‘Former banking boss Andrew Thorburn believes his fleeting appointment as CEO of the Essendon AFL club lasted just 30-hours because his “personal Christian faith is not tolerated or permitted in the public square, at least by some and perhaps by many.”
He was forced to step down from the Essendon position because of his role as a church chairman.
In a statement the former head of the NAB said: “I was being required to compromise beyond a level that my conscience allowed,”
He added that: “Despite my own leadership record, within hours of my appointment being announced, the media and leaders of our community had spoken. They made it clear that my Christian faith and my association with a Church are unacceptable in our culture if you wish to hold a leadership position in society.”
“This grieves me greatly – though not just for myself, but for our society overall. I believe we are poorer for the loss of our great freedoms of thought, conscience and belief that made for a truly diverse, just and respectful community.”
“My faith is central to who I am. Since coming to faith in Jesus 20 years ago, I have seen profound change in my life, and I believe God has made me a better husband, father, and friend. It has also helped me become a better leader. That is because at the centre of my faith is the belief that you should create a community and care for people, because they are created by and loved by God and have a deep intrinsic value.”
His position became untenable for the club when sermons opposing abortion and homosexuality from pastors were found on Mr. Thorburn’s City on a Hill church website.
James Morrow writes in The Daily Telegraph: “Thorburn’s church, like pretty much every other church that claims to follow the Bible, says that marriage is between a man and a woman and that sex outside marriage – whether gay or straight – is a sin.”
“This has been the position, incidentally, of the three monotheistic religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – since time immemorial.”
While the greater Essendon club community welcomed Mr. Thorburn’s resignation, a leading Melbourne Christian is planning to quit the club.
Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comsensoli admits he no longer feels welcome as an Essendon supporter.
National Director of the Australian Christian Lobby Wendy Francis says: “The Essendon Football Club promotes themselves as safe, inclusive, tolerant, diverse and welcoming, but their hypocrisy has been starkly exposed.”
“Their so called tolerance and diversity, however, is only extended to those who know better than to question the latest woke manifesto regarding sexuality, gender identity, and even abortion.”
“Too bad if you adhere to a biblical concept of sexual behaviour.”
“Christians and all Australians will be watching the federal Labor government carefully to see how they fulfill their promise to introduce legislation outlawing religious discrimination in this term of government.”
James Morrow observes it’s only Christians who are made to pay the price for their beliefs.
James Morrow concludes: “This is about about whether one is allowed to have a differing opinion on questions of morality, framed through the prism of one and only one particular religion, and still be allowed in public life.”
‘Freedom Blend Coffee is a ministry under the umbrella of Freedom for Youth Ministries. It works to empower young adults with work training and life skills that produce “development, restoration and hope.”
“Employment training is at the heart of our mission at Freedom Blend Coffee,” according to the group’s website. “We teach young adults, age 18-25, valuable customer service, food safety and hospitality skills along with life and career skills that empower them to enter the workplace more confident and more prepared for the challenges before them.”
Broadlawns Medical Center is a hospital in Des Moines owned by the people of Polk County. It is a governmental entity.
So, the two parties we’re talking about in this situation who entered into a contractual agreement include a ministry and a governmental entity.
And if you’re wondering, Broadlawns was well aware before entering into the agreement that Freedom Blend Coffee was a Christ-centered ministry.
How do we know this? Because an email dated Dec. 30, 2021 from Constance Rainey to Broadlawns CEO Anthony Coleman makes it clear:
The two parties entered into a contract that would continue for one year effective April 15, 2022.
“While the parties are entering this relationship with the hope and anticipation that this will be a long-term mutually beneficial relationship, this agreement may be unilaterally terminated by either party with 30 days written notice to the other party,” said one of the provisions of the contract.
That contract was signed on March 15, 2022. Five months later Broadlawns terminated the contract due to Freedom for Youth’s religious beliefs.
Christian schools unfortunately change through the years as do churches and preachers. Some change for the better and others for the worse. This is the story of Bob Jones University.
‘Earlier we documented Bob Jones University (BJU) stepping into ecumenical compromise with Franklin Graham. See BJU Embraces Franklin Graham’s Ecumenical Movement. That was the latest among many excursions, engineered by BJU president Steve Pettit, into non-separatist evangelicallism and the ecumenical movement. From Dr. David Beale’s new book Christian Fundamentalism in America I included a brief excerpt in the BJU/Graham article above and in the BJU: Compromised Spiritual Sanctification for Secular Pragmatism article. Dr. David Beale has written an article to expand on and bolster his argument. That article follows. (Originally appeared 12/14/21).
