Letter from the Luca Marulli, president

Dear friends and members of EASTRS,

As you know, following the impossibility to have a regular General Assembly during the last ETTC (2020, on Zoom) due to the COVID pandemic, I remained in charge of the EASTRS presidency despite the fact that my mandate ended in 2020. This, with the agreement of the board members, allowed the whole board to accompany certain issues such as the succession to the leadership of Spes Christiana and the organisation of the next ETTC in Hungary (March 2023).

It is with emotion and sadness, but also with joy for the future, that I announce my departure from the Campus Adventiste du Salève (France). After 13 years of happy and fulfilling work at the Adventist Faculty of Theology, I will be joining the Protestant Faculty of Theology in Strasbourg as of September 1st.

The time has thus come to ask the President-Elect, Tihomir Lazić, to assume the presidential prerogatives of EASTRS and to prepare the next General Assembly where a new President-elect shall be elected and other vacancies in the Executive Committee shall be filled. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the whole EASTRS team, Tom de Bruin, Stefan Hoeschele and Tihomir Lazić, for their serious and very competent work. Without their support and friendship I would have felt quite inadequate.

I also thank Reinder Bruinsma, Kerstin Maiwald and their collaborators for their incredible ability to ensure that Spes Christiana remains a high quality resource. I am also grateful to Laurence Turner and Paul Petersen for lending their expertise to Spes Christiana, thus ensuring its continuity after Reinder and Kerstin’s departure in the next future.

Special thanks to Imre Tokics and his team at the Hungarian Adventist Theological College, supported by Jean-Claude Verrecchia and Laszlo Gallusz, for organising the next ETTC. I will unfortunately be absent due to my new schedule, but I already know that the participants will be able to experience quality moments and even welcome the winners of the first student contest. Thank you for continuing to support our young emerging theologians, encouraging diversity and equity of access to ministry.

I also thank the officers of the Divisions represented (EUD, TED, EAD), the deans of our theological schools, and in particular Marius Munteanu and Daniel Duda for their support and encouragement of EASTRS’s initiatives to establish and develop a European network of Adventist theologians. The recent events of the war in Ukraine remind us of the urgency and importance of nurturing and preserving our international relations in a spirit of brotherhood and mutual welcome. I also have a special thought for those colleagues who, for different reasons and beyond their control, have been forced to prematurely leave the institutions they worked for. I am thinking in particular of Aulikki Nahkola, Gifford Rhamie, Tom de Bruin and Jean-Luc Rolland. This is a personal loss for us, and a significant human, spiritual and theological loss for the Church. I wish them to continue to shine in spite of everything, confident that the Lord will sustain them and continue to bless them.

I wish a very good continuation of work to my dear friends and brothers of the board and to all of you who, by your presence and participation, make this network meaningful.

Thank you for the fraternal affection you have always expressed towards me. I am happy to think that what we have built at the interpersonal level will endure, by the grace of God.

May God continue to abundantly bless your ministry and the fruit of your dedicated and responsible work.

Warm greetings,

Luca Marulli

Collonges hosts theological conference

From June 25th to 27th , the Campus adventiste du Salève hosted the third edition of the ‘Rendez-vous de la pensée protestante‘ in Collonges. Some 80 teachers and students from all French-speaking theological faculties (France, Belgium and Switzerland), whether Reformed, Lutheran, Evangelical or Adventist, took part in this edition.

The topic discussed this year, in continuation of the previous edition, was ‘The Authority of Scripture’.

A public round table was also held on the theme “Law of God, laws of the Republic”. It allowed not only to measure the tension that can exist between temporal authority and spiritual authority but also to highlight the necessary complementarity and the crossovers that can exist, underlining in particular the freedom of conscience and the transforming scope of the Gospel, even in the public sphere.

Participation in the Adventist worship service, shared meals, musical moments, a meditative walk, group discussions, etc. also contributed to the richness of the event which, in the end, was theologically stimulating, relationally friendly and spiritually rich.

The Collonges faculty was represented by Daniela Gelbrich, professor of Old Testament, and Nuvind Seenundun, a Mauritian pastor who is currently on leave to pursue his studies at Collonges.


Appeal to EASTRS members

The preparations for the new issue of our journal Spes Christiana are in their final stages. I believe it will once again contain a number of high quality articles about issues that will be of interest to most Adventist scholars in the fields of theology and related disciplines. And from data provided by our web-editor I may conclude that the book review section is rather popular. Of course, I hope that the quality of our journal will be maintained or even further increased and that the number of readers will also grow. Steps are taken to ensure that our journal is not only indexed in the SDA Periodical Index and Google Scholar, but in the future also in the Adventist Digital Library and the ATLA Religion Database. This will help to make the articles more accessible and to see them more frequently quoted in other academic publications.

But a journal does not come about by spontaneous generation. To guarantee its regular publication a constant flow of articles and of book reviews is needed. Ideally, the contributions come from authors who are connected with all Adventist institutions with theological faculties, spread over Europe. This is still far from reality, and therefore I launch an earnest appeal to keep Spes Christiana in mind in your academic work. No doubt many of our various theological staffs have been involved in projects that could result in a worthy publications. Perhaps quite a few have invested a lot of time in academic papers which they have read during a symposium or professional convention. If the results thereof have not yet been published, this work could perhaps be converted into an article in an upcoming issue of our journal.

If you are in doubt whether a particular topic and/or approach would be suitable for the journal, please contact Reinder Bruinsma (reinder@bruinsmas.com), and when you have a particular book in mind for a review, please contact Kerstin Maiwald, who is the book review editor (kerstin.maiwald@thh-friedensau.de). If it concerns a subject about which I know little or nothing (and there are many such domains), I will make sure to get the right kind of advice. We are still in need of a number of manuscripts for the spring issue of 2022. The sooner these arrive the better, but not much later than early February, as the peer review process also tends to take a fair amount of time. (And—by the way—we are always looking for qualified peer reviewers with the expertise required for evaluation a particular topic.)

Working on Spes Christiana must be a combined effort and I need your help in the coordinating role that I fulfil as the General Editor.

I fervently hope that this appeal will result in the submission of a range of manuscripts. I hope to hear from many of you.

Blessings and warm greetings,

Reinder Bruinsma, General Editor