Warning: Some of the content in this blog may be triggering.

Last weekend, thousands of people rallied to protest the increasing levels of violence and other abuse against women by intimate partners. There comes a time when people say enough. That time has come. Among G20 nations, Australia ranks eighth for rates of domestic violence against women. There’s been an almost 30% spike in the rate of Australian women killed by intimate partners last year.

In the Church

A church community should be a safe place where abuse is named, victims are not blamed or shamed, and unequal gender roles are challenged. Sadly, this is not always the case. Domestic violence and other kinds of abuse occur in Christian families to the same degree as outside of the Christian community. Churches can do better. An excellent place to start is the Safer Faith website, which has abundant information, guidelines, resources, and Bible studies to help Christians and our communities be safer.

So, let’s explore some reasons why churches are not always safe and free from domestic violence.

Church Structure

Some church structures can be a critical factor in causing domestic violence. It concerns me that we still have patriarchal churches that are run by men and invariably support men at the expense of women. You can pick these churches a mile away. Check out their websites and observe the leadership structure. I’m not talking just about the staff. Who’s on the Board, the senior leadership, and are women permitted to teach and preach? If they’re all men, run away.


These churches invariably espouse Complementarianism, the belief that men and women are “equal but different.” I’m not suggesting that all complementarian churches have an abuse problem, and I don’t deny that there are clear differences between these two genders. Still, complementarianism usually places men in the superior role of leading and women as their “helper,” supporting the man of God. It’s all very Orwellian: All humans are equal, but some humans are more equal than others!

As Matthew Henry once wrote, “Eve was not taken out of Adam’s head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.”

Church Teaching

It’s easy (and lazy) to quote isolated verses out of context. I heard of one guy who beat his wife while quoting scriptures on submission: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord,” clearly ignoring the previous verse: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Paul affirms that husbands should love their wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t beat up his church (or anyone else, for that matter). Jesus stood up for the victims and showed compassion and grace. We are to follow his example.

Submission has been used for centuries to suppress women. I have heard of multiple occasions where a pastor has instructed a woman to stay with an abusive partner, to submit to him and to be the best wife she can be. The inference is that the violence is somehow her fault, and if she were a better wife, he wouldn’t hit her. If you’re in a situation like that, THIS PASTOR encourages you to get away to safety as quickly as possible and reach out for help.

Church Emphasis

Another woman told of her minister advising her that her husband might stop hitting her if she had more sex with him. This stereotype is emphasised by some of today’s megachurches that stress the manly man versus the feminine submissive woman who looks after the home and keeps her husband happy. Consider the recent Stronger Men’s Conference, complete with monster trucks, a sword swallower, a wrestling match, motorcycles, and pyrotechnics. In contrast, the upcoming women’s conference is all pretty and pink and looks like a promo for Barbie. Aussie megachurches are much the same.

Pastor Josh Howerton recently got himself into trouble for propagating this same trope at his church in Dallas, where he gave a “gold nugget of advice” that his mentor had given him for couples intending to marry. He encouraged men to do whatever their fiancés wanted in the lead-up to the wedding and then told the women they needed to do the same thing for their husbands on the wedding night: “Stand where he tells you to stand, wear what he tells you to wear, and do what he tells you to do.” With this level of objectivation and misogyny, this guy needs to get a new mentor.

These churches encourage men to be Wild at Heart and to recover their masculinity, strength, and roughness. Women are to delight in their men’s strength, look up adoringly at them, and think how lucky they are. Teaching like this leads to all kinds of abuse that, sadly, we see regularly reported by news outlets.

Other Causes

In the same way that some churches and Bible teachings characterise women as subordinate to men, pornography does the same thing. In porn, “females are characterised as subordinate to males, and their primary role is the provision of sex to men.” Much porn is gonzo, a genre that depicts hard-core, body-punishing sex in which women are demeaned and debased. It won’t be long until the man who consumes this rubbish wants to try it.

Domestic violence can be caused by alcohol abuse or drug use, which can lead to higher levels of aggression by perpetrators. Pregnancy may also intensify the risk of domestic violence, as can financial hardship and unemployment.


What I’ve written about here is complex; we all have a role. If we know someone who is violent or abusive to their wife or girlfriend, we need to act. Dads can talk to their sons about respect for women and healthy models of masculinity. All men can behave considerately towards others. Appropriately, the focus for International Men’s Day for 2024 is Positive Male Role Models.

We guys can also teach others to resist the sexist rhetoric of public figures, be they politicians, pastors, or influencers like Andrew Tate. We can warn of porn addiction that can lead to sexualised violence and be educated on the dangers of social media and the sheer vitriol and hatred of the online space, and the algorithms that continually dish up more of the same.

We can advocate for women’s rights and believe that women deserve equal rights to men in every sphere of life. We can nurture our children, nieces, and nephews by having honest, frank, and healthy conversations about these challenging issues.

And that’s where the church can shine by modelling respectful relationships in which everyone is equally worthy of respect, dignity, and love, regardless of who they are. We can healthily teach the scriptures focusing on the Royal Law and the Golden Rule: love your neighbour as yourself and treat others as you would like to be treated.


For Further Help:

National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line.

Phone: 1800 737 732 Web: www.1800respect.org.au

First point of call for access to all services across Australia (24 hours a day).

Bayside Church Pastoral Care Phone: 0401 721 912

We regularly awaken to the news of another mass shooting in the USA. Several people have recently been shot for simply arriving at the wrong house. They were mistaken or lost and killed or seriously injured. Add to that the mass shootings in schools, churches, and shopping malls, and it appears that America is highly unsafe.

My main concern in this blog is the people who follow Jesus, claim the Christian faith, are staunch defenders of gun ownership and the Second Amendment, and use the Bible to endorse their point of view. How does this align with the teachings of Jesus?


I want to be transparent about my emotions on this topic because I feel very passionately about it. It is also a cause of enormous frustration to me as the US appears unable or unwilling to act on this significant problem. While I am not anti-firearms per se, they should be strongly regulated. I acknowledge some people love hunting, but I’m not one of them. I struggle with the concept of killing animals and calling it a sport. I understand that sometimes culling is necessary, but there’s a big difference between culling and killing for fun.

I greatly appreciate our government’s decisive action to reduce the number of illegal firearms in Australia. After the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, our new Prime Minister, John Howard, introduced a gun amnesty in which 600,000 firearms were handed in. Gun deaths by homicide and suicide plummeted, and Australia has not seen the likes of Port Arthur since. The same cannot be said for the US.

Back in the USA

There were 647 mass shootings in the US last year. A mass shooting is where four or more people are shot or killed, not including the attacker. With this definition, shootings of under four people are not included.

