Michigan Conference Bans George Knight’s Books from Its ABC Stores

A ban on Dr. George R. Knight’s books arrived swiftly and left just as quickly leaving Michigan Adventist Book Center (ABC) customers confused, outraged, and a little dizzy.

On the afternoon of Thursday, July 6, social media posts started appearing on Facebook stating that Knight’s books had been pulled from Michigan ABC shelves at the decision of Michigan Conference President Jay Gallimore. The Michigan Conference controls the three ABC stores, located in Lansing, Battle Creek, and Berrien Springs.

Our calls to the Berrien Springs and Lansing branches on the morning of July 7 confirmed the ban: Knight’s books had disappeared from shelves and customers were being informed the books were no longer for sale. (The Battle Creek branch did not immediately return requests for comment.)

One branch employee stated she was “sickened” by the decision and stressed that this was a conference-issued ban with which they must comply. She expressed hope that the ban would be lifted soon and urged customers to keep the store and its employees in prayer as they grappled with this situation.

We reached out to Pacific Press Publishing Association, which oversees AdventistBookCenter.com and publishes Knight’s books. Publicity Director Karen Pearson informed us they had not heard about the ban but would be looking into it.

Just hours later, prayers were answered as books were returned to their shelves. President Gallimore issued a statement regarding the situation shortly after 1:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday. In it, Gallimore states that the decision has been made to “continue to make [Knight’s] books available at the ABC at this time. However, his speech at the unity conference and published address have raised serious and troubling questions.”

Gallimore is referring to the recent Unity Conference in London where Knight presented a paper entitled “Catholic or Adventist: The Ongoing Struggle Over Authority + 9.5 Theses.”

Gallimore’s statement continues:

“The question should be raised as to whether we should carry authors who position themselves against the leadership of the General Conference, and equate themselves to Luther standing up to the Pope of the medieval Catholic Church. Is it appropriate to suggest a comparison between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the persecuting medieval Catholic church? Or should unions be urged to stand against the world church in the way that people were urged to defy Nazi Germany in WWII?

We understand, support, and respect Christian dialogue and the exchange of differing opinions. Perhaps the author was simply utilizing hyperbole. If that is the case, is it a responsible use of hyperbole? And if the author meant what he said, shouldn’t that be a concern?

Finally, we’re talking about the ministry of the Adventist Book Center, not a secular bookstore. We have the expectation, without apology, that Seventh-day Adventist authors, whose works are sold in the ABC, be supportive of their church and its representative form of church government. Let me say that these are spiritual issues with spiritual ramifications that need to be considered.”

When asked for his comments on the whirlwind of events, Knight stated, “I was hoping for a book burning to meet the symbolism of the times. Oh Well.”

He also informed us that he began hearing rumors about two weeks ago that his books may be banned as a direct result of his Unity Conference presentation. “This kind of activity really proves my point,” Knight said. “The conference is acting like the Medieval Church.”

“I’ve heard about the situation from many directions, but not from the ABC and not from Jay Gallimore,” Knight added.

Knight’s friend and former colleague, Dr. Woodrow Whidden, was keeping a close eye on things at the Berrien Springs branch and told Spectrum Knight’s books disappeared about a week ago, though it took a bit of time for the news to spread.

Today’s decision to reinstate Knight’s books after a ban that seemingly spanned less than a week was met with relief by ABC customers.

Knight’s many contributions to Adventism are available (for now) from ABC stores and on Amazon. By the way, if you haven’t picked up the official companion book to this quarter’s Sabbath School lesson yet, you may want to do so. It’s entitled Gospels in Conflict: Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. The author? Dr. George R. Knight.

Alisa Williams is managing editor at SpectrumMagazine.org.

