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BULLETIN FORTY NINE
The Australian, February 22, 2017,
THE "MAJORITY CHRISTIAN NATION"
Australia's PM on Australia
Cf. Bulletin Forty Six
It is profoundly delightful to see an Australian PM, and especially a currently serving one, come out with a statement about our land which has much to commend it in terms of truth; for alas, mostly the vehemence of Party conflict and the rarefied air of attacks as if the sheer thrust of hate were an assessor of public standing, seems not only to trivialise but to distort the underlying realities. Parliament seems to be growing aerial rather than solid in its foundations.
Airy assault replaces wary wisdom in seeking to govern to an astounding extent, from many sides in a froth of the experimental dilettante.
Meanwhile, the fact that a richly endued land of marvellous background in terms of stability of understanding and physical resources, should be welcoming through its PM the PM of one of the very small lands suffered reluctantly to exist by its neighbours, though for all that, verbally some of these prefer quite explicitly, genocide if need be and have already attempted it, as in effect in 1948 and in fact 1967, not to mention 1973: this is eloquent with profound meaning.
That our PM accurately praised Israel for its enterprise, initiative, brilliance, solutions to technical problems, advanced scientific status, vast attraction for many nations because of its prominence in cyber work, and stressed our own nation's long-time friendship and support for Israel (though there have been those who wished to have international legislation by a body supplied with many Moslem nations and one Israeli, to supplant negotiations by those concerned and there was one occasion when this counted, and our nation failed abysmally in the UN in this matter): this is salubrious. Indeed, it is a welcome return to fact in the midst of much fiction, faction and diffraction from even a fraction of the truth. To hear someone not in a lordly fashion, ignoring perhaps 90% of the facts and in scoffing arrogance speaking what makes fairy tales seem sober by comparison (cf. account in Bulletin Forty Six for example), but rather in a warm manner, praising where praise is due, and where a good part of the review is true, is an experience that provides some relish, but is not yet finished in our response.
Why, Turnbull has even praised freedom of speech, and we long to see it preserved in the current basic challenge, and mentioned in this associated article in The Australian, are freedom, the rule of law and democracy as significant features in our heritage and there is even mentioned what to many seems all but unspeakable.
THIS, said he, is a "majority Christian nation" and as such, its people "share the rich cultural heritage of the Bible, its stories and values a context and a foundation for our history, our literature, and our imagination". To characterise our erring nation in this way is a reminder of what is currently being both gambled and gambolled away in a rash series of irrational passions, where the more reason dies, the more the new culture tries to rule and replace what is past, in a an act of some kind of national oblivion; and it would love to change our Constitution, with its reference to Almighty God thus at risk. Many act as if we are not allowed to have a past, a character, a preference, a traditional approach, a nature as a nation and must become a merely secular nondescript site for cultural invasion, as a profound act of ingratitude or even insult to God.
Ironically, while this defamatory move against God and His laws and ways is well under way in our land. enormous masses of people pour into our country, to receive of its gifts as it has given such a degree of biblical basis in many ways. They are attracted not to what it is not, but to what it is, even yet. They come, then, to what many want to change, in a sort of take-over by radicalism and immigration, in the latter not least, tiny minorities claiming change to their own wishes or whims, the ways of their new hosts.
In the midst of such forces, both internal and external, then, it is well that reference is made to our past and nature, at this time, and it is great to have a PM who is willing to speak, even to this level, concerning that fact.
That is all but sensational. However, while a notable expression of what is both concerning Israel and concerning our own past and rapidly fading present, if as appears, the PM's article in The Australian meant to compare the historical religion of Israel, so vastly attested for thousands of years in the Bible, concerning its present site and past glories, with that of Australia, there is of course room for pause. It is true the Old Testament has an enormous thrust still in Israel through the Orthodox (but not them alone, for the PM of Israel himself is strong on prophecy therein), and it is true that it is a major component of our past history. We were after all, as the Commonwealth, founded by a Protestant formally Christian nation. However there is a difference. It is Jesus Christ.
It may be said that this is not the time to mention that, but it is always the time, in biblical terms, to mention that (II Timothy 4:2, Luke 8:22-27, Colossians 3:16-17, Philippians 2:15-16), or exhibit it, and conclusions which omit the centre of the Bible, the saving centre for the universe by its depiction and declaration, indeed its Creator and His nature (Colossians 1:15ff.), are like omitting the centre of an egg, in describing agreement about its nature. Now this does not remove the worthy aspects and indeed courageous, in his depiction of Australia. It is however necessary, and even more than that, crucial to any Christian affirmation, NOT to omit what Thomas called "my Lord and my God," or the base of the very name, or the ONLY Saviour granted to man (Isaiah 52-55, 43:9-10, 49:5-7, Acts 4:11-12,Galatians 1).
Thus while it is true that there is a great deal in the Old Testament in terms of which there is common background between Israel and Australia, even far more than is the case with many nations, yet what the Bible as in Zechariah 12 makes a crucial element is Israel's coming national return to its crucified Messiah. As a matter of fact, its security depends on that, both spiritual and national.
This does not reduce what we DO have in common, but it does specify what biblically is Israel's bane, what its friends need to keep in mind for it, for here lies its deliverance not only in heart but in the power of God from its enemies and as in Micah 7, Deuteronomy 32, Ezekiel 38-39, Isaiah 66, Psalm 2 and 22, and 40, here is its deliverance. Surely it is for it to respond, and this is an even more private matter than dialogue about lands. Yet this does not remove its relevance or its wonder.
We ALL, when we become Christians, need to forsake what we were in nature, for what we are to be in Christ; but since it is He who manifests God in human form (cf. Micah 5:1-3, Isaiah 40, Daniel 9), that is only one advantage. To be made more like God is a vast privilege, and subject to Him rather than to sin, as applies not only to one but to all, is both an escape and a consummation. Yet out of all these contests, here is the finale for one as for all. All that God has said about Jew and Gentile including the inheritance through Jacob (Genesis 28:4,13), will not only come to pass, but this by His own stated will from thousands of years ago; and He does not change (Psalm 102, Malachi 3).