Bathurst schools bombshell: Scots buys All Saints’ College

“The Presbyterian Church of Australia in NSW – owner of The Scots School, Bathurst – has been confirmed as the new owner of All Saints’ College. …”

– Report from The Western Advocate.

See also: Presbyterian Church agrees to buy All Saints’ College – Diocese of Bathurst.

Image: All Saints’ College.

Leaving the denomination

“In 2012, the Tron Church in Glasgow City Centre, to which I belong, took the difficult decision to leave the Church of Scotland. In this short article I hope to describe something of the experience our congregation went through, and something of what it feels like five years on, in 2017.…”

– Edward Lobb writes for Anglican Mainstream.


St. George’s Tron, Glasgow, secedes from Church of Scotland, June 2012.

Walking in opposite directions (PDF), May 2011.

(Photo: Cornhill Scotland.)

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.

A big moment for the Presbyterian Church in America

“As a denomination we are facing what I believe is a watershed moment.

Overture 2 which was submitted by Calvary Presbytery will grant full constitutional status to Book of Church Order (BCO) 59 which states that ‘Marriage is to be between one man and one woman, in accordance with the Word of God’ (59-3), and that ministers are required to obey the civil laws of the community regarding marriage ‘to the extent that those laws do not transgress the laws of God as interpreted by the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America’. …

by granting BCO 59 constitutional status the PCA would be offering additional protections to pastors and chaplains who are being and will continued to be called upon to perform homosexual weddings.”

– At The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Todd Pruitt writes about one move to protect biblical teaching on marriage.

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.)

Forty-forty vision

“Thursday 22nd June marks forty years of a refocussed and refreshed church.

The Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA) is almost unrecognisable from what it was in the 1960s. I suggest each congregation might pause during the week of 22 June … to pray for the PCA and thank the Lord for all the fruit of our renewal. We belong to a blessed church.

Four decades represents a significant milestone. We learn from the Scriptures that God required Moses to spend forty years in the wilderness country of Midian before engaging in his life’s mission. Moses needed to learn to be a faithful provider for his own family and to care for his father-in-law’s sheep prior to the trust of looking after God’s flock. It was a probationary period for Moses. Are we emerging from forty years probation?

If so, what has the Lord released us to do?…”

– John P Wilson, Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, gives thanks  – and asks some probing questions – as the Presbyterian Church of Australia marks forty years of ‘continuing’.

(The Uniting Church was formed on 22nd June 1977 by the amalgamation of the Methodist, Congregational and most Presbyterian churches in Australia. The continuing Presbyterian Church of Australia has largely returned to its Evangelical and Reformed roots.)

The Secularisation of the Church of Scotland

“Much to no-one’s surprise, the Church of Scotland General Assembly has just voted to accept the Theological Forum’s report which changes the Churches definition of marriage to include same sex marriages and to apologise to gay people for their previous understanding.

I know there are various caveats and nuances but that is the reality of what has just happened – and although some will say ‘its not over’ – in the eyes of the Kirk, it’s a done deal.

One of the devil’s greatest tricks is that he loves to sow confusion and doubt, and thereby cause division. Yesterday was a great example of that. …”

– At The Wee Flea, David Robertson in Dundee looks what the Church of Scotland General Assembly’s decisions really mean.

Church of Scotland Assembly agrees on apology to gay people

“The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has approved an apology to gay people for the history of discrimination they have faced in the Church.

Commissioners also approved a report which could pave the way to allow some ministers to conduct same sex marriages in the future. …

Professor Torrance told commissioners that the Church’s journey on the issue had parallels with the one it has taken on the ordination of women in the 1960s.”

– Report from The Church of Scotland. Photo credit: Church of Scotland.

Mainstream … or on the margins?

“If ever we could have considered the church to be a core part of Australian culture (and that’s not at all certain), the Christian church is now being slowly edged to one side. It is increasingly less mainstream.

Have you noticed though that there are key moments in the year’s calendar and certain elements of our culture where we’re let back in? It’s strange, but true. Consider… ”

– John Wilson, Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, offers encouragement to take the opportunities we do have to share the Christian hope.

Earth Day message from Canadian Anglican and Lutheran leaders

“Through our Lenten Journey to Easter we have been reminded once again that Jesus offered his whole life and death for the love of the world …

As followers of Christ, we are also challenged to offer our lives for the love of the world. …  What happens when we touch the earth with faith?

Our churches are committed to responsible stewardship of the earth. As we celebrate Earth Day, we re-commit to our care for creation and commend the efforts of our congregations across the country to live out this call. We recommend that you or your congregation get involved with the Faith Commuter Challenge, a creative way to reduce your carbon footprint …”

– Anglican Church of Canada Archbishop, Fred Hiltz, and his Lutheran counterpart, have issued a message and prayer for Earth Day.

As Anglican Samizdat notes, loving the planet is not what John 3:16 is about.

Photo by Harrison H. Schmitt.

Australian Presbyterians — Taking God Seriously

Presbyterian Moderator-General John Wilson outlines some of the ways Presbyterians in Australia plan to celebrate Reformation 500 – with evangelism!

See the video here. (3’42”)

Is the Cross sufficient?

“Paul thought it was. Let’s do a cross-check on this (pun intended) – the greatest Christian who’s ever lived – what did he say? Among other things:

Galatians 6:14 ‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’.

The great Apostle Paul thinks this much of the cross of Christ – that it’s his only boast. Let’s go further:

1 Corinthians 2:2 ‘For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.’

Paul says that his repeated and constant theme in preaching is the crucifixion of Christ. When he says: ‘I resolved to know nothing’, it’s not that he didn’t say anything else – it’s hyperbole, to make the point that all his preaching centres on the cross.

We use that word ‘cross’ as shorthand. It’s a synecdoche, where the part stands for the whole, or a single word stands for a whole concept. So the word cross is synecdoche for the whole doctrine that Christ died for sinners upon the cross – or, alternatively put: it stands for the belief that atonement was made for sinners through the suffering of Christ on the cross.

Is the cross sufficient? Are we right in the Christian church to make such a big thing about it, and to centre on it? Surely there’s works of mercy, relief of the poor and other good works to make our focus? Other churches certainly think this way.

Last year, the Uniting Church in Australia’s social services department… 

Oak Primary School in the UK, a school boasting that it runs ‘in accordance with the principles of the Church of England’…

A few years ago, the PCUSA removed /Getty’s song ‘In Christ Alone’ from their new hymnbook … ”

– An exhortation we need to hear – from Presbyterian Moderator General, John Wilson. Read it all here.


At the 2015 NEXUS Conference, Chris Braga gave a very helpful 18 minute exhortation.

Does your church or Christian organisation explicitly speak of the Cross of Christ and what it means?

Or is it assumed?

Encouragement: It’s not too long – watch the video in your Parish Council meetings, committee meetings, home groups, staff meetings – at

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