Harold W Turner Remembered

By Hitchen, John M. | International Bulletin of Missionary Research, July 2002 | Go to article overview

Harold W Turner Remembered


Hitchen, John M., International Bulletin of Missionary Research


Harold W. Turner, Presbyterian minister, missionary scholar, inaugurator of university departments of religious studies, founder of the Centre for New Religious Movements. Born January 13, 1911; died May 5, 2002, age 91.

Harold W. Turner's lifework in documentation of new religious movements in primal societies changed the way the academic world understands religion. More widely, each period of his life and ministry contributed significantly to the study of religion and missiology.

1911-1954. Born in rural New Zealand, in 1929 Turner completed secondary schooling in Auckland, was baptized, joined the Presbyterian Church, and began teaching Sunday school. Headed for an engineering career Turner enrolled at Canterbury College of the University of New Zealand, but before graduating in 1935 with a first class M.A. in philosophy, his church involvement led to a change of career towards Christian ministry. Then followed, as church expectations of the day required, a long engagement to "that girl in the choir," Maude Yoeman, while Turner completed theological training at Knox College, Dunedin, plus a final term in Edinburgh, Scotland, under John Baillie.

Ordained and married in 1939, during fifteen years of pastoral ministry, Turner pioneered an ecumenical student chaplaincy inNew Zealand, established two university student halls of residence, started the nation's first campus-based university bookshop, and published Halls of Residence (1954). In these years Turner sought seriously to apply Christian insights to New Zealand public life and explored issues seminal to gospel and culture concerns that would blossom in his final decade.

1954-1966: Recognizing God's call to theological teaching, the Turners migrated to Britain with their four children. Since only a part-time role opened up, he accepted a position in Sierra Leone at Fourah Bay College. Settling into the faculty of theology, Turner was not so sure about a new staff member fresh from the British evangelical hotbed, Tyndale House, Cambridge. But Andrew Walls soon became a close friend and the lives of these two remarkable scholars intertwined from that point.

Eighteen months into this ministry, an unplanned but divinely appointed meeting focused Turner's academic future. In his own words:

Our family was swimming at Lundi, the ocean beach near Freetown favoured by expatriates .... On the beach there was one African in an unusual white gown, with a few others coming and kneeling before him while he placed an iron rod on their heads and said something over them. In curiosity I rather brashly went and asked him about it.

Until then African Independent Churches had received little serious academic attention. Turner became involved firsthand and began ferreting out documented information, ably assisted in those pre-photocopier days by Maude as transcriber. By 1962 he had amassed data for his Melbourne College of Divinity doctoral thesis, published in two volumes as History of an African Independent Church (1967).

From 1963 to 1966 Turner joined Andrew Walls at the Religious Studies Department in the new University of Eastern Nigeria. There he began documenting the presence, history, and practices worldwide of what he taught Westerners to call New Religious Movements in Primal Societies (NRMs). His conceptual tools are still foundational for this now distinct field of academic study.

1966-1972. Turner moved to the University of Leicester, England, to develop a new department around his own phenomenological approach to studying religion. In 1967 he published the first of what became six annotated volumes, Bibliography of New Religious Movements in Primal Societies, documenting primary source materials on six continents. Two years of teaching at Emory University's School of Theology in Atlanta, 1971-72, gave opportunity to visit and document NRMs among Native Americans.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Harold W Turner Remembered
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.