Housing and inequity are also issues of righteousness and morality

Housing and inequity are also issues of righteousness and morality

Christians are often concerned about spiritual and moral evils. Rightly so, because God is holy, and God desires righteousness across all the earth.

As Christians, we must not be too selective in what we see as unrighteous. In the Word of God, there are many more types of sin we are urged to avoid than just sexual impurity, drunkenness, and blasphemy. What about pride, selfishness, greed, and indifference to the poor?

In the first few chapters of Isaiah, for instance, the prophet condemns not only religious insincerity and idolatry, but also greed, injustice, corruption, exploitation of the vulnerable, “grinding the face of the poor”, and those who “add house to house”.

In New Zealand, we have a major and growing problem. Some people have large incomes and splendid houses (and often multiple houses), but many others have much lower incomes, and live in crowded and unhealthy houses for which they pay high rents. An increasing number have reasonable incomes, but to find an affordable house seems to them an almost impossible hurdle.

Many New Zealanders feel entitled. But many others feel they and their whānau can barely get by. Such inequity has become multi-generational and entrenched, and spills over into many other social disorders.

Are these matters Christians can ignore, as essentially matters of just economic and social policy, and political? We don’t think so. We believe there are deep moral issues in these matters, and that as Christians we must always look for justice and righteousness, and for loving our neighbour as ourselves.

Mark Maney’s article, Kiwis deserve HOMES, helpfully explores one aspect of this.

Some additions to the Pro-Truth Pledge

Some additions to the Pro-Truth Pledge

The Pro-Truth Pledge is a statement which reflects many people’s frustration with the types of public debate which have become increasingly common in recent decades. Across the spectrum of views, political and otherwise, there has often appeared to be a diminished regard for truth, objective research, reason, and fairness.

The Pro-Truth Pledge comes from a secular source, but we recognise its helpfulness. As Christians, we of all people must be deeply committed to speaking with a deep regard for truth. The pledge has been brought to the attention of NZCN through our former national director, Glyn Carpenter, who has also suggested some appropriate additional clauses.

“In this post-truth era, where fake news and conspiracy theories abound, there is a great need to restore truth in the public square. Sadly, New Zealand is not immune from these problems.”

Glyn Carpenter – Christian Resolution

The background to the Pro-Truth Pledge can be found in a book by Gleb Tsipursky and Tim Ward (PROTRUTH: A Practical Plan for Putting Truth back into Politics. Changemakers Books: Winchester UK, 2020).


I Pledge My Earnest Efforts To:

Share truth

  • VERIFYfact-check information to confirm it is true before accepting and sharing it
  • BALANCE: share the whole truth, even if some aspects do not support my opinion
  • CITE: share my sources so that others can verify my information
  • CLARIFY: distinguish between my opinion and the facts

Honor truth

  • ACKNOWLEDGE: acknowledge when others share true information, even when we disagree otherwise
  • REEVALUATE: reevaluate if my information is challenged, retract it if I cannot verify it
  • DEFEND: defend others when they come under attack for sharing true information, even when we disagree otherwise
  • ALIGN: align my opinions and my actions with true information

Encourage truth

  • FIX: ask people to retract information that reliable sources have disproved even if they are my allies
  • EDUCATE: compassionately inform those around me to stop using unreliable sources even if these sources support my opinion
  • DEFER: recognize the opinions of experts as more likely to be accurate when the facts are disputed
  • CELEBRATE: celebrate those who retract incorrect statements and update their beliefs toward the truth

In addition I will…

  • RESPECT: respect people; refrain from speaking about any person in a way which undermines their dignity as a human being
  • FOCUS: focus on debating issues not attacking people (even indirectly); avoid personalising matters
  • SEEK: look for the good in people and in their arguments; seek to build bridges not walls or trenches
  • UPLIFT: speak in such a way as to build people up not tear down; not retaliate when personally attacked

Rev Dr Brian Winslade, new Deputy Secretary of the WEA

Introducing Rev Dr Brian Winslade

A worldwide fellowship of the Gospel

Around the world, in countless cultures, there are approximately 2.4 billion people who identify as Christian. Many of those are “evangelical” in faith, i.e. they are biblical, Gospel-hearted believers. The World Evangelical Alliance, the global fellowship of Gospel-minded Christians that was first established in 1846, and now has 134 (independent) national alliances in its membership, includes the New Zealand Christian Network.

Earlier this week, the WEA officially handed over leadership roles. Among them, Rev Dr Brian Winslade, of Hamilton, was introduced as the new Deputy Secretary of the WEA. Watch his introduction video above. Brian is also a member of the NZCN Working Board.

If you would like to know more about the DNA of being evangelical, you might want to watch Dr Thomas Schirrmacher’s inaugural speech as the incoming Secretary General of the WEA. (Thomas visited New Zealand in 2019, and took a shine to NZCN’s Te Rongopai DVD). 

Gay conversion therapy: some serious implications for New Zealand

Gay conversion therapy: some serious implications for New Zealand

At the outset, let’s agree that any “gay conversion therapy” practices which are cruel, coercive, or against anyone’s own wishes are inappropriate.

