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.

Church Society’s St Antholin Lecture 2023: Same-Sex Love in the Puritan World

From Church Society:

“This year’s St Antholin Lecture on Puritan Divinity will be delivered live on the Church Society Facebook page by Dr Christy Wang, a church historian from Singapore Bible College.

Dr Wang is also a Post-Award Visitor affiliated with the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford, where she was a tutor and earned her DPhil on ‘Puritan Conformity, Church Polity, and Anglican Identity, 1628–88’, having previously also studied at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and National Taiwan University.

The title of the lecture will be ‘By Love to Them I Cease Loving of Thee’: Journaling Same-Sex Love in the Puritan World.’…”

Details here.

The lecture is on Wednesday 6th December at 6pm (UK time), 5:00am the next morning Sydney time.

Remembering C S Lewis 60 years on

Sixty years ago today (22nd November 1963) C S Lewis died.

Also on that day, US President John F Kennedy was assassinated.

Albert Mohler devotes his The Briefing for 22 November 2023 to remembering JFK.

Image: Christianity Today.

A unique memorial: The John Francis Cash Memorial Chapel at Moore College

This Remembrance Day, learn a little about the John Francis Cash Memorial Chapel at Moore Theological College –

“John Francis Cash was the first Sydney civilian to volunteer for the RAAF after the outbreak of World War 2, and the chapel built in his memory may be considered to honour the memory of all the young Australian men killed in that conflict but have no grave or other memorial. …”

– in 2020, Erin Mollenhauer, Senior Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at Moore College’s Donald Robinson Library, penned this introduction.

(Click the image for a larger version, courtesy of Moore College.)

John Newton’s 1767 Diary

“Some authors wait a long time to see their work reach publication. In Newton’s case, the wait for this one has been 256 years!

Rhys Bezzant, Dean of the Anglican Institute at Ridley College, comments: ‘1767 was a remarkable year in the life of John Newton, not least because he travelled extensively and subsequently moved into a new rectory. In his Diary of this year we learn about his aching soul, his busy schedule, his pastoral heart, and his prodigious correspondence. Here we meet no detached preacher elevated above his congregation, but someone who wrestled with the meaning of a text and engaged honestly with his parishioners concerning his own future in Olney…’

In 1767 John Newton kept a small pocket diary of the sort we might buy today, with one page for recording the week’s events and the opposite page for keeping a record of accounts. You would be excused for thinking that the transcript would be brief, but somehow this has morphed into an illustrated 72-page A4 edition, augmented with illustrations and illuminating footnotes, published by The John Newton Project. …”

– Marylynn Rouse at the John Newton Project in the UK has been working to open windows into the life and thinking of someone who has had a huge influence worldwide.

Read about it at AP, the national journal of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

The Diary for 1767 is available from johnnewton.org/shop.

See also:

Lord hast thou not a time for these poor benighted souls? – John Newton’s prayer for ‘poor benighted souls’ on the other side of the world.

Howard Guinness and the beginnings of evangelical university ministry in Australia

At an event at Moore College on 1st November, Dr Ruth Lukabyo spoke on the legacy of Dr Howard Guinness –

“Dr Howard Guinness, of the well-known Irish brewing family, was sent to Australia in 1930 by Inter-Varsity Fellowship to develop Christian student groups on university campuses. His visit was the catalyst for the establishment of Sydney University and Melbourne University Evangelical Unions on the basis of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

During his later parish ministry in Broadway and Vaucluse, his ongoing involvement in EU missions has left a lasting legacy in university campus ministry.”

The video is now available to watch. (At time of posting, the event begins 37 minutes and 30 seconds into the video, though the video might later be edited.)

At the end of Dr Lukabyo’s presentation, Mary Jones, Howard’s daughter, shares recollections of her father.


Remembering Howard Guinness.

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.

Howard and Dorothy Mowll – Global Anglican Pioneers

Published recently by Latimer Publications in the UK, “Howard and Dorothy Mowll – Global Anglican Pioneers” is sure to be of interest to many.

From the Latimer Trust website:

“God’s blessing upon the Diocese of Sydney in the election of Howard Mowll as its sixth Diocesan Bishop in 1933 is clearly evident in these pages.

Despite the inadvertent loss of his personal papers, the authors of this fine anthology provide an insightful and informative account of the ministry of Archbishop Mowll across four continents. These scholarly chapters provide a rich tapestry of the outstanding leadership of Mowll not only in the Diocese of Sydney but throughout Australia and beyond. His zeal for a robust theological education, energetic evangelism and a vision for youth ministry made a formidable impact on Evangelical Anglicanism in Sydney.

This book is long overdue in celebrating the legacy of Howard Mowll, arguably the most significant and effective Archbishop of Sydney of the twentieth century.

Glenn N Davies, Archbishop of Sydney 2013-2021.”

The book has its origin in the 2021 Moore College Library Day and is edited by Erin Mollenhauer, Senior Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at Moore College’s Donald Robinson Library.

It’s available direct from Latimer Trust – and also via these booksellers.

Sydney Rare Book Week – Books of the Reformation

From Moore College:

“Printing played a pivotal role in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.

The development of the printing press enabled the mass production of written materials, which made it possible to disseminate ideas and religious texts rapidly and widely throughout Europe. The easy access to printed materials allowed people to share theological ideas, which fostered religious diversity, and ultimately sparked a transformative era in European history.

