By now you may very well have heard Kevin Rudd’s response to a question from a Christian pastor on ABC’s Q&A last night.

Here it is

Eternity Newspaper have an interview with the questioner Matt Prater here and a transcript of the above scene here.

Elsewhere Sandy Grant has written an excellent response to Rudd’s ridiculous claim that “the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition” (2:26 in the video above). I won’t write more about that except to quote Sandy:

I am appalled at how this national leader, publicly claiming “an informed conscience and a Christian conscience”, misrepresented the Holy Book of the faith he confesses, on its teaching on one matter (slavery) to avoid its teaching on another matter (of marriage), in order to justify his abandonment of that biblical teaching.

It is naïve in the extreme—just a poor reading strategy—to assume an endorsement of an institution or activity, simply because it is recorded without particular narrative assessment at one point, or because it is regulated—for what might be called harm-minimisation, or an ethic of retrieval—at another point.

Let’s be clear. Even a cursory reading of the Bible would tell you it never says slavery is a “natural condition”. Never. Not once.

But I want to focus on something else. Something I think Christians ought to reflect upon as actually more telling than Rudd’s comments on a specific moral issue but which actually go a long way towards explaining why he may have taken this position. It comes just a little later at exactly 3 minutes in the video. Rudd says,

What is the fundamental principle of the New Testament? It is one of universal love. Loving your fellow man.

Here, and not with his endorsement of “gay marriage” do we actually see Rudd’s rejection of Christianity – or possibly evidence he never really understood it.

How would you answer the question,

What is the fundamental principle of the New Testament?

For Rudd it’s about how we treat one another which he reduces down further to a principle of “universal love”.

The correct answer, of course, is radically different. The right response to the question “what is the fundamental principle of the New Testament?” is the far more shocking and radical

Jesus is the Christ, the Lord.

The difference between these two answers is the vast gulf between man-centred religion and true religion. It is the difference, of course, that Jesus Himself makes when asked a very similar question:

Matt. 22:35 One of [the Pharisees], an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37    Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

There is a greater command, a great obligation on humanity than how we treat each other; how we respond to God Himself. This seemed to be off the radar for Rudd as he reduced Christianity’s essence to morality.

The point I’m making is not that he got the morality wrong. The real tragedy is that he went for morality in the first place thus actually missing the “fundamental principle” of the New Testament and, indeed, the whole Bible.

Of course once who God is and how we respond to Him is not the main question we’re asking then we will naturally become more and more focussed on each other to the point where the genuine blasphemy of dismissing God is replaced with a human-centred ersatz-blasphemy of “not loving” one another (ie, not affirming each other). The great flaw here is that God Himself defines what love looks like, not simply in a general attitude to one another but also in the specifics of behaviour.

Pastor Matt Prater pointed out that Jesus speaks specifically about marriage (Matt. 19; Mark 10) and specifically endorsed the model of lifelong heterosexual monogamy. Rudd effectively dismissed it. We ended up with the self-proclaimed follower of Jesus dismissing Jesus’ Lordship in this one area in favour of an ethic that came from a paradigm that essentially sidelined God while claiming to speak on His behalf. And when God’s actual words are relegated below what we are claiming to be “godly” principles then the reality is that they’re not godly at all. They’re the opposite – they’re sinful.

That was the tragedy of last night. Rudd turned Christianity into a morality that had no substantive foundation in Jesus’ divine Lordship. It was a Christless Christianity which is no Christianity at all. That is a fearful place to be in for someone who claims that Jesus is Lord.

It does make you stop and think, though.

In discussions like this we Christians are in danger of actually ending up making the same mistake. We understand that God has spoken on many things, including sexual ethics, but there is the risk that we sound like we are ourselves simply pushing morality. Let’s make sure we don’t do that. Let’s make sure that in any forum from speaking to one person to the many nobody would be in any doubt that what drives us, what motivates us, what gets us up in the morning and guides our decisions throughout the day is not morality, but Jesus who is Lord. If Kevin meant to represent what Christianity was he failed spectacularly, although he may very well have demonstrated what his idea of Christianity is and we can see the consequences of that plainly. Let’s not do the same.

Comments

comments

75 comments on “Mr Rudd, what exactly is the New Testament all about?

  1. Even if we were to afford the PM a charitable assumption (by closing our ears, not listening to what he actually said, squinting really hard and equating his principle of ‘universal love’ with the two great commandments Love God and Love your neighbour… trying super hard to be charitable), I still fail to understand how the PM can overlook the fact that Christian love means looking first to love God. Which of course will entail working hard to both understand and put into practice what is pleasing to God (the content of which is everywhere found in his word).
    His so called ‘Christian’ principle of universal love thus fails the first test.

  2. So your point of this article is to say the bible’s view is better than KRudds?? Ok well…

    Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

    Want to reconsider? 🙂 Suddenly KRudd doesn’t look so bad after all now does he?

