World Church: Adventists,
Evangelicals Commence Dialogue in
August 16, 2006 Prague, Czech Republic .... [Christian B.
the first meetings between representatives of the worldwide Seventh-day
Adventist Church and the World Evangelical Alliance, they shared a common
concern for united Christian witness in an age of increasing secularism and
religious pluralism. Although informal contacts have occurred between Adventists
and Evangelicals during the past 50 years, the August 8 to 11 dialogue held on
the campus of the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, Czech
Republic was the first official meeting of the two groups.
|At the first meeting between Seventh-day
Adventists and the World Evangelical Alliance the two sides tried to gain a
clearer understanding of the theological positions of each body. [Photos
courtesy of Adventist Press Service
were spiritually significant and intellectually enriching," said Dr. Angel
Manuel Rodríguez, director of the Adventist church's Biblical Research Institute
and a member of the delegation. "Although we come from different religious
traditions, there was much that we shared in common and was useful to both
The meetings were designed to gain a clearer understanding of
the theological positions of each body; clarify matters of misunderstanding;
discuss frankly areas of agreement and disagreement on a Biblical basis; and
explore possible areas of cooperation. The group also enjoyed a visit to several
sites in Prague related to Protestant reformer Jan Hus.
proceeded via several papers and presentations that described the respective
profiles of Adventists and the Alliance. Representatives discussed the platform
of beliefs held in common by Evangelicals: the Holy Scriptures, the Trinity, the
Lord Jesus Christ, justification by faith, the new birth, the unity of the
Spirit, and the Resurrection. They also considered Adventist presentations on
the interpretation of Scripture; Gospel, Law, the Sabbath; and relations with
Representatives participated together in daily worship
and fellowship. The dialogue revealed a large measure of common ground as
agreement was found between the beliefs of the Evangelical Alliance Statement of
Faith and the Adventist church's statement of Fundamental Beliefs; further, the
two groups shared a spirit of devotion and piety, a strong belief in the
inspiration and authority of Scripture.
The meeting concluded with
planning for a second round of discussions to be held August 6 to 10, 2007, on
the campus of the Adventist-owned Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan,
USA. Topics to be covered include the role and authority of Ellen White;
Adventists' approach to Biblical apocalyptic, including the teaching of the
pre-Advent judgment and the Remnant; and trends among Evangelicals worldwide.
Representing the Evangelical Alliance were: Dr. Rolf Hille, chairman of
the WEA Theological Commission; Dr. Juerg Buchegger; Pastor James Kautt; Dr.
Herbert Klement; Dr. Ian Randall, joined by theological expert Dr. Reinhard
Hempelmann. The Seventh-day Adventist representatives were: Dr. John Graz,
Secretary of the Council on Interchurch/Interfaith Relations; Dr. Niels-Erik
Andreasen, president of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan; Dr.
Bert B. Beach, noted Adventist statesman; Dr. Kwabena Donkor of the Biblical
Research Institute; Pastor Eugene Hsu, a general vice president of the world
church; Adventist Review editor Dr. William Johnsson; Seventh-day Adventist
Seminary professor Dr. Teresa Reeve; and Dr. Rodriguez. Drs. Hille and Graz
co-chaired the discussions.
Seventh-day Adventists have previously held
bilateral discussions with the Lutheran World Federation (1994-1998), the
Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul (1996), the World Alliance of Reformed
Churches (2001), and The Salvation Army (2004-2005).
Evangelical Alliance represents an estimated 420 million evangelical Christians
in 127 countries drawn from many denominations. The Seventh-day Adventist
Church, a mainstream Protestant church, has more than 15 million members in 204
countries and territories; an estimated 30 million people attend Adventist
worship services weekly.
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