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					    COMPETITIVE INTER-SCHOOL SPORTS
   REVISITED: Study, Findings, Calls, Resources
                                 •
          A Response to the SDA-HPERA Document
 “Guidelines for Athletics in Seventh-day Adventist Institutions”
                (And to Some Other Arguments)
                 And an Answer to the Question,
    Should Seventh-day Adventist Educational Institutions
           Engage in Inter-school Competitive Sports?


                                     Prepared by
                          Competitive Sports Study Group
       An ad hoc Committee of the Mentone Church of Seventh-day Adventists
                       Committee appointed—March 16, 2003
                      Committee pre-report—February 15, 2004
               Congregational distribution of paper—February 28, 2004
      Committee reports, Board amends, recommends to church—March 8, 2004
    Congregation Open Forum makes final amendments to paper—March 24, 2004
Congregation adopts paper, findings, calls, in Church Business Meeting—March 28, 2004
1
Table of Contents

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

I. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

          Problem and Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
          Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

II. Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

          Christianity Interfacing With Sport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
                    Initial Interface of Sport and Christianity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
                    Contemporary Interface of Sport and Christianity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
          Seventh-day Adventism Interfacing With Sport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
                    Initial Interface of Sport and Adventism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
                    Contemporary Interface of Sport and Adventism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

III. The Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

IV. Analysis and Critique of Adventist Athletic Commission Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

          Ideas in the AAC Guidelines Preface and Statement of Philosophy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
          Is the AAC Definition of What Constitutes a League Satisfactory? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
                    How Many League-Defining Criteria Noted are Current in AAC Contests? . . . . . . . . 18
                    Prescribed Schedules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
                    Maintenance of Win/Loss Records . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
                    Holding Playoffs and Tournaments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
                    Selecting MVP’s (Most Valuable Players) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
                    Holding Fund-Raising Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
          Is the “Occasional Friendship Games” Argument Pursued in the SDA-HPERA
              Guidelines? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
          Are the SDA-HPERA Guidelines Closely Adapted From the CIF and Does the CIF
             Consider the Activities it Sponsors as Being “League Play”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
          Are AAC Games Incidental to Other Social Gatherings, or Vice Versa? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
          Cheerleaders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

                                                                                         2
         Concept of Competition as “Neither Bad Nor Good”—and its Friends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
         General Conclusion: Analysis and Critique of the Adventist Athletic Commission
            Handbook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

V. Analysis and Critique of the Seventh-day Adventist-Health, Physical Education,
    Recreation Association Document, “Guidelines for Athletics in
    Seventh-day Adventist Institutions” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

         Guidelines for Athletics in Seventh-day Adventist Institutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
         Philosophy Analysis and Critique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
                  Starting on the Wrong Foot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
                  Ignoring Sport or Revelation? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
                  The Real Issue: Not “Athletics” or “Sport” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
                  Can We Tame That Which Has “A Power to Demoralize”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
                  Can Ethics Control the Unethical? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
                  Sport as a Religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
                  The Missing Christian/Seventh-day Adventist Philosophy of Sport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
         General Conclusion: Analysis and Critique of Seventh-day Adventist—Health,
            Physical education, Recreation Association Document,
            “Guidelines for Athletics in Seventh-day Adventist Institutions” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

VI. Comparison of AAC Guidelines With SDA-HPERA Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

         Comparison of Practical Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
                  The AAC Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
                  The SDA-HPERA Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

VII. Consideration of the Arguments of Brian Sather . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

         Sather Actually Addresses Ellen G. White and Competitive Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
         Reaction to Sather’s Arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
                  Never Officially Reprimanded or Negatively Sanctioned? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
                  Argument From Pragmatic Experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
                  Charge of Ambiguity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
         Conclusion: The Arguments of Brian Sather . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

VIII. Personal Testimonies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

         Testimony of Scott Higgins, Former Professional Competitive Surfer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
         Testimony of Darren Randall, Principal, Caymen Academy, Grand Caymen Islands,
             British West Indies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

IX. Cultural Collapse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

X. The Mysterious Relationship Between SDA-HPERA and the North American Division . . . 60

                                                                                 3
          SDA-HPERA: NAD or Not NAD? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
          Weighing the Relationship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
          Our Dilemma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63

XI. Findings of the Competitive Sports Study Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

          Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64
          Calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

XII. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
        In Support of a Clear Conscience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

