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Downgrading Clerical Liberty
Gets its Come-Uppance
The Advertiser, August 28, 2003
BEING DISCRIMINATING ... OR DISCRIMINATORY ?
There is report of Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, having a little comment on some forms of clerical liberty. The point appears to be this: that they are too large, ought to be decreased.
In what way ought they to be decreased ? In this way, it seems: that those amateurs who, drawn by a desire for the limelight, or footlight, or the focus, or some other silhouette boosting and newsworthy device, happen to be clergymen (or alas biblically forbidden varieties of the same, presumably - cf. Assault on Timothy), and speak on political matters, ought to be reduced or denuded in numbers. They are astray, ought not to be astray, and should correct their aberrant behaviour.
It seems that, contrary to the opinion of many, politics is serious professional stuff, has a regime and regimen of serious intelligence of one kind or another, and that that sub-species of mortality (though no doubt some of them are granted that immortality of which Paul speaks, being believers, a decreasingly obvious phenomenon cf. II Timothy 3:1-5) known as clerics, or the clergy, or clergypersons, or whatever other cognomen may be wished, are NOT to litter speech in this domain.
It would at least seem that in this outline of their personages, to a significant extent, they simply do not have it.
They should stick, Downer appeared to consider, to the fundamentals of the Christian faith. He mourned the loss of the time when this was clear among clergy, noting disbelief was common among senior members of it.
WHAT IS FUNDAMENTAL ?
When you are dealing with an ecclesiastical body like the Anglican one, there is a strong element of hierarchy (as indeed, in another sort of way, there is in the Salvation Army, who can have Majors and Generals). Anglicanism prefers bishops, arch-bishops and primates. In Australia they have one of the last named who has given his faith in terms like this: that you really do not need to believe in Jesus Christ as the only way to God, because in these days you can't really do it!
Now the astute reader will perhaps be wondering what on earth or elsewhere, Anglicanism has to do with clergy being more mute than is the current case!
He or she might ask: So ? The point then is this, that Alexander Downer identified himself freely as an Anglican. Very well, presumably an Australian Anglican, rather than part of the US body which recently ordained a homosexual bishop, who felt remarkably and explicitly free of concern at the concern of some: that this new venture into the theological void was novelty itself! No, presumably not that, or perhaps the English Anglican variety, which recently had a bishop in waiting resign, rather than cause the division which the Archbishop's nomination of him as bishop had caused. He had, he declared, when in seminary, acknowledged the homosexual aspect of his personal living, and the man in charge had averred that this would make a man of him, in view of his so-called introverted nature. (On this topic, it is well to read such a treatise as that of the renowned scientist and author, Dr. A.E. Wilder Smith in his book, AIDS!)
No, it is perhaps just the Australian sort of Anglican which is involved here, where it is not necessary to believe, according to the man they love to have as Primate (whatever that is when ONE is your master and ALL of you are brethren, so that you should CALL NO MAN on earth master - Matthew 23:8-10) … believe in what ?
It is, the reported opinion is, not necessary to believe in Christ as the ONLY way to GOD. That was the Primate’s reported view*1A. Thus, it might seem that this takes care of the fundamentals of the Christian faith in a way more to be desired than speaking out as amateurs on political issues concerning the nation.
It is less than apparent why this would be so. If the fundamentals of the Christian faith do not involve what John's Gospel tells us is sufficient to leave a person abiding in the wrath of God (John 3:36), because of wilful rejection (3:19) of the glorious and global offer of Christ (3:16), who as God (8:58, 5:19-23) took a human form (1:14) in order to become a sacrificial substitute for man (Galatians 3:10-13), even as many of them as believed in Him (1:12-14), then what would or could they involve ? Ask I John 2, for there the apostle will tell you all over again. Ask Jesus Christ (John 14:6 - "No man comes to the Father except by Me!") and He will tell you. Ask His words (John 12:48-50) about what are going to judge people and they will tell you! Leave them, leave Him. His mouth is not available for closure, even if Parliament sometimes is.
It is not so available, that is, if you believe in Him; for that is too selective... Indeed, MY WORDS, He roundly declared, will JUDGE. There is no sort of specious special case matter, like jobs for the boys: it is TAKE IT AS HE IS; OR LEAVE IT.
What then are these fundamentals when it is fundamentally ACCEPTABLE or at least tolerable*1 to have someone depart, as Leader of the Church of England in Australia, from what Christ made clear is the fundamental ground of judgment.
What is that ? It is what HE said closely allied to WHO HE IS! THIS is what HE said and it is the rank opposite of what the Primate is reported to have said, giving even his 'reason' for this new kind of faith in terms of cultural conditions. God is not the captive of culture, however; rather culture is the captive of sin.
If Christ is not fundamental to the Christian faith, which is founded on HIM, so that there is NO OTHER FOUNDATION (I Corinthians 3:10-11), what is ? Is the church to make its own christs ? If so, why call it by the name 'Christian' ? Why not call it 'Christ-Makers inc.'? Paul of course spoke of this propensity in II Corinthians 11, when he spoke of some people who way back then also had this grand sort of revisionist passion, and decided to present some OTHER Jesus and some OTHER Gospel with some OTHER Spirit, and this led the apostle in his inspiration from God (II Peter 3:16, I Corinthians 2:9-13), to declare them so way out and far out that such terms as these just used, were mild compared with actual words of judgment he brought down on these ... 'workers'. They make illuminating reading, so it is suggested, read them for yourself!
THIS was the apostle's presentation. Small wonder: making christs is easy; being Christ is divine.
WHAT IS FUNDAMENTAL TO THE FAITH ?
