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Great is Not Always Good

Mixed into the rapid stream of blog comments is this from a young Adventist. Daniel Masela wrote:

I’m pretty sure that the membership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church will decline as a result of the Great Controversy. I worked as a student LE in the Southern Union Conference this past summer and I didn’t sell a GC. The reason for that is because of negativity of the GC. I’m pretty sure that the Seventh-day Adventist Church will grow if the church stops promoting the GC.

I’m not sure when the last time a single one of the church leaders actually trod the streets with The Great Controversy. I, too, worked as a colporteur—for six summers. The Great Controversy was the book that attracted the least interest. Few sold even for $10 or tossed in with a vegetarian cookbook for $7.

In literature evangelism work we repeated the mantra that a give-away is a throw-away. It was often the case that a struggling colporteur would just start giving away books. But this merely papered over his or her own issues with the canvass presentation or closing the sale.

Giving it away was a symptom of a deeper problem. The fact is that folks rarely read something that a religious group values so little that they give it away from free. Now the Seventh-day Adventist Church is about to give away 150 million books. Despite it being a much-needed infusion of financial welfare for the struggling publishing houses, it appears that the church is about to throw millions of dollars at its evangelism and publishing problems without dealing with the deeper issues. It could actually hurt the church. But we will probably never know, because unlike young colporteurs, church leaders are not transparent about the outcomes of their work.

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