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					         Rivalry and Competition in Education and Life
                    The Paragon of Virtue or a Broken Cistern?

        Why did Adventists of the past remain aloof from sports? Why do some of our
less “progressive” schools have this awkward legacy of not competing at certain levels
with other colleges? Aside from the time wasted in such endeavors why did the pioneers
get the idea that there was a spirit in serious adult sports that was contrary to Christ‟s
nature? Was this extreme fanaticism or just a product of 18th century thinking?
        God does not condemn an innocent game of ball. There is a beneficial place for
play and games. Before I state what I am about to state, let me emphasize that God has
always understood the difficulty mankind has in seeing beyond culture. God has an ideal,
but mankind in general is blind to it. You may search the stories of old in Scripture and
wonder why mankind had such a difficult time seeing the ideals of God and following
His leading. But you need not look to ancient culture. Look at your own culture and ask
God to bring the light of truth to its principles. Many are not willing to do this.
Subconsciously we resist such searching because we are infatuated with elements of our
culture bound up in patriotism, family tradition and even “Christian” tradition.
        There is a grave element to the present culture‟s infatuation with serious sports
and the principle of competition used in education and business. The use of time and
ability and the competitive nature cultivated in serious sports flies in direct contradiction
to the duty of man to His redeemer.
        Let me also say that this is not a denunciation of those Christians who use the
light they have to help young people in various games. God sees the intent of the heart
and notes it. The vast ignorance that covers our culture on this topic means that many are
simply unaware that this means violates God‟s ideal. Culture presents serious sports and
competition as the only way to motivate and achieve excellence. This is in fact a denial of
the pure Gospel and the power of God. The message we bear is to be that Babylon is
fallen. Yet we will pay to watch Babylon‟s folly and give credence to its ideals. The
world does not understand Christ‟s avenue of motivation. Christ is a mystery to them.
Motivation that comes without appeal to competition is impossible to the self-motivated
fallen nature, except that the Holy Spirit can bring Jesus nature into the fallen heart
through faith.
        A life lived solely for usefulness is a mystery to the ungodly or superficial
Christian. Recreation that is simple and soul replenishing is often viewed as insipient and
bland to the mind perverted by manmade amusement. The life of Jesus crucifies the flesh.
His nature accepted in us bears a cross to self which popular Christianity will always find
offensive. People who follow such religious compromise will always generally to the
good in such religion. Christ is the author of the good but they attribute it to the wisdom
of men and the ways of men. Rationalization will endeavor to paint a picture of the
fully obedient life as austere and too extreme. Situation ethics will be used by many
who endeavor to prove the usefulness of an alternative course of evangelism and
lifestyle than that which God proscribes for his last day people. Numbers and
testimonies will be cited to prove their effectiveness. But all they do is propagate partial
Christianity that may leave the adherent worse of than before. This is a terrible mixture

calculated to reap havoc in the harvest of souls. To hold back on the message of God for
this time is a serious rebellion. It is worse to give it in part than not at all.
         The record of scripture tells a story. How many passed through the flood? How
many entered Canaan? How many in Jerusalem stood with Christ at Calvary? How often
does man place his own wisdom before God‟s peculiar ways? We will come 70% of the
way, maybe 90% into harmony with God‟s design but we will insist that we keep the
bleating sheep that look so profitable to us.
         God cannot accept a human covenant. Almost Christian means wholly lost. If the
tenor of our experience is to rationalize we are in grave danger of grieving God‟s Spirit in
the whole aspect of truth and duty. Some may state that I am trying to make the issue of
sports and entertainment a point of salvation. As I have stated already God takes into
account the ignorance of a culture and our weakness perception. What concerns however
me is the willful resistance to clear counsel and the resistance to deeper application of the
nature of our Saviour to our practical lives. As a people we do not have the excuse that
others afford. We say we worship God, but worship is found in laying aside mans ways
and accepting Gods model of life. “In vain do ye worship me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men.”
         Are not sports the greatest avenue for fellowship, for social interaction and for
learning endurance, perseverance and health? Do they not teach us how to win, to
compete and succeed? Do they not improve our self image and improve our physical
attributes? Are not sports a valuable avenue for outreach and evangelism? Doesn‟t the
apostle Paul praise sports as an enterprise much like that of the Christian life of faith?
Does it not keep kids off drugs and help inner city children escape the trap of
         There is no reason to question that God uses people to help others in the capacity
that they are in. There is no reason to question the good intents of many coaches and
teachers in the field. Bu the human interaction that can be of value in sports is actually
intended by God to take place under far more natural and useful uses of time. Labor and
service for others brings much richer fellowship. It also speaks volumes of the focus of
the life. There is reason to question why we once saw reason to seek alternate means for
our own youth to learn the service of the cross. There is reason to question if God
intended us to lean on these idolized games in the way others do.
         The Greeks and Romans saw great value in sports and in the spirit of competition
which permeated their scholarship and politics. Sports became the cradle for celebrating
this human drive and demonstrating human dominance and prowess. It was actually part
of their internal human religion. They worshiped mans‟ prowess in physical and
intellectual capabilities. Their art, their sports and their war was about the godlikeness
within humanity, or about their superiority above other races. The Hebrew had learned to
see his physical nakedness as a reminder of his fall and weakness. The Hebrew woman
learned to guard her physical exposure in reverence to God‟s counsel to quench social
lust. But the Greek saw human nudity as the picture of divinity and boasted in his
perverse sexual independence. The spirit to excel above all others was a central tenant of
their philosophy and drive. They were like “gods” among the barbarians. American
culture has a very strong connection with this ideal and many see it as a vital expression
of national spirit.

         For the ancient Greeks and Romans sport was the venting hole of their
nationalistic spirit. Individually, sport was an outlet for man to prove his worthiness and
superiority. The Corinthian games acknowledged this philosophy and extolled it.
         Truth runs very close to error in some lines. That is, the two may run parallel, but
in opposite directions. God designed for His people to excel in knowledge and skill, in
physical and mental abilities. God values the desire to raise above the low achievement
much of mankind wallows in. But the core nature of how this is accomplished is
diametrically opposite to the world‟s philosophy of success and excellence. In the
character of Jesus we find a shocking contrast and exposure of the nature of Satan and
this world. Even when facing his greatest foe, Jesus would not succumb to rivalry.
Indeed, Satan hoped to stir Jesus human nature to compete with him. He appealed to him
to prove his divinity. He even hoped Jesus would enter into debate with him.
Understanding Jesus nature, Paul repeatedly appeals to Christians to do nothing from the
spirit of rivalry and to abstain from comparison and competition with one another.
Somehow the philosophy of “end justifies the means” never made it into scriptural
reasoning. To win by rivalry was to lose in God‟s reckoning.
         If we can play sports in a low-key way, controlling this self-driven spiri, there is
good in the activity. It must also be kept from becoming a time sink. As an athlete who
became a Christian I learned to my horror that it was easier for me to win than to lose. It
was harder to control my lust for winning than to motivate my utmost effort to win. It
was harder to forgo winning sometimes as a gentleman than to outdo others.
         Mankind looks at his self driven competitive drive as a virtue. But in contrast to
Jesus glory we see “virtue” become depravity, “excellence” become deformity. We
realize that all our righteousness is filthy rags and the human heart is desperately twisted
and incapable of discerning purity of motive without divine enlightenment. Because of
this some will never understand what I am about to say.
         To briefly deal with the earlier questions about sports we can say that at a certain
level sports can be beneficial to the Christian, but that modern popular Christianity
chooses to go far beyond that point and there is hardly a man on the face of this planet
with enough backbone to call it out. Many of the reasons put forward to validate the
glorification and support of idolized sports are reasons that can just as easily be attached
to much more harmonious lines of service and activity. But the assumption is that sports
is the best viable avenue for social interaction and even evangelism. The truth of the
matter is much the same scenario as Saul‟s retention of the sheep that were to be disposed
of by God‟s command. To Saul there was much of value that appealed to his carnal likes.
To follow the Lord to that degree seemed to clash with his personal wisdom and
addictions in life. He did not trust God to the end but constructed his own model of
wisdom. As a young aspiring athlete I learned this same embarrassing truth about my
own ideals.
           In 1982 I was deeply involved in the world of distance running. I had just started
running world class times in the sport. As an Irish kid at 16 years of age I had run 15:11
for 5K which showed some promise … but now I was placing in the top ten in major
American road races that sported international fields of runners. I had fought my way to
the top. It was not easy. There had been many more promising prospects than myself in
my younger days of running. Dedication and singular focus had paid off. Here I was now

in the USA. I planned to totally immerse myself in this quest for fame. I was proud of my
achievements and I let people know it.
         As my Adventist girlfriend drove me along Camp Road from the parking lot of
Thatcher Hall, the girls‟ dorm at Southern College, a big question entered my mind. I was
a scholarship distance runner at East Tennessee State University and for the past nine
years my university had dominated the Southeastern Conference of schools in cross
country. In my time at ETSU, I had become acquainted with many of the colleges and
universities in the south. Some were public schools, some private Christian schools, but I
was puzzled as to why I had not had the pleasure of adding the scalp of this college to my
list of victories. I enjoyed greatly the pleasure of leaving hundreds of runners behind and
running to a solo victory to show how much better I was than everybody else. It gave me
a sense of elitism and accomplishment. Few things are more celebrated in the male nature
than the drive to excel in physical prowess. My girlfriend had told me that one of the
reasons she was attracted to me was because I was a go-getter. I was motivated and
ambitious. She enjoyed my passion to compete and to me this was another validation of
my goals in life, but now I wondered why Southern had not been there for me to conquer.
         I thought how that might impress her, to beat the athletes of her own school. I felt
a bit slighted by the fact that they denied me that right. It would have been fun to show
off. Besides, I had a nagging insecurity about these Christians. What if she found an
Adventist boyfriend that was better than me? I had a sense that there was more to life and
some of these Christians had something I did not have. Perhaps a good race might
establish my superiority and calm my feelings of insecurity; that nagging sense that all I
was accomplishing was really just an illusion, a game, a concoction of excellence
designed by men and sustained by men.
         I had begun to have this feeling of insecurity and questioning after meeting one of
my Irish countrymen at a college near Johnson City, Tennessee. He was a Christian
studying to be a missionary Pilot. Deep down inside I felt the contrast of my quest for
fame with his passion to serve as a mission pilot. I wanted desperately to find purpose in
my life and the thing which I thought would fill that void was beginning to unravel at the
edges because of the Bible I was now reading and the convictions that were creeping up
on me. But then there was always that powerful cultural validation that to devote ones life
to the quest for excellence in sports was a noble and character building enterprise.
American Christianity had adopted this child of Greek and Roman culture and placed it in
the highest esteem. Sermons repeatedly used famous athletes as paragons of ideal
manliness and courage. My conscience, now being drawn to Christ, could have found
perfect rest in this cultural embrace of what I did, but there was one small voice that
refused me that security. The word of God was saying something contrary to the
preachers, and the cultural maxims.
         When I asked my girlfriend the question as to why the school didn‟t compete in
the Division 1 NCAA athletics she looked a little perturbed. “Something Ellen White
said about sports I think. I am not sure,… but then I don‟t agree with some of the things
Ellen White says.” (I already knew about this strange lady but had no idea what she wrote
about.) “I think the church puts too much stock in what she says.” She added…then she
         I could tell from the look of confusion on her face that the whole subject did not
sit well with her. There were many areas of her life that struggled with the statements of

this peculiar woman who wrote counsels for this church. Yet I knew she, like the vast
majority of Adventists, valued the writings for the most part. There was much in them
that was of value.
        Strangely, what she told me about Adventist‟s being aloof from intercollegiate
sports made logical and troublesome sense to me. Coming from a poor country I could
not help but wonder if Americans were not a bit insane in the financial priority and social
elitism they placed on sports. They were willing to spend huge amounts of money to
build extravagant arenas and would invest vast sums of money in sports programs for
collegiate and others associations. A person could make more money at this game than
most other real vocations in life. It was hailed as a paragon of character building virtue.
         Though I benefited from sports I had a secret sense that it was very shallow. The
idea that some serious Christians would not fall for mans‟ fabrication of excellence, but
would pursue real service and usefulness, echoed the words of Jesus and the apostle Paul
which I had recently come to read. I knew in my heart that my success and this whole
facade of sports was a manmade fabrication; that it was only important because men
made it important. I knew that what Jesus did in His life, genuine service in practical
ways, should be the real model for excellence and that there was something truly wrong
with the glorification of concocted rivalry and games. Amazingly, (as God‟s grace is
amazing) as an uninstructed agnostic who had started reading the Bible, I had seen this
truth in the simple words of scripture. “Let nothing be done in rivalry and vain glory, but
in lowliness of mind esteem others better than yourselves.” These words of Paul seemed
ludicrous to me and my way of life, but ludicrously true. They were the words Paul
stated just before he described the core nature of Jesus in Philippians 2:5-11.
        Because Jesus‟ life and teachings revealed a motivation that is diametrically
opposite to our default human nature, the mass of humanity reacted to Him in anger and
resentment. At first they were excited by his power and compassion, but when he
described death of self they generally became irate. Jesus truth threatens the very fibers
of our beings with the challenge. “You must be born again.” We face radical statements
such as “he who looses his life shall find it”, “You shall be hated of all nations for my
name sake.” “Brother shall rise up against brother.” “I have not come to send peace, but a
sword.” All of these statements troubled me but made disturbingly good sense as to what
I was on the brink of understanding about human nature and its clash with Jesus..

                         The Rock of Offense and the Saviour of Man

        Christ threatened the human race‟s passion to vindicate itself as it was and
questioned its deepest motivations which sought to honor its own designs, its own
authority, and its own constructions of virtue. He did not come to condemn mankind, but
He did come to condemn the twisted nature of “fallen goodness” to death so that we
might separate from it and live in newness of life. The depraved nature of the flesh is not
redeemable. That is why we must be born again. Any attempt to simply reform the
contaminated nature of the flesh is folly to God. This is why Paul condemns the concept
of righteousness by works. The very phrase refers to mans attempt to offer his “fallen
goodness” as a means to redemption. The term “works of the flesh” refers to anything
activity that comes from the natural self corrupted heart of man. Whether it be murderous
hatred or shallow worship of God it is all of the same diseased lump. Religion in the

natural man is not born of holy motivation but is calculated from the pool of self service.
God can only accept a transplanted nature in the final judgment and this comes by way of
a free gift. “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God
sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the
flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the
flesh but after the spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh,
but they that are after the spirit do mind the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally
minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:3-6 “He who
has the son has life and he who does not have the Son does not have life.”I John 5:12 “If
ye know that He is righteous ye know that he that doeth righteousness is born of Him.” I
John 2:29. And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”
         Note that Paul states that to be spiritually minded is life. We have a definition for
that mindset. In Philippians chapter 2 Paul describes the mind of Christ. There, as in the
epistles of John, divine love, without the acceptance of selfish priority or motivation, is
the mark of rebirth. This is why Paul says “let nothing be done in rivalry or vain glory.”
Therefore we can see that we should be wary of the glorification of rivalry and self
exaltation as a means to an end. What scripture is telling us is that the flesh revels in
these things. By loving rivalry we feed the fleshly nature and crucify Christ nature within
us. By loving pleasure more than spiritual replenishment we feed self and crucify Christ
afresh. The tender love for one another and for equal treatment of others is despised and
the love of self service is exalted as the means to greatness. Man then presents his
accomplishments to God expecting reward or praise for his development of His gifts. But
the character of such service does not know Christ deep within and its adherants will
manifest hatred for those, who by faithful obedience, expose the façade of human religion
posing as the divine.
         What Jesus was teaching threatened mankind‟s religious and philosophical
systems with extinction. He offered a new way that was so revolutionary it was deemed
dangerous and subversive to the honored maxims of society. He suggested that we must
allow God to make us selfless because selfish motivation, no matter how exalted a
platform it offers, is worthless to God. He taught that God wants us to become like Him;
that we must die and be born to a new nature.
         This extreme a faith will always be considered “too severe” by the world loving
Christian. Hatred and resentment will spring up if the compromise is cherished and much
energy will be expended in developing theological systems that offer a more moderate
position that courts the culture of the world. The chief object of hatred among such
however will be those who do not walk like them. This is what led to the persecution of
true Christians by the Church of Rome. “Christian” Rome outdid Pagan Rome in the
fervor to stamp out the annoying faithful. They were represented as legalists, extremists,
workers against winsome evangelism, and fanatics. Since they would not agree with the
wisdom of Rome in converting Pagans by incorporating paganism they were hatred and
despised. Their characters were wrongly equated with Judaism and legalism in an effort
to paint them as cold, law focused bigots.
         The vast majority of the Christian dispersion in the empire still kept the seventh
day Sabbath. This was because the word of God was their guide. But Rome sought to
establish a tradition that was not observed by other Christians more distant, that of also
observing Sunday as the day of the resurrection. Since it was the day that the Pagan‟s

