PURPOSES AND PROJECTS
Below is part of a reply to a request for information on various topics, in terms of a Westminster Theological Seminary project. Its arrangement may be of use to some seeking coverage, and hence it is also made available here.
1. I am currently chiefly an author, but we also meet with the usual configuration of a.m. and p.m. with Sermon and praise, and a rather less extensive session in the evening, with Wednesday Bible Study and Prayer. Morning sermons are usually put on the Web, in writing and orally.
This missionary and testimonial work has over the years, included a time of testimony in a University Club, to the Government or Opposition concerning its evil teaching, and contribution to early stages of a Christian University, some years ago.
2. Since 1957, when I completed my B.D. at Westminster seminary, I have laboured in pastoral works in Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Australia. These have been either as Pastor of a Presbyterian Church such as the Australian Bible Church (Presbyterian), or the Gospel Presbyterian Church, or of an independent Church (such as when Pastor of the Church on the County Line in Chicago), or following a vacation counselling in Ontario, in around a year's preaching visit in the Canadian Maritimes. I have also held positions as Headmaster of a Christian School and, for a short time, Principal of another, and have lectured or taught in the area of Communications either at the tertiary or post-secondary level, in Victoria and South Australia.
3. The main contributions from Westminster have, at the positive level, been the excellent deportment, gentlemanly behaviour and knowledge of Edward J. Young, the drama linked with emphatic reserve of John Murray with his ability to decline to answer that to which he had no answer, the enthusiastic grace of the remarkably apt teacher, John Skilton, the kindliness of Professor Kline and the humour of Professor Van Til. To the best of my knowledge, in the Lord's due providence, I was the first to come to Westminster, as an Australian student. It was also good to have the quiet helpfulness of Professor Woolley. How events led to my coming is to be found at this site.
While I could by no means agree with some of the teaching at Westminster Seminary, much was exceedingly sound and, with one exception, the Staff handled the difference commendably. One, to my mind, spectacular contrast to the most unfortunate Staff action in one area, was the quite extraordinary grace of Edward J. Young who, when answered concerning a point of difference between us, which arose in Class. Instead of attempting rebuttal, declared: "You have a gift."
To revisit question 1, above, I should perhaps add that for many years now, my chief labour has been as author in the field of Biblical Christian Apologetics, with some 25 million words, 60,000 pages and 229 volumes on the Web at http://webwitness.org.au
For many years, I was enabled by divine grace and energy, as a thing commissioned, to publish on the Web over a book per month, and perhaps this year, well into my 85th year, it may be less; but we shall see. This entirety is all an integral set in theology, with hyperlinking throughout, joint indexes and mutual reinforcement. It deals as in principle it must, to be thorough, with issues of wide range, from translation of passages, to modes of apologetics, scientific method, with various sciences, and philosophy chiefly in order to show it up, and whatever biblical exegesis and "defence and confirmation" of the Gospel from time to time, requires (Philippians 1:7).
The title is World Wide Web Witness, with the heading, Irresistible Reason for Certain Faith. This electronic work includes hundreds of sermons, many oral, extensive exegesis, response to challenge and Gospel appeal. It is in fact an electronic missionary and teaching labour.
Pages downloaded, normally chapters, have appeared usually to be of the order of 240,000 to 300,000 per year, and the distribution of this has fluctuated exceedingly in terms of the different countries taking noted interest, some reaching high points for weeks or months at a time. As to the overall chief interest, the USA was for long outstanding for this, then for quite a few years now, it has been China who became the chief recipient, with USA second to China, which is currently taking over a gig of download daily. At the moment, it is hard to determine which of that pair is foremost in overall involvement with the site, both being quite active.
At times, countries like Sweden, or France, or Germany, less often Britain, Romania, have featured strongly, some Arab lands have shown periodic interest, even the Office of one highly placed officer in the American Pacific fleet appearing in the listings; and in all if I recall, we have counted some 76 countries downloading.
