The character of evangelism in Colonial Melbourne: activism, initiative, and leadership
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 18:54 by Darrell Neil Paproth
Chapter 1 sets the context by pointing out two contradictory contentions about the Christian history of C olonial Melbourne: the contention that Christianity has been of minimal or no significance; the tradition that Christianity is of fundamental importance to the history, and the civilisation of Melbourne. This thesis highlights a significant part of the tradition: evangelism. -- The second chapter, states the thesis: the Character of Evangelism in Colonial Melbourne was distinguished by (1) activism; the evangelicals were energetic and intentional. (2) It lacked nothing in initiative. (3) Both of these characteristics were due to outstanding leadership among the evangelical men of Melbourne who earnestly longed for, worked for, and saw, revival. The chapters that follow argue this by focusing on key individuals and events that were the evangelistic responses to the perceived challenges of the age. -- The Port Phillip Era (1835-1850) saw the Religious Foundations of Colonial Melbourne laid. The faith of the early men of Melbourne - orthodox, creedal and theist - was foundational to the nascent civilisation. Evangelism, mainly by the Methodists, was present from the beginning. -- The 1850s, the gold rush years, saw much evangelism, mainly by the Methodists. The Melbourne City Mission, which combined evangelistic fervour and social care, was founded. The world-wide 1858-60 revival was felt in Melbourne. The independent evangelist Henry Varley is introduced. -- The 1860s was a decade of continued enthusiasm. The other churches pulled their weight, but the Methodists continued in the van. -- The 1870s was a decade of initiative. The Anglican Hussey Burgh Macartney engaged in and facilitated evangelism and overseas missions, introduced the deeper-life movement to mainland Australia, and began The Missionary at Home and Abroad. The Methodist W H Fitchett began the Southern Cross. Henry Varley returned, and the Melbourne United Evangelistic Association was formed. -- Evangelism flourished in the 'Marvellous Melbourne' Decade (the 1880s), highlighted by the Evangelisation Society of Victoria, the 1888 Centennial Mission, and Varley's third visit. -- The crowning moments of 1890-1903 were the Rev John MacNeil and the (prayer) Band, the visit of Hudson Taylor, the Rev George Grubb and the Geelong Convention, the 1902 Torrey-Alexander Mission, and the 1903 visit of John R Mott. -- The concluding chapter summarizes the argument under the heads: the religious culture of Melbourne, the evangelical men of Melbourne, the evangelists, their methods, and their motivation.