Dr. Stuart Piggin to speak on Australia’s Christian heritage

In an event in Parramatta on Monday 1st April, Professor Stuart Piggin will speak on the key influence of an evangelical Christian worldview in the shaping of Australia.

See Family Voice Australia for details and registration.

(See also, The Fountain of Public Prosperity – Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740–1914, by Stuart Piggin and Robert D. Linder, from Monash University Publishing.)

A Tender Lion: The Life, Ministry, and Message of J.C. Ryle

ACL website readers might be interested in this book about J. C. Ryle. Commended by Phillip Jensen, it’s currently on special at Reformers bookshop in Stanmore.

J. C. Ryle is to Anglican evangelicals as C. H. Spurgeon is to Baptist evangelicals. The lives of great servants of God deserve our careful study to understand the trajectory from which we have come, to remove the cultural blinders of living in the present, and to find exemplars of gospel ministry, that we may imitate their faith. Bennett Rogers has done us all a great favour by writing this book on J. C. Ryle with detailed scholarship and eminently readable prose.” – Phillip Jensen.

Also other items on special of possible interest –

Letters of John Calvin (reduced to $24.99) and Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theologian, Confessional Presbyterian (now $35).

(The ACL does not have any business relationship with Reformers Bookshop. We just thought you might be interested.)

‘The Most Reverend The Primate and Patriarch of The Southern Hemisphere’

‘The Most Reverend The Primate and Patriarch of The Southern Hemisphere’ – that’s how John Newton addressed Richard Johnson, Chaplain to the First Fleet and the fledgling colony of New South Wales.

Marylynn Rouse, at The John Newton Project, just in time for Australia Day, has posted a number of letters and new material relating to Richard Johnson – including letters to him from John Newton.

Richard Johnson:

“In the evening of the 23rd September 1786, I was asked by a friend, if I had got the spirit of a missionary, or, if I wished to go abroad. I smiled, and replied – No – I had no inclination or thoughts of ever leaving my native country.

On the 30th of the same month, I received a letter from another friend, informing me that a colony was going to be established in New Holland, or New Zealand – that a chaplain was wanted – that application had been made to him, to know whether he knew of any proper person for and willing to undertake such an arduous work – and that if I chose to accept of, he could secure me the appointment. …”

See what’s new at The John Newton Project.

See also: Richard Johnson – First Chaplain to Australia.

For Australia Day: Analysing popular stereotypes on the foundation of Christianity in Australia

In 2015, Associate Professor Stuart Piggin gave this fascinating address at a gathering to commemorate the First Christian Service in Australia.

The event, in Richard Johnson Square on 3rd February, was close to where the Rev. Richard Johnson conducted the first Christian service in the Colony, on 3rd February 1788.

With Dr. Piggin’s permission, we published this at the time. We think it is well worth reading again.

“The preacher at that service, held under a ‘great tree’, beginning at 10 o’clock on 3 February 1788, a hot midsummer’s day, was the Rev Richard Johnson, Australia’s –

  • first minister,
  • first educator,
  • first carer for orphans,
  • first carer for aboriginal children.

With all those firsts, he was quite a pioneer – and John Newton, author of the much loved hymn ‘Amazing grace’, who recommended Johnson to MP William Wilberforce who recommended him to PM William Pitt, bestowed on Richard Johnson the title, ‘Patriarch of the Southern Hemisphere’, that is, if you will, founding father of the Christian movement in Australia.

Now, since this was the site of the first school house, it is surely fair to put a question to you. Here is the question:

If Newton gave Johnson the title ‘Patriarch of the Southern Hemisphere’, what title did the Eora people, the Aboriginal people who lived in the Sydney Basin, give Richard Johnson?

Well, class, I don’t see a forest of hands of those keen to answer the question. But I ask it to make a point. The basic question asked by the organisers of this event is:

‘Does our heritage matter?’ What they really mean is ‘does our Christian heritage matter?’

Well surely we must know what our Christian heritage is before we can decide if it matters. But I doubt if we have ever found what our Christian heritage is – we are in great danger of losing it before we ever find it. Nobody has ever told us.

Has anyone ever told us what title the Eora people gave Richard Johnson? I will tell you at the end of this address, but my point is that there are parts of our Christian heritage we just don’t know because no-one has ever told us.

