For Union College Religion Professor Ben Holdsworth, climate science is nothing new. He believes it impacted the world of the early Christian church, and it will again influence Adventists as the time of Christ’s coming approaches. In June, he presented a paper at the Bible Research Institute (BRI) Fourth International Bible Conference.
Holdsworth’s presentation marks the first time a Union College professor has been invited to present at the conference. His paper, titled “Adventist Eschatology and Ecclesiology in a Climate-Disrupted World,” synthesizes material from his New Testament courses, doctoral research and a paper he presented.
“The interest for this paper came from research into the intersection of first century Christianity within the Greco-Roman world with the experience of climate impacts and social destabilization in Judea and Galilee,” said Holdsworth.
More specifically, Holdsworth explained, “This paper explores the intersection of Adventist eschatology and evangelism in relation to caring for churches and members, and the support of church economics—tithes and offerings, in a world that is currently impacted by climate disruption and will be increasingly shaped by future disruption.”
Holdsworth’s paper also draws from research used in teaching a course titled Global Environment and International Policy which is offered at Union College for either religion or political science credit.
“My purpose in writing this is to have the church engage in a broader conversation about the current and coming impact on the Adventist church, for both evangelism and in caring for its members,” said
The June conference held in Rome, themed “Biblical Eschatology from an Adventist Perspective,” featured presentations related to last-day events. The invitation-only conference featured more than 110 papers held in six parallel sessions, as well as an opportunity to attend guided tours through major Biblical and early Christian sites in Rome.
Holdsworth appreciated the opportunity to attend the conference, and the time he was able to spend on further research while there. “With my doctoral work being done in the book of Romans, I was glad to go back to see Rome itself. Every time I go back, I see Paul’s letter from a different perspective.” He jokingly added, “and of course, I always look forward to the gelato.”
In addition to potential publication by the BRI, parts of Holdsworth’s research will be used to further the conversation in future semesters of his Global Environment and International Policy course.
By Danica Eylenstein