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Join ACL’s Managing Director, Martyn Iles, along with other leading lecturers, for a 2-day teaching retreat in the beautiful Yarra Valley, just 50 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD.
Church leaders will have the opportunity to wrestle with tough questions relating to the place of political engagement within churches, Gospel compromise in the face of cultural relevance, and the tension between controversial stances, such as traditional marriage, and their impact on the reception of the Gospel.
9.00am - Session 1
Our Secular Age: A short history - Dr Stephen Chavura
From the conversion of Constantine in 312AD to the Reformation, the Christian Church became a part of the political/legal establishment throughout Western Europe. Church and state were close and Christianity was central to social relations. The Reformation divided Western Christendom, leading to the eventual separation of church and state. The Enlightenment further separated religion from reason. Intellectual secularisation in the 18th and 19th centuries ran parallel to social religiosity and even revivalism. Everything changed in the 1960s as society rapidly caught up with cultural elites, and dechristianisation went into full speed. This is a brief history of our secular age.
11.00am - Session 2
Cultural Anarchy? Reason and the Arts untethered from Christian Faith - Paul Henderson
How do Christian faith and reason relate to each other, and how does Christian faith affect culture and the arts? What happens when faith is untethered from reason, the arts and culture more generally? The impact of Immanuel Kant, Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida has had far reaching effects on the way we think about reason, truth, goodness and beauty. Intellectual elites, vacillating opinions, rotten media and fake news continue to undermine biblical leads on culture, ways of reasoning, aesthetics and moral action. Christian reflection, in contrast, informs culture, giving clarity to its mission.
2.00pm - Session 3
Kinsey and the Sexual Revolution - Dr Elisabeth Taylor Ph.D
Through his work in the 1940s and 1950s, Alfred Kinsey, succeeded in changing the foundation of how we think about and regulate human sexual behaviour. Instead of Judeo-Christian morality, Kinsey proposed Science as a more reliable basis for social policy and criminal law. Despite the comprehensive annihilation of Kinsey’s pretentions to scientific authority, the startling ‘truths’ he revealed about what is natural for the ‘human animal’ have not been rejected. Some of Kinsey’s foundational principles¬¬—that children are sexual from birth, that all forms of sexual expression are natural, that the inhibition of sexual expression is harmful—continue to inform the ongoing liberalisation of sexual culture promoted by the LGBT rights movement, comprehensive sexuality education programs and the sex industry. If followed to their logical conclusion, these all tend toward the destruction of the family and the acceptance of paedophilia.
4.00pm - Session 4
Transgenderism - Dr Elisabeth Taylor Ph.D
The ‘transgender moment’ currently visited upon us represents an extraordinary effort to remake humanity according to a new design. Where Genesis states ‘male and female He created them’, the LGBT movement makes two separate and mutually exclusive claims to contest this: 1) that gender and sex may vary independently so that a man can be born into a woman’s body (transgenderism) and 2) that gender is infinitely variable, non-binary and may change over time (gender fluidity). This session looks at the history of ideas about gender, the medical malpractice at the heart of sex change surgery and the political interest groups driving this attack on this fundamental aspect of human identity. It will examine the effects of rolling out new understandings of gender on various groups, particularly women, children and the family.
7.30pm - Session 5
Truth has stumbled in the public square: Threats to the Church - Martyn Iles
What are the Biblical ideals for government? What happens when governments fail in their God-given purpose? Scripture reveals key principles concerning the nature of government power and its purpose under God, but the perversion of that power is common in fallen human societies. This session not only examines the true purpose of government power, but also ways in which that power is misused and misdirected, and what that means for the church.
9.00am - Session 6
Separation of Church and State: Not what you think - Dr Stephen Chavura
We frequently hear denunciations of religious influence in politics as a violation of the separation of church and state. This accusation is misguided—based on confusion between the separation of church and state and the separation of religion and politics. This session outlines the history and meaning of the doctrine of separation and uncovers its evolution in Australia.
11.00am - Session 7
Why is religious freedom so important? - Dr Stephen Chavura
Religious freedom, like freedom of speech, is under suspicion nowadays as mere pretext to oppress minorities. This denunciation of traditional liberal freedoms is rightly called cultural Marxism. This session shows that religious liberty is central to a flourishing society, and therefore ought to be defended by Christians of all political persuasions.
2.00pm - Session 8
Not ashamed - Opportunity for the Church - Martyn Iles
In an increasingly hostile culture, the Church can be slowly nudged toward compromise or silence. But what do the imperatives of the gospel, the direct commands of Christ and the apostles, the example of the early church, and the over-arching call of God on the church tell us about responding well? This session explores Biblically-grounded and gospel-centred principles that can inform the posture of the church and Christian believers in modern Australia.
Close of Course
We will ensure that you, as Church Leaders, are informed and prepared for the rising age of secularism and hedonism - and how this will impact your church.
2 Day Programme (meals and accommodation included in price) $250
Single Day Programme (meals included) $125
To sponsor this course to enable other Church Leaders to attend this event, click here.