A Subversive Poem
Preparing to Vote ...

Does the Prime Minister need to be a Christian?

ImagesLast week I received a phone call from Barney Zwartz, a journalist from the Melbourne AGE newspaper. He wanted to get my pulse on the upcoming federal election. We had a 5-10 minute conversation together and talked about a range of issues. In his actual article, I ended up with one quote ...

"Mr Conner, senior pastor at Melbourne's biggest church, CityLife, said he was not concerned by Ms Gillard's atheism: 'Primarily you are looking at them to have what it takes to run the nation' - but felt Mr Rudd's dumping would cost Labor more than the party realised."

In fairness to Barney, he didn't have space to quote everything I said or give the full context of the statement he did quote. Of course, any time you are quoted by the media ... there is always the possibility of misunderstanding. I have had emails from a few people about my quote asking me whether I was suggesting that people should vote for Julia Gillard and whether I didn't think faith for a political leader was important. Neither of those are true. I was thankful for the opportunity to clarify myself and will do so in this blog post.

First of all, my personal approach and our approach as a church at CityLife is to be politically neutral, in that we don't tell people who or what party to vote for. We encourage prayerful and diligent research, so that followers of Christ make intelligent use of their privilege as an Australian citizen to vote for those who will govern us. So, never have I said and never will say, "Vote for Julia Gillard" ... or anyone else for that matter.

Discussion has come up about Julia's atheism and whether any potential Prime Minister who does not have a Christian faith should be considered as a possible candidate to vote for. It is an issue worth thinking about. Let me paint a scenario for you ...

Imagine you need your car repaired. There are three mechanics in your street. Mechanic #1 is a church-going self-professed Christian but has little experience in mechanics and is known as being a but unreliable (tends to over-promise and under-deliver). Mechanic #2 is an atheist but is an experienced mechanic, although they have a reputation as not always being that truthful. Mechanic #3 is a Hindu, but is a very experienced mechanic and has a reputation for honesty. Which mechanic would you take your car to?

I don't know about you but I'd go with mechanic number #3 because in getting my car repaired, competency and character are of utmost important. That doesn't mean faith isn't important to me; it's just not the #1 criteria I would be looking for in this situation.

Now I realise that running a country as Prime Minister is more complex and more far-reaching than being a mechanic (without minimising the important contribution mechanics make in society!) ... but the principles are similar. Competency and character are very important. Yes, faith influences everything too, and needs to be taken into consideration but not as the ONLY criteria for choosing a leader.

Although I am all for Christians being involved in the political arena (see my earlier general comments about the election here) I become concerned at the extreme right-wing fundamentalist attitude and approach that emerges from time to time that says "if we could only get Christians into every sphere of influence, we'd see revival in our nation." Neither morality nor faith can be legislated. In fact, the Moral Majority movement in America has been a complete failure (you can read the intriguing inside story on this movement in the book Blinded by Might: Why the Religious Right Can't Save America). Let's always remember that the Holy Spirit transforming individual hearts and lives through the power of the Gospel is the only way a nation can turn to God.

In fact, I would say that the greater challenge for the Christian church today is not government but the fact that we are losing the culture wars. The average Australian is more influenced by the arts and entertainment industry (via TV, movies, radio and internet) than by what is happening in Canberra (without diminishing the importance of a healthy economy and laws that create a safe environment for everyone). Politics isn't the answer to everything. 

So is it important for the Prime Minister to be a Christian? Obviously, if a candidate has a Christian faith AND competency and character, that is ideal. Belief in God is very important and a nation whose leaders don't believe in God can potentially experience far-reaching negative effects over time. But let's avoid the attitude that says "So and so is a Christian so let's vote for them" without any reference to their character and gifting, as well as the policies of their party (we saw this in America where many Christians voted for and supported George Bush simply because he was a 'Christian' and weren't willing to critique his agenda or policies). Faith is very important to me but not the only criteria when considering who to vote for. 

All of the above comments are 'general' in nature and have no particular candidate in mind. Moving on to the upcoming election more specifically, we have two major candidates: the current Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Consider their character, their competencies, the policies of their respective parties and their faith (or lack of it) - look at the whole package. Then make a prayerful and informed vote for the future of our nation. 

As followers of Christ we have a responsibility to pray for our nation and to vote intelligently (see my next post for resources to assist you with understanding the policies of each political party), believing for good leaders to be appointed who will govern our nation for the 'common good' (not just for the benefit of Christians, but for all people in our nation). Jim Wallis' book God's Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It is an excellent read as it presents what I consider a very balanced perspective on God and politics. I highly recommend it. 

Finally, whatever happens, once we have done our part (praying, voting in an informed manner and continually letting our voice be heard even after the election), we must trust in God's sovereignty. Whoever is elected, we are called to pray for them ... just as Paul called the early church to pray even for their pagan rulers (1 Timothy 2:1-4), so that we can live a peaceable life and so that the gospel can go out to all people unhindered.

P.S. Just to try to neutralise any impression that the above comments are aimed at suggesting who to vote for at this election (which they are not; rather they are made in response to a single quote published in the AGE from my extended discussion with Barney about matters relating to the election) ... imagine this scenario: what if the current leader of the Liberal Party was an atheist and the leader of the Labor Party was a Christian (not an unlikely situation some time in our political future), who would you vote for? I trust that you would pray and fully consider the party's policies, NOT just the faith (or lack of it) of the leader. For example, I know some Christian politicians who are pro-abortion and some non-Christian politicians who are anti-abortion. If abortion is an issue of concern for you (and it should be for all Christians, along with a host of other issues), then you need to look not just at a candidates faith but also at their wider views and the policies of their party. That's my point - pray and consider everything. 

Comments

I hope if there's a balance of power it's held by someone like Family First, rather than some of the more out there parties. ;-)

Some would describe Family First as being quite "out there".

Surely a leader who fears God and seeks direction and wisdom from His Word and who
acts with conviction out of strong values and
Godly Character will be a better option than a leader without those attributes who
actually has no regard for Gods precepts
and principles.

Yes, I agree Ian. Unfortunately, at times there have politicians, both in Australia and around the world, who have taken the name 'Christian', sometimes even to win votes, but who have not always allowed their faith to inform their leadership. No doubt, the IDEAL political leader is a person of faith and conviction, backed by character and leadership gifting. May their tribe increase!

Hi Mark :)

Thank you for this post. It ultimately answered my comments written 8 Aug on your 21 July Upcoming Australian Federal Election Blog post.

Great to see you advise people about their responsibilities to make an informed vote, and that you have put a link to the Australian Christian Lobby website for people to get info to make an informed vote.

