Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Reasons Queenslanders stayed Presbyterian

Like Kamal, I'll be presenting at the combined Presbyterian colleges' conference, Descendi Studio next week. I think I'll be on Wednesday. However, I must confess I'm not presenting on Calvin. Neither am I presenting on my project from last year looking at Doctrines of Scripture in Islam and Evangelicalism.

Rather, I'll be looking at why Queensland Presbyterians who chose to remain presbyterian did so during the formation of the Uniting Church in Australia (ie. back in the '70's). It was an essay I did for Church history last year and probably of interest to many attending the conference.

What will it be about? It doesn't claim to be comprehensive, but I question some claims I found about that people remained Presbyterian solely (yes, some historians went that far) because of their cultural backgrounds. Instead, I'll be suggesting that at least in Queensland, doctrinal issues—especially the question of Scripture—were significant to many who chose to "continue Presbyterian".

Why do I care? Well, I'm not historically Presbyterian, but I'm training to work with them. So I wanted to know about a defining event in the life of this denomination in recent years. I think it's impact is still felt both practically (eg. why some regions don't have churches, why there's a sudden need for ministers in the denomination) and theologically (eg. why has Queensland Presbyterianism been so theologically conservative post-union, when might we be seen as betraying what people at that time were fighting for, when are we not). I want be unpacking all that in my presentation, but I hope that's what I started to learn last year doing the research.


Dene said...

Hi Russell, I enjoy reading your blog, but wish I could do so using google reader. Have I subscribed to the wrong feed or do you mean to have it abbreviated (hence requiring me to come to your site to read the entire post).

Russ said...

Apologies Dene. It's an oversight on my part. I've just change the setting so that next time you should get the whole game. Let me know if you don't.

All my love to you and your family.

Have you heard that Naomi's now with our church family? We're enjoying getting to know her.

Erica Lewis said...

Hi Russell

I'm currently hanging out with the Boston Episcopalians and wondering whether I'll go back to the Uniting Church when I get back to Australia, so is there any chance that those of us who can't come to the conference can get a copy of the conference paper to read?



Russ said...

Hi Erica,

That sounds fine. I'll check whether they're planning to print the papers, but I think it's just an oral presentation. I'm preparing a written form though so will send on a pdf. (I'll get your email via facebook.)

I should point out, it's really just a revision of an essay I prepared for church history last year. Carefully researched, but not comprehensive.

Enjoy Boston,