Baptist

Clerics lobby politicians on 'gay marriage equality'

How can I, a heterosexual who's been very happily married for 50 years, tell anyone else they don't have the right to form a loving, committed, lifelong union and enjoy the fruits of marriage as I have done? ... Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/clerics-support-gays-in-letter-20120401-1w6kn.html#ixzz1qpiIJMrZ http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/clerics-support-gays-in-letter-20120401-1w6kn.html#ixzz1qphpitaX

Clerics lobby politicians on 'gay marriage equality'

How can I, a heterosexual who's been very happily married for 50 years, tell anyone else they don't have the right to form a loving, committed, lifelong union and enjoy the fruits of marriage as I have done? ... Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/clerics-support-gays-in-letter-20120401-1w6kn.html#ixzz1qpiIJMrZ http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/clerics-support-gays-in-letter-20120401-1w6kn.html#ixzz1qphpitaX

The debate begins

201202140843.jpg The long debate has begun in the Australian parliament on the legalisation of same-sex marriage. The Greens and the Labor Party have each proposed their own amendments

In Parliament yesterday, Andrew Leigh (Labour) acknowledged that many of the opponents of same-sex marriage are devoutly religious. In response, he argued it is possible to support same-sex marriage without undermining marriage, family or religion.

Leigh told Parliament that "same-sex marriage is supported by many religious leaders." He went on to list Australian church leaders who supported gay marriage, among them Baptist pastors Reverend Rowland Croucher and Reverend Matt Glover.

So there you have it, church leaders in good standing with their denomination, cheering on our law-makers intent on redefining marriage.

Where does the Baptist Union of Victoria stand on this issue? Why no debate? Why the silent acceptance of church leaders, denominational college lecturers, and denominational leaders who undermine what the Scriptures teach, and what the vast majority of Baptist churches and members believe?

The debate begins

201202140843.jpg The long debate has begun in the Australian parliament on the legalisation of same-sex marriage. The Greens and the Labor Party have each proposed their own amendments

In Parliament yesterday, Andrew Leigh (Labour) acknowledged that many of the opponents of same-sex marriage are devoutly religious. In response, he argued it is possible to support same-sex marriage without undermining marriage, family or religion.

Leigh told Parliament that "same-sex marriage is supported by many religious leaders." He went on to list Australian church leaders who supported gay marriage, among them Baptist pastors Reverend Rowland Croucher and Reverend Matt Glover.

So there you have it, church leaders in good standing with their denomination, cheering on our law-makers intent on redefining marriage.

Where does the Baptist Union of Victoria stand on this issue? Why no debate? Why the silent acceptance of church leaders, denominational college lecturers, and denominational leaders who undermine what the Scriptures teach, and what the vast majority of Baptist churches and members believe?

Church history repeats itself

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History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.

Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire

From the BUV policy on Ordination: "Persons who engage in homosexual practice will not be ordained."

I'm confused. The leadership of the denomination and it's theological college do not have a problem with Baptist clergy or theological professors who are advocates for same-sex marriage. Yet the BUV will not allow anyone to be ordained as a minister who engages in homosexual acts.

This is beginning to sound like an echo of the downfall of the Uniting Church of Australia.

Watch this space. It's a lesson in how dynamic evangelical movements unravel and decay.

Yes we can

201112051927.jpg On Saturday the ruling Australian Labor Party's conference committed the Party to a policy of support for same-sex marriage. The move was supported by a rainbow coalition of activists including members of the clergy.

History teaches us that this is not the end of a long battle, just a pause before the next push begins. What was unthinkable a decade ago will soon become a reality in Australia and other parts of the Western world.

Brace yourselves for new campaigns—polygamy, group marriage, and whatever else our foolish hearts can conceive.

We shouldn't be surprised. We live in a broken world. Sin has taken its toll on the most precious of God's gifts—our sexuality. It's why Christ came to rescue us from the guilt and shame.

Or maybe there's another way. Perhaps there can be salvation without the need to face our sin. Could we remake ourselves and save ourselves from the burden we bear?

Could we recreate God in our image? Could we dictate to the Almighty our standards of sexual behaviour? Could we bow before our preferences and desires?

Yes we can.

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How can I, a heterosexual who's been very happily married for 50 years, tell anyone else they don't have the right to form a loving, committed, lifelong union and enjoy the fruits of marriage as I have done? Marriage is not a club to be restricted to some. Like the Gospel, it is a blessing to be shared.

Rev Dr Rowland Croucher Baptist Minister

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Recognizing same-sex unions will help return marriage to its rightful place in society.

Rev Matt Glover Baptist Minister

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We haven't even really begun to ask what role the affirmation of the 'homosexual', the 'intersexual' and the 'transsexual' might play in awakening the church to its full glory as the body of Christ.

Dr Keith Dyer Professor of New Testament Baptist Theological College

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I cannot understand how a man can appear in print claiming to disbelieve everything that he presupposes when he puts on the surplice [clerical robe]. I feel it is a form of prostitution.

Clive Staples Lewis, 1963 Mere Christian

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In religion, Liberalism may be characterized by a progressive discarding of elements in historical Christianity which appear superfluous or obsolete, confounded with practices and abuses which are legitimate objects of attack. But as its movement is controlled rather by its origin than by any goal, it loses force after a series of rejections, and with nothing to destroy is left with nothing to uphold and nowhere to go.

TS Eliot

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Haven’t you read, that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.

Jesus King of Kings, Lord of Lords

I guess that means, No we can't.

How denominations fall

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The governing Australian Labor Party will introduce a private members bill to legalise marriage between same sex couples. The move is largely symbolic. The bill will most probably be defeated—this time.

Meanwhile some Australian denominations are tripping over themselves on this issue.

A number of pastors and leaders within my own denomination, the Baptist Union of Victoria (BUV) have for years supported the ordination of gay clergy, and same sex marriage. Their exegetical gymnastics are truly impressive.

There has been very little public discussion or debate on the issue.

Progressives, who tend to inhabit denomination headquarters and the college, don't have the support of their constituency. Conservatives, who tend to lead the healthier growing churches, don't want the publicity that conflict would bring.

The great irony is that the progressives can't survive without the funds provided to the denomination, and it's institutions, by the conservatives.

It reminds me of the quote attributed to Lenin, "The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we hang them."

We're one big happy dysfunctional family.

In contrast, the Baptist Union of NSW will have none of this foolishness. They are clear on what the scriptures teach on human sexuality and marriage. The get on with the job of making disciples and planting churches, in which they are making impressive progress.

Compare this to the division and distractions that will impede the mission of the Lilydale Baptist Church for years to come.

The BUV is a case study of a movement well into decline, headed for decay if it doesn't do something. If you have any doubt, study the history of the Uniting Church in Australia and weep.