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					                         DRAMA

                            and the


         SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
       A Brief Historical Review of the Development of
        Drama Surrounding the Church of God From
       Eden Until Now with Emphasis on How Drama
       Entered the Seventh-day Adventist Church with
            Suggestions for Reversing this Trend.
                    Lawrence R. Hawkins, M.D.

                    College Place, Washington

                         December 2000




                   TABLE OF CONTENTS

I - INTRODUCTION
II - DEFINITIONS

III - A "BRIEF" SURVEY ON THE DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF DRAMA

 In Eden

Old Testament Times

 In Christ’s Time

 During the Dark Ages

  Drama in the Seventh-day Adventist Church

  During Ellen White’s Life Time

 From Ellen White’s Time Until the Late 1940's

  From the Mid-40's Until now

   IV. Conclusions

Reasons for Drama Entering the Seventh-day Adventist Church

 Suggestions for Ending Drama in the Seventh-day Adventist Church

Positive Action on a Negative Note

 Positive Action on a Positive Note

     V. Concluding

APPENDIX LIST

1-"FACING THE CRISIS" (With the Lesser and Greater Light - Part 1)

1a ( - Part 2)
2 Definitions

3 "THE MENACE OF THE RELIGIOUS MOVIE" -Excerpts from A. W. Tozer’s book,

           4 Review, January 4, 1881 - E G White

           5 Letter 5, 1888 - White

           6 Literary Societies: Theatrical Performances - E G White

           7 The Bible and Modern Drama - Hardinge

           8 Youth Instructor, October 9, 1902 - E G White

           9 Moral & Spiritual Standards, No. 5 - Wilcox

          10 The Joy of the Lord versus Worldly Amusements - Kern

          11 The Dangers of the Religious Drama - Fulton

          12 What of the Religious Motion Picture - Stevens

          13 Has the Time Come for Us to Alter Our Standards and Rebuild our
          Platform? - Haynes

          14 The Religious Drama, Part 1 - Wilcox

          15 The Religious Drama, Part 2 - Wilcox

          16 The Religious Drama, Part 3 - Wilcox

          17 Seventh-day Adventists and the Theater, Part 1 - Wilcox

          18 Seventh-day Adventists and the Theater, Part 2 - Wilcox

          19 Seventh-day Adventists and the Theater, Part 3 - Wilcox
           20 Seventh-day Adventists and the Theater, Part 4 - Wilcox

21 Seventh-day Adventists and the Theater, Part 5 - Wilcox

           22 Dramatic Productions in S.D.A. Institutions - A L White

           23 Committee on Guidelines for Competitive Activities & Drama GC
           Committee

           24 Do Positive Results of Dramatic Productions Outweigh the Negative
           Results? - Benton

           25 Is Dramatization Wrong? - Hancock

           26 Shall We Use Commercial Drama In Seventh-day Adventist
           Schools? - Knittel

           27 The Witches’ Den Opera at Southern College of SDA - Ferrell

           28 Drama in the Elementary Classroom - Paytee

           29 Guidelines for the Use of Dramatization Among Seventh-day
           Adventists - GC Committee

           30 Amazing Facts, October, 1999 - Batchelor

31    A - Gleaner article

      B - Letters to Editor, and Editor’s Replies

      C - Author’s Letter to Editor

      D - Editor’s Letter of Reply

       E - Author’s Letter to Jere Patzer

32 Copy of Walla Walla College Poster Advertising “The Crucible”
33 Walla Walla Union Bulletin Article, May 9, 2001

34   Walla Walla Union Bulletin Article, May 9, 2001 (copy)

35 A Tragedy at Walla Walla College - Shafer

36 What’s Right About Drama - Lee




                                   I - INTRODUCTION

Seventh-day Adventist churches and institutions are increasingly using theatrical
productions (drama) and contemporary Christian music in an attempt to draw and hold
youth and satisfy the desire of the "baby boomer" and "GenX" generations. It is time for
parents, pastors, and institutional leadership to review the stand they have taken on drama.
The question that must be answered is, " What is the inspired counsel given to this church
concerning the use of drama and is it applicable for today?"

This is a relevant question that needs exploration in view of the increasingly supportive
attitude toward drama in Seventh-day Adventist churches and institutions throughout the
world. Are we as a church and as individuals fully prepared to discern the issues involved
in the use of drama? Are we so grounded and settled in the truths of the Seventh-day
Adventist church that we will not be deceived by creeping compromise? Are we so fully
surrendered to God that the Holy Spirit can give us spiritual discernment to enlighten our
minds concerning the proper method of "bundling the gospel?" Have we become so
accustomed to movie industry drama viewed on our television screens that we are unable
to discern how it has become a snare to us, our children, and our church? Are we, through
a systematic, daily study of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, preparing our minds so
that we will allow nothing to cause us, our family, or the church to forsake truth even though
treason, apostasy, and persecution will prevail (and some of that from within the ranks of
our own church)?

Whenever a method of presenting truth is suggested, Paul’s counsel to Timothy is needed:
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth." —2 Tim. 2:15

The best guide for Seventh-day Adventist Christians who want to use a method to "bundle
the Gospel" is again given by the Apostle Paul. He says it all in one verse: "Finally,
brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are
just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of
good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." —Phil.
4:8

And what other church has such magnificent, timely, and authoritative writings to magnify
God’s word than the Seventh-day Adventist Church? Here are two examples:

            Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have
            received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that
            takes the world. —The Great Controversy, p. 624,625.

            It is not enough to know what others have thought or learned about the Bible.
            Everyone must in the judgment give account of himself to God, and each
            should now learn for himself what is truth.—Education, p. 188.

            What a lesson have we here for parents and guardians of youth, and for those
            who minister in the service of God. When existing evils are not met and
            checked, because men have too little courage to reprove wrong, or because
            they have too little interest or are too indolent to tax their own powers in putting
            forth earnest efforts to purify the family or the church of God, they are
            accountable for the evil which may result in consequence of neglect to do their
            duty. We are just as accountable for evils that we might have checked in
            others, by reproof, by warning, by exercise of parental or pastoral authority, as
            if we were guilty of the acts ourselves. —Testimonies, vol. 4, 516.

While it has become politically correct in some circles to cry "the Bible and the Bible only,"
there need be no apology for studying statements from the so-called "Victorian-age"
prophet of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to guide our decision in using drama. The
April 29, 1999, special issue of the Adventist Review, maintains that the church still holds to
the 17th fundamental belief which says:

            One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of
            the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As
            the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source
            of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and
            correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all
            teaching and experience must be tested. (Emphasis supplied.)

In fact, contrary to the "opinions" of some, who identify the Spirit of Prophecy as a "lesser"
light than the Bible, one must remember that the Spirit of Prophecy originated from the
same Holy Spirit that inspired the Bible writers. For a detailed study on the lesser and
greater light, see Elder Lawrence Nelson’s sermon entitled "Facing the Crisis," With the
Lesser and Greater Light - Part 1 and Part 2 (Appendix 1)
             For, if Satan can downgrade the Spirit of Prophecy, by this and other
             implications, so that the Testimonies are neglected—left on our shelves to
             collect dust, he knows that God’s people may not detect his final deceptions—
             deceptions that the Spirit of Prophecy not only points out clearly, but also tells
             us how to avoid. Never forget that, if possible, Satan would have all of us
             perish! (Authors Emphasis) Nelson, Part 1, p. 8.

      Consider carefully this quotation from Selected Messages, Vol. 1, p. 48:

             The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of
             the Spirit of God. "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Prov. 29:18).
             Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to
             unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony.-- Letter
             12, 1890. (Emphasis supplied)

It is the purpose of this paper to briefly explore the historical developments of drama as first
introduced by Satan in the Garden of Eden, during Old and New Testament times, during the Dark
Ages, and it’s entrance into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.. Finally, recommendations will be
made on how to use practical methods to guide parents, teachers, institutional leaders, and pastors to
teach our youth to grasp, practice, and share primitive godliness without the use of theatrical
presentations.

                                        II - DEFINITIONS

Often the argument is used that words like "theatrical" and "drama" as used by Ellen White
had different meanings than they do today. A comparison of usages as defined in
authoritative dictionaries of her time period versus today was made. This comparison
demonstrated that the meaning of these words has not changed over the last 166 years.
Please refer to these definitions as you read this paper.

                                           DEFINITIONS

Actor - "n. He that acts or performs; an active agent. 2. He that represents a character or
acts a part in a play; a stage player." American Dictionary of the English Language. Noah
Webster 1828, Vol. I, p. 3.

Actor - "n … 1 : one that acts: DOER 2 a: one who represents a character in a dramatic
production b : a theatrical performer c : one that behaves as if acting a part." Webster’s
Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1984, p. 54.

Hypocrite - Strong’s Concordance: 5273, hupokrites (hoop-ok-ree-tace'); from 5271; an
actor under an assumed character (stage-player), i.e. (figuratively) a dissembler
("hypocrite"): 5271, hupokrinomai (hoop-ok-rin'-om-ahee); middle voice from 5259 and
2919; to decide (speak or act) under a false part, i.e., (figuratively) dissemble (pretend):
KJV-- feign.

NOTE: Every time the word is used in the New Testament, it was used by Jesus. It is found fourteen
times in Matthew, one time in Mark, and five times in Luke, each time referring to the Pharisees.

It is interesting to note that the Greek word hypocrite, used for some two thousand years, defines an
individual as an actor who assumed another character or a stage-player. The definitions for actor used
in 1828 and 1984 also define an actor as a stage-player. An actor or hypocrite will be pursued in depth
later.

Drama - "n. [Gr *D"µ", from *D"T, to make.] a poem or composition representing a picture
of human life, and accommodated to action. The principal species of the drama are tragedy
and comedy: inferior species are tragi-comedy, opera, &tc." American,1828, Vol. I, p. 67.

Drama - "n [LL dramt-, drama, fr Gr, deed, drama, fr. dran to do, act] … 1 : a composition
in verse or prose intended to portray life or character or to tell a story usu. involving
conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue and typically designed for theatrical
performance." Webster’s, 1984, p. 381.

Dramatize - "v. t. To compose in the form of the drama; or to give to a composition the
form of a play." American, 1828, Vol. I, p. 67.

Dramatize - "vt … 1 : to adapt (as a novel) the theatrical presentation 2 : to present or
represent in a dramatic manner." Webster’s, 1984, p. 381.

Fiction - "n. [L, fictio, from fingo, to feign.] 1. The act of feigning, inventing or imagining; as,
by the mere fiction of the mind. Stillingfleet. 2. That which is feigned, invented or imagined.
The story is a fiction." American, 1828, Vol. I, p. 82.

Fiction - "n 1 a : something invented by the imagination or feigned; specif : an invented
story b : fictitious literature (as novels or short stories) 2 : an assumption of a possibility as
                                                           -
a fact irrespective of the question of its truth {a legal } 3 : the action of feigning or of
creating with the imagination." Webster’s, 1984, p. 460.

NOTE: Since acting, drama, plays and theatrical performance frequently use fiction, this subject will be
expanded later.

Play - "n. 7. A dramatic composition; a comedy or tragedy; a composition in which
characters are represented by dialogue and action. 8. Representation or exhibition of a
comedy or tragedy; as, to be at the play. He attends every play." American, 1828, Vol. II, p.
36.

Play - "n 7 a : the stage representation of an action or story b : a dramatic composition :
DRAMA." Webster’s, 1984, p. 902.

Play - "v. i. 14. To act a part on the stage; to personate a character. ‘a lord will hear you
play to-night’. Shak. 15. To represent a standing character. ‘Courts are theaters where
some men play.’ Donne. American, 1828, Vol. II, p. 36.


Play vi 3 b (1) : to act in a dramatic production (2) : SHOW, RUN {what’s    - ing at the
theater}." Webster’s, 1984, p. 902.

Theater - "n. 1. Among the ancients, a edifice in which spectacles or shows were exhibited
for amusement of spectators. 2. In modern times, a house for the exhibition of dramatic
performances, as tragedies, comedies and farces; a play-house; comprehending the stage,
the pit, the boxes, galleries and orchestra." American, 1828, Vol. II, p. 92.

Theater - "n 1 a : an outdoor structure for dramatic performances or spectacles in ancient
Greece and Rome b : a building for dramatic performances c : a building or area for
showing motion pictures." Webster’s, 1984, p. 1222.

Theatric, Theatrical - "a. Pertaining to a theater or to scenic representations; resembling
the manner of dramatic performers; as theatrical dress; theatrical performances; theatrical
gestures." American, 1828, Vol. II, p. 91.

Theatrical, also Theatric adj … 1 : of or relating to the theater or the presentation of plays
{a   - costume) 2 : marked by pretense or artificiality of emotion." Webster’s, 1984, p. 1222.
                            For More on This Subject Also see-

THE BROKEN BLUEPRINT                Why is that Educational blueprint not being
followed today? How did our schools veer off the path? This book provides you with
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                                          CONTINUE Chapter 1-
                                       DRAMA

                                          and the



              SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
  III - A "BRIEF" SURVEY ON THE DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF DRAMA

In Eden:

The introduction of drama into the home, school, and place of worship is not a new
concept. Satan used drama in the Garden of Eden, our parents’ first home, school, and
church. Playing the part of a beautiful serpent with the tree of good and evil as his prop, he
convinced Eve, through his cleverly prepared lines (lies), to accept his suggestion that she
could become as God and never die. From that single play, acted out with the backdrop of
Eden, this planet was plunged into seething rebellion.

On the other hand, before the Fall, God spoke directly with our parents. He instructed them
with absolute truth and gave them a mind equipped with total recall in order for them to
retain His instructions. And even after the Fall, He did not abandon them. He personally
promised Adam and Eve that there was a way of escape. "And I will put enmity between
thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and
thou shalt bruise his heel." —Genesis 3:15. As oral tradition became corrupted, God
provided His instructions in written form. Never the less, whether by oral tradition or in
written form, God conveyed to man, at the onset of sin, that Satan’s head would be
wounded (defeated) and His Son’s heel would be wounded (victory). This promise required
the sacrifice of the God-Man called Jesus. No play acting here! His life, death and
resurrection was and continues to be a reality.
Old Testament Times:

Many examples of play-acting can be drawn from the Old Testament. Here are three:
Jacob pretending to be Esau, Joseph’s brothers rehearsing the lines they concocted
concerning the supposed death of their brother before their father (with a prop to support
their lies—a bloodstained coat), and David feigning madness. Each instance was used to
deceive, just as Satan did in the Garden of Eden.

David Lee places this issue in proper perspective when he writes in his pamphlet entitled
Drama? Truth-full? or Pretentious?, p. 8.

But did not God employ drama to Bible times? Yes, if by "drama" is meant activities which
are unusual and grab people’s attention. But we have found no evidence that God’s
messengers ever employed "drama" in the sense that drama-advocates today employ the
term.

On a number of occasions priests (as in the whole sanctuary service) and prophets (Isa.
20:2,3; Jer. 24:1-10; 27:2-12; 32:1-19; Ezek. 4:1-5:4; 12:2-7) made graphic representations
designed by God to convey a message to His backslidden people. (See Ed 41; CG 19:
"figures and symbols… animated imagery.") It should be noted that in giving these visual
lessons, the messengers never surrendered their own individuality. Their visual "sermons"
involved pain, suffering, and time, and were designed by God to awaken the curiosity,
inquiry, and empathy of an insensible, "stiff-necked" people. They were not a mere "mime"
or pretense or impersonation. They were a painful, prayerful reality! Of some of the
sacrificial rituals, God declared His abhorrence (see Psalm 51:16, 17; Isa. 1:10-28).
Indeed, He "gave them statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should
not live. And I polluted them in their own gifts" (Ezek. 20:25, 26). He desired a loving,
obedient relationship with them, not the bloody, sacrificial system (see Jer. 7:19-30). "In the
past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to
repent" (Acts 17:30, NIV).

We believe that it is unfair to cite the Old Testament sanctuary rituals and Ezekiel to defend
pretentious drama. Those who cite their extreme efforts to touch hearts, might gain greater
truth and power by fasting and prayer for modern Israel for 180 days+, as did Ezekiel!
(Emphasis Supplied)

A. W. Tozer in his book, The Menace of the Religious Movie, clarifies the subject more
fully:

The profession of acting did not originate with the Hebrews. It is not a part of the divine
pattern. The Bible mentions it, but never approves it. Drama, as it has come down to us,
had its rise in Greece. It was originally a part of the worship of the god Dionysus and was
carried on with drunken revelry. —"Excerpts from The Menace of the Religious Movie," p.
15 (Appendix 3).

In Christ’s Time:

Drama, acting, and theatrical productions were prominent among the Greeks and
assimilated by the Romans. Amphitheaters were built throughout the Roman Empire and
theatrical productions were known to Christ and His followers. Yet, nowhere in Scripture do
we find Jesus or any of the writers of the New Testament exemplifying or suggesting the
use of drama to present the Gospel.

On the contrary, Christ’s method of giving the Good News of salvation was through healing
(the medical work), teaching (the educational work), preaching (evangelism), and one-to-
one conversations (personal witnessing). The Gospels are full of His examples in using
these methods.

His commission to his disciples was, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even
unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:19, 20). It certainly was not, "Go ye
therefore, and set up theatrical performances." Note the following inspired counsel:

The Lord has given evidence of His love for the world. There was no falsity, no acting, in
what He did. He gave a living gift, capable of suffering humiliation, neglect, shame,
reproach. This Christ did that He might rescue the fallen. While human beings were
instituting schemes and methods to destroy Him, the Son of the Infinite God came to our
world to give an example of the great work to be done to redeem and save man. But today
the proud and disobedient are striving to acquire a great name and great honor from their
fellow men by using their God-given endowments to amuse.--Manuscript 42, 1898. {Ev
267.1}

Whatever is done under the sanctified stimulus of Christian obligation, because you are
stewards in trust of talents to use to be a blessing to yourself and to others, gives you
substantial satisfaction; for all is done to the glory of God. I cannot find an instance in the
life of Christ where He devoted time to play and amusement. He was the great Educator for
the present and the future life. I have not been able to find one instance where He
educated His disciples to engage in amusement of football or pugilistic games, to
obtain physical exercise, or in theatrical performances; and yet Christ was our pattern
in all things. Christ, the world’s Redeemer, gave to every man his work and bids them
"occupy till I come." —Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 229. (Emphasis Supplied)

 Some imply that Ellen White’s writings do not reveal an across-the-board condemnation of
all enacted programs. She was primarily speaking against the low songs and lewd
gestures, of sensational drama that portrayed vicious habits and sinful propensities. But in
Manuscript Release 909 as recorded in 11MR pages 334 thru 342, she counsels a mother
who was taking her children to the theater as follows:

Had you, my sister, followed on to know the Lord, you would during this period of time have
had enlightenment from the Sun of Righteousness. Your only safety lay in following in His
footsteps. But in not decidedly taking your stand to give no sanction by your presence to
the theatrical performance of your children, you have encouraged them in their choice of
the use they have made of their talents. Their capabilities and power belong to God, but
they are not now being used to gather with Christ. All their talents were lent them to use to
the honor and the glory of God, that they might win souls away from everything that
pertains to this class of fascinating amusement that absorbs the mind and draws it away
from God and from heavenly things. But they have not had an experimental knowledge of
what is truth. The principles of truth have never been stamped upon their souls. The
deceptive temptation that they can be a blessing to the world while serving as actresses is
a delusion and a snare, not only to themselves, but to your own soul. Said Christ, "Without
Me ye can do nothing." Can the Lord Jesus Christ accept these theatrical exhibitions as
service done for Him? Can He be glorified thereby? No. All this kind of work is done in the
service of another leader. 11MR, p. 335.2 (Emphasis Suppled)

There is an abundance of theatrical performances in our world, but in its highest
order it is without God. We need now to point souls to the uplifted Saviour. Deceptions,
impositions, and every evil work are in our world. Satan, the wily foe in angel’s garments, is
working to deceive and destroy. The object of the death of Christ was to declare His
righteousness, and no man, woman or child can do this in his own strength, or by his own
words. 11MR, p. 338 (Emphasis Supplied)

During the Dark Ages:

After the "conversion" of Constantine, the Christian Church (which eventually became the
Roman Catholic Church) assimilated unconverted and untutored pagans into their
congregations. The half-converted pagans brought with them the liturgy of the mass, the
pageantry of the priestly garb, the hypnotizing chants of the singers, and the magnificent
cathedrals (formerly pagan temples) with their frescoes, statuary and paintings. Attending
mass was a repeat theatrical performance for the worshipers. The Bible was banned and
tradition took the place of "thus saith the Lord."

Commenting on drama that took place during the Middle Ages Tozer, continues:

The Miracle Plays had their big run in the Middle Ages. They were dramatic performances
with religious themes staged for the entertainment of the populace. At their best they were
misguided efforts to teach spiritual truths by dramatic representation; at their worst they
were shockingly irreverent and thoroughly reprehensible.…

Those who would appeal for precedent to the Miracle Plays have certainly overlooked
some important facts. For instance, the vogue of the Miracle Play coincided exactly with the
most dismally corrupt period the Church has known. When the Church emerged at last
from its long moral night these plays lost popularity and finally passed away. And be it
remembered, the instrument God used to bring the Church out of the darkness was not
drama; it was the Biblical one of Spirit-baptized preaching. Serious minded men thundered
the truth and people turned to God.

Indeed history will show that no spiritual advance, no revival, no upsurge of spiritual life has
ever been associated with acting in any form. The Holy Spirit never honors pretense.

Can it be that the historic pattern is being repeated? That the appearance of the religious
movie is symptomatic of the low state of spiritual health we are in today? I fear so. Only the
absence of the Holy Spirit from the pulpit and lack of true discernment on the part of
professing Christians can account for the spread of religious drama among so-called
evangelical churches. A Spirit-filled church could not tolerate it. —Tozer, pp. 16, 17.
(Author’s emphasis.)

What a contrast to the Biblical and unpretentious services of the Waldenses of the
Piedmont Mountains. High in these secluded schools, youth were taught to memorize great
portions of the Scripture and many were prepared by their schools to be missionaries to all
parts of Europe. When they left their secluded mountain homes to share the gospel, they
were accompanied by an older, experienced companion who taught them how to work for
the salvation of men, women and children who had been kept in spiritual darkness by the
papal system.

No theatrical performances were practiced by these heroes. Their very lives witnessed to
the real drama of life and death.

In many cases the messenger of truth was seen no more. He had made his way to other
lands, or he was wearing out his life in some unknown dungeon, or perhaps his bones were
whitening on the spot where he had witnessed for the truth. But the words he had left
behind could not be destroyed. They were doing their work in the hearts of men; the
blessed results will be fully known only in the judgment. — The Great Controversy, p. 75.

Drama in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church:

 During Ellen White’s Lifetime

1866 - After Observing Dr. Jackson’s Danville, N.Y. Program:

 On August 16, 1865, Elder White suffered a right upper extremity stroke from the
extreme pressure of his constant labor for the church. In a Review (while the Review
has had several name changes since its inception, for purposes of brevity in this
paper, all quotations from that periodical will be referred to as Review) article dated
February 20, 1866, and entitled “Our Late Experience,” Ellen White explains their
personal journey toward regaining her husband’s health. They went to Dr. Jackson’s
institution. Dr. Jackson and his physician staff recommended activities for regaining
health that the Whites could not approve. One of those activities was the attendance
of the theater. Mrs. White’s first statements concerning theater attendance is the
following:

 We were unable to attend Dr. Jackson’s morning lectures but a few times for the
following reasons: The first and greatest reason was, the heated atmosphere of the
hall had a painful and benumbing influence upon the brain of my husband. When he
dwelt upon the subject of Health, we were too deeply interested for the good of our
wearied minds, for our minds would begin to travel, comparing Dr. J’s philosophy
with facts established in our minds, which had been received from higher and
unerring authority. The mind would become excited and weary. Especially was this
the case with my husband. And again, when Dr. Jackson and other physicians
advanced and sought to sustain ideas that we could not receive from our religious
standpoint, especially in regard to amusements and pleasure, dancing, card•playing,
theater-going, etc., we could not see harmony between his religious teachings, and
the teachings of Christ recorded in the New Testament.

 We had nothing to do with religious controversy, nor with advancing our views, nor
in getting together those of our faith and having meetings. We went to Dansville for
rest of body and mind. And although we expected to hear and see that which we
could not receive and unite in, yet these things, notwithstanding our efforts to the
contrary, would excite the mind more or less; and in the long wakeful nights we were
comparing the life of Christ, and his teachings in regard to what constitutes a
Christian, with the teaching on this point set forth at that institution, and we could not
harmonize them.



As we have taken an active part in the Health Reform, and have twice been at
Dansville, once as visitors, and once as patients, and have spoken in high terms of
the skill of their physicians in curing disease by the application of water, and other
hygienic remedies, many have supposed that we approbated and received all that
was taught by the leaders of that institution. The questions have frequently been
asked us, not only by our people, but by leading men of other denominations, “Do
you sanction the card-playing, dancing, and attending theaters? I understand they
profess to be religious, and that they mix all these amusements with their religion.” It
has been necessary for us to speak plainly and say that we have had no part nor lot
in these matters, and we do not approve of such amusements being recommended
by Christian men and women as innocent. I heard more than one mother at Dansville
remark that she had extolled the physicians at Dansville to her children, yet would
not have her sons hear them recommend these amusements for anything; for she
had instructed her children that the influence of these amusements was evil; that she
had known them to be thus in her observant experience, and had not seen in them
redeeming features that would lead her to change her opinion in regard to their
pernicious influence, especially on the young. I have been asked, “Could you with
safety send your youthful children, away from your influence, to that institution to
learn the correct manner of living, and to regain lost health?” I was compelled to say
that I could not, unless they were children who had marked independence of mind,
and firm religious principles. This alone proves a safeguard against those who would
attempt to gloss over these amusements by calling them harmless, and needful for
health, and try to persuade them to join in the dance, the card-playing, and theater-
going. —Review, February 20, 1866. (Emphasis Supplies)

1878 - Dangers Lurk in The Pathway of The Young:
Writing about the festivals and theatrical performances in the fashionable churches,
Ellen White penned the following warning:

 Death, clad in the livery of Heaven, lurks in the pathway of the young. Sin is gilded
over by church sanctity. These various forms of amusement in the churches of our
day have ruined thousands who, but for them, might have remained upright and
become the followers of Christ. Wrecks of character have been made by these
fashionable church festivals and theatrical performances, and thousands more will
be destroyed; yet people will not be aware of the danger, nor of the fearful influences
exerted. Many young men and women have lost their souls through these corrupting
influences. —Review, November 21, 1878. (Emphasis Supplied)

Keep this statement in mind as you read the results of a young woman who
participated in church plays in the Methodist church in the section titled 1881 -
Councils on Literary Societies.

1880 - Counsel for Ministers to Preach the Word:

In Testimonies, Vol. 4, p. 415, an early reference to drama as it relates to our
ministers preaching the word was given:

 The world is teeming with errors and fables. Novelties in the form of sensational
dramas are continually arising to engross the mind, and absurd theories abound
which are destructive to moral and spiritual advancement. The cause of God needs
men of intellect, men of thought, men well versed in the Scriptures, to meet the in
flowing tide of opposition. We should give no sanction to arrogance,
narrow•mindedness, and inconsistencies, although the garment of professed piety
may be thrown over them. Those who have the sanctifying power of the truth upon
their hearts will exert a persuasive influence. Knowing that the advocates of error
cannot create or destroy truth, they can afford to be calm and considerate.
(Emphasis Supplied)



1881 - Counsel on Literary Societies:

In an article written by Ellen White entitled “Literary Societies” in the Review of
January 4, 1881, there is recorded a conversation that took place with a young
Methodist woman who wanted to be an actress. The reproduction of this
conversation reveals Mrs. White’s consistent attitude concerning drama. It is
apparent the young woman desired more to be an actress than to give herself over to
Christ. It is also interesting to note that her first desire to be an actress was
awakened by the plays and skits she took part in at the Methodist Church. The
complete article follows:

 The purposes and objects which lead to the formation of literary societies may be
good; but unless wisdom from God shall control these organizations, they will
become a positive evil. Various entertainments are introduced to make the meetings
interesting and attractive for worldlings, and thus the exercises of the so-called
literary society too often degenerate into demoralizing theatrical performances, and
cheap nonsense. All these gratify the carnal mind, that is at enmity with God; but
they do not strengthen the intellect nor confirm the morals. Little by little, the spiritual
element is ruled out by the irreligious, and the effort to harmonize principles which
are antagonistic in their nature proves a decided failure. When God’s people
voluntarily unite with the worldly and unconsecrated, and give them the pre-
eminence, they will be led away from him by the unsanctified influence under which
they have placed themselves. (Emphasis Supplied)

 Many literary societies are in reality young theaters on a cheap scale, and they
create in the youth a taste for the stage. While writing upon this point, my eye
falls upon the following striking incident from real life:— (Emphasis Supplied)

“ ‘It is of no use, Mrs. W., I have tried again and again, and I cannot become a
Christian.’

“ ‘So you said a year ago, yet you thought there was nothing in the way.’

“ ‘I don’t think there is now, but I don’t feel any different from what I did then, and I
don’t believe I ever shall be a Christian.’

“The first speaker was a bright girl somewhat over twenty, who, on a previous visit
nearly a year before, had confided to her elder friend her earnest desire to become a
Christian. Of her evident sincerity there could be no doubt, and the visitor was sorely
puzzled to understand why her young friend had not yet found peace. The two were
standing by the half-opened door of the Sunday-school room, where a rehearsal for
an ‘entertainment’ was in progress; and the girl, looking in, seemed suddenly to find
there a suggestion for further thought.

“ ‘I believe,’ she said hesitatingly, ‘there is one thing I cannot give up.’
“ ‘Give it up at once, dear.’

“ ‘But I can’t.’

“ ‘Come to Jesus first then, and he will give you the power.’

‘I don’t want him to. I believe if I knew I should die and be lost in three weeks from
tonight, I would rather be lost than give up my passion.’

“ ‘And what is this dearly loved thing, worth so much more than your salvation?’

“ ‘Oh, it isn’t worth more, only I love it more, and I can’t and won’t give it up. It’s that I
—I want to be an actress; I know I have the talent; I’ve always hoped the way would
open for me to go upon the stage, and I can’t help hoping so still.’

“ ‘Do you think it would be wrong for you to do so, provided the way did open?’

 “ ‘I don’t know that it would be a sin ; but I couldn’t do it and be a Christian; the two
things don’t go together.’

 “ ‘How did you come by such a taste? I am sure you do not belong to a theater-going
family?’

 “ ‘Oh no! my father and mother are Methodists; they always disapproved of the
theater. I’ve been in Sunday-school all my life. They used to make me sing and recite
at the entertainments when I was four years old, and I acted the angel and fairy parts
in the dialogues; and when I grew older, I always arranged the tableaux, charades,
etc. Then I joined a set of sociables got up by our church young people. At first we
did “Mrs. Jarley’s Wax-works,” and sung “Pinafore” for the benefit of the church; and
then we got more ambitious, studied, and had private theatricals, and last winter we
hired Mason’s Hall and gave a series of Shakespearean performances, which
cleared off a large part of the church debt. But that’s only second-class work, after
all. I want to do the real thing, to go upon the stage as a profession. My father won’t
hear of it; but I hope some time the way will be opened that I may realize my heart’s
desire.’

“ ‘And meantime, will you not come to Jesus and be saved?’

“ ‘No, I cannot do it and keep to this hope, and I will not give this up.’
 “And so the visitor turned sadly away, thinking for what miserable messes of pottage
men and women are willing to sell their glorious birthright as children of God; thinking
also of the seeds which are being sowed in our Sunday-schools, the tares among the
wheat, and the terrible harvest that may yet spring up from this well-meant but
injudicious seed-sowing.” —Review, January 4, 1881.

Then, in another article in the same issue of the Review, Mrs. White describes
what would constitute a viable Adventist literary society:

 It has been our study to devise some plan for the establishment of a literary society
which shall prove a benefit to all connected with it, —a society in which all its
members shall feel a moral responsibility to make it what it should be, and to avoid
the evils that have made such associations dangerous to religious principle. Persons
of discretion and good judgment, who have a living connection with Heaven, who will
see the evil tendencies, and, not deceived by Satan, will move straight forward in the
path of integrity, continually holding aloft the banner of Christ, —such a class are
needed to control in these societies. Such an influence will command respect, and
make these gatherings a blessing rather than a curse. If men and women of mature
age would unite with young persons to organize and conduct such a literary society,
it might become both useful and interesting. But when such gatherings degenerate
into occasions for fun and boisterous mirth, they are anything but literary or elevating.
They are debasing to both mind and morals. —Review, 1/4/81 (See Appendix 4 for
the complete article.)

Keep in mind that three years before this counsel was penned, Luther Warren, age
14 and Harry Fenner, age 17 began a youth organization with the primary object,
Christian service and the salvation of their back-slidden friends. In tracing the youth
organizations starting with Warren and Fenner, Malcolm J. Allen (a youth leader for
more than thirty years and Pathfinder and Youth Director of the General Conference
at the time of writing, 1995) in his book, Divine Guidance or Worldly Pressure, p. 27
& 28 states,

 In 1881 the second recorded youth society began in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, with similar
aims and objectives. The next twenty-five years saw such groups spring up
independently in many parts of the world. There does not appear to have been any
formal direction given by the church. A pattern of unity, however, can be clearly
seen as God led His church to move forward together. Members who recognized the
need of youth responded to the motivation and prompting of the Spirit to work with
them. At the same time many articles appeared from the pen of Mrs. E. G. White
urging a work for our youth and the acceptance by the church of their responsibility
toward them.

 Beginning with Luther Warren and Harry Fenner in 1879, these societies naturally
began to appear. By the turn of the century, more than 70 youth groups had formed
in the church. Ibid. p. 47

These youth organizations were not the typical literary society of the prevailing age.
Recognizing the need for a special kind of literary society for our youth, Mrs. White
penned the following counsel in the Signs of the Times, May 29, 1883:

 Young men and young women, cannot you form companies, and as soldiers of
Christ, enlist in the work, putting all your tact, skill and talent into the Master’s
Service, that you may save souls for Him? Let there be companies formed in every
church to do this work.

Will the young men and young women who really love Jesus organize themselves
as workers, not only for those who profess to be Sabbath keepers, but for those who
are not of this faith?



      These developments will be further explored in the section dated 1900.

       1881 - Ellen White’s Counsel to Battle Creek College Students
      Living With Families:

       In the early days of Battle Creek College, there were no dormitories.
      The students lived in the homes of families residing near the college.
      The dangers of “theatrical amusements” were clearly delineated by the
      following statement penned to the students:

       Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater. Instead
      of being a school of morality and virtue, as is so often claimed, it is the
      very hot-bed of immorality. Vicious habits and sinful propensities are
      strengthened and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs, lewd
      gestures, expressions, and attitudes, deprave the imagination and
      debase the morals. Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions
      will be corrupted in principle. There is no influence in our land more
      powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and
      to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life,
than theatrical amusements. The love for these scenes increases with
every indulgence, as the desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its
use. The only safe course is to shun the theater, the circus, and every
other questionable place of amusement. —Testimonies, Vol. 4, pp. 652,
653. (Emphasis Supplied)

1881 - Battle Creek Sanitarium:

In the early Battle Creek Sanitarium days, some proposed having small
plays and skits at the Sanitarium to entertain and educate the patients.
God gave Ellen White the following testimony on the subject in an article
entitled “Position and Work of the Sanitarium”:

 Worldly or theatrical entertainments are not essential for the prosperity
of the Sanitarium or for the health of the patients. The more they have of
this kind of amusements, the less will they be pleased unless something
of the kind shall be continually carried on. The mind is in a fever of unrest
for something new and exciting, the very thing it ought not to have. And if
these amusements are once allowed, they are expected again, and the
patients lose their relish for any simple arrangement to occupy the time.
—Testimonies, Vol 4, p.578 (Emphasis Supplied)

1883 - Ellen White’s Observation While Traveling:

 In the seat next us in the car was an actress, evidently a woman of
ability, and possessed of many good qualities, which, if devoted to the
service of God, might win for her the Savior’s commendation, “Well done,
thou good and faithful servant.” This woman and myself are both actors
on the stage of life, but oh, how vastly different is our work! I felt not the
slightest temptation to desire her honors. I thirst not for the applause of
the idle and pleasure•loving multitudes that seek the unnatural
excitement of the drama.

 The theater is a poor place of resort for the strengthening of virtuous
principles. Rather, its influence is highly injurious to both health and
morals. The lady’s attendant remarked that it was somewhat trying to be
deprived of sleep night after night until two and sometimes three o’clock
in the morning, and then spend a large portion of the day in bed. The
divinely•appointed order of day and night is disregarded, health is
sacrificed, for the amusement of those who are lovers of pleasure more
than lovers of God. The effect is demoralizing to all concerned. Two or
three evenings a week spent in attending balls, or theatric or operatic
entertainments, will enervate both mind and body, and prevent the
development of that strength of character which is essential to
usefulness in society. The only safe amusements are such as will not
banish serious and religious thoughts; the only safe places of resort are
those to which we can take Jesus with us. —Review, “Notes of Travel,”
November 6, 1883. (Emphasis Supplied)

 1888 - Ellen Whites Granddaughter Participated in Skit Dressed as
an Angel:

  On Sabbath morning, December 22, 1888, Ellen White attended a
theatrical performance put on by the Battle Creek Sabbath School in
which her six-year-old granddaughter, Ella W. White, was dressed as
and acted the part of an angel. There were props, actors, music, and
poems. Four days later, on Wednesday morning, December 26, 1888
she wrote a letter to Brother Morse. In this letter it becomes obvious that
Mrs. White did condemn the program. When you finish reading the
entire letter to Brother Morse, taken from 2MR, pages 235-238 (Letter 5,
1888), you will understand why she made the following statement (see
Appendix 5 for the full letter.) The definitions of the word condemn is “to
declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil, usually after weighing
evidence and without reservation” —Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate
Dictionary.)

 I must say I was pained by these things, so out of order with the very
work of reformation we were trying to carry forward in the church and
with our institutions, that I should have felt better if I had not been
present. —2MR, p. 236.

This letter will be discussed later in reviewing a paper written by A. L.
White in 1963 entitled “Dramatic Productions in SDA Institutions.”

1890 - Comments on the Apostasy at Jordan:

 It is apparent from the material that made up the chapter entitled
“Apostasy at the Jordan,” in the book Patriarchs and Prophets, that
Christians can be corrupted by exposure to drama as was ancient Israel
at Baal-peor. The dramatic temple services of Baal-peor enticed the
children of Israel to a deadly compromise. Is it any different today? We
are warned:

 Many of the amusements popular in the world today, even with those
who claim to be Christians, tend to the same end as did those of the
heathen. There are indeed few among them that Satan does not turn to
account in destroying souls. Through the drama he has worked for
ages to excite passion and glorify vice. The opera, with its fascinating
display and bewildering music, the masquerade, the dance, the card
table, Satan employs to break down the barriers of principle and open
the door to sensual indulgence. In every gathering for pleasure where
pride is fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and
lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains about the
soul. —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 459 (Emphasis Supplied)


1893 - Counsel Concerning Sabbath School Programs:

 Children can very quickly become trained in “pride and love of display.”
These characteristics can be fostered by Sabbath School programs. Mrs.
White sounded the warning in the journal, Christian Education, which is
compiled in the book Fundamentals of Christian Education, page 253:

 In the Sabbath school, men and women have been accepted as officers
and teachers, who have not been spiritually minded, and had no live
interest in the work committed to their care; but matters can be set in
order only through the aid of the Holy Spirit. The same evil has existed
for years as now exists in our churches. Formality, pride, and love of
display have taken the place of true piety and humble godliness. We
might see a different order of things should a number consecrate
themselves wholly to God, and then devote their talents to the Sabbath
school work, ever advancing in knowledge, and educating themselves so
that they would be able to instruct others as to the best methods to
employ in the work; but it is not for the workers to seek for methods
by which they can make a show, consuming time in theatrical
performances and musical display, for this benefits no one. It does no
good to train the children to makes speeches for special occasions. They
should be won to Christ, and instead of expending time, money, and
effort to make a display, let the whole effort be made to gather sheaves
for the harvest. (Emphasis Supplied)
 And the following statement by Mrs. White highlights the previous one
and is taken from Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 46:

 Pride, self-esteem, and boldness are marked characteristics of the
children of this day, and they are the curse of the age. When I see this
un-Christlike, unlovely manifestation on every side, and then see
parents and teachers seeking to display the ability and proficiency of
their children and scholars, I am pained to the heart; for I know that it is
exactly the opposite course from the one that should be pursued.

1893 - Senses Are Confused by Theatrical Performances:

 Again, we are counseled to protect our youth from theatrical
performances while receiving their education, for it will confuse their
senses while truth is being presented to them.

 Satan’s work is to lead men to ignore God, to so engross and absorb the
mind that God will not be in their thoughts. The education they have
received has been of a character to confuse the mind, and eclipse the
true light. Satan does not wish the people to have a knowledge of God;
and if he can set in operation games and theatrical performances that
will so confuse the senses of the young that human beings will perish in
darkness while light shines all about them, he is well pleased. —Review,
March 13, 1900. (Emphasis Supplied)

1900 - Counsel on Lyceums and Literary Societies Revisited:

Nineteen years later, Mrs. White repeated her counsel given in the 1881
Review article concerning literary societies and lyceums. Writing to
Seventh-day Adventist youth organizations, whose members began
using acts and plays in their literary societies and lyceums, she said:

If your lyceums and literary societies would be made an opportunity for
searching the Bible, it would be far more an intellectual society than it
can ever become through the attention being turned to theatrical
performances. What high and noble truths the mind may fasten upon
and explore in God’s Word!

 Those who compose these societies, who profess to love and
reverence sacred things, and yet allow the mind to come down to the
superficial, to the unreal, to the simple, cheap, fictitious acting, are
doing the devil’s work just as surely as they look upon and unite with
these scenes. —MS 41, 1900, p.246.1. (Emphasis Supplied)

 It would appear, upon reading the complete article, that a gradual
compromise and vacillation was taking place in the church concerning
drama and fiction. Her counsel was to use the lyceums and literary
societies to foster a search of God’s word. (See Appendix 6 for the full
article.)

  Malcolm J. Allen, General Conference Youth leader writes in his book
Divine Guidance or Worldly Pressure? Youth Ministries in the Seventh-
day Adventist Church, describing the state of affairs in the church at the
turn of the century.

 Flora Plummer, who was actively involved in the work and development
of youth ministry in the church at that time, graphically describes the
problems the church faced relative to youth in 1901.

  It was not until 1901 that any steps were taken by the General
Conference toward the development of the young people’s work. The
situation at that time was not the most encouraging. While the influence
that had been done was being felt in a few of the conferences, there was
no uniformity of action. The plans of organization were varied according
to the ideas of the leaders of the conferences. Societies were formed,
then oftentimes discontinued from lack of interest. Some were
conducted in a way to work reproach upon the whole movement.
Difficulties were encountered. Apparently insurmountable obstacles
appeared on the horizon. Conservatism raised the danger cry.

At the same time each church and company of believers was face to
face with the fact that the children and youth were losing interest in the
message, and were steadily and rapidly drifting away. Sober minds were
asking, where are our young people of ten years ago? What proportion
of them are now bearing responsibility in the work of God? Are our
churches everywhere materially strengthened and helped by
consecrated energy, enthusiasm, and stability of the strong men and
women who a few years ago were children in the congregations of our
people? The answer which almost every church had to give such
questions revealed the universal need of well directed efforts in carrying
out the instructions of the Spirit of Prophecy eight years before —Flora
Plummer, “Early History of the Seventh-day Adventist Young People’s
work” (G.C. Archives, No. LF 3048) p 53, 54.

 After the 1901 General Conference Session, the General Conference
Committee placed the responsibility of organizing a youth program in the
hands of the Sabbath School Department. Mrs. Plummer, General
Conference Secretary of the Sabbath School Department, wrote Mrs.
White for counsel before outlining a plan for organization.

I wish to counsel with you in regard to the Young People’s Work,
believing with your experience will be of real value. Very much to my
surprise I find myself in a position where I am expected to plan for that
movement, as the General Conference Committee placed it in charge of
the Sabbath School Department.

  The situation is this: In quite a number of places—but mostly in our
large churches—during the last two years, young people’s societies have
been formed. These all adopted a longer or shorter ‘constitution and by-
laws, and much has been made of the machinery part of the work. In
some places the result has been fairly good, while in other places it has
been disastrous. The disastrous part came in by the young people
electing their own officers, program committees, etc., without the counsel
with the church, and the very spirit of the work was lost in the effort to get
from the “society” the “entertainment,” the “mutual improvement,” and the
social features which are such a snare to our young people. The church
could do nothing, for by the very constitution they were shut out. This
condition is not true in every instance, but the danger is always there.—
Ibid., Allen, p 56,57.

 Allen shares with his readers Mrs. White’s reply through her son, W. C.
White in a July 15, 1901 letter.

 The reply from Elder W. C. White came within a few days

Dear Sister

Your letter of July 11 came to hand several days ago and was read with
much interest. I handed it to Sr. Druillard asking her to read it to Mother
and to Sr. Peck and to gather all the light she could regarding the
questions you have asked. This has been done. Mother says that in
that which has been presented to her and that which she has written
regarding young people’s work, it has been the spirit and energy, and far-
reaching efforts in behalf of all classes of people and all lines of Christian
work as reported through the officers of the Christian Endeavor
Societies, that has impressed her as being efforts worthy of imitation and
it is the energy, the faithfulness, the alertness and the devotion in these
societies which she has been instructed to point to as an example to our
people, rather than to the plan of organization, the constitutions and
machinery. (Letter from W. C. White to L. Flora Plummer, Written from
St. Helen, California, July 25, 1901)

 The counsel was clear. We were not to copy the world in structure,
organization or the mechanics of operation for our youth societies.
Neither were we urged to copy their programs or content. What was
held up as being worthy of emulation was the energy, faithfulness, and
dedication to the principles of salvation and service evidenced in the
Christian Endeavor Society. Ibid. Allen, p. 59.

 At the 1907 General Conference Counsel in Gland, Switzerland, a
Young People’s Department of the General Conference was
established. The Department was placed in the capable hands of M. E.
Kern and soon the Missionary Volunteer Society was developed.

Ellen White’s vision of a proper literary society was accomplished
through the inception of the Missionary Volunteer Society. Under the
direction of experienced men and women with a deep love for youth and
the Three Angels’ Messages, these societies won thousands to Christ
and the Advent message by youth ministering to youth and adults. Many
young workers for the church traced their first desires to work for the
salvation of souls to the influence of the Junior and Senior Missionary
Volunteer Societies and through reading books recommended by the
Society that portrayed the lives of great Christian men and women
missionaries.

The demise of the MV Societies is a long and sad commentary. For
those who would like to study this subject in detail, the writer strongly
recommends you read Malcolm J. Allen’s book. It is no longer available,
but most Adventist college libraries should have a copy.
       1902 in March - Walla Walla College Board’s Attitude Toward the
      Cantata, Queen Esther:

       At the time final preparations were being made for a choral
      presentation of the cantata, Queen Esther, on the Walla Walla College
      campus, board members were present for an upcoming meeting. The
      presentation practice received considerable attention by the board as
      noted in the official board action taken on March 31, 1902:

        Whereas it seems to the Board of Managers of Walla Walla College
      that the rendering of the cantata of Esther in costume and on the stage
      would not be for the best interests of the school, therefore, Resolved,
      that we request those having this matter in charge confine their efforts to
      the rendering of it in song without costume, stage, or acting.

        The Board of Management calls upon all those connected with Walla
      Walla College to rally at once to a decided effort to change the present
      condition of things and raise the tone and spirit of this college in order
      that the ideals for which it was founded may be met. We further direct
      that hereafter in the chapel or other rooms of the institution no staging
      be erected, costuming done, or curtains drawn, and that no public
      entertainment be given which shall require such things. —Sixty
      Years of Progress at Walla Walla College, p. 136. (Emphasis Supplied)

       Please keep this incident in mind as you read the material concerning
      drama in Walla Walla College in the section 2000 and 2001.

      1902 in October - Cautions Concerning Reading [movie viewing] of
      Fiction [drama]:

       While this counsel was written to the Seventh-day Adventist Church
      membership to expose the dangers of fiction, drama and fiction are
      almost synonymous. (Please refer to Appendix 7 by Leslie Hardinge.)

In 1902, Ellen White wrote an article in the Youth Instructor dated October 9, 1902.
In it she detailed the dangers to youth and adults in reading fiction. Wherever she
used the word “read,” “readers,” and “reading”; the words “view a movie,” “movie
viewers,” and “movie viewing” has been added in highlighted brackets; to “books,”
“tales,” “story,” “stories,” “story-tales,” and “literature” has been added “movie” and
“movies”; to “fiction,” “drama”; to “published,” “produced”; and to “author,” “producer.”
While this may sound confusing, after reading the complete article in Appendix 8,
the reader will understand. Only two paragraphs will be quoted here.

Satan knows that to a great degree the mind is affected by that upon which it feeds.
He is seeking to lead both the youth and those of mature age to read [view] story-
books, tales, and other literature [movies, movies, movies]. The readers [viewers]
of such literature [drama] become unfitted for the duties lying before them. They live
an unreal life, and have no desire to search the Scriptures, to feed upon the heavenly
manna. The mind that needs strengthening is enfeebled, and loses its power to study
the great truths that relate to the mission and work of Christ, —truths that would
fortify the mind, awaken the imagination, and kindle a strong, earnest desire to
overcome as Christ overcame.

Could a large share of the books [drama] published [produced] be consumed, a
plague would be stayed that is doing a fearful work upon mind and heart. Love
stories, frivolous and exciting tales [movies, movies], and even that class of books
[movies] called religious novels [movies], —books [movies] in which the author
[producer] attaches to his story [movie] a moral lesson, —are a curse to the
readers [movie viewers]. Religious sentiments may be woven all through a
storybook [movie], but, in most cases, Satan is but clothed in angel•robes, the more
effectively to deceive and allure. None are so confirmed in right principles, none so
secure from temptation, that they are safe in reading [viewing] these stories
[movies]. (Emphasis supplied)

        The writer of this paper has reviewed every “hit” (the number of “hits” on
      each word is in parenthesis) in the 1999 Legacy of Light Spirit of
      Prophecy research CD on the words drama (42), dramas (4), actor (47),
      actors (69), actresses (6), fiction (86 ), theater (139), theaters (43), and
      theatrical (121). All of these words, in context with the dramatic arts were
      found to be in complete accordance with the material presented in the
      section above. Anyone who has the E. G. White writings on CD, and will
      take the time to review the statements as associated with these words
      will be convicted that Ellen White’s counsel does not fail to reveal an
      across-the-board condemnation of enacted programs.

                              CONTINUE SECTION III

                                  RETURN TO TOC
                                    DRAMA

                                        and the



             SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
From Ellen White’s Time Until the Late 1940's

After the death of Mrs. White, and until the mid to late forties, the church leadership
contended for the Biblical standards received from the pioneers of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church. From their published writings, it is clear that they were deeply
convicted and opposed to any kind of drama used in the Sabbath School, divine
service, or our educational institutions. The counsel on drama before and shortly
after the death of Ellen White centered about the live theater, later called the
legitimate theater to differentiate it from the moving-picture.

Prior to 1903, when Edwin Porter’s The Great Train Robbery revolutionized the
motion picture industry, early films were made in theater settings, many being a
record of a stage drama. This production was probably the beginning of the art of
editing, or changing scenes around, in a motion picture. In 1915, D. W. Griffith
released The Birth of a Nation. It was almost three hours long and had fully
orchestrated background music, which was played by the theater orchestra. As the
industry grew, movie houses proliferated. The projector could be run every two to
three hours, required no cast or props at the movie house, and this type of
“entertainment” became easily accessible and affordable to the general public.
Adventists were not immune to watching the “silent drama.” Nevertheless, the
leadership of the church continued to sound warnings concerning the live theater and
the “silver screen.”

Parenthetically, those who were youths or adults in the forties through the early
eighties, well remember the musical team that provided the music for the Voice of
Prophecy. Brad Braley played the organ, Olive Braley played the piano, and Del
Delker and the Kings Heralds sang. The quality and character of the music was
above reproach.
Brad was a silent movie organ “entertainer,” as well as an organ repairman. He was
called to install an organ at Southern Missionary College (now called Southern
Adventist University). There he met Olive Rogers, a music teacher at the college. A
romance developed from that meeting and in time Brad chose to become a Seventh-
day Adventist Christian and married Olive. Many readers will remember the beautiful
music Olive and Brad played as they accompanied Elder H.M.S. Richards, Del
Delker, and the King’s Heralds on the summer camp meeting circuit, General
Conference Sessions, as well as from their musical recordings.

After Brad became a Christian, he gave up playing for the “silver screen” because he
realized the movie industry creations were not compatible with a Christian’s
profession. Brad and Olive shared with me that after H. M. S. Richards death, the
new Voice of Prophecy team wanted them to put more “beat” in the music. They both
refused to comply with this request, sensing the direction worldly music could take
our church.

 While this is not an exhaustive study of the leadership’s warnings during these
years, sent to the Seventh-day Adventist membership by way of the Review, these
messages were consistent and forthright.

 1926 - A Warning Against Moving-Pictures and Other Theaters:

  Some eleven years after the death of Ellen White, the Review sounded a clear
warning to the church membership concerning the “silver screen.” The Autumn
Council, held in Des Moines, Iowa, passed a resolution. In the February 11, 1926
issue, Elder Wilcox shared the Autumn Council resolution and gave the following
counsel:

By every means in his power, Satan is endeavoring to turn the inhabitants of earth
away from God. His wiles are varied, his snares are manifold. He cares not what
means he employs so long as it accomplishes his deadly purpose. The strife for
supremacy, the love of social life and position, the lure of gold, the struggle for
competence, the ambition for education, the appeal of pleasure, —these and many
other means are employed by the great deceiver to lead men to forget God, and
permit their time and energy to become so engrossed and enthralled as to lead to
their final destruction at last.

  Against some of these great evils the Autumn Council, held recently in Des Moines,
Iowa, sounded definite warning to our brethren and sisters. The following resolution
was passed regarding moving pictures and commercialized amusements:
Recognizing the need of lifting up a standard against every influence that threatens
the life and well-being of the church; and,

Whereas, The moving-picture or other theaters are becoming more and more a
menace to morality and destructive of spirituality, in many cases leading to a false
and lowered standard of life; therefore,

Resolved, That this Council declares its emphatic disapproval of attending moving-
picture theaters and other questionable places of amusement, and calls upon our
workers, church officers, and lay members, young and old, to refrain from this evil
practice.

Realizing that we are living in the last days, when men are “lovers of pleasures more
than lovers of God,”

Resolved, That we warn our people against the spirit of this pleasure-loving age,
and the commercialized amusements so prevalent.

  We call the attention of our readers to the report of a sermon by Elder M. E. Kern in
this number of the Review (February 11, 1926). This sermon was delivered before
the students of the Washington Missionary College and the nurses of the
Washington Sanitarium at a recent Sabbath morning service.

  Brother Kern deals specifically with the character of the moving-picture theater, and
the great influence which this form of amusement exerts in the world. It is not
necessary to reiterate his statements in this article. We are in hearty accord with his
conclusions, and we commend the reading of his sermon to old and young.

  Sad it is that there needs to be sounded in the columns of our church paper a
warning against these great evils. And yet we must believe, from the letters which
come to us from different parts of the field, that there are a number of our dear
brethren and sisters who are succumbing to these unholy influences. Unfortunately,
those thus affected do not belong alone to the younger class of our church
membership. Some of our older brethren and sisters have so lost out of their hearts
the true spirit of this message, have so lost out of their lives the consciousness of
Christ’s presence, that they have become frequenters of these questionable places
of amusement. And still more sad is it to learn that occasionally there is found a
Seventh-day Adventist preacher who belongs to the class who frequent the movies.

 For the full text of the Wilcox article see Appendix 9
 1926 - M. E. Kern’s Sermon to Students at Washington Missionary College
and the Nurses of Washington Sanitarium:

  In a sermon to the school and sanitarium, just referred to by Elder Wilcox, Elder M.
E. Kern clearly outlined the dangers of the legitimate theater and the secular movie
industry. This was a well reasoned and informative discourse. The following are
portions of M. E. Kern’s discourse, “The Theater,” printed in the Review of February
11, 1926. For the full article, see Appendix 10.

  One of the most prevalent forms of commercialized amusements today is the
theater. Through the invention of the moving-picture projector, theatrical
performances have been made available to all the little towns as well as the large
cities...

What of the theater? For over twenty-four centuries it has been in existence. What is
its record? The testimony of history is that the theater has always been a menace to
morals. “The great classic writers, Plato, and Aristotle, and Avid and Juvenal, and
Tacitus, and others wrote strongly against it, —not merely against its incidental evils
and abuses, but against its influence and tendency as an institution.” Solon, the great
lawmaker of Greece, denounced the profession as “tending by its simulation of false
character, and by its expression of sentiment not genuine or sincere, to corrupt the
integrity of human dealings.” The historian Schaff says that the Roman theater
became the “nursery of vice,” and Macaulay tells us that from the time the theaters
were opened in England they became “seminaries of vice.”

 The movie is the modern theater for the masses, and it has all the faults of its
predecessors, and more. A writer quoted in the Literary Digest of May 14, 1921, in
an article on the “The Nation-Wide Battle Over Movie Purification,” said:

 We do not know that the morals of the movies are any worse than the morals of the
stage. But mischievous movies do more harm, for they reach more people, and
especially more children who are impressionable and imitative...

 Mrs. Ellen O’Grady, formerly New York City deputy police commissioner, told the
New York Legislation in a hearing on a proposed motion-picture regulation law:

I know from my own experience that the greater part of juvenile delinquence is due to
the evil influence of motion pictures. I would cite you case after case of boys and
girls gone wrong because of films...
  It seems to me, dear friends, that our only safe course is to “enter not into the path
of the wicked, and walk not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it; turn from
it, and pass on.” Prov. 4:14, 15. And we should pray, “Turn away mine eyes from
beholding vanity.” Ps. 119:37.

 Last of all, allow me to call your attention to the fact that the actor’s profession is
unnatural and radically wrong. It is an unworthy profession. Solomon’s
condemnation was right:

The very terms ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘playing a part on the stage’ are identical in their
earlier significance. ‘Hypocrite’ is, in both its Greek and Latin forms, a designation of
an actor in the theater...



There was a theater in Jerusalem in the days of Jesus. Do you think Jesus or His
disciples attended it? When Herod introduced this theater, it was denounced by
Josephus, a Jewish writer, as a corrupter of morals. You cannot imagine Jesus
patronizing it, can you? Can you imagine Him attending movies if He were on earth
today? —pp. 1-4.

 1928 - J. E. Fulton in the Review:

       J. E. Fulton, a pioneer missionary to Fiji and president of the Pacific
      Union Conference at the time, vocalized his concerns in an article
      entitled “The Dangers of the Religious Drama” in the Review on
      December 6, 1928. The complete article will be found in Appendix 11.
      The principle outlined in this article is as follows:

...have not our children and some of our older folk been prepared for attendance at
the theatrical plays by the introduction into our churches and Sabbath schools of
plays that are dramatic in character? Let us keep all semblance of this out of our
assemblies. All exhibitions of display of a worldly nature, such as drama or theatrical
performances, should be kept out of our religious exercises. —p. 2.

 1928 - J. A Stevens Shares Quotes From an Article in the Sunday School
Times:

  Stevens quotes from this article and shares the concepts outlined by the writer with
the Review readers. For a complete reading of this informative article, please turn to
Appendix 12.

It is heartening in this day of lowering standards to find the editorial backbone
necessary for giving an unequivocal answer to the above question that heads a fine
article in the Sunday School Times. So many churches have tried to compete with
the theaters by staging spectacular attractions, that it is not altogether surprising to
find the theaters simulating the church by an endeavor to put on semisacred plays. A
letter to the editor of the Times called forth the comment that may be read with profit
by every Seventh-day Adventist. —p. 1.

 1933 - The Battle Creek Tabernacle Church:

  While pastor of the Battle Creek Tabernacle Church, Elder Carlyle B. Haynes noted
that theatrics, make-believe, and acting were making inroads into the Tabernacle
Church. He was deeply concerned by these events. In a sermon delivered the later
part of 1933 and reproduced in the Review on March 1, 1934, he stated:

For myself I have come to the place where I can be silent no longer. I want it known
by every one that I deplore the laxity that leads to this abandonment of our church
standards .... I propose to introduce into the next meeting of the executive board of
the Tabernacle the following resolution, and press its adoption. —p. 2. (For the full
resolution unanimously adopted by the Tabernacle Executive Board on January 8,
1934, see Appendix 13.)

 1934 - Francis Wilcox, Editor of the Review, Shares Leadership Concerns
About Drama in Three Editorials:

The Seventh-day Adventist Church and institution leadership and conscientious
members were alert to the fact that dramatic theatrical productions were being
conducted, and movies shown in some of our churches and schools. The issue was
addressed to the church through Elder Francis Wilcox, editor of the Review, through
three very informative appeals published in the January 25, February 1, and
February 8, 1934 issues entitled “The Religious Drama.” (For the full articles, see
Appendices 14-16.) There is no doubt as to the stand our Seventh-day Adventist
leadership and the majority of the membership took toward drama. To them it was
not a preference, but a conviction, an unchangeable standard. Elder Wilcox was
receiving letters from the field from concerned members. Following are a few
selected quotations from these articles:

Some of our brethren and sisters are becoming ensnared with the spirit of worldly
pleasure, and it is of this danger that I wish to sound a warning in this article. Of the
evils attending the theater and the moving picture show, perhaps I need say little,
although some of our membership are attending such gatherings. But there are
others, while they would not attend some of these more objectionable forms of
pleasure, felt free to attend gatherings of the same sort in character, if not of the
same degree of harmfulness. Some who would refuse to go to the drama as
enacted in a theater, feel free to go to a drama enacted in some church or hall. If the
drama has a historical background or a religious setting, this affords ample excuse
for attendance at such an entertainment. And when plays of this character are
patronized in outside churches, the logical step is to seek to bring them into our own
churches and into our own institutions. This is done on the plea that such historical
pageants or religious dramas are educational or teach good moral lessons.



If I were the only one concerned over such entertainments which are urging their way
into some of our schools and churches, I would feel to question my own judgment,
but I am glad from my correspondence to learn that there are others who sense
deeply the influence of these entertainments which are finding place in some of the
gatherings of our people....



I believe that serious consideration should be given to this question, particularly by
our church officers and by our conference and institutional leaders. The introduction
into our schools and churches of pageants and plays and the dramatization of
various incidents, even though they may be historical and educational, has a
tendency to break down in the minds of many the objections to theater going.… —
Review, January 25, 1934.



In sounding this warning, I have in mind no church or institution. We have been
warned against worldly entertainments in the quotation I have given in this article,
and the warnings would not have been sounded had the danger not existed. You
who read these words know to what extent this danger confronts your own church,
your own institution. —Review, February 1, 1934.
It is unfortunate indeed for us to bring into our own churches and institution plays or
dramas of any character which would simulate in any degree agencies or methods
that have been used through the centuries by the enemy of all righteousness for the
promotion of his evil work. I recognize that some of the religious plays today have
little if any suggestion of evil, and these forms of entertainment employed in our own
churches or institutions may of themselves alone be comparatively harmless: but the
danger is that they constitute the first step in a path which ultimately leads downward
toward the world and away from God. They constitute a departure from the spirit of
simplicity which has characterized this movement through the years...



We can never save our youth and children by arranging programs in our institutions
or churches which make constant appeal to their love of entertainment. Indeed,
where this appeal is continually made to their natures, they will lose interest in the
solemn, sober realties of Christian service. They will tire of the meeting for prayer, of
the preaching of the gospel, of the study of the Sabbath school lesson.



We do well to consider this principle in the commendable efforts we put forth for the
salvations of our youth and children in every department of the church. We must
recognize that character transformation can be wrought only by the Lord Jesus
Christ, the preaching of the gospel of salvation, the study of the word of God, prayer
and consecrated effort. It is perfectly proper to give an interesting and attractive
setting to every service of the church, but the Seventh-day Adventist Church can
never be saved by ritualism or literary programs. These under some circumstances
may be helps, but they are lame helps at best. —Review, February 8, 1934.
(Emphasis supplied)

 1935 - The Autumn Council Recommends Disfellowshiping Movie and Theater
goers:

We appeal to our ministers, our workers, our people everywhere, to keep their feet
in the “old paths,” and not to remove the “ancient landmarks” of this message.

In cases where members of the churches hold bridge or similar card parties in their
homes, or frequent such gatherings in other places; or have dances in their homes or
attend them elsewhere; or frequent shows in theaters or movie houses, we
recommend that faithful labor be put forth to reclaim such individuals from the errors
of their way; but if this proves unsuccessful, that they be dismissed from church
membership. —Review, December 5, 1935.

 If this recommendation were followed today, many members of the Seventh-day
Adventist church who persist in attending motion picture theaters or purchase and
rent videos to play dramatic productions on their VCR’s, would no longer be
members in the Adventist church.

 1937 - Committee on Visual Education’s Report to the General Conference on
March 10, 1937:

 It is apparent that 1937 was a pivotal year for the church to reiterate its stand on
drama. Some time before the 1937 editorials of March 18, March 25, April 1, April 8,
and April 15 that appeared in the Review, the church had appointed a visual
education committee to study visual education. These five articulate and convincing
articles are found in Appendices 17-21. Following are a few quotations from these
articles:

The plea is sometimes made that we must provide for our young people
entertainment of this character or they will go to the world to secure it. This
argument, in my estimation, falls of its own weight. Instead of holding our youth
back from the world by dramatic plays, we are creating in them an appetite for these
things, which they will seek elsewhere. —Review, March 18, 1937.



From one of our readers who is anxious to know the right comes this inquiry.



“There are a few questions I should like to ask you. I am asking them in a humble
attempt to get right and to do what is right in the sight of God. First, just what is right
in regard to Seventh•day Adventists’ attending pictures? I am sixty years old, and
have been brought up in this message. I have always been told it was wrong to
attend theaters, moving pictures, and other worldly amusements. But now I am told
that while it may not be best, it is not a sin, so one can attend if he desires. I cannot
understand that sort of reasoning. Will you make this plain to me?
“Another question: If I know men and women who are attending the movies, can I
conscientiously vote them into office in the church? I am a Sabbath school
superintendent here, and there are some who might be good teachers, but every
member knows that they attend the movies, and I have not felt free to put them in the
position of teachers. Am I too old•fashioned, and should I let down on the beliefs that
I have been holding for a long time? I do not want to be fanatical, but I do want to do
what is right.”

 What answer would you give to these inquiries? Do you think that in standing
against our people’s attending theaters and the movies, this reader is too
old•fashioned? Do you think that times have changed, and that what was sinful
twenty years ago is right today?

 The apostle John gave this instruction to the church in his day:

   ‘Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the
world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the
flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the
world. The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of
God abideth forever.’ 1 John 2:15-17.

Do you think this instruction was applicable to the apostolic church, but is not
applicable to the remnant church? I cannot so regard it. The eternal truth of God
remains unchanged, and what was written aforetime was written for our instruction
today. I believe that the old•time standard of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
should be upheld, even though some in the church have lowered that standard into
the dust.



And what would you reply in answer to the question as to whether men and women
who attend theaters and the movies should occupy official positions in the church?
Should they be appointed as Sabbath school teachers? In my judgment this would
be most inconsistent. The men and women who occupy positions of leadership in the
church of Christ should represent in their lives the principles of the gospel message.
Standing as the representatives of the church, they should represent the principles of
the church.
      Indeed, rather than being made leaders, such church members should rather
become subjects of missionary labor on the part of those who recognize the
influence for evil which these misguided ones are exerting. This was the
recommendation of the Autumn Council of 1935 at Louisville, Kentucky... —Review,
March 25, 1937.

 These are quotations from only two of the articles. The reader would do well to
review each of these articles before reading further.

 The General Conference Committee of March 10, 1937, approved the visual
education committee’s findings and they were published in The General Conference
Bulletin on Movies. See Appendix 19 for the complete adoption report. Following
are the recommendations for acceptable and unacceptable films:



1. Acceptable Films



              a. Industrial Pictures.—Pictures showing processes of
              manufacture, lumbering, mining. oil production, public utilities.
              transportation, commerce, transmission of news and
              information, etc.
              b. Scenic.—Pictures of national or other parks, natural
              scenery, mountain climbing, exploration, and the like.
              c. Travelogues.—Pictures of other countries, their national
              habits, customs, and life (excluding scenes that may have a
              corrupting influence).
               d. Nature and Wild Life.—Pictures of the Forest Service, and
              animal life in various States and nations. The life development
              of insects, plants, fishes, birds, and animals (excluding those
              which emphasize cruelty).
              e. Art and Archeology.—(Excluding films that portray indecent
              and corrupt art.)
              f. Newsreels and Current History.—(Excluding films which are
              contrary to our recognized standards.)
              g. Educational Films.—Films which impart information
              and teach truth in any branch of learning.
h. Pictures of Places.—Those associated with historical incidents.

i. Our denominational work and activities.

 2. Unacceptable Films

a. Films portraying Christ and inspired men.

b. Pictures portraying romantic love•making.

               c. Films portraying scenes which are contrary to Seventh-day
               Adventist standards and ideals, such as popularized dancing,
               card playing, gambling, drinking, etc.

d. Films portraying crime or glorifying criminals.

e. Films portraying scenes of violence or cruelty, such as prize fighting.

               f. Films which lower esteem for the sanctity of marriage by
               portraying family disruptions, or ridiculing home life and
               home relationships.
               g. Films portraying scenes of night life, drinking, carousing,
               gaiety, revelry, rowdiness.
               h. Films portraying scenes of smoking as a social
               activity. (Pictures portraying processes of manufacture,
               for example, in which the operator might happen to be
               smoking, might not be included in this category because
               the attention of the observer is centered upon the
               process rather than upon the smoking as a desirable
               activity.)
               i. Films which by ridicule, suggestive insinuation, or
               crude comedy, lower in the estimation of the observer,
               religion or the ministry, or the dignity of human
               personality, or law•enforcing agencies.
               j. Films of a scientific or historical character which blend
               misrepresentation of facts with the actual.
               k. Popularized historical films which distort facts of
               history and pervert truth, or which present scenes of
               cruelty and bloodshed. —Review, April 18, 1940.
 Please refer again to these guidelines as you read the 1950 revision, the 1963
White paper (Appendix 22) and the 1974 Guidelines for the Use of Dramatization
Among Seventh-day Adventists (Appendix 29).

 Along with council given to the Seventh-day Adventist church membership by its
leaders and stated in The General Conference Bulletin on Movies, leaders of other
denominations were voicing their concerns on how the movie industry was making
inroads into the Christian church. One such leader was A. W. Tozer in his book,
The Menace of the Religious Movie. For selections from this book, please turn to
Appendix 3 (The complete book has been reprinted by the Mennonite Rod and Staff
Publishing House and is still in print).

Everything written about the religious movie can be applied to dramatic religious
television and video programing. In reality, while the theme may be based on a
Biblical truth or an actual event, the final product is often pretense and hypocrisy.
When any portion of a dramatic production is fictitious, the viewer may not be able to
discern truth from fiction. Again, let us be reminded of the Apostle Paul’s counsel,
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any
praise, think on these things.” —Phil. 4:8.(Emphasis supplied.)

 1940 - The Review Reiterates the Warning Against Theater going:

We live in a sensational age. Love of the theatrical and the dramatic has increased
with the years. Playhouses exist on every side, and the throngs of theater goers and
those attending them. Movies are being constantly augmented. Naturally, these
attractions make an appeal to the young.



We can never furnish in our institutions substitutes of the same character, hoping to
be able to hold our own young people. Indeed, we must be very careful lest the
substitutes we provide create a love for the very things we are seeking to guard
against. Years ago the messenger of the Lord recognized this danger, and gave the
following very definite counsel: (Quotation is three paragraphs from Testimonies, Vol.
IV, pp. 577, 578.) —Review, April 4, 1940.

1945 - Elder F. M. Wilcox Continues to Hold up the Standards:
  As our churches and educational institutions continued to let down the barriers to
theatrical productions, Elder Wilcox again shared with the members of the church the
Seventh-day Adventist’s historic view concerning drama. —Review, October 18,
1945:

Worldly methods, such as dramatic exhibitions, and religious plays and pageants,
are being employed in some of our churches and institutions. All this is wrong.

                            From the Mid-40's Until Now

 Until the advent of the “silver screen,” theater attendance by Seventh-day
Adventists was infrequent. Most Adventists in the 20's and 30's shunned movie
houses. By the late 30's and early 40's, the demand for “acceptable” films for church
socials and school functions increased. Some of these films had been shown in local
movie houses some years previously.

But when theatrical performances became accessible through television in the late
40's and early fifties, the theater was brought into the parlors of Adventist homes.
Concerned and awake Adventist parents viewed Hollywood productions with
suspicion. They saw what dramatic television productions really were—mediocrity at
best, and sex, violence, and an attack on Christian values at its worst. Most of the
beneficial values of television, as with the rented movies used by our churches and
educational institutions, were outweighed by their dangers. The risk/benefit ratio was
too costly and those concerned parents chose not to have a television in their
homes.

At first, many sincere Seventh-day Adventist Christians abhorred Hollywood
productions and later television programing, but gradually they beheld, and finely
embraced. As early as the mid 30's, some leadership in our academies, colleges,
and some churches either forgot or ignored the counsel concerning drama given by
our prophet and church leadership. But by the late 40's and 50's feature films
became the drawing power for certain student events in our schools and at church
socials.

