Jon Paulien, PhD
909-558-8434; x. 88434 on campus
Dr. Paulien received his bachelor’s degree in theology from Atlantic Union College, which included a year abroad studying in West Germany. His MDiv degree (1975) and his PhD in New Testament (1987) were both earned from Andrews University.
Early in his career, Dr. Paulien was a church pastor in New York and Michigan before attending graduate school. After teaching at the SDA Seminary at Andrews University for many years, he came to LLU in 2007 as Dean of the newly-formed School of Religion.
He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Adventist Society for Religious Study, and the Chicago Society for Biblical Research. He has also served on numerous committees and study projects within the Adventist Church and professional organizations. Dr. Paulien is listed in Who’s Who in Religion, Who's Who in Biblical Studies and Archaeology, Who's Who in America, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and the Directory of American Scholars.
Dr. Paulien is a well-respected biblical scholar and a prolific writer. He has written dozens of book reviews, and has been published on topics relating to the history of the Adventist Church and the book of Revelation. He is a specialist in the Johannine literature in the new Testament (Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation), and the intersection of faith with contemporary culture. Many of his books have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Finnish, Japanese, and the Korean languages. He also takes special delight in seminars and presentations to non-specialists who can make practical use of the material in the real world.
Dr. Paulien has traveled to the seven last cities mentioned in the book of Revelation and filmed a series of DVDs on location for the Hope Channel; written chapters on Daniel and Revelation and the apostle Paul for high school religion textbooks for the Adventist church; and conducted many television and radio interviews over the years. He is also a consulting editor of the Andrews University Seminary Studies.
Outside of academia, Dr. Paulien enjoys being with his wife Pamella and their three children, and also enjoys travel, golf and photography when time permits.
Leo Ranzolin, ThD
909-558-1000; x. 42092 on campus
Dr. Leo Ranzolin received his B.S. in Management from Columbia Union College (1981); he earned an M.Div. degree from Andrews University’s Theological Seminary (1987) and a Th.M. degree in Biblical Studies from Duke University’s Divinity School (1993). His Th.D. degree from Boston University’s School of Theology was also in the area of Biblical Studies where he took a major in New Testament and a minor in Old Testament (2001).
His research and teaching interests range from the OT’s prophetic literature, particularly Amos, to Pauline studies, especially the Corinthian letters. He intentionally pursued graduate studies within the context of divinity schools because he wanted to pursue the discipline of biblical studies in academic communities that were deeply interested in the life of the church. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and Adventist Society of Religious Studies.
Leo served for one year as a taskforce hospital chaplain at the White Memorial Medical Center and for six years as a pastor in the Southern California and Potomac conferences, with much of his ministry focused upon youth, young adults, and young families. He has authored book reviews and articles, presented papers at professional meetings and spoken at camp meetings, pastor retreats, and local churches.
Leo completed two quarters of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE): one quarter at Loma Linda University Medical Center and the other quarter at the Fred C. Nelles Youth Prison in Whittier, CA. He brings a wealth of administrative experience to LLU’s School of Religion, having chaired Pacific Union College’s Religion Department for nine years, its Curriculum and Efficiency Committee and Heubach Lectureship Committee, and various other committees.
Dr. Ranzolin is married and has two adult children. Outside of academia, he enjoys time with his family, sightseeing the wonders of California, sports, reading, and traveling.
Whitny Braun, PhD
Instructor, Ethics Area
909-558-1000; x. 44536 on campus
Erik C. Carter, DMin, PhD
Chair, Relational Area
909-558-1000; x. 42942 on campus
A dual citizen of the United States and Norway, Dr. Erik C. Carter received degrees in theology and religion from Southern Adventist University and Andrews University, as well as a DMin from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. His PhD is from Claremont School of Theology.
Carter is an ordained minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and served as a pastor in various districts throughout the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference. In addition to pastoral ministry, he also has significant experience in pastoral care and counseling, and holds clinical membership in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC). By serving in these ways, he has worked with churches, hospitals, agencies, families, couples, and individuals in seeking healing and wholeness.
In 2014, Carter was invited to join the faculty at the School of Religion, teaching in the area of practical theology. Carter has a deep concern for the faithfulness of the church, and speaks regularly around the country and abroad on matters of theological and spiritual renewal. His publications can be found in various professional and church-related journals.
Carter is married to Harmony Carter, a pediatric anesthesiologist at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Together, they have two children. His personal interests include spending time with family, ultralight backpacking, body surfing, traveling, and the creative arts.
