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New Editor at the Adventist Review

October 15, 2006

Well it looks like there’s a new editor at the Adventist Review. Bill Knott was elected editor at the recently held 2006 Annual Council. You can read the Adventist Review‘s official press release here. Read an interview with Knott and further information surrounding the the election at the Adventist Today website.

Apparently, Knott’s election was not without controversy (he was elected 170-69, a far from unanimous verdict!)–read Andy Nash’s thoughts at Spectrum magazine on this event: Opportunity Lost: Why Adams Should Have Been Review Editor“. (Thanks to Spectrum Blog for the heads-up.) The controversy arises because only one name–Knott’s–was brought before the Annual Council when 6 months previously at the Spring Council meeting Knot’s name was returned to the nominating committee and it was specifically requested that Roy Adams be considered for the position. Such a situation is typical of SDA Church procedure at the highest of levels–only a single name is ever brought forward to be voted on for positions such as President. While other names are considered by the nominating committee, the church itself as represented by the delegates–only ever sees one name. Thus the power of the delegates themselves is substantially reduced and that of the nominating committee enhanced greatly (Note that in this case it was the Adventist Review Publishing Board that made the recommendation.). Similarly, there is a general lack of openness about procedures and names considered for such positions–thus making independent media such as Spectrum and Adventist Today of crucial importance.

Turns out that Knott is an historian (yaaay!!)–according to the aforementioned press release he wrote his PhD thesis on “the career of early Adventist reformer and missionary Hannah More.”

Having (I confess) never heard of More, I did a little research. The first Hannah More I came across was a Hannah More (1745-1833)–obviously too early to be the correct one. Still, she is an interesting individual; take a moment to read about her achivements here.

Th next Hannah More I came across appears to be the right one. The entire story is a little unclear–this should encourage Knott to publish his dissertation (it was only awarded this year). In summary then:

From Rex Riches PhD Thesis, “Establishing the British Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church 1863-1887″ published online at the excellent British Union Conference Historical Archive (every Union Conference should follow their lead!) comes the following quote: “Early in 1864 two Christian missionaries, Hannah More, an American, and Alexander Dickson, an Australian, indicated that they had become “whole hearted Seventh-day Adventists” through the reading of Seventh-day Adventist literature while serving as missionaries in Africa. More had briefly met [Stephen] Haskell in 1862, and when she left for Africa in 1863 she made a request for the Church to send literature and a missionary. More and Dickson appear to have remained in Africa unofficially representing the Seventh-day Adventist Church, perhaps as the first self-supporting missionaries of the church. Through More’s influence, literature was sent to “every missionary station on [the] African shore” and to William Muller at The Orphan Asylum, Bristol, England. Unfortunately, due to sickness, More returned home to America for treatment at Battle Creek with the intention of continuing her work on recovery. However, she died in 1868 and another missionary opportunity was aborted.”

From a paper entitled “200 Years of Sabbath-keeping in Australia” presented by Bruce Dean at the Friends of the Sabbath Conference held in Sydney, 5–8 July 1996–and available as a .pdf on the Servants’ News website (and available in .html on the Giving and Sharing website) comes a little more information: “Before 1885 the sole voice [promoting the seventh-day Sabbath] was Alexander Dickson who had earlier left Melbourne with Miss Hannah More, an American missionary teacher who had toiled in Sierra Leone. During her holidays in America she was given a copy of Pastor James Andrew’s [sic: Note that James Andrew's should read John Andrews'.] History of the Sabbath and other literature. She shared it with Alexander Dickson.” In 1864 she wrote to the Adventist Review and Sabbath Herald: “Thank God I now see clearly that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord my God and am keeping it according to the commandment. Mr. Dickson also is keeping it. I do not know of any others on the coast who keep the seventh day. Your people may now consider that you have a wholehearted Seventh-Day [sic] Adventist here, waiting with you for that blessed appearing of Him whom we love and adore and purpose to worship evermore.”