Obviously though, there is a lot of people in CityLife who either don't read your Blogs, or are not internet savvy. I hope that the church is pro active in providing this info to others through EG the services this weekend via an item in the CityLife News Video that plays in the services, as well as being mentioned from the stage personally by whoever is preaching/overseeing the service! :)

Thanks again,

Nicole.

You say that you nor CityLife influences people who to vote for, yet you concentrate the whole blog post on Julia Gillard and whether or not one should vote for her. Furthermore, in your analogy, you implied that Tony Abbott is "a church-going self-professed Christian but has little experience in [politics] and is known as being a but (sic) unreliable (tends to over-promise and under-deliver)." Now don't you think that this would sway your readers and church members to vote in a certain way or even have a certain predisposition regarding Mr. Abbott?

You say that it's most ideal "if a candidate has a Christian faith AND competency and character", yet imply throughout the post that Julia Gillard is the "best available option" since she at least has the competency and character. Why is Abbott disregarded once again on this basis? Are you saying he's lying about his faith, he is incompetent and has no character?

Nobody needs to assume anything about Julia's character. She demonstrated very clearly what she will do to gain power. She mercilessly knifed her own leader, piercing the soul of all Australians. How could anybody advocate any form of support for her after that? Would you like it if the church board unanimously voted to sack you because "they felt the church was losing its way"?

Seems to me that this post, no matter how "unbiased" you claim it to be, is utterly biased, even though it isn't explicitly stated. Furthermore, if you truly sought to be unbiased, you would have reserved any comments regarding this election and left it up to the voters to make up their mind. Yes, the media does take things out of context - that's why you shouldn't have made any comment! Which of the thousands of Age readers are going to think, "Oh I better check Mark Conner's blog to verify my understanding of his quote"?
Nobody! You have just - intentionally or unintentionally - influenced thousands of people (Christians and non-Christians) on how to vote/where they stand.
Some immature people will take your opinion as being "the man of God, bringing the word of God to the people". Don't you think that this is a misuse of your God-given influence in this nation?

Wow, Terry. There is a lot of pent up anger in your comments. It really isn't necessary. People will be influenced because they want the easy way out of making any informed decisions. I think you have given more credit to Mark Conner's Blog posts than the real truth. What about Danny Nalliah's comments then?

Mark Conner offers resources so that people CAN make informed choices. I just spent the last hour going through some of the links to find out more about all the parties concerned. I applaud Mark for offering us that resource. I was not at any point swayed by any comments he made because to me, they were as neutral as they could get.

At the end of the day, our God is bigger than the circumstances and yes, bigger than Mark Conner! So, chill, Terry. It's ok.

Shalom.

@Terry,

Thanks for your comments, but don't be too anxious about interpreting Mark's comments. Take them on face value as I'm confident that they were not endorsing a particular candidate.

I actually like the mechanic analogy and can see the relevant point that Mark was making.

Pray, then think, then vote. Then see who wins, then keep praying!

Cheers,

Darren

thanks Mark, great post.
It is amazing in life how some people who read between the lines can make anything say what they want it to say while others take it at face value.

I was challenged to re-think about the crucial areas of character, competencies and policies and to help the first time voters in my home to do the same, to use their vote wisely.
thanks again Mark.

Thanks for your feedback, Terry. In fairness, I think if you read all three of my BLOG posts about the election you will find a clear message of not telling people who to vote for - but rather encouraging people to pray and do the research so they make an informed vote. This post is a response to some thinking going around that ONLY looks at a person's faith and ignores other areas. I was trying to discuss an important issue in a neutral way. In no way am I saying 'vote for Julia Gillard' or anyone else. Thanks

Thanks Mark for a balanced and unbiased view towards this election. I have been a bible believing Christian and a swinging voter for many years and find many comments about voting for someone just because they are a christian to be disturbing. We need to do as you say and check out the whole package before making an informed and prayerful decision.


Excellent post Mark! Thanks for leading the way in encouraging people to be informed as well as prayerful..

My favourite line: Neither morality nor faith can be legislated.

Amen to that. If they could be, perhaps the Christian Roman Empire would have been God's answer! But no, while we are still on planet earth and people have the freedom to choose, we must work to be good advocates for the kingdom within the system (political, cultural) that we find ourselves in. You can't force anyone to believe, neither can you force anyone to make moral choices.

I'd love to see more Christians set their sights on doing something about the issues in this world, such as poverty in our communities, caring for the sick and lonely, and the environment. When society can see Christ is real through our love, then morality and faith will follow. Not the other way around.

I am not a member of your church but my sister is. I just want to say, THANK YOU, Mark!
Your message is quite clear:
Do not just vote a Christian but the policies behind the party(s). Meaning, be well informed before we put the cross against the boxes.
However, is it not true that politicians make lots of "promises" only to come up with excuses that they cannot be fulfilled because of X Y Z ???
Yes, pray that we use wisdom and "look" beyond the mere words from the mouths.
Benjamin

I think that Mark's blog is a timely reminder to us in the Body of Christ that there is a change about to take place in this nation regardless of who wins the election. Let us be seeking the mind of Christ as to how to cast our votes so that we are in line with His will for the leadership of this nation. And when that leadership comes into power, let us then exercise our lips to pray for them rather than criticise!

How many of us will be voting for either Abbott or Gillard? With our system we can only vote for the candidates in our electorate. We need to make sure the person that gets our vote is worthy. If you want a Christian P.M. you may have to vote for an atheist candidate in your electorate. Scary, isn't it?

Well said... a balanced approach is the way to go.

Thanks Mark for your comments. Really found your impartiality and exhortation to pray and research intentionally helpful.

Good post Mark. Another interesting discussion might be around the ethics of a political battle. I think, that a very good indicator of one's character and integrity is how they deal with their opponents. It's a very fine line.

Brilliant Mark a voice of reason

Terry I think the problem is that there is a secret ranga conspiracy at work in the nation. nudge nudge wink wink

Go Ranga's

You cannot compare a job done on your car with decisions that may affect the advancement of the kingdom of God in Australia. I can shop at any place but I may not trust these same people with very important aspects of my life. My car is not as important as whether my family and I can pray freely, or whether the leader of this country has very different moral and ethical values, priorities and standards to mine. As much as I am able, I would like my children to grow up in an environment which encourages sound Christian values such as honouring God and His word and living a pure life. Julia Gillard does not encourage these same values, and as the Word of God says a tree is known by its fruit. So it does concern me that we are ignoring what Julia represents to the young generation - is it O.K to vote for one who is living with someone out of wedlock and who does not honour the foundations and maker of the Judeo-Christian values? I think we need to get our priorities right for the sake of our future generations .