The problem, however, is that legislation outlawing “gay conversion therapy” often goes much further than merely banning coercive practices. Instead, such legislation appears to attempt to re-engineer society, through using the law to force people to think, act, and speak differently in relation to same-sex and gender matters. For instance, the Prohibition of Conversion Therapy Bill (a private member’s bill awaiting consideration by the New Zealand Parliament), could – depending on how the courts interpret and apply the law – potentially make the following vulnerable to a criminal charge…

  • counsellors who give support to anyone who voluntarily asks for help in redirecting their sexuality away from same-sex expression
  • those (including parents) who advise children or youth against changing gender
  • preachers and youth workers who draw attention to biblical passages against same-sex behaviour.

If this Bill were enacted, it could have a serious effect on all faith communities – Christian or otherwise – and dangerously compromise freedoms of expression and of religion. Surely a free society must allow all people to hold their own beliefs and live as they please, providing they do not infringe the rights or liberties of others.

Mark Maney’s article, on the anti-conversion therapy law which has just been enacted across the Tasman in Victoria, highlights how that law is so hazardous to freedom it even restricts the freedom of gay people themselves…

A joint statement by the national leaders of most New Zealand church denominations

A joint statement by the national leaders of most New Zealand church denominations

We are sharing with you a very useful brief statement issued yesterday by the National Church Leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand, which is a gathering of the senior leaders of most of New Zealand’s church denominations. From across that wide denominational spectrum, the undersigned church leaders speak with one voice to urge New Zealanders to vote very carefully in the two Referendums, ‘because both decisions carry the risk of inflicting serious long-term damage on our society, endangering vulnerable people, and making our country less safe for everyone’.

The statement we are sending today is about the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill (and we will send you the NCLANZ statement on euthanasia, when it is issued next week).

Through its National Director, the New Zealand Christian Network is an active participant in the National Church Leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand.

We recommend you share this statement with your family, friends, and churches.


A joint statement by the national leaders of most New Zealand church denominations

We urge the people of Aotearoa New Zealand to vote very cautiously in the two Referendums, because both decisions carry the risk of inflicting serious long-term damage on our society, endangering vulnerable people, and making our country less safe for everyone.

The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill

We support the recent new provision in law (2019) for cannabis-based medicine to be available on prescription.

We also support the general move towards decriminalising cannabis users, and instead concentrating on a non-punitive health-based approach of helping those being harmed by cannabis use and addiction. We note that police are generally no longer prosecuting recreational cannabis use (and we want them to apply that discretion without any bias).

However we do not support the legalisation of recreational cannabis use, as proposed in the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. We believe legalisation would help normalise cannabis use and increase its use (as has happened overseas). Cannabis use remains addictive and dangerous for some people, especially those under 25, and can induce psychosis, depression, loss of cognitive function, lung (and other) diseases, suicidal tendencies, and foetal harm.

Legalisation, and the rise of a cannabis industry with a network of retail shops in many communities, would undermine societal messages about reducing drug use (and also undermine the campaigns against tobacco smoking, and about driving under the influence of drugs).

The evidence from overseas is that legalisation would not end the black market in cannabis. In Canada, over 70% of cannabis is still purchased on the black market). Illegal dealers including gangs would continue to sell cannabis (at lower prices, with unsafe levels of THC, and also to those under the age of 20).

We are concerned that legalising and normalising cannabis use will increase domestic violence, cannabis-related road deaths, workplace accidents, and educational failure. We are also worried that society’s socio-economically disadvantaged groups are likely to suffer most from the increased availability and use of cannabis.

We suggest that voting ‘No to the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill carries significantly fewer risks of long-term damage to New Zealand society than a ‘Yes’ vote.

We also suggest that a ‘No’ vote still leaves space for New Zealand to further decriminalise cannabis law in relation to users, while retaining penalties only in relation to producers and dealers. At the same time it could strengthen a health-based approach towards those affected by drugs, while continuing to warn society about the risks of all drug use.

SIGNED…

Bishop Jay Behan, Church of Confessing Anglicans in Aotearoa New Zealand
Pastor Steve Burgess, Regional Overseer, Senior Leader, C3 Churches
Commissioner Mark Campbell, Territorial Commander, The Salvation Army
Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington, Roman Catholic
Pastor Iliafi Esera, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God in New Zealand
Rev Dr Jaron Graham, National Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene
Rev Tale Hakeagaiki, Chairman, Congregational Union of New Zealand
Rev Charles Hewlett, National Leader, Baptist Churches of New Zealand
Rev Brett Jones, National Superintendent (Acting), Wesleyan Methodist Church of NZ
The Right Rev Fakaofo Kaio, Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
Rev Dr Stuart LangeNational Director, New Zealand Christian Network
Pastor Brent Liebezeit, President, Christian Churches New Zealand
Rev Andrew Marshall, National Director Alliance Churches of New Zealand
Pastor David MacGregor, National Director, Vineyard Churches Aotearoa NZ
Pastor Sam Monk, The National Leader of Acts Churches NZ & Equippers Church
Pastor Peter Mortlock, Senior Pastor, City Impact Churches of NZ
Assistant Bishop Jim Pietsch, Lutheran Church of New Zealand
Pastor Boyd Ratnaraja, National Leader, Elim Church of New Zealand
Pastor Eddie Tupa’i, President, New Zealand Pacific Union Conference of the SDA Church
Rev Setaita Taumoepeau K. Veikune, President, Methodist Church of New Zealand
Pastor Adam White, Leader, New Life Churches

For further contacts for this statement:
Rev Dr Richard Waugh QSM Ph 022 5339400 Email: richard.waugh@wesleyan.nz
Senior Pastor David MacGregor Ph 022 1572018 Email: david@grace.org.nz