Associate Professor Stuart Piggin is Director of the Centre for the History of Christian Thought and Experience at Macquarie University and is Head of the Department of Christian Thought of the Australian College of Theology. He is a graduate of the universities of Sydney and London and of the Melbourne College of Divinity. He lectured in Religious History in the Universities of Wollongong and Sydney 1974-1990 and was Master of Robert Menzies College, 1990-2004. He has written over 100 articles for academic journals and seven books on such topics as evangelicalism, missions, revival, spirituality, church and state, religion and the Australian identity, and the human response to disasters. Married to Rosemary, he has two daughters and three grandchildren. A Sydney Anglican, he is regularly baptised in Sydney Harbour when kayaking.
Why Stuart is passionate about writing
I do love writing and am in my comfort zone when writing. But I don’t think that I am passionate about it for its own sake. What I am passionate about is writing which sustains one idea at book length. That is why ‘Spirit, Word and World: Evangelical Christianity in Australia’ is my favourite of the seven books I have written. It has an OBQ (One Big Question) – how has evangelicalism shaped Australian history? – and it argues that its influence on Australia has been greatest when it has harmonised faithfulness to the Bible with openness to the Spirit and the determination to engage with the world. When the harmony is lost, it is shaped by the world instead of shaping it. 200 years is a good span of years in which to explore that one idea in its rich variety of settings. True, I do like writing about the varied parts as well as the unified whole. In the Book of Acts St Luke obviously enjoyed writing about Paul’s shipwrecks as well as the expansion of the early Christian movement. But it was his OBQ which gave him the opportunity to fascinate his readers with the details!