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Moderator's Comments - Posted 31 October 2017 

(John and Paula Wilson are leading the reformation tour on behalf of our denomination, in John's absence past Moderator General, David Cook writes this month's column).

When abortion law reform was introduced through Australian State Parliaments in the 1970's, it was done so, 'under strict medical circumstances'.
Most of us believed this was a necessary reform and that probably there were valid grounds for 1 or 2000 abortions each year in Australia. That figure has now grown to 180000 to 200000 abortions each year!

I am now hearing the same argument for the proposed introduction of legislation allowing the termination of adult life, 'under strict medical circumstances'.

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The Presbyterian Church of Australia offers this package of three church history videos to assist your church – particularly in its small-group ministries – to help celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses, and the subsequent Protestant Reformation … 31 October 1517.

There are three consecutive video sessions (each lasting about 50 min) followed by suggested discussion questions. Ideally, they’ll be of most benefit during the last two weeks of October and the first of November, but they’ll be available for as long as they are being used. Our prayer is that this might be a means of blessing for many people in our churches and that also it might promote a sense of unity across the PCA, as in our home group meeting we realise that other home groups in different places might be doing likewise.

Synopsis:

Why the Reformation still matters - a three-fold exploration of some of the principles of the 16th century Reformation

  1.  Martin Luther - (1) the struggle in his heartScripture: Romans 1:7-17

How the Reformation brought clarity regarding how we’re clothed with God’s righteousness – an alien righteousness of God declared as a gift, as distinct from where Luther had come from … a background of earned merit to appease an angry God by doing good and filling up on grace delivered by the church. We close with application on how we feel about ourselves and our sense of worth before God, and how we too can be right with God.

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You can download this video by visiting the website and selecting 'Download' from below the video. This is a large file. We recommend that you use a high speed connection only for downloading.

 

  1. Martin Luther - (2) the struggle against his churchScripture: 2 Timothy 3:10-17

Moving from soul struggle to church trouble, and Luther’s break with Rome. A look at what 31 October marks as a 500th anniversary this year, and what all the fuss is about. What’s the significance of his posting 95 theses on the chapel door, and what his first major arguments and debates with church officials were all about (i.e. his famous stands at Leipzig and then Worms). Overall, the theme is another great principle of Reformation: how do we trust the words of Scripture and why? i.e. bouncing off Luther’s: ‘A simple layman armed with the Scriptures is superior to both Pope and Councils.’ The application will ask questions about our trust in Scripture and our willingness to let the truths and principles of Scripture change and rule our life, because they are the very words of God.

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You can download this video by visiting the website and selecting 'Download' from below the video. This is a large file. We recommend that you use a high speed connection only for downloading.

 

  1.  John Calvin - developing the church’s theologyScripture: Acts 2:38-47; 1 Tim 3:14-16

Shifting from first generation reformers to the second, and to Calvin’s special contribution. Overall, the theme is another great principle of Reformation: the church - what do we view as the true church of Christ and why? i.e. bouncing off Calvin’s grand objectives in writing his 1536 Institutes: ‘(a) To convince the King of France that evangelicals were not heretics but rather they were the true church, and (b) to build up the church by the simple teaching of the doctrines of faith.’ The application will ask questions about our view of the church, the value of belonging to such and our willingness to let true gospel preaching of the church and the fellowship of the church edify us in godliness (Calvin’s great aim).

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You can download this video by visiting the website and selecting 'Download' from below the video. This is a large file. We recommend that you use a high speed connection only for downloading.

 

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How do I run this video from my laptop to display it on my TV … what do I need?

John P Wilson (Moderator-General)

Presbyterian Church of Australia

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Have you ever wondered what our Moderator General does when he travels overseas for the Presbyterian Church of Australia?

Read the report here

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The 2016 GAA resolved as follows:

Min 67.8  “The General Assembly urges congregations to support the ‘No’ case in opposing the redefinition of marriage.” 

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Without binding consciences, please read the following as a request from the PCA that when the government asks for your opinion that you consider supporting the “NO” vote.

The Australian Government plans to conduct a postal vote seeking the opinion of Australians on marriage. Ballot papers will begin arriving at our homes on 12 September, just a month from now. 

The Presbyterian Church of Australia opposes the introduction of legislation for so called ‘same-sex marriage’. We affirm that the true definition of marriage is found in God’s Word: the life-long union of one man with one woman, voluntarily entered into, excluding all others.

It’s important to urge every Presbyterian Christian to engage in the process and vote, and to “support the NO case”. We ask every attendee at church to both register and vote, and then seek to persuade as many of their family and friends to do likewise.

There’s no doubt that the postal vote can be won in favour of the current definition. There is a large number of Australians, many of whom have not had their say, who affirm the common view of marriage as God-given and God-blessed.

Your participation will make a difference, but we need you to be earnest, active and in prayer about it. There are many powerful voices clamouring to tear down what God declares to be holy. The church must not be silent on this.

While we speak up and have our say, we do so with a gracious engagement and with respect for those with whom we disagree.

John P Wilson

Moderator-General
Presbyterian Church of Australia

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Moderator's Comments - Posted 1 August 2017 

We may have read last month of a renowned American Christian author being interviewed on the subject of Same-Sex Marriage (SSM). He gave an uncertain answer on the subject, and the next day he had to retract.

In the context of being prepared to suffer for what we know to be right, Scripture says: ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.’ (1 Peter 3:15). Further, God says to do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.

Are we ready to give an answer? When we’re called on to give account, will our words be clear? I ask myself such questions often, particularly with the current Australian debate about SSM.