Spencer D Gear PhD
1. How Christianity is smashed by Peter Bowden
When I write ‘smash’ in this context, I indicate ‘to defeat or wreck (persons, theories, etc)’ (Collins English Dictionary 2018. s.v. smash).
Here I deal with how Dr Peter Bowden has wrecked the biblical meaning of basic Christian teaching and replaced it with his own human, politically correct agenda.
Let’s check how he did that.
2. Christianity corrected
Dr Bowden went to the dictionary to find a definition of ‘Christian’ in his article, A Christian Church. It’s a shame he didn’t go to an early source (the Book of Acts, written ca. AD 62-64) for his definition of what ‘Christian’ meant in the first century – and today.
Acts 11 states that the Gospel of repenting of sins and receiving eternal life when people believed in the Lord Jesus Christ extended from Jews to non-Jews (vv 17-18). At Antioch, Syria, when the word of God was preached, a ‘large number’ of people came to know the Lord. It was at Antioch ‘ that the believers were first called Christians” (Acts 11:26).
In turning to dictionaries to determine the meaning of Christian, Dr Bowden has wrongly identified one definition of a Christian, ‘a follower of the Christian Church’. When the early believers were first called ‘Christian’, they were not followers of the Christian Church, but believed in and were disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Jews would not call them Christians because of their own use of Cristo the Messiah. The Jews termed them Galileans or Nazarenes. The followers of Christ called themselves disciples (learners), believers, brethren, saints, those of the Way. The three uses of Christian in the N.T. are from the heathen standpoint (here), Acts 26:28 (a term of contempt in the mouth of Agrippa), and 1 Peter 4:16 (persecution from the Roman government). It is a clear distinction from both Jews and Gentiles and it is not strange that it came into use first here in Antioch when the large Greek church gave occasion for it (A T Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Acts 11:26).
3. Where the redefinition of God leads
Dr Bowden’s accolades for this denomination were: ‘The Uniting Church’s beliefs are impressive. They confirm that religion will be an everlasting aspect of human life on earth…. If I ever feel the need to turn to the formal practice of religion, it will be to the Uniting Church that I will turn’.
What’s the truth of where the Uniting Church’s agenda leads? See Philip Hughes’ article, ‘Why Some Churches Decline While Others Grow’ (Christian Research Association).
3.1 The ruin of the Uniting Church
Uniting Church in Australia
The 2016 Australian census found ‘the Uniting church had declined to 3.7%’ of the Australian population, compared with 5% in the 2011 census (Bouma 2017).
John Sandeman wrote that Keith Suter does not claim to be a prophet but is a futurist. In 2014, he completed his third doctorate which sketched four ‘plausible futures’ for the Uniting Church of Australia (UCA). They are:
1. Word and Deed: A Uniting Church with a small number of large parishes, providing spiritual activities and social welfare.
2. Secular Welfare: Uniting Church congregations fade away, but a large social welfare movement remains.
3. Return to the Early Church: UCA re-invents itself.
4. Recessional: UCA is wound up and its assets dispersed.
Of these four scenarios, the ones being played out are number two – the growth of church welfare – and number four. Suter told Eternity. “It is quite clear that the congregations are shrinking, and the government continues to provide money for welfare work” (Sandeman 2017).
The Uniting Church reported concerning it’s decline:
According to the church, it had 243,000 members in 2018. In the 2016 census, about 870,200 Australians identified with the church; in the 2011 census, the figure was 1,065,796. The UCA is Australia’s third-largest Christian denomination, behind the Catholic and the Anglican Churches (Wikipedia 2020. s.v. Uniting Church of Australia).
4. Consider how an Anglican justifies his liberalism
Peter Sellick is an articulate Anglican deacon in Perth, WA, Australia. Most recently, he wrote this article for On Line Opinion: The battle of the narratives of origin. A more accurate title would be, ‘The battle to stop the Anglican decline in liberal parishes’. Some of his points in this article included (not comprehensive):
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) catapulted the ‘new science of genetics…. The universe began in the big bang about 13 billion years ago and biologists have estimated the emergence of the first living things (microbia) about 3.5 billion years’.
‘Evidence of early humanity, close to a mere 300 thousand years, completed the picture of cosmic and human time. This composite narrative of origins of life on earth has become the narrative in modern times’.
· What about the biblical data? There was ‘a victory of scientific rationalism over against the feeble attempts to cling to the biblical account of creation as an explanation of the origin of all things’. ‘In the process, Christian belief for many was mortally damaged since central texts were found to be mythical and hence untrustworthy. The word “mythical” was taken to refer to the unreal, the pretend’.
