Books

The following books were either written by or about Seventh-day Adventists and address issues of peace and social justice from a variety of historical, philosophical, theological, autobiographical, and literary perspectives. We welcome recommendations of books to add to this list, which can be sent to us by email.


Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet

Terrie Dopp Aamodt, Gary Land, and Ronald Numbers, eds., Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Ellen White, a prophetic nineteenth-century voice and co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist church, made important contributions to American society in numerous areas, yet her life and thought is little known or understood outside of Adventist circles. This book from Oxford University Press, featuring chapters by Christian as well as non-religious historians, marks a major contribution to the scholarly study of Adventism life and an important reassessment of White's legacy, grasped in the context of her times.

“…[Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet]'s existence and form--published by a leading academic press, written largely by well-trained scholars with Adventist connections, drawing the attention and even participation of American historians of various orientations and considerable renown--is an important as anything the book contains. And it contains a lot. As an accessible treatment of White's history on an array of topics, this volume is simply incomparable."
—David Holland, Spectrum Magazine

“This work...will stimulate further conversations about Ellen White's legacy and role within Adventism and I am grateful that scholars outside the Adventist tradition are now willing to look at Ellen White and her contributions to American religious history."
—Denis Fortin, Andrews University Seminary

"Ellen G. Harmon White finally makes it to Oxford University...This book can help readers put the writings of Ellen White in their proper balance and context...[Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet] will also put Ellen White "on the map" of non-Adventist scholarship and culture. In the long run, the book may do more to bring her to the attention of the wider world.'"
Ministry Magazine

"This particular volume demonstrates that [Ellen White] deserves more recognition and formal study by scholars...The tapestry of essays—with hues that provide historical, social, economic, and political dimensions—locates and describes how Ellen G. White fits into this broad landscape." --Biblical Research Institute."
—Biblical Research Institute

"An ingenious interconnected series of biographical studies, this collection effectively brings Ellen Harmon White, the seer of the Seventh-day Adventist tradition, into the thick of American religious and cultural history. As a collaborative venture, it is superbly orchestrated: it demonstrates White's profound relevance to any number of historiographies-on gender and race, on medicine and education, on visionary experience and practical theology, on missions and globalization.'"
—Leigh Eric Schmidt, Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor, Washington University in St. Louis


Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering

Ronald Osborn, Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering (IVP Academic, 2014)

“In this book the author invites his readers to share his own profound journey arising out of melding his formative early experience of wildlife in Africa, contemporary evolutionary accounts and creationist biblical literalism. In clear, coherent and well-argued narratives he takes apart the assumptions common to scientism and creationism and draws on the Christian tradition and biblical sources in order to construct an alternative. This is an intelligently argued yet pastorally sensitive exploration of the challenges faced by evolutionary theists and creationists alike, but its implications go much further than this. For Osborn succeeds in achieving something that few authors manage, namely, a self-critical but compassionate and sometimes humorous account of the difficulties for theists in coming to terms with suffering in the animal world. It deserves to be read and appreciated not just in student courses on God and evolution, but more widely from different ecclesial traditions."
—Celia Deane-Drummond, professor of theology, University of Notre Dame

“Death Before the Fall deals with the really big issues of what to make of Scripture in discussions of creation and evolution, and with the really tough challenge animal suffering brings to those discussions. But Ron Osborn shows that big issues and tough challenges can be addressed respectfully, insightfully, and with uncommon readability and humility. Irrespective of our views on the issues, this book represents the kind of informed and gracious conversation partners we want, and that we want to be."
—Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary

“A beautifully written book! Ron Osborn writes not with spite and ire but with wisdom and generosity of spirit. Where literalism once ruled as the only way to honor Scripture, here the deeper dimensions of God's compassion and Sabbath rest come to light. This is the first book I've read on the evolution-and-creation debate that brought tears to my eyes.”
—Philip Clayton, Claremont School of Theology, author of Transforming Christian Theology

