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Geering, Lloyd - Papers of the Reverend Professor Sir Lloyd Geering

 Fonds — Container: 1/12
Identifier: geel

Nature of the collection

The collection was donated by Professor Geering in May 2017. The dates covered are from 1938 to 2017. The material covers records (sermons, scrapbooks, correspondence, typescripts, recordings, digital files) from his long and distinguished career as a Presbyterian minister and theologian and includes correspondence, addresses and recordings related to his trial before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1967.


  • Creation: 1940s-2016

Access and use

Access is freely available within the J.C.Beaglehole Room for research and private study. For any use beyond this, please contact the J.C.Beaglehole Room in the first instance. ( Copyright applies.

Biographical summary

Born: Rangiora, Canterbury, 26 February 1918 m. Nancy McKenzie 1943 (d.1949) m. Elaine Parker 1951 (d.2001) m. Shirley White 2004

M.A. (University of New Zealand -Otago), 1940 B.D. (Hons) Melbourne College of Divinity, 1942 (or 1946?) D.D. University of Otago (1976)

Knox Theological Hall, 1940-42 Ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church: Kurow, South Canterbury, 1943 Served at Opoho, Dunedin, 1945-1950; St James, Wellington, 1950-1956. Professor of Old Testament Studies, Presbyterian Church Hall (Emmanuel College), Brisbane, 1956-1959 Professor of Old Testament Studies, Theological Hall, Dunedin, 1960-63 Principal of Theological Hall, Dunedin, 1963-1971 Inaugural Professor of Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, 1971-1983 Honorary Associate Minister, St John's, Wellington 1971-1983 Emeritus Professor, Victoria University of Wellington, 1984- Theologian in Residence, St Andrew's on the Terrace, Wellington, 1984(?)- Honorary Assistant, St Andrew's on the Terrace, Wellington, 1989

Founding member of the St Andrew's Trust for the Study of Religion and Society, 1984 Founding member of Sea of Faith Network in New Zealand, 1992 Member of the Jesus Seminar

Charged before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand with "Doctrinal error" and "disturbing the peace of the Church" in 1967 for challenging the accepted doctrine of the resurrection of Christ and the immortality of the human soul (usually referred to as the heresy trial).

Author of over 60 books, including God in the new world, Christianity without God, Resurrection: a symbol of hope.

CBE 1988 Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit 2000 (converted to Knight Grand Companion...2009) Order of New Zealand 2006.

'Heresy' charges

In October 1965, the 'Outlook' (the weekly publication of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand - PCNZ) published an article by LGG (commissioned by the editor for Reformation Sunday) in which he addressed what he saw as the need for a new Reformation in the Church. The article caused something of a stir and the editor asked for another article for the Easter issue. This second article questioned the nature of the resurrection and drew a considerable number of responses, both positive and negative. Among those taking issue with LGG was the Reverend Bob Blaikie, of Auckland. After some weeks as a discussion internal to the PCNZ, the story found its way to the mainstream press, several newspapers reprinting the article in full. LGG wrote a further four articles for 'Outlook' hoping, but not entirely succeeding, to pour oil on troubled waters. The matter was discussed at length at the 1966 General Assembly of the PCNZ and a semblance of calm returned.

At the invitation of the Reverend John Murray, LGG preached at the 1967 inaugural service at Victoria University of Wellington. During this sermon, he asserted that "man has no immortal soul". Bob Wardlaw, head of the Association of Presbyterian Laymen called for LGG to resign, or be dismissed from his position as Principal of Knox College. Once again, the sermon was widely published in the newspapers and generated heated discussion nationwide. It became clear that the matter would again come before the General Assembly and charges were laid by Bob Blaikie ("disturbing the peace and unity of the Church") and Bob Wardlaw ("grave impropriety of conduct" in teaching doctrines contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Confession). The Assembly - after considerable debate - dismissed the charges and expressed its confidence in LGG and its appreciation of the faith and devotion of his accusers.


2.7 linear_meters (9 boxes and 1 scrapbook; approx 900MB of files.)

Language of Materials


Edited Full Draft
Sue Hirst
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Tapuaka Heritage & Archive Collections - JC Beaglehole Reading Room, Victoria University of Wellington Library Repository

P O Box 3438
Wellington 6140 New Zealand
+64 4 4635681