• An Open Letter To Kevin Rudd

    Dear Kevin,

    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,

    Hans

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  • An open letter to Resolved

    Hey Guys,

    I just wanted to say I was so encouraged last night as I saw us all band together to make our opening week at Golden Grove a success!

    So many of you gave up most of your day to come and help out or make sure that things were just right for our first night. That is really pushing the flywheel!

    Thanks to all of you who brought someone new. It was great to see so many new faces at Resolved last night.

    I can’t wait to see  what God is going to do in our midst as we attempt to impact Sydney with the love of Jesus For God’s glory!

    Your Brother in Christ,

    Hans

  • Responding to my Anglican brothers and sisters in Christ whom I love

    As you know I put up a blog on Monday outlining why I am not an Anglican and I have had a lot of responses to this blog and from these responses I am realising that I have clarify a few things.

    1. I love my Anglican brothers and sister in Christ. I love the fact that I grew up in an Anglican church under great evangelical expository preaching. I love that I went to Moore College and I love it that my wife has the privilege of going to Moore College! I think that reformed evangelicals from all different denominations preach the gospel and my post was not in any way saying that Evangelical Anglicans in Sydney, Armidale, North West Australia or anywhere else don’t preach the gospel. In fact I know they do and I praise God for this!

    2. I didn’t realise the Synod for the Sydney diocese started the same day I put the blog up. I generally don’t read other peoples blogs and so I thought that synod was starting in a few weeks not on Monday. I totally understand that to some people my blog looked like an attack on the Sydney Anglicanism in the week of Synod. That wasn’t my intention at all and if had realised that Synod was happening this week I wouldn’t have posted my blog.

    3. I had written this blog about 6 months ago and I have been sitting on it since. I write my blogs in response to what I am reading or thinking or sometimes what questions I get asked as a church planter. I have been asked many times about why I am not an Anglican and so I wrote the blog but wanted to sit on it for a while for two reasons. One  to see if I agreed with it in six months time and two to see if people were still asking me why I am not an Anglican. I still agree with the reasons and I still get asked that question and so that is why I posted the blog.

    4. Some of my heroes are Anglican. I love to read JC Ryle, Ridley, Cramner, Packer, Stott, Bauckham, Owen, Morris. Who are or were Anglicans. I have been blessed by so many Anglican preachers. When I was younger and podcasting wasn’t available I listened to tapes of preachers that I loved and all of them were Sydney Anglicans! I owe a great debt to these men who shaped me to love the scriptures and Jesus more because of their preaching and also to love expository preaching!

    5. I am really sorry that my blog hurt some people and made other people’s lives difficult, that was never my intention. I understand people were upset by my blog and if my words were rash and insensitive I sincerely apologise. I also realise that my name is linked with some other Christian organisations and these organisations have been copping some heat. I apologise to these brothers in Christ and I need to say that my views on my blog are my views and no one else is responsible for these views other than me.

    6. I pray for the Anglican Church and all denominations and theological colleges regularly. I want to see every church in Sydney preaching the gospel and being overrun with new people coming to Jesus. I don’t really care if the churches that are experiencing revival are Anglican, Baptist, charismatic, independent or whatever. I just want the gospel to be preached and people to come to know Jesus.

    7. I believe my Anglican brothers and sisters and I are united in the gospel. Part of what this unity gives us is to be free to disagree about non essentials. To be open and say that you disagree on baptism or ecclesiology or whatever. Being strong and united in the gospel allows us to eyeball each other in love and say “I totally disagree with you on this point but I love you and I know you preach the gospel.”  I am not sure Aussies are really comfortable with this kind of blunt, open and loving discussion. Or maybe this kind of discussion is a reflection of my personality.  Either way the blog was written because I believe I have unity in the gospel with my Anglican brothers and sisters it wasn’t written to create disunity.

    I hope I am clear that I love my Anglican brothers and sister in Christ and that I really didn’t intend any harm to come of my blog.

     

  • An open letter to Al Stewart, KCC and the Oxygen team

    Dear Al, KCC and team,

    Brothers and sisters thank you so much for putting on Oxygen. I felt like I was drinking from a fire hose. There was so much that God challenged me about.

    I loved how John Lennox kept emphasizing that we will not get the church growing unless we get the word growing. In a world where technique is held as the thing we have to nail to get our churches to grow I was very encouraged by this! He also encouraged me in my evangelism by being so enthusiastic to tell his friends and colleagues about Jesus! I now have a greater love for the book of Acts and I cant wait till i preach through it!

