I first encountered the writings of Dr. Colin Standish when I was a freshman theology major at Pacific Union College, and Dr. Standish was the newly-arrived academic dean of Weimar College. The first book of his that I read and passed out to fellow students was Adventism Vindicated.
The righteousness by faith controversy was then dividing the campus, with the influence of Desmond Ford giving credence to what has come to be known as the New Theology, often called evangelical Adventism. The students were especially desirous of material that would make the issues simple. Too many were under the illusion that this was a debate only for theologians and possibly theology majors. Adventism Vindicated, co-authored with Dr. Standish’s late brother Russell, helped many students of my acquaintance to understand the issues more clearly.
The years passed, and Dr. Standish moved from Weimar to become president of the newly-formed Hartland College in northern Virginia. And his books kept coming. Adventism Vindicated, which dealt with the gospel and salvation issues, was just the beginning. An entire series with Adventism as its starting point would be produced in the years to come:
Adventism Imperiled, which addressed issues in Adventist education
Adventism Jeopardized, which addressed issues in the home
Adventism Proclaimed, which focused on the messages of the four angels in Revelation
Adventism Challenged, which covered denominational controversies from the 1950s onward
A close friend of mine, who now teaches at the SDA Theological Seminary at Andrews University, described the two-volume book Adventism Challenged as comparable to American historian William Manchester’s book The Glory and the Dream, which covers American history in depth from 1932 to 1972. Adventism Challenged covers not only the larger events in denominational history during the second half of the 20th century; it also reports on smaller but still decisive events which formed the mosaic of those tumultuous years.
Perhaps one of the most interesting encounters I witnessed with Dr. Standish’s books took place on a cruise ship, on which a fellow graduate student and I were passengers over 30 years ago. We hung out with the two sons of a Jewish family who were also cruising on the ship. Jimmy and I brought on board the book Adventism Proclaimed, which was fascinating to both of us; but we were not prepared for the interest in the book on the part of the two Jewish boys who saw us reading it. One of them, who sat with me on the airplane while returning from the cruise, asked if he could borrow the book for a while. When he handed the book back, he was awestruck.
The portion he had been reading was about Daniel 7, the little horn, and the investigative judgment. I was a bit nervous about his interest in the book, as it isn’t written for the non-Adventist public, containing many Ellen White references as well as Bible texts. But Gary was profoundly moved by the idea that we are now living in the antitypical day of atonement. He and his family were observant Jews, and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is the high point of their religious year. Furthermore, they had never before met Christians who kept the Bible Sabbath. It was awesome to witness their fascination with Dr. Standish’s book.
The books written by Dr. Standish and his late brother have doubtless moved and convicted many hearts. These writings will likely be his most enduring legacy. May their influence continue to spread and extend the kingdom of our Lord.
To purchase these and others of Dr. Standish’s books, please visit hartlandbooks.com or contact Hartland Publications at firstname.lastname@example.org.