The national census does not tell the full story about the state of Christianity in Australia according to Dave Pellowe who’s the founder and organiser of the growing number of Church And State Summit conferences held annually across the country.
They focus on how churches are not apolitical and how Christians can be influential about sound teaching on Biblical doctrines of government, church and family to help shape the values of the nation.
In an extended interview with Vision Radio Mr. Pellowe expanded on how he sees as the role of believers in politics:
“It’s true that the number of people identifying as Christians in the census is diminishing, but it is stabilising. It’s probably not going to drop much further rapidly soon and that does not reflect the number of people going to church.”
“The National Church Life Survey actually has a lot more of a nuanced position on spirituality in Australia than the census does. The census has a very blunt and shallow snapshot of what’s happening and I think what the census reveals is that people who are essentially nominal Christians, dare I say, ‘fake Christians’, people who had a identity much like somebody would say I’m a Labor voter because my dad was a Labor voter, have dropped off the census. The reality is that especially the evangelical and pentecostal churches are increasing in church numbers and attendance.”
“The majority of Australians are still religious, maybe not necessarily Christian because we are importing a whole lot of religious people care of immigration. And so the number of people that are identifying as Christians is reducing and I think is now less than 50%, but the number of people who identify as irreligious or atheist is the actual minority by a long way.”
“What’s always been true is we can’t impose our faith on people, but we certainly can impose morality, and all of legislation presumes to do so. In fact, the radical left, godless, secularists are furiously attempting to impose their pseudo-morality on the rest of Australia, forcing us to use incorrect pronouns, telling us to celebrate somebody’s sexual immorality, telling us to profane the gender identity that God created. That is a false morality that’s being imposed on people. So Christians not participating in this conversation are not being virtuous by staying out of it because nobody else is staying out of the conversation. Everybody brings a morality to the political conversations we’re having. It’s just that Christians are the only ones who are humble enough to have objective morality and not self-referenced morality.”
“It is Christianity that is the hope of this nation and any other, because it is the Gospel that redeems and saves and transforms. There is no system of government whether you are in favour of capitalism or communism, socialism, democracy, monarchy, dictatorship, theocracy, whatever you name. If the hearts of the people are corrupt, they will corrupt whatever government they are given. And in democracy, that is certainly the case. If the hearts of people are filled with fear and self-interest, then they will elect people to look after their fear and self-interest. That’s why pork barreling works. That’s why election promises work. It’s because voters aren’t being analytical and Christian and theological about their choice of vote. The overwhelming majority of people are voting for their hip pockets and for the dreams and aspirations that they have. They want a job. They want a home.”
“The Christians’ obligation is to not just think about ourselves. Certainly we have to care about our families. That’s scriptural, but we also have to care about our neighbours. So the opportunity and the obligation to love says I need to assess who the candidates are because the the principle of stewardship says if Jesus had this vote, how would He use it? How would He get the best return and what would He be seeking as the ultimate priority? And Jesus said: Seek first the Kingdom of God, talking about all our needs, and then all of these other things will be added unto you. Seek first the kingdom of God. That’s got to be the Christian paradigm, and it’s incredibly political.”
“There’s no point in preaching the Good News if there was no bad news. Jesus said this in John Chapter 3 when he explained, You have to be born again. Everybody knows John 3:16 and some may even know 17, but few know John 3:18. John 3:16 says God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:17: God didn’t send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. The bad news is in John 3:18, you’re already condemned [Whoever does not believe stands condemned]. If you don’t believe in Jesus, that is your default natural position.”
“Without that message, what need is there for grace? You need grace because you’re lost. You need grace because you’re fallen. You need grace because you’re hopelessly corrupt and wicked. And that’s why we need government. It’s because we know that without boundaries and guide rails on the road of society, many, many people are going to veer off course and crash over the cliff because we’re naturally inclined to be selfish and do things in our in our own interest.”
“Even the most libertarian of political philosophies in Australia believes that there is a need for government, at the very smallest level, for some kind of civil authority to stop us from harming each other and stealing each other’s property. And that’s pretty much what God said. Just love your neighbour as yourself and love Me. That’s a great level of legal framework for your life. Now, all the other commandments are fulfilled, obviously, from that. They’re not abolished, but it is that simple.”
Dave Pellowe is organising a Church and State Summit in Perth on August 4 and 5 and another in Adelaide on October 5 and 7.
To listen to the full interview, click on the link below: