Hundreds of thousands of Philadelphia residents were recently in for a surprise when they opened their mailboxes and found copies of a 157-year-old Christian book that provides theological analysis surrounding the biblical end times.
Remnant Publications, a Christian book company, paid to have 700,000 copies of "The Great Controversy," written by Seventh-Day Adventist Church founder Ellen G. White, sent to homes throughout Philadelphia free-of-charge and unsolicited this month, NJ.com reported.
The 378-page book, which includes White's writings from as early as 1858, focuses, in part, on biblical sentiment as it pertains to current events and the end times. While the product was free for the homeowners who received it, the book distribution cost Remnant around $1 million.
Received via USPS carrier, no addresses, no stamp, political+religious book, and I'm pretty sure this is illegal pic.twitter.com/NbINSZH2Pb— Chris Cera (@chriscera) August 23, 2015
“In a nutshell, the book is really about freedom of conscience. That’s really what the book is about," Remnant CEO Dwight Hall told TheBlaze on Thursday. "It’s a history book, [aside from] the last part of the book, which is prophecy."
Hall said that the first one-third of the book deals with the reformers, that the second deals with the founding of America and that the third tackles "how it's going to end," referencing the biblical end times.
A statement on the Remnant Publications website notes that the organization has partnered with another group called Project Restore in a joint commitment to print 10 million copies of the book this year to be handed out across North America.
"Soon doors that are now opened for God’s work will be forever shut. Already, in some places it is not possible to mass mail 'The Great Controversy,'" a statement reads. "Also, with unprecedented changes taking place in the political and religious climate, it is just a matter of time before we’re unable to do this work."
The text continues, "We are convinced that sharing these Great Controversy books with our friends and neighbors, in hospitals, churches, and libraries will give people the information they need — that the controversy between good and evil is about to come to an end, and that they have so much to hope for if they will only believe in and follow Jesus. That is the blessed hope."
"The Great Controversy" arrived in Philadelphia mailboxes recently along with a flier that called the book a "gift" and asked for financial assistance helping spread it to other homes as well, according to NJ.com.
As for those who do not wish to receive "The Great Controversy," Hall had a message: "If you don’t like it, you throw it in the trash."
Similar distributions have unfolded in other cities like San Antonio, Texas, New York, New York, Charlotte, North Carolina and Washington, D.C., as well.
Over the years, Hall said that there have been a variety of reactions to the free book, including a few from atheists who have returned it after writing nasty messages with magic marker such as, "I don't believe in God" and "God is stupid."
But the CEO said that he even finds some of these messages encouraging.
"They still have a conscience. Something’s bugging them," he said, explaining that he would simply throw bulk mail out without thinking twice if he didn't want it. "They spend five bucks to send the book back."
The positive responses, Hall said, far outweigh the negative. Read more about the book here.
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