Evangelical Christianity 150 Years Ago and Today

“Being an evangelical Christian in 2017 can be a fairly daunting prospect. There appear to be so many challenges in wider society and in the wider church. Surely standing up for the gospel of Jesus Christ and proclaiming it in the world is more difficult now than it was in the past!

Well, a little historical perspective can allow us re-evaluate our situation and encourage us by the inspiring examples of those who have gone before. It is for this reason I commend two recent books about nineteenth-century evangelicals.

The first little book is Allan Blanch’s A Pioneering Pastor: Thomas Sharpe of Norfolk Island and Bathurst.

Sharpe’s faithful evangelical ministry has been somewhat forgotten in our historical narrative of Christianity in colonial Australia. Sharpe was born 220 years ago in Yorkshire and was ordained in 1828 … for the specific purpose of Anglican ministry in Australia.

One of the wonderful features of Blanch’s biography is that he allows Sharpe to speak for himself through his journal. Blanch also provides important contextual background for the events — both ecclesiastical and social. This book is well-researched and easy to read.”

– At SydneyAnglicans.net, Dr. Ed Loane briefly reviews two new books – A Pioneering Pastor: Thomas Sharpe of Norfolk Island and Bathurst by ACL Emeritus Vice President Allan M. Blanch, and Bishop J.C. Ryle’s Autobiography, edited by Andrew Atherstone.

A Pioneering Pastor: Thomas Sharpe of Norfolk Island and Bathurst by Allan M. Blanch is available for $24.95 (including postage) from:

Strathalbyn Books
P.O. Box 970, Bathurst NSW 2795.

email: strathalbynbooks@gmail.com

Cheque or money order made out to Strathalbyn Books.

Click here to download an order form (PDF file).

Graham Cole back at Moore to celebrate the Reformation

Coming up later this month, Dr Graham Cole, former member of the Moore College faculty, will deliver a public lecture entitled: The legacy of the Reformation through the eyes of J.C. Ryle.

In the Marcus Loane Hall, Wednesday 19th July, 7:00pm – 9:00pm.

Graham studied at Moore College from 1973 to 1976 and was ordained in 1977. He served as Curate at St James Turramurra before returning to Moore to lecture in Christian thought from 1980 until 1992.

He subsequently served as Principal of Ridley College, Melbourne (1992–2001), Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago (2002–2011), Anglican Professor of Divinity and Beeson Divinity School, Alabama (2011–2015), and in 2015 he returned to Trinity to become its Dean.

– Details at the College website.

The Eternity waterfall after 40 years

Forty years ago, the Eternity plaque at the waterfall in Sydney Square was unveilled.

On Tuesday, 12th July 1977, The Sydney Morning Herald’s Column 8 wrote:

“TRUE to his words of last November, Ridley Smith, the Sydney Square architect, has immortalised the late Arthur Stace, ‘Mr Eternity’. You may recall that Column 8 campaigned unashamedly for a suitable memorial to Mr Stace, Sydney’s footpath evangelist for 20 vears until 1967. Ridley Smith promised it without strings.

TODAY, the memorial above will be officially unveilled (a small explanatory plaque is yet to come). Yesterday Column 8 had an informal peek. Mr Stace would be proud. There, set in aggregate near the Sydney Square waterfall, in letters almost 21cm (8 in) high, is the famous copperplate message. ‘Eternity’. The one-word sermon gleams in wrought aluminium. There’s no undue prominence. No garish presentation. Merely the simple ‘Eternity’ on the pebbles, as Arthur Stace would have wanted it.”

In 1994, journalist Alan Gill wrote, “The waterfall adjoins a modest cafeteria. [The Architect of St. Andrew’s House and Sydney Square, Ridley] Smith once told me that he hoped visitors would say ‘Meet you at Eternity’ as well as ‘Meet you in Eternity’.” (1)

Ridley Smith (pictured) was named for evangelist John G. Ridley, who was a friend of his father. In November 1932, Arthur Stace had been in the congregation at the Burton Street Tabernacle in Darlinghurst when John Ridley preached on the need to be ready for eternity. It was this sermon which inspired Stace to begin his 34 year campaign of writing that word on the streets of Sydney.

Arthur Stace died on 30 July 1967, fifty years ago this month.

