Property and Progress for a Pilgrim People


How much has the Uniting Church now lost the way?

By: Michael Owen

Publish date: 13/9/2017
Pages: 114
Publisher: Morning Star Publishing
Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm
ISBN: 9780648118688

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Ruling 26 of 2008 from the President of the Uniting Church’s national Assembly and the Assembly’s document on Property Policy of 2009-2010 take markedly different positions on the control and use of property in that church.

The policy document argues from “convictions” and “values” to reach positions contrary to what the Uniting Church acts of State and Territory parliaments, the Church’s constitution, and Assembly regulations actually provide. The later Presidential Ruling 29 of 2013, on actions of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania with property held for the use of other bodies, seems to accept the policy document’s position.

The document’s emphasis on values and whatever is new and emerging reveals a dependence on the modernist ideology and its problematical belief in progress, together with the managerialism to which they give rise. What would be an authentic Christian response to that ideology?

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About the author

Born 1931 in Canberra, Michael Owen grew up in Melbourne. He studied there (1949-53: BA, BD) and in Heidelberg (1954-59), returning to Heidelberg  in 1971 to complete the Dr.theol.. He tutored part-time in Semitic Studies at Melbourne University (1951-54) and was Studieninspektor of the Heidelberg Theologisches Studienhaus (1957-59).

Ordained late 1959, he ministered at St Cuthbert’s, Lorne, became Acting Principal of the Presbyterian Theological Hall in Perth for 1963 and remained there as Principal of the Presbyterian and Uniting theological halls (1964-1996), teaching also at Murdoch University (1986-1997), primarily in Systematic Theology. He has been Acting Clerk of the Presbytery of Geelong, Moderator and later Clerk of the Presbytery of Perth, and Presbyterian and Uniting State Moderator. He served on the Joint Commission on Church Union, as alternate (1967-70) and member (1970-77), and on various Presbyterian or Uniting Code, By-Laws or Polity committees.

1 review for Property and Progress for a Pilgrim People

  1. Rev Professor Emeritus James Haire AC, Professor Emeritus of Theology, Charles Sturt University, Canberra

    ‘I am delighted to commend the Rev Dr John Michael Owen’s excellent book, Property and Progress for a Pilgrim People. With his customary clarity, precision and incisiveness, Dr Owen deals with a number of theological issues central to contemporary western Christianity. Although the monograph addresses theological questions particularly within the Uniting Church in Australia, it nevertheless deserves a readership far wider than that. For its concerns are relevant to all churches in western societies.’ – Rev Professor Emeritus James Haire AC, Professor Emeritus of Theology, Charles Sturt University, Canberra, from his preface to this book.’ (from his preface)

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