One of the most important and controversial figures in the 19th century history of the Adventist Church is Dr. Ellet J. Waggoner. In the humanitarian-evangelistic tradition of the Adventist movement, he was both a physician and a clergyman. As a young man he played a key role in pushing Adventist faith away from its sectarian beginnings toward an Evangelical theology of salvation. The tipping point for this development was in 1888, when the remaining member of the three co-founders of the denomination, Ellen White, endorsed and took up Waggoner's cause. He later became involved with some of the more mystical views of Dr. John Kellogg and they both left the denomination (but, arguably, not the movement) in the early 20th century. His contribution is still hotly debated today with most of the energy focused on its content more than its importance.
A conclusive piece of scholarship has just been released: E. J. Waggoner: From the Physician of Good News to Agent of Divisionby Dr. Woodrow W. Whidden, professor of historical and systematic theology at the Adventist seminary in the Philippines which draws students from across Asia. The publisher is Review & Herald. Whidden has been working on this project for many years and this volume is much anticipated. He has looked at every piece of evidence about Waggoner that survives, including a number of sources not available to previous authors.
I read a large portion of the book last night and this morning, and I can heartily recommend it. It is very high quality work, yet accessible to readers who do not normally indulge in scholarly books. This volume should lay to rest some of the more fanciful reincarnations of "1888" and Waggoner that have been circulated for some time.