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August 19 , 2007

Spirit, Word and World

Evangelical Christianity in Australia


Evangelical Christianity is one of the most formative and least acknowledged movements in Australian history. This book accords evangelicals their rightful place in the development of Australian identity and values. Evangelicalism focuses on the gospel, the God-given means not only of the salvation of individuals, but also of the renovation of society and culture. In this original and stimulating study, Stuart Piggin argues that evangelicalism is strongest when it synthesises biblical orthodoxy with spiritual passion and human compassion. When this synthesis was achieved, it resulted in spiritual vitality and the strengthening of Australian nationhood. Based on interviews with a large number of Christian leaders and on a variety of often rare sources, Piggin’s account throws light on matters as disparate as the character and motivation of early chaplains, the Christian dimension to ‘mateship’ and trades unionism, the ‘sinless perfection’ movement, the Billy Graham crusades, and disputes over the ordination of women. Spirit, Word and World traces the development of biblical scholarship and the strengthening of Reformed Christianity, the surprisingly frequent incidence of genuine religious revival, including those among indigenous people, and the creative commitment of evangelicals to the shaping of national values. Piggin’s history of Australian evangelicalism has been well-received by secular as well as religious historians. This third edition brings the story right up to the present, covering the world-wide expansion of Sydney Anglicanism and Hillsong Pentecostalism. While Australia has become increasingly ‘secular,’ evangelicals have become more engaged than ever in politics, education and social welfare.
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