You may say: Is this not playing the man ? Do you need to refer to Anglicanism, just because the Foreign Minister declares he is one, and proceeds to speak of those who do this too free thing, in the realm of politics which, you may remember, was speaking about its issues when only amateurish clerics act.
Not really: for you see, if there is a question of IDENTIFYING oneself in a milieu of JUDGING certain people called clerical persons, in these terms, and of indicating, even if slightly indirectly, that FUNDAMENTALS of the Christian faith should be the actual locale, not politics, of their speech, then it is necessary to address oneself to the question: What then does the speaker who put these concepts together, mean us to gather from his speech ? Is he a professional theologian, then, to use his own sort of evident concept of restriction, that he so speaks ? Not apparently. In any case, what might be expected to be the relevant concept of someone who is in a body OF HIERARCHICAL kind, by choice, whose leader in Australia voices, undisciplined, a straight denial of the teaching of Christ!
He does not, it is reported, approve of 'overly partisan politicking' but what is this ? What constitutes such a case ? Is it to be against State political power telling teachers the contents of their subjects ? or against self-seeking nationalism ? What makes for the 'overly' ? He speaks of a role for clergy of providing 'spiritual comfort and guidance to the community' despite the fact that Paul declares, "What have I to do to judge also those who are outside!" (I Corinthians 5:12). It is the Church which receives pastoral care; the 'community' in general is for evangelisation, warning and witness. If care is given, it is in terms of Christ, which the 'community' in its majority, rejects.
The distinction is important, like dealing with someone else's body and your own! In fact, of course, clerical duties are far broader than this, and not so broad. It is misconceived. The Church is not like the political system, for everyone, though in mercy, it may seek to help anyone, including politicians, for example, when they are providing the nation with peril through their confusion or unbelief. Its distinctives are two, that it acts, if authentic, on the basis of the word of God without pollution from philosophy or other additives, and in the power of the living God.
The Church is not something amorphous, but the BODY OF CHRIST (I Corinthians 12:13), of which He is head. Actually, if people speak and teach contrary to the apostolic doctrine, you are supposed to LEAVE them (Romans 16:17); and NOTHING could be more basic than the One on whom the faith is built, whose sacrifice is its high point, along with His identity who MADE the sacrifice, thus enabling its adequacy and acceptability both (Hebrews 2-10), and whose resurrection because death could not hold Deity (Acts 2:23ff., Psalm 2) was (and is) ground of justification (Romans 4:24ff.)!
What are then these fundamentals which are such that you do not need to follow Paul's direction and either rebuke and correct people who lead astray and teach so (as in Romans 16 and II Timothy 2, Titus 3:10), concerning such matters as the nature of Jesus Christ and His identity ? or else leave them!
The fundamentals ? Are they perhaps being kind ? However, how kind is it to allow people to be drawn by CHRIST's OWN WORD to judgment through not protecting them, either by leading them from false teaching, and having true, or warning them as one leaves, or having it remedied without delay in terms of Titus ? Or is the fundamental concept perhaps supposed to be social, so that it is in the realm of the political ? If so, how much the clerical personnel ought to be engaged in speaking about such things, whereas the Foreign Minister seemed to doubt the propriety of any such occupation whatever! unless of course the clergy were in some way professional, rather than mere clergy.
If however it were all a social matter, what is the point of having eternal damnation when all you fail to do is BELIEVE in Jesus Christ (John 3:36) ? This would be some "other Gospel", to use Paul's terms; as well as contrary to the apparent emphasis of the speech of the one so critical of clerical activities in this regard.
To say no more, the fundamentals in question are not in this context perspicuous, since biblically, the position is being vitiated by practice here, and unbiblically the world is an open book for 'suggestions'.
Moreover, according to the report, Downer moved from drop-of-the-hat declarations from superficial clergy, before the Church considers an issue (as if there is danger in acting as a faithful witness, before months may pass, when the scripture is clear, which can allow very early warning), to churches themselves "which seek popular political cause or cheap headlines". No more is it the headstrong man, but now the headstrong church, and what constitutes the popular cause it allegedly follows, or the cheap headlines ? Is it possible that it is simply one that Downer THINKS is being followed BECAUSE it is popular, or DEEMS cheap ?
If in general principle, a person stays where Christ is so disgracefully demoted in collision with all thought, evidence and truth, what then is one to hold might be the ground of the condemnation, that is then made ? The Church is to be judged by the word of God (Matthew 5:17ff.), and if some body does not bother to apply it in its own midst in the most categorical of domains, what is it all about ? Is a 'church' to be deemed ephemeral, unreal, and not really amenable to what is written, so that man writes his own book and merely appends the name of the Lord to it, at will, in a cheap and populous, not to say popular manner ? You cannot have it both ways.
If truth is paramount, and fundamentals are to be kept, then keep them and apply them*2. If they are however not really necessary, despite biblical prohibitions on being joined with such deviations, then does not something else rule ? And if something else, then what else ? Hence comes the extraordinarily perilous position in which an unknown and unbiblical ground becomes a source of political criticism, which COULD lead to political power misusing liberty.
Tying the church to some egregious, if popular source, political leaders could (and Hitler and Mao's successors did) attempt to manufacture cultural limits*2A to the operation of the body of Christ, just as Pilate did, though in a way that was rather final, though it became penultimate only, with the resurrection.
In Communism, the idea of inspecting churches and registering them, declaring that they MUST not criticise national security (equals, by a strange mathematics, Communist Party dominance). So does the fight proceed, which ought to be GOD and HIS WORD on the one hand, and man and his words, on the other. In Revelation 19:19 we see that this is precisely where it will end: the superficial spirituality of humanistic contrivance and the Creator-Redeemer's action in calling: HALT! TESTING CONCLUDED.
