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Wealth and Poverty: The 2021 ATS Annual Conference

ATS logoThe 2021 Adventist Theological Society (ATS) annual meeting met in Fort Worth, Texas, in conjunction with the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) from November 16-20. This was the first in-person ATS annual meeting since 2019 and the beginning of the pandemic.

            On Wednesday, ATS members presented papers on “Wealth and Poverty” during the ETS conference. ATS president John Reeve chaired the morning session, and ATS president-elect A. Rahel Wells chaired the afternoon session. Presenters included Jahisber Peñuela-Pineda, Adventist University of Colombia; Jônatas de Mattos Leal, Andrews University; Jonathan A. Campbell, Dallas Theological Seminary; Thomas R. Shepherd, Andrews University; Erick Mendieta, Antillean Adventist University; Jerome L. Skinner, Andrews University; Paul Dybdahl, Walla Walla University; and Alan F. Parker, Southern Adventist University.

The North American Division Ministerial Association hosted the Friday evening vespers service at the Laurel Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church in San Antonio. Members of the Adventist Society for Religious Studies (ASRS) joined ATS members to welcome the beginning of the Sabbath together.

Communion and small prayer groups were followed by a meaningful exercise when each person was invited to write any grievance or challenges they faced on a small piece of special paper. Then, they placed them in jars that contained a warm chemical solution that almost immediately dissolved the paper. “God has now taken all that which was bothering you,” said David Gemmell, associate director, NAD Ministerial.

            During his vespers message, Carlton Byrd, Southwest Region Conference president, recalled the story of Cain and Abel. “Family feuds are real and happen in real life,” said Byrd. “Sometimes, those closest to us may be the ones with more potential to hurt us. The blood of Jesus is stronger than anything else. We may have family feuds in the church, in our homes, in our jobs, but I want everyone to know that the blood of Jesus will never lose its power. His blood is going to save us.”

            A full day of activities on Sabbath, November 20, allowed ATS members to meet local church members. “This provides fellowship between scholars and lay members,” said Rahel Wells. “It’s a bridge between the ATS and the local church.”

            Sabbath School featured a dynamic discussion with panelists Erick Mendieta, Jerome Skinner, Paul Dybdahl, and Alan Parker.  Glenn Russell from Andrews University challenged listeners during the divine worship service with his thoughts on “Open Your Hearts; Open Your Hands.”

            Following lunch, outgoing ATS President John Reeve presented his presidential address on Comfort My People: Isaiah 40:12 in the Hands of the Early Church Fathers.”

            The remainder of the afternoon programming saw a return of the popular feature, ATS Bible Bites, along with breakout groups, presentations on biblical studies, theology, and practics.

            The annual conference concluded in the evening with the annual business meeting. ATS members reviewed and approved recommended changes to the ATS Constitution, elected Eike Mueller, AIIAS, to fill the position of President-elect, and thanked Clinton Wahlen for his many years of faithful service as the ATS secretary as he leaves that position.

Call For Papers

The Adventist Theological Society invites proposals for its annual meetings to be held in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday through Thursday (Nov 15-17, 2022), and Friday-Sabbath (Nov 18­-19, 2022). In conjunction with the Evangelical Theological Society, this year’s conference theme is “Holiness,” although excellent papers on other topics will be accepted as well.

The topic for this year allows a wide range of reflections in different disciplines on the intersection of God’s nature and character versus human nature and earthly reality.


In response to the difficulties surrounding the continued pandemic, we intend to make the ATS meetings more accessible for international scholars who wish to present or attend the meetings but might not have the opportunity to attend in person. We will have one virtual track for video presentations besides the in-person presentations. Proposals can be submitted for either virtual or in-person modality.


Submission Guidelines:

  • Proposals must be in Microsoft Word format and include an abstract (200-300 words) summarizing the main thesis and trajectory of argumentation.
  • Include in the proposal the paper title, the author’s full name, institution, mailing address, and email address.
  • First time presenters must also submit a complete outline of their paper for review when they submit their proposal.
  • The Adventist Theological Society affirms a high view of Scripture. Proposals should reflect this perspective.
  • Submission of a proposal does not guarantee acceptance.
  • Indicate whether you plan to attend in-person or wish to contribute in virtual modality.

Send proposals to: Eike Mueller, ThD, ATS President-Elect, at: [email protected]

Proposal Deadline: Sunday, April 10, 2022.

If your paper is accepted, we will send you more information regarding scheduling and location when these details are settled. ATS does not have funds to assist presenters with travel expenses.

It is our intention to communicate regarding inclusion of your paper in the ATS conference by June 2022. If you have questions, please email [email protected].