“After being the premier fundamentalist academic institution for eighty-seven years, BJU elected Dr. Steve Pettit in 2014, as the president who steered the University out of separatist Fundamentalism into the inclusive, Broad Evangelical movement,” David Beale, Christian Fundamentalism in America (Maitland, FL: Xulon, 2021), 179, 530.
• Dr. Andy Naselli, in his 2006 BJU dissertation, scorns independent, Fundamental Baptists for giving invitations to “surrender oneself to God.” Naselli criticizes the practice and calls it a “second blessing.” Naselli unsuccessfully tried to identify the Fundamentalist movement with Keswick extremes on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Naselli then identified with Broad Evangelicalism. He now serves on the faculty of John Piper’s College and Seminary, which are Reformed Charismatic schools urging every Christian to seek all NT gifts, including tongues and healing. Piper claims that “Signs and wonders” and all spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are valid for today and must be “earnestly desired.” Piper says, “Prophecy and tongues will continue until Jesus comes.”1 Naselli is a pastor of Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church.
Naselli seeks to transform Fundamentalists into Evangelicalism. In 2019, Dr. Pettit brought Naselli back to BJU to present the lectures for the annual Steward Custer Lecture Series. Naselli’s books were promoted. The late Dr. Custer all his life had been a stalwart Fundamentalist. Naselli represents Broad Evangelicalism. The bond between BJU and Evangelicalism has been clear since the beginning of Pettit’s administration.
• Dr. Sam Horn was executive vice president for enrollment and ministerial advancement at Bob Jones University when, on 2-7-2020, Dr. Pettit announced to all, “Dr. Horn is greatly honored today, and BJU is honored to have one of its own become the next president of The Master’s University and Seminary.” Horn succeeded Dr. John Stead. Dr. John MacArthur, a leading Evangelical, had led The Master’s University and Seminary as president from 1984 to 2018. Dr. Pettit preached for John MacArthur in a conference that year (2020). John Street, Chair of Biblical Counseling at The Master’s University, spoke at BJU’s CoRE Conference March 9–10, 2020. Street is an adjunct professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. By claiming that the word Fundamentalism can have no single definition,2 BJU leaders claim the label separatist but practice non-separatism (inclusivism). With such a notion, BJU attempts to sit on both sides of the fence—Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism—at the same time.
• Under Dr. Pettit’s administration, BJU students are permitted to bond with churches of denominations harboring apostasy.3 The following churches (underscored below) are among those approved for BJU students to attend.
• Covenant Community (Taylors, SC): An Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). On one of their website videos, the pastor poured water on a little child’s head and said, “This is like Abraham’s ‘baptizing his whole house’” (Genesis 17). The pastor substituted the word baptism for the word circumcision and called it regeneration. Augustine and Roman Catholicism devised and standardized this doctrine, which assumes an OT circumcisional regeneration for Jewish males.4 Romanism transformed that doctrine into NT water baptismal regeneration to elect infants. Forms of that doctrine passed into Reformed theology. John Calvin insisted that OT circumcision engrafted the Jewish infant into the covenant [elect] family of God; thus, NT baptism engrafts a newborn child into the body of Christ.5 Reformed doctrine leads many to believe the seed of regeneration is implanted at infant baptism, though salvation might occur later.6
• Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church (Simpsonville, SC), PCA church.
• Second Presbyterian Church (Greenville, SC): A Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). This church’s senior pastor is Dr. Richard Phillips, adjunct professor and member of the Board of Trustees at Westminster Theological Seminary, which enforces no dress codes and allows the use of alcoholic beverages.7
➢ Richard Phillips is also on the Board of Directors of (1) the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals; (2) the Council of The Gospel Coalition, and (3) the Council of the Gospel Reformation Network.8
➢ On October 12, 2019, at Phillips’ Second Presbyterian Church, Dr. Pettit participated in a Conference on Reformed Theology.
• To begin chapel on February 5, 2018, Dr. Pettit announced, “We are honored this morning to have as our guest Dr. Gene Fant,” president of North Greenville University, a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) school. Fant was welcomed with a standing ovation.9 The so-called “SBC Conservative Resurgence” has now spiraled into a deadening mix.10
• Calvary First Baptist Church (Greenville, SC): SBC church.