Appendices

          Appendix A: Bible Materials Relating to Competition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
          Appendix B: A Compilation of Inspired Statements From the Writings of
             Ellen G. White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
                   Rivalry and Recognition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
                   Worldliness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
                   Pleasures and Amusements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
                   Exercise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
                   Use of Money . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
                   Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
                   Use of Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
                   Rest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
          Appendix C: Ellen G. White Materials—Ancient Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
          Appendix D: Statements From the Writings of Ellen G. White Concerning
             Competitive Sports at Battle Creek College in 1893 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
          Appendix E: Statements From the Writings of Ellen G. White Concerning
             Competitive Sports at Avondale in 1900 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
                   The Avondale School Holiday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
                   Associated Ellen G. White Diary Entries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
          Appendix F: Complete Text of General Conference
             Working Policy FE 85 05, FE 85 10 Interchool Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
          Appendix G: Complete Text of North American Division of General Conference
             Working Policy FG 05 45 Interschool Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
          Appendix H: Actual Sports Schedule for One Week . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102




                                                                                        4
5
Preface

Here at the outset there are some items we wish to make especially distinct to the reader. This
document is not directed against “the simple exercise of playing of ball.”1 Nor is our study di-
rected at what individuals may choose to do in their own free time. Rather, our purpose is (1) to
determine what is and is not permissible for Seventh-day Adventist educational institutions with
regard to inter-school competitive sports, (2) analyzing and critiquing the Seventh-day Adventist—
Health, Physical Education, Recreation Association (SDA-HPERA) draft document, “Guidelines
for Athletics in Seventh-day Adventist Institutions,” and (3) presenting our findings and resulting
calls.

We also wish to make clear that it is not our desire to suggest that those whose ideas and policies we
may disagree with are willfully operating in opposition to God’s order. Administrators, physical
education teachers, principals, coaches, and parents have invested untold hours and energies to
provide for our young people that which no doubt is intended for their good. We make this
our starting point, seeking to believe that the motives of all these are sincere. The students,
the players themselves, we understand to be driven by what they feel are right motives in their
contests and athletic competition. Even those responsible for drafting and voting the SDA-HPERA
Guidelines we would like to think have sought to create what they thought was a document that
their expectation was, would help Seventh-day Adventist young people.

Therefore we wish to thank the reader ahead of time for also accepting our motives in presenting
our findings in as positive a spirit as we can considering the data, in harmony with our intention
of aiding others in understanding the source and logic behind our own conviction that competitive
inter-school athletics is against the counsel of God.




  1
      Ellen G. White, Adventist Home, p. 499.


                                                  6
7
Chapter I


Introduction

It was with considerable surprise that we found it necessary to undertake this study. This is
(1) because the current Working Policy of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists un-
equivocally states that “The Seventh-day Adventist Church is opposed to interschool league play
(commonly known as varsity athletics) in its educational system,”1 and (2) because the writings
of Ellen G. White, which are understood to be inspired, and which the world church has clearly
stated function in our midst as “a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide
for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction,”2 positively condemn the competi-
tive sporting activities3 which the Seventh-day Adventist-Health, Physical Education, Recreation
Association “Guidelines for Athletics in Seventh-day Adventist Institutions” (hereafter the “SDA-
HPERA Guidelines”) advocate. We are surprised that the North American Division (NAD) has not
acted to explicitly condemn and disallow the SDA-HPERA Guidelines. We also wish to remind the
North American Division of its own voted Working Policy Guidelines4 which sustain the General
Conference Working Policy Guidelines on the same topic.5

Because the North American Division may not be well acquainted with the problems inherent
in them, we in this Response to the SDA-HPERA Guidelines demonstrate that those guidelines
promote practices to which the world church is opposed. We thus bring our concerns to the door
of the NAD.

The Mentone Seventh-day Adventist Church is a member of the North American Division sisterhood
of churches. We hope that the NAD will represent us and uphold the Working Policy voted by the
church. Through the ecclesiastical structure we uphold by our action and prayers, we also indirectly
elect the personnel of the NAD who serve. We sustain through returning the holy tithe. We grant
authority to represent us. We expect the NAD to be active and responsible in using that authority.
  1
     General Conference Working Policy, 2001-2002, FE 85 05, FE 85 10, Interschool Sports, p. 281.
  2
     Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, Revised 2000 16th Edition, Fundamental Beliefs #17, The Gift of
Prophecy, p. 15.
   3
     See Appendices B, C, D, and E, Compiled from the writings of Ellen G. White.
   4
     See Appendix G: North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists Working Policy, 2000-2001, FG 05 45,
Interschool Sports, p. 287.
   5
     See Appendix F: General Conference Working Policy, FE 85 05 10, pp. 281, 282.




