|AWARE - A God of Justice - We Won.|
On 30th Apr 2009, the National Council of Churches Singapore issued a public statement on the AWARE issue clearly distancing itself by denying that any of its member churches are involved, and reaffirming that they do not condone such action. This was undersigned by the Archbishop John Chew, the President of NCCS who is also the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Diocese of Singapore. They must have been under much pressure due to the increasing evidence of the direct involvement by the Anglican Church of Our Savior (COOS). If the AWARE saga had gone to the Civil Court where more evidence of the churches involvement would be detailed, it would help limit any damage to NCCS. However, the Statement would put the New Guard in a difficult position and limit the direct support from the church clergy which hitherto have been quite directly supporting the New Guard with audio, video, and email evidence despite a claim on the contrary. Therefore, when the 761 “red shirt” supporters attended the EOGM, they could say nothing except to vote lest they contradict the statement by their Archbishop. They quickly left after the vote lest they be found out.
The NCCS statement is an indirect criticism of the churches and the Christians involved, but there was little choice. There was a necessity to limit the negative fallout which if not careful will bring in other faiths making it a religious matter rather than an internal affair within the secular space. The Christian Post SG editorial on 05 May 2009 praised the Bishop John Chew for “correcting the misconceptions about Christianity”. This appears contrary to the facts as there were certainly no misconceptions about the involvement by Christians strongly motivated by their faith beliefs that Aware was pro-lesbian hence ushering Singapore to cross the line set by God of no return (despite no evidence of Aware being pro-Lesbian but rather keeping a neutral stance).
The strong feelings against the statement from NCCS, was clearly evident in the Editorial by the Christian Post on 03 May 2009, entitled “Ashamed of the Gospel” where it was claimed that the Bishop did not defend the Christians who had pursued action against the Old Guard of Aware. It is a not too subtle hint that NCCS should be supporting the New Guard who were said to be proactive rather than distancing away from having anything to do with them for the sake of answering to non believers. The editorial implied that Pastor Derek Hong should not have been made to apologize from the pulpit and that their actions were displaying forth the ‘light and salt” to the World when they took over Aware.
As the Christian Post editorial was lead by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon Methodist Church in Singapore, who is also the Vice President of NCCS, it appears that there was a strong dissenting view within NCCS to the statement issued to distance them from the New Guard of Aware. Indeed, the editorial is a strong rebuke against Bishop John Chew, and was quickly removed from the Christian Post website once this was found out. Indirectly, it is accusing the Bishop of being ashamed of the Gospel and giving in to the voices of unbelievers. Such strong dissent is unusual and points to the very strong support within the Anglican Churches and not just COOS for their anti-gay position and for the move against the Old Guard of Aware due to the false perception that it was sliding the wrong direction.
This was the 2nd editorial indirectly condemning the NCCS statement, with the first issued almost immediately after the NCCS statement on 01 May 2009, stating it was “Offence of offence” ie the secular viewpoint “within the rules of engagement in a multi-religious society that Singapore is” was offensive to Christians. The editorial went on to state that having a secular space where each religion was its own distinct space to worship according to their faith beliefs is not good and is against the Christian Faith. Therefore, it implied that Christians should be given full space to transgressed upon the space given to others and not be persecuted.
There seem to be a distortion of the issues in the Christian Post Editorial as Christians here were not criticized for the sake of the Gospel message which some groups may undoubtedly be offended by but by carrying out a coup of a secular organization which it claims was pro-gay even though all evidence point otherwise. Even if AWARE was pro-gay, does Christians have a God ordained right to overtake any organization which does not fit its religious view? Therefore, the “Offence of the Offence” here is not caused by the Gospel message but that others were offended by the underhand method to take over a secular organization. What is the message of the Gospel? It is that Christ died, rose again, that whosoever believeth in Him shall have eternal life. It was not a message about Gays. When the bible talks about same sex acts, it was in the context of straight people worshiping pagan gods and doing same sex action to please their gods. It was not a same sex orientation. We make people feel so offended that they would not listen when we preach the Good News. We have lost all our credibility and have caused offence not because of the Gospel but because of unrighteousness sake.
The Homosexual Agenda does not exist as much as there is no Heterosexual Agenda. A Heterosexual Agenda if it existed would be much easier to quantify and document with 7,000 divorces and 15,000 abortions each year. If NCCS was indeed “pro-family” as advertised in the Red Shirts of the New Guard, surely their primary target group would be straight people and not gays. Alas, their single issue obsession with gays is beyond rationality and beyond a civil conversation of mutual respect and acceptance, and hijacked the true message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ of God’s love and grace. The Christian extremist have not only hijacked Aware but have hijacked the Gospel message and made it to be Law based instead of Faith by Grace alone. It is a departure from the authentic biblical faith.
There will be a Homosexual Agenda not by gays but for righteousness sake when justice is demanded for our persecution and condemnation of gays, even to the extent of strictly limiting the small space they have in the community and insist that they be in a closet with the keys thrown away. We blame gays with false witness on destroying our straight marriages and not because of our own infidelity. Surely, by the moral law of God, judgment on the church of Jesus Christ may be overdue but by God’s amazing grace and mercy which we have thus make “Cheap Grace”.
It is with great sadness of the Aware saga of the last few weeks, for these Christians were very good people including their Feminist Mentor. They were faithful and fervent Christians and acted as such out of their strong faith beliefs. In the game, “degree of separation”, the 1 st degree mean direct contact, the 2 nd degree means the person you know, in turn is somehow related to the target person. Many of the people mentioned and involved in the Christian space are but 2 or 3 degree of separations. For example, many of the regular Preachers at COOS and Anglican churches, are Pastors that I have grown up with and their preaching has been a great blessing (even though I was not from COOS). Therefore, it is with great sadness that we have slid the slippery slope of self righteousness and bondage by the Law leading us to do what we would dearly regret one day and where we will not be able to correct the transgressions done when the truth is known that Gays are like you and me, no greater or lesser sinner because of their sexual orientation but needing God’s grace and mercy in Christ Jesus just like you and me. May we not cross the line of no return.
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