In 2022, there were only 97 days when a mass shooting was not recorded. So far, in 2023, there have been 185 mass shootings. Last weekend saw eleven mass shootings, but we only heard about the worst one. There are so many that it’s not worth reporting on the smaller ones.

Why’s it Getting Worse?

The trend has risen sharply in recent years. In 2022, there were 44,290 gun-related deaths, a 31% increase on 2019. Nine of the ten deadliest mass shootings in the US occurred after 2007. There are several reasons for this:

Gun ownership is on the rise. And no wonder, there is so little regulation that even a 13-year-old can legally buy a gun. If you don’t believe me, watch this short clip from Bryant Gumbel’s Real Sports. US gun laws are lax, irregular, and ineffective. For example, US Federal law does not require that background checks be made on private sales of guns, including at gun shows or online. Regulations on the safe storage of firearms are also lax in some states.

A fractured society. America was already politically divided well before Covid-19. The Pandemic only made things worse.

Rampant Conspiracies. I know this firsthand as I’ve watched some dear friends descend the rabbit hole of ridiculous plots. They believe in a Deep State Cabal that controls the government. They love Trump because this Cabal does not govern him, so they want him back in power. They believe the Port Arthur massacre was a false flag operation, an excuse for the government to strip Australians of firearms so the government can control the masses. Senator Pauline Hansen peddled this rubbish just a few years ago. Many Americans (including Christians) buy into this and fear it is happening in the US.

Toxic masculinity. 98% of shooters are men.

Financial or personal hardship. Undoubtedly, the gap between the haves and have-nots is getting wider. And this resentment can fuel frustration and anger that can lead to violence. But people face these things in Australia and other countries without resorting to shooting others.

The Second Amendment

Christian Nationalism, a perversion of the Bible and the gospel, is sadly rising in the USA. I know several conservative American Christians who love their God and their guns. They view the US Constitution as sacred and defend their beliefs from Scripture.

The Second Amendment states, A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. The militia refers to the American people.

The Second Amendment needs to be amended. It was first enacted on 15 December 1791, long before semi-automatic weapons. Muskets were the order of the day. Muskets were inaccurate, had a 30-second reloading time, and couldn’t shoot as far as 100 metres.

Misquoting Scripture

Christian gun activists quote Luke 22:36 & 38 to defend their beliefs. Jesus told his disciples, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied. There you go. Jesus told his followers to buy weapons to defend themselves, so we should own guns. But is that what Jesus is teaching here?

Jesus is speaking to Peter and John just before his arrest. When Judas betrayed Jesus, his followers saw what would happen and said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Jesus said, No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. (Luke 22:49-51).

Why did Jesus tell Peter and John to ensure they had weapons if they weren’t supposed to use them? Because those arresting Jesus came fully armed with swords and clubs (Luke 22:52-53), but Jesus didn’t want his disciples to behave that way. Impetuous Peter misses the moment and the message and gets it wrong again.

Jesus wanted to show that they weren’t leading an armed rebellion, so Luke 22:36 is not teaching American Christians that they should own guns. Jesus teaches the opposite by telling Peter, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” That could be a prophetic word for the United States, a nation living by and dying by the gun.

I invite you to pray for the US and the American church. I wonder what will need to happen before the nation and some sections of the church come to their senses and act in unity to stem the shedding of innocent blood. How many more people will need to die before a change is made?

You may have caught the news that the Senate’s new president, Sue Lines, has said she would like to see the practice of opening the houses of Parliament with Christian prayers ‘gone.’

A Tradition

The custom of saying the Lord’s Prayer to open Parliamentary sessions in the Upper and Lower House of Federal Parliament has been a tradition since 1901. In recent years, an acknowledgement of traditional owners has also been included, the one Senator Hanson walked out of last week.

When the tradition of reciting the Lord’s Prayer began, over 90% of Australians identified as Christian; at the last census, 43.9% acknowledged the Christian faith. And an increasing number of Australians, 38.9%, report having no religion.

Compelled to Pray

Senator Lines told The Australian, “On the one hand we’ve had almost every parliamentary leader applaud the diversity of the Parliament and so if we are genuine about the diversity of the Parliament we cannot continue to say a Christian prayer to open the day.” Some leaders in the Labor Party, such as senators Penny Wong, Don Farrell and Katy Gallagher, have said the recital of Christian prayers should stay.

As Senate President Sue Lines, an atheist, is compelled to recite Christian prayers, I reflected on this from personal experience. As an atheist, which I was until I converted to the Christian faith, how would I have felt about being compelled to pray? The answer was simple. I wouldn’t have appreciated it.

Furthermore, if Christians protested and said that I should pray, it would make me think even less of Christians. I empathise with Senator Lines’ position.

A Solution

I believe an excellent way forward is a statement to be crafted and read that is based on the Golden Rule rather than the Lord’s Prayer:

“In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”

The Golden Rule is one of the oldest life truths known to the human race. Jesus taught it, but it predates him by almost two thousand years and is found in all twelve traditional world religions, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity.

The Golden Rule was first found in ancient Egyptian literature and quoted by some of the greatest philosophers, including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca and Philo. The age-old truth has now also been embraced by psychology. Modern social psychology refers to it as The Law of Reciprocity. When someone does something agreeable for you, you will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return.

Inclusion and Diversity

The principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated is the ultimate key to a fruitful and satisfying life. So why not create a statement encapsulating that truth and read it as an affirmation to open Parliamentary sessions in the Upper and Lower House of Federal Parliament? It would be a thoughtful framework for all decisions, and it makes a powerful statement of inclusion and diversity.

As much as I love The Lord’s Prayer, I wonder if this has become tokenistic or irrelevant to many people. I wonder about the efficacy of a prayer uttered by rote (or reluctance) rather than from the heart.

And Christians, let’s unite in prayer for Australia and our politicians ~ even those you didn’t vote for and don’t like. And more than anything, do to others what you would have them do to you.

Whenever there is an election, I am reminded of the little some quarters of the church have learned about how detrimental to the Gospel it is for churches and church leaders to make polarising political statements.

While Christian people have as much right as anyone to engage with politics or stand for political office, the church MUST be above politics, non-partisan, and stick to its central message – the good news about God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Anything that clouds that message is an enemy of the Gospel.

Too Political

Several years ago, the Barna Foundation commissioned research amongst young adults (16-29) to discover why they didn’t engage with a church. One of the six reasons was that the church was “too political.”

So, I find it gobsmacking that some Christians and church leaders are still making politically divisive statements and actions even though the evidence is that this harms the cause of Christ.

