Towards 1990: A "Brave New World"? • E-Theses

Towards 1990: A "Brave New World"?

Brett Knowles, , University of Otago, Dunedin

B. Knowles, History of the New Life Churches in New Zealand, Otago PhD.

Chapter 9. © 2003 - Brett Knowles,

An e-theses.webjournals.org article.


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9. Towards 1990: A "Brave New World"?


      The election of the fourth Labour Government in 1984 was the "starting pistol" for what Sir Keith Sinclair has described as "a modern revolution"[1] in many areas of New Zealand life. In particular the monetarist policies of Roger Douglas, Minister of Finance, which have hence been dubbed "Rogernomics" sparked a process of radical economic restructuring over the next six years, and the contours of the New Zealand economy were further altered by the stock market crash of 1987. Economic changes were paralleled by political realignments, a prime example of which was New Zealand's exclusion from the ANZUS alliance with the United States and Australia following the banning of nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from New Zealand ports. Despite considerable political pressure from the United States the Government refused to change its stance on the issue,[2] and this had the effect of reinforcing this country's image as "clean, green and nuclear-free" and of strengthening New Zealand's identity with the rest of the world.

      The Labour Government also sought to stimulate social change, the pace of which was often bewildering. It is therefore not surprising that there was a strong reaction from the forces of conservatism. This was especially vehement and visceral in the case of moralist issues and reached a peak in 1985 with the strenuous opposition, orchestrated by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, to the Homosexual Law Reform Bill. However, the refusal of Parliament to be swayed by an 800,000-signature petition against the Bill represented a defeat of major proportions for the moralist movement. As a result its focus began to shift from protest to political participation, with several conservative Christian activists (including Rob Wheeler) standing as candidates in the 1987 General Election. The launching of the Christian Heritage Party two years later gave institutional form to this shift of focus.

      The late 1980s were also watershed years for the New Life Churches. The gradual changes taking place in the movement were formalised by the decision of the 1987 Pastors' Conference to recognise Peter Morrow and Rob Wheeler as "apostles."

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This decision marked a turning point in the evolution of the New Life Churches and opened the door to a "brave new world" in which their principle of local autonomy was held in uneasy tension with the more centralised organisational structure evolving within the movement. Fears that this would result in the formation of a "denomination" led to the secession of more than twenty New Life pastors in late 1987 to form the "South Pacific Churches of New Zealand."

 

9.1. The "New Christian Right" and the New Life Churches

9.1.1. Alarm and Activism: What moralist issues were important to the New Life Churches?

      One of the major features of the 1980s was what Jesson, Ryan and Spoonley have called the "Revival of the Right."[3] Although this political and social realignment was a world-wide phenomenon it was most marked in the United States, where it took on a religious dimension with the rise of the "Moral Majority" movement.[4] In New Zealand the economic, social and moral strands of the "New Right" had manifested themselves in various ways throughout the 1970s, becoming more militant and more organised in the 1980s.[5] The common denominator of these various strands was an appeal to the values of a golden, largely mythical, past from which society was deemed to have fallen away. The moralist right in particular invoked the image of a Christian New Zealand and sought to stem the tide of "permissiveness" which was proof, in their eyes, that the nation had departed from its Christian heritage. However, support for the moralist right was usually individual rather than organisational and came mainly, although not exclusively, from Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christians (especially from members of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches) and from Roman Catholics.
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Although this support was directed towards activism on specific moralist issues rather than towards the creation of a moralist movement per se these conservative Christians were soon labelled the "New Christian Right."

      What were the main concerns of the New Life Churches in the 1980s? Their approach, as was that of the New Christian Right in general, was strongly selective, focusing on issues of individual morality[6] and on the preservation of the nuclear family. Social or political problems were addressed only in so far as they affected these personal and family issues. Thus sex education in schools and the feminist movement were viewed as threatening the authority and integrity of the nuclear family,[7] and homosexuality as a perversion of human sexuality.[8] By contrast, social issues such as the Springbok Rugby Tour were seen as less important, since these did not directly impinge upon the moral responsibility of the individual nor on the security of the family. Consequently, references in the documentary records of the New Life Churches to the conflict over the Springbok Rugby Tour in 1981 are conspicuous by their absence.[9]


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      In the same way, the issue of bi-culturalism appears to have been almost totally ignored by the movement throughout the 1980s.[10] However, this issue came into the open at the 1990 Pastors' Conference with an impassioned outburst during the business meeting by a young Maori pastor asking why an official welcome by the local tangata whenua had not been made at the Conference.[11] It was evident that this pastor felt a strong sense of pain at not being able to formally welcome delegates of his own church family. His concerns received some sympathy, with both Peter Morrow and Max Palmer expressing profuse public apologies to him on behalf of the Conference. However, no further action appears to have been taken, and a report on discussion of the issue at the Regional Leaders' Meeting two months later shows that some exception had been taken to the way in which it had been raised:

Some leaders were for [the continuation of the practice of a Maori greeting at the National Conference] and some against. Some...felt that the greeting is unnecessary, that if Maori were to be recognised, so then should be other cultural groups. Some...felt that it wasn't so much the greeting, but the attitude of the person giving it that was the problem. A motion was put forward that `in reference to the Maori welcome, we see no reason for this practice to continue.' Motion was carried.[12]

      The Regional Leaders' meeting appears to have addressed the question of the Maori greeting without examining the deeper issue of the Maori grievances that underlay it. Its approach was largely behavioural, focusing on the young pastor's outburst rather than the social pain which had produced it.[13] The apparent inability of

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the New Life Churches to transcend personal, behavioural considerations in order to deal with wider social issues reflected the conservatism and individualism which underlay their belief structure and collective polity.[14]

      The concerns of the movement tended to be highly selective, focusing on issues of personal morality and the security of the family. As well as this it would appear that the limited range of moralist activism in which it did engage was largely initiated by other groups and that support from the various New Life churches was by no means uniform, uncritical or enthusiastic. Thus, when Renee Stanton, known in Christchurch as "the Bible Lady" because of her open-air preaching in Cathedral Square, organised a petition to Parliament in late 1980 "praying for legislation to restore New Zealand's dignity and moral standards" Pastor David Ravenhill commented that the Christchurch New Life Centre "have not felt to support amendments with her name involved, but will continue to pray and petition as God so leads us."[15]

      While this response seems surprising, it may have been simply an attempt to distance the Christchurch New Life Centre from too close an involvement with a somewhat eccentric protester.[16] A later letter shows that some of Ravenhill's reasons were personal ones, since while he was "happy to be informed" he "cannot take the stain [sic strain] of having to `perform.'"[17] He had therefore delegated this responsibility to another pastor on the Christchurch New Life Centre staff.[18] The involvement of the various New Life churches in moralist activism was therefore to some extent dependent upon the outlook of their pastors.


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      Nevertheless, some issues did stimulate a vigorous response from members of the New Life Churches and their involvement in the moralist movement seems to have been particularly strong in Auckland. Some of this is indicated in Fran Pardon's survey of Auckland's "moral minority [sic]."[19] This included two New Life pastors as well as a Baptist pastor and the regional director of Radio Rhema among the seven moral activists who were profiled. The New Life pastors were Ian Williams, one of Rob Wheeler's co-workers in the Auckland Christian Fellowship, and Andrew Stanley, then director of Youth with a Mission and later a pastor on the staff of John Steele's North Shore Faith Centre in Glenfield, Auckland.[20] Williams, nicknamed "Pornography's Scourge" by Pardon, was crusading against the proliferation of pornography in cinemas, videos and magazines,[21] while Stanley had "launched a national campaign with the...goal of cleaning up national television" in 1981.[22]

      Stanley was one of the more prominent activists in the New Life Churches in the 1980s. He was the co-organiser, together with Catholic charismatic layman Gordon Copeland, of a rally entitled "National Day of Restoration" held at Athletic Park in Wellington on Waitangi Day, 1982.[23] This was designed to be a "stand for righteousness in the nation" and attracted 3,000 participants, a far cry from the 25,000 attendance figure which Copeland claims for the final rally of the "Jesus Marches" ten years previously in Wellington. Little eventuated from this rally, although there was an element of drama when it was invaded by an angry Maori protest group of about two hundred people, led by activist Dun Mihaka. Confrontation was, however, avoided, and after discussion with the organisers, the protest group was permitted to address

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the audience briefly, which Copeland reports as being genuinely sympathetic towards the protestors.[24]

      The issue of abortion excited controversy in 1983, when M.P. Doug Kidd's Status of the Unborn Child Bill attracted strong support from some of the New Life Churches, as well as from other conservative groups. In Christchurch, this support was linked with opposition to the proposal to establish an abortion clinic at Coronation Hospital. Max Palmer reported at the time that the Christchurch New Life Centre had

become somewhat more outspoken on this whole issue in recent weeks and [had] encouraged our people to begin to write and take a positive stand against the establishment of the clinic as planned. I have today, on behalf of the assembly, written to Mr. Malcolm [Minister of Health] stressing in very strong terms our opposition to this move.[25]

      However, despite vigorous lobbying of M.P.s on the issue the Bill was eventually rejected by Parliament. Kidd himself appeared philosophical about this defeat, commenting in a letter to the Christchurch New Life Centre that although the Bill was not passed, "I do not believe the Cause was lost."[26] His capitalization of the word "Cause" is perhaps indicative of the importance with which this issue was regarded and the extent to which a moralist agenda was shared by the Christchurch New Life Centre and by some of the more conservative National Party M.P.s.

      The activism of the moralist movement became more militant in 1984. That year was a social and political watershed for New Zealand, with the National Government being soundly defeated in a snap Election in July. The incoming Labour Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister David Lange, immediately launched into a programme of rapid social and political change, which at times appeared to have been implemented without regard to the views of the general public. Opposition was therefore inevitable, and one of the first issues to raise the ire of the New Life Churches and other conservative groups was that of the Women's Forums, twenty-one

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of which were organised throughout the country in late 1984 by the new Ministry of Women's Affairs. These Forums were intended to

give women the chance to express their views about priorities in women's policy. [However,] these meetings did not satisfy the women's movement. Instead, feminists came into conflict with fundamentalists such as `born again' Christians over numbers of issues including easy access to abortion.[27]

      This conflict appears to have been particularly acute in the Waikato Forum, the official report of which complained that

there are a number of women whose religious beliefs do not allow them to agree with equality for women. This means that they are fundamentally opposed to the Government's policy for women.[28]

Their stubborn opposition to the overriding purpose of the Women's Forums generated some animosity, as was evidenced by a document, signed by eighty-four of the more than 1,000 participants in the Waikato Forum, "protesting at fundamentalist Christians having blocked discussions and prevented women from speaking out."[29] Consequently, although conservative opposition in other Forums was more muted those who opposed the Labour Government's proposals, as set out in the Forum discussion papers, were labelled as "far-right groups...seeking to disrupt the meetings being held around the country"[30] and charged with mounting "a nation-wide attempt to sabotage the forums."[31]

      There may have been an element of truth in these charges since women from the New Life Churches and other conservative groups had attended the Forums in order to present a "Christian" perspective, and the role of Anne Morrow and the Save Our Homes Campaign in orchestrating some of this opposition is documented by numerous

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references in the Majestic House Correspondence Files. While this was, in many ways, a "replay" of the controversy over feminist issues in the late 1970s, these conservative groups were now more militant,[32] with strong organisational resources and extensive networks of contacts to enlist in their cause. Consequently, their opposition was viewed as a "nation-wide attempt to sabotage the forums."

