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David Broughton Knox

David Broughton Knox, known as ‘the father of contemporary Sydney Anglicanism’, was born in Adelaide, South Australia, on Boxing Day, 1916 and educated at Knox Grammar School and the University of Sydney (BA 1938). He spent a year as a full-time catechist in his father’s parish of Gladesville, NSW, before travelling to England and studying theology at St John’s College, Highbury, graduating as an Associate with first class honours. He was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Ely in 1941, and priest 1942, serving two years as a curate at St Andrew the Less, Cambridge.

He enlisted as an RNVR chaplain in 1943, seeing shipboard service during the Normandy invasion. On his discharge in 1947, Knox completed a London MTh in Biblical and Historical Theology. He was by this time an active participant in the IVF Biblical Research Committee and the Tyndale Fellowship, collaborating with F.F. Bruce, Stuart Barton Babbage and Douglas Johnson on the New Bible Handbook (1947) and later the New Bible Dictionary.

Returning to Australia that year, he was appointed to the staff of Moore Theological College, Sydney, from which he retired as principal in 1985. He took leave 1951-53 to complete an Oxford DPhil, published as The Doctrine of Faith in the Reign of Henry VIII (Edinburgh, 1961). Appointed vice-principal at Moore in 1954, he succeeded Marcus L. Loane as principal of the college at the end of 1958.

Outside the college, on Archbishop Mowll’s nomination, Knox represented the Australian Church on the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches (and was at Lund, 1952), at the WCC Assembly at Evanston in 1954, and on the Australian Council for the WCC, and for some years was President of the NSW Council of Churches. Many of the more liberal Australian churchmen in the WCC found his contributions too strong for he was never afraid of controversy and often stood unabashed at the centre of a storm. Knox also served in diocesan synod and standing committee (1954-84). He was virtual editor of the Anglican Church Record in the 1950s and 1960s, using it to express with force and clarity his conservative evangelical views.

In 1950, Knox married Ailsa Lane, who he had first met in an Inter Varsity Fellowship meeting at Sydney University in 1947. They had six children. Knox was a family man who preferred close friendship to the agonies of public debate and conversation. On his formal retirement he lectured at Moore College for four more years, and then in 1989 accepted a call to establish a theological college for the conservative Church of England in South Africa. He left George Whitefield College, Kalk Bay, in 1992 as a going concern, training a multi-racial student body. His remaining months were spent in Sydney before his final heart attack. He went to be with the Lord in January 1994. His colleague for many years at Moore, Bishop Donald Robinson, described Knox as ‘a theological person, whose mind and heart was focussed on the living God as He has made himself known.’

The trust publishes Knox’s Not by Bread Alone: God’s Word on Present Issues, and Sent by Jesus: Some Aspects of Christian Ministry Today.