Christian Values?

A while ago, I saw a post on a pastor’s Facebook page encouraging their followers/congregation to “Let righteousness reign. Put Labor and the Greens last!” I realise this reflects many conservative Christians’ views, but what message does this send to people who may disagree? What about people who do vote Labor or The Greens and still love Jesus? What about people in the broader community who consider Jesus and Church, but are then put off by this statement? Isn’t the Gospel inclusive, or do you have to change how you vote when you become a Christian? Also, why is it “righteous” to vote for a conservative party?

This same leader posted the following chart compiled by the Australian Christian Values Institute.

The Christian Values Checklist informs voters of what each political party stands for on various issues. If you’re a genuine Christian, the report concludes that you’ll vote for Australian Federation, One Nation, or Christian Democrats. If you can’t stomach any of those parties, then United Australia, the Nationals or the Libs would be your choice. But whatever you do, “Let righteousness reign. Put Labor and the Greens last!”

A Closer Look

Let’s examine those Christian values. Predictably they’re what you’d expect from conservative Christianity in Australia, highly influenced by American Evangelicalism. In this tradition, the two main things Christians should focus on are anything to do with abortion or gay people (stop both as much as you can).

While the chart helps you understand what various parties advocate on these issues, I can’t help but notice the missing things. Are not refugees, the homeless, those living with a mental illness, and victims of domestic violence unworthy of the Christian vote? And which party/parties would have the best policies to help those on the margins of society? It also appears that poverty and the environment (points 18 and 19) were tacked on as an afterthought! Maybe I’m wrong, but are they less important than opening parliament with Christian prayer (point 5)? Didn’t Jesus warn people about standing up and repeating rote prayers publicly?

How Should I Vote?

So, with this in mind, here are four things to consider each time you vote:

  • Have the courage to look through fresh eyes. I was born and raised in a conservative British family. My parents voted conservative and Liberal all of their lives. For many years I followed their example. But I dared to look through fresh eyes.  In the famous words of Jim Wallis, sometimes “The Right gets it wrong, and the Left doesn’t get it.” Chat with people who see things differently from you. Ask questions. Listen. Learn. I’m a political moderate (centrist) and a swinging voter these days.
  • Exercise the privilege of a democratic choice. I’ve heard some well-intentioned (but misguided) Christians say that they don’t vote because they believe in leaving the selection of a government up to God Himself. It sounds spiritual but doesn’t consider that God isn’t registered with the Australian Electoral Commission, and neither is Australia a Theocracy! Exercise the privilege of a democratic choice. Express your voice through your vote.
  • Ask, “What is important to me?” But don’t stop there. What is important to us will invariably reflect our passions and life circumstances. But what about others, especially those on the margins, those in Scripture that Jesus showed the most concern?  Paul wrote, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. Being like Jesus means we will be interested in the people he showed interest in ~ people who were homeless, sick, or in prison. The poor, orphans and widows. Those living with a disability or who are the victims of domestic violence.

Our vote must not just reflect selfish concerns of personal comfort but should support those who will show love and care towards the most vulnerable, the least powerful, in our community. Beyond that, Christians believe God created this world and gave it to people to look after. And so, we will consider policies that care for the environment when we vote.

  • You vote for your LOCAL member. We don’t vote for the person who will become Prime Minister or Premier. We vote for our local members.

Finally, be realistic. No ONE political party or candidate will tick every box, so don’t expect them to, or you will be constantly disappointed. Democracy is not a perfect political system, but it is better than some alternatives.



Have you ever noticed how some people need to label you, to categorise you? Maybe it provides them with a sense of security to pigeonhole you, so they know “that’s where you fit. That’s where you belong.”

I’ve been fascinated by this in recent years as I’ve spoken out and written about various issues. A person I’ve known for well over two decades sent me a text several years ago referring to me as his “liberal left-leaning friend”. And no, it wasn’t a compliment. It struck me how little my friend really knew me, and no wonder. Every time we catch up, he talks about himself and what he’s doing for Jesus! He’s so far-right that, compared to him, everyone leans left!

The latest label I’ve been given is that of “progressive” Christian. And that wasn’t a compliment either. So, when I was asked about this recently, it set me on a journey to find out what a progressive Christian was. Here’s what I discovered.

Negatively, it’s a label that some conservative Christians use for anyone who, in their opinion, deviates from or questions their understanding of Christianity. Things like a literal reading of the Bible and engaging in the political process to protect Biblical values. Conservative Christians are generally against abortion, euthanasia, and gay rights. These are viewed as the most important Christian values of our day! Think Australian Christian Lobby (who would be better named the Australian Conservative Lobby – still ACL – because they only represent a small, very conservative section of the Christian church).

Those who deviate from these conservative norms are invariably called liberals or progressives and aren’t really “true Christians”. They’re a bit lukewarm, you know! But is this correct? I think not.

What are Progressive Christians?

Progressive Christianity is defined by several characteristics: a willingness to question, acceptance of human diversity; a strong emphasis on social justice and care for the poor and the oppressed; and environmental stewardship of the earth.

In my early years in a conservative Christian church, questioning wasn’t encouraged. In fact, it was viewed as a sign of wavering faith. These days I see questioning as a vital way to develop our faith. Throughout Scripture, especially in Psalms, we see people asking questions, and God seems to be completely comfortable with it. Jesus invariably answered a question with a question.

Human Diversity

Progressive Christians accept human diversity. Christianity is sometimes seen as the white man’s religion. A fact that was supported by Walter E Sallman’s well-known painting Head of Christ, which pictured a blue-eyed Jesus with long dark blond hair.

And yet, the human race is incredibly diverse. People of different colours, creeds, and cultures tend to view Jesus and Scripture in myriad ways. Progressive Christians celebrate this fact. While there is so much that unites humanity, not least that we are all made in the image of God, unity does not equal uniformity. God is not looking for a bunch of cookie-cutter Christians. He created and commended diversity, and so should we.

The apostle Paul then takes the diversity of humanity – differences in gender, social status, and ethnicity – and unifies us all in Christ (Galatians 3:28).

Social Justice

Progressive Christianity has a strong emphasis on social justice and regard for the poor and oppressed. Again, I’ve heard this expressed as a negative slur. I’ve had people ask me, “why don’t you just preach the gospel instead of talking about social justice issues?” My answer is, “but social justice is part of the Gospel.” Consider Galatians 2 that records Paul’s trip to Jerusalem to visit the other apostles. The outcome of that meeting recognised that God’s grace was on Paul and Barnabas to take the Gospel to the gentiles. All Peter, James, and John asked: “was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.” Do you get that? Out of all the things they could have mentioned, they highlighted care for the disadvantaged. Social Justice isn’t “progressive.” Social justice IS the Gospel!

