The book African American Seventh-day Adventist Healers in a Multicultural Society is a must-read for those seeking to understand the rich history of African Americans in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Ellen White wrote, “Those who study the history of the Israelites should also consider the history of the slaves in America, who have suffered, who have been . . . oppressed.”1 God’s people must embrace the totality of the past to appreciate the glorious future that He has promised. This historical and future-oriented book offers such a glimpse!
The content, edited by Drs. Ramona Hyman and Andy Lampkin, is guaranteed to create an engaging dialogue on multiple levels regarding the struggles and successes of African American Seventh-day Adventists. This group’s ancestral journey predates Adventism, beginning when 20 African slaves arrived in Jamestown in the colony of Virginia in 1619. This period represented the beginning of an era of inhuman oppression in America, as well as a time of amazing and honorable resilience. In this “new world,” the slaves experienced the horrific effects of slavery: Jim Crow segregation and a magnitude of unimaginable cruelties and injustices. Miraculously, these became a source of healing for future generations. African American Seventh-day Adventists faced experiences similar to their African ancestors, testing their faith to the core as they sought to embrace the precious truths of the gospel in integrated congregational assemblies.
Inspired by the first African American Seventh-day Adventist Healers’ Conference held at Loma Linda University in 2013, the book recounts the struggles of African American Seventh-day Adventists and their roles in a multicultural nation as healers. The rich collection of essays measures the far-reaching influence of African American Seventh-day Adventists and the great work that is still needed to inspire hope, healing, and unwavering faith. The essays include “We, Too, Sing America: African American Seventh-day Adventist Women Healers,” by Andrea Trusty King; “To Dream, to Be, to Act: Healing a Sick Society,” by James L. Kyle, MD; and “Healing Shepherds and the Pastoral Care of African American Religioracial Ills,” by Maury Jackson.
Additionally, the book offers insight regarding the growth and development of the ministry of courageous African American men and women who made outstanding contributions within the Seventh-day Adventist Church and beyond. Thematically, the content amplifies faith, hope, resilience, and love for God and humanity. As a bedrock for justice, the book seems to embody the words of Jesus, “ ‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, / Because He has anointed Me / To preach the gospel to the poor; / He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, / To proclaim liberty to the captives / And recovery of sight to the blind’ ” (Luke 4:18, NKJV), as well as the admonition “ ‘Learn to do good; / Seek justice, / Rebuke the oppressor; / Defend the fatherless, / Plead for the widow’ ” (Isaiah 1:17, NKJV).
During a time when our world is embroiled in a pandemic, threats of war, and multiple social injustice issues, one can find solace and healing from the inspiring and hopeful passages found in this book.
- Ellen G. White, The Southern Work (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1901), 42.