“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the Kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations.” Psalm 22:27-28
City Tabernacle Baptist Church in Brisbane is an historic church dating back to the 1850s and was established by a missionary sent out by Charles Spurgeon. It is one of the oldest churches in Queensland. The first Baptist Church building in Brisbane was opened in Wharf Street in 1859. The church then moved to the present site on Wickham Terrace. This impressive, classical Venetian style building stands in one of the highest parts of the city and was opened to the Glory of God in 1890. The first minister, Rev. William Whale, was sent out by Charles Spurgeon. For many years the Baptist Theological College met in the tower of this church and the local ministers’ fraternal used it as their meeting place. In the early 1900s a private school for girls was launched in the basement of the church. Today a company of the Boys and Girls Brigade meet in the basement of the church.
Ministry in Brisbane
Josh Williamson, a missionary of City Tabernacle Baptist Church first tried to have me visit last year during the Reformation 500, but my programme was completely full and the earliest dates that suited us were the first two weeks of March. This Mission to Australia involved ministry to 2 churches, 2 schools and on 2 radio programmes. I delivered 4 sermons and gave 17 presentations, including 14 presentations at the church, 12 of which were in the Sanctuary.
Understanding and Reaching Muslims for Jesus
On Saturday, 10th March, the church hosted, along with OAC Ministries and Operation 513, an Evangelism Training Seminar: Understanding and Reaching Muslims for Jesus. In this 7 hour seminar, I covered: The Challenge of Islam, The Five Fundamentals and Six Pillars of Islam, Comparisons and Contrasts of Islam with Christianity, Comparing the Bible with the Quran, Comparing Jesus with Muhammed, Eighteen Questions to Challenge Muslims, Practical Guidelines on How to Effectively Reach Muslims for Christ, Serving the Persecuted Church in the Middle East and an hour-long Question and Answer session.
Muslim Background Believers
At this Evangelism Training Seminar, I met Christians from Syria who were most appreciative and encouraging and a pastoral couple from Iran who had been converted from Islam 15 years ago and endured 10 years of persecution in Iran, before fleeing to Australia. An Australian who had recently been converted from Islam also participated. Some people flew up from Sydney, while others drove down from the North, to participate in this Muslim Evangelism Seminar.
The Great Commission is Our Supreme Ambition
My first meeting was with the Samford Baptist Church, giving a presentation on Making Disciples of All Nations. In Saturday evening there was a special Missions evening at the City Tabernacle Baptist Church hall. I gave an introduction to ministry to Persecuted Christian in Restricted Access Areas in Africa. On the first Sunday morning service, I dealt with The Greatness of the Great Commission and in the evening service: Only One Life.
Working for Reformation and Praying for Revival
During the week there was a series of special services at the church where I was asked to deliver: Reforming Our Nation by Reforming Our Families; Biblical Faith and Practical Discipleship; Do We Need a New Reformation? As well as a special combined Boys and Girls Brigade Africa evening, where I introduced the children and the parents who joined in for the evening, to some of the unique animals of Africa and taught them how to share the Gospel with their friends and family. On the final Sunday evening, at the Tabernacle, I presented sermons on Revival and Conviction and Courage for Reformation and Revival Today.
South Africans in Australia
Numerous Christians from South Africa, now living in Australia, travelled from far and wide, as did home schoolers, to participate in the different activities at City Tabernacle Baptist Church. There were many interesting discussions and counselling sessions following the various services and presentations.
Mobilising for the Right to Life
On the Thursday evening, we had a Pro-Life Workshop with those interested in launching Pro-Life Ministry in Queensland. There was much discussion on effective strategies and suitable tactics to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and rescue those being led away to death. On the first Saturday, I participated in a Pro-Life placard protest and side-walk counselling outreach. After an hour, the police arrived informing us that although we had not broken any laws, some of the abortionists had expressed experiencing some “distress” over our message and we were therefore requested to move away. A long and friendly discussion with the police ensued. When they were informed that according to the laws of Queensland, abortion is illegal, the senior constable raised his hands and said: “That is above my pay-grade!” He said we would need to take that up with the politicians.
Australian Christian Lobby
Wendy Francis of the Australian Christian Lobby, confirmed that indeed abortion is illegal in Queensland. However, the authorities fail to enforce that. Instead, there are numerous attempts by civil authorities to restrict freedom of speech and the freedom of conscience of those opposing abortion.