Image Credit: www.SpectrumMagazine.org

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8097

Good for the Michigan Conference. My respect for Elder Gallimore continues to grow. If Florida can ban Doug Batchelor because he’s too “divisive” (for which they caught a lot of flak and he eventually got to go and present his evangelistic series), then there should be no problem with Michigan Conference banning Knight’s books from the ABC. Anyone who compares the GC to Nazis has very little credibility, anyway. Those who like to throw that term around have very little understanding of history and of what real Nazis were like. Where are Ted Wilson’s “Gestapo agents,” rounding up dissidents for the torture chambers?

And besides, if people want the books badly enough, they can order them online.


“The question should be raised as to whether we should carry authors who position themselves against the leadership of the General Conference…”
-Elder Jay Gallimore

Well, I guess we should pull Mrs. White’s books as well.


@ blc Groucho The spirit of oppression is what it is, be it Pharisees, medieval Catholic church inquisition or Nazi Germany. If the church wants to act in this sort of spirit in their methodology, then so be it for the comparison. Nobody in their right mind who observes the church’s dealings needed George Knight to point this out. I have been comparing the methods of the church to the medieval Catholic church a decade ago even when I was a dedicated Adventist. It WAS shown in the way the GC vote was taken and as Knight points out, it is confirmed in the way they banned his books. The church has always eaten it’s own apologists when they try to find the middle ground. Bacchiocchi dealt with it for years and the church is always looking for their next whipping boy to persecute for giving an opinion contrary to the GC Pope.


We’ve been told not to give unquestioning respect and authority to any man simply because of his position. Whether he is a GC President, Conference President, TV Evangelist or Church Historian–each of these men are subject to the Spirit of God and should, if led by the Spirit of God, bear the fruits of that Spirit in their ministry and lives.

So the question is not WHO can be banned or who is DIVISIVE (Jesus was divisive and He was definitely banned via the cross), but who will most emulate Jesus? “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5).

To ban Knight’s books in the first place comes straight out of the Nazi playbook. Also the Michigan conference leaders and the GC seem to teach the spurious gospel of false male headship which is why Knight had to speak out in the first place. We are not saved by keeping the Sabbath–the people who killed Jesus thought they were keeping the Sabbath, but they had the spirit of the beast. It’s sad to see this beast rising up within Adventism. It surely must grieve the Spirit of God, because “Where the Spirit of God is–there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).


“Knight’s many contributions to Adventism are available (for now) from ABC stores and on Amazon. By the way, if you haven’t picked up the official companion book to this quarter’s Sabbath School lesson yet, you may want to do so. It’s entitled Gospels in Conflict: Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. The author? Dr. George R. Knight.”

All Dr. George Knight has to do to sell his books in ABC’s owned by the Michigan Conference is to simply comply with established guidelines and opinions held by the current Adventist administration and/or particular Conference officials. It is simple really…and then some wonder why the GC gets compared to the Nazis. Go figure!


Jay Gallimore knows very little about hermeneutics, but every Christian should understand and practice the hermeneutic of charity. We should not infer from a specific criticism of a Seventh-day Adventist Church leader an assertion that the Church is Babylon. And we normally do not and should not infer from a recitation of Martin Niemoller’s famous quotation that a comparison is being made to the Nazis. To willfully overlook and refuse to practice the hermeneutic of charity is to bear false witness. Gallimore’s statement does not adequately serve his interests, as it is a poor substitute for the apology he should have extended to George Knight.

With respect to Ted Wilson and others, including Gallimore, who seek to punish unions for the exercise of personal conscience in this 500th anniversary year of the Protestant Reformation, Dr. Knight has earned the right and no doubt feels a duty to make an apt comparison that is informed by history. Dr. Knight is one of the most prominent church historians in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and his judgment is entitled to respect. History teaches many lessons, including one particular lesson that Gallimore and Wilson have refused to learn: Scholars matter; to pursue a course of action that contravenes the great weight of the counsel offered by our scholars is dangerous, unwise, and in the long run injurious to the Church and its members.

Thank you, Dr. Knight, for the excellent and thoughtful essay I have had the privilege of reading once again.