      • That wasnt a sterotyped answer, it included a direct reference from the bible. If you believe in the bible in all things, this would be included. Fair enough if you believe this and do not act upon it as not to break an actual law, but if you do not believe in this statement then what do you believe?

          • However if we are to stick to the Q+A question which refers to the comments of Jesus…and poorly answered by Rudd I agree… we have to admit Jesus taught nothing against homosexuality but a lot against remarriage after divorce.
            We understand that divorce meant something different in the 1st century (financial ruin of women and severance from their children) so many Christians in good faith don’t apply Jesus teaching on that matter to divorcees today. That would have been a far better point for Rudd to make.

            • Hi Tony,

              While I agree with the logic of your last para (it would have been a better, but still flawed, argument) I think your first para is incorrect in that it misses a key element.

              Jesus may not be recorded as speaking explicitly on this topic but He didn’t need to. It was fully understood and accepted that homosexual activity was not Gods intended behaviour for anyone. He does this both by positively affirming the heterosexual model and also by using terminology of “sexual immorality” (eg in Mark 7) that would have been clearly and universally understood to include a proscription of homosexual behaviour.

        • I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean by “believe in the Bible” in this regard. If you mean “believe this is still valid?” then I refer you to others who want to call you out on having never made an effort to properly understand the matter.

          Call that dismissal if you want. I’ll tell you that it’s a genuine reluctance to get dragged in to yet another monologue from someone who thinks they have the answers but don’t want to actually engage.

        • Porridgemcgee, I find the below link answers your question perfectly.

          http://www.redeemer.com/news_and_events/newsletter/?aid=363

          To put it shortly, the bible is intended to be understood as a whole. Effectively, the New Testament (where Christ comes to offer salvation to all of humanity) ‘replaces’ in part (for lack of a better description) the Old Testament, where punishments were harsh. It is generally understood that laws which are reiterated throughout the New Testament remain in place today, and the others are obsolete, due to Christ’s sacrifice. The ones which remain (don’t steal, don’t commit adultery etc etc) no longer have harsh penalties (like death) because since the coming of Christ, all nations have the offer of salvation, as opposed to the Old Testament being applicable to only one nation (Israel), therefore necessitating civil penalties under that government. This simply means that because salvation is offered to all people in all nations, and different nations are governed by different laws and civil penalties, there is no longer a requirement of specific punishments for breaking any of God’s commandments, as people still come under the laws and punishments of their own government, and the church (God’s people today) is not a civil government and so cannot impose specific punishments on anybody for anything. However, back in the Old Testament times, the church was a civil government, as ‘God’s people’ were limited to one nation, Israel. The church and government were entwined, so if you broke “God’s” law, you were breaking “The” law. And as everybody knows, when you break the law, you are punished (why the punishments were so harsh is another question… one I don’t have the knowledge to fully answer; you’re better off looking this one up if you truly want an answer).

          However, Christ came to offer God’s forgiveness and grace to everybody who would so much as believe he is the Son of God, and repent (turn away from) their sins.

          So in effect, if Christians were to follow the Old Testament laws and punishments, we would actually be denying the very centrality of the message of the bible, the “power of Christ’s death on the cross”.

          I hope this satisfies your question “but if you do not believe in this statement then what do you believe?”. Put even simpler… We believe that statement was applicable in it’s time, and now, due to the sacrifice and salvation of Jesus Christ, the punishment is no longer applicable.

        • let me be clear, I didn’t call you simple- I said that the objection was simplistic.

          What makes me slightly frustrated in this area is that critics come launching in with the “what about Leviticus” line as though they were the first to discover it. What they actually end up demonstrating is that they have made no real effort to engage on the topic since there are a good number of excellent and detailed responses.

          In fact I have long come to realise that “what about Leviticus” really simply means “I have no understanding of the Bible’s trajectory”. If it’s an honest question then it gets a detailed answer. If it’s just a “aha, gotcha!” moment then it receives pretty much the same sort of response.

      • I have a question for you David, I , when I was younger, before going to church knew I was gay. On starting to go to church the people there made it clear
        That this was not
        Okay with God. So I spent the next 15 years trying desperately and praying fervrantly to be healed. Not following God was not an option as he had found
        Me and brought me out of the miry clay and saved me from a terrible life trajectory. However I felt challenged one day to
        Accept who I was and focus on doing good
        Rather than running from the bad. To acknowledge that this is me and focus on actively doing Gods will rather than wasting my energy trying to change what He had not yet asked me to change. In this way I believe I am loving God fully and I am more able to love my neighbours also.
        Would you have any advice for me?