What should have replaced the doubt about the reliability of the biblical texts? Scholars should have gone to German biblical research, he said.
He mentioned that ‘Julian (sic) Wellhausen published in 1878 his source theory of Old Testament texts that discovered the hands of different writers separated in time and in orientation that was later redacted into a single narrative. This undercut the idea that biblical texts were, in some way, obtained directly from the mouth of God’.
‘The source hypothesis demonstrated that biblical texts were cultural products that displayed their sources in time, place and authorship’.
I couldn’t let him get away with this kind rationalising away biblical authority, so I gave him this retort:
I enjoy your writing style, but your articulation smothers your presuppositions. In this short piece, you tried to ‘trick’ us into believing Darwin’s view of the origin of the universe was correct, affirmed by cosmologists. You might learn that in your liberal Anglican theological college but it takes more than a few sentences to unpack and then refute.
Then you want us to swallow your line that the veracity of the biblical texts would have been supported if we followed the Wellhausen research, Source Criticism (SC), of 1878. When will you get it? The Graf-Wellhausen SC Documentary Hypothesis (JEDP for authorship of the Pentateuch) has been refuted over and over but your liberal theology keeps on keeping on.
There is internal evidence in the Pentateuch to demonstrate Mosaic authorship and not the 4-source Graf-Wellhausen theory. Space does not permit my going into these, except to say that a serious fallacy of the Hypothesis is that it assumes no part of the Torah was written before the middle of the 9th century BC. This would be the time of the Exile of the Israelites. This flies in the face of archaeological evidence of the last century.
If you continue to promote this kind of theology in your diocese, don’t expect people to flock to your churches. Your views cause people to doubt the authority of Scripture. For a better assessment, I think it’s time for you to engage in discussions with the faculty of Moore College, Sydney, and examine how the Sydney diocese is preventing the kind of decline of your churches. Posted by OzSpen, Thursday, 15 October 2020 8:16:39 AM
4.1 For other promotions of liberalism by Peter Sellick …
Two scholars battle it out over the resurrection
Resurrection: the vindication of the Christ
A former dean of St George’s cathedral runs afoul of the evangelicals
The second person of the Trinity: the Son
Who is responsible for the death of God?
This article shows you how to white ant your church.
If you want to ruin a Christian denomination and empty its churches, eliminate biblical authority from the pulpit and in Bible studies by the promotion of theological liberalism. Use the Sellick line: ‘Christian belief for many was mortally damaged since central texts were found to be mythical and hence untrustworthy. The word “mythical” was taken to refer to the unreal, the pretend’.
See my refutation of Sellick’s view in: The Bible: fairy tale or history?
Also, see my articles:
- Welcome to ho-hum Christianity!
- Controversies from conception to crucifixion
- Using Jesus’ resurrection to promote liberal theology
- The Internet: A great place to promote false doctrine
- George Carey on Anglican demise in UK
- Damning evidence against theological liberalism
- Spong promotes salvation viruses called ‘offensive’ and ‘anathema’
- How to destroy a Christian denomination
- Christianity in free fall: the Toronto blessing
- JEDP Documentary Hypothesis refuted
- Spong’s deadly Christianity
- John Shelby Spong and the Churches of Christ (Victoria, Australia)
- The Gospel Distortion: A reply to John Shelby Spong 
- Spong’s swan song — at last! 
- Is liberal theology heresy?
6. Works consulted
Bouma, G D 2017. Census 2016 shows Australia’s changing religious profile, with more ‘nones’ than Catholics. The Conversation (online), 27 June. Available at: https://theconversation.com/census-2016-shows-australias-changing-religious-profile-with-more-nones-than-catholics-79837 (Accessed 3 July 2018).
Bowden, P 2017. A Christian church. On Line Opinion (online), 22 February. Available at: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18856 (Accessed 11 December 2018).
Sandeman, J 2017. Decision time for Uniting Church in Australia. Eternity (online), 16 June. Available at: https://www.eternitynews.com.au/in-depth/decision-time-for-uniting-church-in-australia/ (Accessed 3 July 2018).
 Bowden (2017).
 Eternity is published by the Bible Society Australia and is a national news service for Australian Christians’. Available at: https://www.eternitynews.com.au/about/ (Accessed 11 December 2018).
 His Christian name is Julius. See Encyclopaedia Britannica (2020. s.v. Julius Wellhausen).
 Available at: https://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=21147&page=2 (Accessed 17 October 2020).
Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 17 October 2020.