Category Archives: Ethics

Labor, progressive politics & Christian voters

By Spencer D Gear PhD

Full-term abortion is legal

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Even a healthy late-term baby of a healthy mother can be aborted in Queensland.
(But only 5% of Queenslanders agree with abortion right up to birth)*

Labor’s treasury spokesman, Chris Bowen, in pulling out of the leadership challenge in the ALP, stated that an urgent fix was needed for the Party’s problem with religious voters:

“People of faith no longer feel that progressive politics cares about them. These are people with a social conscience who want to be included in the progressive movement,” he said.

“We need to tackle this urgently. I think this is an issue from the federal election that we simply haven’t yet focused on”.[1]

Labor’s values don’t coincide with people’s values.

It’s time for Labor to realise it can combine progressive social values that care for people (which I support) with biblical ethical values.

However, this means Labor will have to abandon these the following values:

Labor and abortion up to time of birth

Before the 2019 election,

The Australian Labor Party announced a policy that would have once been regarded as high-risk politics at the least.

It signalled that if it won office at the looming federal election, it would use federal funding arrangements for state-run hospitals to pressure them to provide abortions.

“This is a service that is not required by many Australian women, but for those who need it, it’s absolutely vital,” said Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Women. . . .

Abortion law is state-based and varies around the country. It is still illegal in New South Wales and South Australia unless doctors find the woman’s health is at risk. . . .

“I have no intention to overstep what the constitutional authority of the Commonwealth is on these matters,” Mr Morrison said (Tingle 2019).

Would this provide abortion right up until birth?

To my dying day, when God takes me to glory, I will never vote for the Labor Party that supports this culture of killing pre-born children right up until the time of birth.

Labor and euthanasia

Historic voluntary euthanasia laws have passed Victoria’s Upper House after a 28-hour marathon sitting, leaving the state on the brink of becoming the first in the country to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill.

Key points:

  • Patients wanting to access the scheme would face two independent medical assessments before being able to obtain lethal drug
  • They must be over the age of 18, of sound mind, and have lived in Victoria for at least 12 months
  • The patient must administer the drug themselves, but a doctor could deliver the lethal dose in rare cases

In a dramatic end to days of debate, the Andrews Government’s voluntary assisted dying bill passed — with amendments — 22-18 votes in the 40-member Upper House.

It was a conscience vote for all MPs and some wept as they cast their vote (Willingham & Edwards 2017).

The Labor Party in WA has legalised euthanasia. The Department of Health in WA stated:

  • As of 1 July 2021, voluntary assisted dying is a choice available to eligible people under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2019.

  • Voluntary assisted dying involves a process to access medication and to enable a person to legally choose the manner and timing of their death.

  • Put simply, voluntary assisted dying means that some adults can now ask for medical help to end their life if they have a disease or illness that is so severe it is going to cause their death and their suffering cannot be relieved in a manner tolerable to them.

  • The term ‘voluntary assisted dying’ emphasises the voluntary nature of the choice of the person and their enduring capacity to make this decision.[2]

As I write, Queensland Labor Government is on the verge of legalising voluntary assisted dying.

A Queensland Parliamentary Committee has recommended a bill for voluntary assisted dying (VAD) be passed.

Key points:

  • The legislation will be debated in Parliament next month (September 2021).
  • The committee says it supports considered requirements to allow for balance between accessibility and safeguards
  • Cherish Life says the legislation would have “irreparable damage” to an already struggling health system.

The legislation was introduced to Queensland Parliament by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in May (2021).

A committee has since been examining whether any changes to the bill were needed.

The legislation is expected to be debated next month (September 2021).

The move marks another step towards legalising voluntary assisted dying in Queensland.

MPs from both major parties will be granted a conscience vote.[3]

There is a further development on Tuesday, 14 September 2021:

There will be no changes to the state government’s signature voluntary assisted dying laws, set to be debated in – and expected to pass – Queensland Parliament this week.

It came after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk remained coy on Monday(13 September 2021) when asked whether any changes would be made by her cabinet to the voluntary euthanasia bill.

Under the existing bill, adults would be able to end their lives under strict criteria – which includes them having a diagnosed eligible condition expected to cause death within a year.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles will announce on Tuesday (14 September 2021) that the government will not propose any changes to the bill, and he will urge MPs to not support changes potentially put forward by others.

Mr Miles will also outline to Parliament the guidelines for doctors at faith-based hospitals, such as Mater and St Vincent’s facilities, and how they will perform voluntary euthanasia procedures.

The guidelines for faith-based providers to be confirmed on Tuesday address the circumstances where patients may be transferred to another facility, and how facilities or institutions can inform the public they do not provide VAD dying services (Crockford & Dennien 2021).

To my dying day, when God takes me to glory, I will never vote for the Labor Party that supports this culture of killing people.

The major problem with voluntary assisted dying is that it violates a fundamental between people and God:

“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Heb 9:27 NIV). People accepting VAD must be ready to face God in judgment.

clip_image003Whose responsibility is it to take life? God gives and takes life. It is not within the realm of a Labor government to introduce unbiblical teaching of killing people who have serious illnesses.

Labor and same-sex marriage

ABC News reported in 2015:

“What the Labor Party does with this resolution is we lay down the challenge to Mr Abbott and his Liberals — please give your members of parliament a free vote so we can make marriage equality a reality now,” he said.

Labor’s greatest conference moments

As part of the compromise deal, Mr Shorten pledged to move to legalise same sex marriage should he win the election.

“I promise that within 100 days of a Labor government being elected that I shall move in the parliament of Australia for marriage equality for Australians,” he said.

“Marriage equality is a simple, overdue change that sends a powerful message.”

Deputy leader Tanya Plibersek had been pushing for a binding vote but seconded Mr Shorten’s motion at the conference.

“I still hope we can have marriage equality by Christmas, but if this Parliament doesn’t pass marriage equality a Shorten-Labor government will within its first 100 days,” she said (Norman & Uhlman 2015).

The Scriptures clearly oppose homosexuality as a sin. See Romans 1:24-27 (NIV) and 1 Cor 6:9-11 (NIV). Therefore, Labor promotes sin which destroys families, society and causes people to lose their eternal salvation.

Again, I cannot vote for Labor with its support for outright wrongdoing (sin). In addition, the promotion of homosexual marriage violates God’s view of the heterosexual marriage union as his absolute for married life. See Gen 2:18, 24; Matt 19:5; and Eph 5:31.

The Australian Medical Association opposes euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Read its statement HERE.

Works consulted

Crockford, Tony & Matt Dennien 2021. The Sydney Morning Herald, “No changes to voluntary euthanasia bill, set to become law this week,” 14 September, accessed 14 September, https://www.smh.com.au/national/queensland/no-changes-to-voluntary-euthanasia-bill-set-to-become-law-this-week-20210913-p58r6t.html.

Norman, Jane & Chris Uhlmann 2015. ABC News, 26 July, accessed 14 September 2021, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-26/labor-party-national-conference-same-sex-marriage-vote/6648834.

Tingle, Laura 2019. ABC News, “Why conservatives are not making a fuss over Labor’s abortion policy,” 14 March, accessed 13 September 2021, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-14/conservatives-arent-making-a-fuss-over-labors-abortion-policy/10893662.

Notes


[1] Michael Koziol 2019. “Chris Bowen withdraws from Labor leadership race as Albanese and Chalmers deal firms,” The Sydney Morning Herald (online), 22 May. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/chris-bowen-to-withdraw-from-labor-leadership-race-as-albanese-and-chalmers-deal-firms-20190522-p51q2r.html (Accessed 23 May 2019).

[2] Government of Western Australia, Department of Health, “Voluntary Assisted Dying,” accessed 13 September 2021, https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/voluntaryassisteddying.

[3] ABC News, “Voluntary assisted dying legislation recommended to be passed in Queensland Parliament,” 20 August, accessed 13 September 2021, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-20/qld-voluntary-assisted-dying-bill-recommended-by-parliament/100394626.

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 14 September 2021.

Queensland Bill to legalise slaughter of innocent children in the womb – through abortion

A Laughing Handicapped Down Sy...

(Down’s Syndrome child courtesy PublicDomainPictures.net)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

As a concerned Queenslander and voter, I am distressed by the content of a Bill that proposes changes to Qld abortion laws and what that will mean for unborn children. The impact on children in the womb seems to be minimised or forgotten by pro-choice advocates in this debate.

1. What it does for women

Pro-abortion politicians and others are quick to promote what abortion means for the mother who is pregnant.

Deputy Queensland Premier, Jackie Trad, told ABC News, ‘I am unashamedly pro-choice…. What a woman decides to do with her body, in consultation with her doctor, does not belong in the criminal code…. I fully respect that my caucus colleagues in the Labor Party will have different views to me’.[1]

In this article, not a word was reported from Ms Trad about the unborn child and his/her rights. Was the unborn child deliberately eliminated from consideration in this killing of his/her life in this news story? Yes!

What would the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties (QCCL) state about the need for a change in the abortion legislation? Again, ABC News reported that QCCL considered Qld’s abortion laws to be ‘antiquated and draconian’. The President of QCCL, Michael Cope, wanted Qld to have the Victorian system where abortion is legal after 24 weeks gestation, but it requires approval from two medical practitioners. Cope said, ‘It’s time we had this discussion and it’s time we brought some certainty to women’s right to choose in this state,” he said’.[2]

What is the philosophy of the QCCL? Its view on civil liberties is: Concerning abortion, its ‘Abortion law reform media release’ stated that it

believes the current laws do not reflect the status of women in Queensland.

Mr Cope said, “The QCCL contends that the abortion decision is one to be determined in accordance with the conscience of the individual woman. Having said that, the QCCL also acknowledges that the unborn foetus has certain rights which should be recognised but which are less important than the living women’s rights.”

On this view as the pregnancy proceeds toward term the rights of the foetus increase.

Once the foetus has reached viability, the state has a legitimate interest in the potential life.

“The QCCL supports the Victorian model where there are no restrictions on a woman’s right to choose up to 24 weeks. After that the abortion can proceed if 2 doctors reasonably believes (sic) that it is appropriate in all the circumstances”.[3]

Notice the libertine, utilitarian ethic that the unborn foetus has fewer rights than that of the pregnant woman. Who said so? In my view, QCCL made that autonomous, libertine decision.

1.1 Abortion’s negative impacts on some women

See abortionfacts.com: http://www.abortionfacts.com/

1.2 Qld politicians influenced by Emily’s List

Jacki Trad’s support for abortion should not be surprising as she is a member of Emily’s List.[4] One of the beliefs of Emily’s List is ‘Choice’, by which it means:

We believe women must have control over their own bodies and choices in their lives.

Reproductive freedom empowers women and men to choose if, when and how to begin the important journey into parenthood, without fear of discrimination, coercion or violence.[5]

Here is a list of Queensland MPs who are members of Emily’s List:

  • Nikki Boyd – Pine Rivers
  • Leanne Donaldson – Bundaberg
  • Leeanne Enoch – Algester
  • Shannon Fentiman – Waterford
  • Jennifer Howard – Ipswich
  • Brittany Lauga – Keppel
  • Coralee O’Rourke – Mundingburra
  • Jackie Trad – South Brisbane[6]

ABC News reported that

Emily’s List supports progressive female Labor candidates trying to reach Parliament.

“We certainly have a few members of the State Government and they will be supporting the woman’s right to choose,” Lisa Carey from the group said.[7]

2. Politicians: What do Queenslanders want?

MPs, are you listening to ‘What Queenslanders Really Think About Abortion? If you were, you would not support the decriminalisation of abortion. This is what Galaxy Research found in a randomised telephone opinion poll of 400 Queensland voters, conducted from 6 – 8 May 2016, with 13 questions. The research found that a majority of Queenslanders do not want abortion decriminalised. Here are the results:

  • 55% agreed that abortion takes a human life;
  • 66% agreed that the unborn is a person with rights at 20 weeks gestation;
  • 84% agree that abortion harms women’s health;
  • 87% support a cooling off period of 2-3 days;
  • 94% agreed with independent counselling for someone seeking an abortion;
  • 72% opposed late term abortions past 13 weeks;
  • 79% support conscientious objection to abortion;
  • 85% were opposed to late term abortion past 20 weeks;
  • 75% supported parental consent for abortions on minors;
  • 45% opposed, 38% agreed, 17% were unsure of abortions for non-medical reasons;
  • 49% opposed and 43% agreed with the decriminalisation of abortion;
  • Views on the current law: 39% too restrictive, 42% about right, 11% not restrictive enough;
  • There was a potential swing of 6% against pro-abortion MPs.[8]

3. What people WANT should never be the standard

Politicians who bow to what people want will not be dealing with the God’s high standards of morality. Their pragmatism (doing what works) means that some don’t give a hoot about what is good, true, right and proper. What is the right view of what should be done to a child in the womb? See the discussion below when I deal with the teaching from Old and New Testaments that concerns an essential commandment to protect the unborn.

