To Everything There is a Season: Deifying our Neighbour Isn’t One of Them


Not including those who spewed out vitriol, abuse, intimidation and violence, congratulations to the Yes supporters. Australia has voted. 7.81 million (61.6%) said Yes to SSM – 4.87 million (38.4%) said No, and another 3.28 million Australians were like, “meh; I don’t really care.”

If Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnball, is serious about fairness, he’ll preserve the right to a conscientious objection to SSM, the right for people to hold the view and teach their kids that marriage is between a man and a woman, and the right for those children to have equal access to their biological father and mother.

As I have hopefully made clear in the written contributions I’ve made to this national debate, I see the issues as a matter of social justice. The “no” vote has been about defending truth, liberty, fraternity, science, and even equality from unbalanced ideological servitude.

The State wants the Church to stay out of politics, but the Church is being encroached on by the State. The people want the Church to stay out of politics, but they paint their political slogans on church walls, violently interfere with gatherings and misuse the Bible to manipulate or bash Christians into submission. The people want the Church to stay out of politics, but they bring politics into the Church, demanding a pledge of allegiance to systems that perpetuate hatred and inequality behind a veil of tolerance, love and equality.

None of this is new; it’s the very same thing that was perpetuated by Nazis and Communists, as French theologian and Marxist scholar Jacques Ellul noted:

“But I’ve heard such talk a thousand times, from fascists as well as Stalinists: ‘You have no right to judge from the outside; first you must join up, sympathize totally with our aims, and then you can talk.’ BUT that is just when one can no longer say anything! The experience of those who looked horrified, in hindsight, on Hitler’s or Stalin’s time confirms this: ‘How could we have taken part in that?’ they ask.”

(Ellul, Jesus & Marx 1988:146) [i]

It’s a clear double standard when the LGBTQ and their supporters can freely criticise and push others to refuse service to those who disagree, then turn around and deny those in disagreement the right to the same free speech and freedom of conscience. That’s not equality.

The line is blurring. Christians who support SSM have confused love of God with love of neighbour, and as such have compromised their neighbour through a false (Marxist/materialist) claim that says we should place love for neighbour over and above God.

This is what is called horizontal theology. It is grounded in the errors and perversity of natural theology, the implicit claim that by blindly loving our neighbour we can reach God through our neighbour. This encourages me to treat my neighbour as though that neighbour was a second revelation of God. These are the kind of ideas that lead to the false worship of kings, rulers, prophets and objects throughout history. In short, the creature is worshipped in place of the Creator, because the Creator has been confused with His creature.

We are to be Christlike in our treatment of our neighbour, to have Christ in mind when we go to serve our neighbour, but we are grossly mistaken if we think that Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:40, “…as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me,” means that our neighbour replaces Christ.

This misunderstanding leads to works-righteousness. It leads us away from the righteousness of God that is graciously placed on us by the dynamic love of God, grace that is active, free and sufficient in the work carried out by the obedience of Jesus Christ.

We reject grace when we reject Christ and put our neighbour in His place. This is because we reject God’s invitation to relationship. It denies God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, “who is the way, the truth and the life,” [ii], and it denies the fact that life with God begins with God with us. Christless Christianity is an oxymoron.

Love is not love, God is love. That “they will know us by our love,” [iii] is true, but that love involves the freedom to give both a reasoned “yes” and “no”. The alternative view confuses love with niceness, sloth and indifference.

What this does is turn Christianity into a numb universal ethic of niceness – a lukewarm empty shell, a stoic idol built to reflect and cater to the feelings of men and women.

The ethic of universal niceness is false and incompatible with a thinking faith that commands us to have no god before God; to “test all things, and hold fast to the good,” [iv], to discern and ultimately lean not “on our own understanding, but on God.” (Proverbs 3:5-7). To lean not on an abstract or vague idea of God, nor on a god created by human imagination, but on the tangible gracious grip of God, as the One who grasps us and testifies to us about Himself in space and time, through covenant and in Jesus the Christ.

Faith seeks understanding.

Our response to this is found in prayer and gratitude. Actions grounded in word, deed and attitude that reciprocates God’s selfless movement towards us, in covenant, manger, cross, empty tomb and beyond.

Being super nice has the veneer of Christian love, but it’s moral therapeutic deism at best, and practical atheism (Christianity in name only) at worst. This is the kind of thing that fed the blood and soil ideology of Nazism, and the Marxist “deification of the poor, over against THE POOR One” (Ellul, 1988), through the dictatorship of the proletariat. Not that we should ignore the poor, but that we shouldn’t deify them to further the self-interests of those who take it upon themselves to designate who the oppressed and the oppressors are. “For all have fallen short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23).

For the “no” voters, there will be a need to take time to grieve.

Then there will be a need to catch our breath, rise and once again say to the world that we refuse to surrender or kneel before anyone but God, and His revelation in Jesus Christ.

To once again say to the world that love of neighbour is not love of God, nor should we confuse the two. For to do so is to make a god of our neighbour, and to make love for neighbour the means of salvation. Love of neighbour is grounded on and in our love of God; without the latter we are not free, and therefore cannot truly do the former. We will be doomed to serving our own selfish interests.

Jesus is the way; tolerance isn’t. Jesus is the way; “love is love” isn’t. Jesus is the way means that no man or woman, good work or intention, super niceness or feeling is or can be. The true path to freedom, the only path to salvation, is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. This cannot be reversed. It is decisive. The path is set. #bewaretheauctioneers

In light of the changes to come, Christians are to do what they are called to do, centre everything in Jesus Christ. To lay every issue before the cross, following Paul’s words in Romans 12, clinging especially to those which encourage us to “…rejoice in hope, be patient in trial, be constant in prayer.”

Kyrie Eleison.

This article was originally published at


[i] Ellul, J. 1988 Jesus & Marx: From Gospel to Ideology, Wipf and Stock Publishers.

[ii] John 14:6, ESV.

[iii] John 13:35 & Matthew 7:16 ESV.

[iv] 1 Thess. 5:21, 1 Corinthians 14:29, 1 John 4:1 ESV.