Dean's Welcome

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11 TNIV; emphasis supplied). The Bereans set an example of diligent study of the Holy Scriptures. They wanted to know the exact meaning of the Sacred Writings, its truths, and relevancy. The examination of the Scriptures involves very careful and deep searching with a passion to discover the truth about the triune God and its central message about the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:39–40; Luke 24:27). This knowledge brings eternal life (John 17:3).

Our professors do thorough research to unlock the richness of the biblical message, the mystery of godliness (1 Tim 3:16; Eph 6:19; Col 1:27), but also the mystery of wickedness (2 Thess 2:7). They publish to help the worldwide Church to better understand the Scriptures. An understanding of God’s revelation brings freedom (John 8:32) and leads to a total commitment to God to live a pious life in faith and good works (2 Tim 3:15–17; Eph 2:10; Titus 2:11–13).

Research and scholarship are a crucial part of students’ and professors’ lives here at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. This year’s collection of scholarly activities is very rich and reveals the depth and breadth of our work here at the Seminary. Theology and church belong together. One cannot do biblical theology without the church.

This symposium on scholarship strives to foster a culture of excellence in scholarly activities and to advance the quest for truth. Ellen G. White encourages: “As we take up the study of God’s word, we should do so with humble hearts. All selfishness, all love of originality, should be laid aside. Long-cherished opinions must not be regarded as infallible . . . We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed . . . Whatever may be man’s intellectual advancement, let him not for a moment think that there is no need of thorough and continuous searching of the Scriptures for greater light” (Counsels to Writers and Editors [Nashville, Tenn.: Southern Publishing, 1946], 36–37, 41).

This year our plenary speaker is Dr. Aleksandar S. Santrac, professor of Ethics and Religion and chair of the Religion department at Washington Adventist University. We welcome him to our campus and look forward to his presentations.

A variety of events are planned for this week from the recognition assembly on Tuesday morning to the Thursday morning worship, the evening poster session and plenary session, to Friday’s poster and breakout sessions. I am sure that we will all be intellectually stimulated, but more importantly that we will grow spiritually from this biblical-theological feast. I am pleased that more than a dozen students will be presenting during the Friday sessions and encourage all of you to engage in meaningful discussion with the presenters. Begin already to plan your research and writing in order to participate in next year’s symposium by designing a poster or preparing a lecture.

We want to praise the Lord for godly scholars and their faithful work in enhancing our knowledge of God and His Truth. He gives gifts—the capacity to think and express thoughts and communicate truth effectively. To God be the glory!

Jiří Moskala, Dean