The author was born in 1926. His life has spanned the most radical changes in long-time held beliefs in the Christian Church. Theological scholars of the nineteenth century had begun important work on examining the Christian scriptures in the light of modern methods of analysis.
But the lay population of the churches had never quite caught up on the implications of that scholarship. There was a constant fear amongst the leadership of the Christian Churches that if the truth was out, there would be a falling away from the faith "once delivered to the saints".
By the 1960's, a new generation was seeking more knowledge about the biblical narratives and especially about the life of Jesus. Many young people were even doubting that a man called Jesus had ever lived. Many of them had grown up in families which for a couple of generations had drifted away from the organised church, but there was a renewed interest in religion and alternatives to that faith.
Ewing Stevens, as a Presbyterian minister in a church involved in outreach to many of those young people, was challenged by them to say honestly who he thought Jesus was. Many of these young people were well educated and they wanted to know what they could really believe about the Christian traditions. He set out to try and pass on to them much of what he had absorbed in theological training about the discoveries in theological research of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
It was his writings about what Christians had come to call the “historical Jesus” that caused a ferment not only in the Presbyterian Church but throughout the Christian Churches of New Zealand. In this new book the author places that controversy within the perspective of his whole life from childhood to old age.
The Rev Ewing Stevens MBE, JP, BA, Dip Theology is still a minister of the Presbyterian Church in good standing, but in the meantime he has become a radio broadcaster with a wide New Zealand audience.
In this book "A Follower Of Jesus", the author challenges the Christians within the church, those outside the church, and those belonging to other faiths to consider what is worth basing one's philosophy of life on; to differentiate between what is wishful thinking and what can stand up to the test of rational thought.
After schooldays in Southland, Ewing became an apprentice with Pollok's Pharmacy in Invercargill, his birthplace. Ever since then he has had an interest in health.
His career in pharmacy was interrupted by five years recovering from Tuberculosis in Waipiata Sanatorium in Central Otago. While he was recovering he trained as a TB nurse, and decided that when he was well again he would train for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. This he did at Knox Theological College in Dunedin after achieving his BA at Otago Universitym and it was here that he received his Dip Theology degree.
It was while he was training for the ministry that he began his radio broadcasting experience in 1956 with 4XD Dunedin.
He later served as a media officer for the Church and continued with casual on-air work with 4XD, 4ZB and with YA’s Morning Comment programmes.
While serving as a minister of the Wakari Union Parish in 1972, he was invited to broadcast as a talkback host with 4XO for three one hour sessions a week in those pioneering days of current affairs talkback.
In 1972 Ewing was awarded the M.B.E. for his work with youth in Dunedin.
In 1977 he was transferred to Auckland to become Editor of the Methodist Church’s national weekly newspaper , the “New Citizen”. At the same time, he broadcast one night a week on Radio I.
In 1979 he joined Radio Pacific (now called Radio Live) as a talkback host at the foundation of that station, and for seven years Ewing hosted Radio Pacific’s midday consumer HELP-LINE show. Since 1989 he has been Radio Live's top rating night host, filling the wee small hours from Midnight to 6am.
Ewing also served as a Manukau City Councillor for twelve years, 1986-1998
Ewing’s previous books include “Striking Rock Bottom”, “Sermons on the Apostles’ Creed”, “Sunday Alive”, “Who was Jesus?”, and a series of children’s photo essays, “Jillian goes to School”, “ Fiona Goes to Hospital”, “Carolyn’s Mother has a Baby”, and “Tam Goes Fishing in New Zealand”.
In 1993 the first “Ewing’s Phone People” was published, and 17,000 copies were sold through Radio Pacific. “Ewing’s Phone People” 2, 3, 4 and 5, 6, 7, 8 9 and 10 have followed with total sales of over 100,000. In his time as a radio talk back host he has had published his biography “One Man's Journey”, “A Likeable Rogue” about the prison life of a radio-caller, and most recently “Better than Boot Camp” about his youth work in Dunedin in the 1970's.
Ewing is married to Annette with four grown up children. They have two granddaughters Jana and Sienna and a grandson, Billy..
Ewing and Annette now live at Onetangi on Waiheke Island. He also regularly visits his vineyard in Central Otago and on those occasions he broadcasts from Radio Live's Alexandra studio.read more
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