worshipped the sun, it was thought that exalting a “Christian” tradition over sun worship
might do much good. The basic idea of replacement is not in question here but the
compromised nature of the church would in time seek to establish this standard against
the Sabbath of God as a mark of Rome‟s authority. Soon Christian who kept the Sabbath
were seen as resisters to God‟s will, identified with Jews who denied Christ and both
were persecuted as one. The Roman church was “Sitting in the temple of God showing
himself to be god.”
         But the Sabbath issue was but one of the sins of Rome. In that same philosophy of
thought Roman culture tried to blend with the divine image. When man seeks to corrupt
Gods image into the image of fallen mans ways an idolatrous beast is born. Rome‟s
exaltation of strife and rivalry as a celebrated virtue in man was incorporated into church
craft and honored in society and education. Later the Jesuit order would cultivate this to
the extreme. Thus in education and in society the love of contest and exhibition were
presented as god like qualities. The prelates of the church gained positions through
rivalry and selfish conceit. The systems that placed most importance on degrees, contests,
rewards and exhibition were the great universities of the Roman empire. The meekness of
Jesus was forgotten. Wherever this spirit is cherished the Christianity that claims it will
be a form without the power. It will gravitate toward a theology that will condone rivalry
and self priority and the churches mission will be diverted from truth to self validation.
Human achievement is not to be shunned, but its use must always be harmonious with the
nature of Jesus. “Obedience is better than sacrifice, and to hearken, than the fat of
rams.” Cain brought the labor of his hands, but Able brought submission to the Lord‟s
command. He trusted God by faith.
         Jesus wants us to be motivated by selfless love. He had come to demonstrate what
that was and to offer to man the means to this transformation through His own spilled
blood. Many, who were at first willing to follow Him because of the love and good he
showed, turned back when he revealed that the way of God required a death of our
cherished nature, and a total remaking of our minds and characters. Jesus showed the rich
young ruler that unless he was willing to manifest unreserved trust in God‟s wisdom,
above his own, he would be lost. That meant resigning his idea of excellence to God‟s
model of excellence. He was ambitious, diligent and successful. He was also socially
clean and respected religion and good breeding. Proud of his accomplishments, and in
love with the rewards of self motivation, the request of Jesus was a shocking blow to his
ego. “Sell at that you have and give it to the poor, then come and follow me.” The rich
young ruler walked away in sadness because he had been hoping Jesus would endorse his
excellence and avarice and blend it with the righteousness of God. He felt that what Jesus
was asking was too much for Him to sacrifice.
         To my girlfriend‟s answer, about why Southern did not compete with us at ETSU,
I sat in pensive reflection. Deep down inside I thought to myself, “I know these people
are right. God has impacted them. They show the marks of Jesus thinking.” It was all
very unsettling to me. Here were a people who were willing to be different, to have the
audacity to buck long accepted ideas because of commitment to God. They were willing
to call my bluff and the Spirit of God had been convicting me from the Scriptures that
there was no security in trusting the endorsement and praise of men to ascertain whether
or not what I was doing with my life was truly noble. The words of Paul nagged in my
mind, “they for a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible.” If no one really took

Jesus seriously enough to follow through on His teachings, I felt secure enough that it
was just the way life was. I thought that while Paul was right, perhaps God doesn‟t really
expect us to go that far. But now I was faced with the possibility that God might have a
people who took Him seriously and it began to convict me.
         Yet I could see that many Adventists themselves desired a relaxation of such
peculiarity. I was impressed with the message I was discovering but not with many of the
people who seemed too wimpy to value it. I began to suspect that my girlfriend was
affected by that influence. She reasoned with me that Adventism had come a long way in
the last few decades from its former legalism. Now some Adventists realized that it was
too much to ask to be that extreme and that different from the world‟s ways. It was
enough to be repentant about sin. We could never really live like Jesus; we should just do
our best and trust in God‟s love, and that meant relaxing some of Adventism more
extreme positions. Some of these convictions about aloofness from sports, entertainment,
dancing, alcohol, jewelry and teasing dress etc… were just the remnants of legalistic
thinking and many of her friends were choosing to “define their spirituality” in new ways
that were more accepting of the basic goodness of human culture.
         I nodded in seeming agreement with most of this, probably even joked about
some of the „off the wall ideas‟ like avoiding jewelry, but inside I was nagged by the
realization that the faith of Jesus would indeed seem peculiar if it were to emerge
somewhere in the twentieth century. Though I tried to quiet my conscience I had a deeper
desire to know what this crazy “Sister White” and those “pioneers” were saying because I
had read similar things in the Scripture that had a ring of familiarity with those ideals.

Those who are unwilling to accept the plain, cutting truths of the Bible are continually
seeking for pleasing fables that will quiet the conscience. The less spiritual, self-denying,
and humiliating the doctrines presented, the greater the favor with which they are
received. These persons degrade the intellectual powers to serve their carnal desires. Too
wise in their own conceit to search the Scriptures with contrition of soul and earnest
prayer for divine guidance, they have no shield from delusion. Satan is ready to supply
the heart's desire, and he palms off his deceptions in the place of truth. It was thus that
the papacy gained its power over the minds of men; and by rejection of the truth because
it involves a cross, Protestants are following the same path. All who neglect the word of
God to study convenience and policy, that they may not be at variance with the world,
will be left to receive damnable heresy for religious truth. Every conceivable form of
error will be accepted by those who willfully reject the truth. He who looks with horror
upon one deception will readily receive another. The apostle Paul, speaking of a class
who "received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved," declares: "For this
cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they
all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.                    524

        Ellen white and the other advent writers sounded radical, but then again I saw that
the Bible also sounded radical to a nation of Christians trying to straddle the fence. I did
not trust popular Protestantism any more than I trusted the Catholicism I was raised with.
I was firmly convinced that if Jesus were to appear today, the churches would rally
around Him for a time until His life profession began to cut at the roots of much of their