Let us however leave that particular matter, since it is perspicuous biblically, as is the necessity of Christians to WARN and CHALLENGE and SEEK redress for evils (Isaiah 58:6-11), and pass on more generally to the matter of liberty.
WHAT IS THE NATURE and
NURTURE OF LIBERTY ?
Liberty in the modern world is a very fragile plant. It is marvellous that God values it so highly that Christ, with all His power and popularity, to say no more, allowed the rich young ruler, whom He loved on hearing of his way of life, to go away from the spiritual realities He presented, sorrowing! Could the Lord not have used a sword and cut him down, in irksome concern at his disbelief, doing some kind of jihad act of violence ? Or could He not have had him arrested by angels ? (cf. Matthew 26:53). No doubt, abstractly without reference to His identity, He could have done such things; but He is not like that in His ways with the liberty of the human spirit.
As you see in Luke 9:54ff., His mind was other than this. So did He instruct His disciples when they sought to know if He would like to destroy those failing to welcome Him to their village. No, He expostulating in rejecting such a suggestion: they did not know what kind of Spirit they were dealing with, to whom they related. This Christ made clear to His friends, and it is a pity many in religion and politics, who dare to use the name of Christ, did not see fit to HEED HIM in this! History would have been vastly different if they had! He, for His part, was not interested in sending down fire on unbelief which did not welcome Him. Unbelief AS unbelief, had a different arena, and liberty was no mirage before God! (cf. John 3:19).
God who in Christ made all things (John 1:3, Colossians 1:15ff.), is not interested in removing the very reality He made, the responsibility and liberty of the human spirit, as if to conquer it with irons, or fire. Liberty is lovely as a gift, though like a new sports car in the hands of a youngster who did not have to pay for it, it may cause much harm if misused. Cars are not made unavailable for that reason; nor is liberty removed for its misuse, from human participation in it: though judgment will end the era, which has been long, very long, in the love of God (II Peter 3:9), and in His forbearance.
If God does not remove liberty, then, should man perhaps do so ? Should man become his brother's mentor and remove the thing, making people be quiet when they are not deemed professional, and things like that ? Certainly, if someone is saying, It would be a good idea to remove your head from your body, and I plan to do that - along the lines of jihad murderers, then such people who seek to REMOVE liberty (there is less on this earth, left for the head without the body) need some restraint. That is obvious. It is best to restrain murderers, since it can become so very selfish, recklessly insisting on a liberty to kill while denying a liberty to speak, in the jihad case.
Thus, yes, there are some limits. However, when it comes to SPEECH, in what is known as freedom of speech, the sort of thing the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948) valued so highly, soon after World War II, when freedom was deemed worthy of defence against a regime which had other ideas: there is a problem with removing this liberty. Freedom from "fear and want", indeed even in the midst of war, in the Atlantic Charter signed by Roosevelt and Churchill (1941), was an adumbration of things to come.
As the reader of this site will know, the UN is not given anything approaching approbation here, because of fundamental religious failure not least in the area of children (as seen for example in Mystery of Iniquity); but some aims are better than other means! Here we read, in this so-called 'Universal Declaration', of liberty, words of interest as it proceeds quite clearly in Articles 19 and 19. Certainly it is not in terms not here used, in using the concept of 'rights'; but yet in aim, it proceeds quite clearly to declare that
everyone "has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religions; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief..." and
that everyone "has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this rights includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
This is by no means to seek validation of freedom of speech from this source, but to exhibit clearly the trend of cultural talk (not necessarily actual implementation) at the international level. While liberty dies a thousand deaths in a multitude of noisy nations, the aim statedly is far otherwise, ostensibly at least.
One reason why one would not endorse such a statement in the terms which it uses, is as above. The point is that any divergence from the idea of liberty to exchange of thought, testing by reason and the like in this world's contemporary situation (in heaven it is the same, for love constrains to truth), is a divinely granted privilege, not a right. One result, however, is similar: it is not for man to play God and assign your words to oblivion when his ideas are other.
It is a functional feature of being a person on this earth, to formulate, and alas too readily, to misformulate when there is carelessness or prejudice that overcomes rationality and perspective in truth. Nevertheless, it is a gift rather than a right. Indeed, since man is under God, strictly it is not a right but a grant. If a society wishes to disturb the use of this grant simply on political or cultural or preferred lines (someone has power or propaganda or truth or some combination and demands that others follow in thought or speech as with Hitler, and with any nation where independent news is forbidden), then it is moving towards a ridiculous elevation of itself, taking the place of God.
Since that is always exceedingly incompetent in such a high office, because such human sources are neither eternal nor omniscient, then it is a brutal thing, demeaning, and insufferably perilous, since
authority without truth
does not equal power with purity.
Errors become more all but incorrigible, and pride awaits its routine, and historically evidenced fall (not without divine direction as in Ezekiel 26-30).
Yet the concept of liberty of speech is the more precious, to the eyes of the deprived.
Are you then free to say what is in error ? Purposeful error to defame is only another form of attack, and is not liberty. However unintentional error is quite another thing. It is in exchange that facts often are found; and in what is perhaps still imperfect, as in science, that corrections the better appear, probes are the better re-analysed. What however is felt to be true, or worthy of examination, in all humility, needs a clear opportunity.
To make it a 'professional' matter for those who esteem themselves qualified is however always dangerous. This is all too well illustrated in the famous and infamous case of the French Maginot Line, where the cognoscenti could SEE how obvious it was that this was the ultimate protection from Germany, which however simply sailed around it through another country, and took it from behind.
