Great Controversy Distribution To Capitol Rioters: Brilliant Innovation Or Playing With Fire?
Yesterday, AdventInnovate content collaborator site, Adventist Today, ran a news story about a highly polarizing Adventist group called The Forerunner Chronicles. The group organized a huge Washington, DC-based effort to hand out tens of thousands of copies of Ellen White’s The Great Controversy to the crowd at the “Stop the Steal” rally last week on Wednesday, January 6.
Just to be clear: this is the same crowd that went on to storm the United States Capitol building in one of the most blatant acts of US domestic terrorism in years. Five people died as a result of the violence and the storming of the Capital was widely condemned as an attack on democracy itself.
Adventist Today describes The Forerunner Chronicles as an “independent ministry headed by Christopher Hudson, known for fiery sermons uploaded to YouTube, and for numerous conspiracy theories about celebrities and the political world.” Hudson is not ordained as an Adventist pastor.
On its website, Forerunner Chronicles says it is “dedicated to declaring the three-fold message of Revelation 14:6-12. This message entails three heavenly proclamations symbolized as being declared by angelic agencies to the inhabitants of our world.”
Adventist Today referenced a YouTube video Hudson recorded on January 6, in which he explained “we’re sharing The Great Controversy left and right with the multitudes…there is no greater evangelistic tool that could be utilized at this event other than The Great Controversy.”
It’s important to realize just how Hudson and his team were introducing The Great Controversy to the already angry crowd. The masses had come to protest the confirmation of the Electoral College votes in Congress that would confirm Biden as the next president of the United States.
In one of his videos, Hudson said people in the crowd were fascinated when his team told them that The Great Controversy predicted that America would repudiate the principles of the constitution. Some would argue that this kind of message would embolden the already highly agitated crowd.
It seems clear Hudson was seeking to capitalize on the mood of the protesters. His GoFundMe fundraiser (which appears to have raised almost $15,000 for the book distribution event) appears to dramatize excitement about the “Stop The Steal” march planned by Donald Trump. The cover of the Great Controversy edition he picked for the distribution event depicts the United States Capitol building alongside the title.
On the fundraiser page, Hudson stated:
President Donald Trump has announced that on January 6, 2021 there will be a massive protest in Washington DC! It is certain that the crowd will number in the tens of thousands.
Prayerfully, partner with us today as we organize an effort to distribute FULL VERSIONS of the book THE GREAT CONTROVERSY to the multitudes that are expected to be in attendance at this event!
Hudson is no stranger to controversy. He has been described as the mentor of Angus Turner Jones, the American former actor best known for playing Jake Harper in the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. Jones converted to the Adventist faith in 2012 and eventually stopped appearing in the sitcom.
Following his baptism, Jones called Two and a Half Men, “filth” and urged people to stop watching it when he was featured on the Forerunner Chronicles, speaking to Hudson.
Soon after Jones announced his conversion to Adventist, the North American Division distanced itself from Hudson, stressing he was not a pastor and that Forerunner Chronicles was an independent ministry.
Nevertheless, it is clear that Hudson has a strong following in the Adventist community. The widely-recognized Adventist television ministry, 3ABN, has vigorously defended his ministry.
The distribution of The Great Controversy made it into a report on the storming of the Capitol building by The Nation as well as the Washington Post. The Nation described the ground outside the Capitol at 4 PM on January 6 as “muddy and covered in detritus: used water bottles, abandoned gloves, a can of bear spray, and a shredded book with the Capitol dome on its cover, enigmatically titled The Great Controversy.”