Evangelical bible college of western australia a church age chronology



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1771-1780 AD


1771

CLAUDIUS, MATTHIAS [1740-1815] – Poet and Hymn Writer. Claudius was born at Reinfeld, near Lübeck, and studied at Jena. He spent the greater part of his life in the little town of Wandsbeck, near Hamburg, where he earned his first literary reputation by editing from 1771 to 1775, a newspaper called the Wandsbeck Messenger, in which he published a large number of prose essays and poems. They were written in pure and simple German, and appealed to the popular taste; in many there was a vein of extravagant humour or even burlesque, while others were full of quiet meditation and solemn sentiment. In his later days Claudius became strongly pietistic, and the graver side of his nature showed itself. He is known for his harvest hymn sung both in German and English “We plough the fields and scatter” In 1814 he moved to Hamburg, to the house of his son-in-law, the publisher Friedrich Christoph Perthes, where he died in 1815.
SOPHRONIOS V Patriarch of Jerusalem [1771-1775] see 1766 and 1775
SWEDENBORG, EMANUEL [1688-1772] – Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian who was the son of a minister who was later appointed bishop of Skara. Emanual became very interested in mathematics and natural sciences and in 1709 went abroad to study languages and mechanics at London, Oxford, Amsterdam, and Paris. He returned to Sweden and was appointed assessor of the Royal Board of Mines from 1715 to 1747 when he resigned to study the Scriptures. He was made a noble in 1719 and now applied himself to discover the nature of the soul and spirit by means of anatomical studies. He experienced strange dreams and visions which increasing frequency after 1739 and led to a profound spiritual crisis in 1743-1745 relieved by a vision of Jesus Christ which he felt confirmed his interpretation of Christianity. In 1787 his religious followers organised into a group known as the New Church or New Jerusalem Church [see 1787].


1772



1773

BARCLAY, JOHN [1734‑1798] – The founder of the Bereans who trained as a Presbyterian minister at St Andrews where he came under the influence of Dr Archibald Campbell. He went to England and in 1773 was ordained in Newcastle. He believed that man could not reach belief in God using rationalism, that the revealed truth of the Bible could only be received by illumination of the Holy Spirit, that assurance of salvation is the hallmark of Christianity and that unbelief is a sin against the Holy Spirit.
BEREANS – Founded by John Barclay [see above]. After Barclay’s death the Berean Church in Edinburgh flourished for twenty five years under James Donaldson. However after Donaldson’s death the Bereans split and like other Berean churches eventually merged with the Congregationalists.
DIDEROT, DENIS [1713-1784] – French encyclopaedist and key figure of the Enlightenment [see 1793] was educated in local Jesuit schools and in Paris where he received his master’s degree in 1732. He married his secretary in 1743. He became editor-in-chief of the Encyclopaedia which monumental enterprise was his chief occupation until its completion in 1772. He travelled through Russia in 1773-1774 meeting Catherine the Great, who purchased his library, paying in advance to provide his daughter’s dowry.
EMMONS, NATHANIEL [1745-1840] – Congregational theologian who was educated at Yale college and entered the ministry of the Congregational Church. He served as a pastor in Massachusetts from 1773-1827 during which period he published more than 200 articles in periodicals, and personally instructed about 100 young men in theology and preaching, many of whom obtained positions of leadership in the church and in theological education. He generally followed the teachings of Jonathan Edwards [see 1740] as developed by Samuel Hopkins [see 1770]. He helped to found the Massachusetts Missionary Society, favoured the abolition of slavery, was a zealous patriot during the American Revolution, and became a Federalist thereafter.
HOWARD, JOHN [1726-1790] – Prison reformer, born in Hackney. After a short period as apprentice to a grocer came into a modest inheritance in 1742 and travelled in Europe. After one trip to Portugal his boat was captured by a pirate on the return journey and he was imprisoned in France. This caused him to reflect on where his life was going. In 1758 he settled in Bedfordshire where he built model cottages, promoted educational experiments, and developed rural industries. He travelled again after the death of his second wife and on his return in 1773 was made high sheriff of Bedfordshire. Thereafter he devoted his time, strength, and a good part of his fortune to the reform of conditions in prisons in England and Europe. He publicised terrible conditions in many institutions and agitated for reform. In 1789 he took his last journey which led him to Prussia and Poland and on to Russia where he caught camp fever and died. Howard was a very earnest evangelical Christian whose life was devoted to the cause of prison reform.


