Tell the World
Available for purchase ($4.99) at Adventist Book Centers, or free through telltheworld.adventist.org, ARtv, or YouTube. Reviewed by Merle Poirier, operations manager, Adventist Review.
Adventists, for the most part, find great satisfaction in telling their history. And why not? It’s a great story. Beginning with William Miller, the farmer who finds himself a preacher, to Ellen White, the one least expected to become a prophet, to Joseph Bates, the sea captain turned temperance advocate. Now this story is available through a twenty-first century film production.
Released in 2016, “Tell the World” was produced by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia. Available as a full-length feature or in six episodes, the history begins with Miller, who determines through Bible prophecy that Jesus is coming in 1844. The film unfolds the drama from this small beginning to the eventual birth of the Seventh-day Adventist movement.
I watched this series twice and would suggest that, if able, viewers do the same. The story benefits from multiple viewings. Tackling 40-plus years of history in six 28-minute time blocks is challenging. Sometimes the script reflects this, sometimes making it hard to follow.
Of the approximately 168 minutes of film, 75 minutes are given to William Miller. This can make the beginning of the film seem to move slowly through the early years, then suddenly take off at a gallop. Because of the time spent on Miller, the Ellen Harmon, James White, and Joseph Bates portion seems rushed at times.
I commend the actors and their portrayals. Personally, I enjoyed Joseph Bates, as he was closest to what I imagined. Ellen White, however, comes to life much differently than I expected, which at times is refreshing. The actor’s ability to show emotion is well done, although she is portrayed much healthier than she was in actual life.
While there is great attention to detail as it relates to the actors, costumes, and props, I think the film neglects two significant points.
The entire production was filmed in Canada. While filmed in an authentic setting for the period, the Seventh-day Adventist Church actually owns the William Miller and Joseph Bates properties. Since this is largely a New England story, the film doesn’t offer the scenery those familiar with the northeastern portion of the United States might expect. This would seem to have been a great opportunity to do some filming on actual locations.
Eventually the time arrives for the small band of believers to vote themselves into a full-fledge denomination. They struggle with a name, the climax builds—and the name is mispronounced! This seemed careless on the part of the producers. While you may have heard different versions of how to pronounce Seventh-day Adventists, it is all about the Advent.
Kudos can still be given to the Australian Union Conference for developing a well-crafted film version of our history. After all, it’s a great story.
(available on iTunes and at www.bradnickelmusic.ca). Reviewed by Gerald A. Klingbeil, associate editor of Adventist Review.
Lacombe, Canada, based singer-songwriter
Brad Nickel was raised as an Adventist,
but when he turned 17, he left the church and faith to pursue a promising career in the glamorous world of modeling. God, however, did not leave Brad, and once he recognized his brokenness and the depth of the Savior’s love, he gave up a career and a lifestyle, and started sharing his journey through music.
“Reaching In,” taken from Brad’s latest production Freedom (which is an EP, or extended play, single, including six songs), won first place in the 2015 inSpire songwriting contest, organized by Church Support Services, a research and development entity for creative ministry in the Pacific Union Conference (www.visitinspire.org).
His acoustic guitar-driven sound is both engaging and soothing. In “Reaching In” Brad tells his story, making clear that he “ain’t stepping off this road,” shared with other followers of Jesus. In “Looking at You” we catch a glimpse of what Brad sees when he looks at Jesus and notices truth shining through: “Beautiful, beautiful mercies falling on me; washing my sins and setting me free; incredible love full of mercy and truth; I can’t see myself if I am looking at You.” “Perfect Peace” starts off with a sequence of big synthesizer harmonies and God’s invitation: “Keep your eyes on Me, keep your eyes on Me; when your world is crumbling and you have no peace, keep your eyes on Me, keep your eyes on Me, I will come on your raging seas, keep your eyes on Me.”
In a crumbling world that hungers and thirsts for peace and answers to life’s big questions this final invitation of Freedom feels comforting. Keeping our eyes and minds on Him is indeed good counsel.