First Things First

A painter wouldn’t paint your house without priming it first. A car owner wouldn’t wax their car before washing it. A farmer wouldn’t try to harvest crops before planting. Some things just have to go in a certain order for them to make sense. And doing things out of order can result in either a waste of time or worse—a big mess.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

First things first?

How about, before one more copy of TGC is printed, put a note on every cover saying that the dear “church lady” who supposedly wrote this book “borrowed without asking or attribution” much of the content?

Also, doesn’t giving away her magnum opus for absolutely no money violate EGW’s principle of placing a higher value on her work than any other SDA writer?

And in the interest of full disclosure shouldn’t the denomination admit that EGW’s even larger body of work, The Testimonies, blatantly disregards Jesus’ “Judge Not” Maxim?

An essential part of golf etiquette, and which I’ve found a good principle to live by, is the taboo against offering unsolicited advice.

Clearly, the governing body of SDA-ism doesn’t share this view and is utterly unconcerned with the possibility that the people who receive the denomination’s “free” gift will find it worth even less than what they paid for it!



If you care enough to spend untold $$$ (or “waste”), do something for people’s needs. Force feeding religious doctrine that may or may not be relevant any longer is evil in itself.


Mailing this shouldn’t be first, second, or anywhere. It’s based on a distorted eschatology that speaks more to American 19th c. anti Catholic hysteria than to the realities of where the world is today, and comes off in places as highly anti Semitic as well. It’ll be thrown in the trash by most. I’m sad to say that this seems appropriate.

The gospel is not this, deserves better, and is better than this.



i support mass mailings of Great Controversy, actually…even if only one person in a million reads it, it’s worth it…the HS can be strongly felt in this book, and society deserves to know the seriousness of the times in which we are living…they deserve to be able to trace, in events unfolding all around us, the steady tread of prophecy that is leading us inexorably into complete disaster for the world…

i think if i were outside Adventism, i’d want to know the future, and how to protect myself…

i think this article makes a valid point, but every evangelistic effort doesn’t have to be a complete presentation…partial efforts, here and there, can be used by the HS to produce a fuller picture for different individuals at different times…

Last time I checked, the Bible has ample info on the future and how to look forward to the future, not one of fear bur of promise and hope, in Christ. If society doesn’t understand the condition of the world by now, I have my doubts as to any book changing a persons mind. Maybe instead of the constant use of ‘fear’ and more about the ‘love’ of a God, example J3:16, persons can live a happy and joyful life here in the now.


Well you certainly won’t get that from “The Great Controversy”.


Not to be a “proof texter” but doesn’t someone in the Bible say something about not worrying about the future?

I’m not there yet, but for my part, I aspire to become as terrified of the future as is my Boston Terrier.



This particular book distribution took place around Halloween, an appropriate time for a frightful gift that might also be considered funny by book recipients who are familiar with the bible and are knowledgeable about world history.

Though, actually some Christians who received a free copy of TGC might feel moved to pray for the SDA church. This free book give away could be seen as a cry for help. Perhaps this is a good thing after all.


An atrocious waste. Like firing a machine gun at a 12" target a mile away.


I was looking for this line and there it was, fourth post. So let’s say that one person reads it. First, we don’t know their reaction. It could be outrage. Second, what kind of ill will have we generated among how many other people that makes the whole project counter-productive. Third, what is the equivalent amount of money and effort was put into something more oriented toward compassion and justice? They opportunity cost is significant. I would call it lost money.


i’m not worried about the things you are, Ed…mass mailings of GC is just one of many, many things that can and should be done…i don’t think Remnant Publications is putting all its eggs in this one basket…but even if it were, what of it…most recipients aren’t going to know they’re adventist, if in fact they are, and if they did, it’s at least going to get the name into their minds, even if it’s initially negative…

like i’ve said, the HS can impress different people in different ways at different times…in fact i know of two people who’ve been baptized as a result of receiving a random copy of Great Controversy in their mail, and reading it…one person saved for all eternity is worth any amount of money, and there’s no guarantee that that money spent differently would yield the same, or an improved, result…

The author writes a good article against using a denominational book that puts down other Christians and convinces many this is a cult. If we are interested in spreading the Gospel of Jesus to the world–this is not it. The book should have been Steps to Christ or an updated similar book with references to EGW. It would also honestly explain who the author was without claiming her a prophet (as she did not want to be called). Messenger and founder is much more accurate. It is hard to imagine this organization was acting under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

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EGW may not have claimed to be a prophet but there is a doc in the White where WC White is asked if EGW is a prophet. WC replies that “As regards Mother’s being a prophetess: There is no doubt in her mind or the mind of her family or helpers, but that she is a prophet of the Lord…” He goes on to say she had a similar attitude as John the Baptist.

