Why is The Great Controversy in my Mailbox?

Every year, households across North America receive free copies of a 150-year-old book, The Great Controversy. Millions more are shared around the world.

It’s written by Ellen G. White, a prolific author of the 19th and 20th centuries, and a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It looks at key parts of history through the lens of biblical prophecy, also offering insight for navigating our daily lives in an ever-changing world.

More than likely, the book was distributed as a free gift from various supporting ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This way, those who are interested in a spiritual perspective of the religious and political struggles of our world can study this information on their own time, at their own pace.

To learn more about this book and why it’s so significant to the Adventist denomination, we’ll give you an overview of its content:

  1. Context for current events
  2. How we can prepare for our lives ahead
  3. Explores the biblical concept of the “antichrist”
  4. The Reformation and the shaping of Protestantism
  5. Explores biblical concepts such as the sanctuary, life after death, and the Sabbath
  6. Insight about future events
  7. Encouraging personal Bible study

The Great Controversy can help us understand current events

It’s natural to be curious about what’s going on in the world and how things got to where they are today. This book was written to help us understand the “whats” and “whys” behind the progression of our global history.

Many people, even those who don’t identify as religious, seem to feel that the world is headed for some sort of global event or paradigm shift.

Christians believe that event will be the second coming of Christ. Other religions also believe there will be a divine decisive move to triumph over evil. Others believe the world will eventually become so greedy and war-torn that civilization may nearly destroy itself, or at least deplete natural resources.

The Great Controversy was written using the Bible as its foundation for interpreting how history has unfolded. So many major events of the past lineup with specific predictions in biblical prophecy, and it can be fascinating to go through it all.

And even while studying our world’s messy history, The Great Controversy also upholds the hope that we can all have in Jesus Christ.

It reminds readers to be prepared for what’s coming

Nothing quite compares to the helplessness one can feel when unprepared for a major event.

Students fear a pop quiz they’re not ready for.

Brides worry about having everything ready for their wedding day.

Moms-to-be want all ducks in a row before the baby is born.

Party hosts work tirelessly to ensure everything is set for when their guests arrive.

The Bible encourages us to be prepared for the second coming of Christ. The day of His return will be glorious for those who are expecting it. But it will look terrifying to those not expecting it.

The Great Controversy helps readers keep in mind that everything in this life leads up to the day when Jesus returns to make all things right again. We don’t have to feel unprepared or helpless, even while the world seems to crumble around us.

It explores the topic of the antichrist

The Bible’s book of Revelation remains one of the mysteries in Christianity. And within that book, there is much discussion over the power that is against Christ, referred to as the “antichrist.”

So who is the antichrist and how will we be able to identify this individual(s)?

If you’ve wondered about this, there’s another reason to consider reading this book.

By outlining the characteristics and exploring the clues Scripture gives about this power, The Great Controversy helps us deduce who the antichrist could be and how to stay faithful to God—even when much of the world becomes mystified with the antichrist.

It explores the Reformation and the shaping of Protestantism

Whether you’re an Adventist, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, or Methodist, the Reformation is a crucial part of the history of Christianity. Knowing what led to the Reformation and what was accomplished by the stance of reformers such as Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin (and others) helps us understand how things became how they are today.

By reading this book, you get an in-depth look at this significant time in the world’s and Christianity’s history.

It covers biblical doctrines such as the sanctuary, death, and the Sabbath

When we were little, we needed someone to cut up our food into smaller bites. As adults, we do this for kids so they can eat safely and comfortably.

Certain concepts in the Bible also are better understood when broken down into parts, so we can “digest” them a bit easier.

The importance of the sanctuary, the Sabbath, what happens at death, and the Second Coming are a few teachings that can be a lot to mentally chew on. But it becomes easier the more we study—just as it is for any complex subject.

The Great Controversy helps break down these doctrines so we can see how they came together.

It tells what’s going to happen in the future

Yes, really.

One of the biggest questions of the human mind is, “what’s going to happen?”

Kids want to know what the cafeteria will be serving for lunch and young adults may want to know who they’ll marry. There’s always a point in our lives when we become increasingly curious about something in the future.

That curiosity also extends to spiritual matters. God knew we would be curious about the future, and He doesn’t want us to worry (Matthew 6:25-34) or to operate within a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).

While two-thirds of The Great Controversy relates to past events, the last third covers future events in correlation with words of prophecy in the Bible. God, in His infinite love for us, has given us a glimpse of what the future holds. This kind of information will encourage us to stay focused on Him when a difficult future falls on our planet.

It encourages further study of the Bible

Person reading the Bible as we learn how the book Great Controversy points readers back to the Bible and its teachings.

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (ESV).

When you read a book like The Great Controversy (or any book that claims to be inspired), the only way to know whether or not it’s credible is to compare it with the Bible yourself. This book encourages you to do just that.

“Go to God’s instruction and testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them” (Isaiah 8:20, CSB).

If you decide to read The Great Controversy, know that you will be advised to go back to your ultimate guide, the Bible, to test what the book says. Any text other than the Bible that urges us to action should also encourage us toward further Bible study.

When society seems split over a matter and you seem caught in the middle, unsure of what to do…do the research yourself.

You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it that this book is either worth or not worth your time. The best way to be sure is to start with the first chapter and see for yourself.

By seeking God’s wisdom, He will lead you in the way you should go.

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