Janice P De-Whyte, PhD
Assistant Professor, Theology Area
909-558-2338; x. 82338 on campus
Dr. De-Whyte is a pastor and biblical scholar, fascinated by ancient texts and their ancient and contemporary meanings. Proud to be a Ghanaian-British woman, she enjoys the diversity of her heritage and cultural worlds. With a Ghanaian zest for life and British humor in tow, Janice has worked in Canada and is currently an “alien” in the USA. Described by friends as a "global-soul” and world citizen, Dr. De-Whyte enjoys the diversity of LLU. As a postmodern millennial poring over ancient texts, she also likes discovering the various contexts and interpretations of the Bible.
Dr. De-Whyte has studied and graduated from Newbold College (Bachelor of Divinity), Andrews University (MA Old Testament) and McMaster Divinity College (PhD Old Testament). Dr. De-Whyte has served as a Pastor and University Chaplain. Her research interests include literary approaches to the Hebrew Bible as well as cultural readings.
Enjoying most things creative, she enjoys photography, relishes music, cuisine, travelling and writing/performing poetry. She is excited to be at LLU where she believes God is inviting and preparing modern missionaries who will truly go out “to make man whole.”
Oleksandr Dubov, PhD
Instructor, Ethics Area
909-558-1000; x. 87596 on campus
Jeff Gang, DMin
Instructor, Relational Area
909-558-1000; x. 15952 on campus
Carla Gober-Park, PhD, MS, MPH, RN
Assistant Vice President, Spiritual Life and Mission
Director, Center for Spiritual Life & Wholeness
Assistant Professor, Relational Area
(909) 558-7786; x. 87786 on campus
Dr. Gober received her undergraduate education from Southern Adventist University in nursing and religious studies, which included a year of study in England. She completed two master’s degrees from Loma Linda University; a MPH health education and promotion (1985), and a MS in marriage and family studies (1994). Dr. Gober completed her PhD in religious studies from Emory University (Atlanta, GA) in 2008, where her doctoral focus was in the area of attachment, memory and meaning. She joined the LLU faculty in 1997.
Dr. Gober has worked as a marriage and family counselor, a specialist in spiritual care & grief therapy, and as a health educator. She was instrumental in developing the hospital-based multidisciplinary grief programs that currently exist at LLUMC, which have trained hundreds of professionals throughout the years in the area of grief. She is a frequent speaker at professional and spiritual care conferences around the US, in the areas of forgiveness, attachment, spirituality and healing, and wholeness.
Her interest in the area of wholeness resulted in the development of a six-page research instrument to test the concept of wholeness in an academic setting. This included using qualitative research to first define categories that would be used. After developing the survey instrument, it has subsequently been distributed to over 2000 LLU students. It was the basis for developing the University’s Wholeness Portal, an online resource for those interested in creating, maintaining, and fostering wholeness individually and for healthcare professionals in their patient care settings.
Dr. Gober is also the Director of the Center for Spiritual Life & Wholeness at Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center (LLUAHSC), the umbrella corporation which manages the university and the medical center on campus. The Center for Spiritual Life and Wholeness is dedicated to educating health care professionals across all disciplines on how to provide whole person care to their patients. The Center sponsors a number of programs to minister to the spiritual needs of students, staff, and patients.
Outside of academia Carla enjoys several recreational activities including biking, woodworking, and spending time in her orchard in a rural area close to Loma Linda.
David R Larson, DMin, PhD
Chair, Theology Area
909-558-8103; x. 88103 on campus
Dr Larson received his bachelor’s degree from Pacific Union College. He went on to complete a DMin (1973) and a PhD (1983) at the Claremont School of Theology.
Early in his career, David served as a church pastor for the SDA church in Southern California. In 1974 Dr Larson joined the LLU faculty of religion and has taught ethics courses to students from many programs and Schools across campus. His areas of specialty include medical ethics, sexual ethics, philosophical ethics, and theological ethics. It was especially gratifying to Dr Larson to be part of the team that gained formal approval to establish a Center for Christian Bioethics on the LLU campus with voluntary contributions in 1983. He was also very instrumental in gaining approval to begin offering the MA in Bioethics at LLU in the early ‘90s.
He has served as Director of the Center for Christian Bioethics, and is a member of the Adventist Society for Religious Studies, the American Academy of Religion, the American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the Society of Christian Ethics. He is also a past president of the Association of Adventist Forums.