When politicians bow to God’s standards, then we will have a State and nation that is exalted by God himself. The sin of killing the unborn is a stench to God and is blight on our nation. It is a disgrace to any civilised country. See the discussion on Proverbs 14:34 (NIV) below.

4. The Bill to legalise slaying of unborn children

Rob Pyne, now independent (formerly Labor) MP for Cairns stated this about his proposed Bill to legalise abortion, according to ABC News,

Mr Pyne said he would compromise with MPs on when the cut-off should be.

“What I’m saying is a majority of MPs can surely see the current laws are not acceptable, and hopefully we can [arrive] at some compromise that will be acceptable at second reading stage,” the former Labor MP said.

“It’s not 1899, abortion should not be a crime. The world is changing very quickly and unfortunately our politicians aren’t”.

“I have not made any suggestion in relation to gestation periods — whether it be 24 weeks, 20 weeks or whatever — because my main concern is that this Parliament get together and pass law reform in this area, so we need something that a majority of MPs can support”.[9]

Here is a link to a copy of the private member’s Bill proposed by independent MP for Cairns, Rob Pyne, Abortion Law Reform (Woman’s Right to Choose) Amendment Bill 2016. Nowhere in the Bill does it state the time during gestation after which abortion should not take place. Although Mr Pyne expects some compromise by the other MPs at Committee stage, the fact is that he has placed no time limit in his Bill for abortion to not be available.

In introducing this Bill to decriminalise abortion in Qld, what will this mean for unborn children from conception to 9 months gestation? In its current form, unborn children, if abortion were chosen, would have their lives slaughtered by the will of the mother and doctor performing the abortion.

5. This will be what will happen for many Qld children now this Bill is legal.

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(photo courtesy PublicDomainPictures.net)

What has Mr Pyne eliminated from the Qld Criminal Code to compose his Bill? From my assessment of the Draft Bill (link above), these seem to be the

6. LAWS OMITTED BY ‘ABORTION LAW REFORM (WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE) AMENDMENT BILL 2016’

224 Attempts to procure abortion[10]

Any person who, with intent to procure the miscarriage of a woman, whether she is or is not with child, unlawfully administers to her or causes her to take any poison or other noxious thing, or uses any force of any kind, or uses any other means whatever, is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

225 The like by women with child[11]

Any woman who, with intent to procure her own miscarriage, whether she is or is not with child, unlawfully administers to herself any poison or other noxious thing, or uses any force of any kind, or uses any other means whatever, or permits any such thing or means to be administered or used to her, is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

226 Supplying drugs or instruments to procure abortion[12]

Any person who unlawfully supplies to or procures for any person anything whatever, knowing that it is intended to be unlawfully used to procure the miscarriage of a woman, whether she is or is not with child, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for 3 years.

7. LIFE OF THE MOTHER PROTECTED IN EXISTING ACT

In Queensland, there is currently a law where abortion (the killing of a child in the womb) is a crime. However, Section 282 of the Criminal Code allows for this defence:

282 Surgical operations and medical treatment[13]

(1) A person is not criminally responsible for performing or providing, in good faith and with reasonable care and skill, a surgical operation on or medical treatment of—

(a) a person or an unborn child for the patient’s benefit; or

(b) a person or an unborn child to preserve the mother’s life;

if performing the operation or providing the medical treatment is reasonable, having regard to the patient’s state at the time and to all the circumstances of the case.

(2) If the administration by a health professional of a substance to a patient would be lawful under this section, the health professional may lawfully direct or advise another person, whether the patient or another person, to administer the substance to the patient or procure or supply the substance for that purpose.

(3) It is lawful for a person acting under the lawful direction or advice, or in the reasonable belief that the advice or direction was lawful, to administer the substance, or supply or procure the substance, in accordance with the direction or advice.

(4) In this section—

health professional see the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011, schedule 2.

medical treatment, for subsection (1)(a), does not include medical treatment intended to adversely affect an unborn child.

patient means the person or unborn child on whom the surgical operation is performed or of whom the medical treatment is provided.

surgical operation, for subsection (1)(a), does not include a surgical operation intended to adversely affect an unborn child.

In Queensland, abortion is a crime; however this section 282 of the Criminal Code provides a defence when the abortion was performed to preserve the mother’s life. When Cameron Dick MP was attorney-general for Qld in 2009, he wrote to Mr Neil Laurie, the Clerk of the Parliament, Queensland Parliamentary Service:

Amendments to section 282 of the Queensland Criminal Code were passed on 3 September 2009. Section 282 has been judicially interpreted to provide an excuse from criminal responsibility, to a person who performs a surgical termination in good faith, with reasonable care and skill, for the preservation of the mother’s life, having regard to the patient’s state at the time and to all the circumstances of the case.

The recent amendments to section 282 clarify that the operation of the section 282 excuse includes the provision of medical treatment and thus medical terminations.

These amendments clarify the law to protect doctors who prescribe medication to terminate a pregnancy, in the same way that doctors who perform surgical procedures are protected under the Criminal Code.[14]

This means that Section 282 has been interpreted by the courts to apply where the termination of a pregnancy is necessary to preserve the mother from serious danger to her life or her physical or mental health, if the continuing pregnancy would entail such effects. In such circumstances, the termination is not out of proportion to the danger to be prevented.

If the Rob Pyne private member’s Bill is presented to the Qld Parliament and there is a successful vote,

8. This will be what happens for many unborn Qld children if this Bill is passed.

(Photos of children killed in second trimester abortions)

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(image courtesy 100 abortion pictures)

Contrary to what Ms Trad believes, the slaughter of children in the womb (see photos above) does belong in the Qld criminal code because it involves the killing of human lives.

9. I have written to Qld MPs about the change in abortion laws.

I asked: Please advise me what you will do to stop the slaughter of pre-born human beings. You should know that it is a medical fact that the child in the womb is a human being from the moment of conception. In case you have doubts, here is some evidence:

  • Leading obstetrician gynaecologist and medical researcher, Dr Landrum B. Shettles, says the real core of the debate over when life begins is ‘the clash between an ethic that makes the sanctity of human life an absolute and a new ethic that renders that life relative and sometimes expendable’ (Shettles with Rorvik 1983:107).
  • In 1970, in the midst of the United States’ abortion debate (it was legalised in 1973), the editors of the journal California Medicine (the official journal of the California Medical Association), noticed ‘the curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death’ (vol 113, no. 3, September, p. 67).

9.1 How some politicians responded

I wrote to a handful of Qld MPs, including my local MP, to ask their views on the new abortion law. The standard footer to the email replies received was something like, ‘This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and only for the use of the addressee’. Therefore, I cannot reveal the exact information from the various MPs and name them in this article. However, I will note that those who were against changing the law told me so and those who supported the change to be pro-abortion also were not backward in coming forward.

However, my local MP in the electorate of Murrumba, Chris Whiting, has not bothered to reply to my email about this critical legislation that involves the killing of human life – the slaughter of unborn children.

I wrote to one MP on Emily’s List and of course the response was in favour of abortion.

10. What drives the abortion agenda?

It doesn’t matter whether a person is an MP or an ordinary member of the public, there are reasons why a person supports or rejects abortion on demand. What could those justifications be?

The evidence before us, as presented in this article, is that worldviews[15] influence reality and that we are in ‘nothing short of a great Civil War of Values’ that is raging today around the world. Those are the words of James Dobson and he added that ‘two sides with vastly differing and incompatible worldviews are locked in a bitter conflict that permeates every level of society’.[16] It is raging today around the world. It is not only over the abortion agenda, but also a host of other values including the nature of government, terrorism to gain supremacy, homosexuality and transgender issues, truth or otherwise in the mass media, churches that subscribe to biblical fidelity while others abort biblical integrity.

10.1 What is a world view?

All of us have one. It may be defined as ‘a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic make-up of our world’ (Sire1988:17). James Sire explained that these are the seven rock-bottom questions that need to be answered to uncover the elements of a world view:

(a) What is prime reality – the really real?

This may include God, gods or the material cosmos.

(b) What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us?

Here we seek answers to whether the world was created, is autonomous, chaotic, orderly, matter or spirit, whether our relationship to the world is subjective or objective (Sire 1988:18).

(c) What is a human being?

(d) What happens to a person at death?

(e) Why is it possible to know anything at all?

(f) How do we know what is right and wrong?

(g) What is the meaning of human history? (Sire 1988:18)

Throughout this article, it is evident that there are those with worldviews who support abortion or oppose it. Which worldviews are seen in the evidence from abortionists?

10.1.1 Relativism.

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘That may be true for you, but it’s not true for me’. That’s relativism in action. Here we see it with abortionists who admit that life in the womb is not that of a human being, so to kill that life is acceptable for them, even through it is not for me as I consider the scientific and biblical evidence supports human life in the womb, commencing with conception.

This manifests itself with,

10.1.2 No discussion of right or wrong.

God’s absolute of, ‘You shall not murder’ (Exod 20:13; Matt 5:21), is not on the lips of abortionists and pro-abortion politicians. This absolutistic value is promoted by those who oppose abortion.

10.1.3 Reason supersedes revelation

When a person reasons that life in the womb is not as important as life outside the womb (as in the QCCL statement), that person is demonstrating that human reason usurps God’s authority of, ‘You shall not murder’. A person who supports biblical revelation is not necessarily a person who opposes the use of reason, but generally is one who opposes autonomous reason in determining value judgments.

For those who like to think a little more deeply about these issues, Christian philosopher Doug Groothuis has written an excellent article for your consideration. Be warned! It does contain some philosophical explanations, ‘Christianity and autonomous reason: Drawing an important distinction’ (Groothuis 2015).

10.1.4 Humanism

Here I refer to humanism as ‘the overall attitude that human beings are of special value; their aspirations, their thoughts, their yearnings are significant. There is as well an emphasis on the value of the individual person’ (Sire 1988:74-75). This is evident in the pro-abortion perspective of Jackie Trad, deputy Premier: ‘What a woman decides to do with her body, in consultation with her doctor, does not belong in the criminal code’.[17]

There is a more aggressive secular humanism that promotes these values in Humanist Manifesto II and its naturalism or anti-supernaturalism. I have not seen or heard this so far in the mass media promotion of the new abortion Bill in Qld. However, I would not be surprised to see it emerge as Christians become more outspoken against the Bill and the issues heat up and are exposed.

10.1.5 The nature of human beings

Surely the nature of the one in the womb who is being killed should occupy a prominent place in this discussion. That is not so. To date, I’ve read no pro-abortionist discussions of when human life begins, refuting the biological evidence that human life begins at conception, and the nature of the person in the womb who is being killed through abortion.

10.2 God’s absolutes guarantee justice

I refer you to my article, God’s absolutes are absolutely true. What is the outworking of this in a nation?

I heard an Indian Christian who was visiting Brisbane and spoke only a few kilometres from where I live. He has written a magnificent book to demonstrate how Scripture has been the foundation of healthy Western nations. He admitted this health is waning because of our movement away from the biblical foundation.

I’m speaking of Vishal Mangalwadi and his publication, The Book that made your world: How the Bible created the soul of western civilization (2011).

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image courtesy Thomas Nelson; Vishal Magalwadi blog)

He shows how the Bible has created the foundation of western civilization. His first chapter is: ‘The soul of Western civilization’. In his preface, he wrote:

A cursory glance may give an impression that this is a book about the Bible.  Those who actually read it will know that this is about great literature and great art; great science and liberating technology; genuine heroism and nation building; great virtues and social institutions.  If you have a zillion pieces of a puzzle, would you begin assembling them into one picture, without knowing what that picture is supposed to look like?  The Bible created the modern world of science and learning because it gave us the Creator’s vision of what reality is all about.  This is what made the modern West a reading and thinking civilization.  Postmodern people see little point in reading books that do not contribute directly to their career or pleasure.  This is a logical outcome of atheism, which has now realized that the human mind cannot possibly know what is true and right.  This book is being published with a prayer that it will help revive a global interest in the Bible and in all the great books (Mangalwadi 2011:XXI).