New ATS Website Launched

It all started with a vote on November 20, 2019, during an ATS Executive meeting. The ATS website needed to be refreshed and to provide a more dynamic management system to process memberships, feature publications, host event data, and provide a searchable archive system.

The redesigned site was launched in August 2021. Users can apply for ATS membership and renew existing memberships, access resources from the JATS Online Archive, search audio and video archives, purchase resources, and learn more about the society, its mission, and core values.

If you haven’t perused ATS’s new online home yet, check it out at here

ATS 2022 Virtual Spring Symposium Scheduled for May 15

Are you missing visiting and connecting during the ATS annual meetings? On May 23, at 7:30 p.m. ET, you’ll have the opportunity to come together for worship and fellowship. Breakout rooms will be open for each disciplinary area. You’ll be able to network and share what your current scholarly activities are leading to. You’ll have the opportunity to pray for each other’s challenges and needs. Watch your email for more details on how to connect to this virtual event.  

ATS News Shorts

ATS Members in Print

What Did Ellen White Think?—How should Seventh-day Adventist Christians relate to people of other faiths? William Fagal, former associate director (retired), Ellen G. White Estate, examines this topic by reviewing the writings of Ellen G. White. https://adventistreview.org/article/2111-24/


Popping the Bubble—Language is powerful. Language is transformative. Language is divisive.Language is disruptive. Language is all of this—and so much more. In his Adventist Review article, Gerald Klingbeil tackles the idea that “church speak” might garble the message of mission. And, by learning to share the message in fresh ways, perhaps we’ll “refresh our own parched hearts and hard-edged minds.” https://adventistreview.org/article/2111-34/



Choosing Sides—It’s almost impossible to read or listen to the news, peruse social media, or engage in conversations without the question of where one stands on a particular point raising its head. In the Adventist Review article, “The Right Side,” Lael Caesar, PhD, Associate Editor, Adventist Review, muses on choosing the right side.  https://adventistreview.org/article/2111-18/



At Various Times and in Various Ways—The two-step process of prophetic revelation is a message from God and the Holy Spirit using that message to connect us to Jesus. In the College and University Dialogue article, “Prophecy: Connecting People to Jesus,” Merlin D. Burt, PhD, Director, Ellen G. White Estate, leads the reader from the words of Peter to those of White as he probes the relevance of prophecy for human lives today.   https://dialogue.adventist.org/3521/prophecy-connecting-people-to-jesus



Science or Scientism—“How does one evaluate truth claims?” asks Leonard Brand, PhD, professor of Biology and Paleontology, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California. Brand discusses how many claims of truth are made by differing disciplines. And then he asks, “What is the Christian’s response to scholarly thinking that holds that only science can provide truthful information to problems that arise in everyday life. Brand challenges the College and University Dialogue reader to probe the claims of science and scientism.  https://dialogue.adventist.org/3524/science-or-scientism



Today, I Need to Do More— In a recent Adventist Review commentary, Chantal Klingbeil admits that she doesn’t like controversy. But because of recent events, she’s realized that she needs to speak out on behalf of abuse victims. She lists practical steps each of us can take to ensure our local churches are safe havens from abuse. https://www.adventistreview.org/its-not-ok



Suffering Can Be Random—In the College and University Dialogue article “Job: Faith, Suffering, and the Reality of God,” Lael Caesar, PhD, Associate Editor, Adventist Review and Adventist World, wrestles with today’s worldwide suffering. What wisdom can pandemic sufferers find in the Book of Job that relates to life today as the world faces disruption, illness, death, and survival? https://dialogue.adventist.org/3583/job-faith-suffering-and-the-reality-of-god



Why Is the Earth Inhabited and Other Planets Are Not?—Ronny Nalin, PhD, Director, Geoscience Research Institute, analyzes the evidence “that earth remains the only place in the universe where humans have been able to empirically detect life and its signatures” in his article “Is the Earth Special? Planetary Habitability and Genesis.” https://www.grisda.org/is-the-earth-special-planetary-habitability-and-genesis-1



How the Church Began—From humble beginnings to a worldwide movement, the Christian church began when the Word became flesh. Thomas R. Shepherd, recently retired senior research professor, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, reminds readers in his Adventist Review article that despite unlikely beginnings, the mission Jesus established is still the same to tell a world in need of His grace, mercy, truth, sacrifice. https://adventistreview.org/article/2201-26/




