I want to pick up on a couple of issues as this network develops.
Issue: Comfort! This one was highlighted during today’s gathering. Many young Aussie ministers seem mad keen on church planting, yet they are mostly just in love with the idea of church planting. They aren’t ready to make the courageous, all-out sacrifices required to actually plant and grow churches. An experienced Presbyterian brother, Richard, shared about his own denomination’s struggle: they’ve called on 15 able young men to become church planters and trainers, yet none of them were ready to take up the challenge. Mark Leach pointed out the colossal cultural baggage that Australian Christians carry: our individualistic, materialistic, post-enlightenment, functionally deistic outlook is so intense that we are driven towards comfort and security at every level of life and church — which is profoundly opposed to the gospel and its priorities!
Issue: A non-core core? The network has decided to take a complementarian position, which Al Stewart simply explained as affirming ‘a plurality of male elders’ in church leadership. After the meeting, someone mentioned to me that Acts 29 and Mark Driscoll take a pretty hard complementarian position, reserving preaching for men only (their website doesn’t specify). I do respect churches who take that particular position, but how closely should the Aussie network stick to Acts 29 on this one? The Aussie network is shaping up as an interdenominational group (Acts 29 is supposed to be transdenominational, but denominations are more significant in Australia). As such, the network ought to be built around gospel unity, keeping peripheral things peripheral. Is it really worth enshrining such a specific position in the network’s foundation, one that may even exclude other complementarians (like me)? If the network is ‘complementarian’, exactly what are we talking about in practice? This deserves careful consideration.
Categories: Written by Arthur
Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.