Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition

July, 2011
Vol. 7, No. 7

Adventist World is free online. For that reason, I only review or comment on articles and editorials that I believe to be of special interest. Usually, this disclaimer introduces my review if Adventist World. However, the most important article in this issue, WHY HEALTH? WHY NOT? is only available in the print edition. Consequently, I’ve provided some quotations from the article up front. It’s definitely a MUST READ.

My final comment is reserved for THE GREAT CONTROVERSY: A TIMELESS BOOK TURNS 1OO by Jerry Moon. I’ve included a long quote that describes the sophisticated way in which the Church is attempting to shed the Ellen White plagiarism issue while describing the literary iteration of the modern edition of the Great Controversy.


WHY HEALTH? WHY NOT? By Allan R. Handysides
“Sometimes we are more interested in baptisms than in conversions. The role of health ministries in our institutions is to demonstrate the love, compassion, and person of Jesus—period. That’s a tall order. When our health outreach is solely for the benefit of the recipient, we become like Jesus, who ministered because He loved. In our lifestyle ministry our concern must focus on the bell-being of those to whom we minister…When coercion and pressure are removed from our ministry, we become more Christlike, channels for the Holy Spirit…

“It’s too early to draw firm conclusions from the current Adventist Health Study, but evidence to date suggests that while the total plant-based diets may be more cardio-protective, while the lacto-ovo diets may provide more protection against cancer…

“Today’s health ministry faces many dangers. While acknowledging the fact that health is, and will always be, a gift fro God, emotionally we like to think we can do it ourselves. Because of this emotional mentality, we often feel guilty if we fall ill or, worse, suspect others of less-than ideal health reform should they fall ill…

“The original purpose of our Adventist health emphasis was to enable us to be better workers for God. With an overemphasis on health, we may become introverted and concerned only about our own selfish aspirations...”

Other articles that inform and inspire:
FABULOUS FIBER by Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless, WHY I BELIEVE IN A LIFE TO COME by William G. Johnsson, and THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT by Stephen Chavez.

Articles of questionable value:
In DAY OF DELIGHT, Ted N. C. Wilson criticizes Adventists who “go out to eat at a restaurant” on Sabbath because it will “cause extra work for others”.

“While my relationship with the Lord is very personal and between my Lord and me, the implications of that relationship will be felt by everyone I deal with. For example, instead of rationalizing the commandment and saying, “Well, Sabbath is a day of rest, so I should refrain from work, and go out to eat at a restaurant,” I will try as far as I can not to cause extra work for others and help them see the beauty of the Sabbath. Those who come in contact with me should also come to know something of the promised joy and delight of the Sabbath: it is not only a day meant to rejuvenate believers.”

Are church potlucks to be avoided? Wilson also fails to take into account the obvious reasons why we NAD Adventists can observe the Sabbath as a “day of rest”. We are surrounded by public service workers who are employed 24/7 to keep us safe, and armed forces that never take the Sabbath off. Adventists in other countries may not enjoy this security.

CHRISTIANS AREN'T PERFECT: CHRIST’S MINISTRY IN THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY by Félix H. Cortez includes the following questionable theology.

“Not all human beings can approach God with confidence, though. This is very important. Only the followers of Jesus benefit from the guarantees that the rule of Jesus provides. This helps us understand an important aspect of Christian life. What determines our eligibility to the benefits of the new covenant is not our ability to defeat the devil (Jesus already did that) but our loyalty to Jesus. The crucial issue is not how strong I am, but how much do I love Jesus.”

by Jerry Moon

Later Editions
“During the next 20 years Ellen White wrote five more books on biblical history, but not until 1884 did she find time to expand her coverage of the postbiblical history to 492 pages—four times the comparable section in the original volume. Shortly after the release of the 1884 edition she spent two years in Europe (1885-1887). As she visited the historical sites of the Reformation, she resolved to write on it again, to make it more appealing to a general reading audience, and to show more clearly the continuity between the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation and the Adventist movement. She wrote some 190 pages of new material for the 1888 edition, bringing The Great Controversy to its final size of 678 pages. When the publishers reported in 1910 that the printing plates from the 1888 version were so badly worn that the type needed to be reset, she decided to review the book and improve it once again.4

