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2007 Discussions

Date: January 27, 2007

Speaker: Jerry Gladson, Ph.D.

Position: Adjunct Professor, Columbia Theological Seminary; Pastor, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Atlanta , Georgia

Topic: “Is There Room at the Christian Table for Ecclesiastes?”

Venue: Biology Amphitheater, Andrews University

Attendance: 53

Presentation: While Gladson does not believe that Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes (Qoheleth), he explained that its 6 themes—God is obscure, human experience is frustrating, injustice is rampant, death is final, so enjoy life—kept the book from being accepted by early rabbis. He spoke about its structure (prologue, 1:1-11, ruminations, 1:12-12:8, epilogues, 12:9-14) and its conclusions (life is an enigma, God is a mystery, God remains silent, and let us continue to believe in God), then concluded that there is a place in a religious community for dialogue, doubt, and debate for these are essential elements in a healthy religious community.

Date: February 10, 2007

Speaker: John M. Berecz, Ph.D.

Position: Professor of Psychology, Andrews University , and Clinical Psychologist in Buchanan , Michigan

Topic: “Dancing with God: A Limbic Perspective on the Personality and Gender of God”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall, Andrews University

Attendance: 64

Presentation: God seeks playful intimacy with each human being, but a twisted view of God as a “sovereign sour-puss” and a focus on cognitively knowing Him has short-circuited a limbic (emotional) appreciation of God in terms of analogies and metaphors as nursing mother, midwife, mother bear, eagle, hen, homemaker, baker woman, female lover, and lady wisdom (texts given). The “Love Triangle” for effective relationships includes passion + commitment + intimacy. Berecz closed with a poem (“What I Learned”) and three short stories illustrating intimacy, forgiveness, washing, and birth.

Date: March 10, 2007

Speaker: Donald S. McMahon, M.B., B.S., F.R.A.C.S., D.L.O

Position: Retired physician (ears, nose and throat) from Australia ; Author of book, “Acquired or Inspired? Exploring the Origins of the Adventist Lifestyle” (2005).

Topic: “Acquired or Inspired? Exploring the Origins of the Adventist Lifestyle”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall, Andrews University

Attendance: 115

Presentation: McMahon explained his methodology of comparing health statements in Ellen G. White’s, “Spiritual Gifts” (SG) and “Ministry of Healing” (MH) with those made by her contemporaries (Jackson, Alcott, Kellogg, Graham, Coles) to determine percentages of her copying from them and her and their accuracy as judged by medical knowledge now. Concluded that SG was more accurate (96%) than MH (87%) in “whats” (risk factors), though less so in “whys” (explanations) because Ellen G. White copied less. He said that because Ellen G. White was accurate 85%-91% of time when not copying (and her contemporaries were accurate 15%-26% of time) that this “proved” she was divinely inspired.

Date: April 14, 2007

Speaker: Dr. Borge Schantz, PhD.

Position: Founder, Islamic Studies Centre ( Newbold College ), retired pastor in Denmark , missionary in Africa & Saudi Arabia; Professor Allied Health Studies · School of Allied Health Professor, Loma Linda University Loma Linda, California

Topic: “Islamism and Mission to Muslims”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall, Andrews University

Attendance: 74

Presentation: Schantz explained why Muslims do not mix well in Western cultures: as an integrated religio-political world view, Islam follows the Koran, 5 Pillars, 5 Faith Articles, & Sharia Law (harsh penalties for civil & moral sins). Salvation comes through following rules & doing good (no grace); temptations (alcohol, prostitution, gambling, etc.) must be removed, not resisted; contextualization & compromises are signs of weakness in “Islamism” (fundamentalism = 10% of Muslims). Christians in Muslim regions must keep low profiles, send missionaries from non-Western nations, use radio & TV, & “win the winnable” (debtors, distressed, discontented) whom God loves (Ps. 87).

