Richard Johnson’s Address to the Inhabitants of New South Wales


This Australia Day, give thanks for the Rev. Richard Johnson, Chaplain to the First Fleet and first Chaplain to the Colony of New South Wales.

In 1792, Johnson wrote a tract designed to be distributed widely in the Colony. He gives his reasons for doing so:  Read more

Evangelism in Tough Times?

Here’s the talk Phillip Jensen gave to mark the 10th anniversary of John Chapman’s departure to be with Christ.

His topic: “Evangelism in Tough Times”.

Looking at our context in Australia, he argues –

  1. These are not tough times.
  2. The has been no substantial change, and
  3. The difficulty evangelism faces is seduction and persecution.

It’s a challenging talk and is very much worth your time. Good to share too.

Recorded at Moore College, 22 November 2022.

Successful religious discrimination claim in foster-carer case

“Just before Christmas, a significant religious discrimination decision was handed down in the Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster gives background to a decision handed last week.

(Image: Assoc Prof. Foster at a Sydney Diocese training day.)

Anti-Conversion Coercion in Tasmania

At AP (The Australian Presbyterian), David Robertson shares his thoughts on what he calls “The Canary in the Coal Mine” –

“The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI) have produced a report for the Tasmanian government recommending new laws to deal with sexual orientation and gender identity conversion practices (SOGI). This doesn’t sound as though it would be riveting reading – and for many people within and without Tasmania, it hardly seems relevant to their lives.

I read the report, mainly to prepare a short response. However I found it so disturbing and revealing that I have taken some time to respond in more detail. Why? Because it is a great example of how progressive ideology takes over the basic civic institutions of Western societies. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

The report itself is 332 pages long. Which itself is a statement. Who is going to be bothered to read a report of that size on a subject which seems so inconsequential to most of us? If people bother with it at all it is likely to be within the comfort zones of their own interest groups – or they will just skim read it – note the various buzz words and either agree with the conclusions of the report, or just shrug their shoulders and walk away. Who cares? I do.

And so I thought I would share with you the main lessons to be learned from this report – lessons that can apply in many situations (e.g. The GRA reforms in Scotland, the compulsory trans ideology in the US, or the ‘diversity’ managers being imposed on the NHS in the UK, and corporations throughout the world). The message and the methodology is the same.

One of the main problems is the use of language. I am totally opposed to any form of conversion therapy which is coercive and harmful. Arguing against this report is not the same as arguing for conversion therapy. It is ironic that an ideology which is supposed to be against binary choices – only offers a binary choice. You are either on the ‘good’ side, the ‘right side of history’, the progressive; or you are an evil, hateful regressive. Although the report doesn’t put it in that language, the implication is the same. But life is much more complex than such simplistic binary views.

First, we will look at the sections of the report that deal with pseudo-science, the need for new legislation and the question of harm. Part two will look at the confused language, the question of consent and the definition of conversion. Part three looks at who the report is really aimed at and what its effect will be. …”

Part One: Pseudo-Science and Pseudo–Needs.

Part Two: The Emperor Has No Clothes.

Part Three: The World Turned Upside Down.

Faith-Based Schools in the Northern Territory threaten to close

“The Northern Territory parliament is currently considering amending the Anti-Discrimination Act so as to end an existing provision that allows ‘religious educational institutions to discriminate against staff based on their sexuality’. This would mean people who do not share the beliefs or values of a faith-based school or institution could no longer be excluded from employment.

In response, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Darwin, Charles Gauci, has said that he will consider closely all eighteen Catholic colleges and schools in the Northern Territory. Christian schools have also thrown their support behind this response, strongly suggesting they would follow a similar course of action. …”

– AP (The Australian Presbyterian) has this on the latest from the Northern Territory.


Northern Territory parliament passes anti-discrimination law reform amid fierce backlash – ABC News.

“The CLP has vowed to overturn the legislation if elected in 2024.”

A breakdown of the Australian National Church Life survey – with Peter Mayrick and Ruth Powell

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Sunday Church attendance across Australia is down, but decline has slowed.

The Australian National Church Life Survey results are out.  Worryingly the key newcomer indicator has dropped to 5.7%.

While evangelism is down, engagement in church based service groups is up. Mid week small groups are up.

We take a hard look under the bonnet of the top level results.

Ruth Powell is National Director for the National Church Life Survey.

Peter Mayrick is with Partners in Ministry and the Center for Ministry Development at Sydney’s Moore Theological College and is a board member of the National Church Life Survey.”

Watch or listen here.