Good points there, Mark, but I share Elly's opinion.
There's an undeniable clamour to appear acceptable to the mass and mass media, to accept a cultural mandate as stated by a guest preacher earlier this year. We can be nice and politically correct on many issues. However, when it comes to God, His principles and His way of doing things, and setting acceptable standards, we should try our hardest not compromise to worldly ways. I have three impressionable young children. Do I tell them that we can choose to vote for a PM who sets her own standards, share none of our beliefs and is living with a man out of wedlock? I for one, will not compromise on Jesus' standards when it comes to a position such as important as this. As Christ-believers, we should not choose to accept a self-confessed Atheist in the most powerful position in this country. And we do have a choice.

Hi Elly and Charles,

Great - you have thought about your position and you will vote according to your research and conscious. However it is not for the church to stand up and tell people who they should vote for.

What is your strategy behind an article like this, Pastor Connor? It claims to be neutral, but obviously if it is going to cause anyone's vote to swing at all, it will be a swing towards Labor, not the other way.

The tone of the article seems to be that it presents an alternative to the usual Right-leanings of Christians - not an entirely neutral tone.

If this article is part of a strategy to correct what you think has been a failed approach by the Christian Right in America, would a swing of Christian votes towards Australian Labor in this election be to you an acceptable by-product of such a strategy?

Hi John. Thanks for your question. The purpose of this post was to clarify a single quote made from me in an AGE article that didn't provide the context of what I actually said. Beyond that, this post seeks to address the mentality that if someone is a 'Christian' I should vote for them and if they are not, I shouldn't. I believe that faith IS very important for leaders (not sure how many times I have to keep saying this) but that there are also other criteria to be considered too. In saying this, I am not saying vote Labor or for Julia - see my two other posts that clearly encourage people to pray and do the research on all parties and candidates so that they vote in an informed manner. Hope that helps. Mark

I am dissappointed in your views mark. Having someone of faith and who CAN legistlate goldy laws IS important. If you make laws against God's word, it can have a negative influence on our nation before God. I dont think leaders should tell people who they should vote for, but I believe making a stand is important.

Thanks for an informative blog Mark. You are correct, being a nominal Christian does not automatically make you a better Prime Minister, but if God raises a 'Joseph' or a 'Daniel' up - then lookout Australia! 8)

As a pastor of a church, I am once again, speaking to my church about the election, and resourcing them with information about making their vote count from a Christian perspective.

I am continually embarrassed, by a self-promoting individual, who seems to always be speaking as the moral & ethical 'voice' of Christian churches in Australia. False prophecies, insensitive statements, constantly 'bashing' pastors, leaders and churches through email; is the fruit of this man's destructive pride and self-righteousness. I'm sure that once again, us pastors and leaders will be blamed no matter which party gets into government, while he conveniently recalls past visions and prophecies for more of his, "I told you so" propaganda.

Wow...lots of people who "expect" their Leaders to make decisions for them, adorn them when its right - point if its wrong...Are these the same who don't know there Bible from their Novels, the voice of the Holy Spirit for the sound of the TV! One thing's for sure...It won't be Mark who has to account for those in or out of City life!

At this election time ( as good as any) is this the right time to quote "Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given you besides"? ( Matt 6)
As Christians are we not just passing through this life with a message to share not a barrow to push....(oops sorry tried to keep Politics out of the equation...), the one thing about Critiques - They hold a position that their NOT qualified to Fulfil!
Bruce

Just for some background, some of us expressed similar views to Mark’s in an older post on July 4, titled New Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard BEFORE he made them openly known in THIS post.

Point being, we didn’t wait for a professional pastor to influence us with his views before we formed our own. If you apply some critical thinking (which seems to be in short supply with some Christians these days) and weigh up the biblical worldview on the matter with historical evidence inside and outside the bible AND some common sense, it is the most balanced view to hold.

At the end of the day, in the absence of a morally binding command from the Bible on how to vote, we are free to vote for whomever we want within our Christian liberty. It is a matter of choice, conscience and an act of ‘good faith’.

So let’s test some of the assumptions made in previous comments:

“Having a Christian leader is important so they can pass ‘godly’ laws”

The Australian Federal Govmt (regardless whether it’s Liberal or Labour) functions within the Westminster model that demands “parliamentary democracy”. In other words it’s not a one-man-show. This only happens in a dictatorship, not a democracy. The PM does not the have the powers to pass any laws at a whim when he/she feels like it. The opposition can block some bills from being passed, let alone his/her own party that might disagree. The fact that K Rudd was ousted with the speed of light clearly shows that a PM does not call all the shots in our government.

Gillard “living in sin”

Isn’t the ENTIRE life of a nonbeliever ‘living in sin’? Is her de facto relationship the ONLY thing keeping her out of heaven? Doesn’t she need to trust in Christ for the forgiveness of her sins and her salvation in general?

Morality Vs Ability

Is an immoral person by default an incapable person? I wouldn’t want my kids to imitate Elton John’s lifestyle, but he is undeniably one of the greatest musical geniuses of this generation. I wouldn’t want them to be like Maradona either, but he is one the best soccer players who ever lived. So the ‘moral of the story’ (cheap pun intended) is that an immoral PM (by our standards) is not necessarily an incapable politician.

The ‘Christian’ George W Bush was still unable to put prayer back into American schools after serving two full terms and is responsible for the death of more than 4,000 American troops for the wild goose chase of the weapons of mass destruction that have mysteriously disappeared! But hey, he was ‘God’s man in the White House’!

The Christianisation of Politics

This is NOT a biblical concept but a byproduct of contemporary American Evangelicalism. Having a PERSONAL calling to enter politics like Wilberforce is one thing, but as a church we are not called to Christianise politics, simply to proclaim the good news. Jesus didn’t seem to care how the Romans governed the empire and Paul didn’t hint any political persuasion in his writings. He only exhorted Christians to be obedient to authorities and pray for those in charge. Furthermore, God clearly cherry-picked heathen kings to fulfill his purposes. Apart from Pharaoh and Xerxes there was also Cyrus and the megalomaniac Nebuchadnezzar. As they were instrumental in the fulfilment of the purposes of God, the Bible refers to them as God’s ‘shepherd’, ‘anointed’ and ‘servant’. (Isaiah 44:28, 45:1, Jeremiah 27:6)

Biblical and Historical Precedents

The MOTHER church in the book of Acts was born in the midst or persecution and for the first 200 years or so, Christianity was an illegal religion. In modern history, Communist Russia, China, Burma etc, show that persecution fertilises growth and makes the church thrive. Don’t be surprised if God allows a ruthless leader to shape the church and ruffle her feathers from complacency.

