events surrounding the ‘trial’ of Professor Lloyd Geering for ‘heresy’
in the late 1960s were unprecedented in New Zealand history.
the late 1960s Lloyd Geering became a public figure among New Zealanders
when he was charged with ‘doctrinal error’ – generally referred to as
‘heresy’ – and ‘disturbing the peace and unity of the [Presbyterian]
church’. Led by a group of conservative laymen, the charges were brought
before the church’s General Assembly in Christchurch in 1967 but were
These dramatic events and those that
followed through to 1971 are described in Lloyd Geering’s own words in
this BWB Text, sourced from his autobiography Wrestling With God.
Lloyd Geering was born in 1918, and educated chiefly in Otago, with degrees in both mathematics and Old Testament studies. Ordained as a Presbyterian minister, he served in Kurow, Dunedin and Wellington. He held Chairs of Old Testament Studies at theological colleges in Brisbane and Dunedin before being appointed as the foundation Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. He was married to Nancy McKenzie (deceased 1949) and to Elaine Parker (deceased 2001), and has three children, several grandchildren, and one great-grandson. He married Shirley White in 2004.
His books have reached both a scholarly and a popular market. They include: God in the New World (1968), Resurrection: A Symbol of Hope (1971), Faith's New Age (1980), Tomorrow's God (1994), The World to Come (1999), Christianity Without God (2002) and Wrestling With God: the Story of My Life (2006), Coming back to Earth (2009), Such is Life! (2010), four published by BWB.
Twenty or more of his short monographs have been published by St. Andrew's Trust, on such topics as God and the New Physics, Human Destiny, New Idols for Old, Relativity, Who Owns the Holy Land? and Fundamentalism.
Since his retirement in 1984, Lloyd Geering has continued to lecture widely throughout New Zealand and overseas. He was a regular columnist on religious topics for the Auckland Star and the New Zealand Listener. He was awarded an Honorary DD by the University of Otago in 1976, a CBE in the New Year Honours in 1988, and made a PCNZM in 2001 (changed to GNZM in 2009, admitted to ONZ in 2007).