                                                    8
We believe that on the issue of inter-school competitive sports the NAD has not exercised its
authority and responsibility to uphold its own and the General Conference’s Working Policy within
its geographical territory. Thus, we churches down here at the bottom edge of the structural stack
have ourselves found it necessary to do the work found in this Response. Therefore, we have
devoted considerable time and energy to the study and preparation of this document over the past
year—time and energy we would have spent on outreach and evangelism.

Nevertheless, we want to take a positive approach. We here go on record as agreeing with the North
American Division Working Policy concerning “Interschool Sports” and further, provide the NAD
with the material we have prepared from our study. We go further however. Section XI of this
document contains our findings and calls, including specific request to the NAD with reference to
action on the issue of Inter-school Sports.



Problem and Purpose

The main question this document (hereafter referred to as “Response”) addresses is: Are athletic
programs which incorporate competitive inter-school contests in direct violation of (1) the principles
of Scripture, (2) the counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy, (3) the General Conference Working Policy,
FE 85 05 and FE 85 10 inter-school Sports, and (4) the North American Division of the General
Conference Working Policy, FG 05 45 inter-school Sports? Our findings are presented later in
Section XI of this Response. Additionally, we address the claim presented in the SDA-HPERA
Guidelines that there is a “Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of sport.”6



Methodology

This paper shall investigate authoritative documents to see whether their teachings are opposed to
the concept of inter-school competition in athletics. Inspired documents shall be granted method-
ological superiority of authority over all other ideas.




   6
     http://www.lasierra.edu/departments/hesa/sdahpera/GuidelinesforSDAAthleticsFeb2004circle.pdf, p. 8,
accessed March 28, 2004 4:00 p.m. PST.


                                                      9
Chapter II


Background

Christianity Interfacing With Sport

Initial Interface of Sport and Christianity

Although some plead for an essential commonality of purpose between Christianity and sport, the
early days of their coexistence was not friendly to those who followed God.


        Great numbers [of Christians] were thrown to wild beasts or burned alive in the am-
        phitheaters. Some were crucified; others were covered with the skins of wild animals
        and thrust into the arena to be torn by dogs. Their punishment was often made the
        chief entertainment at public fetes. Vast multitudes assembled to enjoy the sight and
        greeted their dying agonies with laughter and applause.1


It is true that the above were not quite the same as the contests between schools where athletes
meet on the field and normally everyone leaves the scene alive. Yet it is troubling that the earliest
years of interface between Christianity and sport were such scenes of entertainment and murder.
Is there in sport that which can bring out the darkest passions of fallen humanity?


Contemporary Interface of Sport and Christianity

The intersection of Christianity with contemporary sports has not been all that its advocates had
expected. As noted by Robert A. Peterson,


        James Naismith, a minister who worked with boys at a YMCA, invented basketball
        to keep them out of trouble during the long winter months. He was opposed to the
  1
      Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, p. 40.


                                                  10
      idea of basketball coaches, believing that they would bring elements of subterfuge and
      trickery into otherwise honest play among boys. He was grieved in old age to hear that
      speculators were gambling on the outcome of games.2


Peterson also calls to our attention famed Olympic runner Eric Liddell of Scotland, who in the 1924
Olympics refused to participate in sporting events on Sunday (the day he understood to be the
Sabbath), and whose story was told in the movie “Chariots of Fire.” That award-winning movie
conveniently concluded before telling the rest of the story. Liddell, in the end lost his way and
participated in sports activities on Sunday while he was interned in a POW camp in Japan during
WWII (Sunday is not the Sabbath, but Liddell was not persuaded of this and so truly compromised
his own moral convictions).3 More work on the history of competitive sports and its interface with
Adventism is available.4

In this light, we turn our attention to how competitive sports have interacted with Adventism.



