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All articles in category Australia

October 2015
Australia

Visiting the Australian Outback

It took a few attempts before I could get the hang of pronouncing ‘Gulargambone’ correctly. The name means ‘place of Galahs’ or ‘watering place of many birds’, in the language of the local indigenous people. Gulargambone is a small community of about 400 people located more than 500km north-west of Sydney, in New South Wales, Australia. Galahs are grey- and rose-coloured cockatoos found in large numbers in the area. Our journey to Gulargambone began in Sydney with a train ride of nearly seven hours, winding our way up through the Blue Mountains to the west of the city and heading off towards the western plains....

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October 2011
Australia

One year in

One year in Mourners cluster on the parched grass outside the tin-roofed chapel filled with grieving family, as I seek gently to bring the gospel of God to them and to thank the Lord for an aboriginal woman’s life in the face of her early death. A year ago we were strangers, but now are counted friends. A number embrace us as family and we care deeply for them. It has been a long journey from our loving church in Hertfordshire to join the aboriginal community of Gilgandra, yet ‘up to this point the Lord has helped us’.     We have left two adult children...

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Australian Aboriginal churches
April 2010
Australia

Australian Aboriginal churches

Australian Aboriginal churches   Australian Indigenous Ministries (AIM), previously known as the Aborigines Inland Mission, is a conservative evangelical organisation whose foundations go back to 1905.             From the beginning, ministry was aimed at establishing Aboriginal Christians to lead and guide their own people. With the benefit of hindsight, AIM recognises that more in the past could have been done with a less paternalistic attitude.             Today, AIM is working with local indigenous Christians. Many churches have grown up which, whilst not exclusively Aboriginal, do have strong indigenous social and cultural perspectives. In Queensland and New South Wales (NSW) there are long established such Christian...

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Australian Evangelicalism
February 2007
Australia

Australian Evangelicalism

Snapshots of history have their charms and their dangers. The last forty years or so of Australian evangelicalism have seen hopes rise and fall, as they invariably do. The mid-1960s were nothing short of catastrophic — despite the 1959 Billy Graham crusades.   These crusades were considered so successful that many thought Australia came close to revival. Marcus Loane wrote that Billy Graham was ‘God’s man for this century’. The foundations, however, were decidedly weak. For too many churchmen, evangelism had little to do with theological content, and too much to do with the survival of the church as an institution. In the 1960s Sunday...

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The gospel of grace in Australia
June 2004
Australia

The gospel of grace in Australia

The centre of Australian evangelical life in Australia is the Anglican diocese of Sydney – centred on Moore College, the publications of Matthias Press, and the national leadership of Archbishop Peter Jensen. Its influence radiates outwards into the whole of Australian Christian life and work. While some aspects of this influence give me cause for concern, the heart of the gospel of God’s saving grace is undoubtedly proclaimed, and that forcefully. Dr Peter Jensen has given stalwart leadership both inside and beyond his own denomination on issues such as homosexuality and women’s ordination. Reclaiming the foundations   In the last generation (since 1977 when the...

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Developments Down Under
March 2004
Australia

Developments Down Under

Having recently visited the UK, and been invited to write for ET about the situation facing Christians in Australia, I am most happy to contribute this short report on conditions in the Antipodes. Australia and Britain share many of the problems endemic in Western countries generally, and I am sure the reader will readily identify with much that follows. L et me start with an event which occurred in June 1977 — the merger of the Methodist Church of Australasia, the Presbyterian Church of Australia, and the Congregational Union of Australia to form the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA).   The Methodists had in large...

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Missionary Spotlight-The gospel in Australia
January 2001
Australia

Missionary Spotlight-The gospel in Australia

The gospel came to Australia with the ‘First Fleet’ in 1788. On board was Rev. Richard Johnson, an evangelical Anglican clergyman. He ministered under great difficulties until 1800, when he returned to England. It was only in the 1850s and the 1860s – following the gold rushes and the end of convict transportation – that the cause of Christ began to prosper. Strangely enough, this was the very time when biblical criticism and the theory of evolution began to take hold. So 1860-1890 was, paradoxically, a time of both growth and declension for the Christian church. Liberalism From the late 1880s onwards, liberalism became the...

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Missionary Spotlight-Evangelical kaleidoscope
January 2001
Australia

Missionary Spotlight-Evangelical kaleidoscope

The professedly evangelical scene within Australia presents a kaleidoscope – active groups within larger, compromised denominations; a small number of independent congregations; and a burgeoning multitude of neo-Pentecostal causes. Unlike the UK, there are no wider Evangelical associations, nor is there a substantial sprinkling of ‘Evangelical Free’ churches. Bible-believing, gospel-preaching churches are few in number, save perhaps in the enclave of Sydney Anglicanism (all other Anglican dioceses are predominantly Anglo-Catholic). Many evangelical congregations are scattered oases in a spiritual desert, with believers gathering from different theological traditions, thirsty for the preached Word. Even in strongly confessional local churches, there will be adherents who do not...

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MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT-The national religion
January 2001
Australia

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT-The national religion

When Juan Samaranch, President of the IOC, announced in September 1993, ‘And the winner is Sidn – eeee!’, the New South Wales government knew that preparing for the 2000 Olympics would entail an immense amount of work. Seven years and $3.5 billion later, Australia presented a sporting event that won the praise and admiration of 4 billion viewers around the world. Facilities were built to house 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries. Venues were constructed for 28 different sports and medallions minted for the winners of 300 events. The ‘Torch’ relay created huge public interest. The ‘sacred flame’ departed from Ayres Rock (known now...

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Missionary Spotlight-Gospel growth
January 2001
Australia

Missionary Spotlight-Gospel growth

Just thirty years after the crucifixion of Christ, the apostle Paul made this remarkable claim: ‘all over the world the gospel is bearing fruit and growing’ (Colossians 1:6). Writing in the third century, Tertullian told the Roman world: ‘We are but of yesterday and yet we already fill your cities, islands, camps, your palaces, senate and forum. We have left you only your temples’. But while many are still being added to the church every day, the church in the western world, and in Australia, is in decline. ‘Land of the Holy Spirit’ In 1605, two Portuguese sailors landed in what is now known as...

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Letter from Australia
November 1999
Australia

Letter from Australia

I write this letter in the comfort and security of my study. We have just returned from three weeks holiday at a small seaside village called Lennox Head. It was just Val and I and the dog. There was no telephone in the house where we were staying and I didn’t turn on my laptop.   During the sunlight hours Val and I (and Wags) spent many enjoyable hours wandering along the sandy beaches. The many spare hours I spent reading volumes from the Welwyn Commentary Series. They are fine devotional reading, which I heartily recommend to all. While there we visited two country schools...

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