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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Strong, Rev. Charles

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Strong, Rev. Charles, D.D., founder of the "Australian Church," Melbourne, is a native of Scotland, and studied under Principal Caird prior to receiving ordination as a minister of the Established Church of Scotland. On the death of the Rev. P. S. Menzies, one of the most popular of Melbourne preachers, Mr. Strong was chosen to succeed to the pastorate of the cathedral of Victorian Presbyterianism, the Scots Church, Collins Street, Melbourne. Very soon after his arrival the broadness of his religious views attracted the attention of the ultra-orthodox members of the Melbourne Presbytery, but no direct action was taken against him until he published an article on "The Atonement" in the Victorian Review. This paper caused considerable commotion in Presbyterian circles, and was made the basis of the first of a series of formal charges of heresy against Mr. Strong. The proceedings, originated in the Melbourne Presbytery and prolonged through a variety of stages in the General Assembly of the Church, lasted for several years, and were at length brought to a close by Mr. Strong's charge being declared vacant by the Assembly on Nov. 15th, 1883. He then returned to Scotland. Before leaving he was presented with a testimonial of £3,000, subscribed by all denominations in Melbourne as a token of sympathy and presented to him at the Town Hall on Nov. 14th; but Mr. Strong soon returned to the colony and established a new religious body under the title of "The Australian Church," largely composed of his old friends and adherents amongst the Scots Church congregation.