The Changing Mission of the Adventist Professional

Speaker: Categories: May 12, 1990


This lecture has only 1 CD/MP3

[1hr, 4min, 37sec]


Time was when the term "Adventist professional" suggested an individual who had chosen a career in medicine or in preaching. Some more liberal thinkers might even have allowed for teaching and nursing!

But that's no longer the situation.

"With the wide variety of professions now available," contends Dr. Joyce Hopp, "and the increasing entry of women into those professions, the place of the Adventist professional is changing."

She further suggests that "The Adventist professional offers a differing perspective on theological positions taken by the church. Sometimes these perspectives are welcome; at other times, they are viewed with suspicion."

Is it true that Adventist professionals, as a group, do have views on theology divergent from the typical Adventist believer? Do these views tend to be more often conservative or more often liberal?

What causes such "differing perspectives"? Why should the theological positions of the "professionals" vary from those of individuals who had chosen other non-professional careers? Is it added years of education? Is it the "contamination of thought" experienced in graduate school? Is it close association with professional non-SDA colleagues? Does the mind of the professional operate differently? Does the Adventist professional enjoy a kind of work-related autonomy, an autonomy which may allow him/her to be more independent, freer to schedule his/her own time, and also freer to ponder more, to contemplate, to question?

Curiously, our Adventist ethic expects all our youth to go to college -- just as far and as fast as ability and funds will permit. Academy seniors are wooed to college. College seniors are encouraged to continue their educations in post-baccalaureate and/or graduate study. "Training for service," SDA-style, almost by definition means college and beyond.

How does this "Adventist professional" fit into the milieu of the Adventist community? How are his/her theological perspectives received? Dr. Hopp observes that ". . . we ignore these perspectives at our peril when we seek to attract and keep the young Adventist professional in the church community. "


Joyce Hopp received her R.N. degree from Loma Linda, 1948; her B.S. in Nursing Education from Walla Walla, 1951; her M.P.H. from Harvard, 1955; and her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, 1974.

She has served as Professor, Health Promotion and Education, at Loma Linda, 1967-86. Prior to joining the faculty at LLU, she taught at Southwestern Union College, Keene, Texas, 1963-64; and served in the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1954-63. She also was employed by the Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1951-54. She has directed and made presentations at workshops and conferences on AIDS, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, and Values Clarification.

Her publications include a wide range of topics such as: AIDS, heart disease, lung disease, nutrition, obesity, pregnancy and exercise, pulmonary rehabilitation, school nursing, smoking, stress, values clarification. Dr. Hopp's research interests encompass a similarly broad range of topics.

In 1988 she was selected as both the "Distinguished Faculty Lecturer" and also the "Distinguished Professor" at Loma Linda University. In 1987 she was chosen as "Woman of the Year" by the Association of Adventist Women. She belongs to numerous professional and honor societies.

Though this will be Dr. Hopp's first presentation at the San Diego Chapter AAF, it will undoubtedly not be her last!

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