Some parents, who had carefully protected their children at home from fiction and
drama, saw their children’s minds corrupted by Hollywood productions in our own
churches and schools. With the introduction of VCR’s and videos, video games, and
now the world wide web, Seventh-day Adventist youth have become inundated with
drama and the entertainment world.
The careful observer who watched the movie industry grow and observed the
introduction of television and videos into our American culture, can trace the
Adventist Church’s gradual acceptance of drama into the infrastructure of its homes,
churches and schools from the mid-forties onward.

 1946 - Southeastern California Conference Struggles to Hold the Line:

 Many leaders attempted to hold to the counsel established by our pioneers and
reiterated by the Spring and Autumn Counsels of 1934, 1937 and 1938, but it
became exceedingly more difficult. John Hancock was appointed the youth director
of the Southeastern California Conference in 1946. In his paper entitled “Is
Dramatization Wrong?” (see Appendix 25) presented to the Committee on
Guidelines for Sports and Drama on January 28-31, 1974, he said:

I was a freshman in college when the Autumn Council of 1934 took an action that
recommended that in Sabbath school programs “no attempt be made to present
plays or pageants. That representations that require elaborate costuming, or the
dramatizing of the lives of Bible characters or religious incidents, be avoided.” The
action further recommended that “the utmost simplicity distinguish the representation
of an exercise or a dialogue, or the taking of character parts in mission incidents or
scenes.”



Again in 1935 and 1938 Autumn Council actions were taken appealing “to our
ministers, our workers, our people everywhere, to keep their feet in the ‘old paths’
and not to remove the ‘ancient landmarks’ of this message.” Included in this appeal
was a call to labor faithfully for members who were holding bridge parties and similar
card parties in their homes and who were frequenting theaters or movie houses,
recommending that if such persons did not turn from the error of their ways, they be
dismissed from church membership...



I can well remember the difficulties we faced as leaders interpreting some of these
things. In 1946 I became a youth director in Southeastern California Conference.
There was a continual hassle over Saturday night films churches and schools were
getting from motion picture rental agencies. The Pacific Union Conference set up a
film-review commission, trying to make up a list of “approved” films for the Adventist’s
own legion of decency, but there was disagreement even among the appointed
reviewers as to what was right and what was wrong. John Hancock, “Is
Dramatization Wrong.” —pp. 2-4.

 1947 - The 1934 Autumn Council Guidelines Are Reiterated:

 The 1934 Autumn Council recommendations concerning plays and pageants was
republished in a Sabbath School Department pamphlet in 1947.

We recommend:

1. That superintendents and leaders of divisions plan their programs and all their
work in such a way as to instill into our Sabbath schools everywhere a deeper spirit
of reverence for the house of God and His holy Word.



2. That in Programs no attempt be made to present plays or pageants. That
representations that require elaborate costuming, or the dramatizing of the lives of
Bible characters or religious incidents, be avoided.



3. That the utmost simplicity distinguish the representation of an exercise or a
dialogue, ...in mission incidents or scenes. —Sabbath School Department
[pamphlet], 1947 [Quoted in “Drama? Truthfull? or Pretentious?” David J. Lee, p. 12.]

 1950 - Faith for Today:

 The entry of the Seventh-day Adventist church into television began on “ --- a
drizzly day in early April, 1950. I was the pastor of a thriving church in downtown
Brooklyn, New York, and had been away from my church making hospital calls,”
writes Elder William Fagal, Sr. and Mrs. Virginia Fagal in their book This Is Our Story,
p. 5. He continues:

Returning early in the afternoon, I was greeted by my secretary with the news that I
was wanted immediately at the Hotel Victoria in the Times Square area of New York.
Some of the leading officials from our Washington, D.C., church headquarters were
there, and they had been calling about every ten minutes (or so she said) wondering
why she had not succeeded in getting the message to me.
---Surveying the faces before me I noticed that the president of the General
Conference, the highest official of the church, was present, together with the
secretary and the treasure. Besides these, the group included the head of the Radio
Department and two or three others.



---The church, they informed me, would like to “experiment” with television. A
committee had been appointed to investigate the possibilities, and the group of men
before me had come from Washington to New York to finalize on arrangements.



That morning they had been at the American Broadcasting Company network offices
and had signed a contract to begin a half-hour weekly telecast on Sunday night, May
21. All they now lacked was a program and an individual upon whom to place
responsibility for it. They told me I was the man they wanted to create the program
and put it on the air. I would have about six weeks to prepare before the zero hour
on the evening of May 21. Ibid., p. 5 & 6.

  The rest is history. Elder Fagal met with the ABC officials. “--- I listened carefully
to some concrete suggestions they made. The directors assigned to our program
summed up their counsel very simply in the words ‘Don’t preach.” “---Use the
techniques of drama to tell a true-to-life story,” they told him. Ibid. p. 19 & 20. And
thus the basis was established for the first Faith for Today programs. “And so we
decided to try a 12- to 15-minute story approach, followed with a five-minute
sermonette to reinforce certain points.” Ibid., p. 20 (emphasis suppled)

Elder Fagal’s use of drama by Faith for Today was an “outrage” to some Adventist.
He describes it as follows:

      Faith For Today’s story format — originally chosen as a means of
      reaching the unchurched a well as the youth audience — was at first a
      real bone of contention. The fact that in our early days the 15-minute
      sketch was followed by a five-minute sermonette — with music and a
      commercial for the Bible correspondence course — did little to assuage
      the sense of outrage of some. Ibid., p. 46.
In 1955, it was decided to film the programs instead of having live presentations.
Elder Fagal writes, “We immediately faced the fact that our dedicated amateurs
would not be adequate in a professional film situation. In fact, it would be impossible
for most of them to take time from their daytime jobs for all-day filming sessions. So
we faced the necessity of hiring professionals who were accustomed to performing in
front of the camera to illustrate the stories effectively.” Ibid., p. 98.

In 1972, the fully-developed drama series Westbook Hospital was established, to be
followed in 1975 by the first one-hour dramatic film on the life and martyrdom of John
Huss, and shortly after that the television special “The Harvest”.

In a personal communication on April 4, 1999, with Dan Matthews, then director of
Faith for Today, it was learned that near the end of the “Westbrook Hospital” series
(in the early eighties), each program was costing Faith for Today around $80,000 to
produce. The cost became prohibitive and the dramatic series was ended. The “Life
Style Magazine” replaced the dramatic productions. During our conversation, Elder
Matthews made a significant statement. He said, “I believe if Christ were living now,
he would use drama.” After researching this material, this writer strongly disagrees.

As you read sections 1961 and 1974, keep in mind the expanding use of drama used
by Faith for Today from 1950 thru 1975. Unfortunately, Elder Fagal’s book contains
no information to enlighten the reader on the reasons used to justify the use of
dramatic productions in light of the church’s previous stand on drama.

                              CONTINUE SECTION III

                                  RETURN TO TOC
                                     DRAMA

                                        and the



              SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
      1951 - MV Leaflets # 47:

        In “Is Dramatization Wrong?” Elder Hancock continues to describe the
      gradual erosion of the previous church stand on theatrical productions and
      the movie industry:

Then came television and the church’s own entry into the field of drama. It was about
this time that our own version of Daniel 2 was produced as a full-length feature film. The
pressures were on and I watched as at the 1951 Autumn Council words were deleted to
bring what was being practiced into line with official church policy. The words “inspired
men” were deleted from the forbidden portrayal list, for new series of religious motion
pictures being produced by private film producers on the life of Paul and other Bible
characters were eagerly used by both church and school groups in religious meetings
and for classroom instruction.



As television and the abundance of available motion pictures from rental agencies
began to cloud the scene, it became evident that existing church actions had to be
restudied. It was thus in 1951 that the last important action relative to our subject today
was taken at an Autumn Council. It was a revision of the 1937 statement, and again
disapproved of all feature motion pictures or telecasts that portray fictional, dramatized
theatrical plays and stated that the history of theatrical drama and its present character
show it to be generally opposed to the highest ideals of morality, and alien to spiritual
life. It called upon church membership, young and old, to take their stand against such
motion pictures and telecasts that dramatize scenes opposed to the high ideals of
morality that have been enunciated in our church standards.



Then, however, a modification was made in our previous position to include
dramatization of both historical and Biblical characters: “We recognize that there are
acceptable motion pictures and telecasts depicting real life, and historical or even
Biblical scenes that have been dramatized. The legitimate use of motion pictures or
television for the presentation of the message or for education and also recreational
purposes is not to be condemned. No doubt there are wonderful opportunities for
proclaiming the gospel and reaching millions through these means; but like so many
things in life, motion pictures and television are dangerous blends of good and evil.
They have been largely appropriated by the evil one with the result that the popular
movie and television tend to break down standards of Christian character. Clear
discernment of right and wrong is needed, therefore, that we may guard well the
avenues of the soul.”



Then there followed a list of guidelines for those selecting films, bringing the 1937 list
into harmony with the modified position. The Youth Department was asked to prepare
an MV Leaflet giving these guidelines for young and old. On pages 6-8 of MV Leaflet
#47 these were listed:

 I. Acceptable Presentations

               a. Industrial Pictures—Pictures showing processes of
               manufacture, lumbering, mining, oil production, public utilities,
               transportation, commerce, and transmission of news and
               information.

b. Scientific Processes and Food Research.
              c. Travelogs—Pictures of other countries, their national
              habits, customs, and life (excluding scenes that may have
              an unwholesome influence).
              d. Nature and Wildlife—Pictures of national or other parks, natural
              scenery, mountain climbing, exploration, the Forest Service,
              animal life in various States and nations, the life development of
              insects, plants, fish, birds, and animals (excluding those which
              emphasize cruelty).
              e. Archaeology and Wholesome Art—Pictures that
              conform to our recognized standards of Christian modesty.
              f. Newsreels and Current History —(Excluding pictures that are
              contrary to our recognized standards).
              g. Educational Pictures—Pictures that impart information and
              teach truth in any branch of learning.
              h. Historical—Pictures of authentic events accurately
              portrayed, and otherwise meeting the standards set forth in
              this statement.

i. Our Denominational Work and Activities.

              j. Biographical—Pictures of honorable characters, worthy of
              emulation and accurately portrayed, and otherwise meeting the
              standards set forth in this statement.

            II. Unacceptable Presentation

a. Motion pictures impersonating Christ.

              b. All feature motion-picture films or telecasts that portray
              fictional dramatized theatrical plays.

c. Pictures portraying scenes of intimate lovemaking.

              d. Pictures which lower esteem for the sanctity of marriage by
              portraying family disruptions or ridiculing home life and home
              relationships.
              e. Pictures portraying scenes which are contrary to Seventh-day
              Adventist standards and ideals, such as dancing, card playing,
              gambling, drinking, night life, carousing, gaiety, revelry, or
              rowdiness.
f. Pictures portraying crime or glorifying criminals.

               g. Pictures portraying scenes of violence, cruelty, or brutality,
               such as prize fighting or professional wrestling.
               h. Pictures portraying scenes of smoking or drinking as a
               desirable social activity.
               i. Pictures which by ridicule or insinuation or crude comedy could
               lower, in the estimation of the observer, regard for the law of God,
               religion, or the ministry, or the dignity of human personality or law
               enforcing agencies.

                     j. Pictures of a scientific or historical character which
                     distort the facts or pervert the truth.

      k. Pictures in which coarse, profane, or vulgar language is used.

      l. Animated cartoons which violate the standards of propriety in this section.

        The Youth Department circulated MV Leaflet #47 like the leaves of
      autumn, but parts of the recommendations soon became obsolete through
      apparent acceptable practice. A new religious film on the life of Christ was
      produced entitled, “I Beheld His Glory,” and our evangelists suddenly found
      this to be a great opening night feature to get a crowd overseas and later in
      North America. Cecil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments” muddied the
      thinking of a lot of Adventists even though Time magazine in its November
      12, 1956, issue called the film ludicrous and stated that “there are
      moments, in fact, when it seems that the Seventh Commandment is the
      only one DeMille is really interested in; to the point where the Exodus itself
      seems almost a sort of Sexodus—the result of Moses’ unhappy (and purely
      fictional) love life.” Time further stated, “It is impossible to avoid the
      impression that the movie maker...has taken the name of the Lord in vain.”

      When I was a lad growing up, the first major film on the life of Christ
      entitled, “King of Kings,” made the rounds in the theaters, and our church
      took a stand against this portrayal of Christ. I have witnessed the gradual
      change in our position as a church on this matter take place, to where we
      now bring full-length feature films on the life of Christ into our churches, and
      the response is so great among our people we have to have repeat
      showings the second week to get the crowds inside of the sanctuary. The
      Youth Department fought a losing battle in trying to uphold the 1951
Autumn Council recommendation which listed as unacceptable, “motion
pictures impersonating Christ.” MV Leaflet #47 was withdrawn from
circulation in the Adventist Book Center, and to my knowledge there are
now no leaflets available published by any department or office of the
church which lists acceptable and unacceptable films. If a person would
stand up today and try to defend some of the unacceptable presentations
listed on page 7 of that old leaflet, he would find himself facing a storm of
criticism and controversy, perhaps even ridicule. —Is Dramatization
Wrong? pp. 4-6.

 1954 - Shakespeare at Southern Missionary College:

  In the early fifties, Southern Missionary College (now Southern Adventist
University) started teaching Shakespeare. Commenting on the appearance
of an article in the Signs of the Times concerning Shakespeare, we have
the following inspired counsel:

Brethren, let us come to our senses. In more ways than one are we
departing from God. Oh how ashamed I was of a recent number of the
“Signs of the Times!” On the first page is an article on Shakespeare, a man
who died a few days after a drunken carousal, losing his life through
indulgence of perverted appetite. In this article it is stated that he did many
good works. Man is extolled. The good and the evil are placed on the same
level, and published in a paper that our people use to give the third angel’s
message to many of those who cannot be reached by the preached Word.



When we give the message in its purity, we shall have no use for pictures
illustrating the birthplace of Shakespeare, or for pictures similar to the
illustration of heathen goddesses that was used to fill the space on the first
page of a recent number of the “Review and Herald.” We are not to educate
others along these lines. God pronounces against such articles and
illustrations. I have a straightforward testimony to bear in regard to them.
We are to extol neither idolatry nor men who did not choose to serve God.
Years ago, reproof was given our editors in regard to advocating the
reading of even such books as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “Aesop’s Fables,” and
“Robinson Crusoe.” Those who begin to read such works usually desire to
continue to read novels. Through the reading of enticing stories they rapidly
lose their spirituality. This is one of the principal causes of the weak,
uncertain spirituality of many of our youth. (MS 169, 1902, pp. 6, 7, “The
Work of the St. Helena Sanitarium: Our Institutional Work to be
Denominational,” July 14, 1902.) —MR 6, pp 279, 280.

 Keep this statement in mind as you read of the dramatic presentation of
Shakespeare by Walla Walla College in the section 2001.

By the 50's it was common knowledge that our senior college English and
literature classes were requiring the study of fictitious works in open
rebellion to the Lord’s counsel in the Spirit of Prophecy. And simultaneously
with the launching of the Faith for Today “Westbrook Hospital” series, the
door was open to influence the development of drama departments in our
senior colleges. While it is not the purpose to explore the entrance of fiction
into our senior colleges, fiction and drama are almost synonymous. (See
Appendices 6 & 7.)

 1961 - Walla Walla College Launches Drama Department On April 1961

“Donnie Rigby, professor emeritus who taught communications classes at
WWC for more than 35 years, directed the first theatrical production on
campus in April 1961. The musical play “Heidi” - based on the famous book
by Johanna Spyril - incorporated music performed by a German band, the
Walla Walla Symphony, and an all-girl chorus, as well as several solo
numbers by cast members. The production launched WWC’s drama
program.” Valley Times, Friday, November 23, 2001, p. B-5

 59 years earlier the college board had voted the following: “Whereas it
seems to the Board of Managers of Walla Walla College that the rendering
of the cantata of Esther in costume and on the stage would not be for the
best interests of the school, therefore, Resolved, that we request those
having this matter in charge confine their efforts to the rendering of it in
song without costume, stage, or acting.” (See 1902 - March above)

Was this recommendation just a whim of an overly conservative Board of
Managers, or was it based on the enduring principles established by the
pioneers of our church and espoused by the Board? Could it be that the
1961 Board of Walla Walla College, many having grown up with TV’s in
their homes and Hollywood-produced entertainment in their schools and
churches, had lost sight of the guiding principles concerning drama? Could
it be that the General Conference’s encouragement of Faith For Today’s
dramatic productions had a major influence on WWC to start its own drama
department? More on the types of drama that are now emanating from the
WWC drama department later.

1963 - A. L. White’s Paper “Dramatic Productions in SDA
Institutions”:

 In February 1963, Arthur White, secretary of Ellen G. White Publications
and great grandson of Ellen G. White, circulated a paper entitled “Dramatic
Productions in SDA Institutions.” His reason for writing this paper was,
“Request has been received at the White Estate for the materials from the
pen of Ellen G. White which may have a bearing on the question of the
production of dramatic programs in SDA institutions.” p.1. (See Appendix
22 for the complete paper.)

And why wouldn’t there have been questions? A television was in most
North American Adventist homes by then, Hollywood feature films were the
drawing power to church and institutional functions, and many in leadership
were sympathetic with the dramatic arts. For example, Faith for Today was
making drama fashionable in the Adventist church by using it to bundle the
Gospel.

This was a time for the White Estates to reestablish our early pioneers old
landmarks against an ever increasing church constituency and leadership
who wanted drama. Or was it a time to find a way of compromise?
Remember, the Missionary Volunteer Society would soon be gone; the free
speech, flower power, and rock music movements were on the ascendancy;
and the “generation gap” had been proclaimed.

Yet there were many leaders, students, and parents throughout the North
American Division who were deeply concerned because the senior colleges
were cranking up their drama departments and the English and literature
departments were adding more fiction to their required reading lists.

Especially note the thesis of White’s paper as contained in the second
paragraph of the first page:

        A survey of these counsels fails to reveal an across-the-
       board condemnation of all enacted programs. In other
       words, Ellen White does not condemn a program just
       because it may be dramatized. In this respect the counsels
       touching dramatic productions are much like the counsels
       relating to sports, and interestingly, the two are treated
       together in two of the statements of caution. Mrs. White did
       not condemn the “simple exercise of playing ball,” (AH 499)
       but as she enumerated the principles involved, she pointed
       out the grave perils which usually accompanied sports
       activities. Mrs. White did not condemn the simple enacted
       program put on by the Battle Creek Sabbath School in 1888,
       but in many statements she clearly points out the many and
       almost sure perils which accompany “plays” and “theatrical
       programs.” —A. L. White, Dramatic Productions in SDA
       Institutions, February 1963.

  A. L. White continues his thesis that Mrs. White was not condemning the
Sabbath School drama she attended, but wrote Brother Morris a kind and
thoughtful critique.

It is significant that the counsel given to the man who organized the
program relates to how the features of the program could have been made
more effective, but there was no condemnation of the program because of
the enacted scenes. —A. L. White, p. 5.

 On Sabbath morning, December 22, 1888, Ellen White attended a
theatrical performance put on by the Battle Creek Sabbath School in which
her six-year-old granddaughter, Ella W. White, was dressed as and acted
the part of an angel. There were props, actors, music, and poems. Four
days later, on Wednesday morning, December 26, 1888 she wrote a letter
to Brother Morse. In this letter it becomes obvious that Mrs. White did
condemn the program. ( The definitions of the word condemn is “to declare
to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil, usually after weighing evidence and
without reservation” —Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.). Please
refer to the full letter reproduced in Appendix 5.

The letter begins with, “I have risen at three o’clock this morning to write
you a few lines.” When you read the entire article, you will understand why
she made the following statement:

         I must say I was pained by these things, so out of order
       with the very work of reformation we were trying to carry
       forward in the church and with our institutions, that I should
        have felt better if I had not been present. —2MR, p. 236.
        (Emphasis supplied)

 In fact, she made only three accepting remarks and twenty-two
disapproving remarks. Does that sound like a kind critique giving
suggestions on how to make the play better, or like a strong rebuke?

  Two lists are made below, her remarks that show acceptance as a
thoughtful critique of the program and her remarks that show disapproval
and outright condemnation.

    Acceptance Remarks

Page

   1.   Lines 1-2: “I was pleased with the lighthouse, and the scene...”

   2.   Lines 4-5: “The part acted by the children was good.”

   3.   Lines 4-5: “The reading was appropriate.”

   Disapproval Remarks

    1. Line 1: “I have risen at three o’clock this morning to write you a few
lines.”

         2. Lines 2-4: “...the scene which had required so much
     painstaking effort was one which could have been made most
     impressive, but failed to be made as forcible and striking as it might
     have been when it cost so much time and labor in preparing it.”

          3. Lines 5-10: “Then if there had been good solid talk on that
     occasion in regard to the children and teachers in the Sabbath schools
     laboring earnestly for the salvation of the souls of the children under
     your charge, presenting the most acceptable offering to Jesus, the gift
     of their own hearts, and impressive remarks, short and right to the
     point [on] how they could do this, would it not have been in keeping
     with the work we have been trying to do in the church?”

         4.   Lines 11-14: “Every stroke now should be in harmony for the
one great purpose, preparing of the hearts, that individually pupils
and teachers should be as a light set on a candlestick that it may give
light to all that are in the house, which would be carrying out the idea
strikingly of a lighthouse guiding souls that they may not make
shipwreck of faith.”

    5. Lines 14-16: “Can you tell me what marked impression the
two poems rehearsed by the two ladies on the stand would have to do
with this work?”

     6. Lines 17-18: “The singing was after the order we would expect
it to be in any theatrical performance, but not one word to be
distinguished.”

    7. Lines 18-19: “Certainly the tempest-tossed ship would be
wrecked upon the rocks, if there were no more light coming from the
lighthouse than was seen in the exercises.”

   8. Lines 19-22: “I must say I was pained at these things, so
out of order with the very work of reformation we were trying to
carry forward in the church and with our institutions, that I
should have felt better if I had not been present.” (Emphasis
supplied.)

    9. Lines 22-25: “This was an occasion that should have been
gotten up not only for the Sabbath school children, but words should
have been spoken that would have deepened the impression of a
necessity of seeking for the favor of that Savior who loved them and
gave Himself for them.”

   10. Lines 25-29: “If [only] the precious hymns had been sung,
‘Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee,’ and ‘Jesus
lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly, while the billows near me
roll, while the tempest still is high.’ Whose souls were inspired with
new and fresh zeal for the Master in those songs sung whose virtue
was in the different performances of the singer?”

  11. Lines 30-34: “While these painstaking efforts were being
made to get up the performances, meetings were being held of the
deepest interest which should have engaged the attention, and which
     called for the presence of every soul lest they should lose something
     of the message the Master had sent to them. Now this Christmas has
     passed into eternity with its burden of record, and we are anxious to
     see the result of it.”

  12. Lines 34-35: “Will it make those who acted their part in it more
spiritual-minded?”

       13. Line 35-36: “Will it increase their sense of obligation to our
     heavenly Father who sent His Son into the world at such an infinite
     sacrifice to save fallen man from utter ruin?”

        14. Lines 36-37: “Was the mind awakened to grasp God because
     of His great love wherewith He has loved us?”

        15. Lines 38-42: “We hope, now that the Christmas is in the past,
     that those who have put forth so much painstaking effort will now
     manifest a decided zeal, and earnest, disinterested effort for the
     salvation of the souls of the teachers in the Sabbath school, that in
     their turn they may each labor for the salvation of the souls in their
     classes, to give them personal instruction as to what they must do to
     be saved.”

        16. Lines 42-47: “We hope that they will find time to labor in
     simplicity and in sincerity for the souls of those under their care, and
     that they will pray with them, and for them, that they may give to Jesus
     the precious offering of their own souls, that they may make literally
     true the symbol of the lighthouse in the beams of light shining forth
     from their own strong efforts in the name of Jesus, which should be
     put forth in love, they themselves grasping the rays of light to diffuse
     this light to others, and that there shall be no settling down to a
     surface work.”

        17. Lines 47-54: “Show just as great skill and aptitude in winning
     souls to Jesus as you have shown in painstaking effort for this
     occasion just past. Point them in your efforts, with heart and soul
     enlisted, to the Star that shines out to the morally-darkened heaven at
     this time, even the Light of the world. Let your light shine that the
     tempest•tossed souls may set their eyes upon it and escape the rocks
     that are concealed beneath the surface of the water. Temptations are
     lying in wait to deceive them, souls are oppressed with guilt, ready to
     sink into despair. Labor to save them; point them to Jesus who so
     loved them that He gave His life for them.…”

        18. Lines 55-59: “The Light of the world is shining upon us that we
     might absorb the divine rays and let this light shine upon others in
     good works that many souls shall be led to glorify our Father which is
     in heaven. He is long suffering, not willing that any should perish, but
     that all should come to repentance, and it grieves the heart of Jesus
     that so many refuse the offers of His mercy and matchless love.”

        19. Lines 60-62: “Will all who acted an interested part in the
     program of last evening work as zealously and interestedly to show
     themselves approved unto God in doing their work for the Master that
     they may show themselves intelligent workmen that need not to be
     ashamed?”

        20. Lines 62-64: “Oh, let the teachers in the Sabbath school be
     thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the message for this time, carrying
     that message into all their labor.”

        21. Lines 64-67: “There are souls to be saved, and while in the
     Sabbath school work there has been much form and a great amount
     of precious time occupied in reading of reports and records, there has
     been but little time to really let light shine forth in clear, steady rays in
     the very instruction needed to save the souls of the children and
     youth.”

        22. Lines 67-71: “Less elaborate speeches, less lengthy remarks,
     and plain, pointed truth presented, not one word uttered to exhibit
     profound knowledge, not, one word in any speech, but the greatest
     evidence of real knowledge is the great simplicity. All who have taken
     knowledge of Jesus Christ will imitate Him in their manner of
     instruction.”

 To conclude from the statement in AH 499 concerning the “the simple
exercise of playing ball,” and from the Christmas play Letter 5, 1888, that
Mrs. White did not “reveal an across-the-board condemnation of all enacted
programs,” does not speak to the facts. One must ask, “Are the statements
of counsel and disapproval made by a person who enjoyed the drama and
was just providing a critique on how to make it better?” In reality, the weight
of evidence from Letter 5, 1888, is not an acceptance of the Christmas
play, but a kind and firm condemnation.

If this paragraph, the one which follows it, and Arthur White’s interpretation
of Ellen White’s attitude toward the play she attended as described above in
2MR, pages 235-238 (Letter 5, 1888) were left out of his paper, anyone
reading it would conclude that Ellen White had nothing but condemnation
for the use of drama. These two paragraphs and the interpretation actually
contradict the balance of his paper. For example, the two concluding
statements he quotes on page 8 clearly define Mrs. White’s attitude toward
drama.

Jesus Christ is the example for the Christian in all things. Of Him she wrote:


I have not been able to find one instance where He educated His disciples
to engage in amusement of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical
exercise, or in theatrical performances, and yet Christ was our pattern in all
things. —Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 229.



A sound guiding principle to keep ever in mind in dealing with questions of
the kind we have been studying is stated in Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 360:



Our example and influence must be a power on the side of reform. We must
abstain from any practice which will blunt the conscience or encourage
temptation. We must open no door that will give Satan access to the mind
of one human being formed in the image of God.

While it is most unfortunate that Hancock subscribed to A. L. White’s thesis
as noted in his paper “Is Dramatization Wrong?”, page 13; yet the general
tenor of Hancock’s paper can be summarized in his last paragraph:

Is it not time for us to direct the energies of our youth away from the
theatrical world of sham to the stark reality of a life and death message for a
society fast headed for curtain-fall? Have we been drifting, perhaps almost
imperceptibly away from the old paths and need to heed the warnings of
our pioneer leaders who recognized that, “Satan’s ruling passion is to
pervert the intellect and cause men to long for shows and theatrical
performances.” (Evangelism, p. 266.) Is it time for the voice of another
Autumn Council to affirm the church’s historic position in this problem area
as it appeals for revival and reformation? —Hancock, p 14.

1974 - The Committee on Guidelines for Competitive Activities and
Drama:

  On January 28-31, 1974, the General Conference convened a committee
of 37 select individuals, some of whom read papers on the subject of
competitive sports and some on drama (see Appendix 23). In
communication with the General Conference to prepare this paper, the GC
archive workers were able to find only three papers that were scheduled to
be presented, those of Josephine Benton, J. H. Hancock, and Frank Knittel.
Two other papers were written for the committee. They were by Phyllis
Paytee and Leslie Hardinge. Either the rest of the paper read have been
lost or they did not present or turn in papers.

Each paper will be briefly commented upon. The reader can find the
complete text of the papers in the Appendices.

Josephine Benton’s paper was a compilation of informal interviews of
producers, participants, and viewers of dramatic productions. It was
subjective in content, “without a pretense at supplying answers.” Page 8.
(For the full text, see Appendix 24)

J. H. Hancock’s presentation was comprehensive, documented and
objective. It has been quoted extensively in this paper. For the full text see
Appendix 25.

Frank Knittel’s paper begins with, “I have assumed that some general
enactments of scenes by players is an acceptable Seventh-day Adventist
activity.” Frank Knittel, “Shall We Use Commercial Drama In Seventh-day
Adventist Schools,” p. 1. He continues on page 4: “During my lifetime I
have seen only about 150 stage productions—about 75 of these at one
university—and I have yet to see one in a public arena that I would
personally judge suitable as presented to be staged on a Seventh-day
Adventist campus.” (See Appendix 26.)
Knittel presented this paper during the time he was president (Knittle was
Administrative Dean from 1968-1971 and President from 1971-1982) of
Southern College of SDA. Perhaps his assumption “that some general
enactments of scenes by players is an acceptable Seventh-day Adventist
activity” can explain the college’s leadership attitude toward the enactment
of Dido and Aeneas eight years later at 8:00 p.m. on March 18, 1990, at the
Ackerman Auditorium of Southern College of SDA.

Appendix 27 entitled “The Witches’ Den Opera at Southern College of
SDA” describes the opera and circumstances of is production. (The writer
has in his possession a video of that enactment. You are welcome to
request a copy to view.)

Phyllis Bryan Paytee submitted to the committee a paper entitled “Drama in
the Elementary Classroom.” Note her primary thesis in the first paragraph
of her paper (see Appendix 28):

The moment the word “drama” is uttered, we find ourselves upon debatable
ground. Both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy urge that caution and
restraint be exercised by the Christian who is tempted to participate in any
activities of a sensational, theatrical nature, whether presented in the
theater or in our own institutions. At the same time, however, neither the
Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy offer direct condemnation of drama as a
learning tool.

 Undoubtedly she had read White’s paper, for her conclusions on page 5,
demonstrate her mind set:

The elementary teacher who used informal classroom drama as a vehicle
for bringing to the instructional program new appreciations, insights, and
understandings would select only those dramatic episodes which will meet
a particular learning need. He would select materials having basic
elements that are easy to outline and easy for boys and girls to transfer into
simple action and dialogue. The teacher should also know the children and
materials particularly well and try to put them together in the best possible
way.

 By March 3, 1975, a summary of the January 28-31, 1974 committee was
written entitled “Guidelines for the Use of Dramatization Among SDAs,” and
was approved by the General Conference special committee. The
underlying theme of this paper was to encourage drama with certain
cautions. The flood gate of drama was opened and soon our homes,
churches, and institutions were inundated. (See Appendix 29.)

Coupled with Arthur White’s 1963 paper and the March 3, 1975, summary
of the January 28-31, 1974, committee entitled “Guidelines for the Use of
Dramatization Among SDAs” and along with the baby boomer mentality, our
college drama departments grew in direct opposition to the
recommendations given by the Spirit of Prophecy and church leadership for
more than eighty years. How could this be?

                        CONTINUE SECTION III

                           RETURN TO TOC
                                    DRAMA

                                        and the



             SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
1995 - Seventh-day Adventist Church Manuel, revised 1995, 15th Edition:

 On page 151, under the heading “Radio and Television” are the following
statements:

Radio and television have changed the whole atmosphere of our modern world and
have brought us within easy contact with the life, thought, and activities of the entire
globe. Radio and television are great educational agencies. By these means we can
greatly enlarge our knowledge of world events, and enjoy important discussions and
the best in music.



Unfortunately, however, radio and television also bring to their audiences almost
continuous theatrical performances and many influences that are neither wholesome
nor uplifting. If we are not discriminating and decisive, radio and television will turn
our homes into theaters and minstrel shows of a cheap and sordid kind.
Safety for ourselves and our children is found in a determination, by God’s help, to
follow the admonition of the apostle Paul: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are
true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things
are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there
be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Phil. 4:8).

 If parents, pastors, and institutional leaders were to follow this simple admonition,
almost every channel on the television (with the exception of some programming on
education channels) would be eliminated, along with all dramatic video productions.

 1996 - Seventh-day Encyclopedia, Second Revised Edition, M-Z:

  On pages 424 and 425, under the title “Visual Entertainment,” the following advice
is given concerning dramatic productions:

This includes such forms of entertainment as serial cartoons, motion pictures,
television, videos, attendance at the theater and commercialized sports. Seventh-day
Adventists have been governed in their choices in these types of entertainment by
certain general principles that are applicable in varying degrees.



Pictures are known to be one of the most effective means for influencing behavior
that humans know. This being true, it is evident that there are great possibilities for
good or evil in pictures, depending on the character of what they portray. Because of
this, one of the basic criteria Seventh-day Adventists have used in determining what
is proper or improper for a Christian to see is the character of the things portrayed.



Serial Cartoons. These are usually a series of drawings in narrative sequence. They
may, for example, depict Bible stories; portray wildlife, historical events, or scientific
processes; or picture scenes of crime, violence, and immorality. The character of the
activity portrayed is what should determine whether the cartoons are proper for a
Christian to look at. Seventh-day Adventists make use of serial cartoons for teaching
Bible stories and imparting scientific and historical information to children, but regard
the “comics” generally as being detrimental to the formation of a wholesome
character.
Motion Pictures and Videos. The development of the moving picture, especially with
sound, made possible astonishingly realistic portrayals of dramatic productions.
Conservative Christians who had previously recognized the evil influences of the
theater saw the same effects in the mass-produced movie. It is well known that the
influence of the scenes portrayed, especially on children and young people, is
powerful, and that the content of most of the dramatic shows is not in the direction of
high ideals. These shows often glamorize the banal and tawdry, if not the violent and
criminal aspects of life, and glorify unworthy characters and actions.



      Seventh-day Adventists have been warned (in the Church Manual
      [1990], p. 145) “against the subtle and sinister influence of the moving-
      picture theater,” which is a training school in what to the Christian are
      false values—worldliness, laxity, and love of pleasure—and at times
      exposes the young people who attend to harmful associations.



      While condemning the motion picture theater, Seventh-day Adventists
      are not opposed to the viewing of non-theatrical moving pictures, if the
      character of the activities portrayed is wholesome and instructive and if
      temperance is exercised in the amount of time spent. Church-sponsored
      institutions show, for their own groups, selected films.



      Television. Through television the decision as to what to see has
      become a daily problem in the home. The Seventh-day Adventist Church
      has not condemned TV, but advises members to apply to all programs
      the same principles as for moving pictures, and further, to avoid
      spending too much time watching even good programs. The following is
      part of a statement prepared under the direction of the General
      Conference Committee and published in 1956 (“What About Television?”
      p. 4): “Unless viewers are constantly on guard, TV consumes an
      excessive amount of their time. Christians are stewards of the talent of
      time, being accountable to God for every moment to improve it to His
      glory. Time has been given to mankind for self-improvement, for work
and physical exercise, for communion with God, for service to God and
man, for recreation and enjoyment, and should therefore be employed in
a balanced program that would bring honor to God and would fulfill all of
life’s needs and duties.”



The Church Manual (1990, p. 145) gives the following counsel on
television: “Safety for ourselves and our children is found in a
determination, by God’s help, to follow the admonition of the apostle
Paul: ‘Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things
are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if
there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these
things’ (Phil. 4:8).”



Attendance at the Theater and Commercialized Sports. Unlike the other
forms of visual entertainment that have been discussed in this article, the
stage (including drama and opera) and commercialized sports (including
commercialized entertainment) employ living performers or contestants,
but many of the principles that apply to serial cartoons, motion pictures,
and television also apply to them. Ellen White writes concerning the
stage: “Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater.
Instead of being a school for morality and virtue, as is so often claimed, it
is the very hotbed of immorality. Vicious habits and sinful propensities
are strengthened and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs,
lewd gestures, expressions, and attitudes deprave the imagination and
debase the morals. Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions
will be corrupted in principle. There is no influence in our land more
powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and
to blunt the relish for tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life, than
theatrical amusements.



“The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence... The only
safe course is to shun the theater” (MYP 380).
The patronizing of commercialized sports such as baseball, football, and
basketball games is discouraged by the church. Thus the Church Manual
(p. 146) urges: “Let us not patronize commercialized amusements,
joining with the worldly, careless, pleasure-loving multitudes who are
‘lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.’

 1999 - Editorial by Royson James, Columnist for the Toronto Star:

 Commenting on the tragic loss of youth from his church, Mr. James, a
Seventh-day Adventist, made these observations printed in the May
1999, World Edition of the Review:

The church in North America is facing a massive crisis. Our youth are
questioning the very pillars of our faith. They are demanding answers,
real anchors to cling to, and modern solutions to new-millennium
problems. More than ever, they are seeking role models to lead them in
a twenty-first century revival...



Many youth are searching for a purpose in life. They yearn to grasp the
relevance of Adventism in the next millennium. They are part of the
computer generation, a new breed that requires new approaches and
new methods. Many have told us they want to put their faith in action, but
they don’t know how. They don’t know the reasons behind many church
doctrines. They know little about Adventist Church history. They say
they want to be challenged when they come to church, not hear the
same old ideas all the time...



This is the tragedy of our church in North America. There seems to be no
corporate mission to engage our youth. And if there is, it has failed to find
prominence in the courses in the seminary or capture the attention of our
pastors and, ultimately, penetrate the programs of the local church.

 Is it any wonder that these observations are so accurate? How can
youth be excited about a church if they don’t know its history or have not
been grounded in its message? In the Fall of 1999, a friend of mine who
teaches the sanctuary message to children (who grasp the deep
meanings quickly and love it) and adults, asked two senior college
students, who had been at her home for dinner, if they would like to hear
a presentation on the sanctuary. They accepted the invitation. After the
presentation, they both admitted they had very little knowledge of the
subject and her presentation had been “very deep.”

 1999 - Walla Walla College Drama Department in the News.

 On May 28, 1999, the local newspaper for the Walla Walla area, the
Union Bulletin printed the following article:

One-woman play banned at WWC moves to Whitman’s Cordiner
Hall Wednesday                        By LISA L. DIAZ


           SUMMARY:   A one-woman play that was banished from
           the Walla Walla College stage after its debut will be
           performed again — at Whitman College.
           Kimberly Howard believes people can rise above
           influences that might corrupt them by rediscovering their
           internal clown.
           That is the theme of her play, “Floating Redundant,” and
           currently what she is trying to do in her own life in seeing
           that her work lives on.
           The Walla Walla College administration canceled her one-
           woman play after opening night. Two weeks later on May
           6, Howard, the college’s drama professor, resigned.

Lower the curtains? Not on Howard.

           Her play will next be performed Wednesday at Whitman
           College. She will take the show to New York City’s Gene
           Frankel Theater in mid-June.
           WWC’s official reason for canceling the play was
           its content. “I guess there was enough concern
           expressed by the campus community to hold off
           until we could address those concerns,” said W.G.
           Nelson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist
           college.
           Jason Chamberlin, the play’s director, said the
           unofficial reason was that a percentage of the
           college was uncomfortable with the material.
           The one-woman play, performed by Howard, challenged
           social conventions as the woman searched for her
           identity. Institutions, such as churches and schools, are
           considered by many to be society’s cornerstones. But
           Howard twists that perception, depicting them instead as
           corrupting influences.
           The play initially reveals the woman as a clown. But in
           time she loses her clownish characteristics, becoming
           first a buffoon, then a bore. Ultimately, she emerges as
           an adult woman.
           But rather than being in a state of refinement and
           maturity, the woman is corrupt and devoid of creativity.

For Howard, the play’s cancellation and her resignation are all for the
best.

           She is considering taking “Floating Redundant” on
           a regional tour and starting her own theater
           company with former students.
           She said after she resigned that she went through “the
           phases of grief,” but believed leaving was best in the long
           run.
           “I wasn’t forced to resign. It was sort of a joint decision,”
           she said. “The official statement is that there was some
           difference between the administration and me over
           interpreting the Adventist lifestyle.

“I would like the students to know that I’m not angry or hold any
animosity,” she said.

  Sadly, Walla Walla College, one of our North American Senior
educational institution of the church, has reaped what it has sowed since
it’s inception on April, 1961.

 1999 - Amazing Facts Newsletter, October 1999:

 In this newsletter, Elder Doug Batchelor addressed the issue of music
and drama that has been troubling him for some time:

Dear Friend,

  For some time now I have heard that “still small voice” impressing me to
talk to you about a serious issue that is steadily consuming our churches
like cancer. I have avoided addressing this swelling problem for fear of
being misunderstood, but I can’t be silent any longer.

  Let me explain. Because of the whirlwind of speaking appointments in
preparation for the Millennium of Prophecy seminar in New York
beginning on the 15th of this month, I have had many opportunities to
visit with hundreds of our friends and supporters around the country and
to observe dozens of different worship services. My concern in this: I am
alarmed at the pagan worship styles that are creeping into many of
our churches.

 Musical Madness

One of the most powerful elements of worship that has become
extremely divisive is music. From the ancient Roman orgies and primitive
tribal war dances, to the insane behavior at modern concerts and
sporting events, pagan music with its heavy, syncopated rhythms has
been used to excite carnal passions and wild behavior. Many Christian
churches have now embraced this same music. And it’s not just the loud
“Christian rock.” I have seen whole congregations that look like they
have been mesmerized through the New Age music with shallow,
repetitive lyrics sung over and over. If Jesus tells us not to pray in vain
repetition, then it is likely He does not want us singing that way either
(see Matthew 6:7).



Theatrical Theology

Another element invading modern Christian worship is drama. I have no
moral problem with using some visual aids to help people better
understand Bible truth. God asked prophets like Ezekiel and Jeremiah to
do this (see Jeremiah 32:14 and Ezekiel 5:1-4). But some argue that this
justifies the dramatic stage productions with raucous applause that are
making their way into our churches.



The problem is that many professed Christian have become so over-
stimulated from a steady diet of movies, TV, and videos that simple,
reverent worship service without drama, drums, and dancing deacons
seems boring by comparison. Many now come to church to be
entertained rather than to give their worship, praise, songs, and
offerings.

 The reader will find a copy of Elder Batchelor’s October 2000
newsletter in Appendix 30. (Permission for reproduction was given by
Amazing Facts to this writer on 11-22-99.)

 2000 - Walla Walla College to Present Festival Of One Acts

In the Thursday, March 2, 2000, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, the area’s
daily newspaper, printed in its “Local/Entertainment” section the
following:

Student directors will present nine one-act plays for Walla Walla
College’s fourth annual Festival of One Acts.

Each play or play segment lasts about 20 minutes, and the material
ranges from Shakespeare to “A Few Good Men.”

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and March 11-12.
Because nine plays will be performed, one complete performance will
span both Saturday and Sunday nights.

The plays will be at WWC’s Village Hall

The cost is $7 for general admission, $5 for students and $4 for WWC
students. One ticket provides admission to both halves of a weekend.
Tickets can be purchased at the college bookstore or at the door.
(Emphasis supplied. Please refer to the inspired statement concerning
Shakespeare on page 32 of this paper)

 2000 - May The Walla Walla College Collegian Advocates
Attending A Play and Engage in Their Own “Back Seat Show”

The Walla Walla School paper, the “Collegian,” in its May 4, 2000,
edition, carried the following calendar of events. The Harper Joy Theater
is located on the Whitman College campus, which is a secular senior
college in Walla Walla, Washington. This play is the product of mostly
Whitman College students. .

 Arrrgggh

  It is Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic “The Pirates of
Penzance.” (Pronounced “pen” “ants”) For the men, we have pirates and
beautiful maidens. For the ladies, we have love and other relational
things that you tend to dwell on. It opens today at the Harper Joy
Theater at 8:00 p.m. It is only $5. Do we have to map this out for you? C-
H-E-A-P D-A-T-E. This package has everything you need and all the
action you’d every want in an outing. But, we guess that depends on
your back seat after the show.

 2000 - May Walla Walla College Drama Department Enacts
“Resurrexio Domini Nostri” (The Resurrection of Christ.

    On May 27, 2000, at the Village Hall and on May 28, 2000, Sabbath
afternoon at 3 p.m. the Resurrexio Domini Nostri” was enacted by a cast
and crew of Walla Walla College students under the direction of Marilynn
Loveless, Walla Walla College drama artistic director, and co-artistic
director LuAnn Venden Herrell. Ms. Herrell’s e-mail invitation read:

The cast and crew of “Resurexio Domini Notri” (The Resurrection of
Christ) invites you to join us for the closing run of the spring play.

Come support this large group of talented and hard-working students as
they present this medieval piece enacting the resurrection of Christ.
You’re encouraged to boo the bad characters, cheer for the good
ones, and use the drama to help reflect on the relevance and immediacy
of this historical religious event. Enjoy comedy, drama, spectacle, and
glorious music supplied by the I Contori and The Messengers.
(Emphasis supplied)

 This play created a flurry of email among some of the Walla Walla
College faculty. Excerpts from some of these e-mail exchanges follow
without identifying the names of the respondents. For ease in following
the emails, the respondents will be identified by number. All emphasis in
the emails has been supplied.

Respondent #1.

While I enjoyed some of the presentation last week, I was concerned
about the content and language used during the play. It seemed that the
content was catholic and also, in portions, unbiblical. For example: Mary
going to heaven after dying, swearing, as in “Oh God!” and the
backwards storytelling of Jesus when and how he went to heaven, and
when he could be touched, and the soldiers sleeping at the grave. These
concerns were also shared to me by other in attendance. It appears that
the story presented ideas that are very much opposed to the mission
statement of WWC. I think these concerns were shared by several older
members of our community who left just after the play started. I know the
play was “adapted”, but did we do all we could to make this play suitable
for an Adventist campus? I had higher expectations for a biblical based
play, presented on Sabbath, at an Adventist college.

Respondent #2

I did not attend the play, fearing to see the very sorts of things you
described in your message. Needless to say, I am embroiled in enough
battles on the campus that I am unwilling to put myself in a sphere where
I know I will have to speak out in an unpopular fashion.



I doubt that your message will “resonate” with many on campus, but I do
want to let you know that I am one who agrees with it. I am really weary
of the endless jokes, tales, and anecdotes that pass for “presenting
Christ to people in their own language”. We as a denomination have
largely lost our sense of awe and solemnity about our message. Indeed,
I think that we have largely lost our message. In that context, I felt that
your points were extremely well-taken. Thank you for taking a stand.
Respondent # 3's email to Respondent #1

Your response to the play startled me a bit. ---

For reasons which I cannot fully explain, I was deeply moved by the play
and what it symbolized. Our WWC drama group and I Cantori gave us
the opportunity to reflect on the passion of our Lord, his death and
resurrection and what that might mean for us now and in the future. I am
troubled by the increasing secularization and privatization of our common
life. When do we come together to share a common experience? On
Sabbath we are scattered among some 13 churches in the valley while
some participate in lay activities and others flee to the rocks and the
mountains.

How many of us attend chapel? Faculty meetings? Tuesday Brown
Bags? When was the last time we had an inter-disciplinary colloquium?
Even this form of communication is a far cry from the ideal for a
community which worships the Incarnate God who has called us to break
bread together. The Word has become an electronic signal and dwells
among us.

Respondent #4

I am responding to the criticism of the play by (Respondent # 1).

As I see it, the point of the play has been missed. The point of this play is
not either evangelism per se nor amusement, though both of those are
not necessarily excludable.

Definitely, I am sorry for the way (Respondent # 1) chose to try and
embarrass you publicly. This is never in the spirit of Christ as I
understand him. You are a great asset to us here! Please don’t get
discouraged over this. I hope that (Respondent #1) can reassess tactics
and enlarge (Respondent # 1) scope of understanding of your work.

Respondent # 1's Reply to Respondent #4's above email.

While I understand what you have said below, I am left with this
conclusion:
1) I did not understand the point of the play

2) You told me what the point of the play was not.

Would you be willing to explain to me what you thought the point of the
play was?

Would you be willing to comment on the statements of principle I
included on the bottom of my email? Things like “I have not been able to
find one instance where He educated His disciples .... in theatrical
performances.” or “Truth is to be presented in the utmost simplicity, even
as Christ presented it, so that people can understand what is truth. Truth
will dispel the clouds of error.”

I just to (do) not see the point of a play that clearly presents error for the
sake of theatrical performances.

Respondent # 4's reply to Respondent #1's above email.

The point of the play is basically Art with all the attendant complexities
and questions as well as the joys that we associate with that very human
experience. This extends to an understanding of various cultures as
reflected in their arts, complete with fact and error. Ours is to learn from
their perspectives and to participate with them in their human joys and to
learn from all that we can, as in any historical/ sociological study, and to
appreciate the total esthetic that was so characteristic of the time. To
avoid hearing or seeing about other religions is not the purpose, in my
understanding, of the prophetess’ warnings, nor is the viewing of
dramatic art forms or presentation of them.

At one time I would have “heard” her in that way as you seem to.
However, with the help of serious students of her work and times,
(people such as Geo. Knight (sic) in his various book), I can ask
whether or not what I am asked to participate, in literature or any
are, is pretention (pretension) and dishonesty the base? Is what I am
asked to experience a true election of another perspective of humanity?
Do the merits of the work rest only on prideful display and lack
completely in redemptive directions? Is what I bring affecting my
perceptions to a degree where improper distortions appear exclusively?
These issues are always points of critique and judgement in works of art
for the Christian. Critical Thinking is required as is reflection my own
inferences and preferences and perceptions. that help to contribute to
my experience.

Many good apologies are written in defence (defense) of art for the
Christian reader. In particular, the issue of the Authentic or Truthful
as different from the Factual has been carefully discussed by Geo.
Knight in Myths About Adventism and I refer you to this treatise.
His books on Ellen White also have been very helpful to me.
(Emphasis Supplied)

  Is Ellen White still the prophetess of God to the Seventh-day Adventist
Church? Since when did we need theologians to explain away or
interpret the Spirit of Prophecy for us? She wrote in English, not Greek or
Hebrew. The fact that dramas continue to be performed at Walla Walla
College demonstrates the mind set of people like respondent #4.
Unfortunately, a considerable number of the faculty think both the Bible
and the Spirit of Prophecy do not mean what they say. Why? because
the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy have been “culturally influenced.”
Therefore they must be re-interpreted to be relevant. Relativism has
infiltrated the Walla Walla College campus and flourishes.

 2000 - September Gleaner Editorial Supports Drama

In the September issue of the Northern Pacific Union paper, the Gleaner,
an editorial entitled “Surprising Facts About Drama and the Church” was
penned. The author extolled the use of drama and even went so far as
to states that the Sanctuary service of the Old Testament and the Jewish
spring and fall festivals were “dramatic-style memorialization of Hebrew
history mandated by Scripture.”

Several people wrote letters to the editor in the next two issues sharing
their concern with this editorial conclusions. The September 2000
Gleaner editorial, “letter to the editor,” two Letter to Editors and this
author’s letter together with his reply can be read in Appendix 31.

 2000 - November The Walla Walla College Drama Season 2000
Begins With The Play “The Crucible.”
  The Walla Walla College student paper, The Collegian, Volume 85,
Issue 9, for November 30, 2000, ran the following front page lead article.
All emphasis supplied.

If you’re in the mood for love, hate and betrayal, come to the WWC
Drama Club presentation of “The Crucible” in Village Hall beginning
Saturday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m.

The play is co-directed by Marilynn Loveless, instructor in
communications, and Jim Bock, a local radio announcer and professional
actor who has performed in such productions as “The Grapes of Rath” in
London. Peter Schmidt, senior speech communications, is the assistant
student director.

Students compose the cast, with Stephanie Binns, senior English, and
Adam Lombard, junior communications, in lead roles of Abigail Williams
and John Proctor.

Students have devoted many hours to this production since the
beginning of October when roles were decided; up to 11 or 12 hours a
week, said Erica Sharp, freshman communications media, who plays
Mercy Lewis.

The play has everything, including romance, seduction, lust,
murder and revenge, beginning with the first scene, said Dana
Melashenko, sophomore humanities, who plays Betty Parris. There is
even a bit of violence when Abigail pulls Betty’s hair and slaps her.*
“The play is filled with feisty PMS women,” said Melashenko

One of Arthur Miller’s two most famous plays, “The Crucible” is the story
of a witch-hunt based on those that took place in the late 1600s in New
England. Miller wrote the play in the 1950s during the height of
McCarthyism, drawing a parallel between the witch-hunts and the
communist accusations thrown on Miller and his contemporaries.

Performances are December 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. each night. A
performance on Dec. 7, which will be followed by a question and answer
session with actors and directors, begins at 7 p.m. Tickets to this
production are available at the College Store or at the box office on
performance night. Tickets cost $7 for general admission, $5 for students
and seniors, and $4 for students with WWC ID.

For more information call 527-2158 or log on the WWC Drama
department Website at http://drama.wwc.edu. (Emphasis Supplied)

  *This scene was enacted for Walla Walla College chapel on Tuesday,
the early part of November 2000, in the College Church. The chapel was
devoted to justifying and explaining the use of drama on the college
campus. The drama group was specifically ask by the chapel coordinator
to present a “Christian” theme for the chapel. On a poster advertising the
play, the following sentence is prominently displayed on the bottom. (See
a copy of the poster in Appendix 32) “This play contains some subject
matter which may not be suitable for young children.” The local
December 8, 2000, Valley Times weekly newspaper placed the following
lead article on its front page: “WWC performance of ‘The Crucible’ a
worthy rendition of Miller’s masterpiece.” Paragraph seven states “One
thing is certain. As the disclaimer on the play announcement noted, this
play is not suitable for small children.” The real question to ask is, “Is this
play suitable for your and my youth who attend Walla Walla College?”

 2001 - March Adventist Review on the Effects of Popular Culture
Through the Media of Drama.

 Describing the “devastating influence of popular culture,” author
Jennifer Schwirzer, wife, mother and published author writes from
Putnam, Connecticut.

The mass media gives the young three messages—drink, spend money
and be sexually active. These three obsessions bear fruit in three
illnesses—substance abuse, materialism, and immorality. A young
person’s world is wired in to the sources of these death-wish messages
through videos, television, movies and MTV.

As parents, we must realize that the media is at total cross-purposes with
us. We want our kids to be happy and well-adjusted: the mass media
wants to make money from them. There is no way to harmonize your
intentions and those of the money-hunger merchants behind the camera.
The average teen watches 21 hours of TV each week, while that same
teen engages each week in a paltry 49 minutes of conversation with
mother and 35 minutes with dad. That means that teens have about 14
times more input from the mass media than they have from their parents.




We are reaping the results of the spiritual devastation of our youth. This
devastation mocks our attempts to provide legal refuge for the young
members of our world. We may protect them all we wish, but they will not
be saved while they are unprotected from their own media-induced self-
destruction. Adventist Review, March 15, 2001.

 2001 - May WWC Enacts C.S. Lewis’s Book The Great Divorce.

  “Shimmering spirits and translucent ghosts debate the merits of their
earthly life and the fundamentals of heaven and hell.” Thus starts the
article in the Walla Walla Union Bulletin of Wednesday, May 9, 2001, p
9, describing the last play of the school year. “A multimedia tour through
heaven and hell, the Walla Walla College Play ‘The Great Divorce’ uses
white screens and projects images. Keri Donaldson, left, plays a Spirit
who ties to convince a young girl, played by Kristin Taylor, to allow her to
destroy the Demon attached to her back, played by Kristin Smith, far
right.” reads the caption under the U-B photo by Greg Lehman. (See
Appendix 33 for the complete article)

                        CONTINUE SECTION IIII

                            RETURN TO TOC
                                  DRAMA

                                      and the



         SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
2001 - October WWC Student Enacts "The Complete Works of William
Shakespeare (abridged)"

  WHAT: "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)"

  DATE: October 13, 14, 18,20 at 8 p.m.

  PLACE: The Donnie Rigby Stage on the ground floor of the Canaday
Technology Center

  TICKETS: $5 for WWC students/staff/faculty with ill card.

  INFORMATION & RESERVATIONS: 527-2158

   If you tried to buy tickets for the sold-out Saturday night (Oct. 13) performance
-we've added additional seats. More t        tickets are now available in the College
Store and at the door. Reservations are highly recommended.

   DINNER THEATRE: Sunday night, October 21 at 7 p.m.

  TICKETS: $20 (dorm students will be able to charge $11 to their ARAMARK
account).

   We hope you will be able to join Don & Donnie Rigby, to toast their
achievements on this special evening. A             delicious dinner will be served
(summer vegetable stir-fry ravioli, linguini with sun-dried tomato pesto, Caesar
salad, garlic bread sticks and ' double chocolate fudge cake with raspberry melba
sauce) at 7 p.m., followed by the talented and outrageously funny trio of Adam
Lombard, Erich Dorzab and Rudy Scott performing "The Complete Works of
William Shakespeare (abridged)."
    Please note that this is a pre-season show. Season tickets for WWC DRAMA
will be available in the College Store on November 1.

 So read the announcement for the opening play for the school year
presented by the WWC Drama Department. Two critics penned the
following articles in The Collegian, dated October 4, 2001 describes the
enactment as follows

 "If you want to laugh loudly and often, don't miss "The Complete Works of
William Shakespeare (abridged)." Billed in the prologue as a feat "unprecedented
in the history of theater," it delivers. In less than two hours, three men display all
37 of the Bard's great plays; and they do so with uproarious lunacy. The play
culminates 20 years of improvisational skits by four Brits of The Reduced
Shakespeare Company. Over the years they reduced all the Bard's plays into
their fundamental elements, which apparently includes a cooking show, football
and rap.

For the College Place premiere, all parts (male AND female) are performed by
Adam Lombard, Rudy Scott and Erich Dorzab. Lombard prancing in a wig and
skirt is alone worth the price of admission.

One important note: Even if you hate Shakespeare, you'll still enjoy this play. Its
comedic power lies in its mocking tone and a merciless skewering of the Bard's
clichés. More than likely, you'll laugh at jokes on stage that occurred to you while
you read Shakespeare's more absurd writings. And, if you actually stayed awake
during high school English, you'll enjoy the lunacy all the more.

The success of "The Complete Works.. . " lies in several things. Because the
script was based on improvisation, it is both freely imaginative and gloriously
ridiculous. I had no idea that "Romeo and Juliet" could involve Darth Maul,
Nirvana and a rubber knife. Utilizing this freedom, our actors rewrote portions of
the original script based on their own improvisation. I found out later that some of
my favorite parts were rehearsal mistakes they incorporated into their show.

All three actors have a great sense of timing, and their choreography is dead on.
This play involves a lot of physical, slapstick comedy, which is easy to do poorly.
These men have it down, especially the sword fights and the football game.

The play is very accessible for today's audience because it integrates current
comedic styles, plus 20th century props and dialogue. Furthering the audience's
involvement, the players often venture into the crowd, so for the most fun, make
sure to get a front row seat. Buy your tickets quickly too, because seating will be
limited.

In short, "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)" is a play like
none other you have ever seen.

Entering a theater with expectations is always dangerous, but I can safely say
that you'll want to enter Erich, Rudy and Adam's theater, so long as you expect
the unexpected." Brian Bell, Features writer, The Collegian.

 "I'm sure that whoever came up with the idea of compiling Shakespeare's
complete works into a play was met with many emphatic 'No!'s by theatre
companies across the western world. Imagine each two and a half hour
performance, multiplied by 37 plays, all at once. Oh my. That's not even counting
Shakespeare's prolific piles of poetry.

"Perhaps in a fit of desperation-or cynicism-at not being able to find a producer
for a serious Complete Works, "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
(Abridged)" was born, all hour and 45 minutes of hand-hidden giggles and
outright guffaws. Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield wrote this brilliant
comedy, and this production is directed by WWC student Dan Lounsbury. On
stage are three men in tights "spread[ing] the holy word of the Bard to the
masses." Erich Dorzab, Adam Lombard, and Rudy Scott are fluid in their
improvisations—a very necessary talent due to the extensive amount of audience
interaction—and in their ability to duck backstage and reemerge seconds later as
a very different, but very funny character. The three men have even managed to
master Scottish accents in their rendition of MacBeth (oh see the spit fly!).

Most critics feel they haven't done their job properly if they fail to mention one
iota gone wrong in a production they thoroughly enjoyed. I am not one of those
critics. I sat for two hours through a play I've seen twice before-professionally
performed at Piccadilly Circus by the Reduced Shakespeare Company-and
laughed every bit as hard as I laughed in London. Perhaps, as the actors
apologized before and after, it was a rusty dress rehearsal on a new stage. I
never noticed. Instead, I sat in my . seat and wiped away the tears of laughter
streaming down my cheeks." Chelsey Ham, Features Writer, The Collegian.

This enactment elicited concern on the part of a faculty member of Walla Walla
College. Following are e-mails related to this enactment. For ease in following
the e-mails, the respondents will be identified by number.

Respondent # 1 to Respondent # 2

I was thinking of responding to this with a general reply to the same distribution
list (campus) but thought I would send a copy direct to you first with some
thoughts (and a cc to a few others). I guess my main question has to do with the
criteria that wwcdrama uses for establishing content for wwcdrama. While there
are several examples of content I could comment on from previous years (like
that chapel last-year), I will here just focus on the new play you are doing. In
summary, the concern is content criteria.

 Here is what troubles me - The college came under review a few years ago on
how we do things here. The board asked WWC to specifically. reply to some of
those concerns. WWC answered with the Commission Response Committee
report, which states on page 18:

"For this reason, we are truly sorry for not having always succeeded in the
spiritual education of our students. We want to assure the board of our
commitment to and love for the Bible, the writings of Ellen White, the beliefs of
our church"

 I and most faculty at WWC agreed that the content of the commission report
would help improve both the image and the internal workings of WWC. Some
comments, like the one quoted above, were particularly of interest to me,
because they are strong statements. But do we mean it? Do we really "love the
writings of Ellen White" while we ignore them?

 There are specific guidelines in inspired writings that enable us to answer the
question concerning content criteria. Many many statements on the positive
things we could be doing, and a few statements on the things that we should
specifically not be doing. The particular announcement you sent out deals with a
specific content that has been discussed before. While I would prefer to discuss
positive affirming content criteria issues, this particular announcement forces me
to think about why are we doing that which we have counsel not to be doing?
Here are just two of several examples of such counsel:.

 Concerning illustrating our literature, she wrote: "Behold, the tabernacle of God
is with men, and He graciously condescends to dwell among them. Let those
who are representing the truth for this time pray earnestly for clear spiritual
discernment. Let them be sincerely jealous for the honor of the Lord God of
hosts. Let them see the sinfulness of exalting such men as Shakespeare, calling
the attention of people to those who did not in their lives honor God or represent
Christ"

 Concerning the publishing of an article about Shakespeare: "Brethren, let us
come to our senses. In more ways than one are we departing from God. Oh how
ashamed I was of a recent number of the "Signs of the Times!" On the first page
is an article on Shakespeare, a man who died a few days after a drunken
carousal, losing his life through indulgence of perverted appetite. In this article it
is stated that he did many good works. Man is extolled. The good and the evil are
placed on the same level, and published in a paper that our people use to give
the third angel's message to. many of those who cannot be reached by the
preached Word. The publication of this article robbed me of my rest last night. I
was thrown into an agony of distress. If our brethren have not discernment
enough to see the evil of these things, when will they have? Why can they not
understand the tenor of such things? We are to stand on the elevated platform of
eternal truth. The edge of the sword of truth is not to be dulled.

We must take a straightforward course, using the truth, as a mighty cleaver, to
separate from the world men and women who will stand as God's peculiar
people."

 If Mrs. White wrote such things about illustrating his birthplace and the
publishing of general articles about him, what do you think she would say about
the. play? Would she ask WWC to "come to our senses?" Would she comment
as above? Or would she write like the reviewers: "Lombard prancing in a wig and
skirt is alone worth the price of admission." or "freely imaginative and gloriously
ridiculous. I had no idea that "Romeo and Juliet" could involve Darth Maul,
Nirvana and a rubber knife"

 I am asking for your thoughts on the subject of content criteria. And if somehow I
am missing something here, or I am somehow not even in the right field about all
this, please respond soon, before I send something like this to the general
campus.

Thanks, Respondent # 1 10/11/01, 05:46PM

Respondent # 2 to Respondent #1

 In the 1950s, when Washington Missionary College was still in The District of
Columbia, a young seminary student and his wife attended, "An Evening with
William Shakespeare." The program featured Basil Rathbone and Fay
Emmerson reading selections from the works of the bard. There were no
costumes or sets — only two stools, some lights and an electrifying
performance. .

The experience proved to be a turning point in the life of this young pastor. He
decided right there and then that he did not want to preach AT people, he wanted
to communicate God's love and saving grace TO people. He immediately
dispensed with the pulpit, seeing it as a barrier between himself and his
congregation — a daring and innovative move at the time which so upset the
head elder that he refused to move the pulpit. Today this is a common practice.

 The young seminary student went on to pastor two of the largest SDA churches
in the world - Sligo with 3,000 members in the 1950s and 1960s, and Loma Linda
University Church with more than 7,000 members. He served as a conference
president and as the president of Columbia Union College for eight years. In all,
he devoted the next 50 years of his life to working for the church, before he
retired last year. This man was my father.

I would like to see every theology major enroll in my acting class and appear in at
least one play during their time at this college. I believe that they especially need
to understand what Christ understood so well— how to reach people, draw them
into his message of salvation with entertaining stories and parables. Stepping
into a role is also an invaluable way to understand another person's point of view.
It doesn't mean we necessarily adopt that person's point of view, but hopefully
we can at least begin to understand them. That is one of the beauties of the Old
Testament. God reached out to his people and met them where they were —
flawed, selfish and sinful. Since September 11 it has become even more urgent
that we learn how to understand people who don't think they way we do — not
because we wish to become like them, but how else will we ever reach them with
the news of God's saving grace?

 In reading your message ---, I wondered how it might be possible for us to find a
common ground that would enable us to communicate with each other. I fear that
we will forever approach this topic from polar opposites. While I may disagree
with you, please know that I will always vigorously defend your right to express
your beliefs. We are, after-all, not the Taliban!

I have a copy of the July 9, 1902 editorial by Milton C. Wilcox that appeared in
Signs of the Times, and I also have a copy of White's response from Counsels to
Writers and Editors, pp. 172-176 (required reading for my script-writing class and
History of Theatre class). To me, it's similar to having an editorial appear in The
Gleaner, about William Shakespeare. An official church publication is not the
right forum for this kind of article and I would concur with White that, "May the
Lord pity our discernment if we have no better food than this to give the flock of
God." But she does not suggest that no one should study Shakespeare's writing,
particularly in an academic setting.

You may be interested to know that there is a growing controversy over who
actually wrote "Shakespeare's" complete works. In 1992 a Geneva Bible,
belonging to the 17th Earl of Oxford, was discovered at the Folger Shakespeare
library. Many of the underlined passages were traced to direct quotes in
"Shakespeare's" work. I have a copy of Roger Stritmatter's February 2001
dissertation, "The Marginalia of Edward de Vere's Geneva Bible: Providential
Discovery, Literary Reasoning and Historical Consequence," in which he
discusses the significance of this find to the authorship controversy and a
growing body of evidence to suggest that whoever wrote the plays, was indeed
concerned with spiritual matters. .

 Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond specifically to your question
about the criteria we use in planning our wwcDrama season.

 Careful thought goes into selecting our programs to enable the drama program
to integrate into both the academic and the sacred mission of this college. All of
the plays performed on this campus are examined and edited for content that
may not be appropriate. The department of communications and the English
department work together to ensure that we balance the need to provide a liberal
arts education that, at the same time, remains consistent with the mission
statement of the college.

And as I said last year in chapel, the tension that exists between a "system" like
the church and the human imagination that fosters new forms of life and growth,
is nothing new. I seethe drama program fulfilling an important role in providing a
catalyst for growth and renewal on this campus.

 Writing on behalf of Ellen G. White Publications in 1971, W. P. Bradley points
out,

"As for the study of literature Ellen G. White plainly states that the pursuit of
knowledge in literature should not be discouraged. (CT 19, 136) We want our
youth to be sufficiently cultured in the various disciplines and in the social graces
so that they will not go out from our schools as ignorant or boorish people."

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me directly about your concerns. I
don't suppose you'd be interested in collaborating with me in developing an
engineering course in set-construction? I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards, Respondent #2

10/11/01, 07:10PM

 Least it appear that this writer is singling out Walla Walla College, the fact is, he
lives five blocks from the school and cannot help but know about some of things
taking place there. Without doubt, those living near any of our North American
Division senior colleges (in fact many of our North American schools and
churches) could reveal the same plethora of drama. But, there is hope for our
schools. In the year 2000, 102 Walla Walla College students took their places
throughout the world as student missionaries. Could it be that these return
students missionaries will soon replace drama with "primitive Godliness"?

                           CONTINUE SECTION IV

                              RETURN TO TOC
                              DRAMA

                                 and the



      SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
      IV - CONCLUSIONS:

      This paper has traced briefly the development of drama from
      its beginning in Eden until now, with major emphasis on the
      entrance of drama into the infrastructure of our Seventh-day
      Adventist homes, schools, and churches over the past eighty-
      four years. This conclusion will contain two divisions. First, a
      list of “some” obvious reasons for this trend and, second,
      some suggestions for reversing the trend.

 Reasons for Drama Entering the Seventh-day Adventist Church

1. Fagal's Faith for Today series of TV theatrical performances,
Westbrook Hospital, that was aired from May 1950, through 1988,
swayed many in the North American Division to accept drama as a
legitimate method of “bundling the Gospel.” In addition, many church
members chose to ignore as old-fashioned, (“That was for their time.”—
ever heard that before?) the counsel given by Ellen White and the church
leadership for over one hundred years, or they never knew it existed.

     2. Many parents of the baby boomers allowed their offspring to cut
their teeth, so to speak, on television. There was confusion in the ranks
of Adventist parents. “Don’t oppose your child’s will, he will be damaged
for life,” was the cry of the Dr. Spock generation. While some parent
questioned the decision of some leadership in the churches, schools,
and evangelistic thrusts to use drama, they soon earned the reputation of
being divisive, critical, and troublemakers.

3.   Invariably, history repeats itself. The nominal churches have
demonstrated an uncanny tendency to follow one or two steps behind
the lead of the world’s methodology, and the Seventh-day Adventist
Church has not been exempted. First, the gospel movie with its fictitious
acting entered the church, followed in quick succession by Hollywood
feature films, organized sports, and television aided by VCRs/videos.
Soon there followed the church growth movement, women’s ordination,
and the celebration movement (orchestrated by Vatican II) with its
combination of contemporary music, drama, and Pentecostalism.
Unfortunately, the Seventh-day Adventist Church seems to follow one or
two steps behind the nominal churches. Not long after the celebration
movement, centered in the Oregon Conference in the late eighties and
early nineties, drama seemed to spring up everywhere.

A review of the Union papers will show, even to the casual reader, a
plethora of acting groups in our churches and schools. Today, to oppose
drama is almost like opposing motherhood and apple pie. Anyone who is
willing to read Joe Crew’s books, Creeping Compromise and Reap the
Whirlwind, from Amazing Facts, will have a better understanding of the
compromises that have taken place in the Seventh-day Adventist
Church.

     4. Some claim that the old methods of Sabbath morning special
features and a class study of the Sabbath School lessons no longer
works. The youth do not study their lessons and are not interested in
studying the Scriptures using the Sabbath School lessons. When the
“traditional” approaches to the Sabbath morning sessions are used, the
youth do not come back. Therefore, new approaches are needed. These
methods include the use of drama to entertain, and refreshments to
entice them to come on Sabbath morning.

 5.   Sabbath School teachers are finding that few parents have family
worship and fewer still neither encourage their children to have or nor
have for themselves a vital and regular daily, personal, private devotion.
Recent surveys in the lower division show that even fewer parents study
the Sabbath School lessons with their children even one time during the
week.

6. Our elementary schools, academies, and colleges are graduating
students who seem to know less and less about the historical
development of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs. They are either not
taught about or are not listening to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church’s
unique “present truth” message in their homes, the church pulpits, or
schools. This is evident from the lack of knowledge exhibited by our
academy and senior college graduates. Consequently, some parents
and many youth see little difference between our institutions of learning
and the secular schools of the world.

 In 1986, the Seltzer Dailey Companies were asked to do a study of the
attitudes of the Seventh-day Adventist members concerning our
educational institutions. Surveys were sent to members in general,
educators, students, and ministers. A sober finding was the attitude of
Adventists under 25 years of age.

Less convinced of the importance of Adventist education.

Lower opinion of the academic quality of our Adventist schools/colleges.

Higher opinion of the quality of public schools/colleges.

Have a strong say on what school/colleges they attend. —Seventh-day
Adventist Education, Planning Research: Preliminary Findings, p. 50.

 7. Many young people are so saturated with the entertainment industry,
that Bible study and church seem dull and boring. Thus, the clamor for
celebration-style worship with its music and drama.

8. Today, youth are surrounded and consumed by the materialism that
permeates our Western culture and the relativism that has infiltrated
many avenues of their lives. With these “isms” have come a blurring of
Biblical absolutes.

