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Hillsong Church held an international conference in New York on the weekend. Prior to the start of the conference a press conference was held by Brian and Bobbie Houston, senior pastors of Hillsong, and Carl Lentz, the pastor of the Hillsong New York City church.
Whilst a press conference about the event might have been unremarkable in itself, widespread press coverage resulted when the issue of homosexual ‘marriage’ was raised by Brian Houston in relation to a question about the ‘relevance’ of the church.
You may have heard about the controversy that has erupted…
This post provides an overview, as well as the primary sources so you can understand what occurred… along with some concluding comments about the need to be forthright about Biblical truth.
After looking at the recent press conference we also look at some of the statements, and changes in policy, regarding homosexuality from Brian Houston and Hillsong in recent years - including similar statements on homosexual marriage in 2013, opposing 'therapy' for dealing with homosexuality, and the REMOVAL of 'homosexuality from the list of 'sexual sins' in the 'Student Code of Conduct' for Hillsong College!
When asked by journalist Michael Paulson, from the New York Times, to clarify his statement about homosexual ‘marriage’, Brian Houston gave an answer that wasn’t definitive on the issue, spoke about a ‘conversation’ occurring in Hillsong about homosexual issues, and avoided Paulson’s specific question about whether their pastors could ‘marry’ homosexual couples. Brian Houston said that the issue of homosexuality, and the “real issues in people’s lives” are “too important for us to reduce it down to a yes or no answer in a media outlet.”
Of course, the media will always want to report on the controversial questions and answers!
Brian Houston has since released a statement, saying,
“Nowhere in my answer did I diminish biblical truth or suggest that I or Hillsong Church supported gay marriage. I challenge people to read what I actually said, rather than what was reported that I said. My personal view on the subject of homosexuality would line up with most traditionally held Christian views. I believe the writings of Paul are clear on this subject….”
We appreciate this statement being made by Brian Houston - but this issue is so serious it warrants close investigation...
So back to the press conference…
The journalist from the New York Times asked ‘how Hillsong strives to be “relevant” as secular values and opinions continue to clash with traditional Christian doctrine’, as reported in an article by Eternity newspaper (Bible Society)....
Click to read our full report...
Our regular News Update has been published ... I started this News Update thinking there wasn't much to report – but, as always, there is a lot going on, both here in Australia and overseas…
The Victorian parliament passed legislation to remove ‘convictions for homosexual sex’, a former adviser claims pornography was distributed in the Victorian parliament, kinders claim ‘Baa baa black sheep is ‘racist’, ‘Secularist Manifesto’ signed in the UK (by a homosexual activist) and the City of Houston demands to see pastors’ sermons (as part of a legal case regarding homosexuality and city ordinances)….
Read the Update . . .
The Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly is about to debate a Bill to LEGALISE same-sex ‘marriage’ (Draft Bill – click here).
The proposer of the Bill, Hayden Evans MLA, along with those advising on the Bill - Professor George Williams and homosexual activist Rodney Croome (of Australian Marriage Equality) - hope to AVOID having it overturned by the High Court – they think that the proposed Bill creates a totally ‘DIFFERENT’ concept of ‘same sex marriage’ instead of trying to change the Marriage Act itself.
How will this affect churches?
Here are two extracts from the draft BILL:
11 Same-sex marriage may be solemnised on any day, &c.
A same-sex marriage may be solemnised on any day, at any time and at any place in Norfolk Island.
14. Form of ceremony
If a same-sex marriage is solemnised by an authorised celebrant, being a minister of religion, it may be solemnised according to any form and ceremony recognised as sufficient for the purpose of the religious body or organisation of which he or she is a minister.
What will happen to ministers who don’t want to participate?
We’ve already asked you to write to PM Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis to ask them to veto the Bill (click here for ACTION item).
Today we ask you to do two things. . .