He has written extensively in professional and religious publications over the past few decades on topics such as “Sexuality and Christian Ethics,” “Money and Morality,” “Are Apartheid and Nuclear War Bioethical Issues?” “A Time to Die,” “Ethical Liability in Clinical Medicine,” and “The 1992 California ‘Death with Dignity’ Initiative.” His latest book, published in 2009 is “Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Adventist Perspectives.”
Outside of academia, David has varied interests which include going to the beach, horseback riding, travel, and growing small patio-size trees. He also enjoys working on two websites he created, where he shares his own writings as well as organizing and sharing information, articles, and thought-provoking ideas with his students and friends.
Theodore (Ted) Levterov, PhD
Assistant Professor, Theology Area
909-558-4945; x. 44945 on campus
A native of Bulgaria, Dr. Levterov graduated with a BA in Theology from Newbold College in England. Both his MDiv and his PhD degree were earned from the SDA Theological Seminary at Andrews University. His dissertation was titled, “The Development of the Seventh-day Adventist Understanding of Ellen G White’s Prophetic Gift: 1844-1889,” which combined his dual areas of interest and expertise in Adventist studies and historical theology.
His professional experience includes pastoring in Bulgaria and the United States, and since 2011 he has been the Director of the Ellen G White Estate branch office on the Loma Linda University campus, as well as a faculty member of the LLU School of Religion.
Dr. Levterov holds membership in Phi-Kappa-Phi, the Adventist Society of Religious Studies, and the Society of Biblical Literature. He is also fluent in the English, Bulgarian, and Russian languages.
He has authored numerous book reviews and articles, and continues to present lectures and seminars on topics related to Ellen White and SDA Church history.
Dr. Levterov is married and the father of three sons and enjoys reading, music, sports, soccer, and traveling in his limited free time.
Zdravko Plantak, PhD
Chair, Ethics Area
909-651-5097; x. 15097 on campus
A native of Croatia, Dr. Plantak received his BA in Theology from Newbold College in England. He then earned an MA in Theology from Andrews University, and a postgraduate certificate in Pastoral Counseling and Church Growth before receiving a PhD. in Theology and Christian Ethics from King’s College, University of London.
Early in his career, Dr. Plantak pastored in Croatia and England, and has been a youth ministries leader and speaker/presenter at numerous Conferences and Lectureships. For sixteen years he was at Washington Adventist University in Maryland, where he held various positions, among them directing a master’s program and chairing the religion department. In addition to his regular teaching duties, Dr. Plantak also developed several online courses (for both undergraduate and graduate levels) in the area of ethical leadership, public service ethics, and ethics in the modern world. He has also led a number of educational tours of the Holy Land and Europe.
Until recently he chaired the Board of the Center for Metropolitan Ministry (Washington, DC), is a past president and current member of the Adventist Society of Religious Studies, and is a member of the Board of Ministerial and Theological Education for the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (BMTE) and the World Church (IBMTE). He also is a member of the Board of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Other professional affiliations include the Adventist Peace Fellowship (APF), the American Academy of Religion (AAR), the American Philosophical Association (PA), Society for Biblical Literature (SBL), Society of Adventist Philosophers (SAP), and the Society of Christian Ethicists (SCE).
Due to his expertise in the area of Christian ethics Dr. Plantak serves on the Internal Review Board of Washington Adventist Hospital and the Institutional Biohazards Committee for research on human subjects of both Washington Adventist Hospital and Montgomery County hospitals (Maryland).
Publications include articles in professional journals and religious magazines, as well as a book on human rights and social justice.
Outside of academia, Dr. Plantak is enjoys a wide variety of interests, including travel, food from many cultures, and quality time with his family.
Richard Rice, PhD
Professor, Theology Area
909-558-3452; x. 83452 on campus
Dr Rice earned his MDiv degree from the Andrews University Theological Seminary in 1969. He received both his master’s degree (1972) and his PhD (1974) from the University of Chicago Divinity School. Early in his career he was a pastor at two churches in Southern California. He first joined Loma Linda University to teach religion courses in 1974; then, after spending almost fifteen years teaching religion at the undergraduate level at La Sierra University, Dr Rice re-joined the LLU faculty in 1998.
He has written extensive book reviews over the years, published in professional and religious journals; participated in numerous symposia; and authored several theological books.
Outside of academia, Rick enjoys traveling and spending time with his family, which includes two grand daughters.
Randy L. Roberts, DMin
Professor, Relational Area
909-558-4570; x. 44570 on campus
“Pastor Randy” was born in South America of missionary parents, and spent the majority of his life before college in Latin American countries.
