Joseph Bates: The Real Founder of Seventh-day Adventism
Joseph Bates: The Real Founder of Seventh-day Adventism
By George R. Knight
 

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Shanghaied by the British in 1810, Joe Bates spent the next five years as a British sailor and prisoner, surviving the Dartmoor massacre. Soon he was captain of his own ship, forcing his sailors to swear off liquor and talking pirates out of their prey. Scrupulously honest, he once turned his ship around to return money overpaid him.

In 1824 Joseph was converted and signed "a solemn covenant with God." He found "the pearl of great price which was . . . worth more than all the vessels and cargoes I have ever commanded." After amassing a small fortune, he retired at age 36 and joined the Christian Connexion, who took the Scriptures as their "only rule of faith and practice."

Then his life began to get interesting.

This biography by historian George Knight makes use of previously unavailable sources, letters, and logbooks to shed new light on the first theologian and real founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who gave his estate to the new Advent movement, and spent the rest of his life in unpaid service to his King. Knight examines Bates' writings, his social and health reform, his key role in bringing the Sabbath to Adventism, and his conflict and partnership with James White.

A hero who stood for truth against the majority, Bates once cut a hole in three feet of ice to baptize seven converts when it was 30 degrees below zero. In this biography Knight strips away the veneer of history to reveal new textures in the life of this most colorful pioneer.