What Mangalwadi noted about the impact of the Bible and truth on a culture is as true for my country of Australia as it is for the United States, Germany, the Central African Republic or Argentina. He asked:

What happens to a culture that is clueless about what is true, good, and just? Pilate answered that question when he declared: ‘I have the power to crucify you or set you free.’ When we believe truth is unknowable, we rob it of any authority. What is left is brute power wielding arbitrary force. Whether a person or an ethnic minority is guilty or innocent becomes irrelevant. His or her right to life depends exclusively on the whims of whoever has power. Any nation that refuses to live under truth condemns itself to live under sinful man (Magalwadi 2011:392).

And this is from a man, Vishal, who was born and raised and lives in India, where he has seen the destructive influences of another world view.

The more Australian politicians get back to the foundation of Scripture, the healthier this Aussie nation will be. If they continue down the present path we are doomed. It is because …

10.3 Righteousness (God’s justice) exalts a nation

This is based on Proverbs 14:34 (NIV), ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people’. God’s message is straightforward regarding any nation.

  • When a nation practises God’s righteousness in national actions or in person to person relationships, the nation will be exalted in its reputation and in its impact for God and justice.
  • However, if sinful government decisions are made and people act sinfully towards one another, the nation will be condemned.

As demonstrated in this article, an Australian who deliberately kills living children in the womb (with government permission) is practising unrighteousness as God’s commandment is: ‘You shall not murder’ (Exodus 20:13) and that law of the nation is broken. The ESV footnote for this verse indicates that ‘The Hebrew word also covers causing human death through carelessness or negligence’. This verse is cited by Jesus in Matt 5:21; 19:18, and by Paul in Rom 13:9. The Matt 5:21 statement by Jesus adds a new dimension to the commandment in Ex 20:13, ‘You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment”’ (Matt 5:21 NIV). Therefore, the application is that the state of Queensland, should it authorise the murder of unborn human beings, will be subject to God’s judgment. God’s justice for the nation that breaks his law is his judgment. We as a State cannot prosper when we break God’s law in relation to murder of human beings in the womb.

John Gill (AD 1697-1771)[18] was a Baptist biblical expositor at Spurgeon’s church about a century before Spurgeon. Gill’s exposition of Prov 14:34 is:

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Righteousness exalts a nation,…. Administered by the government, and exercised by subjects towards one another; doing justice between man and man: this exalts a nation, as it did the people of Israel, while practised among them; this sets a people above their neighbours, and high in the esteem of God and men; and is attended with privileges and blessings, which make a nation great and honourable. Some understand this of aims deeds, or beneficence to the poor; which, both in the Hebrew and Greek languages, is called righteousness; See Gill on Matthew 6:1. It may be put for the whole of true religion, which is an honour to a nation, where it obtains; and is what makes the holy nation, and peculiar people, so truly illustrious; and particularly the righteousness of Christ makes such who are interested in it really great and noble, and promotes and exalts them to heaven and happiness;

but sin is a reproach to any people; where vice reigns, iniquity abounds, profaneness, impiety, and immorality of all sorts prevail, a people become mean and despicable; they fall into poverty and contempt; are neither able to defend themselves, nor help their neighbours, and so are despised by them. The word rendered “reproach” most commonly signifies “mercy” or goodness; and some render it, “and the mercy of a people is a sin offering” ; or as one: or it is so “to the nations”; it is as good as a sacrifice for sin, of which the word is sometimes used, or better, more acceptable to God, “who will have mercy, and not sacrifice”, Matthew 9:13; even beneficence and kindness to the poor, the same with righteousness, as before. I think it may be as well rendered, “the piety” or religion “of the nations is sin”; it being idolatry, as Aben Ezra observes: such is the religion of the antichristian nations, who worship idols of gold and silver; and though they may afflict themselves, as Gersom remarks of the idolatrous nations, with fasting and penance, with whippings and scourgings; yet it is nothing else but sin, will worship, and superstition.[19]

The warning to Queensland and Australia is that when this nation promotes unrighteousness (e.g. killing children in the womb) that is contrary to God’s revelation in Scripture, Australia brings on itself a reproach. Anti-Christian legislation by the Queensland government will bring the rebuke of God’s judgment. It is not for me to determine how that will happen in Qld., but we do have a profound example of it with the nation of Israel.

In Joshua’s day, this was the result of practising unrighteousness:

For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you (Joshua 23:12-13 ESV).

Jeremiah, the prophet, proclaimed this message to Israel: ‘Thus says the Lord: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?”’ (Jer 2:5 ESV). Could anything be clearer than Numbers 14:43 (ESV), ‘For there the Amalekites and the Canaanites are facing you, and you shall fall by the sword. Because you have turned back from following the Lord, the Lord will not be with you’.

10.4 The God of justice is revealed

To describe how righteousness and justice are synonymous terms, see my article: Righteousness and justice for the Christian.

10.4.1 Justice and righteousness

clip_image011In English, righteousness and justice are 2 different words but in the Hebrew OT and Greek NT that is not so as there is only one word root behind both ‘righteousness’ and ‘justice’.

The word for righteousness, dikaiosune,[20] means ‘uprightness, justice as of a judge’. Examples include ‘enforce justice’ (Heb 11:33), ‘judge justly’ (Acts 17:31; Rev 19:11); ‘righteousness, uprightness as the compelling motive for the conduct of one’s whole life: hunger and thirst for uprightness’ (Matt 5:6) [Arndt & Gingrich 1957:195, emphasis in original].

So the meaning of this word is that God always does what is correct/right and God determines the standard of what is right.
These verses teach us this meaning of righteous/justice (emphasis added):

  • Gen 18:25 (ESV), ‘Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?’
  • Deut 32:4 (ESV), ‘all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he’.
  • Isa 45:19 (ESV), ‘I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right‘.
  • Paul tells us that God’s sending Christ as a sacrifice for the punishment for sins in Rom 3:25-26 (ESV), it ‘was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus’.

This is reason for us to praise God that in everything he does; all his ways are righteous. They are just; there is no injustice in Him. Question: How does God’s justice harmonise with the killing of all the inhabitants of Ai (Joshua 8:24 ESV)?

When we examine a text such as Genesis 15:16, [4] we see what God warned Abraham what would happen: ‘And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete’ (ESV). The promise was that the time of the iniquity of the Amorites ‘was not yet complete’ after the Israelites left the nation of Egypt. The implication of that Scripture is that when the wickedness of the Canaanites had reached God’s limit of guilt or restraint, God would remove them from the land.

That is what he did to Jericho and Ai (Joshua 8:18-26). He did it with Makkedah (Josh 10:28), Lachish (Josh 10:32); Eglon (Josh 10:34-35); Debir (Josh 10:38-39), and the cities of the Negev and the Shepheliah (Josh 10:40). You can read about God’s punishment of Hazor, Madon, Shimron and Achspaph (Josh 11:10-14). It happened previously to Sodom & Gomorrah. You can read about what God did with his punishment of other cities according to Judges 19 and Judges 20.

When we engage in the plain reading of Scripture, we cannot get past the fact that when degenerate idolatry and brazen moral depravity developed in nations, God had to remove them so that the theocratic kingdom of Israel could settle in those regions.

I do not like the deplorable loss of life and atrocities that happened in these nations, but it would be much worse if these depraved activities were allowed to continue among God’s people.

How does God’s justice harmonise with this carnage? God warns about the consequences of sin. If people and nations continue to act against God’s instructions, he will so what is right and bring punishment. He warns before he does it. ‘Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?’ (Gen 18:25). The lesson is this: Anyone can live this life as he/she wishes, but there are consequences – God’s consequences – when we give God the shaft and follow Frank Sinatra’s dictum, ‘I did it my way‘.

Since righteousness exalts a nation, we know this refers to the Judeo-Christian’s God of the universe.

By the righteousness and justice of God we mean that phase of God’s holiness which is seen in his treatment of the creature. Repeatedly, these qualities are ascribed to God (2 Chron. 12:6; Ezra 9:15; Neh. 9:33; Isa. 45:21; Dan. 9:14; John 17:25; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 16:5). In virtue of the former [the righteousness of God] He has instituted moral government in the world, imposed just laws upon the creatures, and attached sanctions thereto. In virtue of the latter, he executes his laws through the bestowal of rewards and punishments. The distribution of rewards is called remunerative justice, and is mentioned in such Scriptures as the following: Deut. 7:9-13; 2 Chron. 6:15; Ps. 58:11; Matt. 25:21; Rom. 2:7; Heb. 11:26. The infliction of punishment is called punitive justice [the expression of divine wrath] and is mentioned in such Scriptures as these: Gen. 2:17; Exod. 34:7; Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 1:32; 2:8, 9; 2 Thess. 1:8 (Thiessen 1949:129-130).

11. How to choose a world view

(Religious practices will tie closely to a religion’s world view. Image courtesy Wikipedia.)

What are the best criteria for determining a world view with clout and pervasive influence? These are not original with me and are suggested by Norman Geisler and William Watkins (1984 233-241). Let’s begin with

11.1 How not to choose a world view

11.1.1 You cannot read everything

Read enough to make a decision. You need to ‘stop reading and start deciding’ (Geisler & Watkins 1984:234)

11.1.2 Beauty is only skin deep

Don’t look to what you like as a world view, but to that which meets your total needs.

11.1.3 What works is not always true

Lies work for many, but they are not the truth. ‘If a world and life view is true it will work in life (if properly understood and applied)’ (Geisler & Watkins 1984:234.

11.1.4 The majority can be wrong

11.1.5 Difficulty should not prompt quick rejection

11.1.6 The unexplained is not necessarily unexplainable

11.1.7 Absurdity does not guarantee truth

11.2 How to choose a world view

11.2.1 A world view must be consistent

‘If contradiction is a sign of falsity, then non-contradiction (or consistency) is a necessity for truth’ (Geisler & Watkins1984:236).

11.2.2 A world view must be comprehensive

11.2.3 A world view must be liveable

11.2.4 A world view must be consistently affirmable

A test for truth of a statement can be applied to this world view claim: ‘No statement is true if, in order to make it, the opposite would have to be true’. So, to test if statements are self-defeating, Geisler & Watkins (1984:240-241) provide these self-defeating examples:

(1) ‘Reality cannot be known’;

(2) ‘Be skeptical about everything’;

(3) ‘Reality is not rational’;

(4) ‘All truth is relative’;

(5) ‘Nothing exists’;

(6) ‘Nothing of value exists’;

(7) ‘Nothing can produce something’;

(8) ‘Everything is based on something else’.

The conclusion is that these principles can be applied to various worldviews and that ‘when one takes the truths which cannot be successfully denied, they can be constructed into a valid world view…. Truth is literally undeniable; however, truth is not always obvious. Only those who seek it find it’ (Geisler & Watkins 1984:241).

12. Abortion decriminalised in Qld

After two days of debate in the Qld Parliament, “Abortion has been decriminalised in Queensland” (SBS News, 18 October 2018). This means:

Both the government and opposition had granted their MPs a free vote ahead of the debate…. Under the changes, abortion will be removed from the criminal code and made a health issue, allowing women to terminate pregnancies up to 22 weeks’ gestation.

Terminations after 22 weeks will be allowed with the approval of two independent doctors.

The changes also establish safe zones around clinics and medical facilities offering the procedure to stop staff and patients being harassed by anti-abortion activists (SBS News, 18 October 2018).

Safe zones have been established: ‘”Safe access zones” of 150 metres will also be established around termination and fertility clinics to prevent protesters approaching and hassling women and their families’ (ABC News, Brisbane,Qld., 18 October 2018).

13. Conclusion

Rob Pyne MP presented a private member’s Bill to the Queensland parliament for consideration that wiped abortion from the criminal code. It allowed abortion right up until the time of birth. He said that he was prepared to negotiate with other MPs as to the period of gestation when abortion was allowed. The deputy Premier, Jackie Trad, as a member of Emily’s List, has publicly declared in the media that she will support the abortion Bill, claiming that what a woman decides to do with her body, in consultation with her doctor, should not belong in the criminal code. The QCCL claimed this was a conscience decision for the woman.

My article here shows that another person has been ignored by the Bill, Trad and other MPs; that is the unborn child who is a human being from conception. Photographs demonstrated the beauty of a child whose life is saved and of children in the womb who had been slaughtered by abortion.