Date: April 21, 2007

Speaker: Dr. Brian Bull

Position: Professor of Pathology, Loma Linda University

Topic: “Differing Views on the Nature of Scripture (And Why Scriptural Views Really Do Matter)”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 80

Presentation: Unequal distribution of data presents a problem for scientists who are Bible believers. More than 50% of geological evidence favors an old earth chronology. Even two GRI scientists agree that data fit long chronology, yet they accept short chronology. Bull presented 3 approaches: accept both Bible & science and live with the conflict; trust the Bible more than evidence of our senses; re-examine Genesis in light of scientific evidence. A “high view” of scripture (Bible = accurate on everything) leaves two choices: either take a “low view” of science & scientists and disbelieve the evidence of one’s senses, or take a realistic & respectful view of scripture based on 2 Tim. 3:16.

Date: May 19, 2007

Speaker: Dr. Harold Weiss

Position: Professor of Religion Emeritus, St. Mary’s College, South Bend , IN

Topic: The Christianization of the Sabbath in Colossians”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 43


Presentation: Colossians must be examined within the syncretistic and diverse setting of first century Judaism and Christianity. Weiss rejected the traditional Seventh-day Adventist view that Colossians 1 and Colossians 2:16-17 refers to the ceremonial law. Based on an examination of the grammar in the original text, he also rejected the common view that the law was abolished. Rather, these verses say that eating, drinking, Sabbaths, etc. are now to be discerned in the body of Christ. So the Sabbath (and circumcision) now have Christian points of reference rather than Old Testament points of reference. In this way, the Sabbath was Christianized.

Date: September 15, 2007

Speaker: Dr. Graeme Sharrock

Position: Clinical Psychologist in Chicago ; founder, Fine Arts Counseling Center

Topic: “Feeling the Apocalypse: Emotion, Religion and the Millerites”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 54

Presentation: Early National Era was “awash in a sea of feelings” through numerous reforms & at emotional camp meetings. Over 1000 Millerite letters and memoirs reveal their post-traumatic stress syndrome in 1843-44 with a mixture of eagerness, hope, joy, confidence, & love vs. disappointment, anger, depression, & anxiety. For some, October 22 was a catharsis, for others, a growth stage in their Christian experience. Ellen Harmon exhibited traits of PTS for two years after ’44. Sharrock touched briefly on Miller’s “calculus of certainty” re: Bible prophecy, his shocking racist comments in letters, his frequent failure to keep appointments, & his relations with his family.

Date: October 20, 2007

Speaker: Dr. George Saxon

Position: Retired geophysicist, Amoco Production Company (PhD, Baylor University )

Topic: “What’s Your Theory of Inspiration: Our View of Inspiration Greatly Affects Our

World View and How We Interpret Various Bible Stories”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 49

Presentation: Following an introduction on verbal v. thought inspiration (II Pet. 1:21) and God’s 4 basic laws (gravitation, electromagnetism, weak & strong nuclear power), Saxon applied these ideas to II Chron. 4:2 (Bible’s inexact measure of pi as 3 cf. temple laver), Josh. 10:12-13 (for the sun to stop for Joshua would have violated God’s 4 basic laws; perhaps an optical mirage instead), and Gen. 6-9 (Flood story). Saxon theorized that rapid glacial melting in the Black Sea area caused an unprecedented rise in sea levels in Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, and Sea of Marmara within weeks & that to ante-diluvians this seemed “the fountains of the deep” opening up.

Date: November 10, 2007

Speaker: Mr. John Nay

Position: Consul General of the United States Foreign Service in Toronto , Canada

Topic: “An Adventist at State: Representing the United States Abroad in the U.S.

Foreign Service”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 70

Presentation: Nay shared his perspectives on his career as an SM in Japan & as an intelligence analyst in Foreign Service in India , South Africa , Taiwan , Cambodia , Korea , Singapore , and Canada under 10 Secretaries of State since 1977, processing visas, passports, & protecting US citizens abroad. He has found SDA friends everywhere & 3 in State Service now. State personnel are hard-working, well paid, frequently promoted, & able to dissent from State policies. Currently, good progress is being made in South Africa , in trade with Canada , & in relations with the French at the UN. Nay discussed water boarding, Iran ’s nuclear threat, & whether he’d accept an ambassadorship (yes!).

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