The President of the Uniting Church reminded the Minister on this occasion, in Australia, that there is freedom of speech, an important function in society, by which a Minister can criticise the words of pastors and pastors can criticise the words of the Minister. It is a democratic basic; and it is well that he made this point on this occasion. It is two way traffic: truth is open to all, though not all love it.
One speaker also pointed out that pastors often know better than Ministers of State, the minds of people. This may be so, depending on the case; but assuredly it is best for ALL sources of information to be consultable, expressible, so that all facets should be considered.
Liberty in terms of speech is an unrestrained power to think, to express thought, to exchange it and to correct or be corrected in words, with due use of logic and care; for when it is mere shouting matches, or legislative imposition, the use of vocal or police or legal force can drown the logical or empirical facts; and it is of course this liberty is only total when truth rules, for otherwise there is damage to its texture in the minds of many, which leads to delusion, confusion and error. Nevertheless, during this Age of Liberty, where humility is an ingredient in welfare, it is necessary to divorce force from truth, lest as in South Australia in the matter of the scientific approach to the origin of the universe and life and its nature, there should be a substitution of political desire and authority for the authority of truth (cf. Ch. 8, TMR).
This is of course a gross violation of freedom of speech, with specious propaganda being plied in the minds of the young without due liberty to consult concepts other than the evolutionary myth, each source with its authorities and grounds, and to receive teaching expertise in the process. This is further dealt with in such sites as SMR pp. 140ff., Secular Myths ... Chs. 7, 8, in Earth Spasm ... Chs. 1, 7, Wake Up World! ... Chs. 4 and 5, TMR Ch. 1.
This merely illustrates the extraordinary danger, even in what is reputedly a democracy, for the dead hand of authoritarian illusion to repress liberty of thought. If it is surely wrong, let it be shown; if students cannot understand, let them not be taught; if they can, let them freely rove over all, and facilitate the process in the open State halls of learning ... IF they are open!
Is this so hard that it cannot be done in South Australia ? and let us not for one moment imagine that this alone is the culprit in such invasion of youthful minds with doctrinaire political power instead of granting liberty to be found where the case leads!
LEAVING THIS CASE AND CONSIDERING THE TREND
The case of the criticism of some clerical opinion presentation, then, by the Foreign Minister is important in its setting. It does not necessarily imply that the Minister concerned meant to limit clerical expression categorically, or to what some might deem 'expert' knowledge on a given topic of political character, but that he was sensitive to manipulation of people VIA their religious conviction, IN matters which were not, in his opinion, properly presented in their own domain. Perhaps his expression was not adequately circumspect ... certainly, it opens a realm of perils all to common, too consistent in church-state relations in countries other than this.
In fact, it is not only ministers of religion who could offend, but Ministers of State, who might make religious comments about clerics or others, outside the domain of their own expertise and interfere with the due exercise of religion, with its vast fields of social concern, divine utterance, brotherly love, temperate prudence, peace with purity and understanding past intemperate Party politics, as is often the unfortunate case. This matter: It is a two-way street.
If you pre-empt judgment you too readily defer liberty, and may incur it, unless you belong to the Truth, which does not coerce, but continually presents Himself, until He comes. Actually, it is the WORD OF GOD which is the criterion of the State-Church and State-Christian interface, and it is best to recognise this. If God had not spoken ... but then He would not be God who made and cares for His creation. Since He has, it is THIS which matters, and suppression orders against even the smallest part of it is NOT what exalts a nation. UNLESS this rules in one's heart, this is quite likely to happen, if political power is ever used to delimit, define and determine ultimate truth, as has been noted for the South Australian case, already.
Indeed, the use of the concept of 'expert' to pre-empt the presentation, as if 'complex political issues' were some sort of abstruse reality, is eminently dangerous even if it is only in this case an inferential category. Sometimes, common sense, sometimes, clearer ethical principles are PRECISELY what is needed. OFTEN in politics, the issues are deep ONLY because the nature of man, his origin, his destiny, his meaning, his point are all confused in thought; and this is possible in any social category, whether in false prophets specialising in religion, or in politics. Confusing ends and means, and ignoring motivational ethics, they can lead into unhallowed and complex paths, as in any other error. There is no limit to their evil activities.
To limit Ministers in any way, when the case is presented with due care, however readily, is really to remove some access of certain elements which are EMINENTLY needed in politics. Ethics from Christ would have killed Nazism stone dead, if they had been heeded. The subtle use of the dogmas of force, as in the ludicrous concept of survival of the fittest making man*3 (cf. SMR pp. 128ff., TMR Ch. 1, and refs. above), as if departure were arrival, is sure to act like a youth camp in the Nazi era in this, that it glorifies and that in an inane way, force, push and shove; and it ignores the reality of human personality, and so defiles it, leading to larger social service bills when the misled become the next generation, more misery because of less understanding.
You pay whenever you misconceive man; and al Qaeda is merely one more payment option for those misled by false prophets providing false messages involving false concepts of submission. It is specialised; but many others, though less so, lead to a similar end. When the demonstrable and verified word of God, and the living and indefectible, indeed solely so Lord Jesus Christ, among all men in history, is not made final, in some body called a church, IT becomes final through its own methods, the church itself; and this, it is NOT the same as Christ (Matthew 23:8-10, John 12:48-50), and becomes a menace as an example, the more it is heeded.