• Roper Mountain Baptist Church (Greenville): SBC church.
• Rock Springs Baptist Church (Easley, SC): SBC church. Dr. Pettit, BJU President, spoke here October 6, 2019.
• White Oak Baptist Church (Greenville, SC): Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and the Greenville Baptist Association. Their lead pastor is Lonnie Polson, BJU Division Chair of Communication of the School of Fine Arts. Their music director is Jeff Stegall, BJU Associate Professor in the Theatre Arts Department.
• For the article, “Bob Jones University Embraces Franklin Graham’s Ecumenical Movement: HaveYou Finally Seen Enough?” click the following link: BJU Embraces Franklin Graham….
• Dr. Steve Pettit permits dress style, music, and entertainment of the world’s style. For the Artist Series of January 27, 2015, he brought in the music group, “Cantus,” which includes beer drinkers and known homosexuals.11
• The following letter was sent to me on 10-14-2021 from a concerned grandfather who has grandchildren at BJU:
In 2021, at Bob Jones University, the first of the fall semester’s artist series was conducted on October 7 in the FMA. The program was titled “Symphonic Hollywood: Featuring the Music of Lee Holdridge.” The guest conductor was Richard Kaufman. The featured selections were beautifully done, and each was announced by Kaufman, interspersed with lavish praise on BJU and its leadership. Kaufman mentioned his background which included his participation with a Los Angeles orchestra in which he played violin for the recording of music for “Animal House,” a raunchy R-rated movie. He expressed no regret for its production. On the contrary, he mentioned that his contribution helped launch his career as a conductor. Not once did he mention any conflict between Christian beliefs and the moral cesspool of Hollywood. Nor did he give any confirmation of Christian belief. Yet he gave the impression that a believer could function contentedly in such an environment. Toward the end of the program, Jay Matthews and another representative, on behalf of the University, awarded Kaufman with a certificate and plaque granting him lifetime membership as an honorary alumnus of BJU. In the program notes on Kaufman, the bio states that “his wife Gayle is a former dancer and actress in film, television, and on Broadway, and his daughter, Whitney, is a highly successful singer and actress.”
All of this conveys to BJU students that a vocation in the worldly Hollywood scene is perfectly acceptable and, indeed highly commendable. The artist series productions have in recent years included more Broadway-type productions, mingled with the brilliant work of such Christian artists as Dan Forrest. “Broadway” sums up the philosophy of the new Bob Jones University— broad and inclusive.
Students are not learning to distinguish the true from the false kinds of entertainment, evangelicalism, and life-styes. This is lamentable and tragic. There was a day when Bob Jones University could be trusted to instill in its students the virtues of a separated godly lifestyle. Now the University simply wants to “fit into” the culture, to accommodate and even imitate its behavior.
Believers identified with the SBC, PCA, OPC, etc. are lending credibility to false teachers and false gospels. The believer who willingly does such is living in sin. People all over the country know that BJU is Evangelical. It is old news. Evangelicals often say, “Identification is a non-essential.” That mindset constitutes the difference between Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism! Indifference is dangerous! It is a path God forbids! “For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John verse 11). One’s personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ determines his church identification! “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward” (2 John vs. 8). We must never entangle the message of the gospel with man-made organizations and institutions that harbor false gospels.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers…. After my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28–30).
Every moment of our lives, we are building our ministries upon either the foundation of gold, silver, and precious stones, or upon a foundation of wood, hay, and stubble. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:11–13). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:10–11a). “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” (First John 2:28). In Romans 1:1, Paul introduces himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.”
Charles H. Spurgeon promised his church, “That I might not stultify [invalidate] my testimony, I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them. What more can I do to be honest with you?”12
Dr. Bob Jones Sr. so often cried, “Earnestly contend for the faith. Stand up and fight.”
David Beale (Enlarged 12-8-21)
David Beale taught courses on Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism for some thirty years at Bob Jones University and Seminary. He is a prolific writer and historian. Since Dr. Beale retired in 2010 he has taught and preached in schools and churches.
4) Augustine, City of God, 6.26–27; Enchiridion: On Faith, Hope, and Love 43; cf. 93; Sermon 294; and On Forgiveness of Sins, and Baptism 1.27.
5) John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (4.15.1—22).
6) L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1939), 632–42.
