Smith Lecture | Third Space

Smith Lecture

An annual lecture by a key public figure presenting a perspective on a key social issue

The Smith Lecture provides an annual forum for the intellectually curious to hear the perspective of a Christian public figure on an issue relevant to the life of our nation. The Smith Lecture continues the legacy of the late Bruce Smith. He believed in the broad significance of the Christian message of reconciliation with God through the person and work of Jesus Christ

Previous lectures have included: scientist and mathematician Dr John Lennox explored whether science had 'buried' God; economist Prof Ian Harper explored whether The Global Financial Crisis was a crisis of trust; and historian Prof Edwin Judge discussed the paradox of private faith and public reality.

Please note, the 2022 Smith Lecture has been postponed to the first half of 2023. More information is available here.

Please contact Janelle Muller for further information.
Read about Bruce Smith

The death of Bruce Smith of leukaemia in 2001, at the age of 68, deprived Sydney of one of its most erudite and inspiring theologians, public speakers and teachers. A prominent Anglican spokesman on ethics and religion during the late 1960s and early ‘70s, Smith was active in the public media, particularly in televised debates about Christianity. As late as 2000, he was involved in the Ten Network series Why dig that up?, built around his experiences as an archaeologist in Italy and the eastern Mediterranean.

Smith grew up in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. He attended Sydney Grammar School, where he was best known for his sporting exploits, winning a State championship in swimming in 1949. He began to train for Christian ministry at Moore Theological College in 1952 and graduated in theology and later as a bachelor of divinity from London University. Ordained in 1956, he ministered in parishes in both Australia and Britain.

Smith lectured at Moore Theological College, Oxford and Macquarie universities, among other institutions. He taught widely but specialised in philosophy and theology. He was at his best in introducing students to the great thinkers, Christian and non-Christian. He had a way of feeling out the person behind the historic figure, whether Socrates, Schleiermacher or Barth, and enabling his audience to understand their concerns.

A man of very wide interests, he also ran reading groups studying Milton, Homer and modern literature. He published two volumes of poetry, I’ll not pretend (1984) and More than one world (1994). Smith’s remarkable work continued at Sydney Grammar School where he taught classics from 1975 to 1993.

Bruce Smith left a legacy of engagement with society in its political, ethical and cultural dimensions. He believed in the broad significance of the Christian message of reconciliation with God through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Smith Lecture programme intends to develop further this work of engagement.

Recent resources

Kate Harrison Brennan | 26 Oct 2017
But does beauty still transcend?
Bruce Robinson | 20 Oct 2016
For the teenagers of today there is a thin red line between fun and catastrophe
Roy Williams | 5 Nov 2015
Christianity is perceived as implausible, undesirable or irrelevant. Does it matter?
John Lennox, Jane Hutcheon | 25 Aug 2014
Do science and God mix?


Anna McGahan | 13 Dec 2019
Was Jesus an artist or an advertising guru?