A Search For Identity: The Development Of Seventh Day Adventist Beliefs

A Search For Identity: The Development Of Seventh Day Adventist BeliefsA Search For Identity: The Development Of Seventh Day Adventist Beliefs by George R. Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A few years ago I joined a start up Sabbath School class dedicated with understanding the 28 Fundemental Beliefs, being a fifth-generation Seventh-day Adventist it was important to me to understand the beliefs that had shaped my family’s history. At the beginning of the year we decided to look into how the denomination’s beliefs, or understandings of beliefs, developed from the Great Disappointment in October 1844 to the present-day thus leading to us to this book to study in our exploration.

George R. Knight cames it clear at the beginning that his book is for the general Adventist audience and will provide an informed overview of the issues defined the theological development of Seventh-day Adventism, he succeeds tremendously. Knight’s writing style makes for easy reading and his dividing up of the 150-years into four eras helps keep things very organized.

Knight begins by showing the theological thoughts that shaped the demoninations founders and pioneers before they joined the Millerite movement in the late 1830s and early 1840s leading up to the Great Disappointment, as well as the idea of “present truth” in which God would reveal further truth as time passes thus resulting in them NOT developing ironclad creeds. Knight then examines three eras in Adventist theological development in which the demonination seemed to concentrate on what Adventist, Christian, and Fundementalist in Adventism. From 1844 to 1885, the denomination developed the distinct Adventist pillars that made Seventh-day Advenists different from other Christian denomination and how they evangilized. However, Advenists seemed to forget they were Christians and from 1886 to 1919 the denomination struggled to re-emphasize what was Christian. As they did so they entered the liberal and fundementalist Christian debate wholehearedly on the fundementalist side that from 1920 to 1950 resulted in the creation was what some Adventists today think as ‘historical Adventism” that the denomination still struggles with today. From 1950 onwards, Knight explains that all three themes (Adventist, Christian, and Fundementalist) in Seventh-day Adventist theological development have been interacting with one another resulting in issues arising or re-emerging creating polarized camps on one side or another.

Throughout the book, Knight gives the views of the denomination’s leadership and how Ellen White viewed the issues that arose while she was alive. However I want to strongly point out that Knight doesn’t cite Mrs. White as being the authority in the answer to an issue discussed in fact he strongly points to Mrs. White’s on words that the answer would be found in the Bible and the Bible alone. Knight’s use of Mrs. White will upset both the left/progressive and right/conservative wings of Adventism thus showing he is using her in the correct context and one that she most likely would have approved. And throughout the book, Knight recommends books if the reader wants to explore more in-depth a particular issue or position covered.

I strongly recommend this book to every Adventist, especially younger Adventists in high school. This book was first published in 2000 and if I had known about it when I was a senior in Collegedale Academy/freshman at Southern Adventist University it would have helped answer a lot of questions that began with “Why” that it took a long time to find answer.

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The Eye of the World (WoT #1)

The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, #1)The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Since the mid/late 90s I’ve always been drawn to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series because of Darrell K. Sweet’s distinctive cover art that has set the series apart from other fantasy titles. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to look inside those covers, but after reading The Eye of the World I wish I had sooner.

The slow-to-moderate pace at the beginning of the book by Jordan shows the layback lifestyle of the Two Rivers region of his world where the majority of his characters come from. Once the action hits the road, the action picks up to a furious pace that only relaxes when the group comes to rest at towns that grow progressively larger. When the group is forced to split up, Jordan takes the opportunity to give an enlarged view of the world he’s created as well as give better character development as the narration expanded from just one character’s point-of-view to three.

Throughout the story, from the prologue to the climax, the significance and use of magical “One Power” is expanded upon by Jordan as well as it’s implications. Those implications result in how characters interaction with one another, especially when it comes to gender roles compared to other fantasy stories. And the end of the book these implications of the use of the One Power provide set up for future books.

One last point is how Jordan misdirects who the ultimate villian(s) are at the climax of the book, including during the book’s end game. Several aspects of the evil side of Jordan’s world were exposed, though not explored in-depth, but well enough to give the reader a sense of what the protagonists are up against.

On it’s own The Eye of the World is a great story. But as the first book in what will turn out to be a 14 book series, it’s introduces just enough to want you to come back to see what else will happen. Like I said in the first paragraph, I should have read this book sooner.

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