Page 13

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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The first Page 13 from 1979

The first Page 13 from 1979

Gordon Stirling, c. 1954

Gordon Stirling, c. 1954

 

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. 
… we are going to have to do something about the problem of words. Either we can print glossaries to hand to people on the way into church, that explain the words of hymns, prayers and sermons or we can learn Australian and settle down to translating the gospel words, so familiar to us, into the vernacular.
— Page 13 “Billy Graham and words” Australian Christian 1979

a patchwork on "page 13"

Research by Sarah Backholer

THROUGH FAITH

“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. 

salvation

“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.

 

more from "page 13"

Man had been groping after God for millennia and God had been breaking through to man for as long. It took the miracle of God entering human history in Jesus to enable God to reveal himself fully, and for those humans who want to, to see him in Jesus. A unique birth made this possible. But that birth is meaningless to me unless I am willing for Jesus Christ to be born again into my life, so that the God he revealed can create new life in me … It is easier to say, “I believe in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord, born of the virgin Mary”, and to mount arguments for his deity and supernatural birth, than it is to make him Lord of our lives. Many of the doctrinally impeccable find satisfaction in successful debate and defence, and miss the greater satisfaction of being in-dwelt by the person of Jesus Christ our Lord ... My Christology can be as sound as a bell, but unless he is Lord of my thoughts and feelings and attitudes, it is a vain Christology.
— Page 13: Born of the virgin Mary, Australian Christian, 1984
 
I find that the Bible is dangerous to me. I had no trouble about being baptised as a lad. It was quite an adventure, in the middle of winter, before they got the idea of heating baptistries. But I do have a lot of trouble with Paul’s reminder that a baptised person is supposed to have died to a lot of things that seem to be as alive in me as a can of worms. I am supposed to have ‘put on Christ’. I gather that means that my life is now lived within the very being of the living thirst. That thrills me. But it does not stop me from trying to run my own life in my way, rather than in his.
— Page 13 “It's Dangerous, Mr Reagan!” Australian Christian 1983