Adventist Academics, Pastors Unite in Chile
for Revelation Theological Symposium

End-time Gospel’ subject of Tenth South American Symposium (Posted August 26, 2013)

BY GERALD A. KLINGBEIL, Associate Editor, Adventist World, reporting from the Adventist University of Chile, Chillán, Chile
OFFER HOPE: Pastor Erton Köhler, president of the South American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, urged pastors to offer hope to a troubled world, using Revelation as a starting point. [PHOTOS: AUC]
ore than four hundred participants spent five days from August 14 to 18, 2013 at the Adventist University of Chile, Chillán, Chile, in intense Bible study and discussion about the Book of Revelation, which presents the Gospel message for the end times.

The meeting marked the tenth edition of an academic symposium uniting university professors, administrators, pastors, and theology students in South America. During the inaugural session, Joel Leiva, Adventist University of Chile professor and event organizing committee secretary, reminded participants that South America’s contributions to global Adventism not only included explosive growth and innovative evangelism, but also profound biblical and theological reflection.

In 20 plenary sessions, presented by specialists and invited speakers from different regions of the world church, participants were reminded that the Book of Revelation is not only a book of prophetic symbols and eschatological perspective, but is truly the gospel, given for a decisive moment in history. More than 70 parallel sessions showcased current research into the Apocalypse in South America and stimulated hearty discussions. Gluder Quispe, professor at the Peruvian Union University in Lima, Peru, provided in his plenary presentation a helpful panoramic view of how Adventists have interpreted this crucial biblical book throughout the history of the movement. Quispe noted the transition from a mostly historical perspective to a more theological and exegetical approach.

RECAPITULATION: Ekkehard Müller, far right, associate director of the Biblical Research Institute, listens to a question from Adventist World associate editor Gerald Klingbeil (left). Sergio Becerra, professor at River Plate Adventist University in Entre Rios, Argentina, center, was the session translator.
Other plenary sessions focused upon the structure of the Book of Revelation (Ranko Stevanovic, professor of New Testament, Andrews University); the historicist approach to the interpretation of the Apocalypse (Richard Sabuin, dean of the Theological Seminary of the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, Philippines); the important hermeneutic principle of recapitulation (Ekkehardt Müller, vice-director, Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference); Ellen White’s significant contribution to the study of the Apocalypse (Alberto Timm, associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate and former rector of SALT, the Seminario Adventista Latinoamericano de Teología); or the use of Old Testament texts, particularly of the Book of Numbers, in the Apocalypse (Gerald A. Klingbeil, Adventist World associate editor).

During the Sabbath worship Erton Köhler, South American Division president, preached a stirring and challenging sermon, highlighting the need for Adventist universities to prepare pastors who are profound thinkers with a pastoral vision. Noting the close links between Genesis 1–2 and Revelation 21–22, Köhler asserted that re-creation and a new Jerusalem without belief in God’s original creation would not make any sense. He encouraged those present to “use the Book of Revelation to bring hope” to a world that is increasingly more hopeless. Besides an intense program of quality research presentations and challenging devotionals, participants enjoyed moments of fellowship throughout the days, helped by the hospitable environment provided by the Adventist University of Chile.

On Sabbath evening the audience witnessed a special event as four former rectors of SALT received plaques recognizing their contribution to Adventist education in South America. Amid heartfelt applause Mario Veloso, Enrique Becerra, Wilson Endruveit, and Alberto Timm were honored for their leadership in developing the theological program of the South American Division. Following that, the Adventist University of Chile gave honorary doctorates to Mario Veloso and Sergio Olivares for their theological contribution to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America.

STRUCTURAL PRESENTATION: Ranko Stevanovic, professor of New Testament at Andrews University spoke on the structure of the Book of Revelation during the Tenth South American Theological Symposium at the Adventist University of Chile.
Prior to the final plenary session focusing upon the eternal gospel contained in the Apocalypse, the participants voted a consensus statement, affirming ten crucial elements related to the interpretation and proclamation of the Book of Revelation. Reinaldo Siqueira, current rector of SALT, announced the next symposium to be held in Brazil at UNASP in 2015 that will be focusing upon the life, work, and mission of Ellen G. White.

Miguel Ángel Núñez, pastor in northern Chile, enjoyed very much the spirit of the symposium. “As always it was a wonderful opportunity to renew old friendships and get up-to-date on Adventist scholarship about Revelation.”

Segundo Correa, dean of the theology faculty of the Bolivian Adventist University, felt that the symposia had awakened and promoted stronger biblical-theological research in South America, while Carlos Steger, dean of the theology faculty of River Plate Adventist University in Argentina, appreciated the high quality and the sheer width of the presentations. “I am returning home intellectually enriched and spiritually inspired,” he said. Participants left Chillán not only enriched and inspired—they also departed ready to share the eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Editor’s Note: It is anticipated that a website containing the papers presented at the seminar will be available online before the end of 2013.


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