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review 2017-03-18 20:00
Herald of the Midnight Cry
Herald of the Midnight Cry - Paul A. Gordon

The life and message of William Miller is one of the most important features in the history of Seventh-day Adventists.  Paul A. Gordon’s Herald of the Midnight Cry focuses not only on the life of William Miller but also on the 1844 movement that his message inspired, and from its disappointment rose the future leaders what would become the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

 

The son of unbelieving Revolutionary War solider and a preacher’s daughter, William Miller’s childhood and early adult life was one of conflicting thoughts on God and religion.  Although his family’s home was a place for religious meetings, Miller’s questioning father had a profound impression on him as much as his mother’s faith.  Only after witnessing events on the battlefields of the War of 1812 did Miller turn to examining the Bible and then fully turning his life to Christ.  Once he did, Miller turned all his attention to the Bible at every spare moment and as a result realized that Christ’s Second Coming was coming soon, in “about 1843 or 1844”.  But Miller did not reveal his thoughts to anyone until he had reexamined his conclusions and thought of any objections that would be put forward, only then did he start sharing his finds with family and friends even though God pulled on his heart to spread the news.  Miller demurred as long as he could until God opened a door he could not avoid going through and beginning 10 years of preaching about the soon return of Christ and the need to gain a relationship with him.

 

Over the course of the next two-thirds of the little over 123 pages of Herald of the Midnight Cry, is focused on William Miller’s preaching and the general 1844 movement leading to the Great Disappointment and its aftermath.  Although Miller is the central actor in the events, other influential participants are focused on as well in spirts turning this short biography into a history book as well.  Yet this history is important for both Seventh-day Adventists and non-Adventists to understand the man central to the Millerite movement, who he was, and what he preached.

 

While the shortness of the overall book and the change from strict biography to a general history of the movement named after Miller counts against Herald of the Midnight Cry, I would be remiss by not at least endorsing this book for those wanting general information about the man and the movement.  While Paul A. Gordon’s book is neither the best biography of William Miler nor history of the Millerite movement as a whole, there are those longer and more detailed in subjects, his book is a good introduction to both for those curious and those wanting to wet their knowledge.

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review 2017-03-04 21:31
Lighter of Gospel Fires: The Story of J.N. Loughborough
Lighter of gospel fires: John N. Loughborough - Ella May White Robinson

The long life of Seventh-day Adventist preacher John N. Loughborough saw many in the world and in the development of the Adventist movement from William Miller to the Seventh-day Adventist church.  In Lighter of Gospel Fires: The Story of J.N. Loughborough, Ella M. Robinson recounts the service of one of the Seventh-day Adventist church’s first ordained ministers and pioneer into many fields of ministry not only through his owns words but her interactions with him when she was a young girl growing up.

 

Born in upstate New York, John N. Loughborough was the son of a carpenter and deacon of the local church and throughout his early life was always around hard work and Christian fellowship.  Soon after losing his father at age seven Loughborough went to live with his grandfather and the family joined the Adventist movement started by William Miller soon afterwards.  Even before the Great Disappointment Loughborough learned that some ministers would not tolerate Biblical beliefs contradicting human traditions.  Soon after beginning his own life-long service of preaching at age seventeen, Loughborough encountered many of these worldly ministers as well as the challenges and triumphs that came preaching the word.  Within several years of beginning his preaching career, Loughborough was convinced of the Seventh-day Sabbath and soon encountered other Sabbath-keepers within the Adventist movement, James and Ellen White.  Along with the White, John Andrews, and many other church pioneers, Loughborough and his family would cross the United States to bring the ‘midnight cry’ to those that hadn’t heard it.  But Loughborough wouldn’t find the fruits of his efforts only in the immediate locations where he preached, but across the country and then around the world.

 

The nearly 170 pages of text, albeit in large font, and the composition quickly denote this book for teen as well as relating the time when it was first published over 50 years ago.  Although primarily a biography of J.N. Loughborough, Robinson related many side incidents surrounding him that added to the overall book.  Robinson also illustrated the development of the Seventh-day Adventist church through Loughborough’s own career not only to show his importance but also how all the pioneers of that time sacrificed and contributed to building up of the church.

 

Lighter of Gospel Fires is an informative, yet short biography of church pioneer J.N. Loughborough that is an easy read for teens who are not interested in having to read a dry book.  Ella M. Robinson not only relates the life of the longtime Adventist preacher, but also looks into how the Seventh-day Adventist church had developed by the time of Loughborough’s death.  Although not perfect, this book is a nice Sabbath read that I would have loved reading when I was a teen.

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review 2017-02-21 20:32
The Great Controversy (Conflict of the Ages #5)
The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan- The Conflict of the Ages in the Christian Dispensation - Ellen G White

The death of the Apostles brought an end to the sacred history recorded in the Bible save for the prophecies of the future in the Books of Daniel and Revelation, however the message of the Gospel and the history of the Church continued.  The Great Controversy, the final volume of Ellen G. White’s Conflict of the Ages series in which the history of the Christian Church is chronicled from the destruction of Jerusalem to the end of sin and the recreation of Earth.  At almost 700 pages, the events of the last two millennia are touch with special emphasis on the Reformation, the message of 1844, and the climax of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan at the end of time.

