The status quo is not sustainable, and forgetfulness is deadly. We must move, and we must remember.
These words could describe the mission of Adventist Pioneer Library (APL). Let’s do a quick update on what’s transpiring.
One’s God-provided identity is anchored in beginnings. Whether it’s one’s DNA, a Declaration of Independence, a manger in Bethlehem, or a creation account, the origin, as incomplete as it may be, defines who we are and why we are. As Seventh-day Adventists, we can fearlessly move into the future by maintaining a firm connection with each emergence God crafted that has determined our current existence. Don’t get distracted by roots that are not ours!
The commencement of our movement is thoroughly documented and preserved. And in the last 30 years, those documents are accessible in ways that are proving both providential and essential. God has enabled APL to have a small part in making this possible.
In facing the current challenges, we are being called to examine history. Were the sources not available, we would be vulnerable to the whims of the one painting that history. But we must be like the Bereans, unwilling to accept what even a Paul is telling us without checking the sources to see “whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). I recently was led to do that with a document that came to me, and I remain appalled at the inaccuracy of what was being stated when compared with the actual sources that were being used. Do your homework!
The commencement of our movement is thoroughly documented and preserved.
APL’s material is available in all of the recent Ellen White collections, online (www.EGWWritings.org) and in desktop and mobile apps (www.EllenWhite.org). That is where you will find all of Ellen White’s writings as well (minus some of her diary material). Hers uniquely contains the testimony of Jesus about our movement’s origin, identity, mission, and status during her lifetime.
APL’s digital material includes a nearly exhaustive collection of her colleagues’ major works. The entire Review and Herald issues through May 1866 are in the collection, as well as the General Conference Session Bulletins 1887-1913 (excepting 1905). The details of issues and decisions we faced in the past are there for you to dig out.
Most of our global church family members do not have English as their mother tongue. APL has been translating more and more into other languages. Check out our website (www.APLib.org) to see the latest on these.
Not everyone learns best by reading. For this reason, we continue to develop audio resources. The historical and biographical material are particularly well suited for listening.
And in this digital age, there is still a place for paper! At latest count, we have 19 English reprints (new layouts and covers), as well as 7 Portuguese and 4 Spanish translations.
The stories contained in the histories of people in our movement are uniquely capable of building faith in God’s purpose and methods, which flow from His heart and plan. Check out the four biographies now in print (Bates, Miller, Paulson, and White). Another life story has been narrated before a reprint was even done (Loughborough). We are planning to bring more faith-building life stories back into print, such as those of Daniel and Lauretta Kress and Mrs. S.M.I. Henry.
In facing the current challenges, we are being called to examine history.
Whether you are a Christian who’s checking the validity of the Adventist movement or an Adventist that’s needing to see if the roots are valid and deep, you will find the above resources essential in probing the primary sources. Another site with many valuable online archives is www.AdventistArchives.org.
Let’s close this update with a look over Ellen White’s shoulder as she drafted one of her final appeals to a man who was like a son to her, Dr. John Kellogg. Notice in particular the importance of an accurate history.
The Lord forbids that the representation you would now put upon the past should be regarded as true.
There was presented before me a scene in which you were holding a conversation with Brethren Prescott and Daniells, presenting before them in the most subtle manner the enemy’s reasoning in regard to the work God has given me…
Their minds had well-nigh become overwhelmed when a heavenly messenger let light shine forth. There came to them the thought, “Review the past experience of the people of God; review the history of the work from the first, as if you were beholding it in a mirror. Has this work been what it has been represented to you to be?”
Then another and still another scene was presented before them by the heavenly messenger, until they saw truth bearing the signature of the heavenly in the past, then present, and still more decidedly in the future.1
- Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, Volume 13, pages 366, 368, 269; from Letter 11, 1911, drafted in 1907.