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All articles in category New Zealand

February 2003
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Missionary Spotlight-Facts

Area: 104,534 square miles. New Zealand comprises the North and South Islands (separated by the Cook Strait), and numerous smaller islands. Environment: Mountainous, with stunning scenery (Mount Cook 3,764 metres) and large coastal plains. North Island has three active volcanoes. The climate is temperate, with strong local variations. There is a wide variety of wildlife. Population: 4 million, with 75% living on North Island and 80% in the cities. Life expectancy: Men 75 years, women 81 years. Ethnic groups: New Zealand European 73%, Maori 10%, other European 5%, Pacific islander 4%, Asian and others 8%. There are many immigrants. Official languages: English and Maori.Literacy: 99%....

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Missionary Spotlight-A powerful work of God
February 2003
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Missionary Spotlight-A powerful work of God

‘We did not mean to become Christians’, said Esmaeil as we sat in his lounge. ‘But we were slowly changed as we read the Holy Book and listened to your speaking at the church’. Fatemeh his wife nodded her agreement, while their 6-year-old daughter Salmah looked on. Asylum seekers Another elder and I from the EPC (Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Christchurch) were visiting this gentle Iranian family in their home in response to their request for baptism. They had previously requested baptism, but we had declined, because there were questions about sincerity. Now we asked ourselves: ‘Who are we to withhold baptism from those who profess...

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Missionary Spotlight-Contending for the truth
February 2003
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Missionary Spotlight-Contending for the truth

I became an active Christian late in the 1960s, at a critical juncture in the history of Reformed Presbyterianism in New Zealand. The Principal of the Presbyterian Theological Hall, Knox College, had been charged with heresy for his unorthodox views on the Bible and the gospel. To the amazement of Evangelical Christians, he was acquitted of the charges. This outcome endorsed the principle of radically liberal academic freedom in theological institutions. The Presbyterian Church in New Zealand was agitated as never before. Confusion These events created tension and confusion for young Evangelical Christians like myself who were considering entering the ministry of that church. The...

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Missionary Spotlight-New Zealand today
February 2003
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Missionary Spotlight-New Zealand today

If you ever visit the Bay of Islands in New Zealand’s upper North Island, take the ferry to the particular bay where the gospel was first preached, by Samuel Marsden from Australia. That was on Christmas Day 1814. The general area is well worth visiting, having various historical sites that recall early missionary effort. Maori During the early years of European settlement, the gospel had a considerable effect upon the Maori people. So much so, that by the early 1840s a large proportion of the Maori population attended church on Sundays. Sadly, today, it is a different story. While still claiming to belong to mainline...

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Missionary Spotlight-Religious patterns in New Zealand
February 2003
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Missionary Spotlight-Religious patterns in New Zealand

Christian life and witness in New Zealand is a very mixed bag. Most of the traditional Protestant churches – Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist – are in a state of decline. The Baptist denomination is the most evangelical of the mainline churches. The declining churches reflect doctrinal indifference, a strong feminist influence, and differing attitudes towards the ordination of practising homosexuals. Charismatic influence The growth of Pentecostal and Charismatic influence has been striking. Pentecostal churches are well established in most parts of country and the major cities have large congregations. Many have extensive networks of home-group fellowships during the week. They represent a broad spectrum of...

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Letter from New Zealand
June 2001
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Letter from New Zealand

New Zealanders are very conscious of their smallness relative to the rest of the world, in population, economy and land mass. That condition is perhaps seen as having its attractions and advantages. But that has not always been the case. We’ve just been reminded through an agreement made recently between the New Zealand and Australian governments, that it will henceforth be more difficult to just ‘up-anchor’ and go and live in Australia. In most things, New Zealand finds it hard to match its larger friend across the Tasman Sea. Last year, 31,000 New Zealanders evidently felt that the comparison went in Australia’s favour and left...

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