9. Higher criticism pervades every secular educational institution and
most of our North American senior college theology departments (This
statement is validated in the book Receiving the Word by Samuel
Koranteng-Pipim, (Berrien Books, PO Box 195, Berrien Springs, MI,
1966). Students graduating from institutions that teach the “higher
critical” method of interpreting the Scriptures soon accept and then
expound these concepts. They are taught that the Seventh-day Adventist
Church’s inspired documents—the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, were
culturally influenced. (The reader will more fully understand what is being
taught our college age youth after they read Alden Thompson’s (a
teacher in the theology department of Walla Walla College) book
Inspiration: Hard Questions, Honest Answers Haggerstown, MD, Review
and Herald. Please compare Thompson’s book with the book Issues in
Revelation and Inspiration, edited by Frank Holbrook and Leo Van
Dolson (Berrien Springs, MI, Adventist Theological Society Publishing). It
is not long before many students taught the concepts elucidated in
Thompson’s book, have little or no confidence in landmarks of truth
delivered by divine inspiration to our pioneers. The usual cliche is, “The
concepts and principles developed by the Seventh-day Adventist
pioneers were ‘culturally influenced’ by the Victorian Age, established for
their time, but not today.” In effect, they have self-fulfilled a prophetic
insight given us by Ellen White more than one hundred years ago. And
let there be no doubt but that this is happening today. In a paper
submitted to this writer, the evidence is clear. This paper is reproduced
in Appendix 34

10. With A. L. White’s paper circulating after 1963 and the liberal stand
taken by the 1975 committee on Guidelines for Competitive Activities
and Drama, the Seventh-day Adventist leadership capitulated to its
constituency.

11. Some say that drama in Ellen White’s day was more vulgar,
obscene, and crude than it is today. But John H. Hancock puts that
argument to rest when he states:

 It was evil enough then, but what would the servant of God say of
today’s motion pictures and New York stage productions? Obscenity,
vulgarity, sodomy, illicit sex, and violence are portrayed with
abandonment far beyond the plays on stage in Sister White’s day. —
Hancock, p. 8.

 12. While somewhat repetitive, “What’s Right About Drama?” disproves
several other reasons for drama entering our homes, schools, and
churches. It is found in Appendix 35.




 SUGGESTIONS FOR ENDING DRAMA IN THE SEVENTH-DAY
                ADVENTIST CHURCH
How Can “GenXers” Become Involved in the Mission of the
Church?

Positive Action on a Negative Note:

 They are part of the computer generation, a new breed that requires
new approaches and new methods. Many have told us that they wanted
to put their faith into action, but they don’t know how. They don’t know
the reasons behind many church doctrines. They know little about
Adventist Church history. They say they want to be challenged when
they come to church, not hear the same old ideas all the time,” says
Royson James in “Cityscapes,” entitled “Dear Pastor ...” in the May,
1999, World Edition Review.

But how do you devise new approaches and methods for “computer age
GenXers” if they “know little about Adventist Church history” and don’t
want to “hear the same old ideas” that were delivered to our pioneers?

They are like the story of Ahimaaz, son of a preacher (a distant relative
of Aaron, the first high priest), friend of King David, and later son-in-law
to King Solomon. The story is recorded in 2 Samuel 18:19-33. When
Absalom was killed, Ahimaaz asked Joab if he could run with a message
to King David. Joab said no, and sent Cushi who knew the facts.
Ahimaaz asked again, and Joab let him run. Ahimaaz outran Cushi, but
when he arrived he had no message.

What difference does it make if a thousand approaches and methods are
devised for GenXers to be involved in the mission of the Seventh-day
Adventist church if they don’t have a message?

1. Teach GenXers Our Adventist History and Present Truths:

 In order for GenXers to serve the church, they need to know the
message they want to share. Many of this generation of young men and
women—some to be our future leaders, are without a clear knowledge of
Adventist history and the mission of our church. Almost eighty percent of
our youth have left the church. Is it too late for most of them? Is it too late
to supply this lack of knowledge?

A few years back I attended the funeral of a former member of the youth
Sabbath school class I taught. He was shot and killed under cloudy
circumstances after losing his way in a dense forest of popular music
and drugs. I expected to be weighted down with sadness and guilt at the
loss of this young life. But I was not prepared for the throng of former
youth class members who packed the church to pay their last respects—
scores of GenXers, most of whom had not set foot in our church for
years.

We hugged, we consoled each other, we buried our young friend, and
then we went our separate ways, having little in common after sharing so
much for so long...

Is this a job you want, Pastor [parent, teacher, institutional leader]? Is it
the true desire of your heart to get young people excited about Christ
and His church? If it is, glorious results await you. —Royson James,
Review.

2. Discontinue the Celebration Worship Style and Willow Creek
Support:

 While the leadership of the North American Division has recognized that
the vast majority of our GenXers are deserting the church through the
back door, what have they done to reclaim them? They have
incorporated into our church the Willow Creek (an apostate Protestant
movement) church growth methods which include celebration-style
worship with its contemporary Christian rock music, drama, and
Dispensationalism (the Moral law was nailed to the cross). And what are
the results? More than seven Seventh-day Adventist celebration-style
churches have broken ranks with our denomination, and certainly more
will follow. Some leave over theological concerns (such as the Sabbath,
the authenticity of the Spirit of Prophecy, church authority, etc.), and
others over the use of tithe. You will quickly understand where this
church growth movement has taken us when you read Samuele
Bacchiocchi’s book The Sabbath Under Crossfire.

Men like Dale Ratzlaff, a third generation Seventh-day Adventist
educator, pastor, and Sabbatarian, in his book Sabbath in Crisis, attacks
the seventh-day Sabbath by joining the Dispensational and New
Covenant theologies. And a former Seventh-day Adventist celebration
church pastor, Clay Peck, who is now serving as senior pastor of the
Grace Place Congregation in Berthoud, Colorado, has joined Ratzlaff.
Peck’s book is entitled New Covenant Christians. Perhaps this recent
development is a fulfillment of a statement from The Great Controversy,
p.608:

As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the
third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience
to the truth, abandon their position, and join the ranks of the opposition.
By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to
view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they
are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and
pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to
deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their
former brethren. When Sabbath•keepers are brought before the courts to
answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of
Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and
insinuations stir up the rulers against them.

 3. Initiate an Investigation Why GenXers Have Left the Adventist
Church:

  Since, apparently, the vast majority of GenXers were not taught a
knowledge of Adventist History or our present truth message in their
homes, churches, and schools, what can be done? Are we prepared to
lose a major portion of another generation? God forbid! A complete, in-
depth investigation must be undertaken to determine why “My people are
destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou has rejected knowledge, I
will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast
forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:6).

This is not a witch hunt, but it portends the survival of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church. This investigation should not be done by leadership
alone. The ground swell must come from the priesthood of believers, the
members in the pews, who should initiate a study on how to save our
youth. In a world of E-mail and fax machines, it can be accomplished
rapidly and successfully. God help us!!

 Positive Action on a Positive Note:

 Without doubt, the generation raised with computers is very
knowledgeable concerning hardware and software. My son was ten
when we got our first computer, and in days he had figured out what took
me months to absorb. Now children are punching the keyboard before
preschool. Computers have become indispensable in many fields of
endeavor. If you think not, just ponder on the preparation it took to
prevent the Y2K crisis.

And many people are utilizing computers and the Internet to give to the
world the end-time message given by God to the Seventh-day Adventist
Church. One such organization is TAGnet.org located in Mountain View,
California. The masthead of their July-August, 1999, newsletter states:



“TAGnet stands for Three Angels Global Networking and is an
organization operated by a group of Seventh-day Adventists wanting to
use computer technology to benefit humanity. TAGnet is a member of
ASI. Our purpose is not to be a publishing body but rather to enable and
empower organizations attempting to minister in some way to humanity.”

 1. Encourage Programs to Harness the Talent of Our Youth:

It is time to encourage and demonstrate to our youth how to use their
God-given talents in computer technology to spread the good news of
Christ’s soon return. How much more fulfilling to receive e-mails from
men and women describing their conversions to their Lord and Master
than practicing lines for a theatrical play.

In the March 19, 1999, issue of the Gleaner, Jere Patzer, the North
Pacific Union president, shared just such a happening in an editorial
entitled “Thank-you Heidi… You’re an Inspiration.” Here is a portion of
this most encouraging editorial:



A few weeks ago, an attractive, professional, articulate, and obviously
committed GenXer came to see me in my office. Her name is Heidi
Halvorson.

She shared with me her vision of reaching the world for Jesus through
the Internet. And she isn’t just talking about it! She’s gearing up to launch
a dynamic, interactive, web-based gospel presentation that’s scheduled
to launch May 3rd with full support of her local church and people God
has impressed to contact her.

She’s on a faith venture, and to date, God has provided and enabled her
to use her talents full-time to “passionately connect the Internet world
with the power and person of Jesus Christ through on-line Bible
evangelism.”

As she shared more of her fascinating testimony, I learned that Heidi had
spent a year as a student missionary. During that time, she began
seriously studying her Bible, reading it through six times that year, in
various versions. One doesn’t have to talk to her long to realize that she
is in love with Jesus, with His Church, and with His mission. Her
devotional life is obviously making a difference.

I’m not ashamed to tell you that Heidi inspired me. What a thrill to see
someone at the beginning of her professional adult life so unequivocally
committed. It started by spending time in the Word.

Yes, she made an impact on me. I doubt I’ll get through my Bible six
times this year, but I am committed to reading it more than I ever have
before …and to date I’m on track to reach that objective.

 2. Develop a Gigantic Student Missionary Program:

  Heidi’s experience as a student missionary points up another significant
way to teach youth how to “bundle the gospel.” The Mormon Church was
founded about the same time as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It
would seem we have let the Mormons put us to shame. Who hasn’t seen
two nicely dressed young men visiting door-to-door, giving out their
literature, and establishing studies on their religion? These college
students are sent throughout the world. As a result, according to a
November 2000, US New and World Report, the Mormon Church is the
fast growing denomination in the world. No need of Willow Creek church
growth celebration tactics here. Yet we could double this practice
because we encourage women as well as men to do this work. Just
imagine! Thousands of college students from every Adventist college in
the world going out as student missionaries.
College students could be encouraged to participate—or perhaps (forbid
the thought) be required to serve as student missionaries, according to
their capabilities. They could be given abundant opportunity to fill the
vast needs throughout the world teaching in our English language
schools, home-schooling missionary children, participating in front-line
evangelism, assisting elementary and secondary teachers, helping build
needed facilities, serving in hospitals and clinic, or assisting mission- ary
families in such organizations as Adventist Frontier Missions, which
sends its missionaries into previously unentered areas. Again, as Dr.
Jere Patzer described Heidi:

As she shared more of her fascinating testimony, I learned that Heidi had
spent a year as a student missionary. During that time, she began
seriously studying her Bible, reading it through six times that year, in
various versions. One doesn’t have to talk to her long to realize that she
is in love with Jesus, with His Church and with His mission. Her
devotional life is obviously making a difference. — Ibid. Gleaner, March
1999.

As this small army of students return to their respective colleges, imagine
the spiritual influence, the role models, the changed attitudes and goals
of these young men and women, perhaps as much as one fourth of the
student body yearly returning as another fourth sets out. Just think what
might happen to the college campuses by the end of four years, almost
everyone a returned student missionary, except for the freshman class. If
the Mormons do it, we ought to do it better! After all, don’t we believe we
have the last message for the end time? Or do we ...?

3. Reestablish an Organization Similar to the Past Very
Successful Missionary Volunteer Society:

  The writer has had the opportunity to attend Bill Gothard’s Basic and
Advanced Youth Seminars, as well as his conference for physicians. Mr.
Gothard has, with the blessing of God, developed an army of youth
rightly trained. In addition to his seminars, he has established a home
school program that is producing radiant, dedicated young people who
are going into cities and nations with a new way of life. The curriculum is
designed so that the entire family can be learners along with their sons
and daughters. The goal of the program is to train entire families how to
be mighty in spirit by becoming wise through understanding universal
principles of life, mature by developing Godly character, knowledgeable
by learning proper and relevant academic content, and successful by
acquiring practical skills.

The Institute offers a distance-learning law school as well as a program
called ALERT, which teaches young men emergency medicine, building
trades, and a host of other practical skills including apprenticeship
courses.

The opportunities that these young people have opened up around the
world are beyond anything ever imagined possible. They have created a
new paradigm in education. Instead of going to college to study for an
education, they are showing educators how to teach character. Rather
than being limited by secular presuppositions, they are learning to be
wise, creative problem-solvers.

Through a series of events, shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Mr.
Gothard took 300 young people from his home school program to
Russia. While visiting the government officials in Moscow, they ask to
see the Russian Director of Education.

They were told, later, that she was not interested in seeing any more
American young people. She had not been impressed with the behavior
or appearance of the previous American young people. The employee
giving her the message told her that these young people were different
and she must come and meet them.

The results of that meeting was beyond all expectations. Not only was
she impressed with the young people, but when she understood that
they wanted to help teach character principles to the children in the
schools and help rebuild Russian families, a written agreement was later
signed to open all 2,000 schools to the Basic Seminar Youth Ministry.

In addition to teaching in the schools, the students met in the homes with
the parents, and conducted meetings with families in major auditoriums
throughout the city.

The Russian officials were so impressed with the brightness and
dedication of the students that they granted the organization the use of a
five-acre campus and buildings to start an orphanage. Officials also
entrusted to them orphans, abandoned children, and juvenile offenders
and asked if they would train up thousands of street children.

When Indianapolis, Indiana, Mayor Stephen Goldsmith heard reports of
events in Russia, he asked the organization to start a similar program in
his city. A 300-room hotel was provided for a training center. Official
invitations have followed from other U.S. cities.

The first International Conference for Mayors and Government Leaders
was held in 1996. In this three-day conference, they caught the vision of
Character Cities and took the concepts back to their jurisdictions. The
growth of this conference and Character Cities is a direct result of the
influence of the students and their families.

The door continued to open in other countries such as Taiwan,
Singapore, and even China. A delegation of seventeen government
officials from the capital of China, Beijing, received training at the
Institute Headquarters in Illinois, on Biblical principles and character and
were thrilled with what they learned and with the vibrant young people
whom they met. Their leader stated, “This training is vital for our people.
We would like to invite you to come to China with your Seminar.”

These young people are making an impact because they are different,
different in their dress, their choice of music and recreation, behavior,
maturity, and a demonstration of concern for others. For example, a
fourteen-year-old being home schooled under the Institute’s educational
program had a lawn-mowing business. He told a widow, “I would like to
do this work for you without charge because this is my way of repaying
the Lord for all He has given to me.”

Why share this information with you, reader? Because we have become
the tail instead of the head. In 1908, we were given the following
promise:

All who engage in ministry are God’s helping hand. There is no line of
work in which it is possible for the youth to receive greater benefit. They
are co•workers with the angels; rather, they are human agencies through
whom the angels accomplish their mission. Angels speak through their
voices, and work by their hands. And the human workers, cooperating
with heavenly agencies, have the benefit of their education and
experience. As a means of education, what “university course” can equal
this? With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might
furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon•coming
Savior might be carried to the world! —Youth Instructor, March 3, 1908.

 A modern-day Missionary Volunteer Society is crucial—NOW. There is
not one GenXer who ever attended a live Missionary Volunteer Society
meeting. Why? Because the Societies were allowed to die. Please read
Malcolm J. Allen’s book.

Can you imagine the spiritual tone and influence upon a college campus
student body when Friday and Sabbath evening vespers would be
conducted by return student missionaries? In just four years almost
three fourths of the student body could be students who saw the world
and our church mission from actual experience. This could resurrect an
organization similar to the old Missionary Volunteer Society. Call the
organization whatever you like, but organize it on the same concepts as
the original. The back door of the Church would almost stop swinging out
from our youth leaving the church.

 Perhaps a genuine interest in the salvation of fellow students, relatives,
and their respective communities would supplant the need for organized
sports on our school campuses. Perhaps students would look to the
missionaries they served with and to each other as role models instead
of the latest Hollywood or sports personality. Perhaps drama
departments would be replaced with classes that would prepare an army
of youth, “rightly trained,” to receive the Latter Rain and give the Loud
Cry.

4. Organized a Worldwide Summer Student Literature Evangelism
Program:

     While attending college and graduate school, the writer spent six
summers as a literature evangelist. The Lord was good and each year a
scholarship was earned that covered the cost of schooling. Only eternity
will tell of the silent witnesses that were left in thousands of homes. It
was a challenge to knock on endless doors day after day, especially
when returning to work on Monday morning after spending a quiet
weekend with friends on the beach. Ask anyone who has spent a long
summer canvassing for hours on hot, humid days if it was easy. While
the need for a scholarship was ever present on our minds, the fact that
we were leaving a message of hope was the source of our persistence.
The only way literature evangelists survive is to keep a close connection
with their Heavenly Father.

Every summer throughout the world, hundreds of student literature
evangelists place thousands upon thousands of truth-filled literature in
homes and businesses. This army of young men and women, sustained
with the promise of angels accompanying them, leave books and
journals that carry the Three Angels’ Messages to a dying world. Let’s
increase this number by hundreds of more student literature evangelists!



In Charlotte, North Carolina, the summer of 1999, Cheryl Martin, a
student literature evangelist received some free advertisement. In the
September issue of the Southern Union paper, Southern Tidings, page
six, the following story appeared:

Newspaper Features Student LEs (Literature Evangelists)

    When the city editor of The Charlotte Observer bought a set of Bible
  books from a student literature evangelist, it got the newspaperman to
 thinking. Who are these young people and why are they doing this kind
of work? The editor assigned a reporter and photographer to follow up on
  the story. As a result, the students were featured in the state’s largest
                    newspaper, The Charlotte Observer.

Over the course of the summer the student literature evangelists fanned
out across the city and surrounding areas of Charlotte. When the
reporter and photographer met with the students to do the story, these
16 students had just completed their biggest week. In only one week
these students sold more than $18,000 of truth-filled literature. Each
week the students average 40 Bible enrollments that they pass along to
the Bible worker.

The Girl in Her Dream



Angel Chambers was shocked when she opened the door. There stood
the girl she’d seen in her dream. Not just one dream, but three. The girl
who’d knocked on her door was Cheryl Martin, a graduate of Southern
Adventist University, who is working as a Bible worker in the Charlotte
area. Cheryl’s visit was in response to a Bible interest that a student
literature evangelist, Michele Goodwin, developed. As a result of the
visit, Angel invited two other friends to join them and now all three are
well along on their study of the Bible.

                            V - CONCLUDING

  The development of drama on planet Earth and in the Seventh-day
Adventist Church has been briefly reviewed. The writer’s observations for
the gradual drift to the present “love affair” with drama in the Adventist
Church has been described. And finally, suggestions have been outlined
on how GenXers, or any generation can become appropriately involved
in the mission of the Adventist Church.

If you feel that this paper has demonstrated the need to eliminate
theatrical performances in our churches and institutions, persuaded you
to eliminate your own viewing of TV and video dramas, and convicted
you to implement a reformation in your own home, church, and
conference, than share this paper and appendices with other parents,
your pastor, and institutional and conference leadership. Then, with the
help of the Holy Spirit, work with your fellow parents and local school and
church leadership to devise methods to establish the solutions
suggested in this paper, and any additional ideas that God will lead you
and others to develop. Let’s all work and pray for reformation and revival
in our beloved church.

 Maranatha,

E-mail:         plclrh@wwics.com

Phone: 509 525-4024

Fax:      509 522-2448

                         CONTINUE appendix 1

                            RETURN TO TOC
                                  DRAMA

                                     and the



         SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                   APPENDIX 1a

"FACING THE CRISIS" (With the Lesser and Greater Light - Part
                            1)

                      Elder Lawrence Nelson, January 1, 2000

    (Edited from original which was prepared for cassette recording. Author’s
                    emphasis in italics. Used with permission.)

Introduction:

Every day brings us closer to the Final Crisis! Inspiration describes it as a "time
of trouble such as never was," that is "soon to burst upon us as an overwhelming
surprise!"

God foreknew the intensity of this end-time conflict:

He knew that you and I would never be able to stand before Satan’s mighty
"power of force" without special assistance from the Holy Spirit.

For Satan will very shortly cause "all, both small and great, rich and poor, free
and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

"And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of
the beast, or the number of his name." (Revelation 13:16,17)

How thankful we should be that God has given the Spirit of Prophecy to His
church which together with the Bible will enable His people, through Christ’s
power, to prepare for and pass through the end-time crisis, and to do so with
divine assurance of victory!

For only through His Word can we be assured that Christ will stand by each one
who faithfully fulfills the divine conditions that are clearly revealed to us through
these inspired writings.

Before we continue to explore heaven’s guidelines, let us first seek the aid of
divinity:

Loving Father, it is time for us to awake from Satan’s fearful stupor which is
enveloping Thy people. Please, dear Father, open our spiritual senses so we
may comprehend the divine instruction that You have sent to us, that we may
face this coming crisis fearlessly as soldiers of the cross. We ask this in the holy
name of Jesus. Amen.

We will begin our study by reading from God’s book, the Bible:

      We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye
      take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn,
      and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of
      the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in
      old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved
      by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:19-21)

Ellen White writes concerning the Holy Spirit:

      The Spirit was not given—nor can it ever be bestowed—to supersede the
      Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard
      by which all teaching and experience must be tested. Isaiah declares, "To
      the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is
      because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20)—The Great Controversy,
      Introduction, p.7.

The writings of the Spirit of Prophecy have passed every test of the Holy
Scriptures! They have been proven true to the Word of God! Indeed, Ellen White
magnifies the light given by the ancient prophets, making their words clearer and
more understandable in their special application to our time. The Lord has stated
through His last-day messenger:

      The Holy Ghost is the author of the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy.—
      Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 30.
And, in Letter 92, 1900, we read:

      The Bible must be your counselor. Study it, and the Testimonies God has
      given; for they never contradict His Word.

Therefore, since the Holy Spirit is the author of both the Bible and the Spirit of
Prophecy, I’m sure you will agree with me that the primary purpose of both is to
lead men and women to our Saviour who is the light and salvation of the world!

There are two brief quotations in the Spirit of Prophecy that we frequently hear
quoted among us. But they are often taken out of context. These statements are
then misinterpreted and misrepresented, not only by individuals, but even by
some of the leaders of our church! In this present study we will search for the
true meaning of the first one of these two passages. A study of the second
quotation will follow in Part 2 of this paper.

The passage we will consider today is taken from the Review & Herald of
January 20, 1903, and reads as follows:

      Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to
      lead men and women to the greater light.

Immediately the question must be asked: Who is the "lesser light," and who is the
"greater light?" It is here that Satan has begun to destroy confidence in the
writings of the Lord’s servant!

Now, the best way to learn the meaning of a perplexing expression is to ask the
author what he or she meant. Surely Ellen White will explain just what the Holy
Spirit, who inspired her thought, had meant for her to convey. It will be well for us
to read this often-quoted passage in its context.

But first, there are a number of other passages in which Ellen White uses the
expressions, "the lesser light" and "the greater light." In solving this statement
these should be helpful. We will begin with one that is found in the Spirit of
Prophecy, Vol. 2, pp 83, 84. Consider carefully her explanation of the work of
John the Baptist:

      The prophet John was the connecting link between the two dispensations.
      He was the lesser light which was to be followed by a greater. He was to
      shake the confidence of the people in their traditions, call their sins to their
      remembrance, and lead them to repentance; that they might be prepared to
      appreciate the work of Christ. God communicated to John by inspiration,
      illuminating the understanding of the prophet, that he might remove the
     superstition and darkness from the minds of the honest Jews, which had,
     through false teachings, been gathering upon them for generations.

     But the least disciple who followed Christ, witnessing his miracles, and
     receiving his divine lessons of instruction and the comforting words that fell
     from his lips, was more privileged than John the Baptist. No light had ever
     shone or ever will shine so clearly upon the mind of fallen man, as that
     which emanated from the teachings and example of Jesus. Christ and his
     mission had been but dimly understood and typified in the shadowy
     sacrifice.…

     Although not one of the prophets has a higher mission or great work to
     perform than had John, yet he was not to see even the result of his own
     labors. He was not privileged to be with Christ and witness the divine power
     attending the greater light.…

Did you notice those last words —"the divine power attending" … Who? There is
no question, her answer is Christ, "the greater light." This sentence definitely
reveals that the greater light was Christ! And who did she name as the "lesser
light?" The prophet John! In this passage she has defined both of these two
terms in unmistakable language! And as we read other passages from her
writings we will find that she will be consistent.

Now let us look at a second passage which is found in the Review & Herald, April
8, 1873. Herein Ellen White writes that John was:

     …one of the greatest prophets that God had sent as a messenger to the
     earth.… Christ had said of him that he was more than a prophet…[that]
     "there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist."

In the context of these words Ellen White continues: "John was the lesser light
which was to be followed by a greater light." And who was that greater light who
followed John? We would all answer: JESUS!

Passing on to a third statement, we’ll turn to page 220 of The Desire of Ages:

     The prophet John was the connecting link between the two dispensations.
     As God’s representative, he stood forth to show the relation of the law and
     the prophets to the Christian dispensation. He was the lesser light, which
     was to be followed by a greater. The mind of John was illuminated by the
     Holy Spirit, that he might shed light upon his people; [and now notice these
     words:] but no other light ever has shone or ever will shine so clearly upon
     fallen man as that which emanated from the teaching and example of
      Jesus.

From this there can be but one conclusion: John, the lesser light, was to show
the relation of the law and the prophets of the Old Testament to Christ, the
"greater light," who followed him.

And the Bible confirms Ellen White’s definitions to be correct! We read in John
1:6-9:

      There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came
      for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might
      believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
      That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the
      world.

In John 5:35 and 36, Jesus said: He was a burning and a shining light: and ye
were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness [light]
than that of John.…

Then, in John 9:5, Jesus declared: "I am the light of the world."

If no other light ever has shone or ever will shine so clearly as Christ, surely all
the Old as well as the New Testament prophets of the Bible were "lesser lights."
There can be no question about this!

In a fourth passage, Ellen White speaks of the Old Testament era as a "lesser
light," and the New Testament era as "greater light." We quote from This Day
With God, p. 246:

      With the first advent of Christ there was ushered in an era of greater light
      and glory; but it would indeed be sinful ingratitude to despise and ridicule
      the lesser light because a fuller and more glorious light had dawned. Those
      who despise the blessings and glory of the Jewish age are not prepared to
      be benefited by the preaching of the gospel.…

So, we can clearly see that Ellen White does not depart from her established
definition. Christ’s first advent ushered in a time of "greater light and glory." God,
through the Old Testament prophets, had established the "lesser light and glory
of the Jewish age." The purpose of this age was to establish the sanctuary
services which pointed forward to the "greater light" to be ushered in with the first
advent of Christ.
Now we are ready to discuss the passage in the Review & Herald, January 20,
1903: From this passage it has been declared from our pulpits and books that
Ellen White refers to the Bible as the "greater light" and to herself and her
writings as the "lesser light."

I refer particularly to a man-made caption: In Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 30
[copyright 1980], it clearly promotes this mistaken position. The caption reads:
Relationship of E. G. White Writings to Bible—The Lesser Light. Immediately
after this caption, the passage from the Review & Herald is printed:

      Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to
      lead men and women to the greater light.—Review & Herald, January 20,
      1903. (Quoted in Colporteur Ministry, page 125.)

Now, let me ask you: Have you ever read this passage in its context? As we read
it, please note the purpose of this Review article. From its beginning to its ending
she is promoting the sale of [what?] her books. To whom? To the people of the
world. Why?— "to lead them to the Saviour"—the Greater Light!

Note carefully as we read this sentence in its context:

      I thank my Heavenly Father for the interest that my brethren and sisters
      have taken in the circulation of Christ’s Object Lessons. By the sale of this
      book great good has been accomplished, and the work should be
      continued. But the efforts of our people should not be confined to this one
      book.… The larger books, Patriarchs and Prophets, Great Controversy,
      and Desire of Ages, should be sold everywhere. These books contain truth
      for this time,—truth that is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world. Nothing
      is to hinder their sale.

      Many more of our larger books might have been sold if church members
      had been awake to the importance of the truths these books contain, and
      had realized their responsibility to circulate them. My brethren and sisters,
      will you not now make an effort to circulate these books?

She continues,

      Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the
      instruction that during her life-work God has been giving her. They contain
      the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given his servant to
      be given to the world. From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts
      of men and women, leading them to the Saviour. The Lord has declared
      that these books are to be scattered throughout the world. There is in them
      truth which to the receiver is a savor of life unto life. They are silent
      witnesses for God. In the past they have been the means in his hands of
      convicting and converting many souls. Many have read them with eager
      expectation, and, by reading them, have been led to see the efficacy of
      Christ’s atonement, and to truth in its power.…

      The Lord has sent His people much instruction, line upon line, precept
      upon precept, here a little and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible,
      and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater
      light.… [Surely this is clearly stated.]

Some of Ellen White’s books were designed to be distributed widely to the public.
Why? For the reason that from their pages "light is to shine into the hearts of men
and women, leading them to the Saviour."

She surely expressed the same thought when, a few sentences later she said:
"The Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light,"
because people had neglected the Bible which God had given to the world for
this very purpose.

Ellen White pointed to her own writings, though they were precious and inspired,
as the "lesser light" to lead the peoples of the world to Jesus Christ—the "greater
light." If this passage meant what is commonly believed, that the "greater light"
referred to here is the Bible, it would not be consistent with all of her other
passages in which she defines the greater light to be Christ.

Therefore, one must conclude from this article that Ellen White is not demeaning
her writings as inferior to the Bible. For since the Holy Spirit is the author of her
writings, as stated in Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 30, and since God, not Ellen
White, is the originator of her writings, as found in the Review & Herald, January
20, 1903, then who is it that is teaching that the writings of Ellen White are
second-class?

It is none other than the Liberals among us who are being used by Satan "to
make of none effect" the Spirit of Prophecy. Ellen White was taught by the same
Holy Spirit of God as were the ancient prophets. And if John the Baptist, the
greatest of the prophets, was a "lesser light," surely, the Bible prophets were all
lesser lights. Christ alone is the "greater light."

In the creation story, there is an interesting illustration which may help us to
understand the difference between the lesser and greater lights. It is found in
Genesis 1:16—
      And God made two great lights; the great light to rule the day, and the
      lesser light to rule the night.

I like the way John Janiuk calls attention to this illustration in his book, The Great
Controversy Endgame, #3, pp. 23,24. He points out that in the context of this
verse, two questions are answered. Namely, (1) What is the greater light? The
answer: the sun that rules the day. The sun is the greater light for it has original
light, or light emanating from itself. And, (2) What is the lesser light that rules the
night? The moon. Does the moon have light in itself? NO! All the moon can do is
to reflect the light of the sun. Does this not teach an important Bible principle?

A greater light has light in itself, while a lesser light can only reflect light. A
thousand moons together could never become the greater light, because the
greater light is the original light—the sun!

Janiuk concludes that the writers of the Bible and Ellen White did not have light in
themselves. As the moon they could only reflect the original light of Jesus Christ
—THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS!

Spiritually speaking, Christ is the Sun of Righteousness.

The Bible promises in Malachi 4:2 that as the Sun of Righteousness, He will arise
upon us "with healing in His wings."

For Jesus is the Light of Life. From Desire of Ages, p. 463, I quote these beautiful
thoughts:

      "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he
      that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

      When He spoke these words, Jesus was in the court of the temple specially
      connected with the services of the Feast of Tabernacles. In the center of
      this court rose two lofty standards, supporting lampstands of great size.
      After the evening sacrifice, all the lamps were kindled, shedding their light
      over Jerusalem. This ceremony was in commemoration of the pillar of light
      that guided Israel in the desert, and was also regarded as pointing to the
      coming of the Messiah. At evening when the lamps were lighted, the court
      was a scene of great rejoicing.

      In the illumination of Jerusalem, the people expressed their hope of the
      Messiah’s coming to shed His light upon Israel. But to Jesus the scene had
      a wider meaning. As the radiant lamps of the temple lighted up all about
      them, so Christ, the source of spiritual light, illumines the darkness of the
      world. Yet the symbol was imperfect. That great light [here she speaks of
      the sun which He Himself had infused with original light] which His own
      hand had set in the heavens was a truer representation of the glory of His
      mission.

This same thought is expressed in Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students,
p. 54:

      The sun rising in the heavens is the representative of Him who is the life
      and light of all that he has made.…

But let us never forget that man has a part to act in the salvation of the world. For
Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world." But humanity has no light in itself. Men
are likened, not to the sun, but to the moon. Man can only reflect the light of
Jesus. Listen as I quote this from Mount of Blessings, p. 40:

      Humanity has in itself no light. Apart from Christ we are like an unkindled
      taper, like the moon when her face is turned away from the sun; we have
      not a single ray of brightness to shed into the darkness of the world. But
      when we turn toward the Sun of Righteousness, when we come in touch
      with Christ, the whole soul is aglow with the brightness of the divine
      presence.

      Christ’s followers are to be more than a light in the midst of men. They are
      the light of the world.…

As in the moon, all human beings are "lesser lights," whether they be prophet,
priest, or king. However, when men turn their faces toward Christ, and connect
themselves to Him, they can reflect His light to the world.

I quote the following from This Day With God, p. 93:

      It is the privilege of the Christian to connect with the Source of light, and
      through this living connection become the light of the world.

      As the light of the sun is light and life and blessing to all that live, so should
      Christians, by their good works, by their cheerfulness and courage, be the
      light of the world. As the light of the sun chases away the shades of night
      and pours its glories on valleys and hills, so will the Christian reflect the
      Sun of Righteousness which shines on him.

Isn’t that beautiful?
Oh, what a privilege to reflect the light that shines from the "Sun of
Righteousness!" The book, That I May Know Him, p. 341, advises us:

      O be sure you receive your illumination from the Source of all light. He is
      the great central Light of the universe of heaven and the great Light of the
      world.

May this beautiful counsel be fulfilled in each and every one of us:

      The princely dignity of the Christian character will shine forth as the sun,
      and the beams of light from the face of Christ will be reflected upon those
      who have purified themselves even as He is pure.

Always remember that "The Sun of Righteousness has risen. Christ our
righteousness is shining in brightness upon us" (Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p.
932). Beloved, Christ does this for us because He loves us!

We read further, this time in Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, p. 1118:

      Christ "loved the church, and gave himself for it." It is the purchase of His
      blood. The divine Son of God is seen walking amid the seven golden
      candlesticks. Jesus Himself supplies the oil to these burning lamps. He it is
      that kindles the flame. "In him was life; and the life was the light of men."

      No candlestick, no church, shines of itself. From Christ emanates all its
      light.

Again, in Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 249, we are promised:

      The trials may be severe, but look to Jesus every moment—not to struggle,
      but to rest in His love. He careth for you. [I like that!]

      We know that as trials press closer and closer, the hope grows stronger.
      The beams of the Sun of Righteousness shall shine into your heart with
      their healing power. Look beyond the clouds to the brightness, even the
      light of the Sun of Righteousness.…

Now with these glorious truths before us, we can better comprehend the damage
being done to the church when through misunderstandings, or various means,
the writings of Ellen White are downgraded as a "lesser light" to the Bible. Satan
understands the tremendous blessing and encouragement that the Testimonies
are to God’s church when they are treasured and studied by its members. I fear
this misunderstanding is one way among others that Satan is seeking to
undermine the ministry of God’s messenger to the Remnant Church so that
eventually her writings will become of none effect in the lives of many.

For, if Satan can downgrade the Spirit of Prophecy, by this and other
implications, so that the Testimonies are neglected—left on our shelves to collect
dust, he knows that God’s people may not detect his final deceptions—
deceptions that the Spirit of Prophecy not only points out clearly, but also tells us
how to avoid. Never forget that, if possible, Satan would have all of us perish!

Consider carefully this quotation from Selected Messages, Vol. 1, p. 48:

      The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the
      testimony of the Spirit of God. "Where there is no vision, the people
      perish" (Prov. 29:18). Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and
      through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant
      people in the true testimony.

Oh, friend, let us not despise the last-day "lesser light," or regard Ellen White’s
writings as inferior words from God.

I must be honest with you. During my 60 years of ministry for the Lord I have
constantly used both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy in my preaching to
Seventh-day Adventists and in all of my tape ministry. For I have always believed
that both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy originated from the same source of
authority—the Holy Spirit!

Now, one more important thought: In the beginning, when Christ created this
world, He set His healing light upon this void and shapeless earth. God said, "Let
there be light, and there was light. And the evening and the morning were the
first day" (Genesis 1:3,5). On that first day there was no light from the sun or the
moon—they were not created until the fourth day. But "there was light"! Who was
that light? It was Jesus, the Creator, Who was that "light," and in the earth made
new, there will come a time when in the New Jerusalem there will be no need of
"light" from the sun or the moon, for we read in Revelation 21:23:

      And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for
      the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Jesus was, He now is, and ever will be the Sun of Righteousness. Our Greater
Light forever! Oh, what a Saviour, praise His name!

I appeal to you in the name of our Lord and Master: Let us face the coming crisis
with absolute assurance of victory in Christ, because we have accepted the Spirit
of Prophecy and the Bible as the lesser lights which lead us to the Great Light—
the Sun of Righteousness, Jesus Christ Who alone is able to save us.

Let us pray —

Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for this positive information that encourages us
to believe without question in the writings of Ellen White and the Bible as both
authored by Thy Holy Spirit.

Please give us the courage to read, study and obey all of the teachings in these
two inspired sources that Thou hast given that we may fully understand what is
so soon to come upon the world.

We thank Thee for the promise of Thy dear Son: "To him that overcometh will I
grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with
my Father in His throne."

For we ask this in the name of Jesus. AMEN

In Part 2 of this paper, we will discuss the second passage from the Spirit of
Prophecy which is often quoted out of context and misused, one which can have
disastrous results insofar as God’s people are concerned!

                           CONTINUE- PART 2

                               RETURN TO TOC
                                        DRAMA

                                            and the



                SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
     "FACING THE CRISIS" (With the Lesser and Greater Light - Part 2)

                       Elder Lawrence Nelson, February 1, 2000

Introduction:

In Part 1, we spoke of two brief quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy that are often taken
out of context, misunderstood, and therefore misused. The one we presented is found in
the Review & Herald, June 20, 1903. It reads:

      Little heed is given to the Bible and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and
      women to the greater light.

In Part 1 we read references where Ellen White clearly defines for us the meaning of these
two terms: All prophets, she clarifies (including Bible prophets and Ellen White) are "lesser
lights," leading us to Christ who alone is the "greater light." As the moon reflects light from
the sun, so a prophet having no light in himself or herself, can only reflect light from the
Sun of Righteousness. Who is Christ? —the light of life! (See Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, pp.
83, 84.)

Before I introduce you to the second brief passage, let us pray:

Oh, loving Father, we beseech Thee to open our understanding to Thy heavenly truth. Fill
us with Thy Holy Spirit with an unquenchable thirst to be fed from Thy "lesser lights," and
be prepared to meet the "greater light"—Jesus, our Sun of Righteousness. May we thus be
ready to meet Thy soon-coming without fear. This we ask in the name of Jesus. AMEN

Now let us identify the inspired statement under consideration. I will quote it as it is found in
Prophets and Kings, p. 626:
      The words of the Bible, and the Bible alone, should be heard from the pulpit.

As we near the end in this Final Crisis, Satan seems more determined than ever before to
keep the Spirit of Prophecy from being presented to God’s remnant people! An examination
of this sentence in its context clearly reveals that she is not here referring to the pulpits of
Seventh-day Adventist churches, but to those times when SDA ministers/workers stand
before the professed Christians of the world. Read for yourself in Prophets and Kings, pp.
623-627, and it will become very apparent which pulpits are referred to.

Time will permit us to read but a few thoughts from pp. 625, 626:

      Between the laws of men and the precepts of Jehovah will come the last great
      conflict of the controversy between truth and error. Upon this battle we are now
      entering.… Many have come to deny doctrines which are the very pillars of the
      Christian faith. The great facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, the fall
      of man, the atonement, the perpetuity of the law—these all are practically rejected by
      a large share of the professedly Christian world.…

I continue reading:

      Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an
      overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying
      the word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts.… God calls for a
      revival and a reformation. The words of the Bible and the Bible alone, should be
      heard from the pulpit. But the Bible has been robbed of its power, and the result is
      seen in a lowering of the tone of spiritual life. In many sermons of today there is not
      that divine manifestation which awakens the conscience and brings life to the soul.…
      Let the word of God speak to the heart. Let those who have heard only tradition and
      human theories and maxims, hear the voice of Him who can renew the soul into
      eternal life.

We might ask: Was Ellen White speaking of SDA churches when she said, "Many have
come to deny doctrines which are the very pillars of the Christian faith?" She proceeds to
name which pillars she is referring to:

      The great facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, the fall of man, the
      atonement, the perpetuity of the law —these all are practically rejected by a large
      share of the professedly Christian world.

She cannot be including the Seventh-day Adventist Church, because true SDAs do believe
in "the great facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, in the fall of man, the
atonement, and the perpetuity of the law." "God calls for a revival and a reformation." To
accomplish this, when teaching these professed Christians, she says, "The words of the
Bible and the Bible alone, should be heard from the pulpit." Please note that Ellen White
does not say from our pulpits, but "from the pulpit."

How sad that some pastors of large churches have used this brief sentence to keep God’s
people from hearing the Spirit of Prophecy. After retiring, I was once a church elder of a
very large church in Southern California. In this church of some 1,200 members the pastor
instructed his board of elders that they were never to use the Spirit of Prophecy from his
pulpit. He then quoted this statement we have just read.

Certainly, when speaking before an audience made up of professed Christians and
unbelievers, it is not proper to use the writings of Ellen White. We have this counsel in
Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 669:

      I stated that some had taken an unwise course; when they had talked their faith to
      unbelievers, and the proof had been asked for, they had read from my writings,
      instead of going to the Bible for proof. It was shown me that this course was
      inconsistent, and would prejudice unbelievers against the truth. The Testimonies can
      have no weight with those who know nothing of their spirit. They should not be
      referred to in such cases.

So, as a pastor, when I give Bible studies to non-believers, and in my evangelistic meetings
when I preach, I have always proved every statement from the Bible. This is in keeping with
Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 29:

      In public labor do not make prominent, and quote that which Sister White has written,
      as authority to sustain your positions. To do this will not increase faith in the
      testimonies. Bring your evidences, clear and plain, from the Word of God. A "Thus
      saith the Lord" is the strongest testimony you can possibly present to the people.

We might also mention that when speaking before "professed Christians of the world [or
before any other group for that matter], ministers should never deliver sermons consisting
of stories or anecdotes, or the gospel according to Time Magazine, etc., just to entertain
them. Ellen White declares, "Let those who have heard only traditions and human theories
and maxims" hear "the words of the Bible and the Bible alone!" —Christ’s Object Lessons,
p. 40.

We conclude that for very good reasons it is improper to use the writings of Ellen White in
public meetings, such as evangelistic campaigns or when giving someone a Bible study, or
even when having a discussion with unbelievers or members of the worldly churches.

Now that we have noted when it is not proper to use the Spirit of Prophecy, let us find the
answer to the question: When is it proper?
Turning to the pages of the Spirit of Prophecy, we will quickly observe that on many
occasions the Lord instructed Ellen White to send testimonies to be read from our pulpits,
not only in our churches, but in our camp meetings.

Let me list a few examples:

Speaking of the Illinois camp meeting, from Battle Creek Letters, p. 49 (also in Selected
Messages, Vol. 1, p. 27), I quote:

     When I went to Colorado I was so burdened for you that, in my weakness, I wrote (in
     September 1881) many pages to be read at your camp meeting. Weak and trembling,
     I arose at three o’clock in the morning to write to you. God was speaking through clay.
     …

     But the document was entirely forgotten; the camp meeting passed, and it was not
     read until the General Conference.

In his biography of Ellen White, Arthur White comments that this testimony arrived from
Ellen White during the middle of the Illinois camp meeting, and that there was no excuse
for the leaders having neglected to read it as requested.

Thus we recognize that it is not only in our day that some SDA leaders avoid, if possible,
the reading of the testimonies of God’s Spirit from the pulpits of our churches. Ellen White
faced this same problem. Please note that she had felt such a great urgency that this
testimony be read in that camp meeting that, though ill, she arose at 3:00 A.M. to write it.
But, alas, it was not read.

It is recorded in Manuscript 8, pp. 250 and 296, that she sent two large manuscripts to be
read at the Avondale, Australia, camp meeting. So this was not a singular practice of hers.

In addition to sending testimonies to the camp meetings, the Lord instructed her to send
testimonies to the churches to be read to the congregations. Two such testimonies which
she sent to the Battle Creek, Michigan, church are preserved for us today in Testimonies,
Vol. 5, pages 45-84. Even though the Lord instructed her to send these testimonies, once
again she had some problem. Her request was ignored for several weeks. I quote from
Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 62:

     Dear Brethren and Sisters in Battle Creek:

     I understand that the testimony which I sent to Bro. _______, with the request that it
     be read to the church, was withheld from you for several weeks after it was received
      by him. Before sending that testimony my mind was so impressed by the Spirit of
      God that I had no rest day or night until I wrote to you.

Once again she felt such a great urgency to get this testimony to the church that she had
no rest day or night. But alas! Despite her feelings of urgency, her first testimony was
withheld for weeks. Among other things it contained the following counsel found in
Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 61. She points out here that there was a problem in the church. I
quote:

      Many of our younger ministers, and some of more mature experience, are neglecting
      the word of God, and also despising the testimonies of his Spirit. [And I add, we can
      surely see this today.] They do not know what the testimonies contain, and do not
      wish to know. They do not wish to discover and correct their defects of character.

The next testimony she sent to Battle Creek to be read to the church, contained a variety of
counsels. Her main burden was to call them to repentance. She told them they were
spiritually dead, needed to crucify self, repent and be converted. That the church was
corrupt. Speaking directly to them, she continued, "‘Your sins have separated you from
God.’ You must lay aside every besetting sin." Then she warned: "If you continue on in
your present spiritual state, nothing but evil can be prophesied against you."

These testimonies from Ellen White answer our question, Is it proper to use the Spirit
of Prophecy in our pulpits?

If the Lord requested that the testimonies of the Spirit of Prophecy rebuking sin, etc., be
read from the pulpits in our churches in her day—surely it is equally proper in our day! Why
would it not be proper to read counsel from the Lord in our churches and at our camp
meetings—NOW—when it is undoubtedly even more urgently needed than it was in the
1880s?

We conclude that it is proper to use the writings of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy together
in our church, namely:

(1) in the Sabbath School

(2) in the divine service

(3) in prayer groups

I quote: "Additional truth is not brought out; but God has through the Testimonies simplified
the great truths already given, and in his own chosen way brought them before the people,
to awaken and impress the mind with them, that all may be left without
excuse." (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 665)

So let us not be fearful to stand behind the pulpit and read from the Spirit of Prophecy. Who
knows better how to give counsel than does the Lord?

Now we turn from these illustrations in modern Israel to a similar illustration from ancient
Israel. For the purposes of this illustration, however, we will not consider Jeremiah as an
ancient prophet, but as a modern living prophet—which indeed he was at the time of this
graphic illustration which is recorded in Jeremiah 36:1-8, 18-23:

      And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah,
      that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Take thee a roll of a book,
      and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and
      against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the
      days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the
      evil which I purpose to do unto them; and they may return every man from his evil
      way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.

      Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of
      Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a
      book. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up: I cannot go into the
      house of the Lord: therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from
      my mouth, the words of the Lord in the ears of the people in the Lord’s house upon
      the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out
      of their cities. It may be they will present their supplication before the Lord, and will
      return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the Lord
      hath pronounced against this people. And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to
      all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the
      Lord in the Lord’s house.

I quote again, beginning with verse 18:

      Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his
      mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book. Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go,
      hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be. And they went in to
      the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe,
      and told all the words in the ears of the king.

      So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s
      chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes
      which stood beside the king.

      Now the king sat in the winter house in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the
     hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or
     four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth,
     until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.

These verses have illustrated two points: that the Lord commissions a prophet to write a
message, with the request that it be read in the church in the ears of the people (in this
case, the church was the temple). It also reveals the attitude of this leader as he rejected
the testimony God had sent to awaken himself and his people to repentance that they
might receive forgiveness and salvation. In anger, the king burned Jeremiah’s testimony in
the fire!

There is a very startling statement concerning our church pastors which the Lord has sent
to us today—to His modern Israel. It is found in Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 409, 410. Let
us not overlook that there are times when apostasy is so great that such startling
pronouncements as this are needed. I quote:

     Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ
     and the god of this world in the same breath.… Let the sin of deceit and false witness
     be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church
     will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable
     assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he
     knows what truth is.

     Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled
     from the hellish torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are cherished, [then note what
     will happen:] the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they
     know so much.…

In Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 77, we will read a passage that continues this same subject:

     Who knows whether God will not give you up to the deceptions you love? Who knows
     but that the preachers who are faithful, firm, and true may be the last who shall offer
     the gospel of peace to our unthankful churches? It may be that the destroyers are
     already training under the hand of Satan and only wait the departure of a few more
     standard-bearers to take their places, and with the voice of the false prophet cry,
     Peace, peace, when the Lord hath not spoken peace. I seldom weep, but now I find
     my eyes blinded with tears; they are falling upon my paper as I write. It may be that
     ere long all prophesying among us will be at an end, and the voice which has stirred
     the people may no longer disturb their carnal slumbers.

What a picture! Are not these predictions being fulfilled today?

If Ellen White were shown in vision some of the new SDA churches that are being "planted"
by the NAD—NOW—how could she keep from weeping? How could she keep the tears
from blinding her eyes? Many of these new churches are typical celebration churches.
Church leaders may deny this fact, but nonetheless they have all the right earmarks of
such apostasy. The noise they make with their "music" and shouting and dancing would
surely make Jesus Himself weep!

There is no doubt about it; through the servant of the Lord, God had predicted that this very
type of satanic influence would be brought into our midst "just before the close of
probation." Consider the following sad prediction from Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 36:

      Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music,
      and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot
      be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit!
      [Did you get that?]

      The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This
      is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect
      the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. Better never
      have the worship of God blended with music than to use musical instruments to do
      the work which last January was represented to me would be brought into our camp
      meetings. The truth for this time needs nothing of this kind in its work of converting
      souls. A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted
      aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and
      noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit’s working.

Speaking of our present celebration churches, not only is their "bedlam of noise" that they
call "music" an abomination, but also their senseless dramatic skits and other drama that
are a part of their so-called "worship" services. All such drama is plainly condemned in the
word of the Lord! God has counseled: "Let nothing of a theatrical nature be
introduced." (Review & Herald, February 14, 1907)

If we had read these startling warnings personally, and also to the people from the pulpits
of our churches and at our camp meetings, we may have been spared from engaging in
this terrible apostasy! By our neglect do we not, as did the king of Israel, virtually burn the
writings sent from God in the fire?

While we have had celebration churches in our midst for several decades by "planting"
such churches, it seems that the leaders are now making a more determined effort than
ever to promote this type of worship.

In an official church paper, the North Pacific Union Gleaner, August 1999, we find the
following advertisement for the OASIS CHRISTIAN CENTER in Vancouver, Washington. I
quote: "A refreshing place for people who have given up on the church, but not on God.
Great Kid’s Programs; Dramatic Skits; No-Jive Band, etc. Not your typical church. Check it
out." The Oasis Christian Center that is being advertized is one of the "planted" SDA
celebration churches.

From Selected Messages, we just read that such exercises as these are an invention of
Satan, and that "the powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise to have a
carnival."

It’s hard to realize that we are condoning and conducting "Adventist carnivals" in church!
Could this be the work of the "destroyers" who have been trained "under the hand of
Satan?" In this connection let us turn to Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 109, 110, and read
again that frightening prophecy:

     Many will stand in our PULPITS with the torch of false prophecy in their hands,
     kindled from the hellish torch of Satan!"

Just one more passage from the testimony that was sent to be read to the Battle Creek
Church which surely applies to us today—to the leaders of God’s Remnant Church:

     There are men among us in responsible positions who hold that the opinions of a few
     conceited philosophers, so called, are more to be trusted than the truth of the Bible,
     or the testimonies of the Holy Spirit.—Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 79.

Now I’m going to ask you a very thought-provoking question, and to some it may be
disturbing: Which would you choose to hear from your church pulpit—the voices of the
"Many [who] will stand in our pulpits," teaching doctrines of devils and conducting services
whose spirit is "kindled from the hellish torch of Satan?" Or would you prefer to hear the
voices of faithful ministers standing behind the "pulpit" teaching biblical truths and, when
appropriate, quoting from the Testimonies that are inspired by the Holy Spirit of God? Think
it over.…

The Lord pronounces a woe upon all false shepherds!

     Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the
     Lord.

     Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people;
     Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them:
     behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:1, 2)

Then again in Jeremiah 34:18, 19:
      Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must
      tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? And to have drunk of the
      deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?

      And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they
      drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.

Thus God will bring woe unto the false pastors!

At such a time as this, what is the duty of God’s faithful ministers? Isaiah shouts:

      Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their
      transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." (Isaiah 58:1)

In Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 321, the servant of the Lord admonishes:

      In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful
      preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the
      Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth
      things, God will not acknowledge as his shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.

Thus, to the congregations and the laymen of modern Israel, I quote this from Testimonies
to Ministers, p. 10:

      Let no soul complain of the servants of God who have come to them with a heaven-
      sent message. Do not any longer pick flaws in them, saying, "They are too positive;
      they talk too strongly." They may talk strongly; but is it not needed? God will make
      the ears of the hearers tingle if they will not heed His voice or His message. He will
      denounce those who resist the word of God.

As we face the final crisis, we read in Selected Messages, Vol. 3, pp. 83, 84:

      Men may get up scheme after scheme, and the enemy will seek to seduce souls from
      the truth, but all who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White and has
      given her a message, will be safe from the many delusions that will come in these
      last days.

How sad that Ellen White had to write the following letter, written to those who would
diminish her work which was authored by the Holy Spirit!

      I have tried to do my duty to you and to the Lord Jesus, whom I serve and whose
      cause I love. The testimonies I have borne you have in truth been presented to me by
     the Lord. I am sorry that you have rejected the light given.…

     Are you betraying your Lord, because, in His great mercy, He has shown you just
     where you are standing spiritually? He knows every purpose of the heart. Nothing is
     hid from Him. It is not me that you are betraying. It is not me that you are so
     embittered against. It is the Lord, who has given me a message to bear to you.—
     Manuscript Releases, Vol. 5, p. 139.

In the same year, 1903, she wrote those who would give up their faith in the Testimonies:

     One thing is certain: Those Seventh-day Adventists who take their stand under
     Satan’s banner will first give up their faith in the warnings and reproofs contained in
     the Testimonies of God’s Spirit.—Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 84.

Rather than neglecting the Bible and the Testimonies, let us eagerly ask: "Is there any word
from the Lord?" (Jeremiah 37:17)

The following words from the Lord are found in Ezekiel 33:11 and Jeremiah 22:29:

     Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the
     wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil
     ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

     O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord.

Let us pray:

Our loving Father, forgive thy people who have invited the power of Satan to enter our
church through celebration, with so-called Christian rock music and drama, with the use of
drums and even dancing.

Open the eyes of our leaders who are determined to force their devilish inventions upon
Thy dear people!

Please help the faithful as they strive for a spirit of holy reverence, so all may feel Thy
divine presence as we worship. Give us, O God, a ministry that will preach end-time
messages from Thy word, the Bible, and the Spirit of Prophecy. Awaken our pastors to give
us sermons that will help us to prepare and be ready for the coming crisis!

This we ask in the name of Jesus. AMEN

                                CONTINUE APPENDIX 3
                                  DRAMA

                                     and the



            SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                 Appendix 3

                  Excerpts from A. W. Tozer’s book-

             THE MENACE OF THE RELIGIOUS MOVIE

At the age of twenty until his death forty-one years later, A. W. Tozer was a
prolific writer and faithful pastor of the Alliance Churches in Nuter Fort and
Morgantown, West Virginia; Toledo, Ohio: Indianapolis, Indiana: Chicago,
Illinois; and Toronto in Canada. His grasp of spiritual concepts has been widely
recognized by Christians in all walks of life. In Warren W. Wiersbe’s
introduction to his book, 52 Favorite Chapters The Best of A. W. Tozer, he
says,

What is there about A. W. Tozer’s writings that gets hold of us and will not let
us go? Tozer did not enjoy the privilege of a university or seminary training, or
even a Bible School education for that matter; yet he has left us a shelf of
books that will be mined for their spiritual wealth until the Lord returns.

For one thing, A. W. Tozer wrote with conviction. He was not interested in
tickling the ears of shallow Athenian Christians who were looking for some new
thing. Tozer redug the old wells and called us back to the old paths, and he
passionately believed and practiced what he taught. He once told a friend of
mine, "I have preached myself off of every Bible Conference platform in the
country!" The popular crowds did not rush to hear a man whose convictions
made them uncomfortable. p.8.
Tozer’s description of himself best describes his attitude toward spiritual
matters. "I guess my philosophy is this: Everything is wrong until God sets it
right." Ibid., p. 7

Excerpts from A. W. Tozer’s book, THE MENACE OF THE RELIGIOUS
MOVIE

When God gave to Moses the blueprint of the Tabernacle He was careful to
include every detail; then, lest Moses should get the notion that he could
improve on the original plan, God warned him solemnly, "And look that thou
make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount." God, not
Moses, was the architect. To decide the plan was the prerogative of the Deity.
No one dare alter it so much as a hairbreadth.

The New Testament Church also is builded after a pattern. Not the doctrines
only, but the methods are divinely given. The doctrines are expressly stated in
so many words. Some of the methods followed by the early New Testament
Church had been given by direct command; others were used by God’s
specific approval, having obviously been commanded the apostles by the
Spirit.

From God’s revealed plan we depart at our peril. Every departure has two
consequences, the immediate and the remote. The immediate touches the
individual and those close to him; the remote extends into the future to
unknown times, and may expand so far as to influence for evil the whole
Church of God on earth.

The temptation to introduce "new" things into the work of God has always been
too strong for some people to resist. The Church has suffered untold injury at
the hands of well intentioned but misguided persons who have felt that they
know more about running God’s work than Christ and His apostles did. A solid
train of box cars would not suffice to haul away the religious truck which has
been brought into the service of the Church with the hope of improving on the
original pattern. These things have been, one and all, positive hindrances to
the progress of the Truth, and have so altered the divinely-planned structure
that the apostles, were they to return to earth today, would scarcely recognize
the misshapen thing which has resulted.
Our Lord while on earth cleansed the Temple, and periodic cleansings have
been necessary in the Church of God throughout the centuries. Every
generation is sure to have its ambitious amateur to come up with some shiny
gadget which he proceeds to urge upon the priests before the altar. That the
Scriptures do not justify its existence does not seem to bother him at all. It is
brought in anyway and presented in the very name of Orthodoxy. Soon it is
identified in the minds of the Christian public with all that is good and holy.
Then, of course, to attack the gadget is to attack the Truth itself. This is an old
familiar technique so often and so long practiced by the devotees of error that I
marvel how the children of God can be taken in by it. [1-3]

I believe that most responsible religious teachers will agree that any effort to
teach spiritual truth through entertainment is at best futile and at worst
positively injurious to the soul. But entertainment pays off, and the economic
consideration is always a powerful one in deciding what shall and what shall
not be offered to the public — even in the churches.

Deep spiritual experiences come only from much study, earnest prayer and
long meditation. It is true that men by thinking cannot find God; it is also true
that men cannot know God very well without a lot of reverent thinking.
Religious movies, by appealing directly to the shallowest stratum of our minds,
cannot but create bad mental habits which unfit the soul for the reception of
genuine spiritual impressions. [10,11]

The religious movie is a menace to true religion because it embodies acting, a
violation of sincerity.

Without doubt the most precious thing any man possesses is his individuated
being; that by which he is himself and not someone else; that which cannot be
finally voided by the man himself nor shared with another. Each one of us,
however humble our place in the social scheme, is unique in creation. Each is
a new whole man possessing his own separate "I-ness" which makes him
forever something apart, an individual human being. It is this quality of
uniqueness which permits a man to enjoy every reward of virtue and makes
him responsible for every sin. It is his selfness, which will persist forever, and
which distinguishes him from every creature which has been or ever will be
created.
Because man is such a being as this all moral teachers, and especially Christ
and His apostles, make sincerity to be basic in the good life. The word, as the
New Testament uses it, refers to the practice of holding fine pottery up to the
sun to test it for purity. In the white light of the sun all foreign substances were
instantly exposed. So the test of sincerity is basic in human character. The
sincere man is one in whom is found nothing foreign; he is all of one piece; he
has preserved his individuality unviolated.

Sincerity for each man means staying in character with himself. Christ’s
controversy with the Pharisees centered around their incurable habit of moral
play acting. The Pharisee constantly pretended to be what he was not. He
attempted to vacate his own "I-ness" and appear in that of another and better
man. He assumed a false character and played it for effect. Christ said he was
a hypocrite.

It is more than an etymological accident that the word "hypocrite" comes from
the stage. It means actor. With that instinct for fitness which usually marks
word origins, it has been used to signify one who has violated his sincerity and
is playing a false part. An actor is one who assumes a character other than his
own and plays it for effect. The more fully he can become possessed by
another personality the better he is as an actor.

Bacon has said something to the effect that there are some professions of
such nature that the more skillfully a man can work at them the worse man he
is. That perfectly describes the profession of acting. Stepping out of our own
character for any reason is always dangerous, and may be fatal to the soul.
However innocent his intentions, a man who assumes a false character has
betrayed his own soul and has deeply injured something sacred within him.

No one who has been in the presence of the Most Holy One, who has felt how
high is the solemn privilege of bearing His image, will ever again consent to
play a part or to trifle with that most sacred thing, his own deep sincere heart.
He will thereafter be constrained to be no one but himself, to preserve
reverently the sincerity of his own soul.

In order to produce a religious movie someone must, for the time, disguise his
individuality and simulate that of another. His actions must be judged
fraudulent, and those who watch them with approval share in the fraud. To
pretend to pray, to simulate godly sorrow, to play at worship before the camera
for effect — how utterly shocking to the reverent heart! How can Christians
who approve this gross pretense ever understand the value of sincerity as
taught by our Lord? What will be the end of a generation of Christians fed on
such a diet of deception disguised as the faith of our fathers?

The plea that all this must be good because it is done for the glory of God is a
gossamer-thin bit of rationalizing which should not fool anyone above the
mental age of six. Such an argument parallels the evil rule of expediency which
holds that the end is everything, and sanctifies the means, however evil, if only
the end by commendable. The wise student of history will recognize this
immoral doctrine. The Spirit-led Church will have no part of it. [12-15]

Now, for the religious movie where is the authority? For such a serious
departure from the ancient pattern, where is the authority? For introducing into
the Church the pagan art of acting, where is the authority? Let the movie
advocates quote just one verse, from any book of the Bible, in any translation,
to justify its use. This they cannot do. The best they can do is to appeal to the
world’s psychology or repeat brightly that "modern times call for modern
methods." But the Scriptures — quote from them one verse to authorize movie
acting as an instrument of the Holy Ghost. This they cannot do.

Every sincere Christian must find scriptural authority for the religious movie or
reject it, and every producer of such movies, if he would square himself before
the faces of honest and reverent men, must either show scriptural credentials
or go out of business.

But, says someone, there is nothing unscriptural about the religious movie; it is
merely a new medium for the utterance of the old message, as printing is a
newer and better method of writing and the radio an amplification of familiar
human speech.

To this I reply: The movie is not the modernization or improvement of any
scriptural method; rather it is a medium in itself wholly foreign to the Bible and
altogether unauthorized therein. It is play acting — just that, and nothing more.
It is the introduction into the work of God of that which is not neutral, but
entirely bad. The printing press is neutral; so is the radio; so is the camera.
They may be used for good or bad purposes at the will of the user. But play
acting is bad in its essence in that it involves the simulation of emotions not
actually felt. It embodies a gross moral contradiction in that it calls a lie to the
service of truth. [18,19]

God has ordained four methods only by which Truth shall prevail — and the
religious movie is not one of them.

Without attempting to arrange these methods in order of importance, they are
(1) prayer, (2) song, (3) proclamation of the message by means of words, and
(4) good works. These are the four main methods which God has blessed. All
other biblical methods are sub-divisions of these and stay within their
framework. [20]

The religious movie is out of harmony with the whole spirit of the Scriptures
and contrary to the mood of true Godliness.

To harmonize the spirit of the religious movie with the spirit of the Sacred
Scriptures is impossible. Any comparison is grotesque and, if it were not so
serious, would be downright funny. Try to imagine Elijah appearing before
Ahab with a roll of film! Imagine Peter standing up at Pentecost and saying,
"Let’s have the lights out, please." When Jeremiah hesitated to prophesy, on
the plea that he was not a fluent speaker, God touched his mouth and said, "I
have put my words in thy mouth." Perhaps Jeremiah could have gotten on well
enough without the divine touch if he had a good 16mm. projector and a reel of
home-talent film.

Let a man dare to compare his religious movie show with the spirit of the Book
of Acts. Let him try to find a place for it in the twelfth chapter of First
Corinthians. Let him set it beside Savonarola’s passionate preaching, or
Luther’s thundering, or Wesley’s heavenly sermons, or Edward’s awful
appeals. If he cannot see the difference in kind, then he is too blind to be
trusted with leadership in the Church of the Living God. The only thing that he
can do appropriate to the circumstances is to drop to his knees and cry with
poor Bartimæus, "Lord, that I might receive my sight."

But some say, "We do not propose to displace the regular method of preaching
the gospel. We only want to supplement it." To this I answer: If the movie is
needed to supplement anointed preaching it can only be because God’s
appointed method is inadequate and the movie can do something which God’s
appointed method cannot do. What is that thing? We freely grant that the
movie can produce effects which preaching cannot produce (and which it
should never try to produce), but dare we strive for such effects in the light of
God’s revealed will and in the face of the judgment and a long eternity? [24-26]

I am against the religious movie because of the harmful effect upon everyone
associated with it.

First, the evil effect upon the "actors" who play the part of the various
characters in the show; this is not the less because it is unsuspected. Who
can, while in a state of fellowship with God, dare to play at being a prophet?
Who has the gall to pretend to be an apostle, even in a show? Where is his
reverence? Where is his fear? Where is his humility? Any one who can bring
himself to act a part for any purpose, must first have grieved the Spirit and
silenced His voice within the heart. Then the whole business will appear good
to him. "He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside." But he
cannot escape the secret working of the ancient laws of the soul. Something
high and fine and grand will die within him; and worst of all he will never
suspect it. That is the curse that follows self-injury always. The Pharisees were
examples of this. They were walking dead men, and they never dreamed how
dead they were.

Secondly, it identifies religion with the theatrical world. I have seen recently in
a Fundamental magazine an advertisement of a religious film which would be
altogether at home on the theatrical page of any city newspaper. Illustrated
with the usual sex-bait picture of a young man and young woman in a tender
embrace, and spangled with such words as "feature-length, drama, pathos,
romance," it reeked of Hollywood and the cheap movie house. By such
business we are selling out our Christian separation, and nothing but grief can
come of it late or soon.

Thirdly, the taste for drama which these pictures develop in the minds of the
young will not long remain satisfied with the inferior stuff the religious movie
can offer. Our young people will demand the real thing; and what can we reply
when they ask why they should not patronize the regular movie house?

Fourthly, the rising generation will naturally come to look upon religion as
another, and inferior, form of amusement. In fact, the present generation has
done this to an alarming extend already, and the gospel movie feeds the notion
by fusing religion and fun in the name of orthodoxy. It takes no great insight to
see that the religious movie must become increasingly more thrilling as the
tastes of the spectators become more and more stimulated.

Fifthly, the religious movie is the lazy preacher’s friend. If the present vogue
continues to spread it will not be long before any man with enough ability to
make an audible prayer, and mentality enough to focus a projector, will be able
to pass for a prophet of the Most High God. The man of God can play around
all week long and come up to Sunday without a care. Everything has been
done for him at the studio. He has only to set up the screen and lower the
lights, and the rest follows painlessly.

Wherever the movie is used the prophet is displaced by the projector. The
least such displaced prophets can do is to admit that they are technicians and
not preachers. Let them admit that they are not sent-men, ordained of God for
a sacred work. Let them refuse ordination and put away their pretense.

Allowing that there may be some who have been truly called and gifted of God,
but who have allowed themselves to be taken in by this new plaything, the
danger to such is still great. As long as they can fall back upon the movie, the
pressure that makes preachers will be wanting. The habit and rhythm which
belong to great preaching will be missing from their ministry. However great
their natural gifts, however real their inducement of power, still they will never
rise. They cannot while this broken reed lies close at hand to aid them in the
crisis. The movie will doom them to be ordinary. [26-29]

In conclusion:

One thing may bother some earnest souls: why so many good people approve
the religious movie. The list of those who are enthusiastic about it includes
many who cannot be written off as border-line Christians. If it is an evil, why
have not these denounced it?

The answer is, lack of spiritual discernment. Many who are turning to the
movie are the same who have, by direct teaching or by neglect, discredited the
work of the Holy Spirit. They have apologized for the Spirit and so hedged Him
in by their unbelief that it has amounted to an out-and-out repudiation. Now we
are paying the price of our folly. The light has gone out and good men are
forced to stumble around in the darkness of the human intellect.

The religious movie is at present undergoing a period of gestation and seems
about to swarm up over the churches like a cloud of locusts out of the earth.
The figure is accurate; they are coming from below, not from above. The whole
modern psychology has been prepared for this invasion of insects. The
Fundamentalists have become weary of manna and are longing for red flesh.
What they are getting is a sorry substitute for the lusty and uninhibited
pleasures of the world, but I suppose it is better than nothing, and it saves face
by pretending to be spiritual.

Let us not for the sake of peace keep still while men without spiritual insight
dictate the diet upon which God’s children shall feed. I heard the president of a
Christian college say some time ago that the Church is suffering from an
"epidemic of amateurism." That remark is sadly true, and the religious movie
represents amateurism gone wild. Unity among professing Christians is to be
desired, but not at the expense of righteousness. It is good to go with the flock,
but I for one refuse mutely to follow a misled flock over a precipice.

If God has given wisdom to see the error of religious shows we owe it to the
Church to oppose them openly. We dare not take refuge in "guilty silence."
Error is not silent; it is highly vocal and amazingly aggressive. We dare not be
less so. But let us take heart: there are still many thousands of Christian
people who grieve to see the world take over. If we draw the line and call
attention to it we may be surprised how many people will come over on our
side and help us to drive from the Church this latest invader, the Spirit of
Hollywood. [29,30]

                             CONTINUE APPENDIX 4

                                RETURN TO TOC
                                    DRAMA

                                        and the



             SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                      Appendix 4

                           THE REVIEW AND HERALD, Jan. 4, 1881

                                     Ellen G. White

  It has been our study to devise some plan for the establishment of a literary society
which shall prove a benefit to all connected with it, —a society in which all its
members shall feel a moral responsibility to make it what it should be, and to avoid
the evils that have made such associations dangerous to religious principle. Persons
of discretion and good judgment, who have a living connection with Heaven, who will
see the evil tendencies, and, not deceived by Satan, will move straight forward in the
path of integrity, continually holding aloft the banner of Christ, —such a class are
needed to control in these societies. Such an influence will command respect, and
make these gatherings a blessing rather than a curse. If men and women of mature
age would unite with young persons to organize and conduct such a literary society,
it might become both useful and interesting. But when such gatherings degenerate
into occasions for fun and boisterous mirth, they are anything but literary or elevating.
They are debasing to both mind and morals.

Bible reading, the critical examination of Bible subjects, essays written upon topics
which would improve the mind and impart knowledge, the study of the prophecies or
the precious lessons of Christ, —these will have an influence to strengthen the
mental powers and increase spirituality. And why should not the Bible be brought into
such meetings? There is a deplorable ignorance of God’s word, even with those who
are thought to be intelligent.

“Most wondrous book! bright candle of the Lord!
Star of eternity! the only light

By which the bark of man can navigate

The sea of life, and gain the coast of bliss securely.”

  Why should not this book—this precious treasure—be exalted and esteemed as a
valued friend? This is our chart across the stormy sea of life. It is our guide-book,
showing us the way to the eternal mansions, and the character we must have to
inhabit them. There is no book the perusal of which will so elevate and strengthen
the mind as the study of the Bible. Here the intellect will find themes of the most
elevated character to call out its powers. There is nothing that will so endow with
vigor all our faculties as bringing them in contact with the stupendous truths of
revelation. The effort to grasp and measure these great thoughts expands the mind.
We may dig down deep into the mine of truth, and gather precious treasures with
which to enrich the soul. Here we may learn the true way to live, the safe way to die.

A familiar acquaintance with the Scriptures sharpens the discerning powers, and
fortifies the soul against the attacks of Satan. The Bible is the sword of the Spirit,
which will never fail to vanquish the adversary. It is the only true guide in all matters
of faith and practice. —Ellen G. White.

                                        Appendix 5

                                     Letter 5, 1888

                         (To Brother Morse, Dec. 26, 1888.)

                  (Manuscript Release No. 145, 2MR 235-238)

                                   ENACTED SCENES

 1. I have risen at three o’clock this morning to write you a few lines. I was pleased
with the lighthouse, and the scene which had required so much painstaking effort
was one which could have been made most impressive, but failed to be made as
forcible and striking as it might have been when it cost so much time and labor in
preparing it.

The part acted by the children was good. The reading was appropriate. Then if there
had been good, solid talk on that occasion in regard to children and teachers in the
Sabbath schools laboring earnestly for the salvation of the souls of the children under
your charge, presenting the most acceptable offering to Jesus, the gift of their own
hearts, and impressive remarks, short and right to the point, [on] how they could do
this, would it not have been in keeping with the work we have been trying to do in the
church?

Every stroke now should be in harmony for the one great purpose, preparing of the
hearts, that individually pupils and teachers should be as a light set on a candlestick
that it may give light to all that are in the house, which would be carrying out the idea
strikingly of a lighthouse guiding souls that they may not make shipwreck of faith.
Can you tell me what marked impression the two poems rehearsed by the two ladies
on the stand would have to do with this work?

