Post 3, Getting Started with Adventist Studies

If you have read the 3 September 2011 post on this site, you will be aware that it recommends A Brief, Annotated Introduction to the Field of Adventist Studies for Higher Degree Students (available in its printed and electronic forms from Avondale College of Higher Education) as an overview of Adventist Studies and an introduction to basic sources for effective study of the discipline. Therefore, this post does not need to emphasise the importance of general works by capable historians such as Richard W. Schwarz, Floyd Greenleaf, Gary Land and George Knight. You will also be aware of the abiding value of the two-volume Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia.

 Only a few individuals will find this site before its official launch on 22 October 2011, the 167th anniversary of the Great Disappointment and the painful birth of Sabbatarian Adventism. However, those few may expect some examples of the type of material that will be fostered here.  Hence, this post will outline some preliminary options for those who seriously want to get started with satisfying study.

During 2005, a number of well-informed Adventists believed that it may be possible, given the lapse of 25 years, to understand the Glacier View event constructively. The attempt met a ready and warm-hearted response from a great many people. However, one church official wrote a vigorous rebuke to me on General Conference stationery, and even threatened legal action to suppress interpretations that did not meet his mind. After reflecting on the dilemma, I offered a colloquium to Avondale’s academic staff entitled “Adventist Studies: Fractious Adolescent or Maturing Adult.” With the benefit of the feedback received, I then drafted a journal article, “Contextualising Recent Tensions in Seventh-day Adventism: ‘A Constant Process of Struggle and Rebirth’?” The draft was submitted to the Journal of Religious History in November 2006; the editors had it refereed in detail and gave me helpful suggestions that I incorporated before the article was again refereed, accepted for publication and queued for  inclusion in a suitably themed issue. Dr David Hilliard wrote a masterful overview for the selected issue of the Journal, and the article was duly printed last year (Volume 34, Number 3, September 2010, pages 272-288).

That Journal article offers a useful umbrella for the content of this site. The value of primary sources is emphasized, diverse opinions are respected, but a centrist understanding based on the entire body of available evidence is fostered.  The Journal of Religious History is accessible worldwide in good libraries; the article (in its original form, before suggestions were received from the referees and editors) is available on the website of Avondale College of Higher Education.

The value of the said article lies considerably in its copious footnotes that facilitate access to a wealth of material. For instance, some readers will want to follow up the vibrant discussion of the most-controversial book ever published by Seventh-day Adventists, Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine. The paper that I presented, at the 50th anniversary conference of that book’s first printing, is available on the Internet, along with the balancing effect of all the other papers delivered at that historic conference (2007). Surely, with the hindsight of fifty years, and with the help of several penetrating doctoral studies, we can rise above controversy and offer mature understandings of the book and its continuing waves of influence.

It has been my privilege for a number of years to be an Australian asked to participate in what is primarily a North American initiative, “The Ellen White Project” (see GOOGLE, again). The far-sighted aim of this project is to submit a manuscript to a major academic publisher, offering a scholarly introduction to the life and writings of Ellen White.  The twenty-one chapter authors presented their drafts at the Portland (Maine, USA) conference in October 2009, at which time we received the assessments of 41 respondents, half of them scholars from beyond the Adventist community. My chapter on Ellen White as author was commissioned to include a meeting of the issue of plagiarism “head-on.” After many months of editing it is now accepted; I hope the entire book will be published in 2012. In the interim, there is an array of discussion about this exciting project on the Internet.

I will follow up these brief comments with further posts, prior to the official launch of this website next month (October).

Arthur Patrick, 11 September 2011

Post 2, About the Author/Moderator

Dr Arthur Nelson Patrick is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Avondale College of Higher Education, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia. After graduating from Avondale (Diploma of Theology and Teaching, 1956; Bachelor of Arts, Theology, 1957), he began intermittent graduate study while engaged in parish ministry in New Zealand (1958 to 1967). Interaction with Adventist congregations intensified his sense of need to better understand Seventh-day Adventist history and thought by further study in the United States of America. After ministry in the State of Illinois, he completed an MA degree in Systematic Theology and a Master of Divinity degree at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA, plus a Doctor of Ministry degree at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis (1973). Thereafter Patrick lectured in the Faculty of Theology at Avondale (1974-1991), con-currently directed the Ellen G. White/Seventh-day Adventist Research Centre on the Avondale campus (1976-1983), or filled such other posts as Registrar of the College (1984-1991) and interim Senior Pastor of the College Church (1988). Further study at the University of New England (MLitt, 1984) and the University of Newcastle (PhD, 1992) nurtured Patrick’s interest in Adventist Studies. For almost five years another passion (Clinical Pastoral Education) facilitated his role as Senior Chaplain at Sydney Adventist Hospital (Wahroonga, New South Wales), before two years as a visiting professor at La Sierra University in California. Since his official retirement (1998), Patrick has volunteered for various tasks that support the mission of the church in general and Avondale College of Higher Education in particular, including the co-supervision of PhD students.

Post 1, Adventist Studies: Exploring Adventist History and Thought

A website for thinking believers

This website is designed for persons who are interested in Adventist Studies: that is, research into the background, history, thought, polity and practice of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. While it intends to provide reliable information for the occasional scholar who may visit it, its primary aim is to be of service to general readers.

