LITTLE MORE THAN 500 YEARS AGO, DUTCH THEOLOGIAN Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam dashed off a letter to a friend: “I have turned my entire attention to Greek. The first thing I shall do, as soon as the money arrives, is to buy some Greek authors; after that, I shall buy clothes.”
Erasmus, it seems, had his priorities in place: books first, other necessities later.
I’m a book nut: I’m always acquiring volumes to read. My nightstand has three or five (or more!) books on it at all times. Every night I read a few pages of something before closing my eyes. Then again, words are my stock-in-trade: to write, you really should read.
But to live? And to live as an Adventist Christian in this day? Isn’t YouTube enough? Are books even necessary?
I believe they are. My latest addition is Woodrow Whidden’s biography of E. J. Waggoner. It’s probably not “light” reading, but I expect it will be enlightening, not least because Whidden is an insightful theologian and teacher. By the time I’m done, I expect to be better connected to Adventism’s past.
Such connections are important, vital even, if we are to understand our church and our role in it as members and witnesses. If you’re looking to grow your understanding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, read the books of Adventism. Start with Ellen White, of course, but read our history, our inspirational material, our theology. You’ll be richer for it.
You can find them in an Adventist Book Center and online at www.rhpa.org and www. pacificpress.com. Your friends might have other titles to share with you. Pick one up, read it, and grow with it.
Just don’t forget to buy clothes if you need to!
Mark A. Kellner is news editor of the Adventist Review.