finding truth matters

We Are Not Your Enemy

Christians Want For You What You Want, But…
by Dr. Andrew Corbett

We all need acceptance, love and respect. We all have a right to be treated with equality. This is why I totally get why so many people are in favour of same-sex marriage. It’s why so many people who identify themselves as part of the same-sex attracted communities are fighting so passionately for the laws in Australia to be changed to provide for same-sex marriage. As a Christian, I want for these people what they want – because I think everybody needs acceptance, love and respect, and equality. But I don’t think that same-sex marriage is the way to get it and it seems that 90% of the LGBTQ communities agree.

The Brooklyn psychologist, Professor Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970), wrote the book Motivation And Personality (1954) in which he argues that all psychologically healthy human beings have a ‘hierarchy of needs’.Maslow's Hierarchy Of NeedsMaslow made an astute observation that people generally need to feel – physically well, safe, accepted (“Love/belonging”), valued (“Esteem”), and dignity (“Self-actualization”). This is why I understand why people feel so strongly about the need to introduce same-sex marriage into Australia. As several Irish respondents told the media after Ireland changed its laws in May 2015 to introduce same-sex marriage, “Now we will be accepted for who we are!” Acceptance is a critical human need.

Yet despite the vigorous appeals by the LGBTQ communities for same-sex marriage – built on the very persuasive arguments that the introduction of same-sex marriage will alleviate the alarming suicide rates of young men who identify as homosexual compared with similar aged men in the general population, the abnormally high rates of depression among the members of the LGBTQ communities, and the generally poorer physical health conditions of this sector of society – the largely untold (unnoticed?) fact is that where same-sex marriage has been introduced 90% of those who identify as being in a same-sex relationship show no interest in same-sex marriage.

This is the case in both New Zealand and Ireland – two of the most recent examples of where these arguments were used and the laws consequently changed to provide for it. In fact, one of the first states in the USA to introduce same-sex marriage was Massachusetts – which did so largely on the basis of these arguments (high rates of very poor mental health, abnormally high rates of suicide). Yet, after introducing same-sex marriage there, which had an initially higher than average take-up by same-sex couples, there was no alleviation of these factors – and according to some analysts, may have actually worsened.

The (Massachusetts) study is compromised since the sample group was not random and – most importantly – there was no control group to validate the findings.

This study was an estimate of the number of visits by LGBT patients to a clinic in the 12 months after Massachusetts introduced same-sex ‘marriage’ (2003) compared to the 12 months prior, and found a slight reduction in the number of medical and psychological consultations in the year after the law changed. However, with no control group of non-LGBT patients, there is no way to exclude external confounding factors for this finding. The paper speculates as to how the change in marriage law might have led to LGBT people making only 2.93 annual mental health visits instead of 3.35, but admits,

Given the exploratory nature of these results, our findings on potential mechanisms should be interpreted with caution and require replication in future studies. Limitations of the study included the possibility of unmeasured confounding.

And this seems to be repeated elsewhere also. Despite the appeals and claims to the contrary, same-sex marriage is not a boon for the LGBTQ communities and may even be a disappointing bane.
Medical Critique of the Australian Medical Association’s Position Statement on Marriage Equality, 2017, page 11

Christians are not the enemy of the LGBTQ communities. Most Christians want what the most vocal representatives of these communities are calling for: acceptance, tolerance, and respect. But the facts seem to speak for themselves: that same-sex marriage does not deliver this, and may indeed make achieving this utterly allusive. Despite the vitriolic claims that Christian are ‘bigots’ for opposing same-sex marriage, it could actually be an act of great compassion on the part of the Christian community toward the LGBTQ communities to explain why changing the Marriage Act will not, and indeed, cannot deliver what they expect. And based on the numbers of same-sex couples in Canada, USA, New Zealand, Europe and Ireland who have not taken up same-sex marriage, it seems that around 90% of the LGBTQ communities agree: same-sex marriage is not the answer they are looking for.

When Premises Are Wrong

One of the reasons why same-sex marriage has failed so completely to address the deeply concerning issues of abnormally high depression and suicide rates among their communities, is that the premise of same-sex marriage is enormously mistaken. (A premise is the foundational notion upon which a conclusion is arrived.) In this instance the premise is that a person’s worth and value is measured and determined by the relationship they have with another person. But this is entirely false and even quite a cruel way to regard human worth.

Marriage does not add worth or intrinsic value to a man or a woman when they marry each other. Marriage does not even mean that a person has now become acceptable. And marriage certainly does not make someone equal with any other human being. Worth, value, acceptance and equality are all grounded in the inherent and God-given uniqueness of all human beings which the American founding fathers stated when they wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Christians sometimes refer to this truth as the imago dei (“the image of God”).