1774

QUEBEC ACT [1774] – An act of the British Parliament which superseded the Royal Proclamation of 1763, this was the constitution of the colony of Quebec. The Act extended the boundaries to the west and south so that they approached the earlier limits of the French colony. The Roman Catholic Church was officially recognised and permitted to collect its accustomed dues. English criminal law remained in force. The Act marked the abandonment of the policy of assimilation or Anglicisation and was resented by the English in Quebec and the other British North American colonies.
SOPHRONIUS II – Patriarch of Constantinople [1774-1780] succeeded Samuel I [see 1763]. There is no additional information readily available.


1775

ABRAHAM II Patriarch of Jerusalem [1775-1787] see 1771 and 1787
ALLINE, HENRY [1748‑1784] – Born in Rhode Island, Alline underwent an unusually powerful conversion experience in 1775. He became an itinerant preacher and started a revival called the “New Light “ movement. Leader of the Great Awakening Movement in Nova Scotia fostering the growth of Baptist churches in that Canadian province even though many considered him a fanatic.
AMERICAN NEGRO CHURCHES were first known in America in a Baptist Church founded at Silver Bluff Carolina in 1775. Prior to that slaves attended church with their master or were provided minimal religious instruction by master, pastor or missionary. After the Great Awakening [see 1740], Baptist and Methodist missionaries reached them with simple, personal gospels giving them more meaning in their lives. After the Civil War there was a great expansion in Negro churches. The migration to the cities after World War I contributed to the rise of the storefront church and numerous organised cults such as Black Muslims, Black Jews, and Father Divine’s Peace Mission. The theology of the orthodox Negro churches is typically fundamentalist and evangelical and they have a greater proportion of ministers and churches than the general population of America. The struggle for racial and social equality has created a crisis of identity within many Negro churches.
DES BRISAY, THEOPHILUS [1755-1825] – The first Anglican clergymen on Prince Edward Island when he went there in 1775, and although the only Protestant clergyman he received no stipend and so became the chaplain for the army regiment stationed there. He was a tolerant churchman, and welcomed the Methodist evangelist William Black during the latter's preaching tour of 1783.
FULLER, ANDREW [1754-1815] – Baptist theologian who was the son of a Cambridge farmer and a powerful wrestler in his youth. He was ordained as a minister of the Baptist Church in 1775. Entirely self-taught Fuller was the greatest original theologian among 18th century Baptists. He had been brought up among the hyper Calvinist but due to his studies became an evangelical Calvinist and this involved him in various controversies with hyper Calvinists. As the Baptist Church is Britain responded increasingly to his evangelicalism, Fuller's role in denominational affairs grew more important and he had a profound influence on William Carey [see 1793] and the Baptist Missionary Society for which he was a secretary from 1792 to 1815.
GOETHE, JOHANN WOLFGANG VON [1749-1832] – German poet, novelist, and scientist. As a student of law at Leipzig and Strasbourg he became interested in occult philosophy and mysticism. In 1775 he was appointed to the court at Weimar and had at this time and increasing interest in scientific questions. The central philosophical influences on him were those of Spinoza, Jacobi, and Kant. Goethe's religious views were ambiguous as he was a pantheist when studying nature but a monotheist in morality.
GRIESBACH, JOHANN JAKOB [1745-1812] – German New Testament scholar who became professor at Halle in 1773 and professor of New Testament at Jena in 1775. He was the first critic to make systematic application of literary analysis to the Gospels, maintaining that Mark was the latest of synoptic gospel basing his work on Matthew and Luke (the ‘dependence theory’). Subsequent New Testament criticism has built on his work.
MILNER, ISAAC [1750-1820] – Evangelical clergyman who after his father's death became a weaver and managed to teach himself Latin and Greek and mathematics. When he was 18 his brother Joseph [see 1797] became headmaster of Hull Grammar School and appointed Isaac to the staff. Joseph then paid for Isaac to go to Queens College Cambridge. He was ordained in 1775 and in 1784 went to France with William Wilberforce [see 1807] and their reading of the New Testament together led to Wilberforce's conversion. Back in Cambridge Milner encouraged the spreading of the Evangelical influence. He was made a dean of Carlisle in 1791. He has been described as “an Evangelical Doctor Johnson” and was learned in many fields of science, mathematics and philosophy.
PIUS VI – Pope [1775-1799]. Born of noble parents and educated by the Jesuits. In 1740 he went to Rome and eventually became secretary to Benedict XIV, however, he was not ordained until 1758. In 1773 he was created cardinal despite his opposition to the Jesuit Order which took place the same year. As pope, by delicate diplomatic efforts, he contrived to secure the Jesuits resettlement in Prussia and Russia. In the Holy Roman Empire Febronianism spread rapidly with the encouragement of the archbishop electors though at the Ems Congress of 1786 their aims were cleverly frustrated by the pope and the movement soon came to the end. Most seriously Josephinism in the Hapsburg Empire led to the pope’s journeying to Vienna in 1782 to plead with the reforming emperor. The following year after the threat of excommunication Emperor Joseph returned to visit Pius who partially reasserted his authority. When four years later Joseph tried to extend his policies to the Spanish Netherlands the devoutly Catholic inhabitants rose in a clerical nationalist revolt and the pope had the satisfaction of seeing princely reforms opposed by the people themselves. The French Revolution and the Civil Constitution of the Clergy in 1790 led the pope to anathematise the revolutionaries and those clerics who accepted the reform. This caused the Papal States to be in the first anti French Coalition of 1796 but this led to the invasion of the Papal States and the seizure of Rome itself in 1798. Pius was captured and carried away by the French which led to his death in the depths of an Alpine winter of 1799. He succeeded Clement XIV [see 1769] and was succeeded by Pius VII [see 1800].
SAILER, JOHANN MICHAEL [1751-1832] – Jesuit scholar who entered the Jesuits in 1770 and was ordained in 1775. Five years later he became professor of dogmatics at Ingolstadt and this was followed by other academic appointments. As the mentor of prospective priests, Sailer influenced a circle of evangelicals which included Martin Boos [see 1797], Johannes Gossner [see 1829], and Baron von Wessenberg [see 1817]. In 1829 Sailer was appointed bishop of Regensburg.


