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W. W. Prescott: Forgotten Giant of Adventism's Second Generation


By: Gilbert M. Valentine

"Unbelievers turn pale and say," -Ellen White to her son Edson

What a preacher! His resonant voice could best a thunderstorm. Known for his wisdom, his vice was overwork. He was president of three colleges at once and founded or laid the groundwork for four (Union, Walla Walla, Newbold, and Avondale).

"I have . . . seen in him some of the rarest gifts possessed by any man in our ranks." –A. G. Daniells to W. C. White

He started out as a journalist. With a first-class education from Dartmouth, W. W. Prescott was soon editing a successful newspaper. The call to shepherd Battle Creek College involved a major pay cut. But over time, he reshaped the church's educational system and politics. Holding 11 different offices simultaneously, he initiated curriculum reforms (fewer classics, more Bible) that met with strong opposition. His political reforms triumphed in 1901.

"The wildest and most unsafe man that has ever undertaken to pose as a leader of this denomination." –J. H. Kellogg

In the aftermath of the 1888 tumult, Prescott was a peacemaker. Yet controversy swirled around him most of the time: over the teachers he hired (A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner), over his reforms, and over his new theology. Hounded by detractors for decades, his ""heresies""—the Trinity, his new view of the daily—are now standard teaching. But the dispute over Daniel 8:13 would, in the end, prove his political undoing.

"His theme from first to last and always is Christ." —W. C. White in Australia

This deeply researched portrait of an energetic man of God will make you tired—and inspire you to better things.

"The most overpowering personality I have ever met." —H.M.S. Richards