Praise for seminarian’s new book

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Signs Publishing book editor Nathan Brown and Dr Kayle de Waal at the launch of the Avondale seminarian's book, Hearing the Way. (Credit: Brenton Stacey)

A popular music event at Avondale University College has shared its stage and crowd with the launch of a new book from the head of the seminary.

Praise Hymn’s appeal is its informal congregational-singing-in-the-round format hosted by Dr Lyell Heise from the Institute of Worship at Avondale. Now in its third iteration, the October 26 event featured vocal ensemble The Promise, Gabriel Ontanu (viola) and Oliver Doyle (flugelhorn) and again filled Ella Hughes Chapel on the Lake Macquarie campus. But this time it also included a devotional by Dr Kayle de Waal, who reflected on themes from Hearing the Way. Dr Heise introduced the devotional with the hymn, “All The Way My Saviour Leads Me,” the lyrics of which morph imagery of the Exodus into the experience of the Christian life.

Hearing the Way shows how the story of the Exodus is key to our understanding of Jesus, the early church and the New Testament, and for what it means to follow Jesus today. “The book explores the life, death, resurrection and ministry of Jesus through the lens of the ‘Way’,” explained Dr de Waal. “It is a concept that comes through a number of times across the New Testament, as the first believers wrestled with trying to understand what Jesus had done.”

He noted how the early believers—as recorded in the book of Acts—were “followers of the Way” and how this moniker reflected a number of key passages in the Old Testament, the disciples’ understanding of how God had intervened in the history of His people and that something even more significant had taken place in the coming of Jesus.

“Studying the Bible in this way can help us grow in our understanding of how the New Testament came into being, with the focus on the central Person to be followed, to be admired, to be loved—and that’s the ‘Way’, Jesus Christ.”

Hearing the Way includes discussion questions for “Growing Hearing Communities” for use in small groups. “I think this book can make a difference in your own journey with God,” said Dr de Waal.

Praise Hymn featured Dr Lyell Heise on piano and Avondale University College vocal ensemble The Promise. (Credit: Brenton Stacey)

Signs Publishing book editor Nathan Brown values working with a scholar such as Dr de Waal on what is their third book project. “I get to ask questions about the content of the book, sometimes for my own curiosity but often to help clarify something within the manuscript to better communicate it to readers,” he explained. “I appreciate working with Kayle, as he combines academic insights with a pastoral passion—and I believe this is a valuable resource for churches and church members.”

Dr de Waal has had opportunities to share Hearing the Way in a number of settings since its release in late September, including a camp-meeting in southern Queensland and a youth rally in Melbourne. But the launch at Avondale was an occasion to celebrate with family, friends, colleagues and the university college community.

Praise Hymn and the launch of Hearing the Way was presented by Bread for Life, an initiative to support and nurture spirituality and wellbeing at Avondale.

Hearing the Way: What the First Christians Heard in the Story of Jesus by Dr Kayle de Waal—as well as Mission Shift and Ancient Words, Present Hope—is available from Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand or online at adventistbookcentre.com.au.