cherished culture and philosophy of life. Rather than dying to their cherished ideals, they
would decide He was an imposter and would seek to remove His influence as in the first
century. Many professed Christians today care more about national exaltation, and the
enforcement of their ideals, than they do for the core character of Jesus. This is no
different than Israel‟s error and will have dire results. The prophecies of the last book of
scripture describe a form of Godliness that will endeavor to control the world through
political force (Revelation 13 and 14). It will do this while claiming to serve religion and
the God of scripture. But its core nature will encapsulate the nature of Satan. It will exude
with the desire to coerce the conscience of men and enforce a hybrid of external
Christianity soaked with the principles selfish domination. It sees itself as the competitor
for temporal conquest.
         Regarding questions such as the appropriateness of modern social dance I knew of
the immorality that sprang from the dance floor atmosphere. My girlfriend, at that point
was beginning see all this as harmless. There were other issues she questioned too. I
knew the subtle influence of entertainment forged in humanistic minds. I had seen
firsthand the emptiness and pollution of life lived in the ideals of men. I was addicted to
it. I knew God had a different standard that cut to the quick of human ideals and that
people for the most part would seek to bury such under an avalanche of rationalization.
         Though I could see that some Adventists desired to shake off the restrictions of
former convictions or at least find some comfortable vagueness, I became haunted with
the curiosity to examine the real origins of these protective ideals. Could it be that “Sister
White” and her Adventist companions actually listened to God and spoke things that
were true and that some of the youth I was now meeting were walking away from it? I
could see that the prophets of old were not accepted even by their own people. The
miraculous evidences of God would often gain the audience of people but sooner or later
the people would begin to question the uncomfortable specifics of the prophet‟s relayed
message. It brought discomfort. It asked for a faith that went places that human logic
refused to go. They would follow God to a point but then draw back hoping for some sort
of comprise or relaxation of the standard.
         I already saw that the Sabbath in Jewish history was repeatedly profaned because
of its peculiar demand. Finally, men sought to solve the problem by surrounding the
Sabbath with manmade regulations, but even still that actually facilitated profaning it in a
hypocritical way. Legalism was just a cloak for disobedience. They would conform in
some small details while ignoring the major principles. Others would react to the
hypocrisy of legalism as an excuse to ignore the Law entirely. Both led to the same end
result. Mankind sought to avoid the requirements of God and preserve his own desires.
Faithful obedience, because it requires the exercise of faith, crucifies the selfish nature.
Self cannot endure faith. The law of God cannot be obeyed from the natural selfish
nature. The activity of Christ in the life must exist if obedience is to flower and self is to
die. Therefore, Jesus spent most of His time entreating people to simply do God‟s will in
faith. He understood that their knowledge of the mechanics was not the main issue. They
did not need doctorates in salvific soteriology, they needed simply to reach out and
accept the work of God for them and in them. This was faith…this was salvation‟s work.
Dependence on Him would lead the soul to deep repentance. Jesus had come to pay for
God‟s right to intervene by His own blood. In faith He was calling mankind to trust in
that, even though he had not yet paid the debt. Such was the steadfastness of His faith in

His Father‟s love. What God promises He will establish. He had offered this to all
mankind from the foundation of the world.
         But many look at me in distress when I state these truths about the contrary nature
of our games and means to excellence. “I have succeeded in life by competing and
fighting! How am I to excel otherwise.?” There is a difference between the drive to
survive and the drive to “deprive.” Our motivation to improve need not be at the cost of
others, or seek comparison to others. The catch is that in the sinful human nature there is
not separation in these two elements of rivaling and excelling. This is why people seem
confused. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. In Jesus there is a separation. Pure
love drives his motivation, but he has no pleasure in outdoing another. The proverbs state
“rejoice not when thine enemy falleth” Proverbs 24:17. Jesus would rather forgo His own
gain than deprive another. Jesus and the angels would shrink from serious competition as
a means of recreation. It would seem distasteful to him though he could outdo every
human skill. The longing of the Jews to “trounce the Romans” was repulsive to the Son
of God. He longed to give every chance of redemption to all before judgment would fall.
Mankind‟s love of competition violates this aspect of God‟s nature and insults the Holy
         What then do we do when we are placed in situations of competition in real life.
We cannot avoid competition, but in it we can manifest that if we do our utmost to serve
God, we need not be bridled by the fear of failure or defeat, nor by a quest to outdo
others. There is room for all in Gods ways. “He sends his rain upon the just and the
unjust….”alike. Consider the example of Lot and Abraham and the division of land. Lot
sought the most lucrative plains, but Abraham sought the design of God first. In the end
Abraham prospered but Lot lost all. So it will be in the great judgment of our lives. We
should study to be successful but not be driven by avarice. God can help us to share
success with others as Abraham did and to at times forgo the biggest slice of the pie for
the sake of mutual benefit. So even in the competition of the business world we manifest
faith in God over faith in rivalry. The Sabbath rest is practiced in context of business
competition is living testimony that our success depends not on our own passion to win,
but in rest in God‟s provision. How can a man succeed if he rests while others work? By
faith. Rest in God is not inactivity. We bare the yoke of Christ. It is rest from our old
drives and corrupted “goodness”. All God requires is our faithfulness, not our own
offering of fruit. We must set our priority on acting like Jesus by faith, not in the carnal
drive for supremacy and distorted excellence.
         “Let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor the rich in His riches, but let him
that glorieth, glory in this: that he understandeth and knoweth me.” This is what the
cross teachers. But what motivated Jesus to succeed? It was something that we do not
naturally possess. It was not the drive to be first that is so central to our fallen ego. It was
an entirely opposite motivation. Only the new nature, that Jesus perfected through blood,
can respond to this motivation. We must be born again! Our love of the contest is not
pleasing to God. The unfallen angels shrink from entering into contention with one
another and would rather exalt others above themselves. Ye they all excel in great
achievements for God. How do we explain this?

        Philippians 2:5-11. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who
being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself

of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness
of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient
unto death, even the death of the cross.

        Jesus never allowed the fallen human nature a to govern within himself. He never
allowed self service a moment‟s exercise though he was tempted in every possible way to
yield to it. Am I saying that Jesus had selfishness in Him? Selfishness is not found in
having basic instincts for self preservation or even in possessing a weakened human
nature, but it occurs when a sentient higher mind chooses to worship the lower drives.
Satan deformed his own character through this willful exercise. Humanity succumbed to
his construction.
        The instinctive drive to cater to our own survival above others runs very strong in
our nature. But the divine mind seeks the good of others above itself. It governs the basic
instincts. Fallen man became a slave to the lower nature and found pleasure in it.
Depravity resulted. Satan however was the first to willfully give ascendancy to the basic
instincts above the higher mind. He committed spiritual suicide by willfully subjecting
the higher mind, once guided by God, to death. He committed the suicide of his higher
nature and broke his dependence on God‟s flow of influence.
        The higher mind is a faculty that realizes its dependence on an outside source of
strength. That strength was always from the Godhead. Regarding survival Jesus‟ human
nature had the same basic drives to preserve his earthly wellbeing that we have but he
held them in check for the sake of love. We cannot pretend to know too much here. We
do know Jesus took our weakened nature without committing sin or becoming sinful.
How else could he crucify the flesh within Himself as we read in Romans 8. There are
mysteries here beyond our reach. But we can know that Jesus resisted what we succumb
to that he might offer us that same victory. Sin was born in Lucifer when self
preservation and exaltation were allowed prominence. Sin never occurred in Jesus nature,
yet he fought the battle where it must be fought in order to enable us to overcome. We do
not understand how all this was possible. It is too much for our limited understanding but
we see its clear evidence. Jesus took our likeness but remained pure. He was like us in the
aspect that was essential to be our brother, and unlike us in the aspects that were essential
to be our redemption. He possessed the divine mind. We naturally do not...but it is
available to us. He was man and he was God in the flesh.
        The bottom line is that we know he can lead us to victory over the fall we are
enslaved in. We are born in slavery because we are born without the power to resist the
carnal mind by nature and we are born with a nature that agrees with it. But from the
beginning God filled the earth with the intercession of His Spirit of grace. He placed
fallen man in reach of His life giving breath. By faith Enoch pleased God. Adam forfeited
the noble character given to him by God, but God by personal sacrifice and great agony
offered him restoration of character. From what we can understand from scripture fallen
nature was born when a higher accountable mind gave worship to lower instincts and
separated them from the government of God‟s love. Animals know no sin though they are
driven by lower instincts. They are sinless but deformed because our fall subjected them
to a level of separation from the pure influence of God that filled the unfallen earth. In the
new earth we are told they will know nothing of the desire to kill or dominate. So let us
not become supporters of the theory of evolution and survival of the fittest. That was

