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Book Review

A search for identity : the development of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs

Knight, George R.

Skillfully showing how the development of the denomination's belief system intersects with broader history, mainstream Christianity and fundamentalism, Knight has developed a reasonable framework for understanding the ongoing tensions caused by competing doctrinal understandings within the church.

In this well-documented book, as in some of his other titles, Knight makes a case for avoiding overly dogmatic stances while retaining a core set of beliefs that is both undoubtedly Christian and distinctly Adventist. An enlightening review of the contribution of Protestantism, Methodism, radical Christianity, deism and Puritanism to Adventist theology lays the foundation for a discussion of ensuing theological controversies within Adventism.

Following a progression of events from the rise of the Millerite movement to the mid-twentieth century standoff over the publication of Questions on Doctrine, Knight explores (1) the formation of the church's distinctive beliefs, (2) their alignment with core Christian doctrine, and (3) their shifting in response to liberal theology.

Perhaps the best and most comprehensive book on the topic to date, A Search for Identity does not however include an analysis of the interaction of Adventist doctrine with postmodernism. As a relatively recent movement with still evolving ramifications, postmodernism escapes the scope of this volume but it is likely to find its place in future titles on the history of Adventist doctrine.

By Alfredo Vergel
Submitted: January 22, 2013