Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

Christianity has many “fathers” (often described as living before or after the historic Council of Nicea that convened 325 AD) and a “mother,” Mary, who remains a focus of vigorous controversy. As a branch of Christianity, Sabbatarian Adventism acknowledges three co-founders: Joseph Bates (1792-1872), James White (1821-1881), and Ellen Gould White (1827-1915). During 1919, Adventist leaders who had shared direct, sustained experiences with Ellen White, knowing first-hand how she did her work, expressed their insights and convictions about the significance and use of her writings clearly and constructively. However, for a complex set of reasons, such historical perspectives were so lost or distorted that within fifty years few Adventists possessed a clearly-drawn, historical picture of their church’s mother. As certitude was confronted by data from newly available primary sources, conflict erupted. In secular wars, truth is often the first casualty; in religious controversy, there are usually imbalances; such realities are instructive for interpreting the past forty years of Adventism. This paper explores evidence indicating a re-parenting initiative may have potential for some Adventist members; it also suggests how such a process might proceed effectively.

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