Seventh-day Adventism Interfacing With Sport

Initial Interface of Sport and Adventism

Proponents of the inclusion of competitive sports within the schools of Adventism, which schools are
meant to prepare a people to live and give the third angel’s message just before the Lord’s return,
have insisted that there is something called a “Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of sport.”5 Ellen
G. White’s writings do not sustain that assertion.6 Her primary direct comments on the topic of
competitive sports come in reference to 1893 events at Battle Creek College, Michigan,7 and another
set of events occurring in 1900 at Avondale College in Australia.8 Other comments pertaining to
this topic are found in various places throughout her writings.

As seen in the Appendices B, C, D, and E, Mrs. White’s concerns were multiple, including rivalry
and recognition, worldliness, pleasures and amusements, exercise, use of money, education, and use
of time, among others.

We want to remember that we are a premillenial people. We do not find our hope in building up an
earthly kingdom to hand-off to Jesus, but we recognize that the world is sinking ever more rapidly,
headed for a climax of collapse and anarchy as the midnight hour approaches. The Second Coming
  2
     Robert A. Peterson, “Teaching Sportsmanship in Christian School Athletics,” at http://216.239.57.104/
search?q=cache:pPmHQT2RWJUJ:www.aacs.org/pubsViewPArticle.aspx%3FArticleID%3D57+sports+christian
+competitive++opposed&hl=en&ie=UTF-8, accessed October 22, 2003, 9:18 a.m. PST.
   3
     Ibid.
   4
     See Larry Kirkpatrick, “Jesus, Competitive Sports, and an End-time Prophet,” at
http://www.greatcontroversy.org/documents/sermons/sermons-kir/kir-jcsetp.php3. The accompanying timeline is at
http://www.greatcontroversy.org/pdf/cstimeline.pdf.
   5
     SDA-HPERA Guidelines, Section IV.A., p. 8.
   6
     See Appendices B, C, D, and E in this Response.
   7
     See Appendix D.
   8
     See Appendix E.


                                                     11
is our goal. Are Seventh-day Adventist schools preparing our youth in that light, or the light of a
world that is passing away?


       It is not God’s will that we should seclude ourselves from the world. But while in the
       world we should sanctify ourselves to God. We should not pattern after the world. We
       are to be in the world as a corrective influence, as salt that retains its savor. Among
       an unholy, impure, idolatrous generation we are to be pure and holy, showing that the
       grace of Christ has power to restore in man the divine likeness. We are to exert a saving
       influence upon the world.9


“We should not pattern after the world.” The clear thrust of the counsel given through her writings
will show that there is, inherent in competitive sports a set of spiritually negative impacts which
can only be avoided by abstinence from the practice of this competition. Thus, we address the
question of competitive inter-school sports in the current context—the endtime and Heaven’s goal
of the preparation of a unique people.


Contemporary Interface of Sport and Adventism

As the world looms closer to the abyss, our leaders have been watching. With concern they studied
and worked and issued documents from the 1960’s through the 80’s, endeavoring to draw the line
against the encroachments of worldly influence involved in competitive inter-school sports.10 A
special report presented to the 2003 Fall Council, General Conference Vice President Gary Karst,
referring to the Report made by the Commission on Higher Education to the Annual Council, noted
that, “As a whole our educational institutions and programs are slowly but surely sliding in the
direction away from orthodoxy to secularism.”11

As we will in this Response see, the downward trend shows no signs of abating, but appears
to be accelerating. One of the presently operative forces within North American Adventism is
the SDA-HPERA. This independent association has developed its own guidelines for inter-school
sports which are outside of the Working Policy of the GC and the NAD. The result has been the
development of a situation in which most Adventist schools within the geographical region of the
NAD are operating outside of voted, official policy at the point of inter-school sports.

When the data in this Response is considered, we believe the danger to the successful execution
of the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—to develop youth of Christian character—is
   9
      Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 218.
  10
      Brian Sather documents several of these and the years they were made at
http://cosmic.swau.edu/˜bsather/coaching/gc statements sda discussion.htm, accessed February 23, 2004, 11:21
p.m. PST. His materials include a timeline. For another timeline, download the PDF by Larry Kirkpatrick found at
http://www.greatcontroversy.org/pdf/cstimeline.pdf.
   11
      The Commission of Higher Education’s Report did not emphasize many specifics in the area of curriculum, there-
fore it is no surprise that inter-school competitive sports was not specifically noted in the report. Nevertheless, there
is little doubt that this phenomenon is among the multiplicity of forces at work in our schools, relentlessly mov-
ing them toward secularism. See http://www.adventist.org/news/data/2003/09/1066160221/index.html.en, accessed
February 17, 2004, 8:57 p.m. PST, and http://www.adventist.org/2003annualcouncil/158G.html, accessed February
17, 8:58 p.m. PST.