Our email address is email@example.com. Sermons are set up on the Web, most weeks, in written form (http://webwitness.org.au/thesite.html) and frequently in oral format (mp3, for example at AUDIO), and this last appears to be a source of major Chinese download, perhaps some hundreds per week. Various citations concerning the work have been made, some noted at http://webwitness.org.au/author.html
Also a set of my chief trilogy, or at least the original multi-volume set, The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, somewhat short of a million words, found at smr\bookmap.html, now grown from the First edition to the Third, and equipped on line with an Index volume, was sent to the Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu. He replied with a letter from his office, of quite remarkable grace. My M.A. work on Predestination and Freewill, as a topic theme, some 75,000 words, has also been requested from a Seminary in St Louis, and has attracted some attention. In that field, the largest number of volumes in a sub-set occurs, for it is now in a Heptad, whereas the set on naturalism and allied errors, has only reached the Hexad level. The URL for the arrangement of sub-sets, materials and various indexes, is http://webwitness.org.au/search.html j
Much information on these and related matters, from conversion to content to application, is set down in my relatively short autobiography, A Time to Praise God, prepared in response to a program of my old school, Scotch College, Melbourne, which was seeking such things from old boys. It may be found at A Time to Praise God and is turned for a testimony The part most often downloaded is Chapter 4, the part most on Westminster is Chapter 2, and Chapter 3 is the prior action leading to Chapter 4. It has various Appendices, listed in the Contents, and moves through different subjects, such as confessionalism.
Another form of ministry has been rather unusual. It has consisted in challenging, first the then liberally corrupted Presbyterian Church of Australia from a time before my going to Westminster. The results of this moved to a climax in 1964, when my insistence on the Bible, which had led to false accusation (and to Westminster), with severance of candidature by the relevant authorities, was vindicated. Being put out of the ministry in 1954, was the normal persecution procedure, as the PC of Australia was alerted to the appalling heresies and disorderly departure from its standards to be found in the Seminary at Ormond College in Melbourne; and they were indeed warned. In the area of 1974, they actually began to realise what had been happening, and a new Presbyterian newspaper acknowledged then that they had been 40 years 'in the wilderness.'
The action against myself, in 1954 a candidate for the Ministry, was remorseless and ruthless. This, however, was transformed into an overwhelming vote in my favour in Sydney at the national General Assembly of the PCA of 1964, actually a decade after the original wrathful and wrongful action against me. God heard and most dramatically answered. If God be for us, who can be against us! In the interim, I had been teaching, gaining three degrees and adapting to the challenge, partly in school-teaching. It was good to see the fury of the exclusion so publicly overthrown, one more item of the glorious reliability of the Lord.
The description of that event and others like it, may be found at Ch. 4 of A Time to Praise God. So great was the hostility of the Liberal group, that when they tried to block my ministry even after this national Church vindication. However, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC of Australia assured me that if necessary, he could, and would call another special meeting of the General Assembly of the PC of Australia, just to deal with what so dishonoured the Lord. That was not necessary, however, the Lord intervening before this came to pass.
In this context, it may be of interest to note that E.J. Young was sent a copy of my required essay (on Isaiah 7!), and it was possibly in part his commendation of this, which led on to the extraordinary offer of the Stated Clerk, if need be, to call for a further meeting of the GAA, as noted. The next Essay in terms of what was required by Assembly on accepting me, was sent to F.F. Bruce as also to Professor John Skilton of Westminster, as an added precaution, and then the opposition collapsed. From day one, of my conversion, through to today, the Lord has sustained me, Westminster being one step on the eventful way, and the PC in America being another site of testimony. I remained in the RPCES and its follow-on, the PC in America, .from 1967 to 1998, over 30 years, but separated from the latter as matters of doctrinal principle made this necessary (cf. Let God be God, Ch. 12).
In the end, the deliverance of the Lord was total, sustained and evocative, and we do not cease to praise Him for His unfaltering lovingkindness and fulfilment of His word in every detail. In the instance of Sydney 1964, Luke 21:15, as often enough otherwise, was very much to the fore, and the great hand of God was as frequently, a simple delight to see operative; and when was this more obvious than in such Elijahic type of confrontations as in Sydney and Wellington N.Z., before the General Assemblies of the PC in those nations! This is so, even if, as with Jeremiah, it leads to many who assault, who attack, invent lies and so forth. After all, this too gives a tremendous sense of affinity for David, who so often dwells on such topics in the maelstroms attacking his own life, as he mediates before the Lord who inspired Him, as the other biblical writers, with His infallible word.
It was after the Sydney case, that the confrontation at the N.Z. General Assembly (1966) came. It may need a little detail. The clash came in the affair of the unbeliever, Geering, Principal of that land's then only Presbyterian seminary, who had publicly expressed his view that the dust of the body of Christ was somewhere in Palestine, or some minor variant of this position. By Overture from the Session of the Church of which I was Pastor, having assailed this fanciful folly in Assembly, with a view to the closure of the unauthorised teaching treachery involved in this, as likewise to securing the immediate terminus for the derogation of Christ and the disturbance of the Church involved, and having denounced the majority-favoured type of doctrine that left the bodily resurrection up in the air, a matter the failing Assembly left optional, an extra like special music in a School: what word was given me ?