Environmental Care

Progressive Christianity also has a strong emphasis on environmental stewardship of the earth. As well as being a left-leaning hippie, apparently, I’m also a tree-hugging greenie because I encourage people to care for God’s creation. Why bother? God’s going to create a new heaven and a new earth one day. This one is old and temporary so why look after it?

Do we embrace this kind of “logic” anywhere else in life? What if you have an old car. One day you’ll get a new one, but do you trash the one you currently have? Of course not. You want it to last the distance, just like we want this planet to thrive. God created the heavens and the earth, and he has given charge of it to humanity. What are we doing to it? How are we caring for it? What about the animals God created that are now endangered? What about the pollution we pump into the atmosphere and the plastic we thrust into the oceans? Should Christians not be deeply concerned about human impact on creation?

All You Need is Love

Now you’ve got the Beatles song stuck in your head, let me explain. Progressive Christians have a deep belief in the centrality of the instruction to “love one another” (John 15:17) within the teachings of Jesus. This focuses on promoting values such as compassion, justice, mercy, and tolerance, sometimes through political activism. Love is the new and greatest commandment after all (consider John 13:34, Mark 12:31, Luke 6:31).

“Any interpretation of the Bible that causes you to be unkind or dismissive towards another person or that inflicts pain or damage is not the correct understanding of the Scripture!”

Values such as compassion, justice, mercy, and tolerance are Christian values as old as the Gospel itself. They should not be seen as progressive. Consider Romans 2:4, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” Tolerance is “a holding back, or a restraint.” God holds back judgment to offer kindness. Are we not called to be like God?

Christianity should be progressive.

The Bible is not a static book. There are so many ways we see a progression of truth throughout its pages. Explore topics like slavery, child and animal sacrifices, women’s rights, interracial marriage and see how there’s a progressive revelation in Scripture. God’s people are to be “changed from glory to glory” (2 Cor, 3:18). We are to progress!

So, am I a progressive Christian? Well, yes. That’s one label I’ll gladly wear!

Throughout the craziness of 2020, you may have seen or heard multiple mentions of something called “The Great Reset.”

Some believe that this “Reset” is a plan developed secretly in an underground concrete bunker in Switzerland that is now being rolled out to enslave most of the world’s population. A viral French YouTube documentary warns that The Great Reset will bankrupt people.

Media commentators and politicians from Canada, Europe, the UK, and the USA have been warning about it in a campaign called “Stop the Reset“. I have also seen blog posts, articles, emails, and Facebook posts all warning Christians that the Great Reset is ushering in the mark of the beast, a cashless society, and The Great Tribulation. I have even heard a sermon where the speaker suggested that we choose between God or The Great Reset.

What is The Great Reset?

The Great Reset IS real but it’s far from being a secret plot. It is a movement that has been entirely out in the open. The name comes from the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) convened by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, which people attended from business, government, and NGOs. The WEF was held in June 2020 in Switzerland.

The WEF focused on what the world will be like post COVID. Every human knows that the world has changed (and will further change) due to this pandemic. Lockdowns, masks, limited travel, widespread death, and illness have impacted individuals, churches, and communities. The WEF said, “The simultaneous disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis in nearly every country around the world has forced societies into a moment of pause and reflection on what is truly of value. Rebuilding the post-pandemic economy in this spirit will require a more comprehensive definition of economic success to serve as a guide for the economic recovery.”

Klaus Schwab, WEF’s founder, and chairman suggested that “A better economy is possible but we need to reimagine Capitalism to do it” (see reference). International Monetary Fund director Kristalina Georgieva’s opening speech said, “COVID 19 needs growth that is greener, smarter, and fairer.”

Prince Charles called for a re-invigoration of science, technology, innovation, net-zero emissions, green investments, and green public infrastructure projects. The rest of the annual meeting and subsequent discussions contained various ideas that appeal to some of us and not others (see reference).

Carbon taxes, investment in education and health, changes to safety nets such as unemployment benefits, better support for charities, labour market flexibility, and a complete change in how we work were all discussed.

Conflicting Opinions

This WEF recovery plan has been interpreted as sinister by many groups reflecting the breakdown in societal trust we have seen for a few years (see reference). Interestingly, the diverse voices warning against this Great Reset are all making wildly opposite and contradictory claims. For example:

  • Prominent conservative commentators are warning that the Great Reset is a plot to destroy capitalism and impose socialism.
  • Left-wing activists are warning that The Great Reset is using the pandemic to introduce unfettered capitalism.
  • Libertarians are warning The Great Reset is nothing more than the beginning of complete and utter totalitarianism (see reference).
  • Others say it will usher in an era where all laws are removed, leading society to descend into lawless chaos.
  • Several commentators believe that the Great Reset is not a reaction to the pandemic at all. They say the Reset framers deliberately engineered the virus and released it as part of their overarching evil agenda.

In researching this blog, it became clear that few people commenting on The Great Reset had read any material in-depth, listened in full to any interviews about it, or taken the time to reflect on it. The one idea has spawned a plethora of contradictory concepts. Bluntly, they are all filtering the event through their own eyes and using suspicion of the new amid the anxiety caused by COVID19 to further their agenda.

The Great Reset has been hijacked. The usual collection of fears and worries repackaged to cast suspicion on it: a new world order under cover of a crisis led by secret elites, leading to a cashless society, poverty, and Microchips in vaccines. The posts were universal in whipping up fear, suspicion, mistrust and called for rebellion, anger, and (excuse my cynicism) financial donations.

My reactions:

The first is that the pandemic is a reminder that only God is in charge. Nothing is permanent, and the events of 2020 have shown this to be true. Whether it was the ability to give a hug at church or freely hop on a plane for a week on a Queensland or Thailand beach or go to school, these things have proven to be shockingly transitory. The Bible says that only God is trustworthy, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God has been faithful to billions of individuals for tens of thousands of years. He’s not about to change now!

Second, I believe that God has long had an intention for resets for humanity. Even a casual reading of history will show that the world has reset regularly. Crises usually speed up this process. The current pandemic has already caused many to reset relationships with families, communities, neighbours, and strangers seeking to live out a new order based on our relationship with God (Hebrews 9:10).

Thirdly, we need to understand that ‘Great Reset’ is a “brand” describing several options and possibilities for the future. Far from being secret, the Great Reset has an official website. Prince Charles, Justin Trudeau, and Boris Johnson are all openly talking about it. Time magazine has an entire section of its website focussed on it. The information is there. None of this has been “done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).

