Responding to Dr Macnab

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Responding to Dr Macnab

30 October 2008 Hits:4528

In recent weeks there has been much controversy surrounding some comments made by cleric Francis McNab of St Michaels Uniting Church in Melbourne. Macnab wanted to start a new faith for the 21st century (as if we needed another one!) declaring that “The Ten Commandments were one of the most negative documents ever written.” Dr Macnab says “Abraham is probably a concoction, Moses was a mass murderer and Jesus Christ just a Jewish peasant who certainly was not God. In fact, there is no God…” Considerable attention was given to these claims by the media, and St Michaels were embarking on a $120,000 advertising campaign to promote this new faith.

The Uniting Church has responded quickly to this controversy by asking Dr Macnab to remove the Billboards and apologise for any offence he has caused to Christians as well as those of other faiths. I greatly admire the Uniting Church’s responses which can be viewed on their Website:

http://victas.uca.org.au/main.php?pg=download&id=239857

http://victas.uca.org.au/main.php?pg=download&id=239854

http://blogs.victas.uca.org.au/synod2008/?p=155#more-155

Although Dr. Macnab’s statements may have caused some short-term damage and hurt, long-term good can come from this. It’s good for us to be shocked out of our comfort zone and forced to re-examine our faith. It’s good for us to stop and ask what we believe and why? I find that my own faith always goes deeper and becomes stronger as a result of being examined afresh.

Also, we need to understand that there will always be those who attack the Christian faith. One of the more recent attacks on Christianity came from British sceptic Richard Dawkins and his book The God Delusion. Dawkins wrote the book to convert people to atheism. Right now Dawkins is running an advertising campaign in the UK under the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” It started as an aside comment from a comedian in response to a church campaign that pointed people to a website that indicated they’d be going to hell if they didn’t believe in God. An acquaintance of mine who works with the Uniting Church has posted a response to this on the Facebook group associated with the campaign suggesting an alternative logo: “There probably is a God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Now that sounds like a good definition of real Christianity!

Rob Buckingham

Senior Minister

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2 replies on “Responding to Dr Macnab”

Michael Gilmoursays:

Rob,
Sure we can be shocked by what some people believe but it’s important to note that ultimately what another person believes has nothing to do with what we personally believe. I’ve found that people often use events like the one that you’ve descrived as an excuse for not making a decision about God themselves.

I agree with you that the challenge we all face is to ensure that people don’t end up not making a decision (either way) and that the message of the gospel is a positive one NOT negative!

As I said to an atheist a number of years ago….let’s imagine that they are right and there is no God….I’ve a great life and we’ll all turn into worm food. Now let’s imagine that I’m right and there is a God…..I’ve had a great life and a future eternity……they have a problem. I’ve never understood why people don’t become Christians…..even from a pure risk management perspective.

You have house insurance….just in case….shouldn’t you become a Christian…..just in case? I know that ultimately that this is not a good motivation but I also believe that a person that has a “just in case” attitude will find that they fall in love with a truely wonderful saviour.

Cheers….and keep up the great bloggin!

Regina Sheilsays:

I completely agree.

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