The Trinity and the Bible ATS Symposium


The second annual theological symposium, The Trinity and the Bible of Adventist Theological Society (ATS) AUA Chapter, took place at the Adventist University of Africa from May 3-5, 2018.

Although the doctrine of the Trinity for the Seventh-day Adventist Church is one of the central and foundational biblical teachings, there are believers, who have gone back in history to defend the anti-Trinitarian position of the pioneers, not mentioning zealous Jehovah’s Witnesses and the overloaded internet with numberless theologically distorted interpretations about the three Persons of the Godhead. That’s one reason, among many others, why there was a great need to organize this symposium. The goal was to clarify such questions, as the deity and pre-existence of Christ, the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit, the Trinity concept in both Old and New Testaments, and why the doctrine of the Godhead was resisted by some of the leading pioneers.

It is also vitally important to emphasize that the understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity will affect, in one way or other, one’s beliefs in regard to the dynamics of one’s multi-functional aspects of salvation, Great Controversy, and that, as the spokes of the wheel come together at the hub, so also all the biblical doctrines are deeply ingrained in the center of all centers, the doctrine of Trinity.

And so, the Symposium was blessed by the presentations of theologians as Dr. Clinton Wahlen from Bible Research Institute (BRI), who addressed the mind-challenging topic on The Trinity and Incarnation. Dr. Frank Hasel, who also represented BRI, tackled the doctrine of The Divinity and Personality of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Ron Du Preez addressed Jesus, as the “Son of God” in Scripture: Proof of Descent, Dependence, or Deity? Dr. Anna Galeniece from AUA emphasized the growing understanding and development of the doctrine of the Trinity among Adventist pioneers by focusing on her presentation on The Heavenly Trio in Ellen White’s Writings.

Interesting documentary insights were shared by Dr. Michael Campbell from AIIAS), who discussed various theological aspects of The Trinity Debate at the 1919 Bible Conference and The Trinity of Adventist Hymnody. Of special interest were presentations of Dr. Kelvin Onongha, The Trinity, Missio Dei and Task of Missions and Dr. Sampson Nwaomah’s paper, dealing with The Trinity in the Gospel of Luke. Dr. Davidson Razafiarivony did a very elaborate Greek syntactical-grammatical analysis referring to Granville Sharp’s Rule and the Deity of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. When God Himself Speaks of Himself was the emphasis of Dr. Eriks Galenieks’ exegetical-theological paper. It focused on seven passages, which in their immediate, intertextual, and grammatical context dealt with the Trinity concept. The symposium concluded with an insightful, vibrant, and interesting question-and-answer period or the Panel discussion, moderated by Peter Kereri.

The symposium was attended by AUA students, church members from the neighbouring SDA churches, and visitors from the surrounding community. The symposium was a great success as it brought to light a number of current challenges, which the Adventist community is forced to face. On the other hand, such biblically and hermeneutically sound messages shared at the ATS AUA Chapter symposium should be heard by thousands of Adventists and non-Adventists.

ATS AUA Chapter hopes to publish all the presentations, including the sermons preached, in a book, by the end of July 2018, for distribution among students, surrounding communities, and those interested in the doctrine of the Trinity.

 

by Eriks Galenieks, PhD
ATS AUA Chapter President

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