Further, we need to understand that every country cannot simply impose the various ideas suggested by the WEF. No global discussion operates that way. Look at the very different stages countries are at with climate change. Each country will have to debate and decide what aspects of the ideas they will adopt. Some have already implemented the concepts, and others never will. Everything in the world operates in this way!

Fourthly, as Christians, we need to be inserting ourselves into those ideas. We have a vital interest in building a world that is just, sustainable and fair. From Isaiah to Malachi, the Bible’s prophets cried out against injustice toward the poor again and again. We have seen incredible success worldwide, with severe poverty reduced from almost 50% of the world’s population to under 10% in fifty years. But now, COVID has reversed that trend for the first time in decades. How do we fix that? How do we continue to lift the poor out of poverty? We need to ensure that entrepreneurs and NGOs are supported to create sustainable paths for global business to continue to end poverty and build freedom. That is what The Great Reset is all about. When you consider that the Bible speaks over 2000 times of God’s people’s responsibility to aid the poor, The Great Reset is a very Christian concept!

Be kind to each other!

Finally, I appeal for us to talk in love as we debate our ideas. Respect seeks to listen before speaking. It seeks truth, not sensationalism. It seeks hope, not fear. There are so many frightened people around us. Jesus watched them, wept for them, and loved them. How do we, as Jesus’ followers, take actions to show love to our neighbours? So, the next time someone posts on Facebook saying there is a “Great Reset,” encourage them that there is indeed one and help them understand that it is highly Christian in its goals and not some evil plot!

I know this blog will disappoint some people, especially those who are strangely looking for signs of antichrist, cashless society, one-world government, and the Mark of the Beast. If that’s you, feel free to keep searching because The Great Reset has nothing to do with those things.

On October 2, President Donald J. Trump and his wife and 43,751 other Americans tested positive for COVID19.

Christians worldwide have been asked to pray for the President of the USA. For example, Eugene Cho, head of Christian advocacy organisation “Bread for the World,” asked Twitter followers to “put aside partisan politics and genuinely lift up the President and FLOTUS in prayer.” Franklin Graham has Declared a Day of Prayer for President Trump. And James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr, Jack Graham, Robert Jeffress, and Paula White have all joined this call.

The question many have asked is, how and what do we pray? How should we, as followers of Jesus, react at this moment?


To Pray or Not to Pray?

Mr. Trump cuts a divisive figure as President. Christians are divided on partisan grounds, with some consistently believing Mr. Trump has been placed by God to lead the USA. Others believe he and his values are anathema to the Christian faith. There appears to be little middle ground. The response to the calls to prayer for the President has been just as divisive. Some people are praying for a miraculous cure, while others are praying for his demise.

Let me be clear, I am not telling people how to vote or which policies are appropriate or inappropriate. I have consistently made it clear in my writing and speaking that I’m all for Christians engaging with politics and standing for political office. I have called on Christians to focus on our central message – the good news about God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Anything that clouds that message is an enemy of the Gospel.

Throughout history, Christians have enjoyed long periods of peace under wise and just rules. In these times, we have been able to share the good news and live out the kingdom of God in our communities. At other times, Christians have come under intense and cruel persecutions by malicious, brutal leaders.

Christians have also been divided, at times, on how to react to a leader. For example, former President Jimmy Carter, who made his faith tradition a central platform in his campaign and office, divided Christians. Many found his Biblical appeal for racial equality attractive and admired his inclusion of human rights in American foreign policy. Others were concerned that Mr. Carter did not appear strongly enough against abortion, Communism, or homosexuality.

Christianity, Politics and the 1980’s

Pastors during the 1980 Carter-Reagan election often faced divided congregations. Many had church members angry that their pastor was or was not endorsing one of the candidates as God’s chosen.

During the 1980’s, political divisions amongst Christians began to more overtly appear. Sadly, today, there are significant political divisions across Christendom. Each side declares that God supports their view, their political party, their leader. Christians and churches are divided across the USA and other countries. Sadly, as I have previously noted, this form of political engagement is alienating non-Church people from us.

Paul’s Thoughts on Praying for Leaders

The Apostle Paul challenges these divisions with some straightforward advice on how we should pray for leaders. Advice the church needs to heed during peace, times of turmoil, and moments where humans do not agree with each other. In his letter to Timothy, Paul said: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people— for rulers and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God, our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2: 1–4).

I think it’s essential that we understand why Paul told Timothy (pastor of the Ephesian church) to pray “for rulers and those in authority:”

  • That followers of Jesus can “live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
  • That “all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Paul says, “This is good and pleases God, our Saviour.”

Christians must bear this in mind every time we type a response to a political post on Facebook, or enter a discussion with our family, head to the ballot box, or pray for a President with a potentially life-threatening virus.

Paul’s aim is in line with God’s who “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” All people. Not just Democrats. Not just Republicans. Not Just Independents, or liberals, greens, or socialists. All people – conservative and radical; left and right. This should be the overriding goal for Christians – that all people come to a place of following Jesus.

A great way to pray for the President of the USA is that Mr. Trump would look to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. And exercise power in such a way that the Gospel can grow across the USA and the globe.

Therefore, this call to prayer for the US President can unite Christians in sharing the Gospel with the world rather than turning Christians into partisan political warriors distracted from our fundamental mission. Which way will you stand?

Lord, we send petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving for all people— for Mr. Trump and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness so that all people will be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Amen!

I want to make it clear that this blog is not a judgment on America. We have plenty of race-related challenges in Australia, so I’m not about to point the finger at another country.

But right now, the world is watching on in horror at the events in the United States. The brutal murder of George Floyd is just the latest in a string of black people killed by police.

Many of them were going about their daily lives (sleeping, driving, walking, at home) while others had a mental health episode and desperately needed professional help.

Many of them became hashtags that were quickly forgotten by society. So, it’s easy to understand the boiling anger of people who feel unsafe.

The Latest Victim

George Floyd had a criminal past. He’d spent time in jail for a 2007 assault and robbery and convicted of charges ranging from theft of a firearm to drugs.

Several years ago, George Floyd moved to Minneapolis for job placement and a Christian discipleship program. He became a committed Christian and wanted to turn his life around.

Then came the fateful day when George Floyd was accused of handing over a fake $20 bill to buy some cigarettes. It’s unlikely that Floyd knew the bill was fake. The store owner said they would no longer call the cops in similar situations: “Police are supposed to protect and serve their communities; instead, what we’ve seen over and over again is the police abusing their power and violating the people’s trust. We realize now that escalating situations to the police almost always does more harm than good, even for something as harmless as a fake bill.”

