Sunday, November 10, 2013

William Cooper - The Aboriginal Man Who Stood Up to Hitler

This post was written by the people at Outreach Media - but was too good not to repost.

William Cooper couldn't be more Australian. He was a Yorta-Yorta speaking, Bangerang man, born by the banks of the Murray River in 1860. A shearer, a writer, a public speaker and, by the time he died in 1941, a political leader who could successfully demand a face-to-face meeting with the Prime Minister. As a man in his 70s, he started Australia's first indigenous justice movement – the Australian Aborigines' League. This movement would eventually lead to the famous 1967 referendum recognising the place of Aboriginal people in Australia. 

But William Cooper was no communist radical. He was a Bible-reading, hymn-singing, Christian.  And he didn’t just speak up for Aboriginals.  On December 6, 1938, he led a march from Southampton Street, Footscray to the office of the German Consulate in Collins Street, Melbourne.  The protest was over the Nazi mistreatment of Jews that had begun on Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) a few weeks earlier.  On this night of “broken glass” on 9–10 November, 1938, Adolf Hitler’s brown shirts (the Sturmabteilung) rampaged through the streets of Germany looting, burning and smashing Jewish stores, buildings and synagogues.  Nearly 100 Jews were killed and approximately 30,000 were incarcerated in concentration camps.

Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the world's leading Holocaust research centre, says that this protest was the only one of its kind in the world. 

William Cooper's story is celebrated in November’s Outreach Poster. Visit the web address on the poster - to read the story of this outstanding Australian Christian man.
The cemetery at Cummeragunja where William Cooper was laid to rest has a large stone tablet at the entrance that reads: ‘THEY BEING DEAD, YET SPEAKETH’

The quote, from Hebrews 11, in the Bible is a reminder that people, like William Cooper, who trust in God for eternal life have profound reason to make sacrifices in this life that otherwise wouldn’t make sense.  Such people have reason to fight for justice and against oppression because human life has value before God.  But if people are nothing more than random accidents in space and time and there’s no hope of heaven, then self-seeking is certainly the best course.  Jesus’s trust in God motivated him to sacrifice his life for the sin of the world at the cross.  And it was this example that motivated William Cooper.  Jesus promises eternal life with God in heaven for all those who trust him.

The writer to the Hebrews in the Bible says:"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."   Hebrews 12:1 

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for the inspiring example of William Cooper.

Bible Verse.  "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Science vs God? Not Necessarily! - David Wilkinson Interview

With the visit of Laurence Krauss to Australia the issue of the 'conflict' between science and Christianity is again in the news. This interview from CPX with Professor David Wilkinson is a reminder that the conflict is often over-stated!

David Wilikinson works in the Theology and Religion department at Durham University. His background is research in theoretical astrophysics, where his PhD was in the study of star formation, the chemical evolution of galaxies and terrestrial mass extinctions such as the event which wiped out the dinosaurs. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and has published a wide range of papers on these subjects. His latest book is called Science, Religion and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

The CPX website is at


Friday, June 28, 2013

Video: 'The Bible - A Crash Course'

Check out this great video by Karen Beilharz summarising the Bible in 10 minutes!

Watch it here on Youtube.

Here are her notes:

A quick overview of what's in the Bible and where the different books fit in its storyline.

While watching, however, please bear in mind:

1. This is a summary and will therefore be leaving a lot out;

2. This is what I think the Bible is about; don't take my word for it but use this as a jumping off point.

Terms of use:

I'm really happy for Christians to use this in Bible study groups or other contexts in which you're studying the Bible and this would be a useful aid.

However, I do not want this video to be remixed or re-appropriated in any way; please use it as it is;

If you find this video useful or wish to give me any feedback, you can contact me at

Monday, April 1, 2013

Archbishop Jensen's Easter Message 2013

In his Easter message for 2013 Archbishop Peter Jensen considers his own self-reflection on leaving office.
“As I think on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself – not with much success!” he says. “Like you, I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. It should make us tremble.”
But Easter, he says, fills him with hope.
“What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God. Through the death of Jesus even I, and all of us, can have forgiveness as we turn to him in sorrow and trust him for our lives” he says.
“Our failures are not the last word over our lives. And, through the resurrection of Jesus I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future.” the Archbishop says.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

An Historian Examines the Resurrection (Video)

In this short clip from the 'Life of Jesus' series, John Dickson explains that while there's no hard proof for the resurrection of Jesus, we do have the sort of historical evidence that a resurrection would leave behind. (Found on the Centre for Public Christianity website). An appropriate reminder for Easter.