 

The Great Controversy focuses entirely on the Christian Age with White beginning the history with the how Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire yet at the same time was watered down with the influences of paganism and other errors.  Yet White emphasizes that like Biblical Israel, even though the majority of Christians worshiped—unknowingly—in error, some still held to the truth of Scripture. Then over the course of the next 250 pages, White describes the Protestant Reformation from Wycliffe through the Pilgrim Fathers arrival on the shores of the New World.  White then transitions to the events leading up to Great Disappointment of 1844 and the Biblical explanation for the significant event that occurred in Heaven.  White explains how the Great Controversy is effecting those living not only when she first wrote the book but to the reader today and how it our decisions will effect where we stand during the events she describes at the end of the book with the second coming of Christ and the destruction of sin.

 

The Great Controversy is the last of the five-book Conflict of the Ages series and is a mixture of non-Biblical history as well as explanations of the prophetic events of Daniel and Revelation that have and yet to occur through to the end of sin.  This book shows that God’s message of love through His law is still relevant today as it was from the beginning of Genesis and before, even with the attempts by Satan to undermine it or simply overthrow it for his own vision.  As in even book in this series Ellen White wants the readers of The Great Controversy to know that the present world of sin will not last and there will be an end, yet it is up to the reader to decide where they will stand in relation to Christ and Satan.

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review 2017-01-25 16:19
The Acts of the Apostles (Conflict of the Ages #4)
The Acts of the Apostles in the Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - Ellen G White

Upon the ascension of Jesus Christ, the focus of sacred history turned to the men he entrusted with spreading the message of the Kingdom of God to Jew and Gentile across the world.  The Acts of the Apostles the penultimate volume of Ellen G. White’s Conflict of the Ages series in which the rest of the New Testament through the lives of the Apostles in how they were transformed into preachers and leaders of the new church and how they spread the World, upheld faith, and corrected error.  In a little over 600 pages, the events in the book of Acts and the circumstances surrounding the writing of the Epistles and the book of Revelation are revealed in the context of sacred history.

 

The Acts of the Apostles presents the events of the book of Acts in an in-depth in how the Disciples of Christ became Apostles for truth and how Saul the persecutor became Paul the Apostle.  As in in the Bible, the focus for much of the book is on the conversion of Paul and his ministry to both Jews and Gentiles on various missionary trips.  At the beginning, the Church focused on presenting the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to the Jewish community as the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy until the stoning of Stephen and shift to the Gentiles through the Holy Spirit and total rejection of the Jewish leadership.  Throughout the discussion on Paul’s ministry to Jew and Gentile alike, the events surrounding and leading to his writing the Epistles that are contained in the New Testament are examined and the principles and lesson within them expounded upon.  After Paul’s death, the lives of Peter and John are examined to enlighten the reasons surrounding and the lessons taught in their own Epistles to the church.  And John’s time on Patmos in which God revealed to him through prophecy the culmination of sacred history.

 

The Acts of the Apostles is the fourth volume of the five-book Conflict of the Ages series and the last to fulfill cover Biblical events.  This book shows the change in the character of the disciples to become champions of Christ and how a persecutor was transformed into proselyte, both show to believers raised in the Christian faith and those from without that Christ works to change everyone willing.  In the last chapter, Ellen White transitions the scope of the Christianity from the Biblical record of sacred history to the events after the life of the Apostles done to her own day and then the climax of The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan.

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review 2016-12-15 00:01
The Desire of Ages (Conflict of the Ages #3)
The Desire Of Ages - The Conflict of the Ages Illustrated in the Life of Christ - Ellen G. White

The whole of sacred history is centered on one individual, Jesus Christ, either through the prophecies and sacrificial meanings of the Old Testament or the good news of His life and message in the New.  The Desire of Ages is the seminal work of Ellen G. White’s Conflict of Ages series in which the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is examined in great detail to show the love of God for man.  Through over 800 pages of wonderful, engaging writing the 33 years of when the Son of God walked shoulder-to-shoulder with man.

 

The Desire of Ages is not a strict chronological retelling of the Gospels; instead it is a more in-depth look into the life and teachings of Christ to reveal the love of God for man.  Yet, while White focuses on Christ’s mission to save man and show the true nature of God she does not shy away from explaining the challenges Jesus faced during His ministry.  The Messianic expectations of Jewish culture before, during, and after Christ’s life were fully explained by White and how throughout His ministry it hindered his efforts to turn hearts to the Father.  Alongside the cultural expectations was the hatred of the religious establishment that saw Jesus as a threat to their authority even though mean thought He might be the Christ.  And finally the hardest burden Christ dealt with was His disciples whose earthly expectations and resulting disappointment continually saddened their Teacher.

 

The Desire of Ages is the central volume of the five-book Conflict of Ages series just as Christ is the central pillar of sacred history.  For many, including myself, Ellen White’s book on the life of Christ is best spiritual book on His life outside of the Bible because of the in-depth perspective she writes and expounds upon.  At the end of the book as heaven rejoices at Jesus triumphant ascension to rejoin His Father as our mediator, White reveals how the disciples returned to Jerusalem just as joyously knowing Christ reigned with His Father.  Through the Acts of the Apostles the good news of Christ would begin to be spread around the world.

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