        • Merrin, homosexuality has long been a difficult topic for the church. Because the Bible portrays gay sex as sinful, and because it seemed to portray ‘homosexuality’ as something that can be left behind (1 Cor. 6:9-11), many Christians assumed that same-sex attraction was somehow willful. Unfortunately the double-meaning of the word ‘homosexuality’ has added to the confusion, and made it easy to misinterpret the above verses. Homosexuality, defined as engaging in sexual relations with someone of the same gender, is presented in the Bible as being sinful. However, homosexuality, defined as simply being attracted to those of the same gender, is not sinful. Those who told you that you being gay was “not okay with God” were unfortunately a product of their era of understanding, who did not look into a the nuances of the situation. We need to encourage the church to be educated about the important difference between experiencing homosexual attraction, and actually engaging in homosexual sin.

          • KJI, Ive looked up those passages in the NIV. Matthew 5:27-28 centres on the words “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 states “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” So I guess you are saying that any homosexual lust and any homosexual thought, is sinful and should be stopped by that individual. I think I see your point. I agree that homosexual lust is sinful. Where you and I might disagree, is in the minutiae of the distinction between attraction (ie involuntary tendency) and lust (ie voluntary mediating on a sexual thought). If we take the analogy of a straight man finding a woman attractive, hopefully we can agree that the straight man recognising in his mind that the woman is attractive, is not sinful, and that the sin starts if he meditates on the thought and it becomes lust. Likewise for the true homosexual man, the thought that another man is attractive, arises in his mind involuntarily. Should the homosexual man take that thought captive and make it obedient to Christ? Yes. But should be reprimanded for having such involuntary thoughts? No, it’s not his fault, and I dont believe he has engaged in sin, but has merely experienced a temptation.

    • This is, ofcourse, Old Testament, one law of many. A law given to the people God chose to be His Holy people.
      To remain Gods people, the Israelites had to follow every law to be sinless. Yes, and those who didn’t (depending on the law) could be cut off from the people or even killed. Not a choice made by man. Only God could decide.
      The laws seem extreme if you don’t understand the significance of the extremity. I believe the law was given to show us how perfect God is. To be accepted we have to remain as perfect as God is. The point though is that we can’t be. We are sinners and are all born into sin in a sinful world.
      That’s where the New Testament comes in; Jesus, Gods son, was perfect. Perfect enough to pay with his life for everyones sin.

      “For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever dose not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18

      • Yes but that’s a simplistic way of putting it so I’d be wary of rubber stamping it. Perhaps you could explain where you’re going with it?
        And of course, I’m sure you’re thoroughly aware of the Biblical argument for “taking out the whole put to death thing”? Because fair warning; if you just run a “shellfish” argument you’ll get a very quick ban.

        I’m more than happy to discuss serious arguments. I have no intention of allowing “Leviticus trolls” to have any time here at all.

    • Hi porridgemcgee,
      Actually no. The substancial point of Leviticus 20:13 is that God regards the act of homosexual intercourse as wrong. If you had wanted to know that Kevin Rudd’s views (and the views of most Western people) are wrong you need look no further than this.

      Your mistake it to presume that you can sit in judgement of God’s word and by extension – God himself. You do not judge the scriptures. The scriptures judge you.

  3. It was so ever ugliest answer from Mr. Rudd as so arrogant and so stupid raising his ignorant voice against the God, his judge. His leadership as prime minister day is numbered and will end this coming weekend, shame on him!

  4. Actually, that’s the only sort of response I’ve really heard – avoidance. Why are Christians afraid to comment on something like Leviticus 20:13? Are you hiding something?

    • not afraid to comment on it at all. Just utterly reluctant to engage when the other party shows no indication of actually wanting to hear a cogent answer.

      The answer, btw, to the question is “Jesus”. Others here on this thread can explain more if they like but I have little desire to.

    • Hi Jeremy, I refer you to my answer to Porridgemcgee above. I’m not a scholar, so my answer may not be “scholarly or theologically perfect” but it gives you the essence. And, in my experience, it is not that most Christians are afraid to comment, but rather lack the ability to recall everything they’ve ever read about/in the bible to sufficiently answer a question. Unless someone is a scholar, most people cannot remember the in-depth answers to a lot of these questions (and fairly so). You are better off looking up the answers on Christian Apologetics websites.

  5. Porridge, I think the point is, you either already know there is a good answer and your trying to be clever or you really haven’t done your homework. I don’t mean any offence. Just go to Dr Google and you will find how your questions has been answered a thousand times.

  6. Says you. Some Christians really get off on holding the keys to the kingdom. Why cant compassion and love be the basis of someones practice of Christianity? And what gives some Christians the right to says others dont have a right to call themselves Christian? Feel free to your own version of Christianity but leave mine alone.

    • no-one said we can’t act with love and compassion.

      As for what Christianity is, well Kevin Rudd had a good go last night at telling the pastor that his understanding of Christianity was not just wrong but unacceptable. I don’t see you criticising him here.

