Re: YECs in Australia

Jonathan Clarke (jdac@alphalink.com.au)
Sun, 14 Nov 1999 09:14:51 +1100

Hi Karl

I have not studied the history of "YEC" here in Australia in any great
depth, so I am relying on general impressions.

Prior to the mid 70's I gather there was very little interest in
Australia, although of course books by Morris, Gish and co were
available and had a following. The Evolution Protest Movement was the
main group active, but their following was small and was mainly against
organic evolution, rather than necessarily the age of the earth.

In the mid 70's the Creation Science Foundation was set up, in
Queensland with Ken Ham among others and in South Australia with Karl
Weiland. They struck a chord and their effort grew rapidly. They
enjoyed good relationships with US-based organisations and have suffered
only one major split.

The issues, from the articles I have head, conversations I have had, and
sessions I have been to, seem to be mainly trying to define a fortress
mentality. The church is under siege from the forces of evil, the chief
of which organic evolution. The main support of organic is the fossil
record and geology, so to defend the church organic evolution, the
fossil record, and geology must be attacked. Thus the teaching of YEC
is important in those churches with a fortress and siege mentality, and
in Christian schools which think the same
way. There have been some limited efforts to make it a plank of
evangelism, and a few generally unsuccessful attempts to have it taught
in state schools (except in Queensland).

With respect to their constituency, it does not appear to be along any
ethnic lines. Denominationally, they have been very successful among
the Charismatic and Pentecostal churches and widespread among Lutherans
also. Impact among the different Reformed Churches, Churches of Christ
and Baptists is variable. Among Anglicans, Catholics, and Uniting
churches their infiltration has been less marked. However few
denominations have it has an item of faith and even fewer are monolithic
in it's support of YEC, although those opposed to it in some churches
have learned the value of keeping a low profile!

There seems to be a strong latitudinal difference in Australia - the
further north you go the more influential YEC is, especially as you
approach the deep north of Australia (Queensland). This is born out by
surveys that have been done and is reflected across a broad range of
issues, not just YEC.

Despite this, it does not seem to be as strongly held or divisive an
issue in Australia as in the US, maybe simply because Australians are
more easy going as a rule. I can say I have opportunities both publicly
(magazine articles and from the pulpit) to express by views despite both
private and public criticism (which has been painful at times).
Although sometimes I have felt that the passions have hindered service
in some churches, God has always provided other areas in which to
serve. Keeps me humble!

God Bless

Jonathan

Cmekve@aol.com wrote:

> This has been bugging me for a while, and I'm hoping someone on this
learned
> list can help. Even though YEC is found worldwide, it seems to be a
fringe
> movement everywhere but the U.S. and Australia. Now we're all
familiar
with
> the history of the movement in the U.S., but why OZ? Is it homegrown
in
> Australia or imported? If imported, was it in the 19th or 20th
century?
> Were the issues the same as in the U.S. or different? i.e. is the
evolution
> of YEC thought in the two countries a matter of common descent with
> modification or convergence to similar political and theological usage

(all
> puns fully intended!!).
>
> I gather that in the 19th century there was considerable Irish
emigration
to
> Australia. If a significant number of those emigrants were from
vehemently
> anti-Darwinian Belfast, could they have carried the idealogical seed
that
> went island-hopping (actually continent-hopping) to the south Pacific?

>
> Can anyone help me out with this?
>
> Karl
> ************************
> Karl V. Evans
> cmekve@aol.com