SOP Symposium: The Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy and the Church

The first historic Spirit of Prophecy (SOP) Symposium in Africa titled The Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and the Church took place from Wednesday evening, 27th July 2016 to 30th July 2016 at the Adventist University of Africa, Nairobi, Kenya.

SOP Speakers Panel2

 

The Symposium was organized by the Ellen G. White Estate Branch Office in collaboration with the Ellen G. White Estate. It was graced by 181 church leaders, pastors and lay people from across the African continent. These were representatives from all the three Divisions in Africa as well as the General Conference.

The opening presentation by Dr. Merlin Burt, the director of the White Estate Branch Office at Andrews University, was on The Foundational Orientation of Ellen White’s Prophetic Ministry. He revealed how Ellen White was a prophet “to” Scripture and all her writings intentionally focused toward the Bible and the love of God in Jesus Christ. The Bible and not her writings are to be the basis for all doctrinal faith and practice. Ellen White endeavoured to present the matchless charms of Christ to all men. She brought out the depth and breadth of the humanity of Christ Jesus and the parental love of the Heavenly Father.

SOP Speaker James Nix

 

Elder James Nix, the director of the Ellen G. White Estate, General Conference, lavished the delegates with story after story of the person, Ellen White. One delegate commented it was like “sitting by the fire, with grandpa telling stories.”

 

The Friday vespers program was filled with beautiful hymns and songs that Ellen White loved, weaved in with several narratives by Elder Nix to the audience. The congregation crescendoed with the hymn “Sweet By and By,” which was the last known hymn that Sis. White sang two weeks before her death on 16th July 1915.

 

 

Some of the topics that were addressed during this Symposium included the historical reflections and Sola Scriptura, revelation and inspiration of God in the Writings of Ellen White, and the guiding principles on studying and practical application to the Bible and Ellen White’s writings. These were presented by Dr. Alberto Timm, associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate, Dr. Anna Galeniece, director of the Ellen G. White Estate Branch Office (EGWEBO) at Adventist University of Africa.

Other presenters spoke on various aspects of the Spirit of Prophecy in relation to EGW’s contribution to work of the church, effective diversity leadership habits, developing love for Ellen White counsels in the 21st century, reaching the millennials, Adventist education in Africa, health reform, contemporary prophetic ministry in Africa, mission leadership, and worship.

The rigour and thoroughness of the presenters was very impressive as some delegates commented. In fact, one delegate, a district pastor from Zimbabwe, said he was personally challenged to organise a similar Symposium in his territory. One young delegate affirmed that he would “read and apply, reread and apply” the counsels of Ellen White on his personal life.

Another church leader from the Uganda Union Conference confessed to that fact that the Symposium had helped him see Sister White’s personal spirituality to a deeper level. He spoke of how, prior to the Symposium, he “would scheme through her books for counsel on a few things here and there, but never quite seen her for who she really was—gentle, kind, courteous, human—a person just like us!”   

The Symposium closed with a Consensus Statement of which the delegates reaffirmed their “unconditional commitment to the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and to the theological and practical guidance and end-time applications given in Ellen White’s writings.” 

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