      However, blanket condemnations such as these tended to overlook the real concerns of those women who opposed the Forums. As Anne Morrow pointed out in a letter to the Prime Minister, statements made to the media about the opposition in the Forums "blind politicians and the media to the fact that in the midst of all these accusations, there is an expression of a genuine concern for the welfare and future lifestyles of our families and children."[33]

      Why should conservative Christian opposition to the Forums have been so vehement? To a large extent this concern was based on fear of change.[34] The Rotorua Forum, for example, noted that "some Christian women were concerned about the breakdown of Christianity which would occur if the Labour policy/charter became law."[35] In particular the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was viewed with alarm, with many women fearing that this "endangered the Christian heritage"[36]

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and "threatened the family way of life."[37] Their fear was based on the perception that the Convention was "communist-inspired"[38] and that "by signing it they would be placed under a supervisory committee comprised mostly of people from Socialist/Marxist countries whose philosophy of life was different from theirs."[39] Although this perception appears to have been based upon rumour and hearsay[40] it was assiduously cultivated by the opponents of the Convention.[41]

      It was therefore not surprising that "the amount of attention given to the UN Convention at the forums was out of all proportion to its position as one of many items in Labour's Women's Policy, and....[that] most of the concern was...founded upon totally false conceptions."[42] Indeed, Ann Hercus, the Minister of Women's Affairs,

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complained that "the subject of the Convention was the only real area of disharmony - and that some women had gone to the forum intent on discussing only that one issue."[43] However, Anne Morrow strongly contradicted her claim and countered that

there are many points in the Women's Forum Policy which we would not like to see legislated and implemented in New Zealand....We consider the Women's Policy as very unbalanced, misrepresenting the views held by the majority of New Zealanders. In speaking on behalf of many women in this country, we want to say [that] we have a responsibility to uphold the absolutes, morals and values which will preserve the nation and its people not just for today but for future generations.[44]

      Anne Morrow and her colleagues claimed to speak for "the majority of New Zealanders" and sought to uphold the Christian "absolutes, morals and values" which they saw as being threatened by Labour's Women's policy. However, the real issue for the New Life Churches and other conservative Christian groups was the pre-determined nature of the Forums themselves. According to a circular letter under the letterhead of the "Touch of Life" Women's Ministry,[45] of which Anne Morrow was the director,

it was a real concern to learn that the policy presented was `non-negotiable.' Even after discussion was encouraged in some workshops in the forums...the main point or purpose of the forums was only to prioritize the points listed under various headings. This strategy pre-empted the individual[']s right to initiate open discussion of views [and was] a contradiction of what we understood we were invited to do.[46]

Consequently, as Anne Morrow pointed out in her letter to the Prime Minister,

      the forums were only a platform to present the policy....There is no scope within the policy to allow us to make choices consistent with our values and beliefs.
      We represent a large segment of the Christian churches in New Zealand and we expect to have our views heard and represented not only in policy statements but also in legislative action.[47]


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      As the New Life Churches perceived it the views of "a large segment of the Christian churches in New Zealand" (of which they considered themselves representative) were being ignored in the formation of Labour's Women's Policy. The perception that the Government was determined to implement its agenda for change without taking into account the views of "the majority of New Zealanders" contributed to the swing in the 1985 Timaru by-election, where Labour lost the seat it had held continuously for half a century, and helped to create a constituency for the Coalition of Concerned Citizens. As Bruce Ansley noted,

tempered by the abortion debate, conservative women went to the forums and came away outraged. `The forums rang an alarm bell...and people saw in the [Homosexual Law Reform] petition an opportunity to say something about the moral condition of our country.'[48]

      The campaign against the Homosexual Law Reform Bill was partly fuelled by this conservative anger and formed part of an ongoing continuum of moralist concern, the various strands of which were brought together into organisational focus by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens set up in March 1985 in order to consolidate opposition to the Bill. The Coalition quickly became a force to be reckoned with, being described later that year by Bruce Ansley as "a presence not unlike a Whakarewarewa geyser. You hear the rumblings, feel the ground shaking, then you wait to measure the size of the blow."[49] Although the Coalition had a comparatively short life-span, it did represent and articulate the moralist concerns of many conservative Christians. The New Life Churches shared these concerns and were therefore actively involved in promotion of the Homosexual Law Reform Petition.

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9.1.2. Moralist Armageddon: Conservative opposition to the Homosexual Law Reform Bill

      The introduction of Fran Wilde's Homosexual Law Reform Bill to Parliament in March 1985[50] excited considerable public controversy. The Bill was intended to correct a legislative anomaly[51] by removing the legal proscriptions against homosexual acts between consenting adults. However, it was viewed by conservative sections of the community as "the apogee in the struggle over morality"[52] and met with a concerted response. Since the liberal views of those in favour of the Bill were equally strongly espoused debate over the issue tended to generate heat rather than light. Opinion among and within the various churches was also strongly divided:

The Christian liberal and conservative forces once again confront each other. The social reformers comprise the Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Society of Friends, Associated Churches of Christ, the National Council of Churches and, of course, the homosexual church itself - the Auckland Community Church and the Metropolitan Community Church. Aligned on the conservative side are the Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, Associated Pentecostal Churches, the evangelical Anglicans and the Salvation Army.[53]

      This division was, to a great extent, the product of differing hermeneutical frameworks. On the one hand, liberal Christians approached the issue of homosexuality from the perspective of social justice, insisting that the State had no jurisdiction over the private morality of the individual. As they saw it the Gospel demanded an acceptance of the homosexual and the Biblical texts relating to the practice therefore needed to be examined within their own social and cultural contexts and reinterpreted in the light of modern understandings. Conservative Christians, for their part, were more literalistic in their interpretation of the Biblical injunctions against homosexuality, and consequently saw the Bill as a direct challenge to their institutions of authority[54] and to their vision of a "Christian New Zealand." The question of how these

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institutions were to be understood and applied formed a deeper level of the debate over morality.[55]

      The conservative Christian approach was based upon several a priori principles. The first of these was the perception of homosexuality as a sexual perversion, a violation of the natural order. As such, it was inherently evil and immoral, and had serious implications for societal standards and for public health. In particular it was seen as threatening the institution of the family (based on monogamous heterosexual commitment in marriage) and as contributing to the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases, particularly AIDS. Public fear of AIDS did add some weight to the campaign against the Bill and some of the more extreme opponents of homosexual law reform made use of this by describing AIDS as a "gay plague," the judgement of God on the sexually perverse.[56]

      A example of the way in which most conservative Christians viewed homosexuality is provided by Rob Wheeler's comments on the issue:

I think that homosexuality is totally wrong. It used to be said it's a sickness - I don't think it's a sickness, I think it's a sin. It brings God's wrath more than anything. Think of Sodom and Gomorrah....The Bible says it's wrong and unacceptable. Putting that aside, from the health situation it's wrong because it causes trouble. I mean, the hygiene of it - the back passage is a sewer, it's a drain, whereas in heterosexual relationships it's...much cleaner.[57]

      Wheeler's comments, made in 1986, reflect several key elements of this conservative Christian perception. Firstly, homosexuality was not a matter of sexual orientation but of moral choice. The practice was a "sin" rather than a "sickness," and

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as such morally culpable. Secondly, the Biblical image of Sodom and Gomorrah[58] was a powerful one. A common catchphrase at the time was that "God is going to have to apologise to Sodom and Gomorrah if he doesn't bring judgement" on the country for its toleration of homosexuality.[59] The decriminalisation of homosexual activity was seen as a tacit approval of the practice. It therefore placed the country under the same moral condemnation and danger of judgement as Sodom and Gomorrah. Consequently, the issue took on the nature of an apocalyptic confrontation, a "moral Armageddon" between the forces of righteousness and the forces of immorality, and the campaign against the Bill became something of a "holy war."

      The second a priori principle was that of "the Bible says." The Biblical injunctions against homosexuality, such as Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:18-32, were usually interpreted literally by conservative Christians and linked with their perception of New Zealand as a "Christian country." This combination of fervent patriotism and moralist fundamentalism[60] had some similarity with the patterns of Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority" movement (sometimes known as the "New Christian Right") in America.[61] However, despite this resemblance, there were no direct linkages between the New Zealand and American movements[62] and their constituencies were also significantly

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different. Much of the support of the American "Moral Majority" was drawn from "mega-churches" such as that of Jerry Falwell and reinforced by the Christian communications network epitomised by Pat Robertson and other television evangelists.[63]

      In New Zealand, although Radio Rhema and the evangelical periodical Challenge Weekly played some part in informing and mobilising conservative Christian opinion on Homosexual Law Reform, their influence was relatively small compared with that of the Christian communications network on the American moralist movement. Leadership of the New Zealand movement was assumed not by the Christian media but by the Coalition for Concerned Citizens, an umbrella group formed in March 1985 to consolidate the activities of those moralist groups which opposed the Bill and which rapidly became the dominant force in the "moral right" in New Zealand.[64] The activism of the Coalition focused on what came to be known as "the Petition."

      Much of the dynamism behind the Petition came from Keith Hay, Auckland building magnate and a former mayor of Mount Roskill. Although the Petition praying that "Parliament vote that the Homosexual Law Reform Bill does not proceed"[65] had originally been initiated by Members of Parliament Norman Jones and Graeme Lee (National) and Geoff Braybrooke (Labour), it was taken over by Hay and Sir Peter Tait and expanded to become a citizens' issue rather than a party political one.[66] The Petition tapped into a ground-swell of moralist concern, and members of conservative

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churches were strongly represented among the supporters of the Coalition.[67] The opposition of Pentecostal churches to Homosexual Law Reform was particularly strong and their fundamentalism and moral conservatism made them automatic allies of the opponents of the Bill.

      In the case of the New Life Churches there are numerous references to the issue in the records of the movement. The minutes of the "Regional Leaders Conference" noted as early as September 1984 that "regional action [was] being taken around the country to combat this piece of iniquitous legislation,"[68] and some of the New Life Churches became quite prominent in the public opposition to the Bill. For example, a Public Rally against the Bill held in Cathedral Square under the auspices of the Christchurch branch of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens on 14 April 1985 was addressed by politicians Graeme Lee and Geoff Braybrooke and by Pastor David Ravenhill of the Christchurch New Life Centre.[69]

      Another New Life pastor, Owen Wagener, was deeply committed to the moralist campaign,[70] helping to organise opposition to the Bill and the collection of signatures for the petition in Auckland, and Pastor Rasik Ranchord of the Wellington Abundant Life Centre recalled that he himself had been "quite involved in the...presentation of the Petition, [and]...organised it in Wellington."[71] The New Life Churches therefore were strongly committed to the promotion of the Petition, and this is evident from a report

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to the Regional Leaders' Conference, dated 15-16 August 1985, on the subject of "submissions before Parliament and [on] technicalities at this time being used by promoters of the bill to attempt to block the petition now consisting of 700,000 signatures," which urged that "we do all we can to push for the 1,000,000 signatures wanted."[72]

      There was much controversy over the Petition, with its opponents claiming numerous irregularities such as people signing more than once, the inclusion of signatures of minors or of people not on the electoral rolls, and, especially, that people were often being coerced to sign. Fran Wilde, for example, raised a point of order at the presentation of the Petition to Parliament, saying that she had

received a large volume of mail in which individuals have described incidents of fraudulent signatures and multiple signatures being appended to that petition, and other incidents. Is any mechanism available to members - either individually or collectively - to check the authenticity of the signatures on that petition?[73]

While the timing of Wilde's point of order appears to indicate that this was an attempt to detract from the presentation of the Petition and was recognised as such by the Speaker of the House there can be no doubt that the earnest concern of those seeking signatures for the Petition could, and in fact did, at times result in undue pressure being placed on those requested to sign,[74] and that irregularities sometimes resulted from misplaced enthusiasm. Nevertheless, "while it is undoubtedly true that many of these signatures were false or from children, it is still a powerful reflection of the widespread opposition to homosexuality,"[75] and the Petition was still (as Ranchord put it) "by far the largest petition in the history of New Zealand, and even if they were to take off 50 per cent of it....even if you wiped out 600,000 [signatures], it still would have been the largest petition."[76]


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    Consequently, it was with a great deal of confidence, together with a sense of climax, that the Petition was finally presented to Parliament on Tuesday 24 September 1985.[77] The presentation itself was turned into a media event by the petition organisers. Bruce Ansley described the scene:

      The steps of Parliament are decked out for a patriotic rally this Tuesday noon. The five verses of the New Zealand national anthem are passed around, printed on the backs of petition forms, for the petition against the Homosexual Law Reform Bill is to be presented today. Young people dressed in dark blue with red sashes saying For God, for family, for country stand ready to unfurl their New Zealand flags beneath giant flags and banners.
      On the steps of Parliament stand their political hosts: MPs Graeme Lee, Norman Jones, Geoff Braybrooke, John Banks, Whetu Tirakatene-Sullivan, Rex Austin, Doug Graham, Maurice McTigue and Garry Knapp, an uneasy alliance of temporary Caesars. Below them, the Christians form a natural amphitheatre: today, homosexuals are being fed to the lions....
      The festival is superbly done, expertly choreographed, finely detailed down to the re-sprayed matching white Ford vans carrying the petition boxes.[78]

   This display of political "muscle" by the opponents of the Bill alarmed some observers. Fran Wilde described herself as being

frightened by Wednesday’s [sic: Tuesday’s] display outside Parliament when the petition against the Bill was presented....Some had described the display as `neo-fascist,’ and Jewish people had written to her saying that it was `exactly what it was like in Germany,’ with flags, the national anthem and uniformed youth.[79]

      To some extent this fear was reinforced by statements made by the organisers of the Petition. Barry Reed, for example, was quoted as saying that "we're watching the petition because our feeling is that democracy itself is on trial," and Keith Hay as issuing the somewhat threatening warning "Mr. Prime Minister, I say to you

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- BEWARE!"[80] Ansley manages to capture a sense of moralist menace in his article on the "Moral Right," describing "the implacable look in Hay's eye as he spoke about the denial of his democratic rights by the select committee on the Bill and said, quite softly, that they were going to be sorry."[81]

      After much discussion (and some amendment) by Parliament, the Bill passed its Third Reading on 9 July 1986.[82] The Homosexual Law Reform Act was then published on the 11th and became law twenty-eight days later. In effect, this was a defeat of major proportions for the moralist movement. It reinforced their perception that the Labour Government appeared to be intent on following its agenda for change without taking public opinion into account and that their democratic rights were therefore being eroded. The moralists saw themselves as the representatives of this public opinion, and viewed the more than 800,000 signatures on the Petition as evidence for their claim. The rejection of the Petition was perhaps the major factor which led to the involvement of conservative Christians in the political arena in the 1987 General Election and to the launching in July 1989 of the Christian Heritage Party.[83]

 9.1.3. The New Life Churches and Political Involvement: Rob Wheeler and the 1987 Election

      The failure of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens to prevent the ratification of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill represented a turning point for the moralist movement
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and a shift towards direct conservative Christian political involvement rather than indirect became apparent as the 1987 General Election approached. In the case of the New Life Churches this shift was most evident with the candidacy of Rob Wheeler for Mount Albert and Andrew Stanley for Onehunga, although the first moves towards political involvement had begun shortly after the 1984 Election when the minutes of the Regional Leaders Meeting recorded an

      animated Discussion concerning [a] proposal by Bob Horton (of North Shore Faith Centre) for the church to mobilise and field Christian candidates for Parliament. The church is to put into power men and women of Christian conviction for the promotion of righteous legislation in the Wellington corridors of power.