1. Draft a short letter and send to the NINE MLAs of the Norfolk Island legislative Assembly.
2. Write a letter to the Administrator of Norfolk Island, Mr Gary Hardgrave.
1. CONTACT Members of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly
We also need to POLITELY contact Members of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly and ask them to vote against the Bill:
Please tell them (in your own words):
- this Bill is a back-door approach to changing the Australian Marriage Act
- it will affect ALL Australians, not just the people on Norfolk Island
- it will put more pressure on the federal government to legalise homosexual ‘marriage’ for all of Australia.
- Ask them to vote against the Bill
- In 2012, the Australian parliament voted against changing the Marriage Act
- The High Court rejected the attempt by the ACT government to establish same-sex ‘marriage’.
- The promise of ‘tourism dollars’ from homosexual couples coming to Norfolk Island to ‘marry’ might seem appealing – but less than 2% of the population is homosexual and few of those actually choose to ‘marry’ when they have been allowed to do so in other nations.
- A lot of OTHER people will be less likely to come for a holiday on Norfolk Island!
We don’t have email addresses for all nine of the Members.
You could ask the secretariat to send your letter to all nine MLAs.
We do have these from the Government Ministers webpage:
Chief Minister: Hon David Buffett
Minister for Tourism, Industry & Development: Hon Andre’ Nobbs
Minister for Community Services, Deputy Speaker: Hon Timothy Sheridan
Office of the Clerk of the Assembly
2. CONTACT the ADMINISTRATOR of Norfolk Island
If the Bill is passed by the Legislative Assembly, it then goes to the Administrator for “assent” – it can either be considered by him or sent on to the Governor-General, depending on the type of law.
PLEASE write to the Administrator of Norfolk Island:
Mr Gary Hardgrave
Administrator, Norfolk Island
Office of the Norfolk Island Administrator
New Military Barracks
Kingston Norfolk Island 2899
Politely ask him to NOT ASSENT to the same-sex ‘marriage’ Bill if it is passed, using reasons outlined above.
The review of the Australian National Curriculum has been completed and the 288 page report has been handed to the federal Coalition government.
The government released the Report and their Initial Response on Sunday, 12 October. The Review makes 30 recommendations – and Education Minister Christopher Pyne said the government’s initial response addresses many of the recommendations. He commented on areas such as making the curriculum less crowded, making it more parent-friendly, support for children with disabilities and learning difficulties, governance of ACARA - and “we also want to make the themes match the curriculum rather than the curriculum trying and match the themes that are in the national curriculum”. A further response will be made next year.
- Read the Government’s Initial Response – click here.
- Read Transcript of media announcement.
One major result is that the review says there is not enough teaching on Western civilization and Australia's Judeo-Christian heritage. The REVIEW is critical of the overcrowding of the curriculum, with too many demands for content imposed on schools. News.com.au notes “A LESS crowded, parent friendly and back to basics approach has been recommended in the national curriculum review.” The News.com.au report includes a SUMMARY of the recommendations (link below).
Chris Berg, of the IPA, in writing about the review, asks, ‘Is there REALLY a National Curriculum at all?’ - “There is widespread confusion about how tightly teaching should cohere to the curriculum. Is the national curriculum a strict syllabus, or a "guideline", or just "a bit of a framework"? Is it compulsory or optional? How much can the curriculum be adapted to suit teachers and student bodies?” and goes on to talk about ‘compliance’ – or lack of - to the ‘curriculum’…
The current National Curriculum, implemented under the previous Labor government, ‘embedded’ cross-curriculum priorities of indigenous, sustainable and Asian perspectives in every subject. The review recommends that approach be dropped, and recommends that these areas should be taught as separate subjects, not across ALL subjects.
Selected extracts from the Review Report, relating to the areas of faith, values, science and so on, as chosen by NACL, are included BELOW.
News from the past fortnight - on child marriage, homosexual 'marriage', drugs, child abuse, transsexuality and more. . . Don't forget two upcoming events
- the March for the Babies in Melbourne on Sat 11 October at 1 pm and our Annual Dinner next Saturday 18 October.
Read the News Update: