Lloyd Geering

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Lloyd Geering

Lloyd Geering 2020 (cropped).jpg
Geering in March 2020
Born (1918-02-26) 26 February 1918 (age 103)
Rangiora, New Zealand
Alma materUniversity of Otago
Known for1967 charges of heresy

Sir Lloyd George Geering ONZ GNZM CBE (born 26 February 1918) is a New Zealand theologian who faced charges of heresy in 1967 for his controversial views. He considers Christian and Muslim fundamentalism to be "social evils". Geering is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. He turned 100 in February 2018.[1]


Geering was born in Rangiora, Canterbury, New Zealand, and "embraced" the Christian tradition in 1937.[2] He holds a master's degree in mathematics and a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Otago. He was ordained as a minister of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ) in 1943 and practised as a minister in Kurow; Opoho, Dunedin (1945-1950); and St James, Wellington (1950-1956) before turning to theological teaching. He was the Honorary Associate Minister of St John’s Church in Wellington from 1971 to 1983. He was named Honorary Assistant at St Andrew’s in Wellington in 1989. Geering remains on the Register (Fasti) of New Zealand Presbyterian Ministers.[3]

Geering has held the positions of Professor of Old Testament Studies Presbyterian Church Hall Brisbane Queensland, Australia (1956-1960, Professor of Old Testament Studies Theological Hall Dunedin (29 February 1960 - December 1963), and Principal of Theological Hall Dunedin (12 December 1963 - 31 May 1971). In 1971, Geering became the Foundation Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington and held this position until his retirement in 1984 when he was appointed Professor Emeritus. In 1983 he became a Lecturer at the St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society.[3]

In 1967 Geering gained a high profile when he was charged with "doctrinal error" and "disturbing the peace and unity of the (Presbyterian) church".[4] The case was brought before the 1967 General Assembly of the PCANZ, and dismissed without being much discussed.[5] The charges were brought by a group of conservative laymen and a conservative minister. During his church trial, he claimed that the remains of Jesus lay somewhere in Palestine and that the resurrection had been wrongfully interpreted by churches as a resuscitation of the body of Jesus. He also rejects the notion that God is a supernatural being who created and continues to look over the world.[6]

Geering is a member of the Jesus Seminar and a participant in the Living the Questions program, an alternative to the evangelical Alpha course, which he views as dangerous indoctrination sadly growing among even mainstream churches.[citation needed] He is also a member of the Sea of Faith Network (New Zealand), and St Andrew's On The Terrace as well as Principal Lecturer at St Andrew's Trust for the Study of Religion and Society

In the 1988 New Year Honours, Geering was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire,[7] and in the 2001 New Year Honours he was made a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to religious studies.[8] In the 2007 New Year Honours, he was appointed a Member of the Order of New Zealand. In 2009, he accepted redesignation as a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, following the restoration of titular honours by the New Zealand government.[9]

Geering is a patron of the Coalition for Open Government.


  • Portholes to the Past: Reflections on the early 20th century (2016). Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand: Steele Roberts, ISBN 978-0-94749333-2
  • On Me Bike: Cycling round New Zealand 80 years ago (2015). Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand: Steele Roberts, ISBN 978-1-927242-93-3
  • Reimagining God: The Faith Journey of a Modern Heretic (2014). Salem, OR: Polebridge Press, ISBN 978-1-59815-156-5
  • From the Big Bang to God: Our Awe-Inspiring Journey of Evolution (2013). Aotearoa, NZ: Steele Roberts, Salem, OR: Polebridge Press, ISBN 978-1-59815-139-8. Ebook ISBN 978-1-59815-140-4
  • Such Is Life!: A Close Encounter With Ecclesiastes (2010). Aotearoa, NZ: Steele Roberts, ISBN 1-59815-023-5
  • Coming Back to Earth: From gods to God to Gaia (2009). Salem, OR: Polebridge Press, ISBN 1-59815-016-2
  • In Praise of the Secular (2007). St Andrews, ISBN 0-9582880-0-3
  • Is Christianity Going Anywhere? (2004). St Andrews, ISBN 0-9583645-8-3
  • Wrestling with God: The Story of My Life (2006). ISBN 1-877242-36-5
  • The Greening of Christianity (2005) ISBN 0-9583645-9-1
  • Christianity without God (2002). Salem, OR: Polebridge Press, ISBN 0-944344-92-5
  • Christian Faith at the Crossroads (revised 2001). Salem, OR: Polebridge Press, ISBN 0-944344-83-6
  • The World to Come: From Christian Past to Global Future (1999). Salem, OR: Polebridge Press, ISBN 0-944344-76-3
  • Tomorrow's God: How We Create our Worlds (1996). Salem, OR: Polebridge Press reprint 2000, ISBN 0-944344-81-X
  • In the World Today (1988)
  • The World of Relation: An Introduction to Martin Buber's I and Thou (1983)
  • Faith's New Age: A Perspective on Contemporary Religious Change (1980)
  • Resurrection – A Symbol of Hope (1971)
  • God in the New World (1968)


  1. ^ Boswell, Ryan (26 February 2018). "'I have a great deal of optimism' – famous Kiwi atheist Sir Lloyd Geering celebrates 100th birthday". 1NewsNow. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  2. ^ Morris and Grimshaw, 2008. Page 277
  3. ^ a b "Ministers, Deaconesses & Missionaries from 1840". Register of New Zealand Presbyterian Church. Arden Street, Opoho, Dunedin 9010, New Zealand: Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ). Presbyterian Archives Research Centre, Knox College. Galbraith to Gillies: 164. Retrieved 24 February 2019.CS1 maint: location (link)
  4. ^ Lloyd Geering speaking at Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sydney, in October 2004: "In 1967, Lloyd Geering's writings on the resurrection of Jesus and the immortality of the soul, resulted in his being charged by the Presbyterian Church with "doctrinal error" and "disturbing the peace of the church" – which is more or less the same thing as a heresy charge – and we'll shortly be hearing about what happened there. Since then, he's gone on to challenge Christian orthodoxy perhaps even more profoundly, by questioning the distinction between the religious and the secular worlds."
  5. ^ Geering says: "But before there had been very much time for any adequate discussion of the real issues, a motion was put to the House, and later carried firmly on the voices – and it said that “the Assembly judges that no doctrinal error has been established, dismisses the charges and declares the case closed”". Lloyd Geering speaking at Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sydney, in October 2004
  6. ^ The Last Western Heretic, produced in 2007 in New Zealand and Israel, aired on TV ONE, 12 January 2008 (Press release)
  7. ^ "No. 51173". The London Gazette (3rd supplement). 31 December 1987. p. 34.
  8. ^ "New Year honours list 2001". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 30 December 2000. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Special honours list 1 August 2009". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 5 April 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2020.


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