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Letters to the editor graphic by Uniting Communications.
Graphic: Uniting Communications

Letters to the Editor – Summer 2018

No time to have a broken rudder

I certainly agree with you that “Christian men” (and I would add women as well) in Australia need to think deeply about many matters of faith today. It is very important to know where you stand personally in matters of your vital faith and “be ready to give a reasoned account of the hope, (certainty), we have within us” (1Peter 3:15). This certainly is not the time in this world’s history to be carried around “this way and that” like a yacht with a broken rudder (James 1:6-8). I for one find security in God’s revelation rather than the wisdom of humankind, when the two seem to be in conflict.

As followers of the Christ, who is absolute truth, I believe it is likewise so important that we take particular care not to imply or manipulate words or thoughts in a way that may, by intention or without such, deviate or muddle another person’s thinking in a particular direction, thus manipulating, sometimes even bullying the other in that way.

As I read the second last paragraph of your editorial it seemed that there could be a subtle example of just what I have attempted to describe above (please forgive me if I am wrong in this). However, if instead of the Numbers 5 quote, you had written any one of a number of other OT references, such as Leviticus 20:10 etc. it would be obvious to any young person looking it up that this is part of a number of social legislations for the Jewish people as an emerging separated nation, and that person would say to themselves, “I obviously couldn’t do that today, it’s against the laws of Australia”.

Returning to my first point. We, as a special people called by God, acknowledge that the Old Testament points to the coming Christ (as he revealed to his grief-stricken disciples, see Luke 24:27), but beyond that, as those led by the Holy Spirit in the formulation of the Basis of Union explained, he is the Word, the complete revelation and expression of God.

So for my part, and I believe there are also very many others who would stand with me on this point, on the subject of the definition of marriage and all other vital matters of life and faith we need to carefully take our foundations from what Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, has said.

Rev Dr Rob Corrie

Christ cannot be confined

Our church congregation is breaking up on the issue of same sex marriage. Some have left the church.

Religion sometimes is the opium of the masses
but also the clarion call for people to gather to wage war against those who do not believe in their brand of religion. We see this in evangelical America and the Middle East. Apartheid and slavery were justified on grounds that God created them differently to live separately! A recent twitter said anyone against Trump or Christianity has the sign of Lucifer on their forehead! Nations go to war on the basis of religion.

Anything that separates one being from another is sin, in my vocabulary. That includes religion. I accept Christ at his word. There should not be any disagreement between what Christ said and what the Bible teaches, but if there is one, I will always stand by what Christ said.

Is there salvation outside Christ; certainly not. Is there Christ-likeness outside Christianity: yes, because I have seen it in the lives of others. Christ cannot be confined to our little beliefs of rights and wrongs. He breaks out of these confinements; because he is God. If our beliefs limit our capacity to love the “other” as we love our own, then Christ will stand against and outside such thinking.

Derrick Fernando

Asking the right questions

It was a pleasure to read the new bigger format Journey magazine (Spring 2018). The inclusion of longer articles that take enquiring minds more deeply into the discourse on important topics is greatly appreciated by myself and many others I associate with. It is obvious that the future of organised religion is dependent on the right questions being asked and the church applying itself to engaging in a conversation that includes all of its constituents.

Journey has the potential to be a vital part of capturing the thoughts and experience of the sleeping giant of the “people in the pews” as
well as those who have moved away from the church for many reasons. More of the same from the past is not going to take us into the lives of contemporary Australians.

A bold and new energetic approach that acknowledges change and recognises the many ways in which people are finding relevance for their lives will take us out of a “fortress mentality” that wants to lock into medieval church doctrine and practices that no longer engage most people.

Please continue to challenge us with issues and ideas that locate Jesus in the 21st century as you help us witness to him and follow his teaching.

Dr Paul Inglis
CEO, UCFORUM ucforum.unitingchurch.org.au

A church divided cannot stand

Recently we all had to say yes or no to same gender marriages being conducted in our church buildings. I am saddened by this.

I thought, as we professed to follow Christ and his teachings, that such a question should have never been asked.

God spells out clearly from the Old Testament and the New, that homosexuality is a sin and that needs to be repented of. It’s not Love as so many people claim, it’s disobedience.

We can’t water down or twist God’s word to suit ourselves. God’s laws are absolute and perfect and the only way to be forgiven is to repent and turn away from disobeying our creator.

Are we, who call ourselves followers of Christ, allowing unrepentant sinful conduct into our congregations, and are we being asked to put aside God’s laws to suit the ways these people want to live?

A house (or church) divided against itself
cannot stand.

Barbara Lanham

Editor’s response

The Uniting Church in Australia seeks to be an inclusive church that embraces LGBTIQ people as full members of the church community and celebrates diversity.

To paraphrase former President Stuart McMillan, a Christian community modelled on Jesus’ unconditional love and acceptance is what the Uniting Church strives to attain. Paul’s statements in Romans are that we belong to one another and the commandment is to love and to put the interests of others ahead of our own interests.

For further information about the Uniting Church’s approach to human sexuality, marriage and theology visit assembly.uca.org.au/resources/marriage/item/2824-history

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