Herbert E. Douglass' understanding of the identity and character of the last generation in the light of Ellen G. White's writings : a comparative study
This study seeks to find out the commonalities and differences between the last generation concept of Ellen G. White and that of Herbert E. Douglass. A section is devoted to trace the historical development of the last generation thought from its conception to the present among Adventism in order to give a background of the concept. Discussion of related doctrinal concepts is not exhaustive, but to show connection and their influence on understanding the last generation concept. The methodology is descriptive-analysis. Descriptions of the views of pioneers including E. G. White are primarily based on available data from the 2008 version of the E. G. White published writings on CD, which contains most of the literary works of the early Adventist pioneers from the 19th century. All available sources from the Leslie Hardinge Library and the internet were utilized. Douglass’ view is described and analysed mainly based on available sources from his published works which include his articles in various journals and magazines of the Adventist denomination. The plan of discussion in this study is organized in the following steps: Chapter 1 introduces the research which includes background of the study, the statement of the problem, purpose, significance, delimitations, methodology, and procedures. Chapter 2 traces the historical development of the last generation concept within Adventism. Chapter 3 delineates E. G. White’s view of the last generation in relation to her theological overview and other related theological concepts. Chapter 4 presents Douglass’ view of the last generation in relation to his theological overview and other theological concepts. Chapter 5 compares and analyses the 2 views. Chapter 6 provides the summary, conclusions, and recommendation for further studies. Findings suggest that the last generation concept has been expressed variedly among Adventists since the conception of Adventism. Both Ellen G. White and Douglass’s views of the last generation were informed by their other related theological concepts. Their views are significantly correlated as well as different. The same great controversy motif and God’s law or His character as the heart of the cosmic conflict permeate almost all of their other doctrinal concepts. The questions raised by Satan in the controversy also shaped their understanding of the identity, character and role of the last generation in the final conflict. Their views are similar and at the same time uniquely different. In most cases, their views are very similar but there are also significant differences were also observed. Although the heart of the cosmic conflict is the same, due to their differences in understanding of some doctrinal truths and overall theological outlook, they are significantly different in interpreting the character and role of the last generation in the final cosmic conflict. There are different emphases on the identity of the last generation. The character of the last generation is more or less identical although motivation and emphases somewhat vary. The extent of the role of the last generation in the last cosmic conflict is significantly different. Whereas E. G. White considers it as supplementary and confirmatory, Douglass, on the other hand, sees it as complementary and integral part of the solution.