1776

PAINE, THOMAS [1737-1809] – Deistic writer and political propagandist. Born in Norfolk he was a corset maker, tax collector, teacher, and grocer until he sailed to America in 1774 with letters of introduction from Benjamin Franklin [see 1732]. In 1776 he published his famous “Common Sense” which argued for a republic. He returned to England in 1787 and in 1792 was indicted for treason on publication of his book “The Rights of Man”. He escaped to France where he had been made a citizen, and published “The Age of Reason”, which brought imprisonment and roused British indignation with its Deistic arguments. He returned to America in 1802 and died there seven years later having alienated most of his friends by his unpredictable allegiances.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA [see also 1607 and 1914] – The Reformation led to a host of national churches, sects, and dissenters, and the refuge for many of those persecuted in Europe was colonial America. In 1790 the religious groups in the majority were British in background and Puritan in Theology, and even among the remaining minorities, Germans, Dutch, French, and Swedes, the Protestant background prevailed. The Great Awakening gave Puritanism a decidedly evangelical character, and the spiritual vision that had almost disappeared was revitalised. When the winds of revolution filled the air, many of the churches were in support of independence. Because of religious diversity the Declaration of Independence banned any test for public office and separated the spheres of church and state. Immediately people began streaming westward, by 1860 states were rapidly forming west of the Mississippi, and the Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians proved most adaptable to the frontier. Revivalism was the preaching used to reach the un-churched masses which sought to make listeners vividly aware of their eternal destiny, and “camp meetings” of great outdoor gatherings lasted several days. Sunday Schools, academies, and societies for social reforms were developed. However, the generation just prior to the Civil War was marked by controversy and division among the denominations. The Roman Catholic Church whose beginnings went back to the Franciscan missions in the Southwest received an influx of immigrants especially from Ireland which caused Protestant fears. The greatest cause of controversy however was the national slavery issue with the agricultural boom in the South dependent upon slave labour and a radical abolitionist movement in the North contributing to the widening breach of the country with denominations torn apart by diverging ideologies. During reconstruction various church agencies poured money and men into the South to bring religion and education to the Negroes just released from slavery with Baptist and Methodist churches having the greatest appeal to the Negro. After 1860 independent Lutheran churches were formed from waves of Scandinavian immigrants and after 1880 millions of additional Roman Catholics from Eastern and Southern Europe. Another conflict swirled around the emerging social conscience within the churches with certain Protestant leaders calling for the application of the principles of Jesus to the new industrial-urban problems. This new concern was labelled the “Social Gospel” with its most persuasive advocate in Walter Rauschenbusch, and its goals stated in the Social Creed of the Federal Council of Churches.


