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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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The inference to be drawn from [Bill ] Lawton's argument is that an emphasis on discontinuous and futurist eschatology has had an impact on the way in which Anglicans from Sydney have responded to the rising tide of secularism since the 1960s. What I would like to show is that, while Sydney's Anglicans have not always responded well to the challenges of the new secularism, they were not in fact given to the kind of world-abandonment supposedly characteristic of them in the late nineteenth century.
The period of secularization following the 1960s does indeed have some strong echoes of the late nineteenth century. In between these two eras was the high-water mark of church influence in Australian life, and in Sydney especially. In the midst of the Great Depression, Sydney Anglicans like the extraordinary R.B.S. Hammond (1870-1946) at St Barnabas' Broadway distinguished themselves in remarkable service of the poor. The 1950s in particular was a time in which Australian society seemed more congenial to the influence of the church than it had been previously.
This was demonstrated by the dramatic impact of the Billy Graham crusade of 1959 - an event which had all the appearance of the dawn of a new glorious age of Christian social influence through the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the thousands of people who went forward in Sydney and Melbourne. More than 130,000 people made a commitment to Christ, a figure which represents nearly 2% of the Australian population at the time.
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