Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Deity of Christ

In the last couple of months I have met a couple of Jehovah’s witnesses, with whom in an ordinary conversation they could not help but take issue with my belief in the Trinity and particularly of the deity of Christ.

So this is a blog post written to strengthen our understanding of Jesus’ deity, in particular why our position makes much more sense of the Bible than the teaching of Jehovah’s witnesses, and hopefully if there any Jehovah’s witnesses who are reading this, maybe they could consider if they need to do a bit more thinking about their own position.

Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that God is not interested as being worshipped Father, Son and Holy Spirit but more interested in being called by his name Jehovah:

Well, I could say a lot of things here, but probably the first is that Jehovah / Yahweh (YHWH) is not really a proper name as such. It is not like Bryan, or Sally. He is not like us who can be finicky about liking being called by a particular name. Yahweh just means “He is”. It goes back to the event when Moses asked God what name he should give the Israelites should they ask for a name (Exodus 3:13-14). God does not say, “I am Yahweh” (i.e. I am “He is”) but he says “I am whom Ehyeh” (i.e. I am who I am). So that means that “Yahweh” is testimony to the fact that God DID NOT provide a proper name like Billy or John.

Or, in other words, Yahweh is not a proper name as such. Indeed, as names were – that which revealed the full character of a being (e.g. see Genesis 2:19 – when Adam names each creature because he is at that point the master of the world and knows the essence of each being), no name that we could utter could reveal God’s full character, so we were left with this name. (Interestingly that is probably why Jesus has a name we do not know as well – Revelation 19:12. To know his name would be to know the whole nature of his being, which, if being God, is unknown to us.)

What Yahweh (“He is”) reveals about God is that he is a being without needing anything else… hinting at his aseity and eternity and holiness. “He is / I am” in the context of Exodus 3 was also a reference to the covenant making God as well – who revealed himself as God who said “I am the God of Abraham… Isaac… and Jacob” (Exodus 3:6).

So how did the God of the universe choose to reveal himself and be called by in the Old Testament? By a name, not being a proper name that revealed his whole being, but a name that revealed his aseity, that is, his non-dependence, his eternal nature, his complete otherness, but the God who chose to bind himself by covenant to these particular people.

The second point in this, is that even as God revealed himself as Jehovah / Yahweh in the OT, we have the NT where we see God revealed supremely (and even completely) through the Son.

That is, the one true God, Yahweh chooses to reveal himself not as a singularity, but as a plurality – through his Son – something we see as an important part of John’s Gospel. Not even counting the disputed verse (John 1:1 – where Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the Word was a god rather God – and they are wrong on this), Jesus is said to be the one who was in the beginning with God the father (John 1:1-2). He is the Word of God in that he communicates God’s very being: “No one has seen God but the only God, who was at the Father’s side has made him known” (John 1:18). Jesus cries out and says “whoever sees me sees him who sent me” (John 12:45). And there is of course the famous verse where after Philip has asked Jesus to show him the father, Jesus replies “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). It is not that Jesus is the Father, but that Jesus’ very mission here on earth is a communicatory mission about God, the Father. That is know Jesus, we know God. (See also Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:3)

Tellingly, John even tells us that Jesus revealed the father’s name as well! Jesus, in his famous prayer in John 17, says “I have manifested your name” (John 17:6) and “I have I made known to them your name” (John 17:26). No where in all the Gospel of John (or elsewhere) has Jesus revealed to the people that God’s name is Jehovah and this is how he is to be called. Rather, what this means is that he revealed to them the very nature of God by his own ministry. All that he has done has revealed the father –being the name of the father.

But this takes us to perhaps the most important point. What was it that Jesus needed to reveal about the father in addition to what was already revealed in the OT? In John 1:16, the apostle John says “from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” and in John 1:12: “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” We needed Jesus to reveal the superlative and stupendous grace of God. God gave a sinful world a way to be his very own children. This was not revealed much at all through the Old Testament, except to point to a grace that was yet to come (Romans 3:21), but it is only when the Son was revealed that we could understand how this Yahweh, this holy, transcendent, utterly holy and other, non-dependent God could bring us to himself and enjoy us as his very own children.

