Friday, 27 April 2012


We sometimes hear people say that they wish they could have been a part of the Early Church where miracles were common, souls were being saved daily, and the church expanding at an accelerated pace. But there was something else going on then that I've never heard anyone long for.
Acts 5:11 ¶ And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things..
The Early Church was unusually subject to the fear of the Lord. This powerful sense of the Lord's presence brought a deep sense of His holiness. Where sin was trivialised, it was no longer so. What people had been identifying as mistakes, slips of judgment, problems, they began to identify it for what it truly was: sin. Where people had previously thought that sin was merely breaking God's Laws, they suddenly realised that it was an offensive insult to God which broke His heart. People changed the way they viewed their lives before God. Instead of thinking that God was upset when His children misrepresented Him, they began to realise that He was angry about it instead -  but not the kind fleshly anger we experience in our sinfulness -  a holy, righteous, loving anger. This hit a preliminary climax when Ananias and Saphira lied to God and died immediately.
Acts 5:5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.
The Early Church experienced God's intent gaze. They responded with their only option: the fear of the Lord. Do you invite God's intent gaze of your life? Have you ever felt the fear of the Lord?
God is not Someone to be ignored, trivialised, or triffled with. His Word is not a Book of Suggestions. His power is not a force for our amusement. We may long for what the Early Church had, which is commendable, but consider that they may have had more than what most of us are prepared to welcome today.
Acts 9:31 ¶ So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 20 April 2012

Marriage Equality?

Currently in Australia we have several Parliamentary initiatives to introduce "Same-Sex" Marriage under the guise of "Marriage Equality". Here is an examination of the salient points of this proposed Bills.

Unfair discrimination is a blight on any society. It becomes an evil blight when it promotes hatred and acts of hostility toward others. I commend any Legislative measures which prevent this. 
However, the proponents of this Marriage Equality Amendment Bill have failed to make an adequate case that the existing Marriage Act is unfairly discriminatory. The proposed Bill also commits a serious error of assuming that complementing genders is the only qualification for a couple to marry. I have cited the summary statement of her Private Senator’s Bill above. To remove all discriminatory references within the Marriage Act would require the removal of the following five qualifications-
  1. Gender - a couple must be a man and a woman. This discriminates against two people of the same gender from marrying each other.
  2. Age - a couple must have obtained the age of 18 years (16 years for a woman with parental consent). This discriminates against people under the age of 18 or 16 from marrying.
  3. Status - a man or a woman seeking to marry each other must not already be married. This discriminates against a married person marrying again.
  4. Eligibility - a man and woman seeking to marry each other can not be immediately related. (Siblings can not marry each other. A parent cannot their child.) This discriminates against “blood-related” family members from marrying.
  5. Exclusion - marriage is between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. This discriminates against those seeking to enter into either a polygamous or polyandrous marriage.
To remove “all” forms of discrimination within the established Marriage Act would then mean removing each of these discriminations as well. The question is, are these unfair discriminations? 
Another very reasonable question is whether the premise of this Bill is accurate? It assumes that removing all discrimination will lead to the opportunity for all people regardless of “gender identity” being able to marry. The premise commits two glaring errors. Firstly, it assumes that Marriage Act addresses couples. It does not. It addresses (two) individuals. Because the Marriage Act provides the regulations for individuals entering into marriage, the proposed Bill is mistaken in thinking that it regulates or provides rights for certain couples and not others. This then makes the proposed Bill’s second error immediately obvious: any individual regardless of their gender identity is treated equally under the existing Marriage Act. That is, any person, regardless of sex (gender), sexuality or gender identity, already has as much opportunity to marry as anybody else provided that the five criteria for marrying are met. 
The Marriage Act 1961 does not define Marriage as much as it describes marriage. Marriage is the oldest institution known to man. It is a myth that marriage is a recent social-construct invention (although the same cannot be said of the State’s regulation of it). The proposed Bill seeks to redefine what Marriage is. 
Marriage is something - in the same way that a circle is round. Notice that I defined a circle by describing it. There are instances when something can only be defined by description. Such is the case with “red”. It is almost impossible to define it without describing it. Marriage is such a thing. If a circle, seeking to be known as a "square", objected to being discriminated against by those who continued to identify it as a circle, an accommodating law could be passed to redefine circles as squares. But it would still be a circle
Similarly, the union of two people of the same gender is not marriage because the description (and thus, the definition) of marriage involves two people of complementary genders so that there can be a biological “wedding” of these two people. 
Dr. J. Budziszewski, Ph.D. Yale, Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas in Austin has written-
A striking feature of marriage is that it is always bilateral: one man, one woman...This is not hard to understand either. In the first place, a man and a man (or woman and woman) are not complements, but sames; when their relationship is sexualized, rather than balancing each other they drive each other to extremes. In the second place, both sexes are needed for procreation--and not just because a man cannot make another man pregnant. Both sexes are needed to raise the child, because the female is better designed for nurture and the male for protection and discipline; both are needed to teach the child, because every young one needs a model of his own sex as well as the other.
It seems that the best argument for Sameness-Marriage is that it claims to address unfair discrimination. I have presented a brief yet reasonable examination of this assertion and found it to be without foundation. Because Marriage is something, it can best be defined by describing it. But describing it necessitates that certain inaccurate terms be discriminated against by not employing them (otherwise the description will not be accurate). Discrimination is not by necessity unfair. When we dine in a restaurant, we discriminate with the menu options. When the State issues Driver’s Licences it discriminates at least on the basis of age. Discrimination is not only not necessarily unfair, it is often necessary for the well-being of others (especially so in the case of being licensed to drive a car).
Considering that the Marriage Act 1961 treats all people equally, it is impossible to argue that it unfairly discriminates against anyone. To claim that it denies a person to marry another of the same gender and that this then unfairly discriminates against certain couples is to commit the indefensible error that the descriptive criteria within Marriage Act is about couples when, in fact, it is about regulating individuals seeking to enter into a marriage. And all individuals are treated equally by this Marriage Act!
There are lesser arguments offered in favour of redefining what Marriage means. These includes social arguments - same-gendered couples are not afforded the same social respect as married couples. But this is hardly justification for amending the Marriage Act. There is also the argument of inclusivism - that allowing people of the same gender to marry each other will not impinge upon anyone else’s marriage. But this confuses the issue. The Marriage Act is not about “marriages” it is about Marriage. To do violence to the definition of Marriage and then claim that no harm has been done to Marriage is incredulous. But these lesser arguments are hardly justification for amending the existing Marriage Act.
Therefore, the existing Marriage Act should not be amended.

