Helping Christians to make a difference
Dealing with current Issues
Helping Christian families to make a difference
16 Sept 2015
‘Marriage Week’ is celebrated in Australia from September 13-19.
It’s a time to reflect on the meaning of marriage, pray for marriages and celebrate the fact that marriage is an important foundation stone of our nation.
God initiated marriage when He made Eve and brought her to Adam. Jesus affirmed and commended marriage, between a man and a woman, in Matthew 19.
Even though ‘Marriage Week’ ends on Saturday, including it in your Sunday church service would be a great idea.
On Sunday afternoon, to celebrate and support marriage, you could attend the ‘Marriage’ rallies in all the capital cities on Sunday 20 September at 2 pm…
Click here for details of the rallies, organised by Unity Australia.
1. Check out the ‘Marriage Week Australia’ website - http://www.marriageweek.org.au/
There are sections ‘For your marriage’ (articles, info, strategies), ‘For your church’ (resource kit, videos, etc) and Media.
2. Focus on the Family resources
Focus on the Family Australia has selected FOUR resources to help us all reflect on the importance of marriage this week… includes ‘A marriage saved’, ‘Keeping Romance Alive’, …) They write, “We love to see married couples THRIVE together. We have compiled these fantastic and most popular pieces of content and made it free for you for a limited time…”
Click here to see the outlines of four stories, then complete your details to download a copy of the programs.
In this Briefing…
You’ve heard it said that ‘A week is a long time in politics’. Well, yesterday we saw that even a day is a long time when it comes to politics, as we witnessed the changing of leadership in the Liberal Party. Malcom Turnbull, the Communication Minister, announced at around 4 pm, that he was planning to challenge Prime Minister Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party. It was reported that Julie Bishop, the deputy leader, who sided with Malcolm Turnbull in his leadership challenge, had ‘met the Prime Minister before Question Time to tell him he had lost significant support from the ministry’ (source).
Mr Abbott responded with a public statement, announcing that he would defend his position as leader. Mr Abbott affirmed the successes of his government, and said, "Obviously, I am dismayed by the destabilisation that's been taking place now for many, many months and I do say to my fellow Liberals that the destabilisation just has to stop. I firmly believe that our party is better than this, that our Government is better than this and, by God, that our country is so much better than this."
This was especially pertinent given that the Liberal Party had been very critical of the way that the Labor Party had ended Kevin Rudd’s time as a ‘first-term’ Prime Minister.
A Liberal Party Room meeting was held at 9.15 pm where a vote was taken on the leadership of the party. The secret ballot votes were counted – and Malcolm Turnbull won, by 54 votes to 44 votes.
So Malcolm Turnbull became the leader of the Liberal Party. The Deputy’s position was won by Julie Bishop. Today, Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Australia – see a SHORT video and article here). Mr Turnbull took the oath of office on the Bible, concluding the oath with ‘So help me, God’.
Mr Abbott gave a final speech around 12.30 pm today. In the speech, he referred to the power and influence of opinion polls and the media:
“The nature of politics has changed in the past decade. We have more polls, and more commentary than ever before, mostly sour, bitter character assassination. Poll-driven panic has produced a revolving door prime ministership, which can’t be good for our country, and a febrile media culture has developed that rewards treachery.”
He had some advice for the media:
“And if there’s one piece of advice I can give to the media, it’s this – refuse to print self-serving claims, that the person making them won’t put his or her name to. Refuse to connive or dishonour, by acting as the assassin’s knife.”
Mr Abbott’s speech reflected his statesmanship, and his faith, as he concluded with these inspiring words:
“Finally, I thank my country, for the privilege of service. It is humbling to lose, but that does not compare to the honour of being asked to lead.
In my maiden speech here in this parliament, I quoted from the first Christian service, ever preached here in Australia. The Reverend Richard Johnson, took as his text, “What shall I render under the Lord, for all his blessings to me?” [Psalm 116:12] At this, my final statement as prime minister, I say; I have rendered all, and I am proud of my service. My love for this country is as strong as ever, and may God bless this great Commonwealth. Thank you.”
What difference will the ‘change of leader’ make?
Naturally, we are disappointed with the change of leadership. Mr Abbott represented the conservative side of the Liberal Party, whereas Mr Turnbull is on the ‘progressive’ side, with libertarian policies on a range of matters. He supported cloning and RU486 in votes in the parliament in 2006, despite having ‘converted to Catholicism’ just a few of years before, just prior to entering parliament (source here and here.) Mr Turnbull is a staunch republican and has often spoken about accepting man-made ‘climate change’, in stark contrast to Mr Abbott.
In fact, it is often noted that Mr Turnbull is more aligned with some of the Labor Party’s ideologies - the ‘left’ of the Liberal Party seems to merge with some of what are generally seen to be ‘Labor’ views.
A few years back, a senior Liberal MP told us that the ‘Liberal Party has never won from the left’ – meaning that there needs to be a clear distinction between the policies of the Liberal Party and the polices of the Labor Party, in order to make a significant difference between the parties at election time. Having Tony Abbott as leader was leading the Liberals in a conservative and traditional direction – replacing him with Malcolm Turnbull means a clear shift ‘to the left’ for the Liberal Party.
One of the key issues we have been facing is that of homosexual ‘marriage’ – on this issue the difference is huge. Mr Abbott has steadfastly refused to support this, whereas Mr Turnbull is on the record as being an active supporter of homosexual ‘marriage’ - see his 2012 lecture on the subject and a recent blog (August 2015) in light of the recent Liberal Party vote and discussion of a plebiscite.
