My readers may appreciate a short biography of Rolf Pöhler, since he has lived mainly in Europe and the United States, and has not yet visited Australia.
Rolf J. Pöhler (1949) was born and raised in Germany, the heartland of the Protestant Reformation. After his pastoral training at Seminar Marienhöhe in Darmstadt and some work experience in Berlin, he attended Andrews University (Michigan, USA), where he earned MA and PhD degrees in theology in 1975 and 1995, respectively. His doctoral dissertation is entitled “Change in Seventh-day Adventist Theology.” It was published in two volumes by Peter Lang (1999 and 2000) and deals with the dynamics of doctrinal continuity and change from a historical and hermeneutical perspective.
For 16 years, Pöhler has served the Adventist Church as church pastor, departmental director, and union president. For the last 20 years, he has been Lecturer of Systematic Theology at Friedensau Adventist University in Germany. He is the Director of the newly founded Institute of Adventist Studies at Friedensau. Pöhler has edited and published several books in German, including an introduction to Adventism for the general public (Christsein heute – Gelebter Glaube) and a contemporary presentation of the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists (Hoffnung, die uns trägt). In addition, he has published well over 200 articles in scholarly and popular journals.
Pöhler is an internationally acclaimed preacher, speaker, author and lecturer; he has been teaching at several European Adventist seminaries. He is married to Regine and has two children.
Why is Dr Pöhler’s visit likely to be significant? First of all, his doctoral dissertation is (in my opinion) the most thorough study yet undertaken on continuity and change in Adventist teaching. Back in the late 1970s, I read a major paper that he had written at Andrews University and made a mental note that we would hear more of this student in the coming years. My hunch was not only fulfilled but greatly enhanced when his doctoral dissertation, completed in 1995, at last reached Australia. I reviewed it for the South Pacific Division paper and, since then, have watched as many others have come to appreciate its depth and clarity.
Second, Dr Pöhler’s publications demonstrate his deep commitment to the church we love.
Third, although English is not his first language, Dr Pöhler has long demonstrated his ability to communicate with English-speaking audiences, especially “thinking believers,” the type of people that this website is designed to serve.