The Songs of Revelation

Speaker: Categories: Apr 12, 2003


[1hr, 19min, 1sec / 40min, 27sec]


The Book of Revelation- can you think of any portion of the New Testament which might be dearer to the heart of Adventism?The Book of Revelationcan you think of any portion of the New Testament to which SDAs might have a greater sense of allegiance, even a greater sense of identifying credentials? Can you recall attending any series of SDA evangelistic meetings in whichThe Book of Revelationwas NOT a dominant feature, maybe even the headlines on the flyer announcing the meetings? And in that series of evangelistic meetings, was the presentation on The Book of Revelation within the first few sessions or much later, perhaps promised as final meeting's unveiling of what John, the Revelator, had to say of end-time events?

As a matter of interest, it should be noted that within the past couple months two definitive treatises have reached this desk, each of them assuring that IT had the definitive word on the meaning of this last book of the New Testament, the current situation in the Middle East, and events to transpire just before Jesus comes again.

So, in light of intensified enthusiasm about John's writing nearly two millennia ago, taking another look atThe Book of Revelationmight be most timely. BUT, can we be open enough to entertain some new perspectives about this portion of Scripture which some have dubbed asenigmarather thanrevelation.

Kendra Haloviak, a new voice at AAFSD, has just recently completed an in-depth study of this book in her doctoral dissertation. In the following paragraphs she offers an overview of what she will share on April 12.

"The worship scenes in the book of Revelation highlight the various conversations taking place within this final book of the Christian Scriptures. The hymns hold different traditions including views of God, temporal and spatial categories, and possibilities for human response. These different traditions collide. and collaborate remaining in conversation throughout the narrative. Such conversations welcome new voices, calling readers to consider ever new ways of worshiping and witnessing in contemporary contexts."

Does that sound like the kind of emphasis you've seen given to this book heretofore, whether in theAdult Sabbath School Lessonsin recent years, an evangelistic series, or the focus of a sermon in your local church? Does that overview communicate a sense of urgency about last day events - or - a sense of appreciation about what might be deemed as literary beauty at its best?

To add perspective to her own fascination with this New Testament book, Dr. Haloviak notes that some specific questions piqued her curiosity and led her to investigation. Those questions included:

·         Why was David Koresh able to recruit so many Seventh-day Adventists?

·         How did Koresh approach meaning?

·         How do most SDA Revelation Seminars approach meaning?

·         What happens if, instead of assuming that Revelation has one meaning, one considers the conversations taking place within the narrative?


Kendra Haloviak was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in the Maryland suburbs. After graduating from Takoma Academy, she attended Columbia Union College and received a B.A. in 1989, majoring in theology and English. She then spent a year as an intern pastor at the Kettering Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ohio. Her responsibilities included ministry to students at Kettering College of Medical Arts. In 1990 she began work on an M.A. in religion at Andrews University Theological Seminary. During her year at Andrews, Kendra was the associate pastor for the All Nations Seventh-day Adventist Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

In 1991, Kendra was invited to join the pastoral staff of the Sligo SDA Church in Takoma Park, Maryland. Her specific responsibilities included young adult ministries and worship planning. In January, 1993, Kendra joined the Religion Department at Columbia Union College, teaching courses both to students studying for Adventist ministry and to those taking general education religion credits.

Experiences in congregational and classroom ministry influenced Kendra's interest in Revelation. She pursued these interests in a doctoral program at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, including a dissertation,Worlds at War, Nations in Song: Dialogic Imagination and Moral Vision in the Hymns of the Book of Revelation.

In July, 2001, Kendra accepted an invitation to become an assistant professor, School of Religion, La Sierra University. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, she began teaching Spring quarter, 2002.

As a sixth-generation Adventist who cherishes her heritage, Kendra's motivation and hope for ministry are captured in Scripture's final invitation:"The Spirit and the bride say,'Come."And let everyone who hears say,"Come."And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift"(Revelation 22: 17).

Please note: Dr. Kendra Haloviak is a new voice at AAFSD. If you'd like a preview of her presentation, read her article in the current issue ofSpectrum,Singing New Songs: Traditions in Conversation.

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