It is always the case that Caesar is likely to have problems with Christ, and Christ is to be sought after by Caesars such as by Pilate (however reluctantly he ordained judicial murder), and this the more as truth becomes an embarrassment to crass political rule. Nor is the case vastly different when it is shrewd political rule or subtle, when the sinuous character of that political rule is awry, as often occurs in history. As the world condenses into a more international conglomerate, through fear and need, with violence from the religiously and politically errant (More Marvels... Ch. 4, cf. SMR pp. 1080ff., 829ff.), then ANYTHING not fully operable by Caesar, that is by the ruling power of the State, may become an embarrassment. Hence an increasing solidarity of man is to be expected, with decreasing freedom of speech (too 'dangerous' to have around - thereby ignoring the contrary dangers of inanely seeking to legislate truth by mere brute force from the political helm).
That is biblically predicted, and
the Victorian case, appallingly close, across the State border with this South
Australia, is eminent confirmation of this trend; for Australia has hitherto
been rather remarkable for liberty of thought and expression, and Victoria had
appeared a relatively sophisticated State (for this collapse, see
Galloping Events Ch. 7, *2, News
100, Diamond of Light ...
Ch. 10, Secular Myths ... Ch. 6,
*7). This same trend is seen even in the new Russia, where not only has there been a
removal of free press by devious seeming means, but the new educational material eulogises Putin for 'achieving' this control over the Press. In fact, God alone
is author of liberty; man has no idea how to create it; and even in implementing
this creation that God has already made (cf. Predestination and Freewill
Section I, Little Things Ch. 5, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9), man can be so heavy-handed politically, or even socially and educationally, that he is often like someone with ten thumbs: strong but inept.
It is of course, ultimately, the aversion to the Almighty where He has categorically indicated He may be found (cf. SMR throughout, both in demonstration and in verifications all but innumerable), which thousands of millions on earth exhibit. As Christ put it, the way is narrow - Matthew 7, and it is always easier to say ANYTHING than to be disciplined to the exact path of truth. This is the case whether in mathematics, in physics, in theology, in anthropology, in psychology, as the littering of the deserts of past errors with the machinery of philosophy and its cultural allies so aptly illustrates - cf. Spiritual Refreshings Chs. 6, 9, Endnote 1, 13, 16, SMR Ch. 3, 10, Ch. 2 Extension on Cosmology, pp. 422Eff.. It is this, not 'cheapness' or suddenness, or corporate or individual utterance which is the point of Christianity which affirms that God has spoken in word and Person in Christ; has issued orders, provided values, specifications for man and has a mind of His own which HE does not appreciate having mixed with the fleshly thought of people in or out of churches (cf. II Corinthians 4).
It is that aversion, which brings the inconsequential aspect to philosophy since it is largely a realm of divine dismissal (both ways - cf. Colossians 2:8, I Cor. 1), with its continual reduction to ruin as each generation tends to expose the work of a previous one, since truth when absent makes for vulnerability to reason. There is a sense in which philosophy, in practice if not in intention, draws close to being cultural religion! Man wanders, so do his cultural icons and their symbolic expression. It is only God who does not wander, and so characterises wandering as behaviour amiss in ANY generation (Jeremiah 14:7-10, Romans 1).
When he comes to the absolute God and gets His absolute explanation, along with His absolute expiation (Titus 3:5-7, John 3), without which he cannot 'see' (II Cor. 4), and not before, does truth become available where it is to be found, and understood; and it is verified continually as one would expect, and uniquely, as is required of truth; and is rejected routinely, as is indicated biblically to be a consequence of that pathology of the human race known as SIN! (Romans 1:17ff.).
Thus as little pin-pricks show State concern, or larger arenas afford a broader intolerance or disinclination, does the world move to its appointed super-Hitler, super-Stalin, super-Mao, super-Napoleon, that spiritual dreadnought which elevates itself, this time not in the eyes of any one race, such as France or Germany, but in terms of THE HUMAN RACE to the inane pinnacle of pseudo-glory which is the ultimate abasement. The disproportion is then quickly rectified, as the stunning boldness of the "man of sin" (II Thess. 2:4-10) becomes the residue of ashes from the confrontation with the burning light of reality, Christ.
Alas, there is a little way to go, and the end shown, as well as the current trends perceptible, make the UN an excellent preparation. When the final regime, the Carnal Caesar at last comes in his mini-glory, which it will make of itself, perhaps even in the name of liberty (liberty for the race!), then will be the greatest oppressor of all time. Such is the word of God on this development.
You see that in II Thessalonians where a man SHOWS HIMSELF that he is god, in the temple. A pleasant occupation it may appear, but the delusion is entire, and New Age concepts of consciousness could well enable such an all but infinite captivation of the mind, without obvious insanity (cf. SMR pp. 867ff.), for while New Age exponents may not WANT such power over men, the irrationalities often involved would be extremely useful to those who DO!
This then is the way it is going (cf. SMR pp. 750Bff.), as the darkness of the night comes, in which as Christ put it, NO MAN CAN WORK! (John 9:4), the final outcome of the Prince of this World, as Christ called him (John 14:30) who has "NO PART IN ME."
JOY COMES IN THE MORNING
It is said that every little dog has his day: and this is the same with the larger canine varieties! We who are Christians following the word of Christ do not groan at the arrival of this stage setting. There must be a fourth Act before the Fifth Act Finale. It is so written. The curtain is raised; the play proceeds, and strange is the working which some actors present!
Thus survival becomes a virtue for the power hungry, and destruction of many becomes a virtue for the deluded, who leave mangled corpses and not quite corpses as a spectacle outside of the state of their own hearts inside, indicating the nature and quality of their religion in its fruits.
Leaving all that, however, we proceed assuredly and delightedly to the BEAUTY OF FREEDOM, the LOVE OF LIBERTY which like a marriage makes of man a wondrous receptacle of divine mercy. Imagine being able to be FREE!
