Millions of people disagree with what Israel Folau (Izzy) said or the way he said it, just as millions of people disagree with what the Bible says about a lot of things.
But the crucial issue here is not a Christian footballer, nor even the Bible. After all, Christianity has been violently opposed for 2,000 years since that crucifixion on Calvary.
The crucial issue is losing “freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of belief and freedom of religion” in this free land of the “fair go mate”.
Why religious freedom is a big issue in Australia:
Bernard Gaynor has a background in military intelligence with three tours of duty in Iraq with the Australian Army. Married with eight children, Bernard’s courageous advocacy has cost him more than $400,000 in legal fees. In the process of defending himself he has lost two homes and now lives in rental accommodation.
Since 2013 Bernard Gaynor has faced 50 separate allegations of wrongdoing. Not a single allegation against him has succeeded. He has also defended himself in military inquiries and state tribunals, before magistrates and even in the High Court in Canberra.
A Tasmanian bishop was sued for publishing his church’s and the Bible views on marriage. Some Ministers of Religion have been sued for preaching the biblical teaching on marriage.
A Victorian teacher launched legal action against a Christian college claiming she was discriminated against over her political and religious beliefs in support of same-sex marriage, setting up a test case over faith-based protections for religious schools.
On April 10, Israel Folau posted on his Instagram account the following message: “Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves.” Next to this big, bold statement was the message: “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”
This eye-catching text was from the Bible, a loose paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
If someone else had posted this it would almost certainly have slipped under the radar. But Folau was being watched. Partly this is because of his brilliance as a footballer. He holds the record for the most tries scored in Super Rugby. In 2007 he won rugby league’s Dally M Rookie of the Year award for having scored the most tries in his debut year. In that same year he was the all-time youngest international player (he was 18 at the time). …
But it looks as though Folau was also being watched for an opportunity to punish him for being a Christian; indeed, for being a blunt defender of the classic, conservative Christian faith.
The attack on Folau provoked an unexpected reaction: many Aussies were unhappy. They flooded open-line radio with calls in support of the right of Folau to hold and express his faith. This support was not limited to the 52.1 percent of Australians who called themselves Christian in the 2016 census. A bucket load of callers took the line of “I don’t support what he said or the way he said it, but, hey the bloke’s obviously sincere so why is he being bashed up like this?”
Whether articulated or not, the underlying feeling of much of this response was: Australia is a free country. There was a distinct unease about the possibility of losing at least some degree of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of belief and freedom of religion in this wide, brown land. …
This is no storm in a tea cup: this is central to Australia’s character as a nation and raises three questions: ● Why should there be penalties for defending classical Christianity? ● Why do the rights of one group trump all other rights? ● What is the actual content of the view he is defending? …
But as Folau’s short post indicates, there is more to the story. Here’s the completion of those words from the Bible quoted above: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:27-28).
There is the offer of God’s love and forgiveness and restoration: switching at life’s end from the bad option (separation, isolation, “hell”) to the good option (connection, community, “heaven”) as a free gift. From the point of view of classical Christianity, Folau saw people in danger and shouted out a warning. In other words, the intention of his message was the exact opposite to how it has been portrayed. And for that Folau is being punished.
In a landmark judgment, the UK Court of Appeal has upheld the rights of British Christians to freely express their faith by handing victory to former student social worker Felix Ngole. Overturning a High Court decision to uphold Felix’s expulsion from Sheffield University, the crucial outcome represents a major development of the law. It is now clear that Christians have the legal right to express biblical views on social media and elsewhere in public without fear for their professional careers. This is the first Court of Appeal judgment regarding freedom of expression of biblical views which sets limits on the rights of professional regulators to restrict free speech on social media.
The ruling is likely to be relied upon in hundreds of future cases. Felix was expelled in 2016 from his social work course at the University of Sheffield after quoting Bible verses on Facebook that were deemed critical of homosexuality. In 2015, he had entered into a discussion on Facebook over the imprisonment of Kim Davies, the Kentucky marriage registrar jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. During an online political debate, many views were exchanged on the Christian faith. A devout Christian, Felix quoted Bible verses affirming the traditional Christian opposition to same-sex marriage and of the sinful nature of homosexual activity.