actually Satan‟s ploy to bring credit to the system He wished to establish. I do not pretend
to understand the depths of this. I do know from the Word that mankind has been bought
precious time to choose between self or Christ. Man had not sinned in the likeness of
Satan. There was still room for God to intercede. Those who reject Jesus‟ redemption
venture on to Satan‟s point of no return. They come to sin in the likeness of Satan. It is a
terrible thing to know the light and to settle for a compromise. The Laodicean message
reveals such a state and Jesus pleads with the church to turn back from eternal perdition.
         But we must see how that turning back is beyond a profession of belief and
repentance. Popular theology presents the form without the power. We must follow on in
the Lords instruction that comes through His prophets. We reason that any drive than can
motivate us to excel must be good. Satan thought to excel to the throne of God. He was
the first competitor in a world where no one was deprived opportunity to excel and where
rewards were not limited to but a few. He sought to stir up rivalry where none was
needed. In the same way mankind idolizes his fallen nature. He invents games of rivalry
in education, business and recreation where no contest is needed and this at times is
purely for his own twisted pleasure in conflict. Some reason that the only alternative to
indolence and inactivity is rivalry. That is actually Satan‟s philosophy. The natural man
does not know the things of the spirit. God offers a motivation unknown to the natural
heart, but the grace of God breaks through our blindness and awakens us to see the
alternative of this in Jesus. By an act of God‟s intervention we can see our deformity and
cry out for deliverance.
          Was Jesus driven by the competitive drive that is so natural to us? Can we find
some validation for our love of rivalry and self-exaltation in Jesus? Is it merely that he
used this in a moderate way, so as not to be too selfish like the world, but to be a
successful competitor nonetheless? If we think this we do not understand Jesus
words…“The enemy has come and has found nothing in me.” There was not one grain of
self in Jesus. He did not need that because He worked from a far more powerful
motivation, that of selfless love which was rooted on two sides of the River of Life. He
worked from love for the integrity of His father‟s kingdom and law, and from love for
helpless guilty souls like you and me.
         This is why our own righteousness is so polluted to God. We seek to preserve
self. We seek to obey from polluted motives and nothing truly good comes from that.
Some think that to have Christ’s righteousness is merely a matter of substitution.
They reason that God will take them to heaven in their selfish state as long as they
are repentant of it. “Repentance is all God needs,” they state. But true repentance opens
the door for Christ‟s work in the life. If we fail to climb the ladder of faith and seek to
remain in some vague condition of conviction we will be lost. We preach neutered
messages that allow us all to remain in darkness and deny that any test can be placed
upon our profession. “All have a desire for good we say” and “all are in the process of
gowth”. Can God not convict out hearts of danger. Do we need a security that silences
God‟s voice? God is not mocked. As John states..a man is righteous even as he is
         Victory over self is a necessity, not a preference. “To him that overcometh will I
grant to sit with me in my throne.” God‟s biddings are our enablings. We must allow God
to change us and we must be willing by His grace to act in faith. These are the conditions
of the covenant. We are bought by Christ‟s blood, having nothing in us to merit salvation,

but we are called to take up Christ‟s yoke with Him. We must bear our cross. “If any man
will come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. He who looses
his life for my sake shall find it, and he who finds his life shall lose it.”
         What does all of this have to do with Sports or the use of rivalry for excellence?
There is no scripture that declares sports to be a sin or a game to be a transgression. It
would be wrong to state that every competitor can only be driven by a selfish motive.
Many are the reasons why we compete in this world. Some may strive to win honor for
their homes or nations. The thing we must be wary of is that the icon of sports in the
world becomes the embodiment of Satan‟s quest to have man celebrate he own deformity
in the love of rivalry and the love of pleasure over real practical labor for good. Some
sports endeavor to balance this somewhat with charity fund raisers and good will
enterprises. God does not condemn the earnest attempts of such people and we need not
judge them but we have a better instruction. If Christians seek to use sports let us use
them sparingly and for children‟s energetic activity without encouraging rivalry. Some,
due to life circumstance, may need artificial means to exercise rather than the labor that
once was a necessity in the field. But do not seek as the rich young ruler to mask our love
of selfish pleasure and rivalry with the claim of virtue. When we lead our youth to see
only good where deformity lurks we become responsible for misleading them to live their
lives after the world‟s maxims. Many think it to be the greatest honor to devote the life to
a selfish quest for physical or mental prowess. This was the central tenant of Jesuit
education. Character was sacrificed for the development of cunning and political
wizardry. Rivalry in education was cultivated as the greatest source of motivation. If the
church could be promoted by dominance, rivalry and shrewdness then they reasoned that
it was justified. The priests who murdered Jesus thought the same.
         The importance which the world places on rivalry and systems of singular reward
is of grave concern. But many Christian educators have not spine enough to endure the
reproach than comes from resisting it. We are warned that in the last days, men will
become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Far more dangerous than the world
idolizing sports, is the claim of compromised Christianity that virtue of character is
achieved through devoting the life to a selfish game, or to some extolled degree or office
for a self focused prize that bears no weight in eternity. What is the example of Jesus‟
life? What is the counsel of Paul? “They for a corruptible crown,” they “beat the air”.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory.” What is the record of sacred history?
The children of Israel rose up to play. The children of Israel sought the leeks and onions
of Egypt. Let sports be simple games for children and profitable exercise for adults in a
friendly spirit but do not let such hold the sway they do in this world. Do not sing praises
to their heroes and worship the arenas of sport so that the youth become confused as to
what is real purpose in life.
         There is a science to human weakness. We gravitate toward excitement of
artificial stimulation rather than sober reality and constructive activity. When we become
addicted to this stimulation in sports or entertainment we begin to weave sophisticate
excuses and design complex constructions as to how it is actually character enriching.
But truth exposes our folly. I know many athletes who live in an obsession to their little
world of self improvement while precious energy and time with loved ones is sacrificed.
Because it seems healthful we hesitate to question it. True health is only found in
surrender to God‟s plan.

         We confuse human success with divine success. We reason that if some obtain
fame and state that they are “Christian” then God owes them special honor. But the
Christian who devotes their physical talents and life energy to a game rather than true
Christian service is in danger of leading others to the same pursuit with all its enticements
and erroneous conclusions. I have been guilty of this. It is true that God calls men and
women in the world to testify of Him where they are at but let us not think we are called
to be where they are. Let God lead them, we must do what God has called us to do. It is
not the sport or platform that gets the honor, but God. Moses had the riches and training
of Egypt at his fingertips but he failed to effect real change there. It was in the lonely
selfless work of a shepherd that God prepared him to impact the world.
         “There was no form nor comeliness that they should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2
Many would have accepted Jesus if he had come in more honorable robes. If he had
driven out the Romans, Israel would have lauded him. If he had fought beasts in Rome‟s
sports pavilions, men could have boasted of His prowess. But all this would have
contradicted the pure gospel message which was to show that man must lay aside all his
own prowess and works and see that selfless self-forgetful love is the only nature God
treasures and this God offered to man in the sacrifice of His only Son. “Let not the
mighty man glory in his might, nor the rich man in his riches, but let him that glories
glory in this that he understands and know me.” We must study Jesus nature to know
truth and true purpose.
         Paul looked at the folly of his past life, of his futile works and competitive drive
to gain eminence at the cost of murder. He looked at the Corinthian runners and saw a
picture of man striving to validate himself at the cost of all else. He saw the paradox. We
are to run for the eternal crown with the indwelling of Jesus. Yet professed Christians
often failed to offer the dedication that these runners offered while their victory was
diametrically more secure. While only one wins in the world‟s scheme, all can win the
crown of Jesus.
         The evangelical world seeks to exalt the arena of competition as though it were
the exercise of righteousness. The Jesuit educators grafted this cherished child of Roman
culture into the fabric of school and university. They employed it in the quest for church
office and the character of Christ was laid aside for the character of cruel dominance and
intolerance. The Roman Catholic Church while professing Christ took on the image of
Roman carnality. It saw itself in competition for supremacy of the world and, just as in
the arenas of Rome, thought murder was justified at the price of victory and control. The
spirit of the world‟s games is often from below. Millions of dollars are poured into a
game simply to glory in dominance. The male ego is particularly vulnerable to this. I am
convinced that the Christian should shrink away from glorifying the celebration of this
diversion and instead invest in the real purpose of our physical powers, but as always, far
too many are slaves of the culture. The super bowl receives mans worship and receives
the veneration of mans love of pointless conflict.
         Many cannot see standing apart for Jesus. They reason that agreement with the
world will win far more converts. Rome took this approach and converted millions to its
brew of human philosophy and disconnected truth. But Christ‟s true nature was lost to
them in the process. The beast nature is that nature that seeks to preserve self and exalt it
in the exercise of religion. All who seek to validate such a system of self glorifying
religion will succumb to the mark of the beast. They already have its seed in themselves.