The Pastor, the CEO and the Victorian Premier — The Pastors Heart

From The Pastor’s Heart –

“Four Victorian Christian leaders on the controversy that has erupted in Australian National Politics – around the chair of the Victorian based City on a Hill church movement Andrew Thorburn, over his appointment as CEO of the Essendon Football Club and then almost immediate resignation.

When faced with an ultimatum to choose between his church and his new position at Essendon, Thorburn chose his church.

Melbourne’s Herald Sun started the controversy by publishing quotes from two ten year old sermons from City on a Hill on abortion and homosexuality.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews described City on a Hill’s mainstream Christian views as appalling, intolerant, bigoted, hatred and wrong.

Our guests:

Watch or listen here. Well worth watching.

Australia Remains Open to Christianity — Archbishop Kanishka Raffel

“What shall we make of the Census finding that 44% of Australians identify as ‘Christian’, with as many as 39% describing themselves as having no religion?

It is the first time in Census history that fewer than 50% of Australians align with a Christian denomination. What does it mean for Sydney Anglicans as we seek to commend the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to our friends and neighbours? …”

– Archbishop Kanishka writes to encourage you to keep on sharing the saving news of Jesus.

Should Church-run hospitals be forced to perform abortions?

“I’m beginning to think that when some people read ‘1984’ and ‘A Brave New World’, their impression is, what a great idea. Let’s model our society on ‘Oceania’ or ‘World State’!

There is a certain predictability about our political and social overlords: Christianity is bad, science is a subject in the Arts faculty, and conscience is only free for those who follow the right agenda. …”

– In this piece published last week, Murray Campbell in Melbourne responds to a move to force Church-based hospitals and health institutions to perform abortions.

He implores his readers, “please read the entire piece & not just one or two snippets. The whole argument matters, not just a quote or two.”

Darwin’s Garden of Eden

Here’s a recent addition to Nungalinya College in Darwin: The Garden of Eden Art trail tells the story of Creation and the Fall –

“The pathway through the garden depicts the greek letters Alpha and Omega. You might like to ponder … Revelation 21 as you enjoy your walk through the Garden of Eden.”

In the above video, College Principal Ben van Gelderen speaks about the garden at its opening in April 2022.

It’s a good reminder to pray for the students and staff of this unique college.

The Sermon that Exposed Australia

“It was an orthodox Christian sermon speaking about anxiety, trusting the Lord and God being with us in troubled times. As such you would not expect the Sydney Morning Herald to pay much attention to it.  Except in this instance, who delivered the sermon, and where it was delivered, made it worthy of headline news. …

The sermon from the former PM, or rather the reaction to it from the current PM, shows just how far down the rabbit role of irrationality Australian civic culture has already gone.”

– At AP (The Australian Presbyterian), David Robertson looks at the reaction to Scott Morrison’s sermon, and sees the need for a good old-fashioned Apology.


Hear for yourself what Scott Morrison says. The most ‘controversial’ section begins around 26 minutes.

2021 Census shows changes in Australia’s religious diversity

“The 2021 Census has revealed increasing diversity in the religions Australians identified, reflecting continuing changes in our social attitudes and belief systems.

Christianity is the most common religion in Australia, with over 40 per cent (43.9 per cent) identifying as Christian. This has reduced from over 50 per cent (52.1 per cent) in 2016 and from over 60 per cent (61.1 per cent) in 2011. As in earlier Censuses, the largest Christian denominations are Catholic (20.0 per cent of the population) and Anglican (9.8 per cent). …”

The latest media release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reminds us that there is plenty of scope to share the saving message of Jesus Christ.

ACT Discrimination Law Reforms Narrow Religious Freedom

“The Australian Capital Territory government has released an Exposure Draft of a Bill to amend that jurisdiction’s Discrimination Act 1991 (“DA”). They have invited public comment by 1 July 2022.

As key protections for religious freedom in Australia are often found in “balancing clauses” in discrimination legislation, it is always worth keeping an eye on reforms to these laws.

Sadly, these proposed reforms will significantly narrow religious freedom protections in the ACT. …”

– Associate Professor Neil Foster takes a look at proposed law reforms in the ACT.

Religious Freedom Challenges for Theological Colleges in Australia

Associate Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia:

“I am presenting a paper to a seminar for senior leaders in Australian theological colleges, dealing with religious freedom challenges.

I comment briefly on some of the current protections provided, but also how those protections have been eroded recently, especially in Victoria (where amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) which I previously commented on have now commenced.)

A copy of the paper can be downloaded here.”

(Image: Diocese of Sydney.)

Honoured for fostering love

“North Shore couple Carolyn and David Stedman, who have fostered 74 children, are among several Sydney Anglicans honoured in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours…”

– has the story.

Image: Seven’s Sunrise via Anglican Media Sydney.

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