The video of Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd is horrendous. People standing around are begging Chauvin to get off his neck. Neither Chauvin nor the other officers do anything, and Floyd falls unconscious.

Chauvin’s wife has filed for divorce; and riots and looting grip America. No doubt there is opportunism going on, but this should not blind us to the deep anger and frustration of many Americans, not just African Americans.

Enter the US President

In the midst of this, the US President had a photo opportunity with a Bible in front of St John’s Church; a little like Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned.

Protesters had been cleared from the area using force minutes beforehand.

The cynic in me thinks this was a political ploy to shore up the Evangelical vote that brought him to power four years ago. With a looming election and dismal polling, he needs to do all he can.

The vast majority of Americans are dissatisfied with their president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the riots.

Racial Resentment

According to Ryan Burge (Eastern Illinois University), white evangelical Christians have the highest racial resentment score in the US.

How bizarre that followers of Jesus (and readers of the Bible) should be totally out of whack with his teachings.

But this research sheds some light on why the deep racial divisions thrive even in a profoundly religious country.

One hundred and fifty five years have passed since the 13th Amendment ended slavery, but white superiority and its corresponding prejudice and brutality are alive and well.

The Curse of Ham

Justification for slavery was based on a flawed doctrine called “The Curse of Ham” (Genesis chapter 9).

The story occurs in the context of Noah’s drunkenness and a shameful act perpetrated by Noah’s son Ham, who “saw the nakedness of his father.”

A myth was proclaimed by certain preachers that Ham’s punishment was for his skin to be turned black: “Cursed be Canaan [Ham’s son]. The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers” (Genesis 9:25). This erroneous teaching has justified enslaving black races for hundreds of years; they’re inferior, they’re cursed, and the Bible is clear!

In the 1800’s, George Fitzhugh, an American lawyer and social theorist, argued that African slavery was “expressly and continually justified by Holy Writ [and] natural, normal, and necessary.”

Bishop Stephen Elliott of Georgia, suggested that slavery was beneficial for Africans: “For nearly a hundred years the English and American Churches have been striving to civilize and Christianize Western Africa, and with what result? Around Sierra Leone, and in the neighbourhood of Cape Palmas, a few natives have been made Christians, and some nations have been partially civilized; but what a small number in comparison with the thousands, nay, I may say millions, who have learned the way to Heaven and who have been made to know their Saviour through the means of African slavery! At this very moment there are from three to four millions of Africans, educating for earth and for Heaven in the so vilified Southern States…These considerations satisfy me with their condition, and assure me that it is the best relation they can, for the present, be made to occupy.”

Real Christianity

Contrast this with Frederick Douglass, the American social reformer, abolitionist, and Christian. About American Christianity in the 1800s he wrote: “Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference—so wide that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ; I therefore hate the corrupt, slave-holding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason but the most deceitful one for calling the religion of this land Christianity…”

How profound! I wonder if Frederick Douglass were alive today would he say the same about some sectors of Christianity in America? “I can see no reason but the most deceitful one for calling the religion of this land Christianity…”

A Christian that espouses violence against enemy, clears a crowd with tear gas to hold up a Bible, and is more likely than any other group in society to be resentful of non-white races, is far from the faith taught and modelled by Jesus.

There is no doubt that America has a massive problem on its hands.

What is needed is compassionate leadership, a de-politicised Christianity, and all people seeing all people as equal.

God created everyone in his image (James 3:9-10; Acts 17:28), and everyone has the same remote ancestry. That means every human being is our brother or sister with an equal right to worth, dignity, respect, and justice.

Whenever there’s an election, I’m reminded of how little some quarters of the church have learnt how detrimental it is to the Gospel when churches and church leaders make polarising political statements.

While I’m all for Christians engaging with politics, or standing for political office, the church as a whole MUST be above politics, non-partisan, and stick to its central message – the good news about God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  Anything that clouds that message is an enemy of the Gospel.

Too Political

Several years ago, the Barna Foundation commissioned research amongst young adults (16-29) to find out why they didn’t engage, or ceased to be involved, with a church. One of the six reasons given was that the church was “too political”.[i]

So, I find it gobsmacking that some church leaders are still making politically divisive statements and actions even though the evidence is in that this harms the cause of Christ.

Christian Values?

Last week, I saw a post on a pastor’s Facebook page encouraging their followers/congregation to, “Let righteousness reign. Put Labor and the Greens last!”  I realise this reflects many conservative Christians’ views, but my question is, what message does this send to people in that church who may disagree? What about people who do vote Labor or Green and still love Jesus? What about people in the broader community who are considering Jesus and the Church but are then put off by this statement? Isn’t the Gospel inclusive or do you have to change how you vote when you become a Christian? Also, why is it “righteous” to vote for a conservative party?

This same leader posted the attached chart compiled by the Australian Christian Values Institute.

The Christian Values Checklist informs voters of what each political party stands for on various issues. The report concludes that, if you’re a real Christian, you’ll vote for Christian Democrats, DLP, or Rise Up Australia. If you can’t stomach any of these parties then Australian Conservatives, the Nationals or the Libs would be your choice. But whatever you do, “Let righteousness reign. Put Labor and the Greens last!”

Let’s examine those Christian values. Predictably they’re what you’d expect from conservative Christianity in Australia which has been highly influenced by American evangelicalism. In this tradition, the two main things Christians should focus on are anything to do with abortion or gay people (stop both as much as you can). While the chart helps you understand what various parties advocate on these issues, I can’t help notice the things that are missing. Are not refugees, the homeless, those living with a mental illness, and victims of domestic violence unworthy of the Christian vote? Why are Indigenous people and foreign aid absent? Didn’t Jesus say that the Gospel was good news for the poor? And which party/parties would have the best policies in place to help those on the margins of society? It also appears that poverty and the environment were added on as an afterthought! Maybe I’m wrong, but are they less important than opening parliament with Christian prayer for example?

And consider what’s been happening lately with Liberals in Victoria claiming “the party’s religious right is stacking branches with Mormons and Catholic groups in a drive to pre-select more conservative candidates [who] are often motivated by “single issues” like same-sex marriage or euthanasia. Members of conservative parties, including Family First and Australian Christians, have also been recruited,”[ii]as have people from Pentecostal Churches. Imagine the outcry if these same Christians found out that branches were being stacked by Muslims.