The singing was after the order we would expect it to be in any theatrical
performance, but not one word to be distinguished. Certainly the tempest•tossed ship
would be wrecked upon the rocks if there were no more light coming from the
lighthouse than was seen in the exercises. I must say I was pained at these things,
so out of order with the very work of reformation we were trying to carry forward in
the church and with our institutions, that I should have felt better if I had not been
present.

This was an occasion that should have been gotten up not only for the Sabbath
school children, but words should have been spoken that would have deepened the
impression of a necessity of seeking for the favor of that Saviour who loved them and
gave Himself for them. If [only] the precious hymns had been sung, “Rock of ages,
cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee,” and “Jesus lover of my soul, let me to Thy
bosom fly, while the billows near me roll, while the tempest still is high.” Whose souls
were inspired with new and fresh zeal for the Master in those songs sung whose
virtue was in the different performances of the singer?

While these painstaking efforts were being made to get up the performances,
meetings were being held of the deepest interest which should have engaged the
attention, and which called for the presence of every soul lest they should lose
something of the message the Master had sent to them.

Now this Christmas has passed into eternity with its burden of record, and we are
anxious to see the result of it. Will it make those who acted their part in it more
spiritual minded? Will it increase their sense of obligation to our heavenly Father
who sent His Son into the world at such an infinite sacrifice to save fallen man from
utter ruin? Was the mind awakened to grasp God because of His great love
wherewith He has loved us?

We hope, now that Christmas is in the past, that those who have put forth so much
painstaking effort will now manifest a decided zeal, and earnest, disinterested effort
for the salvation of the souls of the teachers in the Sabbath school, that in their turn
they may each labor for the salvation of the souls in their classes, to give them
personal instruction as to what they must do to be saved.

We hope that they will find time to labor in simplicity and in sincerity for the souls of
those under their care, and that they will pray with them, and for them, that they may
give to Jesus the precious offering of their own souls, that they may make literally
true the symbol of the lighthouse in the beams of light shining forth from their own
strong efforts in the name of Jesus, which should be put forth in love, they
themselves grasping the rays of light to diffuse this light to others, and that there
shall be no settling down to a surface work.

Show just as great skill and aptitude in winning souls to Jesus as you have shown in
painstaking effort for this occasion just past. Point them in your efforts, with heart and
soul enlisted, to the Star that shine but to the morally-darkened heaven at this time,
even the Light of the world. Let your light shine that the tempest-tossed souls may
set their eyes upon it and escape the rocks that are concealed beneath the surface
of the water. Temptations are lying in wait to deceive them; souls are oppressed with
guilt, ready to sink into despair. Labor to save them; point them to Jesus who so
loved them that He gave His life for them. . . .

The Light of the world is shining upon us that we might absorb the divine rays and let
this light shine upon others in good works that many souls shall be led to glorify our
Father which is in heaven. He is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, but
that all should come to repentance, and it grieves the heart of Jesus that so many
refuse the offers of His mercy and matchless love.

Will all who acted an interested part in the program of last evening work as zealously
and interestedly to show themselves approved unto God in doing their work for the
Master, that they may show themselves intelligent workmen that need not to be
ashamed? Oh, let the teachers in the Sabbath school be thoroughly imbued with the
spirit of the message for this time, carrying that message into all their labor.

There are souls to be saved, and while in the Sabbath school work there has been
much form and a great amount of precious time occupied in reading of reports and
records, there has been but little time to really let light shine forth in clear,
steady rays in the very instruction needed to save the souls of the children and
youth. Less elaborate speeches, less lengthy remarks, and plain, pointed truth
presented, not one word uttered to exhibit profound knowledge, not one word in any
speech, but the greatest evidence of real knowledge is the great simplicity. All who
have taken knowledge of Jesus Christ will imitate Him in their manner of instruction.

                                       Appendix 6

              LITERARY SOCIETIES; THEATRICAL PERFORMANCES

                                  by Ellen G. White

                                    (1MR 244-146)

   The purpose and object for which literary societies are established may be good,
 but unless wisdom from above and continual reliance upon God is preserved by all,
           there will be a decided failure in its exerting a saving influence.

When God's professed people voluntarily unite with the world or give men of short
religious experience the preeminence in these literary societies, they do not have a
high estimate of eternal things. They step over the line in the very first movement.
There may be boundaries, set rules and regulations made, but, notwithstanding all
this, the worldly element will take the lead. Men on the enemy's ground, led and
controlled by his power, will have a controlling influence, unless there is an infinite
power to work against them. Satan uses men as his agents to suggest, to lead out, to
propose different acts, and a variety of amusing things which give no strength to the
morals or elevation to the mind, but are wholly worldly. Soon the religious element is
ruled out, and the irreligious elements take the lead.

Men and women who will not be ensnared, who will move straightforward in the path
of integrity, loyal and true to the God of heaven whom they fear, love, and honor, can
have a powerful influence to hold the people of God. Such an influence will command
respect. But this vacillating

between duty and the world gives the world all the advantage and will surely leave its
molding power, so that religion, God, and heaven, will scarcely enter the thoughts.

If youth, and men and women of mature age, should organize a society where Bible
reading and Bible study should be made the prominent theme, dwelling upon and
searching out the prophecies, and studying the lessons of Christ, there would be
searching out the prophecies, and studying the lessons of Christ, there would be
strength in the society. There is no book from the perusal of which the mind is so
much elevated and strengthened and expanded as the Bible. And there is nothing
that will so endow with new vigor all our faculties as bringing them in contact with
stupendous truths of the Word of God, and setting the mind to grasp and measure
those truths.

If the human mind takes a low level, it is generally because it is left to deal with
commonplace facts and not called out and exercised to grasp lofty, elevated truths,
which are enduring as eternity. These literary societies and lyceums are almost
universally exerting an influence entirely contrary to that which they claim, and are an
injury to the youth. This need not be the case, but because unsanctified elements
take the lead, because worldlings want matters to go to please themselves, their
hearts are not in harmony with Jesus Christ; they are in the ranks of the Lord's
enemies, and they will not be pleased with that kind of entertainment which would
strengthen and confirm the members of the society in spirituality. Low, cheap matters
are brought in which are not elevating or instructive, but which only amuse.

The way these societies have been conducted leads the mind away from serious
reflection, away from God, away from heaven. By attending them, religious thoughts
and services have become distasteful. There is less desire for fervent prayer, for
pure and undefiled religion. The thoughts and conversation are not on elevating
themes, but dwelling upon the subjects brought up in these gatherings. What is the
chaff to the wheat? The understanding will gradually bring itself down to the
dimensions of the matters with which it is familiar, till the powers of the mind become
contracted, showing what has been its food.

The mind that rejects all this cheapness, and is taxed to dwell only upon elevated,
ponderous, deep, and broad truths will strengthen. A knowledge of the Bible excels
all other knowledge in strengthening the intellect. If your lyceums and literary
societies would be made an opportunity for searching the Bible, it would be far more
an intellectual society than it can ever become through the attention being turned to
theatrical performances. What high and noble truths the mind may fasten

upon and explore in God’s Word! The mind may go deeper and still deeper in its
research, becoming stronger with every effort to comprehend truth, and yet there will
be an infinity beyond.

Those who compose these societies, who profess to love and reverence sacred
things, and yet allow the mind to come down to the superficial, to the unreal, to
simple, cheap, fictitious acting, are doing the devil's work just as surely as they look
upon and unite in these scenes. Could their eyes be opened, they would see that
Satan was their leader, the instigator, through agents present who think themselves
to be something. But God pronounces their life and character altogether lighter than
vanity. If these societies should make the Lord and His greatness, His mercies, His
works in nature, His majesty and power as revealed in inspiration, their study, they
would come forth blessed and strengthened.—Ms 41, 1900, pp. 10-12.
(“Commandment Keeping,” July 23, 1900.)

If we regard the advantages given to us as our own, to be used according to our
pleasure, to make a display, and create a sensation, the Lord Jesus, our Redeemer,
is put to shame by the characters of His professed followers.

Has God given you intellect? Is it for you to manage according to your inclinations?
Can you glorify God by being educated to represent characters in plays, and to
amuse an audience with fables? Has not the Lord given you intellect to be used to
His name’s glory in proclaiming the gospel of Christ? If you desire a public career,
there is a work that you may do. Help the class you represent in plays. Come to the
reality. Give your sympathy where it is needed by actually lifting up the bowed down.
Satan’s ruling passion is to pervert the intellect and cause men to long for shows and
theatrical performances. The experience and character of all who engage in this work
will be in accordance with the food given to the mind.

                                       Appendix 7

                     THE BIBLE AND MODERN DRAMA

                                by Leslie Hardinge

 A Paper presented to the Committee on Guidelines for Competitive Activities and
Drama January, 1974

  For the purpose of this paper DRAMA means a literary composition, now usually
written in prose, arranged for enactment, and divided into acts which consist of
various scenes. Drama is contrived by a playwright to portray life or character, or to
tell a story by means of the actions of persons called actors. The play records the
conflicts and tensions of human life and arranges affairs so as to reach a climax in an
hour or two which may be tragic or comic. Drama is intended for presentation to an
audience as entertainment.

 While there is drama in real life, for the purpose of this paper drama is considered
fictional in nature. This must be so because the dramatist employs dialogue, which,
unless he is inspired or has an eyewitness validation of the fact, must be contrived by
him. Besides this, while taken from real life the arrangements of the episodes is
determined by the playwright who places them one after the other solely to achieve
the effect which he has in mind. In the final act the play reaches its denouement,
either pleasurable or tragic, towards which every character and every episode and
almost every word has been manipulated by the writer. This by definition is fiction.
Drama is therefore fictional.

  It is perfectly true that even the most humdrum of days has its dramatic, that is,
climactic and exciting moments. Since the Bible covers most aspects of human life,
the inspired Scriptures contain dramatic moments. There is however no dramatic
contriving toward effect in the Scriptures. Very little dialogue is found in the sacred
story and what there is does not build towards tensions and resolutions in climaxes.
The purpose of the Bible is to reveal truth, and not to entertain by the exciting effects
of conflict and rebuttal.

  Drama, as presented by the vast majority of playwrights, contains portrayals of the
aberrations and foibles of mankind. It does not point up the right and the wrong of the
activities, but displays characterization geared to entertain. Most dramatic
productions depict conflicts between the sexes. On the other hand, a play that uses
the ingredients of a happy, continuous monogamous relationship with no undue
conflict and suspense would not complete its first night without catcalls! A happy,
serene marriage, with children growing up towards the development of the Christian
virtues, does not contain the ingredients demanded by the theater goer. On the other
hand the stealthy robbing of the affections of one partner by a third party, the
conflicts and discords, the rise of emotional tensions, the death and suffering of war
between nation and nation, between white and red, between cops and robbers,
between honesty and the law—these are the themes of most dramatic productions.
The purpose of these plays is not to reveal truth, even though the “good guy”
sometimes wins, but to entertain and make money. Drama is devised to lead the
audience into a vicarious, empathetic relationship with the actor with whom the view
identifies and who rouses his emotions. Inspiration condemns this empathy of those
who take “pleasure in them,” as well as the actors who “do these things.”

The Bible contains a clear condemnation of the audience which enjoys the portrayal
or acting out of sin. Let us read Romans 1:29-32. These verses contain a list of the
wicked deeds of men and women. After completing this catalog of crime the Apostle
Paul continues: Most men “know the judgment of God, that they which commit such
things are worthy of death, (but) not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that
do them.” It is the final phrase which is so vital to our presentation. For the Christian
to read or view a portrayal by actors of a drama which is made up of the ingredients
listed by Paul, and then to “take pleasure” in this behavior, be it in novel or play or
story, makes him a moral accessory incurring the wrath of God. Heaven condemns
those who act thus in real life. Heaven condemns those who act out these sins in
play or novel. Heaven also condemns the reader or viewer who takes pleasure in the
dramatization of these acts against the norms of righteousness laid down by God.
The results to those who enter into doing and viewing and vicariously sharing is that
“God gives them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not
convenient” (Rom. 1:28). In other words, those who saturate their minds by
mastering a play in order to act out its dramatic potential, or who view, via the media
or in the theater, this portrayal of human sins and foibles, finally develop “degenerate
minds.” By beholding “they become changed” (2 Cor. 3:18).

  There is another important biblical passage in which the Holy Spirit has given to the
Christian criteria to judge the rightness or wrongness of any literary production.
Writing to the Philippians, Paul gives seven checks. We should apply each of them to
our consideration of drama. Is it “true?” Even if we judge what the play contains as
truth, is what is being said “honest?” Should it pass muster through these two gates,
is it “pure?” How much of what is called drama today is “pure?” Even if it receives an
“A” grade in these three areas, is it “lovely?” War and conflict and sin are sordid.
Then, is it of “good report?” or “virtuous?” or, finally “praiseworthy?” If the play or
novel or story checks “yes” in each of these seven areas, the Christian is bidden,
“Think on these things.” If it does not, then, obviously, it is not approved by Heaven.

 Let us now consider the source of drama as prevalent in the world today. Jesus
bade us always to weigh origins. They make a difference. He asked, “Do men gather
grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” And continues, “even so every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. The good tree
cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Matt.
7:17). So sources do matter.

  The Christian quality of the private lives of the actors and actresses in the business
of drama, both on the movies or television and also in the straight theater, need little
comment from me. Can you think of an actor or actress of note who has not gone
through the divorce court? Something is morally wrong with what went on before this
step was taken, as well as after! Years ago having a child out of wedlock would have
ruined the career of an actress. Today it enhances it! Would you buy canned goods
from a cannery which used decaying produce among conditions which were filthy
and unhealthful, with diseased and careless persons handling it? I think not! You
would rightly explain that such a place could not possibly produce good, wholesome
food. And you would be right. Sources do count! No drama portrayed by sinful actors
and actresses can possibly be good.

  What are the motives of the actors and actresses in dramatic presentations? Do
they seek to present the true and the good, the virtuous and the helpful? Do they
stress the pure and the right? Or do they depict human nature in all its crass and
sordid wickedness? And why? To exhibit their own talents and skill and to make
money, lots of money! “By their fruits ye shall know them,” Jesus declared.

  Let us further consider the sources of the drama from the playwright’s point of view.
What sort of men write for dramatic production? What are their motives? What
overall purpose do they have in their presentations? Do they desire to entertain? To
educate? To inspire to right living and holy dying? Look closely at the private lives of
the “great” playwrights, and you will be compelled to admit that they do not appear
virtuous in the light of the Scriptures. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” Jesus
declared.

  What is the immediate effect of presenting dramatic productions in our schools and
colleges? As soon as a “drama” department begins to put on “plays,” objections to
attending the straight theater crumble in many minds. It is argued that the audience
should concentrate on what may be moral and high-toned and brush aside and
overlook the risque and the vulgar and the immoral. A few visits to the theater to
admire the skill of the actors and actresses, and to estimate their talents and
techniques in portraying emotions and depicting character, and the last restraints to
theater attendance are shattered.

In grade school, children may be taught to act out scenes taken from the Bible. What
scenes are chosen? Observation demonstrates that the more exciting ones are
selected. But the Bible does not give many dramatic touches and exciting portrayals,
and so the teacher-playwright introduces fanciful inventions to add “drama.” This kind
of “adding” to the Scriptures is forbidden by God (Rev. 22:18). It has a two-pronged
effect. Firstly, it confuses the young person so that when he reads the Bible for
himself he wonders where those details came from. Secondly, his norms of “truth”
are broken down imperceptibly. He thinks, So what? If we need to fudge here and
there for effect, why not? Soon he is reading fiction, both drama and novel, and
enjoying every exciting, enervating, deceiving scene. The simple, quiet, almost
humdrum stories of the Bible pall. After awhile he does not read the Scriptures any
more. Then he cannot even understand it when he does. His brain is fevered. He
must have the sensational, the exciting! Later on he is not even satisfied with this
vicarious, empathetic thrill of the novel or the drama, but he must try for himself the
activity portrayed in them. Long ago, J. Edgar Hoover wrote: “Our youth has been
allowed to stray into crime; it has not gone there deliberately. Too often it has been
led there by the cheap romanticism of the thoughtless who have painted the gangster
as a figure to be emulated and who have emphasized the monetary rewards of crime
as depicted in the headlines, rather than pointing to the price which must be paid for
every tainted dollar.” God declares in warning, “Be not deceived. God is not mocked.
Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

Crimes of all kinds are acted out in drama today. By this means children are taught to
sin. The final effect of drama on TV or movie or theater is to break down the morals
and ultimately to lead to the second death. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” Jesus
declared. F. D. Nichol quoted in one of his editorials, from an article in The Saturday
Review of Literature entitled “The Kingdom of the Blind.” Its subtitle was “An Ex-
Moving Picture Reviewer Considers His Ex-Job.” This is the studied view of this
“expert”: “It is my indignant opinion that ninety per cent of the moving pictures
exhibited in America are so vulgar, witless, and dull that it is preposterous to write
about them in any publication not intended to be read while chewing gum” (RH, Vol.
123, No. 45). This, of course, is true also of the straight theater and TV.

Long ago Daniel Defoe affirmed: “Every devil has not a cloven foot.” From which we
may note that things are not always what they seem to be. Drama may appear
innocuous and innocent, but later the reality of this effect is seen. Let us turn the light
of the Bible on the viewer of the modern drama; its reader would also be included.
God condemns him by implication in these words: “He that walketh righteously;... that
stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he
shall dwell on high” (Isa. 33:15, 16). But what of those who do not thus discipline
themselves? They stand condemned. John K. Ryan, writing in Forum some years
ago, said words which are uncannily true today: “Sadism, cannibalism, bestiality.
Crude eroticism. Torturing, killing, kidnaping, monsters, madmen, creatures which
are half-brute, half-human, raw melodrama; tales of crimes and criminals;
extravagant exploits in strange lands on other plants; pirate stories.... Vulgarity,
cheap humor, and cheaper wit. Sentimental stories designed for the general level of
the moronic mind. Ugliness in thought and expression. All these, day after day, week
after week, have become the mental food of American children young and
old.” (Quoted in Signs, Feb. 21, 1939, p. 5. Please note the date!)

Have you ever thought of the implications of this command of God to ancient Israel?
“Ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their
pictures” (Num. 33:52). The enervating, moral destroying still pictures of the ancient
Canaanites must be destroyed at God’s command if ancient Israel was to attain to
the Divine ideal. How much more are the pictorially dramatic presentations of movie,
theater and TV of today calculated to corrode the morals and break down the norms
of modern Israel.

In study of drama the Christian must consider the inordinate amount of time spent by
the student in learning his part so as to enter into “the skin” of the character he is
portraying. This identification with a character who might not even be a Christian is
destructive to the character of the actor. Then consider the time necessary to
coordinate all the actors and produce a play after dozens of rehearsals, and you
have an expenditure of time which far outbalances any benefits which might be
gained. Consider, too, the effect on the actors. The pride they take in their acting is
their breath, and the vital need for their egos to feed upon the applause accorded
them by the audience is their food. Is this good?

To depict the scenes, use the words, portray the characters in any play is to exhibit a
lifestyle which is alien to that of the true Seventh-day Adventist. The student of
drama must force himself into a mold which his better judgment tells him is contrary
to the norms of the Bible. “By beholding,” by identifying with his character, “he is
changed into” the likeness of the one whom he depicts.

If the student of drama says things he does not believe, in language he does not
condone, and depicts attitudes and sentiments which are alien to his concepts of the
standards of his Lord, his motives and feelings about right and wrong will become
confused. He will eventually come to believe, because his literature or drama teacher
tells him so, that drama is an art form which exhibits “culture” and reflects insights
into life which are worthwhile. Then, when he studies the Bible his standards are
further confused.

The natural inclination for the student of drama to excel and to be applauded leads
him to participate and to enter in fully into what he is doing, and very soon his
spirituality and desire for the simple truths of the Bible wanes and the word of God
appears dull. Very soon he will be heard to say, “I do not see anything wrong with
drama.” And what he is actually confessing is that he now doesn’t see! He has gone
blind and needs the “eyesalve” to open his perspectives to the norms of the word of
God.

The major purpose of the imitative performing arts is pleasure, and entertainment,
and their end is that the realities of life become blurred. Sin, brutality, domination,
excess, love of applause, a refusal to accept the norms of Philippians four and
Romans one and the results of teaching drama, and participating in fictional plays
destroys the relish for the tranquil pleasure of daily life and the simple joys of true
devotion, and confuses ideas of right and wrong while stimulating the desire for
excitement, love of worldliness and pleasure for its own sake.

As far as this student of the drama in the light of the Scriptures is concerned, there is
but one answer. Drama cannot survive the scrutiny of the Light of the world.

                               CONTINUE APPENDIX 8

                                   RETURN TO TOC
                                   DRAMA

                                       and the



            SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                    Appendix 8

                                   Youth Instructor

                                  October 9, 1902

Education is but a preparation of the physical, intellectual, and spiritual powers for
the best performance of all the duties of life. The powers of endurance, and the
strength and activity of the brain, are lessened or increased by the way in which they
are employed. The mind should be so disciplined that all its powers will be
symmetrically developed.

Many youth are eager for books [and dramas]. They desire to read [view]
everything that they can obtain. Let them take heed what they read [view] as well as
what they hear. I have been instructed that they are in the greatest danger of being
corrupted by improper reading [viewing]. Satan has a thousand ways of unsettling
the minds of youth. They can not safely be off guard for a moment. They must set a
watch upon their minds, that they may not be allured by the enemy's temptations.
Satan knows that to a great degree the mind is affected by that upon which it feeds.
He is seeking to lead both the youth and those of mature age to read [view]
story•books, tales, and other literature [movies, movies, movies]. The readers
[viewers] of such literature [drama] become unfitted for the duties lying before them.
They live an unreal life, and have no desire to search the Scriptures, to feed upon the
heavenly manna. The mind that needs strengthening is enfeebled, and loses its
power to study the great truths that relate to the mission and work of Christ, —truths
that would fortify the mind, awaken the imagination, and kindle a strong, earnest
desire to overcome as Christ overcame.

Could a large share of the books [drama] published [produced] be consumed, a
plague would be stayed that is doing a fearful work upon mind and heart. Love
stories, frivolous and exciting tales, and even that class of books [movies] called
religious novels [movies], —books [movies] in which the author [producer]
attaches to his story [movie] a moral lesson, —are a curse to the readers. Religious
sentiments may be woven all through a storybook [movie], but, in most cases, Satan
is but clothed in angel•robes, the more effectively to deceive and allure. None are so
confirmed in right principles, none so secure from temptation, that they are safe in
reading [viewing] these stories [movies].

The readers [viewers] of fiction [drama] are indulging an evil that destroys
spirituality, eclipsing the beauty of the sacred page. It creates an unhealthy
excitement fevers the imagination, unfits the mind for usefulness, weans the soul
from prayer, and disqualifies it for any spiritual exercise. God has endowed many of
our youth with superior capabilities; but too often they have enervated their powers,
confused and enfeebled their minds, so that for years they have made no growth in
grace or in a knowledge of the reasons of our faith, because of their unwise choice of
reading. Those who are looking for the Lord soon to come, looking for that wondrous
change, when "this corruptible shall put on incorruption," should in this probationary
time be standing upon a higher plane of action.

My dear young friends, question your own experience as to the influence of exciting
stories [movies]. Can you, after such reading [viewing], open the Bible and read
with interest the words of life? Do you not find the Book of God uninteresting? The
charm of that love story [movie] is upon the mind, destroying its healthy tone, and
making it impossible for you to fix the attention upon the important, solemn truths that
concern your eternal welfare.

The nature of one's religious experience is revealed by the character of the books
[movies] he chooses to read [view] in his leisure moments. In order to have a
healthy tone of mind and sound religious principles, the youth must live in
communion with God through his word. Pointing out the way of salvation through
Christ, the Bible is our guide to a higher, better life. It contains the most interesting
and the most instructive history and biography that were ever written. Those whose
imagination has not become perverted by the reading of fiction will find the Bible the
most interesting of books.

Resolutely discard all trashy reading [movie viewing]. It will not strengthen your
spirituality, but will introduce into the mind sentiments that pervert the imagination,
causing you to think less of Jesus and to dwell less upon his precious lessons. Keep
the mind free from everything that would lead it in a wrong direction. Do not
encumber it with trashy stories [movies], which impart no strength to the mental
powers. The thoughts are of the same character as the food provided for the mind.

The Bible is the book of books. If you love the word of God, searching it as you have
opportunity, that you may come into possession of its rich treasures, and be
thoroughly furnished unto all good works, then you may be assured that Jesus is
drawing you to himself. But to read the Scripture in a casual way, without seeking to
comprehend Christ's lesson that you may comply with his requirements, is not
enough. There are treasures in the word of God that can be discovered only by
sinking the shaft deep into the mine of truth.

The carnal mind rejects the truth; but the soul that is converted undergoes a
marvelous change. The book that before was unattractive because it revealed truths
which testified against the sinner, now becomes the food of the soul, the joy and
consolation of the life. The Sun of righteousness illuminates the sacred pages, and
the Holy Spirit speaks through them to the soul. To those who love Christ the Bible is
as the garden of God. Its promises are as grateful to the heart as the fragrance of
flowers is to the senses.

Let all who have cultivated a love for light reading [movie viewing], now turn their
attention to the sure word of prophecy. Take your Bibles, and begin to study with
fresh interest the sacred records of the Old and New Testaments. The oftener and
more diligently you study the Bible, the more beautiful will it appear, and the less
relish you will have for light reading [movie viewing]. Bind this precious volume to
your hearts. It will be to you a friend and guide. —Mrs. E. G. White. (Emphasis
supplied.)

                                         Appendix 9
                     Moral and Spiritual Standards — No. 5

          A Warning Against Moving-Picture and Other Theaters

                                     by F. M. Wilcox

                      (Review and Herald, February 11, 1926)

  By every means in his power, Satan is endeavoring to turn the inhabitants of earth
away from God. His wiles are varied, his snares are manifold. He cares not what means
he employs so long as it accomplishes his deadly purpose. The strife for supremacy, the
love of social life and position, the lure of gold, the struggle for competence, the ambition
for education, the appeal of pleasure,—these and many other means are employed by
the great deceiver to lead men to forget God, and permit their time and energy to
become so engrossed and enthralled as to lead to their final destruction at last.

Against some of these great evils the Autumn Council, held recently in Des Moines,
Iowa, sounded definite warning to our brethren and sisters. The following resolution was
passed regarding moving pictures and commercialized amusements:

  Recognizing the need of lifting up a standard against every influence that threatens
  the life and well-being of the church; and,
  Whereas, The moving-picture or other theaters are becoming more and more a
  menace to morality and destructive of spirituality, in many cases leading to a false
  and lowered standard of life; therefore,
  Resolved, That this Council declares its emphatic disapproval of attending moving-
  picture theaters and other questionable places of amusement, and calls upon our
  workers, church officers, and lay members, young and old, to refrain from this evil
  practice.
  Realizing that we are living in the last days, when men are “lovers of pleasures
  more than lovers of God,”
  Resolved, That we warn our people against the spirit of this pleasure-loving age,
  and the commercialized amusements so prevalent.

We call the attention of our readers to the report of a sermon by Elder M. E. Kern in this
number of the Review. This sermon was delivered before the students of the Washington
Missionary College and the nurses of the Washington Sanitarium at a recent Sabbath
morning service.

Brother Kern deals specifically with the character of the moving-picture theater, and the
great influence which this form of amusement exerts in the world. It is not necessary to
reiterate his statements in this article. We are in hearty accord with his conclusions, and
we commend the reading of his sermon to old and young.

Sad it is that there needs to be sounded in the columns of our church paper a warning
against these great evils. And yet we must believe, from the letters which come to us
from different parts of the field, that there are a number of our dear brethren and sisters
who are succumbing to these unholy influences. Unfortunately, those thus affected do
not belong alone to the younger class of our church membership. Some of our older
brethren and sisters have so lost out of their hearts the true spirit of this message, have
so lost out of their lives the consciousness of Christ’s presence, that they have become
frequenters of these questionable places of amusement. And still more sad is it to learn
that occasionally there is found a Seventh-day Adventist preacher who belongs to the
class who frequent the movies.

Upon the leadership of this denomination is thrown a great responsibility, whether that
leadership is represented in the work of the minister, of the teachers in our schools, of
the physicians in our sanitariums, of the managers in our publishing houses, or of the
local officers of the church. Heaven holds us responsible as leaders of the people for
what we do, not only for its effect upon our own lives, but for the influence it exerts upon
others. Those who stand in the place of leaders must watch for souls as they who must
give account in the day of final judgment. There is danger that we as leaders in the
church of Christ will fail to distinguish between the holy and the profane. There is danger
that the lowering standards of the world around us will becloud our vision, so that we
shall not see clearly, and we shall be led to judge questions of vital importance after the
standard of the world and not after the standard of God.

We were impressed with this some time ago by a question raised by one of our workers.
He inquired if we felt today that we should hold the same standards regarding social life,
amusements, etc., that were recognized before the War, or twenty-five or thirty years
ago. He expressed the opinion that in his judgment standards had changed, that we
were living in a new world, and that we must relate ourselves differently to those
questions than did our fathers, that the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the same as
some of the great churches of the world, must place a more liberal construction upon
these questions.

This is the line of reasoning in which thousands of the great Christian world have
indulged, and we know the demoralizing fruit which such reasoning has borne. Little by
little the great churches of the world have been drawn away from their old-time standards
of simplicity, of Christian belief, and of Christian living.

We said to this brother, God has not changed. Moral principles have not changed; and in
all questions of social life, in our relations to the pleasures of the world in which moral
principle is involved, in which the formation of character is the product, we must
recognize the same standards today that we did ten years ago or fifty years ago. By the
same principles of truth and purity and righteousness by which our fathers were judged,
we shall be judged.

God has one standard for every age. If the friendship of the world was enmity with God
in the days of the apostle Paul, that same friendship is at enmity with God today. If to be
the friend of the world was to be the enemy of God ten years ago, or one hundred years
ago, or two thousand years ago, to be the friend of the world is to be the enemy of God
today.

Too many of the leaders of this church have ignored the honey-combing process which
has been going on, and the influence which the pleasures of the world have been
exerting upon the church members. It is time for us to lift our voices in protest. It is time
for us to call the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, young and old, to a
higher standard in Christ Jesus. It is time for every Seventh-day Adventist minister, for
every teacher in our schools, for every leader in our institutions, to take his stand firmly
but kindly against these influences which would draw away those under his care from the
principles of truth and righteousness.

Much might be said on this question, but we refrain from further discussion at this time.
We again call attention to the principles set forth in the published sermon of Professor
Kern. A little later, in an early issue, we will give the report of a sermon by Elder Meade
MacGuire, entitled, “Christ and the Heart,” in which he deals with some of the great
principles underlying this question of amusements. The instruction he gives is
complementary to that given by Brother Kern, and the two sermons should be studied
together. May God bless their perusal to the edification of every reader.

                                        Appendix 10

                  The Joy of the Lord Versus Worldly Amusements

                                       by M. E. Kern

                       (Review and Herald, February 11, 1926)

   The Theater

One of the most prevalent forms of commercialized amusement today is the theater.
Through the invention of the moving-picture projection, theatrical performances have
been made available to all the little towns as well as the large cities. The promoters
of the silent drama boast of its being the fourth industry in America, and that nearly
one fifth of all the people witness these performances every day. Well may educators
and religious and welfare workers look with concern upon an institution which is
wielding so wide an influence, especially when we think of what a large proportion of
the patrons are children and youth.

What are the tests which a Christian must apply to any form of entertainment which
challenges his patronage?

In the first place, it is a safe thing, always, for a Christian, never to engage in any
form of amusement which links him with an evil institution. Take, for instance, the
card table. It is a world-wide evil institution. I have seen it on the great highways of
travel in “Christian” Europe, in the far-away island of Borneo, and in central China. It
is the same everywhere. It is the gambler’s instrument. It has the background of
dishonesty, has been stained by many murderous brawls, and has left a trail of
wrecked characters everywhere. A pack of cards is suggestive of a foul institution
which has cursed mankind. Likewise the dance has become a worldwide institution
of evil. The public dance hall is recognized by all proponents of race betterment as a
degrading institution.

What of the theater? For over twenty-four centuries it has been in existence. What is
its record? The testimony of history is that the theater has always been a menace to
morals. “The great classic writers, Plato, and Aristotle, and Ovid, and Juvenal, and
Tacitus, and others, wrote strongly against it,—not merely against its incidental evils
and abuses, but against its influence and tendency as an institution.” Solon, the great
lawmaker of Greece, denounced the profession as “tending by its simulation of false
character, and by its expression of sentiment not genuine or sincere, to corrupt the
integrity of human dealings.” The historian Schaff says that the Roman theater
became the “nursery of vice,” and Macaulay tells us that from the time the theaters
were opened in England they became “seminaries of vice.”

There may be some moral plays and some moral actors, but there isn’t a moral
theater in the world. Edwin Booth tried to establish a moral theater before whose
footlights there should be no spectacular obscenity. It went into bankruptcy, paying
only five cents on the dollar. Henry Irving tried the same thing, but the managers had
to change its program to keep it from financial failure.

The movie is the modern theater for the masses, and it has all the faults of its
predecessors, and more. A writer quoted in the Literary Digest of May 14, 1921, in an
article on “The Nation-Wide Battle Over Movie Purification,” said:
      We do not know that the morals of the movies are any worse than the
      morals of the stage. But mischievous movies do more harm, for they
      reach more people, and especially more children who are impressionable
      and imitative.

In the second place, the theater presents extreme and false ideas of life. Human life
is presented in its very worst aspects, its most degrading experiences. The chief
themes of the theater now, as ever, are the baser passions of men,—anger leading
to madness, ambition, jealousy; hatred leading to murder; and lust leading to adultery
and broken lives.

Such improper presentations of life cannot but have their baleful effect on the
spectators. While an effort is sometimes made to show the retribution that comes
from an evil course, it is more often that “a life of license is pictured as a life of liberty
and joy.” Looseness in morals is made to seem “not so bad,” even permissible,
“under certain conditions.” The awful remorse and lifelong suffering that comes to the
individual and to others as a result of transgression, is usually hidden from view. The
sacred truths about life, truths that noble men and women have died to maintain, are
slyly slandered; and the people, especially young people, become confused in their
thinking.

Mrs. Ellen O’Grady, formerly New York City deputy police commissioner, told the
New York legislators in a hearing on a proposed motion-picture regulation law:

      I know from my own experience that the greater part of juvenile
      delinquency is due to the evil influence of motion pictures. I could cite you
      case after case of boys and girls gone wrong because of films.

As another says:

      By sly hints and cunning innuendoes the imagination is inflamed and evil
      thoughts are awakened. There is scarcely an incident, however debasing,
      that may not be learned at the theater, making it a university of vice and
      immorality for the youthful mind.

The universal appeal of the movie is the amorous relations of men and women. The
actors realize the effectiveness of this appeal, and have taken pains to have the sex
thrill prominent in their productions. This appeal is an impulse that needs no
stimulation, an impulse, sad to say, which in many is not under the control of reason.
The mind is inflamed by these vividly suggestive pictures, and an immoral life is often
the result.

During the World War there was a young woman from a neighboring State who
roomed at our home, having patriotically come to Washington to do her bit. She
thought, of course, that she should visit some of the theaters of the nation’s capital
while here. But she expressed her disgust to my wife that practically every play she
had witnessed, had bedroom scenes. She had not seemed to realize before the low
standards of this popular form of entertainment. Some time ago a Jewish rabbi and a
Christian preacher cried out against the “products of moral leprosy” being exhibited
on the stages of New York, against plays which were “the vulgar incarnation of
impurity, spun about a display of hosiery and underwear.” A defender of the theater
who took up the challenge, said:

      We have no great sympathy with the cry for a clean stage. For our part we
      would rather see a little more dirt and grime and sweat in our palsy of
      today. If a choice must be made between license in the theater and
      Puritan repression, we say bring on the beds in battalions.

Let me ask you, dear Christian friends, is it ever right to laugh at sin? Is it right to go
to a place dedicated to folly, and sit and be amused at the portrayal of that evil
principle which turned this world into the valley and shadow of death, brought the
Son of God from the skies, and sent Him to Gethsemane and the cross? Did you
ever go to the movies and not laugh at sin?

But I hear some one saying, “There are good movies.” Are you sure? There may be
some good mixed with the bad. It is the devil’s plan to mix some good with the evil to
catch the unwary feet of those to whom the impulse for good still has an appeal. But
my investigations lead me to agree with Dr. Hall, that in every moving-picture
performance there is some ignoble suggestion. I have asked many who go if this is
true, and have never received a negative answer.

The Sunday School Times told of a minister who was deeply troubled about the low
spiritual condition of his church. He suspected the theater as one cause. One stormy
night (a night which would have spelt disaster to a prayer meeting) he ventured out to
investigate. He went to a theater where “Salome” was being shown,— “a gruesome,
degenerate, ghastly, obscene portrayal of the Bible story of Herod and John the
Baptist.” He found the house crowded, and two hundred of his most prominent
people there. He stayed through the entire horrible presentation of that travesty of
the Bible story. When he went out at midnight, he met many of his members in the
gorgeous lobby, who looked astounded to see their pastor there. He had found one
difficulty. As he paced his study the remainder of the night, it was borne in upon him
that so long as professed Christians supported by their money and their presence
such presentations as “Salome,” the Holy Spirit could not reach the hearts and lives
of a people who stultified all their finer feelings, and deadened their spiritual nerves
by beholding such things. Was he right?

But I have had Seventh-day Adventists tell me that “The Ten Commandments” is a
fine play, and that I ought to see it. And yet they admitted that the scene of revelry
around the golden calf was depicted in all its vivid reality. God called upon His people
to execute the perpetrators of that horrible orgy, yet we pay men and women to re-
enact it for our pleasure.

In Psalm 5:4 we read: “Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: evil
shall not sojourn with Thee.” In Proverbs 14:9 we read that “fools make a mock at
sin;” and in Ecclesiastes 5:4 it says that God “hath no pleasure in fools.” Then those
who go to the theater, enjoy that in which God takes no pleasure. In the 33rd chapter
of Isaiah the question is asked, Who shall be saved? The answer in verse 15 is: He
that “stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood.” That eliminates the spoken drama, for
tragedy is the common theme. Also, he that “shutteth his eyes from looking upon
evil.” That eliminates the silent drama, does it not? When you go to the movie house,
do you shut your eyes from looking upon evil?

It seems to me, dear friends, that our only safe course is to “enter not into the path of
the wicked, and walk not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it; turn from it,
and pass on.” Prov. 4:14, 15. And we should pray, “Turn away mine eyes from
beholding vanity.” Ps. 119:37.

Last of all, allow me to call your attention to the fact that the actor’s profession is
unnatural and radically wrong. It is an unworthy profession. Solon’s condemnation
was right:

     The very terms “hypocrisy” and “playing a part on the stage” are identical
     in their earlier significance. “Hypocrite” is, in both its Greek and Latin
     forms, a designation of an actor in the theater.

There is something about this whole business of the presentation of the unreal that
leads to wrong.

While there are, perhaps, exceptions to all rules, it is a well-known fact that theatrical
actors as a class are unworthy characters. It cannot be otherwise. As a theatrical
critic of the London Press said several years ago:
     Stage life, according to my experience, has a tendency to deaden the finer
     feelings, to crush the inner nature of men and women, and to substitute
     artificiality and hollowness for sincerity and truth; and, mind you, I speak
     from an intimate experience of the stage, extending over thirty-seven
     years.

Dr. Charles Blanchard, president of Wheaton College, asks these pertinent
questions:

     Is it possible for a man to play, for five years in twenty-five dramas, that he
     is the husband of twenty-five or thirty different women, without suffering
     spiritual harm? Is it possible for a woman to play that she has been
     seduced and become an outcast, without being morally injured? Is it
     possible for a woman who is married to play that she is married to other
     persons than her husband, and to act the situation as vividly as possible,
     so as to awaken the interest and applause of the audience, without harm?
     Is it possible for a man to play that he is a murderer or a thief, without
     being injured in character? And is it possible for people to look on while
     men and women are playing these things, without themselves being
     injured?

Any one who knows human nature can answer these questions but one way, “It is
not possible.” A man who followed the theatrical business for several years before he
became an Adventist, told me that it is next to impossible for one who follows this
profession to keep himself pure. The theatrical business seems to degrade its
promoters; and remember that “what cannot be done without a tendency to moral
harm, cannot be seen without a tendency to moral harm.

  Exhortation

My sympathy goes out to any, especially the young, who have become infatuated
with the movies. I know too, that in many cases it will be impossible to break the
habit without divine aid. But you, dear friend, stop and think! You were drawn into the
movies without thinking, perhaps. But now, think the thing through in the light of the
facts given and the principles laid down. Intellectual vagueness is one of the chief
dangers in any form of temptation.

When you return from the movie, do you feel like having a time of sweet communion
with God? A little boy, returning home from his first show, was not so far wrong when
he told his mother that if she would go to one show, she would never want to go to
another prayer meeting. Has attendance at the theater made you more or less
zealous in missionary endeavor? Would you care to be found in a theater when
Jesus comes?

There was a theater in Jerusalem in the days of Jesus. Do you think Jesus or His
disciples attended it? When Herod introduced this theater, it was denounced by
Josephus, a Jewish writer, as a corrupter of morals. You cannot imagine Jesus
patronizing it, can you? Can you imagine Him attending movies if He were on earth
today? If Jesus would not, should you? Let me call your attention to that wonderful
statement of the union with Christ which is possible, found in “The Desire of Ages,”
page 668:

     If we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so
     blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying
     Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses.

Surely the chief pleasures of people of the advent movement will be in contemplation
of their eternal home, in association together for the advancement of His work, and in
soul-winning activities. The Sunday School Times was right when it said:

     Let this be remembered: the more wholly yielded to the mastery of the
     Lord Jesus Christ the members of any church are, and the more they find
     in prayer their chief method, and in evangelism their chief mission, the
     less they will need to provide or even think about “entertainments.” This
     has been proved over and over again, among young people as well as
     among older.

In regard to the theater, my conclusion, in the words of the spirit of prophecy, is this:

     Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater. Instead of
     being a school for morality and virtue, as is so often claimed, it is the very
     hotbed of immorality. Vicious habits and sinful propensities are
     strengthened and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs, lewd
     gestures, expressions, and attitudes, deprave the imagination and debase
     the morals. Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be
     corrupted in principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful to
     poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the
     relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life, than theatrical
     amusements. The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence,
     as the desires for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use. The only safe
     course is to shun the theater, the circus, and every other questionable
     place of amusement. —Counsels to Teachers, pp. 334, 335.

I close as I began, with this thought,—that the joy of the Lord is the true antidote for
all worldly amusements. We read in the old myths that there were sirens who sang
men to death, but died themselves if they failed. It is said that when the Argonauts
passed them, Jason ordered Orpheus to strike his lyre. The enchantment of his
singing and music was superior to theirs, and the Argonauts sailed safely by. Then
the sirens cast themselves into the sea, and were transformed into rocks.

We cannot make the sirens of worldly pleasure fail, unless we carry with us a charm
greater than theirs. Joy must conquer joy, and music must conquer music. The child
of God must have a music in his own soul far sweeter than any siren song of this
delusive world.

                                       Appendix 11

                      The Dangers of the Religious Drama

                                    by J. E. Fulton

                    (Review and Herald, December 6, 1928)

 On the Oakland camp ground recently, after the presentation of the dangers to
young and old of attendance at moving picture shows, including Bible characters
pictured on the screen, a young woman told me a story I wish every Seventh-day
Adventist could hear. I was a stranger to this sister, but she was impressed by the
sermon, and came to me to assure me that I was right in the stand I had taken. She
said, as nearly as I can remember:

     As a child I tried to follow the Lord, but was induced by older friends to
     attend a moving picture which seemed to be right, as it was of a highly
     religious character. But the wonderful attractiveness of the theater and the
     lure of the institution swept me off my feet, and I lost my love for God.
     Then for ten years I gave myself up to the business of the moving picture
     theater. Now I have found my way back, and I want to say that what you
     said is all too true, and there certainly should be warnings sent out to the
     young and old to keep away from all movies, including the religious
     drama.
There is much in theatrical plays and especially in religious dramas, which appears
to be harmless and even good. But is it not deception under the garb of an angel of
light? The origin of evil in this world is recorded in Genesis 3. The woman, when she
saw the forbidden fruit, and found it pleasant to the eyes and good for food, and a
thing desired to make men wise, yielded. The first sin ministered to fleshly appetites
and selfish pleasure and selfish ambition. Today men and women are seeking just
what Eve was allured into seeking. Self-improvement is the world’s doctrine, and it
sounds very sane and wise. Many ministers and religious educators are telling the
young that what leads along the path of self-improvement is right and laudable. But it
is the doctrine of devils; for to our first parents the enemy said, “Ye shall be as gods,
knowing good and evil.” As another writer has truthfully said, “The gospel of self, and
particularly of self-improvement, is vigorously promulgated, not only by the leaders of
world movements who make no religious profession, but even eminent divines!”
Improve yourself, strive ever upward and onward, make something of yourself, rise to
your highest possibilities, get knowledge, “be as gods”!

But the contradistinction is the gospel of Jesus, which teaches us to “deny self,” and
not to be as gods, but to “become as little children,” and instead of loving pleasure
and the world, to love God and the things of God. Today so-called disciples of the
Master are selling Jesus for pleasure and for money. The devil is as closely
connected with this business as the serpent with Eve, and for the same purpose,—to
win, to seduce, to allure, through the attractive screen of what is “pleasant to the
eyes,” and to lead men along the lines of culture, but not to Christ.

In much of the religious drama it is the old tempter at work today; not now in the garb
of a serpent, but dressed as an angel of light. It would seem that he is now come
down with great power to picture Christ. It will not be long till he will personate Him,
claiming that he himself is the Christ, and this will be the masterpiece of dramatic
productions on the life of Christ.

         Satan’s Archdrama

Never can the work of Christ be fully set forth in drama unless miracles are
performed as He wrought them, and the sick are healed. This is a plan of the
archenemy in a future great drama.

     Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will
     appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of
     Spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many
     undeniable wonders will be performed. —The Great Controversy, page
     599.
     As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will
     personate Christ.… In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest
     himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness,
     resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the
     Revelation. —Ibid., p. 624.

A play on the life of Christ only makes it all the more deceptive. How can we see men
of the world, artists, actors, and often profligate men and women, personate Christ
and Bible scenes, and we consent by our presence and with our money? It will not
exalt Christ, but man, and Christ is crucified afresh by His professed followers who
attend and put Him to an open shame.

But have not our children and some of our older folk been prepared for attendance at
theatrical plays by the introduction into our churches and Sabbath schools of plays
that are dramatic in character? Let us keep all semblance of this out of our
assemblies. All exhibitions of display of a worldly nature, such as drama or theatrical
performances, should be kept out of all our religious exercises.

     It was by association with idolaters and joining in their festivities that the
     Hebrews were led to transgress God’s law, and bring His judgments upon
     the nation. So now it is by leading the followers of Christ to associate with
     the ungodly and unite in their amusements, that Satan is most successful
     in alluring them into sin. —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 458.

Such warnings as these are striking and timely. Let us be instructed. Satan is playing
his game. Shall we who are warned be led astray? We fear there is danger, and we
suggest that church and institutional leaders, and our workers everywhere, be fully
awake to what appears to the writer to be one of the greatest evils and dangers the
church has ever known. Shall any of us stand idly by while these agencies of the
enemy go forward unrebuked, when we know this form of pleasure is the abetter of
pride, the defiler of the soul, the avenue of lust, and the curse of true religion?

The Breath of Hell

A breath of hell’s miasma floats up amid the perfumes of the fashionably dressed
and careless theater goers, and death and destruction is the end. What will become
of these who work all day and play all night? Those who have given up their
midnights to pleasures of sight and late feastings and automobile rides, are certainly
not in the narrow way, but are rushing along the broad way to death.
The theater has incurred the disapproval and even the condemnation of the good
and wise of all ages. At its first appearance 500 years before Christ, it received the
censure of God’s people, and also of leaders in the pagan world. Historians tell us
that one cause of the decadence in Greece and Rome was the madness of the world
for shows. The early Christians pledged themselves to uphold their rulers by any
proper service, but they signified their emphatic disapproval of the popular shows. If
at a time when there was far more simplicity in the world, it was thought so
necessary to separate from the world in its pleasures, what shall be our attitude
today? And not only did Jewish, pagan, and Christian leaders condemn the theater,
but even men of the stage themselves. Macready, a man known throughout the
world in theatrical circles, said as he retired from the stage, “None of my children,
with my consent, under any pretense, shall even enter the theater, nor shall they
have any visiting connection with play actors or actresses.”

An authority outside our own church ranks speaks as follows:

     Never has there been a generation so much in revolt against their elders.
     In my judgment this psychic revolt springs chiefly from the motion films,
     with some aid from the automobile. We have a generation sex-excited,
     self-assertive, self-confident, and parental-critical. There can be no doubt
     that the arrival of overmastering sex desire in the boy’s life has been
     antedated by at least two or three years, through stimulation from the
     films. —Quoted by William Sheafe Chase, D. D., Superintendent,
     International Reform Federation.

            The Illustration of the Ship

The Christian, while in the world, is not to be “of the world,” and so the particular joys
of the world are not to be his, for he is to separate from the world, and to love God
and make heavenly things his delight. The writer often illustrates separation from the
world by the ship in the water. A ship is made to float upon the water. But it is a
disastrous thing when water gets into the ship. It is right enough for the Christian to
be in the world, but he will be sure to make shipwreck when the world gets into him.
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:16.

The movies are the worldly plan and device for the satisfaction and pleasure of
worldly people. It is not a place for the Christian. “Blessed is the man that walketh not
in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the
seat of the scornful.” This scripture forbids the Christian to seek such associations as
are found in the theater. As another has written:
     We doubt not there are many moral and Christian people that attend the
     theater for one reason and another, but the larger percent, by far, are
     loose in morals. There you find the man who has lost all love for his home,
     the careless, the profane, the spendthrift, the drunkard, and the lowest
     prostitute of the street. They are found in all parts of the house; they
     crowd the gallery, and together shout aloud in the applause greeting that
     which caricatures religion, sneers at virtue, or hints at indecency.

That is the reason we are asked by the Lord not to “stand in the way of sinners” nor
to “sit in the seat of the scornful.” One of the chief avenues through which sin enters
the soul is the eye, and against “the lust of the eyes” John warns. 1 John 2:16.
Thousands are losing their love for God through the lust of the eyes, and many have
thereby lost that priceless jewel, modesty.

In regard to the lawfulness of going to questionable places of amusement, Dr.
Guthrie gives the following excellent advice:

     We may confidentially say that whatever is found to unfit you for religious
     duties, or to interfere with the performance of them, whatever dissipates
     your mind or cools the fervor of your devotions, whatever indisposes you
     to read your Bibles or to engage in prayer, wherever the thought of a
     bleeding Saviour or a holy God, of the hour of death, or of the day of
     judgment, falls like a cold shadow on your enjoyment, the pleasures which
     you cannot thank God for, on which you cannot ask His blessing, whose
     recollections will haunt a dying bed, and plant sharp thorns in its uneasy
     pillow,—these are not for you. These eschew; in these be not conformed
     to the world, but transformed by the renewing of your minds — “Touch
     not, taste not, handle not.” Never go where you cannot ask God to go with
     you; never be found where you would not like death to find you; never
     indulge in any pleasure which will not bear the morning’s reflection. Keep
     yourselves unspotted from the world; not from its spots only, but even
     from its suspicions.

                              CONTINUE APPENDIX 12

                                  RETURN TO TOC
                                     DRAMA

                                         and the



             SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                   APPENDIX 12-13

                                        Appendix 12

                      “What of the Religious Motion Picture Drama?”

                                     *by J. A. Stevens

                       (Sunday School Times, January 28, 1928)

It is heartening in this day of lowering standards to find editorial backbone necessary
for giving an unequivocal answer to the above question that heads a fine article in the
Sunday School Times. So many churches have tried to compete with the theaters by
staging spectacular attractions, that it is not altogether surprising to find the theaters
simulating the church by an endeavor to put on semisacred plays. A letter to the editor
of the Times called forth the comment that may be read with profit by every Seventh-
day Adventist.

     The Letter
“There is a subject that I would be so glad to see treated in the Times. I refer to the
religious plays that are having such an enormous run. In some of these plays no
individual actually impersonates the Christ, but in others the impersonation is carried
out to the minutest detail. The ‘______,’ which has been running for years in the out-of-
doors theater in Hollywood, depicts scenes taken from the Gospels, and the man who
impersonates Christ spends his time between scenes smoking cigarettes.

“In the new film, ‘______,” I understand that Christ’s passion, including the actual
crucifixion and the resurrection, is acted out minutely! These plays are sponsored by
ministers and Christian workers, and Christians by the thousands go to see them, and
come away captivated by them.

“If one protests, one is met with all sorts of arguments about the ‘wonderful good
accomplished,’ the ‘beautiful character of the man taking the part of Christ;’ and we
are even told, in all seriousness, that he ‘actually lives the part.’ ‘______ is a very
religious man, you know,’ they say, and ‘people who will not go to church will go and
see these things, and only think how uplifting it is,’ always winding up with, ‘Well, if you
would only go and see it for yourself, you would feel very differently about it.’

“To my way of thinking it is a desecration; it is blasphemy to commercialize the most
sacred things. I cannot believe that any good could come of it. I would like to know
what the Times thinks on this subject.” —A California reader.

    The Answer

“For half a century the Sunday School Times has consistently held the conviction that,
as a young converted actor said in his series last year in these columns, ‘a Christian
has no place on either side of the footlights.’ The dramatic or theatrical profession, at
its best, is demoralizing. At its best it is unworthy of the lifetime study and devotion
that it demands from those who would rise to the top of this profession. It is based on
artificiality: successfully seeming to be what one is not. While there are a few
outstanding exceptions in its ranks, of individual men or women who have not been
dragged down by it, its general trail of wreckage in character can be compared to no
other reputable profession or life calling. And its accompaniments, in such matters as
late hours, abandonment of ordinary standards of modesty, shameless freedom
between the sexes, and other tendencies, tell their own story and bring their inevitable
results.


“This is the profession that produces the religious plays of today. The actors and
actresses who make up the companies that present these religious plays, are
presenting, with equal enthusiasm and facility, other plays that no consistent Christian
could consider witnessing. There have undoubtedly been some exceptionally fine
religious plays in recent years, both on the stage and on the ‘silver screen,’—in motion
pictures,—and the themes of such plays, and even the incidents and details, may be
largely free from objection. The fact remains, however, that even in the best of these
the motive for the production is commercial and mercenary; the characters of the cast
are those of the demoralizing dramatic profession; and the Christian who attends such
a play is lending his or her influence to a business that is doing more to injure society
and wreck lives than any other reputable business today.

“Christians cannot afford to lend their influence to this. It is true, as the correspondent
notes, that we are told impressively of the great good accomplished by religious plays.
But has any reader of the Sunday School Times ever heard of a soul saved, born
again by faith in Christ as Saviour, through a commercial religious play of this sort?
The Times doubts whether such a result has been brought to pass. Even if it has, it is
only an instance of God making the wrath of man to praise Him; and God does not
want His children to encourage the wrath of man.”

                                       Appendix 13

             Has the Time Come for Us to Alter Our Standards

                           and Rebuild Our Platform?*

                                  by Carlyle B. Haynes

                          (Review and Herald, March 1, 1934)

 The text for this morning’s sermon contains a word of important counsel from the
world’s wisest man. You will find it recorded in Proverbs 22:28, and it reads: “Remove
not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”

This informs us that our ancestors have set landmarks. It admonishes us not to
remove them. It leads us to believe that these boundary lines are of value to us. They
were set where they were because of the knowledge and understanding and
experience our fathers had. They are not to be changed by us.

We catch the picture at once. All of us have had some experience with the annoyance
caused by inaccurate signposts or boundary lines. We know something of what it
means in loss of time and positive exasperation when we are misdirected and get on
the wrong road and go a long way out of our course. This may be due either to wrong
markings or to the absence of markings.

The text leads us to believe that the generations of the past learned some things, and
came to assured knowledge, before we arrived on the scene of action. They learned
them from experience. If we could only bring ourselves to accept their findings, we
should be saved many a sad experience.

        Worldly Amusements

Our views about separating from the world and belonging to God have led us to be
careful with reference to worldly amusements. Just as the early Methodists did, so we
discountenance dancing, theater going, card playing, competitive sports, and
everything of like nature that would lead away from God and prevent our leading
consistent Christian lives.

These have been our standards from the beginning. They are our standards now.
They are going to remain our standards.

But, as in the case of others, so in ours, when a denomination becomes established,
and develops size, and creates large church, and the early rigors of opposition
subside, there is always a tendency to lay aside or modify these standards. A greater
indulgence is shown toward their violation.

In every large church there are always two classes of believers. One class is
determined that these standards of the faith shall be maintained. The other class
believes these standards are unnecessarily high, and should be modified or discarded
altogether.

It sometimes happens this second class enlarges its numbers and influence until its
representatives come to occupy places of prestige and power in the church. Then
church standards come to be violated and overridden with impunity. They are not
enforced. When members are known to be doing to dances, or card parties, or shows,
a quiet and indulgent smile is about all that follows.

I desire to emphasize, my brethren, that when that time comes and church standards
are dealt with in that way, the church is in serious danger. I would have you remember
that God places His mark of approval and acceptance on those who sigh and cry for
the abominations that are done in the church. (See Ezekiel 9.)
When such laxness becomes prevalent, then the opinion begins to be expressed that
these old church standards are too rigid, that the landmarks of the fathers should be
removed, that in order to win the rising generation we must soft pedal these things,
and permit the youth to adopt lower standards. I assure you with all earnestness that
such a course wins no respect for the church or its divine Head.

Think of the anomaly of a leader in the church, an officer, a Sabbath school teacher,
teaching these church standards on the Sabbath, and being discovered at other times
violating them. It is not unknown among us for leaders of the church to smugly and
complacently dress in accordance with church standards on the Sabbath and at
church affairs, but when invited to some worldly banquet or social occasion to dress
like worldlings.

 Pageantry in Services

But there is another matter in which our standards are endangered. One cannot help
observing that many pageants and shows are being given in our services, in both the
Sabbath school and the church, and at the young people’s meetings. At these it is
noticeable that rouge and make-up and paint and costuming are being more and more
used. Some of our young people are asked to do a bit of acting. Little playlets with
definite plots are being put on. Theatricals are pressing their way into the church. Our
thirteenth Sabbath programs, our Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, our
graduation and commencement celebrations, and other programs of the church are
witnessing more and more of this kind of questionable thing.

I raise the question, Where are we going? What are we heading for? Are our church
standards to be altogether ignored? Are we to remain silent while these things are
being forced upon us? And if we remain silent and let these things grow, what will
become of our church standards? I notice that there is always some one who will carry
these affairs on to the very verge of the questionable, and then sit back and see if
anything is said about it. If nothing is said about it, then the next time the affair
becomes a little more daring. If still nothing is said and no opposition is expressed,
these things are pressed to the point where there is outright acting, make-up, and
dramatic portrayal of character parts.

For myself I have come to the place where I can be silent no longer. I want it known by
every one that I deplore the laxity that leads to this abandonment of our church
standards. I want to be on record, so that my influence may be most positively against
the theatrical, the make-believe, and against acting in the church. I propose to
introduce into the next meeting of the executive board of the Tabernacle the following
resolution, and press its adoption. I read it to you now, so that all may know what it
contains:

     Whereas, The Seventh-day Adventist movement and teaching are
     essentially Biblical, placing emphasis on the basic, the fundamental, and
     the actual in Christian living and experience, leading to simplicity,
     plainness, and earnestness in our daily walk with God; and,
     Whereas, This naturally results in the individual believer’s cultivating the
     attributes of candor, sincerity, and reality in dealing with the essential facts
     of daily life; and,
     Whereas, In literature the very genius and spirit of our message lead to an
     abandonment of all that is imaginary, fanciful, and fictional, and the study
     and reading of that only which is true, solid, and real; and,
     Whereas, In entertainment we discountenance all that is theatrical, and turn
     away from the dangerous fascination and glitter of the world of unreality
     and make-believe, and encourage only the informative, the educational, the
     wholesome, and the character and body building; and,

     Whereas, There is need of sounding a warning in the interests of
     safeguarding our members, and particularly our youth, from the evils
     inherent in theatricals, and with the desire to avoid all pretense, sham,
     unreality, artificiality, and make-believe in the activities of the Tabernacle,
     and to have all our work in every department of the church represent only
     that which is genuine, sincere, real, and true; therefore,
     We recommend, That all our officers, leaders, teachers, and helpers co-
     operate with us, both in the Tabernacle and in Battle Creek Academy, in
     discountenancing and eliminating from all programs, exercises, and
     celebrations, any pageant, play, show, performance, or representation of
     any kind whatsoever which requires or employs any acting, make-up,
     costuming, or taking of character parts, even of Biblical and religious
     incidents, scenes, and characters; it being understood that this is not
     designed to prevent children in the Sabbath school from using a costume
     or reciting a part which may represent the native dress or speak in the
     name of a foreign or home mission field.*

I want to know whether you think we have come in this church to the time when we
should discard or enforce the old standards? Do you want your pastor and your board
to wink at violations of these old and established standards? Shall we modify our
standards to meet lowered ideals? or shall we uphold them and insist on their
observance? My own position in this matter you will find stated clearly and
emphatically in the text for today, “Remove not the ancient landmarks, which thy
fathers have set.” ________________

* Unanimously adopted by the Tabernacle Executive Board, January 8, 1934.

                              CONTINUE APPENDIX 14

                                  RETURN TO TOC
                                     DRAMA

                                         and the



              SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                    APPENDIX 14-16

                                       Appendix 14

                               The Religious Drama

                            Forsaking the First Love

                             In Three Parts—Part One

               (F. M. Wilcox, Review and Herald, January 25, 1934)

 The apostolic church was established in purity and simplicity. Its membership was
made up of men and women who had been directly instructed by the Lord or by His
apostles. These teachers held to the truth of God in its simplicity and purity. Their lives
were marked by humility, consecration, and sacrifice. But the apostles had scarce
retired to their graves before there arose in the church a spirit foreign to the simple
faith which characterized the early believers. This is expressed in the letter to the
church at Ephesus, as recorded in the second chapter of the Revelation. The Lord
commends this church for their labor and patience. They had manifested a heroic faith
in espousing an unpopular cause. They were zealous in the promulgation of the
gospel. They suffered trial and persecution. But little by little the ardor of their zeal had
abated, and the Lord brings against them this charge: “I have somewhat against thee,
because thou hast left thy first love.” He rebukes their sin, and then points out the
remedy: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the
first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of
his place, except thou repent.”

This loss of the first love has been the entering wedge by which Satan through all the
centuries has sought to separate the Christian disciple from his Lord. Following this
has come formalism, worldliness, a corrupted faith, a loss of distinctive character
between those who professed Christ’s name and those who knew Him not. The
backsliding which crept into the apostolic church grew and increased with the years. It
resulted in the fearful apostasy of succeeding centuries.

In these experiences the church of Christ may read lessons for every subsequent
period. The church to whom I am speaking need to take these lessons home to their
own hearts. There is danger today that we shall lose the earnestness of our Christian
experience and our simplicity of faith.

I well recall how this danger was impressed upon my mind by a little incident several
years ago. In the city of London I visited a church in which John Wesley had preached
the gospel of Christ for his day and generation. It was interesting to climb up into the
high pulpit and feel that I stood in the very place where this man of God cried out
against the sins of his day, calling men and women to a new experience in Christ
Jesus. Near by stood the humble one-and-a-half story home where Wesley had lived.
In the chamber the guide pointed out a little room where Wesley had repaired day
after day to seek the blessing of God upon his labors.

Divining, perhaps, the thought in my mind, the guide left me, and I knelt down in this
little room and prayed that I might be given the spirit of earnestness and consecration
which characterized this man of God. Then as I passed on I was led to ask myself this
question, “If John Wesley were alive today, would he recognize in the great present-
day Methodist Church, with its millions of members, the simple, humble church which
he was instrumental in establishing?” I recognize that there are may godly men and
women who are members of the Methodist Church today, and these, with me, deplore
the loss of simplicity, the departure from the old-time standards, which mark the lives
of many at the present time. And then my thoughts went further. I said, “Will the
Seventh-day Adventist Church, with which I am associated, follow in the path of the
great denominations around us? Will we lose our simplicity, our humble, childlike faith,
our simple Christian experience?”

A Personal Question

I believe with all my heart in the ultimate victory of the movement with which we are
connected. I know from the teachings of God’s word that there is to be developed in
these last days a people who will keep the commandments of God and have the faith
of Jesus, a company who will stand on Mount Zion without sin or guile. But while I
have faith that the movement itself will triumph and that there will be found when
Christ comes a devoted church who will stand clothed in His righteousness, the
question becomes more personal, and I am led to ask myself, Will I be among this
number?

This is the question which I wish to put to each reader of the Review. Will you be
among that number? I thank God for the spirit of simplicity and zeal and earnestness
which I see in the lives of the larger part of our membership. As I visited several camp
meetings the past season and held meetings in a number of our large churches, I was
encouraged by what I saw and heard of the spirit of consecration that possesses the
lives of a large number. But I was made sad to learn of the spirit of indifference and
worldliness which is taking possession of the hearts of some.

We must confess with sorrow that there are some in the church today who are losing
their first love. The call of the world is having an effect in too many lives. We have
been faithfully warned by the word of God that this would be so. Again and again the
Master, in addressing the church living just before His second coming, admonishes
them against the spirit of indifference, of spiritual sloth, against the danger of the cares
of this life, against the influence of creature comforts, against saying in their hearts,
“My Lord delayeth His coming.” (See Mark 13:33-37; Luke 21:34-36; Matt. 24:44-51.)
Some things that we see creeping in among us make us realize the need of these
admonitions.

     Religious Plays and Pageants

Some of our brethren and sisters are becoming ensnared with the spirit of worldly
pleasure, and it is of this danger that I wish to sound a warning in this article. Of the
evils attending the theater and the moving picture show, perhaps I need say little,
although some of our membership are attending such gatherings. But there are
others, while they would not attend some of these more objectionable forms of
pleasure, feel free to attend gatherings of the same sort in character, if not of the
same degree of harmfulness. Some who would refuse to go to the drama as enacted
in a theater, feel free to go to a drama enacted in some church or hall. If the drama
has a historical background or a religious setting, this affords ample excuse for
attendance at such an entertainment. And when plays of this character are patronized
in outside churches, the logical step is to seek to bring them into our own churches
and into our own institutions. This is done on the plea that such historical pageants or
religious dramas are educational or teach good moral lessons.

If I were the only one concerned over such entertainments which are urging their way
into some of our schools and churches, I would feel to question my own judgment, but
I am glad from my correspondence to learn that there are others who sense deeply
the influence of these entertainments which are finding place in some of the
gatherings of our people.

I was pleased recently, on receiving the minutes of one of our union conventions, to
see that the executive committee of the union conference had unanimously passed
the following resolution relative to some of these influences of which I have spoken:

  Whereas, The world is forcing its way into the church in some centers by way of
worldly pageant, show, comic lecture, theatrical display, cheap musical entertainment,
and costly and extravagant church weddings, thus endangering our young people in
the line of demarcation between the church and the world; therefore,

     Resolved, That with humiliation of soul and deeply sensing the fact that we
     are living in the last hour when the devil has come down in great power, we
     lovingly and urgently raise the note of warning to our people, both young
     and old, but especially to our church and institutional leaders, pointing out
     the danger of the hour in all these and other matters of a worldly trend,
     seeking for a renewal of the straight testimony of the True Witness, hoping
     that a revival of primitive godliness may result.

  I believe that serious consideration should be given to this question, particularly by
our church officers and by our conference and institutional leaders. The introduction
into our schools and churches of pageants and plays and the dramatization of various
incidents, even though they may be historical and educational, has a tendency to
break down in the minds of many the objection to theater going. Of this danger we
have been definitely warned by the instruction that has come to us.

 “Worldly or Theatrical Entertainments”
Some years ago the messenger of the Lord gave very definite counsel to the
managers of our sanitariums against providing entertainment of this character of the
guests of the institution. I believe it is well for us to read this counsel in this
connection. I quote from Volume IV, pages 577-579, of “Testimonies for the Church”:

  Those who bear the responsibility at the sanitarium should be exceedingly guarded
that the amusements shall not be of a character to lower the standard of Christianity,
bringing this institution down upon a level with others, and weakening the power of
true godliness in the minds of those who are connected with it. Worldly or theatrical
entertainments are not essential for the prosperity of the sanitarium or for the health of
the patients. The more they have of this kind of amusements, the less will they be
pleased, unless something of the kind shall be continually carried on. The mind is in a
fever of unrest for something new and exciting, the very thing it ought not to have. And
if these amusements are once allowed, they are expected again, and the patients lose
their relish for any simple arrangement to occupy the time. But repose, rather than
excitement, is what many of the patients need.

     As soon as these entertainments are introduced, the objections to theater
     going are removed from many minds, and the plea that moral and high-
     toned scenes are to be acted at the theater, breaks down the last barrier.
     Those who would permit this class of amusements at the sanitarium would
     better be seeking wisdom from God to lead these poor, hungry, thirsting
     souls to the Fountain of joy, and peace, and happiness.
     When there has been a departure from the right path, it is difficult to return.
     Barriers have been removed, safeguards broken down. One step in the
     wrong direction prepares the way for another.

   Recognizing the Social Instinct

I do not believe that we can hope to hold the young people of this denomination by
providing for them entertainments which simulate closely the pleasures of the world.
On the other hand, I believe it is not only proper, but a duty we owe to our boys and
girls, to provide them, in our homes, in our churches, and in our institutions, social
gatherings, entertainment which will be both instructive and enjoyable. The
preparation of such programs will require thought and study, but they will be well worth
the effort expended to make them helpful and uplifting.

I feel that there has been a serious lack in our church through the years in not giving
more attention to the social instinct of the youth. Because the church has failed to
meet this demand, our boys and girls have sought pleasure and recreation in worldly
associations.

 The Joy of Christian Service

But there is a still higher consideration which must always be kept in mind. We must
lead our youth to find their highest pleasure in service for their heavenly King. The
greatest joy of the Christian is found in his communion with his Lord, communion in
prayer, in Bible study, and in labor for others. And if our youth could be brought in their
Christian experience to the place where they would know this joy, this above
everything else would hold them in the days of stress and storm before us.

But before we can lead them into this joy, we ourselves must know it in our own lives.
As never before in the history of this movement we should seek for a fulfillment of the
prophetic word found in the fourth chapter of Malachi. The divine promise is that God
will turn the hearts of the fathers toward the children, and the hearts of the children
toward the fathers. Note the order—the hearts of the fathers turn first, and the
response is found in the hearts of the children.

I feel that we need to take a deeper and more concrete interest in the youth of the
denomination, in affording them encouragement in every laudable ambition, in
assisting them as far as lies within our power in the attainment of these ambitions, in
leading them to sense the responsibility that rests upon them as the younger members
of the Lord’s family, to bring to a glorious completion the work which must of
necessity, if time shall continue even a few more years, rest more and more upon their
shoulders. As they are led to sense this responsibility, they will find joy in service, and
they will prove true, I believe, to the ideals of this message and to every right
standard.

                                             ***

 Every consecration made in the darkness is reaching out toward the light, and in the
  end must come out into the light, strong in the strength which it won in its life and
                      struggle in the dark.—Phillips Brooks.

                                       Appendix 15

                                      The Religious Drama

             Shall We Introduce It Into Our Churches and Institutions?
                               In Three Parts—Part Two

               (F. M. Wilcox, Review and Herald, February 1, 1934)

 I feel that this question is of sufficient importance to warrant further consideration.
The influence of historical pageants, religious dramas, theatrical plays, and
entertainments of this character, is increasing rapidly. More and more they are being
given, not only before the members of various clubs and civic organizations, but in
various popular churches. Some of these plays appear quite innocent of themselves,
and may be more or less educational in their character. In my judgment, the
unfortunate influence attending entertainments of this kind is to break down objection
to attendance at the theater and worldly entertainments which are positively inimical to
spiritual growth and experience.

Some of these religious dramas are advertised in the newspapers. I have before me
as I write a newspaper report of such a play given in one of our large Eastern cities.
Heaven was represented by a stage set with beautiful lights, on which sat men and
women dressed in white robes with crowns on their heads, representing the angelic
host, while lovely soft music filled the air. The apostle Peter was represented as
standing at the improvised pearly gate to pass upon the credentials and character of
those seeking admission. The candidates for heaven were represented as wending
their way in the straight and narrow path to the heavenly city. The devil, represented
as dressed in hideous attire, with horns on his head, came out of an improvised den or
hell to tempt the pilgrims from the straight and narrow way. He did this by various
appeals to their appetite, their pride, and their passions. Some fell under the power of
his influence and were lured into his den; others resisted his appeal, and went on to
the gate where they were admitted by Peter and with loud acclaim by the angelic host.
The newspaper reporter, in describing this play, advises the readers of his paper to
see this religious drama, as it would afford them a rare treat.

It is unthinkable, of course, that a play of this character would be brought into any of
our churches or institutions, but this affords a fair example of many such plays that are
being enacted in some of the churches around us at the present time. And I think it is
well for Seventh-day Adventists to face the question as to whether we in our churches
and institutions are to follow in the path of these great churches, and provide
entertainment of this character for our own young people. May God forbid that
“Ichabod” should ever be written over the doors of our sanctuaries, as it has been
written over the doors of some of the worldly sanctuaries of today.

