A program never offered before by any Seventh-day Adventist college or university — a master of arts in Jewish-Christian studies — begins in May 2020. This degree explores the parallel histories of the Christian and Jewish communities from the birth of Jesus until today, and investigates the large body of Jewish literature that imparts a clearer interpretation of the Old and New Testaments.
Courses include Jewish Life and Thought; the Great Controversy; the Covenant, Law, and Sabbath; History of Jewish Experience; and seminars in Classical Jewish Literature from the Old and New Testament time frames. In addition, traditional Adventist topics such as the doctrine of the sanctuary and studies in Daniel and Revelation reflect overlooked ties to a Torah-based foundation. Designed for non-traditional students, rather than requiring students to live on campus, classes will be held on campus for four weeks each May, with the remainder of class time being online. At the end of five years, students will earn their M.A. degree while remaining employed.
The vision for this degree arose as Alexander Bolotnikov, Ph.D., a Jewish rabbi turned Adventist pastor, with a doctorate in rabbinic literature, saw an alarming increase of Seventh-day Adventists converting to Judaism in recent years. “Many Adventists are drawn to the Hebrew roots of their faith, yet common misunderstandings about Judaism raise questions and concerns when many pastors are asked questions about Jewish topics. This is unfortunate,” said Bolotnikov of the North American Division’s Shalom Learning Center. “I decided I should learn what my heritage meant to be Jewish, because I was raised as a communist, not a Jew. So, I went to the yeshiva. When I became a believer in Jesus, the only Christian church I could join without compromising Scripture was Seventh-day Adventist. “What I learned in the yeshiva has anchored me within Adventism. Thus, my dream developed of bringing together instructors and a curriculum that equips Adventists to interact effectively with both secular and religious Jews, while also addressing the attrition of our people to Messianic congregations and Jewish communities like Chabad. The Jewish people are part of God’s family waiting to be introduced to their Messiah.”
“The time has come when the Jews are to be given the light of the last Gospel message,” Ellen White, Manuscripts, 87-1907.13.
is the director of church growth, evangelism training, and Jewish ministries at the Southern Union Conference in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, and the director of Jewish ministires for the North American Division in Columbia, Maryland.
is the director of Jewish ministries for the Pacific Union Conference.
Southern Union | December 2019