Last week, “the Liberal candidate for the inner-Melbourne seat of Wills … resigned over anti-gay comments … In comments on a conservative right-wing “Christian” blog post, Peter Killin said he would’ve voted against the preselection of Goldstein MP Tim Wilson because of his sexuality and described the homosexual lifestyle as ‘distressingly dangerous.’”[iii] I know Tim Wilson, and he’s a fine man with a passion for serving his local electorate. He responded very graciously by saying he would, “turn the other cheek and leave judgment to others.”

I realise that several candidates have been dropped from various political parties in the last few weeks, for all sorts of appalling behaviour, but when this conduct comes from Christians who want righteousness to reign, I feel compelled to speak out against such hypocrisy.

Stand for the Gospel

Let me repeat, I’m all for Christians engaging with politics, or standing for political office, but the church as a whole MUST be non-partisan. The Gospel is good news for ALL people (Luke 2:10). The church never does well when it’s in charge, it’s not meant to rule nations and manipulate political systems, it’s intended to proclaim a message of reconciliation with a God who loves people and a Saviour who died and rose again to bring forgiveness. I appeal to my fellow Christians and pastors to never lose this focus and to please stop muddying the waters.


[1] Kinnaman, David and Gabe Lyons, Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity … and Why It Matters.

[ii] https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-30/victoria-liberals-religious-right-branch-stacking-fears/8667756?pfmredir=sm

[iii] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-01/federal-election-2019-liberal-candidate-advocates-against-gay-mp/11063002


Last Thursday I was tagged into a Facebook Post of Family Voice Australia[i], an organisation that promotes itself as “A Christian voice for family, faith & freedom.”

The post started with the words, “Dan Andrews’ Government is pushing to axe the Lord’s Prayer …”  I’d like to suggest that an organisation purporting to be “A Christian voice” should use that voice to speak with respect and truth, both of which were missing from the post and ensuing thread of comments.

Getting Facts Right

Premier Daniel Andrews is NOT pushing to axe the Lord’s Prayer.  This time the charge is being led by Crossbench Reason Party MP Fiona Patten.  Last Wednesday, the State Government referred to the Lord’s Prayer to the procedures committee for review.  Daniel Andrews is a Catholic and has said he was open to change.

The Lord’s Prayer is currently read in the Upper and Lower House in Federal Parliament and every state and territory parliament (except the ACT) at each opening sitting and has been since 1918.  In recent years an acknowledgement of traditional owners has also been included which two Liberal MPs have refused to stand for because they’re Christians.  Go figure!

When the tradition of reciting the Lord’s Prayer was started in 1918, over 90% of Australians identified as Christian.  At the last census, 52.1% of Australians acknowledged the Christian faith.  In Victoria, it’s slightly lower at 47.9%, and there’s an increasing number of Australians, 30% to be exact, who are reporting no religion. A third of these live in Victoria.

Unchristian Commentary

Please understand that I am not being critical of Family Voice Australia as a religious organisation, but I am concerned with some of the people and comments they attract.

The post about the Lord’s Prayer contained many inflammatory comments.  Some people suggested that Daniel Andrews is an evil person, a wingnut, who has sold his soul and is destined for hell, “he certainly won’t enjoy the second death!”

While there were some excellent comments and discussion on the thread, a lot of it spewed unkindness, judgmentalism, and hatred, all of which are unbecoming of people who profess the Christian faith.

I’m not sure if anyone else noticed the irony, but individuals who were advocating for the Lord’s Prayer seemed to contradict its central themes.  For example, “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  There didn’t seem to be much forgiveness being exercised or deliverance from evil comments.

The Constitution

Another reader commented, “Our constitution isn’t multi faithed [sic.] It’s based on the Word of God only.”  Ummmm.  No, it isn’t.  Section 116 of the Australian Constitution includes the only comment about religion, “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.” Section 116 does not apply to the states. Each state has its own constitution.

The Lord’s Prayer In Parliament?

So, what are my thoughts concerning the Lord’s prayer being read in Parliament?  I summarised them in a comment on Family Voice Australia’s post:

“While I would certainly like to see The Lord’s Prayer retained as part of the Parliamentary Standing Orders, I do think it’s important how Christians / churches respond to these kinds of things.  I’ve read some of the comments on this thread and, while some of them are measured, it appears to me that some reflect unkind and unchristian attitudes.  I don’t think this endears the church to the broader community. 

“It’s a tragedy that most people know the church’s position on ethical and moral issues, but they don’t understand the gospel because it’s been drowned out by all the other things they hear from us. This needs to change! People need to hear the gospel, the good news, about Jesus Christ. They need to know that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them” as the apostle, Paul wisely wrote. I’d also encourage you to read Jeremiah 29:4-14 which outlines God’s plan for his people living in godless Babylon (much more godless than Australia is today). Amongst his instructions God tells his people to, “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Let’s unite in prayer for Australia, for Melbourne, for our politicians ~ even the ones you didn’t vote for and don’t like. And more than anything “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Defend Faith Wisely

I believe we Christians need to choose our battles wisely; otherwise, we become viewed as a bunch of whiners who are defined by what they’re against.  I was talking to a State MP this morning, and he agreed.  While he likes the Lord’s Prayer being read and told me the vast majority of MPs are in the chamber at that time[ii], whether or not the prayer is read is NOT the burning issue of our time.

What to Advocate For

Frequently, Christians are viewed as protecting their own self-interests rather than looking out for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).  If we’re going to lobby governments it should be on behalf of those who have no voice – the poor, marginalised and mentally ill, asylum seekers, victims of domestic or other types of abuse, widows and orphans, the homeless and trafficked, prisoners, people in hospital and nursing homes and those caught in a cycle of addiction.[iii]  That’s the gospel people need to hear and see.  Sadly, that’s not the message I got from the Family Voice Australia Facebook post last week.

Where to From Here?

I believe an excellent way forward is a statement to be read out that is based on the Golden Rule, rather than the Lord’s Prayer.[iv]  The Golden Rule is one of the oldest life truths known to the human race.[v] Jesus taught it, but it predates him by almost two thousand years and is found in all twelve traditional world religions, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity.

It is first seen in ancient Egyptian history and has been quoted by some of the greatest philosophers including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca and Philo.  What has been known, taught and practised for thousands of years in various religions and philosophies has now also been embraced by modern social psychology.[vi]

The Golden Rule is the ultimate key to a fruitful and satisfying life – the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated.  So why not write a statement that encapsulates that truth and reading that declaration in Parliament?  It would be a brilliant framework for all decisions our MPs need to make and, who knows, they may even start speaking to one another with a little more kindness!