Jesus’ ministry revealed to us God’s super-abounding love. And none but God-come-in-the-flesh could reveal God’s own supreme love the way that Jesus did – a love so deep that would be willing to die a shameful death at the hands of sinful men so that we could be called children of God.

Of course that could take us to another point – that the very reason why Jesus came to earth was that we could participate in the love of God that God-in-himself experienced before the world began. The son of God was sent, so that by the son’s spirit we could be made sons of God with him (Galatians 4:6). But that is a point for another day.

Suffice to say that Jesus’ ministry revealed to us something that the old name “Jehovah” could not by itself reveal. The name “Jehovah” could not show how gracious this God is. We needed Jesus for that. And now to honour God as he has revealed himself and now wants to be related is by relating to him AS his children… seeing Him as our father. We honour God by recognising the sacrificial love that made his enemies his very own children and it pleases him that we now call him – not by the distant name of Jehovah – but as Abba… Father! (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6)

Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Jesus cannot be equal to his father since Jesus came as a ransom for Adam. That is, if a ransom paid is usually of lesser or equal value paid to free the thing ransomed, then Jesus must be of equal or lesser value to Adam whom he ransomed. 

I heard this argument from the latest of Jehovah’s witness I met, and I can’t see how this argument can be really sustained biblically. In fact, it rather shows up how poor Jehovah’s Witness exegesis is. It also demonstrates that a biblical analogy can only be pressed with certainty to the extent that the Bible itself presses it. Take for example, the fact that we are called God’s servants. It can be said that by being God’s servants we should therefore only expect to be used as servants and given a servant’s privileges of no more than a daily wage (and no inheritance). But we also much more as well. We are adopted as sons, given a glorious inheritance AND we still God’s servants. Jesus is a ransom, but not merely a ransom.

If the Bible said that he was merely a ransom, then yes that might be something to be seriously considered when thinking about Jesus’ value. But we need to remember that the way the Bible speaks about Jesus being a ransom is not that he was an equal or lesser value of the thing that was redeemed, but simply the price paid so that we could can be freed.

But one more thing can be said about this argument. Jesus did not ransom just Adam. He ransomed all of Adam’s children. So how much more worth must be! In Romans 5:12-21 Paul makes the point that whereas the effects of sin meant that death spread to all men, death being the just desserts of sin, the one gift of grace through Jesus Christ was enough to not only reverse the just punishment of all, but push them into the realm of righteousness. And this is not just Adam but all his children. This is not just staggering because of the number of people that this one gift of grace had to cover, but it also further outstanding because it has (1) reversed what was just and deserved – that is, condemnation and death, and (2) brought us something completely underserved – righteousness and life.

It is a bit like a massive freight truck rolling down a hill without a brake. The natural end of that is big mess at the bottom of the hill (and natural justice would have meant for us a big mess too!), but the one gift of grace through Jesus Christ not only stopped the truck but made it roll back up the hill and then further – up the top of the mountain. Jesus’ greatness is matchless, staggering, awesome.

One need only read the book of Hebrews to understand the how the greatness of Jesus is described over and over again. He is the second Adam but not just another Adam.

Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Jesus cannot be equal to his father because the father having authority, sent the son. If I send my son to the shops it shows that I am greater.

Yes, if I send my son to the shops, then it does show that I have exercised the role of someone greater in authority, which Jesus points out as well (John 14:28). But a role of greater authority does not necessitate more greatness in being. (Indeed, I do not even consider myself a greater being than my son.)

It is a little like men and women in marriage. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:3 that “the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” If a husband can be the head of the household and have authority over his wife (Ephesians 5:22–23), then do we say that the man must be of greater value? That he must be a greater being? By no means! Rather it is simply the role we play in God’s creation.

More analogies can be thought here as well. E.g. is a coach higher value than a player because he sends him out on the field and instructs him what to do? The player might even say that the coach is greater than he (in the kind of authority he exercises), but Messi is surely not of lesser value than whoever his coach is.

