Fortunately, the ladies of Guido’s church had stocked up our kitchen with enough food to feed us for several days. God bless them!
Now, I had come to Australia to be the new Professor ofSystematicTheology in theplace of Rev. Professor Dr. Harold J. Whitney (Th.M., D.D., D.Litt., Th.D.) — who had just retired. Earlier, hehad beenthefirstAustralianwrittenlytocongratulatemeonmyappointment.While I was still in America and before my acceptance of the appointment, he had written to me:
"My dear Dr. Lee. I want to be one of the first to congratulate you on your God-directed appointment by the General Assembly of the Queensland Presbyterian Church of Australia, to the position of Professor of Systematic Theology at its Theological College. With many applications — most of them from overseas — it had been an onerous and exacting task to be certain we were choosing the man of God’s ordaining.
"Aftermuch prayer, andfrequentconsultations,theCommitteeplaceditsrecommendation before the Annual Assembly…. There was an unmistakeable endorsement of the Committee’s choice of yourself…. For this, we give praise and thanks to God. We pray that the inevitable difficulties of moving from one country to another (and of settling in a new country) will be overcome without too much inconvenience — especially, may I add, to your good wife.
Iampersonallylookingforwardto yourcomingamongstusbecause,among other reasons, of my love for South Africa. Four times I visited this fascinating land on evangelistic work…. I had the privilege of speaking in key Dutch Reformed Churches [the Mother Church in Cape Town,theAndrewMurrayChurchinJohannesburg,Dr.A. Malan’sChurchinKrugersdorp,Ds. Cruywagen’s Church at Luipaardsvlei, Dr. Willie Marais’s Church in Pretoria, and Dr. Geldenhuys’s University Church in Pretoria]….
"Early in 1975, it became apparent that with Church Union [between many Australian Congregationalists and Methodists and Presbyterians into the ‘Uniting Church’] only a year or so away, those who remained Presbyterians in doctrinal faithfulness to Scripture and our Westminster Confession would have to establish their own Theological Hall…. So, for almost five years, IhavebeenPrincipalandProfessorofSystematicTheologyandApologetics,andam to retire at the age of 74 at the end of 1980….
"One further thing. I share your admiration for Cornelius Van Til. I met him for the first time at Westminster, in 1965. When I left, he loaded me with an armful of his books — and I have been his disciple ever since. I have always been Conservative and Evangelical, but had
– 62 –
never met Reformed Theology as a System. Dr. Van Til changed all that…. It may be that you will find ‘the old Principal’one of your best students, still eager to learn, and willing to be taught!
"My warmest Christian greetings to yourself, your good wife and the two girls — Johanna (my own mother’s name) and Annamarie. May God guide, preserve, and protect you all. Warmly in Christ, Harold J. Whitney. P.S.: Only last year I did a couple of lectures to the students on your book History of Philosophy."
Soon, my transfer was accepted from the Westminster Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in Americato theBrisbanePresbytery ofthePresbyterianChurch ofQueensland. Then I was installed as Professor of Theology in the Emmanuel College Chapel right next to the University of Queensland. My inaugural address was titled John Calvin — True Presbyterian. It was soon printed up, and is still available from me at: email@example.com.
At that time, Rev. Bob Thomas, the current Moderator of the [Federal] General Assembly of Australia [GAA] of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, and then Editor of the denominationalmagazineAustralian Presbyterian Life,interviewedme. Hehadflown up from SydneytoBrisbanejust toreport on my induction as ProfessorofTheology. Hereis his article, titled An Interview With Nigel Lee, which appeared in the May 1981 edition (with a full-page colour photograph of me being inducted on its front cover):