Page 13 is a series of editorials written by GR Stirling and published in the Australian Christian between 1979 and 1987. These 188 single page articles speak into a vast array of issues within Christian identity, challenging readers to engage everyday life as life in Christ.
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Gordon R Stirling
Gordon Stirling (1914-2010) was a statesman, minister, church planter, evangelist, youth director, college lecturer and Vice-Principal who over a long period of service in Churches of Christ gained the respect and admiration of everyone who met him. His official roles within Churches of Christ Australia and New Zealand included:
- Ministry at: Lower Hutt (NZ) 1936-1938; Palmerston North (NZ), 1939-1940; Ainslie Church of Christ, Canberra, 1954-1968; Boronia Church of Christ (part-time) 1982-1983, 1989, 1998.
- Youth Director for: NZ Churches of Christ 1941-1945; SA Churches of Christ 1945-1953.
- Editor of the Australian Christian, 1979-1988.
a patchwork on "page 13"
Research by Sarah Backholer
“We believe that God is more than equal to the task of coping with our contemporary world.” (Page 13 "Introducing Ourselves" 1979)
It is faith which makes it possible for Stirling to address and critique the heritage of Churches of Christ in the Restoration movement. An article titled “No Creed but Christ—let’s scrap this slogan!” must amount to heresy in certain circles! But the value of the movement and its members is not contained in their having chosen the ‘right’ slogans or the ‘right’ way, as though these things contain some repository of abstract truth; the value of the movement and its members is God’s love in Christ.
So, faith is free to address unhelpful traditions, practices or statements without offence because there is nothing to defend. Any insincere or unhelpful baggage can be thrown off. At the same time, that which is valued can be retained without becoming idolatrous as the source of identity other than God. It is on the basis of faith in God who is “more than equal” that Stirling can exercise truth-telling and exhortation; this tone is characteristic of Page 13.
“We believe that Jesus Christ is alive and well and is dramatically changing the lives of those who are continuously open to him.” (Page 13 "God's Cross" 1980)
Stirling often uses the phrase being saved to describe a person’s relationship with God. Salvation is not something we attain but is the outpouring of relentless love toward us (grace) and occurs as a process of renewal and recreation through trusting openness to God’s Spirit (faith). This is salvation by grace through faith. The possibility for our redemption lies squarely on God, beyond anything we could possibly do or be.
Page 13 testifies to God who renews and recreates us here and now, as far as we are willing, with tangible effects in our lives and relationships.