Until the Return of the King

Filed on 20 October 2004 in Speeches category. Print This Page

In The Return of the King Gandalf describes how the Stewards of Gondor are given responsibility for rule until the king has come.  The steward of the time fails that responsibility miserably.  In the face of oncoming danger he gives up and seeks to drag others down with him.

In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  And we read in those opening words of Genesis that God created man in His Image.  Male and female created He them.  And God said “be fruitful and increase, fill the earth and subdue it; rule over every living creature.”  God establishes order and mankind is given the responsibility to see order is done.

In these few words we have the basis of all that we are, all we have, and all that we must do until the King returns.  We are created in the Image of God.  We are the Imago Dei.  This brings with it a consciousness of God’s Natural Law which is present in all people even though sometimes it is barely evident.  All our creativity, all our ability to love, to rule with justice mixed with mercy is dependent on us having been created in His Image.  We are given freedom, but in this freedom we are to be responsible stewards.  Until He comes.

There is an object lesson for Christians in the failure of intelligence to warn of September 11th.  The US inquiry found that there was a failure to realise the threat, a failure to be organised and watchful, a failure of communication, a failure to share information, and a failure of imagination.  But all of this is dependent on the need to realise the reality of evil.  The co-chairman said: “The fact is we just didn’t get it& we could not comprehend that people wanted to kill us&”  This in spite of the statement in a 1998 staff memo by an intelligence head that said: “We are at war.”

And we, as Christians, are at war.

The world has changed markedly since the beginning of the new millennium.  There are the uncertain threats of the ‘clash of civilizations,’ the prospect of ‘religious wars,’ and ongoing suicidal acts of terrorism by people seemingly determined to hate and destroy innocent people.  There are increasingly destructive forces operating on marriage and family – the basic building blocks of a healthy society.  Freedom of speech on issues that concern our faith and moral values in society is under threat as is the freedom to choose teachers of like-minded values for our children.

We live in a world that seeks to de-humanise with respect to euthanasia and manipulation of the embryo.  In this era of taking life, making life and maybe soon faking life, we need to be thinking ahead of where science takes us and uphold the intrinsic value of human life from fertilisation to natural end.

It is in the blurring of what it means to be human, the rebellion against what it means to be created in the Image of God, that we are facing humanity’s greatest crisis.  The real issue for humanity is what we do with our God and the Law that He has set in place.  Christians should support political parties and policies that honour what we know (and most people know deep inside) to be God-given values and blueprints for society.

Do you understand how serious this is?  In 1931 Aldous Huxley described inBrave New World a laboratory in which fertilized human ova would break into separate buds, each maturing into an embryo that could be genetically manipulated for various roles and purposes.

Fanciful?  It certainly seemed to be in 1931.  Now?  As of January this year it is legal in the state of New Jersey to clone as long as the unborn child is killed sometime before term for research or organ transplantation.  Cloning for ‘reproductive’ purposes is prohibited and punishable by a 20 yr jail sentence.  So, if the baby is killed, that’s legal; if the baby is allowed to live, that’s illegal.

Peter Singer, the world’s most well-known ethicist, argues that it is OK to sacrifice a newborn baby up to 4 weeks of age before it becomes self-aware – and therefore not really a ‘person’ – so that would make the killing of a cloned baby for its organs acceptable.  So, does it really matter that small clumps of human cells are going to be discarded?  When does human life begin and when does it have value?  What does it mean to be human?

When does human life really begin?  The ‘designer child’ knows:  “Mummy, what would have happened to me if my tissue match had not been right?” But you were just a clump of cells, dear.  “But Mummy it was still me, my hair colour was determined and my eye colour was determined.”  But you weren’t really a ‘person’ then, dear.  “Mummy, even the shape of my smile was determined – that was me!”  Though not yet expressed, individuality is inherent and real in the genetic programming from the time of fertilisation!  Unique adult characteristics are already determined.

Our call to Australia is to Choose Life: to uphold the intrinsic value of human life from fertilisation to its natural end.  This affirms our view of theImago Dei, what it means to be created in the Image of God and what it means to be human.  It is even more foundational than the introductory articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that reads: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

The twin principles of the intrinsic value of all human life and the implanting of Natural Law within all human beings are goalposts that must not be moved.  Everything we seek to establish in law and society must be measured by these universal standards and values.

All human life is of value.  To value people is to respect them, to aid their freedom, and to care for them at times of vulnerability.

If our children of value then we must encourage and facilitate traditional marriage and family believing that all children should have a father and a mother.  Access to education of parental choice is important as is the need to protect our children from sexual exploitation and abuse.

Are unborn babies of value?  Yes – and it is a huge tragedy that we abort 100,000 of them a year in the name of family planning.  This is compounded by the fact that it is Medicare funded at a time when funds for immunisation are limited and our mental health resources are severely strained.