See also this post:  Reasons to believe the Biblical accounts about Jesus

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How NOT to Raise money for New Churches

I have been a member of the Sydney Synod now for ten years. One of the things I appreciate most about the Synod is that it is generally committed to following the Bible as God’s Word and to considering our theological commitments before making decisions. Which is why I am disappointed with the decision made by the Synod last year to impose a levy on every parish to raise funds to buy land for new churches in ‘greenfields’ areas.
A levy is a tax for a specific purpose. This levy has been charged at 2.24% of each parish’s Gross Operating Receipts meaning that it will raise $2 million in 2013. It is taken in 10 monthly installments (commencing in March) along with Parish Cost Recovery charges and is allocated to the Mission Property Committee. While the initial approval is only for one year it is intended to make this an ongoing charge.
I want to make clear that I am NOT disappointed because we are committed as a Diocese to planting churches in new growth areas. Nor am I disappointed that the Synod decided this project should have priority over many other worthwhile projects. What IS disappointing is that we chose to raise the funds by imposing a levy on the parishes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Genesis 1 - The Main Ideas

I have recently been doing Bible studies on campus at UWS Bankstown on Genesis 1. Because of the limited time it always seems such a rush and there are often questions from students at the end which we don’t get to answer in full. In this post I will outline some of the main points that ARE made in Genesis 1. In a future post I will try to answer some questions about the relationship of these points with modern science.

It is important to remember that Genesis was written down probably 3,500 years ago at around the time Moses lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. Although it is clearly God’s word to US, we need to remember it was initially directed to THEM. Therefore it is not surprising that many things taught in Genesis 1 directly challenge the common creation stories of the Ancient Near East – from (for example), Egypt, Babylon, Sumeria and Akkadia. While not ‘borrowing’ from these accounts, Genesis teaches about God, humans and the creation in a way that highlights the differences to these alternative accounts - while having some similarities.

The most significant similarity with other creation accounts is the common ‘cosmology’ and ‘scientific’ understanding. Put simply, Genesis assumes the ancient (pre-scientific?) understanding of the structure of the cosmos – using the ‘scientific’ understanding that was common at the time. In particular this assumed the existence of the chaotic ‘waters’ (or deep) which had to be gathered into the seas and still exists above the heavens and below the earth, but is now providing water to nourish the lands. We can perhaps think of ‘the heavens’ as a dome shaped surface above the earth which holds the ‘heavenly objects’. We see many traces of this in the text of Genesis 1. This ought to make us cautious in trying to make the creation account accord too closely with our modern (or post-modern?) cosmologies – especially fixing times and dates associated with the age of the earth, the existence of the first humans and so on.

Verses 1-2 – An Overview. These verses stand as an introduction and overview of the whole chapter. The emphasis is on ‘creation’ by one God (as opposed to the many gods involved in other accounts). The ‘heavens and the earth’ is a term that means ‘everything’ and not simply the sky and the land. Verse 2 seems to describe the state of things before God begins his work. It is worth noticing that the ‘creation account’ does not start with ‘nothing’ but with ‘formless and empty’ – darkness over the surface of ‘the deep’ (chaotic seas?) and the Spirit of God over the waters.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Keller and Carson on Slavery - as pulled together by Andy Naselli

Following up from  my previous post on the issue of Slavery in New Testament times, I came across this post from Andy Naselli addressing the issue of the nature of slavery in the Greco-Roman world.  Here is his introduction:
"Many modern readers assume that slavery in the New Testament is equivalent to the race-based slavery of the African slave trade. While not defending the Greco-Roman institution of slavery, Tim Keller and Don Carson explain why it’s important not to equate it with the race-based slavery that we may be more familiar with."
He is pulling together comments from Tim Keller and Don Carson (via Lee Strobel).

Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work (New York: Dutton, 2012), 213–14, 280–83.  (This new book looks interesting - perhaps more another time!)
Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998), 166–69):
This is a great reminder of the importance of not making assumptions about what the Bible writers meant when they use words we think we understand - especially 'hot button' words like 'slavery'.

(You may also be interested in my post on the struggle to eradicate modern slavery.)