George Knight’s books and articles have consistently demonstrated excellent biblical and practical understanding. His books have been inspiring and practical. He is considered by many to be the best Adventist writer in this century. To suggest that SDA’s in Michigan need to be “protected” from his writings and that the President of the Michigan conference can ban books from the ABC, unfortunately says more about how “fragile” SDA persons are in their beliefs.
Michigan can be strange state. It gave us President Trump, via the Electoral College, now it has given us banning SDA books. But we should not be surprised as this article points out about Michigan persons:
3:17 pm, May 15, 2017 “Paneling Makes Some MSU Students Feel Unsafe”
_University of Michigancampus social justice “The University of Michigan is about to embark on a major, multi-million dollar renovation of one of its most recognizable buildings, the Michigan Union. But if minority students have their way, the historic central feature of the Michigan campus might lose some of its signature decor. At a March student government meeting, one student reportedly told administrators that, when the Union is refurbished, the lush wooden paneling, a prized feature of the building dating back to around 1910, should come down because it makes some students feel unsafe. “[M]inority students felt marginalized by quiet, imposing masculine paneling” students claimed, according to the meeting minutes. They didn’t elaborate on precisely why the paneling was so problematic, but logic rarely comes into play in these kinds of complaints" ._or in banning books!


I believe it was Gallimore who made the comparison to Nazi Germany and not George Knight (see quote).


What remains to be said? Nothing.

Intellectual Rigor - 1
Institutional Rigamortous - 0


I never know what to make of this type of statement. Is the editor writing this with a big dollop of irony? Is he/she stating that God intervened on behalf of Dr. Knight and his readers? Is this type of statement merely a social convention and meant to be taken as such?


At no time in history, not in the Bible or in the affairs of Ellen White, did a single godly person ever challenge the authority of a leader of God’s people without incurring serious judgment upon their self. It has never been done. Ever, in 6000 yrs. What Dr. Knight has done is flagrant and an abuse of the visibility God has given to him. Watch and see what God does next. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram part II.


GC PresidentTed Wilson is showing amazing restraint, for a Nazi. His job is to carry out the policies of the world church, but he has to endure unfair comparisons to dictators who were responsible for the deaths of millions.

When a person votes in a democratic process, he must be willing to accept the outcome. Apparently, a minority in the church doesn’t believe that and is attempting some sort of end run around the majority.

I say to this minority: if the vote in San Antonio was so completely unacceptable to you, if Adventist leadership is so irredeemably popish, then you are obligated to create your own church and stop undermining this one.


At no time in history, not in the Bible or in the affairs of Ellen White, did a single godly person ever challenge the authority of a leader of God’s people without incurring serious judgment upon their self.


I think the sentence carried out on Jesus demonstrates the extent to which the leaders of God’s people Israel felt that he was challenging their authority. “King of the Jews”. So, they (Caiaphus and Herod) worked through Pilate to silence him. Do you think Jesus’ crucifixion was God’s punishment of Jesus for challenging the authority of the leaders of His people? Korah, Dathan, and Abiram part 1.5?

But let’s look more closely at what you wrote. You said that no “godly person” ever challenged the authority of a leader of God’s people without incurring serious judgment. Did you mean to say “ungodly person”? Or do ungodly people get a free pass, and only godly people get punished?

Let’s assume you meant “no person”–godly or ungodly–gets away with challenging the authority of the leader of God’s poeple without God punishing them. If so, then let’s flip your logic: does this mean that if people are challenging a leader and getting away with it (God isn’t punishing them), then that leader must not be a leader of God’s people? If Ted Wilson’s critics are not being swallowed up by the ground on which they stand, does that imply that Wilson is not a leader of God’s people? And if so, does that mean that Wilson is not a leader, or does it mean that the GC/SDAs are not God’s people?

Many interesting questions to ponder! You opened a real can of worms.


Let us rejoice in George Knight’s good fortune! Many authors hope in vain for denominational leaders to increase their sales by banning their publications. Good on George!