Freedom of thought, freedom of speech ? Alas, this passion which was so very understandable at the end of World War II, pulsing with power in the Atlantic Charter for example from early stages, and surging like surf as the thing broadened and more was paid to secure such liberties, becomes so readily misdirected; but thank God there is a place where it is to be found. It is found where it belongs, in KNOWLEDGE OF THE MAKER OF IT; for it is linked not to nothing, which readily swallows it up in ignorance and brutality - and with due payment, but in the knowledge which only God has or can have, which gives to man his design specifications.It is here that there is provided POINT, PURPOSE and TRAVELLING INSTRUCTIONS, in the word of that God, the only verified and valid word demonstrable on this earth (cf. SMR).
This blessed understanding (cf. John 17:3) is found not only in such knowledge, but in the only way to get it, by KNOWING this GOD personally, since He is not available for inspection like some mill. He is personal and has His own personal ways, which do not include being laid out for dissection, in a way even mankind would deplore and prohibit. How then may He be known ? It is in the way He has specified in that word, the Bible, and in the ONLY PERSON who has ever claimed to be and has also shown Himself to be authentic revelation of God, not in mist or hope, but definitive format as man, Jesus Christ. In Him, you have the passion for the truth, the exhibition of the truth, the presentation of the truth, the demonstration of the truth, the prediction of the truth, the fulfilment of the predictions of the truth, with the grace of goodness and the law of kindness (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Christ the Wisdom of God and the Power of God Ch. 8).
Without Him, the world of course languishes, like an infant without food. Many doctors consider the case of the child (our contemporary civilisation), but they cannot cure it, since it is fed with nothing but fairy floss and grit. Real food it lacks, because it will not take it. It is bad when that happens; it is even worse when political and other authorities make it harder to find that food, mislabelling.
God however is not mocked. He knows who are His own (II Timothy 2:19), who show it in a way HE can see, and which has its own savour, though since this world is dying, it does not always appreciate the scent of the saved ones, which to it is the smell of doom. It is rather like antiseptic: if you insist you are well, you find no need to tolerate it; but if you know you are sick, it has a most pleasant savour!
More than that, the power of God in the lives of Christians as in Psalm 103, and fitting to the case of God's great purposes, brings with it the testimony of His love. Loved ones KNOW IT. You often see it in children: it is almost possible to see the aura about a child who is loved (not just indulged! a very different thing). When the Loving Father of mankind, who invented human liberty of thought and speech, comes through the Person of His only begotten Son, to RULE on this earth (as in Psalm 67, 2, 110, Isaiah 66, Zechariah 14, Joel 3, Revelation 19- 20, Acts 1:7ff., 3:19ff.), then joy will be full. Then the earth shall indeed be covered with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).
When this earth and its evil works at length are burned up, when the laboratories of liberty are ended since the experiment of its expression is then over, then when the River of Life moves through the gardens of eternity, in the very presence of God, when His servants see Him face to face (Revelation 21-22, I Corinthians 13), when the love of truth and truth of love is unbounded, pure as founded for man from the start, then, in that MORNING, JOY IS FULL.
As the darkness comes, it is of no real consequence. It is prelude to that dawn, not of man's obsession with his own omnipotence, but with man's possession of the divine blessing from the Lord of glory that belongs to His creation in His image when, defilement removed, sin paid for, joy reigns in the morning (Romans 3:23ff., Hebrews 9-10).
that many may find the next chapter complementary to this one,
and so it is recommended that this be inspected now.
DEVELOPMENTS, THE DECLINE OF THE AGE, THE ADVICE OF
THE PAGE OF GOD, THE BOOK OF THE LORD, THE BIBLE:
For the embracive theology nightmare in contemporary Anglican movements, including this
Australian case, see Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 7, 8, Beauty for Ashes Ch. 9
as indicated, News 99, 85, With Heart ... Ch. 3, Dawn of Light Ch. 2, More Marvels ... Ch. 1.
The real problem here is not with freedom of speech, that privilege which, strong-arm political methods and social sanctions apart, has much opportunity for deliverance of the deluded through the power of the Spirit, the exercise of rationality, that God-given gift and the interchange of ideas. The evil lies with the misuse of Christ's name - yes that of Jesus the Christ who came from heaven to earth, from eternity to time, from glory to humiliation, from making the world within the Trinity, to seeking redemption by His own blood within it, and DARING to demean Him while USING His name and inhabiting a body called a Church.
To prescribe what HE prohibits in HIS name comes near the ultimate in rebellion.
To suffer it long grows near the ultimate in complicity.
It is like someone taking your local Doctor's name and making a prescription in it of the precise opposite of what he desires. Imagine if it were your local Christ (that is, if Christ were local to you, as He was to some in the days of His flesh) and WORSHIPPING His name, while telling His disciples lies about Him! Is blindness to become so opaque that the eyeball becomes glue ? How long will people suffer such things.
Years ago, according to report, the Sydney diocese of the Anglican Church, or many within it, thought of separating on a priest gender question, it appears (cf. News 59). Now the whole faith can be assaulted and there pass days without rejection or repentance ? Yes. Weeks ? You surely laugh ? Months - is it credible. Do not say years! Why not, are there not years of this abuse freely suffered ? Thus is the church of the living God robbed of its true personnel while many dally where they are frankly and forthrightly forbidden to be (cf. Separation, and Romans 16:17, Titus 3:10).