Others Deeply Concerned
But I say there is danger, and I am not alone in sensing this danger. I know from the
correspondence which comes to me from the field that there are other conscientious
men and women who view some tendencies in our own ranks with much concern.
Even since the writing of my article of last week, I have received the following
communication, which speaks for itself:

     The question has arisen, as it has many times in the past, among various
     groups of our young people of which I have chanced to be a member, as to
     “seeing a show.” We are severely criticized if we even dare go to a down-
     town show, but the same show that we wished to see is brought to us in
     our own chapels and sanitarium parlors, labeled “a good picture.” Many of
     them are educational, but I have witnessed several that are educational in
     love making, etc., to a degree greater than anything else.
     Personally, I do not care for the show presented in any place, but I would
     like to know how to answer my patients, many of whom have remarked, “I
     thought you folks didn’t believe in shows,” and my friends see no difference
     between going to a down-town show or seeing the same thing “sterilized,”
     as we young folks here dub it, when the discussion arises, as it did today
     among a group of doctors and nurses. We really see no difference. A show
     is a show. Labeling it “chocolate sirup” and placing it in a sirup pitcher
     doesn’t change its ill effects.
     This does not refer to pictures of progress in the mission field, travelogues,
     and such pictures as the “making of insulin,” but does refer to those
     “harmless” stories in picture form that call forth such remarks as, “Well, the
     theatrical season is open again,” in referring to certain entertainments in
     some of our denominational halls.

The writer of this communication says very justly that “a show is a show,” a theatrical
performance is a theatrical performance, a drama is a drama, wherever it may be
enacted. Moving it from the opera house or theater to an institution does not change
its character; indeed, it may make its influence all the more deadly, in that by the
sanction it thus receives there will be broken down the objection to theater going—an
objection which is still cherished, I believe, by the very large majority of Seventh-day
Adventists.

I recognize, however, that there is greater danger in attending some entertainment in
a theater or movie than there would be in attending that entertainment in a more
wholesome environment. The setting of any scene affects its influence. Associating
with the careless, worldly throng who habitually attend the theater or the movie would
have an influence on one’s life that would not come from association with those more
religiously inclined.

     Religious Drama

I have spoken of religious drama. What do I mean by this? Religious drama is defined
as follows by the Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. VIII, p. 475, eleventh edition: “Drama
(literally ‘action,’ from Gr. δρ__, act or do), the term applied to those productions of art
which imitate or, to use a more modern term, ‘represent’ action by introducing the
personages taking part in them as real, and as employed in the action itself.”

An incident I saw some years ago affords a concrete definition of religious drama. In
one scene in a serial play enacted before a popular audience, was a young woman
lying on a couch representing Dorcas, who had just died. Around the couch were
several girls, representing the companions of Dorcas, bewailing her death. Peter had
been sent for to come from Joppa. A young man representing Peter, dressed in
grotesque costume, with long white flowing beard, entered the stage. He walked to the
bedside, engaged apparently in silent prayer, and then took the supposed Dorcas by
the hand and commanded her to arise, which she did, to the applause of the
audience.

Surely a terrible travesty upon a sacred scene! Let us hope that such scenes as this
will never be enacted in Seventh-day Adventist churches or any of our institutions.

         Satan Employs the Drama

Of the influence of drama and of the manner in which the enemy of all righteousness
uses it to decoy souls, we have this statement from the messenger of the Lord:

      Many of the amusements popular in the world today, even with those who
      claim to be Christians, tend to the same end as did those of the heathen.
      There are indeed few among them that Satan does not turn to account in
      destroying souls. Through the drama he has worked for ages to excite
      passion and glorify vice. —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 459.

  I believe that the principle involved in religious drama, pageants, etc., should be
studied as relates even to the influence of these things on our children of church
school age. I well remember, several years ago, seeing a historical pageant acted out
by the children of one of our church schools where I was a visitor. The play pertained
to early colonial days. Some of the boys were dressed in Indian costume, others
represented the early colonists, and carried guns and swords to ward off hostile
Indians. Girls were dressed in attire similar to that worn by colonial women. The scene
was well enacted. In a way it was impressive. To some, perhaps, it was educational in
a measure. And yet as I sat and witnessed this, I could not help but wonder what
education these boys and girls were having in their future relation to the larger world of
popular amusement, and if it would create in any of their young minds a love for the
stage and break down objections to theater going.

Cultivation of Pride

This whole question is one worthy of very careful study. Somehow I cannot repress
the feeling that there is danger in our laudable desire to furnish entertainment to our
boys and girls, that we will cultivate in them pride and love of applause, that we will
develop in them a precociousness and forwardness and boldness beyond their age.
This warning has been given us in very definite language by the special instruction
which has come to us through the years. I quote from an article from Mrs. E. G. White
in the Sabbath School Worker for April 1889:

     Pride, self-esteem, and boldness are marked characteristics of the children
     of this day, and they are the curse of the age. When I see this un-Christlike,
     unlovely manifestation on every side, and then see parents and teachers
     seeking to display the ability and proficiency of their children and scholars, I
     am pained at the heart; for I know that it is exactly the opposite course from
     the one that should be pursued.

And the messenger of the Lord even suggests this danger in its relation to our
Sabbath schools:

     It is not for the workers to seek for methods by which they can make a
     show, consuming time in theatrical performances and musical display, for
     this benefits no one. It does no good to train the children to make speeches
     for special occasions. They should be won to Christ, and instead of
     expending time, money, and effort to make a display, let the whole effort be
     made to gather sheaves for the harvest. —Fundamentals of Christian
     Education, p. 253.

Our success cannot be made to depend upon methods, however good, or upon
machinery, however efficient, but upon Christ and the power of Heaven. “Not by might,
nor by power, but by My Spirit,” declares the Lord, His work is to be accomplished. To
this we are incited in the following statement:
     What an amount of worry would be saved if men would only trust in God.
     The bread of life is to be given to needy souls. And what a work is often
     made of the matter. There are long councils for devising plans, inventing
     new methods. There is a constant effort to get up entertainments to draw
     people to the church or the Sabbath school. Like the disciples, the workers
     raise the question, Shall we go to the villages and buy? What is the work to
     be done? Come unto Jesus. Humble faith and prayer will accomplish very
     much more than your long councils. Listen to the Saviour’s invitation. Put
     your neck under His yoke. Accept His burdens. Receive that which He
     bestows. He says, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” —Testimonies
     to Ministers, p. 345.

I do not understand that these statements condemn simple exercises which may be
held in the Sabbath school or in our church schools. I see no harm in our church
school children being encouraged to give recitations and short dialogues, teaching
simple moral lessons, so long as these exercises are not given in a theatrical setting,
including costumes, etc. Exercises of this character, however, built about a
complicated plot leading to a climax, carry with them a sustained and unnatural
excitement, and seem to me to be quite unfortunate and produce too much the spirit of
the theater. Those exercises which depend upon lights or the use of a curtain on the
stage and other artificial means to produce an effect, take away from the simplicity
that should characterize the exercises given in any of our church services.

In all of our plans and methods, and in our practical Christian experience, we should
never seek to see how near we can come to the world’s standards and escape
condemnation by others or by our own conscience. Rather, we should keep so far
away from the spirit of worldly entertainment that there will be no question regarding
the methods we pursue. If at any time the question of some certain method balances
in our mind, let us decide the question negatively. That which we never do, in things of
this character, brings no regret in after days.

I feel that it is inconsistent for our colleges and academies to teach the art of self-
expression, and that this instruction should not be construed as advising against this.
Many of our boys and girls are preparing to do public work. They need to be trained to
speak from the public platform, to feel at east in the presence of an audience, and I
know of no way that this instruction can be given except by such methods as our
schools are employing at the present time. But I believe that our school instructors
should see that this experience is gained in such ways as shall not minister to the
pride or the glorification of the students taking part.

In sounding this warning, I have in mind no church or institution. We have been
warned against worldly entertainments in the quotations I have given in this article,
and the warnings would not have been sounded had the danger not existed. You who
read these words know to what extent this danger confronts your own church, your
own institution.

Losing the First Love

I have great confidence in the loyalty of Seventh-day Adventists. They have shown
their love for the right in their lives of sacrifice, as they have turned away from
inducements of this world and rallied around the standard of an unpopular cause. I
believe that God recognizes their toil, their sacrifice, even as He recognized it in the
early apostolic church. But as that church stood in danger of departing from God in the
loss of their first love, so we are in danger today. It is against the insidious approach of
evil that we must guard ourselves. Satan’s temptation does not come to us first in
violation of the Sabbath, in theft, or robbery; it comes in the subtle snares that he lays
for our feet. It is the simple glass of wine at the social board that starts the young man
down the drunkard’s path; it is the impure thought cherished which leads to the
violation of every moral standard; cherished covetousness leads to theft.

But let me say, as I said last week, while we seek to save our youth and children from
the dangerous amusements of the world, let us be careful that we do not ignore our
duty in providing for them wholesome social enjoyment. This may be done in such
ways as will not simulate the worldly amusements around us, with such objectives as
will lead them nearer to Christ and instill in their hearts a love of truth and purity and
nobility. This is not alone our duty, but our blessed privilege, as we seek to become
coworkers with the Master in the salvation of our boys and girls.

I have no apology to offer for again reverting to this subject, because I feel that there
is much involved in it. I know that the very large majority of our churches and
institutions are entirely free from these influences and dangers of which I have
spoken, but I know that there are some of our people who, while they do not attend
the theater and moving picture show, at the same time are free to attend religious
dramas and plays in public halls and in churches of other denominations. And the
danger is that the fine sense of discrimination of some will be lost, and that they will be
led farther and farther away until they become patrons of other seriously objectionable
forms of entertainment; and perhaps even more serious, the example of these
believers will influence others and break down in their minds all objection to theater
going. And the next step will be to bring entertainments of this character into our own
churches and institutions.
                                       Appendix 16

                                     The Religious Drama -

             Shall We Introduce It Into Our Churches and Institutions?

                              In Three Parts—Part Three

               (F. M. Wilcox, Review and Herald, February 8, 1934)

  There comes another letter from the field, and unfortunately this describes a
theatrical in one of our own academies. I refer to the incident, not by way of censure or
criticism, but merely to point the moral which should be drawn.

  The performance represented the peoples of other nations in costume. France was
depicted by a love-making scene in song and acting. The young lady came on the
stage, which was set as a garden. While loitering about, the young man came and in
song inquired of her why all his attentions were spurned, and she answered in song.
Finally, he asked her if she would say no if he asked her to marry him. She answered,
No, in song to this. Then the betrothal took place, and they went off the stage hand in
hand. This produced hand clapping of approval, and a twice repeated encore. Some
thought it was the best part of the performance, and it was, technically. I was amazed
at the acting ability of the young man and woman. They performed like trained actors.
You could scarcely see any better acting in a theater, I imagine, though it has been
long years since I saw any real acting.

     Japan was represented by Japanese dancing girls in silk pajamas. They
     came out on the stage doing a drill with Japanese parasols, then placed the
     parasols on the floor and danced a Japanese folk dance (I suppose)
     around them in their silk pajamas, with the spotlight playing on them.
     The girls used rouge and lipstick very freely. I presume they felt they must
     represent the people of these various countries, but I could not quite see
     the point. Of course it had the effect to cause them to look lightly on the use
     of these things. It is not permitted in school, but of course they can’t be
     blamed much for concluding that is simply a rule of a denominational
     school, which means nothing. I have met some of the girls coming away
     from school smeared with rouge and lipstick aplenty.
     It was all very theatrical from beginning to end. There was the stage, the
     certain, the change of scenery, the footlights, and even the spotlights. As I
     sat and looked on, I was carried back to the days when I was obsessed
     with the theater.

Christ Our Example

What serious, sober-minded believer can feel that plays of this character should have
a part in the programs of a Seventh-day Adventist school? Would Christ, think you,
grace such an assembly with His presence? Nay, verily, unless He came by His
representative, the Holy Spirit, to convict of sin, and to point the way of truth and
holiness. “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He
walked.” 1 John 2:6.

I do not consider that this scene in any measure represents the character of the
entertainments which are being provided in the great majority of our academies. This,
so far as I know, is a rare exception to the wholesome diversions that are afforded the
students in our schools generally.

I have no doubt that the students who engaged in this play are earnest young men
and women, and I can well believe that the teachers who permitted a play of this
character to be given in one of our schools are faithful, earnest Christians. They
unconsciously permitted themselves to be drawn into this net. They simply failed to
recognize the influence that attends theatrical performances of this character. I cite the
incident, as I have said, to give point to my warning, and to demonstrate that my fears
are not wholly groundless, but that danger in the field of entertainment does confront
us at the present time.

Ancient and Modern Dramatization

The general influence attending the drama has been regarded as pernicious through
the centuries. Henry W. Stough, in his book, “Across the Dead Line of Amusements,”
makes this statement of facts which are vouched for by other writers:

     Dramatic acting has existed from time immemorial, but even the ancient
     writers of moral truth, both Greek and Roman, frowned upon the theater
     and almost universally condemned it. Plutarch, Xenophon, Plato, Socrates,
     Solon, Seneca, Tacitus, Ovid, and many others have raised one common
     voice against it as hostile to morals. “An English writer in the time of
     Charles the First,” says Dr. Thomas Brainerd, “made a catalogue of
     authorities against the stage, which contains almost every name of
     eminence in the heathen and Christian world.” Plato once said, “Plays raise
     the passions and pervert the use of them, and of a consequence are
     dangerous to morality.” Aristotle said, “The seeing of plays and comedies
     should be forbidden to young people until age and discipline have made
     them proof against debauchery.” Tacitus said, “The German women were
     guarded against danger and preserved their purity by having no
     playhouses among them.”

And this testimony is borne of the religious plays which were later introduced into the
church. This same writer says:

     The mystery and miracle plays were introduced during the Middle Ages and
     were acted very widely. The art of printing being not yet known, it was
     thought the people could be taught spiritual truths from the stage. However,
     the results were never satisfactory, and finally were deteriorating. Lecky
     says that after the thirteenth century they became one of the most powerful
     agents in bring the church, and, indeed, religion, into disrepute. Reformers
     then tried to correct abuses. “Two hundred clergymen,” says Mrs. Mowatt,
     the actress, “wrote for the stage, but all in vain!”

The demoralizing influence of the theater has received as severe condemnation in our
own day and generation. Many religious teachers have cried out against its abuses.
Earnest efforts have been put forth to purify the stage. Boards of censors have been
appointed to pass upon exhibitions given in theaters and moving picture shows. But
many of these representations today carry with them the crime or sex appeal, and
other influences of evil.

             A Disreputable Family

Religious drama of today is a distant relative of a disreputable historical family. This
member has grown in later years into greater respectability and may appear quite
innocent and harmless of itself, but it serves as an effective decoy to lead its admirers
to a love of its more evil and dissolute family relations, and thus many are led to enter
upon the dangerous paths of those grosser forms of pleasure and dissipation which
are most pernicious in their influence. It operates in the same manner as the glass of
wine or beer at the social board. An appetite is created which entices the one who is
ensnared into the path leading to the drunkard’s grave.

Of these influences of theatrical amusements, the messenger of the Lord says: “As
soon as these entertainments are introduced, the objections to theater going are
removed from many minds, and the plea that moral and high-toned scenes are to be
acted at the theater, breaks down the last barrier.” Let us guard ourselves against
taking the first step in the path that leads away from Christ.

     There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination,
     to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil
     pleasures and sober realities of life, than theatrical amusements. The love
     for these scenes increases with every indulgence, as the desire for
     intoxicating drink strengthens with its use. The only safe course is to shun
     the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement.”
     —Counsels to Teachers, pp. 334, 335.

It is unfortunate indeed for us to bring into our own churches and institutions plays or
dramas of any character which would simulate in any degree agencies or methods
that have been used through the centuries by the enemy of all righteousness for the
promotion of his evil work. I recognize that some of the religious plays today have little
if any suggestion of evil, and these forms of entertainment employed in our won
churches or institutions may of themselves alone be comparatively harmless; but the
danger is that they constitute the first step in a path which ultimately leads downward
toward the world and away from God. They constitute a departure from the spirit of
simplicity which has characterized this movement through the years.

God would have us jealous to safeguard the church against the first insidious
approach of evil. This, we believe, is the course the Master would take if He lived on
this earth today, in His relation to the world of sport and entertainment. “Love not the
world, neither the things that are in the world.” 1 John 2:15.

          “Thy Children Shall Be Taught of God”

We can never save our youth and children by arranging programs in our institutions or
churches which make constant appeal to their love of entertainment. Indeed, where
this appeal is continually made to their natures, they will lose interest in the solemn,
sober realities of Christian service. They will tire of the meeting for prayer, of the
preaching of the gospel, of the study of the Sabbath school lesson.

We do well to consider this principle in the commendable efforts we put forth for the
salvation of our youth and children in every department of the church. We must
recognize that character transformation can be wrought only by the Lord Jesus Christ,
the preaching of the gospel of salvation, the study of the word of God, prayer and
consecrated effort. It is perfectly proper to give an interesting and attractive setting to
every service of the church, but the Seventh-day Adventist Church can never be
saved by ritualism or literary programs. These under some circumstances may be
helps, but they are lame helps at best.

                              CONTINUE APPENDIX 17

                                  RETURN TO TOC
                                DRAMA

                                   and the



        SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                 Appendix 17

           Seventh-day Adventists and the Theater

                                      Part I

    (F. M. Wilcox, Review and Herald, March 18, 1937)
  Should Seventh-day Adventists attend the theater? This may seem a
strange question to ask, and yet I believe it is an appropriate one to
consider. Do you say they should not, that it is entirely contrary to our belief
and practice through the years that the members of our church should go to
worldly amusements of this character? I fully agree with your reply, and I
believe that the very large majority of the readers of the Review will give
their assent to this answer.

May I ask another question? If Seventh-day Adventist should not attend the
theater or the movies, do you think they should bring theatrical plays into
the gymnasiums of our sanitariums, the assembly rooms of our publishing
houses, and the chapels of our colleges and academies? In other words, do
you think that if it is wrong to attend a theatrical performance in a theater, it
would be perfectly right to attend the same program if it were transferred to
another atmosphere?

Oftentimes we go to theaters to attend religious services. Many times our
ministers hire a theater building in which to preach the message. And this, I
believe, is absolutely right. Why then, let me inquire, if it is right and proper
to attend the theatrical play if it were enacted in one of our institutions, is it
not right to attend it if it is enacted in the public playhouse?

For myself, I can see no difference. An amusement does not necessarily
become sinful because of its environment. Its environment may accentuate
the evil, may strengthen the evil influence attending it, but intrinsically the
geographical location does not make a thing wrong. Do you agree with me
in this? I know that the very large majority of the readers of the Review do.
On the other hand, I fear there is a respectable minority—respectable both
as to numbers and to character—who will take issue with me on this
proposition.

Do you say, “It makes all the difference in the world what the character of
the play is?” Granted. Let us consider the character of some of the plays
that have been enacted before Seventh-day Adventist audiences.

I have only to hark back a short while in my own experience to mention
plays that have come under my own personal observation, plays that I
attended innocently, not knowing their character until I witnessed them,
attending them because I believed that their promoters had a fine
discriminating sense that would not lead them to bring before their brethren
and sisters plays of an objectionable character.

One was a play promoted by one of our sanitariums. Methods of the healing
art in different periods in the world’s history were demonstrated. The
miraculous healing attending the work of the apostles was pictured. Dorcas
was represented in a state of death by a young woman stretched out on a
couch before the audience. Several young women, personating Dorcas’
associates, stood around her bedside, weeping. A messenger was sent for
the apostle Peter. A man personating Peter entered. He walked to the
bedside of Dorcas, mumbled a prayer for her restoration, and then
commanded her to rise and walk, which she did.
 What a terrible travesty upon a sacred scene! It made of death a horrible
mockery. It brought the miraculous working power of God down to the
cheap and commonplace. Think you such plays should be enacted before a
Seventh-day Adventist audience? I felt in duty bound to make earnest
protest to the management of the sanitarium against the character of such
entertainments.

I attended, in one of our college halls, a talking movie in behalf of the cause
of temperance. The pictures presented a series of fighting scenes, drinking,
and debauchery. There was sex appeal and a love plot running through the
story. I fail to see how any good could come to the cause of temperance
from the portrayal of such ungodly scenes.

I was present at an entertainment in one of our college halls, and listened to
a talking movie picture supposed to represent the growth of science and the
heroic endeavor of a great scientist. It pictured the intrigue and jealousies
and passions of men and women. It unfolded a love story of thrilling
experience. It was advertised as historical and educational, but the
historical was so distorted and disguised by fiction and romance that it gave
an entirely wrong conception of the heroic struggles of the great scientist
whose life it was supposed to picture.

In my judgment, only evil attended the presentation of these dramas, and
this evil was in no sense mitigated by the fact that the entertainment was
given for some worthy objective. I care not whether an entertainment of this
character is presented in order to raise money for a church building, for
missions, for the care of the poor, or for some other worthy objective, the
character of the play is not changed thereby. It ill becomes the church of
Christ to borrow the livery of Satan in which to serve Christ and His cause.

And what is the influence of such entertainments upon the minds of the
young? The reaction which came to me from a number of Christian young
men and women was most unfavorable. In their estimation it broke down
the barrier against attendance at the theater and the movies; and I am
convinced that many young men and women, none too secure in their
religious experience, are led to attend similar worldly amusements in the
playhouses of the world, after listening to and seeing these things in
Seventh-day Adventist institutions.
I impute no unworthy motives to those who encourage entertainments of
this character. I have every confidence in the Christian integrity of some
who have done this. I feel, however, that they have a mistaken vision of true
values.

The plea is sometimes made that we must provide for our young people
entertainment of this character or they will go to the world to secure it. This
argument, in my estimation, falls of its own weight. Instead of holding our
youth back from the world by dramatic plays, we are creating in them an
appetite for these things, which they will seek elsewhere.

Years ago, the messenger of the Lord recognized the evil influence
attending entertainments of this character in our sanitariums, and sounded
a definite warning against them:

     As soon as these entertainments are introduced, the objections
     to theater going are removed from many minds, and the plea
     that moral and high-toned scenes are to be acted at the theater,
     breaks down the last barrier. Those who would permit this class
     of amusements at the sanitarium would better be seeking
     wisdom from God to lead these poor, hungry, thirsting souls to
     the Fountain of joy, and peace, and happiness. —Testimonies,
     Vol. IV, p. 578.

Upon whom does the responsibility rest for seeing that the entertainments
provided for our young people in our institutions should be of a wholesome,
upbuilding character? The responsibility logically, and in the very nature of
the case, rests upon the management of the institution. And this is where it
is placed by the messenger of the Lord.

     Those who bear the responsibility at the sanitarium should be
     exceedingly guarded that the amusements shall not be of a
     character to lower the standard of Christianity, bringing this
     institution down upon a level with others, and weakening the
     power of true godliness in the minds of those who are connected
     with it. —Id., pp. 577, 578.

Regarding this question we shall have more to say later.

                                 Appendix 18
                  Seventh-day Adventists and the Theater

                                     Part II

            (F. M. Wilcox, Review and Herald, March 25, 1937)

Is there coming into the Seventh-day Adventist Church a gradual lowering
of the standards for which we have stood throughout our denominational
history? Are we losing our simplicity of Christian faith and experience? Is
there a growing tendency on the part of many in the church to reach out
and join hands with the world?

These, in my mind, are questions which need serious consideration at the
present time. I believe that there is a growing spirit of worldliness in the
lives of many of our church members. And I believe the time has fully come
when the voice of warning should be sounded against this danger.

I know that many of our earnest ministers are sounding this warning, and it
should be sounded in the columns of our church paper. Indeed, if the
Review and Herald cannot stand for the advent spirit which has
characterized this movement through the years, if it cannot uphold the
principles of simplicity in Christian faith and experience, and throw its
influence against the growing tendency to worldliness, then our church
paper has no right to exist; it has missed the way, and should obtain a new
vision of the call of God to His people today, a new vision of eternal values,
or it is undeserving of the support of the Adventist people.

The Lord has told His watchmen to cry aloud and spare not, to lift up their
voice like a trumpet, and show His people their transgression, and the
house of Jacob their sins. Isa. 58:1. If the watchmen on the walls of Zion
see danger approaching and do not sound the warning of that danger, then
God will hold them responsible for their neglect of duty.

I wrote last week of the danger of bringing into our churches and institutions
theatrical plays. These plays are bringing confusion to some of our brethren
and sisters. They cannot understand why such amusements should be
permitted in any of our institutions.

From one of our readers who is anxious to know the right comes this
inquiry:
     There are a few questions I should like to ask you. I am asking
     them in a humble attempt to get right and to do what is right in
     the sight of God. First, just what is right in regard to Seventh-day
     Adventists’ attending pictures? I am sixty years old, and have
     been brought up in this message. I have always been told it was
     wrong to attend theaters, moving pictures, and other worldly
     amusements. But now I am told that while it may not be best, it is
     not a sin, so one can attend if he desires. I cannot understand
     that sort of reasoning. Will you make this plain to me?

Another question: If I know men and women who are attending the movies,
can I conscientiously vote them into office in the church? I am a Sabbath
school superintendent here, and there are some who might be good
teachers, but every member knows that they attend the movies, and I have
not felt free to put them in the position of teachers. Am I too old-fashioned,
and should I let down on the beliefs that I have been holding for a long
time? I do not want to be fanatical, but I do want to do what is right.

What answer would you give to these inquiries? Do you think that in
standing against our people’s attending theaters and the movies, this
reader is too old-fashioned? Do you think that times have changed, and that
what was sinful twenty years ago is right today?

The apostle John gave this instruction to the church in his day:

     Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any
     man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all
     that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,
     and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And
     the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth
     the will of God abideth forever. 1 John 2:15-17.

Do you think this instruction was applicable to the apostolic church, but is
not applicable to the remnant church? I cannot so regard it. The eternal
truth of God remains unchanged, and what was written aforetime was
written for our instruction today. I believe that the old-time standard of the
Seventh-day Adventist Church should be upheld, even though some in the
church have lowered that standard into the dust.

And what would you reply in answer to the question as to whether men and
women who attend theaters and the movies should occupy official positions
in the church? Should they be appointed as Sabbath school teachers? In
my judgment this would be most inconsistent. The men and women who
occupy positions of leadership in the church of Christ should represent in
their lives the principles of the gospel message. Standing as the
representatives of the church, they should represent the principles of the
church.

Indeed, rather than being made leaders, such church members should
rather become subjects of missionary labor for evil which these misguided
ones are exerting. This was the recommendation of the Autumn Council of
1935 at Louisville, Kentucky. I quote as follows from the report of that
meeting, which appeared in the Review of December 5, 1935:

     We appeal to our ministers, our workers, our people everywhere,
     to keep their feet in the “old paths,” and not to remove the
     “ancient landmarks” of this message.
     In cases where members of the churches hold bridge or similar
     card parties in their homes, or frequent such gatherings in other
     places; or have dances in their homes or attend them elsewhere;
     or frequent shows in theaters or movie houses, we recommend
     that faithful labor be put forth to reclaim such individuals from the
     errors of their way; but if this proves unsuccessful, that they be
     dismissed from church membership.

I believe that this instruction should be carried out in all our churches. I
recognize that some of our dear brethren and sisters are confused
regarding these things. They have unconsciously been following wrong
paths. They have lost their spiritual discernment. They need to be
awakened to a new sense of their duties as followers of the Master. Such
missionary labor should be done in a spirit to save and not condemn.

I shall present next week another letter received from another part of the
field regarding this vital question.

                                 Appendix 19

           Seventh-day Adventists and the Theater

                                   Part III
       (F. M. Wilcox, Review and Herald, April 1, 1937)
It is not enough to argue that some of the theatrical plays which are being
given in our churches and institutions are religious or historical in character,
and therefore are educational. Even though this view is advanced by
sincere Christian people, it is but the devil’s argument, designed to be an
entering wedge, with the purpose of ultimately opening a great gulf, making
a complete cleavage, between Christ and His professed children.

The Devil’s Little Iron Wedge

When I was a boy, I sometimes assisted my father in cutting wood and
splitting rails. When a log or a block of wood was particularly hard to split,
my father first used a small iron wedge. Driving this into the wood made a
small crack, but the crack was large enough to insert a larger wedge, and
then a still larger one, by which the log or block was split wide apart.
Beware of the devil’s little iron wedges. He has many of them, and he is
seeking constantly to find some opening or weakness in our character
building in which he can insert his wedge as a beginning to a larger and
fuller entrance.

Satan uses the less objectionable plays merely as decoys. They serve to
whet the appetite, to confuse the mind, to sear the conscience, thus
preparing the way for indulgence in the grosser forms of evil. And these
less objectionable amusements, instead of satisfying in our youth a desire
for relaxation, and thus holding them from the theater and motion pictures,
as some argue they will do, create a love of theatricals, and lead the youth
to seek satisfaction in the exhilaration of the grosser forms of amusement to
be found in the playhouses of the world.

        Further Letters From the Field

This danger is recognized by some of our readers who have expressed
very decided views relative to this question. We have received a number of
letters of this nature. From this larger number we have selected three that
we are printing in the Review. There has been no collusion among these
various writers. They write from widely separated sections of the country.
One letter came from the Atlantic Coast, another from the Pacific Coast,
and another from an inland town, one of the centers of our work. One of
these letters was printed last week. We present two others at this time:

     I am writing to you in order to get your opinion on a subject
     which has troubled me for a long time. I should like to know
     whether it is right to show motion pictures in our schools,
     colleges, and other institutions. Where should the line be drawn
     between the proper ones and those which are not proper? Is it
     right to use the proceeds from questionable pictures to build
     churches or for investment goals?
     Pictures which have an educational value are ordinarily
     considered proper, but is it right to show a historical picture in
     which the educational feature is covered and destroyed by the
     scenes of fighting, smoking, gambling, and drinking? Is a picture
     educational if only a few of the incidents are historical and the
     main portion is purely fiction? How easy it is for Satan to gain a
     foothold in such pictures.

     Some of our young women recently attended a certain motion
     picture given in one of our institutions. In the picture one of the
     well-known actresses of the world today took the part of a great
     humanitarian, portraying a life of sacrifice and service. To these
     young people all this seemed very real and exciting, with its
     scenes of dancing, love-making, violence, and war. Nerves were
     tense, and emotions were stirred to a peak. After going to their
     rooms, these young women could no longer restrain their
     feelings. A state of near hysteria reigned, and it was long past
     the midnight hour before they could get their minds calmed down
     enough so that they could go to sleep. Is this a fitting and proper
     reaction to an educational program?
     I have been asked this question, If the latest moving pictures are
     shown in our schools, then why is it wrong to go to the theater
     and see the same thing, including the comedy and news? How
     shall we explain this to the young people?

          Two Meetings—A Contrast

     On Sabbath morning announcements are made of two different
     meetings, one of the midweek prayer meeting and the other of a
     moving-picture program, with an admission charge. Let us take a
     look at both of these meetings. On the night the picture is shown,
     we see the auditorium filled to its capacity long before the time
     for the program to begin. We see whole families there—children,
     young people, and older people. All are waiting to see the
     educational pictures, but instead they are shown the ways of evil
     and wickedness which are made to appear desirable. It is all
     interesting and very exciting, but nothing is shown which will help
     them to live a better Christian life. A few days later we see some
     of these same children who viewed the picture, playing that they
     are fighting, smoking, and drinking. The young people fin dit
     easier to accept an invitation to see a picture in a real theater.
     Sin does not look so bad after it is seen in the pictures a time or
     two. Truly “by beholding we become changed.”
     But now the scene changes. It is prayer meeting night, and we
     see the old faithful members coming into this same auditorium.
     There are just a few of them; they are quiet and sober. Mothers
     and fathers have come to pray for God’s blessings, to plead for
     the souls of their children, asking God to be merciful and to show
     them the better way and to lead them back to the family altar.
     They pray to be kept faithful to Jesus and to remember His
     admonition, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not
     partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
     What a contrast between the two meetings! Which one is more
     pleasing in the sight of the Lord? Which one will help us more to
     be separate from the world?
     I am thankful that there are still some of our young people who
     have enough will power to stand for the right, who have never
     attended any of these theatrical motion pictures shown in our
     institutions.

This letter, it seems to me, requires no answer through the columns of the
Review. The writer has set forth very clearly the evil attending exhibitions of
this character in our own institutions. And he very justly draws a comparison
between the attendance at such theatrical performances on the part of
many of our people and the attendance at prayer meeting on the part of the
few.

One of Our Ministers Writes

The second letter is from one of our ministers—not one who, on account of
advancing years, is out of touch with present-day conditions or out of
sympathy with the hopes and aspirations and reasonings of the youth of
this denomination. He is still young in years and young in heart, but he
expresses his very deep concern over some influences which he sees
operating in the church. His letter describes a dramatized play which he
witnessed, one Saturday evening, in one of our college chapels, and the
reactions of his own mind.

     The whole scene was a theatrical dramatization, and the
     emotions alternated between weeping and laughter. Love
     scenes, with hugging and kissing, were prominent throughout.
     Much of the picture was educational and interesting, but to my
     mind it was worldly, and entirely foreign to our viewpoint and
     educational standards, as I have understood them.
     We left the place with the solemnizing effects of the Sabbath
     service pretty well destroyed. A worldly spirit pervaded the entire
     showing, and lingered in our hearts as we departed. It did not
     seem that we had been in a house where prayer was wont to be
     made.
     Now I do not want to place myself where I can do our young
     people no good, by being too extreme, but it really does seem to
     me that such motion pictures are to a worldly spirit what light
     wines and beer are to those struggling with the liquor habit. I
     think we should see, not how near we can come to the world, but
     how far we can shun amusements which are essentially worldly
     and degrading, and which lead the thoughts far from God.

Sowing for Worldliness

     It appears to me as if Satan, in these motion pictures, is inviting
     us to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He shuts our
     eyes to the evil for the sake of the knowledge, some of which
     may be good in itself, but which, associated with the
     objectionable, becomes a decoy for evil. To me it appears that
     we are breaking down the line of demarcation before our young
     people, as well as before our older people, and are sowing for a
     harvest of worldliness. Churches that have tried to cope with
     worldly influences by making these entertainments church
     affairs, have lost their youth to right principles, and have at last
     had to let the young people go to all kinds of worldly
     amusements. We know the results. The same policy followed in
     our churches will produce the same results, will it not?
     I think we could show pictures of our mission work, of the
     advancement of God’s cause, of different countries and
     conditions, which would make our young people missions-
     minded and do real good. But when we show such pictures as I
     have described, we are whetting the appetite for all kinds of
     worldly amusements.

Why Print These Letters?

Why do I print in this column these letters from our readers? For several
reasons: First, to show the dangers which confront us at the present time,
the inroads which the spirit of worldliness is making in the church; second,
to present the salient reasons these writers offer for sounding warnings
against these evils, reasons why our institutions should exclude from their
program, entertainments of this character. We give these letters because
they represent the earnest convictions of the large majority of our people
against theatrical entertainments.

When we point out sin in the church, none should understand that we
believe that the church as a whole has departed from God and has gone
after the world. Elijah lamented that he was the only one in all Israel who
was true to God. But the Lord assured him that there were still seven
thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal or kissed his image. And I
am confident that there are many thousands in the Seventh-day Adventist
Church, the large majority in fact, who are true and loyal to the principles of
this message.

Do you inquire, Is it wrong to see any moving picture? Is a picture sinful
simply because it moves? Are there not proper pictures which may be
thrown upon the screen and witnessed by the rank and file of our readers?
Indeed there are. I have taken pleasure through the years in seeing a
number of such presentations, pictures which I considered wholesome and
uplifting and educational in their influence. Regarding this phase of the
question and the manner in which we may discriminate between the good
and the evil, I shall speak more definitely next week.

                                  Appendix 20

            Seventh-day Adventists and the Theater

                                   Part IV
     (F. M. Wilcox, Review and Herald, April 8, 1937)
I have said much during the last few weeks about the evils of theatrical
moving pictures. I have felt that our institutions, especially our schools and
sanitariums, are threatened by grave danger in the presentation of some of
these pictures before their students and guests. I believe it is a greater evil
to present these pictures in our institutions than it would be to witness them
apart from the institution.

The question naturally arises, Is there a class of moving pictures which can
be profitably exhibited to the guests in our sanitariums and to the students
in our training schools? I believe there is. In this, as in many other things,
we must discriminate between the evil and the good. We must show here
the same discriminating judgment exercised in the choice of the books and
magazines we read. This discrimination will lead us to turn away from the
highly fictional, the vulgar, the impure, from books and stories with sex
appeal, and read that which is elevating, uplifting, and ennobling.

We must exercise this discrimination in the food we eat. The markets of
today teem with a large variety of vegetable and animal food products. An
educated judgment will lead us, under ordinary conditions, to discard the
latter, and to satisfy our physical needs with food which is drawn from the
vegetable kingdom. We must exercise this same sense of discrimination in
the clothes we wear. We shall be led to choose an attire which is simple,
modest, and dignified.

At the recent spring meeting of the General Conference Committee, held at
Takoma Park, Washington, D.C., March 10, 1937, earnest study was given
to this question which we have been discussing in the Review during the
last few weeks. There had previously been appointed a committee on visual
education, to give study to principles and standards in the use of motion
pictures. This committee reported at the spring meeting, and this report was
adopted, as follows:

     The projection of motion pictures into the modern world, followed
     by their vast exploitation, has thrust upon the church a problem
     of grave proportions. The seriousness of this problem calls for a
     clear statement of the fundamental principles involved, and for a
     courageous stand thereupon by the leadership of the church.
     Pictures are not wrong merely because they move. The motion
picture is simply an animated photographic reproduction. There
is legitimate use of motion pictures for purposes of education,
enlightenment, and recreation. And there are sharply defined
basic principles involved that determine the right or wrong of the
motion-picture film, as verily as of reading, dress, or association.
These principles we should recognize and apply firmly,
consistently, and unitedly. They involve what is taught, the way it
is taught, where it is taught, and by whom it is taught.
There is, first of all, a fundamental distinction between natural
pictures, or pictures of real life, and pictures of dramatized
theatrical plots. This is a basic line of demarcation. By the former
are meant scenes reproduced through the motion-picture
camera wholly of natural life, whether of persons, animal or plant
life, events, or places, and which are recognized, within certain
limitations herein set forth, as legitimate and proper for
Christians, and for the organizations and institutions of the
church.

In contrast, there are the motion pictures of dramatized theatrical
plots, usually produced by professional actors and actresses.
The very principle upon which these are constructed is inherently
wrong, and cannot be approved or condoned by the church. The
history and the present estate of the theatrical drama show it to
be opposed to the highest ideals of morality, and alien to spiritual
life. Its themes are built upon human passion. It graphically
presents, by portrayal and by suggestion, the sins and crimes of
humanity,—murder, adultery, robbery, and every other evil. Even
its attempted depiction of virtue is feeble, and frequently false.
And its conception of love and of love-making desecrates the
most intimate and sacred relation of man and woman.
Theatrical films are evil in their influence, and consequently
unacceptable, because they confuse the thinking of our people
regarding the Seventh-day Adventist attitude toward the theater,
the opera, and novel reading; because they create an appetite
for emotional reaction which can be satisfied only by further
indulgence; and because they make an unwarranted play upon
the emotions. This is wrong because emotional stimulation
without appropriate action is destructive to character
development. Pictures which play upon the emotions create an
appetite for the sensational, causing the individual to live in the
realm of the unreal, destroying responsiveness to duty, and
resulting in emotional instability.
The motion-picture house has so popularized the theater that
millions are daily in attendance at exhibitions which can only
exert an influence to lower standards of Christian purity. We
believe that in no small degree it is responsible for the present
breakdown of morality. There can therefore be no compromise
here without tragic loss and fundamental mistake. While it may
be necessary at times to go to theatrical buildings for
evangelistic meetings, or to hear wholesome lectures or musical
concerts, we should avoid, just as far as possible, attendance at
places devoted to shows and theatrical performances.
In education we are directed to build only upon the real, the
actual, and the true, and to turn away from the false, the
speculative, and the fanciful. In literature we are cautioned
against the fictional and the unreal. In dress we are to abandon
the artificial, the showy, the merely decorative. In diet we are
asked to discard the impure, the corrupting, and the hurtful. In
character building we are admonished to reject all sham and
pretense. So, likewise, in our relation to the motion picture, silent
or sound, we must definitely choose only “whatsoever things are
true,” honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report; and
deliberately refuse that which is untrue and unreal, which
involves sham and pretense, or which is impure and corrupting.
All such pictures should, because of their inherent wrong, be
barred from use by the church, its organizations, institutions, and
members.
With such basic principles clearly established, we therefore take
a definite and positive stand against all dramatized motion
pictures which use character representation for the purpose of
acting out a theatrical plot. Such dramatization of imaginative
plots, as a method of creating impressions, influencing life, or
conveying information, should not be employed in God’s service,
and is not to be countenanced by His people. We, therefore, call
upon our entire church membership, young and old, to take their
stand upon this platform.

With such basic principles clearly established and accepted in
our selection of films, we are convinced that certain motion
pictures can be used effectively and helpfully in God’s cause, for
purposes of education, enlightenment, and wholesome
entertainment. For the aid of those charged with the
     responsibility of selection, we here submit a list of suggestions,
     further expanding and applying the aforesaid principles, by which
     motion-picture films to be used in our churches, schools,
     sanitariums, or elsewhere in connection with our cause, may be
     adjudged, and either approved or rejected. We believe that the
     fundamental principles and standards here set forth will prove
     helpful to committees, boards, and individuals required to make
     decisions in the choice of films. These are tabulated under two
     heads, (1) “Acceptable Films” and (2) “Unacceptable Films,”
     though we are conscious of the fact that this listing is neither
     final nor complete, but is only a general guide in selection.

I. Acceptable Films

  a.      Industrial Pictures.—Pictures showing processes of
  manufacture, lumbering, mining, oil production, public utilities,
  transportation, commerce, transmission of news and information, etc.
  b.      Scenics.—Pictures of national or other parks, natural scenery,
  mountain climbing, exploration, and the like.
  c.     Travelogues.—Pictures of other countries, their national habits,
  customs, and life (excluding scenes that may have a corrupting
  influence).
  d.      Nature and Wild Life.—Pictures of the Forest Service, of animal
  life in various States and nations. The life development of insects,
  plants, fishes, birds, and animals (excluding those which emphasize
  cruelty).
  e.      Art and Archeology.—(Excluding films that portray indecent and
  corrupt art.)
  f.     News Reels and Current History.—(Excluding films which are
  contrary to our recognized standards.)
  g.      Educational Films.—Films which impart information and teach
  truth in any branch of learning.
  h.      Pictures of Places.—Those associated with historical incidents.
  i.     Our denominational work and activities.

2. Unacceptable Films

  a.  Films portraying Christ and inspired men.
  b.  Pictures portraying romantic love-making.
  c.  Films portraying scenes which are contrary to Seventh-day
  Adventist standards and ideals, such as popularized dancing, card
  playing, gambling, drinking, etc.
  d.     Films portraying crime or glorifying criminals.
  e.     Films portraying scenes of violence or cruelty, such as prize
  fighting.
  f.    Films which lower esteem for the sanctity of marriage by
  portraying family disruptions, or ridiculing home life and home
  relationships.
  g.     Films portraying scenes of night life, drinking, carousing, gaiety,
  revelry, rowdiness.
  h.     Films portraying scenes of smoking as a social activity. (Pictures
  portraying processes of manufacture, for example, in which the
  operator might happen to be smoking, might not be included in this
  category because the attention of the observer is centered upon the
  process rather than upon the smoking as a desirable activity.)
  i.    Films which by ridicule, suggestive insinuation, or crude comedy,
  lower in the estimation of the observer, religion or the ministry, or the
  dignity of human personality, or law-enforcing agencies.
  j.    Films of a scientific or historical character which blend
  misrepresentation of facts with the actual.
  k.     Popularized historical films which distort facts of history and
  pervert truth, or which present scenes of cruelty and bloodshed.

           The Responsibility

  I commend to the earnest study of our readers the excellent principles
presented in this report. I believe that if the suggestions given are followed,
the character of motion pictures shown in some of our institutions will be
entirely changed.

None should exercise a spirit of censure or condemnation for what has
been done. Abuses have crept in, not because of intent or purpose, but
through thoughtlessness, through a lack, largely, of information and of a
knowledge of the underlying principles which should govern the selection.

I believe that the managers and faculties in our various institutional families
are laboring in the fear of God to meet the situation which confronts them.
They need our prayers that God will uphold their hands, and help them to
stay the tide of evil with which Satan would submerge the church.

                                  Appendix 21
                   Seventh-day Adventists and the Theater

                                     Part V

             (F. M. Wilcox, Review and Herald, April 15, 1937)

I had intended to conclude these talks relative to theatrical entertainments
with the article in last week’s paper. I do not feel free, however, to do this
until I place before the readers of the Review the very definite instruction
which has come to us from the messenger of the Lord relative to the
question of entertainments in our institutions.

This was addressed to the sanitarium in early days. The managers of that
institution felt that in order to divert the minds of their patients from their
maladies and ills, there must be furnished them exhilarating entertainment.
The sanitarium could not make use of the moving picture, because it had
not yet come into the world of invention. But the managers were led to
present theatrical plays of the same character as those which are depicted
upon the screen at the present time.

This brought from the messenger of the Lord very earnest protest. In this
protest she enunciates certain principles which are as applicable today as
when they were uttered. They have been printed through the years in the
“Testimonies for the Church,” but as many of the readers of the Review do
not have the “Testimonies” in their homes, we reproduce the instruction in
this connection:

 Amusements to Be Guarded

  Those who bear the responsibility at the sanitarium should be
  exceedingly guarded that the amusements shall not be of a character
  to lower the standard of Christianity, bringing this institution down
  upon a level with others, and weakening the power of true godliness in
  the minds of those who are connected with it. Worldly or theatrical
  entertainments are not essential for the prosperity of the sanitarium or
  for the health of the patients. The more they have of this kind of
  amusements, the less will they be pleased unless something of the
  kind shall be continually carried on. The mind is in a fever of unrest for
  something new and exciting, the very thing it ought not to have. And if
  these amusements are once allowed, they are expected again, and
the patients lose their relish for any simple arrangement to occupy the
time. But repose, rather than excitement, is what many of the patients
need.
As soon as these entertainments are introduced, the objections to
theater going are removed from many minds, and the plea that moral
and high-toned scenes are to be acted at the theater, breaks down the
last barrier. Those who would permit this class of amusements at the
sanitarium would better be seeking wisdom from God to lead these
poor, hungry, thirsting souls to the Fountain of joy, and peace, and
happiness.
When there has been a departure from the right path, it is difficult to
return. Barriers have been removed, safeguards broken down. One
step in the wrong direction prepares the way for another. A single
glass of wine may open the door of temptation which will lead to habits
of drunkenness. A single vindictive feeling indulged may open the way
to a train of feelings which will end in murder. The least deviation from
right and principle will lead to separation from God, and may end in
apostasy. What we do once, we more readily and naturally do again;
and to go forward in a certain path, be it right or wrong, is more easy
than to start. It takes less time and labor to corrupt our ways before
God than to engraft upon the character habits of righteousness and
truth. Whatever a man becomes accustomed to, be its influence good
or evil, he finds it difficult to abandon...

        Our Institutions to Be Beacon Lights

If physicians and workers flatter themselves that they are to find a
panacea for the varied ills of their patients by supplying them with a
round of amusements similar to those which have been the curse of
their lives, they will be disappointed. Let not these entertainments be
placed in the position which the living Fountain should occupy. The
hungry, thirsty soul will continue to hunger and thirst as long as it
partakes of these unsatisfying pleasures. But those who drink of the
living water will thirst no more for frivolous, sensual, exciting
amusements. The ennobling principles of religion will strengthen the
mental powers, and will destroy a taste for these gratifications. —
Testimonies, Vol. IV, pp. 577-579.
God designed that the sanitarium which He had established should
stand forth as a beacon of light, of warning and reproof. He would
prove to the world that an institution conducted on religious principles
as an asylum for the sick, could be sustained without sacrificing its
  peculiar, holy character; that it could be kept free from the
  objectionable features that are found in other institutions of the kind. —
  Id., p. 582.

    Friendship With the World

Messages were borne not only to our sanitarium, but to our college as well.
Into that institution worldly entertainments were brought in order to furnish
the students with change and recreation. These entertainments were of a
worldly character, and the servant of the Lord bore positive testimony
relative to the danger of thus linking with the world. I quote from the chapter
entitled, “Our College,” in “Testimonies,” Volume V, page 33:

  The object of God in bringing the college into existence has been lost
  sight of. Ministers of the gospel have so far shown their want of
  wisdom from above, as to unite a worldly element with the college;
  they have joined with the enemies of God and the truth, in providing
  entertainments for the students. In thus misleading the youth, they
  have done a work for Satan. That work, with all its results, they must
  meet again at the bar of God.
  Those who pursue such a course, show that they cannot be trusted.
  After the evil work has been done, they may confess their error; but
  can they easily gather up the influence they have exerted? Will the
  “Well done” be spoken to those who have been false to their trust?
  These unfaithful men have not built upon the Eternal Rock. Their
  foundation will prove to be sliding sand. “Know ye not that the
  friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will
  be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

       Lyceum Courses in Our Institutions

A number of our institutions arrange lyceum courses each year for the
benefit of students and workers. I think this is commendable practice. I have
often wondered why, instead of securing talent entirely from the world, more
could not be done in the way of bringing onto our institutional platforms men
and women from our own ranks. Some of our schools have endeavored to
do this.

The Washington Missionary College, in its lyceum course for this year,
under the direction of Prof. S. W. Tymeson, secured talent for four of its
evenings from our own church workers. Miss Grace Washburn, a radio
artist of excellent ability, devoted one evening to a vocal concert. Mr.
George Wargo, a violist, assisted by Miss Sylvia Meyer, harpist in the
National Symphony Orchestra, gave another musical evening. Another
evening was occupied by the Alabama Singers, young men students from
our Oakwood Junior College. And the closing evening of the course is to be
used by the College Glee Clubs in their annual recital, under the direction of
Prof. William Shadel. These numbers of the course have been received
with as great appreciation as has ever been accorded to outside talent.

I speak of this particular lyceum course for the reason only that I am
personally acquainted with its work. No doubt others of our schools have
followed the same plan, and have presented as fine courses of wholesome
entertainment. I recognize, however, that for lyceum work the talent in our
own church is limited. There are many workers among us who can preach
the truth most acceptably and engage the attention of large congregations,
and yet many of these workers could not render acceptable service on a
lyceum program such gas is required today of this class of talent. But I
believe this home field should be explored and utilized as far as is
consistently possible.

It would seem, for the present, that outside talent must be employed in
conducting these lyceum courses, and excellent talent is oftentimes
available. However, there is bound to be disappointment in individual
instances. However highly some popular lecturer may be recommended,
and however carefully his record may be investigated, it is found oftentimes
that what he presents is not appropriate to our lecture courses. We should,
therefore, give great care about condemning the committee which had the
program in charge. We must recognize that the committee did the best it
could with the information available, and that the disappointment of the
committee is probably as great as that of any in the audience, if not greater.

I have great confidence in the management of our training schools. I know
that the managing boards and the school faculties are made up of men and
women of God, who are doing all they can to safeguard the interests of our
youth and to train them for work in the Master’s vineyard. Let us give,
therefore, to those bearing these heavy burdens, our sympathetic and
prayerful support.

                         CONTINUE APPENDIX 22
RETURN TO TOC
                                     DRAMA

                                         and the



              SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                      Appendix 22

            DRAMATIC PRODUCTIONS IN S.D.A. INSTITUTIONS

             (Statement prepared by Arthur L. White, Secretary, Ellen G. White
                                  Publications.)

 Request has been received at the White Estate for the materials from the pen of Ellen
G. White which may have a bearing on the question of the production of dramatic
programs in SDA institutions. The E. G. White counsels touching on this point deal with
a number of situations, and in so doing, enumerate principles which it would seem may
well serve as guidelines.

A survey of these counsels fails to reveal an across-the-board condemnation of all
enacted programs. In other words, Ellen White does not condemn a program just
because it may be dramatized. In this respect the counsels touching dramatic
productions are much like the counsels relating to sports, and interestingly, the two are
treated together in two of the statements of caution. Mrs. White did not condemn the
“simple exercise of playing ball,” (AH 499) but as she enumerated the principles
involved, she pointed out the grave perils which usually accompanied sports activities.
Mrs. White did not condemn the simple enacted program put on by the Battle Creek
Sabbath School in 1888, but in many statements she clearly points out the many and
almost sure perils which accompany “plays” and “theatrical programs.”

It would then appear that the questions relating to both sports and dramatic productions
in SDA institutions must be settled on the basis of fundamental principles rather than on
a simple acceptance or prohibition. This greatly complicates the task and calls for close
observation, careful analysis and the determination to be guided by Christian principle.
If the young men and women, in their personal experience, can be brought to
understand and apply these principles, worthwhile progress will be made in teaching the
vital lesson that the life of the Christian is guided not by arbitrary “do’s” or “don’t’s” but
by principle.

The Value of Visual Presentation

The visual presentation is known to be an effective means of communication. It was
often employed by God Himself in enlightening His prophets. The prophet many times
recounts what “he saw” in vision and bore witness as to what passed before him in
panoramic view. Ellen White commented on this while in Europe as she was called
upon to meet the fanatical position of some that all pictures are prohibited by the
second commandment and should be destroyed:

     The second commandment prohibits image worship; but God Himself
     employed pictures and symbols to represent to His prophets lessons which
     He would have them give to the people, and which could thus be better
     understood than if given in any other way. He appealed to the understanding
     through the sense of sight. Prophetic history was presented to Daniel and
     John in symbols, and these were to be represented plainly upon tables, that
     he who reads might understand. —Selected Messages, Book 2, pp. 319,
     320.

The Ellen G. White reference is well illustrated in Ezekiel’s experience in which the
power of God was dramatized:

     At one time the prophet Ezekiel was in vision set down in the midst of a large
     valley. Before him lay a dismal scene. Throughout its whole extent the valley
     was covered with the bones of the dead. The question was asked, ‘Son of
     man, can these bones live?’ The prophet replied, ‘O \Lord God, Thou
     knowest.’ What could the might and power of man accomplish with these
     dead bones? The prophet could see no hope of life being imparted to them.
     But as he looked, the power of God began to work. The scattered bones
     were shaken, and began to come together, ‘bone to his bone,’ and were
     bound together by sinews. They were covered with flesh, and as the Lord
     breathed upon the bodies thus formed, ‘the breath came into them, and they
     lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.’” —E. G.
     White, MS 85, 1903, in SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 1165.

Effective Also for Evil

But as is so often the case, that which may be effective for good when rightly used can
also, if wrongly employed, be effective for evil, even to the point where the rightful use
may have to be curtailed. Note in the description of Satan’s work in the world generally
that drama is first named as one of the “amusements” which Satan turns “to account in
destroying souls”:

     Many of the amusements popular in the world today, even with those who
     claim to be Christians, tend to the same end as did those of the heathen.
     There are indeed few among them that Satan does not turn to account in
     destroying souls. Through the drama he has worked for ages to excite
     passion and glorify vice. The opera, with its fascinating display and
     bewildering music, the masquerade, the dance, the card table, Satan
     employs to break down the barriers of principle and open the door to sensual
     indulgence. In every gathering for pleasure where pride is fostered or
     appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and lose sight of eternal
     interests, there Satan is binding his chains about the soul.” —Patriarchs and
     Prophets, p. 459 (AH 515). Published in 1890.

A decade earlier in the Testimonies, sensational dramas were pointed out as
preoccupying the mind of men and women and this hindered the reception of the
message of truth:

     The world is teeming with errors and fables. Novelties in the form of
     sensational dramas are continually arising to engross the mind, and absurd
     theories abound which are destructive to moral and spiritual advancement.”
     —Testimonies, Vol. 4, p. 415, (1880).

The third E. G. White statement we cite on this point relates to the welfare of the
students at Battle Creek College in the early days before dormitories were provided,
and the students lived in the homes of families residing nearby. This statement involves
the legitimate theater, for it was penned in 1881, long before the motion picture was
known. The perils of “theatrical amusements” is clearly depicted and fundamental
principles delineated:

     Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater. Instead of
     being a school of morality and virtue, as is so often claimed, it is the very
     hotbed of immorality. Vicious habits and sinful propensities are strengthened
     and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs, lewd gestures,
     expressions and attitudes, deprave the imagination and debase the morals.
     Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in
     principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the
     imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the
     tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements. The
     love for these scenes increases with every indulgence, as the desire for
     intoxicating drink strengthens with its use. The only safe course is to shun
     the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement. —
     Testimonies, Vol. 4, pp. 652, 653.

 Seventh-day Adventists Wrestle With the Problem

It was as the number of Seventh-day Adventists residing in Battle Creek greatly
increased and as our institutional program got well under way that we found ourselves
from time to time confronted with the question of dramatic productions.

At the Sanitarium

The Sanitarium with its large number of non-Adventist guests was faced with the
problem of their entertainment. The non-Adventist Dansville, New York institution under
the management of Dr. Jackson had encouraged “plays” as being beneficial to the
patients. (See Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 172.) But Ellen White gave firm counsel that this
type of thing should not come into our sanitarium at Battle Creek. This counsel
appeared in 1881 in an article entitled ”Position and Work of the Sanitarium,” but its
warnings are by no means limited to the sanitarium situation:

Those who bear the responsibility at the sanitarium should be exceedingly guarded that
the amusements shall not be of a character to lower the standard of Christianity,
bringing this institution down upon a level with others and weakening the power of true
godliness in the minds of those who are connected with it. Worldly or theatrical
entertainments are not essential for the prosperity of the sanitarium or for the health of
the patients. The more they have of this kind of amusements, the less will they be
pleased unless something of the kind shall be continually carried on. The mind is in a
fever of unrest for something new and exciting, the very thing it ought not to have. And if
these amusements are once allowed, they are expected again, and the patients lose
their relish for any simple arrangement to occupy the time. But repose, rather than
excitement, is what many of the patients need.

     As soon as these entertainments are introduced, the objections to theater
     going are removed from many minds, and the plea that moral and high-toned
     scenes are to be acted at the theater breaks down the last barrier. Those
     who would permit this class of amusements at the sanitarium would better be
     seeking wisdom from God to lead these poor, hungry, thirsting souls to the
     Fountain of joy, and peace, and happiness.
     The managers of the sanitarium may as well conclude at once that they will
     never be able to satisfy that class of minds that can find happiness only in
     something new and exciting. To many persons this has been the intellectual
     diet during their lifetime; there are mental as well as physical dyspeptics. —
     Testimonies, Vol. 4, pp. 577-579.

No information is now available as to the precise nature of the “theatrical
entertainments” given at the sanitarium and here referred to. The statement must be
understood in the context as revealed in the chapter.

SDA Literary Societies

At this very time, 1880-1881, in our attempts to provide cultural programs for our church
members, “literary societies” were formed at Battle Creek and at some other points.
Dramatic productions soon became a part of the program. The January 4, 1881 issue of
the Review carried Mrs. White’s report on the problem with which they were soon
confronted, and led her to declare:

     In every case where a literary society has been established among our
     people, its influence has proved to be unfavorable to religious life, and has
     led to backsliding from God. This has been tried at Battle Creek and in other
     places, and the result has ever been the same.

Then she sets forth the crux of the problem:

     The purposes and objects which lead to the formation of literary societies
     may be good; but unless wisdom from God shall control these organizations,
     they will become a positive evil. Various entertainments are introduced to
     make the meetings interesting and attractive for worldlings, and thus the
     exercises of the so-called literary society too often degenerate into
     demoralizing theatrical performances, and cheap nonsense. All these gratify
     the carnal mind, that is at enmity with God; but they do not strengthen the
     intellect nor confirm the morals. Little by little, the spiritual element is ruled
     out by the irreligious, and the effort to harmonize principles which are
     antagonistic in their nature proves a decided failure. When God’s people
     voluntarily unite with the worldly and unconsecrated, and give them the pre-
     eminence, they will be led away from Him by the unsanctified influence
     under which they have placed themselves.
     Many literary societies are in reality young theaters on a cheap scale, and
     they create in the youth a taste for the stage.” —Review and Herald, Jan. 4,
     1881.

The entire article, now currently available, may be read with profit. See Ellen G. White
Review and Herald Articles, (Facsimile Reprint) Vol. 1, pp. 224, 225. Significant
excerpts appear on pp. 11-13 of this document as Exhibit A.

Lyceums and Literary Societies

At a later date, Ellen White dealt with the involvements of acts and plays in SDA
lyceums and literary societies. In so doing she repeated some of the counsel of the
1881 Review article just noted and then broadened the coverage. She deplored that
often individuals of “short religious experience” take the lead. Then “Satan uses men as
his agents to suggest, to lead out, to propose different acts and a variety of amusing
things which give no strength to the morals or elevation to the mind, but are wholly
worldly. Soon the religious element is ruled out, and the irreligious elements take the
lead.” —E. G. White MS 41, 1991 (See Exhibit B, p. 14). The result was that there was
“brought in low, cheap matters that are not elevating or instructive; but only amuse.”
“The mind” was led “away from serious reflection, away from God, away from heaven.”

She admonished:

     If your lyceums and literary societies would be made an opportunity for
     searching the Bible, it would be far more an intellectual society than it can
     ever become through the attention being turned to theatrical performances.
     What high and noble truths the mind may fasten upon and explore in God’s
     Word!…
     Those who compose these societies, who profess to love and reverence
     sacred things, and yet allow the mind to come down to the superficial, to the
     unreal, to the simple, cheap, fictitious acting, are doing the devil’s work just
     as surely as they look upon and unite with these scenes.” —E. G. White MS
     41, 1900.

Turn to Exhibit B, pages 14 and 15 for the full statement, depicting the gradual
compromising and vacillating between duty and the world, with the final results.

       Counsel Regarding the 1888 Enacted Christmas Program

Early Wednesday morning, December 26, 1888, Ellen G. White wrote concerning a
Christmas program at Battle Creek, put on by the Sabbath School children which she
had attended the night before. It was a simple dramatized program featuring a
lighthouse, children wearing costumes, and there were speeches, poems and songs.
Ella M. White, Mrs. White’s six year old granddaughter was in the program, dressed to
typify an angel. This communication appears as Exhibit D on pages 19 and 20.

It is significant that the counsel given to the man who organized the program relates to
how the features of the program could have been made more effective, but there was
no condemnation of the program because of the enacted scenes. Rather she
commented, “I was pleased with the lighthouse.… The part acted by the children was
good. The reading was appropriate.” —E. G. White Letter 5, 1888, (Page 19). At the
same time, she made certain observations:

     The singing was after the order we would expect it to be in any theatrical
     performance, but not one word to be distinguished. Certainly the tempest-
     tossed ship would be wrecked upon the rocks, if there were no more light
     coming from the lighthouse than was seen in the exercises. I must say I was
     pained at these things, so out of order with the very work of reformation we
     were trying to carry forward in the church and with our institutions that I
     should have felt better if I had not been present. This was an occasion that
     should have been gotten up not only for the Sabbath school children but
     words should have been spoken that would have deepened the impression
     of a necessity of seeking for the favor of that Saviour who hath loved them
     and gave Himself for them. If the precious hymns had been sung, “Rock of
     ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee,” and “Jesus lover of my soul,
     let me to Thy bosom fly, while the billows near me roll, while the tempest still
     is nigh.”… Whose souls were inspired with new and fresh zeal for the Master
     in those songs sung, whose virtue was in the different performances of the
     singer?”—E. G. White Letter 5, 1888, (Exhibit D, p. 19).
Then followed some very pertinent questions regarding the program:

     Will it make those who acted their part in it more spiritually minded? Will it
     increase their sense of obligation to our heavenly Father who sent His Son
     into the world at such an infinite sacrifice to save fallen man from utter ruin?
     Was the mind awakened to grasp God because of His great love wherewith
     He has loved us? —Ibid., (Exhibit D, p. 20).

If the fact that there was acting in the program was in itself sinful, that certainly would
have been made plain. The counsel, rather, related to content, effect on players, etc.

This experience would seem to indicate the proper use of an enacted program
dedicated to enlighten men and women concerning the love of God and the way to
salvation, by consecrated men and women engaging in the enterprise, motivated by the
service of God and not the aggrandizement of self. The Faith for Today telecast would
seem to fall in this category. Nor would this appear to be in conflict with the counsel that
the SDA evangelist should carry forward his work without “theatrical display.” See
pages _______, Exhibit E, “The Evangelist and Theatrical Display.”

The Use of Our Talents in Communication

In 1898, Ellen G. White sent to the leaders of the church a manuscript entitled “To
Every Man His Work,”* in which she deals with the proper use of the talents entrusted to
us. The talent of communication was treated at length and in a very enlightening
manner. It was pointed out that this talent might be used to serve self or to serve Christ.


     If we regard the advantages given to us as our own, to be used according to
     our pleasures, to make a display and create a sensation, the Lord Jesus is
     put to shame by the characters of His professed followers. —E. G. White MS
     42, 1898.

Then she asks:

     Can you glorify God by being educated to represent characters in plays, and
     to amuse the audience with fables? Has not the Lord given you intellect to be
     used to His name’s glory in proclaiming the gospel of Christ? If you desire a
     public career, there is a work you may do. Help the class you represent in
     plays. Come to the reality.… The Lord has given evidence of His love for the
     world. There was no falsity, no acting, in what He did. …Ibid.
One key point, almost hidden, is worth pondering.

     All who desire a place of distinction may have opportunity to wear the yoke
     of Christ. —Ibid.

__________________________

*Used largely in Review and Herald Supplement, June 21, 1898, as a reading to be
presented in the churches. Review and Herald Articles, Vol. 3, pp. 581-583.

She urged that the media of communication be employed to communicate “a knowledge
of Christ,” not for the glorification of self. (See pp. 16-18, Exhibit C for fuller statement.)

The training in “pride and a love of display” which leads to self-aggrandizement, may
come early, fostered by even the Sabbath School program. Warned Ellen White in
1893:

     In the Sabbath school, men and women have been accepted as officers and
     teachers, who have not been spiritually minded, and had no live interest in
     the work committed to their care; but matters can be set in order only
     through the aid of the Holy Spirit. The same evil has existed for years as now
     exists in our churches. Formality, pride, and love of display have taken the
     place of true piety and humble godliness. We might see a different order of
     things should a number consecrate themselves wholly to God, and then
     devote their talents to the Sabbath school work, ever advancing in
     knowledge, and educating themselves so that they would be able to instruct
     others as to the best methods to employ in the work; but it is not for the
     workers to seek for methods by which they can make a show, consuming
     time in theatrical performances and musical display, for this benefits no one.
     It does no good to train the children to make speeches for special occasions.
     They should be won to Christ, and instead of expending time, money, and
     effort to make a display, let the whole effort be made to gather sheaves for
     the harvest. —Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 253.

A second quotation makes the point stand out still more clearly:

     Pride, self-esteem, and boldness are marked characteristics of the children
     of this day, and they are the curse of the age. When I see this un-Christlike,
     unlovely manifestation on every side, and then see parents and teachers
     seeking to display the ability and proficiency of their children and scholars, I
     am pained to the heart; for I know that it is exactly the opposite course from
     the one that should be pursued. —Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 46.


       Senses Confused by Games and Theatrical Performances

The curtain is drawn aside in 1900 as Ellen White in an article in the Review and Herald
pictures the manner in which, as our youth are receiving their education, Satan employs
an infatuation “in games and theatrical performances” to confuse the senses of “the
young” “while light shines all about them.” Here is the solemn picture in its setting:

     The public opinion is that manual labor is degrading. But men may play as
     hard as they like at cricket, or baseball, or in pugilistic games, without being
     degraded! Satan is delighted when he sees human beings using their
     physical and mental powers in that which does not educate, which is not
     useful, which does not help them to be a blessing to those who need their
     help. While they are becoming experts in games that are not of the least
     value to themselves or others, Satan is playing the game of life for their
     souls, taking from them the precious talents God has given them, and
     placing in their stead his own evil attributes, which not only destroy them, but
     through their influence destroy those who have any connection with them.
     Satan’s work is to lead men to ignore God, to so engross and absorb the
     mind that God will not be in their thoughts. The education they have received
     has been of a character to confuse the mind, and eclipse the true light. Satan
     does not wish the people to have a knowledge of God; and if he can set in
     operation games and theatrical performances that will so confuse the senses
     of the young that human beings will perish in darkness while light shines all
     about them, he is well pleased. —Review and Herald, March 13, 1900, in
     “Review Articles,” Vol. 4, p. 163.

See Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, pp. 274, 275 for paralleling
statement.

Jesus Christ is the example for the Christian in all things. Of Him she wrote:

     I have not been able to find one instance where He educated His disciples to
     engage in amusement of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical
     exercise, or in theatrical performances, and yet Christ was our pattern in all
     things. —Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 229.
A sound guiding principle to keep ever in mind in dealing with questions of the kind we
have been studying is stated in Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 360:

     Our example and influence must be a power on the side of reform. We must
     abstain from any practice which will blunt the conscience or encourage
     temptation. We must open no door that will give Satan access to the mind of
     one human being formed in the image of God.

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D.C.

February, 1963

                                      Appendix 23

   COMMITTEE ON GUIDELINES FOR COMPETITIVE ACTIVITIES AND DRAMA

                                      General Conference

                        South Building Board Room, second floor

                                     Washington, D.C.

                                 January 28-31, 1974

                                       SCHEDULE

                                     Monday, January 28

7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - Opening of the meeting.

                          Tuesday to Thursday, January 29-31

8:00 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. - Worship in the General Conference Chapel.

8:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. - Session, or sub-committee meetings.

10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. - Recess.
10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. - Session, or sub-committee meetings.

12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. - Lunch.

 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. - Session, or sub-committee meetings.

3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. - Recess.

3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. - Session, or subcommittee meetings.

5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Supper.

 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - Session, or sub-committee meetings.

       Columbia Union College Library Houses: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

                                           *   *   *

                         COMMITTEE ON GUIDELINES FOR

                       COMPETITIVE ACTIVITIES AND DRAMA

                                        Agenda

 1.   “What is Competition?” Dwain L. Ford

 2.   “Spirit of Prophecy Guidelines on Competition: D. A. Delafield

 3.   “Ellen G. White and Drama” A. L. White

 4.   “Biblical Instruction About Drama” Leslie Hardinge

  5. “Contemporary Opinions from Current Literature Regarding Competitive Sports”
Ingrid Johnson

 6. “Philosophical Background of Sports and Competitive Athletics in Seventh-day
Adventist Schools and Colleges” Reuben Hilde

 7. “History of Sports and Competitive Activities in Seventh-day Adventist Schools:
Ron Graybill
  8. “Competition and Music Festivals, Bible Contests, Music Clinics, Etc.” Michael
Stevenson

 9.     Report of Sub-committee I

10.    Report of Sub-committee II

11.    Report of Sub-committee III

                                            *     *   *

                                      MEMBERS OF THE

      COMMITTEE ON GUIDELINES FOR COMPETITIVE ACTIVITIES AND DRAMA

                W. J. Hackett (Chairman)        W. A. Howe

                C. B. Hirsch (Vice-             Ingrid Johnson
                chairman)
                                                Dean Kinsey
                W. J. Brown (Secretary)
                                                Frank Knittel
                Josephine Benton
                                             Valerie Landis
                G. J. Bertochini
                                                C. D. Martin
                J. W. Burns
                                             G. J. Millet
                W. J. Cannon
                                                W. Napier
                Frances Clark
                                                W. G. Nelson
                Adell Claypool
                                                Mrs. Lorenzo Paytee
                D. A. Delafield
                                                C. B. Rock
                Donald Dick
                                             Michael Stevenson
                Dwain L. Ford
                                            Eldon Stratton
              Elaine Geldings
                                            William H. Taylor
              Ron Graybill
                                            A. L. White
              J. H. Hancock
                                             Neal C. Wilson
              Leslie Hardinge
                                            Eugene Winter
              R. R. Hegstad
                                             Ethel L. Young
              Reuben Hide

                                                     *    *   *

                                   Sub-Committee I

                                THE USE OF DRAMA

Members: Ethel L. Young (Chairwoman), Josephine Benton, W. J. Cannon, Frances
Clark, Donald Dick, Elaine Giddings, J. H. Hancock, Leslie Hardinge, R. R. Hegstad,
Frank Knittel, Valerie Landis, and A. L. White.

 Papers to be Presented

   1. “Do Positive Results of Dramatic Productions Outweigh the Negative Results?”
Josephine Benton

  2. “Methods of Using Role playing with Children” Frances Clark

  3. “Can Dramatic Presentations Serve as Usable Vehicles for Presenting Truth?”
W. J. Cannon

  4.   “Drama in the Church” Donald Dick

  5.   “Is Dramatization Wrong?” J. H. Hancock

  6. “Should We Make Use of Commercial Drama? What About the Adaptation of
Popular Plays?” Frank Knittel
  7.   “Drama in the Secondary Classroom” Valerie Landis

  8. “Is Drama as an Art Form an Important Element in the Development of Aesthetic
Appreciation? Elaine Giddings

                                        *   *   *

                                   Sub-Committee II

                              COMPETITIVE ACTIVITIES

     Members: Walton J. Brown (Chairman), Dwain L. Ford, G. J. Bertochini, Adell
 Claypool, D. A. Delafield, G. J. Millet, C. B. Rock, Michael Stevenson, Eldon Stratton,
                                  and William H. Taylor.

                               Papers to be Presented

    1. “Competition in Oratorical Contests, Temperance Activities, Missionary Volunteer
Activities, Bible Quizzes, ‘Bowl’ Meets, and Other Such Activities” G. J. Bertochini

  2. “Competition Against Self. The Competition Which Motivates” Adell Claypool

  3. “Competition Among Seventh-day Adventist Churches Youth and Others) in Sports
and Other Activities” G. J. Millet

  4. “Competition for Church Subsidies and Church Positions” W. G. Nelson

  5. “Competition in Church Activities (Ingathering, Goals Based on Membership, Per
Capita Giving, Winning of Souls Goals, Types of Buildings Constructed, Etc.)” C. B.
Rock

  6. “Student Versus Student in Grades, Honors, School Office Elections, Subscription
Campaigns, and Other Such Activities” Eldon Stratton

  7. “Class Versus Class Within a School, a Sabbath School, a Missionary Volunteer
Society, Etc.” William H. Taylor

                                        *   *   *

                                    Sub-Committee I
                                      ATHLETICS

Members: W. A. Howe (Chairman), J. W. Burns, Ron Graybill, Reuben Hilde, Ingrid
Johnson, Dean Kinsey, C. D. Martin, W. Napier, W. G. Nelson, Mrs. Lorenzo Paytee,
and Eugene Winter.

