Moderator's Comments - Posted 23 July 2017

10.00am, forty years ago, the words of Psalm 118 rang out in Scots’ Church Sydney: ‘This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’

Today, Friday 23rd June 2017 – it’s forty years to the day when the Presbyterian Church of Australia was refreshed. And, it’s fair to ask: What became of that bold decision to remain as a Presbyterian church? What distinctives of the Christian faith do we offer? What does PCA stand for?

Permit this man’s reminiscing … through the eyes of a Catholic Father, liberal theologians, an African pastor and an Orthodox Priest.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 1 June 2017

Thursday 22nd June marks forty years of a refocused and refreshed church. The Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA) is almost unrecognisable from what it was in the 1960s. I suggest each congregation might pause during the week of 22 June … to pray for the PCA and thank the Lord for all the fruit of our renewal. We belong to a blessed church.

Four decades represents a significant milestone. We learn from the Scriptures that God required Moses to spend forty years in the wilderness country of Midian before engaging in his life’s mission. Moses needed to learn to be a faithful provider for his own family and to care for his father-in-law’s sheep prior to the trust of looking after God’s flock. It was a probationary period for Moses. Are we emerging from forty years probation?

If so, what has the Lord released us to do?

Listen for a moment to our ‘fathers’ of the church. It didn’t all start when we joined the church in the 90s, or the 00s.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 1 May 2017

If ever we could have considered the church to be a core part of Australian culture (and that’s not at all certain), the Christian church is now being slowly edged to one side. It is increasingly less mainstream.

Have you noticed though that there are key moments in the year’s calendar and certain elements of our culture where we’re let back in? It’s strange, but true. Consider:

  • the church continues to be offered chaplaincy opportunities in sporting clubs, emergency services and community-service groups – places where ‘the Rev’ is still respected;
  • Carols on the Lawn is making a come-back and churches are taking the lead and offering to gather on council parkland with singing and preaching at this significant pre-Christmas event.

And then … there’s ANZAC DAY, that’s just past – which is not going anywhere. In memorial parks and around town cenotaphs across this nation, the crowds continue to grow. ANZAC DAY memorial services mean something to the average Australian. And church leaders are invited to lead and speak into the occasion.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 1 March 2017

Paul thought it was. Let’s do a cross-check on this (pun intended) – the greatest Christian who’s ever lived – what did he say? Among other things:

Galatians 6:14 ‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’.

The great Apostle Paul thinks this much of the cross of Christ – that it’s his only boast. Let’s go further:

 1 Corinthians 2:2 ‘For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.’

Moderator's Comments - Posted February 2017

Journalist Paul McGeough writes: ‘Trump joins the parade of strongmen’. He was referring of course to other world leaders particularly of Russia, North Korea, Philippines and China. We’re hearing fresh reports every day of outbursts, breath-taking indulgence and bold reforms … reports difficult to figure out. It’s a new form of sabre-rattling, a social sabre-rattling.

McGeough continues: ‘Trump is all over the place, a bit right, a bit left; more opportunistic than he is idealist; more instinctive than considered.’ Like most of us, I assume, I find myself intrigued by the latest Trumpism, oscillating between grimacing and nodding, unsure whether this is leadership or bullying.

Fears rise within when we see world leaders from the far right coming to power and threatening to assert themselves and bask in the glory of their achievements. What times are we living in? Are these extraordinary times or is this how it’s always been?

Fears rise also when we see national leaders from the far left hell-bent on bringing down a controlling and intolerant liberal agenda on our society. One recent example comes to mind. Our Victorian parliament, although with wings clipped late last year, will no doubt go on with their program of social engineering – trying to monster the Christian schooling movement to restrict who they may employ. What times are we living in? Are these extraordinary times or is this how it’s always been?