Dr. Andrew Corbett  

Entering The Autumn of Your Life

Life has seasons. If Summer is the season of glory, Winter the season of setbacks, Spring the season of growth, Autumn is the season adapting after the Summer. No what season you're in now, you will almost certainly experience an Autumn. The seasoned world traveller, Paul of Tarsus did-
2Tim. 4:6 ¶ For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
AutumnIn continuing to prepare the script for the F.W. Boreham Documentary, I was confronted with his biographer, T. Howard Crago, describing his interaction with the great writer-preacher as taking place in the "Autumn" of Dr Boreham's life. It's a charming expression. As I move about our community now, I see the signs of Autumn. Leaves are changing dropping from the trees. Days are shorter. Temperatures are cooler. Apples are being harvested. The trees are transformed into rich earthy colours. There are delightful fogs in the morning. Some previously unseen flowers mysteriously blossom in Autumn. Life has its Autumn too. Most of us are not in Autumn...yet.
Grow in Spring. Tough out Winter. Enjoy Summer. Transition through Autumn from this temporary life into either an Eternal Summer of glory or an Eternal Winter.
Rom. 2:7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life;

"A man of sixty has entered into the autumn of life. Of all the seasons, autumn is the most idyllic. The leaves of the lime are tinged with amber; spots of lemon-colour appear upon the silver birch; and a soft suspicion of gold sweeps across the fern. As though beneath a wizard's wand, the hedgerows become bronze and purple and saffron; and the furze on the moorland sparkles in the early morning with dew-drenched webs of innumerable spiders...Yet of all the seasons, autumn has most often been misunderstood and misinterpreted." - Dr. F.W. Boreham, A WITCH'S BREWING, "On Being Sixty", page 17

Autumn is season of great dignity. Maturity is celebrated. The triumphs of Summer are remembered, celebrated. The challenges of Winter are put in perspective. Autumn is a time of great beauty.Autumn leaves
If you are in a Winter, hold on Spring is coming. Winter is the time when fruit trees are pruned. Spring is when they flower and bud. Summer is when the fruit either grows or withers. Some people enter Summer and misplace their blessings and opportunities. Other people enter Summer having been pruned in Winter and prepared for the heat of Summer by ensuring that they have sufficient water flowing onto them. If you are in your Autumn, finish well. Just as the apple trees are emptied of their fruit, don't take the best of your potential to the grave unrealised. Don't leave your wisdom unharvested. Don't withhold your fruit from those who could benefit from it. But most importantly, prepare your soul for an Eternal Summer by making Jesus Christ the Ultimate Treasure of your life.