      ‑ those in favour of this approach to influencing national life for Christ were: Bros. Wheeler, Morrow, Armitage and Ranchord [i.e. 4]

      ‑ those opposed to the approach for the church to become political were: Bros. Stephen, Davies, Shaw, Walton, Shearer [i.e. 5]

      ‑ A special gathering of Regional Leaders together with their counterparts from other Pentecostal Streams were to meet on Sept. 28th in Wellington to discuss the issue in greater detail.[84]

      The fact that the proposal had been made by Bob Horton was significant, since he had, as National President of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International, formed a rapport with National Party leader Rob Muldoon at the "Jesus `75" Rallies nine years earlier.[85] It would appear that Horton saw the National Party as being more sympathetic than the Labour Party to the concerns of the New Life Churches. However, no consensus was reached by the Regional Leaders, and the voting pattern on this issue reflected something of a polarisation within the movement. All of those members of the New Life Churches who stood as candidates in the 1987 Election came from the churches led by pastors who were in favour of political involvement. These were Rob Wheeler (Auckland Christian Fellowship), Andrew Stanley (North Shore Faith Centre, the same church which Bob Horton attended) and Andrew Cowie (Peter Morrow's Christchurch New Life Centre). In addition, Rasik Ranchord was based in Wellington, and had links with some of the M.P.s, which he was able to utilise in his role as "ICNZ Spokesman on Moral Issues."


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      Conversely, three of those who voted against the proposal were subsequently to leave the movement (in the case of Davies and Shearer, political involvement was a major factor in their decision to leave), while Walton had come originally from an Exclusive Brethren and Baptist background and held to the separation of Church and State. It is therefore evident that the divergence of views over political involvement was, to some extent, a product of the diversity of backgrounds of pastors in the movement and that these views (both for and against) were held with a considerable degree of conviction.

      Rob Wheeler was, perhaps, the movement's strongest proponent of political involvement. Although he had been a member of the National Party since 1977, his commitment to politics was later intensified by what he saw as the unrestrained vehemence with which radical supporters of the United Nations Women's Forums and of homosexual law reform opposed conservative points of view.[86] He had joined the National Party organisation in Mount Albert and was eventually elected chairman of the electorate committee. Initially, Wheeler did not intend to stand as a candidate for the General Election, but

felt he had no option but to oppose the radical feminist and communist candidate [the reference is to Helen Clark, Labour M.P. for Mount Albert]. He was approached by the electorate to be the Chairman and while not presently a candidate for the forthcoming election, he stated his intention to stand as a candidate if no-one else was forthcoming.[87]

      In the event, Wheeler took the candidate's position unopposed. In so doing, he believed that he was "taking on satanic forces" which had "slowly eroded" the Christian precepts upon which the nation was established.[88] This erosion was due to a turning away from Christianity to the "religion" of secular humanism. As Wheeler saw it,

         a Satanic revival has touched New Zealand! Our nation has been converted to secular humanism, which is anti-Bible and anti-Christian! Satan


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has been at work at all levels, right to the government. People have been actively converted through the media.

                  When we can send people into Parliament...we can effect a change in our nation that will touch the heart of every man and every woman. We need to be in every level of society.[89]

      Although others agreed with him in principle, Wheeler's political involvement was not typical of all sections of the New Life Churches, nor indeed of the wider Pentecostal community. There appeared to be a reservation about the "serving of two masters" which would necessarily follow if pastors became involved in the political system. Ian Clark commented that the Assemblies of God, for example,

will not encourage any of our people who are in ministry ranks to stand for Parliament or align themselves with parties. We don't think that's a wise thing to do. [But] if there are people within our congregations whom God calls into this (and we've had a number of them who are politically active), we put no holds on them whatsoever. In fact, we welcome the participation...[of] laymen...in all such things in the community.[90]

      Wheeler's commitment to politics provoked a certain amount of discussion among the New Life Churches. Little consensus was achieved, although a meeting of the Regional Representatives came to the conclusion that the movement needed to define "a New Testament theology as to Christians and [their] involvement in the political arena,"[91] and resolved to address this matter at a future ICNZ Regional Representatives meeting.[92] However, there was also some strenuous opposition to political involvement. Ross Davies and David Shearer in particular expressed strong disquiet over "the direction our stream is being taken, towards a national eldership and tighter structure with its growing emphasis on political clout and the desire to influence this nation by political and social reform."[93] Both Davies and Shearer eventually resigned from the New Life Churches in mid-1986, in part because of Wheeler's

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increasing political involvement. Davies declared to Wheeler, in a circular letter of resignation to the ICNZ Regional Representatives, that

your statement that within three years you will yet see a national eldership over the stream, hastens my departure. Your determination to follow a political line will lead astray many who are looking to you for leadership. Lot, too, was righteous but though he `sat in the gate of Sodom' (i.e. government) he could not change his society.[94] Jesus said His Kingdom was not of this world. Your involvement in politics and [the marketing of] Amway products is destroying your ministry and effectiveness for God.[95]

      Davies's objections were twofold. He was disquieted about the lack of

clear direction, thrust and personal example that is the prerequisite of spiritual leadership....As a stream we have lost our way, lost our vision, lost our thrust into this nation and [into] the kingdom of darkness. The life and strength and heart of God has gone out of our leadership, being replaced by politics and the wisdom of men.[96]

      He was equally concerned about the growing organisation and "structure" of the movement, insisting that "as a stream, we have dried up, becoming formalised, institutionalised and crystalised [sic] - relationship being replaced by legislation and general lack of progressive vision - because we will not `go on' in God's Word and direction."[97]

      Davies's letter of resignation, although strongly critical of both Rob Wheeler and Peter Morrow, nevertheless also sought to be conciliatory. He wrote that he was "well aware of the many virtues of you both [Wheeler and Morrow] and the great blessing you have been to the stream in years passed [sic]" and desired to "remain friends and keep up relationships formed over the years. I will constantly pray for God's blessing on your lives and ministries and ask you to do the same for me."[98] Morrow, for his part, recognised that Davies's resignation was the "only course of action that could

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have been taken"[99] and admitted the validity of some of his criticisms, replying in a personal letter to Davies that he would try to work on some of the issues he had raised.[100] It is apparent that Davies's concerns were widely shared in some sections of the movement, and consequently, many pastors in the New Life Churches remained in fellowship with him. As will be seen, these shared concerns eventually led to a secession following the 1987 Annual Conference.

      It is evident, then, that Wheeler's involvement in politics[101] was seen by Davies as an evidence of the spiritual deterioration of the movement. The difference of opinion over the issue highlighted the diversity of the New Life Churches and the necessity of some form of regional and national organisation for the sake of collective unity. However, this development was considerably at variance with the movement's characteristic emphasis on the autonomy and independence of the local assembly, and much energy was generated in debate throughout the 1980s in attempting to arrive at an acceptable solution. This developing organisational structure took concrete form at the 1987 Conference, rightly recognised as "historic" by its participants and which marked a turning-point for the New Life Churches.


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9.2. The "stream" changes course: The 1987 Conference

9.2.1. Perspectives on polity: The prelude to the Conference

      The annual Pastors' Conference at Waikanae in September 1987 was a terminus ad quem for debate over the collective polity of the New Life Churches and the decisions made there had far-reaching, although not always positive, consequences. In particular, the acclamation of Rob Wheeler and Peter Morrow as "apostolic leaders" was followed shortly thereafter by the first secession in the movement's history, when more than twenty pastors resigned from the New Life Churches in protest at this new organisational structure.[102]

      Although the debate focused on the specific question of the movement's corporate polity this issue was part of a larger process of sociological change. To some extent, it reflected the Weberian transition from charismatic to institutional leadership, and also the evolution from sect to church (and ultimately to denomination) as postulated by Ernst Troeltsch and H. Richard Niebuhr. These changes were both quantitative and qualitative, being a product both of the growing number of new pastors and churches in the 1970s and 1980s as well as of the changing ethos of the movement brought about by this influx.[103] The character of the New Life Churches in the 1980s was quite different from what it had been in the 1960s.

      The movement's search for a viable corporate polity was an ongoing one. Regional groups of pastors, each electing its own delegate to a national body of regional representatives, had been set up in the early 1980s. By 1985, however, these "regional representatives" were beginning to be regarded in some quarters as "regional leaders." Although this change of designation (and hence, of function) was eventually approved by the 1985 Annual Conference some pastors still had strong reservations.

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Consequently this approval was later rescinded by the various regional meetings[104] and, as a result, the term "regional representative" rather than "regional leader" is used in the documents of the movement throughout 1986 and most of 1987. Nevertheless, pressure to upgrade this role continued[105] and was paralleled by an attempt to introduce some mode of centralised structure and formal "recognition" of senior ministers. The extent of the support for these changes may be inferred from a comment made by Rasik Ranchord that

at the [Associated Pentecostal Churches] conference this year [i.e. March 1987] we had a meeting of about seventy of our pastors who were unanimous in their desire to structure. Some have given consideration to joining a stream that is going somewhere. We have to move in the direction of structuring our stream.[106]

      Since the Indigenous Churches of New Zealand "Directory" for 1987 listed 147 pastors, not all of whom had attended the APC conference, these seventy pastors represented a sizeable block of opinion within the movement. However, despite their desire there were several conflicting schools of thought on the form that this structure should take. The first school of thought emphasised "relationship" and fellowship as cohesive factors within the movement; the second stressed the need for an "official" organisational leadership; while the third group saw leadership as involving the recognition of a charismatic gifting (i.e. "apostleship").

      The roles of relationship and fellowship as cohesive forces within the movement were emphasised in a "concept paper" submitted by the pastors of the Central North Island region to the other pastors of the movement. This paper, prepared by Pastor

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David Collins of Hamilton[107] in consultation with Brent Douglas, Kevin Dyson, Owen Wagener and Ross Davies,[108] was presented as "a reiteration and enhancement of the principles and practices of relationship and organisation between ministry and between local churches"[109] and was intended to promote discussion of the issues as the Central North Island churches saw them.[110] It strongly reflects Ross Davies's views on church structure,[111] enumerating "principles and practices" for the polity of the "Indigenous Pentecostal Churches," including (inter alia):

1. The autonomy of the local church and ministry, including their self-determination, doctrinal emphasis, direction, affiliations and disciplines.

2. The right of free association within and without of every minister fellowshipping with IPC.

3. Arising to strengthen one another, pray for one another, watch for one another, esteem one another, submit to one another,[112] and provoke one another to love and good works....

10. The importance of ministry covering and recognising that a minister and congregation's first line of accountibility [sic] is their own local oversight. The second line of accountibility being the relationships freely built with other ministry in the nation [sic]. Any procedure adopted by the ministers within the group (IPC) would be a third line of accountibility.

11. Encouraging every minister to maintain open relationship with his peers and/or in `father-son' covenants, knowing that `love covers.'

