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STUDENTS SET FOR RADICAL 21ST CENTURY CURRICULUM

By Australian Newsletter

Australian students are set to be taught fashionable but contentious 21st-century skills, ranging from critical and creative thinking through to “mindfulness”, “gratitude” and “resilience”, with moves under way for a radical redesign of the national curriculum. The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has started a review of the curriculum that is understood to draw heavily on the recent Gonski review, an OECD future of education project and the work of a US-based “futurist” who has been contracted to help “modernise” the mathematics curriculum.

The push has attracted criticism from ACARA’s recently retired chairman, Steven Schwartz.  “The 21st-century skills movement is the latest in a long line of educational fads,” Professor Schwartz said. “In each case, early enthusiasm gave way to disillusion. The problem is always the same: children cannot learn to be critical thinkers until they have actually learned something to think about.” ACARA chief executive Robert Randall alluded to the review during a recent University of NSW lecture. He revealed the next iteration of the curriculum would be out within two years.

It is understood work is centred on two objectives: bringing 21st-century skills, known as “soft skills” and “generic competencies”, to the fore of what is taught in classrooms; and incorporating equally contentious learning progressions that have been linked to a proposal to replace student achievement, including A-E grades, with “gain” as a measure of a student’s success. Both were endorsed by businessman David Gonski in his recent review into educational excellence. Former ACARA director of curriculum Fiona Mueller, who resigned late last year after two years in the role, exposed the review in a recent online opinion article.

She lamented the “fixation on 21st-century competencies” and “lack of broadminded, transparent and objective leadership on the part of local decision makers”. Approached by The Weekend Australian, Dr Mueller said she was concerned that work under way amounted to a redesign of the curriculum by stealth. “You might call it a rather stealthy shift in approach, and the implications for students, teachers and other stakeholders are absolutely enormous,” she said. “What they are talking about is actually another radical shift in teaching and learning.”

Despite ACARA’s frequent assurances that any changes to the two-year-old curriculum would be “refinements”, it recently commissioned the US-based Centre for Curriculum Redesign, headed by self-described education thought leader and futurist Charles Fadel, to work on a new maths curriculum. It was referred to on ACARA’s website in July under the obscure heading “Australian Curriculum: Mathematics recognised as global leader”. A media release reveals the project would lead to the creation of a “world-class mathematics curriculum” that paid explicit attention to “21st century competencies” addressing the “learning needs of students for life and work in the 21st century”.

Mr Randall was quoted as saying that the project would be used to “inform any future refinement to the Australian curriculum in mathematics and to help guide improvement to ACARA’s overall curriculum design and development process”. Hailed by many as a panacea to declining educational results, both locally and when compared with international counterparts, the general capabilities received a big tick in the Gonski report, which described them as “critical to equipping students with the skills necessary to successfully live and work in a changing world and are increasingly sought after by employers”.

Positioned in the national curriculum with eight core learning areas, such as English, maths, science and history, there are seven general capabilities: literacy, numeracy, ICT capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, intercultural understanding and ethical understanding. Australian Catholic University research fellow Kevin Donnelly, a former secondary school principal who conducted the government’s 2014 review of the curriculum, said the push to elevate the role of skills and capabilities in education was a worldwide trend, driven by “globalist groupthink” about “changing times”.

It is to prepare students “for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems that have not yet been anticipated”. It is also a major theme of the OECD’s Education 2030 position paper, The Future of Education and Skills, in which ACARA was heavily involved. The report, released this year, features a long list of “constructs” of competencies currently under review that could find their way into the curriculum, such as adaptability, compassion, equity, global mindset, gratitude, hope, integrity, motivation, justice, mindfulness, resilience, respect, purposefulness and trust.

“Such competencies represent a content-free approach to the curriculum that is guaranteed to further lower standards and ensure that Australian students continue to underperform and leave schools morally and culturally bereft,” Dr Donnelly said. Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jennifer Buckingham also questioned the push, describing it as “well-intentioned but misguided”. “Of course it is important for young people to be able to collaborate, communicate and think critically and creatively, but there is absolutely nothing new about that,” Dr Buckingham said.

“What is new is the idea that these things can be taught by schools as a set of generic skills or capabilities disconnected from disciplinary knowledge. Good evidence suggest that this is a fool’s errand.” A spokesman for ACARA confirmed that the organisation was engaged in work designed to inform the next generation of the national curriculum, but any action would require the endorsement of all education ministers. The spokesman said that the recommendation in the Gonski report built on ACARA’s recent work in producing literacy and numeracy learning progressions, which “help teachers locate the literacy and numeracy development of their students and identify what development should follow”.