Indeed, Jehovah’s witnesses need to also contend with many passages that speak of the greatness of the son, being even equal to the father. In Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes: “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped…” (Philippians 2:6–7). We know that God will not share his glory with another (Isaiah 42:8), yet Jesus prays of the father: “Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5). And in Revelation 5, Jesus is worshipped and adored just as the father is in Revelation 4, worshipped and adored along with the father.

Greater authority in a role does not mean greater in value.

Jehovah’s witnesses claim that they have read the Bible and cannot come to any other conclusion.

I can understand that you can read the Bible and come to the initial conclusion that Jesus may be a lesser being than the father. I can understand how you could be troubled by such a concept as the Trinity because it can sound like polytheism. I can understand how you could begin the journey of being a Christian and not understand how Jesus could be God. Indeed, this is how I started as well. But to rule out the possibility that Scriptures could actually teach that Jesus is on par with God without in the slightest reducing the father or teaching polytheism would be to be rather obstinate with the Scriptures.

I wonder if you’ve ever underestimated a person but that person turned out to be much more than what he seemed to be in the beginning? Why would we not afford the same open-mindedness about Jesus? Why would we not exercise a suspension of disbelief if the Scriptures suggested otherwise?

To believe that Jesus is less than God is easy. But the belief that Jesus is God is not (indeed how could it be given the monotheistic nature of the OT). But it is a necessary conclusion taking into consideration all the biblical data of the NT.

Trinitarian belief was not decided upon by the church in later centuries via creeds, but was recognised because the church was challenged by heretical beliefs about the person of Christ. Creeds were the church’s way to state the biblical position in no uncertain terms following controversy.

Jehovah’s witnesses are admirably monotheists, but so are orthodox Christians.

We believe in one God in three persons. We are Trinitarian not by choice, but because we have seen that is only way you can hold to the whole revelation of Scripture. It is the only honest position one can come to if you hold that ALL of the Scriptures are true, and do not discard various portions of it in favour of others. But happily, it makes sense as well! It makes beautiful sense of the kind of salvation we have and the whole reason for why God redeemed the world through the Son: that we might enjoy the kind of love that God himself enjoyed from the beginning. The three-ness of God in this understanding does no injury to the one-ness of God.

Same Sex Marriage and the 2017 survey

These questions and answers were provided informal Q&A sessions held during normal growth group time at Kempsey and South West Rocks on the 13th and 14th of September.

I have posted them here for the benefit of our congregation. If you think I have gotten some of the material from other people – you are probably right! I can’t remember all that much where I’ve heard what from.

 

  1. Why are we having this vote at all?

Three is a long history to calling this vote. In 2004 the Howard Government amended the 1961 marriage act to make the legislation explicit about who the parties of marriage were between: a man and woman. That bill sailed through parliament. At that time though there were some rumblings about changing the definition of marriage in Australian society, that view was largely not prevalent. However, society’s view has changed quite rapidly since then. Polls have repeatedly showed for its support in Australia generally, and perhaps the main reason it has not already been legalised is because of Tony Abbot’s strong objections towards it. He forced his party members to hold firm to the party line of not allowing same-sex marriage (i.e, he did not allow private member’s bills calling for a conscience vote) but forced the Liberal Party to go through the means of a plebiscite before allowing the Parliament to vote. The Turnbull government, succeeding from the Abbott government has chosen to honour that election promise by at least using a postal survey, since the plebiscite was blocked by Senate.

  1. What are we actually voting for?

The exact question is:

“Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” Yes / No

The Turnbull government has promised that if the vote returns a majority “NO” then no bill will be presented to Parliament, but if so, then a private-member’s bill will be allowed.

  1. What does the Bible actually say about homosexuality and homosexual marriage

Individual Bible passages

Romans 1:24-27. Some commentators have said that this passage does not explicitly condemn same-sex unions but homosexual unions that have occurred outside a committed-homosexual relationship. To be fair verse 24 talks about the “lusts of their hearts to impurity” and verse 26 to “dishonourable passions”. Perhaps this is about adulterous relationships outside committed partnerships.

