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A panel of Adventist historians addressed the theme “Apocalyptic Religion and Political Conflict” on January 5 at the American Society of Church History’s 2020 Winter Meeting in New York City. They presented findings of recent and ongoing research that gives promise of major advances in understanding the history of Adventism’s interaction with religious and political forces in American culture and for illuminating the impact of religion in American history more broadly.
While the presenters were all Adventists, a prominent scholar from the broader scholarly community, Matthew Avery Sutton of Washington State University, was chair and commentator for the session. Sutton’s widely read works on American religious history include American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism and, most recently, Double Crossed: The Missionaries Who Spied for the United States during the Second World War.
Jeffrey - Rosario - Presentations - Anti-Imperialism - Philippine-American
Jeffrey Rosario led off the presentations with “Apocalyptic Anti-Imperialism and the Philippine-American War, 1898-1902.” Based on research currently underway for his dissertation at the University of Cambridge, England, Rosario’s presentation suggests that the Adventist critique of American imperialism around the turn of the twentieth century was far more extensive than previously realized. A broad sector of Adventist leaders spoke out against the militaristic jingoism connected with the Spanish-American War and even more pointedly against the ensuing annexation of the Philippines and brutal war to crush the Filipino independence movement. With this “national apostasy” from constitutional principles of republican government and civil liberties, they proclaimed that the American republic was, in Rosario’s words, becoming “Rome 2.0” — a fulfillment of apocalyptic prophecy (Revelation 13) that must temporarily be resisted.
Rosario also reported a discovery of a growing body of evidence that Adventist writers expressed sympathy for the grievances that drove the Boxer Rebellion, the violent uprising against western imperialism twinned with Christian mission that took place in China this same time...
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