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20 December 2012


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It gets even more ridiculous. When will denominations realise that Christianity isn't about debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin?

The SDA's even held a special international conference to debate whether Des Ford's ideas were heresy. His question was whether there was a great supreme court in heaven considering all our cases - the "investigative judgement". He called it "an exercise in heavenly cosmology" and the fundamentalists did a Trump.

And I remember Brinsmead - he even had lunch at our house.

What a load of nonsense.

On the SDA's heresy committee, wags at Avondale referred to it as "The White Inquisition", and Des Ford didn't come out so well as Dad as I remember.

Dad used to say "Some people may reject God in their minds, but still have Him in their hearts."

Thanks Adrian. Yes you are quite right, Dad believes that salvation is open to all who have a good heart. I remember that debate. Some fundamentalists tried to have him accused of heresy.

Yes the SDA's have a committee for dealing with such things, and to their credit they exonerated him.

I believe that dissertation may be in the archives at Avondale library.

Hi there. I studied theology at Avondale in the late 60s. I recall (although just before my time there) a "great debate" Russell had with Des Ford on the subject, "Will the Heathen be Saved?" Ford's position was "No". Russell said "Yes". Recently I asked Des if he thought Russell was a believer in Universal Salvation, and he said, yes, he thought so. I myself have recently come to this view (as indeed have so many other folk). Is it possible to find this out? I am even more keen to obtain a copy of his dissertation on this matter. Or if anyone reading this can tell me where I can source this, would be much appreciated. You may contact me on 0450 571 951. On a personal note, Russell is one very kind, "heart" person. On one occasion, he went out of his way to come to one of my private bible study groups and teach a class in the late 70s. God bless you Russell, your love for the ordinary person is well remembered. Till we meet again.

I think this should be the Kranz family theme song.

Another family anecdote - this time from AFJ himself. I told you he could be a bit naughty.

His family were farmers in South Australia, near Wirrabra (unfortunately north of the Goyder line, therefore not sustainable long-term.)

Well AFJ's Uncles used to travel on a horse and dray every month to the nearest town to collect supplies. This would have been in the 1890's. Every time they walked past a small village, two old ladies would peer out from behind the window curtains of a cottage and peer at them as they moved past the house.

The Uncles got a bit peeved about this, as it happened every month. Two old Victorian ladies peering at them from behind the window.

So being Kranzs they decided to play a naughty trick, as this had been going on for over a year.

The next time they went to town, Uncle X stopped the horse before they got to the cottage, and Uncle Y stripped off his clothes so he was completely naked. Then he stood up in the dray with his arms and legs spread, and they slowly drove past the cottage.

The curtains parted, the old ladies took one look, then shut them screaming in horror. A naked man, driving past their house in full glory, in Wirrabra!

The ladies never opened their curtains again.

This is pretty amazing. Marlene Dee (acclaimed PNG children's author) is named after my step-grandmum Marlene Kranz who worked at SOPAS many years ago!

Marlene and Heather, I will be in touch, and will track down the current whereabouts of Marlene Kranz. Heather may know this already.

It has been remiss of me not to follow this up earlier.

Hi Peter - It truly is a very small world. Here I am playing around in family history, not particularly for my cousin Marlene, but just for the joy of it and the great exploration of Adventist Archives on line.

Cousin Marlene married your grandpa way back, and just in the last year or so, we've enticed her into the world of emails. Mind you, her beautiful garden takes priority, as always.

We were not aware of your Dad's illness until just recently when a close relative moved into the home at Cooranbong and mentioned your Dad.

Thank you so much for sharing such intimate and personal family stories. How about you write a book, while you still have the encouragement of your Dad? He'd be your best cheer squad.

Just love those tales of college days.My cousins and I all went to Longburn but are now scattered about.

Thanks for sharing the story and paintings. It would be a privilege to sit next to your Dad in God's art classes! And wouldn't we love to be there when 'Uncle' Len takes his first heavenly solo ultra flight!

Warm regards from Brisbane.

Thanks, Peter! This is so awesome in the sense that she is my namesake. I was in contact with her but, when I moved to Lae eight years ago, I lost touch.

My late father Nehemiah Potoura used to work with her at Sopas Adventist Hospital in the early 1960s. They were great friends.

Sadly, my father was shot in cold blood by militants during the Bougainville crisis. Marlene Kranz already knows and in his memory she sent me a lot of his photos taken, during their days in Sopas.

Peter, I will truly appreciate it if you can give me some leads on how to get in touch with her again. My email address is

Marlene - yes I believe so.

Hi Peter, I just read this article with interest and would like to kindly ask you if Marlene Kranz, used to be Marlene Broad. Thanks

Avondale College Library at Cooranbong NSW (near Morisset) has an exhibition of some of Dad's paintings from June to August. Entry is free.

I first heard Pastor Russell Kranz speak at Carmel College in 1962. A brilliant engaging talk of his student days at that Western Australian SDA College.

I remember all the stories - true or otherwise - a brilliant engagement with those young people.

Later Russell was a Lecturer at Avondale College during 1965-66 while I was a Theology Student.

I and other highly conservative theology students often strongly disagreed with his theology, his attitudes to society and his free thinking approach to religion and life.

After leaving Avondale and the employ of the Adventist Church, I began to realise the significance and relevance of Russell's thinking, approach to society and life.