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12. Creating regions of fellowship having changing (e.g. rotating annually) chairmanship. Other than this, the group will be served by facilitators and other ministry gifts.[113]

      These proposals reflected a desire to return to the halcyon days of the 1960s and 1970s and to the simpler, less structured relationships which had characterised that era. Indeed, the pastors of the Central North Island region earnestly hoped that the movement could "unitedly return to the principles and practices held dear through the 60's and 70's ([a] time of unprecedented growth and harmony)."[114] The pastors of the Taranaki region also later endorsed these concepts, seeing them as "heading in the right direction towards meeting the need and cry for New Testament pattern and government"[115] and Collins himself comments that there was also much similar feeling in Northland, Auckland and Hawkes Bay.[116] However, the rapid growth and diversification of the New Life Churches in the 1970s and 1980s, combined with the need for efficient corporate administration, rendered this hope somewhat unrealistic. The nature of the movement was changing and the clock could not be "turned back" to the patterns of an earlier era.

      A second school of thought, which reflected the views of Rob Wheeler[117] and was strongly promoted by John Walton,[118] emphasised the need for an "official" organisational mode of leadership. After discussion at the Regional Representatives' meeting in July 1987, this became the favoured option of the leaders of the movement. The minutes of this meeting were then circulated in "rough draft" form, setting out

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Walton's proposals for a clearly defined chain of leadership. These quote him as saying that there was a

need of structure if we are to go anywhere. Any church that has made a mark around the earth [sic] is because of organization of a family of churches. We need a Vision as a movement, clearly articulated....

      We should consider three levels of leadership:

1. Two or three National Leaders (no longer to be called spokesman [sic]).
2. Regional Leaders (no longer just REPRESENTATIVES).

3. Support Leaders (these would be older or younger [leaders] with special gifts to be released to the whole stream. They would be under the direction of the National leaders, and would be like an extention [sic] of their hands or compliment [sic] their gifts.)


These leaders would have job descriptions that would clearly define there [sic] role and make them accountable.[119]

      Walton's proposals appear to have been accepted, although with varying degrees of enthusiasm, by the regional representatives at the meeting, who

discussed [them] at length and felt that such a structure would, if supporting a clear Vision, be effective and result in strength and growth throughout the country. This, along with other suggestions in this report should be presented to all the pastors at our Sept[ember] conference.[120]

Several of the regional representatives had also stressed the need to send out a discussion paper on the issue so that pastors in the regions could discuss it before the conference and this appears to be the reason behind the sending out of the rough draft of the minutes. However, there also appears to be an element of "selling" the idea, since large extracts of these minutes were cited verbatim in various articles in a new periodical, New Life NZ, published in September 1987 by members of Walton's church in Palmerston North and launched at the Pastors' Conference.[121] Since New Life NZ

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was described as an "Official magazine of the ICNZ" and was intended to be "a resource magazine for leadership in the ICNZ....[and] a forum for the exchange of news information and ideas,"[122] this would indicate that Walton's views were being promoted as the "official" ones of the movement.

      Reaction to Walton's proposals was immediate, with much debate being provoked[123] and several of the regions voicing strong reservations.[124] However, David Collins observes that this debate was cut short to some extent since despite these objections "these responses were never discussed by either regional rep[resentative]s or conference delegates" and "no other scheme was presented at the regional rep[resentative]s meeting or to the conference other than this."[125] It would appear that the remits which were presented for ratification at the Conference had been pre-selected by an "inner circle" of leaders and that the delegates were given a strictly limited range of options when the time came for a vote on the issue. It was hoped that this pre-selection would minimise dissension, with the more contentious issues being resolved in committee before presentation to the main body of the Conference. However, this tactic exacerbated the sense of unease felt by opponents of the proposals who saw the Conference as being used to "rubber-stamp" a pre-determined course of action.

      A third school of thought (with some similarities to that of John Walton, although based upon different premises) had developed from a "School of the Prophets" Conference convened in late July 1987 by the South Auckland Pentecostal Ministers' Fraternal and attended by many of the Auckland New Life pastors. The emphasis of this Conference was heavily "charismatic," i.e. that "there were these men who had

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apostolic and prophetic ministry that were already functioning within the nation, and that they needed to be recognised."[126] The Auckland New Life pastors were enthusiastic in their response to this new emphasis and were prepared to initiate an "apostleship" in their region by "recognising" Rob Wheeler as an "apostle" among the Auckland churches. However, other pastors in the region argued that nation-wide recognition of "apostolic ministries" was called for. Among these was Pastor David McCracken of the Manukau New Life Christian Centre who felt constrained to write two letters on the subject to his colleagues in other regions who had not attended the Conference.[127] These letters caused considerable pastoral consternation, particularly in the South Island New Life churches.

      In his first letter McCracken insisted that the central issue was "the emergence and recognition of Apostles and Prophets among us. Perhaps, due to our reluctance to be too bold in this area, we have been willing to settle for a more obtainable substitute - `Regional Leaders.'" He observed that this "substitute" appeared to violate the movement's traditional "undenominational" polity, since the use of such terms "give[s] the seeming appearance...of an emerging `denominational structure.'" Conversely, "apostles" and "prophets" were valid scriptural offices and McCracken therefore urged that the Annual Conference should ascertain "the concensus [sic] of all Indigenous Pastors on who [sic] they consider to be Apostles and Prophets among us." He believed that "it would be a major break-through if we could allow sufficient time for this recognising and releasing at our September Conference. IT IS BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT PRIORITY OF OUR GATHERING."[128]


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      In his second letter McCracken reiterated his belief that the New Life Churches needed to recognise those who were "Apostles" and "Prophets" in the movement, and declared that

the terms `Regional Leaders and National Leaders' are NOT SCRIPTURAL. They are NOT God's clearly defined Governmental Structure [and] to institute them is to further frustrate the cry of God's own heart for His own government to emerge....We WILL have `Leaders' in regions and Nationally but they will be those whom God has graced for the task. Those who have been recognised by the Pastors now needing to respect their office. A scripturally valid office rather than one by human appointment.[129]

      McCracken's letters were strongly worded and somewhat excited in tone. Nevertheless, they contained much with which pastors in the movement could identify and his insistence on a "scripturally valid" office and on leadership by recognition of charisma rather than by means of an elective appointment articulated the mainstream of thinking in the movement. His model was essentially that of "charismatic" rather than institutional authority. However, McCracken stirred up some controversy by enclosing two copies of a form letter to be filled out by the pastors with nominations for recognition as emerging "Apostles," "Prophets," and "Apostle/Prophets." One copy was to be sent to the Regional Representative "as soon as possible....in order to influence the outcome at Waikanae." The second copy was to be returned, by means of a stamped addressed envelope, to McCracken himself.[130]

      Since not all the New Life pastors had attended the "School of the Prophets" Conference McCracken's letters were regarded in some quarters with extreme suspicion, being seen as an attempt to pre-determine the issue before discussion at the Conference itself. The pastors of the Central North Island region, for example, felt that his proposals were "in some respects, more unacceptable" than those of John Walton[131] and their Taranaki brethren were also troubled by the idea of the selection of apostles

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and prophets at the Convention.[132] However, despite this opposition (due in part to his rather "high-pressure" approach) McCracken's appeal for a Biblical, charismatic pattern of leadership did "strike a chord" and his proposals reflected the viewpoint of the majority of the pastors in the Auckland region. His "apostleship" proposals were therefore combined with Walton's concept of "National Leaders" and this was the form in which the "official" remits were eventually presented to the Annual Conference at Waikanae.[133]

 9.2.2. Waikanae, September 1987: An "Historic Conference"


      The 1987 Pastors' Conference was a turning point in the development of the New Life Churches. The various points of view on "structure" were vigorously promoted throughout the weeks leading up to the Conference, and the conviction with which some pastors opposed any form of centralisation meant that open dissension at Waikanae was always a possibility. Nevertheless, it was also widely recognised that the time had come to make a decision on the issue and consequently the Conference was seen as being an "historic" one.[134]

      However, an horrific event the previous week produced a change of focus and placed the movement under a pall of shock and sorrow. Just four days before the Conference, Peter Morrow had been savagely attacked in his Christchurch home by a machete-wielding former psychiatric patient. His two eldest sons, although themselves quite badly injured, managed to restrain and disarm the attacker, but Morrow himself was admitted to the Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department in a critical state with severe haemorrhaging from multiple serious wounds to the back of his neck,

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head, face, arms and hands.[135] The attack was front page news in both the local newspapers[136] which also carried daily reports on Morrow's condition over the course of the next six days.[137] He remained in intensive care for nearly a week and at the time of the opening of the Conference was still on the "seriously ill" list.[138]

      Although Morrow's absence was keenly felt and concern over his condition cast a cloud over the Conference it nevertheless went ahead as planned. Its format followed that established in previous years, with invited overseas speakers addressing most of the general meetings and Wednesday morning and afternoon being set aside for "business sessions." In preparation for these the regional representatives met together during the early stages of the Conference in order to finalise the proposals that would be placed before the delegates for voting.[139] However, some "lobbying" by opponents of the proposed structure was evident and, since the business meeting was put back by a day, it would seem that the regional representatives encountered considerable difficulty in finalising the remits for presentation to the delegates.[140]


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      The business meeting was eventually convened on Thursday morning and was addressed by speakers representing the main points of view. John Steele and Rob Wheeler spoke on behalf of the Auckland pastors, who were strongly in favour of a change of structure[141]; Rasik Ranchord outlined the options that were available to the movement and explained the implications of the options on the voting papers[142]; and David Collins sounded a cautionary note on behalf of those who still remained unconvinced on some of the proposals.[143] Finally, Dick Iverson, the main overseas speaker at the Conference, addressed the issue from the perspective of his involvement with a similar structure in America. The delegates then gathered in their regional groups for discussion of the issues, and the meeting reconvened at three o'clock that afternoon for the final business session and casting of votes on the proposals.


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      The outcome of the voting was decisive: of the 106 pastors who had voted, 101 (or 95.3%) had opted for some form of "apostleship." Of this majority 21 (or 19.8%) voted for "apostolic ministries"; 80 (or 75.5%) for "apostolic leadership." Since a 75% majority was required for a decision of this nature the motion was therefore carried. The contingent decision on the role of the regional appointees was 82 to 24 in favour of "regional leaders" (i.e. 77.4% to 22.6%) and this motion was likewise carried. Rob Wheeler was therefore ordained as an "apostolic leader" later that evening, as was Peter Morrow some months later when his health had improved.

      The adoption of an "apostolic leadership" rather than "apostolic ministries" represented an amalgamation of John Walton's leadership proposals and the "apostleship" emphasis of the "School of the Prophets" Conference. This new polity had major implications for the New Life Churches, since it was a deliberate move away from their traditional emphasis on "the autonomy of the local church" towards the creation of an "extra-local structure" of authority.[144] It was intended that Rob Wheeler and Peter Morrow would be financially supported by the movement as a whole rather than by their own local churches and would thus be "released" to travel around the various New Life churches, encouraging the pastors[145] and dealing with difficult local situations.[146] In theory at least this would enable a more efficient administration and create a greater sense of identity and belonging within the movement.


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      Although the eventual adoption of this form of leadership structure in the New Life Churches appears to have been inevitable several factors helped to bring about the changes which took place at this particular Conference. The first and most important of these was the attack on Peter Morrow the previous week. Ross Davies saw this as a key factor in the decisions reached at the Conference. In his eyes, the leadership structure "was pushed through, and I believe that had Peter [Morrow] been there, a lot of those things would not have happened."[147] Davies is perhaps attributing too much to Morrow's influence, given that this leadership structure was promulgated as the "official" position of the movement by John Walton and others. Nevertheless, Morrow's absence was significant. The attempt on his life focused the attention of the New Life Churches on the importance of senior ministers such as himself and Wheeler, and gave strong impetus to the drive towards "recognition" of their leadership. Thus the attack strengthened, rather than weakened, their leadership roles in the movement.

      A second factor was a trend towards an increasing professionalism in the pastoral ministry, together with a corresponding emphasis on charismatic office and position. This pastoral professionalism reflects the "upwards mobility" of the Pentecostal constituency in the 1980s, which was evidenced by the proliferation of advertising material for conventions and seminars organised by some of the New Life Churches and other Pentecostal groups. These glossy circulars customarily included photographs of the pastors and conference speakers who would be taking part, together with somewhat adulatory references to their "widely recognised ministry." This tendency to self-promotion was particularly noticeable in advertising circulars produced in Auckland which, as has been observed, was in the forefront of the drive towards the "recognition" of "apostleship" in the New Life Churches.

      A corollary of this emphasis on charismatic office and status was the stratification of leadership within the individual New Life churches which may be observed from a comparison of the movement's pastoral listings for 1987 and 1988.[148] These included a

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section which lists the churches in each geographical area, together with the names of their pastors. While the 1987 "Directory" simply gives the pastors' names, with no distinguishing notation to indicate which name referred to pastors and which to assistant pastors in multi-pastor churches, the 1988 "Directory," while following the same format, inserts the words "senior pastor" after the name of the leading pastor in each church. Even pastors of single-pastor churches are referred to as "senior pastor."[149] While administrative reasons no doubt underlay this change it also appears to have become a matter of status to be listed in the "Directory" as "senior pastor" rather than simply as "pastor." This self-conscious emphasis on pastoral position appears to be related to the stratification of leadership[150] which took place at the 1987 Conference, but it is less clear whether this was a causal factor in the decisions made at that Conference or a product of them. The debate over the role of the regional representative/regional leader in the months preceding the Conference may also have been an important factor.

