The Biblical Research Institute (BRI) is a service department of the General Conference. It
consists of a group of biblical scholars whose main functions are to: (1) be
consultants to church administrators and leaders on theological and doctrinal
issues facing the church; (2) develop and distribute biblical and theological
studies that contribute to a better understanding and a deepening of Adventist
doctrines, theology, and lifestyle; and (3) prepare responses to critics of the
message and mission of the church.
In the fulfillment of their responsibilities,
these scholars are assisted by the BRI committee,
composed of 40 theologians from around the world and a number of General
Conference church leaders. It meets twice a year.
The BRI staff is
selected from among Adventist scholars whose theological training and
professional experience as church workers qualify them to provide professional,
balanced, and appropriate counsel. At present it consists of four scholars
whose different fields of expertise cover a broad variety of theological areas:
Angel Manuel Rodríguez, director, specialist in Old
Testament; Kwabena Donkor,
systematic theology; Ekkehardt Mueller, New Testament
and hermeneutics; and Gerhard Pfandl, Old Testament
and ancient Near Eastern archaeology. They are supported by two other staff
members, Brenda Flemmer, administrative assistant,
and Marlene Bacchus, desktop computer specialist.
The staff has produced books on relevant
issues for the church (Tradition, Method, and Contemporary Protestant
Theology, Kwabena Donkor;
Come Boldly to the Throne of God: Sanctuary Themes in
Mueller; Daniel: The Seer of Babylon, Gerhard Pfandl; Future
Glory, Angel M. Rodríguez).
Materials are also prepared to counteract
groups with a particular theological or doctrinal agenda within the church. The
written responses are distributed as shelf documents wherever they may be
needed. Often the institute reviews materials produced by different church
departments intended for publication. Suggestions are given to clarify and
strengthen their content, in order better to express Adventist thought.
Another service mainly offered to ministerial
staffs is planning and carrying out Bible conferences for divisions and unions.
Besides this, the institute is very often involved in ministerial councils and
workers meetings, giving seminars on subjects of doctrinal and theological
interest for church workers, and reaffirming the message and mission of the
Every year staff members teach courses in one
or more Adventist seminaries around the world at the request of the local
administrators (e.g., South America, Philippines, Germany,
This serves the purpose of sharing the result of research with those in
ministerial formation, contributing to the enrichment of theological thinking
in the world church. Through the Institute, the General Conference maintains
contact with theologians serving in our institutions of higher education from
around the world and provides opportunity for theological exchange among Bible
teachers and theologians. This has been achieved through several theological
symposiums held in different divisions.
The Web site of the Biblical Research
Institute provides information on a variety of topics. On the Web site
interested people may access the full text of many shelf documents and a
significant number of answers to Bible questions. There is also information
about books prepared and edited by the staff.*
The BRI newsletter
(Reflections) is published four times a year and seeks to share
information concerning doctrinal and theological developments among Adventists,
and to foster doctrinal and theological unity in the world church. Its intended
audience is church administrators, church leaders, pastors, and teachers.
Because of its specific function, the newsletter is not displayed on the BRI Web page. Adventist church elders who are interested in
obtaining it are advised to approach their pastors or conference leaders.
The BRI will
continue to serve the world church as a support ministry, integrating
biblical-theological thinking to the message and mission of the church.
*The Web site is