      Ultimately, when there are conflicting truth claims we have to assess each one. The question in this matter is “which explanation of Christianity is consistent with the Bible?” IN this case I think Rudd’s fails.

      • The question asked by the Pastor was actually regarding the apparent ‘popular’ vote tactic by KRudd and why is it that people should vote for him. It was not about the Bible’s stance on gay marriage. This raises several issues on it’s own without the need for biblical discourse on Rudd’s use of slavery as a rebuttal for the pastors comments. Firstly, why is it a ‘popular’ vote tactic? Why is marriage equality popular amongst Australian voters? If it isn’t, why did the Pastor make reference to it? If it is, isn’t that worthy of discussion in itself? Not this ‘The bible says’ rhetoric, but what is happening in society that has made marriage equality a ‘popular’ vote winner. Secondly, How will Christians’ lives be affected by marriage equality (i mean REALLY how will it be affected – socially, economically, spiritually etc.not some vague answer about their own marriage not being valid in the eyes of the lord).

        For all the shaming of the PM over this topic for a reference people didn’t like or agree with (as if this is the first time a politician has done something like this), the far grander social issue is not addressed. One man cannot change the law in this country. It has to be passed through a process. If, for whatever reason, it is passed, it is usually because the majority of the people wish it so. In good Christian conscious, how is life less worthy of Gods praise if marriage equality is to pass? This *seriously* (not trolling) confuses me as no one’s marriage affects me directly unless i want it to. I see no difference with same-sex marriage affecting me and even if i don’t agree with it, I feel i have no right to put my nose in other peoples lives because the thought of it bothers me based on the Bible. I sometimes wonder if Christ actually returned tomorrow and said ‘marriage equality is ok provided that the people in question truly love each other’ whether or not anti-marriage equality Christians would dismiss it since they believe it so fervently that the Bible says no.

        • I recognise that the Bible teaches that same-sex marriage is ruled out for Christians. But on the question of whether a Christian is best to affirm or deny same-sex marriage for others, I think good arguments can be made in either direction.

          On the affirmative side, it might be argued that Jesus never encouraged Christians to legislate His morality onto others. Jesus made a clear distinction between the non-christian ‘world’ and the Christian community, and although he encouraged people to move from the world and into the church, he invested in the latter rather than the former. When people chose not to follow Jesus, he seems to have tended to just let them be.

          On the other side of the argument there are points such as:
          – The Bible showing God judging people as a group. EG cursing an entire town. So even if you dont participate in sinful activities yourself, if you live in a town/country that does, perhaps you risk experiencing less of God’s blessing.
          – The fact that gay marriage has implications. EG when it’s legal, the implication is that the state has said that it’s acceptable. Experience elsewhere shows that schools then present gay marriage as equivalent to normal marriage. If you are a Christian parent, you may not want your children being taught this, and to avoid this problem, you may need to remove your children from the state school system.
          – Gay marriage likely means an increase in same-sex parenting. Some have suggested that because a same-sex couple cant produce children by themselves, that the state should fund surrogacy and fertility services to provide such couples with equal opportunities to become parents. Although same-sex parents tend to not do a much worse job of parenting than others, this does raise the question of whether it’s moral or loving to intentionally form unnatural family arrangements where children are deprived of parents of each gender.
          – Statistics report that around half of gay male couples are not monogamous. If these couples raise heterosexual children, will the modelling of non-monogamy be adopted by them, and lead to increases in family breakdown in future generations, with the economic and social problems that arise from single-parent families?

          • “on the question of whether a Christian is best to affirm or deny same-sex marriage for others, I think good arguments can be made in either direction.”

            As a Christian myself, I would propose that Christians ought to do neither. There is the sense in which the moral codes applied to Christians and commands given to the church shouldn’t be applied beyond its boundaries. For who are we to apply the principles for good Christian living to those who are not Christians?

            Yet, at the same time. Christians ought not to have anything to do with evil and should not approve of those who are living in sin. In this respect Christians are taught to be a light in dark places and be the, “salt of the earth”. As such we do denounce sin, and we call it what it is. The purpose of which is not to enforce compliance, but rather, to generate awareness.

            Same-Sex Marriage is relevant to Christians in society. Because, a publicly ratified marriage ceremony is applying the blessing of the community as a whole to that union. Which means that all members of the community are being called to bless the union, and call it something good, even though they may believe otherwise.

            On the point of equal access and equal rights before the law I believe that Christians ought to appreciate the rights of homosexual couples to live as the choose. But those couples should also respect the rights of other community members to reserve judgement upon the matter.

            The moment society engages in “thought policing” they have crossed a line. Equal opportunity laws dictate behaviours. They cannot determine what people ought to think and this is what the marriage-equality movement is seeking to do.