It was shown from a survey that the majority of Queenslanders believe abortion takes a human life, but that the majority should not determine whether abortion is legal or not.

It was shown what Rob Pyne has deleted from the criminal code and it was validated that the life of the mother is protected in the existing legislation. Thus, there is no need for a change of law. This change is designed to satisfy the promoters of abortion and not those who want to save the lives of the unborn. A different ethic is being promoted and the contrast is stark between abortion promoters and those who want to save the lives of the unborn.

What is being promoted here? It was shown that this was a world view issue where the pro-abortionists had no respect for human life in the womb and those who were anti-abortion most often promoted a Christian world view and its ethical requirements. “You shall not murder” was the Christian response against abortion but that value was not endorsed by the abortionists. It was shown how God’s righteousness (i.e. justice) exalts a nation. A nation that promotes the killing of the unborn is not practising justice and the nation will suffer God’s judgment.

Some of the elements in choosing a world view were examined alongside what is needed in a satisfactory world view.

Eventually, the pro-abortionists won the day and it’s now legal, under certain circumstances – with the approval of two doctors – to abort a child right up to the time of birth. This is an abominable practice, in my view.

See my other articles related to this topic:

clip_image013 Abortion and Life: A Christian Perspective

clip_image013[1] Politicians, morality and a just society

This article is dedicated to the people who were robbed of life in the last few decades. These include the unborn, the weak, and the elderly because of the ‘madness, selfishness, lust and greed’ of our societies (Schaeffer & Koop 1979, dedication).

14. Works consulted

Arndt, W F & Gingrich, F W 1957. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature.[21] Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (limited edition licensed to Zondervan Publishing House).

Balmer, R 2002. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism. Louisville/London: Westminster John Knox Press.

Geisler, N L & Watkins, W D 1984. Perspectives: Understanding and Evaluating Today’s World Views. San Bernardino, California: Here’s Life Publishers Inc.

Groothuis, D 2015. Christianity and autonomous reason: Drawing an important distinction, February 23. Douglas Groothuis Ph.D. Available at: https://douglasgroothuis.com/2015/02/23/christianity-and-autonomous-reason-drawing-an-important-distinction/ (Accessed 22 May 2016).

Mangalwadi, V 2011, The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Noebel D A 2001. The Battle for Truth. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers.

Schaeffer, F. A.  & Koop, C. E. 1979. Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company.

Shettles, L. B. with D. Rorvik 1983. Rites of Life: The Scientific Evidence for Life Before Birth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

Sire, J 1988. The Universe Next Door: A Basic World View Catalog, b updated & exp. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

Thiessen, H C 1949. Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

(Late term abortion, courtesy priestsforlife)

15.  Notes


[1] ABC News 2016. Queensland abortion bill: Rob Pyne says procedure ‘should not be a crime’ (online), 10 May. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-10/queensland-abortion-bill-to-be-introduced-by-rob-pyne/7399368 (Accessed 19 May 2016).

[2] Ibid.

[3] No date was given for this media release, but it had to be in May 2016 after the release of Rob Pyne MP’s private member’s bill. Available at: http://qccl.org.au/wiki/abortion-law-reform-media-release/ (Accessed 19 May 2016).

[4] This is confirmed on Emily’s List 2015. ‘Our State & Territory MPs’ (online). Available at: https://www.emilyslist.org.au/614-2/ (Accessed 19 May 2016).

[5] Emily’s List 2015. ‘What we believe in’ (online). Available at: https://www.emilyslist.org.au/about/what-we-believe-in/ (Accessed 19 May 2016).

[6] Emily’s List 2015. ‘Our State & Territory MPs’ (online). Available at: https://www.emilyslist.org.au/614-2/ (Accessed 19 May 2016).

[7] ABC News, loc cit., ‘Queensland abortion bill’.

[8] Galaxy Research 2016. ‘What Queenslanders really think about abortion’. Available at: http://www.abortionrethink.org/images/What_Qlders_Really_Think_About_Abortion.pdf (Accessed 19 May 2016).

[9] ABC News, loc cit, ‘Queensland abortion bill’.

[10] Queensland Consolidated Acts, Criminal Code 1899 – SECT 224. Available at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/cc189994/s224.html (Accessed 17 May 2016).

[11] Queensland Consolidated Acts, Criminal Code 1899 – SECT 225. Available at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/cc189994/s225.html (Accessed 17 May 2016).

[12] Queensland Consolidated Acts, Criminal Code 1899 – SECT 226. Available at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/cc189994/s226.html (Accessed 17 May 2016).

[13] Queensland Consolidated Acts, Criminal Code 1899 – SECT 282. Available at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/cc189994/s282.html (Accessed 19 May 2016).

[14] Hon Cameron Dick 2009. Queensland Government (online), Attorney-general and Minister for Industrial Relations, Letter to Mr Neil Laurie, The Clerk of the Parliament, 21 December. Available at: http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Documents/TableOffice/TabledPapers/2009/5309T1568.pdf (Accessed 19 May 2016).

[15] The Merriam-Webster dictionary (2016. s v worldview) and American Heritage Dictionary (2016. s v worldview) spell the word as ‘worldview’; Oxford dictionaries (2016. s v world view) and Cambridge dictionaries online (2016. s v world view) spell the word as ‘world view’; dictionary.com spells it as world-view (2016. s v world-view).

[16] These are James Dobson’s words which he applied specifically to North America, in Balmer (2002:178)

[17] ABC News 2016, loc cit, Queensland abortion bill.

[18] Gill’s lifespan details are available at CCEL, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/gill (Accessed 21 May 2016).

[19] Gill’s Exposition: Proverbs 14 (online). Available at: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/gill/proverbs/14.htm (Accessed 19 May 2016).

[20] The last Greek letter, ‘e’, in dikaiosune is eta, seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, which is transliterated into English as ‘e’ with an ellipse. However, the html of this website converts letters with an ellipse into question marks. Therefore, I have used ‘e’ as the transliteration, but that is also the transliteration of the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet, epsilon. That is confusing but I am left with no alternative. Since ‘o’ with an ellipse is the transliteration of omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet, I have chosen to use a transliteration of ‘w’, which was used by some earlier Greek NT scholars. Wikibooks states, ‘Sometimes unofficially it is rendered as w (inspired by the shape of the small letter)’ (2014. S v Modern Greek / Lession 4x).

[21] This is ‘a translation and adaptation of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-Deutsches Wörtbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der übrigen urchristlichen Literatur’ (4th rev & augmented edn 1952) (Arndt & Gingrich 1957:iii).

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 07 December 2020.

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Anglicans, Christmas, and the birth of God?

St Andrew's Cathedral c.1868.jpg

(St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, Australia. Image courtesy Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

This article was published in On Line Opinion, ‘Anglicans, Christmas, and the birth of God?’ (3 December 2020)

I’m an orthodox evangelical believer. I watched the Christmas Eve service 2011 which the Dean of the Cathedral, Phillip Jensen, led from St. Andrews Cathedral, Sydney, telecast on ABC1 in Australia. It was a magnificent Christ-centred service led by Dr Jensen. I know his church is a member of the evangelical Anglican diocese of Sydney which has been an orthodox stalwart in the midst of an Anglican church that has become theologically liberal in many states.

Anglicans in Australia

What is happening to the liberal Anglicans in Australia? The Rev. Dr. Mark Thompson, at the Sydney ‘Lambeth Decision Briefing’, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, Friday 14th March 2008, wrote of ‘The Anglican Debacle’. Here he stated the obvious for that denomination in Australia that biblical Christianity has struggled under the Anglican umbrella. There was never a time when it was uniformly accepted by the church hierarchy.

He pointed out that early Anglicans such as Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer were burnt at the stake with the consent of most of the rest of the bishops in Mary’s church.

According to The Melbourne Anglican (2017), the 2016 census revealed the ‘number of Australian Anglicans fell by 580,000 in five years.’

Primate of Australia, Archbishop Dr Philip Freier, attributed the decline in the Anglican Church to a number of factors, singling out a culture ‘that no longer “carries” Christianity.’

A Sydney Anglicans news’ release about the event in 2011 stated it was the first time in many years ABC Television screened an evangelical Christmas Eve service. It was chosen by the ABC for a 6pm Christmas Eve service. It featured Dean Phillip Jensen, the Cathedral choir, guest musicians and orchestra. Jensen said: ‘This broadcast provides a great opportunity to express the message of the birth of our Lord in a genuinely modern and Australian fashion.’

What’s at the heart of the Anglican problem?

David Ould(photo David Ould from his website)

Senior Associate Minister at St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Parramatta, Sydney,  and a prolific blogger is Rev. David Ould, who became a minister in 2013. His beef with the undermining of Anglicanism is very different from the liberal wing of the denomination. He considers one of the main problems is with integrity of the ministers.

What? He is crystal clear on what he means. He used an illustration from the world of advertising: If you were a marketing director for a major drinks’ company who drank the opposition’s leading brand of milk at a press conference, you would expect to lose your job if the company had any integrity.

However, what has happened with the Anglicans? They discuss an aging population, schisms over sexuality issues, young people preferring experiential over traditional worship, etc. However, Ould does not see Core Value - Integritythis at the core of the problem. For him the nucleus of the issue is over promises made by bishops which states: ‘I firmly and sincerely believe the Catholic faith and I give my assent to the doctrine of the Anglican Church of Australia as expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons; I believe that doctrine to be agreeable to the Word of God.… I do solemnly and sincerely declare my assent to be bound by the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia.’

Then the bishops set about rejecting the standards set by Scripture, refusing to support the content of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, fail to accept the 39 Articles as the ‘standard of doctrine’, not using the Book of Common Prayer as the worship standard, and rejecting some of the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia.

What then should these prodigal bishops and ministers do, since they deny fundamentals of biblical Christianity and of the Anglican requirements for ordination? C S Lewis got straight to the point of what should happen:

It is your duty to fix the lines (of doctrine) clearly in your minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession. This is your duty not specially as Christians or as priests but as honest men.… We never doubted that the unorthodox opinions were honestly held: what we complain of is your continuing in your ministry after you have come to hold them (‘Christian Apologetics, 1945:1).

Evangelical Anglican: Christmas as the birth of God

Neapolitan presepe of Maiori (nativity scene courtesy Wikipedia)

This phrase caught my attention from Phillip Jensen several times in the telecast as he spoke about Christmas being a celebration of ‘the birth of God.’ Could this kind of language give the wrong impression? He has a brief article online that is titled, “Celebrate the Birth of God” (published 2 December 2005). In it he writes of Christmas as a time to ‘celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus, who is God in the flesh’ and ‘give thanks to God for the great privilege of celebrating the birth of our Mighty God in this way.’

He seems to be trying to communicate that Jesus is both God and man, but does the language, ‘the birth of God’ have potential problems? These are my questions:

  1. Is it misleading to speak of the birth of God when God the Son has always existed and has had no birth eternally? The God-man was born in Bethlehem.
  2. Could it be better to say that the second person of the Trinity, God the Son, became flesh (a man) and we celebrate His birth at Christmas time?
  3. Many do not understand how a virgin could conceive and give birth to the Son of God as flesh, without the insemination of a male. Does the language of ‘the birth of God’ convey orthodox theology, or is it meant to get the attention of secular people who celebrate Christmas for materialistic and holiday reasons?
  4. I cannot ever understand the supernatural act of God in the virgin birth if I reject miracles as John Shelby Spong (an Episcopalian/Anglican) does when he states, ‘Let me say bluntly that I no longer think that the miracles of the gospels have anything to do with what we once called the miraculous.’

Phillip Jensen clarified this in 2013, ‘We celebrate more than the birth of the baby, Jesus. When we retell the history of his birth, we are celebrating the meaning and purpose of God’s action in our salvation.’ That’s a better way of putting it.

Prophecy of Jesus’ birth

The prophecy of Christ’s birth in Isaiah 9:6 states, For to us a child is BORN, to us a son is GIVEN.’ For this one event of the incarnation, there are two distinct matters.

(1) A CHILD is born – this is the human Jesus, and

(2) A SON is given. The Son was not born; Jesus the Son was GIVEN. He was from eternity.

I am not sure that Phillip Jensen made this distinction as clearly as he should have. I consider that he ought to have made it unambiguous about the humanity of Jesus (a child is born) and the deity of Jesus (the eternal Son is given). God was not born on the first Christmas Day. God the Son has always existed as God and he became a human being on that first Christmas Day but there was no ‘birth of God’ as such.

