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2013 Discussions

Date: January 26, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger

Position: Professor & Chair, Department of Religion, Hope College, Holland, Michigan

Topic: “Why Care for Creation: Ten Reasons for Being Earth-keepers”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 30


Presentation: Bouma-Prediger argued that we should care for the earth to defend our own self-interests, to provide a healthy environment for future generations, to enjoy simpler lifestyles, to promote eco-justice for the poor & oppressed, to protect the rights of higher sentient animals that have rights, to preserve the intrinsic value of what God has made, to promote the interdependence of the community of creation, to obey God’s divine command as His disciples, to bear God’s image by showing concern for His creatures, and to express our gratitude for His grace & benevolence to us.  Thus, caring for creation is an integral part of being a Christian.


Date: February 9, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Herold Weiss

Position: Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, Saint Mary’s College, South Bend, IN

Topic: Creation in Scripture

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 60


Presentation: Weiss states we must look at all the Bible, not just Genesis 1-3, for a fuller  view of Creation, for not all its books agree on God’s method of creating.  Genesis 1 & 2 present different views of God & different world views, while the Prophetic & Wisdom Literature emphasize Creation as continuing & the sea as a source of evil (Leviathan).  By Revelation 22 there will be no more sea as the New Earth is on one level. He also discussed the impacts of Apocalypticism & Platonism (100 BC-100 AD) that advanced a cosmic view of Creation with three types of matter (primary, invisible, earthly).  By faith we will someday see this “hypostatic world” now invisible to our earthly eyes.

Date: March 9, 2013

Speaker(s): Dr. Ante Jeroncic & four AU Honors Students on panel

Position: Jeroncic is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Andrews University

Topic: “Exclusion and Embrace: Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation” (A discussion of Miroslav Volf’s 1990 book by that title set against the background of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s)

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 58


Presentation: Jeroncic & four students summarized several chapters of Volf’s book which discusses narratives of exclusion vs. inclusion and focuses on the importance of forgiveness vs. revenge, inclusion vs. exclusion (4 types of: elimination, assimilation, domination, abandonment), embracing victims to liberate them rather than revenging past wrongs, acceptance of “the other,” & how post-modern thought dehumanizes individuals while Christianity provides a call to live peacefully with all.  The Anabaptists, who believe only God can judge fairly, are an example of peaceful coexistence & creating “good boundaries” that are non-exclusionary & non-judgmental.

Date: April 13, 2013

Speaker: Professor Kevin Doran
Position: Assistant Research Professor at Renewable & Sustainable Energy Institute,
University of Colorado at Boulder
Topic: “Governing the Global Commons: International Environmental Law”
Venue: Chan Shun Hall
Attendance: 28


Presentation: Doran provided background for the principles of sustainable development, the precautionary principle, & the polluter pays restitution idea before explaining the two approaches (mitigation & adaptation) to global warming.  He highlighted the successes & failures of key global climate conferences from 1972 to 2013 with emphasis on the Stockholm Conference (1972), UN Convention on Law of the Sea (1990), Earth Summit (1992), Kyoto Protocol (1997-2005), Copenhagen Accord (2009), Cancun Agreement (2010), Durban Platform (2011), Doha Negotiations (2012), & Kyoto Protocol #2 (2013-20).  His conclusions raised probing scientific, economic, & ethical questions to consider.

Date: September 28, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Nicholas Miller

Position: Associate Professor of Church History & Director, International Religious

Liberty Institute, Andrews University

Topic: “The Religious Roots of the First Amendment: Dissenting Protestants and the

Separation of Church and State”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 32


Presentation: Miller traced such ideas as the priesthood of all believers, the right of private judgment in religious matters, liberty of conscience, & separation of church & state through various religious dissenters from the 16th to the 19th centuries by linking the writings of Luther, the Dutch & English Anabaptists, Roger Williams, John Milton, William Penn, John Locke, Elisha Williams, Isaac Backus, John Witherspoon, and James Madison across 250 years to show how they influenced the Founding Fathers’ words in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He concluded with a rare Ellen White quote on the importance of teaching moral philosophy, Bible & PE to students today.

Date: October 19, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Alden Thompson
Position: Professor of Biblical Studies, Walla Walla University
Topic: “Ellen White: Daring Liberal and Immovable Conservative”
Venue: Chan Shun Hall
Attendance: 104


Presentation: Thompson asserted that a reading of EGW’s Testimonies shows how she moved from fear (1840s) to joy (1890s) in her religious experience.  Her views changed regarding Trinitarianism (vs. Arianism in the church), eternally burning hell (vs. short-term fires), Sabbatarianism & the Law, salvation for the “good heathen” (cf. Matt. 25 & Romans 2), the conditional nature of God’s promises & threats, God’s accommodation to human customs (Cities of Refuge cf. private revenge), the need for diversity in the church (different Bible teachers in schools, etc.), and her use of higher critical scholarship (Revised Version of the Bible, revisions of Great Controversy in 1888/1911, etc.).

Date: November 2, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Gary Patterson

Position: Retired Field Secretary of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Topic: General Conference Policy in Relation to the Ordination of Women”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 130


Presentation: Based on his “Six Points on the Ordination of Women Issue” & “Policy, Practice, Precedent & Perception” papers, Patterson focused on church policies regarding the authority & roles of the local conference, union, & GC regarding ordination.  He also reviewed past NAD & GC studies & actions concerning ordination of women from 1950 to 2013; read GC policies of non-discrimination (L45-05 & B60-10); showed how the 15 GC criteria for ordained ministers do not include gender; emphasized that women’s ordination need not bring disunity to the world church; and drew parallels between today and Peter’s use of Joel 2:28-29 in Acts. 11:17 regarding women’s roles in apostolic times.

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