Post 86, Senior scholars contribute to Avondale’s research output

Avondale College of Higher Education from time to time confers the status of Honorary Senior Research Fellow on active researchers who have retired from full-time employment. The arrangement maintains their association with the College and encourages continued publication, contributing to Avondale’s research profile. This article surveys some highlights of the scholarly careers of three of Avondale’s most published Honorary Senior Research Fellows.

Dr Bryan Ball

Dr Bryan Ball, principal of Avondale from 1984 to 1990, has published prolifically in the fields of ecclesiastical history and theological thought. His first book, A Great Expectation: Eschatological Thought in English Protestantism to 1660 (E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1975) documents the thinking of Protestant English writers on themes associated with the second coming of Christ, demonstrating that belief in Christ’s return was in the mainstream of English Reformation thought.

The English Connection: The Puritan Roots of Seventh-day Adventist Belief (James Clarke & Co., Cambridge, 1981), traces the influence of English Puritanism on later religious movements, particularly Seventh-day Adventism, investigating Puritan thinking on such matters as Scripture, salvation by faith in Christ, baptism, gospel obedience, Christ as our high priest, the seventh-day Sabbath, prophecy, the second coming and the new earth.

The Seventh-day Men: Sabbatarians and Sabbatarianism in England and Wales, 1600-1800 (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1994) shows that observance of the seventh day was a significant minority practice in English Nonconformity, and that many Sabbatarians exercised considerable influence on the religious life of the period. A revised and expanded edition was published in 2009 (James Clarke & Co., Cambridge).

The Soul Sleepers: Christian Mortalism from Wycliffe to Priestley (James Clarke & Co, Cambridge, 2008) studies the rise and development of the doctrine of conditional immortality in England during the Reformation and post-Reformation periods, demonstrating that this view of humankind’s essential nature and ultimate destiny was held across a wide theological spectrum in English thought for at least three centuries.

Dr Bryan Ball contributed articles on six Puritan and Nonconformist preachers and writers to The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004). He is also a contributor to the online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

His scholarly works for a more popular readership include The Essential Jesus: the Man, His Message, His Mission, co-edited with William Johnsson (Pacific Press, Boise ID, 2002); and Can We Still Believe the Bible? And Does It Really Matter? (Signs Publishing Co., Warburton, 2007), a book subsequently published in Latvian and Spanish. A revised and enlarged edition appeared in 2011.

Bryan Ball’s latest book, In the Beginning (Pacific Press, Nampa ID, 2012) is an edited collection of scholarly essays exploring issues relating to origins. Eleven chapters discuss origins from biblical and theological perspectives, six from scientific viewpoints, and one is a critique of social Darwinism. The book contains significant essays on the origin and reliability of Genesis, its theological themes, its importance in the rest of scripture, and its utilisation by Christ and New Testament writers. The discussions about design and the limits of neo-Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms are offered at greater depth than in most previous Adventist books.

Dr Arthur Patrick 

With degrees in history, biblical studies, theology and ministry, Dr Arthur Patrick brings a broad spectrum of knowledge to his scholarship. While he has published in all the above fields, he has developed a special interest in the history of religion and in Adventist studies, writing on Adventist history in relation to its broader historical and cultural contexts.

Patrick’s Master of Letters (MLitt) thesis was entitled “Ellen Gould White and the Australian Woman, 1891-1900” (University of New England, 1984). His PhD thesis expanded the scope further: “Christianity and Culture in Colonial Australia: Selected Catholic, Anglican, Wesleyan and Adventist Perspectives, 1891-1900” (University of Newcastle, 1992).

Patrick’s mastery of Adventist studies is evident from his bibliographical survey of the published literature in this field, which he prepared in 2006 as a guide for doctoral students. See He had previously published a review of sources on Adventist history in the South Pacific in the refereed Journal of Religious History (1987).

Patrick’s extensive publications include articles in refereed journals and in publications such as Ministry, Adventist Review, Spectrum and Adventist Today. A number of his papers have also been published online at and on the Avondale website under ResearchOnline@Avondale.

Since retiring from full-time employment he has continued to write prolifically. In 2003 he authored the centenary history of the Sydney Adventist Hospital (The San: 100 Years of Christian Caring 1903-2003); and in 2004 he wrote a chapter on the history of Adventists in Australia for the electronic resource Australia’s Religious Communities (Christian Research Association, Nunawading, Victoria).