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HILLSONG TO BECOME ITS OWN DENOMINATION

By Australian Newsletter

Citing the growing global nature of the church, Brian Houston, global senior pastor of the popular Hillsong Church, has announced a split from Australia’s largest Pentecostal denomination to become a denomination of its own. Since their inception, Hillsong Church has been a part of the Australian Christian Churches (ACC), a branch of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, which is the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world. In a recent letter to the ACC, Houston said Hillsong’s operation as a church had outgrown the capacity of the ACC.

As Hillsong Church has continued to grow, we no longer see ourselves as an Australian Church with a global footprint, but rather a Global church with an Australian base, our global office now resides in the USA. Two thirds of the people attending Hillsong Church each weekend live in countries beyond Australia. We have pastoral staff in twenty-four nations around the world, representing 123 campuses and locations, with 263 different church services on any given weekend. We consider it to be ‘One House, with many rooms,'” Houston explained in the letter.

“So with that growing footprint, it has become clear that we need to be able to credential our own pastors and restructure our church in a way that enables us to give due diligence to governance, risk, church health, safe church, and many other policies that are crucial to the future progress of Hillsong, globally,” he said. “For this reason, we are now registered by the Australian Department of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, as a recognized denomination with the ability to credential pastors in our own right. This recognition alleviates the issues that would occur if, for example, a concern arises that affects the credential of a Hillsong Church youth pastor in one of our campuses in Europe.

The Australian ACC cannot be expected to have adequate information to address this issue or even know who the person is, let alone the resources to appropriately deal with the issue on a personal or pastoral level.” In an email to the denomination’s pastors, ACC President Wayne Alcorn likened Hillsong’s decision to split from the group to a child growing up. “Recently Hillsong Church advised its desire for a change in its relationship with the ACC. In a way, this can be likened to a child who has grown up and now has a larger life outside the family home,” Alcorn wrote.

In his letter announcing the split, Houston noted that there was no dispute involved in the separation. “I love the ACC and have been a part of this denomination since I was a five year old in New Zealand, and have held a credential in Australia with the AOG/ACC for virtually forty years. I also served as NSW State President for six years, and National President for twelve,” he wrote. “It is a movement I have devoted many years of my adult life to both serving and leading. I believe wholeheartedly that Pastor Wayne Alcorn is doing a wonderful job in leading the movement, and I want to make it clear that we have no grief or dispute at all with the ACC.

Instead, this decision comes after almost two years of prayerful discussion within both our global and Australian church boards.” While Hillsong Church may be splitting from the ACC, it will remain at least in its doctrine, a Pentecostal church with a more contemporary approach to ministry. Notably, Houston has stated earlier this year that he prefers to call Hillsong “contemporary” or “charismatic” more so than “classic Pentecostal.”

Source: Christian Post

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FRANKLIN GRAHAM TO TOUR AUSTRALIA FEBRUARY 2019

By Australian Newsletter

There are so many people in your community and across Australia who don’t know Jesus Christ, and they need your prayers. In February 2019 Franklin Graham will boldly proclaim the Gospel in cities all over Australia and pray with Christians like you at free evangelistic events during the Graham Tour. Before the tour, you are invited to join with other believers from your city at upcoming prayer gatherings and ask God to open hearts throughout this country? We’ll worship and join together in Jesus’ Name to pray that many Australians will come to know Him. Before the meeting, will you lift up people across Sydney in prayer for the Graham Tour?

The first public expression of the 2019 Graham Tour is coming up fast. A prayer rally and Pastors reception will be held on Saturday 13th October and a second prayer gathering on Wednesday 24th October (details below). A Pastors and spouse reception will be held prior to the Prayer Gathering at Hillsong at 5:30pm on 13th October. The prayer rally will begin at 7pm. Hillsong Church will be providing worship and there will be prayers on the night by denominational leaders, as well as the Vice President of Crusades from Billy Graham USA, Rev Viktor Hamm.