Some months later, Felix was reported to the University of Sheffield by a fellow student and was subsequently disciplined in a Fitness to Practise hearing. He was informed that he had brought the social work profession into disrepute and was then expelled from the course, losing the career he had worked so hard for. In the court hearings, the university argued that Felix had ‘lacked insight’ into the effect of his posts on social media. During his Fitness to Practise hearing, the University had told him that the expression of his Christian views was unacceptable and he was effectively told either to renounce his faith or stay silent on pain of losing his career.
In the High Court hearing, the University of Sheffield implied that Felix was not allowed to express his Christian viewpoint on same-sex marriage or homosexuality on any public forum, including in a church. The Court of Appeal held that it was the university that was ‘lacking insight’ in not understanding a Christian viewpoint. In addition, the Court of Appeal praised Christian Concern co-founder Pastor Ade Omooba MBE for urging that the university seek caution and compromise. The Court of Appeal condemned the position of the university whereby people would live in fear if private expressions of views were overheard and could be reported anonymously.
The court ruled that: “The expression of views on theological grounds does not necessarily connote that that person will discriminate on such grounds.” It was further recognised that Felix had never been shown to act in a discriminatory fashion. The outcome of this case will have significant implications for freedom of speech. Comments made by people on social media, often many years ago, have recently been arbitrarily used to silence viewpoints that people dislike or disagree with. Commenting on his win, Felix said: “‘My personal loss is gain for future Christians’. This is great news, not only for me and my family, but for everyone who cares about freedom of speech.
Felix continued ”I have suffered tremendously as a result of how I was treated by the University and I feel that 4 years of my life have been taken from me. Despite all this, I feel full of joy that what I have lost will be so much gain to Christians in the future as a result of this important ruling for freedom.” Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Felix, said: “This is a watershed case for Christians and a resounding victory for freedom of speech. We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has seen the importance of this case and made a ruling that accords with common sense.”
Williams continued “It is shocking that the university sought to censor expression of the Bible in this way, and we hope this sends out a message of freedom across all universities and professions that Christians and others should be allowed to express their views without fear of censorship or discipline. “Christians now know that it is their legal right to express biblical views on social media or elsewhere without fear for their professional careers. This is a major development of the law and must be upheld and respected in all Christian freedom cases.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
President Kennedy’s speechwriters attributed this quote to Edmund Burke.
Keyes says that the quote has not been successfully traced:
. . . which Kennedy attributed to Edmund Burke and which recently was judged the most popular quotation of modern times (in a poll conducted by editors of The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations). Even though it is clear by now that Burke is unlikely to have made this observation, no one has ever been able to determine who did.
You can support Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells’ Religious Freedom Petition to go to the Senate. Many Christian lawyers are concerned that the current anti-discrimination bill is toothless.
This link gives you 7 tools to help you:
1. The Issues with Religious Freedom
2. Religious Freedom contents to raise with your MP
3. Sample Letter to your MP
4. How to contact Senators and Members of Federal Parliament
5. Petition by Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
6. Flyer introducing the Senate Petition
7. Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells Speech on Religious Freedom
Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering (Hebrews 13:3).
It was just before dawn on a cold winter morning on the farm. I had just shifted a line of irrigation pipes in a crop of potatoes. My bare feet were encased in congealed, cold, numbing mud. My last task before breakfast was to start the irrigation pump. When I tried to kick start the motorbike my foot slipped off the kick starter and my big toe struck the metal foot peg. I felt nothing at the time but when I arrived at the pump I looked down and noticed lots of blood oozing through the mud on my feet! On closer inspection, I discovered that I had a very deep gash under my big toe. It was a really nasty injury which was surprising! I had not even felt it because my foot was so numb from the cold.
It seems to me that just as I was oblivious to the serious damage done to my body, we can be unaware of the damage that is done daily to the body of Christ.
