Public Lecture: Evert-Jan Ouweneel

Eastern College Australia was joined by Dutch Philosopher, Evert-Jan Ouweneel for a Public Lecture on 2 May, 2017.

The world is currently hit by a “perfect storm”, causing anxiety especially in the West — As our world is globalising, more and more threats and risks also have a global nature: hackers and terrorists don’t care about borders, nor does climate change, a pandemic or nuclear disaster. All of these issues can only be tackled through international cooperation.

Yet, at the moment, we see quite the opposite, especially in the West: populist nationalism calling for ‘self-protection’, as if the issues are only national a airs. Coming from a time of unprecedented wealth and security, it is painful for many Westerners to accept that 1) we do not politically or economically control the world anymore, and 2) some risks won’t go away. Time for Western societies to invest in resilience and global citizenship.


Watch the Public Lecture here, or download the video or audio from the lecture:

About Evert-jan Ouweneel:
Since 2009 he has served as Senior Advisor Public Engagement on Faith & Development within the fundraising offices of World Vision. His current role is to inform people in secular societies about the need for “faith literacy” (understanding people of other faiths) and the importance of collaborating with religious leaders when building towards a more peaceful and prosperous world. Evert studied Sociology, Psychology and graduated in Philosophy at the Free University in Amsterdam. He has written over 50 articles in Dutch and some English articles on a variety of Christian and secular topics. He is an appreciated speaker in the Netherlands, known for his seminars on major issues like world history, world religions and world trends. He also speaks regularly in churches and Christian organisations and at Christian events.

Student Life: Kylie Inglis

“Initially I chose to study at Eastern because of its reputation to produce students who not only studied the word but actually lived it. I continued to study at Eastern because I valued their particular method of teaching, one which primarily equipped students to think and discern by presenting the spectrum of theology within the Body, rather than prescribing a particular denominational stream. This method of teaching disciplined a return to Scripture through the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I wrestled with theological ideas. Furthermore, I am thankful that Eastern has equipped me to discern theology through humility and the fruit of the Spirit.  

Highlights of my time at Eastern were often found in classes that sought to practically engage spiritual gifts. This application meant that theology was never just a dry form of study, but always rightly partnered with an experimental life – without dichotomy.

I personally loved the college life at Eastern. It is a community that values intimacy, discussion and practicality. Both students and lecturers were friendly and easy to get to know. Lecturers always took the time to assist me in my studies. I leave knowing them not just as great teachers, but also friends.

I have just accepted a role with Youth for Christ as the Discipleship Coordinator and Regional Team Leader for the Northern Suburbs. I am also currently completing my Masters in Practical Theology and hope to go on to do a Doctorate. My future plans include starting a Discipleship Training School, where I plan to teach theology and empower and equip the saints and leaders, to make disciples and live out the Great Commission in Spirit-led power, integrity and humility. ”

– Kylie Inglis

School of Theology:
Bachelor of Theology:

Eastern Class of 2016

On the 17 March 2017, we celebrated the Eastern College Australia Class of 2016 Graduation Day!

89 graduates (73 Higher Education, 16 VET) were honoured.

It was a great afternoon and evening reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future. The ceremony was enjoyed by family and friends with talks from Principal Cheryl McCallum, alumni Dr Kirk Franklin and graduating student Chris MacCleod.

Dr. Kirk Franklin, Executive Director of the Wycliffe Global Alliance, and a graduate of the college, was the guest speaker and spoke on Creating Third Spaces in a Post-Truth World.

Four Master of Transformational Development graduates were recognized at celebration held in Kuala Lumpur two weeks after the Ceremony.

Congratulations, Class of 2016!

Rethinking the World and Missions: Davya Khanal

“My choice in joining the Master of Transformational Development (MTD) programme at Eastern College has been one of the best moments of my life. I was praying and exploring for the Christian universities which could help me learn theology that is not only limited to dogmas but has a wider reach to embrace the issues the world is facing today. And, I must take pride in saying that Eastern is one such Christian institution which has dared to go extra mile in search of an authentic biblical theology that reflect the holistic mission of church in the world.