Randy received his undergraduate degree from Southwestern Adventist University, and his MDiv from the SDA Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He also has an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from the US International University in San Diego, California (and is a licensed marriage and family therapist), as well as a DMin from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
His career includes pastoring in Texas for more than five years before moving to Loma Linda. In 1987 he began work as a chaplain at Loma Linda University Medical Center. During the next several years he was also instrumental in establishing and leading the Medical Center’s grief recovery program.
Randy has been on the faculty at the LLU School of Religion since 1994. In addition to teaching, he has pastored the Corona Seventh-day Adventist Church, and became senior pastor of the LLU Church in 2000.
Dr. Roberts has spoken to many and varied audiences both nationally and internationally; has written articles for various publications; and has authored one book for Pacific Press, entitled, The End is Near (Again).
He is married to Anita, and they have a son and a daughter. His hobbies include playing sports, cheering for the Dallas Cowboys (!), and reading.
Siroj Sorajjakool, PhD
Professor, Relational Area
909-558-3413; x. 83413 on campus
Dr Sorajjakool, a native of Thailand, earned his bachelor’s degree in Theology from Southeast Asia Union Seminary in Singapore (1982). He holds two master’s degrees; an MA Religion from Andrews University (Extension Campus at Spicer Memorial College, Pune, India – 1987), and an MA Theological Studies from Claremont School of Theology (1998). In 1999 Dr Sorajjakool also received his PhD in Theology and Personality (Pastoral Care and Counseling) from Claremont.
Dr Sorajjakool has extensive clinical experience, having earned Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) units from the LLU Medical Center and VA Hospital in Loma Linda; the LLU Behavioral Medicine Center; and an additional CPE unit through the LLUMC Respiratory Intensive Care Unit and Oncology at the Behavioral Medicine Center. He also completed a pastoral care and counseling internship at Christian Counseling Service in Redlands, California. He has been a full-time faculty member since 1998 at LLU.
He has conducted research on the role of spirituality among patients being treated for depression, breast cancer, chemical dependence, and pain; and a study of cross-cultural factors enhancing female Thai AIDS patients’ ability to copy with terminal illness. In addition, he has authored numerous articles and books in both the English and Thai languages. They include “When Sickness Heals: The Place of Religious Belief in Healthcare;” “Spirituality, Health, and Wholeness: An Introductory Guide for Healthcare Professionals;” “Child Prostitution in Thailand: Listening to Rahab;” and “Negativity and Depression: The Principle of Non-trying in the Practice of Pastoral Care.” In 2009, he co-authored “World Religions for Healthcare Professionals.”
Dr Sorajjakool is a respected researcher and speaker outside the US, and has presented at conferences and symposiums in Thailand and Cambodia with topics ranging from ethics and tobacco prevention, spirituality and health, religious symbols and healing, and pastoral care and counseling.
Outside academia, Dr Sorajjakool has been involved in numerous projects and initiatives. One of his earliest volunteer experiences was assisting at the Mother Teresa’s Home for the Aged in Pune, India. From 1985-2002 he coordinated 19 micro-projects including health screening, personality assessment seminars, and construction of toilets, water tanks, and gravity-fed water systems. He also was granted funding for seven major water and agricultural projects from different agencies (AIDAB, CIDA, ADRA, Yip-insoi Foundation). He continues to fundraise and provide scholarships for 70 underprivileged children, medications for AIDS victims, and scholarships for at-risk girls in northern Thailand.
Dr Sorajjakool has also worked tirelessly to focus attention on the commercial sex trade and child prostitution in Thailand. Through his efforts, a member of the Thai Parliament, the Deputy Secretary General to the Thai Prime Minister, and the President of Young Northern Women’s Development Foundation were invited to speak at Claremont School of Theology, Claremont Graduate University, LLU, and other Thai communities in Southern California
Calvin Thomsen, PhD
Assistant Professor, Relational Area
909-558-6268; x. 46268 on campus
Dr. Thomsen has been teaching for the LLU School of Religion since 1999, with expertise in the areas of grief and bereavement, spiritualty and therapy, and integrative patient care.
Dr. Thomsen’s educational background includes a BA in Theology (La Sierra University), an MDiv from the Theological Seminary at Andrews University, a DMin from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a PhD in Marital and Family therapy from LLU.