What You May Expect From This Site

This website will report or review studies of Adventism that are in process, or completed, as papers, theses, dissertations, articles or books. It will give particular attention to (and, at times, make accessible) significant articles from Adventist and other periodicals and journals. The moderator invites readers to suggest studies that may be of interest to persons likely to access the website. While at the outset the offerings will be modest, it is anticipated that fresh posts will be added frequently; thus the site will have more value, over time, for those who are interested in the rapidly developing discipline of Adventist Studies.

The current moderator is Dr Arthur Patrick, who enjoys consultation on such matters with the Senior Pastor of the Avondale College Church (Dr Bruce Manners, until the end of 2011), a number of College Church members, as well as pastoral and scholarly friends elsewhere in Australia and overseas. The moderator assumes sole responsibility for the content of the website; no other person or institution should be deemed responsible for any idea that is expressed.  The content of the website will always aim for integrity and transparency, even when a controversial matter is under consideration. As an Honorary Senior Research Fellow of Avondale College of Higher Education, the moderator’s writings are widely published in Adventist magazines and journals, on the Internet (accessible via GOOGLE), and elsewhere.

The Cooranbong area (New South Wales, Australia) is blest with several entities that faciliate effective research related to Adventist history and thought. These are directly or indirectly affiliated with Avondale College of Higher Education. The Avondale Library provides access to a wide range of print and electronic sources. While catering primarily to Avondale students and faculty, the Library also offers limited services to students from other tertiary institutions, community members and Avondale alumni. Its website is

Research about Adventism, Facilitated Since the 1970s

During 1972, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists voted to support effective research by developing specialised facilities to serve the various geographical sections of the world. Facilities for the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists (SPD) were developed on the campus of Avondale College of Higher Education in two stages: the Adventist Heritage Room in 1974 (now called the Adventist Heritage Centre) and the Ellen G. White/Seventh-day Adventist Research Centre in 1976. Both entities serve the territories of the SPD, embracing the region often described as Oceania–Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Kirabati and other islands nations of the South Pacific as far east as Pitcairn Island.

The Adventist Heritage Centre (AHC)

This facility houses primary and secondary resources, including artefacts relating to the operation and activities of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, its entities, and members within Oceania. The AHC was identified as a “nationally significant collection” for Australia in 2007 due to its unique and extensive resources in multiple formats– documents, films, photographs, serials, textiles, recordings, artefacts, etc. The AHC is involved with the collection and supervision of artefacts housed in the South Pacific Islands Museum, located in Avondale Road, Cooranbong.

The AHC is currently staffed by a curator, Ms Rose-lee Power and part-time assistants.  They assist researchers and visitors, as time permits.  A major project at the moment is the restoration of the 180B Cessa, Andrew Stewart, a much-loved plane that began its service during 1964, piloted by Pastor Len Barnard in Papua New Guinea.

The Adventist Heritage Centre’s email is; the Centre’s web page is and it maintains such web pages as Adventist Heritage Centre, and South Sea Islands Museum, It also has a Face Book page: All the Centre’s books and pamphlets are listed in the Avondale College Library catalogue:

The Ellen G. White/Seventh-day Adventist Research Centre

This facility houses primary sources in microform and as originals, as well as historical and up-to-date literature and secondary studies relating to four areas: the history and thought of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church; the life and writings of Ellen Gould White (1827-1915).

The Centre is staffed by a director, Dr John Skrzypaszek, and an Administrative Assistant, Mrs Marian de Berg. Dr Skrzypaszek teaches in the Faculty of Theology at Avondale College of Higher Education and often speaks at special events organised by the SPD, union and local conferences, individual congregations and scholarly organisations. Mrs de Berg assists researchers on the Avondale campus and others who may, for instance, need her help to electronically transfer documents.

The Reseach Centre’s staff also supervises the management and development of  Sunnyside, the Australian home of Ellen G. White from December 1895 to August 1900, located in Avondale Road, Cooranbong.

The Research Centre’s e-mail address is

For a fuller definition of “Adventist Studies” as offered to undergraduate and particularly postgraduate students (up to PhD level) at institutions such as Andrews University and Avondale College of Higher Education, see the brochure A Brief, Annotated Introduction to the Field of Adventist Studies for Higher Degree Students (Cooranbong: Avondale College of Higher Education, 2009), also available on the Avondale College website.

Educational Events  Each year, the Avondale College Church offers a sequence of Educational Events for its members and their friends. Often these events are led by overseas or local scholars who are making a significant contribution to an aspect of the church, its thought or mission.  At the 20 August 2011 event, the guest speaker was Dr David Trim from the Washington, D.C. area, currently the General Conference Archivist, Statistician and Director of Research. The 10 September 2010 speaker was Dr Wendy Jackson; the October 22 presenter will be Dr Rick Ferret. Plans for 2012 include input from Dr Rolf Pöhler, internationally acclaimed as preacher, speaker, author and lecturer; well known for his teaching at several European Adventist seminaries. This site will on occasion seek to offer meaningful reports about such speakers and events. Usually audio recordings will be available from Mrs Joy Taplin, Office Administrator for the College Church, at the e-mail address