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EFAC Australia

1. When did you first join EFAC and what prompted you to join?

I joined EFAC in 1981, when I was ordained deacon. My rector, the Rev. Theo Hayman (ex-BCA Fed Sec) encouraged me to join as he said it was important for Sydney clergy and laity to join because of the benefits of EFAC for other dioceses and Sydney should take the lead in encouraging Evangelicals in places where Evangelical ministry is not well supported.

2. What do you see as the benefits of EFAC for Evangelicals in Australia?

The simple fact that you are not alone is a great comfort. EFAC provides significant networks for ministers and lay people for sharing ideas, resources and strategies where the culture of their diocese is either indifferent or hostile to Evangelicals. Essentials is just one tangible aspect of linking us together and sharing our resources. The support network that EFAC provides is a significant blessing to those in tough ministry places.

3. What do you see as the big challenges facing Anglicans in Australia in the next 20 years?

 

The big challenges are (1) the increasing secularisation of Australia, where freedom of religion, which was once a bedrock principle of Western democracy, is now under attack as it is taking a battering in legislative environments. (2) The abandonment of the definition of marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union of a man and a woman will continue to come under pressure and Anglicans need to be fortified for this debate as the proponents of so-called 'gay' marriage show no sign of giving up their battle until it is won. (3) Multiculturalism and a multi-faith society will bring fresh challenges to the Anglican Church, as the temptation will be to water down the differences between Christianity and other religious beliefs, compromising the gospel and the Lordship of Christ, with the accompanying temptation of avoiding or diminishing the plain teaching of Scripture in favour of human autonomy, which is at the heart of liberalism.

4. What are the key contributions EFAC can make to the Anglican church in Australia in the light of these challenges?

One of the strengths of Evangelicalism is that the gospel is at the heart of its identity. Evangelicals are gospel men and women, by definition. Moreover, we rightly claim that the way in which we understand the Bible is the way in which Cranmer and the English Reformers (as well as the apostles and church fathers) did. Notwithstanding that the term 'Evangelical' may not have been coined till much later than the16th century, its essence is at the core of apostolic Christianity. If it weren't, then we should abandon the label! We have a great heritage which we should continue to promote, realising that the cultural expressions of Evangelicalism will differ from century to century. EFAC's engagement with current issues, reflected upon with integrity and academic rigour within the framework of the authority of Scripture will continue to be a lasting benefit to the Anglican Church as a whole, and Evangelicals in particular.

5. Any other question you think you should answer ( or comment you would like to make)?

It was a great privilege to be Federal Chair of EFAC for 10 years and to move around the country to see the various branches seeking to be faithful to the gospel in their own setting. Now that I am President, it is a singular honour to be in this position and I trust that I can continue to support, encourage and promote Evangelical ministry and mission throughout the Anglican Church of Australia.

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