Christians don’t just ground their understanding of human worth and value in the imago dei to oppose same-sex marriage – or even homosexuality per se – it is also the basis for saying to a young teenage girl that your worth and value is not found in having a boyfriend. It’s found in whose image you bear. It is on this premise that we understand that love can be given, received, felt, without ever having to sexualise it. A young person should not be hoodwinked into thinking that it is another human being who determines whether they are acceptable, lovable, of any worth or even equal. The Christian boldly declares, often to their own hurt, that a human being is uniquely created in the image of God and is therefore infinitely valuable and supremely loved. Acceptance by God is one of the deepest cravings of every human heart and is found not in marriage, but in our relationship to our Maker.

What Jesus Taught

It is well known that Jesus Christ was one of the greatest men to have walked the earth. His greatness is seen most beautifully in the way He loved others. He is also the greatest example of the truth that love does not mean anything goes. On the contrary, the way Jesus loved was the supreme mix of compassion with care-filled truth. In John 8 Jesus is presented with the woman caught in the act of adultery (one of the six forms of sexual immorality forbidden in the Bible, Leviticus 18:20). In a remarkable display of the highest compassion for the woman who had been dragged out into the dusty streetscape by the religious authorities, Jesus shows that true love does not tolerate anything when He offers forgiveness to the woman and then with great tenderness tells her-

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
John 8:10-11

Go and sin no more” Jesus told her. He didn’t trivialise or tolerate the sin in which this woman was caught. And in marked contrast to those in our day who consider that sexualising a relationship with another person has no moral implications, Jesus Christ reinforced what He had inspired the Biblical authors to write: that sexuality and morality are intrinsically linked. In fact, He emphatically stated that if sexuality was trivialised into acts of immorality it would put a person’s soul in eternal peril (Matthew 15:19-20). But He went further and reinforced what the Scriptures had already declared about the sanctity of marriage – its candidates, its purpose, and its requirements, when He said-

He answered, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Matthew 19:4-6

This is the only definition of marriage that Jesus gave – not merely for His followers, but for all people whom He created. When Christians endorse Christ’s statement about marriage and sexuality, we are not being the enemy, we are showing fidelity to Christ and compassion for all people – all people. As I have spoken with my non-Christian friends who have disagreed with me about same-sex marriage, we have soon found ourselves looking at Christ’s view on sexuality and marriage which has surprised them because they had been led to believe that Jesus was all about unconditional acceptance (commonly confused as being ‘love‘) and that He actually said nothing about marriage. When they discover that neither is the case they also find that the motive of most Christians is not intolerance, bigotry, or phobia, but genuine care.

Pain And Brokenness

When a person has experienced the opposite of what Professor Maslow described as the basic needs of every human – wellness, safety, acceptance, and love – they experience deep pain and brokenness. Some wounds are obvious but some of the most painful are not. Many of these wounds result in brokenness, particularly sexual brokenness. This leads to the very misguided notion that safety, wellness, acceptance and love can only, or even ultimately, result through sexualisation. This is broken thinking. Some of the most hurt and lonely people in the world are those who have sexualised their pursuit of these basic human needs rather than discovering how to truly have these needs met.

I have been somewhat careful to state that no other human being can directly or ultimately satisfy our basic human needs. This is because we are all designed and created for these needs to be met in our relationship with God. Yet our first forebears skewed our capacity for our needs to be met in this relationship with our Creator when their rebellion embedded into our ‘spiritual DNA’ the seeds of human brokenness that necessitated the Creator becoming our Law Giver to protect us against ourselves. This is why God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the world as The Atonement for all human beings who turn to Him and receive His Lordship and forgiveness.

Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen

Many sexually broken people (those who have pursued the practice of sexualising their relationships in the hope of having their needs met) have come to the end of themselves, and from the darkness of their sadness, loneliness, and rejection, have turned to Jesus and begun to find the wellness, security, acceptance and love that they had always craved. For most of these people the consequences of their brokenness has meant that they will then struggle for the rest of their lives with inappropriate sexual desires (this is not restricted simply to those with same-sex attraction of course). Acclaimed Christians, like Henri Nouwen (1932-1996, pictured right), lived with this struggle for all of their lives. It is an extremely important distinction to make that attraction and action are not the same and do not have to follow.

Struggle is often the fight we fight to do what’s right. When it comes to matters like these, not struggling in the guise of being who I really am has simply not worked for many broken people. Despite the aspirations that many advocates have held for same-sex marriage legislation alleviating the pain of those who are several hundred percent more likely to suffer from depression and its consequences, the data is pretty overwhelming: it hasn’t.

