Examining Trends (Especially Decline) in Religious Groups

On August 8, the Pew Research Center hosted a round-table on “Religion Trends in the US,” featuring sociologists Claude Fischer of the University of California at Berkeley and Michael Hout of New York University; Gallup’s Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport; and the Pew Research Center’s Greg Smith, the Director of US Religion Surveys for the Religion &…… Continue reading Examining Trends (Especially Decline) in Religious Groups

The Sabbath in a Round World

In Biblical times the Hebrews saw the world as flat. Indeed, this view persisted through New Testament times also, and far beyond chronologically. Thus, the Sabbath commandment was given in this context. There was no difficulty in the areas which provided the context of the Scriptures in knowing which day of the week was the…… Continue reading The Sabbath in a Round World

Man Created God in his Image

My topic has been stimulated by the fact that just as the TOSC Commission brought Adventist biblical scholars and Church administrators from all over the world to study women’s ordination in advance of the 2015 GC Session (only to see their recommendations ignored in the debate and decision-making process because Elder Ted Wilson, the GC…… Continue reading Man Created God in his Image

Toward A Sociological Understanding of the Evolution of Adventism: What Had Shaped the Adventism We Knew in the 1960s? How Has It Changed Since? Where Is It Going?

In 1962, my final “honours” year at the University of Queensland, we Adventist students there formed QUSDAS, the Queensland University Seventh-day Adventist Society. We became extremely close as a group, meeting two Friday evenings per month, debating questions concerning our faith and our studies eagerly and persistently, and attending—and in 1964 hosting—an annual national convention…… Continue reading Toward A Sociological Understanding of the Evolution of Adventism: What Had Shaped the Adventism We Knew in the 1960s? How Has It Changed Since? Where Is It Going?

The Patterns, Sources, and Implications of Rapid Church Growth within International Seventh-day Adventism: Applying and Testing Stark’s Revised General Model

New religious groups are formed frequently – there are probably hundreds per year around the globe. However, most of these come to nothing, for only a tiny fraction of them grow to any extent over time. Moreover, most of these, including most of those that become prominent denominations, eventually stagnate and then decline. The key…… Continue reading The Patterns, Sources, and Implications of Rapid Church Growth within International Seventh-day Adventism: Applying and Testing Stark’s Revised General Model

In and Out of the World

Scriptures: II Cor.6:14-7:1; Matt.5:13-16 Our two scripture passages are often interpreted in conflicting ways when they are applied to the question of how the Christian is to relate to society: how can a people be separate from unbelievers while also being the salt of the earth? How can we salt the earth while remaining in…… Continue reading In and Out of the World

Dilemmas in Religious Research: When a Stigmatized Researcher Researches a Conservative Church

When I was introduced to church-sect theory while studying undergraduate sociology of religion in Australia, I immediately realized that it gave me a new understanding of Seventh-day Adventism, the faith in which I had been raised. I wrote a paper exploring the evolution of Adventism in these terms, and determined that this would be the…… Continue reading Dilemmas in Religious Research: When a Stigmatized Researcher Researches a Conservative Church