Our conviction and strong desire is to foster biblical, theological, and historical studies that strengthen the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s message and mission.

Stop the Scroll and Engage

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a long tradition of sharing biblical knowledge through the printed word. Today people use many outlets to find information. Having a social media presence has become a necessity to share your message. The Adventist Theological Society (ATS) leadership made the strategic decision to proactively increase awareness of both the society and materials written by ATS members through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Sarah Burton accepted the position of social media manager and is actively producing content on the three platforms.

Please Meet Sarah Burton

“When Rahel Wells contacted me and told me that ATS needed somebody to create social media, I was excited,” says Sarah. “I really enjoy theology. I think that it’s very important to have theological discussions and think critically about our faith and presenting new ways to, to synthesize and to present the Adventist message, not only to those in the church, but also to those outside of it.”

Today, Sarah is blending her passion for theology and social media in her role with ATS. Her interest in ATS began years ago.  “I became interested in theology at a very young age. Theology has always been something that was discussed at the family table and early on became a passion of mine,” says Sarah. “Both of my parents, Roy and Constance Gane, teach in the Old Testament department at the Adventist seminary at Andrews University.”

During her high school years, Sarah began attending both the annual Adventist Theological Society (ATS) and the Evangelical Theological Society meeting with her parents. “I appreciated the evidence, perspectives, and the scholarship,” says Sarah. “I had already felt a calling to the writing and research aspect of theology.”

Following high school, Sarah continued her education and earned a bachelor’s in religion and anthropology and a master’s in religion. During those years she joined several different religious or theology clubs. “Part of our goal in those clubs was to engage students in more critical thinking about theology,” says Sarah. “We wanted them to delve into theological and biblical issues and go beyond just mere acceptance of what they heard and to actually think for themselves and make personal decisions as they became active participants in the church.”

Sarah’s married to Kevin Burton, who is the director for the Center of Adventist Research at Andrews University. They are the parents of two young children.

Sarah believes that ATS plays an important role in theological discussion both within and outside the church. “ATS functions primarily for the church and mostly pastors and teachers who are members. But there is a significant outreach component in the sense that ATS publications are also read by evangelicals,” says Sarah. “ATS is part of the Evangelical Theological Society, and the Journal of the Adventist Theological Society is sent out to various evangelical schools. These are opportunities to talk about what Adventists believe outside of the Adventist church specifically.”

How Social Media Can Impact

            Social media has been shown to be very successful in reaching younger audiences and even older audiences with short messages of spiritual content that catches people’s attention as they're scrolling on their devices,” says Sarah. “When I was doing research on the use of social media, I ran across information that younger Adventists wanted more spiritual content on social media. I think ATS, along with other various ministries, can really fill a gap there. We have a unique opportunity to introduce people to thinking more deeply about the Bible, about our history, and about our theology. Hopefully our social media posts catch people’s attention, encourage them stop scrolling read more and think more about these issues.”

What Should I Post?

            In the past few months, user likes and follows have been growing on each of the ATS social media platforms. When she first began posting, Sarah approached it from a demographic standpoint. “I was making sure that I was posting content from younger scholars, older scholars, males and females, and from scholars around that world. I quickly realized that wasn’t going to be a sustainable way to approach this,” says Sarah.

            Then she began posting based on current issues. “There was the war in Ukraine, and I made some posts about peacekeeping and compassion,” says Sarah. “During the General Conference Session in St. Louis, I used content that pertained to it.”

            Other examples of this type of intentional posting included a week of posts with quotes and references to writings by Norman Gulley following his death. Recently a series on spiritual Babylon has generated increased interest. Sarah’s also drawing content from articles in Perspective Digest and ​Journal of the Adventist Theological Society (JATS).

It’s Just a Post, Isn’t It?

            Writing social media content is very different from creating a scholarly paper on a deep theological topic. “You must have a certain kind of writing to post on social media. It must be in small bites,” says Sarah. “Scholarly thoughts are often written in full paragraphs. So, trying to break that down, it really must be a certain kind of argument.”