“Ronald Osborn, with an agile mind and a well-informed intellect, throws down the gauntlet concerning misreading of the Genesis narratives. Taking aim at literalists and fundamentalists, he probes the ways in which one-dimensional reading distorts. Along the way he takes up issues of theodicy as they pertain to all of creation and to the animal realm in particular. Readers can expect to be jolted, surprised and challenged by this forthright statement.”
—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary


Conscience on Trial: The Fate of Fourteen Pacifists in Stalin’s Ukraine

Hiroaki Kuromiya, Conscience on Trial: The Fate of Fourteen Pacifists in Stalinʼs Ukraine, 1952-1953  (University of Toronto Press, 2012)

In 1952, fourteen poor, barely literate Seventh-day Adventists living on the margins of Soviet society were clandestinely tried for allegedly advocating pacifism and adhering to the Saturday Sabbath.  The only written records of this trial were sealed in the KGB archives in Kiev, and this harrowing episode has until now been unknown even within the Ukraine.  Hiroaki Kuromiya has carefully analyzed these newly discovered documents, and in doing so, reveals a fascinating picture of private life and religious belief under the atheist Stalinist regime. Kuromiya convincingly elucidates the mechanism of the Soviet secret police and explores the minds of non-conformist believers—precursors to the revival of dissidence after Stalin's death in 1953.


The Religious Roots of the First amendment: Dissenting Protestants and the Separation of Church and State

Nicholas Miller, The Religious Roots of the First Amendment: Dissenting Protestants and the Separation of Church and State (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)

Traditional understandings of the genesis of the separation of church and state rest on assumptions about “Enlightenment” and the republican ethos of citizenship.  Nicholas Miller, a professor of religion at Andrews University, does not seek to dislodge that interpretation but to augment and enrich it by recovering its cultural and discursive religious contexts—specifically the discourse of Protestant dissent.  He argues that commitments by certain dissenting Protestants to the right of private judgment in matters of Biblical interpretation, an outgrowth of the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, helped promote religious disestablishment in the early modern West.  This movement climaxed in the disestablishment of religion in the early American colonies and nation.  Miller shows that the separation of church and state can be read, most persuasively, as the triumph of a particular strand of Protestant nonconformity—that which stretched back to the Puritan separatist and the Restoration sects, rather than to those, like Presbyterians, who sought to replace the ‘wrong’ church establishment with their own, ‘right’ one. The Religious Roots of the First Amendment contributes powerfully to the current trend among some historians to rescue the eighteenth-century clergymen and religious controversialists from the enormous condescension of posterity.

“Professor Miller’s sweeping study makes a compelling case for restoring theology to a prominent place in the complex web of social, political, and intellectual factors contributing to American church-state thinking.  Too often, modern scholarship has assumed that the rights of conscience sprung primarily from the Enlightenment, and Professor Miller’s impressively clear analysis reminds us that we must take theology seriously if we seek to take the historical actors themselves seriously.”
—Donald Drakeman, author of Church, State, and Original Intent

“Nicholas Miller carefully and persuasively demonstrates that many of the most ardent and effective American advocates of the disestablishment of religion were people of faith.  These Americans argued that government does faith no favors when it seeks to use civil power to advance religion, and that all people must have the liberty to choose or reject God, or faith commitments are meaningless.  Miller is exactly right to suggest that it is long past time for us to give the religious case for church-state separation and religious liberty its due.”
—Melissa Rogers, Director, Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University Divinity School

“Nicholas P. Miller’s splendid survey of the distinctly Protestant concept of the right of private judgment makes a major contribution to the debate over the religious origins of the First Amendment.  The author traces the idea of the sacred freedom of an individual’s conscience through an array of pivotal thinkers and offers compelling evidence that the concept contributed to the understanding of James Madison, a leading framer of the separation clause of the Constitution.”
—James E. Bradley, Geoffrey W. Bromiley Professor of Church History, Fuller Seminary