During ministry at two schools, I introduced the children to African wildlife and dealt with what the Bible teaches about Creation and our stewardship responsibilities for caring for God's animals. I also taught them the Evangelism Explosion Romans 6:23 marching song and Gospel presentation. At a Christian school, I also taught on the inspiring testimony of the Triumph of Faith over atheism in Russia with the testimony of the Statue and the Stone of Lubyanka Square.
On the 20Twenty National Christian phone-in programme on Vision Christian Radio, Neil Johnson interviewed me for an hour on the Persecution of Christians and Ministry in Restricted Access Areas in Africa. Matt Pratter on History Makers gave me the opportunity to give my personal testimony and a Gospel challenge on his radio programme as well.
Jet Lag and Fever
With the eight hour time zone adjustment and jet lag in an unfamiliar climate, I picked up a virus that each member of my host family in succession suffered from and then I finally succumbed to fever and the assorted symptoms. This is an almost inevitable part of international travel and ministry. Downing medicine to suppress the symptoms, I was able to complete all the ministry commitment and by a total fast of all food intake for over a day, managed to recover from the fever in just a few days.
It was a delight to visit Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. Not that it is a zoo, but rather more like a wildlife sanctuary. Steve and Terri’s vision was to make Australia Zoo the biggest and best wildlife conservation facility in the world. There is no doubt that it is the finest in Australia. Australia Zoo states that their mission is to become the ultimate global zoological destination and in so doing, become world leaders in conservation, relating to both wildlife and their habitat. Its 100 acres is packed with a tremendous variety of Australian wildlife and they now also have exhibits of African and Asian animals as well. Tragically, Steve Irwin (the famed Crocodile Hunter) died in 2006 and his wife Terri, daughter, Bindi and son, Robert, have continued his conservation mission. The Animal Planet Crocoseum Stadium has a seating capacity of about 5,000 and includes snake, bird and crocodile shows where parrots and raptors fly over the heads of the audience and the passionate conservationists promote care and consideration for the animals that share our planet.
The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital cares for animals injured on the road and with a staff of 20 fulltime workers and 80 volunteers, cares for an average of 6,000 animals a year. The wildlife hospital includes two operation theatres, two treatment rooms, an intensive care unit for mammals, birds and reptiles and a CAT scan room. The hospital has the capacity to care for up to 10,000 animals per year.
A key part of the Australia Zoo is the international crocodile rescue, which helps capture and relocate problem crocodiles. Steve Irwin (1962-2006) was famous for his Crocodile Hunter TV series and wildlife documentaries, including Croc Files and the Crocodile Hunter Diaries. The Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation has been renamed Wildlife Warriors Worldwide and continues the campaign against illegal poaching, shark finning, purchase of turtle shells and much more. Irwin was described as a modern day Noah, helping people to understand and protect animals that they may normally have feared.
Brisbane is the capital of and the largest city, in the state of Queensland. Brisbane is also the third most populous city in Australia, after Sydney and Melbourne. It was named after Scotsman Sir Thomas Brisbane, the governor of New South Wales from 1821-1825. It is located about 15km from the mouth of the Brisbane River, close to the Pacific Ocean. There are about 2.5 million people in metropolitan Brisbane.
Creation, Theology and Muslim Evangelism
Brisbane is the epicentre of the launch of a number of Creation ministries, including Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis and the Creation Science Foundation. South African Professor Francis Nigel Lee lived in Brisbane for the last 30 years of his life, teaching at the Presbyterian Church of Queensland Theological Hall. Our good friend, Gerhard Nehls, who founded Life Challenge Africa, also lives in Brisbane in his retirement.
Pray for Australia
Australia is a secular state (with Freedom of Religion in theory). The increase of those claiming No Religion and the arrival of many non-Christian immigrants has made Australia a much more pluralistic and secular society in recent years. Christians in Australia are facing the challenges of what is often called a post-Christian and multicultural state. Secularisation and paganisation has taken a firm grip on much of the country, but there are still vibrant pockets of Christian resistance and Christians do remain a positive influence in many parts of Australia.
Secularism and Paganisation
An aggressive secularisation and increasing hostility to Christianity has accelerated with the promotion of the LGBT gay agenda and now with the gender confusion movement. In many parts of society, Christian values have been side-lined by the promotion of perversion and pluralistic multiculturalism.
