William G. Johnsson Has Died at 88

William G. Johnsson, a prolific author, respected scholar, and long-time editor of the Adventist Review, died after an illness on March 11 in Loma Linda, California. He was 88.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/12246
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Bill Johnsson has long been one of my favourite leaders within the Adventist church - even though I never met him in person. Inspirational, tactful, insightful, pastoral, and full of grace. A model for other leaders to follow. I’m sorry to hear of his passing, and look forward to a glorious morning.


Bill Johnsson is my model of what faith and grace look like on a man. Through various encounters, public and private, he demonstrated for so many of us how a Christ-filled life could be lived. A scholar and a gentleman, he will always occupy a place in my heart.


Recently I listened to Bill Johnson talk about his life, work, family and the GC during a virtual Sabbath program. After his presentation he graciously answered many questions. I felt blessed by hearing him speak of his way of dealing with internal church politics during his period as review editor. Our church has lost another leader.


Yes William Johnson was a great leader and example of a grace-filled life. To me he expressed in his work and also demonstrated great faith in Christ and in his retirement years revealed his engaging dissonance with Adventism’s dodgy theology whilst remaining supportive of the Adventist Church. Thank you Bill


This is a big loss.

As a lifelong SDA, I was exposed to William G. Johnsson’s work, and Adventist Review, before I even knew his name.

Of course, as his obituary states, some of his most meaningful work came after he retired; e.g, his frank, 2017 volume, Where Are We Headed?: Adventism After San Antonio. From what I’ve read of the text, perhaps, like many SDA administrators, Johnsson felt, post-employment, he could be more open regarding his thoughts on SDA-ism.

If so, I may have been a beneficiary of this candidness: I was blessed to enjoy a brief, personal exchange with Elder Johnsson, by email, in which he, in a general way, favorably responded to my essay, “Who Is Really The Remnant Church?”

It’s often so difficult to get SDA employees to comment on conclusions which are counter our doctrine, let alone do so positively. I expect to publish our correspondence on my blog, HERETIC., one day, soon.

I’m truly sorry that, when I do, though, he and I won’t be able to continue the discussion.


Oh my, what a loss. I doubt there is any superlative that could not aptly be applied to Bill Johnsson. I feel so fortunate to have known him. He was the kind of Adventist that you could introduce to any friend who was not Adventist or Christian and have full confidence that your friend would come away with only positive impressions of what it would mean to be a person of faith. He stayed focused on the essentials and lived faithfully even while being grieved by the needless fights and emphasis on outdated perspectives exemplified by some in senior leadership. We are blessed that his prolific writing will continue to provide inspiration to many in the years yet to come.


My mother was a prolific writer of articles for all the denominations publications. Her favorite Editor was Bill Johnson. She published between 1950 - 1998. Her name was Velva Holt-Hale, plus a few other author names. She was 90 when she finally quite writing. Eld Johnson and my mother had a great friendship.

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