Use of Historical Sources
“A significant issue for the 1911 edition was changing literary standards. In nineteenth-century America it was common for both secular and religious writers to freely reproduce material from other authors, with or without source references.5 To meet the rising expectations of the twentieth century, however, Ellen White mandated her literary assistants to track down and identify the sources of all the quotations in the 1888 edition of The Great Controversy. In doing so, her helpers found that some quotations were easily available for verification; others were not. She directed them to replace historical quotations from books no longer in print with similar statements from better and readily available sources, so that readers who wanted to check her claims could do so in public libraries.6

“Ellen White was delighted with the new edition and unequivocally endorsed it.7 However, such editorial work on a book that Seventh-day Adventists regarded as inspired raised questions about the relationship between her visions and her use of historical sources. In a statement that his mother specifically approved, her son W. C. White explained: “The things which she has written out are descriptions of flashlight pictures and other representations given her [in vision].… In … writing out … these views, she has made use of good and clear historical statements to help make plain to the reader the things which she is endeavoring to present. When I was a mere boy, I heard her read D’Aubigné’s History of the Reformation to my father.… She has read other histories of the Reformation. This has helped her to locate and describe many of the events and the movements presented to her in vision.”8

“An experience from the Whites’ years in Europe illustrated this point. W. C. White recalled that one Sabbath, at Basel, “as I read [Wylie’s History of Protestantism] to Mother she interrupted me and told a lot of things in the pages ahead, and told me many things not in the book at all. She said, ‘I never read about it, but that scene has been presented to me over and over again.’”9

“Surprised, he asked her, “Why did you not put it into your book [The Great Controversy]?” She replied, “I did not know where to put it.” From this he understood that while the controlling content of her historical writing was derived from visions, she used historical works to identify the geographical and chronological connections of the events she had seen in vision.10

Special Spanish Edition
“During the translation of The Great Controversy into Spanish, someone noticed that it made no mention of the Reformation in Spain. When this omission was brought to the attention of Ellen White, she directed her staff to compile an additional chapter for the Spanish edition. As a result, the Spanish Great Controversy has one more chapter than the one in English. Chapter 13, “The Awakening in Spain,” carries a footnote: “This chapter was compiled by C. C. Crisler and H. H. Hall, and was inserted in this book with the approval of the author.”11

This attempted explanation for her plagiarism, i.e., closely paraphrasing the words of other writers, is that “in nineteenth-century America it was common for both secular and religious writers to freely reproduce material from other authors, with or without source references”. (5) This footnote is from a questionable source. Plagiarism has been condemned by all responsible writers and artists from the mid 1600s. (See: A Very Brief History of Plagiarism)

Also note that the almost invisible footnote type font, magazine and online, makes it easy to miss that every citation is from an “authorized source”. I’ve made it a bit easier to read.

5 George Callcott, History in the United States, 1800-1860 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970), pp. 134-136, quoted in R. W. Olson, One Hundred and One Questions on the Sanctuary and on Ellen White (Washington, D.C.: Ellen G. White Estate, 1981), pp. 66, 67; see also Francis D. Nichol, Ellen G. White and Her Critics (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1951), pp. 406, 407, cited in Jerry Moon, “Who Owns the Truth? Another Look at the Plagiarism Debate,” Ellen G. White and Current Issues Symposium (Berrien Springs, Mich.: Center for Adventist Research, Andrews University, 2005), vol.1, pp. 46-71.
6 For details, see Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White, vol. 6, pp. 302-321; Arthur L. White, “W. W. Prescott and the 1911 Edition of The Great Controversy,” Ellen G. White Estate Shelf Document, (Center for Adventist Research, Andrews University, 1981); also available online at; see also W. C. White, “The Great Controversy—1911 edition,” Appendixes A and B in Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 3, pp. 433-450.
7 E. G. White to F. M. Wilcox, July 25, 1911 (letter 56, 1911), reproduced in Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White, vol. 6, p. 336.
8 W. C. White to “Our General Missionary Agents,” July 25, 1911. Ellen White’s endorsement is in 
E. G. White to F. M. Wilcox, July 27, 1911 (letter 56, 1911).
9 W. C. White, “The Visions of Ellen G. White,” Dec. 17, 1905, p. 4, Ellen G. White Estate Shelf Document.
10 Ibid.; see also Jerry Moon, W. C. White and Ellen G. White: The Relationship Between the Prophet and Her Son (Berrien Springs, Mich.: Andrews University Press, 1993), pp. 427-431.
11 Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White, vol. 6, p. 337. Clarence C. Crisler was Ellen White’s chief literary assistant at the time, and Harry Harvey Hall was a manager at Pacific Press.

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