I would hazard a guess that Paul was put in prison because the authorities of the time did not share his ‘Christian values’. This is Paul writing FROM prison ABOUT prison: Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel…. BECAUSE of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly (Phil 1:12,14) Opposition seems to fire Christians up!

1 Timothy 2:1-4

The (morally binding) imperative of 1 Timothy 2:1-4 is to pray, intercede and give thanks for heads of government so that “we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”. Interceding for them apparently “pleases God our Savior” (v3). Verse 3 also assumes that they may NOT be Christians. Why else would it say that God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”? This statement is in the context of praying for heads of state.

Personal View (last one, I promise)

Having said all the above I WILL NOT be voting for Gillard but it has nothing to do with her atheism or her de facto relationship. I simply don’t trust the Labor party with the nation’s economy. The stimulus plunged us into debt and despite the propaganda it is not the reason we escaped recession. It is because we had solid reserves and a robust economy from the previous government.

This time around it is a real dilemma regarding the ‘Abbilard’ choice. It’s choosing between tweedle dee and tweedle dum. Abbott seems to have permanent foot and mouth disease and is more blunder prone than any other politician before him. He makes policies up as he goes and let’s say he does not instill me with much confidence.

May the Lord have mercy on our nation and guide the next government to run this great country of ours!

Geez…I just realised how much I’ve blown your 2nd commenting guideline Mark! Oh well, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission as they say :) Just as well I'm not a regular!

I VOTE "JOHN FROM BRISBANE" FOR PM!!!

I wish you would put in a more regular appearance, John ! :)

I think Mark has been trapped in this debate from world point of view. And he has answered politically very correct, but spiritual explanation he has given is not correct.
Ex: car mechanic- If I do not find good Christian car mechanic on my street, I ll go find another good Christian mechanic, when it comes to trust- I would rather trust someone who believes a right thing rather than someone who believes pagan thing. I do think Mark may not be entirely convinced because u cannot be in two boats at the same time.ahh we need to remember it's not pm that governs the nation- but the lord and his church- which is his body( governing body over the nation). May the lords will be done in this nation, may he open the eyes of the blind and sharpen the sight of seeing. I will go with the madness of Christ rather than wisdom of pagan. God bless the reader.

As for me I will go

Hi Avi,

I agree with you, on reading Mark's post it is clearly biased towards Gillard. His example about the mechanic is poor.

Competency, Decency and Honesty are not characteristics of a PM who currently lives in sin and has had an affair with another married Labor member and was completed dishonest to the Australian public and Rudd before she knifed him in the back.

Will we see the real Gillard prior to the election? Highly unlikely. She is clearly now in the regain traction with the Christian voters mode.

Is Abbott perfect? Certainly not, but there is a very significant difference between the pagan Labor party and the more Christian based Liberals. Mark suggest you review the Christian Values Institute survey on the major parties. If Mark Conner's can't see there's a screaming difference in policies and leanings, his spiritual discernment is poor and his comments are not very valuable. I write this as a Christian of over 32 years experience so my experience and knowledge exceeds that of Mark by years.

He certainly needs to do a lot more homework before he writes another comment.

Philip Browne

Great to hear from you, John.

Hi Mark,

I was disappointed reading your comments.
You are aware of the lack of freedom to practice christianity in many countries.
It is because of the El Sharia law. Christians eventually over centuries lost their rights to practice their faith and were and are still being persecuted for it.
It all started by a non Christian being in power who gradually infiltrated his beliefs and ideals into the law of the land.

Leaders will be better if they follow the Godly laws .

Mark I will get my car fixed by the christian mechanic because he will need support from his fellow brother and you do n't need the best mechanic for a car

But for Australia we hope for the best leader. Julia Gillard is not Christian. She could not even accept the Bible when giving an oath, so exactly what values is she standing for, if she refuses the Bible? Her values will cause more confusion to the young generation and will be promoting more deviation from the bible to areas we don't know where we are going to end.


The book of Judges shows that without Godly leaders, the nation suffers and freedom is lost.

I understand that you need to be politically correct but your article does tend to promote Julia and suggests that she is a better leader than Abbot, while you were meant to be neutral.

All, hope you could see the fallacy of voting blindly based on Christian label alone without careful reasoning. Mark's statements were correctness in reason. Competency and Character are very important too.
The key is informed decisions. We should not be indifferent to elections and wake up and gripe the morning after. So, we need to get informed on what parties value and uphold. I have surveyed the resources - australiavotes
In particular, check out the Points of Difference webpage and evaluate this against Christian values and stand on questions on life of its origin, meaning, morality, destiny and whether the weakest in our society will be protected and see which party aligns better. I suppose Greens could be easily ruled out by as for the 2 main parties, there appear to be no colossal differences. Thus deciding factor might be more on fiscal policies rather than Christian values.

I am not quite sure what blog some of you have read. Numerous comments have been made on this blog about Mark leaning towards Julia/Labor! You must be reading a different blog to me. The blog that I have read very clearly states on numerous occasions that publicly Mark is not going to endorse ANY leader or political party. That he has provided info of websites for us to all do our own research & make an informed decision ourselves. Last time I checked, when I go to the polling booth on election day, it is MY name that is marked on the electoral role, not Mark Conners! Therefore it is MY responsibility who I vote for!

As for the focus some people have put on whether the PM is a christian or not, people need to remember that although the PM having a christian faith is very important, we don't vote in a PM! We vote in a political party! EG For all those out there who voted Labor in the last election because the Labor leader at that time Kevin Rudd stated he was a christian. How is that decision working for you now? Now that K.Rudd has been given the boot by the athiest Julia Gillard? Your decision to vote Labor, has inadvertantly led to us now having an athiest PM!

So, ultimately the question we all need to consider is, of the 2 major parties, Liberal & Labor, which PARTY has the more christian party policies? THAT is what we should all be focused on when deciding who to vote for at this election!

Hi. We don't really know Julia or Tony yet. All we can do is pray and ask the Lord to guide us first, then make a personal evaluation of the leaders policies and make our decision based on that. I don't think we can be concerned about who calls themselves a christian or not, how would we know whether they genuinely are anyway, at least without an opportunity to even see whether they bare fruit? There are countless leaders throughout the world who have called themselves 'christian' yet they support same sex marriage, abortion, and the removal of religious education from schools. I, as a christian would be praying for guidance, looking at these things, then making my decision and then praying again for whoever gets elected. Trust that the Sovereign God is in control and nothing happens unless it is in accordance with His divine will.

