Martyn Iles has sent an email to Australian Christian Lobby supporters explaining in great detail “my employment has been terminated by the Board.“
He was already slated to be a keynote speaker at the first Australian Church And State (CAS) Summit in 2018 when he was appointed to the role as the peak Christian lobby group five years ago, and that event was his first public presentation in that critically important role. I and my financial supporters had the privilege of in turn supporting his ministry when he occasionally needed a video studio in Brisbane (pictured), and that offer will always be his.
He has spoken at every single Summit since the first, and emerged as Australia’s most effective and far-reaching preacher of the Gospel – which, it turns out, is the problem. The Australian Christian Lobby board want a leader who can focus more primarily on political tactics. That will be disappointing to many, and will unfortunately appear to confirm the worst criticisms of the bitter religionists who, unscripturally, demand to know why ACL isn’t doing the work of every part of the Body as well as politics – sectarian nonsense.
The Gospel and the Kingdom of God are two sides of the same coin, and inextricably linked to the betterment of all people and social policies. Anyone who says you have to choose one, or that discussing what God says about important public issues diminishes the preaching of the Gospel, is significantly misunderstanding Messiah’s mission and God’s Kingdom.
Here’s what I think believers should be doing right now: praying for ACL.
We have to trust that fellow believers are faithfully following God’s strategy for their smaller part of the larger mission, however much we may sometimes disagree with what they’ve decided is the strategy they must follow in the coming season.
ACL is far too important to the culture war and political reformation to let strategic differences undermine the support of. This is just another day ending in /y/ where Christians have a chance to demonstrate that unity doesn’t require uniformity and harmony doesn’t require unison. Each of us seeks approval from God alone, and not each other. Each of us will answer to God for faithfulness and obedience to what He led us to, not someone else’s leading. Holy Spirit is capable of leading us all, and doesn’t need us to understand how He leads others in the Body of Christ.
Martyn’s unparalleled gifts and humble faithfulness will ensure his every season is appointed and anointed, and will not need anyone worried for him, or worse, rancorous towards ACL. I will continue to collaborate and work closely with the wonderfully devoted ACL people who will doubtless be reeling at this dramatic news, as I do all people on mission and heading in a similar direction.
As Jesus so wisely said, “Do not forbid them. If they’re not against us, they’re for us.” And ACL before and after each leader is definitely for Jesus, so let’s get on with it, and pray for them a little more than normal during this season of transition.
Here is Martyn’s statement, in full.
[*Edit. I’ve softened some of my language describing my disagreement, for the reasons I then went on to explain. I also note that we have still only really heard one side, and there are always more…]
“I write with significant news that will provoke mixed reactions.
After five incredible years as managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, my employment has been terminated by the Board.
I hasten to add that there is no question of misconduct. Rather, the Board has reviewed ACL’s strategic direction and decided I am not the right person to lead the revised strategy, which focuses more primarily on political tactics, less on the gospel. Having heard this articulated, I absolutely agree with them that I am not the right person for that vision. I have always been a preacher first, a politician second (or third……).
Please pray for the Board as ACL passes through this process, that their decisions would advance God’s will.
Although I think the strategy isn’t the right one, I leave without bitterness. God’s providence works through all things, including our own disappointments.
Meanwhile, I expect God to open another door. Indeed, some things have already started to happen in that regard – please follow me on social media for those updates in due course (links below).
It is hard to account for all that has happened over the past 5 years. It has been massive and surprising.
But it has been good.
The Lord has blessed our work immensely. I could fill books with all that has happened.From Israel Folau to Babylon and everything in-between, it’s like a great wind just blew, and here we are.
In terms of metrics, ACL’s annual income, supporter numbers, donors, and staff numbers have all roughly tripled.
A technologically sophisticated digital campaign platform has recently been completed, to coordinate and empower some 10,000 volunteers (and growing).
The ministry of The Truth of It has brought together massive audiences, and gone global, reaching millions.
And the gospel has been declared to the nation, in mainstream media, on alternative media, and through the distribution of millions of gospels by volunteers. In my view, this is our greatest achievement.
I believe Australia has been blessed. That has been God’s doing.
I want to thank you, as a supporter, for being part of this movement. Thank you to those who donated, volunteered, turned up, or simply signed up.
To my staff – I owe you a great debt. Your support has been unflinching. A more faithful and talented group of 40 people can scarcely be found anywhere.
I wish to single out Dan Flynn, for your sacrificial service to me, to ACL and to the Lord.
Also, Israel Folau. A man who still inspires me because of your courageous testimony, against all odds.
Most of all, however, thank you to all of you who prayed. The burdens were impossible. The spiritual attacks were intense. The stakes were so high. But your prayers got us through – more than you will ever know!
ACL is now a huge people-powered activist movement making truth public. The fundamentals are so strong.
Please pray for the Board as they look to appoint a new CEO who can carry the baton forward in a way that accords with their goals.
As for me, please connect with my Facebook and Instagram pages to keep in touch.
It has been the great privilege of my life. Thank you – and again, I say, thank you!
P.S. I repeat, the ONLY way to stay in touch with me is through my Facebook or Instagram. Once I leave ACL, you will not hear from me via the ACL mailing list.”
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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