I wrote to him telling him of my new found appreciation of his theology and philosophies etc.

Later as a Lecturer at Avondale I publicly acknowledged my appreciation and change of view as I had the honour of introducing Russell to the full assembly of students as he addressed them for an opening Chapel service of the new academic year.

Again the brilliant engaging, reasoned, thoughtful, balanced Kranz approach was witnessed.

I now have the honour of owning two of his watercolours which are shown to all visitors to my home.

God Bless Pastor Russell Kranz - honoured teacher, brilliant mentor, dear friend!

Dr John R Godfrey
Retired Senior Reserach Fellow
Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia

I saw my first cricket match in 1961. A test at Lords. Dad took us there as as treat. My sister fell asleep on my shoulder (can't really blame her, as cricket can be boring).

But I was intrigued by this fast bowler from Yorkshire - Fred Trueman. He was bowling like a bat out of hell against Benaud and Harvey.

They were scared, but stood their ground. Then Harvey belted a bouncer to the boundary and hit the ball out of the ground.

Even the Poms cheered.

Australia won by 5 wickets. Those were the days!

On the evils of old "illegal" radio. My Grandma gave me a crystal radio set (remember those?) for Christmas in 1962.

Through careful tuning and placement of the aerial, I could pick up 4BC and heard my first Lonny Donegan, Shadows and Beatles songs (My ole man's a dustman, Apache, Love love me do).

It's been downhill from there!

Thanks for the comment Russell. Actually Marlene was AFJ's third wife (after Ethel then Joy).

I imagine that in 1956 Alf was doing Principal rounds at Longburn and came across an "illegal" radio earth and tracked you down.

Bible colleges were pretty strict in those days, but old Alf got up to a few tricks of his own when he was a lad!

He was also badly beaten up when he disturbed some thieves when doing his rounds in the early '60s, but recovered to tell the tale to us wee youngsters.

Just came across this site today. Marleen, AFJ Kranz's second wife, is coming to visit at 2pm this afternoon.

I was at Longburn 1956 when Pastor Kranz extracted a kitchen spoon from the garden underneath our room that was connected to a radio. Boys don't change.

Earle - Yes I do remember! I was a teenager at the time.

Dad was regarded as something of a radical by the authorities and attracted a group of more liberal thinking young people like Dave Markham, Strickland, Mel Stewart and others.

Great to have your comments.

Stumbled on this. I worked for Russell at the New Gallery as his custodian, projectionist, handyman right after Newbold College. (BTW, Leonard Barnes was a lecturer there.)

Had many wonderful times then. I do recall some of the more ultra conservatives were not in sync with some of the ideas of Russell. I wish him the best.

I think I recall meeting you as well Peter. This was around 1973-74.
small world -- contact me via Facebook

Another neighbour of Dad's at the Cooranbong nursing home with a long history of service in PNG is Pastor L.H. Barnard. Any PNG students at Avondale with an an interest in PNG history would do well to seek him out for an interview.

He was a pioneer of missionary aviation in the highlands in the '50s and '60s and trained many pilots to bring medical and educational resources to remote communities.

He's still going strong.

Oh Russel's an SDA! Great! I was brought up in this church. Well a big thank you to him for the work he did in PNG. I am sure he has won many souls and thus stars for his crown.

I wish him good health and strength.

Another Dad story.

Well SDA's are supposed to be vegetarians - but they're not very consistent.

Dad was a student at Carmel College, and his friends were farm boys from the bush.

One Christmas, they were sick of the lentil patties and potato cakes and raided the chook shed. They managed to cook a big rooster in the fireplace. But then the call rang out "Principal inspection!"

What could they do?

They tied the cooked chook onto some string and let it out the window.

The Principal duly inspected and found nothing.

After he had left they hauled up the string to enjoy the rest of their Christmas dinner.

There was nothing but a note on the string It said -

"Thanks for the chook! Happy Christmas from the boys below you on the second floor!"

Great story Peter. Glad we have you trouble-making through the pages of PNG Attitude.

Enjoyed reading the story of the Kranz family. Thanks KJ.

And to Peter, thanks for sharing the extra bit about your dad and grandad. Wonderful. Living near Coorangbong myself I am sure we will cross paths sooner or later.

There's a bit more to Dad's story about being arrested in Melbourne in 1942. My Grandad, AFJ Kranz, was also an SDA pastor and educator and was principal of the Carmel College near Perth.

The WA Government at the time (being rather over-zealous in support of the war effort) decided that ministerial students were not exempt from call up as at that time all SDA students were required to spend some time working at the College to help pay their fees, such as working on the farm etc. for a few hours a day.

Not a bad educational idea.

Grandad was incensed at the stand taken by WA and appealed to Canberra and was granted a meeting with the Federal Minister for Education at the time, to present his case. The Minister agreed with him, the Feds overruled WA, and ministerial students were accepted as being exempt from call up.

We Kranz's have a history of trouble-making!

Thanks Keith, for that lovely Christmas story about the Kranz family, but especially Peter's father, Russell Kranz, and some of his beautiful watercolour paintings.

I know the SDA Church has done a lot to help PNG over the years.

I pray that God will continue to bless the Kranz family and that they will have a Christmas filled with God's joy and peace.

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