You cant limit God in a box. Or a particular political party Or a particular person. The God i serve is not limited by these things. Who's to say God cant use and work Through Gillard just as much as tony?
being an athiest doesnt make you incapeable of making good decisions.
being a christian doesnt make you the best person for the job (dare i say a certian family first leader)
God is above ALL things. especialy the australian political party.

Looks like self-proclaimed prophet Danny Nahlia is having a go at Mark Conner and the Australian Christian Lobby. See: http://catchthefire.com.au/blog/2010/08/12/when-will-the-church-stop-being-politically-correct-by-pr-daniel/
John, maybe you should get on his BLOG and help put some sense into him!

Hey John. Always good to have you visit the blog! True, could be seen as a little long-winded ... but all good stuff :) Thanks

I totally endorse Mark's comments here. Well done for giving such a balanced and worthwhile view to this very important issue. Saying you should vote for people because they're Christians sounds very pious, just like saying that you won't get burnt if you use Christians in business. Everyone needs to be evaluated carefully. At the last election I wrote "This election don't vote for Christians!" - it was a headline grabber but I'm grateful that Evangelical Alliance still has it on their website: http://crucible.ea.org.au/election/adont.htm

Thanks David.

I am getting quite a few emails in from Danny Nahlia supporters. Here is a sample of the kind of content and tone of the emails:

"Dear pastor, I have just read an article that states you don't care that Julia Gillard is a self proffessing Athiest and how do you think she is fit to run Australia. Let me tell you pastor, you are dead wrong. If Gillard gets back in you will lose many in your church and you will not be able to preach Jesus is Lord because Gillard will stop all of us from reaching out to the lost. We met a pastor who went to hell and told of how the lake of fire is for all pastors and leaders who lead people away from Christ will go ... I hope you dont end up in that lake of fire. Cheers"

The bias and polarisation on this issue is astounding! [Warning: Sarcasm Alert!] I think when God was raining discernment on earth some of these folks were holding an umbrella!

Oh well Mark….no matter what you say you’re now pro-Julia. Seems like she owes you dinner! That’s it, nothing will change these people’s minds. Even though lay folks like us voice similar views, they don’t matter because we’re not ‘pastors’.

I ought to be grateful to your critics for enlightening me, because despite having read your comments line-by-line with interest, I wasn’t able to decrypt your secret message, that you’re a closet Gillard fan!

However I am sniffing a bit of hypocrisy here! These are the very people who play the “don’t judge” card every time you offer an alternative view to theirs. Yet they are extremely comfortable to enter the no-go-zone of judging people’s hearts (not their words or behaviours but their motives) and accuse them of being ‘politically correct’. The underlying issue here is that they find it easier to convince themselves that you are being politically correct rather than speaking from personal conviction and evaluation of the facts (God forbid we dare think!)

Now dear critics, unless the Holy Spirit has gone on holidays and asked you to fill in for Him, I would humbly suggest that you refrain from doing HIS job. Spiritual copyright infringements may have serious consequences! May I propose that you stick with the heart of the matter and steer away from the matter of the heart!

I am a vocal critic (ok, maybe very vocal sometimes), but only to things people say and do in public. Judging people’s motives is forbidden territory because it goes to issues of the heart and only God knows people’s hearts.

ANDREW thanks for the challenge, but if you noticed Danny only publishes comments that agree with him. Last time I posted a comment on his blog he buried it. And typical Danny…the martyr complex coming out in him again. He is the ONLY one who has a prophetic voice and all other leaders are too afraid to speak up. I call it ‘the Elijah syndrome’. Elijah had said “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left…”1 Kings 19:14 God told him his maths were slightly out of whack because there were another 7,000 who hadn’t bowed their knee to Baal but he was too spiritual and self-absorbed to notice perhaps…

The Nahliaites are spreading paranoia, which is both comical and sad at the same time.

@Pastor (person who made comment about Danny 18 comments back
What is your name, on this blog it is protocol and policy to go by your name.
Danny Nahlia your bother in Christ who you are judging, Have you gone to your brother and told him his fault? Luke 7:3-4

You have singled him out and labelled him.
What is the fruit of his ministry?Matt 7:7-17
A good fruit comes to mind, an establishing of a prayer network right across Australia, with a genuine passion for God and his purposes in this nation. What have you established?

God is passionate about relationship, he loves his people coming to him in the right spirit but is grieved by your lack of sincere love for your brother.

@John Edwards:
You wrote, "Abbott seems to have permanent foot and mouth disease and is more blunder prone than any other politician before him".
In what way is Abbott more blunder prone than any politicians before him?

Julia Gilard is an atheist and pro-abortion rights.

God does not lie and his word (the bible)is clear in what it says about atheists.

Psalm 14:1 says:

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.


We must listen to God and beleive in his word for is it the truth.

For this reason alone we will not be voting for an atheist Julia

Boy this is getting really monotonous!

Can someone please remind us when was the last time we had a TRUE Christian PM (you know, like one who actually calls Christ his saviour)? If you’re going to vote Liberal JUST BECAUSE you believe Tony Abbott is a ‘Christian’ just check the fine print. Abbott is a CATHOLIC and last time I checked Rome and the Papacy don’t trust Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. The teachings of the Vatican are not the same as the ones from 1st century Jerusalem.

That’s not to say that Abbott doesn’t have good morals or he’s not a decent guy, but I know a few folks with good morals who don’t profess ANY faith in Jesus. This fact seems to escape many Christians, that one can achieve higher morality without Christ. Ghandi was one of the most moral people who ever lived, but he wasn’t a Christian. Most religions have similar moral codes but the exclusivity of the gospel does not lie in moralism. If it did, then we’re in competition with the world’s religions.

I can’t fathom the growing paranoia with Gillard’s atheism. The difference between her and many of her predecessors is that she publically confessed that she’s an atheist, whereas others didn’t but lived like atheists anyway. Telling people not to vote Labour because she’s not married??? Bob Hawke was married and a ‘family man’ but he was a serial (self-confessed) adulterer and a drunk. Where was ‘the Christian voice’ then? But guess what? Australia did well under Hawke!

What will it take to understand that Australia is NOT a dictatorship where the dictator changes any laws he wants depending on what side of the bed he wakes up. We have a democratic parliamentary process. The opposition CAN BLOCK the passing of Bills (as they have always done). The same parliamentary democracy that will not allow a Christian PM to change any laws just because he’s a Christian, will also not allow an atheist PM to change any laws just because she’s an atheist.

