The Third International Bible Conference, sponsored by the General Conference, BRI, and the North American Division, was held in Israel, June 11-21, 2012. The theme chosen for the conference is “Issues in Biblical Anthropology from an Adventist Perspective.” A total of twelve plenary sessions are planned, some exploring the theme in connection with the ancient Near East, the Old and New Testaments, Greek philosophy and Judaism, Christian history, culture, and contemporary theology. Other plenary sessions dealt with ministry in an age of spiritualism, creation, evolution, and human nature, and death and hell in Scripture. There will also be fifty-four additional papers, presented in six parallel sessions.
Goals of the conference included: (1) studying the biblical understanding of human nature, including the holistic idea of body, soul, and spirit, conditional immortality, and the challenges it faces from contemporary cultures, philosophies, religions, and from the rise of spiritualism at the close of the cosmic conflict; (2) examining ways of reaffirming the faith-commitment of church members to the biblical understanding of human nature in a world culture increasingly characterized by spiritualistic propaganda and manifestations; and (3) exploring strategies of sharing the biblical view of humanity with adherents of other world religions.
Some of the most helpful presentations for the world church will be prepared and edited for publication as a book. All papers accepted for presentation will utilize a historical-grammatical and/or literary method which accepts the text in its final form and avoids the more critical approaches to the text of Scripture. Further information on method may be found in the book, Understanding Scripture: An Adventist Approach, available from the BRI, and the “Methods of Bible Study” document voted at the Annual Council in 1986. See http://adventist.org/beliefs/other-documents/other-doc4.html.
Over 300 theologians and top administrators, selected by their respective division or institution, had the opportunity to visit major biblical sites throughout Israel, as well as to participate in the presentations, discussions, and the formulation of a consensus statement on the topic of biblical anthropology. The purpose of these conferences, held also in 1998 and 2006, is to promote biblical and theological studies and to foster theological unity and fellowship among Bible teachers, theologians, and administrators.