Nor should it be imagined that the Anglican body is the only one in perilous departure in terms of the whole body, the leaders or the teaching (cf. News 121, 122, with far broader-ranging indictment of News 118, The Stolen Generation). It is becoming more usual as Downer correctly points out, to find false teaching, erratic doctrine coming from church leaders; yet it is not the realm of free speech that is at fault in this, but the realm of church discipline. Is Warne removed from cricket for a season while ministers of the Church, in equivalent or parallel, not only appear to err from performance criteria, but even attack the rules of the game, and play on other pitches altogether! maybe tennis courts with cricket bats... New christs are being made with the mind of sinful man, and old bodies called churches are suffering it!
Is there no limit to the folly in terms of explicit departure from the Bible's doctrine on the one hand, and requirements of purity and discipline on the other ? What sort of a church has the world teach it lessons on self-control!
This is not to inveigh against erring churches but to call back to the truth: it is to call the people of the Lord to LOOK LIKE IT, ACT LIKE IT, and not to ignore the Bible in its INSTRUCTIONS about what to do in such situations, as if PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY were an unheard of thing because this is the 21st. century. It is a call to be like the actual Christians of all ages, and show your love to the Lord by DOING what He says. That too, it what He says! (John 14:20-21).
It is time that the failure of large denominations, which is happening with predicted and purulent intensity, was recognised in those numerous illustrations where this is the case, and correction or departure as specified in the word of God, took place.
It is time to realise that since this is the predicted decline (Matthew 24:24,11-12, II Thessalonians 2, II Timothy 3:1-5, II Peter 2:1ff., 3:3-5 cf. News 74), it is the long forewarned day. Others have had to act in their day, as in the Reformation. Is theirs to be the privilege while few of us have paid the price of doing what is required, and leaving what leaves the word of God, or will no discipline those who do!
AVOID them as in Romans 16:17 is NOT the same as this, Have communion with them, support their ministries.
The only way such disobedience can proceed is by making words have no meaning. That however makes speech impossible, so that there would be no point in having ministers at all - or politicians, or scientists. Hypocrisy is one dreadful alternative. It needs to be avoided not merely at cost of the disturbance of comfort, of gloriously pleasant continuity*4, but in terms of taking up one's cross and following Christ.
If you do not FORSAKE all that you have, said He, you are not ? not CANNOT be My disciple! (Luke 14:27ff.).
*1 If it were not, why is he there ? and if it is not to some individual tolerable, why is that person with the primate yet in what is called a communion, after all this time ? - cf. Titus 3:10.
Do you tolerate what is intolerable ? On this, see Luke 6:46 and reflect.
*2 See The Biblical Workman Appendix 3.
The trend in Australia, at Commonwealth level (cf. Mystery of Inquity), and indeed in the case of Victoria, State level likewise (cf. News 156), has been to a peculiar harassment of and insensitivity to liberty, even to the overthrowing of the Constitution on religious liberty (Section 116), in the opinion of one in the important booklet where those proficient in law, including an academic in Australian Government and politics, and a prominent lawyer and barrister have contributed. This is entitled, "Is this the End of Religious Liberty ?", published by Anzea, Homebush West, NSW 2140.
As shown in the first reference above,
a devastating failure to respect the Australian Constitution,
in its PRECLUSION ABSOLUTELY of the Commonwealth using powers it is not granted,
and ANY power to establish religion in Australia,
has occurred in some of the UN documents adopted in this country.
Detail on the procedure and particularities of two UN documents substantially concerned is available in Mystery of Iniquity, on this site. There we find that where a compulsory ethical perspective, an absolute directive concerning the objective of life on earth and requirement regarding the education of the young IN THOSE TERMS, and a dogma that all men are brothers in spirit are put together, without more ado, you have a religion, and it is one which contradicts some other religions, disposes of some of their doctrines, invents its own, determines the ultimate for man in life, and as required in a UN document now law in Australia, contravenes the Constitution. It constitutes a theological coup d'état.
To be sure Australia has ways of easily importing international documents and making them law; but what has that to do with it (except its shameful shambles in terms of sensitive debate and failure to have due arising from this people) ? If you are allowed to use a glass, this is not relevant if you are also forbidden to drink alcohol. Use it by all means, but NOT for alcohol. Bring in laws ? perhaps, but NOT to institute a religion. NO METHOD can legitimise what is forbidden for ANY method.
That then has been the overall trend and the horrendous movement in recent years in the Australia that comes to deny part of its heritage, in its Constitution, which, incidentally and in passing, in its preamble, also speaks in terms of reliance on Almighty God. That is stated AND institution of a religion is outlawed.
It is in this context of historical trend in Australian government, that Downer's comments are to be read. When the air is polluted, many showers in different places can be those of acid rain, some more, some less. Already, by governmental importation of international documents, churches are being given the indications that there are religious REQUIREMENTS of dogma and doctrine that transcend their own, and that these are LAW. Yet how could this be ?
In terms of that underlying Commonwealth context, some may think it too 'literalist' to interpret the Constitution which prohibits the establishment of a religion by the Commonwealth, to mean that it must not do it, cannot do it, and that it would abrogate the basis of agreement by which alone the Commonwealth was allowed to exist, if it did.
It may seem, as Hawke once put it of a change in one of his policies from what was earlier assured to voters, that 'circumstances have changed'. It may appeal to some in the parallel of marriage. I said what I did then, but do not wish to follow through now. I loved you then and would give you the world; but not no
Is that the way of it ?
Let us revert however to the particular political fact. Actually, prohibition to do something as part of the GROUND of establishing a body, here the Australian Commonwealth, has a peculiar force. It can be abrogated ONLY by violation of the agreement, unless of course the agreement ALLOWED for the Commonwealth to ALTER that prohibition. But did it alter it - except in the violation ? And if it requested power to eliminate this prohibition on religiously expansionist policies, when did it do this, in what year, by what overwhelmingly positive referendum ? and why is the Constitution not noticeably changed!
