The Reformation and the Advent Movement
W. L. Emmerson, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1983, 214 pages, $9.95. Reviewed by Patrick Boyle, stewardship director, South England Conference, Watford, Hertfordshire, England.
Erhmerson's thesis that the "roots" of the Seventh-day Adventist Church lie in the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century is one with which few Adventists would disagree- In essence this is the view held by Ellen White in The Great Controversy and elaborated by LeRoy Edwin Froom in his Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers. However, Emmerson argues that Adventist roots lie largely in the soil of what we now call the Anabaptist or Radical Reformation. It is to them rather than to Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin that we are indebted for our theological inheritance and our openness to truth. While careful not to downplay the significance of justification by faith and its importance, nevertheless the author does highlight the limitations and weaknesses of the magisterial Reformation and clearly shows how and why it was a "halfway Reformation" and the major Reformers, for all their achievements, "halfway men. "
The genius of Seventh-day Adventism is hot simply that its roots lie in the sixteenth-century Reformation, but that it is the full flowering of that Reformation. The truths we profess—justification by faith, the Sabbath, believer's baptism, the Lord's Supper and footwashing, health reform, conditional immortality, the Advent hope, and the holiness of God's law—all have come to us sanctified with the incredible sufferings, the astonishing courage; and the indomitable faith of the men and women we dare to claim as our fathers and mothers in Christ.
Whether it is the story of Hippolytus Eberli burned at the stake by the Catholics or Felix Mantz drowned by the Protestants, the total loyalty of these men and women to Christ presses home to our hearts the high cost of truth. If Seventh-day Adventism can be credibly called "God's ecumenical movement," then it must have a more meaningful appreciation of the faith it possesses and the responsibility laid upon it to publish by precept and maintain by practice "the commandments of God" and "the testimony of Jesus." The Reformation and the Advent Movement inevitably calls for comparison with Dr. Bryan Ball's The English Connection (see MINISTRY, May, 1982). Both books are concerned with origins, and in this they are similar in purpose. However, the focus is different. The English Connection, as the title indicates, has a more limited purpose than Professor Emmerson's book and is more heavily theological. The Reformation and the Advent Movement is broader in scope in that it attempts to show why the Advent Movement arose in America, not in Europe.
While this book has certain minor defects, such as no index and inadequate maps, it is a book that every person interested in the "roots" of Seventh-day Adventism should read.
The Sanctuary, 1844, and the Pioneers
Paul A. Gordon, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, Maryland, 1983, 157 pages, $8.95 paper. Reviewed by B. Russell Holt, executive editor, MINISTRY.
Do Seventh-day Adventist under standings of the sanctuary and judgment rest on the writings of Ellen White, as critics without (and in recent years, some within) the church have charged? Or do these doctrines have a scriptural foundation? Paul Gordon decided to go to primary sources the writings of those church leaders who developed and defended these doctrines to see where they based their teachings in these areas.
The result is this book in which Gordon allows the pioneers to speak for themselves through articles appearing in The Present Truth and The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald between 1849 and 1905. His conclusion: "The evidence simply does not support the charge that Ellen White originated the present sanctuary doctrine,"
Gordon does not intend to give a complete account of how the pioneers developed and arrived at agreement in these areas. Rather, he takes up his study primarily at the point where that consensus has been reached and demonstrates from their writings the scriptural foundation upon which they built. This book is valuable reading for anyone who wants not only to under stand better how those of the past understood the sanctuary and its associated doctrines, but also to under stand these things better himself.
The Battle for the Family
Tim LaHaye Fleming H. Revell Co., 1982, 249 pages, $6.95, paper. The author, who wrote the bestselling The Battle for the Mind, describes the subtle influences of humanism on the American home.