Over at the Evangelical House organ, Eternity, Evonne Paddison has found place to dissemble about what the twitter brigade is now calling #disciplegate.
In the piece, which is so far Evonne’s only reported commentary AFTER the media exposed her views to the public officials whom she normally gets to meet with in private, and asked them if they endorsed her view of things.
Since it seems clear at this point that ACCESS’s public statements bear no relationship to the truth, lets compare what Paddison said in Eternity with her speech given at Ridely Theological Seminary on her views of “ACCESS Ministry”:
Dr Paddison told Eternity her talk was not intended for a broad audience and does not constitute a breach of the guidelines.”It was meant for church leaders and it’s been taken completely out of context. It doesn’t reveal the motives of our role as ACCESS ministries. I was speaking as Evonne Paddison, not reflecting ACCESS ministries policy.”
One must ask, if this was not intended for a “broad audience” why post it on the INTERNET? Is there are broader audience than “The Internet”? No.
While here Evonne claims that she was speaking as “Evonne Paddison, and not reflecting ACCESS ministries policy”, in her speech she says the following:
Let me now say something about making disciples of our children and young people certain ministries in schools, which is what I’m involved in. I am presently working with access ministries. Some of you might have known us as the Council for Christian education in schools. I think ACCESS is a much better name.
I believe ACCESS’s involvement in schools ministry is both missional and incarnational. As we share the love of Jesus and as we relate to kids. With our primary children, most of whom are totally unchurched, we are telling the story of Jesus. Week by week, and we’re sharing with them the love of the word of God and showing its relevance to them and our teachers are caring for these kids.
As I said I’m involved with access ministries, how many times can I plug this? And we provide CRE teachers to chaplains in schools. We have three and a half thousand teachers, and by the end of the year will have almost 300 chaplaincies in schools. We reached 250,000 children every week. Our goal is to double those numbers. However despite all the ministry going on here in Victoria and across Australia we need to recognize that what isn’t happening and what isn’t happening is a connection between school and church
So, for someone NOT representing ACCESS Ministry, or not speaking about ACCESS ministry, Evonne sure took great pains to talk about ACCESS … so Evonne either forgot what she said, or is lying.
Dr Paddison says ACCESS ministries doesn’t seek to convert children, but to show them the love of Jesus.
much of our thinking about ministry and schools has had the goal that our students will be contacted converted and disciple in order to lift them up with the local church and become part of the home sponsoring church
And importantly can I urge we must move them to an acceptance of the centrality of Scripture. Through modeling our own adherents to it. Making it central to any gatherings we have with them and showing it as a door or two growing in a relationship with Jesus. Do not water it down.
as we enter into the world of students the goal is not to bring them back into a church culture that isn’t alien for them but to plant the gospel and the church where they are. A church that is relational but empower students to take responsibility for their own community. Let me say once again we mustn’t present relationship with out affirming the word of God, as revealed in Scripture. As we promote community it must be community that gathers around the word of God, listens to it and applies it in order to grow the community and each individual’s relationship with Jesus. We do our young people no service if we merely present relationship without the centrality of Scripture
So this sounds a bit more than just showing love … this sounds like using the schools as source of mission. In fact, for someone who doesn’t want to convert anyone, she sure uses the word “conversion” a few more times than she seems to remember:
Schools are our great mission field for students …
I believe that this is the greatest mission field we have in Australia: our children and our students. Our greatest field for disciple making. What’s your strategy? There is an enormous amount of Christian ministry going on in our schools, both at state level and at national level both in government and non government schools, but we must ask how much of that ministry is actually resulting in Christian conversion and discipleship growing and resulting in church growth? We have a huge challenge ahead of us we must develop the right attitude and framework and goals and models in order to see not only Christian ministry taking place but conversion, discipleship and commitment to a Christian faith community.
Again, it is hard to believe that someone could repeated say that the goal of their work was “conversion” but that she doesn’t seek to “convert” anyone. You decide what the truth is.
“We have the opportunity to go in and teach children about the Christian faith; it’s discipling in that sense. Discipling means to learn, to teach. We teach them about Christianity and we do no more than that. We do not ask children to make faith commitments, we actually think that would be wrong to do in that context.”
The curious thing about Evonne’s talk was the topic was about what “Discipleship Means”. Now, after speaking at length about what she means by “discipling” and what the bible means by “discipling” she wants us to believe that discipling, means something different. It is just another way to say “to learn”, “to teach”. Got that? However in her talk, Evonne says this:
John clearly teaches that disciples are followers of Jesus. So my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. Followers of disciples first receive and then reflect his glory so what does this following and reflecting mean? It involves going where he went along a path of suffering carrying a cross and in this way becoming like him and reflecting him to a lost world. We are to be disciples and make disciples, we are not looking for a stress free pampered existence, not seeking popularity, not seeking health and wealth and happiness but followers of Jesus who have taken up crosses. Reflecting his glory will inevitably mean following his path of humiliation and loss for the sake of bearing fruit. For the sake of winning others.
Well, it sure is amazing to see how willing Evonne is to throw the Gospel of John under the bus, when the question of “stress” and “popularity” are at stake.
Which is too bad, since she does seem to be following the exhortation to follow the path of “humiliation” … somehow though Evonne, I think John means that you are to do this by telling the “truth” and being honest, not by dissembling and trying to tell people that your words were taken out of context or that you meant something different than what you actually said.