I count myself fortunate to have the opportunity to spend the last three wonderful years as Eastern student. Though my journey with the MTD was short, and it has come to an end today, the lessons learned from it are something that will last the rest of my life. There are so many things I remember learning from the MTD programme which I am happy to tell you. But, for the sake of time, I would recall only a few of them here. The biggest lesson I learned – and I am probably speaking for a lot of Eastern students – is that we learn to unlearn and relearn in life. There were so many things that had been the way of life for us as Christians. We were not just comfortable, but probably very convinced that the church was something ‘separated out’ from the world and ‘anointed’ to proclaim the soul saving grace to the rest. We used to believe our theologies were the most correct, the church we did was the best accorded and the ministry call we had needed the world’s attention because to these we had our absolute commitment and accordingly put everything to make them look real, authentic and appalling, which at times, regretfully, did harm us and the world than good. But we continued to be what we used to be, seeking our own gain in expenses of others. And, probably we lost sight of our common sense and became entrenched in the super sense. I recall a satire long time back I heard that says, “Things go wrong when Christians forget their common sense and start to operate in the super sense.”

There are countless lessons and experiences I came across during my time with the MTD that kind of brought many turns and twists in my understanding of theology and mission. First, the subjects taught in the MDT programme helped me realize the dangers of operating in the super sense as it often tends to project you at the center of everything. They enabled me to come to hold onto and love my common sense which says, “God is in the center and I am just one of his instruments in his restorative mission”. The topics in each semester confronted me in way never before and helped me shape my missional perspectives. I was challenged to rethink the way I define the world and mission. I was reminded that the world we so dearly seek to save is in difficult situation not because it was unable to evolve itself, as Darwin would argue, but because we failed in our God ordained responsibility to care for them.

 I am sure a lot of my colleagues will echo my MTD learnings. MTD is such a platform which encourages us to go extra mile, seek more from God and from life so that we become what God intends us to be. It points you to a direction where there are people needed to be rescued, wrongs needed to be right and relations needed to be restored. MTD taught and helped us to lose some our own identities so that we are better prepared to recognize and respect the identity of others. I can now say it aloud, “I am prepared to go into the wilderness where I will discover that marvelous voice, calling, “I will be there before you” (Mk 16:7).

Davya Khanal
Masters of Transformational Development Graduate

Discover the course here:

Get to know Tom Edwards: Director of Research

Tell us a little about yourself…
– I am married to Laura, one cat.
– Director of Research at Eastern and work at Crossway Lifecare as a counsellor.
– BSc(Hons), MCounselling, PhD, Grad Cert Higher Ed.  Honours in developmental genetics (i.e. embryology of the central nervous system) and PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience looking at the biochemistry of memory.
– Director of Research at Eastern College Australia.

What’s your church background and involvement?
Anglican.  I have served terms on Parish Council.

What are your hobbies?
Fencing, exercising generally, bushwalking, landscape photography, woodwork, reading.

What are you passionate about in today’s Christian context?
Seeing people develop a personal relationship with God.

What is your hope for Eastern College Students?
To grow into whom God would have them be.

Tom Edwards is the Director of Research at Eastern College Australia and a great asset to the lecturers and educational life of the college. 

Get to know Sarah Michael: Lecturer in Education

Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m married to a wonderful man and have two lovely children. After graduating with a Bachelor of Education from university in England I taught in England, India and Bangladesh before moving to Australia. I continued primary teaching alongside other roles until my first child was born. I studied for my Master in Educational Leadership and began as an adjunct lecturer with Tabor (now Eastern) while home with our two young children, and then began my current role as Professional Experience Coordinator with some lecturing in Education.

What’s your church background and involvement?
I have grown up with the church being prominent in my life and have attended a range of churches due to numerous moves. The one constant has been finding a Christian ‘home and family’ in which to participate, and have enjoyed being involved in worship groups, children’s, youth and adult group leadership. I have attended Bridge Church for as long as I have been in Australia.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy being outdoors enjoying the country, driving, walking and camping with family and friends. I love cooking and creating opportunities for people to spend time together, preferably with something yummy to indulge in (chocolate brownie anyone?).

What are you passionate about in today’s Christian context?
That Christians have and take the opportunity to add their voice and bring a Christian perspective across all aspects of society, from the Federal level to the local community level, in order to bring God’s kingdom values into people’s daily experience. I am specifically passionate about this in relation to the schooling experiences that children and young people receive.

What is your hope for Eastern College Students?
That they will find their place to contribute to their community, taking with them a knowledge and love of God, a love of people and a love of learning.