But ultimately, this is not a very widely held view among biblical scholars, and requires special pleading that somehow what Paul didn’t have in mind homosexuality in general.

Such a view also very clearly neglects the text. The passage is a condemnation about the human condition and its desire to pursue even things contrary to nature. If Paul was talking about adultery from committed relationships – then surely he would talk about that! But these unions are contrasted with male and female unions; unions that are clearly not “contrary to nature” (V26).

Rom 1:26-27

For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

1 Timothy 1:8-10

Bible as a narrative arc

But what is perhaps most persuasive is if we read the Bible as a story from the beginning. Genesis clearly shows that there is a certain design for creation – including their sexuality. He gives the woman to the man, and this is so that they can fulfil his creation mandate to multiply and fill the earth (Gen 1:28).

The fall of man occurs in chapter 3 when they defy God’s created order and wisdom – and that is when sin enters and with it all manner of things outside God’s design for his people. Murder occurs in the very next chapter. The flood comes to obliterate people in Genesis 6. When the people of Sodom engage in homosexual rape – yes – they are condemned and judged for the rape since their behaviour in not accepting guests was heinous. However, it would be a grave error not to think that their homosexuality was somehow within the bounds of what was clearly the ideal presented in Genesis 1 and 2. The extent of how far gone they are must also be seen in the type of unions they chose to be acceptable.

  1. What about the rights of the LBGT community?

It has been said that the LGBT community suffers from being excluded from several rights that being married enjoys. But let’s be clear, this debate is not about rights.

I would suggest that it is even disingenuous to say it’s about rights at all. If it were then any lack of rights (of which I do not know of any due to anti-discrimination laws and current laws regarding de-facto couples as basically married) could be achieved by introducing a legal arrangement called a “civil union” similar to how they are recognised in Europe. Also, I think most people who support the traditional view of marriage would support such a case for these rights.

This is all about recognition. Same-sex couples want their unions to be allowed to be also called marriages. They don’t want it to be called a civil union because it doesn’t fit with their desire of equal societal-recognition.

The right for their “love” to be called marriage totally misses the point about why the Government cares about marriages at all. It isn’t about love, but about regulating what is generally known to be essential is holding society together. The family structure that is most conducive to raising the next generation of citizens with minimal cost to society.

  1. Shouldn’t Christians just stay out of politics? Like isn’t there a separation of church and state? Why should we want to legislate something that will force people into submitting to our peculiar view of the world?

 

  • As a liberal democracy we are invited into the political process. And our views are just as “invited” as the one who has a non-religious view.
  • Every government at the end of the day is answerable to God

The government is answerable to God because God has installed it, and its job is to uphold justice. They don’t proclaim the gospel but they don’t hinder it.

‘[Governments] are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.’ (Romans 13:4)

  • Government is by nature coercive. When we vote for government we are very nature being involved in the coercive process. It’s inescapable. So it is just a question of what is being coerced.

Blogger Akos Balogh makes the important point:

Justice, by its very nature, is coercive. It forces people to behave in certain ways or face the consequences for not doing so. Governments enforce this justice firstly by laws, which are backed up by the Police, and the Court system. The Bible says that God gives governments a ‘sword’ to ‘bring punishment on the wrongdoer’ (Romans 13:4).

  • Laws embody someone’s beliefs – and whose would you have it be?

Laws also teach society what’s good and just and fair.

As ethicist Andrew T. Walker points out:

The law, like culture, is not static but dynamic and pedagogical. For good or ill, the forces of cultural opinion shape law, but, conversely, the law is an almost-unrivalled force for shaping cultural opinion.’

Jonathan Leeman (9Marks)

If the public square is a battleground of lords…any lawmaker or judge who forbids a so-called religious perspective in the writing of laws…is doing nothing more than clearing a path for the imposition of his or her religion.

  • Marriage is a public good

Marriage is not merely for Christians, but for all people. It was instituted in the beginning by God (not the church and certainly not by even government). It is regulated by the government for the public good, especially to support the most basic structure in society – family.

