News: 2008

Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division Biblical Research Institute Committee

The Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division Biblical Research Institute Committee met on October 31, 2008 in the offices of the Division prior to the year-end meetings of the Executive committee of the Division. The Committee members are: Ángel M. Rodríguez (Chairperson), Passmore Hachalinga (Secretary), Paul Ratsara, Solomon Maphosa, B. Owusu-Antwi, Saustin Mfune, Evans Muvuti, Harrington Akombwa, Paminus Machamire, Zeca Xavier, Francois Louw, Eliah Kamwendo, Goodwell Nthani, D. Birkenstock, Gerald Du Preez, Samuel Ravonjiarivelo, and Elias Teodoro.

West Indies Union Workers Meeting – Montego Bay, Jamaica

From August 11 to August 13, the West Indies Union conducted a wonderful Union-wide workers meeting in Montego Bay, Jamaica, to which also the pastors’ spouses were invited. The conference was dealing with various aspects of the life of the pastor including health and theology. Dr. Ekkehardt Mueller was asked to present two lectures on a topic that causes some problems in this field. His lectures were dealing with the Trinity and the Godhead of Jesus in Scripture and the nature and work of the Holy Spirit which led to some lively private discussions.

Summer School – Baraton, Kenya

From July 27 to August 15, 2008, eighty-five pastors and administrators from 10 different countries of the East-Central African Division attended the lectures on “Issues in SDA Theology” by Dr. Gerhard Pfandl, associate director of the Biblical Research Institute. The three-week course, held on the campus of  the University of Eastern Africa, was part of the MA program of the Adventist University of Africa.

South England Conference Camp Meeting

On June 9, 2008, an estimated crowd of about 1,500 Seventh-day Adventists began to congregate on the Pontins seaside property in Prestatyn, North Wales, Great Britain. The event which ran until June 15 was South England Conference’s camp meeting 2008. The location of the camp site was excellent, with a shoreline that provided a natural setting for prayer every morning at 6:00 a.m.

North Bavarian Conference

At the beginning of June, about twenty ministers and administrators of the North Bavarian Conference met in a beautifully restored villa in the little town of Windischeschenbach in Bavaria to discuss the role and relevance of the writings of Ellen G. White for the church today. Drs. Cindy Tutsch from the White Estate and Gerhard Pfandl from the Biblical Research Institute presented a series of lectures on Ellen White’s health message, and on her authority and relevance for the church today.  Participants expressed their appreciation for the material presented and the candid answers given.

Faith and Science Council

About 25 Adventist Bible scholars and scientists of the Faith and Science Council of the General Conference met for two days (April 16-17, 2008) in the Board Room of the Geo-Science Research building in Loma Linda. Reports of several subcommittees were received and a number of papers dealing with the issue of creation and science were read and discussed. It is planned to publish the papers in electronic or printed form for the church at large.

Soteriology Seminar in Bulgaria

Ángel M. Rodríguez, director of the BRI with associate director Clinton Wahlen, taught a seminar in Soteriology in Bulgaria from June 1-6, 2008.  About eighty pastors, administrators, and theology students came from all over Bulgaria to the Studenetz Hut nestled in the beautiful Rodopi Mountains.  Dr. Rodríguez lectured on the atonement and salvation, especially highlighting the implications of Christ’s death from the perspective of the trinity and the great controversy.  Dr. Wahlen dealt with salvation from the perspective of the Old Testament, the teaching of Jesus, and Paul’s Letter to the Romans.  “This has been a wonderful help to us,” remarked a pastor attending the seminar.  The possibility of another visit by BRI scholars in 2009 or 2010 is currently being explored.

A Short Visit to Colombia, South America

Colombia with more than 40 million inhabitants has 280,000 Seventh-day Adventists. From March 27 to 31, 2008, Gerhard Pfandl presented seven power point lectures on current trends in SDA theology at Colombia Adventist University in Medellin. The university has about 1300 students many of whom earn their school fees at the bakery or the health food factory on campus. The lectures which included such topics as “The Trinity in Adventism,” Minneapolis 1888,” and “Creation and the Adventist Church” were attended by about 800 people, including 300 theology students. The attendees expressed their appreciation for the lectures as well as for the interaction during the question and answer periods which followed each lecture.

Biblical Research Institute Committee

More than 30 members of the Biblical Research Committee met in the Faculty Reading Room of the Loma Linda University library. During the three days from April 13-15, 2008, they read and evaluated a series of papers on Ellen White, the remnant, the Sabbath, ecclesiology and hermeneutics. It is anticipated that within the next twelve months books on Ellen White, the remnant, and on difficult Bible texts will be ready for publication.

Angola and Madagascar Ministers Meeting

From July 2-10, 2008, a group of Adventist theologians from America, among them Drs. Ekkehardt Mueller and Gerhard Pfandl from the Biblical Research Institute, presented a series of lectures on Adventist theology at ministers meetings in Angola and Madagascar. Topics included righteousness by faith, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, challenges to Adventist theology, and the judgment in the three angel’s messages. About 100 ministers and their wives in Angola and more than 150 ministers at Zurcher University in Madagascar attended the meetings. The long question and answer sessions in both countries, as well as the lectures presented, were greatly appreciated by the ministers attending these meetings.