I think we are too naive to think that a ‘Christian’ PM will make it all rosy and start holding bible studies and devotionals in Parliament. Here’s something to ponder on. Mark Scott is the Managing Director of the ABC and he is a bible believing Christian who (last I heard) attended CCC (or C3 as is now called) at Oxford Falls in Sydney. Yet under his leadership ABC was allowed to produce ‘The Chaser’ one of the most vile, vulgar and crudest programs on Australian television. It was finally axed because of the public outcry when they made fun of terminally ill children. What didn’t MS stop the program since it contradicted his personal values and Christian beliefs? Because it wasn’t as simple for him to justify such a decision to his Board and executive management just because it went against his own beliefs.

If you want to vote someone in JUST BECAUSE they are (as you think) a Christian, go for it. But when I look for a barista who makes good coffee I don’t ask if they’re a Christian. Same goes for my dentist, electrician etc. If they happen to be a Christian, GREAT! But I would rarely go to them for that reason ALONE. When I recruit staff, I look for THE BEST candidate for the job. If the best candidate happens to be a Christian it’s an added bonus. In fact last time I hired a Christian, we had to let him go because he was not good at his job at all!

Totally agree John from Brisbane. I have my own business (albeit small) and I prefer to deal with non Christians in the business world. I hate to say it but I think they are more open and honest and generally easier to deal with than some "Christians".

I also wanted to say in regards to Philip Browne's comments above. Age does not equate to wisdom. I know young people with more wisdom than some old people. If age brought wisdom - why is the world in such a state given most leaders are 50+ in age. Years of experience will bring wisdom if you let them and that is a matter for the individual to decide whether they will learn or not from what life (and our GOD) sends there way.

Now in regards to Danny Nahlia and his supporters. I would like some clarification around the office of the prophet. 1 Corith 12 talks about the gifts that are given for the benefit of the body of Christ and while some have a specific annointing in this area, everyone at a given time can have a prophecy because of the Holy Spirit who has been made alive in Jesus believing Christians.

Now the observations/questions -
1. Shouldn't the prophecy uplift the church?
2. The Old Testament office of the prophet has changed. The Old Testament prophet was God's voice to his people. He brought correction to God's people. We now have the Holy Spirit that was poured out on all Jesus Christ belivers. We all now have direct communication with the Father through the Holy Spirit who corrects and convicts us when we go astray. Therefore isin't the Old Testament office of the prophet gone or substantially different today - right?
3. Does a prophet have any responsibility to helping non believers come to faith? I would suggest that some of Danny's prophecy's has turned people away from Jesus Christ and HIS follower's. If you define someone who turns people away from Christ - wouldn't that be called an anti Christ - isn't that what Danny is doing. Before I get beaten up by Danny supports I am not saying he is evil. I am sure he loves God.
4. Doesn't wisdom need to go hand in hand with the office of the prophet?


Sorry Mark - I have gone off topic.

Analogies are never perfect and sadly the analogy of a car mechanic is also not perfect.I too, would want the most competent mechanic, christian or non Christian – may provide a wonderful opportunity to reveal Jesus.
A consumerable item like this though is no comparison to voting for a party whose leader will become PM. The policies, ethical & value system of the party are paramount together with past history & track record of that party. Remember, Kevin Rudd was put forward as 'christian' and people voted for him for that reason. However, and I'm not his judge, would the evidence of his personal 'fruit' suggest differently? Some homework needed here. Rudd also won votes when he said he would increase overseas aid. He did not.
What are Julia's fruit to date? Check out Emily's List website, search all that Emily's List stands for and see where Julia fits in terms of Godly fruit, ethics and value system. God still loves this woman; but what would she bring to the nation?
I saw Tony Abbott, after being asked from where he gets his wisdom and strength, lift his hands, look up and say without shame, 'from above'. I'm not his judge either; but thought his humility significant. (Thought that Tony Abbott was maybe like a stuttering 'Moses', maybe someone who could not take the glory and that God could use the 'foolish things of this world' to confound the wise!)
Will the Libs or ALP have everything correct? I'm sure, no; but which party upholds policies, a value and ethical system which most closely lines up with God's word? Surely these are the critical issues. Please pray and be led by Holy Spirit. We need and let's ask for God's wisdom alone ‘to see’ the real agendas and vote appropriately.

I own small business. Everything been equal, I preferred to deal with Christian businessman. BUT sad to said I had been cheated many times by christian businessmen who is "passionate for God"(whatever that mean!). Now, I look for competencies and honesty irrespective of their religious beliefs.

In democratic country, PM do not have absolute power. We should vote based on parties policies, not mere individual personality.

As a not so recent migrant, can I say what a privilege it is to vote. I have voted twice in Australia- only voted once in 20 years in my country of birth- noted for it's may walkovers at the time of election.

I'd like to know if it's in the constituition that we are a Christian country accepting of all others or are we a secular country ( by Act of Parliament)

We need to prayerfully vote wisely with our brains as well as our hearts. Honesty, integrity, transparency, well balanced policies and passion to make this land a better country are vital qualities.

Above all we are nothing without Jesus. How did Jesus react to the government of His day? <

R. POYNTON (related to Shereen I assume?)

The answer to your “office of the prophet” query lies in Hebrews 1:1-2 “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe”

This issue tends to confuse many on how to deal with modern self-proclaimed prophets who claim authoritative revelation. The office of the prophet in the Old Testament (OT), distinctly different from the gift of prophecy in the New Testament (NT) sense, no longer exists. The above passage makes that abundantly clear.

Follow this linear explanation if you can.

One has to understand the function of the OT prophet. Those guys conveyed direct revelation from God to his people and issued spiritual direction to the nation of Israel. Most of what they proclaimed has become ‘Bible’ to us and has been passed on. The Bible is [a] inerrant (infallible / faultless), [b] 100% accurate and [c] morally binding. Disobeying it can end you up in hell.
The trajectory of God’s revelation from the OT to the NT has clearly been progressive. The completion of the canon of Scripture has sealed God’s revelation and not an iota can be added to it. How do we know? The historical church has universally accepted the 66 books included in ‘Scripture’ to be authoritative and did not have a ‘witness’ to add to it. That’s why any other books outside the 66 already included in the Bible have not been universally accepted by the early church and have been labeled “deuterocanonical books” (second to the canon) or “apocrypha” (hidden / spurious). The early church doubted their spiritual authority (especially in an apostolic sense) and their authenticity and rejected them.
The gift of prophecy in the NT, while it carries a form of direct revelation from heaven (i.e. Agabus predicting a severe famine throughout the empire in Acts 11:28, and Philp’s spinster daughters ‘prophesying’ though we are not told exactly what, in Acts 21:9), is more affirmatory than directive. In other words the NT gift of prophecy is not to tell people what to do but rather to affirm existing truth, to encourage and as in Agabus’s case, to warn and prepare.