It is well-documented that a happily married, heterosexual union by far is the most stable unit on which to build a family than any other arrangement. Family structures that exist around other units – whether unmarried de-facto, single-parent with unmarried-live-in partner, are less stable and more conducive to abuse to those most vulnerable in that family – i.e. the children.

Sadly marriage has not had a good run in the past century. About half end in divorce and there is plenty of family break-up. This is happening even among so-called Christians.

Nevertheless, I attribute this more to a result of society believing more in an self-serving view of marriage that is divorced from its original intentions. Marriage is now seen as little more than an icing on the cake to love… a statement of commitment until one feels otherwise.

This is not how it should be. The Christian view of marriage is that marriage is rather about serving the other, and the married-couple together serving the wider community, partly through the training of children to become good citizens.

Nevertheless, even with the saddening trends of how marriage is doing, there is still evidence to suggest that the traditional view of marriage – when the parents are both biologically related to the child – are a better context for raising families than any other family structure. This is yes, an ideal that is becoming further and further hard-to-see, but I think that normalising any other form of family structure will be overall not a positive step for society.

  1. Is there really no evidence that homosexual marriages harms children?
    • The studies that somehow “prove” a homosexual unions do not harm kids are not very conclusive:

Even the academics admit that the “many studies” that show that same-sex parenting produces no-worse outcomes for children are based on lots of small studies that have very little way being able to randomise their data selection. Most studies are on reliant on volunteers to come forward and there is not much way of telling whether they have an “agenda” to want to show their parenting is on-par with others in society. This is freely admitted.

Even when we look at meta-analysis (that supposedly is more reliable because it combines all these smaller studies and makes a larger data set) we need to understand the weakness of this method. They really only look at the variability of past research and they make a judgement on whether that research are all fairly consistent. The underlying assumption is that single stand-alone studies can be weeded out for biases. But it cannot account for a generally consistent bias in a particular direction. And to a fairly sceptical person who thinks that same-sex marriage is a fairly controversial topic and there will be lots of gay/lesbian parents who want to prove that their parenting is no-worse to me is reason enough to suggest that most, if not all, studies should be treated with a level of suspicion.

Further to that, the research freely admits that most of the people who take part in these studies are white, well-educated, and well-off. You can expect children of these gay-lesbian parents to be doing better than average than the average population anyway – and they have not had any real way of accounting for that fact.

  • There’s anecdotal evidence to support the case that such children are being silenced
  • It’s framed in the negative and the bar is very low. Rather we need to ask what is the best family-structure for which to raise children:

First, research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes than do children in intact families headed by two biological parents. – Kristin Anderson Moore, Susan M. Jekielek and Carol Emig, “Marriage from a Child’s Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can We Do about It?”, Child Trends Research Brief, June 2002.

  • What will actually change if the “yes” vote gets up?

Re: societal changes

I agree there is no direct logical relationship between SSM and the Safe Schools program.

But imagine this: we as a society has redefined marriage. 20 years from now the new normal (that families no longer need a mum and dad) is accepted. In fact, talking about such families as “abnormal” is no longer tolerated. It is political and social orthodoxy that it doesn’t matter what gender the parents are – and in fact they don’t need to identify with a gender at all! And of course there is no “normal” kind of sexuality.

Now, if that is what will be the norm, you can see that it will not take much more effort for society to be able to teach its children that there is no normal with regard to one’s gender and sexuality. Don’t let people tell you who you’re supposed that “because you’re a boy you must marry a girl”. No… decide what gender you are for yourself, and decide who you what sexuality you identify with.

Now of course we need to be sensitive to the fact that there are many in the LGBT community who ONLY want SSM, and nothing else, but it would be flawed to say that SSM is just about them. SSM is a step closer to a radically new kind of society, one in which freedom of sexual expression is the pinnacle of liberty – and that is what the LGBT lobby and many cultural elites want today.

Religious freedom changes

And this of course has repercussions to religious freedom as well.

We as a country do not have explicit laws protecting religious freedom as the Unites States does (e.g. 1st amendment).

We already witness huge intolerance against religious institutions. Advocates for traditional marriage are already taken to anti-discrimination tribunals. Such intolerance will only become more entrenched. For a society that already believes that the church’s teaching on abstinence and marriage-for-life is outdated and even dangerously repressive, what will happen when the bill is passed and this view is strengthened by our law as well?