                                                          12
decidedly endangered by the practice of inter-school competitive sports. We cannot consent to
stand by and support this departure from either inspired counsel or voted and official policy.

It may not seem comfortable to address the topic of inter-school competitive sports at this time,
but that is not the question. Confronting error is never fun, never easy; it sings its siren-song
always claiming that the danger can be put-off until someone else’s watch. Yet Heaven calls us to
refresh our commitment to seeking reconciliation with inspired counsels, to arresting the decline.

We hope that this document will aid our people in returning to the divine plan. What is needed is
very simple. It is what NAD purportedly has: godly leadership. We are confident that the material
that follows will be seen as of such moment that those willing to accept not only authority but
responsibility also at the NAD will, in fact, react to the findings and calls presented near the end
of this Response by taking action to bring schools in its territory into compliance with the church’s
voted policy.




                                                 13
Chapter III


The Issues

What then are the issues? The following are representative:


   • What counsel is there concerning competitive sports in inspired revelation (Bible and the
     Ellen G. White writings)?

   • What does the Working Policy of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists mandate
     concerning inter-school competitive sports?

   • What does the Working Policy of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists
     mandate concerning inter-school competitive sports?

   • Has the practice of inter-school competitive sports in recent time been within the bounds
     outlined by both inspiration and the Working Policy documents noted above?

   • The SDA-HPERA has proposed a new policy titled “Guidelines for Athletics in Seventh-day
     Adventist Institutions.” How do this document’s proposals relate to both inspiration and the
     Working Policy documents noted above?

   • The SDA-HPERA proposed Guidelines make a variety of assertions, such as:

        – No matter what inspiration says, we must not ignore sport
        – There is a Christian/Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of sport
        – If Seventh-day Adventist schools do not offer a program including competitive inter-
          school sports, they have not fulfilled their mission to educate the whole person
        – There is no difference between playing a game and preaching a sermon


The above are among the questions and concerns for which the remainder of this Response presents
answers.




                                               14
15
Chapter IV


Analysis and Critique of Adventist
Athletic Commission Guidelines

In our (Mentone Church) local geographic area (the southern portion of California), inter-school
competitive sports have been regulated under guidelines of the Adventist Athletic Commission
(AAC). Their Guidelines, we are told by AAC officials, are intended to be replaced by the new
Guidelines proposed by the NAD. Only, the new Guidelines actually are not NAD Guidelines, but
from the independent association which uses the name “Seventh-day Adventist-Health, Physical
Education, Recreation Association.” We have critiqued these in section V of this paper. Because
an academy which we have been a constituent member of has been participating in inter-school
competitive sports under the AAC Guidelines, and because those provide a basis for comparison
with the newer rationale for conducting such events offered in the SDA-HPERA Guidelines, we
here offer a short critique of the AAC Guidelines.1

After an inquiry in the fall of 2001 by Pr. Kirkpatrick at a Seventh-day Adventist academy which
his church was a constituent of, a representative of the academy presented to the pastor a document
titled “Adventist Athletic Commission Handbook,” dated September 2001. The 25 page document
presents itself as the guiding means by which the AAC is to implement its mandate to “monitor the
occasional friendship games played between academies in” two particular California Conferences of
the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The very first statement on the very first page in the Preface after the Table of Contents indicates
that the AAC sets forth its plan for competitive inter-school sports with a full awareness that it
could be viewed as being in direct violation of the current Working Policy of the General Conference
and of the North American Division. Surely this is why its first two sentences read:


      A recent GC Annual Council Action (F[E]85) has established that the Adventist Church
      is opposed to inter-school league play in its educational system. The two conferences
  1
   Note that throughout the text of this Response, the phrase “AAC Guidelines” is used interchangeably with “AAC
Handbook.”




                                                      16
       using the handbook you are holding support this action.2


But it will require more than mere assertion to demonstrate that the institutions involved are
actually in compliance with FE 85. Most of the ideas guiding the AAC are presented in the
Handbook ’s Preface and in the Statement of Philosophy in its opening pages. We therefore briefly
consider the philosophy of the AAC.



