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Protest & Progress

Black Seventh-day Adventist Leadership and the Push for Parity

By Calvin B. Rock
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Calvin Rock has produced a landmark book on race relations and leadership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. As an acclaimed leader himself, Rock writes with a pastor’s heart and a prophet’s passion to remind the church of where we have been, where we are, and where we must go. He first gives an overview of history by discussing the successes and failures of four major Black Adventist leadership protest movements: the push for administrative integration, which failed; the push for Regional conferences, which succeeded; the push for Black union conferences, which failed; and the push for a separate and equitable retirement system for Regional conference employees, which succeeded. Rock’s personal participation in some of the events adds rich character to the story. Building on that history, he makes his case for the effectiveness and necessity of the current Regional conference system of mission that administers resources according to racial and cultural opportunity.

About the Author

Calvin B. Rock has been a major leadership voice in the Seventh-day Adventist Church for more than six decades as a pastor, church administrator, and writer. He was president of Oakwood University from 1971 to 1985, and a general vice president of the General Conference from 1985 until his retirement in 2002. He has been an active participant in North American Adventism’s continuing discussions of race relations. He holds a BA degree in theology from Oakwood University, an MA in sociology from the University of Detroit, and DMin and PhD degrees in religious ethics from Vanderbilt University. He is the author or editor of ten books. In retirement in Las Vegas, Nevada, he returned to active pastoring and has a heart for helping the church better understand the full meaning of the Righteousness of Christ.
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“This is one of the most important books that I have read in a long while. Written with unswerving honesty, it traces the struggles of African-American Seventh-day Adventists for justice and equality. I found much to admire and applaud, but much that made me sad. Highly recommended, indispensable for administrators and Seminary students.”

William G. Johnsson
Former Editor
Adventist Review and Adventist World

“In my judgment, Protest and Progress is the most important book ever published on race relations in the Adventist church. It is essential reading for anyone desiring a well-informed perspective on the racial issues that continue to challenge the Adventist church. It combines first-rate scholarship with the kind of insight that could only come from the author’s deep personal roots and decades of leadership in the Black Adventist experience. . . . Lucid, candid, provocative, yet redemptive, Protest and Progress is an exceptionally rare and invaluable gem given the church by one who has long loved it and served it with high distinction.”

Douglas Morgan
Professor of History
Washington Adventist University

“In this well-written, carefully documented, provocative, historical and informative work, Dr. Calvin Rock takes readers behind the scenes into the causes for, decision-making surrounding, and factors resulting from the struggles of Black Seventh-day Adventists. Protest and Progress is a valuable tool which provides current leaders, from all hues, members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, readers, and researchers profoundly significant data behind the realities that are both historical and lived experiences.”

Bertram Melbourne
Professor of Biblical Language and Literature
Former Interim Dean and Associate Dean
Howard University School of Divinity

“Dr. Rock’s book is the perfect antidote for the collective amnesia of the Seventh-day Adventist church when it comes to racism and the church’s reluctance to confront the antithesis of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Craig R Jackson
Dean, School of Allied Health Professionals
Loma Linda University

“Dr. Rock’s vivid portrayal of what he calls the ‘push’ for legitimate involvement of Black Adventists in the full array of church affairs is compelling for those from whom it evokes memories for reflection and healing; and for those whose personal experiences are different, it provides insights for greater understanding.”

Ella Smith Simmons
General Vice President
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists


The Push for Social and Administrative Participation, 1889–1928
The Push for Colored Conferences, 1929–1944
The Push for Black Unions, 1969–1980
The Push for Equitable Retirement Security, 1998–2000

The Question
Theoretical Replies
Replies of Practical Reasoning


Name Index
Subject Index

Title: Protest & Progress: Black Seventh-day Adventist Leadership and the Push for Parity
Author: Calvin B. Rock
ISBN-13: 978-1-940980-22-5
Year: 2018
Pages: 340

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