The Presbyterian community in colonial Victoria was close-knit, with a high
complement of regular churchgoers. Its 'respectable' leadership strongly
influenced a narrow public morality, to a greater extent than its size - sixteen
per cent of the population, with much higher proportions of its elite in landed
wealth, commerce and politics - would suggest.
In this social and cultural history, Malcolm Wood examines the community's
religion and values from a secular, critical perspective. He addresses issues
that make most interesting reading today, such as religious intolerance, the
impact of biblical criticism, science and 'free-thought' on centuries-old dogma,
and the Church's lack of empathy with working class needs and most people's
sense of enjoyment.
His use of letter, diaries, memoirs and biographies most effectively
distinguishes his book from earlier, dry ecclesiastical histories.
List of Illustrations
- Presbyterianism in Scotland
- Australian Context
Part 1: Religion and Values
1. Faith and Worship
- Popular Belief
- Prayer and Praise
- Women's Role
3. Inheritance of the Elect
- 'God's' Earth and Increase'
- Francis Ormond and Philanthropy
- Tainted Riches
Part 2: The Institutional Church
4. Development and Growth
- Union and Extension
5. The Clergy
- Church Politicians
- Evangelical Community
- Mission and Race
- Urban Working Class
Part 3: The Moral Guardian
- The Ten Commandments
8. Church and State
- State Recognition of Religion
- Marriage with a Deceased Wife's Sister
Part 4: The Church in Crisis
9. Challenges to Faith
- 'One Sure Foundation'
- Science, Rationalism and Secularism
10. The Strong Case
- Clerical Adversaries
- 'Worried Away'
- Schism Averted