      It was anticipated by most of the pastors who had voted for "apostolic leadership" that this structure would free Rob Wheeler and Peter Morrow to travel around the various New Life Churches in a supervisory capacity, encouraging and upholding the local pastors. In practice, this did not happen. Rob Wheeler did initially carry out some such ministry, but his work-load in the Auckland region soon became such that his time was largely taken up there.[151] By the time of the 1989 Conference Wheeler was suffering some ill-health and he asked to be relieved of his apostolic responsibilities.[152] In the case of Peter Morrow, his stature as a minister was such that he was frequently

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asked to speak at overseas conventions and also at conferences for other church groups within New Zealand. His extensive itinerary of speaking engagements meant that he was not always available to the New Life Churches to fulfil the expectations which went with his apostolic position. Consequently the "apostolic leadership" format of the New Life Churches does not appear to have been effective, and the general feeling among the pastors of the movement is that they did not achieve what they had voted for.

      The appointment of John Walton as "second leader" rather than "apostle" to replace Rob Wheeler at the 1991 Conference is perhaps an indication that the "apostleship" format may have been a short-lived one. Walton represents a new generation of leadership with roots in the Charismatic movement rather than in the Bethel Temple/Latter Rain origins of the New Life Churches.[153] It therefore seems evident that the mantle of leadership in the movement is now falling from its pioneers on to the shoulders of a new generation of pastors. Although this change is not universally accepted in the movement, and there is some resistance in some quarters to the new style of leadership represented by Walton, it would appear that this reflects the changing character of the New Life Churches.[154] It remains to be seen what the outcome of this will be for the movement.

9.2.3. The Aftermath of the 1987 Conference: The Secession of the "South Pacific" Churches


      The decisions made at the September 1987 Conference were followed by a reaction which proved detrimental to the movement. A minority of the delegates felt that the new leadership structures had compromised the principles of independence and autonomy upon which the New Life Churches were founded. This conviction that the

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movement had forsaken its cardinal principles led to the resignation of approximately twenty pastors over the three months following the Conference. As was to be expected most of these pastors came from those regions which had previously registered opposition to the proposals.[155] There were also personal as well as geographical links since pastors Ross Davies of Whangarei and David Shearer of New Plymouth formed a nucleus around which many of these pastors gathered. Davies had resigned from the New Life Churches thirteen months before in protest at the increasing centralisation of the movement and Shearer held similar views, expressing his strong conviction in a letter written shortly after Davies's resignation that

I must not follow the direction in which our stream is being taken, towards a national eldership and tighter structure with its growing emphasis on political clout and the desire to influence this nation by political and social reform....In God I cannot continue to give strength and support to the growing error of our `stream' in the way in which it is being led.[156]

      However, since Shearer also expressed his "earnest desire to continue in fellowship with you all,"[157] his letter stopped short of being a letter of resignation. Consequently his name remained in the 1987 "Directory" and he continued to take part in the Taranaki Regional meetings.

      The views expressed by Shearer were shared by others and provided a catalyst for the resignation of most of the Taranaki regional pastors from the New Life Churches following the 1987 Conference. Despite individual letters of resignation from each pastor this decision seems to have been taken en bloc, with only two or three of the Taranaki pastors remaining in the movement, apparently in order to keep contact on behalf of their colleagues.[158] Although Taranaki was the region most adversely affected by the secession a number of pastors in other regions also individually resigned from

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the New Life Churches. The common denominator in these resignations appears to have been the pastors' links with Ross Davies. Of the nineteen pastors who were listed in the 1987 edition (but not that of 1988) of the Indigenous Churches of New Zealand "Directory" and who therefore had left the movement six were from Taranaki and thirteen from other regions. Of this latter group, nine of the thirteen had a close personal association with Davies, as did four of the six Taranaki pastors.[159]

      It is evident that most, if not all, of the pastors who had resigned shared Davies's concerns over the structural organisation of the movement. Nevertheless, acceptance of these views did not automatically lead to resignation from the New Life Churches. A number of other pastors with strong links to Davies remained in the movement, while some of those who originally resigned over the issue rejoined the New Life Churches two years later. The lines of demarcation were not altogether clear-cut.

      Moreover, resignation from the New Life Churches did not necessarily imply severance of fellowship. This was because, despite the depth of feeling on the issue, the secession was largely amicable on both sides, with letters of resignation being generally conciliatory and reflecting sadness rather than anger. David Collins's resignation provides a good example of the tone of these letters:

      As you know, my desire has been for government through the recognition and release of ministry rather than the superintendant [sic] system adopted last month. However, I acknowledge that this was not the will of the majority of the brethren, and thus I will submit to it rather than contest the matter again within ICNZ....
      Because of my heartfelt difference over executive type ministry, I realise my convictions would only be a source of irritation to my brothers in the stream and rob us of complete unity. Therefore, I gracefully bow out....
      I remain your brother in Christ, open to your ministry and fellowship in the Lord....Please look me up the next time you're in this part of the country.[160]


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    The openness of Collins's attitude was matched by that of many New Life pastors, who maintained their links of fellowship with their colleagues who had resigned. John Tiplady, for example, commented that he and his co-pastor Cam Rimmer

refused to break fellowship with them....We have close relationships with [these pastors, and]...attended [their] conferences (as well as New Life Conferences, of course) [and]...ministered in their churches. So I don't think its been a break personally for us, but it has for others.[161]

      Although the barriers between the two sides did not appear to be large, there were, as Tiplady acknowledges, some pastors in the New Life Churches who felt obliged to break fellowship with those who had resigned. In part, this reaction was a response to the formation of a loose association of churches called the South Pacific Fellowship which had been set up in December 1987 as a rallying point for those who held to "the New Testament principle of local church autonomy."[162] The new Fellowship began with thirty-one participating ministers, representing twenty-four churches[163] (including all but one of the pastors who had earlier resigned from the New Life Churches).

      The principles and practices of the new Fellowship were based, with only minor alterations, on David Collins's earlier "concept paper,"[164] and strongly reflected the views of Ross Davies, its first chairman. Davies's convictions were summarised in his 1986 letter of resignation, which had included a strong protest at Rob Wheeler's "statement that within three years [from 1986] you will yet see a national eldership over the stream" and at his involvement in politics.[165] Shearer likewise was "appalled" at this statement, and his comments at the time on the growing institutionalisation of

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the movement articulates the central concerns of those who seceded from the movement the following year:

      I have not sought to hide my growing concern at the direction in which we are moving....
      It is my belief that our `stream' has lost its way in God and is now being led and directed by [the] human spirit rather than the Holy Spirit....The pursuance of our present `stream' course is bringing us all further into the bondage of a growing denominational spirit. There seems to me to be less and less opportunity for the Holy Spirit to speak and be heard at our national conferences and regional leaders' meetings; while more and more we are being steered along a deceptive course designed to develop the ICNZ as a political force in the nation....
      I have come to see...that, in our corporate times together, we no longer wait upon the anointing to lead and direct us....
      We are no longer free to follow the pillar of cloud and fire by recognising the anointing of His Spirit, as it would come upon this one or that one. But we are being conditioned to follow personality and tradition. No longer free to catch the wind of God's Spirit and move forward under His anointed inspiration, we are now being propelled into the sea lanes of man's choosing and destination. The spontaneity and freedom of the Holy Spirit is being replaced by an increasing closing off and inflexibility towards anything new or different from the accepted ideas and doctrines of those steering the ship....
      I must make my choice, as you must make yours. And I am convinced that I must not follow the direction in which our stream is being taken.[166]

      These pastors lamented the loss of the movement's charismatic birthright and what they saw as the substitution of official "inflexibility" for "the spontaneity and freedom of the Holy Spirit." By resigning from the movement and forming the "South Pacific Fellowship," they hoped to return to the less structured charismatic freedom of the 1960s and 1970s. Consequently the charismatic "fatherhood" role of Ross Davies was an important factor in the formation of the new Fellowship.

      The sense of sadness and loss which characterised Shearer's comments was also reflected in the reactions from the New Life Churches to the secession. Peter Morrow, for example, commented that he was "distressed at the separation that has come with some of our fellow brethren and churches, and pray that we will yet see restoration in God's time."[167] Morrow's attitude appears to be shared by most New Life pastors, for

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whom the formation of the new Fellowship was not a major problem, since the geographical spread of the movement was confined largely to Taranaki and the upper half of the North Island.

      However, for pastors in those areas the creation of the Fellowship represented the possible loss of some of their congregations to the new churches and this possibility produced a hardening of attitudes. This may have been the reason behind a somewhat accusatory letter from George Armitage, senior pastor of the Tauranga Christian Fellowship, sent in response to circularised publicity material from David Collins introducing the South Pacific Fellowship. Armitage charged the pastors who had seceded with doctrinal and attitudinal problems, with sacrificing ethical standards on the altar of expediency and with attacking "leading brethren" by means of accusation and exploitation.[168] He saw the real issue as being that of doctrinal differences[169] and asserted that the tendency to emphasise the difference between "relational and structural leadership styles" was simply a "red herring" to divert attention from the main issue. It appears that Armitage is not accurate in citing doctrinal differences as the primary cause of the secession since, as David Collins correctly observes,

the rift...was not precipitated by an issue of doctrine. Rather, it concerned the issue of structure and government, which was viewed by the majority of those who formed South Pacific Fellowship as a matter having the potential to abrogate the principle of doctrinal self-determination. I fear that the issue may have been viewed by some who formed New Life Churches as a mechanism that would rid the stream of what had become irksome teaching (not to mention irksome brethren). In any event, doctrinal diversity became the victim.[170]

Doctrinal differences, such as Davies's emphasis on the "Kingdom of God" which he saw as eventually superseding the church, were therefore secondary. The real issues were those of "structure" and "government."


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      Despite a perception that the barriers between the two sides were not large (notwithstanding Armitage's letter, which represented a minority view) developments following 1987 did little to resolve the division. The mailing list of the South Pacific Fellowship grew rapidly from thirty-one pastors at the formation of the Fellowship in December 1987 to sixty-one pastors eight months later. However, this increase did not represent "membership" growth since the Fellowship was not a membership organisation, and the list included both "associates in fellowship" and those interested in receiving news of developments among their former colleagues.[171] Although lines of differentiation were somewhat blurred since twenty-four of the sixty-one pastors listed were also affiliated with other groups (twenty-two with the New Life Churches, one with the Elim Church, and one with the Church of Christ) the list at least gives an indication of those pastors who were open to the concerns of the new Fellowship's founders.

      The New Life Churches, for their part, continued to move further along the pathway of institutionalisation. This process is perhaps most clearly seen in the issue of a preliminary draft paper entitled "Church/Ministerial Guidelines" at the 1990 Conference.[172] Another example was the selection of John Walton as "second leader" to replace Rob Wheeler by means of an appointment by the Regional Leaders' meeting, rather than by "recognition" by the pastors at the Annual Conference.[173] Other indications of the increasing institutionalisation of the movement were the issue of an annually-renewable accreditation card to pastors in March 1989 and the distribution of

[334]

a "Handbook for Pastors" in 1992, as well as the setting up of official superannuation and sickness insurance schemes.[174]

 9.3. Conclusion


      It is clear that the 1987 Conference marked a turning point for the New Life Churches. The decisions made at this Conference were an attempt to resolve the structural problems created by the growth of the movement, both in number and in diversity of churches. The leadership format established by these decisions represented an extension and a formalising of leadership structures which had been emerging throughout the decade. This led, however, to a "parting of the ways" for a number of pastors in the movement. The changes which were initiated show that the New Life Churches had now become a markedly different kind of movement from what they had originally been in the 1960s. In ethos the movement was now "upwardly mobile," both in terms of its congregational composition as well as its ministerial personnel, and its pastors increasingly professional in outlook.

      Although the New Life Churches sought to exert some influence in the social and political arenas during the 1980s (particularly in the campaign opposing the Homosexual Law Reform Bill in 1985 and the candidacy of Rob Wheeler and others for the National Party in the 1987 General Election) its involvement in public issues was highly selective and it failed to have any significant long-term effect. These forays into the public arena in an attempt to change the social landscape in fact had a reverse effect, helping to change the movement itself as well as the course that it was taking rather than to influence the wider society.