I was told that the Presbytery would deal with me! This came as an intimation with almost mafia-like overtones. Thus, first, they rejected my explicitly Bible-based rebuke and exhortation, and secondly, it was announced that there was an ecclesiastical body which would deal with me. The Stated Clerk of Assembly divulged this to me in the Assembly meeting place. This, it was to be the Presbytery, an event which in due time happened, with all the unruly vigour of those days!
Meanwhile, as provided by Church rules, I sent on my Assembly objection in writing also, on account of that body's blatant failure on the bodily resurrection issue, and did so in no mean or short denunciation; and I shook off the dust of my feet on the recidivist body.
This written confirmation and expression of my negative vote and recorded dissent could be done for a reason. It was this: since my objection to, and condemnation of this Resurrection Statement recorded in the 1966 Assembly, was official and formal business, I being a representative elder or in this case, Minister, it was to be accepted. Yet the people did not like to have it so, and this recorded fact remained suppressed from the main popular newsprint, despite my objection even after my eventual move to the RPCES at St Louis. So to heresy was added manipulation, as from the first. Here indeed, was a dissavour like that to be, in things to come, and which have been.
Mine was indeed the only such known vote of recorded dissent in the Assembly, which used the infallible Bible as the ground of denunciation of this corrupt move. It is well that there was one! Detail on this international series of events is found from Ch. 4 of A Time to Praise God, through a hyperlink in the first two lines. It is the New Zealand detail. This is documentally extended, not a little, in Appendix 2 of the same volume, which covers developments in the Bulletin as presented to the local Church at that time in Blenheim, N.Z..
I think it is important for the glory of the Lord that the negative vote, denunciation and registered dissent from their Resurrection Statement, at the 1966 Assembly, be realised, being unacknowledged in the Press, except for a Christian magazine where I had the reality published at the time in N.Z.; to which was added the extended Review given to all members of my congregation in Blenheim, near that time (copy, Appendix 2). The Lord DID have one in the New Zealand ministry, indeed ordained in N.Z. that very year, who on cited biblical grounds challenged, contested, condemned the renegacy, and appealed for better things in a systematic and formal manner. It cost me, at length, my pastorate to carry out all the elements of this commission.
The testimony to both these Churches, indeed to denominations in USA, Canada, Australia and N.Z. was not reached in a moment, and overall has been a significant part of my ministry. I am resolved, as was David (Psalm 16:5ff.), to abide in and with the Lord, whatever comes, He being far beyond the worst wiles and lies of the devil; and in Him, though now 85 years old, I like to delight each day, keen to find further opportunity to testify for Him, by whatever means HE enables, and to which HE directs, continuing to write as constrained.
Recently, the Australian nation has faced an enormously challenging assault in the Anti-Discrimination Bill, 2012, and this is addressed here for example, as noted for March 2013, and also January and February, in the What is New section on our Web page. In this Bill, as pointed out, what is ostensibly intended to remove discrimination, is heavily discriminatory itself, and that in a way capable of amounting to an indirect but commandeering take-over of authority over religion, on the part of the Commonwealth, though no such establishment is permitted in the Constitution! So does one secular effort clash with another, and is man's wisdom thrust to the dust.
For and with Him, seeking to be faithful to His faithfulness and by Him enabled, through His grace, first repentant, saved and called, I have presented the Gospel, taught the word, warned governments or oppositions, confronted Churches, denominations in different countries, as amid independent Churches, gone to foreign lands, studied in seminaries, been expelled, reinstated, challenged universities, taught Christ and His word in schools, Primary, Secondary, post-secondary, in college and University, testified to great and small, formally and informally; and electronically. It is now 16 years during which this Web testimony has spread to most of the nations in the world, and over 60 years since I began to preach.
In Him I delight to trust and to act, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him against that day as in II Timothy 1:12. I rely on Him in all things, most fitting, since He is most reliable.
By Him energised, on Him I rest. Called by His intervention, at times dramatically healed at His pleasure, such has been my position in spirit since 1952 to this day, 2013; and faithful is His name, a delight and a joy, my Rock and my Redeemer. Indeed, the name of my 216 volume theological set is this: In Praise of Christ Jesus. It is He who unlocks praise in my heart which time can scarcely encapsulate.
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