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PERTH:  The Nullarbor walkers have issued a fresh challenge to Church leaders critical of their hike.

Now nearing Madura in Western Australia and 1,100 kilometres into their 1,700 kilometre trek, the seven say they have been vindicated.

One of the youngsters, Christine McKay, 15, challenged their critics to "face the truth about their unfair judgments".

"We felt at the time that these men were being very hasty in passing such judgment.

"Does God's provision and protection for us indicate that God is more sympathetic with our efforts than have been these Church leaders?

"Did we in fact 'test' God or is it possible, as we have claimed all along, that He was testing us?"

Their most vocal critic, Mr Adrian Van Leen, director of the Perth-based Concerned Christian Growth Ministries, said yesterday: "The fact that they have successfully come this far proves nothing.

"It does not change the fact that this is a publicity stunt which does nothing to glorify God.  It has done nothing to help others.  All the attention has been focused on themselves.

"We do recognise their sincerity, but it is a misguided sincerity."

The six youngsters and their companion, a Queenslander, Dane Frick, have been maintaining their gruelling 40-kilometre daily march despite wet nights and cold days.
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