Now when the bill gets passed, hopefully we will have some religious freedom explicitly given to include more than just clergy. E.g. What about Christian Schools? How will they be able to continue being exclusive in their education that marriage is between a man and woman to the exclusion of all else?

But the fact remains is that you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be greater and greater pushes for churches do away with legal protections (currently existing or not) against people with minority views.

  1. Final comments
  • We are not anti-homosexual marriage so much as we are pro-marriage in its healthiest God-given state
  • We are not fighting against flesh and blood – but against cosmic powers (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore let us not vent our anger at people.
  • We need to know why are fighting for. It’s easy to judge the world and point out its faults. We are ultimately fighting for souls. I am worried that our fight will be seen to be a fight against people, judging people, rather than a fight for good – and ultimately a fight that people might know the Lord who even gave us mercy.

 

Voting at the Federal Elections 2016

Voting at the Federal Elections 2016 

(Distributed as an article at church 26 June 2016)

Dear congregation,

I thought it necessary that I should give some food for thought as you prayerfully think about how you will vote in the 2016 Federal Election.

Firstly, I want to talk about politics in the Bible. Israel was a political theocracy (meaning that God was recognised as head of state). The new Israel is the church, where God is still the head of our state (i.e. the kingdom of God), but it is no longer tied down to a discrete land but is spread within all the nations of the world.

The lack of direct involvement in the world’s politics is most evident with Jesus. I think it quite telling that although the Roman occupation in Israel was the hottest issue of the time, Jesus’ was rather silent about the matter. When asked about paying taxes to Caesar he simply replied, “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s (Matt 22:21).” Perhaps most tellingly, he responded to Pilate that, “My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).” The biggest political issue for Jesus (as it should be for us) is always the Kingdom of God, which is coming and is about to come to bring ultimate justice and righteousness. So you won’t find me talking a great deal about politics of the world. This church will be always mostly about the submitting to the just and good rule of God through Jesus Christ in whatever political climate we live in. (By the way, what this also means is that we are not really a Christian nation as such. We never have been and never will be this side of eternity, but of course that is not to say Christians have not exerted significant influence in the past, and may it still be! However, we can’t really think to ever be able to “restore” a Christian-nation as such. Our kingdom is still coming.)

Nevertheless, we need to talk about not just politics in the Bible but also biblical politics. The Bible has something to say about the politics of the day. Furthermore, as opposed to the first century where all Christians were to simply submit to the then authorities with no say on who those authorities should be, we on the other hand, have a say. We have both a privilege and a duty to be involved in that process. So what does this mean? We should joyfully and dutifully engage in the process of taking part in building a government for this country. After all, every governing authority is ultimately accountable to God, and the more righteous the laws of a country are, the more it will reflect God’s good rule which is beneficial for all.

All these things mean that we should to resist the tide of political apathy that seems to be affecting the majority of the nation. This might mean that we consider projecting a “political voice” in the public sphere by voting for a “Christian” party (e.g. Christian Democrats. See the Jefferies for more information if you want to help them at polling booths etc.). But what it will certainly mean that we should be thinking hard about which political party demonstrates the character and competence to govern For example, do they have a coherent and credible system of policies that will be good for economics, defence, education, health, social issues (e.g. their policies on marriage redefinition), immigration, foreign aid, environment, etc? The reality is that no political party will match all our desires so of course we need to exercise godly wisdom.

I have my own views on where the major issues lie, who should govern and how one should vote. But more than telling you what my views are, I am more interested that we are each growing in godly wisdom and putting all things in the right perspective. And ultimately, whatever the make-up of Parliament is, we must remember that God has placed them there, God commands us to submit to them (Rom 13:1), but we have an even greater king who is above them.

Your brother in Christ,

Bryan Kim

P.S. You may also want to check out Vote Compass on the ABC website to know where you stand on the political spectrum, and the current edition of the Pulse magazine to understand where the church’s stand in the marriage issue.