Our Roots and Mission
By William G. Johnsson
In November, 1848, Ellen White, young prophetess for the Adventist people, received a vision from the Lord. She instructed her husband James: “You must begin to print a little paper and send it out to the people…. From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world” (Life Sketches, p. 125).
James went to work. By the following summer he had prepared the first issue of The Present Truth, which he mailed—1,000 copies—to people he thought might be interested.
That was the first endeavor of the people who later would take the name “Seventh-day Adventists”. It was the beginning of our publishing work. It was the beginning of the church paper, which soon took the name Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, and later Adventist Review.
The “good old Review” has served the church faithfully and well during the 156 years since the first, small issue of Present Truth. As it has for more than a century, the Review comes out every week, bringing information and inspiration to subscribers.
Most of those who read the Review live in North America, as they always have. But most Adventists today are outside North America—about 92 percent of the membership.
We’re a world church, growing fast. It’s time for a world church paper.
This is it: the Adventist World.
Its purposes are the same as James White’s in 1849: to bind together the Adventist people as we wait for Jesus to come back, by sharing news and information about the church plus articles on doctrine, spiritual growth and mission.
The Adventist World is printed simultaneously on four printing presses, located in the United States, Korea, and Australia. This issue, in English, has a print run of 1.1 million copies. Another 300,000 or so copies are being printed in Spanish and French.
World readership of this issue: at least five million.
From the vision in 1848 to 2005—what fulfillment! Streams of light around the world indeed! I praise God for His gracious leading.