This is the day — Presbyterians remember with thanksgiving

“10.00am, forty years ago, the words of Psalm 118 rang out in Scots’ Church Sydney: ‘This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’

Today, Friday 23rd June 2017 – it’s forty years to the day when the Presbyterian Church of Australia was refreshed. And, it’s fair to ask: What became of that bold decision to remain as a Presbyterian church? What distinctives of the Christian faith do we offer? What does PCA stand for?

Permit this man’s reminiscing …”

– Presbyterian Moderator-General John Wilson considers the Presbyterian Church of Australia’s ‘refreshing’, over the last forty years.

Thomas Cranmer: Evangelising the Nation

“At the 2017 Church Society Conference, Revd Dr Peter Adam outlined Thomas Cranmer’s strategy for evangelising the nation, which could be summed up in one word: Bible.”

from Church Society, which has posted the audio files from its 2017 Conference, held last month.

Dr. Adam’s very enlightening and highly encouraging talks can be heard here –

Thomas Cranmer: Evangelising the Nation – Part 1.

Thomas Cranmer: Evangelising the Nation – Part 2.

Also from the Conference:

Reformation Epistemology – Dr Kirsty Birkett.

Martin Luther and the Freedom of the Christian – Dr Lee Gatiss.

You might have missed — June 2017

Here are some posts you might have missed from the last few weeks –

The Crisis of ’77 by Bob Thomas. (About the continuing Presbyterian Church. Today is the 40th anniversary of ‘Church Union’.)

Forty-forty vision – Presbyterian Moderator-General reflects on 40 years of ‘continuing’.

Review of Faith in a Time of Crisis – a new book from Vaughan Roberts and Peter Jensen.

Craig Roberts to be new Youthworks CEO.

Report on the ACL’s 2017 AGM.

Canon Andy Lines to be ACNA Missionary Bishop.

Bishop Richard Condie to Tasmanian Anglicans: We need to change!

Conserving Moore College’s treasures

“In 2016 a special fundraising program was launched to invite people to partner with the Library in conserving some of the most precious items in the Rare Book and Archives collections. …

The photographic collection of the Reverend Dr Frank Cash (1887-1964) carries great historical significance as it documents in hundreds of images the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. For decades, most of these images have remained in their original form as glass plate negatives and lantern slides – fragile and inaccessible formats. Now they have all been digitised and are available on Myrrh…”

Generous gifts have helped close the gap in funding important conservation at Moore College.

My favourite Reformer is John Calvin

“Having been an active member of the Roman Catholic Church for 28 years, only leaving it 4 years before I started studying at Moore, reading Calvin’s Institutes was for me like discovering the Protestant play book for Catholic Evangelism!

Most of the arguments and answers to the questions and challenges I would put to my Protestant friends as a Catholic, I discovered when I started reading Calvin, actually came from him. …”

– The Rev. Mark Gilbert points out that Calvin’s insights are very useful in sharing the gospel with our Catholic friends.

The Crisis of ’77

This month marks the 40th anniversary of ‘church union’ – the formation of the Uniting Church in Australia, by the amalgamation of the Methodist and Congregational Churches, as well as around two-thirds of the Presbyterians.

It also marks the 40th anniversary of the Presbyterian Church of Australia ‘continuing’ – with a number of ministers and parishes choosing not to join the UCA – many convinced that ‘Uniting’ would take them down a liberal path, and ultimately away from ‘the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3) .

In a 2004 speech in Melbourne, the Rev. Bob Thomas shared his personal reflections on the events of 1977.

(Bob Thomas was for many years the Editor of Australian Presbyterian Life, served as Moderator-General, and is currently Editor of New Life Christian newspaper. He is also the Minister of St. Kilda Presbyterian Church.)

Why did members walk out of the 1974 General Assembly of Australia, to a hall across the street, after it had voted to ‘go Uniting’? What was their experience? Who did they discover to be their friends? You may, or may not, be surprised.

At a time when believers in England, Scotland and elsewhere are thinking about what future they have in their increasingly liberal denominations, the Presbyterian experience is worth learning about.

Download The Crisis of ’77 as a 2.3MB PDF file, courtesy of The Rev. Bob Thomas.

Crest courtesy of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.


Burning Or Bushed? – The Presbyterian Church of Australia 40 Years On, about union and its aftermath, edited by Paul Cooper and David Burke, will be launched at the NSW Presbyterian General Assembly in July. (Click the link above to pre-order a copy.)

Kirsty Birkett on Reformation Epistemology

“At this year’s St Antholin Lecture, Kirsty [Birkett] gave us a fascinating and insightful lecture about the impact of sin on the mind.

How is that fallen minds can know anything accurately, let alone a holy God? The Reformation brought not only reform of doctrine and Church but also how we think.”

– A Reformation resource from Church Society.

Why the Reformation still matters

Graham Cole (former member of the Moore College faculty now Dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Chicago) is giving a public lecture at Moore College on Wednesday 19th July,  7:00pm – 9:00pm.

The Justification Summit

Coming up in Marcus Loane Hall at Moore College, 1:30pm – 5:00pm on Friday 26th May and 9:30am – 12:00pm on Saturday 27th May 2017 –

“Come along to an in depth look at the central doctrine of the Reformation, justification.

This afternoon and following morning event, held at Moore College, will reflect on the Reformation doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone, and how it bears upon our Christian life today.

Speakers include Mark Thompson, Principal of Moore College, Peter Orr, Will Timmins …

This event is FREE but we ask you to RSVP for catering purposes.”

Details of topics and speakers here.

Luther, his Friends and his Legacy

Luther was a gregarious man. During his regime Wittenberg became thronged with people. Thousands flocked to Wittenberg to hear him preach (he preached 4000 times in thirty years). His home was effectively a combination of an inn and a lodging house. When he travelled from Wittenberg to Worms in 1521 he was greeted like a rock star from town to town. Wherever we see Luther, we see a man surrounded by people. …”

– Dr Paul Barnett shares some reflections on Dr Martin Luther, his friends, and his lasting legacy(Photo via Aquila Press.)

Camino Faith and Christian Faith

“With some friends I recently traversed the beautiful and famous Camino Trail in Spain. Some of our group walked the shorter stretches of the trail but we mostly travelled in the comfort of our coach.

The journey provided opportunity to visit some amazing Cathedrals. The standout was the Cathedral in Leon whose colour-glazed windows were breathtaking.

Some of the pilgrims were walking to meet the athletic challenge of the Camino. For others it was a spiritual exercise, a time of reflection based on the journey of St James Zebedee all those years ago. …”

– In his latest post, Bishop Paul Barnett compares the stories concerning St. James with the historical evidence for Jesus.

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