More information comes from the writings of Ellen G. White, who wrote letters to More after she had returned to America. More’s situation forms the basis for two of White’s “testimonies” including:”The Case of Hannah More” in Volume 1, and “Neglect of Hannah More” in Volume 2 (p140-145). More is also mentioned in Volume 3 (p407-408). After her return from Africa, it seems More had travelled to Battle Creek, MI (via Australia). She had not found any work or assistance amongst the SDAs there and had subsequently found employment with the Thompson family in Leelenaw County. Shortly after this More died and White castigates the Battle Creek SDAs, saying: “Our brethren at Battle Creek and in this vicinity could have made more than a welcome home for Jesus, in the person of this godly woman….She died a martyr to the selfishness and covetoussness of professed commandment keepers.” (Testimonies Vol. 1 p674.)

A children’s paper called Temkit (available in .pdf) has published More’s story as: “Inasmuch as ye did it Not! The Hannah More Story“.

More then, appears to be a key figure in SDA history–being one of the earliest missionaries (albeit self-supporting and affiliated with a non-SDA group) to Africa. She will be added to my 2007 SDA History & Heritage course.

Despite the controversy surrounding Knott’s appointment I’m grateful for it pointing me to Hannah More. Having an historian in charge of the Adventist Review can’t be a bad thing!

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7 comments

  1. I have heard from some fairly reliable sources that the accusation of there only being one name offered for consideration is simply untrue. I also know from corresponding with Roy Adams that he ascribes to the theology of Desmond Ford and perhaps this has something to do with his support from the whining Andy Nash who obviously shares Adams’ theological viewpoint in this regard.
    Having, as I said, corresponded with Mr. Adams I have to wonder what Nash is talking about when he waxes so eloquent about how kind and gentlemanly Roy is and how he treats everyone with the utmost dignity and respect. His emails to me were rude, condescending, and sarcastic.
    One need only read his awful offering “The Nature of Christ” to see how he treats those with whom he differs, and it is anything but kindly. From reading his book and conversing with him personally I find no evidence whatsoever of Nash’s claims to be true.
    It is a wonderful blessing to have a man who appears to actually supports the theology of our church finally manning the Review after twenty years of Bill Johnsson’s destructive and divisive ultra-liberal influence.
    I also agree with the comment, “Having an historian in charge of the Adventist Review can’t be a bad thing!”
    God Bless,
    Pastor Bob


  2. Thanks for dropping by & commenting. I must differ however on your opinion of Bill Johnsson. As far as I’m concerned, he’s been an excellent editor (not of course perfect) who represents a fairly centerist approach. (Ultra-liberal? Come on!!) I would hope that you are wrong & that Bill Knott does not mean narrower and more close-minded approach.


  3. Furthermore, it is certainly possible that Nash is wrong & that your source is correct about there being more than one name. (And if evidence is provided to the contary I will publish it.) However this would not negate my point that one of the biggest issues with the whole process has been the lack of transparency and the secrecy that surrounds this and other church issues. Let’s do things in a transparent manner, keeping church members like myself informed about the discussions, the proposals, the votes etc of this and similar election processes.


  4. Well, Bob, as one pastor to another, I read “The Nature of Christ”, too. And if that book was the measuring stick, Roy Adams should surely have been nominated. He certainly does NOT treat those he disagrees with in the way you present. In fact, you present the sad testimony of one who disagrees with Adams’ conclusions and has to resolve to poorly expressed opinions based on hear-say and a few emails. Roy Adams would have made a great editor. But not to be. Bob, you on the other hand need to stop projecting your own characteristics onto others.


  5. I do not know where Bob got his information from, or which Mr. Adams he corresponded with. If his description of Bill Johnsson’s tenure is any measure, I would consider his viewpoint unreliable. Fortunately, I do not have to depend on his viewpoint. I have known Roy Adams for more than 25 years, and “rude, condescending and sarcastic” are not words I would ever use to describe him. He is a scholar and a gentleman, and intensely loyal to the church. He also believes in speaking the truth as he sees it. Maybe that’s his problem.


  6. They weren’t going to let a black man be the Editor PERIOD! Just like during the last Columbia Union Presiden’t election it was said, “we need to take this church back”


  7. por favor pastores juntense a tomar un te o algo que los tranquilice y oren y hablen luego.Estas cosas nos alejan de verdad de las verdaderas relaciones como hermanos.es mi sincero consejo.saludos y espero que puedan aclarar sus direrencias.ruth



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