Theological Controversies in the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales, 1865-1915. The Rise of Liberal Evangelicalism

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This work examines the rise of Liberal Evangelicalism in the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales in Australia from 1865 to 1915. It proved to be the prelude to the acceptance of extreme liberalism in the person of Rev. Professor Samuel Angus who avoided heresy charges in the 1930s. This book contains eleven black and white photographs.


“Such literature tends to go through phases. Due to the very secular nature of Australian historiography in the past, not enough attention has been paid to the important conditioning roles which ethnic and religious minorities (such as the Presbyterians) played in the emergence of an Australian religious settlement. In its early phase, revisionist history is always contentious. Patrick O’Farrell argued as much for the Irish in Australian history, and, through his writings, successfully managed to alter the balance. Peter Barnes likewise takes a distinct position which, through its deliberate variance from the standard focus, seeks to counterbalance dominant historiographical themes. His strength is his attention to detail, and his knitting of the Presbyterian story into the larger religious historiography of Australia. It is not the end of the story for the study of evangelicalism in Australia - for history is an argument without end - but it is a useful beginning and contribution. Readers will find much to help them locate this important movement in the international literature, and to point them towards the local particularities which demonstrate the diffuse and yet identifiable nature of global evangelicalism.” – Prof. Mark Hutchinson, Southern Cross College

“Important and well done as the theme is, the book is more than the theme. Here is as good an account as exists of the Presbyterian history of the period. Barnes richly contextualizes the history with his sound understanding of the Scottish background, the colonial foreground and the American scene, the experience of which increasingly influenced Australian Christianity. Presbyterian history too frequently degenerates into the chronicling of unhappy, unprofitable schisms. They are covered here, but there is much more: worship, social concern, evangelism and missions, theological education, science and apologetics. Rich in history and strong in theme, this is a very valuable addition to the studies of Australian religious history and Presbyterianism in general and evangelicalism in particular.” - Prof. Stuart Piggin, Macquarie University

“Anyone who wishes to understand New South Wales Presbyterian history will find this volume indispensable.” – Rev. Dr. Rowland S. Ward, Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword Dr Mark Hutchinson
Chapter 1: Approaching Presbyterianism in New South Wales, 1865-1915: An Introduction
Chapter 2: Presbyterian Beginnings in New South Wales, 1788-1865
Chapter 3: New Unity and New Challenges, 1865-1880
Chapter 4: Preparing for a New Era, 1881-1893
Chapter 5: The Crisis of 1894
Chapter 6: New Foundation, Same Theology? 1895-1915
Chapter 7: Two Models

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