      The secession of the South Pacific churches was essentially a recognition of the changes which had taken place in the New Life Churches and an attempt to return to the simpler halcyon days of the charismatic 1960s and 1970s. Nevertheless, the grouping of these churches around the charismatic father-figure of Ross Davies seems likely to produce a short-lived movement, since Davies is now in his sixties and

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the Fellowship will, at some stage, have to recognise a successor. It therefore seems fated to follow the New Life Churches along the road to institutional consolidation.

      For the New Life Churches themselves the future appears to hold little prospect of change. A younger generation of pastors, who had not been participants in the "glory days" of the 1960s which shaped the movement's character and ethos, appears almost certain to maintain the process of change which has taken place over the last ten years and to absolutize the leadership structures and styles established during the 1980s. Although the New Life Churches remain strongly charismatic in ethos, with a continuing emphasis on the activity of the Holy Spirit, they are now a different kind of movement from their counterparts in earlier years. The sense of political "clout" which led to their involvement in the moralist movement, the beginnings of a shift towards a centralised organisational structure, the increasing professionalism and status-consciousness of their ministers, are all factors indicating that the New Life Churches are becoming an example of the routinized, institutionalised, traditional "denomination" that the early movement had so abhorred.

 



Notes:


[1]       Keith Sinclair, A History of New Zealand, 4th rev. ed. (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991), p.323.

[2]       In this, the Government was backed by opinion polls which showed that 56% of the public opposed visits by nuclear ships, with only 29% in favour. The beginnings of opposition to these visits can be traced back at least to 1976 (Bryant, The Church on Trial, pp.128-129).

[3]       Jesson et al., Revival of the Right.

[4]       See Jeffrey K. Hadden, "Religious Broadcasting and the Mobilization of the New Christian Right," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 26 (March 1987): 1-24, for an introduction to the literature on the "New Christian Right" in the United States. John Evans also gives a useful summary in his article "The New Christian Right in New Zealand," in Gilling, "Be Ye Separate," pp.69-106.

[5]       The several different components of the "New Right" are analysed in Jesson et al., Revival of the Right.

[6]       David Arrowsmith points out that conservative Christianity generally "focused on the individual....[and] invoked a tradition of personal morality which upheld an unchallengeable set of ethical principles" (Arrowsmith, "Christian Attitudes," p.viii). He argues that this emphasis is derived from "an attitude of moral, economic and religious individualism" (Ibid., p.ix).

[7]       Allanah Ryan, "Remoralising Politics" in Jesson et al., The Revival of the Right, pp.67, 71-73.

[8]       For examples of Pentecostal attitudes to homosexuality see Jonathon Harper, "The Church that's taking over Auckland," Metro, November 1983, pp.125-126, which includes a "case-history" of a homosexual former member of the Auckland Queen St. Assembly of God; and Stratford, "Christians Awake!" p.130, which sets out the views of Pastor Rob Wheeler (then National candidate for Mount Albert in the 1987 General Election) on the subject.

[9]       The author was able to locate only indirect references to Pentecostal views on the Rugby Tour. Colin Brown observes that "the positions taken up [in the May 1976 issue of the APCNZ's publication New Zealand Times] are, for want of a better word, `conservative', e.g. South Africa should be left to shape its own destiny; the Halt-All-Racist Tours organisation and Citizens' Association for Racial Equality both come under criticism" (Brown, "How Significant is the Charismatic Movement?" [1985], p.104). The author was unable to obtain a copy of the particular issue of New Zealand Times quoted by Brown. Other examples are given by George Bryant who observes that there was no Pentecostal involvement in the umbrella group "Mobilisation To Stop the Tour" in Auckland (Bryant, The Church on Trial, p.52), while Ivanica Vodanovich's article "Woman's Place in God's World" (in which she explores Pentecostal attitudes towards women) cites a Challenge Weekly article categorising the protest against the rugby tour as an attack against authority, and thus comparable with other "Satanic" attacks (cited in Vodanovich, "Woman's place," p.74).

[10]     Although some discussion on multi-cultural issues took place at the 1988 Conference, where it was decided that each region would "appoint a committee to look at the status and opportunities of multi and bi-cultural churches and ministries" and report back to the regional representatives council ("Multi-cultural Issues," New Life Churches of New Zealand, n.d. [October 1988], p.2), no further action appears to have been taken.

[11]     An official Maori welcome had been extended at the DAWN Strategy NZ Conference, held the previous day in conjunction with the New Life Churches' own Conference.

[12]     Otago/Southland New Life Churches, "Minutes of the Regional Pastors' Meeting," 27 February 1991, paragraph 4, "Issue of Maori Greeting at the National Conference," BKRP, reporting on discussion of the issue at the Regional Leaders' Meeting in November 1990.

[13]     Dinal McMillan, who was of Ngati Kahungungu descent and who (together with her husband Jim) pastored the Kawerau Christian Fellowship, gave voice to this sense of pain, when she sadly observed that although there were Maori pastors and people in the New Life Churches, many of them did not really feel part of the movement (Jim and Dinal McMillan, Interview, Waikanae, 18 September 1990).

[14]     Vide supra, footnote 6.

[15]     David Ravenhill to Neville Rush, 22 May 1981, MHCF. Neville Rush had some association with the Christchurch New Life Centre in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and had founded the Christchurch Integrity Centre in the mid 1970s. This organisation was "pledged to promoting public morality" ("Mayor and M.P. support Morality Drive," Challenge Weekly, 5 August 1975, p.1), and functioned as something of a "ginger group" on moralist issues in Christchurch during the late 1970s and 1980s. See also Ryan, "Remoralising Politics," in Jesson et al., Revival of the Right, p.59.

[16]     Renee Stanton had once conducted a protest at a nude stage show by sitting in the front row with a paper bag over her head throughout the performance.

[17]     David Ravenhill to Neville Rush, 4 June 1982, MHCF.

[18]     Ibid.

[19]     Fran Pardon, "The Moral Minority: Auckland's Right-Wing Christians are on the March," Auckland Metro, May 1982, pp.90-100.

[20]     Associated Pentecostal Churches of New Zealand, "Directory of Ministers," 1986.

[21]     Pardon, "Moral Minority," p.96.

[22]     Ibid., p.91. Stanley was seeking to curb what he saw as excessive levels of violence on television.

[23]     Copeland, Faith that works, pp.128-131.

[24]     Ibid.

[25]     Max Palmer to Jean Viney, 28 September 1983, MHCF. Another indication of the Christchurch New Life Centre's involvement in the abortion issue was the appearance of bumper stickers proclaiming "New Life is Pro-Life."

[26]     Doug Kidd M.P. to Christchurch New Life Centre, 30 November 1983, MHCF.

[27]     Sinclair, A History of New Zealand, [1991], p.330.

[28]     The 1984 Women's Forums: Waikato (n.p. [Wellington]: Office of the Minister of Women's Affairs, 1985), p.1. The reports of the various Forums are hereafter cited as 1984WF, followed by the locality or document description.

[29]     Ibid., p.20.

[30]     The Right Honourable David Lange, Prime Minister, cited in Christchurch Star, 20 November 1984, and thence in Save Our Homes Campaign to D.Lange, 25 November 1984, MHCF.

[31]     Mary O'Regan, radio broadcast, cited in Save Our Homes Campaign to D.Lange, 25 November 1984, MHCF.

[32]     Feminist antagonism to this conservative opposition also appears to have intensified. Rob Wheeler, for example, commented that during the Women's Forum in the North Shore Teachers' College he "began to see the venom and hatred that was being expressed by radicals when people expressed what was considered an old-fashioned view....I thought, what is happening in my country when you can't express yourself without being threatened?" (Rob Wheeler, cited in Rudman, "For God and National," p.29).

[33]     Save Our Homes Campaign to D.Lange, 25 November 1984, MHCF. Emphasis as cited.

[34]     This, in fact, was the conclusion drawn in the consolidated report of the Forums, which stated that "it is clear also that another main element underlying the dissension was fear, and in particular fear of change. Some women obviously find it disturbing to contemplate the implications of equality for women. They have never been given a vision of any alternative to the traditional role, and they perceive the only way of life they know as seriously threatened. The usual human reaction to fear is entrenchment, a dogged defence of the known....In fact, the right to choose to be full-time homemakers is not under threat at all, and there is nothing in the Labour policy which implies anything of the kind" (1984WF: Policy Priorities, p.3).

[35]     1984WF: Rotorua, p.11.

[36]     1984WF: Wanganui, p.4.

[37]     1984WF: Hawke's Bay, p.5.

[38]     1984WF: Bay of Plenty, p.7.

[39]     1984WF: Hawke's Bay, p.5.

[40]     It was noted that "myth and rumour seemed to abound on the United Nations Convention" (1984WF: Bay of Plenty, p.7) and that as a result "prejudice was very evident" in the Forums (1984WF: Gisborne, p.12).

[41]     Claims were made that the Convention "was devised and is administered by a[n United Nations] committee `made up almost entirely of communist and socialist countries, many of them the bloodiest and most repressive regimes in the world'" (Rev. Dallas Clarnette, president of the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches of Australia, cited in "Sally - What I Think: Unisex society desirable, or a disaster," Dunedin Star Weekender, 25 September 1983, p.13. Since Clarnette's comments had originally been made in an article in Challenge Weekly they received wide publicity throughout the Evangelical community.) The Star Weekender article also quoted a "Newsletter" from the Otago/Southland branch of the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards which claimed that "the convention is a direct attack on the traditional and time-proven family unit, and...clearly reflect[s]...communist influence." However, "Sally" was taken to task by Mr. P.J. Downer, Chief Human Rights Commissioner, who replied that her article was "misleading" and that a similar "mischievous campaign against ratification" had been waged in Australia (P.J. Downer to Editor, Dunedin Star Weekender, 9 October 1983, p.22). Mr. Downer noted that "the text of the present Convention was adopted by the United Nations in 1979, [with] 130 votes in favour, none against, and ten abstentions" (Ibid.) and that support for the Convention therefore was not confined to Communist countries. However, a Human Rights Commission review paper later pointed out that there was some basis for the perception of Communist backing for the Convention, since "different countries have different attitudes to ratification. Some, particularly in the Eastern Block, ratify with the intention of working towards implementing the objectives and standards of the document. Others, such as New Zealand, only ratify when local laws and practices substantially comply with the document. This is why it may initially seem that a majority of ratifying countries represent a particular ideology" (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: `What's it all about.' A Review Paper (Wellington: Human Rights Commission, 1984), p.3).

[42]     1984WF: Policy Priorities, p.3. Emphasis as cited.

[43]     Ann Hercus, cited in Sunday Miracle, 25 November 1984, and thence in Save Our Homes Campaign to D.Lange, 25 November 1984, MHCF. Emphasis as cited.

[44]     Save Our Homes Campaign to D.Lange, 25 November 1984, MHCF.

[45]     This was the Women's Ministry arm of the Christchurch New Life Centre.

[46]     Anne Morrow, "Touch of Life" circular letter, 20 November 1984, MHCF.

[47]     Save Our Homes Campaign to D.Lange, 25 November 1984, MHCF.

[48]     Bruce Ansley, "The Growing Might of the Moral Right," New Zealand Listener, October 26 1985, p.17. The quotation is from Barry Reed, the Press officer for the Coalition of Concerned Citizens.

[49]     Ibid., p.16.

[50]     New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, vol.461, pp.3517-3534 (8 March 1985).

[51]     I.e. that sexual relations between homosexuals were illegal, although those between lesbians were not.

[52]     Ryan, "Remoralising Politics," in Jesson et al., Revival of the Right, p.76.

[53]     Bryant, The Church on Trial, p.113.

[54]     In the case of Evangelical and Fundamentalist Protestants, this authority was that of "the Bible says"; in the case of Roman Catholics, that of the Church and its tradition.

[55]     Bryant observes that Christians "find themselves in a special dilemma. They have to relate issues such as [homosexuality] to Christian morality, Church tradition and the Bible" (Bryant, The Church on Trial, p.115).

[56]     Allanah Ryan cites the views of Reformed Church minister Richard Flynn, who stated that "AIDS is a form of divine judgement that God uses to punish those who disobey him" (Ryan, "Remoralising Politics," in Jesson et al., Revival of the Right, p.77). Ryan observes that Flynn was also on record as advocating (at least in theory) the death penalty for homosexuals (Ibid., pp.76-77).

[57]     Wheeler, cited in Stratford, "Christians Awake!" p.130. In a later interview in March 1987 Wheeler took care to distance himself from the Coalition of Concerned Citizens and its aggressive stance on homosexuality (Rudman, "For God and National," p.29). Since Stratford had earlier noted that Wheeler had been speaker at a Coalition-organised public rally against the petition at the Auckland Town Hall this more moderate stance may reflect the political realities of his candidacy for the Mount Albert seat in the 1987 General Election.

[58]     Two cities, which, according to Genesis 19, were destroyed with fire from heaven on account of their sinfulness.

