Non-denominational Christianity came to Australia in 1846, when a Christian moved to Austrlia from New Zealand, settling in Adelaide. Thomas Magarey was born on the 1st of February in 1823. His father died ten years after his birth, in 1835. He came under the infuence of a Baptist preacher, who convinced him that baptism was by immersion of an adult believer, and became committed to that belief for the rest of his life.

He read Captain James Cook's book Voyage Around the World, being influenced by his descriptions of his circumnavigation of New Zealand. When he turned sixteen he and his brother decided to migrate to New Zealand, which had just been proclaimed a Crown colony.

When they arrived in New Zealand, the two ended up in Nelson, where his brother set up a shop, while Thomas caught wild pigs which his brother sold in the shop. Thomas also participated in the clearing of land for the future development of Nelson. In 1843 a member of the church of Christ arrived in Nelson. Thomas Jackson began meeting with his family in the township. The following year, 1844, Jackson baptised the Thomas Butler family, which brought this fledgling congregation to five members, which was called the "first Colonial Church of Christ."

Magarey somehow heard of this church and began attending the services of this group. Writing of them, later, Magarey said...

"These people preached baptism for the remission of sins, and appeared to produce Scripture for it. Still I could not give up my Calvinist views."

He then went on to say...

"I lingered sorrowfully at the door. It was hard to give up the world, more especially as I was not satisfied with the teaching, and I went away. Of course these people would believe I was not saved, not having been baptized when I might have been...."

During the dying days of 1844 Thomas Magarey was involved in an accident when his horse bolted, throwing Magarey out of the cart he was driving, and one of the wheels ran over his head, leaving him with severe headaches which plagued him for the rest of his life.

Because of the threat of war with the Maoris, many people started to move away from Nelson for other areas of New Zealand. Thomas Jackson moved to Auchland, where he established another congregation, while Magarey moved to South Australia, sailing in September 1845. Almost immediately he gained employment with John Ridley, the inventor of the reaping machine.

Though being aged only twenty, Magarey sought members of the churches of Christ in Adelaide. Finding none, he then sought fellowship with Christian groups which were more in line with his own views which were formed from his association with Thomas Jackson in New Zealand. He began attending a group of Scotch Baptists led by "pastor" Captain Scott. Not wearing the Scotch Baptist label because they claimed that they had "give[n] up human names," they were definitely Calvinist in their views. This grated with his views, because they believed...

"...that the Holy Spirit acted directly upon the heart [of the alien sinner] in addition to the influence excited through the Word of God, and maintain that the moment a sinner believed he received the Holy Spirit, being born again."

This led to conflict on the purpose of baptism, and "[f]or a time baptism for the remission of sins was the stumbling block." Several in the group became convinced of the teachings of Magarey, and despite his youth, accepted his teaching. No doubt they were also convinced through reading the British Millennial Harbinger which Magarey made available for them to read. Harbinger was the British version of the American Millennial Harbinger, which was published in the United States Alexander Campbell, who was the son of former Presbyterian minister. Both men were migrants to the United States from their native Ireland; and both were embued with the ideals of the European Enlightenment, a movement which placed a high value on the reason powers of the human being, and to apply logic to the interpretation of the Bible.




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