The Michiana Adventist Forum
Advent Hope and Racial Justice: The Prophetic Witness of James H. Howard
Douglas Morgan, PhD
Professor of History
Washington Adventist University,
Takoma Park, Maryland
Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm
April 20, 2019
Chan Shun Hall
Berrien Springs, MI
About the Speaker:
Douglas Morgan is professor of history at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1994. He also serves as North American regional editor for the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. In 1992, he completed a PhD in the history of Christianity, with emphasis in American religious and social movements, at the University of Chicago. His publications include Adventism and the American Republic: The Public Involvement of a Major Apocalyptic Movement (University of Tennessee Press, 2001), Lewis C. Sheafe: Apostle to Black America (Review and Herald, 2010), and the chapter entitled “Society” in Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet (Oxford University Press, 2014).
About the Subject:
James H. Howard (1861-1936), physician, civil servant, and pioneering Adventist in Washington, D.C, voiced eloquent, prophetic protest against accommodating society’s racist norms in the church. He did so during an era (ca. 1890-1910) marked by retreat from the hopeful changes just after the Civil War and a national entrenchment of racism and segregation. Dr. Howard expressed the loving, healing and restoring truth of the gospel in a forthright and penetrating manner that cut against the grain of entrenched evil. His witness speaks with remarkable clarity and power to our own times, and the renewed urgency we face to connect the biblical truth of the Adventist message about a new world to come with the deeply-embedded and enduring problem of racism, as well as all systems of oppression and domination both in in society and the church.
After a presentation on Dr. Howard’s life and times to provide context, I will encourage discussion using selected passages from his remarkable letters to church leaders such as Ellen G. White and Arthur G. Daniells as the starting point. In particular, the letters offer multivalent possibilities on how to hold together characteristics and values that often become disconnected and thereby distorted, such as:
• Truth-telling and peacemaking
• Holy zeal and humility
• Protest against unjust policies and loyalty to God’s cause and church
• Public involvement and distinct Adventist identity
• Apocalyptic hope and social change.