To those in the LGBTQ communities, we, the Church, are not your enemies. We want for you what you want to the core of your soul – to be well body/mind/soul, to experience acceptance, to know love, and to discover true meaning for your life. We are not being bigots when we also say that same-sex marriage will not deliver you these needs. It has not. It can not. But there is Someone who can.

Pastor Andrew Corbett,
Pastor of Legana Christian Church, Tasmania

© 2016-2017, Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania, Australia

Impossible Faith

Some people find faith in God to be impossible. These people have reasons for their impossible faith. Their objections may be intellectual, moral, or emotional. There are three well-known figures who each exemplify each of these objections to faith in God. Charles Darwin, Thomas Hardy and Bob Hawke each respectively held these particular objections to Christianity.

The Reliability of The Bible and How Best To Interpret It

The Bible is the most influential book of all time. It’s contents have changed the course of history. It’s story has formed the pattern for all the great literary classics. It also makes the astounding claim that it is the uniquely authoritative revelation from God and therefore has the authority to command our moral behaviour. But if the Bible is not reliable, then its claims are indefensible and Christianity is without foundation! Yet despite this glaring vulnerability, the Bible has withstood rigorous scrutiny and repeated attempts to refute it. Here’s why it is indeed reliable.

What Is Heaven Like?

I honestly used to think that Christianity was all about having the assurance of going to Heaven. But as I learned more about the Gospel and the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth I became curious about the relative scarcity of references to Heaven in the Bible. Yet, while my understanding of the place of Heaven in my Gospel proclamation has been refined, some God-Channel evangelists have headed in the other direction and made Heaven central to their Gospel. Some of these evangelists now even claim to have the spiritual power to make repeated visits there!

Presumably God, the Supreme Being, has a supremely beautiful home, in a supremely magnificent neighbourhood. Amazingly, God invites mankind to move into His neighbourhood- for eternity! But what is Heaven like? Is it possible, as some are now claiming, that we can visit Heaven? While I am going to lead readers to conclude that Heaven is not the Gospel’s focus, if it is the only reason someone is motivated to convert to Christ, then we should rejoice!

The Tragedy of Suicide – And How We Can Help

Suicide hurts. It is motivated by pain, but causes much greater pain. For those affected by suicide the guilt and anguish it produces is almost unbearable. But since suicide is in the Bible, how can we know that it is wrong? How should we regard the sinfulness of suicide? Is it unforgiveable? How can we help avoid suicide? What should those affected by it know after its happened?

The funeral celebrant rang me to warn me. He was used to dealing with sensitive situations but this one had a few extra layers of complexity. He decided to get me involved. He outlined the story to me and then told me the purpose of his call. When a loved one dies there is often a measure of guilt for those left behind. But when the death is caused by suicide that guilt is compounded. Suicide hurts. The funeral celebrant told me that a young man with a diagnosed mental illness, who had professed Christianity, had taken his own life and his devout mother (who we will call “Betty”) was devastated. The celebrant told me that Betty would ring because her guilt was beyond his expertise due to her Biblical understanding of suicide.

How To Handle A Crisis

The definition of a crisis is a calamity or event which disrupts a person’s sense of well- being and lifestyle. It is generally short term and requires immediate action in order to restore balance and control in the person’s life.  The results of crisis are: anxiety, bewilderment, confusion, desperation, anger, helplessness and even apathy. There is an increased sense of dependency upon others, a sense of urgency, and decreased efficiency in decision making and performance. The account of Judah being sieged by the Assyrians in Second Chronicles 32, involves all the aspects of a crisis. The major distinctive is that it involves a nation of people rather than just one person. The “helper” in this instance was their leader – King Hezekiah.

Roman Catholicism Compared With Christianity

Any discussion about religious wars, clergy violations, or child abuse, and it won’t be long before the The Roman Catholic Church unfortunately features. But I want to have a different discussion. And unlike most of the ‘discussions’ of this nature, I’m not on a mission to attack, ridicule, or mock anyone. Rather, I want to look at what the Roman Catholic Church officially teaches and asserts and compare it with the Bible’s teaching.

I’ve been a denominational minister for over two decades, so I know that it is possible to be a part of an organisation with which you disagree on some points.  I understand that this is certainly the case with the Roman Catholic Church as there are many priests who do agree with all that their Church asserts. For the purposes of this discussion, I have chosen to take the official Catholic positions on the matters I am comparing with the Biblical data. It is my hope that my Roman Catholic audience will acknowledge that I have represented their views fairly – but it is also my hope that I can appropriately demonstrate how these core views compare with the Biblical prescriptions.

