by Monte Sahlin
By AT News Team, September 26, 2014
Fuller Theological Seminary in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California, has hired a Seventh-day Adventist scholar as a faculty member. The nation's largest theology graduate school and leading institution with an evangelical Protestant orientation has hired Dr. Johnny Ramírez-Johnson as a professor in its School of Intercultural Studies which offers advanced degrees in missiology and church growth.
Ramírez-Johnson has been a faculty member at Loma Linda University for a number of years. He holds an undergraduate degree in theology from Antillean College in Puerto Rico, a master’s degree in Hebrew and archaeology from Andrews University and a EdD from Harvard University in human development and cultural psychology.
His background "equips him to bring the culture of biblical times into an understanding of Scripture as the basis for Christian mission relevant in a multicultural context," stated the announcement by Fuller Seminary. In his doctoral dissertation "he examined how society’s discrimination [toward] a historically disadvantaged group of Latinos (Puerto Ricans) was ameliorated and overcome by faith via the social support of the church and the ideology of the gospel. His training in human development and cultural psychology provide theoretical vehicles for reading the Bible from a practical theology perspective that facilitates the gospel’s work among the unreached from American inner cities to remote areas of the world."
Ramírez-Johnson has written two books examining the multicultural and intergenerational realities of North American churches in promoting not only love for Jesus but also healthy and holy lifestyles: A Way Up the Ladder, Motivation Achievement Via Religious Ideology: An Ethnography of a Seventh-day Adventist Puerto Rican Church (Edwin Mellen, 2008) and AVANCE: A Vision for a New Mañana (Loma Linda University Press, 2003) which published data from a major study of Hispanics in the Adventist Church in North America. He has also written a number of journal articles that deal with the role of culture in the church.
An ordained minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ramírez-Johnson describes himself as a practical theologian working at the intersection of the social sciences and theology. He has taught religion in higher education since 1979. In addition to Loma Linda he also taught at the Seminario Latinoamericano in San José, Costa Rica.
Regarding his personal faith and ministry, he said, “I am a convert to Jesus Christ and the truth of the Word of God who followed Jesus under duress; my father persecuted and tried to kill me as I fled home to follow Jesus.” He has been involved in planting churches around the world, including Central America, North America, and Lebanon, and has preached around the world for revivals, evangelism, and church growth.
Ramírez-Johnson serves on committees for the Adventist denomination's General Conference on Hispanic ministries, chaplaincy and education. He is a volunteer chaplain at Saint Bernadine Medical Center and a volunteer in a mentoring program at the Hispanic Adventist Church in Loma Linda, He also conducts Bible studies and does pastoral counseling for LLU students and the community. He served on the Hispanic Advisory Committee for Fuller Seminar in 2002–2006.
In graduate programs designed to train missionaries, Ramirez-Johnson is teaching courses on Methods of Observing and Interpreting Culture, The Practice of Mission, Ministering in a Diverse Interconnected World, and The Practice of Christian Community. He teaches in both English and Spanish. His areas of research and writing include mission research, research methods, cultural psychology, practical theology, ethnography, human development, anthropology, sociology of religion, psychology of religion, congregational studies and social research.