Every day followers of Jesus around the world are subjected to ridicule, persecution, abuse, torture, abduction and even death. In a recent statement, the International Society for Human Rights said that 80% of all religious freedom violations in the world are directed against Christians. Shockingly, it is estimated that every five minutes a follower of Jesus is put to death somewhere in the world simply because they have faith in Jesus. Some have gone as far as to say that the current levels of persecution against Christians are worse today than at any time in history!
As followers of Jesus, we are spiritually connected to all of the other followers of Jesus around the globe. The Bible describes this union as just like being part of a body (1Co 12:12).
Just as pain from an injury in one part of our physical bodies affects the rest of our body, so to the pain and suffering of one part of our spiritual body should affect the whole in some way. So why don’t we always feel their pain? Perhaps we do not feel the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters around the world because we are numbed by complacency, indifference, apathy or just plain ignorance.
I did not know that there was a problem with my toe until I went looking and noticed some disturbing signs. There are a number of organizations that help us be aware of what is happening for many of our brothers and sisters around the world; organizations such as the Barnabas Fund, the Voice of the Martyrs, or The Open Doors.
When I found out that my foot was injured, I immediately took action to give aid to my injured member. The bible says that we should empathize with our suffering family to the point of actually considering ourselves to be in their shoes.
Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13:3).
The following websites can provide specific information about the scope and pain that the body that you and your church are a part of is experiencing worldwide and may assist in providing information as to how we can aid those parts of the body that are hurting.
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He then said: “Follow me.”
– Luke 9:58-59a
This church lets 225 homeless sleep on the pews
Lack of sleep is one of the most critical health issues for the homeless. An average of 225 homeless people seek safety and rest on the pews in the sanctuary of St. Boniface church in San Francisco every day, thanks to The Gubbio Project.
The Gubbio Project was co-founded in 2004 by community activists Shelly Roder and Father Louis Vitale as a non-denominational project of St. Boniface Neighborhood Center located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in response to the increasing numbers of homeless men and women in need of refuge from the streets.
“No questions are asked when our guests walk into the churches; in an effort to remove all barriers to entry, there are no sign-in sheets or intake forms. No one is ever turned away; all are welcomed, respected and treated with dignity,” the project’s website states.
While the church uses the front 1/3 of the sanctuary for church-goers to celebrate daily mass at 12:15 p.m., the Gubbio Project uses the back 2/3 of the sanctuary. “This sends a powerful message to our unhoused neighbors – they are in essence part of the community, not to be kicked out when those with homes come in to worship,” the non-profit organization says. “It also sends a message to those attending mass – the community includes the tired, the poor, those with mental health issues and those who are wet, cold and dirty.”
In addition to a place to rest, the church offers warm blankets, socks, hygiene kits, and massage services.
In the Bible we see a vision for equality between men and women, both male and female bearing together the image of God.
And the story of the Bible plays that out in amazing ways. Even in the Old Testament, you see a woman like Miriam leading a whole nation in worship. You see a woman like Deborah leading a nation politically, making judgments, making decisions, and even leading her country to war.
You see that women didn’t require a man to be a kind of mediator between them and God. They could pray directly to God. They didn’t need a husband or a father to have a relationship with God. Now sometimes people say, “Yeah, but come on, in Genesis alright, women and men both bear the image of God, but doesn’t the Bible call women sort of “helpers”. Isn’t that word there in Genesis?”
The word that is translated there “helper” is the word ezer and it’s not a term of domination or subjugation because God uses that name ezer to describe himself in his relationship to us as human beings. God is our ezer. He is our helper. It’s a powerful, strong, amazing, not sexist image.
And then we come to the New Testament. We see that Jesus directly resists the sexism that he sees and observes around him. There’s a story in John’s gospel in chapter four where a woman is talking to Jesus and the male disciples come and they see this. They see Jesus one on one with the woman. It says they’re amazed, they’re horrified, they’re staggered. What? To see him just talking one on one to a woman. Jesus considered women to be worthy of theological instruction.
