Continuity and Change in Seventh-day Adventist Doctrine and Practice

Speaker: Categories: Jul 12, 2003


[57min, 47sec / 57min, 47sec]


Some have noted that any viable institution, even the persons who compose such, must change or become no longer viable - hence, irrelevant!

But change, even change for the better, most often meets some opposition, resistance in order to maintain thestatus quo.'What was good theology, good practice, ten years or twenty or fifty years ago, is still good today, isn't it? After all, God says he changes not."

But what about the concept of present truth? Does that term suggest inherent, even inevitable change? And, just how long should one expect present truth to still qualify as present - or truth?

"This topic [the July Forum presentation],"notes Dr. Patrick,"is a tiny part of a larger study that is asking three closely-related questions: 1) What does it mean to be Christian? 2) What does it mean to be Adventist? 3) What does it mean to belong to the church of the living God?"

He continues,"An early Adventist lamented that some had'given up the shut door, and are doing all they can to drag others to outer darkness'. Others saw the doctrine of the trinity as monstrous or believed Christ was a created being and not truly God."

"So how does God lead His people? Does being Adventist in 2003 make the same demands as in 1845, 1888, 1919, 1957, or 1980? If so , why? If not, why not?"

"The presentation is richly illumined by the study of the New Testament, church history, and Adventist history. The Forum address will focus on the ways in which the study of continuity and change in Seventh-day Adventism illumines the three-phase investigation."

Numerous visuals will be projected which will enhance the understanding of the various points brought to the attention of the audience. A fifteen page handout will be provided to those in attendance.


Arthur Patrick first addressed Sydney Adventist Forum (Australia) during 1 980 when more than 400 people turned up for his assigned topic,Ellen White in Adventist Authority. Since then he has written a Master of Literature thesis (1984) at the University of New England and a PhD dissertation (1991) at the University of Newcastle, both focused on aspects of Adventist thought and practice. These studies built on his earlier education: BA (Theology, Avondale College), MA (Systematic Theology, Andrews University), M.Div. (Pastoral Ministry, SDA Theological Seminary), D.Min. (Biblical Studies, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis).

Arthur Patrick is a Research Fellow at Avondale College in Australia; chair of the association: Women in Ministry, Incorporated; chair of the Professional Standards Committee of the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists, the group appointed to deal with issues of sexual abuse and misconduct; and a member of the Biblical Research Committee of the South Pacific Division. His most recent book, released in February, is the centennial history of Sydney Adventist Hospital. Six articles and papers he has written in the past year are related to the Forum presentation as are five other articles for the South Pacific Division paper completed in May, 2003.

Currently Dr. Patrick is a guest lecturer at La Sierra University teaching three courses:History of Seventh-day Adventism,The Life and Thought of Ellen White, andSeminar in Church History: Adventist Studies. He was a visiting associate professor at La Sierra, 1996-8, during which time he spoke to the San Diego Forum on the topic, Re-Visioning the Role of Ellen White for Seventh-day Adventists Beyond 2000.

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