Saturday, 13 October
7:00 PM
Hillsong Church Hills Campus
The Hub
1/9 Solent Circuit
Baulkham, NSW 2153
Senior Pastor and Spouse Reception at 5:30 PM
Or
Wednesday, 24 October
12:30 – 1:30 PM
St. Andrews Cathedral
Corner of George and Bathurst Streets
Sydney, NSW 2000

DATES AND LOCATIONS FOR THE 2019 GRAHAM TOUR
Perth: February 9, 2019
Darwin: February13, 2019
Melbourne: February 16, 2019
Brisbane: February 18, 2019
Adelaide: February 20, 2019
Sydney: February 23 – 24, 2019

To find more information on the Graham Tour and discover how your congregation can get involved and to register your Church go to www.GrahamTour.com.au  Also keep an eye out for Facebook events on the Billy Graham Australia Facebook page.  

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MY ANGEL IS NO CENTREFOLD

By Feature Articles

What do Metallica’s James Hetfield, a church pastor and a group of college students have in common?  They’re part of an unlikely alliance raising awareness of the damage pornography is doing. After the death of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, pornography made its way out of the shadows and into the spotlight.  Public response was divided: some saw Hef as a champion of sexual liberation, while others slammed the mogul for destroying lives.  It’s rare that someone’s death divides society so dramatically, but when it comes to the founder of a multi-million-dollar pornography empire it’s no surprise.

Which is why I was shocked when I found the middle ground taken by a church pastor.  And not just any pastor.  It was Craig Gross, the founder of anti-porn movement XXXchurch.  Gross’s entire career is based around the concept that “Jesus Loves Porn Stars”, and he has spoken to countless people in the sex industry about the dangers of pornography and how to overcome addiction.  If anyone was going to glory in this hit to the Playboy Empire, I would expect it to be him.  Gross had taken his own tour of the Playboy mansion years ago and had heard from an inside source that Hef kept a copy of Rick Warren’s faith-based book The Purpose Driven Life beside his bed.

It gave him the congenial respect to post this in response to Hefner’s death: “I don’t know if Hef is looking down on us right now or not, but my faith is just big enough to hold on to the hope that this brilliant mind who started at Esquire and went on to build an empire was smart enough to pick up that Christian book on his shelf and possibly could have found his true purpose.”  Gross’s choice to reach out to those affected by Hugh Hefner’s death rather than dispense morality-based judgment is the calling card of a new generation of anti-porn crusaders.  And while crusaders may sound like strong language, it’s appropriate.

Because this fact-based movement, which listens to people’s stories, observes how porn changes the brain, damages relationships and harms children, believes they are fighting what could be the most damaging drug of our times: pornography.  As in the magazines you used to sneak out of your parents room as a kid.  Except now porn isn’t just in print: it’s online.  And technology has exacerbated porn to the point where it is more efficient, violent, cheaper and more accessible than ever before.  This means young people are increasingly accessing porn, the median age they first see it is 11, and boys aged between 14–17 years are the most frequent under-age consumers of porn.

But porn isn’t just damaging the lives of children, it’s also impacting adults.  In 2006, a study found that 82% of 18–49-year-olds looked at pornographic magazines, 84% viewed pornographic films, and 34% viewed pornography online.  Experts anticipate this has risen in the last decade.  “As porn becomes more violent and degrading, so do the real-life requests of boys and men,” Michelle Brock told Relevant Magazine, reflecting on what she learnt after creating the anti-porn documentary Over 18.  One mum in tears, told us her 14-year-old daughter had been asked by several guys in her class for naked pictures of herself which would then get traded between boys during recess.”

Filmmaker Justin Hunt heard about even more tragic behaviour in children when he was making his film Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly.  Narrated by Metallica front man James Hetfield, the cultural significance of the film is almost unprecedented.  “[Porn is] getting down to very, very young kids and it’s poisoning the roots of community and of family and of society,” Justin tells Warcry.  “We’re not just talking about what the actual act of doing or watching pornography is doing, but how it ripples out.  With technology, a lack of public education, more porn as they get older, then they get into relationships and they expect it to be like that and it’s not.

Then the family falls apart, and it all goes back to way back to when they were looking at porn as kids.”  Addicted to Porn documents the thoughts of experts famously for and against porn, and how porn is perceived by people across the globe.  Notably, it also delves into a heart-wrenching case study of a mother whose marriage to her sweetheart fell apart due to his life-altering addiction to pornographic content.  “She began to explain to me the depth of her husband’s addiction, he wanted to poke his eyes out, because when he looked at her, she felt the projection of all these naked women on her,” Justin shares.

