A rising tide : the growth of Evangelicalism and Evangelical identity among Presbyterians, Anglicans and University students in New Zealand, 1930-1965
This thesis relates the resurgent evangelical Protestantism of mid-twentieth century New Zealand to the extensive international historiography which has emerged over the last thirty years, especially through the work of such scholars as David Bebbington in Britain and others in the USA, Canada and Australia. Understanding evangelicalism as a both an historical movement and a recurring set of doctrinal commitments, the new literature has highlighted evangelicalism as a trans-denominational and international movement, sharing such features as those identified in Bebbington's quadrilateral. Weaving together the study of numerous key individuals, churches and organisations, the thesis argues that a self-aware, cross-denominational and fairly cohesive evangelical stream developed within New Zealand Protestantism between about 1930 and 1965. The thesis demonstrates that the university Evangelical Unions and the Inter-Varsity Fellowship (NZ) - both founded following a schism with the more liberal SCM in the early 1930s - were key factors in the reconstruction of evangelical identity and confidence and in the development of vigorous and expanding evangelical movements in New Zealand's two largest Protestant denominations. The two key pre-war church leaders who inspired those movements, Thomas Miller (a confessionalist Presbyterian) and William Orange (a devotional Anglican), worked closely with the Evangelical Unions and IVF, and the leaders of the post-war evangelical movements (such as Graham Miller) had been significantly shaped by the EUs and IVF. Mid-century New Zealand evangelicalism was theologically conservative, but also emphasised reason, moderation and restraint, and those values were constantly reinforced by such leaders as Dr. John Laird and Professor E.M. Blaiklock. The renascent New Zealand evangelical movement rejected extremism, anti-intellectualism and ecclesiastical separatism. It explicitly distanced itself from American fundamentalism. In its outlook and cultural style, mid-twentieth century New Zealand evangelicalism largely reflected the prevailing Britishness of New Zealand in that period, and was strongly influenced by the British IVF. By the early 1960s, evangelicalism had become an increasingly significant element within Protestantism in New Zealand. As the movement matured, it had also become less cohesive.
Advisor: Lineham, Peter; Davidson, Ivor; Stenhouse, John
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: christian college students; religious life; evangelicalism; student movements; Inter-Varsity Fellowship of Evangelical Unions (N.Z.); Presbyterian Church of New Zealand; Church of the Province of New Zealand; Thomas Miller (1875-1948); William Orange (1889-1966)
Research Type: Thesis
The author has produced the following book from this research: Stuart M. Lange, A Rising Tide: Evangelical Christianity in New Zealand, 1930-1965. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2013.