It was a woman called Martha who was the recipient of one of the most amazing doctrinal statements of the New Testament: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live and they will never die.” Jesus just brought that to Martha.
And then you see this amazing pattern emerge as you read the New Testament where women sort of have this front row seat, and the extraordinary role of witnessing the core elements of the Christian faith. It’s Mary who is the primary witness to the incarnation, the virgin birth. It’s the women at the cross who are the primary witnesses to the crucifixion, to the atonement, to the cross of Jesus. The men have all disappeared apart from John. It’s women who were there witnessing the cross and then, of course, it is women who were first at the resurrection.
When you read the New Testament you see in the early church that women like Phoebe led the church in Rome. Women like Junia were considered to be outstanding by Paul among the apostles.
There are three verses which some people use to say that women should be subjugated.
In 1 Corinthians it talks about women being silent in church. Now how do we understand that? If you read the whole letter you see that in the same letter, the same author tells women how to prophecy when they prophesy in church, which meant speak publicly, and it says to have your head covered. That meant just modesty in those days. Don’t be showing off your body or your hair while you prophesy. So clearly, it didn’t mean women should never speak and be silent. It’s speaking to a specific group of women who were disrupting the services.
Another verse talks about men being the head of women. The Greek word is kephale and sometimes that has been taken to mean dominance or subjugation, but if you read the verse in context you see that God is the head of Christ. So if it means hierarchy, that doesn’t make sense of the Trinity. So whatever that kephale word means in terms of a relationship between a man and a woman in a marriage, it doesn’t mean domination. In fact, as we read anything about God’s kingdom, it is primarily about service, about love, about laying down our lives for one another.
Then there’s another verse in 1 Timothy 2 that talks about women not teaching, not being permitted to teach or have authority. Now remember, we’ve already been taught by women like Martha, by women like Mary. We’ve already seen that women like Priscilla taught. We know that Phoebe taught. She was in authority in the Roman church.
Paul was writing that letter of 1 Timothy to the leader of the Ephesian church, Timothy. And the context there was the worship of the goddess Artemis where women dominated and subjugated men in that culture and it seems that as those women got converted it had crept into the Ephesian church. So Paul is helping Timothy to correct that specific pastoral situation. And most likely those women were saying, “Well Paul says that everyone has sinned in Adam, that we all sinned in Adam.” They just heard about this guy Adam who caused the world to sin and then the second Adam, Jesus, and Paul is saying, “Timothy, you need to explain to them that Eve was involved.” She actually sinned first.
I want to finish with a quote from one of my favourite apologists, Dorothy L. Sayers.
She writes this about Jesus:
“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man – there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about woman’s nature.”
1. You are invited to join us in your home praying each Saturday night and Sunday morning for your church services, its leaders, and for God to move powerfully among us all.
2. This is my invitation for you to be included among our informal groups of people committed to worship and prayer for at least an hour a week, in addition to church services. You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to be included anonymously. Some people give at least one hour a day to worship and prayer. You may be doing that anyway so you may like to be included in this praying friends group. I love to play worship CDs or YouTube Mix worship as listed below.
Here is an initial list of times people are involved, begun from our Church in Brisbane, to be updated occasionally.
Red – individuals pray and worship Purple – groups pray & worship
Prayer and worship constantly rise to God globally, and we just add ours to encourage one another. I look forward to a time when this simple chart is all red! Overseas friends may like to help us fill in our night hours Brisbane time!
I like to write a brief quote from Scripture daily in my diary in red biro, mostly truth impressed on me by God’s Spirit. It became inspiring journal entries for over 50 years. It’s easy to read through different translations of the New Testament in less than a year, one chapter a day. Or you could read each Gospel in a month, one chapter a day.
There are 260 chapters in the New Testament, so it’s easy to cover that in a year. Each Gospel has less than 30 chapters so it’s easy to read a Gospel in a month, a chapter a day.
There are 929 chapters in the Old Testament. This gives a total of 1189 chapters in the Bible. Psalm 117, the shortest chapter, is also the middle chapter of the Bible, being the 595th Chapter.