Ideas in the AAC Handbook Preface and Statement of Philosophy

Regrettably, the AAC Handbook offers no interaction with the Bible or the Ellen G. White writings.
It should, of course. Instead, the focus of the AAC Guidelines is on justifying the practice of inter-
school competitive sports. It is made clear in the AAC Guidelines that the competitive events
it sponsors are claimed to fall under General Conference Working Policy FE 85 10, number two,
“Occasional friendship games or matches involving institutions at joint social gatherings are not
classified as intermural or inter-school athletics.”3 The AAC states the following:


       This is not a league. In league play there is a prescribed schedule that all teams
       must follow, standings and win/loss records are maintained and published, playoffs and
       tournament events are held, MVP’s for each team and for tournament play are selected,
       and recruiting and booster fund raising is encouraged. This list is only a part of league
       play but is mentioned as an illustration.


       Because of the close proximity of the academies in the          and          California
       Conferences, these schools will occasionally get together for social interaction which
       includes an athletic event.4


The question is, Is this claim sustained by the facts? Briefly we pose and answer the following
questions:


   1. Has the AAC presented a satisfactory definition of what is and is not a league?
   2. How many of the elements noted in the AAC Guidelines are in fact present in current com-
      petitive athletics here in our area?
   3. Do the new Guidelines proposed by the SDA-HPERA continue to make this argument (that
      the games envisioned by the schools are mere “occasional friendship games or matches... at
      joint social gatherings”), or do they abandon it?
   2
     Adventist Athletic Commission Handbook, September 2001 edition, p. 4.
   3
     Adventist Athletic Commission Handbook, p. i.
   4
     Adventist Athletic Commission Handbook, September 2001 edition, Preface, p. i. Note: Because the precise
identity of the Conferences involved is not the main question at hand, but the practice that has been permitted under
the AAC Guidelines, we have elected not to include the names of the Conferences in this document and have instead
replaced those names with underscores.


                                                         17
  4. How do the SDA-HPERA Guidelines relate to the old AAC Guidelines? Are newer practices
     closely adapted from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), and if so, how does the
     CIF refer to its operations in its own documents? As league play, or friendship games?

  5. Are the games organized by the AAC incidental to other social gatherings, or are gatherings
     actually built around the competitive events?


Is the AAC Definition of What Constitutes a League Satisfactory?

A search of the vast sources of material published on the internet reveals that, in fact, there is
little definitive consensus concerning just precisely what does and does not constitute league play.
Different sports, different organizations and federations of schools and competitive teams, all define
league play according to their own criteria. No search of the internet we made ever returned a
single source that listed all the elements which the AAC insists are “only a part of league play.” In
some cases, far fewer criteria than the five points listed by the AAC were held as defining a league.

Nevertheless, if we accept that in general, league play does include the five criteria, then how does
the AAC fare by their own measure? Our next section provides answers.


How Many League-Defining Criteria Noted are Current in AAC Contests?

The AAC notes at least five specific traits of league play, apparently intending to distinguish the
practice of AAC inter-school competitive sports from league activity. The five are:


  1. Prescribed schedule that all teams must follow

  2. Standings and win/loss records maintained and published

  3. Playoffs and tournament events held

  4. Most valuable players for each team and tournament play selected

  5. Recruiting and booster fund raising encouraged5


But how many of said elements are current in AAC contests? Let’s start with prescribed schedules
that all teams must follow.


Prescribed Schedules


The AAC Guidelines actually record how the scheduling arrangements are supposed to be made:
  5
      Adventist Athletic Commission Handbook, September 2001 edition, Preface, p. i.



                                                        18
       In order to avoid conflicts with important events on each school’s calendar, the coaches
       will informally meet each quarter and agree to participate in a limited number of events
       on dates that are open for their schools.6


Meeting “informally,” and refusing to call the purpose of the meeting “scheduling,” does not mean
that scheduling is not exactly what is happening. It is precisely what is happening.

Appendix H is the actual sports schedule of a Seventh-day Adventist academy for the week of
January 25-February 1, 2004. Because our purpose is not to identify a specific school we have
elected not to disclose the name of the academy. A schedule like this is sent out every week.
The careful observer will note that no less than six separate teams are fielded (Jr. High Boy’s
Basketball, Jr. High Girl’s Basketball, Jr. high Soccer, Junior Varsity Boy’s Basketball, Varsity
Girl’s Basketball, and Varsity Boy’s Basketball). Average team practice time per week: 6-8 hours
per student per sport; total number of formal games per week played: 11, and these often with
non-Adventist schools. This particular academy mails out a schedule every week, so multiply what
you see in Appendix H by approximately 36.7

Note also that this schedule shows interaction via scheduled games between this particular academy
and six different schools during this one week period.8 Again, multiply this throughout a school
year. The point is, if our schedule reproduced in Appendix H (selected at random) shows the
necessity of this degree of coordination (six teams, 11 games, competing against six outside schools
during just one week), it is obvious that considerable energy goes into scheduling.

