“Help! My Church is Embracing Heresy”

Published by Vision Editorial Team | vision.org.au
Pastor preaching

This year we are seeing many critical issues for Christians becoming increasingly important. Not least of these is the divide in Australian Churches around human sexuality.

New ‘Conversion Therapy’ laws in Victoria have some Church leaders promising ‘Civil Disobedience’ by not backing down on prayer for people with unwanted same-sex attraction. It’s already a divisive issue. Other churches and entire denominations are almost at breaking point, and at risk of fracturing over marriage and ordination standards.
So, what is the real problem here?

David Ould is Senior Associate Minister at St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Parramatta, and spoke with Neil Johnson on Vision’s 20Twenty program about the upcoming Church and State Summit, where he’ll speak on the topic ‘Help: My Church is Embracing Heresy!’ He writes boldly on his thoughts about life and Jesus, and in particular how those things are worked out in the Anglican Church, into which he was ordained in 2008.

There is a battle for the soul for the Anglican Church of Australia.

David has his own predictions for what might happen in the Anglican Church this year, venturing to go so far as to suggest it may fracture.

When it all boils down there are many who take the call to teach the Bible seriously, but there are also many who don’t. There are those who will uphold the orthodox biblical view on human sexuality, and unfortunately there are those who won’t.

David Ould

David begins by saying that we have been battling heresy regularly for many years, but we are now at a point in history where the discussion and debate requires us to draw a very clear line.

“The challenges all around the world give some context for the Australian church,” David says. “Compared to a lot of other Western churches, places such as England and America, we are a little bit behind in how some of these issues have been embraced. But our structure but has caught up with us and we are having to make the same choices that others have made.”

David believes that the isolationism we experience here in Australia can often work in our favour. It enables us to draw some wisdom from what is happening in other countries.

“There is division in lots of denominations,” David says. “Many churches are unwilling to see that final conversation happen. But there is no doubt that people are already asking these questions.”

There may not be a public image of division, but the debates are definitely happening internally. David believes the real issue is the authority given to Jesus in the church today through the scriptures.

“The Bible is all Jesus’ Word, but do we ultimately trust Him and His Word?” David asks. “The debate comes down to one of two things. What does Scripture say and are we willing to submit to it? And will we accept the authority of the Bible when it comes to human sexuality?

We need to be talking about what Jesus said. The Bible is profoundly authoritative on the issues of marriage and sexuality, but a lot of people do not desire to follow it.”

David says we can look for the positive picture that the Bible paints on these topics. “God made them male and female, and Jesus draws a very clear line about what marriage is,” David says. “Everything is creation is binary. Water-air, light-dark, male and female. Male and female were God’s completion of things.”

Constantly throughout the Bible, one of the main images we are given to understand our relationship to Jesus is as a bride and groom. Jesus paints the picture that we are a great bride waiting for Him, our bridegroom, our husband. The implications are there. As Christians, we have to grapple with the biblical instructions.

David explains the contrast of the biblical truth. “The basic framework in Genesis is to show us how things ought to be. There are clear affirmations that everything is very good. But we live in a fallen and broken world, and sin has spread everywhere.

We should expect people to behave in different ways, to have a messed up understanding and be confused. Hopefully these Biblical truths help give us a right compassion for people outside of what the creation should be.”

David also says we should be careful with the word heresy. “It’s a divisive teaching or practice. Confusion is not heresy, but when we have churches and leaders who want to bless what God says will lead to damnation, that is wrong. The Church can never bless what is opposed to God. We can’t encourage people to do the very thing that God and the scriptures say is not good for them.

The real lesson we learn from watching others is that we see our opponents will balk no compromise. Don’t be naïve and think there is a middle ground that will make everyone happy. You must draw the line and draw it clearly because people’s souls are at stake.”

Listen to more of David’s message, “Help, My Church is Embracing Heresy” below.

Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.

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