Seminary Scholarship Symposium
14th Annual Symposium Featured Dr. Millard Erickson
On February 6 and 8, 2018, the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University hosted the 14th Annual Seminary Scholarship Symposium. The yearly academic gathering, typically held during the first full week of February, seeks to enhance scholarly dialogue among seminary faculty and students. This year’s symposium featured Millard Erickson, acclaimed biblical theologian, as the plenary speaker. Erickson, best known for his systematic theology work “Christian Theology,” is the author of more than 32 books and is the former dean of Bethel Theological Seminary.
The symposium began on Tuesday, Feb. 6, in the Seminary Chapel with the annual Recognition Ceremony highlighting outstanding scholarship among faculty and students. As part of the ceremony, Seminary Dean Jiří Moskala invited ten faculty members to give a brief description of their recent publications.
“We want to be acquainted with the latest research of our professors and students and to encourage and motivate each other to engage in a deeper, more thorough understanding of biblical teaching and how to apply and live it in everyday life,” said Moskala.
The featured publications spanned four languages, including Chinese and Portuguese, and explored topics ranging from religious liberty to best preaching practices.
“I wrote this book because I thought that, at this stage in my life, I should think about leaving a legacy,” said Hyveth Williams, professor of homiletics, about her newly published text “Nothing But the Best: A Guide to Preaching Powerful Sermons.”
In addition to the featured publications, Stanley Patterson, professor of Christian ministry, was presented with the Siegfried H. Horn Excellence in Research & Creative Scholarship Award, and Osvaldo Lima Ferreira received the Doctor of Ministry Dissertation Award.
A new Andrews University honor, the Heart @ Andrews Award, was presented to Tom Shepherd, director of the PhD and ThD programs and professor of New Testament interpretation, by Andrews University provost, Christon Arthur.
“Service is at the heart of what we do,” said Arthur. “We don’t care what you know, unless that knowledge becomes part of your own practice. Dr. Shepherd lives his knowledge and practice, going beyond the call of duty, fundraising to support the PhD/ThD programs and to take students to conferences. Thank you, Dr. Shepherd, for bringing your heart, the Andrews heart, to students.”
The Symposium continued on Thursday, Feb. 8, in the Seminary Chapel where Erickson preached for Seminary worship. Erickson, who asked to be introduced simply as a man who “loves God, loves His people and has been married for 62 years to the world’s most patient woman,” presented his thoughts on the topic, “A God for Changing Times.”
“Our world is changing rapidly,” said Erickson. “But God is sufficient for us in all those situations. I don’t know, and I can’t know, what challenges you will face in the years that God gives you in ministry. But one thing I know—situations change, people change, things change—but God does not change.”
Chad Angasan, Seminary Student Forum (SSF) co-president, commented, “The sermon today asserted that God is the consistent answer in the past, present and yet to come. Our focus then, is to spend time with Him.”
That evening, Erickson delivered his scholarly plenary paper, addressing the important question “Are There Ranks in the Trinity?”
“The question of the evening,” said Erickson, “is to answer: is the Father superior to the Son, or is the Son eternally equal in authority with the Father but temporarily subordinate during his time on earth?”
Erickson explored the biblical, ontological, historical and theological implications of both the temporary subordination and eternal subordination views, as well as the internal and external criteria for evaluating both perspectives.
“It is my judgment that when the evidence has been weighed,” Erickson concluded, “the temporary subordination view accounts better for more of the evidence, with less distortion, and suffers from fewer difficulties, than does the view of eternal subordination.”
Erickson’s presentation was followed by a short response from Darius Jankiewicz, professor and chair of the Department of Theology & Christian Philosophy, and a final response by Erickson.
“Dr. Erickson’s lecture regarding ranks in the Trinity was very relevant because of the discussion on the ordination of women in our midst,” said Moskala. “We were created in God’s image, and equality among the Trinity or the eternal subordination of Jesus and the Holy Spirit has serious consequences. As Adventists we do not live in isolation; we are part of the Christian Church that struggles with the understanding of the Trinity and how to communicate it because we want to be faithful to the Scripture, to what God reveals about Himself. Dr. Erickson helped us to better comprehend from different perspectives that the viable biblical view is to point our thinking toward equality among the members of the Trinity.”
The symposium was scheduled to conclude on February 9 with 28 student and faculty scholarly papers in four breakout sessions in the Seminary. However, a winter storm precipitated a snow day for Andrews University, and the presentations were cancelled. Abstracts of each poster are available in the 14th Annual Seminary Scholarship Symposium booklet, and a number of papers will be available at the James White Library Digital Commons.