This is a human issue. You don’t have to have a certain set of beliefs to acknowledge that you can’t be pro-porn.  “Previously I couldn’t fathom that would be a reason someone would get divorced, it just became very apparent that this was doing damage, and someone needed to step up and do something about it.”  Pastors, musicians and directors aren’t the only ones stepping into the ring to take on porn, young people around the world have also taken on the fight.  Fight the New Drug, a non-profit, non-religious movement started by a group of college kids in 2009, uses science, facts and personal accounts to educate people about the harmful effects of pornography.

They are adamantly “pro-love and pro-healthy sex” which is why the facts they share are so compelling.  “We want to educate as many people as possible so that they can have a real shot of finding love before porn impacts their lives,” the organisation told Warcry.  “Pornography can rewire reward pathways in the brain and become addictive, contribute to a variety of mental and emotional disorders like depression and anxiety, can warp one’s sexual template and inhibit the ability or desire to connect with a real partner.”  Fight the New Drug aren’t afraid to highlight the connection between porn, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

In fact, they regularly feature blogs about previous porn stars in an effort to destroy the facade that porn is just harmless fun.  “This is a human issue.  You don’t have to have a certain set of beliefs to acknowledge that you can’t be pro-porn,” they say.  “You don’t have to be a woman to recognise that porn is more often than not incredibly degrading and violent against women.  You don’t have to be a man to struggle with pornography.  You don’t have to be any particular race, religion, gender, sexual orientation to care about what the multi-billion-dollar porn industry is doing to our culture.”

Few topics are as polarising as pornography, but wherever you sit, consider this your invitation to learn more.  Because when it comes to the facts, the truth is that temporal pleasure is creating a lifetime of pain for countless people.  To learn more, visit www.fightthenewdrug.org Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly is available now on iTunes.

Source: Warcry (USA)

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ELDER ABUSE RESPONSE RAMPS UP

By Australian Newsletter, Newsletters

ELDER ABUSE RESPONSE RAMPS UP

Council of the Aging (COTA) has called elder abuse an epidemic in Australia.

They suggest rates of abuse could be as high as 10% of older Australians.  Let that figure sink in for a minute. The Australian Christian Lobby applauds any program willing to protect and educate the elderly and the wider community on this important topic. In Tasmania a joint initiative by COTA and Legal Aid begun last year offering monthly free legal appointments to help older Tasmanians avoid the pitfalls of elder abuse.  The service is an excellent complement to the Tasmanian Elder Abuse Hotline which was started in 2012 and fields around 30 calls a month. Over 80% of elder abuse in Australia is perpetrated by an immediate family member.

Many older folk feel pressured by family members to pay money and hand over assets often in a way that is hidden and difficult for victims to stop.  This is known as ‘Inheritance impatience’ and is one of the leading causes of elder abuse in Australia. Although these services are welcome others are calling for more drastic action. The Coroner in a Tasmanian elder abuse case involving a Tasmanian woman who tragically died of hypothermia while being kept in a shipping container by her daughter and partner, has recently recommended more broad ranging changes.

These include the potential of legislative reform which could lead to increased penalties for perpetrators. He also suggested that an independent investigatory body should be appointed focused specifically on elder abuse. COTA is calling for a dedicated state Minister for Aging for Tasmania. Again, we should applaud such moves especially given our aging population is likely to see one in four Australians over 65 years of age by the year 2030. Yet the truth is the root of this issue is not being addressed by such interventions. The core of the elder abuse problem is the human heart, a self-centeredness that is the antithesis of Christ.

As Christians we are called to reflect God’s love to all people irrespective of their usefulness or capacity. It is no wonder then that so many of the aged care facilities have Christian roots. As Christians we must continue to challenge societies anti-respect-for-life agenda and lead by example in being ‘salt and light’ in how we treat our elderly family members and senior citizens in general. With up to 40% of our elderly in nursing homes never receiving a visit, not even at Christmas, the contrast should be stark.

What a sad reflection on society when those deserving of respect and care are instead taken advantage of in their vulnerability. This is one of the many reasons why there is grave concerns about legalising euthanasia and/or assisted suicide. Coercion and manipulation can never be adequately assessed no matter how rigorous the safeguards are purported to be.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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“THEY DAY” CALLED OUT AS GENDER COERCION

By Australian Newsletter, Newsletters

“THEY DAY” CALLED OUT AS GENDER COERCION

No doubt most of you have now heard about the absurd new campaign being promoted by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

Known as ‘They Day’ the campaign allocates the first Wednesday of every month to be a celebration of gender neutral pronouns, asking employees to wear pronoun stickers and even produced a short film highlighting the issue. A media release sent out ahead of the department’s second ‘They Day’ celebration highlighting the enormous waste of taxpayer funds this was, and the tragedy of the public service being used to further push radical gender ideology in the workplace. The response has been swift from supporters and media alike.

