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Adventism’s Two Theological Societies Agree to November Meeting

The presidents of Adventism’s two theological societies—Zack Plantak, president of Adventist Society for Religious Studies and Roy Gane, the president of the Adventist Theological Society—will address a joint session of the two societies in New Orleans in November. This event will be a first. The two societies traditionally meet separately during the time of national scholarly meetings, although they have shared a meal or two in past years.
As program chair for this year’s ASRS sessions and the president-elect of ASRS, it is my pleasure to make this announcement.
Ethicist Plantak, who chairs the Columbia Union College Department of Religion, will speak to the topic of “Adventism and The Healing of the Nations.” Old Testament scholar Gane, who is professor or Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Languages as well as director of the Ph.D. and Th.D. programs in religion at Andrews University, will address how to apply Biblical law to personal and social ethics. Discussion will follow thus providing for significant dialogue among the scholars. The meeting is scheduled for Friday evening, after the two groups have again shared a meal.
While some church members feel that it is healthy for Adventism to have more than one theological society, other observers, such as William Johnsson, the former editor of the Review, have lamented that there are two.
Privately, members of both Adventist societies have talked about ways to come together. November’s event will mark renewed attention to that goal.
Members of the ATS Administrative Committee have also decided that in 2009 all of their meetings will take place on Sabbath, Nov. 21, thus leaving open for their members the possibility of attending the ASRS meetings during the day on Friday.
Meanwhile, the call for papers for the ASRS meeting has gone forth.
“Priority will be given to those papers that engage the Biblical texts, philosophical ideas, and contemporary conditions concerning social ethics and human rights implicit in the theme Adventism and the Healing of the Nations,” the announcement said. Papers from all disciplines are elicited. The deadline is February 16.
My personal hope is that in addressing the healing of the nations, there will be some healing of Adventism as well.

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