Take a closer look at early editions of key Reformation texts in Moore Theological College Library with Head of Church History Rev Dr Mark Earngey.”

– Free, but book at the College website.

Some of the greatest women in church history – with Rachel Ciano

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Our focus today is on the massive legacy of some of the greatest women of church history.  We discuss how different the Jesus’ mother Mary (as portrayed in the New Testament) is to Mary as she’s popularly thought of.  We focus on the account of one of the early martyrs, 22 year old mother Perpetua, who was fed to the lions.

We look at England’s nine day queen Lady Jane Grey and her mentoring by the Swiss Protestant reformer Heinrich Bullinger.  Then there’s the extraordinary story of Salvation Army co-founder Catherine Booth’s campaign to have the age of consent raised in England from 12 to the eventual age of 16.  And Gladys Alward’s 350 kilometre trek across the mountains of China with 100 orphan children.”

Watch or listen here.

Related: 10 Dead Gals You Should Know: Leaving An Enduring Legacy.

Howard Guinness and the beginnings of evangelical university ministry in Australia

Coming up at Moore College on Wednesday 1st November –

“Dr Howard Guinness, of the well-known Irish brewing family, was sent to Australia in 1930 by Inter-Varsity Fellowship to develop Christian student groups on university campuses. His visit was the catalyst for the establishment of Sydney University and Melbourne University Evangelical Unions on the basis of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

During his later parish ministry in Broadway and Vaucluse, his ongoing involvement in EU missions has left a lasting legacy in university campus ministry.

Dr Ruth Lukabyo will examine Dr Guinness’ work and legacy in this free event.”

Details and booking from the College.

For more background see:

Remembering Howard Guinness – including Archbishop Sir Marcus Loane’s sermon at the funeral of Dr. Guinness in 1979.

Archbishop Sir Marcus Loane remembers the beginnings of the SUEU – audio recording from 1980.

The Legacy of Charles Christopher Godden – A Testament to Faith

Mark Earngey, Head of Church History at Moore College, shares the story of Moore College graduate Charles Christopher Godden 1876-1906.

For more on C. C. Godden, see

“Let there be peace”: the spiritual legacy of C.C. Godden – Moore College.

A unique memorial: the John Francis Cash Memorial Chapel after 70 years – Moore College.

Images: Moore College.

New book on the Peter Cameron Presbyterian “Heresy trial”

Many Sydney Anglicans will remember the so-called ‘heresy trial’ of Presbyterian minister Dr Peter Cameron.

It began in 1992 when Dr Cameron, the Principal of St Andrew’s College at the University of Sydney, spoke at a centenary women’s event at Ashfield where he referred to the Bible as ‘sub-Christian’. In response to the apostle Paul teaching about women, he replied, ‘So what?’.

The disciplinary proceedings came about not because Dr Cameron was in favour of women’s ordination (even though most media reports claimed that was the case), but because he dismissed the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture (not just in that sermon, but on other occasions).

The Presbyterian Church had to make a crucial decision. Would they accommodate theological liberalism as did the Uniting Church which they had declined to join fifteen years earlier?

Now, thirty years on, Paul Cooper and David Burke have edited a series of essays exploring what happened and why –

From the back cover of the book:

“In 1992, the Presbyterian Church of Australia through its disciplinary procedures convicted one of its ministers, the Rev Dr Peter Cameron, Principal of St Andrew’s College, of what the newspapers of the time called ‘heresy’. The secular media and commentary were strongly supportive of Cameron and highly critical of the Church.

Cameron, in 1994, published ‘Heretic’ which told the story from his point of view.

This book, Principle & Principal, invites the reader to consider the other side of the Cameron Case. It reflects a different bias to that propagated by Cameron and his supporters. It tells why the Presbyterian Church took this action knowing that it would result in an avalanche of criticism. While over thirty years have passed since the finalisation of the Cameron Case, and the ranks of those involved have thinned, many of the chapters in this book are written by people who participated in these events.”

Campbell Markham at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Hobart has written this review for AP.

– Details and ordering information from Eider Books.


The Crisis of ’77 – personal reflections by the Rev Bob Thomas on the decision of Presbyterians to ‘continue Presbyterian’.

We are Repaganizing

“Christians have always been unusually vehement in their disapproval of the killing of infants, whether born or unborn, and their legal regime prevailed until the mid-twentieth century when we experienced a religious shift that will probably be understood by future historians as a Second Reformation. …”

– Several Christian bloggers have linked to this thoughtful article at First Things by Louise Perry.

Tim Charlie’s writes, “This article is not written by a Christian but still shares an interesting perspective on what society will lose as it turns from its Christian roots back to paganism.”

Humility at the Heart of Mission

From Moore College’s Centre for Global Mission:

“What does it mean to ‘clothe yourself with humility’ in cross-cultural ministry and mission work

For most of the last 200 years of evangelical mission history, the gospel has been taken from wealthy and powerful countries to the majority world. Sometimes this missionary expansion has been marked by decidedly more pride than humility. This has disfigured the gospel and distorted expectations about what God promises his people. Humility must be at the heart of mission.

In this public event Dr Simon Gillham will be unpacking what the Bible says about the humility of the Lord Jesus and any who would serve in his name. We will also explore the particular relevance of humility as a virtue in cross-cultural engagement and Christian mission.”

Watch here.

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