Leon Morris

Leon Morris (1914 – 2006) conservative biblical scholar and prolific author
Leon Morris served on the boards of a number of Christian organizations including the Evangelical Alliance, Scripture Union, Church Missionary Society, Bible Society, and he chaired the 1968 Billy Graham Crusade Committee. As President of the Evangelical Alliance, he established TEAR Fund, a significant Christian aid and development agency in Australia.

Leon Lamb Morris was perhaps Australia’s most prolific biblical and theological author. He wrote over fifty books of theology and biblical commentary which have sold nearly two million copies worldwide and been translated into many languages.

This is an astonishing output for an Australian writing technical or academic books. He was well-known throughout the Christian world as a careful, conservative biblical scholar. Extraordinarily, Morris received no formal theological education, apart from two years of supervision for his doctorate in Cambridge. He was a self-taught theologian who brought his rigorous and disciplined training in scientific enquiry to his study of the Bible and theology.

Born in Lithgow in March 1914, his father was an iron founder. Morris began training as a teacher in 1931 with a degree in science. In his first year he was converted to Christ in the Anglican parish of Leichhardt under the ministry of R B Robinson. At the Katoomba Convention the next year he felt the call to ordained ministry. Having qualified as a science teacher he was required to serve out the five years of his bond to the Department of Education. However, while he worked as teacher, he studied in his spare time for a Licentiate in Theology and topped the Australian College of Theology List. The Archbishop of Sydney, Howard Mowll, paid out his bond to the Department of Education and he was ordained to a curacy in Campsie in 1938.

In 1940, under the auspices of the Bush Church Aid Association, he began five years as priest in charge of the vast Minnipa Mission in outback South Australia during the difficult years of World War Two. He continued his private studies at this time, gaining the Bachelor of Divinity from London University with first class honours in 1943 and the Master of Theology in 1946. Mildred, whom he married in 1941, would drive the bumpy, dusty roads of South Australia while Leon studied New Testament Greek in the passenger seat.

In 1945, Morris was invited to the position of Vice-Principal of Ridley College in Melbourne. He spent 1950-51 in Cambridge gaining his Ph.D., which was later published as The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, a book which became seminal for modern evangelical theology of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. He was encouraged in his study by Professor, later Archbishop, Michael Ramsay. In 1951, he became the first Australian elected to the Society for New Testament Studies.

In 1961, Morris accepted the position of Warden at Tyndale House in Cambridge, a significant evangelical biblical research centre. In 1964, he courageously left this ideal academic post and returned to Ridley College as Principal when the college was in severe difficulty, convinced that this was God’s call to him. During his fifteen years as Principal, he strengthened the College, gave it a worldwide reputation, built a new chapel and established Ridley College as an official residential college of Melbourne University, the first college to take both men and women. He was made a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1964 and a member of the University Council in 1977. In 1966, he was runner-up in the election of the Archbishop of Sydney.

During these years he continued his prolific writing, publishing commentaries on almost every book of the New Testament, many of which remain classics. He was in demand as a lecturer and preacher in Australia and overseas where he was visiting professor in a number of colleges. His style was famous for his dry wit, conciseness, simplicity and attention to the detail of the biblical text applied relevantly.

He served on the boards of a number of Christian organizations including the Evangelical Alliance, Scripture Union, Church Missionary Society, Bible Society, and he chaired the 1968 Billy Graham Crusade Committee. As President of the Evangelical Alliance, he established TEAR Fund, a significant Christian aid and development agency in Australia.

refer to TEAR in : https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/australian-christian-aid-organisations-working-across-the-world/

He was a translator for the New International Version of the New Testament. In 1974, on his sixtieth birthday, he was presented with a Festschrift from eminent biblical scholars from around the world.

In retirement, Morris continued writing from his large study in Doncaster. He lectured overseas several times and continued to preach regularly. He and Mildred were loyal members of Holy Trinity Doncaster where he preached his final sermon, on the opening verses of John’s gospel, late in 1997. Typically, he preached with few notes from the Greek text. As always, he was remarkably lucid. The Gospel of John held a place close to Leon Morris’s heart and his magisterial commentary on John remains perhaps his magnum opus.

Morris was well known for his humble manner and gracious, Christian character. He leaves a vast legacy of theologically equipped ministers throughout the world upholding biblical Christian faith centred on the atoning death of Jesus Christ. His theology is the subject of a recently completed Ph.D. from the University of Queensland.

The first of five children, he is survived by his brother, Max. His wife, Mildred, predeceased him in April 2003. They had no children. The Leon and Mildred Morris Foundation continues their generosity to many good causes.

Written by:
The Rev’d Canon Dr Peter Adam, Principal, Ridley College, Melbourne, and
Archdeacon Dr Paul Barker, Vicar, Holy Trinity Doncaster

Source : http://your.sydneyanglicans.net/sydneystories/consummate_theologian_called_home/

Leon Morris: One Man’s Fight For Love and Truth
Neil Bach
Leon Morris’s story needs to be told. In this unique and long-awaited work Neil Bach shows Leon Morris as a prodigious and original thinker from the far side of the world who restored the credibility of evangelical scholarship and the centrality of the cross. Many of us have been nurtured by his enormously helpful books on the cross, but few know about the obstacles that had to be overcome. The author gives us a life of Leon Morris which is true to the man, unflinching in its evaluation of his work and inspiring in its conclusions.
It is published by Authentic Media and is available in Australia, through Koorong Books or amazon.com.
The books identifying numbers are:
ISBN 1842279866
EAN 9781842279861
Refer : https://www.koorong.com/search/product/leon-morris-one-mans-fight-for-love-and/9781842279861.jhtml#/info

* Ridley College Melbourne, Leon Morris Library: https://www.ridley.edu.au/library/
* Ridley College (Melbourne): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ridley_College_(Melbourne)
* Search results for, “Ridley” on these pages: https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/?s=ridley

Also Howard Mowll https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/howard-mowll/

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4 thoughts on “Leon Morris”

  1. This is interesting as I was at Ridley College as a student in 1962-1966 In my final year Leon Morris was my Lecturer.. Because of his endeavours I passed Greek with flying colours with a mark of 62% which astounded him. But it really was due to his extra coaching as before i only got 50% for the Greek language. I vividly remember him giving sermons in the Chapel and the knowledge he imparted to us students is why i am an Anglican Priest now. I turned 80 last birthday. God bless Kind Regards Reverend Tony E. Henricks

  2. HI Indeed encouraging and educating on how God uses his people in might way means we to speak through God’s power things to hapen and on how to be humble and gracious like our the late Morris,Please iam ready to work with you here in kenya.

  3. Dr..Leon Morris was generous with his time for a student struggling with my N.T.Greek in my final year at Ridley College. His effort and time spent with me outside of class hours resulted with me gaining a mark of 63%. He was amazed and I was delighted…

  4. This is all true – though I’m not sure that a ThL and BD done privately means that he had no formal theological education!

    But the article misses one of Dr Morris’ key emphases, the love of God. I cannot remember a sermon of his which did not end by pointing to this (and I hear many). God’s love is not about sentimental feelings, but costly, self-giving love, epitomized in the cross, and calling forth in disciples a similar lifestyle. In his own life Dr Morris embodied this – his real concern and support for some less likable people during his years at Ridley being a great testimony to that: he sowed God’s love to the unlovely.

    Charles Sherlock

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