Then there are other matters which we think we do know. We have been told them so often they have become stereotypes.

But maybe they are false stereotypes.…”

Do read the whole address. (PDF file.) Photos courtesy Ramon Williams, Worldwide Photos.

Related:

Richard Johnson’s Address To The Inhabitants Of The Colonies (PDF file).

See also:

John Anderson’s Conversations: Featuring Associate Professor Stuart Piggin (June 2018). Take the time to watch.

and

The Fountain of Public Prosperity – Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740–1914, published by Monash University Publishing.

Reformation sights in Oxford

Moore College’s Lionel Windsor shares some sights from Oxford relating to the English Reformation.

“Right in front of the pillar and the picture of Cranmer was a little stand where people could pay a pound to light a candle.”

‘Men Have Forgotten God’: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1983 Templeton Address

To mark the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The National Review has republished an article adapted from his 1983 Templeton Address.

Among his remarks are these words –

“Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions.

Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot. To achieve its diabolical ends, Communism needs to control a population devoid of religious and national feeling, and this entails the destruction of faith and nationhood. …”

Read it all.

Photo: US Library of Congress, via The National Review.

150 Years of Cathedral ministry

“November 30 marks 150 years since Sydney’s Cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Barker.

St Andrew’s Day in 1868 was an occasion of celebration and dedication – not just because a building had been constructed, but that a centre for gospel ministry could prosper in the heart of the city.

The prayer was that God would call people to himself as Christ was proclaimed by those ministering at the Cathedral. …”

Story from SydneyAnglicans.net, and a good reminder to give thanks and to pray the current ministry of the leadership and congregation of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney.

Review: They Shall See His Face

“You may never have heard of Amy Oxley Wilkinson (1868–1949), although it’s possible you know of her great grandfather, Rowland Hassall – one of the first missionaries to come to Australia after fleeing trouble in Tahiti – or his son Thomas, who started the first Sunday School in Australia at Parramatta in 1813, and went on to be an Anglican minister in the rural south of Sydney, who earned himself the moniker ‘the galloping parson’ for visiting his far-flung flock on horseback.

If not them, you will surely know of the Rev. Samuel Marsden, chaplain, missionary and farmer, whose eldest daughter Anne married Thomas. Amy was their granddaughter, the eighth child of John Norton Oxley and Harriet Jane Hassall…”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Dr. Claire Smith reviews They Shall See His Face, by Linda and Robert Banks. It’s about the most widely known female Australian missionary in China and the West in the early 20th century.

The book is available from a number of retailers, including from The Wandering Bookseller.

A Greater Peace

“Sergeant Philip Ball is an Australian soldier buried in Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in France.

He was 21 years old when he was killed in action on 28 March 1918. He was a brave soldier, who was awarded the Military Medal in July 1917.

After the war his parents chose an unusual epitaph for his headstone in Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery:

I FOUGHT AND DIED IN THE GREAT WAR
THE WAR TO END ALL WARS,
HAVE I DIED IN VAIN?

I have not found a similar inscription in the thousands of epitaphs I have collected from Australian war graves of the First World War. But it is a question that challenges any reader …”

Moore College Historian Dr. Colin Bale writes at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

Related: Bells to ring for Armistice Centenary – SydneyAnglicans.net.

The History of the English Standard Version

A most encouraging ten minute video from Crossway. Take the time to watch, and give thanks.

What is Reformation Day?

“A single event on a single day changed the world.

It was October 31, 1517. Brother Martin, a monk and a scholar, had struggled for years with his church, the church in Rome. He had been greatly disturbed by an unprecedented indulgence sale. The story has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. Let’s meet the cast. …”

– At Ligonier Ministries, Stephen Nichols reminds us what it was about.

The Legacy of David Broughton Knox

“David Broughton Knox was one of the most influential Anglican leaders in the second half of the twentieth century.

His long service as principal of Moore Theological College, Sydney, had an impact much further afield than that city. Along with this, the unique place Sydney Diocese has in the Anglican Communion has been significantly shaped by Knox’s ministry and theological priorities. …”

– The Latimer Trust has published the papers presented at the Moore College Library Day in 2016.

The Legacy of David Broughton Knox is edited by Ed Loane and is available from The Latimer Trust in the UK, and from several other booksellers (prices in Australian dollars).

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