Did the ‘small explanatory plaque’ mentioned by Column 8 ever appear? In 1994, Alan Gill wrote that some complained “the present inscription is ‘out of the way’ and doesn’t explain who Arthur Stace was. Other admirers of Arthur disagree. They believe the ‘odd’ location of the present tribute and the absence of an explanation are part of that blend of mystery and surprise that ‘Mr Eternity’ himself would appreciate.”

(Top photo showing the waterfall on the day of the unveilling, and the photo of Architect Ridley Smith in 2009, courtesy Ramon Williams, Worldwide Photos. Ramon adds, “Ridley Smith sprinkled water around the ‘Eternity’ replica so as to help photograph it.” While the pavement around the memorial has been replaced, “Eternity” on the pebbles remains, as seen in this 2014 photo.)

(1) Alan Gill, “Sydney’s Phantom Preacher”, The Catholic Weekly, 31 August 1994.

Interview with William Taylor: Impressions of Sydney & Australian Evangelicalism

“Sometimes the best lessons are learned from someone on the outside looking in. We chat to William Taylor of St Helen’s Bishopsgate London regarding his impressions of evangelicalism in Sydney and Australia, drawing on his recent visit in late 2016-early 2017.”

– Read the interview at The Australian Church Record.

Albert Mohler speaks with John Anderson

In his latest ‘Thinking in Public’ series of conversations, Albert Mohler speaks with former Australian Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson (mp3 audio).

Well worth hearing.

 

Craig Roberts to be new Youthworks CEO

Here’s an announcement from Youthworks –

“The Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Glenn Davies, and Youthworks Council Chair, the Rev Chris Braga are most pleased to announce the appointment of the Rev Craig Roberts BEc BD(Hons) DipMin MA(Theol) to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Youthworks.  Craig will be joining Youthworks after fourteen years as the Senior Minister at Neutral Bay Anglican Church.  Read more

Changes

Two announcements made today:

“…after an extensive search and interview process, the [Trinity Grammar] School Council has unanimously appointed Mr Tim Bowden as the next Head Master of Trinity Grammar School. He will commence in January 2018…

Mr Bowden is currently Principal of Inaburra School.”

Full announcement here (PDF file).

and Paul Bootes, Koorong CEO, is retiring.

“Koorong has announced that long serving CEO Paul Bootes will retire in early July when his brother Rob Bootes will succeed him as CEO. Paul, a 40 year veteran of the Christian bookselling industry, has overseen the expansion of the original bookshop in his parents’ house in Sydney to the 15 store chain and online business that it is today.”

– from a Koorong / Bible Society press release.

 

Evangelicalism in one lifetime: A conversation with Os Guinness

In a fascinating interview, Albert Mohler speaks with Os Guinness.

Photo via The Gospel Coalition, where Trevin Wax also spoke with Os.

The Robinson-Knox view of Church — Interview with Chase Kuhn

“If you’ve grown up in Sydney Anglican churches chances are your understanding of what church is and what it’s for has been significantly shaped (perhaps unknowingly!) by two people – Donald W. B. Robinson and D. Broughton Knox.

However, no one has undertaken a systematic and extended articulation and appraisal of this approach to church …. until now – we chat to Moore College lecturer Chase Kuhn about his new book The Ecclesiology of Donald Robinson and D. Broughton Knox.

– Read it all at The Australian Church Record.

Anglican Voices episode 1

Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV has begun a new project – Anglican Voices.

His first interview is with Church Society’s Director, Dr. Lee Gatiss.

Broughton Knox: servant of Christ Jesus

“More than a hundred years ago, Broughton Knox, Principal of Moore College from 1959 until 1985 and one of the most influential figures in the history of the Diocese, was born.

He was a man loved by many and yet he deeply irritated others. For forty years he was a dominant force in the Diocese of Sydney, shaping generations of clergy and impacting the core convictions of the diocese.

He shaped its theological college, Moore College, into a modern institution capable of making a significant contribution on the world stage. Then, after retiring from a record principalship of the College in 1985, he accepted an invitation to found another college in South Africa, George Whitefield College, which today is playing a strategic role in equipping the burgeoning churches on that vast continent.

What was it that animated Broughton Knox throughout his ministry and his life as a disciple of Christ? …”

– Moore College Principal, Dr Mark Thompson, writes about his renowned predecessor – at the Moore College website.

 

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