I agree with you in aplying a kind of discipline as banning selling Knight´s books as he manifested his dissent against the Church, when comparing GC with Middle Age Catholic Church persecutions and also the Nazi´s ones. That is very offensive and he should apologize before being restored.
What I wonder is the lot of people who agrees with Dough Bachelor´s ban in Florida, and to Stephen Böhr´s and David Gates´s bans in Columbia Union, California and in other places. Everything because of their positions against WO. I don´t agree with these last bans because they did not offend the Church. As I said this, I also say that if Alejandro Bullón, Angel Manuel Rodríguez, and several others who supported WO were banned somewhere for the same reason I would reject such ban in the same way. No one of them has offended the Church neither are dissidents.
Another commentary is about biased decisions made in the past. Why if the Biblical Research Institute and the Church in general officially accepts membership in SDAC for believers in various positions regarding the human nature of Christ (political decision, because the 2 or 3 positions cannot be correct at the same time for incompatibility- 1 is true and 2 are wrong, no way!), the book of Ralph Larson “The Word Became Flesh”, or the book “El Mito de Laodicea” [The Myth of Laodicea"] of José Mulero Vico, or the Lecture presented by Herbert Douglass in the Event of 50th Anniversary of Questions on Doctrine in 2007 at Andrews University [who are post-lapsarians] are not published by our publlishing houses or sold at ABC´s but the book “The Nature of Christ” of Roy Adams (pre-lapsarian or Melvillian) is widely published and sold in our bookstores!!! Why both parts has not equal rights? That is a contradiction and biased policy.
In the case of Knight his declarations are against the Church and he should apologize.


First, we are a fellowship, not a democratic government. But even our American democracy was designed to prevent tyranny by majority. And it is my opinion that the events leading up to and surrounding the vote in San Antonio were tinged with tyranny of multiple sorts. People will react to that reality. There are times when people rise up against the established order when they believe that order is not right. Think American Revolution. Think Protestant Reformation.

Regarding the ordination of women, many people in our fellowship think it is a moral and spiritual issue. The large majority of members of several union conferences seem to hold that view. In the face of their deeply held moral and spiritual values, your appeal to the power of majority rule falls flat.

The issues before us will not, in my opinion, be resolved by authority. Attempts at exertion of authority will only exacerbate our challenges. Accommodation must be reached. After all, our differences are over a policy. Policy is just…policy. Policies are not written on tablets of stone.


This is an abuse of power by the Michigan Conference leadership. There is nothing in Dr Knight’s paper that could justify such a clumsy response. Instead it looks more like an obsequious knee jerk reaction.
Having read Knight’s whole paper (link in the original article above) I am struck by his desire to support the church. This is not an author who rebels. He seeks to reform.
Pointing out their flaws to the powerful does carry the risk of backlash. The quote by Martin Niemöller about standing up for those who face persecution is a reminder that silence does not solve those flaws. They will not simply disappear. They need to be dragged into the open.
So, I strongly agree with Dr Knight’s conclusions—meaning I will never receive a call from the MI conference. (And I guess that is a good thing.)


On November 1, 2016 on this very website I called for 2017 to be formally declared the Adventist Year of Conscience and Religious Freedom.

I said in part, “Luther became a courageous Bible scholar. Three and a half years later [after his issuance of his 95 theses] in April 1521 at the Diet of Worms, he provided Christendom with a case study of the nexus between conscience, the Word of God, church policy and Councils. Here, in his reply to the demand of the Diet that he recant his reformed beliefs and teachings, he asserted his need to be “convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes or councils, for they have contradicted one another - my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.” Notice for a moment the emphasis Luther makes on the fact that his conscience was captive to the Word of God and must be educated by the Word of God! Unfortunately, the princes and the prelates in Luther’s day did not take him up on this challenge.”

Thank God that in 1517 someone understood the relationship between conscience, the Word of God, church policy and church councils.

Thank God that in 2017 others like George Knight once again understand the relationship between these things. Thank God they are prepared to speak out!

I can see 2017 turning into an unofficial Adventist Year of Conscience and Religious Freedom.