Now when you take all the above points into consideration the question becomes, is someone like Danny Nahlia a prophet in the OT or NT sense? If you notice the terminology that he uses it is very reminiscent of the OT. The difference is that Jeremiah’s revelation (for example) is Biblical because it’s included IN the Bible, whereas modern day prophets ‘revelation’ is extra-Biblical because it’s OUTSIDE the Bible. See the difference? So if he is a modern day Jeremiah, his words must be equally authoritative, inerrant, 100% accurate and morally binding. In other words DN’s words carry the same clout, weight and authority with Scripture. So Danny and the gospel of Matthew ought to be equally binding for Christians to obey.

Bottom line (I know I took the long way to explain this), any modern day self-proclaimed prophets who issue spiritual direction OUTSIDE the Bible are false, not the genuine article. That’s not to say they deliberately try to deceive people, but they are deceived themselves.

Finally, it has become du jour for preachers who comment passionately on hot social topics to be labelled as being ‘prophetic’ or having a ‘prophetic edge’. This however is a term of similitude (likening with something) as opposed to a literal Biblical term.

I am now officially a serial offender of breaking Mark’s 2nd blog rule, but I felt your query goes to the heart of the matter we are discussing and why we see such extreme views being expressed.

My only disclaimer is that I am not a ‘professional’, so if you have any doubts about my explanation consult an expert!

Blessings

Thanks John

I appreciate the explanation. You certainly have a gift when it comes to explaining your thoughts. And yes I am Shereen's other half.

Do let us know if you come to Melbourne, we would really like to catch up over a coffee or a meal.

Thanks RP that's very kind of you!

Wow… remind me never to start a blog, for fear of being 'nailed to the cross' by other Christians.

Voting is simple. One should not vote based on who they don't want, but rather who they do want running the country. If you want a Godly person running the country, vote for a Godly person, but at the moment, for the top job of running our country, it’s slim pickings.

More importantly, one should not vote for a particular person (as a persons governing of the country is guided by a party), and people in different parties hold different beliefs, rather one should vote for a party that will BEST RUN THE COUNTRY.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, one should not vote just for a party, but one ('one' being a Christian voter for those a bit slow on the uptake) should realise that greater than any political parties plans for our nation, God has greater plans! And He promises to 'build' His kingdom, with or without us, with or without Juila Gillard, with or without Danny Naliah and with or without Mark Conner, and one should vote accordingly.
So ultimately, vote for a person that will best run our country, vote for a party that gives Christians the best chance possible to bring heaven to this earth, and most of all, PRAY. Pray that God will in His ultimate wisdom, allow His will to be done in our Nation. Spend your energy researching and informing your vote, instead of spending your energy causing divide amongst God’s people.

I'm appalled at people who consider themselves Righteous, Holy, Christians, and yet are so eager to cut another down and condemn someone.

As Jesus said in Matthew 23:27-28 speaking to the religious leaders and teachers 'You hypocrites...you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.'
Rather than just jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst, a Christian should love someone else, and maybe, God forbid, SEEK SOME CLARITY from Mark Conner re: his statements.
Or alternatively...just read his blogs without a bias or anger towards him, Julia Gillard or anyone else for that matter!
Otherwise I pray you never have to be judged with the same harshness you use.... Matt 7:1-2.

If you consider yourself Christian, you should act out of love, and emails and blogs, should at least be sent with an attitude of love and kindness, one seeking the truth, instead of judgement. CityLife is a church obviously blessed by God through a great heritage and Mark Conner’s insight and wisdom. One would do well to heed some of his advice and consider it thoroughly, instead of retaliating to it in anger

Hope our new elected leader will have the same prayer as Alfred Deakin-"Oh God, grant me that judgment & forsight which will enable me to serve my country-guide me and strengthen me, so that I may follow & persuade others to follow the path which shall lead to the elevation of national life & thought & permanence of well earned prosperity-give me light & truth & influence for the highest & the highest only

Good golly Miss Molly !! Doesnt politics bring out the religious spirits! Wouldnt matter what you said Mark, as the saying goes ... you can please some of the people some of the time , you can never please all of the people all of the time. Its quite blimin simple .... pray , hear , vote .... dont believe party propaganda because they all have agendas, no matter who they are. Only God can run this country anyway and as we know from scripture that even when the baddies rule , He often has a greater plan and maybe , just maybe if some things had to happen to take away our "Aussie privileges" then we might all sit up and start fasting and praying and get serious about the fact that its only grace that seperates us from those "heathens". To be honest in this day and age its the World Bank and the IMF that runs the country and our local pollies are dancing on their strings. He who has hold of the purse strings essentially runs your country. So whoever gets elected , God allows it and then we get to pray and evangelise as always and get on with the job , no matter how easy or hard it becomes.

BTW ...... ONYA John of Brissy .... the voice of common sense crying in the wilderness !!! Bless ya heart.

A few people have questioned or critiqued my mechanic analogy ...

The mechanic analogy is just that - an analogy. If you read my post carefully, you'll find that I go on to say that being Prime Minister is a much more complex role and with more far-reaching consequences. However, the principles are similar - you don't just look for faith (or lack of it), you also consider character and competency.

To elect someone ONLY because they are a Christian (or not) is a flawed approach. If you don't believe me, just ask the Americans who voted for George Bush, the most overtly 'Christian' president ever, yet one who will go down as one of the worst presidents in their history because of his poor leadership of their
nation.

So as I have said all along in this blog, Christians should pray, check out the faifh (or lack if it), character and competency of a potential candidate, as well as the values and policies of their party .... then vote in an informed manner.

Just some parting thoughts before we soon move on from this topic.

Regardless of who comes to power, God’s decree for this nation will come to pass. Once again, history shows that the gospel has thrived and flourished amidst God hating governments. This only proves one thing, that God can do it without the help of politicians and in spite of their opposition (not saying they’re not important, hang with me here).

They will only serve God’s purposes in the end but can’t thwart them, though at times it seems that way. But the author and finisher of our faith assures us that He will build His church regardless, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. These things will happen regardless of who’s in power. A little attention to detail helps here. The word “prevail” presupposes a struggle and points to the final outcome. Simply put, we will have opposition (individually and collectively), and while we may lose a few battles, what matters is that Jesus will make sure we win the war!

