21 March 2023 |
A podcast by the name of “Cultish” has become more popular in the audioverse due to its focus on the “thinking, teaching, strategies, and consequences” of cults and religious movements from a theological, sociological, and psychological perspective. At the end of 2022, four episodes were released that drew some attention from the Adventist community: two on Ellen G. White and the Millerites and two on whether Seventh-day Adventism is a cult.
Michael W. Campbell, Director of Archives, Statistics, and Research for the North American Division, began to receive questions about the podcast. Campbell has been involved with a network of theologians, pastors, and historians who create podcasts about the history of Adventism.
“I wasn’t really watching for it, but when their episodes about Seventh-day Adventism dropped, I had about 20 requests from friends within the next two weeks, asking me if I had seen it and whether there were resources,” said Campbell. “Several pastors told me they had young people who listened to it and had serious questions about whether Adventism and Ellen White was basically a sham.”
While some might simply dismiss the podcast, Campbell felt it was too important not to respond for those who were genuinely searching. Campbell felt that many of the people reaching out to him had sincere questions that they wanted addressed. He partnered with Gregory Howell, Ph.D. candidate in American Religious History at Regent University, Dr. Jud Lake, professor from Southern Adventist University and producer of The Ellen White Podcast, and Matthew Lucio, pastor and producer of the Adventist History Podcast, to do a mini-series called “Is Adventism a Cult: A Response to Cultish.” The episodes are housed within the Adventist Pilgrimage Podcast network.
“We decided to see if we could talk about the podcast and the issues it raises in a friendly way, while at the same time expressing our concerns because a lot of what the Cultish podcast describes doesn’t reflect the Adventism we have come to know and love,” said Campbell. “Adventism isn’t perfect, but the point is to have a more fair and balanced critique.”
The team completed a total of three episodes for the Adventist Pilgrimage series, with Dr. Lake releasing two bonus episodes on his Ellen White Podcast, specifically addressing Ellen White topics. In total, five episodes of content came out of the project, specifically highlighting various alleged concerns and providing explanations and resources.
“We don’t want people to take our word for it, but to go and study for themselves,” said Campbell. “We encourage our listeners to listen to the original podcast and delve deeper on their own rather than to only take our word for it. As Ellen White said, “The truth has nothing to lose by a careful and close investigation.” (Review and Herald, December 20, 1892).