Remembering the Sacrifice: ANZAC Day 2024

“Grant Dibden, Anglican Bishop to the Australian Defence Force, shares the story of sacrifice about Corporal Reginald Samuel Thorn from Broken Hill, NSW.

A recently discovered letter from Corporal Thorn was sent one day prior to his sacrifice at Pozières, France.

At deaths door, Reginald Thorn’s letter shares the hope of a better place beyond the grave made available through the greatest sacrifice made by Jesus.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.”

– At Defence Anglicans.

The Gateway Drug to Post-Christian Paganism

“I recently revisited a book that I had not read for many years: Robert P. Ericksen’s Theologians Under Hitler.

It is a study of how three intellectuals, Gerhard Kittel, Paul Althaus, and Emanuel Hirsch—scholars of the Old Testament, Luther, and Kierkegaard, respectively—came to support Hitler in 1933 and ultimately be identified with an evil ideology that cost millions of lives, both in the death camps and in the war that German expansionism precipitated. …”

– At First Things, Carl Trueman has a warning for Christians – whatever their political leaning.

Link via Tim Challies.

Responses to a new book about the recent history of the Diocese of Armidale

Today saw the launch of a new book – Darkness: The Conversion of Anglican Armidale, 1960-2019 by Thomas A. Fudge, Professor of History at the University of New England.

You can get a feel for the likely tone of the book from a report by John Sandeman in July 2023 (link via our website). And the University of New England website has an interview with Professor Fudge.

Today the Diocese of Armdale has published two responses to the new book –

One by Bishop of Armidale Rod Chiswell

“‘Darkness – the conversion of Anglican Armidale 1960-2019’ is a book that seeks to bring to light hitherto unheard voices responding to the transition of the Anglican Diocese of Armidale from a middle church diocese to a lower church evangelical diocese. …”

However Bishop Chiswell challenges two of Professor Fudge’s key presuppositions as well as his conclusions.

The other is a Review of the book by Dr. Mark Earngey, Head of Church History and Lecturer in Christian Thought at Moore College –

“Professor Fudge has produced a weighty tome on some of the recent history of the Anglican diocese of Armidale. … While conversion is normally associated with light (e.g. 1 Peter 2:9: ‘that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light’), Fudge interprets the growth of evangelical Anglicanism in the Armidale diocese in terms of darkness.”

In his Review, Dr Earngey provides very helpful historical and theological perspective.

Read both responses at the Diocese of Armidale website.

Remembering Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

On 21 March 1556, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer died at the stake in Oxford.

Learn about this towering figure of the English Reformation:

In 1989, Canon Allan Blanch wrote this appreciation of Archbishop Cranmer for ACL News.

In 2001, ACL News interviewed Dr. Ashley Null, recognised expert on Cranmer.

Further reading:

Masters Of The English Reformation by Marcus Loane (published 1954) is an excellent introduction to the English Reformation and five key figures: Bilney, Tyndale, Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer.

Portrait of Thomas Cranmer by Gerlach Flicke. (This is a re-post.)

I Believe in the Death of Julius Caesar and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

“Mark Twain famously described faith as ‘believing what you know ain’t so.’ He probably observed a good many Christians doing just that. But do thoughtful Christians believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus despite the evidence, or because of it? Today’s date is an occasion for us to consider some of the evidence for Christianity’s central claim.

On March 15, 44 BC – the Ides of March – dozens of Roman senators assassinated Julius Caesar. Nearly 77 years later, on or about Sunday, April 5, AD 33, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.

We can have justified belief in both events by following four practices historians use to discover the truth about the past. …”

– Published in time for the Ides of March (last Friday), this article at The Gospel Coalition (US) is a good reminder of the confidence we can have in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

The end of an era — BCA House Broken Hill

“As he took down the sign outside BCA House in Broken Hill in mid-January 2024, Indigenous Ministry Officer Neville Naden rightly said it was the end of an era.

The planning for a facility to serve the people of Broken Hill and beyond was first flagged in the December 1949 issue of The Real Australian

BCA House was officially opened on 6 March 1950 by the Archbishop of Sydney, the Bishop of Riverina, the Rector of Broken Hill and BCA missioners.

The Hostel, a converted old home set on a large block, was originally built as a Stock and Station Agency and was able to provide accommodation for up to 30 children. …”

– From The Bush Church Aid Society.

