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First Conference a Success for Tyndale-Carey Graduate School

Tyndale-Carey Graduate Schoolhosted scholars on 17-18 August in a mini-conference that brought together current work on the nature and history of evangelicalism in this part of the world. The keynote addresses were by David Bebbington and Stuart Piggin. Tyndale-Carey Graduate Schoolis a joint initiative of two ITI members, detailed in an earlier article.

David Bebbington, Professor of History, Stirling University, Scotland brought a keynote address on �Global Evangelicalism in the Nineteenth Century�. Evangelicalism, as the foundation of the Evangelical Alliance in 1846 illustrates, was a self-conscious single entity during the nineteenth century. The high degree of shared vision was the fruit of the global links created by the press, institutions and personnel. The unity of the global movement was a characteristic down to the end of the century.

Professor Bebbington�s speech set the scene for local papers on revivalism and community among Christians in Australasia, including papers from Peter Lineham, of Massey University and Geoff Treloar, Visiting Fellow School of History, University of New South Wales. Peter explored revivalism in 19th century culture, its sources and distinctive role in New Zealand society. Geoff looked at the 1902 visit of the American evangelists Reuben Archer Torrey, Charles Alexander and William Edgar Geil - the most extensive evangelistic campaign in Australia to that point in time. Later in the day, Bob Linder, Distinguished Professor of History at Kansas State University compared the experiences of three Evangelical Christians who survived three and a half years of brutality in WWII POW camps.��

Stuart Piggin from the Centre for the History of Christian Thought and Experience, Macquarie University brought a keynote analysis of Sydney Anglicanism. This aggressive communion is the only part of the Anglican Church in Australia which is currently expanding in adherence. At the same time it has become the subject of sustained and hostile attacks from theologians and the media. Stuart compared it with others in church history with similar emphases.�

A number of other speakers from New Zealand looked at the changing nature of evangelicalism in New Zealand in the twentieth century. Kevin Ward, of Knox Theological Hall, Dunedin explored how helpful or otherwise �evangelical� is as an identity marker.� Martin Sutherland, of Carey Baptist College, traced the use of the term �evangelical� in New Zealand Baptist discourse in the middle decades of the 20th Century.� Stuart Lange, of the Bible College of New Zealand discussed Canon W.A. Orange and Prof. E.M. Blaiklock as contrasting examples of evangelicalism in mid-twentieth century New Zealand.

The final session heard a summary and response to the papers from David Bebbington. Both new insights and areas for further research were identified in the discussion which followed.

This was the first such conference organised by Tyndale-Carey Graduate School. Due to the quality of the papers and the discussion it was an outstanding success. A second conference, examining Theological Perspectives on Evangelical Identity will be held in March 2007. < /br>

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