He has pastored several SDA congregations in Southern California, most recently at the Loma Linda University Church as the Pastor for Family Life Ministry. He has also been a research associate for the LLU Center for Spiritual Life and Wholeness; served on committees and boards of non-profit and church-related organizations, including the Adventist Health System; and presented and published extensively on topics ranging from various aspects of psycho-social dynamics of religion to spirituality in family relationships. His particular area of specialty is in the neuroscience of spirituality, and he is known for bringing cutting-edge research into his classes, generating great dialogue and discussion.
In addition to his teaching commitments, he serves on the Professional Advisory Committee for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at the LLU Medical Center, and on the LLU School of Dentistry Admissions Committee.
Dr. Thomsen is married and the father of two adult children. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, photography, cycling, and music (piano, choral, and guitar.
Sigve K. Tonstad, MD, MA, PhD
Assistant Professor, Theology Area
Sigve Tonstad was born and raised in Norway. He completed a B.A. in Theology at Middle East College in Lebanon and Andrews University (1974), his MD from Loma Linda University (1979), an MA in Biblical Studies at LLU (1990), and a PhD in New Testament Studies at the University of St. Andrews (2005). He also spent a semester at Duke University studying with E. P. Sanders and Richard B. Hays.
He has written books and many articles in Norwegian. His English-language books are The Scandals of the Bible (2000; Saving God’s Reputation; The Theological Function of Pistis Iesou in the Cosmic Narratives of Revelation (T. & T. Clark, 2006); and The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day (Andrews University Press, 2009). Most recently Dr. Tonstad has completed a manuscript entitled God of Sense and Traditions of Non-Sense: Reading the Bible in the 21st Century (not yet published).
His teaching and research interests are the problem of suffering (theodicy), Johannine Literature, Paul as an apostle of hope (Romans and Galatians), ecological hermeneutics, and biblical ethics. He is married to Serena Hasso Tonstad, a physician and preventive medicine expert. They have two grown daughters. In his spare time, Sigve enjoys running, rollerblading, and cross country skiing.
James W. Walters, PhD
Professor, Ethics Area
909-558-4536; x. 47011 on campus
Dr Walters received his undergraduate degree from Southern Adventist University and then completed his MDiv at Andrews University. He also earned a master’s degree and his doctoral degree from the Claremont Graduate School. He wrote is doctoral dissertation on “The Ethics of Martin Buber: A Theological and Philosophical Analysis.”
Before joining the Loma Linda faculty of religion in 1980 Jim was a minister for the Seventh-day Adventist church in Georgia and Southern California. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Christian Ethics, and the Andrews Society of Religion Scholars. He is a former executive editor of Adventist Today, and is a co-founder of the Center for Christian Bioethics at Loma Linda University.
His research has included the “Ethics and Aging Project,” funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities; and a recent four-year project funded by the National Institutes of Health – “Biological and Psychosocial Manifestations of Religion Study” – co-authored with a colleague.
Dr Walters has written a number of book reviews and is the author of several books exploring various facets of ethics surrounding nuclear war, health care for the elderly, ethics and aging, and a book on Martin Buber and feminist ethics. He has also written extensively for professional journals and religious publications on a wide range of subjects, as they relate to ethics. He has presented at professional and religious conferences over the past few decades on the ethical issues facing society today regarding aging, human cloning, organ transplantation, end-of-life care and decision-making, abortion, and many other sensitive topics.
Outside of academia, Dr Walters has volunteered as a member of the Claremont Ecumenical Council, as a Task Force member of the Association of Adventist Forums, and as a member of the board of elders at Loma Linda University Church. He also teaches a Sabbath School class on contemporary issues. He is an enthusiastic outdoorsman, and enjoys spending time hiking the Sierra Mountains.
Zane Yi, PhD
Assistant Professor, Theology Area
909-558-7008; x. 47008 on campus
Dr. Yi joined the Loma Linda faculty in 2013 after earning his doctorate degree in philosophy at Fordham University. He also holds master’s degrees in philosophy from Loyola Marymount University (2004) and a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary (2005).
His research interest includes 19th and 20th century philosophy (especially phenomenology and hermeneutics) and their intersection with theological thought and practice. Dr. Yi has taught a variety of courses, ranging from introduction to philosophy and philosophy of mind to contemporary Christian theology, ethics, and world religions.
Dr. Yi is a founding member of the Society of Adventist Philosophers. He has authored numerous articles and book reviews, and has presented at professional conferences, symposiums, as well as church worship services and retreats.
He has also worked as a campus minister on a variety of university campuses and served churches in Tennessee, Southern California, New York and Georgia, gaining experience in leading urban, diverse, ecumenically-minded, and service-oriented congregations.