Anarchy and Legal Order: Law and Politics for a Stateless Society

Gary Chartier, Anarchy and Legal Order: Law and Politics for a Stateless Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

“Anarchism’s case, against the state and for the viability and desirability of a polycentric legal order, receives its most challenging and detailed articulation in Chartier's book.”
—Hillel Steiner, Professor of Political Philosophy, University of Manchester

“Those who defend the legitimacy of the state (even a minimal one) will be forced to reconsider their views by Gary Chartier’s clear, sparkling, and trenchant defense of anarchism.  This is required reading, not only within the libertarian movement, but by anyone who works in political philosophy.”
—Fernando R. Tesón, Tobias Simon Eminent Scholar and Professor of Law, Florida State University

“Anarchy and Legal Order is one of the most important books of libertarian political theory to be published in the last forty years.  Libertarians have long appealed to the natural law tradition, but no one has done so with the depth and sophistication of Gary Chartier.  And no one has done a better job of showing how the insights of libertarian natural law theory can help us see the ways in which real-world capitalism has been deeply unjust.”
—Matt Zwolinski, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of San Diego

“Gary Chartier’s book brings together the natural law and anarchist traditions in ways that are illuminating for both.  It illustrates the richness of the natural law approach to ethics, using it to make a compelling case for a stateless society. The book is original, insightful and closely argued.  It will help to cement Chartier’s growing reputation as a leader in natural law and anarchist thought.”
—Jonathan Crowe, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Queensland

“This book is a major contribution to debates on the status of anarchism. It deftly combines moral justification with a concern for institutional practicality and bridges the divide between socialist and libertarian standpoints.  One of the very best books on the subject I have ever encountered.”
—Mark Pennington, Professor of Public Policy and Political Economy, King's College, London

“Chartier takes the insight that there can be law without legislation and develops it into a manifesto, a vision of what socialism could have and should have been: socialism that does not pander to the urge to run other people's lives.  Chartier finds kindred spirits across a wide array of traditions, yet the synthesis that emerges is all his own.  Anarchist it is, but this is the anarchism of a humanist, not a terrorist, a deeply thoughtful anarchism unlike anything yet seen.” 
—David Schmidtz, Kendrick Professor of Philosophy , University of Arizona


Nasara: Dispatches from a District Hospital in Chad

James Appel, Nasara: Dispatches from a District Hospital in Chad  (2011)

30 year old Dr. James Appel leaves the comforts of home in the US to work as the only doctor in a floundering district hospital in the Republic of Chad. As a general practitioner he is faced with having to attempt things way beyond his level of comfort and training. Share the frustration, sorrow, pain, joy, triumph of living life in a totally different culture where patients often prefer to go see the witch doctor or traditional bone setter before coming to the hospital and where death is a daily occurrence. Dr. Appel shares his experiences in riveting first person narrative, written originally as blogs sent over a satellite phone from a village without telephones, water or electricity. Dr. Appel's commitment takes him from highs to lows over the course of three years as he struggles to bring health care to a desperate community while going on his own spiritual journey.


I’m Not Leaving

Carl Wilkens, I’m Not Leaving (2011)

Why did Carl Wilkens decide to remain in Rwanda in 1994, with a genocide swirling around him?  How did he and his wife Teresa maintain communication during the one-hundred days of terror when Tutsis were being hounded to death by Hutu militia extremists?  How does the only American who chose to stay-in order to protect two Tutsi household workers-look back on that fearful time?  Working from tapes made for his family, which chronicle daily events from the sublime to the horrific, Carl reconstructs in fascinating detail both personal and political events triggered by the April 6 plane crash assassination of the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi.  He takes us through the poignant good-bye to his family, as they join the mass exodus of expatriates leaving this dangerous situation.  He affirms his presence in the neighborhood he has known for four years, by standing barefoot in the middle of the dusty road, waving farewell.


Should I fight?