         We need a different approach to excellence than the world offers. If we were to
focus more on team cooperation than team conflict we would do well. Aloofness from the
regular channels of sports is owed to Christ. We have a better way. When I state these
truths I am barraged by a list of excuses couched in situation ethics. “But what about…”
and what follows is a long list of reasons why the exaltation of sports is in line with good
principles. God can bring good despite ignorance. That does not validate willed
ignorance. Rivalry in sports in exonerated because good comes from other sources of
motivation that run parallel with it. But God is not mocked. Rivalry is not vindicated.
Rome claims the same rational for its existence admitting it has done wrong but claiming
the good it does validates its state of apostasy. Some actually come to Christ through
Catholicism simply because it professes Christ and because some in it live for Christ
despite the apostasy. Some benefit from Catholicism because of its charities. By situation
ethics can we justify its existence and corruption of truth because of the good that
sometimes results? God uses people where they are at. Some earnest souls bring blessing
even in the error they mistakenly uphold. But we must understand all good owes its credit
to God. God works despite our failures to follow His perfect plan.
         But the enemy also secures many souls through the diversions. The existence of
good within mans‟ broken cisterns does not justify them. The grace of God is responsible
for the good. Some have benefited from sports because it was a better alternative than
some other things in life. But to a people called out to a special walk with God for a
specific purpose we cannot claim ignorance. We have a better way. For a Hebrew to seek
the arenas of Rome was a different issue than a for Roman to walk toward God from the
same ground.
         Some think God relies on human fame to do His work. That type of reasoning led
the Roman Church to put man‟s wisdom before God‟s. Glamour, art, power and
brilliance were used to bedazzle the mind. But beneath all this the humble simple
testimony of Jesus life was missing. We need to be faithful in God‟s design. Leave the
consequences to Him. We think God is dependent on human creativity and brilliance. But
all that is useless to Him if we do not first realize that our brilliance is dross without total
surrender to God‟s wisdom. We want to second guess God, to consult the masters of this
world and help God in his plans. This is righteousness by works in a hidden form because
it often comes in the garb of liberal Christianity that claims freedom from legalism. It is
simply lack of faith in God. “So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter my rest, though
the works thereof were formed from the foundation of the world.” “They entered not in
because of unbelief.” “Let us fear lest a promise being left us of entering into that rest,
some of you should seem to come short of it.”
         Satan sought to establish a kingdom based on competition. Self, he claimed,
should be allowed to flourish and after a certain time of conflict nature would find its
own level and a natural order would occur. “Let the strongest rule,” he claimed, noting
that he was the strongest of all created beings. Satan succeeded in planting this system in
the nature of man and in the world under his jurisdiction. Men of science but lacking faith
read this testimony from the fallen world. They do not see the grace of God protecting
such a system from self destruction for a time. Through Darwin‟s recognition of survival
of the fittest as the rule of this natural system, mankind has sought to validate his own
deformity. Lenin sought to employ this in the social sense. Hitler carried it out to its
conclusion. But Hitler accomplished was but a shadow to the exploits of Roman

Catholicism through the centuries. Satan‟s principle is practiced whenever Christ is
suppressed. The evangelical world is ready to take up militancy with Rome in an effort to
conform America to its model of righteousness. But the method it affords is a direct result
of spiritual blindness. Lust for power and control exuding from the unconverted heart will
seek to force the consciences of men to accept an empty form of religion while naming
Christ as its victor. “ In the last days perilous times shall come for men shall be lovers of
self rather that lovers of God….lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God…..having a
form of Godliness but without the power thereof.” “ He causes all both small and great to
worship his image.” Of the religious deception to aooear at the end the world Paul writes
“he sits in the temple of God showing himself that he is God.”
         Our society is given to the worship of leisure, and of human prowess in sports, art
and entertainment. Satan led Rome and all the great civilizations to gross immorality
through these means. Ironically they imagined themselves reaching higher plains of
existence through their exploits while in reality they were regressing to the image of
beastliness. Blindness comes through this. In their art the naked human body was viewed
as the paragon of godlikeness, but to the Hebrew nakedness was the admission of the loss
of man‟s glory. Present culture seeks glory where shame really exists. Women and men
prostitute their sexuality through dress and immodesty. Sports has ever been an avenue
that sympathizes with this desire. The Greeks competed in nakedness without shame. We
think we can insert a dualism here and have Christians join in this lewdness. I myself was
a fool in this respect but I have had to come to the realization that modesty is of
importance to God.
         Rivalry, exhibition and show are a threat to the Christian. Many recognizing good
in God‟s ways seek to exalt some principles of right but their hearts will not renounce the
idols of carnality that fly under the radar screen of known sin. The lust for control and
censorship of others is the same as that which activated the Pharisees to the murder
Christ. The favorite place for this virus to reside is in church craft. Satan exults but his
time is short.
         The treasuring of the human competitive drive is posed as a virtue for Gods
honor. When the sons of thunder asked Jesus whether fire should come down out o
heaven to destroy the Samaritans Jesus rebuked them with a shocking revelation. “ye
know not of what spirit ye are of.” Satan was stirring up their hearts to respond in
carnality. The son of man has come not to condemn but to save. Yet there is hope in
Jesus. Were these not men of God? They learned from Jesus to part with that motivation
and replace it with pure love. We can grow in the knowledge and admonition of God‟s
word and leave behind self serving censorship and our cherished authority. God will fight
our battles. All we need to do is what He says to do; to live our lives as He has directed
even if it makes us look like “strait laced extremists”.
         Our schools were called to set a different example than the schools designed after
Rome‟s model. The reformation was in time largely retarded by the failure to do so. The
sons of the later reformers were trained in Jesuit schools because to their prestige in the
area of “excellence” . Many think it too extreme to set up a system contrary to the norm.
It is reasoned that the model of the classical system must be submitted to in order to win
the success of men. As Israel sought a king, we seek a comfortable likeness to the world.
We lose sight of God success and claim mans success as our justification. When Jesus

asks us to lay aside our proud accomplishments and cherished plans for grandeur to
follow His designs will we walk away in sadness.

Add education 210
Add race quote air

Sports Australia

College Hall. {4BIO 441.5}

    E. R. Palmer and C. B. Hughes, principal and business manager, respectively, planned for the
day what they thought to be appropriate--a morning service at which Ellen White was invited to
address students and faculty, and in the afternoon various recreational games, including cricket
for the boys and tennis for the girls. Faculty members and students joined in raising money with
which to purchase the equipment (DF 249e, C. B. Hughes to WCW, July 22, 1912). Other games,
as remembered by Ella White Robinson included three-legged races; eating apples suspended
from a string, with the players' arms tied behind them; carrying eggs in a teaspoon in a knee race,
et cetera (ibid., E. M. Robinson to David Lee, Nov. 9, 1967). Wrote Professor Hughes in his July
22 letter to W. C. White: {4BIO 442.1}

     The students enjoyed the day very much, and at the close of it
   felt very grateful toward me, especially, for planning such a
   pleasant time. You know the Australians very much enjoy
   holidays and sports. When Mark Twain visited Australia, he
   found this such a characteristic of the people that he exclaimed,
   "Restful Australia, where every day is a holiday, and when there
   is not a holiday, there is a horse race." {4BIO 442.2}

   After giving her morning address, Ellen White returned to her Sunnyside home and her work.
But "during the following night," as she was to write later, "I seemed to be witnessing the
performances of the afternoon." {4BIO 442.3}

     The scene was clearly laid out before me, and I was given a
   message for the manager and teachers of the school. I was shown
   that in the amusements carried on, on the school grounds that
   afternoon, the enemy gained a victory, and teachers were
   weighed in the balances and found wanting.--MS 73, 1912 (see
   also CT, p. 348). {4BIO 442.4}

    In her diary she noted, "The whole transaction was presented to me as if I was present, which
I did write out."--MS 92, 1900. She later declared: {4BIO 442.5}

   The Avondale school was established, not to be like the
   schools of the world, but, as the Lord revealed, to be a pattern
   school. And since it was to be a pattern school, those in charge of
   it should have perfected everything after God's plan, discarding
   all that was not in harmony with His will. Had their eyes been
   anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, they would have realized
   that they could not permit the exhibition that took place that
   afternoon, without dishonoring God.--MS 73, 1912 (see also
   CT, p. 349). {4BIO 442.6}