Fact or Interpretation?—In his Adventist Review article “Evolution in the News,” Gary B. Swanson, retired Associate Director, Sabbath School/Personal Ministries Department, General Conference examines the reporting of interpreted evolutionary events are reported as fact.   https://adventistreview.org/commentary/evolution-in-the-news/




The Story Is in the Numbers—David Trim, Director, Archives, Statistics, and Research, General Conference, opens his article, “‘Why Do They Walk Away?’ The Heart Cry of Adventist Parents’” with the statement, “The Seventh-day Adventist Church is losing its young people.” What does the data tell us? How can we make a difference? https://adventistreview.org/commentary/why-do-they-walk-away-the-heart-cry-of-adventist-parents/



ATS Members at Conferences

 The Andrews Way of Doing Archaeology served as the theme of the 15th annual Andrews University Autumn Conference on Religions and Science. The conference is a joint effort of Andrews University (AU) and the Midwest Religion and Science Society (MRSS), an organization that represents a variety of faith backgrounds.

Siegfried H. Horn founded the Horn Archaeological Museum, located at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Horn's excavations at Tell Hesban, Jordan in 1968 became the guidelines and standards under which he worked and are known today as the “Andrews Way” of doing archaeology. Horn taught one should be forthright with findings, not make claims beyond what data can support, be quick and complete in publishing results, engage and work within mainstream scholarship, include a diverse group of people and specialists, and take the history of the Bible seriously while not viewing archaeology as the sole way to “prove” the Bible.

Martin Hanna, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, AU, co-welcomed the group during the opening session. Kevin Burton, Director, AU Center for Adventist Research and Associate Professor, provided the morning devotional.

During his plenary presentation, Randy Younker, PhD, Professor of Archaeology and History of Antiquity; Director, PhD (Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology) Program; and Director, Institute of Archaeology, spoke on The Andrews Way: Its Impact on Non-Adventist Scholarship.



Applying Biblical Principles to Modern-Day Concerns—In a presentation during the recent Andrews University Congress on Social Justice, Roy Gane, PhD, Andrews University professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Languages, explored the laws Israel received from God during their desert wandering. He also discussed the potential for applying principle from these laws today.  https://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/story17005-marxism-or-capitalism-the-biblical-model-outdoes-both-adventist-scholar-says



ATS Members in Video

Seeking Understanding—The Geoscience Research Institute is excited to share two new episodes of the Seeking Understanding series. These recent additions to the video resources feature:



Explore the Book of Hebrews with InVerse during Quarter 1, 2022 with InVerse host and ATS member Justin Kim and his team. https://www.hopetv.org/shows/inverse/episodes/ml/-/-/1st-quarter-hebrews-2022/



The Letter to the Hebrews and to Us—Félix Cortez-Valles is the author of the Quarter 1, 2022 Adult Bible Study Guide. Join him and Eric Flickinger, It Is Written’s Sabbath School, as they provide additional insights into each week’s lesson. https://itiswritten.tv/programs/29








Cliff Goldstein On Hope TV’s series— In his Hope TV show, Cliff Goldstein focuses on topics ranging from “The Meaning of Life to Principles” to the “Principles of Marriage” to what Leo Tolstoy was missing in his life that led to despair.  https://www.hopetv.org/shows/cliff/episodes


South Pacific Division (SPD) Sponsored Creation Sabbath—The SPD provided resources for churches and leaders in the SPD who celebrated Creation Sabbath. Two special videos were created for pastors to help them prepare for the celebration featuring Dr. Ronny Nalin,

In Creation Sabbath: Yes, We Can! Dr. Tim Standish shared his journey into science and the original concept of the Creation Sabbath. He highlighted how it is an opportunity to celebrate God's amazing creative work and power. https://vimeo.com/623005507

Dr. Ronny Nalin’s presentation was titled This is My Father’s World: A Geological Meditation. https://vimeo.com/635843974



ATS Members on Podcasts

This episode of Mission|Lab with Shawn Brace features the story of Jimmy Bungay and his journey of learning what it means to follow Jesus.  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-110-from-cape-breton-to-christ-with-jimmy-bungay/id1242427245?i=1000539633956






You never know what topics Greg Howell and Michael Campbell will cover in their podcast Adventist Pilgrimage. The three latest episodes explore:

  • “Adventism is Bigger than Ellen White—an interview with historian Don McAdams


“Adventism in China: An interview with Dr. Christie Chow.” Campbell and Chow discuss her book, Schism: Seventh-day Adventism in Post-Denominational China.


In “Yuletide Cheer, Adventist Style” Howell and Campbell explore Adventism and its relationship with Christmas celebrations. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/yuletide-cheer-adventist-style/id1558388185?i=1000543670498