The document can be found by googling - WC White mother was a prophet. The actual article is “Ellen G White’s Attitude Toward Her Work”.

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So you obviously support throwing open the doors of every SDA church 24/7 and allowing the homeless, drug addicts, unwed pregnant teenagers, petty and not so petty criminals, et. als., to camp out in these facilities whenever they like on the off chance that they’ll read the literature intentionally strewn about the place and perhaps find salvation.

I can’t speak for Jesus as so many Christians insist they do, but if the churches who claim to be the houses he never owned while he was alive are what they say they are, this seems like something he would be advocating rather than allowing the space to go empty and be wasted six days out of seven.


After that, and if time is money, we can talk about how much of every church member’s waking hours should be spent in an all out EGW evangelization blitzkrieg of his fellow humans.

Surely, the HS considers anything less than 100% participation only a good start.



Courtney Ray, you must be in interesting guy; but there is a car wax that both cleans and waxes a car without a carwash. But that is only an illustration: events only are made intelligible by the way they are framed; they don’t frame themselves automatically. Most Adventists are unaware that the importance of EGW and the Great Controversy is due to the theological framework we put them in. Those outside of this framing are understandably confused about the Great Controversy appearing in their mailboxes, more so, when they read it… Evangelism is always an attempt to reframe the mental makeup of the public, whatever the form; recognition of this as the first step could possible change the way we think of evangelism.


Hi, Bruce: Thanks for the earlier comment on my remarks. EGW’s plagiarism does not bother me as much does ascribing bad motives to her for doing it. Some realist people of the late middle ages protested artists putting a book in the hands of the Virgin Mary, when she obviously was illiterate. Yet, that artwork raised female literacy by a huge percentage at the time. We might also evaluate the charge that China stole American technology to get to where it is today, against the fact that China has raised millions out of poverty quickly by so doing. Then, there is the view of (Somebody, Mellencamp (Sp?), a musician, that, when he hears something in a song that someone else wrote, and he likes; it is his. Always ready to stand condemned, Joe.

As I’ve said previously, the idea of borrowing from another and making it your own isn’t my biggest issue with EGW’s plagiarism.

For example, I understand that the BeeGees admired the Beatles and did their best to imitate their success and songs. But they acknowledged the Beatles were the source of that inspiration and I don’t think there’s any record of them making the claim that their work was superior to that of John, George, Ringo and Paul.

This is decidedly not the case with Mrs. White. She flagrantly stole from writers at least as inspired as she claimed to be but when asked about others who said they were having visions and messages similar to hers, she was quick to disparage their work as that of the devil.

I am a firm believer in the concept of protection and am convinced her accusations of those people is an example of self-incrimination.

Can one gather truth from an evil source? No doubt that if Hitler said, “Watch out for that bus!” It would be good to listen to his advice.

But I wouldn’t advocate distributing millions of copies of Mein Kampf to an unsuspecting populace on the off chance that they would be able cut through his hyperbolic drivel in order to glean whatever other valuable lessons one might be able to find therein.



How about using something that will be far more effective. How about preaching the same message that Billy Graham preached that reached millions, that God loves everyone and that acknowledging that we need Him and BELIEVE in him and we will be saved? I don’t think that making the Catholic Church, and the Sunday Keeping Protestant churches into the boogie man, are going to play very well with any reasonable person.


I simply can not understand the phrase, ‘to know the future’ means the Great Controversy should be read and not the Bible. A misguided trust or lack of trust that the life one is living is not up to snuff. If a personal life is not going to encourage others to look for a better life by the observation of a person calling them self a christian…I hear EGW whirling in her grave as people continue to ignore her words, ‘go to your Bibles’!!!