Adventist Scholars, Pastors, and Graduate Students Meet to Discuss the Organization of a Philosophical Society

January 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

From left to right: Ron Osborn, Lorenzo Kim, Edward Guzman, Alexander Carpenter, Zane Yi, Abigail Doukhan, Ryan Bell, Trisha Famisaran (with Landon), Alin Ciubotaru, Samir Selmanovic, John Webster, Danny Zelaya, Nicholas Miller, Jim Walters, Oliver Glanz, and Ante Jeroncic (Not pictured: Zdravko Plantak and Sigve Tonstad)



New Orleans, LA — November 20, 2009: A group of seventeen Seventh-day Adventist pastors, professors, and graduate students from North America and Europe met to talk about the organization of an Adventist philosophical society. The group discussed the need for and goals of such a society and organized into sub-committees. The formation of a steering committee was also recommended along with the formation of an advisory board to guide the process of becoming a formal organization.

Once organized, the society would serve as a network for the growing number of Adventist students and professionals interested in and engaged in this field of study.  In addition to this, the society hopes to serve as a resource for members of the church at large to better understand the intellectual currents of their culture, as well as their own beliefs and practices. Thirdly, the organization would explore the possibilities of and advocate for the study philosophy in the context of Adventist higher education.

“Adventism is in urgent need of some Biblically-faithful sustained philosophical reflection,” comments Nicholas Miller, “Adventists know the importance of cultural sensitivity in reaching foreign cultures overseas.  But we have all too often overlooked the foreign culture here in the west that is just as alien to the Biblical worldview as any found in the developing world.  I believe that an Adventist philosophical society could help us better understand and communicate with the modern and post-modern cultures that surround us in the west.” Professor Miller is Associate Professor of Church History at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University.

Ryan Bell, senior pastor of the Hollywood Seventy-day Adventist Church, shares his experience. “About 11 years ago I, like most pastors, began to dabble in popular notions of ‘postmodernism.’ This has led me down the rabbit-hole into a world I have struggled to comprehend. Pastors today cannot hope to connect in any meaningful way with our increasing post-Christian society without a serious engagement with the ideas that are shaping our culture. Yet, the vast majority of pastors have not been trained in philosophy.  My hope is that this organization will be a rich resource for pastors and churches.”

Since meeting in New Orleans, an advisory board has been formed, comprised of Adventist philosophers and theologians. Members of this group are Roy Benton (Pacific Union College), Fernando Canale (Andrews Theological Seminary), Linda Emmerson (Walla Walla University), Zack Plantak (Washington Adventist University), Charles Scriven (Kettering College of Medical Arts), Jim Walters (Loma Linda University), Christian Wannenmacher (Ludwig Maximilians Universität München), and John Webster (LaSierra University).

The members of the steering committee are Abigail Doukhan (Elon University), Trisha Famisaran (Claremont Graduate University), Oliver Glanz (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), and Zane Yi (Fordham University).

The society plans to formally organize in November of 2010 when a conference will be held devoted to an examination of the relationship of philosophy to Seventh-day Adventism.  At this time a mission statement and constitution will be finalized, along with an election of officers. Details about the conference and a call for papers are forthcoming.

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