                         Papers to be Presented, and Activities

   1. “Guiding Principles From the Pen of Mrs. Ellen G. White” White Estate

  2. “A Survey of Seventh-day Adventist Secondary Schools and Colleges” Dean
Kinsey

  3. “Recreation, Sports, and Competitive Activities in Seventh-day Adventist Self-
supporting Schools” Leland Straw

  4. “Widening Horizons for the Seventh-day Adventist Physical Education Program”
Eugene Winter

  5. Interview with the Chaplain of the Washington Redskins, Rev. Tom Skinner         L. H.
Grant

  6. Panel Discussion: “The Balanced Athletic Program for Seventh-day Adventist
Schools and Colleges” W. G. Nelson (Moderator) J. W. Burns, W. Napier, Ron Graybill

                                        Appendix 24

              DO POSITIVE RESULTS OF DRAMATIC PRODUCTIONS OUTWEIGH
                          THE NEGATIVE RESULTS?

    A paper presented to the Committee for Guidelines for Competitive Activities and
        Drama Washington, D.C. January 28 to 31, 1974 by Josephine Benton

  The material for this paper has been informally collected, primarily by interview, from
participants in and viewers and producers of dramatic programs at Seventh-day
Adventist colleges. What is said is the result of practical experience. There is no aim to
be extensive nor exhaustive. Rather than to supply an answer for the question in the
title, this paper will suggest a method for arriving at an answer in the context of a
specific situation.
But first the comments collected will be reported. While they do not in every case tally
with the views of the author of the paper, there seemed to be no reason to edit them out
for that reason. The persons whose thoughts are reported here are considered by the
writer to be Adventists of exemplary character, and thinking people. They include
college students; teachers of science, sociology, religion, psychology, history, English,
and speech; producers of plays; viewers from outside the college community. Their
comments are reported here, with the simple organization of positive factors juxtaposed
against negative in four categories, indicating to whom the factors are positive or
negative: participants, viewers, producers, or all three. Sources will be indicated in
parentheses following the statement.

                                 FOR PARTICIPANTS

POSITIVE FACTORS:

The DISCIPLINE aspect for the students involved. (teacher)

  The ENTHUSIASM—wish you could come into our department and generate the
  energy they produce for drama! (teacher)

The joy of producing something CREATIVE. (producer)

Sometimes they are learning something BEAUTIFULLY EXPRESSED. (teacher)

  The encounter with inspiring and GOOD LITERATURE—memorizing large
  segments, savoring the language, the wit, the wisdom. (producer)

Develops PERSONALITY. (teacher)

The student LEARNS HE HAS GIFTS he never knew he had. (teacher)

  Students develop their abilities in EXPRESSION OF THOUGHT. Acting a particular
  part helps them learn to express themselves—brings out latent abilities. (teacher)

  SELF-RESPECT is developed. A person discovers worth that neither he nor others
  realized he had. (teacher) We gain poise. (student)

The person comes out more CHARMING and POISED. (teacher)
  In drama a person exercises the ability to take and appreciate the role of someone
  else, to be able to PROJECT ONESELF INTO ANOTHER SITUATION and act
  appropriately. To know you are still yourself, and yet be able to project yourself into a
  temporary new identity—role-acting, taking a different position—is a way of
  developing adaptability. If a person is characterized by rigidity, he will BECOME
  MORE FLEXIBLE, to the extent that he is able to do this. (teacher)

Students are given a chance to interact, to participate in TEAMWORK. (teacher)

Drama offers one of the few opportunities we find in college to become close to other
people, LIKE A FAMILY. (Student)

  An advantage is the obvious taste they get of the MEANS OF DRAMATIZATION as
  a mode of communication. They could learn how to do small dramatizations for
  various aspects of church work—they wouldn’t need to do the massive productions
  done at college. (community viewer)

 NEGATIVE FACTORS:

  Can’t quite rationalize using up people’s TIME so extensively among their other
  studies. (teacher)

  The tremendous amount of TIME it costs the participant seems to me
  disproportionate to the total amount of time they have for their studies. Per credit
  hour, they spend most for the credit in drama. Also, the kind of time they have to
  spend—late at night, for instance—must be considered. (community viewer)

  Robbed of TIME for study. A high school football team may be picked carefully for
  ability to keep up with studies, whereas just anyone (scholastically speaking) with
  talent may be chosen for drama. (teacher)

Massive segments of TIME demanded. (student)

The TIME involved is so extensive, perhaps with little future benefit. (teacher)

Other GRADES sometimes suffer. (student; parent; teacher)

  Physical HEALTH may not be considered. Drama projects encourage students to
  drive themselves mercilessly. (teacher)
  Sometimes individuals develop a certain EGOTISM with regard to their role. That
  egotism stays with them, and they never get back to their unaffected, happy-go-lucky
  selves. (teacher)

  Some students might feel themselves successful, and be DRAWN TOWARD A
  HOLLYWOOD CAREER. (teacher)

  Caution needs to be exercised in selecting students for acting roles. Some after
  projecting into a play role might NEVER COME FULLY BACK, until after therapy.
  (teacher)

  When a play involves a CRIME (as Murder in the Cathedral), I don’t want to
  emphasize that aspect of life. Or in Christmas Carol, I’d hate to be a Scrooge. A
  person is LEARNING TO BE NASTY, ARROGANT. This is being impressed on his
  mind and character. (teacher) There is HYPOCRISY involved when a person acts a
  praying scene. I know that’s my prejudice showing through. (teacher)

                                      VIEWERS

POSITIVE FACTORS:

Some GOOD LESSONS are taught in plays. (teacher)

  Drama is a way to LEARN about the past. However, you have to be careful, as in
  1776, to assess how accurate the facts are. (teacher)

I like drama for ENTERTAINMENT. (teacher)

To justify a good comedy, I recall that a MERRY HEART does good like a medicine!
(producer)

I ENJOY going to a good play. (teacher)

It’s RECREATIONAL. (teacher)

It HAS A PLACE—but I’m not sure just how much. The preacher in the pulpit uses a
little drama to get his point across.

NEGATIVE FACTORS:
  If a person has developed a taste for the theater, it has a TREMENDOUS PULL.
  People who want to keep their minds on spiritual themes just avoid this—they may
  even go overboard on it. (community viewer)

For a person who has been into drama, even a good production can produce all kinds
of    FANTASIES in the thinking. (community viewer)

                                      PRODUCERS

POSITIVE FACTORS:

  Possibly mission stories, where you have God’s deliverance—perhaps many
  ASPECTS OF GOD’S WORK COULD BE DRAMATIZED. (teacher)

  Producing a play can be part of A MINISTRY. For instance, Christmas Carol was
  produced at the Gate, and the participants felt they got a spiritual lift from doing this.
  A great deal apparently depends on the director, the environment, and the motivation
  —sense of ministry. (producer)

  A director can GIVE AN EXPERIENCE WITH GOOD LITERATURE to people, both
  participants and viewers—a thing of beauty, fun, and interest, of pathos and
  understanding. (producer)

  A play can be a tool to IMPRESS THE MIND—some people remember a play they
  have seen and the lesson it taught for many years. (producer)

  At its best play production is an art form of RE-CREATION. (Compare what the
  college choir director or orchestra or band leader does, making a music score come
  alive.) It is in many ways a stimulating experience to work with a piece of great
  literature, interpreting it, finding new nuances of meaning right up to the dress
  rehearsals! (producer)

NEGATIVE FACTORS:

  Sometimes one is faced with PROBLEMS with which one simply cannot cope, under
  the circumstances given. For instance, producing a play in an auditorium that seats
  2,000 [and] no way to handle the sound problems except to convert to pantomime.

  Working in a building in which one is not allowed to erect a set and leave it standing
  even for one week!
  Personnel mainly interested in acting rather than technical aspects of production.
  Problems in equipment and personnel for sound combined can mean a delayed
  sound effect that destroys the effect of a crucial climax. (producer)

  The tremendous investment of TIME. Is it worth it? I don’t know. If it were part of my
  work load, it might be different—but over and above it... (producer)

  The investment of TIME is a critical factor, not only in amount, but also in the context
  of other worthy projects with which the drama production comes in conflict. This was
  especially true with me in the case of Mission 72, and I made up my mind that
  Mission 73 would not find me tied up three nights a week during that event.
  (producer)

  The director of the play needs to be aware that he is dealing with explosive and
  critical HUMAN RELATIONS when he brings together a drama cast. There is a
  tendency for cast members to idolize and fall in love with other cast members, even
  ones that are ineligible (engaged, etc.). A wise director can do much to avert this
  hazard; but it does exist. (producer)

                   PARTICIPANTS, VIEWERS, AND PRODUCERS

 POSITIVE FACTORS:

With careful selection of theme, drama can be AN ELEVATING EXPERIENCE.
(teacher)

  It’s no question...anything dealing with language and metaphor, making us more able
  to use these tools by which God communicates with us, is MAKING THE MIND
  EXPAND IN A METAPHORICAL SENSE. God, you know, is portrayed as a
  Shepherd. The dramas chosen should make one feel closer to his fellow man. There
  are standards of love, beauty, and ethics. (teacher)

  It’s so interesting how as a church we use this form in M.V. and Sabbath School, but
  put it on a Saturday night, and then people ask questions. The Mormons have a
  summer musical which tells the history of their church. It’s amusing, enjoyable, yet
  learning takes place. We could use drama to TEACH ABOUT OUR CHURCH.
  People are so accustomed to having everything presented visually on TV that they
  like to have things dramatized.

  What you think about drama depends on how you define the term. THE BIBLE
  CONTAINS COME OF THE BEST DRAMA in the world: for example, the stories of
  Esther and Joseph. (community viewer)

NEGATIVE FACTORS:

  One needs to consider the moral implications—drama in terms of FICTION. Is this
  the same airy artificiality Ellen White speaks against? There can be harm in material
  that is not true-to-life. Does the drama have a negative or neutral effect upon act and
  audience, rather than uplifting? If this is the case, then it is probably out of place.
  (teacher)

                               MAKING THE DECISION

It is the impression of this former play producer that there cannot be a single and simple
answer to the question, “Do positive results of dramatic productions outweigh the
negative results?” However, that does not mean that no answer is possible! It may
mean that, as one of my interviewees said, “you have to treat each instance
separately.”

The important decision concerning whether or not drama should be produced any given
year on a particular campus can be made by the department to which the responsibility
of production would fall, with especial attention to the thinking of the person or persons
who would carry most of the responsibility, and in consultation with the school
administration.

Factors to be considered would ordinarily include the following, it seems, and any
others pertinent to the particular situation:

1. Review of the Biblical and Spirit of Prophecy instruction on the subject. Comparison
of the     proposed production with the guidelines there: i.e., is the production
“theatrical,” or is it    relatively simple, with stress on meaning rather than
spectacle?

2. Listing of the practical elements which need to be considered. These are
exemplified in the      main body of the paper, although by no means treated
exhaustively. Sample items could be         the following:

a. Do we have personnel who are willing and able to produce this play, do the acting,
and       handle the technical aspects?
b.    What block of time will be involved? Does this seem the best use of this amount of
time         by these people at this period? Should any restrictions be placed on
participation in terms          of previously-demonstrated ability to maintain other
obligations under a period of strain           (as, grades; health)?

c.    What benefits can we reasonably expect to come from this production—to the
     participants, viewers, department, and institution? What harm, if any?

d.    What is the quality of the play itself? Mention its assets and liabilities. Consider it
in           terms of a continuity of productions if plays are produced periodically. Is
there language,            theology, or any other element which is likely to offend? Can or
should this be changed;               or should the play be abandoned on this account; or
is the material so completely acceptable to those taking responsibility for the production
that they will risk the disapproval and consider this a matter of educating their public?

3.     Prayerful and wise weighing of the factors, positive and negative. Some elements
are          absolute, so that a person simply would not produce some plays, no matter
what the positive          factors (as literary skill) involved. Others require a weighing
and judgment which is of necessity somewhat subjective. For instance, one potential
play director will decide that his time can be better spent with small spiritual groups on
campus, and will pass up the option to produce a play. Another person will decide that
the joy of a creative production outweighs, for him, all the negatives in sacrifice of time
and comfort. Moreover, the writer has found that the decision can even vary from year
to year, for the same person, because when people cannot do everything they enjoy
doing in a single day, or year, or decade, they must space these activities out within
their lifetimes.

This small paper ends as it began, without a pretense at supplying all the answers. But
the author breathes a prayer that every person involved in decision-making about
drama will above all desire to bring honor to his loving Father, from whom he inherited
the enjoyment of creating, and from whom he must receive wisdom best to use the
ability he has been given.

                               CONTINUE APPENDIX 25

                                     RETURN TO TOC
                                DRAMA

                                   and the



        SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                 Appendix 25

                       IS DRAMATIZATION WRONG?

                             by John H. Hancock

  (Committee on Guidelines for Sports and Drama, January 28-31, 1974)

     Is dramatization wrong? This is a simple question, but it cannot be
answered with a simple affirmation, or negative declaration for this matter,
as with the question of sports or literature must be considered on the basis
of fundamental principles and the far-reaching effects upon all concerned.

The question of drama is one which has plagued our church almost from its
beginning. It is interesting to go back in our history to discover the attitude
of our leadership relative to this subject, and to trace a gradual modification
in practice and counsel given concerning the use of drama. Whether the
change in attitude has been brought about by a re-evaluation of principles
or a gradual adaptation to the customs and influences of the universities
and general culture surrounding the church is something I believe is worthy
of careful research.

Some of our pioneer leaders, with whom I have been personally acquainted
and for whom I have much respect, took a strong stand against introducing
drama into our churches or schools.

Elder J. E. Fulton, pioneer missionary to Fiji, made this statement while he
was president of the Pacific Union Conference: “Have not our children and
some of our older folk been prepared for attendance at theatrical plays by
the introduction into our churches and Sabbath schools of plays that are
dramatic in character? Let us keep all semblance of this out of our
assemblies. All exhibitions of display of a worldly nature, such as drama or
theatrical performances, should be kept out of all our religious
exercises.” (J. E. Fulton, December 6, 1928.)

In 1934, W. A. Spicer commented, “The introduction into our schools and
churches of pageants and plays and the dramatization of various incidents,
even though they may be historical and educational, has a tendency to
break down in the minds of many the objection to theater going.” (W. A.
Spicer, January 25, 1934.)

A former editor of the Review and Herald, F. M. Wilcox, wrote, “Worldly
methods such as dramatic exhibitions, religious plays and pageants are
being employed in our churches and institutions. All this is wrong.” (October
18, 1945.)

Forty-two years ago the Moody Bible Institute seemingly took a stand
against dramatics in the church in an article in Moody Bible Institute
Monthly, January 1921:

     As a general thing Christians have felt an aversion toward the
     dramatic play, and have given warnings against its dangers, but
     it is my impression that these dangers have been felt more than
     they have been understood and defined. It is easy to see the
     danger in a dramatic production which presents a vulgar or
     otherwise improper subject, or which presents a proper subject
     in a vulgar, blasphemous manner.
     But apart from this, the dramatic play has another element
     equally dangerous and harmful, because its influence is more
     subtle. I refer to the element of feigning, the influence of which is
     to destroy sincerity, to destroy the ability to distinguish between
     sin and virtue, and to deaden the conscience.

     If we consider to what extent feigning enters into a simple
     pageant we find it less in evidence than in the more elaborate
     plays, in which to the imitations of surroundings, costume,
     posture, and expression is added imitations of speech...

     But if we want a natural and convincing expression of spiritual
     truth, we can have it, not by introducing the play in our churches,
     but from an abundant spiritual life. And this life does not come by
     means of the dramatic play, but by a simple and unfeigned
     presentation of the gospel. What part has the dramatic play had
     in promoting the great spiritual revivals of the past?
     If we look for abundant spiritual life now, will we find it where
     dramatic productions are the most popular?... It is difficult to offer
     convincing objections to church plays which are reverent and
     apparently in harmony with the Bible. Some Christians have
     been accustomed to such plays, and may not offer objection to
     introducing them in their own church. But they do not realize that
     in so doing, a precedent is established for a development of
     dramatics within the church, with far-reaching and often fatal
     results. —Moody Bible Institute Monthly, January 1932.

I was a freshman in college when the Autumn Council of 1934 took an
action that recommended that in Sabbath school programs “no attempt be
made to present plays or pageants.… that representations that require
elaborate costuming, or the dramatizing of the lives of Bible characters or
religious incidents, be avoided.” The action further recommended that “the
utmost simplicity distinguish the representation of an exercise or a dialogue,
or the taking of character parts in mission incidents or scenes.”

Again in 1935 and 1938, Autumn Council actions were taken appealing “to
our ministers, our workers, our people everywhere, to keep their feet in the
‘old paths’ and not to remove the ‘ancient landmarks’ of this message.”
Included in this appeal was a call to labor faithfully for members who were
holding bridge parties and similar card parties in their homes and who were
frequenting theaters or movie houses, recommending that if such persons
did not turn from the error of their ways, they be dismissed from church
membership. Another warning against bringing dramatization into the
church was sounded:

     There is an apparent endeavor in some instances to bring the
     spirit of entertainment into church services, Sabbath school
     exercises, Missionary Volunteer meetings, and evangelistic
     meetings. This should be guarded against, and the Bible given
     its rightful place as the center of all our services and programs.
     Dramatization and acting should have no place among us,
     pageants and playlets should be avoided, and save in the case
     of some dignified representation to make real what our
     missionaries are facing in mission lands, make-up and
     costuming should not be countenanced. Let us hold to the plain
     and simple, and discard the elaborate, the exaggerated, the
     gaudy and showy.

At the Spring Meeting, March 9-11, 1937, another recommendation was
voted that recognized a basic line of demarcation between motion pictures
that depicted scenes from real life, nature adventures or travelogues and
pictures of dramatized theatrical plots. Motion pictures of dramatized
theatrical plots were severely condemned, pointing out that the themes
were largely built on human passion and evil, with its attempt at depicting
virtue feeble and frequently false. Then these pointed words which sought
to give some guidance to the ever increasing problem of “flicks” and the
church were written:

     Theatrical films are evil in their influence, and consequently
     unacceptable, because they confuse the thinking of our people
     regarding the Seventh-day Adventist attitude toward the theater,
     the opera, and novel reading; because they create an appetite
     for emotional reaction which can be satisfied only by further
     indulgence; and because they make an unwarranted play upon
     the emotions. This is wrong because emotional stimulation
     without appropriate action is destruction to character
     development. Pictures which play upon the emotions create an
     appetite for the sensational, causing the individual to live in the
     realm of the unreal, destroying responsiveness to duty, and
     resulting in emotional instability.
     The motion-picture house has so popularized the theater, that
     millions are daily in attendance at exhibitions which can only
     exert an influence to lower standards of Christian purity. We
     believe that in no small degree it is responsible for the present
     breakdown of morality. There can therefore be no compromise
     here without tragic loss and fundamental mistake. While it may
     be necessary at times to go to theatrical buildings for
     evangelistic meetings, or to hear wholesome lectures or musical
     concerts, we should avoid, just as far as possible, attendance at
     places devoted to shows and theatrical performances.
     In education we are directed to build only upon the real, the
     actual, and the true, and to turn away from the false, the
     speculative, and the fanciful. In literature we are cautioned
     against the fictional and the unreal.… So, likewise, in our relation
     to the motion picture, silent or sound, we must definitely choose
     only ‘whatsoever things are true,’ honest, just, pure, lovely and of
     good report; and deliberately refuse that which is untrue and
     unreal, which involves sham and pretense, or which is impure
     and corrupting. All such pictures should, because of their
     inherent wrong, be barred from use by the church, its
     organizations, institutions, and members.
     With such basic principles established, we therefore take a
     definite and positive stand against all dramatic motion pictures
     which use character representation for the purpose of acting out
     a theatrical plot. Such dramatization of imaginative plots, as a
     method of creating impressions, influencing life, or conveying
     information, should not be employed in God’s service, and it is
     not to be countenanced by His people. We therefore call upon
     our entire church membership, young and old, to take their stand
     upon this platform.

  After this strong denunciation of dramatized motion pictures using
character representation for the purpose of acting out a theatrical plot, the
recommendation then refers back to the paragraph which established a
basic line of demarcation between real-life pictures or nature pictures and
dramatized theatrical plots, and states “with such basic principles clearly
established and accepted in our selection of films, we are convinced that
certain motion pictures can be used effectively and helpfully in God’s cause,
for purposes of education, enlightenment, and wholesome entertainment.”

Then there followed a list of suggestions to aid those charged with the
responsibility of selecting films for showing to church or school groups.

I can well remember the difficulties we faced as leaders interpreting some
of these things. In 1946 I became a youth director in Southeastern
California Conference. There was a continual hassle over Saturday night
films churches and schools were getting from motion picture rental
agencies. The Pacific Union Conference set up a film-review commission,
trying to make up a list of “approved” films for the Adventist’s own legion of
decency, but there was disagreement even among the appointed
previewers as to what was right and what was wrong.

Then came television and the church’s own entry into the field of drama. It
was about this time that our own version of Daniel 2 was produced as a full-
length feature film. The pressures were on and I watched as at the 1951
Autumn Council words were deleted to bring what was being practiced into
line with official church policy. The words “inspired men” were deleted from
the forbidden portrayal list, for new series of religious motion pictures being
produced by private film producers on the life of Paul and other Bible
characters were eagerly used by both church and school groups in religious
meetings and for classroom instruction.

As television and the abundance of available motion pictures from rental
agencies began to cloud the scene, it became evident that existing church
actions had to be restudied. It was thus in 1951 that the last important
action relative to our subject today was taken at an Autumn Council. It was
a revision of the 1937 statement, and again disapproved of all feature
motion pictures or telecasts that portray fictional, dramatized theatrical
plays and stated that the history of theatrical drama and its present
character show it to be generally opposed to the highest ideals of morality,
and alien to spiritual life. It called upon church membership, young and old,
to take their stand against such motion pictures and telecasts that
dramatize scenes opposed to the high ideals of morality that have been
enunciated in our church standards.

Then, however, a modification was made in our previous position to include
dramatization of both historical and Biblical characters: “We recognize that
there are acceptable motion pictures and telecasts depicting real life, and
historical or even Biblical scenes that have been dramatized. The legitimate
use of motion pictures or television for the presentation of the message or
for education and also recreational purposes is not to be condemned. No
doubt there are wonderful opportunities for proclaiming the gospel and
reaching millions through these means; but like so many things in life,
motion pictures and television are dangerous blends of good and evil. They
have been largely appropriated by the evil one with the result that the
popular movie and television tend to break down standards of Christian
character. Clear discernment of right and wrong is needed, therefore, that
we may guard well the avenues of the soul.”

Then there followed a list of guidelines for those selecting films, bringing the
1937 list into harmony with the modified position. The Youth Department
was asked to prepare an MV Leaflet giving these guidelines for young and
old. On pages 6-8 of MV Leaflet #47 these were listed:

 I. Acceptable Presentations

     a. Industrial Pictures—Pictures showing processes of
     manufacture, lumbering, mining, oil production, public utilities,
     transportation, commerce, and transmission of news and
     information.
     b. Scientific Processes and Food Research.
     c. Travelogs—Pictures of other countries, their national habits,
     customs, and life (excluding scenes that may have an
     unwholesome influence).
     d. Nature and Wildlife—Pictures of national or other parks,
     natural scenery, mountain climbing, exploration, the Forest
     Service, animal life in various States and nations, the life
     development of insects, plants, fish, birds, and animals
     (excluding those which emphasize cruelty).
     e. Archaeology and Wholesome Art—Pictures that conform to
     our recognized standards of Christian modesty.
     f. Newsreels and Current History—(Excluding pictures that are
     contrary to our recognized standards).
     g. Educational Pictures—Pictures that impart information and
     teach truth in any branch of learning.
     h. Historical—Pictures of authentic events accurately portrayed,
     and otherwise meeting the standards set forth in this statement.
     i. Our Denominational Work and Activities.
     j. Biographical—Pictures of honorable characters, worthy of
     emulation and accurately portrayed, and otherwise meeting the
     standards set forth in this statement.

             II. Unacceptable Presentation

     a. Motion pictures impersonating Christ.
     b. All feature motion-picture films or telecasts that portray
     fictional dramatized theatrical plays.
     c. Pictures portraying scenes of intimate lovemaking.
     d. Pictures which lower esteem for the sanctity of marriage by
     portraying family disruptions or ridiculing home life and home
     relationships.
     e. Pictures portraying scenes which are contrary to Seventh-day
     Adventist standards and ideals, such as dancing, card playing,
     gambling, drinking, night life, carousing, gaiety, revelry, or
     rowdiness.
     f. Pictures portraying crime or glorifying criminals.
     g. Pictures portraying scenes of violence, cruelty, or brutality,
     such as prize fighting or professional wrestling.
     h. Pictures portraying scenes of smoking or drinking as a
     desirable social activity.
     i. Pictures which by ridicule or insinuation or crude comedy could
     lower, in the estimation of the observer, regard for the law of
     God, religion, or the ministry, or the dignity of human personality
     or law enforcing agencies.
     j. Pictures of a scientific or historical character which distort the
     facts or pervert the truth.
     k. Pictures in which coarse, profane, or vulgar language is used.
     l. Animated cartoons which violate the standards of propriety in
     this section.

       The Youth Department circulated MV Leaflet #47 like the leaves of
autumn, but parts of the recommendations soon became obsolete through
apparent acceptable practice. A new religious film on the life of Christ was
produced entitled, “I Beheld His Glory,” and our evangelists suddenly found
this to be a great opening night feature to get a crowd overseas and later in
North America. Cecil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments” muddied the
thinking of a lot of Adventists even though Time magazine in its November
12, 1956, issue called the film ludicrous and stated that “there are
moments, in fact, when it seems that the Seventh Commandment is the
only one DeMille is really interested in; to the point where the Exodus itself
seems almost a sort of Sexodus—the result of Moses’ unhappy (and purely
fictional) love life.” Time further stated, “It is impossible to avoid the
impression that the movie maker…has taken the name of the Lord in vain.”

When I was a lad growing up, the first major film on the life of Christ
entitled, “King of Kings,” made the rounds in the theaters and our church
took a stand against this portrayal of Christ. I have witnessed the gradual
change in our position as a church on this matter take place, to where we
now bring full-length feature films on the life of Christ into our churches and
the response is so great among our people we have to have repeat
showings the second week to get the crowds inside of the sanctuary. The
Youth Department fought a losing battle in trying to uphold the 1951
Autumn Council recommendation which listed as unacceptable, “motion
pictures impersonating Christ.” MV Leaflet #47 was withdrawn from
circulation in the Adventist Book Center, and to my knowledge there are
now no leaflets available published by any department or office of the
church which lists acceptable and unacceptable films. If a person would
stand up today and try to defend some of the unacceptable presentations
listed on page 7 of that old leaflet, he would find himself facing a storm of
criticism and controversy, perhaps even ridicule.

Has our “clear discernment” been so affected by familiarity with television
and film viewing that we are no longer in a position to make a clear
judgment on this matter?

Drama within the church and on campus has become more and more
accepted as a legitimate form of expression. Some of our colleges have
both a winter and spring play, produced by a select group of voice students,
or sometimes anyone who is interested in drama and is willing to work hard
may audition.

I read in one of our college papers the following: “Drama is an important
instructional aid in today’s visually oriented society, says Mrs. _______. It
catches attention quickly and really gets the message across. Controversy
over drama on a Christian campus has diminished over the years,
according to Mrs. _______... Drama helps you to be natural in your speech
and actions in front of an audience. It is better than a speech class. Drama
gives a person a better understanding of history and human behavior.”

In the world, drama has been an integral part of education and church life.
Many church youth papers are filled with reviews of theatrical arts, both on
stage and screen, and dramatics is advocated as a part of religious
education and expression. Role playing is encouraged as a lively way to
present problems for discussion or to help the participant reach an
empathetic understanding of a character in a given situation. Simple plays
are included as a teaching aid in the elementary classroom. There was a
day when the use of drama in presenting our message was frowned upon,
yet somewhere along the way, so gradually that its entry would scarcely be
pinpointed, picture by picture, play by play, film by film, skit by skit, we are
at a point today where there are few who even dare challenge it as a
legitimate tool to be used by the church.

Without question there has been a decided change since the 1930's in our
church as far as drama is concerned. Were those in leadership positions
who took such a decided position then too narrow in their viewpoints? Were
they mistaken? Has the church matured in its outlook today and come of
age where it can handle the problems warned about by these men of God,
or have we in our attempt to compete with the world headed back into
Egypt instead of away from it? Are less percentages of Adventists attending
the theater today than when the warning was given that if worldly or
theatrical entertainments were introduced into our institutions, “the
objections to theater going are removed from many minds, and the plea that
moral and high-toned scenes are to be acted at the theatre breaks down
the last barrier” (4T 578)? It would be appalling if we really knew the
number of Seventh-day Adventist church members who not only frequent
theaters today, but also watch the late shows on their home TV sets. If the
recommendation of the 1935 and 1938 Autumn Councils to disfellowship
those who persisted in attending theaters, operas and stage shows were
followed today, I fear there would be quite a membership loss, not only in
North America, but in numerous places overseas where Western influences
are strongly felt. But more serious to me is the permissive attitude toward
the theater that has developed among many church members, and the
types of entertainment that is now being accepted in our Adventist centers
and institutions as legitimate forms of amusement. It is difficult to really
know how much brainwashing has actually been accomplished among us
by the mass media, but it is evident from some things that are happening
among us that we have not escaped unscathed.

In this day of revival among our youth, they are asking some penetrating
questions. They cannot understand how certain films which make the run of
commercial theaters, in a few years are shown to Adventist audiences
without even an attempt at censoring. There is also developing a conflict
between serious-minded youth and some who have taken a liberal attitude
toward drama and the effects of TV on the mind. We pick this up in student
letters published in school papers. We are in a critical time for the church
when this issue, along with the tremendous influence of sports, calls for
some real heart searching and examination of the counsels of God. That’s
why we are here at this committee, and I believe only a careful study of
Spirit of Prophecy statements in their entirety can bring us out of this
dilemma and give us guidance as to what can be safely adopted as far as
any drama is concerned. I don’t believe what is being taught in modern
educational circles of the world can give us our answer, no matter how
logical some of it may appear to our finite minds.

In a study of Spirit of Prophecy counsels, I have not found a blanket
condemnation of dramatized programs. Yet there are clearly pointed out
many dangers and evil results which often accompany “plays” and
“theatrical programs.” Interestingly enough, some of the same perils which
accompany sports are identified with dramatics, and on two different
occasions both sports and dramatic productions are linked together in
words of caution.

Simple dramatization has been used for centuries to teach lessons or
portray a certain plot. The sanctuary service was a dramatic portrayal of the
plan of salvation, using stage props, costuming and enactments to beautify,
typify, and accentuate the ministry of reconciliation. Prophets were often
instructed to dramatize God’s special message to His people by some
public demonstration which would make a lasting impression on the
congregation. Visual presentations of world history were given in vision to
the prophets who wrote what they had seen transpire in great panoramic
views. In commenting on this method of teaching employed by God, Sister
White writes:

     God Himself employed pictures and symbols to represent to His
     prophets lessons which He would have them give to the people,
     and which could thus be better understood than if given in any
     other way. He appealed to the understanding through the sense
     of sight.” —2SM 319

One of the most vivid presentations of all time was the vision given to
Ezekiel when the dry bones suddenly became animated and moved
together to reconstruct human skeletons. Flesh and muscle then covered
them, and God breathed life into these human forms which suddenly,
according to Ezekiel, stood upon their feet and became an exceeding great
army. This dramatic portrayal drove home a mighty lesson on the power of
God and has inspired one of the most spirited of the Negro spirituals.

As in the case with most things that God has made or institutions which He
has established, Satan has perverted them to an evil use. The evil one has
used drama to portray and vivify sin and vice and also to so engross the
mind that the individual losses his hold on God. Among the earliest
testimonies relating to drama the servant of God points that Satan is using
this to preoccupy men’s minds so that they do not grasp the messages of
truth when they come to them: “Novelties in the form of sensational dramas
are continually arising to engross the mind, and absurd theories abound
which are destructive to moral and spiritual advancement.” —4T 415

Some of the same problems with novels and fiction, which keep a person’s
mind in a world of make-believe or in a restless desire for excitement, seem
to apply to the question of drama. The individual is unfitted to face the sober
realities of life or enjoy the tranquil pleasures available for the Christian.

It is no doubt correct to assume that the impact of dramatic arts is more
powerful and potent today than at any time in history, for, with modern
electronics, audio-visual stimulus is constantly bombarding society. The
theater, drama, and acting have been a part of civilized culture from its
beginning, but only in recent times with the introduction of radio and
television has the family circle been penetrated with such devastating
effect. Every home now may well become a stage with youthful members
mimicking their favorite TV character whether it be Captain Kangaroo or
Hawaii Five-O. Familiarity with dramatization, as portrayed on home TV
sets, may make it difficult for some to be objective in any discussion of this
topic, for, imperceptibly, attitudes change as the individual is conditioned
through repeated exposure. Because of the impact of drama on our lives,
however, coming to grips with this issue is really a life and death matter, for
in the outcome of the battle for the mind rests our eternal destiny.

Examining this problem of drama is not something new for Seventh-day
Adventists. Speaking about the welfare of the students attending Battle
Creek College before the days when the dormitories were built and the
youth were living in the homes of families, Sister White warned of the
dangers of theatrical amusements:

     Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater.
     Instead of being a school of morality and virtue, as is so often
     claimed, it is the very hotbed of immorality. Vicious habits and
     sinful propensities are strengthened and confirmed by these
     entertainments. Low songs, lewd gestures, expressions, and
     attitudes, deprave the imagination and debase the morals. Every
     youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in
     principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful to
     poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to
     blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of
     life than theatrical amusements. The love for these scenes
     increases with every indulgence, as the desire for intoxicating
     drink strengthens with its use. The only safe course is to shun
     the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of
     amusement. —4T 652, 653.

This statement referred to the legitimate theater in 1881. It was evil enough
then, but what would the servant of God say of today’s motion pictures and
New York stage productions? Obscenity, vulgarity, sodomy, illicit sex, and
violence are portrayed with abandonment far beyond the plays on stage in
Sister White’s day. As in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, the citizens
seem to clamor after that which is more revealing, sadistic or immoral. The
other day here in Washington, D.C., the police changed the rating of one of
the most licentious films to make its debut in many a year, “The Exorcist,”
from “R” to “X,” which meant that no youth under 18 could attend. People
lined up for blocks to get into the theater to see this film. On a news report a
picture was shown of a woman fighting with a policeman because he
wouldn’t let her take her twelve-year-old girl into the theater with her to see
this film which portrayed the seduction of a little girl of the same age.

Satan has taken drama and turned it to his account in the destruction of
souls. In 1890 the servant of God again pointed out that Christians were
being ensnared by this amusement:

     Many of the amusements popular in the world today, even with
     those who claim to be Christians, tend to the same end as did
     those of the heathen. There are indeed few among them that
     Satan does not turn to account in destroying souls. Through the
     drama he has worked for ages to excite passion and glorify vice.
     The opera, with its fascinating display and bewildering music, the
     masquerade, the dance, the card table, Satan employs to break
     down the barriers of principle and open the door to sensual
     indulgence. In every gathering for pleasure where pride is
     fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and
     lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains
     about the soul.” —PP 459
In these foregoing statements we note that Satan has used drama to
accomplish a number of evils:

  1.    To excite passion

  2.    To glorify vice

  3.    To foster pride of eyes

  4.    To keep God from the mind

  5.    To confuse the senses

  6.    To open the door to indulgence

  7.    To poison the imagination

  8.    To destroy religious impressions

  9.    To blunt the relish for tranquil pleasures

 10.    To strengthen sinful propensities

 11.    To debase the morals

 12.    To corrupt high principles

 13.    To create a continual desire for excitement

Certainly the discriminating Christian will recognize the perils of the various
so-called art forms today, whether they be music, acting, the spoken word
in prose or verse, pantomime, or expressions of painting or sculpture that
lead a person away from that which is pure and uplifting. Some reason that
it is necessary for cultural growth to be familiar with historical works of
literature such as those of Shakespeare, and encourage students to attend
Shakespearean plays.

With this in mind it is with interest that we read what counsel was given to
the editors of the Signs when, in July 9, 1902, a photo of Stratford on Avon
was used as a cover picture and an account of Shakespeare’s historical
place in literature was extolled. M. C. Wilcox was rebuked as having
dishonored God, even though he did not mean to do this.

  I was greatly pained to see on the first page of a recent issue of the
  Signs a picture of the birthplace of Shakespeare, accompanied by an
  article on Shakespeare. May the Lord pity our discernment if we have
  no better food than this to give the flock of God. It greatly distresses
  me to see those in positions of trust, who should daily be gaining a
  rich experience, placing such matter before the people.
  Let those who are representing the truth for this time pray earnestly for
  clear spiritual discernment.… Let them see the sinfulness of exalting
  such men as Shakespeare, calling the attention of people to those
  who did not in their lives honor God or represent Christ. —CW 172,
  173.

While we would not overlook the fact that Shakespeare has written some
pithy sayings, and has revealed a remarkable knowledge of humanity, any
moral precepts which his writings contain are counteracted by the
coarseness and vulgarity also found in his plays. Can we justify asking our
youth to study Shakespeare and attend Shakespearean plays all in the
name of culture, sanctified under a halo of so-called great literature? One of
Satan’s most subtle traps is the mingling of good with evil.

Early in Adventist history the question of dramatic productions in the church
arose. As is the case today, whenever a large group of Adventists
congregate to form a large Adventist center, the problem of what to do for
entertainment confronted the church. In an attempt to meet this need and
also to provide cultural programs for church members, Seventh-day
Adventist literary societies were formed. Dramatic productions soon
became a part of the society program.

It was also about this time that a New York medical institution, Dansville,
under the management of Dr. Jackson, encouraged “plays” as being
beneficial therapy for patients. Sister White was quick to give firm counsel
that this type of thing must not come into the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and
also observed that the dramatic productions in the literary societies had
proven to be a snare rather than a blessing. The warnings both to the
sanitarium and to the literary societies give guiding principles for us today.
  Those who bear the responsibility at the sanitarium should be
  exceedingly guarded that the amusements shall not be of a character
  to lower the standard of Christianity, bringing this institution down
  upon a level with others and weakening the power of true godliness in
  the minds of those who are connected with it. Worldly or theatrical
  entertainments are not essential for the prosperity of the sanitarium or
  for the health of the patients. The more they have of this kind of
  amusements, the less will they be pleased unless something of the
  kind shall be continually carried on. The mind is in a fever of unrest for
  something new and exciting, the very thing it ought not to have. And if
  these amusements are once allowed, they are expected again, and
  the patients lose their relish for any simple arrangement to occupy the
  time. —4T 577, 578.

  In every case where a literary society has been established among
  our people, its influence has proved to be unfavorable to religious life,
  and has led to backsliding from God.… The purposes and objects
  which lead to the formation of literary societies may be good, but
  unless wisdom from God shall control these organizations, they will
  become a positive evil. Various entertainments are introduced to make
  the meetings interesting and attractive for worldlings and thus the
  exercises of the so-called literary society too often degenerates into
  demoralizing theatrical performances and cheap nonsense. All these
  gratify the carnal mind, that is at enmity with God, but they do not
  strengthen the intellect nor confirm the morals.… Many literary
  societies are in reality young theaters on a cheap scale, and they
  create in the youth a taste for the stage. —Review and Herald,
  January 4, 1881.

At a later date, similar counsel was given regarding Seventh-day Adventist
literary societies and Seventh-day Adventist lyceums which were very
popular in our larger centers. She noted that oftentimes new members lead
out in the dramatic productions and these persons of “short religious
experience” propose a variety of amusing, nonsensical and worldly things
which gradually crowd out the religious element entirely.

  Those who compose these societies, who profess to love and
  reverence sacred things, and yet allow the mind to come down to the
  superficial, to the unreal, to the simple, cheap, fictitious acting, are
  doing the devil’s work just as surely as they look upon and unite with
  these scenes. —MS 41, 1900.
In these foregoing quotations it would appear that the unreal, fictitious world
of drama, the superficiality and cheapness of the plot and roles portrayed,
lowered the minds of the actors, turning them from spiritual life to
worldliness. The adoption of these theatrical plays by the church for church
productions also brought confusion to the minds of the youth with two very
disastrous results:

  1. The barrier against theater-going was broken down. “As soon as these
entertainments are introduced, the objects to theater-going are removed
from many minds, and the plea that moral and high-toned scenes are to be
acted at the theater breaks down the last barrier.” (4T 578)

 2. A taste for acting on the stage was created. “Many literary societies
are in reality young theaters on a cheap scale, and they create in the youth
a taste for the stage.” (Review and Herald, January 4, 1881.)

While the servant of God did point out the dangers of bringing theatrical
plays into the church and school, she did not disapprove of simple dramatic
exercises which were used to teach a spiritual lesson. Ella White, Sister
White’s own six year old granddaughter, took part in a Christmas program
at Battle Creek, put on by the Sabbath school. There were costumes,
speeches, poems, songs, and some simple acting. Little Ella was dressed
to typify an angel. After Sister White attended this program enacted in 1888,
she wrote to the brother who had organized the program and told him, “I
was pleased with the lighthouse.… The part acted by the children was
good. The reading was appropriate.” (E. G. White, Letter 5, 1888, page 19.)
She gave some suggestions on how the program could have been
improved, but this counsel related to content, a choice of music, and an
evaluation of certain objectives, and no condemnation of the fact that
portions were dramatically presented. If this simple portrayal had been
sinful, surely she would have mentioned this, but instead she approved of
what the children had done, saying that it was “good.”

In commenting on this, A. L. White has said, “This experience would seem
to indicate the proper use of an enacted program dedicated to enlighten
men and women concerning the love of God and the way of salvation, by
consecrated men and women engaging in the enterprise, motivated by the
service of God and not the aggrandizement of self.” (Dramatic Productions,
page 8.)
From this reference it seems there must be a legitimate place for some
simple portrayals of mission life, of historical events of interest to the
church, of role-playing to get discussions going and situations clearly
defined, skits to present spiritual or Biblical truths; but in using these
methods for that which is theatrical is to be avoided.

In speaking to ministers the servant of God has clearly indicated that they
should shun anything that is sensational or theatrical:

  Some ministers make the mistake of supposing that success depends
  on...delivering the message of truth in a theatrical style. But this is
  using common fire instead of the sacred fire of God’s kindling. The
  Lord is not glorified by this manner of working. —Ev. 126.
  In my very first labors the message was given that all theatrical
  performances in connection with the preaching of present truth were
  to be discouraged and forbidden.... Do not encourage the men who
  are to engage in this work to think that they must proclaim the solemn,
  sacred message in a theatrical style. Not one jot or tittle of anything
  theatrical is to be brought into our work. God’s cause is to have a
  sacred, heavenly mold. Let everything connected with the giving of the
  message for this time bear the divine impress. Let nothing of a
  theatrical nature be permitted, for this would spoil the sacredness of
  the work. —Ev 137.

It may be observed that Sister White is talking about preachers and the
sacredness of the Word and that the holy and mundane are not to be
confused. While this may be true, in a sense every believer is presenting
the message by the way he lives, the way he works, and in every act of life.
Even our educational institutions should consider themselves not merely as
church-related schools, but as an extension of the church in the preparation
of our youth for service and life. While drama may be a successful method
of getting across a point or emphasizing a lesson, we must ask ourselves
the question whether it is worth the risk of using a method which has such
unholy associations. What are we doing to the personality and thinking of
the young? Are we developing a love for the unreal, for that which is
sensational, and breaking down the barriers against that which we know is
evil?

When a church or school attempts to put on a dramatic production it is
extremely difficult to find anything which is really in keeping with true
Adventist philosophy and which does not either feed the carnal nature or
become because of our amateurism ludicrous or sacrilegious. Just a few
days ago I received a letter from a young Adventist layman who was visiting
in a city far from home during Christmas week. He attended the church
school Christmas program, which turned out to be a dramatic production.
He wrote these words in the letter: ................

  As I went to the _________ church school Christmas program I saw
  and heard the play presented by the 8th, 9th, and 10th graders. I
  experienced something I never have before. In the light of what I have
  been studying in the book of Romans recently, and as a result of
  God’s leading into a greater comprehension of righteousness by faith,
  I watched the play and found myself with tears in my eyes. I beheld in
  that church school an attitude of blatant disregard for the instruction of
  God in the Scriptures and writings of Mrs. White. The play was so
  completely out of place in a Christ-centered school and so frivolous I
  was deeply troubled. Sex was blatantly a part as was also selfish gain.
  As the little children of lower grades sat there and watched their idols—
  teachers, parents and even the pastor laugh and clap at comments
  and actions that would make their Saviour weep. I felt that somehow
  through love and understanding I wanted to help these dear people
  see what they were doing to lead their own youth out of the church.

This layman himself is working in the field of communications, and has a
deep concern over what is happening in our church in some areas of this
field.

All of us are constantly being exposed to acting and drama, through
commercials, through TV programs, and in many other ways. We see
people picking up the ways of prominent television personalities or
Hollywood actors early in life. The jargon and music of the day rise and fall
according to these influences. Very early in life the youth begin imitating.
One little fellow hardly able to talk toddled up to me one day at a camp
meeting and blurted out, “You look just like Jack Benny.” I looked down at
him in amazement and said, “Who are you?” “I’m Mannix,” was his baby
reply, and he lifted up his arm as if to swing into action with a make-believe
revolver.

How much shall we feed this urge to act—to imitate? Those of us working
with youth constantly are concerned that we do not develop a generation of
“up front” performers with stage-struck smiles on their faces presenting a
glamor picture of Christianity as the happy side of life, but who find it difficult
to get back to the sober realities of everyday living when the world of
pretense collapses. Price, self-esteem and boldness mark the young
generation, qualities which often are fostered by the way we push our
children forward into performance.

It is only natural we should be proud of our children, for their success is our
success, but we may need to restudy some of our activities and training
which may lead to “pride and love of display.” In Counsels on Sabbath
School Work, Sister White reminds us that when she saw “parents and
teachers seeking to display the ability and proficiency of their children and
scholars,” she was pained in the heart for she knew that, “it is exactly the
opposite course from the one that should be pursued.” (CSS 46)

Our young people today want action and are clamoring for training to know
how to give a solid Bible-centered witness. It is interesting that even in the
world, disillusioned youth are taking off their beads and are asking for Bible
answers. This is a most significant trend which offers unparalleled
opportunity for us as a church. At a time when we are spending precious
hours wondering about the place of drama in our church, how much better it
would be if the same energies could be devoted to witness training in
meeting the reality of the hour in which we live.

  Can you glorify God by being educated to represent characters in
  plays, and to amuse the audience with fables? Has not the Lord given
  you intellect to be used to His name’s glory in proclaiming the gospel
  of Christ? If you desire a public career, there is a work you may do.
  Help the class you represent in plays. Come to the reality.… The Lord
  has given evidence of His love for the world. There was no falsity, no
  acting, in what He did. —MS 42, 1898.

I think of what could happen to this church if all the energies spent in
training our boys and girls to give plays could be spent in teaching them
how to, for example, take part in a Voice of Junior Youth evangelistic effort
or how to conduct Voice of Youth meetings. I was thrilled as I visited the
Hansen Place Church in New York City recently to hear junior boys and
girls conducting a Voice of Junior Youth effort. Adults had spent much time
training them and rehearsing them for their parts, but when the campaign
was over and Bible studies had been completed, eighty (80) persons were
baptized. The most beautiful part of the story is, however, that those
children who led those souls to Christ will never be the same again.
Something wonderful happened to their thinking that no amount of acting
could ever have accomplished in a make-believe drama.

Is it not time for us to direct the energies of our youth away from the
theatrical world of sham to the stark reality of a life and death message for a
society fast headed for curtain-fall? Have we been drifting, perhaps almost
imperceptibly away from the old paths and need to heed the warnings of
our pioneer leaders who recognized that, “Satan’s ruling passion is to
pervert the intellect and cause men to long for shows and theatrical
performances. “ (Evangelism, p. 266.) Is it time for the voice of another
Autumn Council to affirm the church’s historic position in this problem area
as it appeals for revival and reformation?

                                  Appendix 26

                SHALL WE USE COMMERCIAL DRAMA IN

                   SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST SCHOOLS

                               by Frank Knittel

I am sure there has never been a task assigned me which has caused me
greater perplexity than that of writing this paper. First of all, there was no
stated premise and it became my responsibility to define my thesis and then
to make some purely arbitrary decisions. The title alone implies some
foregone conclusions. Since my task is to comment specifically on the place
of commercial drama in Seventh-day Adventist schools, I have assumed
that some general enactment of scenes by players is an acceptable
Seventh-day Adventist activity. If not, my topic would be pointless, for there
would be no use in evaluating a specific type, if the genre were
unacceptable.

It also was necessary to make a rather arbitrary decision in reference to
what is meant by a commercial play. For the purposes of this paper, my
definition of commercial drama is that drama which has been prepared for
commercial stage enactment as opposed to drama written for purely literary
effects. For practical reasons we can assume that drama which anyone
would be interested in presenting in our institutions would be that which has
met with at least limited stage success.
First, let us briefly characterize a successful commercial play. Commercial
drama falls mainly into three basic types: (1) conflict of forces, including
wills, personality, and emotions; (2) comedy situations; (3) social tableaux;
(4) the more or less plotless and formless musical plays.

Conflict plays would include those such as The Andersonville Trial, The
Ugly American, The Children’s Hour, Mourning Becomes Electra, The Hairy
Ape, many Shakespearean plays, and all of the Oedipus plays. Comedy
plays are such productions as See Here, Charlie Brown. Plays falling into
the category of social tableau would include such creations as Life With
Father, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, Our Town, The Diary of Ann Frank,
Fiddler on the Roof, and The Glass Menagerie. With this paper I do not
discuss operas, oratorios, cantatas or movies.

Let us not proceed further without a direct reference to the very excellent
statement on literature which was accepted by our church in 1971 and
which subsequently was widely disseminated throughout the world field.
The principles therein enumerated specifically relating to the study of
literature satisfy the criteria for movies and plays, since all fall into the
general realm of verbal communication. We will first examine the character
of drama on a Seventh-day Adventist campus and then, second, analyze
how commercial drama fits into the picture. In this analysis I shall
paraphrase, if not plagiarize the statement on the teaching of literature,
because literature and commercial drama cannot be separated.

The function of drama should be to provide significant artistic and lasting
insights into the entire scope of human experience. Its presentation must
ever confront the viewer with reality. It should provide answers to significant
questions and it should tend to draw the audience to Christ. Drama should
be serious art, compatible with Seventh-day Adventist values. It should
avoid exploitation of human beings, including the body and emotions. Any
elements which suggest that evil is desirable or that goodness or spirituality
are trivial should not be present. Excitingly suspenseful drama or drama
characterized by plot for the sake of plot would not be acceptable. The
language of the drama should conform to the qualities of being pure and
kind and true. As a result of viewing what is presented, the individual
spectator should have his faith strengthened and he should be encouraged
to continue his Christian development.

This does not mean that all drama need be religious—that it cannot be built
around a secular theme. Ultimately all secular issues in life have moral
overtones whether they are explicitly depicted in drama or not. Intellectual
stimulation and growth, development of our judgment in meeting life’s
problems, growth in our understanding of others—all of this is a part of
Christian growth, though much of it may be gained in a secular setting.

At this juncture I will make one rather sweeping generalization. Religious
fundamentalists often are the poorest judges of moral values in the arts
because they tend to judge art on the basis of the absence of explicit evil
with too little consideration for the presence of that which is good. For years
it was my unfortunate lot to be a member of various film committees, and
the question almost invariable was this: “Well, people, is there too much
objectionable in this film to keep us from showing it?” Rarely did we ever
address ourselves to the question of whether or not a film had so much
good about it (other than popularity!) which caused it to be morally and
intellectually beneficial. Much of the same sort of judgment is often made
relative to plays. If there is an absence of violence, no passionate love
scene, no profanity, and no bawdy suggestion, then the play must be all
right. Usually it ends up having nothing intellectual going for it, but we are
not afraid of it because the dialogue and the scenes do not jar our finer
sensibilities. Let us now consider the commercial stage play in light of
criteria established thus far. First, commercially successful plays generally
represent serious art. Exceptions are those based totally upon sexual
exploitation and which are commercially successful because they are
salacious. Second, they generally avoid the exploitation of violence—
usually because of staging limitations. Third, they quite frequently explore
significant questions. Last, the plot is usually not excitingly suspenseful and
typically it is not plot for the sake of plot.

These characteristics are positive, but there are likewise some bold
negative features. Unfortunately, most plays provide no answers to
questions. The prevailing attitude normally presents a Machiavellian or at
best a hedonistic approach to life, and normally there is no attempt to laud
religious ideals or to discredit a way of life out of harmony with the Gospel
ethic. A further weakness of modern drama is its absence of plot to the
extent that the play in current times has become almost amorphous. It
hardly any longer is really a study of the great human comedy.

Probably the most dangerous feature of commercial drama lies in its
presentation of man contriving against man in an ultimate supremacy
struggle. This is usually accomplished by pitting a character whose
presence is germane to the action (the protagonist) against another
character (the antagonist) whose presence in the story provides some sort
of struggle for the protagonist. The spectator identifies himself with one of
these characters. Usually the protagonist is also the hero, who frequently
embodies more positive moral qualities than his opponent. However, the
protagonist is not always admirable; and although the antagonist may also
be unsavory, the sympathy of the audience lies with him because he is the
underdog. Then, when he performs an unsavory act in response to evil on
the part of the protagonist, the audience is glad, regardless of the moral
questions relating to the act. Thus, as is very frequently the case, none of
the characters are to be lauded for principled lives, but we agree with their
acts because we are skillfully led to sympathize with them. If Bonnie and
Clyde had evoked as much public sympathy in their lifetime for themselves
as they did in that recent sordid film version of their horrible existence, they
probably would still be living today.

A further significant concern of ours should be the personal mind and life of
the author. I will not take the time or space to cite here all of the passages
in the modern spirit of prophecy that warn us about studying the works of
infidel and otherwise Godless authors. Suffice it to say that the statements
are there and are easily found. Furthermore, there is no question but that
the society of authors and playwrights has yielded its share of dissolute
citizens; and in all fairness I must point out that in the last 100 years there
have been very few commercially successful playwrights whose personal
lives have been wholesome. A serious student of the medium discovers
very readily that the personal lives of playwrights have yielded basic
unwholesome personal attitudes which quite regularly are reflected in the
plays they write.

A classic example of this, by way of illustration, is the playwright, Lillian
Hellman. Watch on the Rhine, The Children’s House, and The Little Foxes
are all very dissimilar and it never occurred to me while reading or watching
these plays that the personality of the author ever really had anything to do
with the construction of the productions. However, within the last three
years after reading her autobiographical books, An Unfinished Woman and
Pintimento, I came to the sudden realization that the hard-living, hard-
drinking, hard-talking and religiously-coarse personality of Lillian Hellman
shines through all of her plays like a beacon; the life and attitudes of this
talented woman are seen in the lives of the hard-hitting, ruthless characters
who trod her stage. The same observations with varying details are obvious
with virtually all playwrights in the glittering galaxy of the world’s drama. I
am a very firm believer in the philosophy that it is almost impossible for a
corrupt person to produce sustained, unblemished beauty. Moments here
and there of fragrance and beauty, intermittent moral and religious truths—
these are only occasionally bright spots on a general tapestry which
represents a code of ethics not acceptable to a God-fearing people who are
waiting for a soon-coming Savior.

Another consideration is the audience for which a play is intended. The
viewing tastes of the theater-going audience demand a type of play which
conforms to the prevailing attitudes of society. If we believe the Bible and
the modern spirit of prophecy, if we read the national press, if we see even
so much as the titles and covers of best sellers, and if we even so much as
read the critical reviews of television fare, then, indeed, we are compelled to
admit that the viewing appetite of the world today is dissolute and
degenerate and assuredly not a craving for spiritual meat. Playwrights are
not blind to this, and there is not a one in the modern repertoire of theater
who does not have the eye of his mind fixed firmly on the box office. If he
satisfies the audience and if his play is commercially successful, the spirit of
the play which gratifies the desires of today’s audience is normally not meat
for Seventh-day Adventist consumption.

The simple fact is that in order to be publicly acceptable and commercially
successful, the modern play satisfies a perverted public taste, which is
directed downward. While such drama may provide artistic and lasting
insights into the entire scope of human experience, these insights are
typically seen through the medium of selfish or perverted characters who
usually fall because of ignorance or rise because of wits, with no tribute
given to the working of Providence.

A classic example of this is The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman, which is a
study of ruthless human beings forsaking all virtue and destroying each
other. Yet, the play is artistically conceived and presents powerful and
lasting insights into humanity, all presented realistically.

As with literature, we stated earlier that plays must confront the viewer with
reality. Many plays do just this. A Long Day’s Journey into Night and other
similar productions are characterized by a fastidious attention to reality. The
reality depicted, however, is harsh and coarse. it is of a depressant, not
elevating quality. It raises no thought to God and conveys no concept that
the brutality of the reality could be ameliorated if the characters turned to
God. Furthermore, the reality tends to be, as Robert Frost suggested, a
potato reality with the dirt left on.

We have said that the play should provide answers to significant questions,
but in the case of commercial drama this is seldom so. Great questions of
life are raised, but with no plausible answers. Typically, the outcome—
explicit or implied—reflects the attitude that life is a total mystery and
certainly no one is directed to God for a solution.

Finally, in a collective sense, the language of commercial drama simply and
plainly and deliberately does not conform to the ideals of purity, kindness,
and veracity. It is hard, harsh, coarse, cruel, usually punctuated with
profanity and spoken with invective, sarcasm and cynicism.

Having said all this, do I then propose a rather unilateral ban on the
utilization of commercial plays in Seventh-day Adventist schools and do I
propose a general church position that our schools and other institutions
should not allow them as part of the educational or recreational fare of the
church? Before answering this, let me say I firmly believe that there are
some activities which we should not admit within our social and educational
ranks because of their inherent generic qualities as activities. Into this
category I would place varsity sports, social or ballroom dancing, the ROTC
program, and other similar proceedings. My belief is that these are in
antitheses to Seventh-day Adventist philosophy as historically and currently
held by our church. I cannot, however, after a great deal of inner searching
and outside reading come to the conclusion that drama per se is
antagonistic to the Gospels or the three angels’ messages or any portion of
the philosophy of the Scriptures. I have hear dit said that anyone acting in a
play is not acting out his real life and, therefore, is acting a role and is
consequently learning to live a double life. The implication apparently is that
this leads to personal and perhaps public insincerity. I categorically reject
the validity of this assertion. Others insist that drama as a form is
dangerous because it seeks to make stars out of people and calls attention
to them as persons and not as creatures of God. I maintain the play is no
more prone to do this than is the field of music which often features brilliant
solo performers.

I have strayed from my topic of commercial drama but have done so merely
to illustrate the fact that I do not believe we should condemn commercial
drama on the basis of its being inherently evil in the same way that we
condemn, let us say, playing cards.
I see by analyzing my own considerations I have drawn a rather doleful
picture of commercial drama. On the basis of everything I have said and on
the basis of my own personal philosophy, my answer to the question of
commercial drama on a Seventh-day Adventist campus yields a second
rather sweeping generalization—the typical commercial drama has no place
on a Seventh-day Adventist campus. To this statement I subscribe without
equivocation. During my lifetime I have seen only about 150 stage
productions—about 75 of these at one university—and I have yet to see
one in a public arena that I would personally judge suitable as presented to
be staged on a Seventh-day Adventist campus. This observation arises,
however, because of what each of those plays was and not because of
what any of them ever could have been.

You will note I referred to my generalization to the typical commercial play. I
feel it is possible

for a commercial play not to be typical to such an extent that it could be
suitable for presentation to a Seventh-day Adventist audience. I have not
seen a play in a long time and I have not read many of those which are
currently being written. Each week I review the criticism of ten to twenty
commercial plays and must confess I do not find any which lead me to think
they have the tone we would consider desirable for our consumption. On
the other hand, I do think there are commercial plays which have
wholesome philosophies, which do offer the positive outcomes we desire,
and which can be adapted to the Seventh-day Adventist stage. In the case
of current plays, it sometimes is legally difficult, if not impossible, to alter the
plays enough to make them conform to our high ideals. Many plays,
however, are in public domain and we are free to do with them as we see
fit. Admittedly my field is not drama and my scope is limited; I therefore am
aware of only a few plays which I think merit consideration for our
utilization. One of these easily could be Barrie’s The Little Minister. To
come up to more recent times, we can consider Our Town, which,
incidentally, I saw exquisitely edited and staged under the direction of
Elaine Giddings at Andrews University in the middle sixties. Of natural
interest to Seventh-day Adventists are some of the plays in connection with
religious history such as Saint Joan, Murder in the Cathedral and similar
dramas. The problem with these two is that while the theme is purportedly
religious in nature, the questions emerge more intellectual than spiritual,
and I seriously doubt we have many Seventh-day Adventist drama coaches
capable of keeping the issues straight. Frankly, I think on a Seventh-day
Adventist campus it would just plainly be virtually impossible to edit and
stage these dramas dealing with religious themes of yesteryear without
emasculating the intellectual questions which are raised.

A play which probably has far greater possibility on the Seventh-day
Adventist stage is Dear Brutus, which explores the theme of whether or not
we would choose to live our lives over again. Another consideration is
Drinkwater’s Abraham Lincoln, which raises to noble heights the mind of a
magnificent man who was torn from life just at the time he was most
needed to bind up a nation’s wounds.

I cite these plays only as illustrations for my believe that it is possible to find
plays which generically have positive qualities consonant with the Seventh-
day Adventist ethic, and whose authors lived respectable lives
characterized by admirable personal beliefs and attitudes.

In consideration of all this, it is crucial to understand that the preparation of
plays like these for the Seventh-day Adventist stage is a formidable task.
Editing any play for acceptance by a primitively fundamental Christian
group requires close scrutiny of language, attitude, philosophy, and action.
My conviction is that any public presentations before Seventh-day Adventist
audiences must necessarily meet the minds of a conservative middle class
church group who tend or pretend to be shocked rather easily. A problem
with amateur performers is that so frequently they immediately become
prima donnas and want to upstage the audience. In the case of drama,
where there is admittedly a sensitive nerve, we should go an extra mile to
maintain a positive reception by the spectator.

A problem which sometimes arises in connection with plays I the wish to be
just as daring as possible without being banned. Sometimes our students
react with a philosophy that to arrive intellectually, we must have enough
nerve to toss a few shockers around in our plays. If, in the presentation of
commercial drama we feel compelled to stay just as close to the original
line of question as we possibly can, then it has no place on any of our
campuses. Sometimes truth is shocking, but more often than not we do not
rile up our audience because of truth but rather because of our affinity to
coarseness; and the commercial drama contains a great deal of that which
is coarse.

Some insecure or inexperienced drama coaches insist the excision of
anything within a play somehow destroys its virtue. Against this I vigorously
contend. Let us all be reminded that the great majority of plays begin with
great masses of material and are then subsequently pared, pruned and
rearranged until frequently only a skeleton play remains when compared
with the original. It is well-known in theatrical history that many plays have
undergone total revision after an initial appearance upon the stage, and the
final revision—sometimes very much changed from the original—comes to
be by far a superior product. Playwrights regularly adapt their plays to the
shifting moods of audiences, which vary according to chronology and
geography.

Seventh-day Adventists can edit a play to suit the individual needs of
Seventh-day Adventist audiences as competently as many a producer on
Broadway. It is not a task for amateurs nor is it an exercise for the religion
department or the president. The president and the board, however, in any
of our institutions must decide whether or not within the faculty there reside
persons with the competence to stage a commercial play to the benefit of a
Seventh-day Adventist audience.

These observations yield the conclusion that if a commercial drama is
presented in our institutions, it can be done safely only if it is staged by our
own people. The fact that a group of players from some Christian
organization produces a play does not mean that their philosophy in their
production is compatible with that of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Most of the time it is not. I would not allow a non-campus group to present a
commercial play to our student body. A possible exception would be a
Seventh-day Adventist group which has previously demonstrated its ability
to present a play suitable to a Seventh-day Adventist campus environment.
Commercial drama for our own use must be sensitively interpreted by us in
precisely the same way that we interpret anything else that we present to
our students by way of oral communication. Some will take exception to this
by insisting that this does not allow students to have the benefit of varied
philosophies. Let us remember, however, that when we are talking about
commercial drama, we are basically talking about entertainment and not
education. Within the educative processes there should be room for
divergent opinions. When we come to the entertainment of our young
people, however, our presentations must meet high moral standards
because they become the bill of fare offered by a school and not simply the
opinions of a guest speaker or of some person who has expressed himself
in a book and whose expressions are part of a class assignment.
There is one final consideration which bears our scrutiny. Will the
production of the commercial play for Seventh-day Adventist youth
condition them to patronize the theater of either the movie or the legitimate
stage? I am not aware of any study of a statistical or an evaluative nature
that gives us any answer to this question. Commercial dramas come into
focus here because if students see productions by one author on our
institutional grounds, are they then more prone to see other productions by
the same author elsewhere? My own personal judgment is that most of our
students understand there is discrimination shown for entertainment of any
kind which is provided for Seventh-day Adventist young people on their own
campuses, and they really do realize there is no justification for finding
similar entertainment at the world’s great amusement centers. If our
students become theater goers because of pictures they see on our
campus, we are not doing a very good job of educating them along these
lines. I frankly have never met a young person who started attending the
public theater because of movies he saw on a Seventh-day Adventist
campus. The great mass of students whom I knew in college did not
patronize the skating rink, even though at Union skating was the principle
means of recreation for almost all of the students. I only wish more of our
students would become habitués at the concert throughout their lives
because of their exposure to college musical groups. Alas, such is not the
case. My observation is that any of us can look for an excuse to do anything
we want to do and, if we can blame some feature of the church, especially
as it relates specifically to us, we are most eager to do so.

I rest my case, but not without concern and certainly not with a closed mind.
My premises do not stem from pleasant or unpleasant experiences on the
campus of Southern Missionary College relative to commercial drama, for
the issue has not arisen. Perhaps it will in the future and, when it does, I am
certain God will give all of us the judgment to discern between our right
hand and our left hand and, in this assurance, I have continuing confidence.

                                 Appendix 27

              The Witches’ Den Opera at Southern College of
                              SDA

                    by Vance Ferrell, Pilgrim’s Rest

                        (Emphasis by the author)
 On Sunday, March 18, 1990, Southern College of SDA involved nearly
all its performing arts groups in a special in witchery. They called it
“an opera,” but it was that and much more.

The whole thing combined about every aspect of worldly
entertainment, plus witchcraft on top of it.

Nine of the innocent Adventist young people sent to this Seventh-day
Adventist senior college in Tennessee “to learn how to be missionaries,”
were led by the faculty into taking part in a spellbinding dramatization of
Roman mythology involving witches and their hapless victims, one of whom
dies on stage as a result.

Ten of the young people took part in a chorus which intoned the sentiments
of the sorceress and her fellow witches.

Six children were assigned the task of dancing and ballet at various points
in the musical dramatization. In some scenes they are called “Cupids”
which bring about a romance between Aeneas and Dido. In another they
are “the Furies”—little demon spirits—which are intent on bringing
heartbreak and destruction.

An ensemble of six student musicians provided enchanting background
music.

In addition to the students listed on the official program, others also take
part. This includes two additional “sailors” not listed on the program. All
three are dressed in short pants, and bare legs, feet, and chest.

The audience was packed with students, faculty members, and non-
Adventists from the Greater Chattanooga area. (The non-Adventists
learned about it from a city-wide advertising campaign; for many this was
their first introduction to the beliefs and lifestyle of Seventh-day Adventists.)

The entire project was hailed as a special missionary outreach, and
because it reached out and drew so many children, teenagers, college
students and adults into what turned out to be an auditorium of Endor,
it was considered an outstanding success.
  Leading up to it were long months of hard work for those 25 students, six
children, and the faculty of the drama and music departments at the
college. It is not easy to memorize words and music for an opera and sing
them well at the right time and place on stage. It is not easy to practice
ballet and dance routines endlessly, or work on the chorus and musical
ensemble routines.

But under the watchful eye and careful guidance of teachers partly
paid by your contributions, it was done. Never will the minds of those
three dozen young people—on stage and in the wings—who took part,
ever fully forget what they learned in that performance.

 This is what the young people you send to Southern College are learning.
And it was all done deliberately by men and women on the faculty of a
Seventh-day Adventist college, with the full support of the president, the
administration, and other departments of the institution.

Our only normative guide and only safe history is to be found in the
Word of God, the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. There we find outlined
not only the most urgent warnings against indulging in witchcraft, but
we also learn of what happened to individuals and organizations
which have dabbled with it in the past.

In view of all this, I do believe that if an angel were to come down from
heaven with a message, he would proclaim over the academic buildings
and personnel in Collegedale:

“Leave it alone; it is destroying itself. Send not thy sons nor thy daughters to
this accursed institution. The men and women there will release them not
until they have trained as many as possible in the dark arts. Leave them
alone; go not near this institution; send not thy children there. It has
committed the sin of Saul.”

Entitled Dido and Aeneas, the opera was performed at 8:00 p.m.,
Sunday, March 18, 1990 at the Ackerman Auditorium, Southern
College of Seventh-day Adventists, Collegedale, TN 37315. This opera
was the climactic conclusion part of a three-day Southern Union
Music Festival, all of which was held at the college.

 Requiring as it did so many months of careful preparation, this was the
major performing arts presentation of the early spring 1990 season at
Southern College. This full-scale opera dipped into departments and
students from all over the school—and outside of it. Students at the college
were taught dramatic arts, as they memorized their lines and pretended to
be drunken men, witches and their victims, or disembodied spirits.

The dancers were six children from the Children’s Company of the
Chattanooga Ballet, a non-Adventist organization. Perhaps the first
introduction those six sweet children ever had to Adventism was this
opportunity to dance in a “witches den” opera at a Seventh-day
Adventist denominational college.

This senior college, heavily supported financially by the church members of
the denomination, has what is known as the Schola Cantorum of Southern
College. The ostensible purpose of this group is the teaching of the fine arts
through a choral group. But its activities specialize in introducing students of
Southern College to the music of monasteries, nunneries, and cathedrals in
the Dark Ages. Begun in January 1988, the Schola Cantorum openly admits
that it is patterned, in both technique and musical content, after “the
cathedral choir schools which began in Europe during the early Middle
Ages” for “liturgical music from the Renaissance to Classical eras.”

The ensemble was selected from young people who came to the college
with the intent of developing their instrumental music skills, so they could
better serve God in the church after graduation.

The nine-member cast (plus at least two additional “sailors”) included three
students trained by college personnel to be the “Sorceress,” the “First
Witch,” and the “Second Witch.” Another girl enacted “Dido.” Her part
was to accept the courting of the hero, and when he spurned her love,
—to die! Another girl was the “spirit” of the heathen gods who called
out instructions from pagan deities during the performance for
Aeneas to obey.

Much pre-show and backstage work was also carried on. This took even
more student involvement. Special costumes had to be sewn and stage
props made. One person spent his time as a “fence coach,” training two
“sailors” to fence for a scene in the opera in which they had a sword duel
with one another.
Other stage props had to be made.

Still another girl was the make-up artist, to put cosmetics on all the actors
and actresses for the performance. Then there were the rehearsal
accompanists—three students that spent their time going over the lines with
the performers, so the sorcery scenes, calling spirits, and drunken
rowdiness enacted on stage would be as realistic as possible.

In keeping with the ethereal and spiritist atmosphere, candles were the
main lighting. Only rarely were spotlights used, and then to enhance a
certain actor or actress.

Both Diana, a Roman goddess (the equivalent of the Greek Artemis)
mentioned in Acts 19:28, 34 and 35, and the mythological Acteon, are
mentioned in Act Two:

“BELINDA AND CHORUS: Thanks to these lonesome vales, these desert
hills and dales. So fair the game, so rich the sport, Diana’s self might to
these woods resort.

“SECOND WOMAN: Oft she visits this loved mountain, oft she baths
herself] in this fountain. Here Acteon met his fate, pursued by his own
hounds, and after mortal wounds, discovered, discovered too late.”—Act
Two, lines twelve and thirteen.

Here we have strong allusion to another pagan Roman myth: Acteon the
hunter is said to have accidently seen the goddess Diana (Artemis was her
name in the Greek pantheon) bathing, so she in anger turned him into a
stag, whereupon his own dogs then chased and killed him.

Such stories have nothing to do with Christianity and should not be
taught to the young people in our colleges.

A spirit from the nether world appears, speaking on behalf of the
Roman god, Jove (who is called “God,” not “god” in the official
transcript of the Southern College performance. Unnamed gods are
sometimes written on that paper as “Gods” and at other times as “gods”).

At the beginning of Act Two, the sorceress makes a loud call for two
fellow witches to materialize out of nowhere.
“SORCERESS: Wayward Sisters [evil witches], you that fright the lonely
traveler by night, who like dismal ravens crying, beat the windows of the
dying. Appear at my call, and share in the fame of a mischief shall make all
Carthage flame.”—Act Two, paragraph one.

