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Paulsen Calls For Theological Unity At Colleges, Universities

BY MARK KELLNER, assistant director for news, General Conference Communication Department

ddressing Seventh-day Adventist theological educational leaders, Jan Paulsen, world church president, called for unity and a commitment to nurture the spiritual lives of Adventist youth attending their schools.

"Your church says to you: They are our youth before they come to you. Don't make them strangers before you hand them back to us," Paulsen told the educators on July 10 during a conference at the world church headquarters.

The Conference on Religious and Theological Education was held from July 7 to 10 and brought together approximately 70 participants from Adventist institutions of higher learning around the globe.

"The size of our family today is 13 million baptized [members] -- 20 million including children -- and that will, at the present rate, have increased a further 50 percent by 2010, if we are still here. Yes, the growth is very real and visible," he said, adding that the number of Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities worldwide has doubled from 50 in 1993 to 100 today.

"But growth is too narrowly defined if we think of just numbers," Paulsen added. "Growth has also to do with what happens to me as an individual and what happens to my church as an international, diverse community. A decision to follow Christ must grow and mature into a fruitful life of discipleship; to be born means primarily to be given an opportunity to live."

It is in making the most of that "opportunity to live" that students come to college seeking to integrate their faith into their lives, he said. In an academic setting where ideas are often challenged and debated comes a tremendous opportunity to influence students toward lifelong discipleship.

"I can think of no category of service and ministry in our church which has a greater potential for defining and communicating the Adventist qualities of life than the ones who teach theology at our colleges and universities," Paulsen said. But the same category of ministry, which you represent, has also great capacity, when misdirected, to confuse, destabilize, and undo these same values."

Paulsen emphasized the need for placing difficult questions in their proper setting.

"Is there then nowhere or no time when the probing questions of whether we got it right at all should be asked? I think there is, but I think there are agreed ways in which we do that," he said. "The classroom or lecture hall is not open season to have a go at who we are and how we define ourselves, when that much more properly should be tested among colleagues of scholars and leaders in a protected environment of respect and mutual trust. That is the time when the words of inspiration are examined, and time and culture play their role in determining how our faith and identity are to be expressed."

Answering questions from the assembled group, Paulsen said that forums such as the Biblical Research Institutes committee (BRICOM) were good places for such questions to be raised, along with more academic settings.

"I think he was well received," said Angel Rodriguez, BRI director. "There was an openness among theologians to listen to [his] advice."
                                                            --Adventist News Network

Northern Caribbean University Opens
Ellen White Research Center

On July 12 a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Mandeville, Jamaica, to open the seventeenth Ellen G. White research center worldwide.

James Nix, director of the Ellen G. White Estate, located at the General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, described the material at NCU as a "rich resource." The research center contains 50,000 typewritten pages, including 5,000 copies of letters and 3,000 copies of manuscripts by White, some of which are unpublished.

Participants in the ceremony included Nix, Israel Leito, president of the Inter-American Division, and Herbert Thompson, NCU president. "This center will benefit Adventist believers and students across the English, Spanish, and French-speaking Caribbean," said Leito. In addition, the research center will promote the history of the Adventist church in Jamaica and the region.

"This center will result in greater activity on campus as well as assist in clarifying unanswered questions," said Thompson. "We embrace the idea that facts must underpin information disseminated."

Other Adventist officials who participated in the inauguration of the research included Patrick Allen, president of the West Indies Union; Paul van Putten, president of Caribbean Union College; Eugene Daniel, secretary of the Caribbean Union; Ivan Warden and G. Ralph Thompson of the Ellen G. White Estate.

Heritage Missions DVD Brings Home
Africa Experience--and Missions

Southern California Conference (SCC) recently produced a new resource that promotes missions involvement by young adults. It is a digital tool that is unique for its particular mission thrust. Ronald Pollard, youth director of SCC's Greater Los Angeles region, produced the Heritage Missions DVD, with Elemental Design, to invite participation while informing. It depicts youth on a mission trip to Africa that allows viewers a virtual experience.

"One of my goals in producing the DVD was to create a contemporary resource that would highlight youth growing through international service exposure," said Pollard. "Encountering the music, voices, and faces of young people and pastors who have been totally involved in evangelizing and helping people in Africa can help to answer questions about missions that youth might have." As young men and women speak from their hearts about their experiences on a Heritage Mission trip to the African continent, viewers find their experience compelling. "Seeing the DVD made me want to tell other kids about Jesus. I am excited about this trip. I know that I made the right decision to go," says Keisha Hartsfield, 16.

Divided into nine sections, this docu-vision tells the Heritage Missions story from the perspectives of youth, the pastors accompanying them, and African pastors. A helpful resource for youth groups, it gives an inside view of the needs of people in third-world countries while increasing awareness about why missions are so important; it also underscores ways that youth can be of service right in their own communities.

The DVD is available from, or call Ronald Pollard, 310/438-6108.

News Notes

  • Walter Wright, secretary of the Lake Union Conference, was elected president of the conference. He replaces Gordon Retzer, who has accepted the call to be president of the Southern Union Conference.

  • Younis Noor Bhatti, president of the Northern Pakistan Section, was elected president of the Pakistan Union Section. He replaces Ole Kendel.

  • It is Written Television recently expanded its United States telecast coverage through a special religious programming time slot on Court TV, a cable television network. One of America=s fastest-growing cable systems, this network has a potential viewing audience of 77 million households.

    Most stations feature It Is Written (in the United States) Tuesdays at 7:30 a.m. on the East and West Coasts, 6:30 a.m. in the Central time zone, and either 6:30 or 7:30 a.m. in the Mountain time zone. To find whether you receive Court TV in your area, log on to

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    © 2003, Adventist Review.