Winter 2018 newsletter
From the Principal
When Brian Schmidt, the Vice-Chancellor of ANU, announced last week that the university no longer wanted to teach a course in Western civilization, it represented a cultural low-water mark in Australia’s history. For a public institution that has no qualms receiving money from sources friendly to Communist China and willingly embraces donors for the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic studies, it seemed more than a little curious that it shut the door on a
course about Western civilization. Or is it?
The truth is that secular universities have become largely indifferent to many of the factors that have permitted the freedoms and flourishing of life in the West. Foremost among these factors is the belief that God communicates with us in words that are readily understood. According to the Bible, God Himself speaks in language that is accessible to us. Further, we are made like Him, which explains why humans use words. When we speak we are revealing our divine origins and show that we are uniquely related to God. And since the entry of sin into the world, God speaks in a special way that is designed to save us. Nevertheless, for well over 200 years, Western intellectuals have challenged this proposition and believe that God—if He does exist—is essentially silent. Having denied Jesus Christ as the ‘Eternal Logos’ (word), they question whether words were ever intended as vehicles of truth and salvation. Instead, they suggest that language is simply an evolutionary development of our animalistic desires that must be satisfied to ensure our physical survival. There is no real dividing-line between humans and other creatures. We’re all one-dimensional and best understood in terms of biology.Yet the Bible tells us that we can only be understood as creatures made in God’s image and that we are saved solely by trust in His word. The Jews discovered this truth when God destroyed their nation and sent them into exile in Babylon in 586 BC. Cut-off from their land and Temple, they seemingly disappeared from history and became nothing more in a pile of dead and lifeless bones (Ezek 37:1-3, 11). However, the prophet Ezekiel preached God’s word to them and the pile of bones came to life. God’s revelation restored their souls and gave them hope. Words are important, especially God’s words of revelation in Scripture. This is why Paul, when facing both life and death, wanted to be surrounded by books, especially books that contained the Bible or were useful as study aids (2 Tim 4:13).
As Australia’s secular culture leads our nation away from freedom and dignity into fatalistic despair, we need to remember the importance of those books that help us understand God’s special revelation to us in Jesus Christ. Christian libraries throughout the ages have always been the source of hope for civilization. It is through the truths we discover there that culture is renewed. We are now living in a new Dark Age and Christian theological libraries, in particular, are a few of the remaining places where this light still burns brightly.
On March 16th, the PTC community gathered together in Assembly Hall to praise God for our graduating students, and thank Him for their hard work in ministry and academia.
As always, it is a delight to see our students all dressed up in their regalia, and publicly acknowledge their hard work in front of family and friends!
We are so encouraged that fifteen students received awards from the Australian College of Theology, from undergraduate diplomas all the way to postgraduate degrees. Nine of our students will go on to become ministers of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, with others pursuing further study, chaplaincy, and other areas of ministry.
We were honoured to welcome Mr Andrew Hastie MP, MHR for Canning, to be our guest speaker for the evening. He gave a speech encouraging our graduates to invest wholeheartedly in gospel work for the good of God’s kingdom and secular society, using the ministry influences in Abraham Lincoln’s life as an example.
We are so thankful for the work God has done in our students during their time at the PTC, equipping them both spiritually and academically for the work they are going on to undertake. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! We ask that you keep our graduates in your prayers.
The PTC’s annual Ministry Conference is one of the highlights of the academic year! It is a privilege to gather with our brothers and sisters in Christ to learn how to preach and teach effectively.
Last month, over 70 people gathered at the PTC for our annual Ministry Conference, where we spent time in God’s word, and learned from our three guest speakers.
David Cook has served as a main speaker at our Ministry Conference for many years, and is a seasoned pastor and preacher. We greatly valued his input into our students’ development, especially during their additional intensive classes.
David Jones is the minister of Ann Street Presbyterian Church in Brisbane. He has considerable experience in various pastoral contexts. We were also thrilled to meet Alasdair Paine for the very first time, who came all the way from Cambridge, UK! Alasdair is the lead minister of the Great St Andrews church in Cambridge, and had excellent preaching insights to share with our conference attendees.
We spent time in the books of Philippians and Titus, hearing sermons from our three speakers, and then had the opportunity to learn how they developed these bible talks and ask questions.
As well as preaching sermons, our speakers also shared insights from their time in ministry, equipping our attendees with valuable lessons through engaging talks.
As well as the quality teaching received during conference sessions, many attendees expressed their delight in sharing fellowship with other ministers and trainees. It was a great encouragement to see ministry workers from all stages of life and experience building relationships throughout the Ministry Conference. We look forward to seeing how God will work in these men and women over the coming year!
PTC Alumni - where are they now?
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