His 2009 paper “The Re-parenting of Seventh-day Adventists? Reflections on the Historical Development, Substance and Potential of Ellen G White Studies” (ResearchOnline@Avondale) surveys the historical development of Ellen G White studies, documents literature published on Ellen White, and provides insights into White’s authorial methods. A refereed article in the Journal of Religious History (2010) contextualises the struggles of recent decades between continuity and change in Adventism, documenting three possible stances in relation to traditional Adventist thought: reversion, alienation and transformation. The article urges the importance of effective internal and external dialogue. A refereed article in Lucas: an Evangelical History Review, co-authored with Associate Professor Daniel Reynaud, traces the maturation of Seventh-day Adventist historiography from the early days of the movement to the era of professionally trained historians, and evaluates the significance of that development for the church’s view its own history.

Patrick has presented numerous papers at scholarly conferences, many of which have been published. These include “Re-visioning the Role of Ellen White for Seventh-day Adventists Beyond 2000” (Adventist Society for Religious Studies, San Francisco, 1997, published at; “Learning from Ellen White’s Perception and Use of Scripture: Toward an Adventist Hermeneutic for the 21st Century” (South Pacific Division Theological Conference, 2003, published at; and a paper at the 2007 conference at Andrews University marking the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the controversial book Questions on Doctrine. Patrick’s paper analyses the historical context of the publication of Questions of Doctrine in 1957, the conflicting subsequent perceptions of the book, and the impact of this controversy on the church. The paper, which was published in the Conference Proceedings, seeks to provide an interpretative framework to help the church move constructively beyond these tensions.

In 2009 Patrick delivered a paper on Ellen White as author at a conference in Portland, Maine, USA, which Patrick considers one of the most significant events in the history of Ellen White scholarship. The conference, organised by Professor Gary Land of Andrews University and others, brought together 66 scholars, one-third of non-Adventist background, to discuss the life, work and significance of Ellen White in the context of nineteenth-century America. Many of the participants were well-known authors in the field of American religious history. Two scholars, one Adventist, the other non-Adventist, were invited to present responses to each paper. Patrick saw the conference as “a fresh opportunity to foster a mature, sustainable understanding of Ellen White amongst believers and the wider community.”

Dr Norman Young

Dr Norman Young has established an international reputation for research and scholarship in New Testament studies, publishing an impressive array of articles in refereed scholarly journals, and presenting many papers at national and international conferences and other scholarly meetings.

His publications include the book Rebuke and Challenge: the Point of Jesus’ Parables (Review and Herald, Washington DC, 1985), and a supplement to John Wenham’s widely used Elements of New Testament Greek (revised edition, Cambridge University Press, 2001). He has also published a significant book documenting the fight to free Lindy Chamberlain (Innocence Regained, Federation Press, 1989). His scholarly publications include articles in leading international journals such as the Journal of Biblical Literature, New Testament Studies, Novum Testamentum, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, and Biblical Archaeologist. He has also published extensively in Seventh-day Adventist literature.

Since his retirement from full-time employment Young has continued to present papers at scholarly conferences and to publish in peer-reviewed journals. His conference paper “The Founding Fathers and the Fledgling Church According to the Epistle of Hebrews” (Macquarie University, Sydney, 2004) was published in the Society for the Study of Early Christianity Newsletter (2005). His paper at the Chamberlain Case Symposium (Macquarie University, 2005) was published in The Chamberlain Case: Nation, Law, Memory (Australian Scholarly Press, Melbourne, 2009). In 2008 he presented a paper investigating passages from Romans and Colossians in their social context at the 63rd General Meeting of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, Lund, Sweden. In 2009 he presented an analysis of Romans 14:5-6 at the New Perspectives on Christianity Conference at Avondale, a paper subsequently published in The International Journal of New Perspectives on Christianity. In 2011 he contributed a paper on irony in the writings of the apostle John at the 66th Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas Conference in New York.

In retirement Young has also written book reviews in the fields of New Testament studies and theology for the peer reviewed journals Biblical Interpretation (2005) and Pacifica (2007). In 2008 he published an article in Wartime, the peer reviewed journal of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, on his father’s involvement in the Second World War in New Guinea.

Avondale greatly appreciates the continuing contribution of its honorary senior research fellows to the College’s research profile.

Posted (with permission from Dr John Cox who wrote the article as editor and published it in Reflections 24:2, Summer 2012), 19 December 2012