You could listen to background worship music for an hour or more as you worship and pray – in your chair or even in bed, with CDs and YouTube. YouTube video “Mix” gives you similar recordings – often a surprise.
Here are beautiful worship recordings you could play while you work and pray:
The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26 – Aaronic Blessing)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known themind of theLord? Orwho has become His counselor?” Orwho has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
A few Bible prayers you can pray as you read.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Yourname. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earthas it is in heaven. Give us this day ourdaily bread. Andforgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, Butdeliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your handit is to make great And to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. (1 Chronicles 29:11-13)
Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just [a]when You speak, And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. 9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. (Psalm 51:1-17)
Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against theLordand against His Christ.’ …
Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. (Acts 4:24-30; Psalm 2:1-2)
At Herrnhut, Zinzendorf visited all the adult members of the deeply divided community. He drew up a covenant calling upon them ‘to seek out and emphasize the points in which they agreed’ rather than stressing their differences. On 12 May 1727 they all signed an agreement to dedicate their lives, as he dedicated his, to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Moravian revival of 1727 was thus preceded and then sustained by extraordinary praying. A spirit of grace, unity and supplications grew among them.
On 16 July the Count poured out his soul in a prayer accompanied with a flood of tears. This prayer produced an extraordinary effect. The whole community began praying as never before.
On 22 July many of the community covenanted together on their own accord to meet often to pour out their hearts in prayer and hymns.
On 5 August the Count spent the whole night in prayer with about twelve or fourteen others following a large meeting for prayer at midnight where great emotion prevailed.
On Sunday, 10 August, Pastor Rothe, while leading the service at Herrnhut, was overwhelmed by the power of the Lord about noon. He sank down into the dust before God. So did the whole congregation. They continued till midnight in prayer and singing, weeping and praying.
On Wednesday, 13 August, the Holy Spirit was poured out on them all. Their prayers were answered in ways far beyond anyone’s expectations. Many of them decided to set aside certain times for continued earnest prayer.
On 26 August, twenty-four men and twenty-four women covenanted together to continue praying in intervals of one hour each, day and night, each hour allocated by lots to different people.
On 27 August, this new regulation began. Others joined the intercessors and the number involved increased to seventy-seven. They all carefully observed the hour which had been appointed for them. The intercessors had a weekly meeting where prayer needs were given to them.
The children, also touched powerfully by God, began a similar plan among themselves. Those who heard their infant supplications were deeply moved. The children’s prayers and supplications had a powerful effect on the whole community.
That astonishing prayer meeting beginning in 1727 went on for one hundred years. It was unique. Known as the Hourly Intercession, it involved relays of men and women in prayer without ceasing made to God. That prayer also led to action, especially evangelism. More than one hundred missionaries left that village community in the next twenty-five years, all constantly supported in prayer.
I asked my colleague Melissa Haigh, Events Coordinator for the National Day of Prayer & Fasting, to share some stories about the power of prayer on video.
Melissa chose to share the amazing story of the Pinnacle Pocket Revival, which occurred primarily among the Aboriginal people and the Kanakas in a remote part of the Atherton Tablelands, North Queensland in the 1930’s. Interestingly the Pinnacle Pocket Revival had a direct connection to the 1904 Welsh Revival.
My wife and I have personally met and worked with many of those Christian leaders who were saved either during that revival period at Pinnacle Pocket, or were saved in the years that followed. Many of those Aboriginal Christian leaders saw thousands come to Christ, many churches were planted and many extraordinary miracles occurred under their ministry.
I can personally vouch for the effect of this amazing revival that occurred in Pinnacle Pocket because I worked closely with Indigenous Ps Peter Morgan who came to Christ directly as a result of the Pinnacle Pocket Revival. See John Blackett’s in-depth videoto get the full story. Peter Morgan was the leader of the Jezariah Band and a father in the faith to both Melissa and myself.
