No One Better
Essays in Honour of Dr. Norman H. Young
Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Norman H. Young: Introduction to His Festschrift
- Finding Christ in a Godless Text: The Book of Esther and Christian Typology
- Indeed None Better
- Covenant in Blood: The Cross Foreshadowed in Gen. 15
- The Old Testament Background of Matthew 27:45, 51–53
- Hebraic and Hellenic Echoes in Hebrews 1:1–2
- “Seeing Jesus” and the Theology of Hebrews
- Goats, Calves, Bulls, and Heifer’s Ashes: Heb 9:12–13 and the Day of Atonement in the Epistle to the Hebrews
- John’s Apocalyptic Matrix: Violence and Virtual Reality Ancient and Modern
- Paradigms of Mission: Jesus and Incarnational Ministry and Mission in the Seventh-day Adventist Church
- Seventh-day Adventist—Identity Doctrine and Deed: Straddling Two Worlds
- Identity, Faith and Your Life
Norman Hugh Young, PhD (Norm to his friends, colleagues and students) worked for most of his professional career at a small private higher educational institution called Avondale College. His era at Avondale was characterized by an ability to provide an introduction to a speaker that was half roast, half brilliant oratory, and half information that the speaker would much rather not have known. I myself remember Norm introducing me to a group of incoming theology students, and feeling somewhat glumly that not only would I have been glad that some of that information had not been shared with new students, but that after such a brilliant introduction that whatever I had to say would sound very pedestrian. Shortly afterwards I mentioned to the then College President, Geoffrey Madigan, that when I am speaking away from College my fervent hope is that I should be introduced by somebody other than Norm. Geoff responded, “That’s nothing. What you should fear is to be introduced by Don Hansen.” Others, of course, would add Geoff to the list of those who they would prefer not to be introduced by! These are three of the larger-than-life characters whose acquaintance I made, first as a student at Avondale, and then as a lecturer. Nor was the fine art of the introduction confined to just these three! So it is with great pleasure (and some trepidation) that I take up the task of introducing Norm, and of dedicating this book to him in celebration of his long career of academic excellence.
Norm grew up in Western Australia and was working as a fitter and turner when he started attending a series of meetings conducted by Austin Cook, a Seventh-day Adventist evangelist. Intrigued and convinced by what he heard, Norm was baptised into the Adventist Church, and within a short time, arrived at Avondale College to train to become a Seventh-day Adventist ← 1 | 2 → minister. One of his fellow students remembers that for the first couple of years at Avondale Norm did not stand out as a student, but that changed in his third and fourth years, when he excelled.1 Upon graduation, Norm worked for a while in Southern New South Wales, and then took himself off to Manchester in the United Kingdom, where he first completed a Bachelor of Divinity (Hons) and then a PhD. His doctoral supervisor was F. F. Bruce, an evangelical academic working within the University system in England, and who was already supervising the doctorate of Norm’s former teacher, Desmond Ford. While based in England Norm met and married his wife Elisabeth. When Norm and Liz moved back to Australia, their marriage was blessed with the addition of two children, Paul and Michelle.
Norm has many fine personal qualities that made him ideally suited to the academic environment. He is meticulous in attention to detail, and relentlessly pursues evidence to support or disprove a position without fear or favour. He has always been a loyal member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, although this did not prevent him from applying his searching gaze to distinctive aspects of Adventist theology and biblical understanding. His PhD topic, “The Impact of the Day of Atonement on New Testament Thought,” was no doubt chosen in part because the Adventist understanding of the Day of Atonement in association with Daniel 8:14 did not sit comfortably with what appeared to be the perspective in regard to the Day of Atonement in the New Testament book of Hebrews.