Because proper witchcraft formulas have been used, they then appear. The
above paragraph explains that it is the work of spiritualists to frighten
people, keep them from dying in peace, and produce various disasters.
Notice the close relationship of witchcraft to death. It figures prominently all
through the performance. Spiritualism, and departing and departed spirits,
always accompany one another. See Great Controversy, chapter 34, which
will tell you of the terrible dangers in our people—of anyone else’s—
dabbling in this infernal pathway to eternal death.

Another prominent lesson taught throughout this opera is that we
should FEAR and OBEY the devil spirits that tempt us to do wicked
deeds, or they will afterward injure us.

In one scene, the three sailors come out on the stage drunken, one
swinging a bottle in his hand it will be clearly seen, and the three stagger
around. The one with the bottle then sings to the others, “Take a boozy
short leave of your nymphs on the shore, and silence their mourning with
vows of returning, but never intending to visit them more.”—Act Three, line
one.

Unfaithfulness, lying, obeying evil spirits, drunkenness; this is what
we find in this worldly opera.

Elsewhere in the printed program, we are assured that the author of the
opera “fashioned the text after the manner of a morality play, appropriate for
the young genteel girls intended for his original cast.” This is a morality
play? It teaches morality? It is intended for nice girls to view and take
part in? And this play, filled as it is with besotted drunks, quick affairs
while on shore leave with women, women talking about death or
suicide, men harassed by demons, witches mixing brews in dark
caves, heathen gods sending messages through “spirits” that
humans must obey,—all this is presented by faculty and students of a
denominationally-owned Seventh-day Adventist college to faculty,
students, parents, children, and non-Adventists from the area? And
the last question: Are you going to keep quiet about this matter? The
Spirit of Prophecy says that neutrality in a crisis is treason.

“If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is
doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a
religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very
worst type of hostility against God.”—3 Testimonies, 281.

Who has your first loyalties: the God of the church and His truth, or men in
the church that are carrying on these activities so successfully because
everyone quietly lets them do so?

As the Synopsis in the program mentions, the “sorceress and her witch
cronies plot the demise [death] of Dido [Aeneas’ lover] and her kingdom [of
Carthage]. Their jealousy drives them to deliver to Aeneas a spurious
command from the god Jove demanding that he sail immediately for Italy.”

In one important scene, the sorceress enters her cave and begins
stirring a pot, as she mutters incantations. Various potions are in the
pot, and hovering near are the other two witches. As she stirs and
mixes, they move about in grotesque—grotesque!—positions to help
call down the power of the spirits and the gods, to make their
enchanting curse on Dido come true.

You cannot grasp the full impact of this merely by reading the transcript, nor
even by hearing the audio cassette. The video will show you the true horror
of the experience. It really happened! in a Seventh-day Adventist college—
only a few weeks before you read this!

The sorceress, her two witch associates, and children dancers imitating evil
spirits, spend the rest of the play working toward getting Dido to die of
suicide or grief. While Dido and Aeneas are intent on love, the six
“Furies” (performed by six innocent children) do an “Echo Dance” to help
them split up. Then the three mediums “conjure up a storm” to cause them
more trouble.

This concept of fate and human destiny is but the outcome of the
hellish invocations of witches in dark caves interweaves itself
throughout the entire play. From start to finish, the whole thing is all a
study in fraternization with devil gods.
At the very end of the opera, Dido cries out and falls down dead. Cupids
gather to her fallen form as the opera ends. The witches have triumphed,
their curse has finally fallen on Dido whom they hate.

Here are the final lines in the play:

“AENEAS: What shall lost Aeneas do? How, royal fair, shall in impart the
Gods’ [sic.] decree and tell you we must part?

“DIDO: Thus on the fatal banks of Nile, weeps the deceitful crocodile. Thus
hypocrites that murder act, make heaven and gods the authors of the fact!

“AENEAS: By all that’s good,—

“DIDO: By all that’s good no more, all that’s good you have foresworn, to
your promised empire fly, and let forsaken Dido die!

“AENEAS: In spite of Jove’s command I’ll stay, offend the gods, and love
obey.

“DIDO: No, faithless man, thy course pursue. I’m now resolved as well as
you. No repentance shall reclaim the injured Dido’s slighted flame.

“AENEAS: Let Jove say what he will—I’ll stay.

“DIDO: Away, away! To death I’ll fly, if longer you delay. But death, alas? in
cannot shun. Death must come when he [Aeneas] is gone.

“CHORUS: Great minds against themselves conspire, and shun the cure
they most desire.

“DIDO: Thy hand, Belinda—darkness shades me. On thy bosom let me
rest. More in would, but death invades me. Death is now a welcome guest.
When in am laid in earth, may wrongs create no trouble in thy breast.
Remember me, but ah; forget my fate!

“CHORUS: With dropping wings ye Cupids come, to scatter roses on her
tomb. Soft and gentle as her heart, keep here your watch and never part.”—
Act Three, concluding twelve lines.
                           HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

 Here is the historical background behind this opera which you may never
have heard of before. It is opera, which our people should have nothing to
do with; it is very worldly;—and this particular opera is a brief distillation of
ancient Roman heathen mythology.

The Greeks had an extensive collection of mythology about their heathen
gods. They also had Homer’s epic works, the Odyssey and Iliad, in which
he showed a divine origin for the Greek race.

When the Romans arose to dominance in the Mediterranean, they had
some deities also, but they were never the imaginative thinkers that the
Greeks were. So they gave new Roman names to many of the Greek gods
—and took them to themselves.

It is of interest that it was in this environment that, several centuries
later, the Christian church, under the leadership of the church at
Rome, essentially did the same thing. They adopted pagan gods into
Christianity by the simple expedient of making them “saints!”

By the time of Augustus Caesar, Rome ruled the Western World,—but still
lacking was that “divine origin” which the Greeks could claim. Very much
aware of this missing element in their culture, two years before he became
emperor, Octavian, a high-ranking government official (later renamed
Augustus) (63 B.C.-A.D. 14; ruled 27 B.C.-A.D. 14), asked the poet Virgil
(70-19 B.C.) to write an epic poem in the style of the Odyssey and Iliad, and
in this way provide the Romans with a descent from the gods.

With such good financial backing, Virgil at first planned to write a poem on
Augustus’ divine origins, but then it was broadened into a full-scale epic on
(1) the founding of Rome as a calling from the gods, (2) its mission to rule
the world and bring peace to all men, and (3) the ancestry of Augustus as
descended from the goddess Venus who finally married Aeneas, a mortal
who was the founder of the Roman people and empire.

So we have in this epic poem a full-blown heathen theology.

With the assignment in hand, Virgil retired to various country homes in Italy
and spent the next ten years working on it. He would dictate a few lines
each morning, and then rewrite them in the afternoon. It was all done at a
leisurely pace, while Emperor Augustus anxiously awaited its completion.

Virgil put him off as long as possible, claiming that it was neither finished
nor perfected, but finally he read large sections to him. Augustus was
thrilled, and Virgil went back to his task. In 19 B.C., Virgil decided to visit
Greece in order to obtain additional background material. While there, he
met Augustus in Athens. But in Megara, he became ill and started home. At
Brundisium he died. Virgil was 51 years old. On his deathbed he begged his
friends to destroy the manuscript of the poem, saying that another three
years would be needed to bring it to perfection. Augustus, hearing of this,
forbade them to do so.

Virgil’s epic poem is called the Aeneid, and became the bible of the
official state religion of Rome.

The story begins where Homer left off. The first six of its twelve books are
modeled on Homer’s Odyssey and the last six are based on the Iliad.

Aeneas the hero of the plot is in Homer’s Troy, when the departed spirit of
Hector appears to him and tells him to steal the heathen worship symbols
which had protected Troy, and then cross the seas and found a new
empire.

After encountering storms on the Mediterranean, they are driven by the
winds onto the shore of North Africa. Nearby, they meet Dido, a Phoenician
princess, who is trying to found the city of Carthage and make it into an
empire. This is a nice poetic touch on Carthage’s founding, since it was to
become the leading city in the western Mediterranean standing in the way
of Rome’s advancement. Rome destroyed this Phoenician city (on the site
of the modern city of Tunisia) in 146 B.C., and Augustus was rebuilding it at
the time that Virgil wrote the Aeneid.

In a cave, Did and Aeneas begin a common-law marriage. But soon after,
the gods, who in pagan mythology never care much for marriage, send him
messages that he must leave and found an empire elsewhere. he sails off
and she flings herself on a funeral pyre and burns to death.

Landing at Cumae on the Italian Peninsula, Aeneas has a variety of
adventures, including another relationship with a princess, which, upon
spurning her, turns into warfare with her father’s nation.

To bring him a little refreshment in the midst of battle, his spirit guide leads
him into a cave—and down into the mythical Underworld!

Ever following the lead of Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, Virgil now copies
Odysseus’ tour of Hell, with a similar one for Aeneas. Down in the bowels of
the earth, Aeneas again meets Dido, and sees the torments which
earthlings must suffer forever for their sins. While in hell, Aeneas also
travels through Purgatory.

As the Roman church sainted the pagan gods, so it also copied their
teaching regarding purgatory, and an ever-burning hellfire, as
punishment by hateful gods.

Coming back out of the cave, Aeneas is strengthened to conquer all his
enemies and found the kingdom of Rome.

 With the passing of centuries, Virgil’s fame grew, until in the Dark Ages he
was considered a magician, saint, and something of a theologian. His
description in Book VI of the sufferings of the wicked in hellfire, and the
cleansing fires of purgatory, were both valued by the Vatican.

Then Dante (1265-1321) wrote his summary of Roman Catholic theology,
The Inferno, in which Virgil is said to have guided him through the torture
chambers of Purgatory and Hell.

In the Aeneid we find a full-blown presentation of the heart of ancient
Greek, Roman, and Roman Catholic theology.

Centuries later, in A.D. 1680, Henry Purcell (1659-1695), an English
composer, took a text written by Nahum Tate and set it to music,
summarizing several underlying teachings of the Aeneid—and put it into his
play, Dido and Aeneas. Italian opera had dominated the scene for years,
and Dido and Aeneas was the first important English opera, for, in it an
Italian choral style was introduced into England. It was presented for the
first time in 1689 and became Purcell’s most famous work. In all, Purcell
wrote six operas, incidental music for 54 plays, as well as several pieces for
the organ, but his powerful portrayal of ancient Roman theology, Dido
and Aeneas, has come down to our own time. And now it is being
presented in our denomination.

                        CONCLUSION BACKGROUND

 About a week before it was presented, Dido and Aeneas was advertised
all over Greater Chattanooga. Here, thought our leaders at Southern
College, was a performance truly representative of modern Adventist
though and lifestyle, and the college was proud to show it off.

Learning of the forthcoming event through announcements in the worldly
media of the city, one historic Adventist in the area was, to say the least,
astonished. Calling the college, she was referred to the Chairman of the
Music Department. Yes, he said, all the advance details she had heard
were true. The play was about witches, disembodied pagan spirits, Roman
gods, and yes, there would be dancing in it. (She had not heard about the
drinking scene yet.)

The chairman of the Music Department at Southern College was
actually proud of the whole project, and surprised that there should be
an Adventist in Collegedale or Greater Chattanooga who might
complain about it.

He said: “Witchcraft is all right, for it is mentioned in the Bible, And
dancing is okay since we have marching in our church.” Then he
paused for a moment, and added ominously, “And there won’t be any
problem unless you talk this up and make an issue of it.”

That must be the technique used in Collegedale. Keep the church members
subdued into going along with the growing apostasy there, by the threat of
blackballing the reputation of any that dare speak up.

Shortly afterward that faithful Adventist church member called me on the
phone. She could hardly speak. “I am so distraught and angry, I can hardly
speak,” she said. “I have to talk to someone, so I am calling you. I have not
spoken up in the past, and I see now that in this I have probably done
wrong. But when they bring witchcraft to Southern College,—this is the
end!”

Actually, this musical event, Dido and Aeneas, is only the latest of a string
of similar presentations. The first one we heard of occurred several years
ago when we first arrived in southeastern Tennessee. We were told of a
play at the college that had taken place shortly before. A faithful Adventist
attended it and was shocked at what she saw. It was a dramatic play with
worldly music, and students who, as part of their performance, acted the
part of couples drinking liquor and dancing very close together. They
enjoyed the task, and the faculty and others in the audience apparently
enjoyed watching the sight, so there was no one to speak up and say, “This
must stop!”

Checking with friends at the college, she was told that the students had to
practice their dance routines for months in preparation for the play,—and
even received instruction from dance specialists in Chattanooga. In
conclusion, she was told that “several marriages are going to come out of
this thing.”

But there is a God in heaven that is writing it all down. And some day
in the Judgment He will call to account the Adventists in the
Collegedale area who contentedly let this Southern College apostasy
deepen as it has.

In more recent years we have learned of other presentations, but always
after they were concluded. Dido and Aeneas is the first one we learned of in
advance. So we have been able to bring you this special report.

NOTE: This Southern College presentation of Dido and Aeneas is now
available from Pilgrims Rest.

THE PROGRAM AND WRITTEN SCRIPT of Dido and Aeneas is available
from us on a donation basis. It is brief and contains some information.

AN AUDIOTAPE will provide you with the soundtrack of the voices and
music. It is available for a purchase price of $2 per tape.

A VIDEOCASSETTE will provide you with the complete opera. We were
very fortunate to be able to obtain a copy, and it is a good one, in spite of
the poor lighting. It may be purchased for $15.

 We provide this documentary material so that YOU WILL KNOW and
OTHERS WILL KNOW that our church has now descended into
presentations of SPIRITUALISM! If we did not make this available, the rest
of this report would be considered unbelievable by many readers. But we
are not urging you to obtain copies of the script, audio cassette, or
videocassette. Only do so if you believe that it will help convince
lackadaisical church members to WAKE UP and demand that our leaders
put a stop to this continuing lowering of standards and doctrinal purity.

 King Saul killed the priests of God and sought to slay the Lord’s anointed.
But the night he went to the witch of Endor for guidance, marked his
end. He died the next day.

The Review and Herald Publishing Association fought Ellen White for years,
beginning in 1889. But when they made the decision to print. J. H. Kellogg’s
Living Temple, they neared their end. Shortly afterward, the manuscript
for a full-blown book on spiritualism was lying on the desk of the
editor who was planning to print it also, in addition to Kellogg’s book.
That did it. The same evening the Review building burned to the ground,
and the fire chief of Battle Creek said, “Fighting that fire was impossible. It
was as if coal oil was being poured on it as we worked.” The destruction of
the building was complete, and came less than a year after the Battle Creek
Sanitarium burned to the ground.

And now we are coming full circle back toward it again. The end
cannot be far ahead.

How soon will the destructions come?

First, the apostasy is deeper some places than others. Many of our people
remain innocent of the greater depths of the apostasy.

Second, we note in history that God permits disasters to occur to arouse
His people to repentance. But in those instances in which men were fully
committed to apostasy—fully set in the world,—the disasters may not come.

The point here is that disasters are permitted when it is seen that it
may help bring men and women back to God. But when people are
fully committed to a worldly course, they may be            allowed to
continue on their way unhindered. Committed worldlings are often
permitted to have apparent prosperity and success in their downward
course.—But that is not a position for the faithful to desire or choose! It is
better to be a servant of the living God, than to have worldly success yet be
headed for destruction.

The continual lesson is this: Run to God, confess your sins and plead for
forgiveness for the past and enabling grace to change your ways. Read
God’s Inspired Word daily and begin a new way of life. Admire not the
prosperity of the wicked. Flee from their wicked ways and their
flagrant rebellion. They think they have “liberty” and need not obey
the mandates of God, but they are on the wrong side, and are doing
the bidding of Satan without realizing it.

                                Appendix 28

               DRAMA IN THE ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM

                                 Submitted by

                           Phyllis Bryan Paytee

                General Conference Drama Guidelines Committee

                                January 1974

The moment the word “drama” is uttered, we find ourselves upon debatable
ground. Both the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy urge that caution and restraint
be exercised by the Christian who is tempted to participate in any activities
of a sensational, theatrical nature, whether presented in the theatre or in
our own institutions. At the same time, however, neither the Bible nor the
Spirit of Prophecy offer direct condemnation of drama as a learning tool.

With respect to education, both references repeatedly suggest that a variety
of teaching methods be employed in order to insure a maximal degree of
interest and efficiency in the teaching-learning process. The greatest
example in the history of Christian education is provided by the Master
Teacher himself whose methods were constantly adapted to fit the
individual and the occasion.

Yet, the question remains: Should the methodology of Seventh-day
Adventist elementary teachers be expanded to include classroom drama?
In viewing briefly the types of drama promoted in public education today, we
note that both formal and informal productions are in popular use. Formal
drama includes the children’s theatre where carefully finished, artistically
produced plays or playlets and expressive renderings of dialogues from
dramatic literature are presented. Informal drama, on the other hand, deals
primarily with creative dramatics. This type of drama is represented by the
play that is developed creatively by a group, as opposed to one that abides
by a written script. The play may be simple or elaborate, but if it is creative
drama, it must be improvised rather than written.

One immediately discerns the dangers inherent in each of these types of
dramatics for children. The formal children’s theatre is audience-centered
and the major emphasis is on the product rather than on the participants. In
this setting, drama is a performing art which aims to develop in children an
“appreciation for the magic and make-believe of the theatre.” Although
creative drama is participant-centered, it has its pitfalls as well since it
emphasizes “development of the imagination in a world of make-believe.”
While Christian teachers do not believe a child’s imagination should be
cultivated along the lines of magic and make-believe, we do recognize that
the imagination is itself a God-given talent to be cultivated for His service.

The renowned French educator Jean Piaget has written extensively on the
function of dramatic play in the intellectual and moral development of young
children. He observes that drama is an activity in which young children
frequently engage even without adult direction or support. This dramatic
play occurs, he suggests, because children have a style of learning that fits
their own level of maturity, and they use this innate learning style naturally
and effectively. Ellen White must have understood the learning styles of
children, for long before Piaget appeared on the educational scene, she
advised:

     Parents and teachers should aim so to cultivate the tendencies
     of the youth that at each stage of life they may represent the
     beauty appropriate to that period, unfolding naturally, as do the
     plants in the garden.—Ed 107

Educators for decades have acknowledged the fact that the learning style
most natural to the elementary child is that of learning by doing. What the
child reads, sees, and hears is very important, but what he does is more
likely to penetrate his life and influence his way of behaving. A well-known
Chinese proverb reinforces this principle:

I see and I remember,
I hear and I forget,

I do and I understand.

Although children’s theater and creative dramatics cannot be embraced by
the Christian teacher, one of the potentially productive facets of learning by
doing which should receive greater attention is informal classroom drama.
For the purposes of this discussion, we define informal classroom drama as
a learning experience employing the use of simple dialogue and action with
the optional use of simple costumes and scenic properties. Informal
classroom drama is outlined and guided by the teacher in cooperation with
the learners.

This definition is supported by an incident related in E. G. White Letter 5,
1888. The December 26 communication was written after Mrs. White
attended a dramatized Christmas program presented by the Battle Creek
Sabbath School. The children wore costumes. In fact, Ella M. White, Mrs.
White’s six-year-old granddaughter was in the program, dressed to typify an
angel. Although Mrs. White counseled that some features of the program
could have been more effective, she did not condemn the dramatized
scenes. Instead, her letter included the following commendations: “I was
pleased with the lighthouse. The part acted by the children was good. The
reading was appropriate.”

What values may be derived from an appropriate use of classroom drama
today? Nellie McCaslin of Mills College of Education suggests that
important permanent values may be gained from classroom drama when
scenes are selected to advance creativity and aesthetic development,
critical thinking, social growth and cooperation, improved communication
skills, and moral and spiritual values.

Dr. McCaslin’s list is an excellent one, but the primary reason for including
drama in Seventh-day Adventist elementary schools is that of promoting
“character formation...the most important object in education.”—CT 61 We
have been instructed that “character building is the most important work
ever entrusted to human beings; and never before was its diligent study so
important as now.”—Ed 225

The Spirit of Prophecy also indicates the sources from which the diligent
study of character building may be obtained:

  Source       Examples
  (1) Bible — Ed 17  Episodes from the lives of such Biblical
  characters as

  Abraham
  Daniel
  David
  Elijah
  Joseph
  Moses
  Paul
  Samuel
  Episodes from
  The Good Samaritan
  The Lost Coin
  The Loving Father
  The Talents
  The Wise and Foolish Virgins

 (2) Nature — FE 85       Episodes in which someone explains such natural
phenomena as

Changing seasons

Divine geometry of snowflakes

Flight of birds

How animals build homes

Making of a tree

Marvels of insect world

Treasures of the sea

Wonders of the heavens
  (3) Denominational History — CW 145     Episodes from the lives of
  such early pioneers
  as
   J. N. Andrews
  Joseph Bates
  G. H. Bell
  John Byington
  Hiram Edson
  Kate Lindsay
  Ellen G. White
  James White
  (4) Useful Work — Ed 77     Episodes which depict the varied talents
  required by such workers as

  Carpenters
  Colporteurs
  Farmers
  Foreign Missionaries
  Medical Doctors
  Ministers
  Pharmacists
  Publishers
  Research Scientists
  Teachers
  (5) Life’s Experiences — Ed 77    Episodes from such
  denominational publications as

Guide

Mission Quarterly

MV Program Kit

Our Little Friend

Primary Treasure

Review & Herald

Sabbath School Worker
Treasury of Devotional Aids

As an elementary school child becomes a participant in selected episodes
drawn from the foregoing sources, he learns in a very pleasant, natural
manner to recognize a plan and purpose in all life, live at his best, accept
and appreciate others, use his talents in service, understand how God
works with men, and desire to follow Jesus.

Any dramatic scenes enacted in Seventh-day Adventist elementary schools
should:

(1) Foster the twin purposes of Christian education— information and
inspiration. Classroom drama is not to be designed for mere amusement
and pleasure. —MYP 214, 371; PP 459, 460

(2) Arise naturally from the unit of work being studied in order to extend
knowledge. Dramatization should not be planned for the sake of displaying
the ability and proficiency of pupils, thus encouraging pride, self-esteem,
and self-glorification.—CSW 46

(3) Be based on real situations or situations which could actually occur.
The unreal and sensational are to be avoided.—4T 415, 653

(4) Have a message worthy of being shared and remembered. The
schoolroom is no place for superficial,* surface work.—Ed 278

(5) Yield educational benefits commensurate with the time spent in
preparation. These benefits should strengthen the intellect and elevate the
character.—E.G. White Letter 5, 1888

(6) Use simplicity in props and costuming. Excessive time, money, and
effort should not be expended for the sake of display.—FE 253

  The elementary teacher who uses informal classroom drama as a vehicle
for bringing to the instructional program new appreciations, insights, and
understandings should select only those dramatic episodes which will meet
a particular learning need. He should select materials having basic
elements that are easy to outline and easy for boys and girls to transfer into
simple action and dialogue. The teacher should also know the children and
materials particularly well and try to put them together in the best possible
way.

He will be thoroughly dedicated to the beliefs and ideals of the church and
will exemplify these in his personal and professional life. He will be deeply
concerned for the salvation of his boys and girls and will assist the children
in every possible way to reach their God-given potential. He will exercise
refined judgment and taste in his choice of episodes to be enacted,
remembering that truth is best communicated in a setting of love,
compassion, beauty, and simplicity.

Most of all, the teacher will believe in his calling and have faith in its value.
He will have a strong sense of the direction in which he is guiding children,
and know why he is guiding them that way.

                          CONTINUE APPENDIX 29

                               RETURN TO TOC
                                DRAMA

                                   and the



        SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                 Appendix 29

     GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF DRAMATIZATION AMONG

                        SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS

             General Conference Special Committee Report

                               March 3, 1978

I. PHILOSOPHY

The question of dramatizations of various kinds by Seventh-day Adventist
churches and institutions, like all other questions, must be approached
through this great principle: All that the Christian does who is growing into
Christ must assist in attaining the character of Christ.

Increasingly the Christian realizes the significance of his being a child of
God — a member of the royal family of the universe. His anticipation of
living and conversing with the Savior, with the angels who attend him, and
with the inhabitants of other worlds who observe him and even know him by
name, is so keen that the other world with its values and its joys becomes
his present reality. With Christ in his heart, he finds the things of earth
growing strangely dim.

Through this progressive growth experience, behaviors which once seemed
attractive may no longer appear profitable or desirable; activities formerly
shunned gain high priority because they are part of the association with
Jesus.

Ellen White used this positive approach in appraising a Sabbath School
pageant in the Battle Creek Church:

  Will it make those who acted their part in it more spiritually minded?
  Will it increase their sense of obligation to our heavenly Father who
  sent His Son into the world at such an infinite sacrifice to save fallen
  man from utter ruin? Was the mind awakened to grasp God because
  of His great love wherewith He has loved us? (Ellen White, Letter 5,
  1888.)

Any dramatic performance — from a cradle-roll enactment through skits,
pantomimes, pageants, history representations, musical productions,
homiletic presentations, to a sophisticated Saturday night program in a
church institution — should be appraised by the same positive criteria.

Although Ellen White did not condemn the simple Sabbath School drama at
Battle Creek — “I was pleased with the lighthouse.… The part acted by the
children was good. The reading was appropriate” — she found little light in
the exercises. Particularly distressing to her was the singing — “after the
order we would expect it to be in any theatrical performance,… not one
word to be distinguished.”

Said she: “I was pained at these things, so out of order with the very work of
reformation we are trying to carry forward in the church and with our
institutions” (Ibid, p. 19).

While the messenger of the Lord certainly pointed out the great peril of
drama and the dramatic performance, she called attention to the use God
makes of some visual presentation as a means of communication to His
prophets.

  God Himself employed pictures and symbols to represent to His
  prophets lessons which He would have them give to the people, and
  which could thus be better understood than if given in any other way.
  He appealed to the understanding through the sense of sight.
  Prophetic history was presented to Daniel and John in symbols, and
  these were to be represented plainly upon tables, that he who reads
  might understand (2SM: pp. 319, 320).

Experience within the Church has shown that dramatic media can be used
to witness for God and win souls. But as is so often the case, that which
may be effective for good when rightly used can also, if wrongly employed,
be effective for evil. It would then appear that questions relating to dramatic
productions in Seventh-day Adventist institutions must be settled on the
basis of fundamental principles rather than a simple acceptance or
prohibition.

There is no question but that many public dramatized productions today
have reached a nadir of degeneration. Unfortunately, many plays provide
no answers to questions. The prevailing climate normally reflects a
Machiavellian attitude or, at best, a hedonistic approach to life; usually there
is no attempt to laud religious ideals or to discredit a way of life out of
harmony with the gospel ethic. When the supernatural is part of a dramatic
production, emphasis is often on the demonic, the occult, extra-sensory
perception, magic, and thinly veiled spiritistic sophistries.

A dangerous feature of commercial drama lies in its presentation of man
contriving against man in a struggle for supremacy. Moreover, the personal
life of many playwrights reveals basic unwholesome attitudes which often
are reflected in the plays they write. Consequently, the reality of their plays
is of a degenerating, not elevating, quality. It raises no thought to God and
conveys no concept that the brutality of the reality could be ameliorated if
the characters turned to God.

Further, in a collective sense, the language of commercial drama plainly
and deliberately does not conform to the ideals of kindness and veracity. It
is often harsh, coarse, an cruel, usually punctuated with profanity, and
spoken with invective, sarcasm, and cynicism.
Another consideration is the audience for which a typical commercial play is
intended. Today’s theater-going audience demands a type of play that
conforms to prevailing attitudes which often are degenerate and dissolute.
Playwrights are not blind to these attitudes, and few do not have their eyes
fixed on the box office. If the playwright satisfies the audience, and if his
play is commercially successful, the play is normally not meat for Seventh-
day Adventist consumption.

While such drama may provide artistic and lasting insights into the human
experience, these insights are typically seen through the medium of selfish
or perverted characters who usually fall because of ignorance or rise
because of wits, with no tribute given to the working of Providence. It is for
such reasons that Ellen White penned her cautions relative to drama.

  The world is teeming with errors and fables. Novelties in the form of
  sensational dramas are continually arising to engross the mind, and
  absurd theories abound which are destructive to moral and spiritual
  advancement (4T: p. 415).
  There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the
  imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish
  for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical
  amusements (4T: p. 653).
  Satan is using every means to make crime and debasing vice popular.
  We cannot walk the streets of our cities without encountering flaring
  notices of crime presented in some novel, or to be acted at some
  theater. The mind is educated to familiarity with sin....
  Many of the amusements popular in the world today, even with those
  who claim to be Christians, tend to the same end as did those of the
  heathen. There are indeed few among them that Satan does not turn
  to account in destroying souls. Through the drama he has worked for
  ages to excite passion and glorify vice (PP: p. 459).

  All natural gifts are to be sanctified as precious endowments. They are
  to be consecrated to God, that they may minister for the Master...
  They are not to be devoted to self-pleasing amusement, or self-
  gratification...

  Has God given you intellect? Is it for you to manage according to your
  inclinations? Can you glorify God by being educated to represent
  characters in plays, and to amuse an audience with fables? Has not
  the Lord given you intellect to be used to His name’s glory in
  proclaiming the gospel of Christ? If you desire a public career, there is
  a work that you may do. Help the class you represent in plays.(??)
  Come to the reality. Give your sympathy where it is needed by actually
  lifting up the bowed down. Satan’s ruling passion is to pervert the
  intellect and cause men to long for shows and theatrical
  performances. The experience and character of all who engage in this
  work will be in accordance with the food given to the mind.
  The Lord has given evidence of His love for the world. There was no
  falsity, no acting, in what He did (MS 42, 1898).

Though not condemning dramatic presentations per se, the preceding
counsel does point out the necessity for a guiding philosophy for the
utilization, production, or viewing of drama. The vehicle of drama is in itself
of neutral quality. The communicated content, the life of the actor, and the
theatrics of a production define its character. If the theme is morally positive
and the treatment simple, the valuable lesson can be taught in an
impressive manner.

Dramatizations for Seventh-day Adventist audiences should not have their
purposes obscured by extremely complex or highly involved plots, which
confuse thinking, or by sensational stories. The message and the plot will
be complementary.

A guiding philosophy of drama subsequently recognizes the prevailing
dangers of the medium while identifying its possible use for good as
communication, education, and recreation in Seventh-day Adventist
settings.

Dramatization should lead both participant and spectator into a deeper
realization of his role as a child of God and as a profitable member of
society. He should be encouraged to continue working for the salvation of
others because he has a renewed concept of his spiritual mission on earth
in preparation for eternity.

These goals will be realized only if total quality of the dramatic enactments
enhance Christian concepts and ideals so that God and His church will be
glorified because of the content, dignity, and excellence that mark each
production. Principles should not be compromised to meet the taste of the
audience, even though the nature of the audience, together with the
occasion and setting, are factors for consideration when a dramatization is
planned.

The moral, spiritual, and emotional facets of life must be treated with
sincerity in a well-balanced manner. If primarily religious in nature, the
presentation should be clear, with no ambiguity of purpose to confuse the
viewer or participant. Emotional scenes will be portrayed with restraint, and
intellectual themes marked by honesty.

Finally, as a result of participating in or viewing dramatizations, a person
should be aided in his day-to-day life — his decisions, motives, and goals.
He will be a more positive Seventh-day Adventist Christian because of what
he has seen or presented.

 II. FUNCTIONS

 Based upon the foregoing philosophy, dramatization should:

 A.    Provide an experience beneficial to participants and viewers.

  B. Strengthen ideals of Adventist living.

  C. Suggest meaningful answers to significant questions arising in life
situations.

 D. Develop insights into facets of human experience.

  E. Emphasize the moral overtones of secular or religious issues in
character development.

  F. Promote balance in the totality of human experience.

III. TYPES OF DRAMATIZATION

 A.    Role Playing:

        1. Definition: Impromptu or extemporaneous enactment of real-life
situations involving        interaction with the environment. (Through life-like
situations the participant becomes          aware of acceptable behavior and
develops understanding of self and others.)
        2. Purposes. Role-playing should:

a. Develop communication skills — listening, speaking, relating.

              b. Bring latent creative powers to life.

              c. Help clarify and reinforce Adventist values.

   B.    1. Definition: Any dramatization enacted for an audience.

        2. Purposes. Dramatic productions should:

              a. Foster the purposes of Adventist living.

              b. Develop communication skills of participants.

              c. Provide wholesome aesthetic experiences for viewers.

              d. Foster a spirit of cooperative teamwork in the pursuit of
excellence.

              e. Encourage and develop various creative skills of participants.

              f. Foster learning by doing.

              g. Develop problem-solving ability.

              h. Improve decision-making skills of participants and/or viewers.

              I. Develop an understanding of the emotions of others.

           j. Increase self-understanding and self-respect through success-
experiences and          encouragement.

              k. Aid in learning that issues often have more than two sides.

   IV. CRITERIA

    The Lord is near... Then the peace of God,.. will keep guard over
    your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus. And now, my
    friends, all that is TRUE, all that is NOBLE, all that is JUST and
    PURE, all that is LOVABLE and GRACIOUS, whatever is
    EXCELLENT and ADMIRABLE — fill all your thoughts with these
    things (Phil. 4:6-8, NEB, emphasis supplied).

This appeal is vital to those awaiting the Advent. Within this framework all
dramatizations employed by Seventh-day Adventists should be evaluated,
and they should meet the following inspired criteria. They should be:

  A. TRUE — True to principle, free from distortion, oversimplification, or
exaggeration, avoiding sensationalism (the exploitation of sex or violence
or other elements calculated to shock), and maudlin sentimentality (the
exploitation of romantic or other soft feelings),    because men sometimes
“allow the mind to come down to the superficial, to the unreal, to simple,
cheap fictitious acting, [and] are doing the devil’s work” (MS 41, 1900).

   B. NOBLE — (“honest” KJV; “honorable” RSV) — Serious art,
characterized by an honest attempt to present a true and significant view
of life; because “love stories, frivolous and exciting tales.— are a
curse” (MYP: p. 272).

  C. JUST — Balanced in emphases, avoiding elements that give the
appearance of making evil desirable or goodness appear trivial, because
“there is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination,
to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil
pleasures,… than the theater” (4T: p. 653).

  D. PURE — Conducive to purifying thought and conduct, because
“novelties in the form of   sensational dramas are continually arising to
engross the mind, and absurd theories abound     which are destructive to
moral and spiritual advancement” (4T: p. 415).

   E. LOVABLE — Permeated with a high idealism worthy of our affections,
because “Satan does        not wish the people to have a knowledge of God;
and if he can set in operation…theatrical performances that will so confuse
the senses of the young that human beings will perish in darkness while
light shines all about them, he is well pleased” (RH, March 13, 1900).

  F. GRACIOUS — (“Fair speaking,” Vincent, Word Studies in the New
Testament, Vol. III, pp. 458, 459). — Free from profanity or other crude
and offensive language, because “The roughness of spirit, the coarseness
of speech, the cheapness of character, must be put away, or we can never
wear the garment woven in the heavenly loom, — the righteousness of
        Christ” (SD: p. 315).

 G. EXCELLENT AND ADMIRABLE — Characterized by artistic as well as
moral integrity  and should provide examples of concern for excellence,
because some “degenerate into    demoralizing theatrical performances,
and cheap nonsense” (RH, January 4, 1881).

             V. CONSIDERATIONS

  Will it make those who acted their part in it more spiritually minded?
  Will it increase their sense of obligation to our heavenly Father who
  sent His Son into the world at such an infinite sacrifice to save fallen
  man from utter ruin? Was the mind awakened to grasp God because
  of His great love wherewith He has loved us? (Letter 5, 1888).

  Pride, self-esteem, and boldness are marked characteristics of the
  children of this day, and they are the curse of the age. When I see this
  un-Christlike, unlovely manifestation on every side, and then see
  parents and teachers seeking to display the ability and proficiency of
  their children and scholars, I am pained to the heart; for I know that it
  is exactly the opposite course from the one that should be pursued
  (CSSW: p. 46).

Directors or other sponsors of dramatizations should work in full
cooperation with their school administrators or other persons in
responsibility in selecting the work to be done, in planning the financial
budget, and in all aspects of the production that might raise problems.

In the production of dramatizations, careful regard should be given to such
aspects as the following:

   A. Selecting plays or other scripts that can be competently produced
within the available facilities of the sponsoring institution.

    B. Cutting or modifying potentially objectionable parts or passages.
Such modifying must be      done with discrimination to maintain the
integrity of the work.
   C. Using prayerful discretion in the selection of the cast, considering
the impact upon the     individuals and the institution, as well as upon the
production itself.1

   D. Avoiding excessive expenditures for elaborate costumes, stage
properties, and other technical aspects of production.

    E. Maintaining moderation by avoiding the inordinate outlay of time by
directors and other participants.

    F. Guarding the standards of good taste and modesty in costuming and
in the creating of the dramatic roles.

              VI. CONCLUSION

Having set forth these principles and criteria, the Church recognizes that
the number of acceptable programs available is very limited. Further,
experience and the counsels of the messenger of the Lord sound a solemn
warning to all who may participate in dramatic productions: They must be
constantly alert to the danger of opening a door which can lead to a love
and infatuation for the dramatic productions of the world, and will lead away
from Christ and the duty of the Christian to serve mankind.

__________________________

1
 Special concern was expressed by Ellen White for those participating in
public performances lest an infatuation for praise and applause be
engendered which could easily lead away from Christ and into the world.
She wrote:

    Many literary societies are in reality young theaters on a cheap scale
    and they create in the youth a taste for the stage (RH, January 4,
    1881).

In a general manuscript on communication entitled “To Every Man His
Work,” quoted in part in the Review and Herald Supplement of June 22,
1898, we find these words:

    By showing vanity, by longing for distinction, many hide the person of
  Christ, and expose themselves to view. There is such self-importance
  in their own ideas and ways, and they cherish such a pleasing sense
  of their own smartness, that the Lord cannot bestow His Holy Spirit
  upon them...
  We are not to exalt the work of any man, magnifying him and praising
  his judgment. The first rising of self is the beginning of your fall, your
  separation from Christ (MS 42, 1898).

 Original committee report, January 28-31, 1974.

G.C. Special Committee approved with changes, March 3, 1975.

                               Appendix 30

                                  Appendix 30

                   AMAZING FACTS (GRAPHICS LEFT OUT)

An Amazing Fact! Intensity of sound volume is measured in decibels (dB). Zero
dB is the softest sound that can be heard. The rustle of leaves has a decibel
rating of about 20, but normal conversation is around 40 to 60 dB. A jet flying 500
feet overhead has a decibel rating of about 115 dB. Hearing damage can occur
after prolonged exposure to as little as 85 dB, yet rock concerts can average
between 120 and 140 dB!

October 1999

Dear Friend,

 For some time now I have heard that "still small voice" impressing me to talk to
you about a serious issue that is steadily consuming our churches like cancer. I
have avoided addressing this swelling problem for fear of being misunderstood,
but I can't be silent any longer.

Let me explain. Because of the whirlwind of speaking appointments in
preparation for the Millennium of Prophecy seminar in New York beginning on
the 15th of this month, I have had many opportunities to visit with hundreds of
our friends and supporters around the country and to observe dozens of different
worship services. My concern is this: I am alarmed at the pagan worship styles
that are creeping into many of our churches.
Musical Madness

One of the most powerful elements of worship that has become extremely
divisive is music.

From the ancient Roman orgies and primitive tribal war dances, to the insane
behavior at modem concerts and sporting events, pagan music with its heavy,
syncopated rhythms has been used to excite carnal passions and wild behavior.
Many Christian churches have now embraced this same music. And it's not just
the loud "Christian rock." I have seen whole congregations that look like they
have been mesmerized through the New Age music with shallow, repetitive lyrics
sung over and over. If Jesus tells us not to pray in vain repetition, then it is likely
He does not want us singing that way either (see Matthew 6:7).

Theatrical Theology

Another element invading modem Christian worship is drama. I have no moral
problem with

using some visual aids to help people better understand Bible truth. God asked
prophets like Ezekiel and Jeremiah to do this (see Jeremiah 32: 14 and Ezekiel
5: 1-4). But some argue that this justifies the dramatic stage productions with
raucous applause that are making their way into our churches.

The problem is that many professed Christians have become so over-stimulated
from a steady diet of movies, TV, and videos that a simple, reverent worship
service without drama, drums, and dancing deacons seems boring by
comparison. Many now come to church to be entertained rather than to give their
worship, praise, songs, and offerings.

 Remember. King Nebuchadnezzar used the best of Babylonian music to prepare
people to worship the image he made. The devil will do the same thing in training
Christians to worship the image of the beast!

The Truth for the Youth

Proponents for this dramatic worship style often argue, "We have to do
something more modem and contemporary because we are losing our youth!" I
must respectfully disagree. I was brought to the truth at age 17 by the simple, yet
profound, impact of God's Word. I doubt that you had ever met a more "liberal
pagan" than I was back then. If God could get my attention and bring about my
conversion without shallow drama, goofy programs, and worldly music, I believe
He can still do it for other young people today! Amen? We often underestimate
the power of His Spirit and the pure, simple Word to convert hearts. Amazing
Facts continues to receive a mountain of mail from young people who find the
Lord through the straight preaching of our TV programs and the powerful,
uncompromising truths in our Bible Study Guides.

 When you support Amazing Facts, you support a ministry that strives daily to
present the truth of Jesus in a straightforward, dignified, and respectful manner.

Time and again, rock music demonstrates its ability to bring out the basest of
human passions and behaviors. The Woodstock '99 rock concert in July
culminated with a rampage of violence, vice, vandalism, and rape.

Changing With the Times

As a metropolitan pastor, I am acutely aware of the subtle forces that are
constantly urging, "If we want to reach this secular society, we need to make
some modem modifications in our worship services to make them more attractive
to the world." This was the same fatal rationalization that was used by misguided
Christians just before the Dark Ages. They argued, "If we are to reach the
pagans, we need to make it easier for them to transition into the church by
making a few 'harmless concessions.' We need to incorporate some of their
images, songs, and rituals into our services so they will feel more at home." I
recognize that as time rolls on people must make certain practical changes to
keep pace with an ever-evolving society. Most churches now have parking lots
rather than hitching posts and electricity rather then kerosene lamps. Clothing
styles are ever changing, and while Christian's should not be the first to embrace
every new fad, we should keep pace with the modest versions

of contemporary fashions so as to not appear as spectacles frozen in the past.
But should our worship of the Almighty be dictated by popular trends? Is conduct
for Christian worship to be determined by culture, fads, and personal
preferences? or by the Bible? God does have some unchanging absolutes to
guide us in discerning proper worship. "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi
3:6). "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8).

Eternal Principles

Some church services I have recently seen resemble an "unholy hootenanny."
Yet the Scriptures teach that there should be a peaceful order in our worship.
"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the
saints" ( 1 Corinthians 14:33). The simple reading and expounding of the Word
has inherent power without colored lights and theatrical embellishment. "So they
read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and
helped them to understand the reading" (Nehemiah 8:8, NKJV). A reverent, quiet
dignity should characterize our worship of the Almighty. "But the LoRD is in his
holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him" (Habakkuk 2:20).

 The first murder in history was over the issue of how to worship God. Cain and
Able had the same altars and claimed to be serving the same God, but the gifts
on the altars were different. and God would not accept Cain's worship and
offering.

Going to Inquire of Baal-Zebub

Some will argue that many of the churches that practice these contemporary,
alternate worship trends are growing like mushrooms. Hundreds of pastors are
flocking to these "successful" mega-churches to study and learn how they can
inject these pagan growth hormones into their own congregations. They believe
this swelling attendance is evidence that these methods must be of God. But is
numerical growth the ultimate test to determine if something is biblical? "Thou
shalt not follow a multitude to do evil" (Exodus 23 :2). Remember, the false
prophets on mount Carmel outnumbered Elijah 850 to one!

 Consider the glaring contrast seen there between Elijah and the prophets of
Baal (see 1 Kings 18: 19-40). The pagan prophets danced and jumped and
shouted all day, but Elijah humbly knelt down and offered a simple, reverent
prayer with no fanfare or pretense. Which prayer did God answer? It was not the
Pagan Pandemonium of Baal's prophets, but the calm, meek worship of Elij ah
that God honored with the fire then the rain! Likewise, the final conflict in the
great controversy between Christ and Satan will revolve around the issue of
whom, how, and when we worship. Revelation warns us that the beast will
compel all the world to worship as he dictates... or suffer persecution and death
(Revelation 13: 15). Please stand with Amazing Facts in counteracting these
errors with the truth of God's Word.

Prophecy is Being Fulfilled

The prophecies of Revelation teach that there will be a union between
Protestants, Catholics, and Charismatics that will ultimately merge into a political-
religious power, forming the final image to the beast. It's happening now! In their
book, Evangelicals and Catholics Together-Toward a Common Mission, Chuck
Colson and Richard John Neuhaus admit "More generally, the spread of the
charismatic movement (and then of songs, prayers, and worship styles going well
beyond officially charismatic circles) has done a great deal to reduce the barriers
between Catholics and evangelicals." When these barriers are broken down,
watch out!
Overcome Evil With Good!

People who handle cash in banks are trained to spot counterfeit bills by studying
the real ones. Amazing Facts teaches the truth so people can spot the devil's
spiritual counterfeits. Every facet of our ministry is geared to highlight the
authentic so that it will, in turn, expose the fraud. Day in and day out, Amazing
Facts teaches those precious truths through our live evangelistic meetings,
television and radio programs, and correspondence Bible School. Your support
of these various efforts is changing lives, and we have the mass of mail to prove
it--every day!

Every week Amazing Facts produces the Sabbath School and church service at
Sacramento Central Church, and broadcasts them on 3ABN and other cable
stations around the country. We believe that these biblically-based services have
a defining influence on God's people around the country and help to limit the
flood of worldly worship styles eroding our churches. The only way to combat the
wild trends in worship is by word and example, educating people with the truth!
When you support Amazing Facts, you are funding wholesome, biblical food that
nourishes thousands of spiritually-starving people.

Well, I'm out of space and I have much more to say about this issue than I can fit
in our monthly letter. That's why my special gift tape for those who respond now
is my recent message titled When the Fire Came Down. It deals directly with the
subject of our worship and our relationship with God. Feel free to copy it and
share it with your friends.

 If you share my concern, please let me hear from you so I will know I am not out
on this limb alone. And, as the Lord leads, please enclose a gift to keep the
various ministries of Amazing Facts in front of the thousands who are growing
and coming to the truth each day. I believe there are still thousands of knees that
have not bowed to Baal over this issue! And we must warn others before it's too
late! We would deeply appreciate your help at this time.

Yours in Christ,

Doug

P.S. As of this writing we have received $1,800,000 of our needed $2,500,000
budget for the Millennium of Prophecy seminar. We praise God for His provision
and trust that He will stir the hearts of His children to provide the remainder.

AMAZING FACTS
Reaching the World With God's End-Time Message

                      CONTINUE APPENDIX 31 A

                           RETURN TO TOC
                                  DRAMA

                                      and the



         SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                 Appendix 31 - A

                  Surprising Facts About Drama and the Church

                         Gleaner editorial, September, 2000

                             (WITHOUT GRAPHICS)

                     P.32 . GLEANER. SEPTEMBER 2000

      SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT DRAMA AND THE CHURCH--

During the past 50 years drama has invaded nearly every home in America
through television and video.

So sordid is some of its programing, that sincere Christians often are tempted to
dismiss drama entirely as a method of illustrating the gospel.

A survey of early Adventist writings seems to lend creditbility to that view. Ellen
White clearly condemns "sensa-tional dramas" that "engross the mind," 1 and are
"dangerous resorts of pleasure."2 But as I researched her comments, I noticed
that she carefully qualifies her warnings. She counsels' against sensa-tional
drama, habitual attendance (italics mine), dramas that contain "low songs; lewd
gestures, expressions and attitudes" that "deprave the imagination and debase
the morals." 3

All drama is by no means sensational or demeaning, and her counsels
acknowledge as much. Although rightly condemning certain aspects found in .
some dramatic productions, she n_yer condemns the dramatic arts themselves.
In an 1881 "Review and Herald" article, she uses the illustration of a young
woman who placed her wish to be an actress before her desire for salvation. She
condemns the behavior' because of the young woman's priorities, not for her
wish to .become an actress. 4. .

At another time, she recalls a humorous, but thought-provoking comment made
by Thomas Betterton, a celebrated actor of the time, to the Archbishop of
Canterbury. In it, Betterton suggested that one difference between an actor and a
minister seems to be the lack of enthusiasm of the latter. 5..

Ellen White also speaks of the "drama of life," 6 and describes the Church as the
theater of God's grace. 7 If such words as "drama" and "theater" always held a
bad connotation in her mind, it . seems -unlikely she would have used them to
illustrate important concepts such as God's grace. '

During the Christmas season of 1888, the Battle Creek Sabbath school staged a
dramatic production. Ellen White attended' to watch her granddaughter, Ella, take
part The production included spoken lines, sets, costumes, and props.

Early the next morning, Ellen White wrote a letter to the director, commenting
that the children's lines were appropriate and commending the effort put forth.
She then made several specific suggestions on how to improve the production.
Such behavior seems a far cry from total condemnation of dramatic productions.
8

Arthur L. White, her grandson, agrees. As secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate
in 1963, he writes: "A survey of these counsels (pertaining to drama) fails' to
reveal an across the board condemnation of all enacted programs. In other
words, Ellen White does not condemn a program just because it is dramatized." 9

He suggests that the question of drama in Seventh-day Adventist institu-tions
cannot be answered by either total acceptance or rejection of dramatic
productiol1S. 10 He points out that a production dedicated to God's service could
be an effective agent. 11 Still, he warns that the improper use of drama might
force even the correct use of the medium to be halted, for safety's sake. 12

In 1975, a General Conference Special Committee on drama' and its relation-
ship to' the Adventist Christian agreed with both Ellen and Arthur White:. "The
vehicle of drama is in itself of neutral quality. The communicated content, ,the life
or' the actor, and the theatrics of a production define its character. If the theme is
morally positive and the treat-ment simple, the valuable lesson can be taught in
an impressive manner." 13

This Special Committee, although aware of the problems involved' with drama,
still advocated its use for effective communication, education, and recreation in
Adventist surroundings. 14

 Many moral and ethical questions regarding drama and the Christian remain to
be answered. Ellen White never dealt with them specifically, but they deserve
thoughtful consideration. 15

"LOST" IN A CHARACTER-

In order to perform well, do actors have to 'lose' themselves in the Character
they're playing?.

Acting is hard work, and it is the actor's job to present a Character in a belivable
way for the audience, which means the actor must understand the person he
plays.

This is easier for some types of Characters than for others. Generally, however,
actors try to find within themselves something they can use to relate to the
characters they play. In a very real sense, actors are playing parts of themselves,
even when they pretend to be other people.,'

"Losing" oneself in the part is not an accurate description of what happens, but it
may seem that way to observers, and it is something that actors should consider
whenever they take up a role.

IN CHURCH?

Should drama be, presented in the church.? That depends on the production. It's
interesting that in the Old Testament tabernacle, every liturgical act by the priests
was a symbolic representation —a dramatization—of Christ's saving grace. Since
a, church is a place specifically built for the worship of God, only drama that
fulfills this requirement should be presented in church. Dramatic productions can
be enormously beneficial in this regard.

TOO MUCH TIME?

How can anyone justify the time spent with drama, particularly secular
presentations? Secular themes can be immensely powerful advocates for moral,
ethical, and social goals. We are still living in the world, even as we struggle
against becoming part of it, To ignore the secular needs of the people about us
runs counter to our mission to spread the Gospel. In some ways, there are no
strictly secular themes or presentations. When we fight evil in any form, we are
doing God's work. Can we overdo it? Get too involved? Yes. But drama is no
more guilty of causing imbalance than any of thousands of things that tempt us
each day.

FOR SAFETY SAKE ELIMINATE?

But wouldn't it be safer to eliminate dramatic productions? Safer is not bet-ter.
Following Christ is not safe or com-fortable. The "safe" path leads to stagnation.
Discarding dangerous things simply because they are dangerous invokes an
even greater Laodician danger.

 Ellen White, in her letter to .the producer of the Christmas play, provides the
standard which, everyone involved with the dramatic arts should prayerfully
consider: "Will it make those who acted their part in it more spiritually minded?
Will ,it increase their sense of obligation, to our heavenly Father who sent His
Son into the world at such an infinite sacrifice to save the fallen man from utter
ruin? Was the mind awak-ened to grasp God because of His great love
wherewith He has loved us?"

Rightly used, drama is a powerful agency to illustrate grace and !Counteract evil.
As Christians, we should harness its power and employ it carefully, but
assertively, to the glory of God.

 Edwin A. Schwisow drafted this article, based on research by Kenneth Field, a
freelance writer living in Sequim, Wash. His book, "Return Voyage," was recently
published by Pacific Press Publishing Association.

                                  Appendix 31-B

                    Letters published on above article-
Dramatic Balance

Thank-you for the balanced article, "Surprising Facts About Drama and the
Church," in the September 2000 GLEANER. The conclusions were appropriate
and balanced. Yes, drama has the potential for misuse, but so does love, so
does law, so does organ-ization, so does music, so does -well -so does
everything. Just because the extreme can be criticized does not mean that
moderation should not be practiced. Thank-you for your courage in writing and
pub-lishing this article.

Ron Hessel Payette, Idaho

Respectfully Disagree

In "Surprising Facts About Drama And the Church" in the September 2000
GLEANER, I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that "Rightly used, drama
is a powerful agency to illustrate grace and counteract evil." There are scores of
quotes in Ellen White's writings that condemn drama unequivocally, but you have
selectively and strategically highlighted snippets of her writings and used them
out of context. For example, regarding the Christmas play you referred to, she
wrote, "I should have felt better if I had not been present."

 To get a full flavor of what inspiration says on this topic, I would encourage
readers to take the time to look up references in this article and also in the
Indexes to the writings of Ellen G White on drama, plays, and theatricals. It will
be a real eye opener. Don't take any man's word for it. Insist upon a "Thus saith
the Lord."

Dennis Kendall New Plymouth, Idaho

 Editor's Note: "Theatrics" and "drama" are not synonymous. Much
counsel is given against injecting "theatrics" into pulpit address.' The co-
mingling of gospel proclamation with the histrionics of the stage actor is
clearly a major concern of Ellen White, and she repeatedly speaks against
it. However, the position arrived at through exhaustive study by our
researcher we believe to be a "standard" on which we can decidedly stand.
The position that all drama is inherently corrupt and incapable of
transmitting gospel truth is neither biblical nor in accordance with
Adventist church leaders, past or pres-ent. The Old Testament. sanctuary
service was, in its ritual, a ."dramatization" through metaphor of the
coming Messiah. Furthermore, God com-manded his people, several times
a year, to re-enact episodes of salvation -the most dramatic of which is the
Passover. These admonitions,. in spirit, were imported into Adventist
services long ago in the form of "13th-Sabbath Programs," which often
include short dramatic presentations by children and youth and culminate
with "observance" (actually a dramati-zation) of the washing of feet and
Last Supper of Jesus Christ. These are excellent evidences that the Lord
intends His people to employ the strengths of simple drama, while avoiding
the excesses and hysteria of worldly varieties. E.S.

Quarterly Drama

In your response to "theatrics" and "drama", October 2000, you implied that God
commanded his people sever-al times a year to re-enact episodes of salvation-
the most dramatic of which is the Passover—and for His people today to
dramamtize the washing of feet and Last Supper of Christ.

I believe there was a time when serious, genuine belief in the reenactment of the
PAssover went far beyond what is labeled as drama today.

In the dictionary, several definitions are listed under drama, and none fall under
biblical truth felt in the heart.

The Jews, after a time, did make the Passover a ritual (dramatic performance),
and I immagine Adventists have done the same with the ordinance of humility
and the Lords Supper. We have made foot-washing comfortable for everyone,
and attendance on commumion Sabbath declines dramatically....

To make this a dramatic performance would surly fall under this condemnation.

Robert Rouillard

Fircrest, Wash.

                                 Appendix 31 - C

      Author’s Letter to the September Gleanor Editorial on Drama

                            Lawrence R. Hawkins, MD

                            Practice Limited to Anesthesiology


                          374 SE Highland Park Drive

                           College Place, WA 99324
                                January 4, 2001

Northern Pacific Union Conference

Att: Mr. Edwin A. Schwisow

Gleaner

PO Box 16670

Portland OR 97292-0670

 Dear Mr. Schwisow,

  Your article in the September 2000 issue of the Gleaner entitled
“Surprising Facts About Drama and the Church” was a politically correct
expose of the current Seventh-day Adventist church and institutional
leadership’s love affair with drama, but it is not true to the facts. I am sure
that as a busy editor, you do not always have time to carefully check your
sources. This is apparent in your article drafted from Kenneth Field’s book,
Return Voyage.” Let me explain.

You first support your thesis in paragraphs three, four, and five that certain
types of drama are acceptable in Adventist churches and institutions by
giving your readers the impression that Ellen White “carefully qualifies her
warnings.” and “She counsels against sensational drama, habitual
attendance (italics mine), dramas that contained ‘low songs, lewd gestures,
expressions and attitudes’ that ‘deprave the imaginations and debase the
morals’.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol 4, p 653

I have reviewed every “hit” (the number of “hits” on each word is in
parentheses) in the 1999 Spirit of Prophecy research CD on the words
drama (42), dramas (4), actor (47), actors (69), actresses (6), fiction (86 ),
theater (139), theaters (43), and theatrical. All of these words, in context
with the dramatic arts, do not fail to reveal an across-the-board
condemnation of enacted programs.

Second, in paragraph seven you refer to Ellen White’s article entitled “The
Pros and Cons of Literary Societies” found in the January 4, 1881 Review
and Herald. You wrote, “ In a 1881 Review and Herald article, she uses the
illustration of a young woman who placed her wish to be an actress before
her desire for salvation. She condemns the behavior because of the young
woman’s priorities, not for her wish to become an actress.”

In this article there was recorded a real incident that took place with a
young Methodist woman who wanted to be an actress. It is apparent the
young woman wanted to be an actress more than her desire to give herself
over to Christ. It is also interesting to note that her first desire to be an
actress was awakened by the plays and skits she took part in as a member
of the Methodist Church. Ellen White introduces the incident as follows (and
by the way, she was writing this counsel to Seventh-day Adventist youth
literary societies):

        Many literary societies are in reality young theaters on a
        cheap scale, and they create in the youth a taste for the
        stage. While writing upon this point, my eye falls upon the
        following striking incident from real life. ( par. 5)

She then finishes the story with the following conclusion made by the writer
of this real life incident:

 And so the visitor turned sadly away, thinking for what miserable messes
of pottage men and women are willing to sell their glorious birthright as
children of God; thinking also of the seeds which are being sowed in
our Sunday-schools, the tares among the wheat, and the terrible
harvest that may yet spring up from this well-meant but injudicious
seed-sowing. (Par 23) (Emphasis supplied)

  Anyone willing to take the time to read the entire article would quickly
discern the true facts. Ellen White not only agreed with the disapproval of
the young woman’s desire to be an actress, but also agreed that the
dramatic arts conducted in her church ultimately lead her astray. Make no
mistake here, for it is apparent that Ellen White viewed drama practiced
within the church a serious danger to youth. In fact, the article was written
because Adventist Literary Societies had failed and degraded into “young
theaters on a cheap scale.”

And she gave the same counsel to the students living with families while
attending Battle Creek College.
        Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the
        theater. Instead of being a school of morality and virtue,
        as is so often claimed, it is the very hot-bed of immorality.
        Vicious habits and sinful propensities are strengthened
        and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs, lewd
        gestures, expressions, and attitudes, deprave the
        imagination and debase the morals. Every youth who
        habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in
        principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful
        to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions,
        and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober
        realities of life, than theatrical amusements. The love for
        these scenes increases with every indulgence, as the
        desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use. The
        only safe course is to shun the theater, the circus, and
        every other questionable place of amusement. —
        Testimonies, Vol. 4, pp. 652, 653. (Emphasis Supplied)

Some might deduce from this statement that she is writing against
“habitual” attendance rather than occasional attendance, which could be
appropriate. But, she is very clear that, “The only safe course is to shun the
theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement.” Ibid.
p.653

In the November 21, 1878 Review, in an article entitled “Holiday Presents,”
Ellen White penned the following counsel about fashionable “church
corruptions, dissipations, and festivals, which have a demoralizing influence
upon young and old.” and “The pulpit may defend festivals, dancing,
lotteries, fairs, and luxurious feasts, to obtain means for church purposes;
but let us participate in none of these things; for if we do, God's displeasure
will be upon us.” Par. 15. Then she makes this most pointed statement:

        Death, clad in the livery of Heaven, lurks in the pathway of
        the young. Sin is gilded over by church sanctity. These
        various forms of amusement in the churches of our day
        have ruined thousands who, but for them, might have
        remained upright and become the followers of Christ.
        Wrecks of character have been made by these fashionable
        church festivals and theatrical performances, and
        thousands more will be destroyed; yet people will not be
        aware of the danger, nor of the fearful influences exerted.
        Many young men and women have lost their souls through
        these corrupting influences. Par. 16. (Emphasis supplied)

For you to say, “she never condemns the dramatic arts themselves” (end of
paragraph five) is not accurate. Today, our churches and schools pride
themselves on producing “acceptable” drama that “illustrated the gospel”
and supposedly “does not contain ‘low songs, lewd gestures, expressions
and attitudes’ that ‘deprave the imaginations and debase the morals’.” (In
my paper, read about “The Crucible” produced by Walla Walla College
drama teachers and enacted by Walla Walla College students the fall of
2000.) But Ellen White counseled against attending even the highest type of
theatrical performances.

        There is an abundance of theatrical performances in
        our world, but in its highest order it is without God.
        We need now to point souls to the uplifted Saviour.
        Deceptions, impositions, and every evil work are in our
        world. Satan, the wily foe in angel’s garments, is working
        to deceive and destroy. The object of the death of Christ
        was to declare His righteousness, and no man, woman or
        child can do this in his own strength, or by his own words.
        11MR, p. 338 (Emphasis supplied)

Third, in paragraphs ten and eleven, you refer to a play Ellen White
attended as recorded in 2MR, pages 235-238 (Letter 5, 1888). You state
“--- Ellen White wrote a letter to the director, commenting that the children’s
lines were appropriate and commending the effort put forth. She then made
several specific suggestions on how to improve the production.” If you had
read the whole letter, you would have discovered the “rest of the story.”
Let’s look at the facts.

 On Sabbath morning, December 22, 1888, Ellen White attended a
theatrical performance put on by the Battle Creek Sabbath School in which
her six-year-old granddaughter, Ella W. White, was dressed as and acted
the part of an angel. There were props, actors, music, and poems. Four
days later, on Wednesday morning, December 26, 1888 she wrote a letter
to Brother Morse. In this letter it becomes obvious that Mrs. White did
condemn the program. ( The definitions of the word condemn is “to declare
to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil, usually after weighing evidence and
without reservation” —Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.)
The letter begins with, “I have risen at three o'clock this morning to write
you a few lines.” When you read the entire article, you will understand why
she made the following statement:

                I must say I was pained by these things, so out of
        order with the very work of reformation we were trying to
        carry forward in the church and with our institutions, that I
        should have felt better if I had not been present. —
        2MR, p. 236. (Emphasis supplied)

In fact, she made only three accepting remarks and twenty-two
disapproving remarks. Does that sound like a kind critique giving
suggestions on how to make the play better, or like a strong rebuke?

Fourth, in paragraphs twelve and thirteen, you refer to a paper entitled
“Dramatic Productions in SDA Institutions,” published February, 1963, and
authored by Arthur White. He makes the following statement on page one:
“Request has been received at the White Estate for the materials from the
pen of Ellen G. White which may have a bearing on the question of the
production of dramatic programs in SDA institutions.”

And why wouldn’t there have been questions? A television was in most
North American Adventist homes by then, Hollywood feature films were the
drawing power to church and institutional functions and many in leadership
were sympathetic with the dramatic arts. For example, Faith for Today was
making drama fashionable in the Adventist church by using it to “illustrate
the gospel.”

This was a time for the White Estates to reestablish the old landmarks
against an ever increasing church constituency and leadership who wanted
drama. Or was it time to find a way of compromise? Remember, the
Missionary Volunteer Society would soon be gone, the free speech, flower
power, rock music movements were on the ascendency, and the
“generation gap” had been proclaimed.

Yet there were many leaders, parents, and youth throughout the North
American who were deeply concerned because the senior colleges were
cranking up their drama departments and the English and literature
departments were adding more fiction to their required reading lists.
Especially note the thesis of Arthur White’s paper as contained in the
second paragraph of the first page:

                  A survey of these counsels fails to reveal an
        across-the-board condemnation of all enacted programs.
        In other words, Ellen White does not condemn a program
        just because it may be dramatized. In this respect the
        counsels touching dramatic productions are much like the
        counsels relating to sports, and interestingly, the two are
        treated together in two of the statements of caution. Mrs.
        White did not condemn the “simple exercise of playing
        ball,” (AH 499) but as she enumerated the principles
        involved, she pointed out the grave perils which usually
        accompanied sports activities. Mrs. White did not
        condemn the simple enacted program put on by the Battle
        Creek Sabbath School in 1888, but in many statements
        she clearly points out the many and almost sure perils
        which accompany “plays” and “theatrical programs.” —A.
        L. White, Dramatic Productions in SDA Institutions,
        February 1963. Par. 2

If this paragraph and the one which follows it and Arthur White’s
interpretation of Ellen White’s attitude toward the play she attended as
described above in 2MR, pages 235-238 (Letter 5, 1888) were left out of his
paper, anyone reading it would conclude that Ellen White had nothing but
condemnation for the use of drama. These two paragraphs and the
interpretation actually contradict the balance of his paper. For example, the
two concluding statements he quotes on page 8 clearly define Mrs. White’s
attitude toward drama.

                Jesus Christ is the example for the Christian in all things.
                Of Him she wrote:
           I have not been able to find one instance where He
           educated His disciples to engage in amusement of
           football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical
           exercise, or in theatrical performances, and yet Christ
           was our pattern in all things. —Fundamentals of
           Christian Education, p. 229.

A sound guiding principle to keep ever in mind in dealing with questions of
  the kind we have been studying is stated in Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 360:

             Our example and influence must be a power on the
             side of reform. We must abstain from any practice
             which will blunt the conscience or encourage
             temptation. We must open no door that will give Satan
             access to the mind of one human being formed in the
             image of God.

     Fifth, you state in paragraph fourteen, “In 1975, a General Conference
   special Committee on drama and its relationship to the Adventist Christian
     agreed with both Ellen and Arthur White.” If there had been a minority
   report written on this subject, I don’t think you would be so positive in your
  statement. In reality, the committee was held in 1974 and the committee put
                                out its report in 1975.

 On January 28-31, 1974, the General Conference convened a committee of
37 select individuals. Some read papers on the subject of competitive sports:
    others on the subject of drama. When I communicated with the General
Conference to gather information concerning this conference for my research
    on the inroads of drama into the Seventh-day Adventist church, the GC
archive workers were able to find only three papers that were scheduled to be
presented: those of Josephine Benton, J. H. Hancock, and Frank Knittel. Two
 other papers sent were apparently written for the committee but were not on
the agenda: those of Phyllis Paytee and Leslie Hardinge. Apparently the rest
have been lost or they did not present or turn in papers. Leslie Harginge and
  J. H. Hancock certainly would have authored a minority report if one were
 allowed. The report would have been strongly opposed to the idea that Ellen
                   White approved any kind of dramatic arts.

Sixth. To say in paragraph twenty-one, “---every liturgical act by the priests
was a symbolic representation – ‘a dramatization’ – of Christ’s saving grace.”
   is akin to blasphemy! No evidence can be found that God’s priests or
   messengers ever used drama in the sense that drama advocates use
                                 today.

    In a pamphlet written by David J. Lee entitled Drama? Truth-full? Or
                   Pretentious?, he explodes this myth.

        But did not God employ drama to Bible times? Yes, if by
     “drama” is meant activities which are unusual and grab
     people’s attention. But we have found no evidence that God’s
     messengers ever employed “drama” in the sense that drama-
     advocates today employ the term.

     On a number of occasions priests (as in the whole sanctuary
     service) and prophets (Isa. 20:2,3; Jer. 24:1-10; 27:2-12;
     32:1-19; Ezek. 4:1-5:4; 12:2-7) made graphic representations
     designed by God to convey a message to His backslidden
     people. (See Ed 41; CG 19: “figures and symbols… animated
     imagery.”) It should be noted that in giving these visual
     lessons, the messengers never surrendered their own
     individuality. Their visual “sermons” involved pain, suffering,
     and time, and were designed by God to awaken the
     curiosity, inquiry, and empathy of an insensible, “stiff-necked”
     people. They were not a mere “mime” or pretense or
     impersonation. They were a painful, prayerful reality! Of
     some of the sacrificial rituals, God declared His abhorrence
     (see Psalm 51:16, 17; Isa. 1:10-28). Indeed, He “gave them
     statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they
     should not live. And I polluted them in their own gifts” (Ezek.
     20:25, 26). He desired a loving, obedient relationship with
     them, not the bloody, sacrificial system (see Jer. 7:19-30). “In
     the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He
     commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30,
     NIV). (Emphasis supplied)

     We believe that it is unfair to cite the Old Testament
     sanctuary rituals and Ezekiel to defend pretentious drama.
     Those who cite their extreme efforts to touch hearts, might
     gain greater truth and power by fasting and prayer for
     modern Israel for 180 days+, as did Ezekiel! P.8.

Seventh, for you to say in paragraph sixteen, “Many moral and ethical
questions regarding drama and the Christian remain to be answered. Ellen
White never dealt with them specifically, but they deserve thoughtful
consideration.” is totally misleading. Let me say again, anyone who is
willing to take the time with the new CD of Ellen White’s complete published
writings and research the subject, will find an “across the board”
condemnation of the dramatic arts.
Finally, in your answer to Dennis Kendal’s letter “To the Editor” entitled
“Respectfully Disagree” in the October 2000 Gleaner, you again accept the
“facts” from the “exhaustive study our researcher [did that] we believe to be
a ‘standard’ on which we can decidedly stand.” In fact, you did not even
address his concern with the statement by Ellen White after she attended
the Sabbath School play at Battle Creek when she said, “I would have felt
better if I had not been present.”

You go on to say, “The position that all drama is inherently corrupt and
incapable of transmitting gospel truth is neither biblical nor in accordance
with Adventist church leaders, past or present.”

Your biblical evidence is, “The Old Testament sanctuary service was, in its
ritual, a ‘dramatization’ thru metaphors of the coming Messiah.” Again, “God
commanded his people, several times a year, to re-enact episodes of
salvation — the most dramatic of which is the Passover.” And finally,
“These admonitions, in spirit, were imported into Adventist services long
ago in the form of ‘13th Sabbath Programs,’ which often included short
dramatic presentations by children and youth and culminated with
‘observance’ (actually a dramatization) of the washing of feet and the Last
Supper of Jesus Christ.” These ideas are patently false. Please refer above
to the material quoted from the pamphlet authored by David J. Lee entitled
Drama? Truthfull? concerning the sanctuary services and the Passover. As
for the Lord’s Supper, no one plays my part in the service. It is a true
drama of life, not pretentious dramatic acting.

And the facts beg to differ with your statement, “---that all drama is
inherently corrupt and incapable of transmitting gospel truth is neither
biblical nor accordance with Adventist church leaders, past or
present.” (Emphasis supplied) Ellen White was very clear on her attitude
concerning drama, and so were the majority of church leaders until the
forties and fifties. You will find this evidence clearly portrayed in the
appendices of my paper enclosed.

I realize this letter is long. Perhaps it could be printed in several editions, or
better yet, after reading the enclosed paper, you would have sufficient
courage to write a sequel to your September Gleaner article and set the
record straight.

 Yours in Christ
 Lawrence R. Hawkins

 Enclosure

 Copy      Elder Jere D. Patzer and the pastoral staff of my church.

 PS: This letter in answer to your article and “To The Editor” has been
delayed because the drama paper was not finished until the end of
December.

                          Appendix 31 - D —
              Gleaner Editor’s Response to the Above Letter

 Hawkins- I

 Lawrence R. Hawkins, M.D.

374 SE Highland Park Drive

College Place, W A 99324

 Dear Brother Dr. Hawkins:

  You've put a lot of effort into the letter of Jan. 4, which I just finished
reading. I appreciate the sincerity and high quality of that effort, but I must
say with equal candor that I am not threatened by this divergence of opinion
regarding drama. I believe sincerely that the evidence from Ellen White's
writings portrays the dangers of a significant portion of the dramatic palate,
but not a wholesale indictment of historical and gospel enactments. To take
this position, even in the face of the severe criticism Sister White metes out
against some types of drama, is truly to run in the face of the clear evidence
of Scripture.

  Some feel that the yearly Hebrew/Jewish services WERE NOT
dramatizations. That's incorrect; they were. The gathering around the
Passover table and the service of reliving the Passover event, standing and
eating bitter herbs and unleavened bread, is CLEARLY an "entering in" of
the people (actors) into the "characters" of those who left Egypt. In these
enactments, the Jewish children clearly assumed the "voices" of people
centuries dead. Ditto for the feast of tabernacles, and so on and so forth.
The ancient Judean faith (which Jesus by and large observed, except for its
skewed values and hypocrisy) was filled with drama for educational
purposes.

  The position that all drama is inherently ungodly is akin to the ultra-
orthodox Hebrew position that all photography, all statuary, all man-made
depictions of created life, are a breaking of the second commandment. The
problem is that those who hold to this view disregard the fact that the
tabernacle of the Most High was filled with depictions of created beings.
Does God instruct people to break His own commandments? Certainly not.
The Bible explains itself, and the second commandment is clearly
contextualized by the rest of Exodus, that explicitly MANDATES artistic
recreations of created life.