Aboriginal Elder and Leader Ps Peter Morgan was deeply touched through the heritage of the Pinnacle Pocket Revival. Peter Morgan preached the gospel all over Australia and even in Parliament House. He saw many signs and wonders as he preached the good news of Christ’s love and prayed for people. In his ministry, mainly in remote aboriginal communities in northern Australia, he saw six people raised from the dead.
You should not be surprised to hear this because Jesus raised several people from the dead as did Paul the Apostle (Acts 20: 7-12). Jesus said in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father”.
My wife and I and our musical family have ministered several times at Pinnacle Pocket with Aboriginal Ps Eddie Turpin who is the still the pastor at this amazing but small influential church. You can see a photo of Ps Eddie Turpin in the above video.
The purpose of telling the Pinnacle Pocket Revival story is not to live in the past, but to affirm the future and the truth of Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday and forever”. The man of God prayed in Habakkuk 3:2, “I have heard all about you, LORD. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy”.
By Adrian Plass, The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass. Canterbury, 1987, pp. 102-103:
‘He was a nuisance then,’ said Braddock, ‘and he’s a nuisance now. He won’t let you work out cosy little systems and call ‘em “churches”, and he won’t let you get away with having four meetings a week to discuss what you’re going to do in next week’s meetings. If that’s what you want, you’ll find Jesus a real pain in the neck. He says awkward, difficult things, like “Love your enemies”, and “Invite the people who really need it to dinner”, and “Love God before anything else”. He’s terrible like that. They couldn’t pin him down then, and you can’t pin him down now, but I’ll tell you something … if you want to pay the cost, there’s no one else worth following, and nothing else worth doing!’
By Larry Lea in C. Peter Wagner, Territorial Spirits. Sovereign World, 1991, p. 84:
Jesus was controversial. Not just a little. Not just occasionally. He was thoroughly, persistently controversial throughout most of His ministry.
Folks today who think they will follow Jesus, say the things He said, and do the things He did without encountering opposition are in for a rude awakening. Jesus was controversial in His day, and we who express His life and His teachings will be controversial today as well. Jesus even said so. He said to His apostles, ‘If they treat the master of the house as if he’s the devil, how do you think they’ll treat you?’
By John Stott, Christ the Controversialist. Tyndale, 1970, p. 49:
The popular image of Christ as ‘gentle Jesus, meek and mild’ simply will not do. It is a false image. To be sure, He was full of love, compassion and tenderness. But He was also uninhibited in exposing error and denouncing sin, especially hypocrisy. Christ was a controversialist. The Evangelists portray Him as constantly debating with the leaders of contemporary Judaism.
By Pierre Berton, The Comfortable Pew. Hodder & Stoughton, 1965, pp. 90, 94:
In the beginning, Christianity was anything but a respectable creed. Its founder moved among the outcasts of society – among the prostitutes, racial minorities, political traitors, misfits, vagrants, and thieves; among “the hungry, the naked, the homeless and the prisoner.” He himself was considered a religious heretic and a traitor to his nation, an enemy of the status quo, a man who broke the Sabbath, a dangerous radical, a disturber and a malcontent who fought the establishment and whose constant companions were the sort of people who are to be found in the skid-row areas of the big cities. When he stood trial, there was an element of truth in the charge under which he was found guilty: “He stirs up the people.”
It has been said, with truth (and by a Christian minister), that none of the twelve apostles would feel at home today in a modern church. Nor is it likely that a modern church would welcome the kind of people with whom its founder associated…
By Philip Yancey. 1995. The Jesus I Never Knew. Sydney: Strand, pp. 22-23:
What would it have been like to hang on the edges of the crowd? How would I have responded to this man? Would I have invited him over for dinner like Zacchaeus? Turned away in sadness, like the rich young ruler? Betrayed him, like Judas and Peter?
Jesus, I found, bore little resemblance to the figure I had met in Sunday school, and was remarkably unlike the person I had studied in Bible college. For one thing, he was far less tame. In my prior image, I realized, Jesus’ personality matched that of a Star Trek Vulcan: he remained calm, cool, and collected as he strode like a robot among excitable human beings on spaceship earth. That is not what I found portrayed in the Gospels and in the better films. Other people affected Jesus deeply: obstinacy frustrated him, self-righteousness infuriated him, simple faith thrilled him. Indeed, he seemed more emotional and spontaneous than the average person, not less. More passionate, not less.
