he Biblical Research Institute (BRI), located at the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is a resource center for the church and in particular for Bible teachers, pastors, and administrators in the areas of theology, doctrine, and Christian lifestyle. It consists of five Adventist theologians with expertise in several fields—Kwabena Donkor (systematic theology), Ekkehardt Mueller (New Testament), Gerhard Pfandl (Old Testament), Ángel M. Rodríguez (Old Testament), and Clinton Wahlen (New Testament). The institute also has an administrative assistant (Brenda Flemmer) and a desktop publisher (Marlene Bacchus). The institute is assisted in its work by the Biblical Research Institute Committee (BRICOM), which consists of about 40 theologians from around the world and a number of church administrators. This committee meets twice a year.
The main responsibilities of BRI can be grouped under three main headings. The first one is research. It identifies areas in which biblical research is needed in the church; organizes and conducts the research, using Adventist theologians; and attempts to enhance and deepen the understanding and expression of biblical truth. The second area is apologetics; that is to say, responding to challenges to the Adventist faith. And finally it serves as consultant to church leaders on matters related to biblical interpretation, doctrine, and theological trends within the church. In attempting to fulfill its responsibilities, the staff organizes seminars for pastors, Bible teachers and administrators, and teaches intensive courses in theological seminaries around the world. It also organizes Bible conferences for Adventist theologians, pastors, and church administrators. The staff participates as speakers at camp meetings, workers’ meetings, and television programs. In the performance of its responsibilities, BRI aims at strengthening the doctrinal and theological unity of the church, particularly among Adventist theologians.
During this quinquennium the institute encouraged the world divisions to create biblical research committees (BRC) that would work very closely with BRI, address local theological issues, and interact with theologians from other divisions, thus fostering theological and doctrinal unity among theologians. At the present time, seven divisions have their own BRCs and others are planning to establish their own. These local committees will facilitate the work of BRI in a world church that is growing rapidly.
The result of the work of BRI is made available to the church through its Web site, biblical research.gc.adventist.org; books; pamphlets; and a newsletter that is sent in electronic form to church administrators, Bible teachers, and pastors. During this quinquennium the institute produced three new books (Understanding Scripture, The Remnant, and Interpreting Scripture), increasing the number of books produced to a total of 15, and sold more than 18,000 books.
Five Productive Years in Numbers
The following statistical report summarizes the productivity of the BRI staff and its contribution to the world church.
243 Articles Written
3 Books Written
3 Sabbath School Study Guides
18 Newsletters Published
31 Teaching in Colleges/Universities
37 Seminars/Ministers’ Meetings
33 Participation/Bible Conferences
96 Travel to Divisions