Unfinished: The Seventh-day Adventist mission in the South Pacific, excluding Papua New Guinea, 1886-1986. (Volumes I and II)

by Steley, Dennis

Abstract (Summary)
The Seventh-day Adventist Church, incorporated in the United States in 1863, was driven by the belief that it was God's 'remnant church' with the work of warning the world of the imminent return of Christ. When that mission was finished the second coming would occur. In 1886 following a visit by an elderly layman, John I Tay, the whole population of Pitcairn Island desired to join the SDA church. As a result in 1890 Adventist mission work began in the South Pacific Islands. By 1895 missions had been founded in six island groups. However difficulties, both within and without the mission's control, ensured that membership gains were painfully slow in the first decades of Adventist mission in Polynesia. However before World War II the Solomons became one of the most successful Adventist mission areas in the world. After 1945 Adventism also prospered in such places as Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Education provided the key to the gaining of accessions in a number of countries, while in others a health-medical emphasis proved important in attracting converts. Since World War II public evangelism and the use of various programmes such as welfare, radio evangelism, and the efforts of lay members contributed to sharp membership gains in most countries of the region. Of no small consequence in hindering Adventist growth was the opposition of other churches who regarded them as pariahs because of their theology and 'proselytizing'. Adventist communities tended to be introverted, esoteric and isolationist. Nevertheless Pacific islanders adapted aspects of the usually uncompromising Adventist culture. Unity of faith, practice and procedure was a valuable Adventist asset which was promoted by a centralized administration. After a century in the Pacific region its membership there has a reputation among other Adventists for its continued numeric growth and for the ferver its committment to Adventism. Nevertheless Adventism in the region faces a number of problems and its aim of finishing the Lord's work remains unfinished.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Hugh Laracy

School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:history asia australia and oceania 0332 religion of 0320 fields research 440000 philosophy 440200 religious traditions 440204 christian theology incl biblical studies church 430000 archaeology 430100 historical 430103 pacific


Date of Publication:01/01/1990

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