Arthur G. Keough Conference to be Held at Washington Adventist University

The Arthur G. Keough Conference is the signature event of the Washington Adventist University Religion Department and takes place on the WAU campus and at the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church, September 20–21, 2019. This year’s theme is “Adventist Church for the 21st century: Re-examining Church Identity, Unity and Authority.”

We believe our Adventist community has the creative potential, theological and intellectual resources and rich diversity to address issues and challenges and develop together fresh and viable models of church governance and organization which will inspire and stimulate necessary healthy changes and greater vitality of our denomination. Presenters at this event are expected to address these topics and questions:

• What in your view should the Adventist Church look like in the 21st century? • How in practical terms should the authority and church governance be understood and exercised in our denominational polity? • How in your view should our global denominational organization be shaped to respond more effectively and equitably to the needs and the challenges of the time? • What viable, functional model of church governance can you propose? What shape should it take? • Which model of church governance (procedural or policy modifications) in your view can insure the unity of the denomination as well as the protection and free exercise of individual and communal conscience (at times when entire unions or divisions may find themselves in disagreement with policy statements affirmed by a higher body, for example on such issues as women’s ordination)? • How would you propose to address conscientious minority dissent and issues of diversity and inclusiveness? • What actionable proposals and effective mechanisms of conflict resolution and shared governance would you suggest? • In your proposed model of church organization what will be the status and the degree of authority of the local congregation, local/regional conference, unions and divisions? What reforms in the nature of their relationship and status can you propose? • What role should the General Conference assume in your model? Thus, how would you articulate, in practical terms, the most essential steps necessary at this time in our denominational history for strengthening church unity, protecting its rich diversity and humbly seeking together to understand the nature of authority given to us by Christ “to build up and not tear down” (2 Cor 10:8; 13:10).

Keynote speakers for this year’s conference are Dr. Jiri Moskala, Dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, and Pastor Ray Tetz, Pacific Union Conference director of communication and community engagement. Other key presenters and panelists include:

• Pastor Alexander Barrientos, Potomac Conference • Elder Lowell Cooper, former vice-president of the General Conference • Dr. Olive Hemmings, WAU Religion professor • Dr. Marissa Leslie, MD, Adventist Health Care specialist, Shady Grove Hospital • Pastor Charles Sandefur, former president of ADRA International

The Keough Lectureship has focused in past years on maintaining the academic rigor of the event, exploring a wide spectrum of theological, ethical and social issues. However, we are currently working on transforming the lectureship into a broadly engaging event with greater appeal to younger and more diverse audiences. Our goal is to hold wider discussions of contemporary issues that would attract people from all corners of our faith.

All public presentations are planned be available via live stream making the conference a national event that is available to the broader community. We pray that the Conference this year will serve as an effective platform to bring together people of different views and age groups for a healthy and generous conversation on these important issues.

More information is available on the WAU website. Image courtesy of the WAU website.

We invite you to join our community through conversation by commenting below. We ask that you engage in courteous and respectful discourse. You can view our full commenting policy by clicking here.

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This sounds very interesting. I hope they will really touch those issues boldly and widely. It’s time!
Hopefully the GC will not threat any participant with “grave consequences,” but will rather respect freedom of speech.


The theme should be a correct view of Rev 14. The message is the Everlasting Gospel That has no time limits. The mission of the church is what Christ has done not what man has accomplished. Unless that happens the church is Simply vanity.


Will church leaders attend? Will the proceedings be published in the Adventist Review?

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James J Londis
Will church leaders attend? Will the proceedings be published in the Adventist Review?

Another conference meeting where persons can vent and steer their fragile egos and extend their career potential before or after denominational retirement, is not going to have an impact where it is needed the most.
James has a point in raising these questions. We need to have church leaders “at the table” and to insure a measure of accountability by publishing papers before and after of what is done at such meetings. Unless we get our collective ideas and thinking into accessible and accountable format we are doomed to endless rhetoric. Dissent can serve a meaningful purpose in our church.

To expand on my initial post—Vanity is the original sin. Lucifer claimed to be as God and should be honored as such. Now the Adventist claim of a perfect final generation is simply built upon that premise. “We earned it”

Revelation is about that struggle. Do we accept and cherish what Christ has done or do we claim equal billing.?

“Amazing Grace”!
If the meeting of scholars doesn’t address that issue it is just another confab.


Will this be a “rubber stamp”-type conference?

Years ago I was a student at Columbia Union College where Arthur G. Keough taught in the theology department. As as young college student I attended one of his classes, sadly the only thing I remember was his rudeness and judgemental spirit. Still vivid in my mind, when I was looking at books in the Potomac ABC and Keough came up to me and told me _____ I was (I can’t write it). I was very confused and thought he must be mistaken for I did not know why he was saying these hurtful things to me. Thereafter, I tried to avoid him, yet his frown and demeanor to me was always distasteful. He acted like he hated me, for what reason I had no idea. I guess he had his favorites and was not part of that crowd.


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