Soli Deo Gloria

The final statement in The Five Pillars of Biblical Christianity is Soli Deo Gloria – for the glory of God alone! The reason we are saved is so that we can glorify God. In one sense it is true that reason Christ died for us was to save us from our sins and the just wrath of God for our sin. But the main reason Christ died to redeem us was for the glory of God.

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
John 5:44

The glory that comes from God is when we give God glory. One of Christ’s last prayers was that His disciples would see His glory (John 17:24). Therefore God’s glory, His radiant magnificence, is visible and apprehendable. God’s glory is described several times in Scripture. In this sense, God’s glory is a visible reality (a noun). God’s glory is variously described as being like a cloud (Exodus 16:10), a devouring and consuming fire (Exodus 24:17), fire and smoke-like cloud (2Chronicles 7:1), and a brightly glowing cloud (Ezekiel 10:4).

Where Are The Dead?

Sitting across from me in my office was an older middle-aged man who had just read my draft commentary on the Book of Revelation. He had come from Queensland to visit friends in Tasmania and while in the neighbourhood, dropped in to see me to have chat and get a later edition of my book. He asked a lot of theoretical questions and we discussed the implications of what we discussed. Not until he returned to Queensland did I get an email regarding the chapter on the Resurrection. It was at this point that he confided in me that he was in the advanced stages of cancer and that his query was far more than theoretical.
The ancients believed that death was merely a change of location for the soul of a person. The place of the dead was called “Sheol”. When Jacob thought his son Joseph was dead: “All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.” (Gen. 37:35 ). When the judgment of God came upon Korah and his rebellion.

TULIP, The Essence of The Reformation

Jesus Christ taught that following Him was only possible through the miracle of conversion. He taught that for someone to authentically claim to be a Christian they needed a spiritual encounter that changed their heart and mind. Without such a miracle, known Biblically as ‘regeneration’, no one could merely decide to be a Christian.
It’s important to appreciate the geo-socio-politico conditions at the time of the Reformation. This was the time when John Calvin, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and others dared to defend the Biblical revelation against a militant Papal Church which had previously executed similar voices (Wyclif, Tyndale, Savonarola, to name a few) for daring to defy the teaching of the Papacy. One of the central claims of the Papacy was “Universalism”, the doctrine which taught that Christ’s sacrificial death was repeated over and over through the celebration of the Mass and was effective in saving all those in communion with the Roman Catholic Church (thus, universal salvation was activated by works). Since Salvation was universal (everyone is automatically saved), the Papal Church was more concerned about administering this salvation through having people in communion with it, or alternatively, disfellowshipping (or, ex-communicating) those who it disliked. Calvin on the other hand saw that Scripture did not teach universalism, but conversely- that not everyone would be saved.

How Pagan Is Christianity? A response to Barna and Viola

It’s rare that a Publisher commences book with a disclaimer by virtually saying we are publishing this even though we don’t agree with it. This type of disclaimer is especially rare for a publisher such as Tyndale. After reading this book I understood why Tyndale were so apprehensive in publishing it. While this was puzzling, what I found most puzzling was that George Barna put his name to it! One can only wonder at the damage this book has done to his reputation.
A “Pagan” is someone who is either ignorant or has wilfully rejected the truth and as a result is an idolater (worships idols). This is the word that the authors have chosen to use to describe modern Christianity. It is, as they admit, an outrageous claim.

FTMtweets

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- April 22, 2018, 12:04 pm

RT @DrFWBoreham: Read Dr.F.W. Boreham’s essay, ‘Sister Kathleen’ written in 1918 - https://t.co/6Bzvci8SBq https://t.co/j0JAdAD8Q8
h J R
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- April 21, 2018, 11:57 am

Why Charles Darwin found it impossible to believe in the God of the Bible … https://t.co/YD6y3pdiOF #apologetics https://t.co/V820gazbvo
h J R
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- April 20, 2018, 5:24 am

Christians claim that the Bible is divinely inspired and without error! But just reliable is the Bible really? Chec… https://t.co/yMSPikQMHD
h J R
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- April 19, 2018, 7:15 pm

How could a good, loving, forgiving, all-powerful God send anyone to Hell for eternity? https://t.co/VZuTBfi2Tjhttps://t.co/TnjaanPXDQ
h J R
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- April 18, 2018, 6:15 pm

How can there be a good, loving, all-powerful God if there are natural disasters which kill thousands of innocent v… https://t.co/8tQVr0XS49
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Dr. Andrew Corbett

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