Intolerance in Victoria
The State of Victoria in Australia is notoriously secular and increasingly anti-Christian. Under their Safe Schools “Anti-Bullying” campaign to promote LGBT and “gender fluidity”, Christians are complaining of increasing intolerance, harassment and bullying of those who stand for traditional family values.
The Growth of Independent and Home Schools
Independent schools do have the freedom to select their own curriculum and parents have freedom to homeschool. There is a parenting allowance tax rebate which benefits mothers who choose to stay at home and teach their own children.
Multiculturalism and Secularisation
Sustained immigration has created a multicultural country, at least in the larger cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and introduced fast-growing religious and ethnic minorities, along with all the tensions that go along with that. There are estimated to be over half a million Muslims from 70 different countries, and half a million Chinese, living in Australia. Over 260,000 Vietnamese live in Australia and 550,000 Aborigines. There are approximately 500 Missionaries attempting to work amongst the Aborigines, but not nearly that many amongst the many Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus in the country.
Low Church Attendance
Christians are in many cases stereotyped in the media as intolerant, judgmental, legalistic and authoritarian. While over two thirds of Australians would identify themselves as some form of Christian, only 10% attend church and increasingly large numbers have negative attitudes towards the church. An individualised, New Age pick-and-choose spirituality with no accountability seems to predominate. Almost all mainline churches have faced stagnation and decline, but there is growth amongst the Evangelicals.
Gender Politics and the Gay Agenda
Some churches, like the Uniting Church, which accommodates both the old Presbyterian and Methodist churches seem to have virtually apostatised, abandoning almost every Christian distinctive and doctrine in the rush to embrace and promote gender politics and all the LGBTQ agenda. Issues such as the ordination of women, homosexuality and gender politics have polarised most mainline churches. Yet, there is still Missionary vision and Evangelical churches have proven effective in ministering to the disabled, the addicts, the poor and the homeless.
Droughts and Fires
Australia is the driest island continent in the world, but it is well-watered in the East and South East, where most of the population is concentrated. The ecology in Australia is possibly the most fragile of any continent, with devastating droughts and severe bush fires.
Disarmament in a Dangerous Area
Several Australians expressed their concern about being a disarmed society in a very dangerous neighbourhood. The largest Muslim nation on earth, Indonesia, is their near neighbour. With a population of over 240 million, 80% of which are Muslim, Indonesia is spread over 17,000 islands and a large military and violent instability in some areas. This creates nervousness. Both Indonesia and China have expressed an interest in colonising Australia.
Most Australians are supportive of the monarchy and loyal to the Crown. However there is a strong Republican mindset amongst a large minority, mostly made up of Irish Catholics, because of the predominance of Roman Catholic Irish criminals in the original convict community that settled in Australia. This hostility to the monarchy is a significant minority influence.
There is an aggressive guilt manipulation campaign to shame Australians for their British, Anglo-Saxon and European Christian ancestry in the name of promoting Aboriginal culture. Surprisingly the newly designed Aboriginal flag of horizontal black and red stripes with a yellow circle/sun in the middle is now being flown from City Halls and outside Hotels, alongside the beautiful Australian flag with its Union Jack and Southern Cross.
The Australian flag is an inspiring Christian flag, including as it does the St. Andrew’s Cross, the St. George’s Cross and the Southern Cross.
Dedicated to the Holy Spirit
The Portuguese explorer, Pedro Fernandez de Quiros dedicated the country to the Holy Spirit. From the beginning of British settlement in Australia from 1788, early settlers and governors expressed their determination to ensure that Australia would be a Christian country and recognised that God had placed them in this unique country and hemisphere, to establish a base for Missions throughout South Eastern Asia.
Pray for Reformation and Revival
May we continue to be vigilant and persistent in prayer for Australia, that God may be merciful and gracious to grant a Back to the Bible Reformation and Spiritual Revival to this strategic and needy land. May missionaries from Australia win Indonesia and the islands of the Pacific to Christ.
Thank you for all your prayers, encouragement and support.
May God continue to be your joy and strength.
Yours for the fulfilment of the Great Commission
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Your support is needed and much appreciated.
Our banking details are:
(For South African supporters)
Acc. Name: Frontline Fellowship
First National Bank – Rondebosch
Branch code: 201509
Acc. No: 5017 0589 260
Ref: Initial and surname and what it is designated for.
(For overseas supporters)
Acc. Name: Frontline Fellowship
First National Bank – Rondebosch
Acc. No: 5017 0589 260
Swift No: FIRNZAJJ
Ref: Initial and surname and what it is designated for.
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