[59]     American anti-homosexual campaigner Louis Sheldon, cited in Challenge Weekly, and thence in Richard Gordon, "Fear and Loathing and the Moral Majority," Metro, December 1985, p.136. Sheldon's reference was to California, but his statement was made in the context of the campaign against the New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform Bill.

[60]     Examples of this may be seen in the flag-waving "patriotic rally" which accompanied the presentation of the Homosexual Law Reform Petition to Parliament (Ansley, "The Growing Might of the Moral Right," p.16). Ansley notes that all five verses of the national anthem were sung on that occasion. The full version of the national anthem also sometimes featured in Pentecostal conferences, where the singing of this was accompanied with other Pentecostal features such as raising of hands and "singing in the Spirit."

[61]     Colin Brown comments that "tactics and rhetoric during [the anti-Homosexual Law Reform Bill] campaign drew on the American fundamentalist `New Christian Right,' a dependence which extended to the efforts of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens preceding the general election in 1987" (Colin Brown, "Church, Culture and Identity: The New Zealand Experience," in Culture and Identity in New Zealand, ed. David Novitz and Bill Willmott (Wellington: GP Books, 1989), p.251).

[62]     Ansley, "The Growing Might of the Moral Right," p.18.

[63]     Robert Liebman, "Mobilizing the Moral Majority," in Liebman and Wuthnow, The New Christian Right, pp.49-73. For a discussion of the role played by the conservative Christian media in creating a constituency for the "Moral Majority" in the United States, see Hadden, "Religious Broadcasting": 1-24.

[64]     For coverage of the New Zealand "Moral Right" in the context of the opposition to the Homosexual Law Reform Bill see Ryan, "Remoralising Politics," in Jesson et al., Revival of the Right, pp.64 and 75-77; Ansley, "The Growing Might of the Moral Right," pp.16-18; Selwyn Dawson, "God's Bullies," Auckland Metro, September 1985, pp.170-176; and Gordon, "Fear and Loathing," pp.121-141. Bryant, The Church on Trial, pp.112-124, offers a broader perspective on the homosexuality issue, outlining both liberal and conservative attitudes and the way in which these were legitimated.

[65]     New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, vol.466, p.6978 (24 September 1985).

[66]     Gordon, "Fear and Loathing," p.124.

[67]     The Coalition included "Methodist, Nazarene, Pentecostal, Baptist, Brethren, Salvation Army, Anglican and Evangelical Presbyterian" church members among its ranks. It was, however, "not a church organisation," but rather was comprised of "individual concerned Christians" (Coalition of Concerned Citizens File, MHCF). Fraser Paterson comments that "while Baptist, Roman Catholic, Assemblies of God, Salvation Army and others have supported the Petition against the Bill, the Anglican Church and the combined Methodist-Presbyterian Public Questions Committee have come out in support" of homosexual law reform. Nevertheless, some presbyteries were against the "official" Presbyterian Church of New Zealand stand, and there was "lively debate" at the 1985 General Assembly on the issue (Paterson, "A Historical Analysis of Issues within the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, 1945-1985," p.89).

[68]     ICNZ Regional Leaders' Conference, "Minutes," Wellington, 23 to 27 September 1984, MHCF.

[69]     Coalition of Concerned Citizens File, MHCF. Graeme Lee later addressed a meeting at Majestic House (the premises of the Christchurch New Life Centre) on 26 July on the topic of "Christians and their involvement in New Zealand Politics."

[70]     Gordon, "Fear and Loathing," p.132; Ansley, "The Growing Might of the Moral Right," p.17.

[71]     Ranchord, Interview.

[72]     "Minutes of Leader's [sic] Conference of the Indigenous Churches of N.Z. held at Wallace [sic: Wallis] House, 15-16 August 1985," MHCF.

[73]     Fran Wilde, cited in New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, vol.466, p.6979 (24 September 1985).

[74]     Selwyn Dawson, for example, took strong exception to this in his article "God's Bullies."

[75]     Ryan, "Remoralising Politics," in Jesson et al., Revival of the Right, p.76.

[76]     Ranchord, Interview.

[77]     There were, in fact, three separate petitions which were presented under the names of Geoffrey Braybrooke M.P., Norman Jones, M.P., and Keith Hay and Sir Peter Tait. That of Hay and Tait was by far the largest, containing 581,280 signatures, while Norman Jones's petition contained 216,661 signatures, and Geoffrey Braybrooke's 17,312. This made a grand total of 815,253 signatures on the three petitions ("Day in the House," Otago Daily Times, 25 September 1985, p.5). M.P. Graeme Lee, who presented the petition of Hay and Tait, called it "the largest petition in the history of this Parliament - on a comparative basis, the largest of any Parliament in the world" (New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, vol.466, p.6978 (24 September 1985)).

[78]     Ansley, "The Growing Might of the Moral Right," pp.16-17. A photograph of the presentation, taken from Challenge Weekly, forms the front cover of Jesson et al., Revival of the Right.

[79]     “Wilde warns N.Z. to beware `radical right,’” Otago Daily Times, 28 September 1985, p.16.

 

[80]     Ansley, "The Growing Might of the Moral Right," p.17. Capitalization and emphasis as cited.

[81]     Ibid. The Justice and Law Reform Committee had voted to cut short its public hearings on the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, leaving some submissions unheard (Trevor Mallard M.P., cited in New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, vol.466, p.7204 (8 October 1985)). It is this to which Hay refers as a "denial of his democratic rights."

[82]     New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, vol.472, pp.2809-2823 (9 July 1986).

[83]     Bill Van Rij, interim president of the Christian Heritage Party for 1989, specifically stated that "the idea for the Christian Heritage Party started...when the Homosexual Law Reform Bill was being introduced" and observed that "the largest petition ever collected per head of population in any nation was ignored" by the Government ("Message from the President," Christian Heritage Party of New Zealand, n.d. [1989], p.2). I am grateful to John A. Evans for directing my attention to this material, which he analyses in his thesis "Church-State Relations in New Zealand 1940-1990, with particular reference to the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches" (Ph.D. Thesis in Church History, University of Otago, 1992).

[84]     ICNZ Regional Leaders' Conference, "Minutes," Wellington, 23 to 27 September 1984, MHCF. Capitalization and emphasis as cited.

[85]     Bluck, "Jesus 75 - A mixed blessing," p.5.

[86]     Rudman, "For God and National," p.29.

[87]     This statement is recorded under the heading of "Ministry Involvement in Politics" in the "Minutes of the ICNZ Regional Representatives' Meeting held at Wallis House - 19/20 June 1986," MHCF.

[88]     Rudman, "For God and National," p.29.

[89]     Cited in Stratford, "Christians Awake!" p.124. It would seem from the nature of these statements that this was an extract from a sermon, although Stratford does not give an attribution for this citation. They appear to exemplify Wheeler's views.

[90]     Clark, Interview.

[91]     Graham Scrimgeour, cited in "Minutes of the ICNZ Regional Representatives' Meeting held at Wallis House - 19/20 June 1986," MHCF.

[92]     Ibid.

[93]     David Shearer to All ICNZ Regional Representatives, 15 September 1986, MHCF.

[94]     The reference is to Genesis 19:1.

[95]     Ross Davies to All ICNZ Regional Representatives, n.d. [circa August 1986], MHCF. The "Amway" reference is to an American-based marketing company with which Wheeler was involved.

[96]     Ibid.

[97]     Ibid.

[98]     Ibid.

[99]     Peter Morrow to various pastors [i.e. "the...brethren Ross [Davies] has gathered around him"], 14 August 1986, MHCF.

[100]    Peter Morrow to Ross Davies, 6 August 1986, MHCF.

[101]    Wheeler's foray into politics appears to have had mixed results. A comparison of the 1984 and 1987 election results for the Mount Albert Electorate show that although National gained 27.95% of the vote in 1984 and 33.16% in 1987, the Labour vote also increased from 56.75% to 61.02% respectively. Both the major parties had gained at the expense of the third-party vote, which decreased from 15.30% to 5.82% of the total vote (Department of Statistics, New Zealand Official Yearbook 1984, 89th annual ed. (Wellington: Department of Statistics, 1984), p.1027; Department of Statistics, New Zealand Official Yearbook 1987-1988, 92nd annual ed. (Wellington: Department of Statistics, 1987), p.89). This result reflected the national trend: National gained 35.89% of the vote in 1984 and 44.02% in 1987; Labour 42.98% and 47.96% respectively; and the third-party vote decreased from 21.13% in 1984 to 8.02% in 1987. Wheeler's percentage increase (i.e. from 27.95% to 33.16%; a 18.64% swing) was in fact less than that for the National Party as a whole (i.e. from 35.89% to 44.02%; a 22.65% swing) (Department of Statistics, New Zealand Official Yearbook 1988-1989, 93rd annual ed. (Wellington: Department of Statistics, 1988), p.73). His candidacy therefore does not appear to have been a particularly successful one.

[102]    Ross Davies and David Shearer had resigned from the New Life Churches the previous year and many of the seceding pastors shared their concern over the increasing institutionalization of the movement.

[103]    A show of hands during the course of the business meeting at the 1990 Annual Conference produced an interesting breakdown of the periods during which pastors (and their wives) had become involved with the New Life Churches. Of the pastors and wives attending the conference only 25 (or 18.7%) had been part of the movement in the 1960s; 54 (or 40.5%) had joined the movement in the 1970s; and 55 (or 40.8%) had less than ten years involvement. This analysis of pastoral affiliation demonstrates the changing composition of the New Life Churches (Brett Knowles, notes taken at Annual Pastors' Conference, Waikanae, September 1990, BKRP).

[104]    Vide supra, chapter 8, footnotes 72 and 73. This reversal of the decision reached at the conference represented "second thoughts" on the part of the movement's pastors rather than any diminution of the power of collective decision vested in the Annual Conference.

[105]    John Walton to ALL REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES (leaders), NEW LIFE CHURCHES OF N.Z., 28 July 1987, BKRP, (Capitalization as cited), appears to be an example of this.

[106]    Rasik Ranchord, cited in "Regional Leaders Comment on National Structure," New Life NZ, September 1987, p.4. This article is a reprint of part of the minutes of the Regional Representatives' Meeting held on 23-24 July 1987. The oddity of Ranchord's language (i.e. the "structuring [of] our stream") reflects the difficulty the movement had in coming up with a format that would guarantee the charismatic freedom of the "stream" of New Life churches and at the same time provide some form of corporate "structure" for the efficient administration of the movement.

[107]    This is not the Pastor David Collins previously referred to in Chapter 6, footnote 132.

[108]    These five men were the pastors of New Life Churches in Hamilton, Auckland and, in the case of Davies, of a large church in Whangarei. Davies had resigned from the New Life Churches in 1986 and was followed by Collins, Dyson, Wagener and a number of other pastors several years later.

[109]    David Collins et al., "Indigenous Pentecostal Churches: Concept paper submitted to the members of INDIGENOUS CHURCHES OF NEW ZEALAND by the pastors of the Central North Island region," Hamilton, n.d. (Mimeographed.) Capitalization as cited. I am indebted to David Collins for providing me with a copy of this and other materials relating to the issue and for offering some very illuminating comments on the course of the debate.

[110]    The fact that the paper was prepared by pastors in Hamilton, Auckland and Whangarei and was endorsed by their colleagues in the Central North Island and in Taranaki as a statement of their views on the issue indicates the geographical spread of this particular viewpoint. It is also significant that almost all of these pastors had links with Ross Davies.

[111]    Vide supra, Chapter 8, Section 2.2.

[112]    This clause on "submission" was omitted from the list of principles which were adopted by the "South Pacific Churches" following their secession from the New Life Churches in late 1987 (Vide infra, footnote 164).

[113]    Collins et al., "Indigenous Pentecostal Churches," p.3.

[114]    ICNZ Central North Island Region to All ICNZ Regional Representatives, 9 September 1987, BKRP.

[115]    Taranaki Regional Meeting, "Memorandum to all ICNZ Regions: Report of Taranaki Regional Meeting of 7 September 1987," BKRP.

[116]    David Collins, Correspondence with the author, Hamilton, 1 May 1990.

[117]    Vide supra, Chapter 8, Section 2.2. Wheeler was by this time heavily involved in the 1987 election campaign, and consequently was not an active participant in the debate.

[118]    Although the author conducted an interview with John Walton unfortunately the tape recording of this proved to be defective and it was not possible to transcribe the interview.

[119]    John Walton to ALL REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES (leaders), NEW LIFE CHURCHES OF N.Z., 28 July 1987, BKRP. Capitalization as cited. As Walton saw it, the national leaders would carry the overall responsibility for the setting of policy and for articulating and directing the vision of the movement. The regional leaders would act as representatives of their region and have the responsibility of caring for the pastors in the region. The support leaders were to have an ad hoc function as co-opted assistants to the national leaders, functioning as an extension of their ministry.