  7. David,

    I agree with the general thrust of your article, namely that Kevin Rudd missed the point of the New Testament i.e. that Jesus is the embodiment of all that came before in the Old Testament.
    To be charitable, perhaps he confused the message of the text (the Lordship of Christ) with the message of the Man (Love).
    However, the discussion as you have framed it is what a politician would call a ‘pivot’ (moving from a question with discomfort to one of comfort). You have pivoted from morality to the Lordship of Christ. The latter is more important than the former, but the latter is still a valid concern.

    What you fail to deal with in the article and the comments is this (simplified, I know)logical syllogism that faces anyone who tries to apply an unchanging moral view on their faith:
    If the greatest commandment given to man by God is to love Him; and
    To love God means to obey His commands; and
    God’s commands are infallible and His plans are perfect;
    Then I must follow ALL his commands.

    It seems to me that the only ways to deal with the fact that human beings treat each other so horribly every day and that some of the ways in which we are (or have been)awful to each other are justified by direct or indirect references to the Holy Text are as follows:
    1. Dismiss those quotes as being the “wrong” interpretation of the text
    2.Choose to view the text as a guide to living that can be adapted to life as and when required
    3.Choose to hold unpopular and in the view of many, harsh, views which society rejects and moves away from, including the mainstream Church.

    These are important questions that I am yet to find answers to.

    Any thoughts?

    • hi James,

      thanks for the comment. Appreciated you setting it out although I’m not sure I fully follow your logic. Nevertheless, in answer to your closing question I’d say a combination of the above. But with one important explanation:

      Jesus.

      I set that out in some detail in this post. Hope that will help you understand where I (and others) are coming from.

  8. Can i just ask, as our politicians prepare to support bombs being dropped on Syria and locking up refugees, is stomping on the “heresy” (air quotes intended) that the gospel is about universal love, really the battle of our times? Is that the leading heresy today… or is the wearing of Christianity on the sleeve of warmongers and greed merchants really more of a problem.
    I call bullshit on Rudd and Abbotts Christianity both, primarily because they don’t obey the command to love.which is indeed central to the morality of the gospel – rather than the law. I don’t buy for a second Rudds claim to serve love before Rudd (though I concede he has some compassion and principles).

  9. it’s interesting how the ‘key theological doctrine’ of ‘universal love’ is not available to asylum seekers. it goes to show that Christian ethics without Christ as the author of the moral imperative is subjective, baseless, and morally lazy.

  10. I have not read the above comments, so it may have already been covered. But one of Rudd’s fundamental flaws is his statement about humanity. He said that human and social conditions change. When I read the bible and look at history, social conditions may change, but the human condition does not change. Since the fall we are born in sin. Therefore even if certain humans were born with homosexual tendencies, then this does not mean that their tendencies are right and normal. They might be normal in a fallen, sinful world, but not in God’s eyes. So on top of falsely watering down the NT to just how we love each other and saying the Bible condones slavery, this man has a flawed view of humanity. I wish I could have a one on one conversation with Rudd with a bible open. I think by his comments that he does not respect the Bible, believe the Bible, and treat it as the word of God.

  11. “Pastor Matt Prater pointed out that Jesus speaks specifically about marriage (Matt. 19; Mark 10) and specifically endorsed the model of lifelong heterosexual monogamy. Rudd effectively dismissed it.”

    This just isn’t true. Endorsing lifelong heterosexual relationships doesn’t mean you can’t also endorse or at least tolerate gay ones. And endorsing lifelong gay relationships doesn’t mean you dismiss out of hand a model of lifelong heterosexual monogomy. That’s a false dichotomy.

    As for Rudd’s fundamental wrongness. Who cares? Even if loving your fellow man isn’t the main thrust of the New Testament, it’s still very important. He’s arguing that teaching of love compels him to support equality for gay people. Even if he got the rankings wrong on the ‘order of importance’ board, you still have to contend with that argument, unless you’re going to dismiss loving others as a New Testament teaching.

    • This just isn’t true. Endorsing lifelong heterosexual relationships doesn’t mean you can’t also endorse or at least tolerate gay ones.

      without any other context, of course you’re right. But there is the Biblical context to consider:
      1. The foundational statement that Jesus affirms is exactly that – foundational. As men and women are created this statement is then made.
      2. Set against that there is also an increasingly stated sexual ethic in the Bible that proscribes other sexual activity outside those norms.
      3. As I argued in the comment you responded to, when Jesus speaks elsewhere of “sexual immorality” it is with that given understanding.

      So yes, the words on their own and in no context are not exclusive. But the Biblical context in which they fall helps us understand that they actually are part of an exclusive framework.

      As for Rudd’s “wrongness”, if you go back to the OP you will see my detailed argument on this issue. “Getting the rankings wrong” isn’t a minor thing – it demonstrates a more fundamental issue there which I have set out in some detail.