We know this from a well-known verse such as John 3:16, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ So, God SENT his Son. This presupposes that the Son was always with the Father and was ready to be sent.

The apostle Paul is clear about what this means at Christmas time. According to Romans 1:3-4, ‘concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh  and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord’ (ESV).

The eternal generation of the son is orthodox Christian doctrine. The Nicene Creed affirms the eternal nature of the Son:

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.

The Scriptures state that the child was born at the first Christmas, but the Son was given. The eternal Son of God was not born at the first Christmas. He was from eternity the Son.

I have been warned not to be another Nestorius

Since I see that Christmas celebrates the birth of the humanity of Jesus, the God-man, some have written to me warning that my view could come close to the false teaching of Nestorius (ca. 386-451). Most Christians would not know of Nestorius and his teaching.

The Nestorian controversy came to a head at the Council of Ephesus in 431. This Nestorian website gives a summary of the Christological controversies surrounding the teaching of Nestorius who was bishop of Constantinople in 428. He came from the Antioch school and was taught theology there by Theodore of Mopsuestia.

He opposed a new theological teaching of theotokos. This affirmed Mary was the ‘God-bearer’ or ‘Mother of God.’ Nestorius was concerned with this teaching when applied to Jesus because it could infer that the Son of God had a beginning and then suffered and died.

I confirm none of these things could happen to the infinite God. Therefore, instead of a God-man, Nestorius taught there was the Logos and the ‘man who was assumed.’ He favored the term ‘Christ-bearer’ (christotokos) as a summary of Mary’s role, or perhaps that she should be called both ‘God-bearer’ and ‘Man-bearer’ to emphasise Christ’s dual natures of God and man.

Nestorius was accused of teaching a double personality of Christ – two natures and two persons. He denied the charge, but the term Nestorianism has always been linked with such a teaching.

Yes, he was from the Antiochene ‘school’ (now in Turkey) and wished to emphasise a distinction between Christ as man and Christ as God. He did not deny that Christ was God. He said, however, that people should not call Mary thetokos, the ‘mother of God,’ because she was only the mother of the human person of Christ.

Great opposition developed against Nestorius’s teaching and his opponents charged that he taught ‘two sons’ and that he ‘divided the indivisible.’ Even though he denied this charge, Nestorianism continues to be linked with the teaching.

Nestorius was opposed by Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria, who was one of the most ruthless and unrestrained of the major early bishops. Cyril ‘condemned Nestorius’s works by issuing twelve anathemas [stong curses] against him. Nestorius responded in kind. The two men were harsh individuals and fierce antagonists.’

The possible danger in my discussing the birth of the humanity of Jesus at Christmas, which is true, and rejecting anything to do with the birth of God (as the eternal God cannot be born), is that when I speak of the God-man Jesus, that I try to attribute some of Jesus’ actions to his humanity and some to his divinity. That is not what I’m saying, but I want to make it clear that God cannot be born, either as ‘Mary the mother of God’, or the celebration of ‘the birth of God’ (Phil Jensen) at Christmas.

Conclusion

The language that ‘God was born’ at Christmas does not provide biblical warrant for orthodox, biblical thinking. God, the Son, the second person of the Trinity, has existed eternally. At that first Christmas, the Son obtained his humanity through being born to a virgin. This inaugurated the God-man nature of Jesus, but the Son never ceased being God from eternity. That the first Christmas celebrates the ‘birth of God’ in Jesus, is false theologically. It was the ‘fullness of time’ (Gal. 4:4) at which God the Son became the God-man.

It’s unusual for an orthodox evangelical such as Phillip Jensen to define the incarnation as the ‘birth of God’ in his Christmas Eve service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, and telecast on Australian ABC1 television. I have written to him to get his views, with much of the information provided above.

God cannot be born. That’s an oxymoron. God is from eternity and is always eternally God so there can be no ‘birth of God’ or ‘God was born’.

Jesus, the Son, who also is called ‘the Word’, always existed and continues to exist as God. We know this from John1:1-2: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.’

As for the Anglican churches in Australia, they are losing attendances wholesale because ministers and bishops refuse to be loyal to their ordination vows. They suffer the consequences of lack of integrity in support of scriptural authority and other commitments made at ordination.

If Anglican ministers affirmed the full authority of Scripture at their ordinations and stray from that path they should do as C S Lewis recommended, ‘You must change your profession’ to be honest men.

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 4 December, 2020.

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Compare the Ten Commandments with New Testament teaching[1]

Ten Commandments image | Public domain vectors

(image courtesy publicdomainvectors.com)

Prepared by Spencer D Gear PhD

The Ten Commandments:

The Old Covenant

New Testament Teaching:

The New Covenant

1. ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (Ex 20:3) 1. ‘‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mk 12:28b-30).
2. ‘You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them’ (Ex 20:4-5). 2. ‘Dear children, keep yourselves from idols’ (1 John 5:21).
3. ‘You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name’ (Ex 20:7). 3. ‘But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?’ (James 2:6-7)
4. ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy’ (Ex 20:8). 4. ‘On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight’ (Acts 20:7).
5. ‘Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you’ (Ex 20:12). 5. ‘Honour your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matt 19:19).
6. ‘You shall not murder’ (Ex 20:13). 6. Jesus said, ‘You know the commandments: “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honour your father and mother” (Mk 10:19).
7. ‘You shall not commit adultery’ (Ex 20:14). 7. See #6.
8. ‘You shall not steal’ (Ex 20:15). 8. See #6.
9. ‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour’ (Ex 20:16). 9. See #6.
10. ‘You shall not covet….’ (Ex 20:17). 10. ‘For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience’ (Eph 5:5-6 ESV).

Notes

[1] Unless otherwise stated, all Bible citations are from the New International Version.

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 02 April 2020.Accent vector line separator. Zig zag lines dividerAccent vector line separator. Zig zag lines dividerAccent vector line separator. Zig zag lines dividerAccent vector line separator. Zig zag lines dividerAccent vector line separator. Zig zag lines dividerAccent vector line separator. Zig zag lines divider

An Australian way of death: voluntary assisted dying

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia: Fritz Klein, the camp doctor, standing in a mass grave at Bergen-Belsen [northern Germany] after the camp’s liberation by the British 11th Armoured Division, April 1945)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

This article first appeared in On Line Opinion, 19 March 2020.

John is 65 and has been suffering from cancer for many years. The pain is too much. When he asks his doctor to put him to sleep permanently (kill him!), should the doctor agree? Jean has such severe dementia, lies in bed for much of the day and is in a vegetative state in an aged care facility. She doesn’t recognise me when I visit her.

In the twenty-first century, there is considerable public support for euthanasia to be legalised across Australia. There is a minority group of medical practitioners, Doctors for Voluntary Euthanasia Choice, that is supportive of euthanasia in certain circumstances.

The dangers of the majority view

According to The Guardian Australia Edition “a nationwide poll of 1,032 people conducted by Essential Research has found that 73% of Australians support voluntary assisted dying” (VAD).

If a majority of people agree with a position, does that make it right? An Appeal to Popularity is a logical fallacy that is difficult to notice because it sounds like common sense if the majority of people agree with it. The falsehood is that it doesn’t deal with the content of why VAD is right or wrong for a society or individual.

What is voluntary assisted dying?

Let’s get it clear what euthanasia (VAD) is. We are sometimes confused by the current debate because it seems some are talking about disconnecting life support systems. Others think we deny the patients’ rights to say, “This is enough. I want no extraordinary means to be used to keep me alive when all hope of physical life seems to be gone”.

We don’t need euthanasia for this. It is the common law right of all Australians to decide which treatments they want to have for themselves. We have legislation for an enduring power of attorney and an advanced health directive to cover these medical situations.

(image courtesy docotal)

Euthanasia is “the intentional killing of a person, for compassionate motives, whether the killing is by a direct action, such as a lethal injection, or by failing to perform an action necessary to maintain life. For euthanasia to occur there must be an intention to kill”.

Now, euthanasia promoters don’t use the word “kill”, but it is the only accurate word to describe the reality of what happens. Besides, it is the word that our current law uses. Retired anaesthetist and palliative care physician at Concord Hospital, Sydney, Dr Brian Pollard, stated, “Euthanasia is a form of homicide – even if legalised, it would be legalised homicide. Intention is central to the concept”.

Sad and distressing cases are put forth so that it is made to appear there is a vast amount of suffering for which nothing less than death is good enough. Yet, I am told that those who practise palliative care with the terminally ill encounter few requests for euthanasia by patients. Too often, the distressed relatives who often feel impotent, sense a lack of support, and may be encountering a financial burden, are the ones calling for euthanasia.

I do not reject euthanasia because of the results it is likely to cause.

When Luke Gormally, director of London’s Linacre Bio-Ethics Centre, was in Australia he warned that legalising euthanasia could lead to “killing the disabled and dependent for economic reasons”. He also warned that euthanasia would endorse youth suicide because of the “wholly negative message” it would send to youth.

What will stop Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Canada, certain USA states and Australia from getting to this example once the slippery slope has begun? The Atlantic (3 Sept 2014) reported this story:

In July 1939, Richard and Lina Kretschmar, two farm workers from eastern Germany, wrote to Adolf Hitler to ask for permission to kill their son.

Gerhard Kretschmar had been born five months earlier with one arm, one leg, and vision loss. The Kretschmars were loyal Nazis, and “The Monster,” as they referred to Gerhard, was considered both burdensome and incompatible with the pursuit of genetic perfection. Gerhard was killed a few days later at a hospital near his home, likely by lethal injection.

The Netherlands has become a dangerous country

We know that when we support VAD, it can go beyond the person’s choice. Holland is the most recent example for which we have clear evidence. That country has permitted VAD for some time, and has legalised it.

The Uniting Church in Australia’s consultation paper, “Voluntary Assisted Dying Queensland Synod 2019” stated: ‘In Belgium and the Netherlands, the criteria for voluntary assisted dying includes that someone be experiencing “unbearable suffering”‘. This paper detailed a very sad case of a person suffering from severe dementia.

Is that all that happens in the Netherlands with VAD?

The Netherlands’ medical doctor, Dr. Karel Gunning, on his 1992 visit to Australia said: “Holland has indeed become a very dangerous country, as patients may have their lives ended without their request and without knowledge of the authorities. The doctor thus has become a powerful man, able to decide on life or death”.

The New Scientist magazine (20 June 1992) confirmed this alarming situation in an article titled, The Dutch way of death.” It stated that:

… doctors and nurses in the Netherlands can practise euthanasia if they stick to certain guidelines. Yet many patients receive lethal injections without giving their consent.

In some hospitals, doctors routinely approach patients who are terminally ill, offering to inject them with lethal doses of barbiturates and curare. But Dutch euthanasia has its sinister side, too. Involuntary euthanasia of sick and elderly people is commonplace in the Netherlands, and that when patients do opt for euthanasia, it is frequently out of fear of being a nuisance rather than to avoid unnecessary physical suffering.

The details are alarming. At least a third of the 5000 or so Dutch patients who each year receive lethal doses of drugs from their doctors do not give their unequivocal consent. About 400 of these patients never even raise the issue of euthanasia with their doctors. Moreover, of those who willingly opt for euthanasia, only about 5 per cent do so solely because of unbearable pain.

The magazine concluded that “these revelations strike a blow at the two central canons of the worldwide euthanasia lobby: that euthanasia should be used only as a means to end pointless physical suffering, and that the patient alone should make the decision.”

As one Dutch doctor put it: “Everywhere doctors are terminating lives. The only difference in Holland is that here we talk about it.”

Is this the morality for Australia?

Even though it is clear from this Dutch example that it is impossible to control VAD, is this the right kind of morality Australia should follow? By looking to the end results, this is a system of ethics called utilitarianism. It simply means that a “good” result (for example, relieving pain of a cancer patient) justifies the means (killing the person–euthanasia). This is a dangerous view.

Two examples show us how bad this view of right and wrong can become. In Germany during World War 2, Hitler’s goal was to develop a more perfect race. A pretty good goal one could think? But his way to attain it was evil (killing six million Jews and millions of others).

President Richard Nixon’s goal was a noble one, national security. But the criminal activity of Watergate was not justified to reach it.

The popularity of this view of morality

( Photo courtesy Wikipedia: Hartheim Euthanasia Centre in Upper Austria is where over 18,000 people were killed in the Holocaust).