            Another crucial part of a post is the actual design. It needs to attract the reader’s attention and then engage them. “I worked for several years in the Center for Adventist Research, where I learned some of the graphic design and advertising elements of scholarship,” says Sarah. “When we do scholarship, we don’t think about the fact that we also must market it. We must make people want to read what we’ve written. And so graphic design is actually a very important part of encouraging people by sending the message, ‘Hey, this is something worth reading.’”

What’s Our Reach?   

            Since Sarah began in the social media position, growth has been steady. “On Instagram, we have 1033 followers and on Facebook we have over two thousand followers. Our Twitter account is growing but is fewer in numbers,” says Sarah. “In the last 30 days on Facebook our posts have reached over 4000 people and more than 800 have engaged with the posts, which means users have shared, liked, or commented on a post. Our Instagram numbers show this same kind of engagement. In the past ninety days, we’ve reached over 5500 accounts and generated 567 accounts engaging with posts.”

Looking Ahead

            Using social media is just the first step in what can be done to reach the audiences who scroll on their devices as they search for content. “If ATS wants to really broaden their audience and reach more members of the church, especially the younger audience, social media and podcasts are something they’re going to want to invest in,” says Sarah. “We also could benefit from somebody who is skilled and theologically minded making short reels or mini podcasts that engage people in theological matters.”

            As Sarah continues to share content, her goal is to engage people in searching out ATS by sending them to the society’s website and piquing their interest to become members. “Theology is an important field, and we need critical thinkers from a variety of backgrounds,” says Sarah. “The more voices we have who are faithful to the Adventist message, the faster and wider our message will spread.”

ATS Goes to CALLED

The Central Bank Center in Lexington, Kentucky, was the place to be during the week of June 19. More than 5,000 pastors and their families from the North American Division (NAD) converged for the 2022 Called Conference sponsored by the NAD Ministerial Department. The Adventist Theological Society (ATS) was well represented on the main stage, during breakout seminars, and in the exhibit hall.

“The Called Conference was a vibrant gathering where we could represent our organization,” says Rahel Wells, ATS president. “At the ATS booth in the exhibit hall, I had the opportunity to meet many pastors and put into their hands both information about and publications from ATS. This was a prime opportunity to share about ATS membership opportunities and raise awareness among a wide group.”

Several ATS members presented in seminars on topics ranging from “Dealing with Heresy,” “Sabbath Theology, Last Generation Theology,” “Creating an Atmosphere of Worship,” “Challenges of Futurism to Adventist Prophetic Interpretation of Revelation,” “How to Preach on Galatians,” “Relevance of the Spirit of Prophecy,” and other timely subjects. Speakers included S. Joseph Kidder, Michael Campbell, Bill Cork, Jiří Moskala, John Peckham, David Williams, Shawn Boonstra, Anthony Kent, Ranko Stefanovic, Carl Cosaert, Elias Brasil De Souza, and Chantal Klingbeil.

Every pastor in attendance at the Called Conference received a copy of Richard Davidson’s latest book, A Song For the Sanctuary: Experiencing God's Presence in Shadow and Reality. (For more information about this book, see the section “ATS Members are Publishing Books” later in this newsletter.)

Norman Gulley Remembered

Norman Gulley fell asleep in Jesus on July 14, 2022. He was 88 years old.

 Known for his contributions as a professor, author, scholar, and pastor, Gulley also served as the sixth president of the Adventist Theological Society. He also held the ATS positions of executive secretary and vice president.

            During his formative childhood years, Gulley grew up in Watford, United Kingdom. His university training began at Southern Missionary College (SMC) (now Southern Adventist University) where he graduated in 1955. In 1958 he married his wife, Leona, and they ministered together for 64 years. That same year, Gulley began teaching at Madison College and pastoring in two local churches.

            By 1962, it was time to expand their horizons and travel to Japan where Gulley became head of Japan Missionary College’s theology department and started a master’s program in religion. From there the Gulley’s moved to Scotland’s University of Edinburgh where Gulley eventually completed a Ph.D. in systematic theology.

            Additional mission service in the Philippines saw Gulley developing a master’s program and the massive undertaking of moving the Philippine Union College campus from a Manila suburb to Silang. The relocation of the college led to the development of the Graduate School and Theological Seminary (the precursor to today’s Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies or AIIAS), and the current campus of the Adventist University of the Philippines.

