New Ellen White Encyclopedia highlights lifetime of ministry

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New Ellen White Encyclopedia highlights lifetime of ministry

The recently released Ellen G. White Encyclopedia gives an overview of the Adventist Church co-founder's thoughts on a variety of issues.

Church historian calls it ‘most important reference work in half a century’

March 11, 2014 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Mylon Medley/ANN

A recently released encyclopedia on the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s co-founder Ellen G. White gives an overview of her stance on numerous topics and offers an opportunity to dispel misconceptions on the life and literary influence of the denomination’s most known figure, publishers said.

The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia,” published by Review and Herald Publishing Association, includes articles on White, biographies and her writings on an array of topics—from salvation, psychology and politics to legalism, diet and makeup.

"The Ellen White Encyclopedia is undoubtedly the most important reference work produced by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in a half century,” said Adventist Church historian George Knight.

The encyclopedia consists of 1,300 articles with descriptions of places White lived and the people in her life, rarely seen photographs and her position on hundreds of subjects she wrote about during her ministry.

Editors Denis Fortin, former dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, and Jerry Moon, chair of the Church History Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, worked with 180 contributing authors over the course of 14 years to compile the encyclopedia. It was arranged so “both new and long-time readers [of White’s writings] will find reliable information, often presented from fresh new perspectives,” Fortin and Moon said.

The vision to create this encyclopedia began in the late 1990s with Knight, an Adventist historian and emeritus professor at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. In 2000, however, with an approaching retirement, Knight delegated the project to Fortin and Moon.

White, who died in 1915 at age 87, is credited with shaping the mission and vision of the Adventist Church, especially through her writings. During her ministry she wrote approximately 100,000 pages, and more than 100 books have been published from her writings. She is also the most translated American author, according to The Ellen G. White Estate. Her most translated book, “Steps to Christ,” a how-to guide on being a Christian, has been translated into more than 165 languages.

Controversy around White’s writings often stems from her work that has been taken out of context or wrongfully used to support controversial subjects. The encyclopedia was envisioned to be the standard reference work for anyone who has questions about White’s positions, Knight said.

“Ellen White has been the most influential person in Adventist history, and yet there is a lot of misinformation about what she wrote and why she wrote it,” Knight said. “Up until this time there has been no reference work that can answer most of our questions."

Jim Nix, director of The Ellen G. White Estate, said he was pleased when he received early manuscripts of the encyclopedia.

“I am excited about the wealth of information regarding Ellen White and her ministry that is contained in this book,” Nix said. “I am impressed with the depth and scope of what is contained in it.”

Now, anyone who wants to learn more about White and her contribution to the Adventist Church will have the opportunity to expand their knowledge on White’s life and writings in the single resource.

“I cannot imagine anyone who is interested in Ellen White and her writings that will not want a copy of this book,” said Nix. “It’s that valuable.”

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