1777

COKE, THOMAS [1747-1814] – Methodist preacher and missionary enthusiast who was closely associated with Wesley from 1777 who set him aside as superintendent for America seven years later. He was a staunch opponent of slavery and a vigorous promoter of missions organising the Negro Mission in the West Indies and developed missionary activity in Gibraltar, Sierra Leone, and the Cape of Good Hope. He died on his way to Ceylon with a party of missionaries.


1778

BRETHREN IN CHRIST – Originated in a society formed along the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania by Jacob and John Engel of Swiss Mennonite [see 1536] ancestry. After a century of fairly quiet growth the group burst into activity beginning Sunday schools, orphanages, homes for the aged, and education as well as missions. By 1970 more than one third of their members were in mission churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.


1779

COWPER, WILLIAM [1731-1800] – English poet who suffered all his life with depression which more than once developed into mania. From 1765 he was cared for by Mary Unwin until her death in 1796 which did much to keep Cowper serene and happy. In collaboration with John Newton [see below ] were published the Olney Hymns in 1779 including “O for a closer walk with God”, “God moves in a mysterious way”, “Hark my soul it is the Lord”, as well as the controversial “There is a fountain filled with blood”. The most moving expressions in his poetry relate to his intense feeling of his own predetermined damnation especially in his last terrible poem ”The Castaway”.
NEWTON, JOHN [1725-1807] – Anglican clergyman and hymn writer, son of a merchant who had an unstable childhood and was forced to join the Royal Navy. He tried to escape but was arrested in West Africa and eventually became virtually the slave of a white slave trader’s black wife who completely humiliated him and he lived hungry and destitute for two years involved in the slave trade. In 1747 he boarded a ship for England and a violent storm in the north Atlantic nearly sank them. For Newton it was a moment of revelation and he turned the God. Nevertheless further slave trading followed but in 1755 he gave up the sea and in 1764 he became curate of Olney in Buckinghamshire. There he met the poet William Cowper [see 1779] and with him produced the “Olney Hymns” of which a number are still in common use including “Amazing Grace”, “How sweet the name of Jesus sounds”, and “Glorious things of thee are spoken”. In 1779 Newton moved to London and became vicar of St Mary's Woolnoth. His influence was widely felt especially in the evangelical world. Handel's Messiah made an enormous impact in London and Newton preached a famous series of sermons on the texts in the Messiah that Handel had used for the lyrics. After one of the sermons the young William Wilberforce [see 1807] sought his counsel. Newton played a part in the abolition of the slave trade because of his relationship with Wilberforce.
PERRONET, EDWARD [1726-1792] – Hymn Writer and Poet. He was the son of an Anglican priest, who worked closely with John and Charles Wesley for many years in England's eighteenth century revival. He is perhaps most famous for penning the lyrics to the well known hymn, "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" in 1779. He was born Kent and was the descendant of a French Huguenot family which fled first to Switzerland and then to England to escape religious persecution. At the time, persecution of Methodists was common. John Wesley once noted in his diary that Edward himself "was thrown down and rolled in mud and mire" at Bolton. Though considered a capable preacher, Perronet was uneasy about doing so in front of John Wesley, despite Wesley's persistent urging. After wearying of his requests, Wesley simply announced one day that Brother Perronet would speak. Edward cleverly managed to escape Wesley's intention by mounting the pulpit, declaring he would deliver the greatest sermon ever preached, and proceeding to read Christ's "Sermon on the Mount"; after which, he immediately sat down. During his life, Edward published three volumes of Christian poems, including a poetic rendering of the Scriptures. Shortly before he died on January 2, l792 in Canterbury he uttered these last words: "Glory to God in the height of His divinity! Glory to God in the depth of his humanity! Glory to God in His all sufficiency! Into His hands I commend my spirit." Perronet was buried in the Canterbury Cathedral.