            In 1978 Gulley returned to SMC where he taught religion until his retirement. His love of scholarship led him to produce numerous articles and books, including his Prolegomena, in which he argued that theology should stand on Scripture alone. This volume was followed by Trinity (2011), Creation, Christ, and Salvation (2016), and The Church and Last Things (2017).  

You can read a full tribute by Michael Campbell at https://bit.ly/NormanGulley

 

 

Life With God Season 3

The third season of Life With God has launched on the ATS YouTube channel at https://bit.ly/LWGSeason3.

 In this online forum four students and a guest scholar delve into topics of what it means to live a life with God. This season’s theme is “God Is Power.” Previous seasons explored “God Is Love” and “God Is Presence.”

“In each of the season’s 12 episodes, we examine the concept of the topic from a combination of historical, psychological, philosophical, scientific, and artistic perspectives,” says Adelina Alexe, host of Life With God. “Then we delve into the Bible with six episodes focused on the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the entirety of Scripture. The season concludes with three episodes helping us grasp the implications in key relational contexts—family, community, and leadership.”

Season three’s first three episodes featured Michael Younker, Trevor O’Reggio, and John Reeve. Upcoming episodes will feature Jiří Moskala, Roy Gane, Laszlo Gallusz, Lena Toews, Roy Graf, Cory Wetterlin, Nicole and Alan Parker, Stacie Hatfield, and Stanley Patterson.

Creation Sabbath Coming October 22

On October 22, Seventh-day Adventists worldwide will celebrate Creation Sabbath. They’ll take time to focus special attention on the theme of our Creator who loves us, gifted us salvation, and offers us abundant and eternal life.

            “Creation Sabbath began in 2009 and is held annually the fourth Sabbath of October,” says Timothy Standish, Senior Scientist, GeoScience Research Institute. Registration details and promotional materials for Creation Sabbath 2022 are available at https://creationsabbath.net/.

ATS News Shorts

ATS Members in Print

 

Alberto Timm is the author of both the fourth quarter Adult Bible Study Guide titled On Death, Dying, and the Future and the accompanying companion book with the same title. The book is available from the Adventist Book Center. https://bit.ly/DeathDyingHope

 

How should we interpret biblical passages, and do our personal experiences create bias or assist in our understanding of God? David Hamstra wrestles with these question in his article, “Characters or Computers.” https://bit.ly/CharactersorComputers

 

 

An intimate link exists between God and the inhabitants of Planet Earth. In “Ish Chamudot” Cliff Goldstein explores this connection and the powerful example found in Daniel 9. https://bit.ly/ish-chamudot

 

 

 

Once thought lost to the ages and the subject of a challenge by a seminary professor, the discovery of a photograph puts a face to an Adventist pioneer. Michael W. Campbell tells the story in “Photograph Discovered of Pioneer Adventist Woman Minister.”

https://bit.ly/SarahLindsey

 

 

Deconstruction. It’s a buzzword that has become a movement within Christian circles. In “A Moral Purpose of the Biblical Story,” David Hamstra probes the history of deconstruction, the impact it has on faith and culture, and suggests a counterpoint of reconstruction.

https://bit.ly/MoralPurpose

 

In his article “The Trouble With the ‘Time of Trouble,’” Gerhard Pfandl examines various historical times when believers faced their time of trouble and how we can have assurance in this present time. https://bit.ly/TimeofTrouble

 

 

Gary Swanson reminds us that there is only one uniform to be ready to don and it’s one that Jesus Himself hands to us in “Uniform of the Day.” https://bit.ly/UniformoftheDay

 

 

Glauber Araujo’s article, “Seven Truths the Creation Account Teaches Us” provides thoughts in answer to the question, “What is the relationship between the first three chapters and the rest of the Bible?” https://bit.ly/3KCQi2w

 

 

“Preaching That Turns the World Upside Down” by S. Joseph Kidder discusses seven ideas of why preaching in the early church contained power, even without today’s modern technology. https://bit.ly/3AI5838

 

 

 

Eternity and living in Jesus’ presence is something we long for daily. In her article, “And the Land Had Rest From War,” Adelina Alexe reminds us we have something else to look forward to then.   https://bit.ly/3R87sYp

 

 

Reflections at General Conference Session

During the recent 2022 General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri, Shawn Boonstra wrote several reflections about different aspects.

