for government schools having values that they can freely impose on their students.

    …despite your denial of this, they are significantly Government funded. Parents pay about 28% of the cost of educating a child.

    I didn’t say that the government funding wasn’t “significant” (a “fraction” could be a large fraction!). But your figure is for Catholic schools in particular. For “independent” schools (i.e. non-government and non-Catholic), the government contribution is only around 40% or less.

    I think, as a Bible-believing Christian that we should show the love of God, stand on Biblical teaching, share the Gospel and present reasons for our worldview in a Christian School. Not expel dissenters, either moral or ideological.

    I misread that first sentence the first time I read it. I thought that one of the things you said was “take a stand on Biblical teaching”. But no, you just said “stand on Biblical teaching. So taking a stand is not also something that we should do? How do you actually demonstrate your commitment to God’s standards if you don’t enforce them, but treat them as unimportant? I ask this in the context, I hasten to add, of comments reportedly made by Stephen O’Doherty (see below) and Jim Wallace in the news article you linked to. Wallace said that “a church school should have the right to expel any openly gay child” (my emphasis), adding that it should be done “in the most loving way”. In fact, love can be better demonstrated by not expelling where one has the ability to than by not expelling because one is not allowed to.

    If it was the hiring or firing of a Gay teacher in a Christian school; that is a different issue.

    And the difference is…? Presumably the reasons to fire a homosexual teacher would be (a) to prevent him influencing the students, and/or (b) to avoid any impression of tacit approval of his views by allowing him to stay. But both of these reasons can apply to a homosexual student. As O’Doherty is reported saying, this right would be invoked in cases of ‘unrepentant gay students’ who were being “disruptive to the religious teaching of the school”; I don’t believe that anyone is suggesting that a student be automatically expelled just because he considers himself to have homosexual tendencies.

    And just for the record, I accept that you are simply arguing this point, and not arguing in support of homosexuality in any way.

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