  Apparently there was much involved, in a country given to holidays and sports, in allowing any
beginning toward what could easily become an infatuation. {4BIO 443.1}

   The next morning, as Hughes was leaving his house for the school, Ellen White's carriage
drove up, and he was informed that she wished to speak to him. As he wrote of this in 1912,
Hughes bared his soul: {4BIO 443.2}

     I went out to her carriage, and she leaned out toward me and
   said in very earnest tones, "I have come over to talk to you and
   your teachers and your students about the way you spent
   yesterday. Get your teachers together. I want to speak to them
   before I go in to speak to the students." {4BIO 443.3}

     If Sister White had struck a blow full in my face, I do not think
   I would have felt so hurt as I did at her words. What she said
   sounded so unreasonable to me. I believed that what I had done
   the day before was for the best interests of the students. . . . {4BIO 443.4}

     I was very much troubled, knowing as I did the attitude of the
   Australians toward holidays and games. I felt that Sister White
   was acting rashly. . . . I was very much tempted to advise her not
   to talk to the students that morning. {4BIO 443.5}

     We went into the chapel and she delivered her talk, but it did
   not produce the commotion that I had expected. In fact, the
   students generally seemed to receive it quite well, but not so
   with myself.--DF 249e, C. B. Hughes to WCW, July 22, 1912. {4BIO 443.6}

    We cannot here trace in detail the personal struggle Professor Hughes experienced. When,
through Miss Peck, he inquired of Ellen White why, in the light of her counsel that teachers should
play with their students, he should be reproved for what they had done, the answer came that the
students at Avondale were not children but young men and young women preparing to be
laborers for God. Then, with his concordance, he searched his Bible. One of the first references
he turned to related to the children of Israel, when they "sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to
play." Nor were other texts any more helpful. When he came to recognize that winning in games
meant others must fail, he was led to conclude that the spirit of most games and sports was not
the right spirit of the adult Christian. "These thoughts," he declared, "brought me out of darkness
into light, and I left behind me an experience which was a very trying one."--Ibid. {4BIO 443.7}

   As was usually the case when counsel was given regarding the perils of a certain course,
constructive alternatives were suggested. Ellen White did so along two lines: {4BIO 444.1}

     In the place of providing diversions that merely amuse,
   arrangements should be made for exercises that will be
   productive of good. Satan would lead the students, who are sent
   to our schools to receive an education that will enable them to go
   forth as workers in God's cause, to believe that amusements are
   necessary to physical health. But the Lord has declared that the
   better way is for them to get physical exercise through manual
   training, and by letting useful employment take the place of
   selfish pleasure. The desire for amusement, if indulged, soon
   develops a dislike for useful, healthful exercise of body and

   mind, such as will make students efficient in helping themselves
   and others.--MS 73, 1912 (see also CT, p. 354). {4BIO 444.2}

  After Hughes and Palmer sought Ellen White's help in planning activities, she wrote: {4BIO

     They said they were perplexed to know what to do with the
   students' Sunday afternoons. They thought they could unite
   with them in these games and they would not be strolling
   around in the bush. I said, "Is there not an abundance of work to
   be done on this farm where all the energy and tact would be
   turned to the most useful account in a good work?" . . . {4BIO 444.4}

     All are to be rightly educated as in the schools of the
   prophets. . . . Let another teacher . . . educate how to do work in
   helping some of the worthy poor about us. There are houses that
   can be built. Get your students under a man who is a builder and
   see if you cannot find something that can be done in the lines of
   education and in the lines of holiness.--MS 92, 1900. {4BIO 444.5}

    As Ellen White addressed the students and faculty, she was disappointed that there was dead
silence. She wrote a few days later: {4BIO 445.1}

     I knew after I had borne my testimony that the teachers and
   students might have taken a stand. . . . But not one word was
   said in response to the testimony; not one word spoken before
   that school to say, "The Lord has spoken to us through His
   servant and we will thank God for the light that is come to us and
   will receive the light and prayerfully ask God to give us clear
   perception of right and wrong."--Ibid. {4BIO 445.2}

   It seems that teachers and students were too stunned to speak. But the message sank into
hearts and was effective. Faculty and students did some prayerful studying and thinking. Hughes
reported that the equipment was disposed of, and recreation was found in activities other than
sports and games. {4BIO 445.3}

    The author, when visiting Australia in 1958, talked with a physician who was one of the
students at Avondale in 1900. He volunteered the experience of some of the students, the
memory of which had not dimmed in his mind. He and another young man banded together, in
the light of Ellen White's counsel, to study what they could accomplish in helping others in the
community. They found many places where they could help those in need, and this positive type
of recreation provided soul-warming experiences in Christian service. In just a short time they
sensed the advantages of finding recreation in activities that bring strength to the character as
well as to the body. The grueling experience bore a good harvest. {4BIO 445.4}

   On June 11, 1900, Ellen White could joyfully record in her diary:

     I can but praise God for His goodness and mercies and
   blessings which are coming to the school and to the church. The
   Spirit of the Lord has come into the school, and the report is that
   every student is now a professed Christian. May the Lord bless
   them and sanctify them and refine them by His Holy Spirit that

   they may from henceforth reveal the character of the only true
   Model which is the character of Christ.--MS 94, 1900.

                      446 {4BIO 445.5}

  The Union Conference Record included the following under a note entitled "Students Building
Churches": {4BIO 446.1}

     Many of the older students, under the direction of Brother
   and Sister Robinson, are working up the missionary interests in
   the neighborhood. Children's meetings and a Sunday school are
   being held at Awaba, Sabbath services and Sabbath school at
   Dora Creek. . . . A little church is now being erected at Morisset
   for the accommodation of the meetings held there. This
   undertaking originated with the students. They have raised the
   money, and with the exception of a little help from
   experienced carpenters, they have done the work. Thus the students
   are learning the ABCs of church building. One important feature of
   the lesson is to be how to dedicate a church with no debt
   upon it. When this church is finished, they intend to build another
   at Martinsville.--August 1, 1900. {4BIO 446.2}

   In the April confrontation Ellen White had suggested as an alternative to engaging in sports,
"There are houses that can be built." {4BIO 446.3}

          Balancing Counsel Regarding Simple Ball Games

   The review of this experience cannot properly be left without calling attention to Ellen White's
balanced counsel to a medical student in Michigan. Edgar Caro, from New Zealand, in 1893 had
made inquiry of her by letter. Her reply sets forth several principles worthy of close study: {4BIO

     I do not condemn the simple exercise of playing ball; but this,
   even in its simplicity, may be overdone. {4BIO 446.5}

     I shrink always from the almost sure result which follows in
   the wake of these amusements. It leads to an outlay of means
   that should be expended in bringing the light of truth to souls
   that are perishing out of Christ. The amusements and expenditures
   of means for self-pleasing, which lead on step by step to
   self-glorifying, and the education in these games for pleasure
   produces a love and passion for such things that are not
   favorable to the perfection of Christian character. {4BIO 446.6}

    The way that they have been conducted at the college does
   not bear the impress of heaven. It does not strengthen the


  intellect. It does not refine and purify the character. There are
  threads leading out through the habits and customs and worldly
  practices, and the actors become so engrossed and infatuated
  that they are pronounced in heaven lovers of pleasure more than
  lovers of God. In the place of the intellect becoming strengthened
  to do better work as students, to be better qualified as
  Christians to perform the Christian duties, the exercise in these
  games is filling their brains with thoughts that distract the mind
  from their studies. . . . {4BIO 446.7}

    Is the eye single to the glory of God in these games? I know
  that this is not so. There is a losing sight of God's way and His
  purpose. The employment of intelligent beings, in probationary
  time, is superseding God's revealed will and substituting for it
  the speculations and inventions of the human agent, with Satan
  by his side to imbue with his spirit. . . .The Lord God of heaven
  protests against the burning passion cultivated for supremacy in
  the games that are so engrossing.--Letter 17a, 1893 (AH, pp.
  499, 500). {4BIO 447.1}

  Ellen White also recognized the importance and place of the school gymnasium: {4BIO 447.2}

