ATS Annual Symposium To Go Virtual
The 2020 Adventist Theological Society (ATS) Fall Symposium will take place on November 20 and 21. The venue has changed to an online-only event. According to Rahel Wells, ATS president-elect, restrictions caused because of COVID-19 concerns made it necessary to move to a livestream event.
“We are currently finalizing details for our November event. The theme will focus on Christianity and Islam. Viewers can attend a Friday night worship and Sabbath School, which will feature Bible Bites. These short presentations cover a variety of topics and fields of study. They are devotional-type presentations that take biblical scholarship and apply it to daily life,” says Wells. “John Reeve, current ATS president, will also present the ATS President’s Message.”
Sabbath afternoon includes presentations on relational strategies to reach Muslims, church history, and other topics.
“We are also coordinating with the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) for ATS papers to be presented during their annual meeting on November 17-19,” says Wells.
To keep current on all announcements, including registration and where to join the livestream, check the ATS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/adventisttheologicalsociety7/.
Using Social Media and Making an Impact
In 2020 if you want to reach an audience with your message, social media is a must. Today, 48.2 percent of Baby Boomers, 77.5 percent of Gen X’ers, and 90.4 percent of Millennials are actively using social media. Users spend an average of three hours daily using social networks and messaging.
Using this background, members of the Adventist Theological Society (ATS) brainstormed how best to share ATS members’ mission with a broader audience. “We want to reach theologians, clergy, and laypersons with information ATS members provide,” says Rahel Wells, president-elect.
The ATS leadership explored how best to engage its website and Facebook page. In November 2019, the ATS Executive Committee approved Wells’s proposal to hire a part-time social media director.
“We are working with Nathaniel Gibbs, a doctoral student at Andrews University, to coordinate the ATS social media presence,” says Wells. “As a pastor and theologian, he can serve as the bridge between theologians and church members.
What’s Your Platform Choice?
Gibbs is conducting groundwork exploration into which social media platforms to use and prioritize. “I’d like to see Facebook become a place where there can be an interaction between laypeople and scholars,” says Gibbs. “Future options may include a private group where members can receive information about the society’s activities and news content.”
According to Gibbs, attracting the attention of university students is a priority. “We will seek ways to engage both undergraduate and graduate students with our social media content,” he says.
To do this means discovering what platform they frequent most and providing content in those locations. New content doesn’t need to be created, just repurposed from publications, productions, and programs. “ATS offers many resources including the Perspective Digest, the Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, the ATS newsletter,” says Gibbs. “Sharing the availability of these through different outlets helps users know what is available and where to locate it. We also hope to grow additional digital content in the future.”
Making and Deepening the Connection
“We are seeking church members who want to study deeper,” says Wells. “As a centrist voice, ATS demonstrates that theologians can connect lay members with Adventist theology in the presence of solid Adventist scholarship.”
All ATS members are encouraged to like and follow the ATS Facebook page. You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/adventisttheologicalsociety7/.
Teaching Biology From a Biblical Worldview
The recent publication of By Design Biology: The Scientific Study of Life will equip secondary education level teachers and students to approach biology from a biblical worldview.
A group of Christian authors and editors, led by Timothy Standish of the Seventh-day Adventist Geoscience Research Center in Loma Linda, California, have created the new textbook. Larry Blackmer, former North American Division vice-president for education and a trained biologist, served as executive editor.
The textbook is designed to teach students about the contrasting views of biblical theism, God’s existence and His role in Creation, with materialistic Darwinism, a theory that claims life began without divine intervention.
In an interview with the Adventist Review, Standish said, “Skipping over evolution—which is pushed with ever more enthusiasm in secular textbooks—is common in private and public schools. Our objective has not been to disregard evolution, but to ensure that students educated using By Design Biology will have a better understanding of evolution than their peers.”
KendallHunt Publishing guided the authors and editors in meeting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which are being increasingly implemented in school districts across the United States. The NGSS have met with criticism for not allowing for various worldviews among university students. But the students who do not meet the standards are at a disadvantage when attending university. The By Design Biology will assist students in understanding the concept of the theory of evolution and attaining the NGSS requirements, while at the same time upholding Seventh-day Adventist standards in our belief of a God-centered Creation.
More information about the textbook and supporting materials is available at the KendallHunt Publishing website https://rpd.kendallhunt.com/program/bydesign-biology or at their blog https://rpd.kendallhunt.com/blog/design-biology-teacher-resources-enhance-learning.
Andrews Bible Commentary Published
The first two of two volumes of the new Andrews Bible Commentary, published by Andrews University Press, are now available. The eight-year project is being led by ATS member Ángel Manuel Rodríguez, former director of the Seventh-day Adventist Biblical Research Institute. Other ATS members involved in the project include Carl P. Cosaert, dean of the School of Theology and professor of biblical studies at Walla Walla University in College Place, Washington; and Gerald A. Klingbeil, associate editor of Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines, as well as research professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan. ATS member Ronald Knott is director of Andrews University Press.
