Adventist Theological Society scholars are among the primary contributors to a forthcoming book series from the Biblical Research Institute at the General Conference on the topic of the Sabbath.
The four volumes will treat Sabbath in the Old Testament; Sabbath in the New Testament; Sabbath in theology and practical topics; and the Sabbath in history. Ekkehardt Mueller, a BRI associate director and ATS board member, reports that the second volume, on the Sabbath in the New Testament, is closest to completion.
Mueller points out that the Adventist Church has published little scholarly work on the topic of Sabbath since Kenneth Strand’s book in 1982 (The Sabbath in Scripture and History, E. P. Dutton). “We have to take a fresh look at some passages in Scripture,” says Mueller, “because Evangelical [scholars] have presented some refined arguments against the Sabbath. The challenge is to show that the Sabbath is as valid in the New Testament as it is in the Old Testament.”
The various volumes each require a different approach, says Mueller. "For the Old and New Testament books, thorough exegetical work is needed (historical-grammatical [biblical], narrative, cultic studies, purity studies, intertextuality, some biblical theology, and so on). The volume on the Sabbath in history requires a thorough historical approach." The third volume will include such practical topics as the Sabbath in worship, creation theology, ethics, ecology, and several others.
The first volume is scheduled for release in 2018.
The first two of a series of conferences organized by the Faith and Science Council at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists were presented in summer 2017, one in St. George, Utah, USA, and the other at Montemorelos University, Nuevo León, Mexico.
“The goal of these conferences,” says ATS treasurer Ed Zinke, “is to explore areas of science and theology that interrelate with and support the biblical worldview, particularly creation and the flood.”
Adventist Theological Society officers and members were integrally involved in the planning and presentation at these conferences, with Zinke in particular taking the lead in making the conferences happen. More than 400 science and religion teachers and school and church administrators participated at each of the 2017 meetings.
“The Faith and Science Conference was a tremendous experience for me,” says Nathan Hess, science teacher at Spencerville Adventist Academy in Maryland, USA. “It was very reassuring to see both Adventist and non-Adventist scientists give solid scientific evidence for their belief in a seven-day creation. . . . We must do excellent science and should resist the temptation to try and bend science into our religious framework. Let the data speak for itself and allow the Creator to open up the amazing world He made.”
Plans are underway for Faith and Science conferences in three other divisions: East-Central Africa (Rwanda); Euro-Asia (Ukraine); and South America (Peru), but dates are yet tentative.
— Gary B. Swanson
With the help of the Adventist Theological Society, more than 60 doctoral candidates from Adventist schools and seminaries from as far away as the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in the Philippines, attended the annual conference of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in Providence, Rhode Island, November 15–17, 2017, and also the one-day ATS meeting on Sabbath, November 18, in nearby Everett, Massachusetts. The students stayed on for the Society of Biblical Literature meetings through November 21.
The three-day ETS conference, themed “The Heritage of the Reformation,” featured speakers from all over the world, and five of the Adventist doctoral candidates were among the presenters. Other ATS scholars also presented papers at the conference. The program was organized into five parallel tracks: program sessions, affiliated society sessions, discipline-specific sessions, theme sessions, and career sessions.
For the Sabbath ATS program, participants traveled to the Cambridge SDA Church. The day began with three plenary sessions, followed by the worship service in which former ATS president Richard Davidson spoke on “Justification by Faith According to the Old Testament.” An afternoon program consisted of two more plenary sessions and twenty break-out presentations, concluding with a panel summary. The meeting closed with an evening general business session that included reports on ATS chapters as well as ongoing media productions and publications.
“The Adventist Theological Society,” says former ATS president Tom Shepherd, who organized the involvement of the Adventist doctoral candidates, “offers a unique opportunity for spiritual enrichment, engagement in the world of scholarship, and even the possibility of interviews for future employment.”
November 17, 2017, marks the opening of the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC with 430,000 square feet of space. The museum is a contemporary commentary on biblical history and has been a vision of its founders for decades.
The museum features more than 40,000 artifacts divided into three sections. The first section speaks about the history of the Bible from its origins until today; the second uses narratives to make biblical history come alive from Genesis to New Testament times; and the third explores the impact of the Book of all books, the best-selling book of all time, on cultures, civilizations, and daily life.
The museum also has a performing arts theater, research labs and libraries, gathering rooms, biblical gardens, and a restaurant.
In the museum, the Bible is primarily presented as a historical artifact, vital for understanding Western culture and a valuable transmission of a specific literary tradition. Biblical narratives are presented in a clear, objective, and descriptive way, without reference to any denominational faith perspective.
Some of the most valuable artifacts are Dead Sea Scrolls, papyrus 39, and the fragment of the Gospel of John. Visitors will also find one of the largest collections of private Torah scrolls and imprints of the Bible from the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa.
Washington, DC was selected as an ideal location to share the story of the Bible with people of cultures, religions, and ethnicities from all over the world. The museum is an attempt to raise awareness of the impact of the most valuable book in history. Historians, archeologists, curators, theologians and preachers, experts in world religions, philosophers and other scholars, Christians of all denominations, and others interested in the nature and influence of the Bible are welcoming this huge project that will make a significant impact on the contemporary US and world culture.
For more information, see the Museum of the Bible site.
— Alex S. Santrac, DPhil, PhD, Professor of Ethics, Philosophy, and Religion, Chair of Religion and Philosophy Department, Washington Adventist University, Takoma Park, Maryland, USA
ATS Academy is recording the second part of the series, “Faith and Life” in May 2018. This series will consist of 26 programs on the following topics: the church; the ordinances; spiritual gifts; stewardship; Christian lifestyle and behavior; marriage and family; health and healing; biblical apocalyptic; divine judgment; the remnant and the three angels’ messages; the second coming of Jesus; the millennium; the new earth and the eternal kingdom; the great controversy.
Michael Campbell (ATS chapter, AIIAS), and Felix Cortez (ATS International) participated in the "Celebration of 500 Years of the Reformation" symposium at the Universidad Peruana Union near Lima, Peru, on October 20–21, 2017.
Hope Channel will begin airing videos in the ATS Academy series called Faith and Life on December 28, 2017. Air times are tentatively set for Sundays at 9:30 a.m., Mondays at 2:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST).
ATS scholars contributed chapters to the new book Here We Stand: Luther, the Reformation, and Seventh-day Adventism (Pacific Press, 2017). Edited by Michael Campbell and Nik Satelmejer, the book is divided into four sections: Historical Foundations; Echoes of Luther in Adventist Theology; Eschatology and Politics; and Dialogue and Legacy. Twenty-seven Adventist scholars from Europe, Africa, North America, South America, and Asia are represented in this landmark study on the effect of Martin Luther on Adventism.
“Luther is the most mentioned Reformer in Adventist literature,” says co-editor Nik Satelmejer. “Ellen White mentions him four times as often as the next four reformers put together.” He says that the purpose of the book is to explore areas of agreement and disagreement between Martin Luther and Adventism.
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