Taking this top-of-the-decade moment to pause and look back, what does the bookshelf-of-the-past-ten-years look like? For the Adventist community in particular (and, perhaps we should add, the English-speaking portion of that community), which titles leap off the shelves in multi-colored fireworks or have become so ubiquitous in our discussions as to acquire nicknames?
We've compiled here a few that we think have been most influential in the Adventist community in the past decade. Many thanks to Bonnie Dwyer, David Larson, Greg Schneider, Nancy Lecourt, and Terrie Aamodt for their suggestions for this list.
Seeking a Sanctuary, second edition, by Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart
Published in 2006, this second edition of Bull and Lockhart's study of American Seventh-day Adventism topped most lists of suggestions for this article. The new edition was updated and enlarged and has been called "The most comprehensive review and insightful analysis in print of the sociology, history, and culture of the Seventh-Day Adventist church." You can read the Spectrum review of this title.
Believing, Behaving, Belonging: Finding New Love for the Church, by Richard Rice
This title was published by AAF in 2002 and is referenced often on this site — as is Rice and his other work, which has been influential in Adventist theology. The introduction to Believing says, "Believing, behaving, and belonging are all essential to the Christian life, but belonging is more important, more fundamental than the others." This title is now out of print, but it has been translated into several languages, including Dutch and Russian.
Escape from the Flames: How Ellen White Grew from Fear to Joy — And Helped Me Do It Too, and Beyond Common Ground, by Alden Thompson
In Escape from the Flames, published in 2005, Thompson writes about White's escape from a fearful view of God and explores the meaning of inspiration.
He calls his 2009 book Beyond Common Ground "a kind of capstone to my teaching career," which "seeks to show how a community of believers can actually celebrate their differences and be better for it." You can read our Spectrum interview with Alden or read the book review of Beyond Common Ground.
Creation Reconsidered, edited by James L. Hayward
This title was published by AAF in 2000 and is a compilation of papers presented at a 1985 conference on geology and the biblical record, a landmark event sponsored by the Biblical Research Institute and the Association of Adventist Forums. The papers, written by scientists, theologians, and legal experts, address many issues of faith and science. Creation Reconsidered is now out of print; but it is available as an online book and in this format is often used in Adventist college science classes.
Adventism and the American Republic: The Public Involvement of a Major Apocalyptic Movement, by Douglas Morgan
As the book summary tells us, Douglas Morgan in this 2001 title "examines the role Adventism has played in American public life and explains its positions from the standpoint of the church’s historical development, showing that its relationship with public policy, government, and politics is far more complex than most historians have believed."
And you? What titles have you seen deeply move or impact your local faith communities?