The other day I was asked to read the Bible. Now, I’m a big fan of reading the Bible. But I declined. Why?
Well, this wasn’t any ordinary reading of the Bible, privately, in a small group, or in a local ‘church’. This was the Bible Reading Marathon 2021, a public reading in front of Parliament House.
This might be OK if that was the extent of it, but it wasn’t: there were to be prayers offered and it is organised by an entity called Canberra House of Prayer for All Nations (C-HOP). And I have an issue with both.
Not only this, but the C-HOP website reveals a complicated operating structure. On the ‘About C-HOP’ page, it says that C-HOP has a ‘Board of Reference’:
Just under this there is a second entity introduced, Mountain of Blessing Ministries Pty Ltd:
It is highly likely that this is the company Mountain of Blessing Christian Ministries Pty Limited. Again, this is not a charity, so not entitled to any tax concessions (and therefore liable to pay income tax):
Perhaps it has no income, and just acts as a trustee. For if you respond to the invitation to donate, the money goes to yet a third entity in the C-HOP structure, the ‘Prayer Worx Trust’:
‘MBCM’ most likely stands for ‘Mountain of Blessing Christian Ministries’ (see above), but nowhere is there anything on the website to confirm this.
And nowhere is the relationship between the organiser of the Bible Reading Marathon 2021, C-HOP, and ‘Prayer Worx’ explained.
The bottom line is that I don’t have to read my Bible again to know that this setup and its explanation is inconsistent with what the Author wants.
But even if they had their governance and transparency right, I would still have an issue with the organisers of this ‘Marathon’.
C-HOP’s existence, and the prayer part of the Bible Reading Marathon, is based on a misunderstanding of Scripture:
Isaiah 56:7 is not an instruction for us today. Whether they are in their ‘house’ or at Parliament House, C-HOP are not the house of God. We, born again Christians are, individually, the house of God:
3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,”[a] bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory [Hebrews 3:3-6, NIV].
A personal relationship with God, wherever we are, has replaced a mediated relationship in a physical structure.
I also did not need to read my Bible again to get my second objection.
The prayers are to include prayer for Canberra and Australia:
I do not believe there is Scriptural support for any action by a Christian, and therefore by extension, a Christ-led organisation, to promote a nation or nationalism. (1 Peter 2:9 is talking to the local church, the ecclesia, not Australia or any other nation.)
John the Baptist announced a new nation, and this nation, the kingdom of God, is the only nation to which we, as Christians, owe allegiance.
Let’s get……..Back to The Gospel.
- Karen Boss is a director of the registered Canberra charity Christian Faith and Freedom Inc. Lilian Schmid is the National Coordinator for ‘Prayer Strategy for the Spheres of Influence’. Not an entity, but appears not to seek donations.Isaac and Linda Arthur are two of the directors of the registered Canberra charity Abundant Life of Faith International Ministries Incorporated.Sue Miller says that she is still the Senior Pastor of Northside Life Church in Canberra. This Church is a registered Canberra charity. She is also one of the five directors of this charity. ↑
- I am also uneasy about the fact that the reading will be a public reading. C-HOP gives this support:‘Public reading’ here refers to the reading of Scripture in a synagogue or local church. ↑