Barry Bussey, ed., Should I Fight? (Guardian Books, 2010)

Since its organization in 1863 the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been counter cultural. In its Christian witness to modern society it has advocated keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, vegetarianism, abstinence from tobacco and alcohol and refusal of its members to bear arms. But the stance on the refusal to bear arms has seen a metamorphous in modern times. Today more Seventh-day Adventist young people have voluntarily joined the military than in any previous generation of the Church's history. This volume is a compliation of essays that were presented at a conference called to discuss the Adventist Church's position on concientious objection. The presenters considered the history of the Church's stand and the changing views. These discussions were not limited to American context but considered other countries including South Africa and Canada.


Seventh-day Adventists and the Civil Rights Movement

Samuel G. London, Jr., Seventh-day Adventism and the Civil Rights Movement  (University Press of Mississippi, 2010)

Seventh-day Adventists and the Civil Rights Movement is the first in-depth study of the denomination's participation in civil rights politics. It considers the extent to which the denomination's theology influenced how its members responded. This book explores why a brave few Adventists became social and political activists, and why a majority of the faithful eschewed the movement.  London, Jr., provides a clear, yet critical understanding of the history and theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church while highlighting the contributions of its members to political reform. Community awareness, the example of early Adventist pioneers, liberationist interpretations of the Bible, as well as various intellectual and theological justifications motivated the civil rights activities of some Adventists. For those who participated in the civil rights movement, these factors superseded the conservative ideology and theology that came to dominate the church after the passing of its founders. Covering the end of the 1800s through the 1970s, the book discusses how Christian fundamentalism, the curse of Ham, the philosophy of Booker T. Washington, pragmatism, the aversion to ecumenism and the Social Gospel, belief in the separation of church and state, and American individualism converged to impact Adventist sociopolitical thought.


Anarchy and Apocalypse: Essays on Faith, Violence, and Theodicy

Ronald Osborn, Anarchy and Apocalypse: Essays on Faith, Violence, and Theodicy (Wipf & Stock/Cascade Books, 2010)

“…rich in subject matter and argument, and evangelical in spirit...there is a stringency in Osborn's thinking that is prophetic and liberating."
—Commonweal Magazine

“This book is a bracing read for anyone trying to make sense of Christian witness in a violent world. Osborn ranges both widely and deeply, connecting insights from theology, history, literature, and political science in startling and inventive ways. He shows how violence creates its own momentum, and offers a wide range of resources for countering that momentum. Anyone interested in living creatively in a destructive world will benefit from this book. It is the kind of book that has the power to transform lives."
—William Cavanaugh, author of The Myth of Religious Violence

"This collection of provocative essays on theological and political ethics, with special attention paid to pacifism, warfare, and violence, crackles with energy. The events of 9/11 and the subsequent political debates surrounding the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan provide the backdrop against which Osborn creatively draws on the pacifism of early Seventh Day Adventists, in dialogue with the biblical witness, the poetry of Homer’s Iliad, and the work of Elie Wiesel, among others. Osborn offers a trenchant critique of the industrial-military complex in the USA. What his dialogue partners have in common is the simple truth that war is madness. Once the logic of warfare is unleashed, perhaps even for good reasons, it breaks the bounds of all attempts to curtail, channel, and control it, a fact that calls into question even the noble tradition of 'Just War.'"
Religious Studies Review

"In reading Osborn you cannot help but think, 'He has to be kidding. He has to be putting us on to suggest there is a connection between anarchy and that form of Christianity called Adventist.' But he is not kidding. Rather he has written a book of lively essays to remind us that a commitment to peace is a challenge to any order based on violence. It was the Adventists, in their early formations, who reminded us that a commitment to peace cannot avoid challenging orders based on violence; that peace requires a different kind of order altogether. This is a call to the church to be that community based on the order of Christ's peace."
—Stanley Hauerwas, author of War and the American Difference