Is illusion to put spectacles on politicians, or are the people to walk on its mapping ?
Indeed, to this day, in this matter, the Constitution is the same; but the the violation, it is not the same. Events move to their appointed end, a false fiasco of humanism, with made man making himself as if God on high, but here below, without the power, knowledge, wisdom or authority, not even understanding himself, and precluded from doing so by his alienation from his Inventor. Using the divinely accorded powers to make this pretence, he proceeds with the arrogance of flesh, the impenitence of pride and the irrelevance of irrationalism.
Chance creates integrated systems, disorder creates order, licence creates law, nothing creates something! they thunder, like the old 12 times 12 is 144 kind of tables, once chanted in Primary Schools; and in the midst of all the eccentric propaganda, now fashionable, behold, the little god in tantrums comes on scene, ready for his exposure on the return of Christ. It is like other forms of drunkenness: afterwards, it is all but impossible to believe that such wild and ludicrous things were done. At the time, however, with the blood up and the thought down, to many they hold a vainglorious appeal. (Cf. Ancient Words, Modern Deeds, Chs. 9, 13.)
That Australia should fight for liberty in two World Wars and then surrender passively to such a monstrosity of irrational humanism as is observable in the UN document adopted and relevant here, is one of the components of what the Bible calls the "mystery of iniquity" - II Thessalonians 2, and certainly, it is mysterious how its devastated irrationalism of secular humanism could be held by anyone, but God is not mocked, and when He is departed from, as Saul once found, great is the rent in the psyche, and foolish are the remnants of reason, which being obscured by illusion, is confused by delusion.
This "mystery of iniquity" is to work until it reaches a climax, when it is abolished. On the way, we are seeing some of the biblically predicted scenes. Obviously, the world power to come, and predicted in Revelation 13, NEEDS to control religion, if it is to delude man into worshipping himself and not God. Thus it is that you see the armies of that power marshalling explicitly against God in Revelation 19:19.
Hence this sort of take-over had to occur, and what we are seeing in Australia is merely the ADOPTION of certain international documents, which ravage virtue, violate freedom, breach law and become increasingly the subjugation media for other nations likewise. As always, the word of God is verified, however amazing its predictions. As to God, He knows, and as to His word, empirically as rationally and supernaturally, it is right. This is an ultimate ontological, epistemological, practical, scientific, verificatory fact, that stands alone and unique over the millenia (cf. SMR, TMR). Whether in logical investigations, consistency considerations, testing procedures, historical fidelity, prediction or retrodiction, solution of all mysteries, validity of perspective and conspectus past all and beyond any, such is the case. There is no question; except this, what is to become of every man.
That question, it also, is resolved with an elegant simplicity: Light, the biblically focussed light of Christ, of life, has come into the world from His eternal home, and if there is to be condemnation (He did not come to condemn - John 3:17), this is it, that light has come into the world and men have preferred darkness. If this is the preference, it is no good being afraid of the dark. Where that is the milieu chosen, this is the mess resulting (John 3:16-19,36).
An Excerpt from The Defining Drama Ch. 9, follows.
It is survival of the fittest that creates fitness ? Are we to be immersed in some kind of deluge of baptism into the billowing waters of wet thought ? As we saw in SMR, Parisian Professor Schϋtzenberger was horrified by the attenuation of mathematical reality in this guise, though an evolutionist at heart! Later efforts to pre-select the most appropriate for the ultimate quest are merely intelligent engineering wrought in computer mode! (cf. Earth Spasm... Ch. 1). Survival does NOT make equipment. Endurance doesn't create what endures. It is as simple as that.
How often one hears that someone 'cannot leave my friends', or 'has been here all my life' and so on. When the need arises to leave a particular church/denomination, it is not like leaving your skin in the teeth of the lion, in some stadium.
Why is such a thing found so often ? It seems to be a symptom very often of the concept that religion is not so realistic as sour cheese, and that you do not need to clean out the dish.
IF some die for Christ, is it too much to ask people to LIVE for Him ? If some are slain, is it too heavy a burden to leave what refuses to follow Him, and yet saucily uses His name!
If you were in some crooked firm, in which you had served, and your father before you, together for 50 years or 70, would you feel it too utterly odd that you leave when the CEO or Managing Director or Chairman is shown utterly corrupt ?
If business principles of honesty, integrity and service are not hard to define, is it too hard to find that in a church they either keep to the principles, the Person and the service of Christ so following His word, or they do not! If they do not, you challenge as a faithful employe; but in the Church the boss is Christ (Luke 6:46), and if His word is breached and this remains so, it is merely rebellion. Leave or join it. There is no middle ground. You can challenge, but who would stay with a crooked CEO for ten years of trying ? How hopelessly you would be compromised!
If there is an Assembly, go to it. If you do not want to, leave. Moreover, if it does not act, you leave. Satan loves to play; but there is work to be done. You cannot stay in a fallen body as it is, where the word of God no longer rules. Reconstruction then occurs, in the name of Christ. If some were fed to lions, you can gird up your loins and reconstruct with others, the church which will abide in Him, and follow His will, His rules, His word. As to His word and keeping it: Not doing so is not loving Him, He says. If you know it, do it. Does not His word tell you so (Romans 16:17)!
Do not let the ecclesiastical Hitlers of our Age bemuse you: clerical robes mean nothing. Ask those who knew Judas, in his apostolic seeming dress!