News: 2011

Theological Symposium held at Linda Vista University in Chiapa, Mexico

The beautiful campus of Linda Vista University in the province of Chiapa in Mexico was the site of the Theological Symposium on the Trinity, October 26-31, 2011. About four hundred pastors from the South Mexican Union came to hear several guest speakers, among them Gerhard Pfandl from the Biblical Research Institute, lecture on various aspects of the Trinity.

Symposium at Union College

“Hermeneutics and Prophetic Interpretation” was the general topic of the symposium at Union College held from March 31st to April 2nd. Gerhard Pfandl, associate director of the Biblical Research Institute, presented a paper on the biblical foundation of the Year-day Principle. On Sabbath afternoon, a lively question and answer period concluded the symposium.

South American Division 9th Biblical-Theological Symposium

The 9th Biblical-Theological Symposium of the South American Division of Seventh-day Adventists took place in Iguassu Falls, Brazil from May 20-23, 2011. Basically all the biblical scholars and theologians of the Division gathered for this symposium, dealing with the topic of the Holy Spirit. The BRI was represented by Ángel Rodríguez, Kwabena Donkor, Ekkehardt Mueller, and Clinton Wahlen. All of the BRI members read papers on various aspects related to the Holy Spirit. During the meetings, Ángel Rodríguez was honored for his long, excellent, and very influential ministry to the Church. The entire group was invited to visit the Iguassu Falls, enjoying nature and fellowship. The symposium was immediately followed by the first ministerial conference that included all pastors of the Division and had an attendance of more than 4,000 people.

Origins Summit in Portland, Oregon

The March 2011 Origins Summit occurred in two stages. The first two days were devoted to pastors, while the last two days were open to the Church public. The attendance was so good that two overflow rooms had to be used.  The team consisted of Dr. J. Gibson, Dr. T. Standish, Dr. R. Nalin, all from the Geoscience Research Institute, Dr. L. Brand from Loma Linda University, Dr. A. Chadwick from Southwestern Adventist University, and Dr. E. Mueller from the Biblical Research Institute. The topics addressed scientific and philosophical issues related to origins as well as biblical perspectives. The short lectures were followed by extensive question and answer periods. Creation was clearly affirmed, while it was also stated that we do not have all answers and have to live with certain questions.

Inter-American Division's First Theological Symposium

The first theological symposium in the Inter-American Division took place from October 20-22, 2011, at the Adventist University (Universidad Adventists de Centro America) in San Juan, the capital of Costa Rica. The topics of the symposium were the Trinity and issues in eschatology. About 500 pastors and theologians from several countries in central America listened to plenary and semi-plenary lectures from about 20 scholars from Adventist universities in the Inter-American and North American divisions. In addition Artur Stele and Gerhard Pfandl from the Biblical Research Institute represented the General Conference.

General Conference treasury team and world divisions treasurers traveled to Israel

The treasury team of the General Conference and the treasurers of the world divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and their wives were joined by Elders G. T. Ng and Homer Trecartin of the General Conference Secretariat and their wives for an eight-day journey through Israel. Gerhard Pfandl and Clinton Wahlen, associate directors of the Biblical Research Institute organized the trip, presented some lectures, and looked after the needs of the participants. The group of 42 walked the length and breadth of the old city of Jerusalem, visiting such sites as the pool of Bethesda, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Western Wall of the temple mount, Judaism’s most holy place. One day was spent visiting Masada, Qumran, and the Dead Sea where a number of participants experienced floating in the water. The group also traveled via Caesarea to Galilee visiting a number of biblical places, such as Nazareth, Cana, Capernaum, and the archeological sites of Megiddo and Hazor. A high point of the visit to Galilee was a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee. The time in Israel concluded with visits to the Shrine of the Book, where the Qumran Scrolls are kept, and the Israel and Bible Land museums.

Doctrine of God and Homosexuality Meetings Held in San Salvador, El Salvador

In February 2011, a number of meetings focusing on the Doctrine of God, especially the Trinity, and on the topic of homosexuality took place in and around San Salvador, El Salvador to which Dr. Ekkehardt Mueller had been invited. Some of the meetings were held for pastors and/or other leaders of local churches. Some meetings were organized for churches. Three meetings took place in the State University of San Salvador and the Evangelical University of San Salvador for theology and psychology students. Several faculty members attended and even assisted in the translation. The Adventist radio ran interviews and advertized for some of the events. The work done by local leaders and church members was impressive and their hospitality very enjoyable.

“Celebration of Creation” held at Pacific Adventist University in Papua New Guinea and at Avondale College in Australia

“Celebration of Creation” was the topic of a joined program of the Biblical Research Institute and the Geoscience Research Institute held at Pacific Adventist University in Papua New Guinea and at Avondale College in Australia. Delbert Baker, Vice President of the General Conference, Gerhard Pfandl of the Biblical Research Institute and Jim Gibson, Raul Esperante, and Timothy Standish of the Geoscience Research Institute, as well as David Tasker of the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists lectured on such issues as “The Origin of life,” “The Geologic Column,” and “How Adventists Interpret Genesis 1:1-2.”

Book of Revelation Course Taught in Romania

In January 2011, Ekkehardt Mueller spent two weeks in Romania, mainly teaching 35 graduate students a course on the Book of Revelation. This is part of a M.A. program offered by Andrews University in our Romanian School in Cernica. But there were many other appointments: speaking in a church, a continuing education event for pastors, recordings for the Romanian Hope Channel, an interview for the Romanian Signs of the Times, etc. A wonderful spirit of mutual appreciation and genuine fellowship prevailed.

Biblical Research Institute Committee

About 40 scholars and administrators attended the Biblical Research Institute Committee on October 17 and 18, 2011, at Andrews University. The papers read and critiqued dealt with the Sabbath and the message and mission of the church. In addition the papers Proposed Procedures of the Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee and Theology of Ordination Study Process were distributed and discussed.2011