April 29, 2015

George Knight Recognized as ‘Probably Most Prolific Author Since Ellen White’

Adventist historian George R. Knight has been presented with a special book in recognition of a decades-long writing career that one friend said probably made him the most prolific author in the Adventist Church since church cofounder Ellen G. White.

The book, Adventist Maverick: A Celebration of George Knight’s Contribution to Adventist Thought, was given to Knight during a ceremony at the chapel of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, where Knight is professor emeritus of church history.

The volume, published by Pacific Press, is a collection of writings by 19 colleagues and students and edited by Woodrow W. Whidden, professor emeritus of religion at Andrews, and Gilbert Valentine, chair of the administration and leadership department at La Sierra University.

George Knight speaking at the ceremony. Photo: Andrews University

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that apart from Ellen White, professor George Knight is probably the most prolific author the Adventist church has seen,” Valentine said at the ceremony on April 21. He “has become one of the most influential voices in the contemporary Adventist church.”

Knight authored 37 books from 1982 to 2013, when his most recent volume, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, was published. Among his best-known books are A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists (1999), and series about Adventist pioneers and New Testament books.

Ellen White, who died 100 years ago this year, wrote 40 books during her 87-year lifetime, but more than 100 titles are available today because of compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, according to the website of the Ellen G. White Estate.

Knight, 73, making a brief speech after the tributes, underscored the need for perspective and humility, and emphasized that the focus should be placed on Jesus.

“That’s why we’re here today,” he said.

“I was an Adventist for 14 years before I became a Christian,” he said. “My life … has been dedicated to helping other people understand who Jesus is. … Let’s never forget who we are in relationship to Jesus Christ and what He has done for us.”

In the book, Jerry Moon, chair of the church history department at Andrews, wrote that Knight’s more than 40 years in teaching have made him “a magisterial figure in Adventist education.”

“He has taught in Adventist colleges and seminaries all over North America and literally from Australia to Zimbabwe,” Moon wrote.

Whidden spoke at the book presentation of Knight’s role as an editor. Knight has directed 13 doctoral dissertations, the Bible Amplifier Commentary series, the Adventist Pioneer series of biographies, and the Ellen White Encyclopedia.

Andrews president Niels-Erik Andreasen expressed admiration for Knight’s writing methodology.

“He has written a good many books about early Adventist history, and he told me once that he wrote these books the same way the pioneers wrote their books, using pen and paper,” he said. “That is a mark of distinction!”