April 14, 2022

Well-known Pastor, Evangelist, and Theologian Jack Sequeira Dies at 89

He served the Adventist Church in various capacities on three continents.

Adventist Review Staff

E. H. “Jack” Sequeira, a well-known and at times controversial Seventh-day Adventist pastor, evangelist, and theologian, died in Portland, Oregon, United States, on March 26, 2022, after a stroke. He was 89.

During almost 60 years of service to the Adventist Church in various capacities, Sequeira was a sought-after preacher and evangelist on three continents. Many church members trace their connection to the Adventist Church to Sequeira’s preaching and teaching.

A Life in Ministry

Jack Sequeira was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1932. His parents had immigrated to Kenya from Goa, a Portuguese enclave on the west coast of India. He joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church through evangelism in 1957, being baptized by Robert Wieland. At that time he was also taught Wieland’s unique doctrinal position, which Sequeira would eventually adopt.

According to his official website, after he felt called to the ministry, Sequeira rode from Nairobi to England on his motorcycle and spent 14 months working as a literature evangelist before enrolling at Newbold College. He graduated in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in theology and later earned a Master’s in systematic theology at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States.

Together with his wife, Jean, Sequeira served as a missionary for 17 years in Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. He served as Bible teacher, departmental director, university chaplain, ministerial director, and college president.

In 1982, the Sequeiras moved to the U.S., where Jack served as a local church pastor until his retirement in 2001. Even after retirement, he enjoyed preaching and seminar appointments. Jean was an editorial secretary for Adventist Review for eight years. She was well known as a presenter for women’s events and for her animated missions and children’s stories.

Jack Sequeira’s Theology

According to retired Biblical Research Institute (BRI) associate director Gerhard Pfandl, Sequeira held what is usually called Federal Theology. Federal Theology teaches that “God deals with mankind in the persons of the first and second Adam,” Pfandl wrote in an analysis of Sequeira’s theology. “The choice to sin by the first Adam was something in which all his descendants participated…. Therefore, there exists a kind of corporate responsibility, even corporate guilt, for which all of us need to repent,” Pfandl explained.

Sequeira also suggested that when Christ (known as the second Adam) died, we all died with Him. And because every person participated in Christ’s death, hence every person is justified. “This type of universalism is modified by the fact that a person can opt out of the justified state and become lost, but only by conscious choice,” Pfandl wrote; “otherwise, he/she remains justified.”

Pfandl explained that the Bible teaches differently. “The cross made provision for God to save us, but we must accept this provision by faith. Unless we make this choice to accept salvation by faith, we will be lost,” Pfandl wrote. “Sequeira and Wieland say that unless we choose to be lost, we will be saved.”

Another one of Sequeira’s teachings is that Jesus saved men and women in actuality, not vicariously. “When Christ died on the cross, all humanity was legally justified because all humanity died with Him there,” Sequeira wrote.

For Pfandl, this is not what the Bible teaches. “We did not die on the cross. Christ died for us, vicariously, instead of us…. He died for us, in our place,” Pfandl wrote.

Sequeira’s Influence

In various church regions, church members and leaders acknowledge Sequeira’s contribution in revival and evangelistic meetings. For example, according to the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, the Adventist Youth Organization in Kenya traced its roots to a series of sermons preached by Sequeira in 1966. At that time, Sequeira was a teacher at Kamagambo Adventist College. “[His preaching] created a passion in some young people who decided to do something for their fellow youth,” it states.

Several church members and leaders have commented that they remember Sequeira’s “infectious smile” and preaching on righteousness by faith. Many attest that he was used by God to bring many to accept Jesus as their Savior.

Sequeira is survived by his wife of 58 years and two children. Jenny, born in Uganda, was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Gambia and worked with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Azerbaijan, among other NGO service projects. She still oversees programs for children’s and women’s health in Africa. Christopher, born in Kenya, and his wife, Nenette, serve at Livingston Adventist Academy in Salem, Oregon.

A memorial service has been announced for May 22. Details are pending. 

Adventist Review Staff