"The Christianity of the American Empire has not only come to accept the normalization of violence; it often celebrates it! How desperately American Christians need the keen insights regarding the dynamics of power and violence that Ronald Osborn reflects in these essays!"
—Greg Boyd, author of The Myth of a Christian Nation


The Promise of Peace

Charles Scriven, The Promise of Peace (Pacific Press, 2009)

Author Charles Scriven declares the Adventist vision in a manner at once practical and brief. This book is for Adventists, potential Adventists, and doubting Adventists who simply value conversation about the church and expect the Adventist way to be both relevant and faithful. In these pages, Scriven shows that as Adventist Christians our life mission is about staying true to God's covenant, contributing to the society around us, and honoring the value of every human.


It’s Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian

Samir Selmanovic, It’s Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian (Jossey Bass, 2009)

“Samir Selmanovic is asking the right questions at the right time, and refusing the consolations of certainty at a time when strident orthodoxies—atheist as well as religious—are perilously dividing us.”
—Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God

“I'm speechless in trying to describe this book. I laughed out loud in places and cried big tears at the end. It's a work of faith, a work of art, and to some, no doubt, it will be a work of damnable heresy. I think this book will change people’s lives, and more: it can save lives, in the many senses of that word. All the religious pundits and broadcasters on radio and cable TV had better take notice, because this book threatens our conventional, comfortable categories and familiar black-and-white polarities. Selmanovic has the nerve to imagine our religions becoming, not walls behind which we hide and over which we lob bombs of damnation, but bridges over which we travel to find God in the other.”
—Brian McLaren, Author/Activist

“We need a million more Samirs on the planet—people of conviction and humility who know that the vast mystery called God calls us not to the arrogance of 'ownership' but to the beloved community.” 
—Parker J. Palmer, author of A Hidden Wholeness

“Samir Selmanovic offers a deeply personal reflection on faith, doubt, and ultimately, spiritual peace. . . . [He tells] a sophisticated and introspective story that simultaneously stirs the heart, challenges the intellect, and inspires the soul.”
—Daisy Khan, director, American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA)

“In a world in which religious traditions are too often digging their heels into the tired sod of exclusionary self-righteousness, this love song to the God of all Existence is a much longed for work of hope and optimism.”
—Rabbi Marcia Prager, author of The Path of Blessing

“If atheists, agnostics, and non-religious people like myself want to gain understanding and improve the world . . . we need to read not only the hard-line voices of ancient religions but also the freshest and wisest voices of modern progressive religion. Samir Selmanovic’s is just such a fresh voice.”
—Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain, Harvard University, author of Good Without God

“For all Seekers of the Truth, Samir's deeply insightful, uniquely personal, lyrical quest for a relationship with God provides a clear vision on the need to dig deep, transcending traditional boundaries of faith and theology, be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu.”
—Rathi Raja, president, Arsha Vedanta Center of Long Island


The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day

Sigve Tonstad, The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day (Andrews University Press, 2009)

Sigve K. Tonstad argues that the seventh day is the symbol of God’s faithfulness precisely when God’s presence seems to be in doubt.  He demonstrates how God, through the seventh day, seeks the benefit of all creation.  Inevitably, this leads to an investigation of how this universal symbol became obscured.  This sweeping work of biblical theology and historical analysis traces the seventh day as it is woven throughout Scripture and the history of Christianity.  Its twenty-seven chapters consider, among other things, the relationship of the seventh day to freedom, to social conscience, to the “greatest commandment,” and to the enigmatic “rest that remains.” Tonstad engages the move away from the seventh day in early Christian history, the mindset in medieval Christianity, and the sobering long-term implications leading all the way to the Holocaust and the ecological crises in our time.