The more I studied Jesus, the more difficult it became to pigeonhole him. He said little about the Roman occupation, the main topic of conversation among his countrymen, and yet he took up a whip to drive petty profiteers from the Jewish temple. He urged obedience to the Mosaic law while acquiring the reputation as a lawbreaker. He could be stabbed by sympathy for a stranger, yet turn on his best friend with the flinty rebuke, “Get behind me, Satan!” He had uncompromising views on rich men and loose women, yet both types enjoyed his company.
His extravagant claims about himself kept him at the centre of controversy, but when he did something truly miraculous he tended to hush it up. As Waiter Wink has said, if Jesus had never lived, we would not have been able to invent him.
Two words one could never think of applying to the Jesus of the Gospels: boring and predictable. How is it, then, that the church has tamed such a character – has, in Dorothy Sayers’ words, “very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies”?
By Dr James Allan Francis, 1926
“He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where He worked in a carpenter shop
Until He was thirty when public opinion turned against Him.
He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but Himself
He was only thirty three
His friends ran away
One of them denied Him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, His executioners gambled for His clothing
The only property He had on earth
When He was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend
Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind’s progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life.”
It is impossible that Christianity is not God’s revelation of truth. Simply impossible. The math proves it beyond question. It doesn’t take faith to believe that one plus one equals two, and it doesn’t take faith to identify the religion which has mathematical certainty in its corner.
God didn’t have to give us mathematical proof of His existence, but He did it anyway. God didn’t have to give us proof of Christianity, but He chose to do so. And God didn’t have to give us proof of His love for us, but that is exactly what He did. The proof is irrefutable.
I live in Nebraska where I serve as a pastor. Imagine someone covering this entire state in silver dollars 6 feet deep. Then mark one coin and bury it anywhere across the state. Next, blindfold a man and have him choose one coin. The odds that he would choose the marked coin are the same odds of getting 8 prophecies all fulfilled in one man. God gave us about 300 fulfilled prophecies in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Here are 8 of those 300 prophecies:
(1) The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-6)
(2) The Messiah will be a descendant of Jacob. (Numbers 24:17; Matthew 1:2)
(3) The Messiah will enter Jerusalem as a king riding on a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9; Mark 11:4-11)
(4) The Messiah will be betrayed by a friend. (Psalm 41:9; Luke 22:47,48)
(5) The Messiah’s betrayal money will be used to purchase a potter’s field. (Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 27:9,10)
(6) The Messiah will be spat upon and struck. (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 26:67)
(7) The Messiah’s hands and feet will be pierced. (Psalm 22:16; John 20:25-27)
(8) Soldiers will gamble for the Messiah’s garments. (Psalm 22:18; Luke 23:34)
There is no way one man could have fulfilled all 8 of these prophecies unless God was making it happen. Who else controls history? Who else could give us such irrefutable proof for Christianity? The odds are one in one hundred quadrillion, or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.
This mathematical proof was calculated by Professor Peter Stoner. He was chairman of the mathematics and astronomy departments at Pasadena City College until 1953. He then went to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, where he served as chairman of the science division.
You don’t have to be a mathematics professor to see that this evidence is irrefutable. No one would pick the marked coin under those conditions. No one but God could have given us these biblical prophecies, and then brought them to fulfillment right before our eyes. It is impossible that Christianity is false. The math proves it, and the Man behind the math rose from the dead, just as it had been foretold.
It doesn’t take faith to see how the Bible could only have come from God. It does take faith, however, to accept Jesus as your Savior and to believe in God’s promise of eternal life. God has done everything to make this way open to you. If you choose to reject it in spite of the overwhelming evidence and in spite of God’s love for you, you will be walking away from an open door to paradise.
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. (Luke 24:27, 32, 44-45)
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