The Crisis of ’77

Posted on June 5, 2017 
Filed under Encouragement, History, Other denominations

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.)