7) Letters from a recent graduate to David Beale (2021); see Paul M. Elliott, Christianity and Neo-Liberalism: The Spiritual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond (Unicoi, TN: Trinity Foundation, 2005).
10) George Houghton, “Are Conservative Southern Baptists Fundamentalists?” Faith Pulpit, January/February 2004 at: https://faith.edu/faith-news/are-conservative-southern-baptists fundamentalists/; J. Gerald Harris, The Rise and Fall of the Conservative Resurgence: The Southern Baptist Convention: 1979-2021 (Taos, NM: Trust House, 2021); and David Beale, “SBC Today,” in Baptist History in England and America: Personalities, Positions, and Practices (Maitland, FL: Xulon Press, 2018), 581–83.
‘A Christian teacher who refused to use gender-neutral pronouns at a school in Ireland has been jailed for breaching a court order after turning up to work following a suspension.
Enoch Burke has described the ordeal as “insanity,” after he was arrested on Monday morning for attending his place of work, despite being requested to stay away from Wilson’s Hospital School in County Westmeath, pending an investigation.
During a court hearing, Mr. Burke, who teaches German, history, and politics at the school, told the presiding judge: “I am a teacher, and I don’t want to go to prison. I want to be in my classroom today, that’s where I was this morning when I was arrested.
“I am here today because I said I would not call a boy a girl,” he told the court, adding that “transgenderism is against my Christian beliefs. It is contrary to the scriptures, contrary to the ethos of the Church of Ireland and of my school.”
Mr. Burke was suspended from his teaching duties while his employers conducted an investigation into allegations of gross misconduct, a move he described as “unreasonable, unjust, and unfair.”
“It is extraordinary and reprehensible that someone’s religious beliefs on this matter could ever be taken as grounds for an allegation of misconduct.
“My religious beliefs are not misconduct. They are not gross misconduct. They never will be. They are dear to me. I will never deny them and never betray them, and I will never bow to an order that would require me to do so. It is just not possible for me to do that.”
He insisted the suspension had “tarnished [his] good character” and lamented the fact that teachers around the country “are being forced to participate” in the promotion of transgenderism, claiming “they are being forced to use the pronoun ‘they’ instead of either ‘he’ or ‘she’.”
The school’s managing board said they had no other choice but to request that Mr. Burke be sent to prison, as he simply refused to comply with a court order to stay away from his place of employment.
“It is a coercive order we are seeking, not a punitive order. We are simply seeking to have Mr. Burke comply with the order,” counsel for the managing board told Judge Michael Quinn.
“Mr. Burke is knowingly in breach of this order; he is therefore in contempt, and he has made it clear that if he is not committed to prison, he will attend the school, and the concerns of the school regarding the ongoing disruption to the students remain,” she added.
Mr. Burke was sent to Mountjoy prison and said that he could agree to willfully comply with the court order at any point should he choose to do so.
‘When Fu Xuanjuan saw a way to share God’s Word under the watchful eye of China’s Communist authorities, she prayerfully acted on it with help from other believers.
Her company, Shenzhen Tree of Life Technology Development, produced digital media players that contained a narrated recording of the Bible as well as sermons and hymns. The players were especially helpful to elderly Christians. But Chinese authorities discovered the devices’ content and came after those who developed them.
On July 2, 2020, Fu Xuanjuan was arrested for the production and distribution of Christian literature. Her husband, Deng Tianyong, and two other employees were also detained. After being convicted of “illegal business operation,” Fu Xuanjuan was sentenced to six years in prison. Her evangelist husband, who managed content for the digital players, received a three-year sentence. Feng Qunchao, a technician, was sentenced to 30 months in prison. And the company’s receptionist and accountant, Han Li, received an 18-month sentence and has since been released.
Fu Xuanjuan and Deng Tianyong’s adopted 14-year-old daughter and Deng Tianyong’s widowed mother have been cared for by church members since the arrests.’
‘Broadlawns Medical Center is a government entity. And it supposedly prides itself on “diversity, equity and inclusion.” But only the diversity, equity and inclusion it believes in — not the actual idea of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Freedom Blend Coffee is a Christian organization that helps young adults get into the workplace. It falls under the umbrella of Freedom for Youth, which has a “Statement of Faith” that all employees are expected to abide by, except for youth participants in their programs.