“Tonstad's wide-ranging study of biblical teaching about the Sabbath offers fresh, provocative readings of texts from across the entirety of the canon, while constantly engaging the best recent scholarship. The result is a luminous, deeply encouraging book that beckons readers to understand the seventh day as a celebration of God's gracious work of creation and God's faithful intent to restore and heal all that is broken. “
—Richard B. Hays, Professor of New Testament, The Divinity School, Duke University

“This will be a classic! Truly a magnum opus on the Sabbath, it is this generation's most complete and insightful work on the topic.  Not only does it satisfy the academic theologian with its fresh perspectives, but it also creatively shares practical gems that will inspire a lay believer.”
—Lawrence T. Geraty, President Emeritus, La Sierra University; Past President, American Schools of Oriental Research


Millennial Dreams and moral Dilemmas: seventh-day Adventism and Contemporary Ethics

Michael Pearson, Millennial Dreams and Moral Dilemmas: Seventh-day Adventism and Contemporary Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Technological developments on many fronts have created in our society some extremely difficult moral predicaments. Previous generations have not had to face the dilemmas posed by, for example, the availability of safe abortions, sperm banks and prostoglandins. They have not had to come to terms with an unchecked exploitation of natural resources heralding imminent ecological crisis, or, worst of all, with the recognition that only in this current generation have people the capacity to destroy themselves and their environment. This book seeks to show how, and why, Seventh-day Adventism has addressed these moral issues, and that the ethical questions arising from these issues are especially relevant to the Adventist Church and its development. Dr Pearson looks specifically at the moral decisions Adventists have made in the area of human sexuality, on such issues as contraception, abortion, the role and status of women, divorce and homosexuality, from the beginnings of the movement to 1985.


Swimming against the current

Chris Blake, Swimming Against the Current (Pacific Press, 2007)

Through 88 short pieces, Chris Blake probes what it means to practically and counter-culturally follow the prophet Micah's directive to "do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God."

“There is no mistaking [Blake’s] passion for Jesus and his courage for calling oblivious Christians to take their rightful places in being salt to a world desperately in need of savor. Blake delivers prose in a way that leaves us wanting more despite feeling grabbed by the collar in his attempt to wake us up from a world of complacency and irrelevance. This is a must-read for every thinking third-millennium Christian.”
—Willie Oliver, Director, Family Ministries, Seventh-day Adventist Church

“Principle. Faith. Daring. In The Great Controversy, I read that these are the qualities that powered history's great reform movements and that are needed to carry forward the work of reform in our time. The stories and reflections in Swimming Against the Current make principle, faith, and daring about as vivid as words can. If you're not interested in a megadose of all three for the onward cause, don't read this book.”
—Douglas Morgan, professor of history and political studies, Washington Adventist University

“With penetrating insight, Chris presents to his readers the vital issues of our time: doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly. Sitting in the waiting room of my car dealership's service department, I laughed out loud and then, with the same enthusiasm (though inaudibly this time), said, ‘Lord, help me to be a Christian.’ My hope is that every Adventist will read this book.”
—Ryan J. Bell, pastor and writer for The Huffington Post

“Through stories that make us laugh and think, Chris Blake articulates what we as Christians should already know but too often ignore: We are not to be isolationists. The theology in this book is intelligent, compassionate, and honest. This is the direction in which Adventism must move if it is to be relevant and alive. I came away from the book feeling that there's hope for the future of Adventism.”
—Sharon Fujimoto-Johnson, translator, Rainbow Over Hell


Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream

Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart, Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream (Indiana University Press, 2006)

“The first edition of this book was one of the few must reads for academics interested in the Seventh-day Adventists.... The new edition expands several features of the first: it places more emphasis on regional variations, offshoot groups, and ethnic diversity.  Bull (Oxford) and Lockhart (London-based journalist) situate Adventist history in the larger context of American history and, just as importantly, trace the evolution of Adventist doctrine.  Recognizing that Adventists form their own subculture, they also provide sociological analysis.  This book gives full attention to internal theological conflicts of recent decades.  Finally, Seeking a Sanctuary is well written and comprehensive.  Any library collecting material on American history or religion should have it.... Essential.”
Choice