      At no point did I dismiss loving others. That wasn’t my argument as a fair reading of the OP will more than demonstrate.

    • If the “teaching of love compels him to support equality”, then I guess;
      – Australia should become a far left socialist state where everyone is paid the same income (financial equality)
      – Australia should provide free surgical and cosmetic services to anyone whose level of physical beauty is below average (sex appeal equality)
      – etc etc.
      Hopefully those silly examples illustrate why love does not not necessarily compel people to support equality. Love compels a support of fairness, and assistance where appropriate. In the case of same-sex relationships, it may compel the state to provide civil unions perhaps. But equality?

  12. In any case, should the word of another persons god be subjected on a non-believer. Feel free to practice heterosexuality all you like, but in a just modern society, people can appreciate others religions, race, culture and sexuality.
    Although Mr Rudds, comments may not align perfectly with your belief in Christianity, for me they were the pinnacle of the secular society, which will lead to a more united one.
    How he can be so measured and socially responsible in this case and not on the asylum seeker issue is what confuses me most.

    • well Timothy, that’s a good question but it’s a separate question to that being addressed here.

      But I think you draw a false line. Every single one of us and every single person we elect to represent us has a world view and part of the democratic pact is that we seek to influence others as a result. We may all disagree on whether that person’s view is valid but in a “just modern society” I think it’s incredibly dangerous for you to be advocating the rejecting of one section of that society’s right to speak their mind because you yourself don’t agree.

      but that’s not the issue here. The issue is that Rudd has badly misrepresented the Biblical position (and I think that’s a comment you can make independent of whether you agree with his basic position on sexual ethics) and he’s done so for political gain scored with cheap rhetoric. In doing so he has publicly promoted the marginalisation of a particular point of view. If any of us (as you put it) want to “appreciate others religions, race, culture and sexuality” then what Rudd has done is actually an very harmful retrograde step.

      • And with one fowl swoop David, you have not only marginalized a proportion of the populations “point of view” but there way of life.

        • you may very well think so, if you are insistent that disagreement is the same as marginalisation.

          I, on the other hand, think it’s possible to disagree with someone without marginalising them. You obviously think otherwise.

          • TKO well done, for the record, I dont believe that disagreement is form of marginalization but you certainly have more adept arguing skills.

        • Timothy, for the record i’m not trying to be “clever”. I think one of the problems in our culture at the moment is that so many people so quickly cry “foul” when someone disagrees with them and immediately portray them as being malicious.

          So I refuse to accept that paradigm. We all ought to be able to disagree strongly without having things assumed about our position that we never said. Tarring people with a brush they never used is, ultimately, dishonest and a sign of a lack of willingness to have a real dialogue and what our society is massively lacking on these key issues is real full dialogue.

          • Certainly as Obi Wan-Kenobi says “Only the sith deal in absolutes” and there certainly is a lack of clarity on alot of issues, I imagine as someone who hasn’t yet experienced much of life yet my idealism can probably be smelt kilometers away.

  13. Please, it’s such an old book, written by people who knew far less than we do, years ago. There are so many errors in the bible (languages did not come from once source as in Babel… there are not enough water molecules to account for the Noah story, and inbreeding would have wiped out every species… we know evolution is true… etc etc). You can’t take the bible literally and be scientifically literate. If some want to take it metaphorically that’s fine, but the interpretation of it metaphorically has to come from our shared values – which should transcend any literal meaning of any verse.

    I don’t think any “God” really cares so much about sex. It seems humans care about sex all the time… and this fits with a book written by a bunch of (often) prejudiced humans. If God really is so obsessed about sex, then I guess it explains why we are (made in his image). And he should get over it (like we should)!

    • thanks for commenting Mike. I really have no way of responding to such a scatter-gun approach to “discussion” (which is really just dismissal without proper engagement) so I’ll just leave your comment to stand and speak for itself.

    • Just two points.

      We don’t Believe in just ANY God. There is only ONE and He created the Universe and I would saying having written the Manual on the Universe and everything in it – God knows more about it than any Scientist would ever be able to achieve in their lifetime.

      The only way to Interpret the Bible is through the Holy Spirit as Jesus said only those who come from God Himself can know what God knows. Again that removes the Human Element.

      If you want to truly get to know someone you have to have a personal relationship with them. Otherwise you are depending on 2nd hand information, gossip and made up stories.

      Of course 1st you need to want to KNOW God and that is the RUB here because like many people you know OF God and that isn’t actually knowing HIM. You can’t KNOW anyone from a distance or through other people. Why don’t you go looking to find God and speak to HIM personally through PRAYER and you know God actually wants to be found by every single person on this planet. God is waiting for you to SEEK HIM out.

      The Bible says “you will find God when you Seek HIM with ALL your Heart” or in some versions it says “when you seek with a sincere/genuine heart”.