Ps. Andrew

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Can We Forgive Ourselves?


There's something wrong with us. We can pretend there's not. We can invent therapies or rituals to deal with it that almost seem to work. And yet, all these approaches assume that we are the solution to our own problem. What we all want is to have our guilt and shame cleansed away through being truly forgiven. But how?
1John 2:12 ¶ I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake.
There are many painful stories in our church Sunday by Sunday. People who have stolen and never told a soul. People who have cheated on their spouse and hope he never finds out. People who have a private problem with alcohol and other addictions. People who have an anger problem that violently and verbally hurts those around them. People with a gambling problem that has put their personal and family finances in jeopardy. People who have an uncontrollable obsession with pornography. People who have murdered. People who have told a big lie. All of these people ache. Some do so more than others. Some are OK most of the time but then there are sights, songs, smells, anniversaries, or places that remind them of their deep ache and cause them to feel unforgiven.
How do we find forgiveness? The only way anyone can find forgiveness for our sins is to have them atoned for.
Heb. 9:22 ¶ Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
When Christ died, He atoned for our sins and made possible the only means to be forgiven of our sins. Yet all too often we do not feel forgiven. We reason this unwelcome sensation away with statements like, "I know God has forgiven me, but I just can't forgive myself." I wonder, since I hear this so often, that this is an unfair view of God's forgiveness versus self-forgiveness?
1John 1:9 ¶ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness..
Sin not only brings guilt, it brings pain. Pain from sinful activity is an unavoidable consequence. Rather than learning to forgive ourselves, perhaps we might benefit from understanding the important distinction between guilt and remorse (emotional pain). Forgiveness through the Atonement of our sins is transacted when we confess our sins to our Crucified Saviour and He takes our sins upon Himself and bears our guilt and shame. But how is the pain of the past removed?

I wonder if those of us who battle with the pain of mistakes, failures, sins, emotional hurts, have a sufficient appreciation for the value of God's forgiveness? That is, the fact that God says He has forgiven us...does this outweigh any other's feelings about the matter...including our own?
Luke 7:47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little."
Being forgiven by God drove one woman to tears of gratitude. This same woman, whose: sins were many, poured very expensive perfume over the feet of Christ in sheer relief and elation at having her sins forgiven. Like anyone who has sinned wantonly, she almost certainly would have discovered that her forgiven sins still left the scar of consequences. All those who have committed the sin of cliff jumping will understand what I am about to say: If you jump off a dangerously high cliff-top with suicidal intent and then half way down realise that was wrong - and repent before God - your sins will be forgiven - but the fall will still have consequences! It seems that some people have assumed that God's forgiveness actually undoes the sin from ever being done. Not so. God may heal the affect of some consequences, He may even allow others to bear the full weight of their sin's consequences, but He always redeems the consequences of those whose sins are forgiven. Even though we hurt because of what we've done, God can use what we've done for His glory and our best good!
Rom. 4:7 ¶ "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
We've all sinned. Therefore, we all hurt. For those of us who have confessed our sins and asked God for His forgiveness we have the confidence that we have been cleansed of our guilt and shame because of what Christ has done for us on the Cross. While we still feel the pain or remorse for what we have done we can rest assured that the God of all hope will use even our sins to ultimately bring glory to Him. And a closing thought about being in a community of forgiven sinners-turned-saints ... we can sometimes take an older brother attitude toward others and their sins by feeling that we're actually not that bad compared to them. Rather than providing a safe place for confession, transparency, and honesty, such an attitude may promote denial, secrecy, and even dishonesty. If there is one place in society where someone should be able to find forgiveness, surely it should be the church - even if the one needing forgiveness is the pastor.

Ps. Andrew