 "Criminal Considerations"    https://bit.ly/CriminalConsiderations

   "How Elections Work at a General Conference Session"  https://bit.ly/GCSessionElections

    "Alone" at   https://bit.ly/AloneBoonstra       

    "The Funny Thing About Unity" at https://bit.ly/FunnyThingUnity

 

 

ATS Members on the CALLED Main Stage

Merlin Burt’s energetic presentation on Ellen White showed how Ellen White’s entire ministry was focused on Jesus and how we can share her writings with others. https://bit.ly/MerlinBurt

During the Called Conference, Shawn Brace shared how he experienced a crisis in his ministerial calling and how he dealt with that. https://bit.ly/ShawnBrace

ATS Members on Screen

 

On the YouTube channel Study Deeper, Darius Jankiewicz discusses the topic of salvation in his 18 episodes about “Potholes to the Road to Heaven.” https://bit.ly/3APTep6

 

 

 

inVerse host Justin Kim leads a discussion on Sabbath Justice and how Sabbath-keeping makes us better stewards of the earth and fellow humans.  https://bit.ly/3R11Yi7

 

 

Join Darius Jankiewicz in a two-part seminar featuring the Story of God’s Grace. This was a livestream event in Australia. Part one of the stream begins at 8:00 minutes into the stream. Part two of the stream begins at 6:55 minutes into the stream.   https://bit.ly/3ATpYgj

 

 

Who is Michael Hasel and what influences developed his interests to become an archeologist? In Conversations, host John Bradshaw from It Is Written leads the conversation with Hasel to answer these questions. https://bit.ly/MichaelHasel

 

Following This Week in Adventist History with David Trim is an entertaining way to learn so many things about our chuch history. https://bit.ly/AdventistHistoryWeekAug26

 

 

 

 

ATS Members Are Podcasting

 

Don’t miss The Lineage Journey podcast and Chantal Klingbeil’s feature on “James and Ellen White’s Marriage: A Deeper Look.” https://bit.ly/JamesandEllen

 

 

Adventist Pilgrimage hosts Michael Campbell and Gregory Howell tackle topics of “An Inside Look at 1922,” “Fireworks in the Heavens,” and “State of the Dead” in recent podcasts. You can listen here. https://bit.ly/AdventistPilgrimage

 

 

 

Sabbath School Rescue with the “Campbell Swoopes” duo digs deeper into the weekly Sabbath School lesson. Tune in here to join Michael Campbell and his co-host Buster Swoopes, Jr.  https://apple.co/3R9inRz

ATS Members Are Publishing Books

AdventismDoctrineJustificationNew TestamentOld TestamentSanctuary

A Song For the Sanctuary: Experiencing God's Presence in Shadow and Reality is Richard M. Davidson’s latest book. In this volume, Davidson explores the “Bethel (House of God) of Beauty” in the typology of Leviticus and Hebrews; the “Palace of Praise” in the sanctuary worship of the Psalms; the “Temple of Truth” in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation; the “Great House of Goodness” in the Christ-centered good news of salvation and judgment, and the “Cathedral of Communion” as the ultimate meaning of the sanctuary. His other books include Typology in Scripture: A Study of Hermeneutical Tiroç StructuresHermeneuticà biblicaLove Song for the SabbathIn the Footsteps of Joshua, and his magisterial work Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament.

Printed copies are available through the Biblical Research Center https://bit.ly/3TxmatE. The e-book version is available through Amazon Kindle. https://amzn.to/3AuItHH

 

Don’t Forget Your Dream is a compilation of selected sermons that were preached at the International Bible and Mission Conferences from 2015-2021. Edited by Artur A. Stele, the messages challenge the reader to remember that God has entrusted us with a dream that we are to keep alive. Only available in a digital version, readers can access it through Logos.com. https://bit.ly/DontForgetDream