|The Story of Fire Continued: Aboriginal Christianity|
Introduction to the 2nd Edition
There is a concentration on Christian conventions such as those held at Katherine and Alice Springs, because it was there that Aboriginal Christians were able to be contacted and interviewed. It seems that Aboriginal Christians are more influenced by conventions than by the regular weekly services.
It has been an exciting and uplifting experience to record what God is graciously doing in bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Christians together into one family, and humbling to realise that Aborigines have spiritual insights that we non-Aborigines lack.
When I went out to Uganda in 1938 there were African Christians who challenged us missionaries about joining the revival that had begun sweeping across the country. Most of those missionaries who refused to join, gave us their reason; the negative side of the revival, the detailed confession of sin. But for the Africans it was a very positive experience to be free from their immorality and to have a daily experience of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. The genuine nature of that revival is seen in its spread right across East Africa, Kenya, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Zaire.
Most of the time there was no visible sign of this spread except for small group meetings outside the church after the service and the continuous singing of the revival hymns. But there were larger gatherings in which hundreds and thousands of people came together in conventions in which the Word of God was expounded and explained, people were converted, openly confessing their sin and finding cleansing in the Cross of Christ.
In Australia today the big 'explosion' of the work of the Holy Spirit happened in Arnhem Land in 1979 and in Western Australia in 1986. The missionaries moved out from Warburton and God used a team of Aborigines to preach to their own people. He gave them the message of the Gospel and the power to change their lives. Although it has settled down to a less spectacular work in many other places, it is A Story of Fire, Continued. The Holy Spirit is working in the hearts and lives of individual Aboriginal people giving them confidence and courage to become missionaries and leaders to their own people.
God's work continues. This is a story of God's Holy Spirit working amongst people in different communities. The fires will continue to be lit and to burst into flame in new places as the firestick is carried. Even as it is being written there are new developments. Over the past fifteen years some quite unexpected 'fires' have started and no doubt the next decade will see many further surprises.