      So if you are for real & want to know God you will find him. Otherwise you are just relying on rumour and gossip and everybody’s fantasies of what they like to think God is like.

      Good luck in your Quest.

        • hi Andy.

          I’m not Melissa but I’m confident to say the basis on which Jesus will welcome you on that last day is not your sexuality but your response to Jesus.

          “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels”
          (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26)

    • Mike, your claim that “there are not enough water molecules to account for the Noah story”, is possibly only valid if you are assuming that the current topography of the Earth, is similar to the pre-flood era. But if the topography was much more shallow, as perhaps suggested by Psalm 104:8, then youre dealing with a whole different model.

  14. To be honest, I think that the way in which Kevin Rudd responded came from being asked a question that implied he had come to his conclusion on marriage equality in order to gain the popular vote – that’s an attacking and judgmental question in my mind – which is neither loving nor compassionate, especially from one Christian to another. To me, it seemed to imply that because Rudd had drawn a conclusion on the issue that differed from the pastor’s (and other christians’) beliefs, that there had to be an ulterior motive behind it. The message of the New Testament is Jesus, for sure. His message was love. Love God. Love others. Whatever your stance on marriage equality, as Christians we need to seriously reflect on how we speak about and to people in same-sex relationships – they are real people and they have rights and feelings – and they need opportunities to experience the love of God, if they do not already. These arguments seriously just make me sad. None of us know all the answers and it really upsets me that differing views results in slamming others – people we are essentially kneeling next to before Jesus. I don’t care if some Christians disagree with Rudd, some Christians disagree with the various positions of the Christian Democrats too. We obviously all disagree on some level since there are different Christian denominations with various stances on several issues. I just don’t think any political position can claim to be “The Christian Position”. We need to be prayerful, critical thinkers. We are not all going to arrive at the same conclusion. So I get back to Jesus. And His love. Love God. Love others. And if I have to form an opinion, I try and do it without belittling someone else’s because I love God and I love others. It’s simple. But I don’t think that’s a simplistic view.

    • Hi Jackie. Totally agreed on the need to be loving but I think it’s wrong to not be discerning about the fact that love often compels us to speak clearly.

      As for “none of us know all the answers”, I do agree. But, we do know what Jesus’ stated position on sexual ethics was and the context and paradigms that He repeatedly affirmed so we’re going to part company there.

      btw, the issue here is not the disagreement but the way in which Rudd so arrogantly dismissed the orthodox long-standing Christian position.

      So yes, let’s get back to Jesus. But then that was the original Q&A questioner’s point – when Jesus has spoken so clearly on sexual ethics as He has, why is Rudd departing from it if he claims to be a Christian. In one sense he was complaining that Rudd was no longer “getting back to Jesus”.

    • Lets not argue about what is right and what is wrong.

      Read this straight from the Bible word for word and make up your own mind what you think about Homosexuality and Kevin Rudd,s opinion.

      ” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

      Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

      For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

      And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them ”

      From Romans Chapter 1 : 18-31

      Mr Kevin Rudd, Let me ask you the Question : “Are you able to challenge GOD and expect to win the argument ”
      . ????????????? mmmmmmmmm

  15. Would you take the stance that someone who is Christian and homosexual should have ‘therapy, prayer and or healing’ or do you think it is enough to abstain from the physical act of homosexual intercourse?

    • hi Merrin.

      That’s an excellent question. I’m going to take the liberty of answering more than you asked, simply because I think there’s a lot to say on the subject.

      The simple answer to your question is that it depends upon the person. Abstinence is always called for, as it is with any other sinful temptation. In addition certainly prayer which I think takes the form of “Please help me to cope with this temptation and to remain Godly. Please, if you see fit, take these desires from me”.

      There is, of course, no guarantee that the second will occur until Resurrection Day. But the first is a sure promise as (for example) Paul outlines in 2Cor. 12:9-10 etc. This is an opportunity to experience the grace of God in sustaining someone, trusting Him to keep you going until that day when the Lord returns and we are all made new.

      If it’s of interest I’d encourage you to also read the accounts I point to here and here of Christian men resolved to respond in this way.

      As for change, I think I stand with those who are of the opinion that the enormous claims put forward by some “ex-gay” groups are actually unhelpful. Yes, change is certainly possible but it’s not guaranteed and much damage has been done by those who claim otherwise. Nevertheless it is possible and so if that’s what someone wanted to pursue then I’d be supportive of it but want to make sure they were realistic about the possible outcomes and that the psychiatrists offering help were reputable – and some certainly are. If that’s an area you’re interested in looking more at then I’d recommend my brother’s work in the area starting here and here. His story is an interesting one I think you’d like to engage with.

      Some men experience change, some don’t. But the call on all of us is to remain Godly.

