Evangelism is under attack in Australia

By June 17, 2005

Australia (MNN) — Evangelical Christianity is under attack in Victoria, Australia. It started with two pastors going to court for saying things against Muslims. Now, a prison inmate, who practices witchcraft, has brought a lawsuit against the Salvation Army for their Alpha course that helps inmates understand the Gospel, but also speaks against witchcraft.

The suit was made possible under Victoria’s 2001 Racial and Religious intolerance Act, which outlaws religious vilification.

Salt Shakers Executive Officer Peter Stokes says, “The Alpha people, also the Salvation Army have lodged what they call a strike out motion, claiming his case is irrelevant and should be struck out.”

Robin Fletcher, who is a convicted sex offender, wants the Bible-based Alpha course removed from the prison because it condemns witchcraft.

This comes after two pastors were convicted of vilifying Islam, but they’re still waiting their punishment, which was expected weeks ago.

Stokes says, “In many ways (Christians) allowed the water to run under the bridge of apathy. We’ve not taken notice of what’s been going on around us. The Christians have just sort of hibernated in their churches and not understood what’s going on in the community.”

Many Christians thought the legislation was more of a human rights law and ignored it. Stokes says, “We said right at the beginning, this would affect evangelism. And, low and behold, praise God this case was brought which clearly affects evangelism. And, I think it’s God’s message to the church.”

Stokes believes this could be a turning point for seeing this law overturned, but, “I can’t ask people to pray that the case be dismissed because in fact I think there’s a lot more waking up to be done. And, for this case to go on at least a little while longer will show people that Christianity is under threat.”

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