Adventist Theological Society

Adventist Theological Society

The Adventist Theological Society (ATS) is an international nonprofit organization of Seventh-day Adventist scholars and lay-people. The society holds its annual meeting in connection with the Evangelical Theological Society. It describes its theology as "balanced and conservative Adventist theology". [ Membership :: Adventist Theological Society ] ] The other main Adventist theological organization, the Adventist Society for Religious Studies is more liberal/progressive by comparison.


The society was organized in October 1988 at what is now Southern Adventist University, when a group of scholars broke off from the "Andrews Society for Religious Studies", which is now the "Adventist Society for Religious Studies" (ASRS). The meeting consisted of four delegates from Andrews University and eight from Southern. Jack Blanco, author of "The Clear Word", was elected president.

The first annual session was held at Wheaton College in November 1988.

In 1989 the society decided to publish the "Journal of the Adventist Theological Society", with Leo Van Dolson as editor. C. Mervyn Maxwell and Gerhard Hasel were also actively involved with the journal. The first issue was published in 1990.

Membership consisted of 1400 individuals in 1994."Adventist Theological Society" in "Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia" vol. 1, p.31-32] According to an 1996 article, its religion scholars are predominantly from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, Southern Adventist University, and the Biblical Research Institute, plus around 1,700 lay people. [ [ Adventist Religion Scholars Meet | Adventist Today ] ]


The following is a chronological list of those who have served as presidents of the ATS:
* Jack Blanco
* Gerhard Hasel
* C. Raymond Holmes
* E. Edward Zinke
* 1994-? Richard M. Davidson
* Jiri Moskala
* Larry Lichtenwalter


The organization publishes the "Journal of the Adventist Theological Society" (JATS), a referred scholarly journal issued twice a year from Collegedale, TN. It was first published in 1990.

It also publishes the "Perspective Digest", which contains popular level articles.


Alden Thompson has stated, "The society is right-of-center but claims to be centrist." [cite web
last = Thompson
first = Alden
authorlink = Alden Thompson
title = The Future of Adventism: Where's The Church Headed? (A Topical Biography)
publisher =
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-12
] Similarly, Raymond Cottrell wrote, "Its name ambiguously implies that it is either an official instrument of the church or that it represents the consensus of Adventist Bible scholars, neither of which is true." [ [ The Ethos of Adventism] ] Woodrow Whidden, a conservative theologian, describes the ATS as "conservative, Bible-believing and Ellen White affirming Adventists..." [Whidden in an [ interview] with Julius Nam (emphasis in original)] Madelynn Jones-Haldeman has claimed "fundamentalist Adventis [m] " is "perhaps best exemplified in the stated beliefs of the Adventist Theological Society." [ [ Progressive Adventism | Adventist Today ] ] Ervin Taylor has described it as a "theologically reactionary movement". [ [ Interview of Ervin Taylor] by Julius Nam]


According to its constitution, "The centrist focus of the Society places it against all forms of theological extremism, avoiding theological liberalism and legalistic or literalistic interpretations of the Scriptures." According to former "Journal of the Adventist Theological Society" editor Ed Christian,:"The ATS is an organization of centrist Adventist biblical scholars who affirm the teaching and leadership of the Adventist church and covenant to study the Bible as believers rather than skeptics. Beyond that, members are free to hold and argue a variety of opinions. (For example, some ATS scholars favor the ordination of women, and some oppose it.) About forty ATS scholars are also members of the Adventist Society of Religious Studies (ASRS), so there is a good deal of overlap between the two groups, and I for one consider many ASRS scholars who are not ATS members as friends. Our aim is not to separate ourselves from supposedly “heretical” scholars, as some claim, but to have a forum where serious scholarship from our perspective can be shared and discussed." [ [ The Adventist Theological Society] , an interview of Ed Christian by John McLarty.]

The [ Constitution] has six components describing the society's name, mission statement, core values, goals, categories of membership, describes the society's Mission Statement, core values, goals and other items. Acceptance of the constitution, particularly the core values, is required to become a member of ATS. []

The core values are acceptance of the Bible, Christ as only savior of the world, and the fundamental beliefs, as well as the following doctrinal points (summarised):

:a. Christ's death on the cross was both an act of love and a substitutionary atonement.:b. The Bible is the inspired, unerring, infallible Word of God.:c. The historical-grammatical method of interpreting the Bible, as opposed to critical methods:d. A literal reading of Genesis 1-11: six day creation, Flood geology, and a young earth.:e. The investigative judgment, historicist view of prophecy, and the year-day principle:f. Ellen White's writings possess more than pastoral authority (see prophetic gift of Ellen White):g. The Seventh-day Adventist church is the remnant called to preach the three angels' messages of Revelation 14:6-13:h. The society will support the church financially and through personal effort.

According to its website, "Membership in the Adventist Theological Society is open to any serious Bible student that recognizes the strength of working together to help touch Adventist leaders, pastors, theologians, and lay person with balanced and conservative Adventist theology on the cutting edge."

See also

* "Journal of the Adventist Theological Society"
* "Perspective Digest"
* Adventist Society for Religious Studies
* Seventh-day Adventist theology
* Adventist studies

External links

* [ Adventist Theological Society home page]
** [ Journal Online Archive] , to search for JATS articles
** [ About us]
** [ Constitution] - Mission Statement, core values, goals etc.
* [ The Adventist Theological Society: An Interview With Ed Christian] by John McLarty, editor of "Adventist Today"
* " [ Too many theological societies?] "DjVulink by J. Robert Spangler in "Ministry" 62:6 (June 1990), 22–23


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