It will remain to be seen what happens on this issue now that Mr Turnbull is the Prime Minister. Will he stick with the current Liberal Party position of marriage being between a man and a woman and to hold a public plebiscite? Or will the matter come back to the Party Room to be ‘re-considered’? It is fairly likely that Mr Turnbull would want to ‘get the issue out of the way’ before the next election - Mr Turnbull has previously said that, if a plebiscite is held, he would want that done PRIOR to an election so that ‘it is not a contentious issue at the election (source)
We exhort Mr Turnbull to keep to the Liberal Party position on this issue and not introduce his own ideas.
How do we respond as Christians?
As Christians, we are concerned about some of the policy positions held by Mr Turnbull. The move to a libertarian, left-leaning and small-l liberal leadership of the Liberal Party is of grave concern for those who hold traditional Biblical values.
But abject hand-wringing is not the response we need to have. We need to remember, in any of the situations we find ourselves in, that God is in control and that we need to look to Him for comfort and strength. As the Psalmist reminds us, in Psalm 121, “Our help comes from the Lord”.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
In Psalm 55:22, we are told that God will take care of us:
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
God has placed people in nations and given authority to the rulers of the nations. Romans 13 reminds us that we are to be “subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established”.
Paul goes on to outline the role of the authorities - especially in the punishment of evildoers. We’re reminded,
“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.”
So, as Christians, we are to live in the nation, with the leaders we have, even if we don’t agree with everything they do.
The change of leadership doesn’t mean that God has specially chosen Mr Turnbull as his ‘perfect choice’ of leader. God allows many things to occur, in accordance with His will and plan, that don’t seem to be our idea of what is ‘right’. In the Bible we have many examples of kings in Israel who didn’t promote Godly principles. There were kings from other nations who defeated Israel, but there were other kings who were kind to Israel. The politicians who voted last night all had a free will to vote for who they wanted as leader!
We can be encouraged by Romans 8:28, which reminds us,
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Finally, we need to pray for all those who are in authority, as Paul exhorts us in 1 Timothy Ch 2.
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.’
So we need to pray for our leaders.
Remember, too, that one of the reasons for our prayer is so that we can live a “quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” and be a witness to all people about our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. As Paul continues with the message, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”
Read and watch Tony Abbott’s final speech as PM
Tony Abbott makes final speech to Australia as Prime Minister, 9 News, 15/9/2015.
Includes FULL transcript.
Article: Malcolm Turnbull sworn in as Australia's 29th Prime Minister, ABC, 15/9/2015.
Includes video of the swearing in.
For an interesting insight into Malcolm Turnbull – in his own words
Malcolm Turnbull on family, politics and religion…
Read the transcript of Australian Story (2009) when he was then the leader of the Liberal Party - Click here
[Photo - ABC]
9 September 2015
Last week I received a compelling article about the crisis facing Germany, with around 800,000 immigrants expected to arrive during 2015.
Soeren Kern of Gatestone Institute points out, “The surge in Germany's Muslim population — propelled by a wave of migration unprecedented since the Second World War — represents a demographic shift of epic proportions, one that critics of the country's open-door immigration policy warn will change the face of Germany forever.”
He noted that the “German Interior Minister said that, although many of the migrants are from the Middle East and North Africa, a large number (40%) are from countries in the Balkans, including Albania and Kosovo.” He observed, “This implies that nearly half of those arriving in Germany are economic migrants, not refugees fleeing war zones.”
Recent reports show that some of the refugees are trying to look like they are ‘Syrian refugees’, by dumping identity papers that show they come from other nations such as Pakistan or Iraq – “Documents scattered only metres from Serbia's border with Hungary provide evidence that many of the migrants flooding Europe to escape war or poverty are scrapping their true nationalities and likely assuming new ones, just as they enter the European Union.” (SMH)
For the first time, Kern notes, the Muslim population of Germany will be nearly 6 million, and he goes on to write about the consequences of this shift in demographics (link to article BELOW)
In the past week, we have been flooded with media reports and TV images of people drowning in boats in the Mediterranean and thousands of refugees surging through Europe to Germany. Why Germany? Because Germany has ‘open borders’ to accept refugees of any kind.
Then we had calls on the Abbott government to accept more of these refugees in Australia…. He is expected to make a statement today...
8 Sept 2015
A rally to support marriage – can you spare time on SUNDAY 20 September to express your support for marriage and for it continuing to be between a man and a woman?
Join with others AT 2 PM for an hour in a united show of strength.
In Paris and Rome, similar rallies attracted hundreds of thousands of people… people who were concerned about the threat to marriage…
UNITY AUSTRALIA has been set up to provide a UNITED forum for all groups, Christians and people of goodwill who support the traditional nature of marriage – and don’t want it re-defined or ‘expanded’ to include any two people of the same sex.
List of events – click here.
Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/UnityAustralia
Marriage Information Sheet
PLUS – Unity Australia has prepared a comprehensive INFORMATION SHEET about the issue of homosexual ‘marriage’.
Includes statements from adults who grew up as children with homosexual parents – Katy Faust, Dawn Stefanowicz, and so on.
IN particular PLEASE READ the statements by Masha Gessen and Dennis Altman – two homosexuals who do not support the current push for ‘marriage equality’!
Unity state, “Do homosexuals want marriage as we understand it? Or do they want to transform and destroy it? It is critical that Christians speak up and urge the government not to tamper with marriage.”
UNITY Australia have a POLL on their about page:
“I believe that marriage should remain between 1 man and 1 woman”
The OPPONENTS have been BUSY – with 80% current DISAGREEING with the statement!
PLEASE VOTE and AGREE – click here.
See you on Sunday 20th September!
It never ceases to amaze us how many concerning things are happening…
Our next News Update will be on Friday 18 September!
Enjoy reading the News Update…