This Australian Missionary News IPTV interview with Ross Clifford may be viewed at tv.bushorchestra.com/Professionals/videopages/ross_clifford.html or www.safeworlds.net
Ross Clifford explained to anchorman Mark Tronson that it all began for him when he was 8 years old, growing up in Chatswood in Sydney, and was converted to follow Christ at the 1959 Billy Graham Crusade. He was raised in a Christian home, and his family worshipped at the Burton Street Baptist Church in the city.
It was here in the fifties that the famous Baptist preacher of a generation, Reverend Dr John Ridley, preached on 'Eternity'. Arthur Stace was in that congregation and was converted. It was he who wrote the word Eternity in Gothic script on Sydney's streets, over and over again. As a very small lad, Ross Clifford sometimes sat on Arthur Stace's knee during the services.
Ross says that he had always been interested in the Law and its relationship to justice. He wondered where Jesus might do Law. He reasoned that, although lawyers are needed in the CBD, he thought Jesus might have practised in Kings Cross with the underprivileged and the colourful characters in life, where people struggle.
He could see Jesus defending the defenceless and helping those who are the most vulnerable and weakest in society. He graduated from University in Law, eventually becoming a barrister practising in Kings Cross and later at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.
When he became a Baptist Minister, Ross Clifford served Gymea Baptist Church in southern Sydney and he is now Principal of Morling. Since he moved into Morling, a whole new fresh approach to theological learning has been introduced. Ross Clifford refers to this as sending "God's Word into God's world."
Morling equips people to be sent into society. This training is not for the elite 1% who end up as Ministers, rather it is training for the laity to help them in their real-life situations; whether they be a school teacher, a doctor, a home maker, an IT person, a boiler maker … etc. Although Morling is a residential college for full time students, there is also a place for part-timers and those who need to study by distance education.
"Morling is about delivering and equipping people for the whole church." explained Ross Clifford. "We are going to expand its services to Newcastle, western and southern Sydney and Canberra."
"There is nothing more exciting in Christian teaching than to be in an online chat room with a doctor from Nepal, a teacher from Vietnam, 16-17 people from around the world discussing a subject such as the 'uniqueness of Christ'," he added.
Ross has been conducting his 2CH Sunday night radio talk back show for nearly 11 years. Although it takes up a full day each week, and although he usually doesn't get home until 2 am Monday morning, he believes that the idea you can teach theology without practising theology in the market place of life has a use-by date attached to it.
The most important part of this show, he feels, is how he can use it to model Christian Ministry to the general public.
Ross Clifford says that Apologetics, illustrating the truth and relevance of the Christian faith ,is not only critical but it's fundamental to Christian growth in Australia. He said that 25% of Australians now call themselves atheists, yet they and many other Australians dabble in numerous forms of spirituality.
"Australian society today is like the first century all over again," observes Ross Clifford. "There are innumerable spiritual alternatives; and to connect with people in the market place of life, one needs to be equipped to do so.
"Morling focuses on equipping our students to go out there and help them discuss the role that following Jesus Christ can play in their lives."