By Richard Rice
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
“To Rick from Grandpa Klose March 25, ’58.” That’s the inscription on the flyleaf of my copy of Questions on Doctrine. My grandfather, an Adventist missionary and minister for his entire career, always gave me books as gifts, usually ones written by Arthur Maxwell. But if a study of church doctrines seems an odd selection for an eighth grader, I must admit that I was a rather serious child and my thirteenth year proved to be the most deeply religious of my entire life. So I was glad for another book to add to my growing library.
The much anticipated conference on QOD begins tonight at Andrews University. It commemorates the publication fifty years ago of the book that was supposed to build bridges between SDAs and the larger Christian world, and would up generating bitter divisions within the church. Not everyone is looking forward to the conference. In his address to SDA world leaders at annual council a short time ago, GC President Jan Paulsen expressed his own reservations about it. He hopes that the conference will not refuel the controversies that the book ignited over the atonement, the nature of Christ, and a number of other issues.
Organized by Michael Campbell and Julius Nam, young scholars specializing in Adventist history, and sponsored by several Adventist Universities, the QOD conference features keynote addresses by George Knight, a retired Seminary professor who has authored a stack of books on SDA history, Herbert Douglass, onetime president of Weimar College and associate editor of the "Adventist Review," and Angel Rodriquez, currently the director of the church’s Biblical Research Institute.
The seven sessions scheduled for Thursday and Friday will be devoted to presentations and panels on the following topics—the history and impact of QOD, the relation between Adventists and Evangelicals, the theology of QOD, and “QOD and the Church.” Along with a number of SDA scholars, the slate of participants includes scholars from outside the church, Edith Blumhofer of Wheaton College and Donald Dayton, who taught most recently at Azusa Pacific University. It also includes some people who have been highly critical of church administration and theology, such as Colin Standish.
I don’t recall reading much of QOD until I found the list of Ellen White quotations in the appendices helpful in my college theology courses. And I was only vaguely aware at the time of the clouds of controversy that Questions on Doctrine stirred up. So, idea that we should have a conference to commemorate its publication came as a bit of a surprise to me. I don’t know what the mood of the conference will be—celebration, reflection, or controversy—and I’m not sure what it will accomplish. The conveners look forward to “an engaging, reflective, scholarly dialogue.” It won’t be long till we find out if they are right.
Here is a link to the QOD conference website.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4073