William Henderson

William Henderson (1826 – 1884)  minister
In Ballarat William Henderson was very popular amongst his congregation, the Roman Catholic poor and the Lutheran miners to whom he preached in German.  He was sharply criticized by more orthodox Presbyterian clergy and laymen who objected to his activities in the sporting and social life of the youth of Ballarat. He held a commission in the volunteer militia and never hesitated to speak out on political issues. In 1864 he was a founder of Ballarat College where he convened the committee for five years and was a visiting lecturer.

Henderson was respected for his superior powers of debate, transparent humility and evangelical fervour. He was also known for ‘advanced’ views and hostility to theological rigidity. He denounced what he considered ecclesiastical hypocrisy, especially Sabbatarianism, and with the backing of the Ballarat presbytery agitated for greater doctrinal freedom in the Presbyterian Church.

When Charles Strong was expelled in 1883 Henderson was one of his few clerical supporters though they differed on some theological questions.

Rev. R. Hamilton’s comment that Henderson’s views ‘at times ran too much in the German groove to be much relished by the Church in general’, reflected a contemporary prejudice against theologians who criticized the narrowness of Anglo-Saxon dogma. However, he was moderator in Victoria in 1872-73 and represented Victoria at the Pan-Presbyterian Council in Edinburgh in 1877.

Many of his sermons and addresses were published and as one of Ballarat’s best-known public lecturers he tackled such diverse matters as European politics and Darwinian evolution which he never feared as a threat to Christian faith. His most notable works were Christianity and Modern Thought (1861), a series of lectures on Christian apologetics, and If, and What? Twelve Lectures on the Foundations of Christian Theism (1882). In 1878-80 he edited the Presbyterian Review, though his reforming spirit aroused some opposition from members of the General Assembly.

Complete article : http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A040428b.htm

Inscription on a monument to William Henderson – Sturt & Dawson Streets, St. Andrew, Ballarat, 3350, Victoria.

William Henderson founder and for twenty six years the faithful Minister of the church died on the 22nd July A. D. 1884. This tablet is erected by the congregation of St. Andrew’s Kirk in loving remembrance of their Minister. He was a good soldier of Christ Jesus and a man greatly beloved.


Image :  St Andrews Kirk church Ballarat (1870 -1880)
Source : http://www.pictures.libraries.vic.gov.au/site/central_highlands/cardbox/14110.html

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