Adventism in the Land Down Under

Speaker: Categories: Aug 13, 1988


[1hr, 1min, 11sec / 24min, 9sec]


Somehow Australia and Australians muster special attention among Seventh-day Adventists. Perhaps it's the flora and fauna unique to the territory -- or -- perhaps it's the language accent of its English speaking (more or less!!!) population. Whatever the cause, Australia has been in the Adventist lime-light for more than one hundred years.

The Adventist world-wide missionary program brought Adventism to the South Pacific. ("Pitcairn" is almost as copyright-able as is SDA!) Mission stories, camp meeting presentations by real "natives," the geographic phenomenon of an island so big as to be a continent -- have all captured our attention from "the days of our youth."

Australia, according to our August speaker, has served as a microcosm of the entire Adventist experience. Its successes, its failures, and the challenges currently facing the church are all clearly seen in this curious land.

Lyell Heise reports, "1980 marked a watershed in the story of contemporary Adventism in Australia and New Zealand. A whole generation of Australian ministers and many of the laity as well, waited on tip-toe for the outcome of Glacier View. For some, their question was whether the world-wide church would tolerate, and accommodate, a line of theological thought which in embryonic, and then more developed, form had featured in their development, theological training, and commitment to what they saw as a vibrant, evangelical Adventism. For many others the question was whether a deepening apostasy could be averted."

"Ironically, Glacier View and its aftermath brought no totally satisfying balm to either group. Too much progress for those wanting the "pure" nineteenth century faith of the fathers and not nearly enough progress for those anxious for a reworking of traditional Adventist themes. Meanwhile, as they wrestled, church growth rates declined in the developed countries and exploded in the developing nations of the South Pacific."


Lyell Heise was born in Hobart, Tasmania, the southernmost Australian state, as a fourth generation Seventh-day Adventist. His father is an Adventist pastor.

He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Theology from Avondale College, 1969, and a music degree in piano performance, 1967. Graduate work has included a Master of Divinity Degree from Andrews University, 1975, and an Advanced Certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education from Kettering Medical Center, 1975.

Prior to coming to La Sierra last year, he had served as pas tor, chaplain, and educator in New Zealand and in Australia since 1970 where his most recent appointment was as senior pastor of Avondale College Church. He has a particular interest in both music and worship and serves on the Standing Committee on Worship for the Southeastern California Conference.

His wife, Gaylene, born in New Zealand, is a music teacher and executive secretary. They have two children: Leighton, 10, and Chantal, 2.


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