In one sense our story has only just begun, but in another sense it’s been going since Jesus rose from the dead.
We are thankful for the faithful witness of God’s people from the Apostles through to the present day, but mark a few moments that define who we are a church. If you attend our Church Membership Course you’ll hear more about this. But for the sake of brevity, we’ll briefly mention three moments in church history that have shaped who we are.
1. The Reformation 16th–17th Century
From the time the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its official religion, the purity of the church declined as the clear line between the church and secular society faded. This began in the year 313 with The Edict of Milan which permanently established religious toleration for Christianity within the Roman Empire, and as far as our church history is concerned, ended with The Reformation in the 16th Century.
At that time many ‘Reformers’ were raised up by God who went back to the scriptures to discover the true gospel of Jesus. As they studied the scriptures they discovered a biblical theology that had been predicted by the prophets in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the life and death of Jesus, and explained by his Apostles in their letters which formed the canon of scripture and laid the foundation for the church.
The Reformers summarised the bible’s teaching on salvation in five truths. God has saved us by faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone, under the authority of the scriptures alone, to the glory of God alone. As the Church of the Risen King Jesus, we stand on this truth.
2. The Evangelical Awakening 18th–19th Century
After the generation of the Reformers, the purity of the church suffered once again as the clear line between the church and secular society faded. Many of the most influential Reformers were what we call ‘Magisterial Reformers’, who fought for interdependence between church and secular authorities (‘states’ or ‘magistrates’). In the minds of these Reformers, ‘Christendom’ was something worth fighting for, as they believed secular authorities / magistrates should have authority to enforce discipline, suppress heresy and maintain order within the church, while the church should provide moral guidance for the state.
This interdependence of church and state led to a belief that anyone born within a Christian state was to be baptised and raised as a Christian, and this once again led to wide-spread nominalism across Europe. But by the grace of God, just as the fire of Reformation zeal began to burn out, God raised up a generation of ‘evangelists’ who rode around on horseback preaching the pure gospel of repentance and faith in Jesus, emphasising Jesus’ words from John 3, ‘You must be born again!
These men and women stood firmly on the teaching of the Apostles and Reformers, but with their emphasis on a personal faith in Jesus for salvation, it pierced the nominalism of the day and saw many thousands of people give their lives to Jesus. The term ‘evangelical’ came out of this ‘awakening’, and became an umbrella term that described churches that were Reformed not Catholic, and who had become Christian by a personal faith in Jesus.
At the Church of the Risen King Jesus, we believe the Evangelical Awakening is also part of our history as a church.
3. St Alban’s Anglican Multicultural Bible Ministry (MBM) Rooty Hill – 1990 – 2017
Now we’ve arrived in the modern era, and we thank God for an Australian born Maltese man named Ray Galea and his wife Sandy who planted the church ‘MBM’ in Rooty Hill in 1990. Ray and Sandy met with their church in various community centres and local schools until they merged with St Alban’s Anglican Church in Rooty Hill.
God continued to bless the work of MBM until they were able to build a facility that would be purpose built for their growing church family, and in 2010 the building was opened. The church doubled in size from 2010 – 2012, and by the time Ray thought about planting a church in South West Sydney in 2017, there were about 1000 people in attendance at MBM on any given Sunday.
When the time came to plant MBM South West Sydney, Ray decided to partner with Grant Borg, married to Clare, to lead the church plant. In February of 2017 the church was planted in Smithfield Public School with 70 adults and their kids. By the grace of God the church outgrew the space in Smithfield and moved to Thomas Hassall Anglican College in 2019.
In 2021, in consultation with the bishops and Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Ray and Grant decided it would be best for the church in South West Sydney to govern its own membership by becoming an independent church, and MBM South West Sydney became Church of the Risen King Jesus.
Because we see independent churches relating voluntarily with one another in the New Testament of the bible, we decided to join the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. This decision was made because we want to relate well with other churches through shared accountability and encouragement as we work together to reach Australia with the good news of Jesus. And we are also well aware that the vast majority of churches that go ‘off the rails’ and become weird and introverted are the ones who value their independence more than they value fellowship and accountability. By the grace of God we recognise the need for both.
At this stage we are looking to find a more permanent location for us to serve our church family and wider community out of seven days per week. We have seen God working in the most incredible ways while renting a facility for six hours per week, and are excited by the thought of what he’ll do through us when we have a footprint in our community through a physical presence and a place to call home. We believe an industrial site in the Wetherill Park / Smithfield area would be best, and have started a Building Fund for donations toward this goal.