[i] Formerly Festival of Light (Rev. Fred Nile)

[ii] The Greens wait outside the Chamber until the prayer is concluded

[iii] Luke 4:18-19; Matthew 25:34-40

[iv] Jesus put it like this, “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). In other words, living by this one rule of life is like living up to the entire Hebrew Scriptures (what Christians refer to as The Old Testament).

[v] https://baysidechurch.com.au/what-if-everyone-practised-the-golden-rule/

[vi] Modern social psychology refers to it as The Law of Reciprocity. When someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return. One psychology website asked the question: “Have you ever noticed that you feel compelled to do something for people who have helped you along the way – even if they haven’t asked you to? There’s something very powerful at play that causes this phenomenon.”


We hear a lot these days about political correctness, a term that was popularised by a 1990 article in the New York Times by Richard Berstein.  It was initially a term coined by the far-left but has, in more recent times, been adopted by the conservative right to speak against “policies, behaviour, and speech codes that the speaker or the writer regarded as being the imposition of a liberal orthodoxy.” [1] These people on the far-right use the words politically correct (or PC, or the PC Brigade) as a form of insult. They dislike words such as tolerance and love, even though they’re Bible words, and they’re always at war with culture.

Now, of course, we can take any good thing too far, and I’m not suggesting that we become a ‘Nanny State’ where every word has to be policed, but it’s helpful to remind ourselves what it really means to be politically correct and what the Christian response should be to political correctness.  The dictionary defines it as follows, “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”  [2] It sounds to me like that’s an excellent definition of what it means to live out the Christian faith!

If you’re a Christian (or even if you’re not), do you want your words and actions to exclude, marginalise or insult people who are already on the edges of society?  Would you want to increase the pain they already experience because of social disadvantage? Does your faith lead you to discriminate against others? If it does, it’s probably time to re-examine your beliefs.

The above definition of political correctness leads me to think about the life of Jesus.  At the start of His ministry, Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah to define and communicate the nature of His ministry amongst people. Remember, Jesus is God in human form, so when we look at Jesus, His life, His words and His actions, we see what God is really like.

Jesus read, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” [3] To the first century Hebrew mind “the poor” were those who existed on the margins of society and thus excluded from the social and religious communities because of either gender, age, poverty, disability, or impurity.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  Jesus avoided forms of expression or action that excluded, marginalised or insulted people who were already socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.  Jesus was politically correct!  In fact, the only people He regularly offended were the people who weren’t excluded – those who held and abused religious or political power.

For Jesus, the words from Isaiah weren’t just a Bible quote, they were “truth to be lived” – something He embodied as He walked amongst people.  Over and over, as you read about the life of Jesus in the Gospels, you see a man who was full of kindness for the excluded.

That’s how Jesus started His ministry, and He practiced what He preached until He was crucified. He then commissioned His Church, His followers, Christians, you and me to follow His example by feeding the hungry and thirsty, offering hospitality to the stranger or foreigner, clothing the naked, looking after the sick and visiting prisoners.  These are the things we will give an account of to Him in the future. [4]

Frequently the church is seen as protecting its own self-interests rather than looking out for the interests of others.  That’s why we hear some Christian people complain about political correctness as if it’s an enemy. I think it’s tragic that we have to be reminded to be kind and inclusive towards people who are often socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.  But as Jesus said, “it is true that the children of this world are shrewder in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.” [5] It’s a sad indictment on some of the church that this statement is still valid.

Paul, the apostle, summarised the entire Bible in one statement, “love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.” [6] Now that sounds like political correctness to me!


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_correctness#1980s_and_1990s

[2] www.dictionary.com

[3] Luke 4:18-19 (Cf. Isaiah 61:1-2a)

[4] The Parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46)

[5] Luke 16:8

[6] Romans 13:10

It’s a fact of modern life that the major issues we face often get hijacked by politics.  Just the mention of refugees, climate change, Aboriginal recognition and the like instantly polarise our minds either to the Left or the Right.  We see these and other issues through the lens of our political persuasion and then act, or don’t act, accordingly.  But this is not the way Christian people should respond.  The lens we are to look through is the life and teachings of Jesus rather than any political ideology.

Let’s take the environment as an example. If I talk about loving and caring for planet earth, I get labelled a greenie – a person who campaigns for the protection of the environment.  For some in the Christian world, being a greenie is seen as a negative thing.  Climate change is viewed as a modern conspiracy and anyone passionate about looking after planet earth is not concentrating on the essential stuff on which Christians should be focusing. I disagree.

In Mark 16, Jesus taught his followers to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”  The Greek word for creation is ktisis which refers to the “act or product of creation” [1] in which God made the universe, the Earth and all things (animate and inanimate) out of nothing (Lat. ex nihilo).  Much of modern Christianity has viewed the gospel as a message aimed at saving people from their sins.  As vitally important as this is, the gospel is a far broader and grander message.  Its relevance is for all creation, everything that God made; all of nature and everything he gave people dominion over. [2]

When God gave human beings dominion he gave us the burden of responsibility to look after his creation.  Many years ago, when Christie and I were heading away for a few weeks, some friends asked if they could look after our house while we were gone.  As they didn’t have their own home, we decided to bless them with our home and give them the responsibility of caring for it.  Sadly, they didn’t do a good job.  They invited people around for a party; they left rubbish everywhere and so we didn’t give them another chance to look after our home because they’d not lived up to the responsibility we had entrusted to them.

The same goes for Planet Earth; the home God has given us the charge to look after.  The expression of the gospel for all creation means that our faith in Jesus will motivate us to reduce our footprint on the earth – to lessen harmful emissions, to recycle as much rubbish as possible, to conserve precious resources, to look after the wonders of nature and to protect endangered species. On that last point, it was recently revealed that Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world.  “At least 30 native mammals have become extinct since European settlement — 14 in just the past 50 years” [3] – animals God created that no longer exist.

I understand that caring for the environment makes some Christians nervous because they’re concerned they may become guilty of worshipping and serving created things rather than the Creator. [4] Others have a theology that teaches one day God will make a new Earth so why should we bother to look after this one?  While I certainly embrace the hope of new heavens and a new earth, it’s faulty logic that leads to an uncaring attitude towards the current creation. If you have an old car but hope to buy a new one in the future, you wouldn’t trash the old one now because it’s the only one you have.  You need to look after it and make it last as long as possible.  It’s the same with our care for the planet.

All people on Earth have a God-given responsibility to care for it, maintain it and repair it.  It’s not about being a greenie; it’s about loving God and his creation and allowing our passion for the gospel to influence every part of our lives.


[1] Strong’s concordance

[2] (Genesis 1:26, 28)

[3] Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife boss Ian Darbyshire


[4] Romans 1:25