Adventist Church Overhauls U.S. Publishing Operations
How Restructuring Plan Aligns With Ellen White’s Advice
The plan approved on June 17 contains the following explanation on how the restructuring is in line with advice offered by church co-founder Ellen White:
“In large measure the success of the publishing work in the Seventh-day Adventist Church has come from the inspired counsels and visionary advocacy of Ellen G. White. Though other publishing houses came into existence during her lifetime, she had extensive personal experience with, and provided specific counsels to, the two publishing houses in the United States — Review and Herald and Pacific Press. These publishing houses had enormous influence in the overall publishing ministry of the church. Many of her messages to these institutions came during a period marked by tension between the two. Less than cordial relations prevailed and there was talk of “take over” and “consolidation” of all publishing operations at Battle Creek, Michigan. Ellen G. White strongly objected to such plans and gave pointed messages about the danger of centralizing control of the denomination’s publishing work in one institution.
Ever since those days, Ellen G. White’s counsel (i.e. that there should be more than one publishing house) has informed subsequent discussions about the publishing ministry structure in North America. In addition to extremely valuable insights on the role of the publishing work in the mission of the church, Ellen G. White underscored principles that should inform the establishment and operation of publishing institutions serving the church. These include:
- Large institutional concentrations in one locale are not the best way for the church to fulfill its mission. (Much of what she wrote on this subject was written prior to the major denominational reorganization in 1901 and can be more fully understood in the context of pre-1901 organizational realities and tensions.)
- No single individual or small group of individuals should have sole determination of the content or expression of denominational beliefs and teachings. A single publishing house for the entire denomination was not to be seen as God’s plan.
- Ellen G. White recognized a fundamental hermeneutical principle in the use of her writings. “Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered.”* Changed circumstances call for ‘common sense’ application of principles.
In this light, the proposal to restructure the relationship of these institutions should be viewed as fully respecting the counsel of Ellen G. White in regards to the publishing work and the obligation to apply reason and common sense in regard to time, place and circumstances. The restructuring that is now under consideration preserves two distinct publishing houses, rearranges the actual printing and production operations for efficiency and economy, and provides more direct involvement of the North American Division in organizing the publishing ministry for mission objectives in its territory.”
* Ellen G White, Selected Messages, Volume 1, Chapter 4—The Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies to the Church.
Contact Adventist Review news editor Andrew McChesney at email@example.com. Twitter: @ARMcChesney