The Peacemaking Remnant: Essays and Historical Documents

Douglas Morgan, ed., The Peacemaking Remnant: Essays and Historical Documents (Adventist Peace Fellowship, 2005)

“The biblical remnant is made up of God’s partners in peacemaking,” writes Charles Scriven, in the title essay. “Against fashion and tyranny alike, they walk in God’s way, beaming light into darkness, winning minds and hearts to the way of peace.” The Peacemaking Remnant brings together essays by contemporary authors along with documents from the Adventist heritage in support of that thesis. Contributors include: Charles Scriven, Charles E. Bradford, Kendra Haloviak, Keith Burton, Zdravko Plantak, Ryan Bell, Ronald Osborn and Douglas Morgan. Among the historical documents: General Conference session resolutions on peace and nonviolence from 1865, 1867, 1868, and 1985; a “Letter on Disarmament” from church leaders to President Harding (1921); “A Seventh-day Adventist Call to Peace” (2002); and articles by 19th-century pioneers Ellen G. White, Joseph Bates, Alonzo T. Jones, and George W. Amadon.


Adventism and the American Republic: The Public Involvement of a Major Apocalyptic Movement

Douglas Morgan, Adventism and the American Republic: The Public Involvement of a Major Apocalyptic Movement (University of Tennessee Press, 2001)

While many organized religions in America today have affinity for conservative political action groups such as the Christian Coalition, Seventh-day Adventists have often found themselves allied with liberals against such measures as Sunday laws and prayer in schools. Douglas Morgan now examines the role Adventism has played in American public life and explains its positions from the standpoint of the church's historical development, showing that its relationship with public policy, government, and politics is far more complex than most historians have believed.  Adventism and the American Republic tells how their convictions led Adventist adherents to become champions of religious liberty and the separation of church and state—all in the interest of delaying the fulfillment of a prophecy that foresees the abolition of most freedoms. Through publication of Liberty magazine, lobbying of legislatures, and pressing court cases, Adventists have been libertarian activists for more than a century, and in recent times this stance has translated into strong resistance to the political agendas of Christian conservatives.


Seventh-day Adventism in Crisis: Gender and Sectarian Change in an Emerging Religion

Laura Vance, Seventh-day Adventism in Crisis: Gender and Sectarian Change in an Emerging Religion (University of Illinois Press, 1999)

As a “remnant of the remnant,” Seventh-day Adventism's early years were distinguished by the leadership of women, most prominently the visionary and prophet Ellen White. However, after 1915 the number of Adventist women in leadership began a dramatic and uninterrupted decline that was not challenged until the 1980s. Tracing the views of the church through its official and unofficial publications and through interviews with dozens of Adventist informants, Laura Vance reveals a significant shift around the turn of the century in women's roles advocated by the church: from active participation in the functioning, spiritual leadership, teaching, and evangelism of Adventism to an insistence on homemaking as a woman's sole proper vocation. These changes in attitude, Vance maintains, are inextricably linked to Adventism's shift from sect to church: in effect, to its maturation as a denomination. Vance suggests that the reemergence of women in positions of influence within the church in recent decades should be viewed not as a concession to secular feminist developments but rather as a return to Adventism's earlier conception of gender roles. By examining changes in the movement's relationship with the world and with its own history, “Seventh-day Adventism in Crisis” offers a probing examination of how a sect founded on the leadership of women came to define women's roles in ways that excluded them from active public participation and leadership in the church.


The Silent Church: Human Rights and Adventist Social Ethics

Zdravko Plantak, The Silent Church: Human Rights and Adventist Social Ethics (Palgrave Macmillan, 1997)

The relationship between the Adventist church and society at large has always been ambiguous.  One reason for this has been the church's inarticulate social ethics.  While the church upheld the concept of human dignity promoted religious liberty and sided with the poor, nationalism and racism developed among its members.  Women in the church were also unfairly treated.  Zdravko Plantak confronts this problem head-on.  He begins by looking at the church's history, theology and ethics in order to discover reasons for the inconsistencies in its approach to human rights, and then moves on to propose a more comprehensive approach to its social ethics.