Most people are shocked at the blatant coercion by the department, expecting employees to participate monthly in a campaign wholly irrelevant to their day to day work. There is a real concern that this campaign will be rolled out by other departments, with many expressing interest in the idea. It is important that we push back on this ideological agenda, which essentially forces employees to fit in or be left out. For a campaign which is supposed to be inclusive and respectful it silences and ostracises those who choose not to participate and those who believe in male female genders. As Christians we so often allow ourselves to be silenced. It is the easy path.

But as the push for radical gender theory continues to invade our workplaces, our children’s schools and the public sphere we must speak out. Our faith should not make us comfortable, instead when we are faced with challenges we are called to stand firm.  The apostle Paul is very clear on this in his letters to the church of Corinth;  “So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15.58) “Be alert. Be firm in the Christian faith. Be courageous and strong.” (1 Corinthians 16.13)

Science tells us that men and women are biologically distinct. Jesus said so too; “But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. (Mark 10:6)  Don’t be afraid to call out this gender bending nonsense. Don’t be afraid to stand firm and speak out.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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ASSISTED SUICIDE/EUTHANASIA BILL DEFEATED

By Australian Newsletter, Newsletters

The Senate has voted down a bill put forward by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm which would have allowed the A.C.T. and Northern Territory to legislate for assisted-suicide and euthanasia.

The vote was 36-34 against the bill. Several Senators who had previously indicated they would support the bill ended up voting against it, reversing what appeared to be a majority of Senators who were in favour of passing the bill.  This was due to the efforts of those who lobbied the politicians in Canberra, including prominent doctors who pointed out to Senators the risks of legalising assisted suicide/euthanasia.  Thank you to all those who prayed and/or lobbied the politicians on this issue enabling opponents of the bill to succeed in snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.  It has been a win for common sense and the inviolability of human life.

Source: Australian Family Association

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AWAKENING AUSTRALIA

By Australian Newsletter, Newsletters

Awakening Australia is inviting all Australians to join them in prayer for the Awakening Australia event taking place at Marvel Stadium Melbourne from 16th/18th November.

The vision and mission of Awakening Australia is to grow & intensify prayer in Australia leading up to, during, and beyond the event, God is moving powerfully in our nation in response to peoples prayers. We believe that when Australians pray God moves in Australia so let’s grow and intensify our prayers, because surely the more we pray the more God will move. The two main forms of communication for prayer will be via the Facebook Group and by registering to receive a regular email Prayer Newsletter. The Face Group address is: www.facebook.com/groups/awakeningaustraliaprayer and to register to receive the regular email prayer newsletter go to : Prayer Newsletter: www.awakeningaustralia.org/prayer-newsletter

PRAYER STRATEGY

Prayer Strategy for Awakening Australia is the simple and effective 7pm “Australia for Jesus” prayer time. Thousands of people are praying every night and we are hearing amazing testimonies of how God is moving in response to our prayers. Set your alarm daily and join others praying and declaring “Australia for Jesus”! In addition to the 7pm Prayer we want to encourage Prayer Walking and Prayer at High Points in Melbourne and all around Australia. There will be some coordinated prayer walking during Flood Melbourne which will be announced soon, but until then if God puts a prayer walk route or strategic high point on your heart just go for it. We are also wanting to encourage local combined church Prayer & Worship Nights, there are already many great examples of these happening around Australia and we will be sharing more of these in the future.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Souls – Praying for 100,000 souls saved and discipled in 2018.
  • Workers – Praying for more workers for the harvest.
  • The Event – Praying for finances, planning and preparation for Flood Melbourne and the Awakening Australia event.
  • The Organizers – Praying for the Awakening Australia team especially Ben Fitzgerald and Daniel Hagen as they lead.
  • Churches – Praying for churches to partner and prepare for a great harvest of souls.
  • Pastors & Leaders – Praying for favour with Pastors and Leaders, that they will catch the vision and make it their own.

Source: Awakening Australia

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