I am continuing my quest to continue reading Ellen White’s Conflict of the Ages series. It’s been oft-quoted by people of my same faith, and I need to be in the know. So I’ve been working on this series for evening devotionals, and it’s been…an experience.
Prophets and Kings, the second book in the series, focuses on the kings of Israel and Judah and the prophets who advised them during the great crises of God’s chosen people. White selectively hovers on certain episodes and skips over others entirely. Gone is Deborah as God’s judge. And highly sanitized is the episode of Queen Esther. She was a courageous young woman, yes. But she was also forced into a harem of sorts. She had sex with King Ahasuerus as the audition for being queen. There are also quite a few chapters on the promise of the coming of the Messiah, but there is no mention of any of the minor prophets, who fascinate me. The book ends at the promise of the Messiah, which will lead to the third book, The Desire of Ages, a sort of biography of Christ (and generally considered to be one of the best books in the series). I feel that it’s light on the Old Testament itself and offers more moral guidelines than explication.
White offers very little commentary or cultural criticism. There is, however, a lot of commentary on drawing closer to God and living according to the Ten Commandments. This is not bad at all. However, for how much talk people have given to the mindblowing insights that White provides, I was expecting more actual insight that provided cultural and historical context to the biblical texts. Perhaps that’s my academic discipline speaking, but I expect a work touted as biblical authority to contain good methodology and sources.