Jim Wallace, board chairman of the Australian Christian Lobby wrote to supporters this evening explaining in great detail:
“It is the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that drives every aspect of the work that we do – from phone canvassing to our Board decisions. It is the Gospel that compels us as Christians to participate in the political discourse and to petition governments, so that Christian principles find expression in legislation and public policy. Our focus will always be on following and obeying Jesus, which requires that the Gospel message underpins our political engagement.“
I wrote on social media a few days ago that it might be a good week to stay off social media for a week. Many people thought I was referring to the arrogant pride parade down Oxford Street imposing the religion of hedonism on every Australian. I wasn’t.
I was more sickened by the antipathy and bile being spewed by too many Christians who took Martyn Iles’ words and vainly concocted wicked imaginations about the fine Christian men of the Australian Christian Lobby’s board.
Scripture instructs us that only in the mouth of two or three witnesses can a thing be established. It does not say, “In the mouth of an immensely admirable Christian leader of immense integrity and honesty shall a thing be established.”
Proverbs goes on to say, “The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.“
Instead, many Christians said inconceivably foolish things on the back of only one statement like, “AH! The Globalists have corrupted the board because Martyn questioned big pharma! We see the pattern!”
In a still-young decade where it’s become a truism that the difference between a conspiracy theory and news is about 5 minutes, malicious and wicked gossip has sprung up camouflaged by the believability of the recently unbelievable. There’s no excuse for not believing the best of each other until proven otherwise, in the mouth of two or three witnesses.
Where I read Martyn say, “the revised strategy, which focuses more primarily on political tactics, less on the gospel“, others claimed he said things like, “ACL wanted someone more about politics than God.” That’s just one, real example; and I sincerely hope you didn’t see any. I was revolted and admit feeling a degree of hopelessness at the volume of ugliness from normally mature Christians.
It was a depressing show from far too many Christians who must now repent for rushing to judgement, cancelling their support, and publicly slandering their brethren in Christ. ACL’s enemies felt justified, and the critical work they do was set back. We gave a foothold to the devil. That’s how much ACL is a threat to evil strategies for our nation.
I had to change debit cards some months back, and my donations to ACL had slipped through the gaps. I fixed that problem yesterday, before the statement from the Board came out, as a gesture of confidence in who I know every single person at ACL from the top to the grassroots to be – mainly: committed to the inseparability of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the public square.
The impossible position the Board found themselves in was having to publish their honest perspective on what transpired, and when that’s potentially contradictory to an admired figurehead, or necessarily confidential, there is a minefield to navigate with wisdom where any wrong step could further damage the cause of the Gospel. Yet delay itself confirmed the suspicions of gossip-mongers, leaving the board in an impossible position.
So the Board this evening issued the below statement, signed by chairman Jim Wallace, who has served this nation and the Kingdom of God with distinction deserving better for many decades. He strongly reiterated what so many had readily questioned, and that is the organisation’s unfaltering commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I started the Church And State ministry with the firm conviction that anyone who claimed a church’s or Christian’s voice in politics risked compromising the preaching of the Gospel was sorely uninformed. It is a false dilemma – no such conflict exists, and certainly didn’t for John the Baptist or any of the Old Testament prophets.
It is entirely normal for Christians to find a time where a season together must end and paths pursuing God’s will diverge. Our unity is in being found in Christ, not in uniformity. No part of the Body of Christ is more deserving of honour or more dispensable than another, and not everyone has the same function.
In this day and hour of desperate cultural struggle between Truth and demonic deceptions, light and tangible darkness, Christianity and fundamentalist secularism, can you imagine the people of God rushing to believe the worst of the peak Christian advocacy group with more members than all the major political parties combined? What sobering insanity have we just seen?!
That’s it from me. As with the update from my very good friend who will always enjoy my unconditional love, Martyn, I include below the full update from the board of the Australian Christian Lobby.
Now is the hour to pray, honestly reflect, and cover each other’s shortcomings in Christ’s love.
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:2)
I write reluctantly following Martyn’s email of Friday, 24 February 2023. I apologise for the delay in this official response, but we on the Board did not want to act reflexively to what has been a huge disappointment.
We are, and always will be, committed to Truth Made Public. This is the foundation on which the ACL was established and continues to operate. By the grace of God, we will continue to do this into the future. On behalf of the ACL, I want to thank you for your continued prayerful support and engagement, that has strengthened and propelled the work of ACL into the public square, over these many years.
Allow me to reiterate, that the objectives of ACL have not changed. As the Australian Christian Lobby, it is the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that drives every aspect of the work that we do – from phone canvassing to our Board decisions. It is the Gospel that compels us as Christians to participate in the political discourse and to petition governments, so that Christian principles find expression in legislation and public policy. Our focus will always be on following and obeying Jesus, which requires that the Gospel message underpins our political engagement.
We believe that engagement must be on two levels, the relational and campaigning. In our view, political engagement, and relationship-building in the parliaments should be reflective of the same humble relational style modelled by Jesus Christ.
We know that many of you are sorely disappointed by Martyn’s departure from ACL. We are too. And we, the board, regret any unintended hurt that has been caused either to Martyn, or to any of our supporters. While we cannot go into specifics, we thought we were in a discussion which would have led to a resolution. However, this did not proceed as we expected.
We will do our best to continue the work set before us and we sincerely ask that you continue to pray for us and share in the vision of the ACL of Making Truth Public, so that as Christians, we act to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Pr 31:8-9), and so resist evil and proclaim liberty (Pr 28:4, Is 61:1-3) and truth (1 Cor 13.6).
Australia desperately needs this vision to be implemented and we appreciate and need you as part of the team, please stay in fellowship with us.
Jim Wallace AM
Chairman, ACL Board“
Dave Pellowe is a Christian writer & commentator, founder of The Good Sauce, convener of the annual Australian Church And State Summit and host of Good Sauce's weekly The Church And State Show, also syndicated on ADH TV. Since 2016 Dave has undertaken the mission of arming Christians to influence culture through events from Perth to Auckland, videos, podcasts and articles published in multiple journals across Australia and New Zealand. [more]
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