Dr. Gary Land closed the presentations with his "Reflections on the Symposium." Conference is particularly important, because it tries to place Adventism in a context, which many Adventist scholars have failed to do.
Land noted three areas of concern in the plenary papers.
- The problem of defending Arminanism as a theology focuses on God (Olson, Callen, and LaRondelle)
- The problem of assurance of salvation (Stanglin, Whidden)
- The problem of the relation Arminianism to Adventism (Fortin, Knight)
Land found the discussion of sanctification very interesting, for there is a vocal community of former Adventisims who criticise the church for a works focus. An interdenomational conference of these topics would be helpful, as this issue apparently transcends the bounds of our denomination.
These papers help us understand the importance of defining our terms well. While terms like monergism and synergism may be too technical for the average person, they help theologians to know precisely what they are talking about. More explicit knowledge of history and theology is needed by those who speak and teach in the church.
We need to understand that our theological positions are part of debates that precede us. We need to know those debates, and let them inform our interaction with other faiths.
We need to understand that our positions are grounded in our history and experiences, and take this into account when analyzing our positions.
We need to know why many in our church are semi-Pelagian. What happened to Wesleyan Arminianism when it came into contact with the Christian Connection and Baptism in the Adventist Church. Why, if Ellen White was Arminian, why do so many read her in a semi-Pelagian way?
Why does semi-Pelagianism have such appeal to Americans? In its mythology is not reality, America is the land of the self made man. Where someone can make themselves free from constraints of family, class structure, etc. This is not compatible with Calvinism, nor truly classical Arminianism. To understand theology, we need not only look at theology but also the social and economic situation of American which continues to make semi-Pelagianism popular in the Adventist Church.