as a brother in Christ (and I do believe you when you call yourself a Christian) I was discouraged to see how you answered our brother in Christ on Q&A last night. I was discouraged for the following reasons:
Firstly, I was discouraged by the way you handled the scriptures. You said that the Bible condoned slavery and if we take it literally we should have been fighting for the confederacy in the American Civil War and your point (I think) was that just because the Bible condemns something that doesn’t mean the Bible is right. This argument makes it quite easy for people who don’t believe the Bible to be bolstered in their opposition to the Bible and I’m sure, as a Christian, you wouldn’t want people to oppose the Bible but to love reading it as they hear God speaking to them through it. As a Christian brother, I wish you defended same sex marriage by not firstly attacking the Bible which, as a man with your intellect and learning, you could have easily done. The Bible is under enough attack from people who aren’t Christians without having Australia’s most prominent self confessed Christians trashing it.
Secondly, I was discouraged by your statement that the Bible was about “universal love, loving your fellow man”. This statement has an element of truth in it for the Bible does speak of God’s universal love for everyone and that Christians should love our neighbour as ourselves. But we can say true things in a way and in a context that misconstrue the truth and can give people a false impression of what the truth is and this is what you did last night. Saying the Bible is about “universal love, loving your fellow man” is true if God’s universal love is couched in the fact that this love is not given to us all because we are beautiful little Vegemites who deserve God’s love but quite the opposite. God’s universal love is given despite ourselves. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and therefore God can justly judge us and condemn us to hell. But God, in his great universal love for all mankind, becomes a man and takes the punishment that was ours as he dies on the cross so that if we trust in him we can be saved from his right and good judgement. This sacrifice is for everyone and therefore this love is given to all. This is the context in which the Bible talks about God’s universal love. And loving your fellow man therefore is not saying to people “live however you want” it is about seeking their best and if the best thing for them is lovingly telling them about Jesus so that they would repent of sin well this is how we love.
My fear is that people heard your statement that the Bible is about “universal love, loving your fellow man” they heard that God loves me for who I am and doesn’t want me to change. Brother, we both know, Jesus clearly asks people to repent or change their ways as they come to know and love him. I fear that your statement about what the Bible is about will allow people to misconstrue the love of God and duck Jesus’ tough and yet loving call for everyone to repent and follow him.
And finally, I was discouraged by the way you treated a brother in Christ. I am fine with passionate disagreements (I think we need to have them in order to have a truly tolerant society). But I have not read one person, Christian or not, who didn’t think you were angrily dressing down the brother in Christ who asked you a very legitimate question. Your tone was off brother and as someone whose tone is off a lot of the time I know how hard it is to keep your cool when answering an intense and and passion fueled question. We all screw up, we all make mistakes and forgiveness is there for us all.
You are usually very cool when answering all kinds of questions and so your answer last night made me think if you are passionately answering this question not because you are passionate about it but for political expediency in that you wanted to show people who are passionately for gay marriage that you too are in their corner. I hope I am wrong.
Kevin, as a student of the scriptures you know how short lived our lives (especially political ones) are. You also know that one day we will have to give an account for the words we uttered. I can assure you when you stand before Jesus on that last day you will not say “I wish I was more unclear on what the Bible says so that I will get more votes”. No I think you will say “I wish I had been clearer and stronger on what the scriptures say.” Because on that last day you it won’t matter how many votes you received when you were on earth it will only matter if one person votes in your favour and whether that one person says to you “Well done good and faithful servant” or “away from me I never knew you”.
You and Mr Abbot are in my prayers.
Your Brother in Christ,
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