Among its beliefs is the biblical view on marriage and sexuality. Ideas such as:
*God created each person as either male or female. *The rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person. *Marriage only means the union of one man and one woman. *God intends for sexual intimacy to happen only between a man and woman married to each other. *God has commanded no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. *Any form of seuxal immorality (adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest or use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. *God offers restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. *Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any person are to be repudiated and not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Freedom for Youth Ministries.
‘Having been politically active while in the employment of housing provider L&Q since 2015, I was perplexed to suddenly find myself facing disciplinary action for political activity.
I had stood four times for Parliament, including in the Lewisham East by-election, as well as being No.1 on the list for the Christian People’s Alliance (CPA) for the London Assembly last year.
None of this activity caused any problems for L&Q.
The only problem arose when I stood this year to be mayor of Lewisham. As part of the process, each candidate is granted a full page in the mayoral booklet which goes out to every resident of Lewisham — over 200,000 people. For my contribution I produced a six-point plan which, along with plans to tackle knife crime and fly tipping, included the following statement:
I pledge to cut through political correctness and simply state the truth that natural marriage between a man and a woman is the fundamental building block for a successful society, and the safest environment for raising children.
Of the 200,000 residents, one of them decided this was “hate speech” and put forward a complaint to Lewisham Council demanding that the booklet be withdrawn. Lewisham Council politely informed them that it is up to each candidate to write what they like and they do not dictate the wording.
Next, however, came a complaint to my employer. Constant vicious posts were going up on social media with cries of feigned outrage and accusations of “hate speech”. Elements of the media began to pick them up and to contact the party headquarters and then myself.
An article appeared in the Guardian which was quite mild, followed by another much more forthright article in Pink News. Its article was headed “Christian candidate attacks same sex marriage in disgusting election leaflet”. My leaflet was called “anti-gay bile” though I didn’t actually mention homosexuality in the manifesto.
Pink News contacted my party’s office demanding answers. We sent a series of research pieces with evidence that demonstrated how children need a father and how married couples are significantly better parents, as well as some research which examined graduation rates and concluded that children of same-sex parents are significantly worse off. We also gave clear testimony from children who have grown up in same-sex households, demonstrating the detrimental effects it had on their lives. We asked Pink News to provide some research to back up its position that children are better off with same-sex parents — or at least no worse off. It couldn’t come up with anything at all.
This publicity, however, provoked a total of three complaints to my employer. The complainants accused me of being “homophobic” and discriminatory towards the LGBT community. All three demanded that I should receive “anti-oppressive training” and face disciplinary action.
I was immediately suspended pending investigation, but I still felt confident as I assumed Christian beliefs were protected under the Equality Act as much as homosexuality is. After all, I had not insulted or even criticised anyone — I had merely stated a clear Christian value.
Prevented from campaigning while suspended, I was investigated by L&Q and told that my case had nothing to do with Christianity. Although I outlined how L&Q was breaching articles 9 and 10 of the European Court of Human Rights, my employer was simply not interested.
Article 9 gives me the right to freedom of thought, belief and religion, and Article 10 the right to hold my own opinions and to express them freely without interference. These articles take precedence over companies’ diversity and inclusion policies.
Nonetheless, L&Q acted quickly. As soon as the election was over, it told me I was dismissed with immediate effect for defying the company’s inclusion policy, which appears not to include Christianity.
This is the first time that a political candidate has been penalised by their employer for political speech which is protected for very obvious reasons. The ramifications of this case cannot be overstated. Free speech is being attacked and eroded by cancel culture rapidly in the UK and around the world.
I believe free speech and Christian freedoms are fundamental aspects of democratic societies and must be protected at all costs. Our ability to freely express our views and openly disagree with each other is the core essence of democracies. The alternative is forced censorship and the threat of losing everything if you don’t comply.
What has happened to me does not bode well for the ordinary citizen who hopes to make a difference in their community and nation. What message does this vicious attack on a Christian politician and my Christian values send to other Christians who want to engage with politics? I am deeply concerned that what has happened will deter them, and that is why I have no choice but to fight for justice.
My case illuminates how cancel culture intimidates dissenters into silence by making examples of employees so that anybody else who considers being openly honest about their views on controversial subjects will think twice or face a similar fate.
Corporations such as L&Q are willing participants in the erosion of free speech. They do the dirty work of the woke mob under the guise of internal inclusion and diversity policies. This is not diversity, but a narrow commitment to progressive social values.’https://thecritic.co.uk/sacked-for-christian-beliefs/