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The Eighth Commandment

We have one more treasure which is indispensable to us, namely our honour and good name; for it is intolerable to live among people in public disgrace and contempt. (Proverbs 22:1) Therefore, God will not have our neighbour deprived of his reputation, honour and character any more than of his money and possessions; (Mark 14:3-9) He would have every man maintain his self-respect before his wife, children, servants, and neighbours. In its first and simplest meaning…this commandment pertains to public courts of justice where a poor, innocent man is accused and maligned by false witnesses (Colossians 3:9) [Concordia 399:255-257]

It forbids all sins of the tongue by which we may injure or offend our neighbour…It applies particularly to the detestable, shameful vice of back-biting or slander by which the devil rides us…It is a common vice of human nature that everyone would rather hear evil than good about his neighbour (Proverbs 11:13) [400:262-264].

Nobody has the right to judge and reprove his neighbour publicly, even when he has seen a sin committed, unless he has been authorised to judge and reprove. There is a great difference between judging sin and having knowledge of sin. Knowledge of sin does not entail the right to judge it. I may see and hear that my neighbour sins, but to make him the talk of the town is not my business. If I interfere and pass sentence on him, I fall into a greater sin than his. When you become aware of a sin, simply make your ears a tomb and bury it until you are appointed a judge and authorised to administer punishment by virtue of your office [400-401: 264-266]

All this refers to secret sins. But where the sin is so public that the judge and the whole world are aware of it…you may testify publicly concerning him.

Mark Hampel

About the author


Mark Hampel is an enthusiastic communicator of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was ordained in 1988 and has served in churches and schools in 3 states. He currently lives in Chinchilla, Qld. His passion is building up the faith of God’s people and working with them so that all will come to know Christ as their joy and salvation.

Mark is happily married to Veronica and they have 4 children and 4 grandsons. He is also a farmer of sorts, having spent the last decade establishing a date plantation in Western Queensland. Other hobbies include Australian history, travel, film & literature and of course, family.

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Downfall Creek

St John’s

St John’s Downfall Creek, has been a centre of Christian faith and life in the area for over 100 years. They operated a Christian school for twenty-two years (1940 – 62).

This faith community is a warm-hearted bunch, who love to share their hospitality with the district. They enjoy many a pot luck dinner and host ‘Easter Dawn Service & Breakfast’, ‘Christmas Eve’ & ‘Advent Tea’’ and ‘Games Nights’ for the community.

Home Groups are an important part of life in the Downfall. Discussion and exploration of the faith are encouraged.

Religious Education at the nearby Guluguba Primary School is provided by St John’s.

Downfall Creek



Redeemer Miles, is a dedicated group who know the love of Christ and are keen to share it. They meet regularly in various homes throughout the district for intergenerational worship and home groups.  

Religious Education at nearby Drillham State Primary School is provided by Redeemer.



The Charleville faith community meet for worship once a month, then go out for a fellowship meal together. A Home Group is planned to begin soon.

They host the annual ‘Western Muster’, an ecumenical Bible teaching gathering, held on the first weekend after Easter.


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