1780

BAMPTON LECTURES were named after Canon John Bampton who died in 1751 and in his will endowed an annual lectureship to St May’s Church Oxford. He specified that the lectures shall cover the defence of the Christian faith set out in the creeds and on the authority of the Scriptures and Church Fathers. The lectures were first given in 1780.
EICHHORN, JOHANN GOTTFRIED [1752-1827] – German biblical scholar who became professor at Jena in 1775 and at Gottingen in 1788. He dismissed as spurious many of the Old Testament books and was a pioneer of Higher Criticism. His three volume introduction to the Old Testament was influential for many years after its publication in 1780-1783. He was one of the early advocates of the so-called primitive gospel hypothesis, which holds that all three Synoptic gospels are based on a lost Aramaic gospel.
GABRIEL IV – Patriarch of Constantinople [1780-1785] succeeded Sophronius II [see 1774]. There is no additional information readily available.
GORDON RIOTS [1780] – These broke out in London on 2nd June when Lord George Gordon led a mob to the House of Commons with a petition for the repeal of the Catholic Relief Act of 1778. Lord George was a fanatical anti-papist and became president of the Protestant Association in 1779. The demonstrations soon became violent. Roman Catholic chapels were destroyed. On 6th June, Newgate and other prisons were burned down and the following day attacks made upon the Bank. While the magistrates were acting feebly, the crowd had been swollen by released criminals and resorted to wholesale looting. Many of the rioters were convicted and 25 executed. Gordon was arrested for high treason but was acquitted then he was later convicted for libel and died in Newgate prison in 1793.
HORNE, GEORGE [1730-1792] – Bishop of Norwich who was educated Oxford and was dean of Canterbury in 1781 before going to Norwich in 1790. He was a High Churchman but sympathised with Methodist spiritual earnestness. He strongly disapproved of the expulsion of Methodist students from St. Edmunds Hall Oxford and refused to forbid John Wesley to preach in his diocese. He actively promoted the Naval and Military Bible Society founded in 1780 and supported the cause of Scottish bishops who petitioned Parliament in 1789. He wrote a commentary on Psalms, interpreting them messianically.
PALEY, WILLIAM [1743-1805] – Anglican scholar, archdeacon of Carlisle from 1780. Educated at Cambridge, Paley gained fame through his books. He was not an original or subtle thinker but he was an unrivalled expositor of plain arguments. His “Natural Theology” of 1802 sought to prove the being and goodness of God from the order of the world. Paley took a lax view of the 39 Articles and was perhaps inclined to Unitarianism [see 1558] on certain points although he was a conservative apologist of the Church of England and the British Constitution.
RAIKES, ROBERT [1735-1811] – Promoter of Sunday schools. He was the publisher of the “Gloucester Journal” through which he was enabled to maintain his interest in neglected children. After meeting with Thomas Stock [1749-83] who had started a Sunday school in Ashbury, Raikes set up one in his own parish in 1780 which met a glaring need. The idea caught fire and schools sprang up in other places. Despite popular opinion however he is not the movement's founder and never claimed to be. By 1786 some 200,000 children were being taught in England and a London society for establishing Sunday schools had been organised by William Fox in 1785. They spread into Wales in 1789 through Thomas Charles of Bala [see 1784] as well as to Scotland, Ireland, and America. John Wesley encouraged them and Adam Smith praised their cultivating of good manners. They taught children to read and write along with giving Bible instruction. At first teachers were paid, later they volunteered. In 1803 a Sunday School Union was founded.
RANDALL, BENJAMIN [1749-1808] – Founder and organiser of the Freewill Baptists. Born in New Hampshire he early went to sea with his father and became a sail maker. Three sermons by George Whitefield [see 1737] and the shock of Whitefield's death converted him in 1770. He became a Congregationalist but his views led him in 1776 to become a Baptist. He was ordained in 1780 and organised a Free Baptist Church. He drew up the covenant which became the basis of the later Freewill Baptist Church. His ardent evangelism won so many that by 1783 he organised a quarterly and in 1792 a yearly meeting of his group. When he died there are about 6000 adherents.
RICCI, SCIPONE DE’ [1741-1810] – Bishop of Pistoia-Prato. Originally from Florence he was influenced by Jansenism in the Roman College and while a student at Pisa encountered Gallicanism. Ricci was ordained in 1766 and became vice general of the archdiocese of Florence in 1755 and bishop of Pistoia-Prato in 1780. In 1783 he founded a theological college at Prato with lecturers who were sympathetic with his views. He presided over the Synod of Pistola in 1786 where his schismatic propositions brought his downfall. His final years were spent in confinement. Zeal for reform and lack of proper training made his innovations dangerous and subject to political pressures.
SUNDAY SCHOOLS – The beginnings of an organised movement are usually dated from 1780 when Robert Raikes [see 1780], a Gloucester journalist established a small school to care for the local slum children who were neglected and illiterate. He wrote an article about his work which caught people's imaginations and encouraged the setting up of Sunday schools throughout England. The movement spread to the Continent and to America where the First Day Society was established in Philadelphia in 1790. Raikes saw the culmination of his efforts when the Sunday School Union was founded in 1803 and received great support in evangelical circles.







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