There are droves of Australians who support the VAD view of morality. We are in deep trouble if this nation follows such an ethical system. The end never justifies the means; the means must justify themselves. An act is not automatically good because it has a good goal.

How do we know what is good? We need a fixed standard of good by which to judge right and wrong, rather than a person’s opinion of what is good. This fixed standard for euthanasia needs to be: murder or assisted murder is always wrong. This is the morality of universal standards of the 10 commandments (the Judeo-Christian world view).

I have taken this lengthy look at why I do not support euthanasia, based on the end justifying the means, because it is a view of right and wrong that could lead to chaos in our lucky country. Those who support VAD and some of those who oppose euthanasia both follow this system of morality.

The Australian Medical Association’s position

In its position statement, “the AMA (Australian Medical Association) maintains that doctors should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person’s life.

“This does not include the discontinuation of treatments that are of no medical benefit to a dying patient. This is not euthanasia,” says AMA president Dr Michael Gannon.

The AMA has grave concerns about the VAD Bill now legislated by the Victorian Parliament. It opposed it.

Why I do not support VAD

As an evangelical Christian minister I reject VAD for these reasons:

1. The Guardian Australia Edition (2019) summarised one point: “As this generation [baby boomers] enters its final years, the precept that life is precious irrespective of one’s medical condition is being called into question as never before“.

Human beings are unique and special. God’s view is that we are not higher animals but made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). If human beings are not special, we can do to them what a doctor advocated to me: “We put down dogs, why shouldn’t we offer the elderly in a vegetative state the same?”

Human life is sacred throughout life and in all circumstances, whether one is strong, independent and healthy or weak, dependent and handicapped.

When we reduce human beings to animals, it logically follows that a whole range of horrendous evils could eventuate. God has forbidden that any life be murdered. There is no need for a commandment that says, “You shall not commit euthanasia.” All deliberate, premeditated killing (abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, homicide–war raises some other issues) is covered by the one commandment, “You shall not murder” (Ex 20:13; Matt 5:21).

2. Secondly, we already know the consequences of a permissive approach to euthanasia. We have glaring examples before us of where permissive euthanasia laws will lead us. The Netherlands, Belgium and Canada are examples, but don’t forget what happened in Germany.

In Germany in 1920, there was a publication by a lawyer, Karl Binding, and a psychiatrist, Alfred Hoche, called The Permission to Destroy Life Not Worth Living, that opened the floodgates and led to open discussion and legislation to permit euthanasia in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

Initially, it was seen to have a beneficial social effect in dealing with the so-called “useless” sick.

Why did they do it? For the very same reasons that are being advocated today: compassion, quality of life, and to cut the cost of caring for these so-called “useless people”. They stressed the cost of caring for the handicapped, the disabled (retarded) and the mentally ill. They were called “useless eaters”.

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia: Soviet POWs in the Mauthausen concentration camp, Austria)

This led to experimentation on human beings and genocide. It was a small step from euthanasia to the Nazi killing fields of 6 million Jews, and it is estimated that about 6 million others also were killed.

3. It is a strange paradox that VAD is being strongly promoted at a time when the medical profession has made great advances in the treatment of pain. This is not the time to recommend assistance in the killing of the terminally ill or others.

According to Dr. Bob Allan, president of the ACT branch of the Australian Medical Association, “Modern palliative care ensured that patients should never have to consider euthanasia on the grounds of severe pain. Treatments are available to ensure death with dignity and without pain” happens (The Canberra Times, 3 February 1993, p. 5).

4. VAD degrades the medical profession and has harmful effects on the doctor/patient relationship. It violates the doctor’s pledge to not harm patients, according to The Hippocratic Oath (created by the Greek physician, Hippocrates, ca. 460), which in its common form is taken by many medical doctors upon graduation, dating back to the time of the Greeks, states:

I will follow that system of treatment which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is harmful to them. I will give no deadly drug to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art.

Some medical schools modify this oath.

5. There is a better alternative: promote life and become actively involved in compassionate care for the dying, people who have a disability and other sufferers in our society.

6. I reject euthanasia because I support the 10 commandments and believe it is always wrong to murder or assist with the murder of anybody. The foundation of Australian society has been built on this view.

I also reject euthanasia because it is an attack on the sovereignty of God. We must answer two fundamental questions: Who are human beings? Whose right is it to terminate human life? Jesus Christ said, “I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18).

At the time of the last edit of this article, NSW was the only Australian state that had not legislated VAD.

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 19 March 2020.

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Fitz Files Fail

 

Related image

[image of Margaret Court (nee Smith) courtesy Wikipedia] 

This article first appeared in On Line Opinion, 25 November 2019.

Fitz, your article against Margaret Court (The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 November 2019, Opinion piece) failed fundamental tests of fairness. These include: Your intensely unpleasant homophobic remarks.

When will you and your mass media colleagues ever get a handle on the meaning of ‘homophobic’?

The Lexico/Oxford Dictionary describes homophobic as, ‘having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people’ (Lexico.com 2019. s.v. homophobic).

The Macquarie Dictionary relates homophobia to those who have a ‘fear of homosexuals, usually linked with hostility towards them’ (1997. s.v. homophobia).

Does Margaret Court fear or dislike homosexuals?

Fitz, why your hullabaloo about Margaret Court being homophobic? She rebutted your view in an interview with Vision Christian Radio (31 May 2017) when she stated: ‘I’ve got nothing against homosexual people as individuals. But my stand for my Christian beliefs is for marriage the Bible way’. 7News reported: ‘Margaret Court has said, I love them [homosexuals], I have them in the church‘.

Based on the dictionary definitions, Margaret Court is not homophobic. She presents God’s view of marriage between a man and a woman and not between two people of the same sex.

Jesus confirmed the Genesis teaching in Matthew 19:4-6. A man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. It does not say he will be joined (sexually) with another male. Margaret Court is correct in affirming the biblical view of sexuality in marriage. She is not homophobic but a promoter of God’s view, heterosexuality.

Talks between Israel Folau and Rugby Australia on his compensation claim will resume on Wednesday.Another sports’ star accused of homophobia is Israel Folau, pictured here with his wife, Maria (photo courtesy Lakes Mail).

See ABC News, Brisbane, Qld, Israel Folau to be sacked by Rugby Australia over homophobic comments, 11 April 2019.

Fake news by Fitz

Infographic How to spot fake news published by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (courtesy Wikipedia)

Again you presented fake news about Court’s beliefs. Fake news is ‘false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting’ (Collins Dictionary 2019. s.v. fake news).

You presented sensational false news about Court’s views when she stated ‘I love them (homosexuals)’. You created a homophobic, irrational understanding with your allegations against this former champion tennis player.

What was Margaret Court’s motive in her stand against homosexual marriage?

The Statement of Faith of Victory Life Centre, Perth, states: ‘That Marriage, according to Scripture is between a man and a woman; that man and woman are joined to become one flesh. God created man in His own image, male and female instructing them to be fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:24).

Accusation of Court’s double-standards

Margaret, remember a couple years ago you were ‘citing the Bible’ to proclaim the ‘only legitimate love is that between a man and a woman’. In doing this you asserted ‘those with a different sexuality to you are not your equal’.

These are your hypocrisies: You want the Bible to be your standard for marriage but you don’t use the Bible for your standard on teaching for women in ministry. I know this straight from the Bible you quote.

Fitz flunks the test

Here’s the real crunch for you Margaret: ‘Seeing as the Bible seems to be the only reference point you recognise … I feel I must cite St. Paul’s advice in 1 Timothy 2:12; Ephesians 5:22; and 1 Corinthians 11:3-10’.

Fitz, if you were a student in one of my (Spencer Gear’s) courses at Bible College and gave your expositions of these three passages as you have done here, you would fail the exam. You didn’t come up to the standard because you, an atheist,could not achieve …

  • Proper exegesis of the texts. You cherry picked verses, allegedly against female teachers, without exposition. FAIL !
  • Your citation of 1 Cor 11:3-10 includes both husband and wife who prophesy (vv 3-4). Prophecy cannot happen without words and you didn’t explain what headship means and how women can prophesy in the public gathering of the church. FAIL !
  • Eph 5:22-23, ‘For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church’. What on earth does that have to do with women in ministry? Again, it requires you to expound the meaning of headship. You didn’t. FAIL !
  • 1 Tim 2:12 has caused angst among Bible scholars for 2,000 years because of the unusual word for authority, authentein, used only this one time in the entire New Testament. It has the connotation ‘to domineer’ and in context probably reflects the role of women in promoting errors of the false teachers in Ephesus, where Timothy was located. You provided none of this information. FITZ FAILS !

Related imageElsewhere the Apostle Paul affirmed the ministry of teaching by men and women. See 1 Cor 14:26 and Colossians 3:16-17. There was none of this information in your article. Seems to me you deliberately set out to denigrate Margaret Court’s view of Scripture, her alleged hypocrisy in supporting heterosexual marriage while violating the Bible’s view of women as teachers.

Fitz forgot fundamentals

The Christian faith is built on every-member ministry. It was declared on the Day of Pentecost: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants-men and women alike-and they will prophesy (Acts 2:17-18).

The same Apostle Paul who wrote the words in 1 Corinthians, Ephesians and Timothy also wrote Galatians 3:28, ‘There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus’.

He also wrote: ‘The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ’ (1 Cor 12:12).

Jesus’ death and resurrection broke down the former barriers for women.

Your deconstructionist, reader-response interpretation

Would you want me to read your article the way you interpret Margaret Court’s statements? She stated she loves homosexuals and has them in her church. Your assessment is that Margaret is ‘a homophobic zealot’. Margaret stated clearly what she meant. Fitz twisted this in true deconstructionist, reader-response style.

Deconstruction can be slippery to define but it briefly means that Fitz writes about Mrs Court but she doesn’t mean what we think she means in promoting heterosexuality. You went searching for other meanings as a deconstructionist as ‘other meanings are always there’. That’s not the way I read The Sydney Morning Herald or Manning Clark’s, The History of Australia.

(image courtesy The Public Domain)

Reader-response is a postmodern, deconstructionist approach to reading literature where meaning does not reside in the text. ‘Words in a text evoke images in readers’ minds and readers bring their experiences to this encounter. Because individuals have different life experiences, it is almost certain that no two readers or reading sessions will form the exact same interpretation of a text’.

You deconstructed Margaret’s meaning and imposed your interpretation as a reader on what she wrote.

Let me try this approach with your article:

At Tennis Australia (TA) we have no religious views whatsoever, and welcome everyone. That’s what TA would like to say but we have a commitment to equality that excludes fundamentalist Christians, as your statements demonstrate. Intense feelings arise in TA members towards you, Margaret Court. You have brought disrepute on TA with your bigotry towards the LGBTI+ community.

Fitz, would you approve of my promoting that view, based on your article? Of course not, but that’s what you’ve done with putting words into Margaret Court’s mouth about the LGBTI+ community not being equal with the straights and the way she ‘trashed the gays’. This is Fitz deconstructing Mrs Court with his reader-response interpretation.

Wake up, Fitz. You don’t know the Scriptures you prepared to promote PC, fake, reader-response news to disparage Margaret Court’s statements. Based on how you have ruined the reputation by fake news of Margaret Court, I can’t read your articles with confidence that you tell the truth.

I call upon you to promote the accurate meaning of homophobic. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as ‘involving a fear or dislike of gay people’ (2019. s.v. homophobic).

Margaret Court, based on her own statements, does not fear or dislike gay people. She loves them and has them in her church, Victory Life Centre, Perth – so is not homophobic.

Telling The Truth Clipart Image(image courtesy clker.com)

 

Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 04 December 2019.

Is Natural Law unchangeable?

Image result for clipart Natural Law public domain

(image courtesy Clipart Library)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

How would you respond to this challenge?

Everyone on earth, in the civilized world, believes in the Natural Truth. A truth that is by its very nature accepted by everyone. The main reason for its acceptance is that it keeps the society in an orderly condition and avoids chaos.
I said in the civilized world because cannibals believe it is right to kill someone for their food; but they would still stop at killing each other for this purpose.
I believe some here, and I agree, are saying that today even the Natural Truth is being transgressed. Abortion, euthanasia are examples.
[1]

This person explained further:

I don’t know if I can say Christianity is the Truth because not everyone accepts it.
I CAN say that it is true. Why? Because no one else, Buddha, Krishna, etc. ever claimed to be God.

Also, there is the resurrection which I believe to be true because I trust the Apostles who said so.