    I love John Piper’s passion(who doesn’t?), but I also loved how he showed me his arguments from the grammar and the syntax of the passages he was exegeting. I came away thinking “It is all so clear!!” But also thinking that I need to show more of my work in my sermons! I loved his passion for Joy in his life and my life and how that cant be divorced from hard and right thinking!

    I loved the music!!! Trevor, Greg, Owen, Rowan, Faith and the other singer and the keys player did an amazing job! The songs lead me to consider the deep truths of the gospel and the music was brilliantly executed. The room was big and had so much natural reverb and yet the mix was always done very well! Great job guys!

    I loved my two electives. I went to one lead by Phillip Jensen who challenged pastors to guard the gospel and protect our flock. Which I, as a natural evangelist, can neglect! I also went Andrew Heard’s great seminar on gospel dreams and realising them. In both there was much food for thought about leadership, vision and motivating my people at Resolved.

    I loved the book pack! I love how generous your sponsors were in giving the conference delegates a bunch of new books! I also loved your generosity in giving away all the talks for free. KCC could have made a mint form the talks and yet you guys are more into blessing the world than making money! I love that about KCC!

    Should Oxygen be a movement? Yes it should. I hope that Oxygen becomes a conference that comes up every year or two. It was amazing. Thanks to all who worked so hard to put it on!

    Your brother in Christ,

    Hans

     

  • An apology from a Pastor to the gay community

    To the Gay community,

    As a pastor I want to apologise to you for so much.

    • I am sorry that a lot of Christians have not treated you with dignity and respect even though as people you are created in the image of God
    • I am sorry that a lot of Christians have not listened to you. We haven’t spent the time to hear about you and your hurts and fears and dreams.
    • I am sorry that a lot of Christians (especially the ones on T.V.) talk about being gay as if it is the worst thing even as we turn a blind eye to our greed, gossip, slander and other sins we make excuses for
    • I am sorry for TV Evangelists because they are TV Evangelists
    • I am sorry that in our conversation we major on your sin when I think Jesus would have majored on his love
    • I am sorry that we have not been there for you in your dark times. When you have seen friends die of AIDS. When many from within your number have committed suicide.
    • I am sorry that we have not preached against the sin of Homophobia
    • I am sorry that we have kept saying that we are all sinners which has made many of you wonder why is being gay so bad if we are all sinners? We should have communicated that the response we all have to make to Gods love is one of repentance.
    • I am sorry that we have tried to cure you of your homosexuality instead of helping you see how Jesus transforms who you are and gives you a new identity.
    • I am sorry that we have not loved you as God himself loves you.

    I am sorry for all these things and I hope you can forgive us. We would love to start a conversation about who Jesus is and how much he has done for you and how much he loves you.

    In love,

    Hans

  • An Open Letter to Resolved

    What are we on about at Resolved?

    One of the things any organisation, whether it be a church, a company, or any other conglomeration of people, must ask is “What are we on about?” This is crucial because this question defines and controls everything the organisation does.

    If you were going to answer the question “What is Resolved on about?” what would you say? In the last month I have heard Resolved described as:

    • “The cool church”
    • “The church that meets in the pub”
    • “The church filled with angsty, young 20-somethings”
    • “The ‘out there’ church”
    • “The Musician/arty church”

    I think, to differing extents, these descriptions are true (except the cool part!) but I wish we weren’t described as these things. I wish we were described as:

    • The church which is on fire for Jesus (Acts 4:23-31)
    • The church which is passionate for those that don’t know Jesus yet (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
    • The church where people are lovingly confronted by Jesus in a real way (Acts 17:16-33)
    • The church where people really love like Jesus (1 John 4:7-11)
    • The church where people want to change because of what Jesus has done for them (Acts 19:17-19)

    You know what? I think I have seen all of the above at Resolved. I have been encouraged to see and hear of people praying for friends to know Jesus. I have been excited as I have seen people grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus. I have seen people come to Resolved who don’t know Jesus and they have come to know him!

    See, what we are on about at Resolved is Jesus! We want to glorify him and make him known! I pray that you are on board with that vision too! I pray that you are praying for your friends to know Jesus and that you are inviting them along to church or your community group. I pray that you are seeking to change in response to what you are hearing at church and studying in community group. I pray that you are growing to love the people at Resolved more because of the love that Jesus has poured into your heart!

    What is Resolved on about?

    One word……. Jesus!

    Are you on about Jesus too?