Are the frail elderly and the disadvantaged of value?  Yes – ideally within the family and so carers need to be supported so that the much greater costly option of institutional care is avoided.  Euthanasia must be opposed – our elderly need to feel secure and valued when seeking medical attention and not feel as if they have an obligation to die.

If all people are of value then their freedom to speak of who they are and what they believe is of value.  Our freedom to say in our churches that no man comes to God but through Jesus Christ the Son of God is under threat with proposed religious anti-vilification legislation here in WA.  Such laws serve only to work against religious freedom and freedom of speech and effectively target Christians.  The case of the ‘Two Dannys’ in Victoria has highlighted that it is not enough to tell the truth but it is how you make someone feel that matters – even when you have told the truth.

If all people are of value then we must be concerned for they are.  We are rightly concerned about the impact of economic rationalism in terms of depersonalisation of people with resultant loss of goodwill, and sometimes resulting in depression and suicide.  We have witnessed the destruction of goodwill in the nursing and teaching professions as well as in our police force.  Goodwill is an essential part of our society and cannot be replaced by money and regulation.  We need goodwill in so many areas of need – in community counselling, in aged care, for carers, in community health initiatives such as community visitors schemes – and so we must value, and to be seen to value, all those who contribute in such ways.  To take away the relatively small amounts of money needed to implement these schemes is to undervalue and depersonalise.

What must be done?

We are gradually accepting that we need to move away from our reluctance to be involved in social and political action.  Out of a false sense of respect for our neighbour and society we have not challenged as we ought, but we are to be salt and light in our communities.  We are the watchmen and have a responsibility to warn our neighbour and the world.

The multiple threats facing us have galvanised the Christian community into action as never before.  2004 has not only been a landmark year in Christian activity in the public square but has also highlighted that the political front is here to stay.  The overt anti-God forces working on the federal scene have been neutralised for a while but will not go away.  The gulf between Christian and non-Christian has been highlighted in a way that is new to our generation.  It is less possible to stay neutral.

There are many fronts in which Christians are actively involved including direct evangelism, workplace witness, market place expertise, community work, teaching, medical and ancillary professions, law and education.  Those impinging more directly on our government include letter writing, petitions, rallies, magazine articles, lobbying, having a Christian presence in major political parties, and having a more specific Christian party promoting Christian ideals and values.  The latter has been on the scene since the election of Fred Nile in 1981 to the upper house of NSW parliament.

Because of the fine balance of power in the Australian Senate, a window of opportunity exists as perhaps nowhere else in the world for Christians to be elected and influence our future by wisely holding that balance and ensuring that legislation is consistent with the God-given values that have been the basis of our society – and also to counter current forces that actively seek to destroy them.  It may be that God will grant peace and security to this nation if we honour Him at the highest levels and set a pattern of righteousness for the people of Australia.

It is imperative that we mobilise now for this new frontline of Christian activity in Australia for the immediate and long-term future.  We need to specifically identify, target and equip people – including our young – for both federal and state political scenes.

It was Martin Luther King Jr that wrote: Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Its time to take a stand on things that really matter!

Marriage matters.  Family matters.
Having a mother and father matters
You matter.
You did from conception and you will even when you’re old and frail.
Truth and respect and responsibility matter.
Freedom to tell the truth matters.
Carers matter – as well as the cared for.
The poor matter.
Your health matters – including your emotional and mental health.
Being able to choose the education you want matters.
Getting a job matters.
Belonging matters.
All people matter – from every race, creed, colour, and country.

We want to preserve a voice for these and similar values in line with what we consider to be Natural Law and set in place by Almighty God.  We also believe, that when we insist that human laws line up with Natural Law, we are not ‘imposing religion’.

Richard Neuhaus in 1984 wrote in his book The Naked Public Square that:
Liberal democracies need the foundation of public virtue, which in turn is based on the moral and religious values of its citizens.  Societies… which seek to marginalise faith do so to their own detriment.

Now is the time to claim Australia for Christ!  Now is the time to take a stand.
Now is the time to be a distinctive people of God.
Now is the time for a Christian voice.
Now is the time to uphold a Christian worldview to our culture.
Now is the time to show what it means to be created in the Image of God.

It was in observing the Children of Israel camped in their tents before entering the Promised Land that Baalam, having been commanded by Balak to curse them, could only speak the words that God gave him to speak and blessed them: The LORD their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them (Numbers 23:21).  What a glorious observation that was.

Now is the time to establish more firmly our identity as children of the King; we are Citizens of Heaven; we are Kingdom People.  We have a Story and a Message to tell.  Let us boldly speak for truth in the public square and know we are on Kingdom assignment.  Now is the time not only for a strong Christian Voice and to be a distinctive people of God, but to have the Shout of the King amongst us.  It is time for the people of God to be heard in this land.  It’s time to take a stand.

Lachlan Dunjey.  October 2004.

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