Pilot asked Jesus “what is the truth”. Jesus did not reply because Pilot could not accept the truth, even though he was staring it in the face.

Pilot did not even accept the Natural Truth. Anyone who could crucify someone does not have the truth.

Whereas Jesus embodied the Truth. He was Natural Truth personified since HE wrote it![2]

1.  Who invented the Natural Law perspective?

The view that Natural Laws are immutable (unchangeable) was an argument against miracles that was popularised in the 1670s by Jewish pantheist, Benedict Spinoza.[3] As you may know, pantheism is the worldview that God is everything and everyone-everything is God.

Spinoza’s argument went like this:

  1. Miracles are violations of natural laws;
  2. Natural laws are immutable;
  3. It is impossible to violate immutable laws;
  4. So, miracles are impossible.

If we follow Spinoza’s philosophy/worldview, then natural laws cannot be overpowered and that puts an end to miracles.

The basic problem with Spinoza’s view of Natural Law is that it commits the begging the question fallacy or engages in circular reasoning. This fallacy includes the conclusion in its premises, directly or indirectly. It assumes the conclusion is true and places it in its presuppositions.

This is where Spinoza’s worldview needs to be exposed. His presupposition was that there is no theistic God who performs miracles because he was a pantheist and did not believe in the personal, theist Yahweh.

We know from the evidence of creation (whether one accepts it from Scripture or the Big Bang of science) that we have evidence of the greatest miracle of all in creation of the universe out of nothing. This example of the violation of Natural Law demonstrates that the Natural Law (miracle performed) is not immutable.

It has been put this way by Geisler & Turek:

We also know that natural laws are not immutable because they are descriptions of what happens, not prescriptions of what must happen. Natural laws don’t really cause anything, they only describe what regularly happens in nature. They describe the effects of the four known natural forces – gravitational, magnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. Once you introduce intelligent beings into the picture, natural forces can be over powered. We know that those forces can be overpowered because we do so ourselves every day.
For example, when a baseball player catches a falling baseball, he is overpowering the force of gravity. We do the same whenever we fly planes or blast off into space. In such cases, gravity is not changed, it is simply overpowered. If finite beings like us can overpower natural forces, then certainly the infinite Being who created those forces can do so (Geisler & Turek 2004:204).?

After making this post online, the person dealing with Natural Law responded and stated she ‘was speaking to moral law’.[4]

2.  God does not change his mind.

The difference between Natural Law and moral laws is that universal moral laws are based on the nature of God and he is immutable. These verses affirm the unchanging nature of God:

  • Num 23:19 (NLT), ‘God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?’
  • Mal 3:6 (NLT), ‘I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed’.
  • James 1:17 (NLT), ‘Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow’.

So whether under God’s revelations in the OT or NT, God is declared to be one who by essence/nature never changes.

3.  God is the standard of morality.

That standard is established in the moral laws contained in the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 and the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). Because the moral laws are related to the nature and attributes of God, they cannot be changed. God can intervene in natural laws through instances such as miracles and providence[5], but he cannot change moral laws because they are based on his nature.

Thus, God’s moral laws are absolute and not relativistic.

My response to the person who clarified she was referring to the moral law was:[6]

Image result for clipart God morality(image courtesy 123RF.com)

Since you were speaking about moral law and not Natural Law, it is important to note that the Natural Law is not based on God’s attributes/nature and so Natural Law is changeable. God can penetrate it with miracles. NASA can violate Natural Law with its space crafts.

However, God can’t defy his moral laws as they are based on his nature. Murder, adultery, theft, lying and covetousness are wrong (e.g. Ex 20 ESV) because they are based on God’s nature. The introduction to the Ten Commandments in Ex 20:1-2 (NLT) is: ‘Then God gave the people all these instructions: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery’. So God declares who he is, ‘the Lord your God’, before declaring the commandments for the Israelites to live by. God’s nature as the Lord God is what determines the content of his commands.

Yes, God can do anything (except sin) and is not limited, but that is based on God’s self-revelation in Scripture. Spinoza did not accept that view as a pantheist – even though he was a Jew and should have known better.

I agree that the moment we speak of God as a ‘person’ (as in the 3 persons of the Trinity), it is way too easy to presume we know the characteristics of a person, based on human understanding. However, the truth is that we need to allow God to define and describe his nature/person of himself. Here we search the Scriptures for accurate descriptions of God’s personhood.

4.  God’s law written on the human heart.

There’s a revealing Scripture in Rom 2:12-15 (NLT):

12 When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. 13 For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. 14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.

No people will get off scot-free before God, even if they have not heard the Gospel of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus. This is because God has revealed in Scripture that God’s law is written in the hearts of all Gentiles and their consciences and thoughts will accuse them or confirm they are right before God.

5.  Conclusion

The Natural Law is a philosophical concept invented by Spinoza. It is not unchangeable (immutable) and authoritarian (prescriptive). Instead, natural laws describe what happens and do not prescribe what must happen. Natural laws cannot cause anything; they described what actually happens in nature.

God’s moral law that commands ethical standards is based on the nature of God and examples include the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. The Jews depended on the OT Law for their standards while the Christian depends on the NT commands, Matt 5-7 being one example. Non-Jews (Gentiles) have the moral law of God in their hearts and their consciences or thoughts that condemn or clear them of guilt.

6.  Works consulted

Geisler, N L & Turek, F 2004. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books.

7.  Notes

[1] Christian Forums.net 2016. Is the world really searching for truth? Wondering#191, 6 December. Available at: http://christianforums.net/Fellowship/index.php?threads/is-the-world-really-searching-for-truth.67081/page-10 (Accessed 10 December 2016).

[2] Ibid., Wondering#193.

[3] In ibid., OzSpen$256. I have received some helpful information on this view from Geisler & Turek (2004:203-204).

[4] Ibid., Wonder#258.

[5] ‘Providence, then, is the sovereign, divine superintendence of all things, guiding them toward their divinely predetermined end in a way that is consistent with their created nature, all to the glory and praise of God. This divine, sovereign, and benevolent control of all things by God is the underlying premise of everything that is taught in the Scriptures’ (Bible Study Tools 2016. s v Providence of God).

[6] Christian Forums.net 2016. Is the world really searching for truth? OzSpen#259.

Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 14 September 2019.

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Can Labor change to religious values?

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(Logo, Australian Labor Party – http://www.alp.org.au/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60934220 courtesy Wikipedia)

By Spencer Gear PhD

This article was first published as, Can a Labor leopard change its spots? On Line Opinion (19 September 2019).

Can the Labor Party win back voters lost at the last election through changes of policies? Or will religious people see it as a suck up for political gain and not for genuine religious commitment?

Before the 18 May 2019 election, the shadow treasurer and immovable Chris Bowen reiterated: ‘If you don’t like our policies, don’t vote for us’. Many took his advice and Labor lost the election.

After the election he backed off a bit, ‘I have noticed as I have been around during the election campaign and even in the days since … how often it has been raised with me that people of faith no longer feel that progressive politics cares about them,’ he told reporters in Sydney’. He got that one right.

1.  Considered changes

The defeat influenced Mark Butler, shadow minister for climate change & energy, to speak out, ‘Everything is up for review’. Everything? Really? Does that include Labor’s radical pro-Greens, left wing agenda on abortion, euthanasia and religious freedom?

Labor frontbencher and communications’ spokesperson, Michelle Rowland, stated: ‘I don’t think it’s lost on anyone that there was clearly an issue with Labor and people of faith at the last election.’ She added: ‘There is a sense that we didn’t get it right’ – about religious views.

2.  ALP policies and people of faith

In my understanding of a Christian world and life view – informed by Scripture – Labor needs radical changes in these values but I can’t see it happening because the libertarian left-wing seems to dominate policy content. The issues surround …

(a) Abortion;

(b) Voluntary, assisted dying; i.e. voluntary, active euthanasia,

(c) Freedom of religion, and

(d) LGBTIQ ‘equality’, including homosexual marriage.

3.  Clash with Labor’s policies

How is it possible for these Labor policies to be accommodated with religious views when they are so opposed to some religious views? These Labor policies include:

(a) Improve access to affordable, legal ‘surgical and medical terminations across Australia, including decriminalisation in all States and Territories and the provision of abortion in public hospitals’ (ALP National Platform, No. 102),

Image result for image of Nembutal public domain(image courtesy OAK, public domain)

(b) ‘People must have dignity and choice at the end of life … not only in terms of where they wish to die, but when to die’ (No. 42).

(c) ‘Labor believes no faith, no religion, no set of beliefs should ever be used as an instrument of division or exclusion, and condemning anyone, discriminating against anyone, vilifying anyone is a violation of the values we all share’ (No. 239).

This is where Labor went in her antagonism to religious freedom. Senator Penny Wong, leader of the Opposition in the Senate, in 2018 introduced a Private Senator’s Bill to try to restrict power of ‘religious schools to discriminate against same sex attracted students’.

(d) ‘Labor is proud to have led the fight for marriage equality’, thus making it ‘a reality for LGBTIQ Australians on 9 December 2017. Labor welcomes and celebrates the achievement’ (No. 240).

Is Labor whistling in the political wind if it promotes those four policies and yet expects religious people to become members and vote for them? Let’s check out how religious values can be at odds with Labor’s pushing a progressive and libertine agenda.

4.  Religious values clash with ALP policies

(a) The Roman Catholic Church’s position is: ‘I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral’, Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 1995. Here he referred to abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of human embryos in medical research. The Vatican opposes (a) in the Labor Platform.

Cherish Life Australia, The Australian Christian Lobby, Family Voice Australia, Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church, and other Christian denominations oppose abortion and euthanasia.

Crows[1] and flying foxes (bats)[2] are protected but not unborn babies and the elderly.

(b) Whose right is it to murder any person from conception to the end of natural life?

For Bible-believing Christians, it is not a government’s responsibility to murder unborn children, the aged, or the terminally ill.

“You [Lord God] made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb (Psalm 139:13-16).

A human being, made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27; James 3:9) is one who is defined by pronouns such as ‘my’, ‘me’, and ‘I’, as references to a person in the womb – a person murdered in an abortion.

Unborn babies are called ‘children,’ the same word used of infants and young children (Luke 1:41, 44; 2:12, 16; Exodus 21:22), and sometimes even of adults (1 Kings 3:17).

The most startling affirmation of the sanctity of prenatal life is the incarnation of Jesus Christ. His personal history on earth began, not when he was ‘born of the Virgin Mary’, but when he was ‘conceived by the Holy Spirit’ (see Matt.1:18, 20).

The beginning of life is confirmed by the medical profession. Dr Micheline Matthews-Roth, research associate of Harvard University Medical School affirmed ‘it is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception’.

As for shortening an adult’s life through euthanasia or assisted suicide, whose right is it to do that? The biblical position is:

Image result for clipart small globe  Creator God is the source of life (Acts 17:28) and death (‘The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of the Lord’ – Job 1:20-21).

Image result for clipart small globe  ‘Although it may sometimes appear to be an act of compassion, killing is never a means of caring’. ‘Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too’ (Phil 2:4). Instead of killing the elderly and unwell, the Christian responsibility is to care for them. Promotion of increased resources for palliative care should be the replacement for euthanasia.

No matter how many emotional examples are given about suffering at the end of life, whose right is it to choose the end of life? It belongs to God.

(c) Attack on values of religious organisations, including churches, social welfare organisations, free speech, hospitals and schools played a part in the 2019 election.

white ruled notebook on blue denim textile(image courtesy Rachel Lynette French)

After the election, commentator Miranda Divine told The Catholic Weekly (20 May 2019) that those dubbed by Morrison as the ‘quiet Australians’ were a key factor in the outcome.

Religious Australians were ‘sick of being derided’ by Shorten, Plibersek and Wong who treated them as ‘morally inferior’ since they weren’t in favour of a radical social and socialist agenda.

She continued: ‘Playing in the background was the Israel Folau saga, which Shorten gratuitously dragged into the campaign as a weapon against Morrison, trying to portray his devout Christianity as bigotry’.

Divine demonstrated how the booth by booth swings in Western Sydney told the story of the faith vote.

The Australian Christian Lobby’s managing director Martyn Iles confirmed a clear mandate was given to Morrison to legislate for religious freedom and to resist radical social policies. He contended that this result in key marginal electorates was partly on account of Labor’s policies which undermine religious freedom, parents’ rights, and pushed a radical social agenda out of step with mainstream Australian values’.