[120]    Ibid.

[121]    These articles included: Ralph Sutherland, "Pastors Discuss National Vision," p.1; John Walton, "Structure - To Be Or Not To Be?" pp.3-4; "Regional Leaders Comment on National Structure," pp.4-5; and "Is `Extra-Local Structure' in the New Testament?" pp.8-9; New Life NZ, September 1987. Since the magazine was produced in Palmerston North it was to some extent inevitable that Walton's views should have featured prominently in the first issue.

[122]    David Tweed, "By Way of Introduction...," Ibid., p.2.

[123]    David Collins, Correspondence with the author, Hamilton, 1 May 1990.

[124]    The Taranaki Regional Meeting sent a memorandum to all the other ICNZ regional representatives setting out their reservations, as did the pastors of the Central North Island Region (Taranaki Regional Meeting, "Memorandum to all ICNZ Regions: Report of Taranaki Regional Meeting of 7 September 1987," BKRP; ICNZ Central North Island Region to all ICNZ Regional Representatives, 9 September 1987, BKRP). The author is indebted to David Collins for copies of these documents.

[125]    David Collins, Correspondence with the author, Hamilton, 1 May 1990.

[126]    Tiplady, Interview. "Apostleship" was defined in the movement as a senior leadership ministry function, involving the pioneering and establishing of churches, the training and induction of ministers and the exercise of an ongoing supervisory role over these local churches and their pastors.

[127]    John Tiplady commented that this initiative came from McCracken himself rather than from the Auckland regional pastors' meeting (Ibid.). The first of these letters was addressed to the Regional Representatives, and the second sent to all ICNZ pastors two weeks later, enclosing a copy of this earlier letter (David McCracken to All ICNZ pastors, 1 September 1987, MHCF).

[128]    David McCracken to All ICNZ Regional Representatives, 20 August 1987, MHCF. Emphasis and capitalization as cited.

[129]    David McCracken to All ICNZ pastors, 1 September 1987, MHCF. Emphasis and capitalization as cited.

[130]    Ibid.

[131]    ICNZ Central North Island Region to all ICNZ Regional Representatives, 9 September 1987, BKRP.

[132]    Taranaki Regional Meeting, "Memorandum to all ICNZ Regions: Report of Taranaki Regional Meeting of 7 September 1987," BKRP.

[133]    As will be seen, these "National Leaders" were recognised as "Apostolic Ministries" by means of an elective vote by the delegates to the Conference.

[134]    Peter Morrow, for example, labelled it as such in the Regional Representatives' Meeting minutes of 23-24 July 1987, and registration material sent for the Conference emphasised its importance (Max Palmer to Indigenous Churches of New Zealand Pastors, 4 August 1987, BKRP).

[135]    Peter and Anne Morrow, circular letter, n.d. [December 1987], BKRP. Following resuscitation and the transfusion of no less than nineteen pints of blood Morrow underwent five hours of emergency surgery ("Abbreviated Medical Report on Mr. P. Morrow, as provided by the Medical Practitioner," n.d. [December 1987], BKRP).

[136]    Trish Grant, "Police praise sons' bravery," Christchurch Star, 17 September 1987, p.1; Glenis Carroll, "Pastor `satisfactory' after early-morning knife attack," Christchurch Press, 18 September 1987, p.1.

[137]    "Pastor's condition serious," Christchurch Star, 18 September 1987, p.3; "Knife victim remains serious," Ibid., 19 September 1987, p.3; "Attacked pastor's injuries serious," Christchurch Press, 19 September 1987, p.2; "Attack victim serious," Ibid., 21 September 1987, p.1; "Pastor serious," Christchurch Star, 21 September 1987, p.1; "Pastor still seriously ill," Ibid., 22 September 1987, p.3; "Victims seriously ill," Ibid., 23 September 1987, p.3 (this report also included details of another stabbing incident in the city); and "Pastor no better," Christchurch Press, 23 September 1987, p.8.

[138]    However, Morrow was able to leave the hospital by 6 October. Although his extensive lacerations healed quickly he was left with some scarring to the left side of his face and because he had attempted to shield himself with his left arm from his attacker his left hand and arm were badly damaged and he has residual permanent disability in his left hand.

[139]    It was typical of the movement's method of dealing with business that this discussion was conducted in committee, with the issues being addressed to the delegates only at the voting stage, when broad agreement had already been reached by the regional representatives. In this way, it was hoped that dissension would be kept to a minimum.

[140]    For example, it was noticeable that, during the afternoons, when no meetings were scheduled and delegates had "free time," the regional representatives were usually to be seen meeting in a secluded conference room for discussion of the issues, and were conspicuous by their absence from the other activities of the afternoon.

[141]    Although these proposals were based on John Walton's concepts much of the energy behind the sequence of events came from Auckland. John Steele reported that 70% of the pastors there had voted for a change of structure and as a result of this, as well as of the "School of the Prophets" conference in July, steps had already been taken to recognise "apostolic ministries" in the region. The four men acknowledged as such were Kevin Dyson, Cam Rimmer, David McCracken and John Steele. Their apostolic role was, however, confined to the Auckland region. Rob Wheeler and Peter Morrow were viewed as having overall authority at national and international level (John Steele, Business meeting, Waikanae, 24 September 1987).

[142]    These options were:

 

a.     I agree to the strengthening of relationships and development of Ministries AT REGIONAL LEVEL ONLY AT THIS STAGE.

 

b.     I agree to the Formal Recognition of ROB WHEELER and PETER MORROW (pending his acceptance) as APOSTOLIC MINISTRIES [sic] to the ICNZ.

 

c.     I agree to the Formal Recognition of ROB WHEELER and PETER MORROW (pending his acceptance) as APOSTOLIC LEADERSHIP to the ICNZ (Adrienne Knowles, ICNZ Conference notes, 24 September 1987, BKRP. Capitalization and emphasis as cited).

 

A second question related to the issue of whether "regional representatives" should become "regional leaders":

 

        Do you agree that the regional representative be made a regional leader (or another person appointed as a leader in his place)? (Ibid. Emphasis as cited).

[143]    Collins argued for the retention of a scriptural form of leadership, based on the "ministries" of the Holy Spirit as set out in Ephesians 4:11. He was therefore prepared to accept "apostolic ministries" which he saw as producing a workable "marriage" of "relationship" and "structure" (David Collins, Business meeting, Waikanae, 24 September 1987). His views were representative of those pastors associated with Ross Davies.

[144]    This phrase appeared in an article in New Life NZ ("Is `Extra-Local Structure' in the New Testament?" New Life NZ, September 1987, pp.6-7). It referred to the superintendency role of senior ministers (i.e. "apostles") over the "autonomous" local churches in the movement.

[145]    Wheeler and Morrow were to have ministry input into the lives of the local pastors and to bear pastoral responsibility for them. There appear to be strong similarities between these "apostolic" roles as set up by the Conference and Ross Davies's concept of "fathers." The major difference would lie in the fact that Wheeler and Morrow were "recognised" (i.e. appointed) by the pastors; from Davies's point of view, this represented an adoption of "other men's children," since they had not in fact "fathered" these pastors in the Gospel.

[146]    This apostolic oversight applied particularly to church discipline and to doctrinal and structural issues. Rob Wheeler had observed at the business meeting that the movement's structure had failed to keep pace with its expansion, and three areas in particular irked him personally. The first of these was the problem of how to deal with the issue of moral discipline within the movement: no-one wanted to handle this, and no authority appeared to exist for doing so. The second area was that of doctrinal differences in the movement. Wheeler felt that some degree of conformity was needed, for otherwise the New Life Churches would become a "liquorice allsorts" group with no clear doctrinal base and with each church following its own doctrinal agenda. The third dilemma was that of the structural diversity of the various New Life Churches (Rob Wheeler, Business meeting, Waikanae, 24 September 1987).

[147]    Davies, Interview.

[148]    Indigenous Churches of New Zealand, "Directory," 1987 and 1988. (Mimeographed.)

[149]    Of the 127 pastors listed in the 1988 "Directory," 88 (or 69.2%) were listed as "Senior Pastor"; 61 of these ministered in single-pastor churches. Of the 93 churches in the movement, only 28 (or 30.1%) were multi-pastor churches. Of these, 24 churches had two pastors; two churches had three pastors; one church, the Palmerston North Christian Fellowship, had a "multiple eldership" leadership format comprising four pastors (including two "senior pastors"); and one church (Peter Morrow's Christchurch New Life Centre) had six. The difference in the number of churches and pastors is due to discrepancies in the church and pastoral listings in the "Directory."

[150]    I.e. Apostolic leader - Regional leader - Pastors.

[151]    Wheeler was obliged to assume the pastorate of an Auckland church which was experiencing some difficulties.

[152]    Wást, Comment.

[153]    Walton had come into the New Life Churches from an Exclusive Brethren and Charismatic Baptist background.

[154]    The compilation of a "Handbook for Pastors," issued in 1992 in order to provide guidelines for pastors in the movement and comprising summaries of rulings by the Regional Leaders' Council, is perhaps the clearest indication of the way in which the movement has changed from a charismatic form of authority which "recognises no forms or orderly procedures" (Weber, "The Nature of Charismatic Domination," in Max Weber: Selections in Translation, p.227) to other, more institutional, patterns of authority.

[155]    I.e. Taranaki, Central North Island and Northland. Vide supra, footnote 110.

[156]    David Shearer to all ICNZ Regional Representatives, 15 September 1986, BKRP.

[157]    Ibid.

[158]    Mark Jones of Inglewood represented the Taranaki region at the 1986 Annual Conference in Christchurch (ibid.) and David Wise of New Plymouth remained in the New Life Churches, although listed together with David Shearer in the "Directory" from 1990 on as an "Associate Member." These "Associate Members" were defined as "those who were previously members of Indigenous Churches of New Zealand who did not join NLCNZ" (New Life Churches of New Zealand, "Church/Ministerial Guidelines," 7 September 1990, BKRP).

[159]    These links are evidenced by Peter Morrow's reference to "the...brethren Ross has gathered around him" in a circular letter sent to eleven of these pastors (Peter Morrow to various pastors, 14 August 1986, MHCF) and by Davies's references to his "spiritual children" by name during the course of the author's interview with him (Davies, Interview).

[160]    David Collins, to "the Leaders and Pastors, Indigenous Churches of New Zealand," 28 October 1987, BKRP.

[161]    Tiplady, Interview.

[162]    "Introducing South Pacific Fellowship," n.d. [December 1987], BKRP. (Mimeographed).

[163]    David Collins, circular letter, 17 December 1987, BKRP.

[164]    Compare Collins et al., "Indigenous Pentecostal Churches"; idem, "Introducing South Pacific Fellowship," BKRP. The most significant variations were the relocating of most of the first paragraph of the concept paper into the preamble of the doctrinal statement, and the deletion of the phrase "submit to one another" in the third paragraph (Vide supra, footnote 112). This omission reflected the concern of the Fellowship's founders to "build relationships and strengthen one another in Christ....by the formation of a `servant' organisation,'" rather than to set up an organisation based on "submission" to leadership.

[165]    Ross Davies to All ICNZ Regional Representatives, n.d. [circa August 1986], MHCF.

[166]    David Shearer to All ICNZ Regional Representatives, 15 September 1986, BKRP.

[167]    Peter Morrow, circular letter to New Life pastors, November 1987, MHCF. Morrow could not have been entirely surprised at the secession since he was on record as observing at the Regional Representatives' Meeting in July that "if we move on this [implementation of "structure"] we may lose some churches, but the gain will far outweigh the loss in [the] longer term" (Morrow, cited in minutes of Regional Representatives' Meeting, 28 July 1987, MHCF).

[168]    George Armitage, circular letter, 26 January 1988, BKRP.

[169]    Although he does not define these Armitage appears to be referring to Ross Davies's "kingdom teaching."

[170]    David Collins, Correspondence with the author, Hamilton, 1 May 1990. Emphasis as cited.

[171]    The South Pacific Fellowship "Mailing List" was not a membership list and many of the pastors listed were pastors of New Life churches in other centres who wanted to keep in touch with what was going on. Max Palmer of the Christchurch New Life Centre and Bruce Wást of the Dunedin Word of Life Tabernacle are two examples of this.

[172]    This included "job descriptions" for the regional leaders and apostolic ministries as well as guidelines for the election of regional leaders.

[173]    However, this move attracted strong criticism from the pastors of the Otago/Southland region who objected to the way in which the decision was made rather than to the choice of Walton (New Life Churches of New Zealand, "Minutes of the Regional Leaders meeting," 7-8 November 1991, BKRP).

[174]    For a movement which had begun its existence as a "healing movement" this latter development was particularly significant of the changes which had taken place.


© SCC and the author, 2004.

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