A variety of issues and challenges have risen to the top this year in Adventism, and the diverse collection of books published in 2018 reflect that tension. From three titles on Last Generation Theology, to a guide for families with LGBT+ loved ones, from books discussing racism and social justice, to a look at what it means to be an “authentic” Adventist, here we round up 10 books that were published in 2018.
Last Generation Theology has seen a resurgence in recent years, so much so that three books tackled the topic in 2018. As Reinder Bruinsma wrote in his review of these titles, “Last Generation Theology has not gone unchallenged by theologians and church leaders in past decades, but it seems that presently the dangers of this alternative theology are evoking stronger reactions from different quarters than we have seen so far.”
John Howard Weeks, great-great grandson of Ellen G. White, discusses his personal journey away from and back to an Adventist lifestyle. In her review of this book for Spectrum, registered dietician Vicki Saunders wrote, “Weeks has turned his personal experience and his writing skills into a book that will hopefully motivate others to make some of the same changes that he did.”
This 71-page booklet from the North American Division “provides the most compassionate response to LGBT+ Adventists ever published by the denomination while still maintaining the church’s position” wrote Dave Ferguson, director of Church Relations for Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, in his review. The booklet, which is free from Advent Source, offers common questions and appropriate responses, principles and guidelines for healthy dialogue, and a glossary of LGBT+ terms.
Tom de Bruin, lecturer in New Testament Exegesis and Early Christian Literature at Newbold College, takes readers on a journey through the Pseudepigrapha in his latest book. In his review for Spectrum, Yale Divinity student Matthew J. Korpman wrote, “de Bruin must be thanked and congratulated for providing such a wonderful tool for the classroom as well as the many curious Christians who wish to walk off the beaten trail and discover wonderful new things in Scripture’s sacred pages.”
In this landmark book on race relations in the Adventist Church, Calvin B. Rock, former president of Oakwood College (now Oakwood University) and retired General Conference vice president, gives an overview of the history of four major Black Adventist leadership protest movements, as well as his participation in several of the events that took place. In her review for Spectrum, Andrews University and Theological Seminary student Danielle M. Barnard wrote, “Black Adventists who read this book will be invigorated by the history of ‘black pioneers’ within the denomination. Other Adventists would also be fascinated by this skilled retelling and amazed at how Black Seventh-day Adventism developed in spite of significant challenges….this book is a necessary read for all Seventh-day Adventists.”
In this collection of essays, Nathan Brown, prolific writer and Book Editor for Signs Publishing Company, discusses social justice in a biblical and Adventist context. In his interview with Alita Byrd for Spectrum, Brown said, this “collection of essays…reflects some of my experiences and studies…as well as some responses to issues in our church and our world during this time.”
Ray McAllister is the first totally blind person to earn a doctorate in Hebrew Bible, and won the National Federation of the Blind’s Jacob Bolotin Award — considered by many as the Nobel Prize in blindness — for his work on making biblical languages fully accessible to the blind. In this memoir, he chronicles his journey toward realizing his dreams. “Besides the facts of Ray's unusual adventures, which he tells with a great deal of honesty and openness, he concludes each chapter with a poem. Ray depicts his journey not only by telling stories, he also gives the reader a deep and generous insight into his emotional and Christian-spiritual life during his experiences, making this book a practical guide for how to find richness and enjoyment in life despite seemingly insurmountable hindrances,” writes the publisher (Flanko Press).
William G. Johnsson, retired long-time editor of Adventist Review and Adventist World, described his latest book as “my heart cry over what I see and hear in the Adventist family.” In an interview about the book at Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church in Takoma Park, Maryland, he discussed what an authentic Adventist looks like: “One who follows the life and teachings of Jesus.” He added, “It’s only about Jesus. There isn’t anything else to talk about.”
Tell us a book you read this year (whether published in 2018 or before) that made an impact on your life. Or, what’s a long-time favorite that you keep coming back to? Is there an author you’d like us to interview or a book you want us to review in 2019? Let us know in the comments below. If you appreciate the books we highlight throughout the year, please consider giving to support Spectrum. As a non-profit news organization, every gift helps us provide you with the content you value.
Thank you, and Happy New Year!
Alisa Williams is managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.
Images courtesy of the respective publishers.
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