It has been a hard couple of weeks in Hobart. As many of you may know Tasmania is very keen on LGBTI issues and there is a lot of zeal for all things LGBTI. Since it is election time and since the advent of the Israel Folau witch hunt people have become quite sensitive. Israel is an object lesson for anyone who considers anti-discrimination law benign and modern “inclusion” policies as a protection for all. In the same way, my experiences here in Hobart are a parable of what is coming on our nation.
In this last two weeks I have been assaulted, spat at, physically intimidated, threatened, screamed at, and given a death threat. If you missed that read it again and reflect on this, the people who did this claim to represent “love is love”, “inclusion”, “diversity”, “tolerance” and “equality”. Yes, these things were all done by people identifying as LGBTI or an LGBTI supporter.
My aim, as all my brothers and sisters in Operation 513, is to share the gospel. That is why we go out to the streets week after week. I do not hate or particularly target any one group, rather I speak to the issues of the day and seek to use them to turn people to Jesus in faith. The gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive to unsaved sinners and when it is preached there is a (sometimes violent) rejection that naturally comes to the fallen human heart. We all accept that there are people who will oppose the gospel being preached, Satan hates this work so no surprise. But our Lord told us to follow Him and go preach the gospel, after we have counted the cost.
So, in the midst of all the good things that are happening in Hobart I would ask you please dear reader to pray for safety and grace from God to face these hard things with calm and joy in our hearts.
And there are many good things happening in Hobart! God is good and there have been many wonderful opportunities and blessings. Not least of these I am not injured and the police intervened to limit one of the incidents. Praise God for that!
On Friday this week I was getting set up and noticed a group of young women loitering around the area looking at me frequently. Looking at their climate signs I could see that they were part of the strike for climate change movement, so I began to read from Genesis and speak of the need to care for the world that God had given us and each other. I pointed out that we fail in obeying God’s commands now just like our first parents Adam and Eve. We do not love God as God, nor our neighbours as ourselves, nor care for and keep the world as we should.
These discussions were welcomed by the young women but a couple of them were busting to ask a question: “What does God think of lesbians?”. To answer I took them to three parts of God’s word. Firstly, Genesis teaches that all women area made to reflect the image of God, therefore lesbians too are precious feminine image bearers. Secondly, the Law of God teaches that all sex outside of faithful heterosexual marriage is sinful and deserving of death and hell, lesbians therefore by their sinful actions are under God’s judgement. Lastly, the whole of the new testament teaches that all types of sinful people can be saved from judgement through repentance and faith in Jesus, lesbians then can be saved through faith in Jesus.
So, to summarise; lesbians are precious people made in God’s image, they are marred by sin and under God’s judgement, yet they are able to be saved through repentant faith in Jesus Christ.
This discussion then led to a long discussion with these and a whole series of other teens around many different questions. The questions were many and varied including: How can we know the Bible is trustworthy? What about Dinosaurs? Are you saying atheists can’t be moral? What about dating of fossils – they’re older than the timeline of Bible? Historical sources can’t be trusted, can they? What about climate change?
Through all these things I tried to give both gospel and answers. Answers to questions are good and they may help people accept the gospel. Ultimately though, it is the gospel that is the power of God for salvation for all who believe.
Later in the day I was preaching on the offensiveness of the gospel of salvation and our need to be disturbed, shaken awake, and shown our spiritual danger. During this a young lady came up who wanted to speak to me. She believed that she was a homosexual transgender man, and due to the things I have said in the past she apparently felt “rage” whenever she saw me. She believed that I should not be allowed to speak as I do and say the things I do because they are so hurtful and discriminatory. She was happy in her identity and did not want me to disturb her comfort in this regard.
I responded that I dearly wanted her and all people to be disturbed and change their identification and who they naturally are. We are all people who naturally do what is morally wrong and have frequent cause for regret due to the things we do (me also!). Our consciences and God’s law tell us that we desperately need change, that there is eternal consequences if we don’t, yet we lack the desire and/or power to do so. God offers to come and change us through Jesus Christ, first to declare us not guilty before Him by grace through faith, then to make us holy through His Holy Spirit, then to take us to heaven to be permanently free of the disease of sin which is our natural birthright.
To round out these good things, I had a great discussion with Mr L and his friend. He has been coming to listen for a period and has even stood up for me a couple of times when others are being quite unfair in debate. He is an agnostic and very open to hearing other perspectives. Because of this he is very keen to see more public discussions occur in the mall and thanked me for the Christian manner that I have behaved in the past. Please God impact these young men for Christ through what they hear. I encouraged Mr L to consider some of the evidence for God that is easily available for those that are willing to look. We shook hands and parted ways smiling.
So, in the midst of difficulties there is always good things that the Lord is doing.
Oh Lord God almighty, please keep our eyes on you in trying times, be our comfort and our joy. Amen!
Hobart Team (TAS)
Meets every Tuesday and Friday afternoon 12-5pm at the Elizabeth Street Mall.
Contact David Gee for more information.