The Commentary’s contributors are from around the globe with thirty-four Adventist theologians supplying material for the Old Testament volume, and twenty-three theologians for the New Testament volume. Orders for the Andrews Bible Commentary can be placed through universitypress.andrews.edu.
Learn more about the Andrews Bible Commentary project at https://www.adventistreview.org/a-commentary-for-our-times
Gane Shares Biblical Principles on Quarantine
On July 6, 2020, the Adventist Review published Roy Gane’s article “God’s Guidance for Controlling Contagion.” According to Gane, the piece is a restatement of his earlier material that appeared in Perspective Digest 25:3 (2020).
Gane reviews eight principles in Leviticus and Numbers that relate to biblical quarantines. According to Gane, “the stated purpose of the quarantines was to prevent the spread of physical ritual impurities, symptomatic of the human life cycle of mortality resulting from the Fall into sin that would defile the camp in which God’s holy sanctuary was located. So, any application to the COVID-19 pandemic or similar health crises would be indirect.” The entire article can be accessed at https://www.adventistreview.org/gods-guidance-for-controlling-contagion.
Nalin Appointed GRI Director
On July 9, 2020, Ronnie Nalin was appointed the new director of the Geoscience Research Institute (GRI), by the Seventh-day Adventist Church General Conference Executive Committee. He replaces James Gibson, who recently retired after more than three decades leading the Loma Linda, California-based institute.
Nalin studied at the University of Padova, in his native Italy, where he earned both a Master of Science and a doctorate in Earth Sciences. He began his work at the GRI as an assistant researcher geologist. In 2014, he became an associate researcher. He was appointed to the role of GRI’s deputy director in 2018.
Nalin’s teaching experience includes serving at Loma Linda University in California in the Department of Earth and Biological Sciences. Courses he taught included Introduction to Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Historical Geology, and Stratigraphy and Basin Analysis.
As a guest speaker and leader of trips on several continents, Nalin has helped educate and train Adventist science teachers and professors. He’s published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals on sedimentary geology.
He’s a member of several professional associations, including the Geological Society of America and the International Society of Sedimentologists.
New Books Penned by ATS Members
“Our publications have a most sacred work to do in making clear, simple, and plain the spiritual basis of our faith.”—Ellen G. White, Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 11.
Several ATS members have recently published new books currently available through the Adventist Book Center. Most are available in both print and e-book formats.
Did you know that every fossil tells two stories—how it was formed and how it was found. Dr. Leonard Brand shares accounts of God’s faithfulness in his daily life as a paleontologist in Secrets Uncovered.
As Christians witness today’s world events, they know the Bible has a map of where Planet Earth is headed. Some of those details are found in the Bible books of Daniel and Revelation. If you are seeking a refresher study on these books, you’ll want to read Mark Finley’s new Understanding Daniel and Revelation. Finley reminds the reader that prophecy reveals a God who is still in control.
Having hope in troublesome days brings peace, but how can you share that with others. Mark Finley’s Making Friends for God tells about the universal principles of sharing your faith with grace, love, and credibility by speaking from your heart’s own experience. The book complements the Adult Bible Study Guide for Quarter 3, 2020.
Scientists who are willing to research the challenging questions are testing some of the bedrock assumptions undergirding the long-held naturalistic theories of the evolutionary community. Accumulating research, even in geology, is providing more evidence in favor of a biblical worldview, and the theory of biological macroevolution is facing new challenges. Leonard Brand shares details in Genesis and Science: Where Is the Evidence Going?
Editor Gerald Klingbeil has compiled a collection of reflections that were published in Adventist World. 28 Ways to Spell Your Faith shares the thoughts and interactions of a wide range of authors on various Bible beliefs and how their personal faith has been impacted.
This volume contains introductory articles that:
- Provide a clear explanation of Seventh-day Adventist doctrines and their history
- Explore the relationship between Ellen G. White’s writings and the Bible
- Help to understand unfamiliar terminology
- Introduce some of the interesting people who shaped our faith family
- Teach the meaning and background of some of our unique lingo
- Answer questions about Adventist lifestyle
- Explain even complex theological terms in an easy-to-understand way
Helping children understand Creation and the plan of salvation are an essential foundation to their faith development. In God, Science, Friends: And God’s Love For You, Dr. Leonard Brand tells the entire story from Creation through the plan of salvation—and he shares real, scientific evidence in stories that kids will enjoy and understand.
In Regrets On An African River: And Other Adventures, Jeff Scoggins guides you through his adventures as a military brat then missionary kid turned missionary family. The exciting stories help the reader discover that the best adventure is living life with Jesus.