      Hope that’s a good start for you. Let me know if I’ve missed any area you were looking for a response in.

    • Merrin,
      In this respect the response of the christian who happens to be GBL or T would be the same as any other christian. Because, all christians have had to accept the realisation that they are broken people. Each has their own faults, to which, the appropriate response is prayer, repentance and a changed life.

  16. Hi, I am from Melbourne.
    Which politician including Tony Abbott and his fellow conservative true believing (Liberal & National Party politicians) has any real knowledge about the supposed intricacies and subtleties of either the Old or the “New” Testament?
    Remember too that Kevin’s supposed gaffe was made in the context of aan electioneering rally. Was Kevin therefore expected to sit down and have a detailed and nuanced “theological” discussion with the questioner – of course not!
    That having been said what is the “New” Testament really all about?
    And was Saint Jesus of Galilee ever in any sense a Christian?
    That having been said please find a completely different Understanding of the fabricated origins and institutional political purposes of the “New” Testament via this reference.
    http://www.dabase.org/up-5-1.htm
    Also (with some overlap)
    http://www.aboutadidam.org/articles/secret_identity
    Plus
    http://global.adidam.org/truth-book/true-spiritual-practice-4.html

    • John

      Jesus was not a Saint or a Christian (i.e. follower of Christ; as he didn’t follow himself). Jesus was God Himself who came as a man. Jesus who lived without doing one thing wrong on this earth died for All of Mankind so that we could have our Sins forgiven. Jesus got the rough end of the stick and has taken many an insult over the years but He is still waiting for men and women of this world to Turn to Him (there is a time limit on his patience).

      It is an offer not a demand. God doesn’t force anyone to want Him or to have to do as He asks.

      However as the One Who created this world and all of it’s living creatures (including humans) He is in a position to do as He sees fit. He has the power and He has been patient waiting for people of this planet to desire good rather than evil.

      The business Jesus did here on earth was only the will of His Father in Heaven. Jesus did not affiliate Himself with any human institution here on Earth.

      Jesus was only ever involved in obeying God in Heaven and so should all Saved Believers here on earth. We obey our authorities here on earth as part of our obedience to God. Christianity should not serve mankind’s agendas here on Earth. God’s purpose is to bring all mankind to His salvation and offer all mankind the opportunity to live with Him in Heaven forever.

      I have many brothers and sisters in Christ and some of them are politicians. Our employment or our work here on earth is how we earn a living and these jobs we do all have responsibilities we have to fulfill. I hope and pray that those who are Christians and are Politicians would represent God appropriately and speak truthfully of what is found in the Bible and not use God’s Word for their political ambitions.

  17. OK, I don’t see the connection between his lack of biblical knowledge or interpretation and his ability to govern a country. We all learned from history what happens when politics mix with religion.

    • Hi Jay.

      Yes, you’re right. If politics had not allowed religious input we would not have abolished slavery or had so many other positive social reforms.

      More seriously, I don’t think I argued that Rudd was unable to govern the country. I fear you may have to re-read the post.

  18. Andy

    God welcome’s all who sincerely seek him out and his truth. God loves everybody. Unfortunately mankind is now all corrupted by sin from birth and we all need to have that dealt with before we can become His children.

    BTW when I came to God I was not following the Bible in my life either. I needed to have my sin dealt with before I could become a Child of God.

    We are all sinners when we come before the Lord and we are still capable of sinning afterward. However God will give us the Holy Spirit to help us to not sin. It is a process here on Earth. We only finally a freed from our sinfulness in Heaven. Here on earth we all struggle with sin.

    When you repent and receive Christ you begin to see the world through God’s eyes. You begin to understand why God has a problem with what is deemed sin in the Bible.

    You think you are too vile for God? There have been many Sinners in the Bible who thought they were not worthy to be accepted by God and they were received by Him and washed clean of their sins.

    I recommend you contact David Ould through his Church and speak with him. He will be the best person to lead you through getting to know and understand about salvation and receiving Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

    It is hard to do this on a blog writing back and forth. I will pray for you. I know God answers prayers I have seen it in my own family.

    I had family who struggled with being a Lesbian but had received Christ, she unfortunately passed away from bowel cancer recently. I do have a couple of Gay friends. They are still very anti-God and have difficulties at times with me being a Christian and we have been friends for almost 35 years now. They respect me and I certainly do respect them. I actually love them and they are like family knowing as Ihave known them from my early teenage years. However they have decided God is not for them. I hope they might still reconsider.

    Hope this answer gave you some encouragement to Seek God. Give it a go it will be worth your while. What do you have to lose? Nothing but some time and you have so much to Gain if you come to Know God.

    Melissa

  19. I think its a very serious matter that needs to be answered with the utmost care. If you don,t understand something or know the answer to something that important at least admit it instead of arrogantly blurting out a lot of rubbish.

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