1st Edition

Evangelicals and the End of Christendom Religion, Australia and the Crises of the 1960s

By Hugh Chilton Copyright 2020
    266 Pages
    by Routledge

    266 Pages
    by Routledge

    Exploring the response of evangelicals to the collapse of ‘Greater Christian Britain’ in Australia in the long 1960s, this book provides a new religious perspective to the end of empire and a fresh national perspective to the end of Christendom.

    In the turbulent 1960s, two foundations of the Western world rapidly and unexpectedly collapsed. ‘Christendom’, marked by the dominance of discursive Christianity in public culture, and ‘Greater Britain’, the powerful sentimental and strategic union of Britain and its settler societies, disappeared from the collective mental map with startling speed.

    To illuminate these contemporaneous global shifts, this book takes as a case study the response of Australian evangelical Christian leaders to the cultural and religious crises encountered between 1959 and 1979. Far from being a narrow national study, this book places its case studies in the context of the latest North American and European scholarship on secularisation, imperialism and evangelicalism. Drawing on a wide range of archival sources, it examines critical figures such as Billy Graham, Fred Nile and Hans Mol, as well as issues of empire, counter-cultural movements and racial and national identity.

    This study will be of particular interest to any scholar of Evangelicalism in the twentieth century. It will also be a useful resource for academics looking into the wider impacts of the decline of Christianity and the British Empire in Western civilisation.

    Prologue: Billy Graham, 1959 and 1979

    Introduction: The Ruptures of the Sixties

    1 Citizenship: Fred Nile, Political Activism and the World’s Christian Endeavour Convention, 1962

    2 Relevance: Hans Mol, Secularisation and the Religion in Australia Survey, 1966

    3 America: Billy Graham, Americanisation and the 1968-1969 Crusades

    4 Empire: Marcus Loane, Britishness and the Cook Bicentenary, 1970

    5 Renewal: The Jesus People, the Counter-Culture and Kairos, 1973

    6 World: Jack Dain, Athol Gill and the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation, 1974

    Conclusion: Evangelicals and the End of Christendom


    Hugh Chilton is a Conjoint Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Arts at the University of Newcastle, Australia, Director of Research and Professional Learning at The Scots College, Sydney, and Vice-President of the Evangelical History Association.

    ‘This is an innovative vision of the period that made all our lives: the "axial generation" of the 1960s and 1970s. Combining outstanding scholarship with fluid, approachable narrative, it provides the reader with a bracing introduction not only to key events in Australian political, cultural and intellectual history, but connects these to major trends elsewhere. Unlike many studies of Australian subjects, it does not explore just how what happened elsewhere affected the nation, but how the Australian experience contributed to and participated in the construction of a modern, globalized West.’
    Mark Hutchinson, Professor of History, Alphacrucis College, Australia

    ‘Although cliches abound on subjects like "secularization" or "the sixties," the penetrating insights of this book offer anything but worn out academic jargon. Its great merit is to show how and why "Christian Australia" (or alternatively "Greater Christian Britain") more or less died in the cultural, religious, and social upheavals of "the long 1960s." Readers will find the book's sophisticated account of especially Australia's evangelicals communicated with wit, pellucid prose, and unusually persuasive interpretations. It is, in sum, a treasure.’
    Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History Emeritus, University of Notre Dame, USA

    "Chilton's analysis of the relationship between national identity and religion through a series of biographical studies of evangelical Christian leaders works splendidly"
    Stuart Piggin, Religious Studies Review