Tasmanian Baptists and the Postal Plebiscite - a letter from Stephen Baxter (Mission Director)
Dear Pastors and Church Secretaries,
Greetings in Jesus name.
As I write, Australians have begun receiving their letter from the Federal Government inviting them to participate in the postal survey on the redefinition of marriage. You may already have received yours.
I write to encourage you in what has become quite a divisive issue across our communities and in some of our churches. Whatever your position on the matter, Jesus is clear, our responsibility is to love God, love our neighbours and also to love our enemies. The phrase, 'loving our enemies' could easily be transliterated, "love those who have a different view to yours." Certainly an appropriate reminder in the current context.
As we move into the weeks leading up to the deadline for the postal vote, I want to encourage you to work on bringing all our conversations, along with all our thoughts, into conformity with Jesus. In this regard may we be a true reflection of his love and grace.
I also write to alert you to an advertisement that will appear in the three main Tasmanian newspapers tomorrow, Wednesday September 20. It is from the Coalition on Marriage of which Australian Baptist Ministries, and therefore Tasmanian Baptists are a part of.
The National Council of Australian Baptist Ministries, of which I am a member, recently reaffirmed its support for the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, rejecting moves to extend the definition to include same sex relationships. That is what advertisement affirms and my signature will be on it representing Tasmanian Baptists.
At the same time, you may have noticed there are Baptist ministers across Australia and Tasmania who hold a different view, as they are entitled to. However, they do so personally and do not represent Tasmanian Baptists. We live in a democracy where we are free to express our view as our conscience directs.
Finally, let's remember Jesus is the Lord of all. Our stance is not one of fear but of confidence in the future because of all we are in Christ. We therefore respond to threats, real or perceived, by following the example of Christ and treat all people with love and respect, shunning actions and words that demean and marginalise. May Christ enable us in all we say and do.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.
Blessings in Christ's name,
Resources from the Australian Baptist Ministries website:
While we are still waiting the response to the High Court's ruling on the validity of the proposed postal vote on Marriage, the Officers of the Union have agreed that the following material b...
Members of Baptist churches in Australia overwhelmingly support the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, and reject moves to extend the ...