(d) Christianity’s and Islam’s views on sexuality are radically different to Labor’s.

· There is no need for Jesus to state, ‘You shall not commit homosexual acts’ as he promoted the biblical norm of heterosexuality: ‘That’s why a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. The two will become one’ (Matthew 19:5). The New Testament further emphasises the ‘shameful desires’ of lesbian and male homosexual acts that prevent a person from entering the kingdom of God (Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9-11), a la Israel Folau. There was jubilation in Parliament in 2017 with the passing of the same-sex marriage Bill but that’s not the way it was in the courts of heaven.

  • The verses cited above also include the sexually immoral and adulterers who will not inherit God’s kingdom.
  • The Muslim condemnation of homosexuality is based on the ‘story of Lot (prophet Lut) and his family and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is mentioned in the Qur’an, verses 7:80, 11:77, 15:59, 21:71, 26:161, 27:55, 29:26, 37:133, and 54:33’.

That’s the biblical view but not that of liberal churches such as Gosford NSW Anglican.

5.  Labor’s wishful thinking

Labor recognised the problem with people of faith. It can claim ‘everything is up for review’ but with the evidence above, I can’t see that happening because of the ingrained left-wing, anti-biblical agenda on social issues.

Then add the hard-line, pro-abortion women in politics of Emily’s List – mainly in the Labor Party.

Australian Catholic University academic, Kevin Donnelly, said he believed Labor and the Greens ‘were in denial that they lost votes over religious freedom and parent’s rights in education’. Morrison was seen as a rational person and ‘the vast majority of people who are not politically-correct and ideologically-driven’ saw his statements on ‘issues such as the environment and sexuality’. Thirty percent of parents have their children in private education.

According to the 2016 National Church Life Survey, ‘41 per cent of church-attending Christians voted for the Liberal-National Party, and 24 per cent voted for Labor’.

If Labor wants to re-engage with the religious, it won’t happen through fake communication to gain political points. Where are the genuine Christians, Muslims and Hindus within Labor?

Patrick Parkinson noted that John Black, a former Labor senator and demographer, stated that ‘Queensland has a substantial number of religiously active voters across numerous marginal constituencies. Black notes that of the top 25 seats ranked for those active in religion, 15 are in Queensland’.

So, there are enough religiously active voters to tip an election towards parties that have policies that genuinely reflect the religious view of the electorates. Labor in 2019 did not satisfy those criteria.

I’ll believe Labor is serious about promoting religious values when I see more people like The Honourable Shayne Neumann MP (Labor Federal Member for Blair, Qld), an active member of a Baptist Church, promoted in ALP ranks. I’m yet to be convinced their values synchronise with a biblical world view.

Christians such as firebrand Senator Amanda Stoker (Queensland) and Qld MP, the Honourable Fiona Simpson MP, have been endorsed by the LNP.

6.  Notes

[1] See: http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/clean-and-green/natural-environment-and-water/biodiversity-in-brisbane/wildlife-in-brisbane/living-with-wildlife/torresian-crow (Accessed 12 September 2019).

[2] ‘It is important to remember that state governments, irrespective of national listing status, consider all species of flying-fox to be protected native species’. Available at: https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/flying-fox-law (Accessed 12 September 2019).

Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 13 September 2019

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Thou shalt not kill / murder

Breaking the sixth commandment

By Spencer D Gear PhD

How should Christians respond to terminal illness, suffering and euthanasia? How should a government respond to a request for euthanasia with this kind of facial disease?

Should this heart-breaking story be enough to push a society over the edge to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide? Are emotional, heartbreaking stories like this one enough to convince politicians it’s time to stop the pain and approve the killing of such a person – with her informed consent?

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(image courtesy El Mundo)                                          (image courtesy The Deep Portal)

Chantal Sébire was a French schoolteacher who developed a rare form of cancer which severely disfigured her eye-sockets and face. She also lost her senses of sight, taste and smell’. She died in 2008 from a drug overdose when the French government would not grant her the right to euthanasia’ (courtesy Ranker).

Image result for photo Kerry Robertson euthanasia Victoria(Photo: Jacqui Hicks, left, and Nicole Robertson, right, were with mum Kerry Robertson when she died. (Go Gentle Australia), ABC News, Brisbane Qld)

On 19 June, 2019 in the Australian State of Victoria voluntary assisted dying was legalised. The first person euthanised (killed) under this legislation was Kerry Robertson, aged 61, who had lived with cancer for about 10 years. She died, surrounded by family, in a Bendigo nursing home on 15 July 2019.

1. Rejecting euthanasia

Martyn Iles was the new managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), as of 2018. I received an emailer from ACL that included Martyn’s brief, but exceptional article, Dr David Goodall, euthanasia, and suffering‘.

It contains the line, ‘If we rip off the band-aid that says, “thou shalt not kill” in such circumstances, we are asking for a myriad of troubles’.

2. Does it mean, ‘Thou shalt not kill’?

I encourage Martyn and other writers for ACL not to use this erroneous KJV translation, ‘Thou shalt not kill’. The correct translation from the Hebrew (Ex 20:13) and Greek (Matt 19:18) is: ‘You shall not murder’. These various translations correct the meaning of Thou shalt not kill” (LXX ou phoneuseis)   and ‘You shall not murder’ (Hebrew lo tir?a?) for Exodus 20:13.

The better translation of Ex 20:13 is found in these translations:

  • NKJV: You shall not murder.
  • ESV: You shall not murder. The footnote for ‘murder’ states, ‘The Hebrew word also covers causing human death through carelessness or negligence’.
  • NRSV: You shall not murder. The footnote is, ‘or kill’.
  • NIV: You shall not murder.
  • NLT: You must not murder.

If it means ‘you shall not kill’, God contradicted himself many times in the OT. A couple examples are:

Joshua 6 describes the destruction of Jericho (the Canaanites) at God’s command. Why would God authorise such murder? Norman Geisler explained:

Israel was commanded by God to completely exterminate the Canaanite inhabitants of the land including men, women, and children. This has been called a primitive and barbaric act of murder perpetrated on innocent lives.

Several factors must be kept in mind in viewing this situation.

(1) There is a difference between murder and justifiable killing. Murder involves intentional and malicious hatred which leads to life-taking. On the other hand, the Bible speaks of permissible life-taking in capital punishment (Gen. 9:6), in self defense (Exod. 22:2), and in a justifiable war (Gen. 14).

(2) The Canaanites were by no means innocent. They were a people cursed of God from their very beginning (Gen. 9:25). They were a vile people who practiced the basest forms of immorality. God described their sin vividly in these words, “I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants” (Lev. 18:25).

(3) Further, the innocent people of the land were not slaughtered. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah clearly demonstrates that God would save a whole city for ten righteous people (Gen. 18:22f.). In that incident, when God could not find ten righteous people, He took the four or five righteous ones out of the place so as not to destroy them with the wicked (Gen. 19:15). On another occasion God saved some thirty-two thousand people who were morally pure (Num. 31:35). Another notable example is Rahab, whom God saved because she believed (cf. Heb. 11:31).

(4) God waited patiently for hundreds of years, giving the wicked inhabitants of Canaan time to repent (cf. 2 Peter 3:9) before He finally decided to destroy them (Gen. 15:16). When their iniquity was “full,” divine judgment fell. God’s judgment was akin to surgery for cancer or amputation of a leg as the only way to save the rest of a sick body. Just as cancer or gangrene contaminates the physical body, those elements in a society—if their evil is left to fester—will completely contaminate the rest of society.

(5) Finally, the battle confronting Israel was not simply a religious war; it was a theocratic war. Israel was directly ruled by God and the extermination was God’s direct command (cf. Exod. 23:27-30; Deut. 7:3-6; Josh. 8:24-26). No other nation either before or after Israel has been a theocracy. Thus, those commands were unique. Israel as a theocracy was an instrument of judgment in the hands of God. (Norman L. Geisler, A Popular Survey of the Old Testament, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1977, pp. 99-100, in ‘How could a loving God tell the Israelites to kill their enemies, even children?’)

Jesus confirmed this commandment, ‘You know the commandments: xDo not murder….’ (Mark 10:19).

God authorised the murder / killing of many people according to the OT and he authorised the command not to murder in the NT.

2.1 Mistranslation of ‘kill’

The mistranslation of the word as ‘kill’ includes these translations: Wycliffe Bible (1395), Tyndale (1536), the Bishop’s Bible (1568),  the Geneva Bible (1599), Douay-Rheims (1610), KJV (1611), ASV, RSV,  NAB, and NJB.

The translations that correctly render the word as ‘murder’ include: NRSV, NKJV, NLT, NIV, NIRV, NASB, NABRE, LEB, ISV, HCSB, GNB, ESV, Complete Jewish Bible, YLT, and REB.

Why is ‘kill’ a mistranslation? The Hebrew uses the word, rasah, which is a specific word for murder in the 6th commandment. This does not prohibit capital punishment, but is in harmony with Gen 9:6.  Rasah is not a general word for ‘kill’ as we have in English.
The next chapter of Exodus gives and example that demonstrates Ex 20:13 does not refer to general killing: ‘Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death’ (Ex 21:12 NIV).

We need to remember that God is not against killing: ‘… without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness’ (Heb 9:22 NIV).

As Professor Berel Lang of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut (USA) has noted:

“The original Hebrew, lo tirtsah., is very clear, since the verb ratsah. means ‘murder,’ not ‘kill.’ If the commandment proscribed killing as such, it would position Judaism against capital punishment and make it pacifist even in wartime. These may be defensible or admirable views, but they’re certainly not biblical” (cited in Andrew Holt PhD).

3. Conclusion

There would be a substantial contradiction created by God if his command was, ‘You shall not kill’, as God Himself ordered the killing of many people, Israelites and Gentiles in the OT. He also ordered the killing of Jesus on the cross (Matt 27:46; John 3:16; 2 Cor 5:21).

The exegesis of Ex 20:13 and Matt 19:18 demonstrates that the correct translation is, ‘You shall not murder’ and not ‘you shall not kill’.

Both medical science and Scripture confirm that the life of a human being begins at conception/implantation. See my articles:

clip_image004 Abortion and Life: A Christian Perspective

clip_image004[1]Exodus 21:22-23 and abortion

clip_image004[2]    The Church Fathers on Abortion

clip_image004[3]When an abortion goes horribly wrong

Therefore, I conclude that abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide involve the murder of a human being and should be criminal offences.

Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 10 August 2019.

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Journalist is out of biblical depth

 

By Spencer D Gear PhD

 

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(photo Israel Folau courtesy The South African)

 

I came across this excellent secular article by Harry Richardson in The Pickering Post, ‘Israel Sparks a Holy War’, 21 April 2019

I consider it to be an excellent well constructed defence of Folau from a secular source. In the article, he makes it obvious he is not supportive of supernatural Christianity.
I’d like to pick up on one of Richardson’s comments: Nowhere in the Bible does it say that equality is a virtue. Tolerance, inclusiveness and diversity don’t get a mention either‘.

How does this statement line up with biblical content?

  • If equality is not a virtue, how do we interpret Adam & Eve being made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27) and after the Fall, human beings were still said to be in God’s image (Genesis 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7) and likeness of God (James 3:9). Does that mean the Bible teaches equality by all of us being made in God’s image?

For an explanation of the meaning of human beings being made in God’s image, see: ‘What does it mean that humanity is made in the image of God (imago dei)?’ (Got Questions 2019)

  • What about the warning against prejudice/favouritism in James 2 (NLT)?
  • Equality as a virtue is taught in Rom 2:11, ‘For God does not show favoritism’. Human beings demonstrate inequality but God doesn’t.
  • As for tolerance, it is a Christian virtue. As a foundation for life and the nations, it is the belief that the truth will come out eventually. This is a Christian understanding of tolerance: ‘Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love’ (Eph 4:2). In fact, the Christian advocates much more than tolerance. We are told to love our neighbours and our enemies (Mark 12:31; Luke 6:27-36);
  • Is inclusiveness a biblical virtue? Yes it is (see Gal 3:28 for believers). What about for unbelievers? See Mark 2:15-17 (NLT).
  • Diversity is promoted in the multiplicity of gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12; Eph 4:11-12; Rom 12:6-8).

I think Richardson should take a couple Bible courses such as ‘Introduction to the New Testament’ and ‘Survey of the Bible’. He doesn’t know his Bible well enough to make an informed comment like he has made.

 

Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 14 July 2019.

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