Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
I was very pleased to hear that a second edition of this life of Kingsley Ridgway was to be produced and to be invited by the Rev. Lindsay Cameron to write a brief preface to it. The book began as the equivalent of an Honours thesis undertaken at Kingsley College in 1993 and was published in 1996 as part of the Wesleyan Methodist Church’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations.
In more recent years my work has become increasingly more focused on historical study so that I now find myself looking back at this early attempt at biography with new eyes. Would I write this book in the same way if I were to write it today? Probably not. It’s perhaps a little triumphalist here and there. It doesn’t work very hard at placing the life of its subject into a broader historical context. As for historical methodology, at the time of writing, I had no idea what the term even meant. There was a story to tell and I tried to tell it in an interesting way, and to document the facts as accurately as I could. If I failed to maintain the kind of objectivity I insisted on in the introduction it was probably out of youthful admiration and zeal, qualities I’m sure the reader will forgive. I thought it best under the circumstances not to attempt a major revision of the book. It was necessary however to correct some obvious errors here and there and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have done so.
Since writing this book I have published articles on similar themes and readers who wish to pursue the story of Wesleyan Methodism and other Australian Holiness churches may wish to consult my PhD thesis on Wesleyan-Holiness Churches in Australia (La Trobe University, 2006) or track down the following of my articles: “A Brief Introduction to the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia,” Uniting Church Studies 17:2 (December 2011); 67-81; “Anti-Americanism and Wesleyan-Holiness Churches in Australia,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 61:2 (April 2010): 314-43; “Joining the Evangelical Club: The Movement of the Wesleyan-Holiness Churches in Australia along the Church-Sect Continuum,” The Journal of Religious History 32:3 (Sept 2008): 320-344; “A Beautiful Virgin Country Ready for a Revival of Bible Holiness: Early Holiness Evangelists in Australia,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 42:2 (Fall, 2007): 155-81.
Wesleyan Methodists should be acquainted with the life of their founder and with the circumstances that gave rise to the establishment of their church. I hope this new edition of Pioneer with a Passion will contribute to that end as did its previous incarnation. Other readers may also find this book of interest as it narrates the beginnings and development of a Wesleyan-Holiness church that has matured from a small movement of concerned Australian evangelicals to an established denomination in its own right. It is significant that there is an entry on both the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Church of the Nazarene in the recently published Encyclopedia of Religion in Australia, ed. James Jupp (Cambridge University Press, 2009), which is perhaps a sign that the contribution of Wesleyan-Holiness churches to Australia’s religious life is finally being given the attention it deserves.
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Posted by Glen O'Brien at 12:53 pm