Church leaders agree that the in-depth resource strengthens faith and trust in God’s leading.
Five years. Twenty-five regional editors. Thirty consulting editors. One thousand international authors. One final product: the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists (ESDA).
“Today is a historic day in the history of the church,” said Artur Stele, vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “Today we witness a moment Adventist scholars have been waiting to see for over 40 years. The significance of this new reality cannot be overstated.”
In the past, church historians and scholars have struggled to find accurate and up-to-date information about the Adventist Church. As of July 1, 2020, that situation has changed. Thanks to the new ESDA, researchers will have access to the most current data.
The ESDA is the Adventist Church’s first international online reference work, featuring more than 2,100 published articles on Adventist history and heritage written by nearly 1,000 authors from around the world. Article topics include Adventist missionaries, administrators, educators, institutions, global topics, beliefs, and more.
In 2014, General Conference administrators recognized that decades had passed since the printed Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia had been updated. Originally published in the 1960s, the book had been updated in the 1970s and again in the mid-90s. As a result, the Encyclopedia didn’t reflect the church’s growth and development over the past 25 years.
“I believe the Bible has very specific historical information, which has been shown by archaeology to be accurate,” said Ted Wilson, president of the Adventist world church. “It gives us a picture of why history is so important.”
Quoting Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White, Wilson said that Seventh-day Adventists have nothing to fear for the future unless they forget how God has led in the past. “And so,” he continued, “it is very important we have accurate information about how God has led us as a church in the past. This is why the Encyclopedia is such an important resource.”