 Likewise with drama. If the God of Our Fathers had ordained that NO
DRAMA should exist in His remnant camp, (1) Why is yearly dramatic-style
memorialization of Hebrew history mandated by Scripture; (2) Why is there
no specific condemnation of dramatic arts in Scripture; (3) Why does Ellen
White confine her derogatory statements on drama-related topics to "the
stage," and "theatrics," rather than explicitly stating, "Never shall a follower
of Jesus portray, or observe the portrayal, of another human being in a
dramatic setting," or words even approaching such a blanket disavowal.
The point is, no such statement exists, because Ellen White and Scripture
remain in intricate harmony.

  My recent article presents this view as its thesis statement, and holds to
that view in the response to the letter writer. Ditto for Arthur White and the
General Conference. I cannot imagine that Arthur White would have the
effrontery to "mince" or "bias" his grandmother's words--to twist her intent to
make her say diametrically the opposite of what she truly meant. The tenor
of Arthur's life was not to distort, but to dignify the teachings of his
grandmother.

Where you and I find KEEN AGREEMENT is in our overwhelming distaste
for contemporary drama, current Hollywood programming, and the tawdry,
sensual messages portrayed so expertly by the craft of the day. Our
disagreement comes when I say, on the one hand, that good drama can
and should be employed to counteract amoral and immoral drama; you
stand fast in your view that danger lies in using drama of any kind.
 Hawkins- 2

  David J. Lee, in has allusion to Ezekiel 20:25, 26, I believe does us all an
injustice in suggesting that God literally subjected His people to "statutes
that are not good."

 Read with me in the Adventist Bible Commentary what learned,
conservative theologians have to say, "The statutes the people had
adopted, which were not good, came from the heathen round about them.
But how can it be said that God gave these to them? In Bible figure, many
acts are attributed to God, not with the idea that He actually performs them,
but from the point of view that in His omnipotence and omniscience He
does not prevent them. An understanding of this principle helps to explain
many apparently contradictory statements, which, like the one here under
consideration, seem to contradict flatly the Bible teaching that God's
character is pure and holy."

 So I would implore you to hold true to what you have. Perhaps for you,
complete abstinence from drama is the only sure course. That's great! The
Lord works in mysterious ways. And your emphasis upon the problems
associated with drama are right to the point. We NEED folks like you who
can step forward and say, "Yes, this is morally wrong. We must repent. We
must change course."

You and I are equally distressed by the moral turpitude of the theater and
the liberal leanings through the ages of professional stage actors. And it's
tempting to say, "The history of drama is so sordid, and the admonitions
against it by the Prophet so stringent, to be on the safe side, we as
Adventists should not even touch this unclean thing."

  We differ, but in our love for the Lord and in our desire to be with Him
soon, we are brothers. We need not alienate ourselves from one another on
this issue. The Holy Spirit will lead us. Let us not become overwrought
because of these questions of methodology and prescriptive righteousness.
Complete abstinence from worldly drama is a wonderful goal; complete
dedication to drama that lifts of Jesus can certainly be an equal blessing, in
this end time.

 Yes, I would entertain an article on the dangers of drama, but I feel
convicted that it would be inappropriate to go that extra step and advocate
complete removal of drama from the gospel tool chest. The Bible clearly
does not prohibit drama, and in fact in places mandates it. When in doubt
about Ellen White's statements, we must turn to Scripture to interpret her
sayings. I have done that, and find her less than entirely prohibitionist
toward Christian drama.

 I wish you well in this new year. Please feel free to write me at any time. I
will be diligent and prayerful in my responses, as I have been here.

 Schwisow, Editor

GLEANER Magazine

                        CONTINUE APPENDIX 31 E

                              RETURN TO TOC
                                DRAMA

                                   and the



            SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                               Appendix 31 - E

                      — Author’s Letter To Elder Patzer

                           Lawrence R. Hawkins, MD

                      Practice Limited to Anesthesiology

                          374 SE Highland Park Drive

                           College Place, WA 99324

                                January 4, 2001

Elder Jere Patzer

NPUC

               PO Box 16670

Portland, OR 97292-0670

 Dear Elder Patzer,
 Enclosed you will find a copy of a letter written to Ed Schwisow concerning his
article in the September 2000 Gleaner, as well as his answer to a letter in “To the
Editor” in the October 2000 Gleaner. Also enclosed is a paper I have written entitled
“Drama and the Seventh-day Adventist Church”.

  For many years the Gleaner has displayed articles depicting churches using drama
to “bundle the Gospel.” Then recently, the church I attend decided to establish a
drama group with the intent to produce and enact dramas. This decision stimulated
me to begin a study from the counsel of Ellen White and leaders (up to the forties) of
the Seventh-day Adventist church on their attitude and counsel concerning drama. It
soon became apparent that the churches present day “love affair” with drama is not
in harmony with that counsel.

To ensure that my approach was balanced in the development of this paper, I shared
it with your father some months ago. He said he thought it should be required
reading for every youth pastor. He is deeply concerned about the proliferation of
drama in Adventist churches and institutions.

Your stand on the inroads of higher critical teaching in the Walla Walla College
Theology Department was deeply appreciated by those of us who helplessly watched
as student after student left the college with their Adventist foundation eroded or
sometimes destroyed. This has not been a popular stand for you to take, but
progress is being made, and we are thankful for new conservative Theologians
joining the Theology Department staff.

The stand this paper on drama takes is not popular, for drama has become an
accepted method of “bundling the Gospel” in many Adventist churches and
educational institutions. This planet and its inhabitants appear to be very close to the
Masters return. Unfortunately, Satan and his host have infiltrated the Remnant
Church through drama. It is my hope and prayer that this paper will help warn the
saints about his cunningly devised plans.

I have taken the liberty to share a copy of your letter, Edwin Schwisow’s letter, and
copy of my paper with my church pastoral staff.

Yours in Christ,

Lawrence R. Hawkins

Enclosures

                                  Appendix 32

                   Copy of WWC Poster Advertising “The Crucible”
Play

       Appendix 33
      “Student brings his adaptation of C.S. Lewis book to WWC stage”

                                     Walla Walla Union Bulletin, May 9, 2001

                                              by Aydrea Walden

SUMMARY: A Walla Walla College student will see his play based on C.S. Lewis’ “The Great
Divorce” debuted Saturday.

--------------------------------------

Shimmering spirits and translucent ghosts debate the merits of their earthly life and the
fundamentals of heaven and hell.

Bradley Nelson brings the characters to life with his adaptation of the C.S. Lewis’ book, “The
Great Divorce.”

Lewis wrote the book in 1945 in response to William Blake’s book, “The Marriage of Heaven and
Hell.” Blake said the roads of life are like the radii of a circle — that they all eventually lead to the
center, or God. This theory says that evil will eventually transform into good.

Lewis wanted to prove this wrong. In his book, he uses himself as a traveler journeying through
heaven and hell.

In heaven, people are solid and colors are bright. In hell, people as [sic] phantoms whose weight
can’t even make an impression on the grass.

The imagery piqued Nelson’s interest and inspired his writing of the play.

“It’s going to be a multimedia experience,” he said.

The set is white, with the three stage walls making three screens where hell’s characters are
projected.

Nelson said there was such a distinction between the characters in Lewis’ book that he wanted to
make a “visual metaphor on stage.”

Nelson and director Marilynn Loveless filmed the actors in front of a blue screen[,] then filled the
backgrounds with trees, brightly colored flowers and at one point, unicorns.

With some editing, the human characters appear to fade in and out of their backgrounds, timed
with action on the stage.

Nelson has gone through four major script revisions since starting the project.
The first changes came at the behest of the C.S. Lewis Foundation in England. Nelson had to
contact the estate to get an adaptation license.

“They were just trying to make sure I stayed true to the book itself,” he said.

Loveless, who has worked with Nelson from the first draft, said the student playwright held his
ground with some of the changes, willing to compromise, but wanting to make his point.

“He’d argue with them,” she said.

Other versions are the result of Lewis’ highbrow language.

“When Lewis writes, he writes very richly and intellectually,” Nelson said. “Some of (the change)
is just making sure the dialogue is accessible to everyone.”

Nelson said he tried to keep the core messages in the script while discarding some of the
complicated philosophy.

In all, it took more than 50 people to produce the show, including a cast of 28 students.

“This whole thing is very much a collaborative process. The only thing I can really claim is the
script itself,” Nelson said. “And even that is collaborating with C.S. Lewis.”

                                          Appendix 34

                          - Walla Walla Union Bulletin Article, May 9, 2001
CONTINUE APPENDIX 35

   RETURN TO TOC
                            DRAMA

                               and the



            SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                             Appendix 35


            A Tragedy at Walla Walla College
    Observations of WWC Institute of Bible, Church & Culture (IBCC)

                     School of Theology Seminar

                            April 24, 1999

                             URGENT
                           ACTION NEEDED

                            Participants
Chairman:
Ernie Bursey, Dean of the School of Theology. Ph.D. from Yale University in New
Testament. In demand for speaking appointments and workers’ meetings throughout
North America.

 Presenters:

Bruce Johanson, Professor of Biblical Studies. D.Th. from University of Uppsala in New
Testament.

Glen Greenwalt, Professor of Systematic Theology.* Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in
Systematic Theology. Recognized for challenging students to think honestly and
creatively. Persistently demands that we relate in theologically responsible ways to the
world around us and maintain integrity and relevance.

 Respondents:

Sali Jo Hand,* IBCC Visiting Professor of Biblical Studies. M.Div. from Andrews
University in Theology and Youth Ministries. She has joined the theology faculty this
year, supported by the Institute of Bible, Church & Culture. She is poised to make a
significant contribution to the School of Theology through her teaching and by providing
a role-model for women who are taking theology. Other interests include music, drama,
archaeology, etc.

Wally Lyder, Senior Theology major.

  (Biographical information gleaned from hand out sheets supplied to those attending
the seminar)

*(See Addendum, end of paper)

  The Institute of Bible, Church & Culture

   Described as an outreach program of the School of Theology

Divine Warnings:
 Before we look at this seminar presented by the religion teachers at the college, it is
well that we carefully examine the following instruction from the Lord as a basis for our
evaluation of what was being presented.
“A new life is coming from heaven and taking possession of God’s people. But divisions
will come in the church. Two parties will be developed. The wheat and tares grow up
together for the harvest.” (2SM 114)

“The two opposing parties will continue to exist till the closing up of the last great
chapter in this world’s history. Satanic agencies are in every city. We cannot afford to
be off our guard for one moment. (4BC 1142-3)

“I repeat, He is not leading anyone by His Holy Spirit to frame a theory that will unsettle
faith in the solemn messages He has given His people to bear to our world.” (2SM 115)

“The light that God has been pleased to give to His people will not weaken their
confidence in the path in which He has led them in the past, but will strengthen them to
hold fast the faith. We must hold the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end.
‘Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God,
and the faith of Jesus. (Rev. 14:12).’ “ (2SM 115-116)

“In these days of delusion, everyone who is established in the truth will have to contend
for the faith once delivered to the saints. Every variety of error will be brought out in the
mysterious working of Satan, which would, if possible, deceive the very elect, and turn
them from the truth.…

“The Lord has given men a rule by which to detect them: ‘To the law and the testimony;
if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ (Isa.
8:20). If they belittle the law of God, if they pay no heed to His will as revealed in the
testimonies of His Spirit, they are deceivers.” (7BC 952)

“The churches must be guarded, and warned against deception. Christ gave Himself for
us, to redeem us from all iniquity, that He might purify unto Himself a peculiar people,
zealous of good works. His church must be kept free from all false doctrine.” 5T 485

“God works through those who hear and obey His voice, those who will if need be,
speak unpalatable truths, those who do not fear to reprove popular sins. The reason
why He does not oftener choose men of learning and high position to lead out in reform
movements, is that they trust to their creeds, theories, and theological systems, and feel
no need to be taught of God. Only those who have a personal connection with the
Source of wisdom are able to understand or explain the Scriptures. Men who have little
of the learning of the schools are sometimes called to declare the truth, not because
they are unlearned, but because they are not too self-sufficient to be taught of God.
They learn in the school of Christ, and then humility and obedience make them
great.” (GC 456)

“The battle is on... Where are His watchmen? Are they standing on the high tower,
giving the danger signal, or are they allowing the peril to pass unheeded?” (1SM 194)

“Will the men in our institutions keep silent, allowing insidious fallacies to be
promulgated to the ruin of souls?… Is it not time that we asked ourselves, Shall we
allow the adversary to lead us to give up the work of proclaiming the truth?… Vigilant
action is called for. Indifference and sloth will result in the loss of personal religion and
of heaven.” (1SM 195)

“My Message to you is: No longer consent to listen without protest to the perversion of
truth. Unmask the pretentious sophistries which is received, will lead ministers and
physicians and medical missionary workers to ignore the truth. Every one is now to
stand on his guard. God calls upon men and women to take their stand under the blood-
stained banner of Prince Emanuel. I have been instructed to warn our people’ for many
are in danger of receiving theories and sophistries that undermine the foundation pillars
of the faith.” (1SM 195-6)

 Observer’s Personal Perspective
  It is my wish to be honest, accurate and fair in my reporting of this seminar. But I must
confess that I am not a disinterested observer. My background of experience has
dictated that I approach this task with great caution and careful discrimination. My heart
and soul have been deeply involved with Walla Walla College since I enrolled here in
the Theology program in the fall of 1946, graduating in 1949. In later years in addition to
my private clinical psychology practice, I did some consulting and taught advanced
psychology courses at the college for about 15 years.

I am moved with concern for the souls of those who have been promoting their liberal
ideas, but even more am I distressed for the spiritual wreckage of precious youth whose
faith has been destroyed by the pleasingly deceptive ideas of teachers in whom they
have learned to trust. Certainly the Lord has made clear His concerns also:

“Therefore my people are going into captivity,… Woe unto them that call evil good, and
good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and
sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own
sight!” (Isa. 5"13, 20-21)

“I have been shown that the greatest reason why the people of God are now found in
this state of spiritual blindness is that they will not receive correction.… Satan has ability
to suggest doubts and to devise objections to the pointed testimony that God sends and
many think it a virtue, a mark of intelligence in them, to be unbelieving and to question
and quibble.” (3T 255)

Though I believe that there are sincere, dedicated, and faithful SDA teachers in the
school, it appears that by and large the whole college has been infiltrated and
influenced by the modernist, higher critical thinking that results in an abdication of
foundational Biblical truths.

As a result, over time, the school has become essentially, a secular college, dedicated
to competing with the academic world in educating young people for status building
pursuits of money and position, yet giving passing claim that they are attempting to
retain Adventist “traditions.” Traditions are not defined. The consequence of all of this
has been to open the floodgates of worldly conformity and to destroy the faith of
priceless Christian young people who have come to the college expecting to be
prepared for a life of Christian service. This is a tragedy beyond words.

I have worked with young people going through this experience of disillusionment.
Some we have studied with were able, with God’s grace, to help rescue from losing
their faith and direction, but it is a scary thing that can only be an invention of the enemy
of souls. This is why, even though now for a number of years severely limited by
prolonged illness, I become so deeply grieved and concerned, fasting and praying and
searching for ways to lend my feeble voice to help stem the tide of apostasy that is
destroying precious candidates for the kingdom.

A couple of years ago as a result of accumulated complaints and similar concerns
expressed widely by constituents of the college, the college board named a special
committee to investigate the problems and report back with recommendations for
changes that may be indicated. After an extended period the special committee
produced a report. In it there were a number of recommendations for desirable
changes. This was a first step toward improving the situation. But throughout this
process there was a general denial that there was anything fundamentally wrong with
the college program other than that there was a greater need to sell the program more
effectively to the public served by the college.

Subsequently, there has been a noticeably accelerated public relations effort by the
college to convince constituents and supporters of the college that all is well and to
make more prominent the religious advantages of the school. But I am afraid that many
of our people are not going to see through these deceptive ploys. It is so much more
pleasant to be lulled to sleep by the peace and safety message like the college
president’s recent declaration published in the Westwind, a slick periodical promoting
the college to all alumni, that, “The commission concluded that in every case the stories
it examined were without foundation in truth.” I am afraid that a lot of people will buy
such smooth propaganda.

But not all. Still ringing in my ears is the phone call from a former WWC student who
exploded, “When I saw that statement, it made me so angry! I was there. I know what
happens and somebody is just not telling the truth!”

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of my graduating class from WWC, I was sent
a biographical questionnaire by the Alumni Office. Among the long list of questions was
the request that I relate what was my worst memory of WWC. I honestly and sadly
responded as follows:

“One of the most painful experiences of my life was observing first hand, precious SDA
young people coming to the College for a Christian education and tragically having their
faith, piece by piece, destroyed by doubt infected, liberal theological teachings of some
faculty. Especially was this true of the higher critical perspective of those in the School
of Theology.”

There was a quick response from the Alumni Office requesting that I allow them to
delete this statement from my questionnaire. The explanation given was that the college
had just gone through a painful period of turmoil and controversy and they were now in
a process of healing and did not want to reopen old wounds. I explained that though I
appreciated their position, my reading of Eze. 3 convinced me that I could not withdraw
my honest observation and be a faithful watchman in Zion. I observed that I knew some
changes had been promised but feared there was danger that these could be but
cosmetic and window dressing without making fundamental changes in the real
problems. I was assured the changes were genuine and they hoped they could prove
this to me at the alumni home coming. It was my sincere hope that this could indeed by
true. It was with this hope and expectation that I chose to attend the School of Theology
presentation scheduled for the Alumni weekend.
 “Errors will be presented in a pleasing and flattering manner. False theories, clothed
with garments of light, will be presented to God’s people... Minds will be
hypnotized.” (8T 293)

“We cannot afford to be deceived. We must point our people to the old landmarks:
obey the command given me, ‘Meet it.’.” (Letter Nov. 11, 1903)

“Today Satan is seeking opportunities to tear down the way-marks of truth,—the
monuments that have been raised up along the way.” (GW 103)

“As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that only those
who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from
error.” (7BC 907)

“We must follow the directions given through the spirit of prophecy. We must love and
obey the truths for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions.” (8T
298)



                                        The Seminar

                                   Advertised as:

                          Current Issues in Adventist

                                The Eternal SABBATH

                                for Changing Times
This was a carbon copy of dozens of scientific and academic conferences I have found
it necessary to attend through the years. There is a rather fixed, formal format where
distinguished presenters “strut their stuff” by putting on display their academic acumen
and the results of their recent studies. There is much use of big words, esoteric
concepts and complex technical terms. The main speakers are then followed by
respondents who are expected to say nice things about what they have just heard but
also have opportunity to display their own academic expertise in the process.

The general effect is quite amusing when you compare it to the china pheasants in my
orchard putting on their colorful display, desperately trying to attract a female. but in
reality it is a sad display of worldliness. It is a highly sophisticated and fine tuned
exercise in prideful display of “learning” disguised as a sincere and genuine effort to
share new information. It is a deeply deceptive, highly effective device for competitive
prideful display and people of the world love it. The whole thing is so deceptive that one
can easily get caught up in this charade of the academic culture without being aware of
how they have been seduced into this prideful worship of worldly wisdom.

At this seminar, while purporting to stand as advocates of the sacredness and values of
the Sabbath there were frequent and subtle remarks and insinuations casting doubt on
the validity of traditional SDA Bible teachings. It is a sad commentary on how far we
have come when we feel the need to copy such devices of the world under the guise of
sharing the message of the Gospel. What I saw was the same prideful display of
academic prowess using the philosophical and theological gymnastics of the world. Yet
it was so cleverly disguised and smoothly and appealingly packaged that if possible the
very elect would be at risk of being deceived. Certainly anyone would be easy prey who
was not solidly grounded in the Word and the Spirit of Prophecy.

The presenters appeared to be sincerely deceived by their own worldly “wisdom.” As
teachers to whom the youth look to as paragons of wisdom and learning and models of
sophisticated thinking, they constitute one of the most dangerous snares one could
devise to poison the vulnerable minds of those under their charge.

It is possible there may be rare occasions where it may be appropriate to display one’s
scholarly astuteness to catch the ear of someone who only thinks in these terms, but
hear just a caution from an old player and slow learner. From personal experience and
study of the experience of the Apostle Paul, I have become convinced that the most
effective approach is to stick to the simplicity of God’s message for this end time. Again
God helps us understand the issue through these words of Ellen White:

“At the close of his labors he (Paul) looked for the results of his work. Out of the large
assembly that had listened to his eloquent words, only three had been converted to the
faith. He then decided that from that time he would maintain the simplicity of the gospel.
He was convinced that the learning of the world was power less to move the hearts of
men, but that the gospel was the power of God to salvation.” (RH Aug. 3, 1911)

Again we are warned, “Paul was a very great teacher, yet he felt that without the Spirit
of God working with him, all the education he might obtain would be of little account. We
need to have this same experience; we need to be afraid of ourselves. We need
individually to sit at the feet of Jesus, and listen to His words of instruction.” (MS 84,
1901, also 6BC 1084)
“Human strength is weakness, human wisdom is folly. Our success does not depend on
our talents or learning, but on our living connection with God. The truth is shorn of its
power when preached by men who are seeking to display their learning and ability.
Such men display also that they know very little of experimental religion, that they are
unsanctified in heart and life, and are filled with vain conceit.” (5T 158-9)

Under inspiration Paul himself gave this testimony: “For it is written, I will destroy the
wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is
the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made
foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor. 1:19-20)

Regarding prideful display, God is equally forthright in letting us know His view. “Every
one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join hand, he shall
not be unpunished.” (Prov. 16:18) “Those who seek to honor themselves will not be
honored by Him.” (Series B, No. 5, p. 154)

   The First Presenter
 Labeling himself as a specialist in early church history, the first speaker addressed the
change of the Sabbath to Sunday in the early church. He examined a statement of one
of the early church fathers that the Catholics have used as evidence of very early
Christian observance of Sunday. Here he demonstrated his skill in the use of higher
critical methods of exegetical analysis of this early Greek fragment, arguing that the
passage does not really support the early observance of Sunday as claimed.

At the same time, referring frequently to the work of Samuele Bacchiocchi, he argued
that the change was very gradual and came about over a relatively long period of time,
mostly as a social and cultural trend motivated by Christians wishing to distance
themselves from the religion of the Jews who were increasingly being held in social
contempt. While acknowledging that the change had been made, he argued that it had
evolved as a more gradual development than is suggested by most SDA evangelists
who point only to the edict of Constantine in 321 A.D. The insinuation being that SDA
teachings have been based upon inadequate historical scholarship.

There is no argument with the concept that the change from Sabbath to Sunday
observance came about gradually. But the frequent distressing implications and
insinuations peppering the presentations like little seeds of doubt are bound to have
their intended effect of growing a crop of disbelief in the very divine teachings they are
purporting to support.         The fact that the process of the change from Sabbath to
Sunday observance was gradual and involved social, cultural and political factors is of
academic interest. This is the current emphasis of Catholic scholars and authorities who
place the ultimate spiritual authority upon the teachings and traditions of men rather
than on the clear Word of God.

This presenter, however, gave little attention to the primary and most significant factor
in the process of the change of the Sabbath. Following the prophecies of Scripture,
works by early SDA historians and revelations of God’s messenger to the end time
church are replete with scholarly historical documentation supporting the fact that it was
compromise and accommodation of Christianity with the worldly customs and beliefs of
paganism that brought about the crowning mark of the great apostasy, the change of
the Sabbath. 1

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Ellen White graphically describes the process in
The Great Controversy at the beginning of her chapter describing the apostasy. This
passage serves also as a cogent warning to us today of the terrible risks of
compromising with the world and its ecumenical ideas.

“Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in
strength and gained control of the minds of men, the mystery of iniquity carried forward
its deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism
found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was
restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under
paganism. But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces
of kings, she said aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles for the pomp
and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she
substituted human theories and traditions. The nominal conversion of Constantine, in
the early part of the fourth century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, cloaked with a
form of righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly
progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her
doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of
the professed followers of Christ.

“This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of
the ‘man of sin’ foretold in prophesy as opposing and exalting himself above God.” (GC
49-50)

During the discussion period this man made a very interesting and telling observation.
He reflected that over the years while serving as a Bible teacher in American SDA
schools, he noted a significant difference between students before, and more recently,
after returning from 15 years in Europe where he also obtained his doctorate at the
University of Uppsala. In the past he observed that SDA students were much more
caught up in concern about Christian standards of behavior and obedience (“legalism”
according to his liberal theological perspective) but that they were much more
knowledgeable about the Bible. They knew their Bibles.

In contrast some 15 years later he observed that the college students he encountered
were much freer from “legalism” or concern with keeping of the commandments and
were more comfortable with a religion of grace (the “anything goes” abandonment of
Christian standards spawned by their liberal theology) but at the same time these
students were generally ignorant of the content of their Bibles. He noted that other of his
colleagues had made similar observations.

To him it seemed a kind of paradox that less understanding of the Bible should be
associated with a “superior” type of religious experience. The fearful implication here,
not likely to be missed by any observant student, is that the less you study your Bible
and follow the teachings of men, the better off you will be spiritually.

The irony here is how blinding can be the deceptions of these liberal, new theology
teachings. To this observer it seems obvious that what he is seeing, but does not
understand, is that those who are ignorant of the teachings of the Bible are the most
vulnerable victims of this cheep grace type of theology. Whereas those who have
studied their Bible for themselves know that Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my
commandments.” (John 14:15). And, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we
keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his
commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 4 - 5) Sadly, today, we
see in our own beloved college, fulfillment of God’s words to this generation:

“In the professedly Christian world, many turn away from the plain teachings of the
Bible, and build up a creed from human speculation and pleasing fables: and they point
to their tower as a way to climb up to heaven. Men hang with admiration upon the lips of
eloquence while it teaches that the transgressor shall not die, that salvation may be
secured without obedience to the law of God. If the professed followers of Christ would
accept God’s standard, it would bring them into unity; but so long as human wisdom is
exalted above his Holy word, there will be divisions and dissension.” (PP 124)
__________

1
  See as examples: Andrews, J. N., History of the Sabbath and First Day of the Week, Review & Herald Pub. Assn.
1887. Andrews. J. N. and Conradi, L. R. History of the Sabbath and First Day of the Week, Fourth Edition, Revised
and Enlarged, Review & Herald Pub. Assn. 1912. Bible Readings for the Home Circle, Pacific Press, 1914. White, E.
G. The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan, Pacific Press, 1888, 1907, 1911. Though Ellen White never
identified herself as an authority on history, she did cite more than 400 references to some 88 authors and authorities
in the 1911 edition of The Great Controversy. See 3SM 434.


            The Second Presenter
 To the superficial listener probably the most pleasant and memorable presentation
would have been that of the second presenter. From the standpoint of the careful
observer this presentation was by far the most dangerously deceptive and subtly
seductive in its attempt to undermine one’s confidence in the Scriptures and the
Adventist end time message.

The presentation, like that of the others was smooth, pleasing, and articulate, giving the
impression of a high level of scholarly accomplishments. He frequently cited examples
of his ideas from worldly literary sources, but exhibited little interest in establishing a
Biblical foundation for his teachings. His presentation could well be a classic
demonstration of how to successfully use advanced techniques of a form of mind
control that is but a highly disguised form of hypnotic manipulation of the minds of his
audience.

This speaker introduced his remarks with the observation that he always enjoyed
picture books so he proposed to show some pictures for the audience to enjoy while he
was talking. This was a curious stratagem. Unless pictures are designed to help explain
the concepts they wish to communicate, most speakers would choose to have the
undistracted attention of their hearers. But to make this situation “curiouser and
curiouser” the speaker went on to comment that his pictures may or may not seem to
have anything to do with what he was talking about but in actuality they may or may not.
By this simple devise he created in the minds of his audience a state of bewilderment
and a distracting, puzzling over the role and relation the pictures might have to his
message. Some would give up the struggle and sit back and enjoy the pictures. In
either case the viewers’ minds were distracted from critically focusing on the words and
message of the speaker.

Here we must digress for a moment to comment upon this particular device. Only one
with some understanding of this methodology would be apt to recognize the use and
intent of the technique being used. It is in reality a highly disguised form of mind
manipulation and control of hypnotism. Sometimes in its more disguised applications it
is associated with terms such as neurolinguistic programming of NLP.

Its most familiar form is in its constant use in television advertising. The purpose is to
focus the viewer’s attention on the picture so that while you are thus engaged, another
message can be pumped or imprinted into your brain while your critical judgment and
natural defenses are down or disengaged. It is a very clever but Satanic form of mind
control or manipulation.

Now as you will recall from television advertising, the picture may or may not seem to
have any relevance to the advertising message you are expected to receive in your
brain and some time later hopefully respond to, often not even knowing why you have
the impulse to do so. Sometimes the message may be subtly conveyed in the picture in
a way that reinforces the accompanying verbal message. At other times the picture may
simply be a nonsensical mishmash of images that leaves you confused and wondering
what was that all about. But it has served its purpose. First, it held your attention while
the verbal message was pumped into your brain. Second, it was so confusing that it had
you concentrating on trying to figure out what it was all about, thus diverting your critical
judgment from the real message being deposited into your mind. Often the impact of the
message can be compounded by skillfully combining both of these devices. The whole
intent is to bypass your critical judgment and get ideas into your thinking that you would
readily reject if your moral defenses were not diverted.

These devices appear to have been very smoothly and adroitly accomplished by the
second speaker is his presentation. His comment that the pictures may or may not
seem to be related to his presentation left the audience confused and puzzled over
what does this picture have to do with his topic of discussion. And while their critical
judgment was thus diverted, he could pump into their brains any kind of unbiblical
theological nonsense without their being able to adequately defend against it.

The pictures generally were very skillfully done. They covered a wide range of subjects
selected to appeal to one with an acute aesthetic sense. One was of a colored door
next to a standing sewer pipe against a stuccoed wall, a study in values. Others were
idyllic pastoral scenes, some clouded with foggy mists, etc. The arrangement or
sequence seemed to have no rhyme or reason but generally would fall into the modern
or avant guard art style. The unspoken message here is one of encouraging daring
departure from conventional rules of seeing things. It is an effort to force one to
abandon old values and to perceive the world in new or non-traditional ways.

This was precisely what the speaker was trying to communicate theologically, i.e. to
push the audience to reject traditional, conventional, well tested, divinely inspired truths
and to explore and accept the mythologizing, philosophical fantasies he was trying to
sell as newly discovered truth.

God has given us some very pointed warnings about this type of activity. “The theory of
mind controlling mind was originated by Satan, to introduce himself as the chief worker,
to put human philosophy where divine philosophy should be. Of all the errors that are
finding acceptance among professedly Christian people, none is a more dangerous
deception, none more certain to separate men from God, that this... It opens the door
through which Satan will enter to take possession both of the mind that is given up to be
controlled by another, and of the mind that controls.” (MH 243)

“Any man, be he minister or layman, who seeks to compel or control the reason of any
other man, becomes an agent of Satan, to do his work, and in the sight of the heavenly
universe he bears the mark of Cain.” (BC 1087)

It is or more than passing interest that this promise of mind expanding thinking was the
device that Satan used so successfully with Eve in the Garden of Eden. What are these
new theological “truths” in this and the other speaker’s package? These will be
discussed below. But, raising serious questions as to where this man’s real allegiance
lay was his comment that in his review of the Pope’s recent encyclical, Dies Domini,
urging the observance of Sunday, he found much more solid theology than he had seen
in his study of SDA sources.

          The Respondents
 The first respondent was a senior Theology student who was clearly an exhibit “A” to
demonstrate the quality of product produced by the School of Theology of Walla Walla
College. This Black man, who appeared to be somewhat older than the usual college
senior, spoke with freedom as if long accustomed to public speaking. Though
designated as respondent to the formal presentations of his professors, he gave only
passing assent to the views they had expressed and chose instead to focus primarily
upon the meaning the Sabbath had in his own personal experience.

He recounted the customs of Sabbath observance in his boyhood home in the West
Indies. Later as his family emigrated to Canada with all of the problems of adjusting to a
new culture, he recalled the Sabbath as a sacred anchor of meaning, belonging and
continuity. As he spoke from the heart, one became convinced that though he had been
tainted by the influences of his teachers, the real meaning of the Sabbath to him came
more from the influences of a genuine Christian home than from anything he had
learned from his theologizing professors. His comments were like an island of
wholesomeness in an ocean of deceptive confusion.

If the first respondent was exhibit “A”, the second respondent had to be exhibit “A+” but
of an entirely different type. As identified in their printed announcement, “She is poised
to make a significant contribution to the School of Theology through her teaching and
providing a role model for women who are taking theology.” This last speaker was
obviously a showcase demonstration of conformity to the NAD President’s Commission
on Women in Ministry, especially to Sections II,E and IX. This is the feminist motivated
policy of the North American Division of SDA designed to do an end run around the vote
of two General Conference World sessions where the idea of ordination of women was
flatly rejected. By this little publicized, devious device, ordination is now simply called by
another name, i.e., “commissioned”, which is to be equivalent in all respects to
ordination. The result is that the involvement of women in all levels of ministerial roles is
not only accepted but pushed by vigorous NAD mandate. 2

Remember, that this speaker is a showcase example of the new order of ministerial
leadership to be expected in our churches, conferences, unions, etc. In addition she is
acknowledged to be a role model for young women who aspire to positions of
ministerial leadership in the church. As a role model, we must ask ourselves, what kind
of image and message will she be modeling to Christian young women coming to the
college with interests in lives of Christian service.

Sporting the obscenely abbreviated miniskirt of current fashion, the immediate
unspoken message to the youth from this “model” is that the goddess of fashion is
sovereign, and that God’s standards of modesty and virtue are no longer valid or of
importance.

This is in blatant defiance of the words of Scripture where the Apostle Paul under the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit instructed that women should, “adorn themselves in modest
apparel with shamefacedness [modesty of character] and sobriety.… But (which
becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” (1 Tim. 2:9-10) It was Paul
also who said that, “Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ,” “known and
read of all men.” (2 Cor. 3:3, 2)

“A person’s character is judged by his style of dress. A refined taste, a cultivated mind,
will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire. Chaste simplicity in
dress, when united with modesty of demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young
woman with that atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a
thousand perils.” (Edu. 248)

There is no doubt that our general appearance and dress is continually making an
important public statement.

In his book Christian Dress and Adornment, (pp. 62-63), Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, to
whom the presenters frequently referred, has shared some revealing insight from a
leading fashion designer of women’s clothes today as to what the public statement of
today’s fashion is really saying.

“Mary Quant, the mother of the mini-skirt and Britain’s successful designer of women’s
ready-to-wear clothes, says that her aim is ‘to dress women so men would feel like
tearing the wrapping off.’ She designs clothes to shock, because she believes, ‘If the
clothes don’t make you noticed, then I think they’re a waste of money.’ She coined the
dictum, ‘Good taste is death’ vulgarity life.’ When asked, ‘What is the point of fashion,
where is it leading?’ Mary Quant promptly relied, ‘Sex.’

“In an interview published in Newsweek, Mary Quant explained, in words almost too raw
to quote, what the miniskirt represents to her: ‘Am I the only woman who has ever
wanted to go to bed with a man in the afternoon? Any law-abiding female, it used to be
taught, waits until after dark. Well, there are lots of girls who do not want to wait. Mini-
clothes are symbolic of them.’

           2
 __________ For more on this critical issue, see Adventists Affirm, Fall 1998 issue.


Seduction is also the goal of the line of cosmetics she designs: ‘All this decoration is put
on in order to seduce a man to bed, so what’s the sense of taking it all off?’ ” So much
for the non-verbal witness.

In her role as respondent, this speaker had little to contribute but to reflect and support
the positions of the previous speakers. To support the emphasis of the first presenter
that it is important to have our history correct, she alluded to an experience of
embarrassment when as a new Adventist she tried to share her new beliefs only to find
that they had been based on bad history.

She also chose to pick up and praise the assertions of previous speakers that because
we are saved by grace, we cannot be saved by keeping the Sabbath, therefore neither
can we be lost by not keeping it. She also emphatically endorsed the proposition that
the Sabbath was a gift of rest and therefore not a test.

I believe this respondent’s only original contribution to the discussion was her assertion
that since the gift of the Sabbath was basically one of emphasis on relationship, to
affirm this relationship aspect, we should always remember to have sex on the Sabbath.
This remark elicited a gasp of incredulity from the audience. Whether this was a
calculated effect was uncertain. A ministerial role model indeed!

 Beguiling Theological Inventions
 What I heard being taught by these modern theologians was sadly and truly
unrecognizable when compared to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy anchored third
angel’s message our class of theology majors had studied fifty years ago. What we had
studied was an Adventist message that was clear yet profound: powerful in its simplicity
and conviction. It was a message that had already become a apart of us. Most of us
had made painful sacrifices to stand true to that Bible message during the years of
World War II.

Today, as I listened, some haunting predictions came flooding my mind, warnings given
long ago by the Lord’s messenger, that only now is becoming understandable in its full
impact.

“But divisions will come in the church. Two parties will be developed. The wheat and the
tares grow up together for the harvest.” (SM. 114)

“I repeat, He is not leading anyone by His Holy Spirit to frame a theory that will unsettle
faith in the solemn messages He has given His people to bear to our world.” (2SM 115)

“Never, never was there a time when the truth will suffer more from being
misrepresented, belittled, demerited through the perverse disputings of men than in
these last days.” (6BC 1064)

It is important to emphasize that all the speakers were smart, academically
accomplished, skillful and adroit in theological and philosophical argument. Their
manner was pleasant, smooth and highly articulate, easily leading one to the distinct
feeling of, who am I to take on one of such obvious learning, surely they would be
capable of reducing to shreds any view I should raise in opposition to their ideas.

Rather than demonstrating a solid grounding in Scripture, their conclusions appeared to
be based, for the most part, upon obscure, tortuous philosophical fantasy, while
throwing in frequent references to wordily philosophers, theologians, historians, early
church fathers, etc., to bolster their image of academic astuteness.

Though many nice things were said about the Sabbath, many of the remarks seemed to
parrot the views being pushed in the popular and ecumenical press, viewing a Sabbath
as God’s answer to man’s need for rest both in a physical and spiritual sense. While
purporting to explore the depth of spiritual significance of the Sabbath, there was a
seductive undermining of its role as the distinguishing banner of allegiance to God’s
divine law. In general, the view of the Sabbath presented was consistent with the new
Catholic and Protestant perspective regarding Sunday observance. Noting the physical,
sociological, psychological and spiritual benefits of a day of rest, it was acknowledged
that the Sabbath was a blessed gift of God to mankind but without any binding
obligation or requirement. It is seen entirely as a gift for us to enjoy. (Now watch
carefully the mingling of truth and error.)

Enlarging on this concept, they argue that since the Sabbath is only a gift and we are
saved by grace, therefore no one is saved by keeping the Sabbath. This much is true.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Zeph. 2:8-9). But lest we get caught up in the
popular antinomian abandonment of the role of obedience, Paul goes on to clarify: “For
we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had
before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) Paul in another place while
declaring that we are justified by faith, is quick to emphatically remind us “Do we then
make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Rom. 3:31)

Our theologian friends argue however that since we cannot be saved by keeping the
Sabbath, therefore we cannot be lost by not keeping the Sabbath. Oops! Note carefully
the subtle mixture of truth with error in the guise of apparent logical thinking. It sounds
real good to the unregenerate heart, but the logic is fallacious and the theology is
unbiblical.

The scriptures are abundantly and forcefully clear that we will be judged by our works
because they are a reflection and measure of our love and loyalty to our Savior and
Creator. “And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books,
according to their works.” (Rev. 20:12)

Yes, it is true that we cannot be saved by keeping the Sabbath. We are saved by grace.
But to say that this relieves us of any obligation to keep the Sabbath holy according to
the commandment is a glaring fallacy and contrary to the express work of God. In fact
God has used some rather strong language in describing this error. “God did not make
the infinite sacrifice of giving His only -begotten Son to our world, to secure for man the
privilege of breaking the commandments of God in this life and in the future eternal life.
This is an infamous lie originated by Satan, which must be made to appear in its false,
deceitful character.…” (6BC 1116)

Another theme was also persistently repeated as if repetition would better fix the idea in
the minds of their hearers. The concept, apparently endorsed by all the speakers, was
the emphasis that the Sabbath, being a gift could not be a test. To these speakers the
two ideas of rest and test, are contradictory, in diametrical opposition and are mutually
exclusive. Thus, to them, to see the Sabbath as a rest immediately eliminates any
obligation to obedience to divine law. Of course this is in complete opposition to the
clear Word of God.

We acknowledge that at creation God bestowed upon man two profoundly meaningful
gifts: the Sabbath rest and the blessing of marriage. While both gifts were instituted for
our higher good and happiness, nowhere is there any suggestion that because they
were gifts were we excused from observing these institutions according to God’s
commandments. On the contrary, it is faithful observance of the Sabbath in particular,
that is identified as a singular sign of our loyalty to our Maker and Savior.

It is incredulously amazing how the deceptions of the enemy of souls is able to capture
the brilliant minds of such highly educated men and women that they would so wrest the
Scriptures and teach the opposite of what is so plainly taught in the Bible. And lest we
get caught in such sophistries, in His love, God has in these last days, given us
volumes of counsel in the writings of Ellen White much of it on this very point. Note just
a few examples.

“Be sure the Sabbath is a test question and how you treat this question places you
either on God’s side or Satan’s side. The mark of the beast is to be presented in some
shape to every institution and every individual.” (3SM 356)

“The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the test for this time, and all connected
with this great memorial is to be kept before the people.” (Ev. 213)

“Those who desire to have the seal of God in their foreheads must keep the Sabbath of
the fourth commandment. Thus they are distinguished from the disloyal, who have
accepted a man made institution in the place of the true Sabbath. The observance of
God’s rest day is a mark of distinction between him that serveth God and him that
serveth Him not.” (RH April 23, 1901)

“Those only who through faith in Christ obey all of God’s commandments will reach the
condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before his transgression. They testify to
their love of Christ by obeying all His precepts.” (6BC 1118)

“Our duty to obey this law is to be the burden of this last message of mercy to the world.
God’s law is not a new thing. It is not holiness created, but holiness made known. It is a
code of principles expressing mercy, goodness, and love. It presents to fallen humanity
the character of God, and states plainly the whole duty of man.” (1BC 1104-5)

“The Lord has shown me clearly that the image of the best will be formed before
probation closes; for it is to be the great test for the people of God, by which their
eternal destiny will be decided. [Rev. 13:11-17 quoted]

“This is the test that the people of God must have before they are sealed. All who prove
their loyalty to God by observing His law, and refusing to accept a spurious Sabbath,
will rank under the banner of the Lord God Jehovah, and will receive the seal of the
living God. Those who yield the truth of heavenly origin and accept the Sunday
Sabbath, will receive the mark of the beast.” (7BC 976)

 Discussion Period
 Following the formal presentations, the chairman of the School of Theology fielded
questions to the panel from the audience. I particularly noted that there were no real
efforts to challenge the speakers with the discrepancies of their ideas with the Bible and
Spirit of Prophecy foundational principles of our faith.

Not on the panel of speakers, but present in the audience, was one professor in the
School of Theology who is widely known for his proclivity to pick and choose what
portions of the Bible, in his view, are inspired and what is not. This liberal philosophy
has led him to reject the clear witness of Scripture, that the original sanctuary in the
wilderness was made after the pattern of the heavenly (Exodus 25:40, Heb. 8:5). In
contrast to this truth he believes and teaches that the idea of the sanctuary and its
service was probably borrowed from the Hebrews’ surrounding Canaanite neighbors
and that the Book of Hebrews interprets the “heavenly” sanctuary in terms of Platonic
dualism. 3

It is against just such snares of error and distorted thinking that through Ellen White,
God has given us solemn warning.

“Do not let any living man come to you and begin to dissect God’s Word, telling what is
revelation, what is inspiration and what is not, without a rebuke.… We call on you to
take your Bible, but do not put a sacrilegious hand upon it, and say, ‘That is not
inspired.’ simply because somebody else has said so. Not a jot or tittle is ever to be
taken from that Word. Hands off. brethren! Do not touch the ark... When men begin to
meddle with God’s Word, I want to tell them to take their hands off, for they do not know
what they are doing.” (7BC 919-920) Again we are warned. “Brethren, cling to your
Bible, as it read, and stop your criticisms in regard to its validity, and obey the Word,
and not one of you will be lost.” (1SM 18)

__________
The extent of this man’s skepticism in his views of the Scripture are summarized and documented from his published writings by
Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, Receiving the Word, p. 145, Berean Books, 1996. See also Issues in Revelation and Inspiration,
Adventist Theological Society, PO Box 86, Berrien Springs, MI 49103.


“God Himself gave to Moses the plan of that structure (the sanctuary), with particular
direction as to its size and form, the materials to be employed, and every article of
furniture which it was to contain. The holy places made with hands were to be figures of
the true (Heb. 9:24(, ‘patterns of things in the heavens’ Heb. 9:23—a miniature
representation of the heavenly temple where Christ, our great high priest, after offering
His life as a sacrifice, was to minister in the sinner’s behalf.…” (Faith I Live By p. 193)

“This is the great day of preparation, and the solemn work going on in the sanctuary
above should be kept constantly before the minds of those employed in our various
institutions. Business cares should not be allowed to absorb the mind to such a degree
that the work in heaven, which concerns every individual, will be lightly regarded. The
solemn scenes of the judgment, the great day of atonement, should be kept before the
people, and urged upon their consciences with earnestness and power. The subject of
the sanctuary will give us correct views of the importance of the work for this time.” (5T
420)

“Satan is striving continually to bring in fanciful suppositions in regard to the sanctuary,
degrading the wonderful representations of God and the ministry of Christ for our
salvation into something that suits the carnal mind. He removes its presiding power with
fantastic theories invented to make void the truths of the atonement, and destroy our
confidence in the doctrines which we have held sacred since the third angel’s message
was first given. Thus he would rob us of our faith in the very messages that has made
us a separate people, and has given character and power to our work.

“In the word of God warnings, regarding this are plainly given, yet fanciful
representations and interpretations of truth have been stealing in step by step,
unperceived by men who ought through a clear understanding of the Scriptures, to be
prepared to see the danger and sound a note of warning.” (Series B, No. 6, p. 233) How
can we sit back with indifference when we are employing people who are fulfilling this
prophecy in our very midst?

 Don’t forget God’s specific warning that, “Any man (or woman) who seeks to present
 theories which would lead us from the light that has come to us on the ministration in
 the heavenly sanctuary, should not be accepted as a teacher.” (Paulson Collection, p.
 61)
During the question period this professor made some remarks from the floor clearly
indicating his agreement with the views presented that the Sabbath was a gift but not a
test. But, it appeared for the sake of discussion, he raised the question as to how one
was to decide whether to view the Sabbath as a gift or a tests.

In a response that appeared to be an attempt to be humorous, the first presenter replied
curtly and facetiously, “By grace.” To me this response was curious. Clearly it was an
effort to use playful humor to lighten things up and avoid a heavy discussion of some
profoundly serious issues critical to our salvation, but at the same time displayed an
attitude that sacred things should not be taken too seriously and can be joked about
with impunity.

In his concluding remarks, the Chairman of the School of Theology noted that it was the
job of a chairman to make his staff look good. Complimenting them all, he assured
everyone that they had made his task very easy. In his comments, he made it plain that
he was in complete agreement with the views presented by the speakers.

 Conclusion
This has been a sad and distressing picture. It is egregious apostasy in its most subtle,
deceptive, and pernicious form. The whole effort appears to be a rather sophisticated
attempt to convince potential constituents of the college that this is indeed a top notch
school. This major propaganda effort is intended to convince, that especially the School
of Theology, which has been under a cloud of suspicion regarding its orthodoxy, is
indeed a center of learning on the leading edge of theological thought.

The question remaining is by whose standard do we measure this thinking and
performance. They certainly appear to be doing an excellent job of conforming to the
standards and thinking of today’s academic world. If, however, we measure them by the
inspired standards of the Bible and the Testimony of Jesus, they are a sad and
miserable failure and constitute a subtle, deceptive snare extremely dangerous to the
spiritual welfare of anyone who comes under their influence.

No! This is not just a minor complication requiring only a more effective public relations
program. It is an insidious and pervasive cancer of doubt and error that must be
identified and eradicated lest it be destructive to the whole body. To permit it to continue
is to expose our precious youth, especially, to unspeakable hazards to their present and
eternal spiritual welfare.

CONTINUE-
                                   DRAMA

                                       and the



             SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
                                    Appendix 35


             A Tragedy at Walla Walla College
                                      Continued

What Can We Do?
I am aware that there are a few heroic souls who have been keenly troubled by these
problems and have been working quietly behind the scenes to bring about change.
We praise the Lord for their courage and dedication and pray that God will grace
their efforts with success. In spite of the belittling attacks they have been subjected
to, the efforts must continue to replace theses sources of erroneous teachings at the
College with humble, God-filled teachers who are faithfully grounded in the divinely
inspired philosophy of accepting and following the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as
it reads. Yet when we examine the situation closely, we realize that it is so deep
seated and complex and driven by Satanic delusions, that only God in His wisdom
and power is able to turn such things around.
We must also take cognizance of God’s hand even in the present situation, for we
are told that, “Apostasies have occurred and the Lord has permitted matters of this
nature to develop in the past in order to show how easily His people will be mislead
when they depend upon the words of men instead of searching the Scriptures for
themselves, as did the noble Bereans, to see if those things are so. And the Lord has
permitted things of this kind to occur that warnings may be given that such things will
take place. (SM. 394) Again for emphasis the message is restated, “God has
permitted apostasies to take place in order to show how little dependence can be
placed in man.” (Ibid. p. 395)

Yet a merciful God has warned, “On thing it is certain is soon to be realized.—the
great apostasy, which is developing and increasing and waxing stronger, and will
continue to do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout. We are to
hold fast the first principles of our denominated faith, and go forward from strength to
increased faith.” (Series B, No. 7, p. 253)

Obviously this is a clarion call for revival and reformation among us. All of us are
declared to be watchmen in Zion who are responsible to give the cry of warning
when we see the approach of danger. Where are those multitude of faithful believers
who are concerned for the spiritual welfare of their children? Where are those who
are sighing and crying for the abominations they see that are crippling the work like
Achan in the camp? Now is the time if every when faithful standard bearers are
needed to stand up and speak out against this plague that is threatening the souls of
our precious youth.

What can we do? Now is the time for us to confess our own indifference and to pray
without ceasing that God will move upon hearts to bring about change to bring our
beloved school back into harmony with the teaching of His Word.

The best antidote for poisonous error is to hold high the banner of truth. A thorough
search of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy counsels would give some very helpful
insights into how to defend this banner of truth with love.

Besides nurturing a personal relationship with Jesus, we must fearlessly proclaim the
Christ-centered, foundational teachings of the undiluted three angels’ messages in
their power and simplicity.

Our people need to have the issues clearly spelled out and be instructed in the Bible
and Spirit of Prophecy foundations of our end time message that established the
vision and purpose of our unique educational system. We know that not everyone will
choose a school so clearly committed to Bible-based values, standards, and
purposes. Yet I predict that multitudes of parents and committed young people will be
praising God that finally there is such a school to which they can turn with
confidence, that there is a place where they will find teachers and administrators
committed to the same message that is the basis of meaning and purpose in their
own lives.

We must do everything possible in our churches and in our families to encourage
individual personal study of the Bible to arm our church school and academy age
young people with a knowledge of the Word so they will have a anchor of faith as a
defense against the seductive errors they are going to encounter if they choose to
come to Walla Walla College. Sadly, not just at college, but remember, the thinking
of many of our current pastors was shaped by being under the influence of theses
same teachers. So wherever they go, our young people are apt to encounter theses
deceptive teaching of doubt and unbelief disguised as a more wise, sophisticated
and spiritual form of religion than was held and taught by our fathers.

We need members of the college board who have the conviction and courage to
stand tall with the banner of the end time message. We need men and women who
will fearlessly do all in their power to correct this blight on our college.

We need laymen, pastors and conference leaders to take up the challenge. Write,
write, write. Let the board members and college administrators know that you want
action, now, to replace all teachers who are not in harmony with the Adventist
message. When you write, if possible, it would help to relate first hand experiences of
the destructive influence and effects of these teachers of error on students at the
college.

For the sake of our youth as well as for our church and the honor of Christ, we must
fearlessly expose and correct the error. Pleasant homilies are nice, but what is called
for today is the urgent warning of God’s messenger,

“The voice of the angel seems to ring in my ears tonight so loud and clear, ‘Get
ready, get ready, get ready, lest ye be weighed in the balance and found wanting.’
” (6MR 253)

“Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe in His prophets, so
shall ye prosper.” (2 Chron. 20:20)
“If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing
nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is
regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility
against God.” (3T 281)


 Appendix
 A further sampling of divine counsel and warnings regarding these issues.

      How God views institutions that do not teach and follow His word.

“Our health institutions are of value in the Lord’s estimation only when He is allowed
to preside in their management. If His plans and devisings are regarded as inferior to
the plans of men, He looks upon these institutions as of no more value than the
institutions established and conducted by worldlings. God cannot endorse any
institution unless it teaches the living principles of His law and brings its own actions
into strict conformity to these precepts. Upon those institutions that are not
maintained according to His law He pronounces the sentence. ‘Unaccepted’ weighed
in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting.’ ” (MM 164) The same principles
that apply to health institutions that also served as training institutions, certainly
applies to our schools today.

  “Those who stand as teachers and leaders in our institutions are to be sound in the
faith and in the principles of the third angel’s message. God wants His people to
know that we have the message as He gave it to us in 1843 and 1844. We knew
then what the message meant, and we call upon our people today to obey the word,
‘Bind up the law among My disciples.’ In this world there are but two classes,—the
obedient and the disobedient. To which class do we belong? God wants to make us
a peculiar people, a holy nation. He has separated us from the world, and He calls
upon us to stand on vantage ground where He can bestow on us His Holy
Spirit.” (Gen. Conf. Bul. 4-1-1903 pr. 42)

  “Christians are constantly seeking to imitate the practices of those who worship the
god of this world. Many urge that by uniting with worldlings and conforming to their
customs, they might exert a stronger influence over the ungodly. But all who pursue
this course, thereby separate from the Source of their strength. Becoming the friends
of the world, they are the enemies of God. For the sake of earthly distinction they
sacrifice the unspeakable honor to which God has called them, of showing forth the
praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Pet.
2:9.” (PP 607)

“I have a message for those standing at the head of our educational institutions. I am
instructed to call the attention of every one occupying a position of responsibility to
the divine law as the basis of all right conduct. I am to begin by calling attention to
the law given in Eden, and to the reward of obedience and the penalty of
disobedience.” (FCE 504)

Let us also never forget the sober reminder that, “All schools among us will soon be
closed up.” (5T 156)

      How God views pride and applause seeking.

“Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18)

“…so long as he is self-inflated, the Lord can do nothing for him.” (5T 487-8)

“Those who labor to gain applause are not approved by God. The Lord expects His
servants to work from a different motive.” (Spalding-Magan 195)

“Only by humbling themselves before God can God’s servants advance His work.
Never are they to depend on their own efforts or on outward display for
success.” (4BC 1173)

“God will choose humble men, who are seeking to glorify His name and advance His
cause rather than to honor and advance themselves. He will raise up men who have
not so much worldly wisdom, but who are connected with Him, and who will seek
strength and counsel from above.” (T4 61)

“The less dependency you place in men who are wise in their own conceit, the better
will be your standing before God. There is no safety in trusting in men who do not
honor the Lord, who disregard His holy law. The less we expect of such men,
whether of temporal help or inspiring example, the less bitter will be our
disappointment.

“And he who depends on his own strength leans on a broken reed. Put your trust in
the Lord. Wait patiently for Him and He will cause His name to be magnified.” (Series
B, No. 6, p. 207-8)

     How God views efforts to manipulate or control the minds of others.
 “The theory of mind controlling mind is originated by Satan to introduce himself as
the chief worker, to put human philosophy where divine philosophy should be.

“No man or woman should exercise his or her will to control the senses or reason of
another, so that the mind of the person is rendered passively subject to the will of the
one who is exercising the control. This science may appear to be something
beautiful, but it is a science which you are in no case to handle.” (MM 111)

“Through his deception and delusion, Satan would, if possible deceive the very elect.
… His great success lies in keeping men’s minds confused, and ignorant of his
devises, for then he can lead the unwary as it were, blindfolded.” (3SM 423)

“Let us hear a plain, clear testimony right to the point, that hypnotism is being used
by those who have departed from the faith, and that we are not to link up with them.
Through those who depart from the faith, the power of the enemy will be exercised to
lead others astray. (3 SM 412)

     How God views Satan’s efforts to deceive.

“For thousands of years Satan has been experimenting upon the properties of the
human mind, and he has learned to know it well. By his subtle workings in these last
days he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he
is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know
not that they are being led by him at his will. The great deceiver hopes so to confuse
the minds of men and women that none but his voice will be heard.” (MM 111)

“It is one of Satan’s devices to combine with falsehood just enough truth to give it
plausibility.” (GC 587)

“We are not here to study infidel authors, to open our minds to the suggestions of the
devil. We are here to get ready for the judgment, and we are right on the borders of
the eternal world.” (1888 Materials, p. 597)

Satan will insinuate himself by little wedges, which widen as they make a place for
themselves. The specious devices of Satan will be brought into the special work of
God at this time.” (2SM 20-21)

“Error requires disguise and concealment. It clothes itself in angel robes, and every
manifestation of its real character lessens its chance of success.” (5T 454)
“It is Satan’s object now to get up new theories to divert the mind from the true work
and genuine message for this time.… We have great and solemn truths to give to the
world, and they are to be proclaimed in no hesitating, limping style. The trumpet is to
give a certain sound.” (3SM 410)

“Said the angel. “Legions of evil angels are around you, and are trying to press in
their awful darkness, that ye may be ensnared and taken. Ye suffer your minds to be
diverted too readily from the work of preparation and the all-important truths for these
last days.” (EW 119)

“Satan is watching every opportunity to make of no account the old waymarks, the
monuments that have been raised up along the way.” (Series B, No. 6, p. 222)

     How God views obedience.

“Obedience and submission to God’s requirements are the conditions given by the
inspired apostle by which we become children of God, members of the royal
family.” (3T 365)

“The man who attempts to keep the commandments of God from a sense of
obligation merely—because he is required to do so—will never enter into the joy of
obedience. He does not obey. When the requirements of God are accounted a
burden because they cut across human inclination, we may know that the life is not a
Christian life. True obedience is the outworking of a principle within. It springs from
the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God. The essence of all
righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is
right—because right doing is pleasing to God.” (COL 979-98)

“God is true. He changes not. The conditions of salvation are ever the same. Life,
eternal life, is for all who all obey God’s law...

“Under the new covenant, the conditions by which eternal life may be gained are the
same as under the old—perfect obedience.” (7BC 931)

“Even one wrong trait of character, one sinful desire cherished, will eventually
neutralize all the power of the gospel. The prevalence of a sinful desire shows the
delusion of the soul. Every indulgence of that desire strengthens the soul’s aversion
to God. The pains of duty and the pleasures of sin are the cords with which Satan
binds men in his snares. Those who would rather die than perform a wrong act are
the only ones who will be found faithful.” (5T 53)

“Love of dress and pleasure is wrecking the happiness of thousands. And some of
those who profess to love and keep the commandments of God ape this class as
near as they possibly can and retain the Christian name. Some of the young are so
eager for display that they are even willing to give up the Christian name, if they can
only follow out their inclination for vanity of dress and love of pleasure. Self-denial in
dress is a part of our Christian duty. To dress plainly, and abstain from display of
jewelry, and ornaments of every k ind is in keeping with our faith.” (3T 366)

“When the judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened, and every man shall be
judged according to the things written in the books,… Then men and women will see
that the prerequisite of their salvation is obedience to the perfect law of God. None
will find excuse for sin. By the righteous principles of that law, men will receive their
sentence of life or of death.” (1BC 1109)

“You all have an influence for good or for evil on the minds and characters of others.
And just the influence which you exert is written in the book of records in Heaven. An
angel is attending you, and taking record of your words and actions...

“If you feel in no danger, and if you offer no prayer for help and strength to resist
temptations, you will be sure to go astray, your neglect of duty will be marked in the
book of God in Heaven, and you will be found wanting in the trying day.” (3T 263-4)

“We have a sacred, testing, sanctifying truth; and if our habits and practices are not
in accordance with the truth, we are sinners against great light, and are
proportionately guilty. It will be far more tolerable for the heathen in the day of God’s
retributive justice than for us.” (5T 495)

      How God views the Sabbath as a test of loyalty to Him.

“The third angel’s message, the great testing truth for this time is to be taught in all
our institutions. God designs that through them this special warning shall be given,
and bright beams of light shall shine to the world. Time is short. The perils of the last
days are upon us, and we should watch and pray, and study and heed the lessons
that are given in the books of Daniel and the Revelation.” (6T 128)

“The Sabbath is the great test question. It is the line of demarcation between the
loyal and true and the disloyal and transgressor. This Sabbath God has enjoined,
and those who claim to be commandment keepers, who believe that they are now
under the proclamation of the third angel’s message, will see the important part the
Sabbath of the fourth commandment holds in that message. It is the seal of the living
God. They will not lessen the claims of the Sabbath to suit their business or
convenience.” (3SM 423)

“Some will urge that the Lord is not so particular in His requirements; that it is not
their duty to keep the Sabbath strictly at so great loss, or to place themselves where
they will be brought in conflict with the laws of the land. But here is just where the
test is coming, whether we will honor the law of God above the requirements of men.
This is what will distinguish between those who honor God and those who dishonor
Him. Here is where we are to prove our loyalty. The history of God’s dealings with
His people in all ages shows that He demands exact obedience.” (Historical
Sketches 217)

“This is the test that the people of God must have before they are sealed. All who
proved their loyalty to God by observing His law, and refusing to accept a spurious
sabbath, will rank under the banner of the Lord God Jehovah, and will receive the
seal of the living God. Those who yield the truth of heavenly origin and accept the
Sunday sabbath, will receive the mark of the beast.” (Letter 11, 1890)

“In the warfare to be waged in the last days there will be united, in opposition to
God’s people, all the corrupt powers that have apostatized from allegiance to the law
of Jehovah. In this warfare the Sabbath of the fourth commandment will be the great
point at issue, for in the Sabbath commandment the great Lawgiver identifies Himself
as the Creator of the heavens and the earth.…” (3SM 392-3)

“The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty; for it is the point of truth especially
controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of
distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him
not. While the observance of the false Sabbath in compliance with the law of the
state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a
power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to
God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the
sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other,
choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.” (GC
605)

     How God views our role as watchmen.

“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear
the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked,
thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him no warning, nor speakest to warn the
wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his
iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he
turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but
thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his
righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall
die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his
righteousness which he had done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I
require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous
sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou
hast delivered thy soul.” (Eze. 3:17-21)

“When we see God dishonored, we ought not to remain quiet,… Let us present
God’s Word in its purity, and lift up the voice in warning against everything that would
dishonor our heavenly Father.” (4BC 1164)

 “We have great and solemn truths to give to the world and they are to be
proclaimed in no hesitating, limping style. The trumpet is to give a certain
sound.” (3SM 410)

“The trumpet of the watchman gives no certain sound, and the people do not re for
the battle. Let the watchman beware lest, through his hesitancy and delay, souls
shall be left to perish, and their blood shall be required at his hand.” (5T 716)

“Those who choose to gather doubts, and unbelief, and skepticism, will experience
no growth in grace or spirituality, and are unfitted for the solemn responsibility of
bearing the truth to others.” (4T 445)

“Here we see that the church—the Lord’s sanctuary—was the first to feel the stroke
of the wrath of God... Thus peace and safety is the cry from men who will never
again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and
the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs, that would not bark, are the ones
who feel the just vengeance of an offended God.” (5T 21)

“God means that testing truth shall be brought to the front, and become a subject of
examination and discussion, even if it is through the contempt placed upon it. The
minds of the people must be agitated. Every controversy, every reproach, every
slander, will be God’s means of provoking inquiry, and awakening minds that
otherwise would slumber.…
“The efforts made to retard the progress of truth will serve to extend it.” (5T 453-4)

“It is no time now to cry peace and safety. It is not silver-tongued orators that are
needed to give this message. The truth in all its pointed severity must be spoken.
Men of action are needed,—men who will labor with earnest, ceaseless energy for
the purifying of the church and the warning of the world.” (5T 187)

“To every man is given an individual responsibility. The watchmen have their specific
work to discern the approach of danger and sound the note of warning. The soldiers
of the cross of Christ are to have ears keen to hear. In their position of responsibility
they are to give the trumpet a certain sound, that everyone may gird on the armor of
action.” (TM 236)

“Then I heard a voice saying, ‘Where are the watchmen that ought to be standing on
the walls of Zion? Are they asleep? This foundation was built by the Masterworker,
and will stand storm and tempest.… The time has come to take decided action.’
” (Series B, No. 2, p. 48)

“Then I saw [that] the judgments of Almighty God were speedily coming. I begged of
the angel to speak in his language to the people. Said he, ‘All the thunders and
lightnings of mount Sinai cannot move those who will not be moved by the plain
truths in the Word of God. Neither would an angel’s message move or awake them.’ I
saw that the rebels must and will be purged out. The angel said, ‘Get ready, get
ready, get ready.’ ” (16 MR 32)

“To substitute the external forms of religion for holiness of heart and life, is still as
pleasing to the unrenewed nature as in the days of the apostles. For this reason,
false teachers abound, and the people listen eagerly to their delusive doctrines. It is
Satan’s studied effort to divert the minds of men from the one way of salvation, faith
in Christ, and obedience to the law of God. In every age the arch-enemy adapts his
temptations to the prejudices or inclinations of the people. In apostolic times he led
the Jews to exalt the ceremonial law, and reject Christ; at the present day he
induces many professed Christians, under the pretense of honoring Christ, to cast
contempt upon the moral law, and teach that its precepts may be transgressed with
impunity. It is the duty of every faithful servant of God, to firmly and decidedly
withstand these perverter of the faith, and to fearlessly expose their errors by the
Word of truth.…” (Life of Paul 192) Emphasis supplied.

     How God views sending our youth to schools that teach error.
When error was being taught in our institutions of learning in the past, God gave
many pages of warnings against sending our youth to a place where they might be
infected with such faith-destroying ideas. Though the time and place may be
different, these God-given principles enunciated regarding the sending of our youth
to be exposed to the teaching of such errors need to be solemnly and prayerfully
considered.

“Satan has laid his plans to undermine our faith in the history of the cause and work
of God. I am deeply interested as I write this. Satan is working with men in prominent
positions to sweep away the foundations of our faith. Shall we allow this to be done,
brethren? My soul is stirred within me. I shall trust in God with heart and soul. I shall
proclaim the messages that he has given us to proclaim. I testify in the Lord that our
youth should not be encouraged to go to—— ———to be made infidels. God will
help us to see what can be done to prevent this. We are now to work earnestly and
intelligently to save our youth from being taken captive by the enemy.” (Series B, No.
6, p. 215)

  “As I consider the state of things at —— ——— I tremble for our youth who go
there. The light given me by the Lord, that our youth should not collect in —— ———
to receive their education, has in no particular changed.” (8T 227)

  “Let the youth who are forming character be kept away from places where they
would have to mingle with a great company of unbelievers, and where the forces of
the enemy are strongly entrenched.…

  “The words of warning and instruction that I have written in regard to the sending of
our youth to —— ——— to receive a training for service in the Lord’s cause, are not
idle words. Some God-fearing youth will stand the test, but it is not safe for us to
leave even the most conscientious ones without our best care and protection.
Whether or not our youth who have received wise instruction from godly parents will
continue to be sanctified through the truth, depends largely upon the influence that,
after leaving their homes, they meet among those to whom they look for Christian
instruction.” (8T 226)

  “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for
our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world dare come. Wherefore let him that
thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. 10:11-12)

 Vernon W. Shafer, Ph.D.
1628 SE Larch

College Place, WA 99324

     * Addendum: As of September 2000, this presenter has left his wife for this
          respondent. Neither are now employed by Walla Walla College.

                                     Appendix 36

                                 What’s Right About Drama?

             (David J. Lee, Drama? Truthfull? or Pretentious?, pp. 8-11.)

 1. Assertion: Times have changed!

   Answer: Indeed times have changed. But has God changed His laws? Have the
laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc., been changed? Have the laws changed
which govern the needs and functions of our bodies and minds?

     “True knowledge has decreased with every successive generation.… Those who
are…flattered on in the delusion that the present is an age of real progress, and that
the human race has been in ages past progressing in true knowledge, are under the
influence of the father of lies, whose work has ever been to turn the truth of God into
a lie (4aSG 154, 156). “Evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving
and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13, NIV).

 2. Assertion: SDA youth want drama!

    Answer: Who says so? Who taught them so? Hollywood? Paris? Indeed many
do desire entertainment and many do want to be entertainers. But where is there any
inspired evidence that the +youth of today can be satisfied spiritually with religious
drama, puppetry, clowning, etc.? “Games, theaters,..will not satisfy the soul. Human
beings were not created to be satisfied in this way” (Ev. 267).

    Is it possible that a few sincere but confused shepherds are in fact projecting
their own perverted appetites upon many innocent children and youth who would
rather have the truth? Are a few in the preaching “ministry” abdicating their sacred
pulpit and debauching their churches by allowing pretentious drama?

 3. Assertion: Ellen White’s six-year-old granddaughter participated in a skit,
dressed to typify an angel, and the Lord’s messenger did not stop the skit or
denounce it.

    Answer: That assertion ignores the fact that Sr. White was stirred to arise “at
three o’clock” the next “morning [Dec. 26, 1888] to write...a few lines” to a Bro. Morse
regarding the program. She concluded: “I must say I was pained at these things, so
out of order with the very work of reformation we were trying to carry forward in the
church and with our institutions that I should have felt better if I had not been
present” (2MR 236).

     Equally, that “argument of silence” assumes that God is a policeman and that
Ellen White was His watchdog. O shameful, illogical assumption! But in truth, “When
men begin to weave in the human threads to compose the pattern of the web, the
Lord is in no hurry. He waits until men shall lay down their own human inventions and
will accept the Lord’s way and the Lord’s will” (Ev 215).

 4. Assertion: The Bible has drama in it!

   Answer: Indeed! Beginning with Satan’s deceptive use of the serpent, and
Jacob’s impersonation of Esau, etc., pretentious drama has been in vogue.

    But did not God employ drama to Bible times? Yes, if by “drama” is meant
activities which are unusual and grab people’s attention. But we have found no
evidence that God’s messengers ever employed “drama” in the sense that drama-
advocates today employ the term.

    On a number of occasions priests (as in the whole sanctuary service) and
prophets (Isa. 20:2,3; Jer. 24:1-10; 27:2-12; 32:1-19; Ezek. 4:1-5:4; 12:2-7) made
graphic representations designed by God to convey a message to His backslidden
people. (See Ed 41; CG 19: “figures and symbols… animated imagery.”) It should be
noted that in giving these visual lessons, the messengers never surrendered their
own individuality. Their visual “sermons” involved pain, suffering, and time, and were
designed by God to awaken the curiosity, inquiry, and empathy of an insensible, “stiff-
necked” people. They were not a mere “mime” or pretense or impersonation. They
were a painful, prayerful reality! Of some of the sacrificial rituals, God declared His
abhorrence (see Psalm 51:16, 17; Isa. 1:10-28). Indeed, He “gave them statutes that
were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live. And I polluted them in
their own gifts” (Ezek. 20:25, 26). He desired a loving, obedient relationship with
them, not the bloody, sacrificial system (see Jer. 7:19-30). “In the past God
overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to
repent” (Acts 17:30, NIV).

    We believe that it is unfair to cite toe Old Testament sanctuary rituals and Ezekiel
to defend pretentious drama. Those who cite their extreme efforts to touch hearts,
might gain greater truth and power by fasting and prayer for modern Israel for 180
days+, as did Ezekiel!

 5. Assertion: Drama is a powerful method of communication, and Ellen White, the
General Conference Committee, F. M. Wilcox, C. B. Haynes, J. E. Fulton, etc., were
wrong to forbid its use by SDAs for over a century.

    Answer: Indeed, drama is an entertaining way to communicate. And, indeed, the
“ten spies” and “mixed multitude” and “hireling shepherds” have for over a century
been as “dry as the hills of Gilboa.” But if drama is a virtuous method of proclaiming
the Gospel, then let every preacher and teacher and leader become an actor, and let
every school and pulpit be remodeled into a stage and theater.

     History has repeatedly demonstrated that “as soon as these entertainments are
introduced, the objections to theater-going are removed from many minds, and the
plea that moral and high-toned scenes are to be acted at the theater breaks down
the last barrier. Those who would permit this class of amusements at the sanitarium
[and church socials] would better be seeking wisdom from God to lead these poor,
hungry, thirsting souls to the Fountain of joy, and peace, and happiness” (4T 478).

      History has incessantly demonstrated that drama quenches God’s blessing, and
the churches eventually are debauched into theaters. God forbid! “Thus saith the
Lord, Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good
way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in
it.’” (Jer. 6:16, RSV).

 6. Assertion: Adventism’s youth need opportunities to perform in church, and
drama (and waltz music), etc., are their ways to participate.

    Answer: Indeed, Adventism’s youth need opportunities to share Christ! However,
“there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of
death” (Prov. 16:25). “Evil results have been seen, both in the Sabbath school work
and in the missionary society, because of making much of machinery while vital
experience was lost sight of. In many of the imagined improvements that have
been brought in, the mold of man has been placed upon the work. In the Sabbath
school…formality, pride, and love of display have taken the place of true piety and
humble godliness.… It is not for the workers to seek for methods by which they can
make a show, consuming time in theatrical performances and musical display, for
this benefits no one. It does no good to train the children to make speeches for
special occasions. They should be won to Christ, and instead of expending time,
money, and effort to make a display, let the whole effort be made to gather sheaves
for the harvest” (FE 253)

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