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Ellen G. White and Issues on Social Justice

Nampa, Idaho (May 15, 2017) — Personal and political positions on issues of social justice appear to be more divisive today than ever before. While the issues themselves are hardly new the vehemence with which supporters, on both sides, now express their views has never been more polarizing. What does the Seventh-day Adventist Church have to say on matters of social justice?

The position is covered, in broad strokes, in the Church Manual where it's listed as one of 12 standards of Christian living. Under the heading Community Relationships is the following statement: "We should support by our service and our means, as far as possible and consistent with our beliefs, efforts for social order and betterment. Even though we must stand apart from political and social strife, we should always, quietly and firmly, maintain an uncompromising stand for justice and right in civic affairs. . . . It is our sacred responsibility to be loyal citizens of the nations to which we belong, rendering 'to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's' (Matt. 22:21)."

A new book, The Enduring Legacy of Ellen G. White and Social Justice, published by Pacific Press®, takes a closer look at this topic and examines White's contributions to the social issues of her time. More importantly, perhaps, it shows how her guiding principles still apply to us today. Chapters include: Donald Trump, Ellen G. White, and Illegal Immigration; Social Justice and the Adventist Dilemma; and, A Framework for Social Justice. Oakwood University's Dr. Jonathan A. Thompson edited the book which includes the work of fourteen scholars, educators, administrators, and pastors who presented their papers in a symposium that examined various aspects of White's legacy.

In the foreword Lewis V. Baldwin, PhD, professor emeritus of religious studies at Vanderbilt University says of White, "She is not simply some historical figure from the distant past, but, perhaps more importantly, one who still provides lessons for today through the kind of creative, energetic, and prophetic ministry model that she so brilliantly articulated and embodied."

Social Justice is a relevant and timely resource that will greatly benefit the conversation on matters of social justice.

They Called Him Rabbi, a biography of Calvin E. Moseley Jr, also recently released by Pacific Press® is the compelling account of a gifted young man, who was called by God to "preach for Me." Mosely attended the Tuskegee Institute at the age of 15, intending to study civil engineering, when Dr. George Washington Carver noticed him and invited him to attend his Bible study sessions. These studies impacted the young student profoundly and when he left Tuskegee it was with a sense that God was calling him to a greater purpose. Dr. Moseley would eventually become the first black pastor of the Oakwood College Church, the first black chairman of the religion department at Oakwood College, before becoming a General Conference field secretary in 1951, until he retired in 1971. He returned to teach part time until 1980, at Oakwood University where he was affectionately called "rabbi" by his students.

Dr. Moseley, in his time, taught 90 percent or more of African American pastors and evangelists and was called the Father of Preachers. He is featured in Oakwood University Magazine's 120 Faces of Oakwood. The Moseley Complex which houses the School of Religion, is named in his honor. They Called Him Rabbi, written by Mervyn A. Warren, PhD., is a fascinating biography that deserves to be added to everyone's summer reading list.

Social Justice book cover

   "Social Justice reminds us that Ellen White deserves a special place in the pantheon of great Christian thinkers, missionaries, and activists.
   Her preeminence as a church founder, gifted minister and counselor, prolific writer, visionary, and social reformer leaps from the pages of this book."

—Lewis V. Baldwin, PhD,
professor emeritus
of religious studies,
Vanderbilt University.

In Memorium

     Regretfully, Dr. Thompson did not live to see the publication of Social Justice. He died as the book was going to press.
   In a tribute to him, Dr. Mervyn A. Warren says, "Dr. Thompson's leadership inspired and opened up White's writings to a whole new generation of preachers, teachers, and other professionals. Through his life's ministry and his writings, his example will continue to light the paths of many and lead the way to Jesus Christ."

—Mervyn A. Warren, PhD,
former provost and 
interim president,
Oakwood University.

They Called Him Rabbi book cover