A lament for Scotland

In his latest podcast, David Robertson laments – and asks you to pray – for the land of his birth:

“In this week’s episode we look at the history, culture, and politics of Scotland. I have taken over a year to do this. It is possibly the hardest thing I have ever had to do because it is so hard for me to be objective.

This is deeply personal. And there is so much to say. It was difficult to decide what to leave out – I literally had hundreds of hours of material … I hope what has remained in will be helpful in understanding modern Scotland – and indeed the modern world. …

There are lessons for all of us in seeing how Scotland has changed, been blessed and declined. …”

Listen at The Wee Flea.

And a strong reminder to pray for the nation and people of Scotland.

Richard Johnson — Chaplain under fire

This Australia Day, it’s worth remembering how the gospel was received when it was preached in Sydney Town –

“One observation about the past is especially instructive for Christians of any age: faithful witness is often met with hostile opposition. It would be a mistake to conceive of some halcyon days in the past when the whole of society was motivated by the Christian faith and gospel proclamation went unopposed.

The Constantinian form of Christianity, which permeated the Western world over the past millennium, never truly embraced those who sought to be faithful witnesses. This is cer­tainly true of Australia’s first ordained minis­ter, Richard Johnson, who arrived in Sydney as chaplain to the colony of New South Wales with the First Fleet in 1788. …”

– Steve Tong wrote this for The Australian Church Record last year.


An Address to the Inhabitants of the Colonies – Richard Johnson (PDF file)

Three Lessons from 234 Pastors’ Libraries

“One of the most common assumptions about pastors throughout church history is that they are men of books – that reading is central to a pastor’s ministry. If you walk into your pastor’s office – he might even call it his ‘study’ – it will almost surely be full of books (2 Tim. 4:13).

But it wasn’t always this way. From our perch in 2023, we easily forget how significant the introduction of the printing press was to the history of the church. Prior to its invention, books were rare, usually only owned by wealthy men and women or tucked away in a monastery. Hardly any ordinary Europeans would have owned more than one book prior to 1450. …”

– At 9Marks, Forrest Strickland shares three lessons from history.

Post-Restoration Reformed Anglicans

Church Society’s Lee Gatiss shares some history about Post-Restoration Reformed Anglicans –

“The ejection of many of the Puritans from the Church of England in 1662 was not the end of the story for Puritanism, for Reformed theology, or for the gospel in the established church.

This lecture looks at a common tendentious reading of church history and by examining the lives and teaching of three significant Anglicans in the later Stuart period …”

– See it at Church Society.

Remembering Broughton Knox after 30 years

David Broughton Knox, Principal of Moore College 1959–1985, was called home 30 years ago, on January 14th 1994.

Who was Broughton Knox? Take the time to read these two tributes:

Sir Marcus Loane, Archbishop of Sydney 1966 – 1982, preached at his funeral at St. Andrew’s Cathedral:

“There were many strands in Broughton’s complex make-up as husband and father, teacher and friend. But all who knew him know that his life was ruled by a profound faith in God. That life was to span just a shade over seventy seven years from the time of his birth. And they were years crowded with quiet achievement as well as moments of high drama.

It was a life rich in friendship, in world-wide contacts, and in special fields of service. And it has left a mark for God that will endure in and beyond his own generation. …”

And Donald Robinson, Archbishop of Sydney 1982–1993, wrote a tribute for ACL News in 1994:

“It is no doubt too soon to estimate Broughton’s full contribution to the Australian Church. We can note something of its character, its thrust, and its scope, and we can voice our gratitude where we have personally been its beneficiaries.

Broughton was a theological person, whose mind and heart was focussed on the living God as He has made himself known. …”

See also:

Broughton Knox: servant of Christ Jesus – Dr Mark Thompson, May 15, 2017.

The Legacy of David Broughton Knox – October 24th 2018.

Expository Preaching on the wane? — David Cook, August 20th 2020.

Man articles by D B Knox – at Matthias Media’s The Briefing website.

A quote from Dr Knox’s address at the Annual General Meeting of the Anglican Church League in July 1993:

“We mustn’t limit the gospel to the feudalism of the past. Our present territorial boundaries, like a diocese or a parish, are feudal. … where the gospel is needed to be preached, we ought to be preaching it.”

Shortly before he and Ailsa left to help establish George Whitefield College in Cape Town in 1989, he spoke at Moore College on “What is a Christian?” – and prefaced his address with some comments on what he hoped to do in South Africa. (While the Vimeo page has the date as 12/10/1980, the year is almost certainly 1988.)