This is the time to have a high view of God’s sovereignty and understand that everything foretold in the Bible will come to pass. Jesus once said: And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:24

Smaller chunk posts for ‘user friendly reading’…

As it has already been pointed out in earlier comments, the answer to this nation’s ailments is not found in Canberra but in the life changing power of the gospel (Rom 1: 16) through the Holy Spirit. We seem to underestimate the power of the gospel to impact the economy and the direct correlation between Christian faith and commerce (see Acts 16:19). A crook who becomes a true convert helps the economy by eliminating fraud and dishonest gain. Zacchaeus is a classic example (Luke 19:8)

The exhortation of 1 Timothy 2:1-4 to pray for heads of state so we can have a decent quality of life, suggests that it is important to God and us, but in the eternal scheme of things it is only temporal. The penetration of the gospel into forbidden territory (former Iron Curtain, China and Muslim states) is achieved miraculously. In the last few years, testimonies coming out of hard line Islamic states point to conversions happening by God leading Muslims to Christ directly through dreams and visions. (Quite strategic of the Almighty (if I may say so reverently), as Muslims recognise Jesus as a prophet already, therefore Him appearing in their dreams is not out of the scope of their faith)

I am all for Christians engaging with culture in every sphere of life, and as a vocational Christian in the corporate world I take my faith very seriously in the application of business ethics. But neither Abbott nor Gillard can stop me from bringing the aroma of Christ in my interactions with colleagues, customers and staff. I can still do those things next Monday regardless what the result will be this Saturday.

And yes, abortion, euthanasia etc are very important on the stance the government takes, but so is a robust economy so the country doesn’t go bankrupt and people are out of a job. For those that get so hot under the collar about these issues, remember that we feel the consequences of the fall, and the redemption of the cosmos is progressive not complete. Incidentally, have you noticed that Paul did NOTHING to abolish slavery but on the contrary he asked slaves to be obedient to their masters and not backchat? (Titus 2:9, Col 3:22, Col 4:1, 1 Tim 6:1). Was Paul being liberal and ‘afraid to stand for the truth’?

Finally, the differences between the two major parties are not that great this time around. Abbott acts like an apprentice and I wouldn’t trust Gillard and her party as far as I can throw them with this nation’s economy (even if she wasn’t an atheist).

I may be wrong, but when I look at biblical eschatology, the preparation for the coming of the Antichrist seems to be played out in the political arena. There has to be a build up of a crescendo with the world being bored with ineffective leaders who make little difference and are hungry for a highly charismatic leader with enormous wow factor. Our hero worship culture is waiting for THE leader who will take the bull by the horns and give the world an experience it never had with unprecedented prosperity (Dan 8:9, 24,25)!

Thank you also to those for your kind comments.

Julia Gilard is an atheist and pro-abortion rights.

God does not lie and his word (the bible)is clear in what it says about atheists.

Psalm 14:1 says:

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.


We must listen to God and beleive in his word for is it the truth.

For this reason alone we will not be voting for an atheist Julia

GOD CANNOT LIE!

Fine Fiona - no one is telling you to vote for Julia.

Hey John from Bris still wondering why you labelled Tony Abbott as blunder prone?
I am voting for this guy, I don't percieve him that way at all.

SAM D –

Have you watched any interviews that Tony Abbott gave to the media lately? Like the 7.30 Report on the ABC where he couldn’t explain the details of his broadband policy and a couple of weeks ago with Laurie Oakes on the Sunday program. Laurie recited all times TA changed his mind and his position on his policies. Laurie’s analogy was “you’ve had more positions on your policies than Kama Sutra”

And his radio interview where he did a backflip on the Work Choices policy.

John from Brisbane

I have thought we Christians are strange when it comes to trying to prevent something that the bible tells us will happen. People have commented on the risk of an atheist leader taking away our right to pray etc. I kind of think a dose of persecution would do the church in Australia a lot of good. I think I am right in saying that church history would tell us the greatest growth occurs during times of persecution and not when everything is going great. Are there any exceptions?

Human nature is such that we only put the effort in to change or do better when there is a crisis. For example WWI and WWII saw many inventions and developments both destructive (A-Bomb) and development of penicillin (WWI). So here is were I get a little knotted up over predestination and how much we can and should try to change things? Part of me says don't bother or worry too much because God will have his way but I suppose the danger is I miss out on the things God wanted me to do.

I suppose the answer is to pray and be led by the Holy Spirit and hopefully, if obedient we do God's will and that will fit into HIS plans.

Hi Reiner,

You raised some valid points. Predestination is quite a complex issue and how you understand it determines your position on such issues as the one being discussed. I have been studying it for over two years now and every time I get deeply into it, it has me in knots. The truth is that there is overwhelming evidence in the Bible FOR that doctrine, but I can’t (fully) buy into it intellectually like those who uphold it (Reformed theology and Calvinism). Something inside me still resists it.

I am however closer to it than what I was before I began studying it. So we don’t sidetrack the discussion, even the staunchest advocates of this belief system will tell you that the fact that God has predetermined the course of history does not mean that we Christians are to be passive and disengaged from the world. We can all be instruments in the accomplishment of God’s purposes. We are to take Jesus’s “until I come” at face value and be active and fruitful in whatever he has gifted us in. According to Jesus we will be held accountable for how we used our gifts and abilities. We are to serve God, his church and neighbour whatever our vocation is to be fruitful and good at it. (Read the Guinness family story and how their faith shaped their business venture of the most famous brewery in modern history)

Having an exalted view of God’s sovereignty though, means that you don’t get too hung up on the media frenzies, political propaganda and frantic activism (like standing outside abortion clinics hurling abuse at the medical staff, and boycotting the gay mardi gras). ‘Having a voice’ does not mean we have to be in people’s faces.

Blessings

Well, well sounds like a lot of people have a lot of theory and sciptures to quote. Briefly I have spent time in service as a police officer and other community service roles. If you want positive action then vote Liberal. We have had enough labor setbacks. The right Mechanic is a Liberal one!! I am also a City lifer but check trhe facts. Cheers and my name is mark also.

Christians beware ATHEIST JOOLIA and THE ANTICHRISTIAN GREENIES.

Watch before voting:

http://onevote.com.au/

On the eve of the election just could be the last post?? Go Tony, Collingwood for premiers 2010 and "every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is truly Lord of all". The perfect trifecta!!

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