#CBR8 Review #90

The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White

I’ve finally finished reading The Conflict of the Ages series. I’m ready to get back to reading the Bible itself for my evening devotion. While I am glad to have read a keystone series from our most prolific founding member in the Adventist faith, I’ve discovered that there’s nothing like the original source of faith itself to cement your faith.

The Great Controversy is an odd mishmash of Reformation History, the Millerite movement and subsequent founding of the Adventist Church, and exegesis of the Book of Revelation. I confess, I was not prepared for the merging of the three, and White’s transition is not entirely smooth. We hear a lot about end-time events, the rise of Romanism (aka, the Catholic Church), and other troubling impediments to God’s people before the return of Christ. The Adventist adherence to religious eschatology is on full display here, and if you’re not prepared for it, it can be really startling.

The writing in this book is okay, but White could have used a much better editor to help clarify ideas and arguments. As it is, I think she had a yes-person publishing her work, because my English teacher self kept asking, “So what? How does this connect to the Bible verse you just quoted? Why is this lengthy historical passage here without any explanation or context?” Not great.

I’m also embarrassed to note that world church administration seems to think that an effective evangelistic tool is to send out free copies of this book to major cities ahead of an evangelistic series meeting. Um, no. This is a highly theological book to be sending out to people who increasingly don’t identify with any faith. Also, let’s not scare people off. I personally recommend White’s small but wonderful Steps to Christ if you would like to read about Jesus Christ as the foundation of faith. And I’m sorry if you’ve received an unsolicited copy of The Great Controversy in the mail. Trust me, that’s not how I’d spend my church’s money. Or perform community outreach.


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