During Norm’s career he was swept up in one controversy, and actively sought engagement with another. The first of these was triggered by a presentation given by his former teacher and colleague, Des Ford. In October 1979, Des had given a talk at Pacific Union College in Angwin California, on the topic: “The Investigative Judgment: Theological Milestone or Historical Necessity?” For some reason, this presentation caught the imagination of many individuals within the Church. This was a time before email and social media. But fax and post were efficient enough that transcripts and recordings of the talk were circulated very widely. For example, I remember visiting a Canberra church in 1980 and meeting with a friend who had transcripts of the talk available quite shortly afterwards, and even at the time I thought that it was remarkable that such information from a talk half way across the globe was so readily available. As a result of this world-wide interest Des was given time by Church leaders to prepare a manuscript stating his position. Norm Young was one of the lecturers from Avondale who joined other Adventist academics and administrators from around the world at Glacier View in Colorado in order to consider the manuscript.2 ← 2 | 3 →
This was a challenging time for the Adventist church as a whole with many Adventist ministers departing Church employment during this period.3 There was great suspicion about the loyalty of those who wished to engage in academic dialogue about the issues raised at Glacier View. Reflecting back on this period, Norm said that he often had to take the role of “Her Majesty’s loyal opposition,” a role respected in a country like Australia which governed itself according to the Westminster system it had inherited from the United Kingdom. Throughout this difficult period, Norm handled himself in a manner that maintained his friendship with Des Ford, his loyalty to the Church, and his clear-eyed reading of the book of Hebrews in the light of all that was known about it in academia.4 Indeed, the book of Hebrews remained a topic that Norm returned to on several occasions in his academic writing.5
The controversy in which Norm sought involvement was that of the imprisonment and then eventual release of Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton. Lindy was the wife of a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, Michael Chamberlain. On 17 August 1980, Lindy and Michael had been camping with their family at Ayers Rock (now usually called Uluru) when their youngest child, baby Azaria, disappeared. Lindy claimed Azaria was taken by a dingo, but in 1982 she was accused and convicted of Azaria’s murder. The initial disappearance of the baby, Lindy’s trial and conviction, and subsequent exoneration generated extraordinary public interest in Australia, something captured in the book Innocence Regained: The Fight to Free Lindy Chamberlain, that Norm Young published in 1989 through Federation Press. This book was the product of Norm’s careful research, and to this day, remains one of the more well-thought-through accounts of the extraordinary events that took place at that time.
It was my privilege to have Norm as a teacher in 1975, and 1980–81, and to work with him for a period of 17 years before he retired in July 2004 (he had begun teaching at Avondale in mid-1973). Between them Norm and Laurence Turner ensured that the Faculty minutes that I presented as committee secretary were accurate in facts and grammar, and he enlivened committees with his dry wit and commitment to excellence tempered with a pastoral care for students. Also significant for me was the fact that Norm, along with Arthur Ferch and Arthur Patrick, had blazed a path that meant that it was natural for me as a young academic working at Avondale to aspire to publishing in the prestigious journals of my discipline, a not inconsiderable achievement working in an institution that for the majority of Norm’s career was structured primarily as a teaching-only institution.6 Norm also set a high standard of personal integrity and spirituality. ← 3 | 4 →
Turning now to a few thoughts about this book. All credit must go to Kayle de Waal for recruiting not only myself as fellow-editor, but all of the contributors of this book. Thanks goes also to those who refereed the chapters of this book (with the exception of this introduction, all of the chapters in this book have been refereed). Norm, we have all written to celebrate the academic and personal contribution that you have made to our lives. We wish you God’s richest blessings!
1. By some quirk of memory, while I remember the comment confidently enough to put it in writing, I have zero memory of who said it—my apologies to that individual for not citing their name.
2. A manuscript subsequently published as Desmond Ford, Daniel 8:14, the Day of Atonement and the Investigative Judgment (Casselberry, FL: Euangelion Press, 1980).
3. In his doctoral dissertation, “Leaving the Adventist Ministry: A Study of the Social Process of Exit,” Thesis (Ph.D.) La Trobe University, 1995, Peter H. Ballis discovered that the events surrounding the eventual dismissal of Des Ford from church employment was a catalyst for many of those who left church employment, even if the specific theological issues were not the key driver of their decisions.
4. Norm has succinctly summed up his understanding of what happened at Glacier View in the chapter, “1844 and all that: Contemporary Adventist Discussion on the Sanctuary Doctrine,” in Robert K. McIver and Ray C. W. Roennfeldt, eds., Meaning for the New Millennium: The Christian Faith from an Adventist Perspective (Cooranbong, NSW: Avondale Academic Press, 2000), 286–290.
5. Norman H. Young, “The Gospel According to Hebrews 9,” NTS 27 (1981) 198–210; idem, “Where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf (Hebrews 6:20),” AUSS 39 (2001): 165–173; idem, “The Day of Dedication or the Day of Atonement? The Old Testament Background to Hebrews 6:19–20 Revisited,” AUSS 40 (2002): 61–68.
6. Avondale is currently seeking University Status, and now publication is part of the expectations of every lecturer, and research is built into their workload. This was not true for most of Norm’s time as an employee of Avondale.
- VI, 170
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (MOBI)
- ISBN (Hardcover)
- Publication date
- 2016 (April)
- Old Testament Hebrew mission sociology of religion New Testament
- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2016. VI, 170 pp.