The Brothers K

David James Duncan, The Brothers K (Dial Press, 1996)

“Duncan took almost 10 years to follow up the publication of his much-praised first novel, The River Why, but this massive second effort is well worth the wait. It is a stunning work: a complex tapestry of family tensions, baseball, politics and religion, by turns hilariously funny and agonizingly sad. Highly inventive formally, the novel is mainly narrated by Kincaid Chance, the youngest son in a family of four boys and identical twin girls, the children of Hugh Chance, a discouraged minor-league ballplayer whose once-promising career was curtained by an industrial accident, and his wife Laura, an increasingly fanatical Seventh-day Adventist. The plot traces the working-out of the family’s fate from the beginning of the Eisenhower years through the traumas of Vietnam. One son becomes an atheist and draft resister; another immerses himself in Eastern religions, while the third, the most genuinely Christian of the children, ends up in Southeast Asia. In spite of the author’s obvious affection for the sport, this is not a baseball novel; it is, as Kincaid says, ‘the story of an eight-way tangle of human beings, only one-eighth of which was a pro ballpayer.’ The book portrays the extraordinary differences that can exist among siblings—much like the Dostoyevski novel to which The Brothers K alludes in more than just title—and how family members can redeem one another in the face of adversity. Long and incident-filled, the narrative appears rather ramshackle in structure until the final pages, when Duncan brings together all of the themes and plot elements in a series of moving climaxes. The book ends with a quiet grace note—a reprise of its first images—to satisfyingly close the narrative circle.”
—Publishers Weekly


The Unlikeliest Hero: The Story of Desmond T. Doss, the Conscientious Objector Who Won His Nation’s Highest Military Honor

Booton Herndon, The Unlikeliest Hero: The Story of Desmond T. Doss, Conscientious Objector Who Won His Nation’s Highest Military Honor (Pacific Press, 1967)

Desmond Doss was a Seventh-day Adventist conscientious objector who refused to carry a weapon during World War II and served as an unarmed medic in the Pacific. Due to his extreme valor saving the lives of others in the face of enemy fire, he became the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor, America's highest military honor. His story is told in the award-winning 2004 film, "The Conscientious Objector," directed by Terry Benedict, and in this Adventist classic by Booton Herndon.


Flee the Captor

Herbert Ford, Flee the Captor (Review and Herald, 1966)

John Henry Weidner, a hero of history's greatest holocaust, saved the lives of 800 Jews, more than 100 Allied aviators, and many others who fled the nightmare of Nazism. Others with less moral fortitude may have closed their eyes to the brutality about them, but Weidner refused to be cowed, and so braved imprisonment and torture for his humanitarian efforts.

“I asked John Weidner why he had risked his life repeatedly to save so many. His answer was brief and to the point: ‘They were God's children; they were human beings.’”
—Haskell L. Lazere

“Why was it that John accepted all these risks so readily? . . . he had that directness, that simplicity of faith, which made him realize that he was at all times in the hands of a loving God.  And it was because of this dimension of John's life that he, a Seventh-day Adventist, and I, the Reformed pastor, regarded ourselves as comrades in a common human cause.”
—W. A. Visser’t Hooft


Black Thunder: Gabriel’s Revolt, Virginia, 1800

Arna Bontemps, Black Thunder: Gabriel’s Revolt, Virginia, 1800 (1936)

Written in 1936 and based on an actual slave revolt, this critically acclaimed novel by the Adventist poet and leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Arna Bontemps, celebrates slave Gabriel Prossier's struggle to end racial oppression.

“Gabriel Prosser’s 1800 slave revolt allowed Bontemps to warn of the rebellion that would come of poverty and racial oppression. This metaphor of revolution is at the same time a highly pertinent representation of black masculinity that will reward students of gender, slavery and the sensibilities of the 1930s.”
—Nell Irvin Painter