Sarah is a Lecturer and the Professional Experience Coordinator in Education
Discover her courses here: 

Bachelor of Education (Primary)
Bachelor of Education (Secondary)

Get to know Aaron Garth: Youth Studies Coordinator

Tell us a little about yourself…
I am a husband to an awesome woman. A father to five little characters (four girls and one boy). I am a high school dropout and first in my family to go to university.  I hold a B. Soc. Sci (Youth Work) and a Master of Social Work as well as a few minor qualifications. I have worked over the past 14 years in the youth and social services field and for the past two years I have coordinated the Youth Studies discipline at Eastern College Australia.

What’s your church background and involvement?
I started going to a Baptist church in my youth and now attend an Anglican missional Community in Melbourne’s Outer Northern Suburbs

What are your hobbies?
When I get to them (I have five kids remember) I love to work on cars and play guitar.

What are you passionate about in today’s Christian context?
 As a Church we are desperately in need of people who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and meet the least, the last and the lost in their context. My passion is training those people to meet young people in their schools, their homes, on the streets etc. As a Church we currently have very little contact with the young people who really need us, I want to change that.

What is your hope for Eastern College Students?
That they will see the gap before them and work out the best way they can fill it. We need you to make Church relevant to a community that doesn’t see that any more.

Aaron is the Youth Studies Coordinator at Eastern College Australia
Discover his courses here: 
Bachelor of Arts in (Youth Work)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Youth Work)
Youth Studies can also be taken as Bachelor studies in Theology, Ministry, Mission or Biblical studies.

‘Just’ God

Many years ago, when Eastern was still Tabor, the college campus was in the rustic surrounds of Ringwood and dinosaurs roamed the earth I had an encounter with a student that would change my spiritual life.

Levi* was a Jewish Rabbi who had experienced a miraculous encounter with Jesus and become a Messianic Jew. Even in a city the size of Melbourne he quickly became a cause célèbre among the Christian community and an object of scrutiny by the Jewish community. He decided he wanted to learn more about this new-found Jesus and enrolled in a Christology class at Tabor. He was an enquiring and thoughtful student.

One day he came to see me in my office. After the usual chitchat about family, life and study he got to the point of his visit. He explained that he wanted to understand what “just God” meant. Eager to help, I launched into a lengthy exposition of the just nature of God. I came at it from every possible angle – systematic theology, biblical theology, biblical exegesis of key verses, church history and missional perspectives. Even I was impressed by the breadth of information – no one could fail to be convinced by my presentation of the justice of God.

Sitting back, perhaps feeling ever so slightly smug at my role in educating this man, I waited for Levi to indicate his understanding and deep satisfaction with my discourse. To my shock, he smiled and informed me that I had not understood his question. Exercising some humility, I asked him to tell me exactly what his question was and decided, this time, to listen carefully to what he said.

Levi asked “Cheryl, what do Christians mean when they are praying to God and they use the word just?” Not wanting to make the same mistake twice, I probed for some more information “Give me an example”. “Well” he answered “Everyone always prays ‘Please God, just do this, just do that’”. “And” he continued in a somewhat astonished tone, “they are not little things! They pray for God to just heal cancer or just perform a miracle”. He looked at me earnestly, “Tell, me, what is the meaning of this just? Is it a special Christian word?”

Reassuring Levi that just was not a magical Christian word that guaranteed God’s action, I was able to send him away happy in the knowledge that his prayers were being heard even if he didn’t use “Christianese” to express himself.

But Levi’s ‘outsider’ insight opened my eyes and ears. When I next met with people to pray, I noticed how often prayers began with ‘Dear God, we just ask….’ And soon it seemed like every time someone prayed I heard ‘just’ scattered through the requests to God. And not only requests, we were also ‘just’ thanking him for his blessings.

Before long, I could not use that word in my prayer life – I was continually reminded of the enormity of what I was asking or who I was addressing – and ‘just’ just seemed too banal, diminishing and trite. Levi had done me a great spiritual service in alerting me to the lack of respect and awe that a little word can indicate.

This is not to condemn anyone who habitually uses ‘just’ in their prayers. I think, for almost all it is simply a speech habit and Christian colloquialism and is done without thought. But, thanks to Levi, I am very careful not to use this word. Pedantic, maybe, but it comes from a desire to never be guilty of trivializing what connection with the Almighty Creator means in prayer.

Thanks, Levi, for an innocent question that sparked spiritual change in my life.

*Not his real name.

Dr Cheryl McCallum
Principal of Eastern College Australia