Evangelical Christianity in Sydney has some quirks – things that are pretty normal here that aren’t normal elsewhere. I’m writing a series of posts to look at a few of them, and I want to start with a positive.
Firstly: We agree on just about all of the big stuff.
We tend to forget that, around the world, Evangelicalism is not the narrow term it is here. In the US, churches we would find bizarre, and would disagree with on many, many counts, call themselves Evangelical. The term there is now so broad it has to be reclaimed and redefined in order to be useful.
If you’re an evangelical Christian in Sydney, and you meet another evangelical Christian in Sydney, you can have a fair idea what you’ll agree on. Your new friend probably believes:
- That the Bible is true
- That people really are sinners out of relationship with God
- That the Bible contains one great story of God working to redeem His creation to Himself
- That the Bible’s big story centres on Jesus
- That Jesus was fully man and fully God
- That Jesus really did die for our sin, and really did rise again
- That Jesus really is Lord
- That faith in Jesus really saves
- The news about Jesus needs to be preached for people to be saved
That’s actually a lot to agree on! And for that clarity we’ve got some thankin’ to do.
There are any number of people I could mention, but I want to focus on two in particular – Have you heard of DB Knox and DWB Robinson? If you haven’t, your pastor probably has. This dynamic duo ran the show at Moore College for some time, when ministers from just about every evangelical denomination were training there. Lecturers at Moore College still talk them up. Lecturers at the Presbyterian Theological Centre still talk them up. I’ve heard ‘famous’ evangelical preachers from the US talk them up. Find out about them. Read their stuff.* Thank God for them.
We should give thanks for them because their influence is still stamped all over the way Sydney’s evangelical Christianity reads the Bible as a whole, with Jesus at the centre, and preaches the gospel clearly. Did they start careful Bible reading and gospel preaching in Sydney? Of course not, but their present influence is undeniable.
Sydney’s first quirk – in general, we agree on the big stuff.
*(Relatively) recently, people have compiled Selected Works volumes for both of these men. You can click here to have a squiz at Moorebooks. Or go (as in, physically, actually go) to your friendly local theological college’s library and borrow them!