Thanks to Moore College’s Donald Robinson Library for making this available.

William Ansdell Leech (1842-1895) and the Fresh Air League

“On 25 September 1890, in his parish of Bong Bong in the Southern Highlands of NSW, the Rev William Ansdell Leech, an Anglican clergyman, formed a Ministering Children’s League (MCL) group from which the NSW Fresh Air League (FAL) would arise.

Initially, the activity that gave rise to the FAL was Leech’s particular way of fulfilling the ideals of the MCL. It soon became apparent that providing holiday accommodation for poor children and families in a healthy mountainous environment was a ministry deserving of its own name. …”

– Paul Cooper, Research Fellow at Christ College, Sydney, provides another fascinating window in to the (not-so-distant) past at Philanthropists And Philanthropy In Australian Colonial History.


When did Multiple Services begin?

“When did evangelical churches in America begin holding multiple services?

Throughout the nineteenth century, American churches traditionally held two distinct Sunday services: one in the morning, one in the evening. …

Slowly, however, this began to change. The advent of the automobile, growing urbanization, and the rise of America’s first megachurches all led to the multiple service model becoming the norm.”

– While not directly applicable to Australian churches (or is it?), this article by Caleb Morell at 9Marks gives some interesting history, and is a reminder that some of our practices might not be all that ancient, or always necessarily helpful.

The Desecration of Man

“This year marks the eightieth anniversary of the lectures that became C. S. Lewis’s book The Abolition of Man.

Speaking to an audience at the height of the Second World War, Lewis identified the central problem of the modern age: The world was losing its sense of what it meant to be human. As man’s technological achievements were once again being used to destroy human life on an industrial scale, Lewis pointed to the dehumanization that was occurring all around. And as the war continued, the Final Solution and the atomic bomb served to reinforce his claims.

Yet modern warfare was not the only problem. As Lewis argued, the intellectual and cultural currents of modernity were also culpable. The war was as much a symptom of the problem as a cause. Modernity was abolishing man. It represented nothing less than a crisis of anthropology. …”

There’s a great deal to contemplate in this essay from Carl Trueman at First Things.

This essay was originally delivered as the 36th Erasmus Lecture at Grove City College on 31st October 2023.

Photo: Carl Trueman, courtesy Grove City College.

Words worth reading — from Richard Johnson, first Chaplain to New South Wales

“The faith whereby a sinner receives Christ, and becomes a partaker of all the blessings of the gospel, is the sole gift of God, wrought in the heart by his Holy Spirit (Eph. ii.8). This Holy Spirit produces an inward change in the soul, called, in the scripture, the new birth, regeneration (John iii. 3-7), or conversion, and thus enables a sinner, convinced of his sin and misery, to look to Jesus, and to believe on him.

But though repentance and faith are the gifts of God, which none can obtain by any endeavours of their own, yet we are encouraged and commanded to pray for them (Luke xi. 17).

All who have thus, through grace, believed, and are daily living a life of faith in the Son of God, shall be saved: but such as carelessly neglect, or wilfully reject this gospel, must be damned (Mark xvi. 15). Think, I beseech you, of this! Remember, that it is the solemn declaration of the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

Now is the time to obtain the blessings revealed in the gospel, and which are set before you when it is preached. Many have had these gracious declarations made to them, before we were born, and they will be repeated to many after we are dead. But this is our day. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation (I Cor. vi. 2.). Hurry — for you and I may not live to see tomorrow. Today; if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts (Heb. iii. 7,8). My brethren, it is your duty, your wisdom, and will finally prove to be your greatest happiness, to seek an interest in this salvation for yourselves. It is your personal, and must be your heart concern, to make your calling and election sure (2 Pet i. 10).

For death will soon put a period to all the overtures of grace and mercy, with which many, and particularly you, are now favoured. It is, as I have said, both my duty and my pleasure, to preach and proclaim these glad tidings. But to whom? Not to the dead, but to the living; even to you (Acts xv. 22). To you is the word of this salvation sent. But, alas! should you still put it from you, and should death at last find you in an unprepared state, it will then be too late for you to begin to cry for mercy. (Eccl. ix. 10).”

– Extracted from Richard Johnson’s “An Address – to The Inhabitants of The Colonies Established in New South Wales and Norfolk Island”, 1792. PDF here.

Photo: Moore College.

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