    The question of suitable recreation for their pupils is one that
  teachers often find perplexing. Gymnastic exercises fill a useful
  place in many schools; but without careful supervision they are
  often carried to excess. In the gymnasium many youth, by their
  attempted feats of strength, have done themselves lifelong
  injury. {4BIO 447.3}

    Exercise in a gymnasium, however well conducted, cannot
  supply the place of recreation in the open air, and for this our
  schools should afford better opportunity. Vigorous exercise the
  pupils must have. Few evils are more to be dreaded than
  indolence and aimlessness. Yet the tendency of most athletic
  sports is a subject of anxious thought to those who have at heart
  the well-being of the youth. Teachers are troubled as they
  consider the influence of these sports both on the student's
  progress in school and on his success in afterlife.--Ed., p. 210. {4BIO 447.4}

       The last quotation however fails to give fuller context so I add it here…

   The question of suitable recreation for their pupils is one that teachers often find
perplexing. Gymnastic exercises fill a useful place in many schools; but without careful
supervision they are often carried to excess. In the gymnasium many youth, by their
attempted feats of strength, have done themselves lifelong injury. {Ed 210.1}

   Exercise in a gymnasium, however well conducted, cannot supply the place of
recreation in the open air, and for this our schools should afford better opportunity.
Vigorous exercise the pupils must have. Few evils are more to be dreaded than indolence
and aimlessness. Yet the tendency of most athletic sports is a subject of anxious thought
to those who have at heart the well-being of the youth. Teachers are troubled as they

consider the influence of these sports both on the student's progress in school and on his
success in afterlife. The games that occupy so much of his time are diverting the mind
from study. They are not helping to prepare the youth for practical, earnest work in life.
Their influence does not tend toward refinement, generosity, or real manliness. {Ed 210.2}

   Some of the most popular amusements, such as football and boxing, have become
schools of brutality. They are developing the same characteristics as did the games of
ancient Rome. The love of domination, the pride in mere brute force, the reckless
disregard of life, are exerting upon the youth a power to demoralize that is appalling. {Ed

  Other athletic games, though not so brutalizing, are scarcely less objectionable
because of the excess to which they are carried. They stimulate the love of pleasure and
excitement, thus fostering a distaste for useful labor, a disposition to shun practical duties
and responsibilities.
They tend to destroy a relish for life's sober realities and its tranquil enjoyments. Thus the
door is opened to dissipation and lawlessness, with their terrible results. {Ed 210.4}

   As ordinarily conducted, parties of pleasure also are a hindrance to real growth, either
of mind or of character. Frivolous associations, habits of extravagance, of pleasure
seeking, and too often of dissipation, are formed, that shape the whole life for evil. In place
of such amusements, parents and teachers can do much to supply diversions wholesome
and life-giving. {Ed 211.1}

   In this, as in all things else that concern our well-being, Inspiration has pointed the way.
In early ages, with the people who were under God's direction, life was simple. They lived
close to the heart of nature. Their children shared in the labor of the parents and studied
the beauties and mysteries of nature's treasure house. And in the quiet of field and wood
they pondered those mighty truths handed down as a sacred trust from generation to
generation. Such training produced strong men. {Ed 211.2}

   In this age, life has become artificial, and men have degenerated. While we may not
return fully to the simple habits of those early times, we may learn from them lessons that
will make our seasons of recreation what the name implies--seasons of true upbuilding for
body and mind and soul. {Ed 211.3}

   With the question of recreation the surroundings of the home and the school have
much to do. In the choice of a home or the location of a school these things should be
considered. Those with whom mental and physical well-being is of greater moment than
money or the claims and customs of society, should seek for their children the
benefit of nature's teaching, and recreation amidst her surroundings. It would be a great
aid in educational work could every school be so situated as to afford the pupils land for
cultivation, and access to the fields and woods. {Ed 211.4}

We did not have NASCAR and many other sports when this following statement was
written but note the principles stated… Note that this is not just an objection to
gambling..more is also said about those who do not gamble but get caught in the idolizing
of the sports.

Horse races and sports

March 6, 1894 With Whom Are We Gathering?
By Mrs. E. G. White.
“The panic of desire is so contagious that even church-members, professed Christians,
are carried away with the excitement, and give countenance to the races by presenting
themselves as spectators. If they do not bet on the races, they are still one with the
transactors in spirit, and their doings are registered and condemned in the courts of
heaven. They are reckoned among the godless company, and must give an account to
God for their wasted time and money. {RH, March 6, 1894 par. 4}

     We see in these colonies (Australia and New Zealand) that which causes us great
burden of heart and suffering of mind. The people are given up to the love of pleasure, and
employ a great part of their time in seeking selfish gratification, following a round of
exciting amusements. There is a great deal of card-playing, gambling, and horse-racing.
These forms of amusement are the fashion in every town, village, and city; and for days
and weeks at a time the theme of conversation is the coming horse-race or the athletic
exercises of some club. These exercises are carried to an intemperate pass, and minds are
fairly drunken with excitement. Eternal things are dropped out of the reckoning of men. A
power from beneath is stirring the minds of men, and causing them to act with intense
energy. Betting, the giving of bribes and rewards, runs higher and higher, and a panic,
little short of madness, seems to actuate the lovers of pleasure. When horse-races or
athletic sports are in vogue, it seems that there are very few indeed who have any interest
in spiritual things, and little can be accomplished. The very atmosphere seems to be
polluted with the presence of evil angels, and Jesus, the world's Redeemer, is not in the
thoughts of men. {RH, March 6, 1894 par. 1}”

   These often-recurring rounds of pleasure are steadily growing more and more frequent; but
how does Jesus, who gave his life for men, that they need not perish but have everlasting life,
regard these scenes of wild excitement and pleasure-seeking? Satan works with all his power to
destroy the souls and bodies of those who participate in these pleasures. Disappointment in the
races causes men to go mad, and murder and suicide are the result. What is gained at these
scenes of revelry and excitement? What is the after effect? Surely the lovers of pleasure do not
come from these places with peace of mind. {RH, March 6, 1894 par. 2}

   Before the races both the older and the younger members of families try to hoard up a stock of
money to bet on some trotting horse, and with feverish anticipation they wait for the day of the
races. God is put out of their thoughts, and the salvation of their souls is the last thing for which
they are concerned. This is the kind of education the youth are receiving. In this wonderful
manifestation of folly we see a picture of the days before the flood. These occasions of
excitement do not end simply in days of feverish anticipation and in the day of fulfillment, but they
lead to worse folly. The venders of wine and beer and tobacco reap a harvest from such
occasions, and inebriates are seen everywhere. {RH, March 6, 1894 par. 3}

    Jesus, the Lifegiver, who has paid the ransom of his own life for the life of the world, looks
upon these wild scenes; and bending down he says, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in
this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!" Gisborne, New Zealand, is one of the
places where scenes like that I have described take place. The people of this town are now
waiting for their turn at the races, and they look forward to the day of the race as if some great
blessing were then to be bestowed upon them. Thousands upon thousands of pounds of money
are expended every year on horse-races and games of a wilder variety. The panic of desire is
so contagious that even church-members, professed Christians, are carried away with the
excitement, and give countenance to the races by presenting themselves as spectators. If
they do not bet on the races, they are still one with the transactors in spirit, and their
doings are registered and condemned in the courts of heaven. They are reckoned among

the godless company, and must give an account to God for their wasted time and money.
{RH, March 6, 1894 par. 4}

      "Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and
bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe
you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with
holes." "Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the
Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the
Lord's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed
with strange apparel. In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which
fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit. . . . And it shall come to pass at that time, that I
will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in
their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil. Therefore, their goods shall become
a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and
they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof. The great day of the Lord is near, it is
near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there
bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and
desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the
trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress
upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and
their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their
gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath, but the whole land shall be
devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that
dwell in the land." {RH, March 6, 1894 par. 5}

     We are living in a time when there should be deep thought and solemn consideration. What
shall be the end of these things? What profit is there under the sun? "Behold, his soul which is
lifted up is not upright in him: . . . yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man,
neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be
satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people: shall not all these
take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that
increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay! . . . Woe
to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he
may be delivered from the power of evil. . . . Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that
puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken." {RH, March 6, 1894 par. 6}


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