A Traverse City, Michigan SDA church elder who recently preached a sermon questioning the SDA ‘fundamental doctrine’ of the Trinity, has been disfellowshipped . . . or ‘dismembered’ as a good friend described it.

One of the first things we learn about ‘God’ in Genesis is that ‘They’ are more than one in number, while very unified in character. The creation of ‘male-and-female’ resulting in ‘one flesh’ – in ‘Our Image’ – was an illustrative ‘parable’ that has been replayed billions of times on this Earth. But, if I can believe the ‘internet’, even SDA church founders-in-good-standing, like James White, Joseph Bates and even Uriah Smith had trouble with the ‘Trinity’ doctrine.

I wrote a letter to the Traverse City church. I essentially told them that now they have begun such a ‘witch hunt’, and have publicly humiliated a whole family who is active in their local congregation, they need to go on and disfellowship Jay Gallimore for publicly and actively denying the fundamental doctrine of the ‘Trinity’ – as first clearly expressed in Genesis – by wasting God’s time, and God’s money, in campaigning against the ordination of women. (See 3ABN Night Light, live from ASI 2014, in Grand Rapids, MI.)

What is good for the local elder is good for the conference president . . . yet there Mr. Gallimore remains, year after year, untouchable because of the will of those SDA voters who worth-ship him. But, does the plural ‘God’ find his influence to be worth-while in supporting the truth of Their Tri-Unity, as first described at the very beginning of Scripture? Is it any wonder that the SDA religion is lacking ‘unity’ under such divisive leadership ? Leadership that rejects the core, the very ‘foundation’, of ‘marriage’-style unity as God intended it to be an expression of Their Own Tri-Unity?
We become our obsessions, what we ‘worth-ship’, what we ‘ap-price-iate’, what we value – whether harmonious, or divisive.
We are – in character – what we are, today, as an ‘SDA’ church because of the picture of ‘God’ that has been placed before the ‘eyes’ of our appreciation, our worship.
Do the ‘Father’ and the ‘Holy Spirit’ love us as much as Jesus does ? . . . or does Jesus – our ‘Friend’ – still need to persuade ‘Them’ to even allow us to live ? Is it still ‘Them’ against ‘us’ ?

You can go to the 1897 General Conference Daily Bulletin and read Alonzo Jones’ quotes from Ellen for yourself. In both his first and his second presentation, Jones quoted Ellen as stating that the church needed ‘to roll away her reproach’ (get a circumcised heart), that some men who were then still in church offices should have been gone long ago.

In other arguments – approved of by Ellen as being of the ‘Holy Spirit’s framing’-- in another year,
Jones stated that:
It is not the church’s job to command men.
It is the church’s job to obey God.

So, what I find extremely interesting in this story involving George Knight – who has done so little to support the work and reputation of Alonzo Jones – is that dead Mr. Jones supports living Mr. Knight’s position in standing up to entrenched ‘uncircumcised’ church leadership . . . so very much, so very well.

Surprising times !

And, by the way . . .
For those who would compare today’s healthy reaction against SDA ‘false shepherding’ to ‘Korah’s rebellion’, they need to go back in SDA history, and read how Ellen described the church leadership of over a century ago as re-enacting ‘Korah’s rebellion’.
To ‘rebel’ against such ‘rebellion’ can be loyalty to God. The question, then, is:

Has the SDA GC ever, truly, un-hypocritically ‘accepted’ the ‘1888 Message’ . . . as some SDA historians suggest we did ?

And, by the way, again . . .
It is both surprising, and very ironic, that any member of the ‘remnant church’ might consider such a ‘minority’ to be governed by a ‘democratic’ voting process favoring the ‘majority’ ! Jesus said, ‘Don’t look here or there for the Kingdom of God. It is in you.’ In the ‘heart’ of each individual is a ‘kingdom’, a ‘Jerusalem’, . . . in which Christ, the ‘King’, wishes to reign, by personal choice, personal ‘vote’. True Christianity is a personal choice, not a ‘democratic’ imposition.