Even the AAC Guidelines could not escape the mention of the word “schedule” and its varied
permutations besides the assertion that the AAC is not operating a league.9


Maintenance of Win/Loss Records


Another criterion identified by the AAC was the maintenance of win/loss records and their being
published. Of course, wins and losses are duly reported on in the newspapers. The fact of partici-
pation in playoffs and tournaments (see the next section) makes evident that win/loss records are
indeed kept. Ranking in such events is determined by win/loss record.
   6
     AAC Guidelines, p. i.
   7
     Based on an average four weeks x nine months of school. This schedule was chosen at random. Other weekly
schedules showed more activity. The mix of sports and games and events varies throughout a school year, a point which
must be taken into consideration. Calculating a more precise average would require the collation of approximately
36 weeks of schedules.
   8
     These are indicated by the designations: LL, AAE, RC, Desert Chr., CCMV, and Baptist Chr.
   9
     Explicit reference to schedules/scheduling, not counting the references on p. i, appear on pp. 3 (x2) and 9, of
the AAC Guidelines.




                                                         19
Holding Playoffs and Tournaments

The third criterion of “league play” identified by the AAC was the holding of playoffs and tourna-
ments. One example, a basketball tournament (accessible as described in the footnote), shows the
participation of multiple Seventh-day Adventist schools in playoffs.10

Indeed, one of the precipitating factors in the Mentone Church’s exploration of the competitive
sports issue was a basketball game occurring in February 2003 in which the newspaper published
that the game had occurred during the Sabbath hours at the academy of which the Mentone Church
was presently a constituent member. The game was a tournament game. (In the end, we learned
that the game had not been held during the Sabbath hours, but that the game with the non-
Adventist school had ended hardly an hour before sundown. The bus ride for that non-Adventist
school returning home after the game was over 200 miles.)

Now, again in 2004 the same academy is in a tournament and is requesting a scheduling change as
they have a Friday night game scheduled again. In fact, a coach from the Adventist academy was
out scouting the players of the opposing team on a Friday night! This problem is not going away.
It is worsening.11


Selection of MVP’s


One of the means by which the AAC defined league play was by the selection of MVP’s (“most
valuable players”). With this in mind, we note that several Seventh-day Adventist academies had
outstanding students selected to first or second teams. The league selects the most valued players
to form its honorary first and second teams.12

Whether student participants are designated MVP for each game or are granted special status
and first or second team listing for their region, the award represents special recognition and
distinction—one arguably higher than that of MVP for a given game. The essence of designating a
player an MVP is, for exceptional performance, to grant them recognition and special status. Ap-
pointment to first or second team for the division is a special status and a recognition of excellence.
It is an honor like MVP.
  10
      Go to http://www.cifss.org. Under the “What’s New,” section, click on the —02/17/04 entry, “Time/Date and or
site changes for Boys/Girls Basketball Championships.” The resulting list discloses multiple Seventh-day Adventist
Schools participating in the 2004 basketball playoffs. Note that this item was available online as of February 18,
2004, 2:36 p.m. Changes to the CIF website or completion of the playoffs may mean this material will be moved or
the URL changed. Even if so, minimal exploration of the http://www.cifss.org site will disclose the participation of
several Adventist schools in inter-school competitive sports.
   11
      John E. Gibson, “RAA Reaches New Heights,” online at http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/Stories/
0,1413,209˜22500˜1978925,00.html, accessed February 27, 2004, 9:33 a.m. PST.
   12
      For example, our Adventist Academies, which are involved in competitive inter-school sports at the league level
via the CIF, California Interscholastic Federation, Southern Section, (at http://www.cifss.org/allcif/bbasketball.htm,
accessed October 26, 2003, 10:49 p.m. PST), have students appearing on a list of honorary first and second teams
for the year. These occur under the link “Student Awards” located at http://www.cifss.org. Included are students
from at least three Seventh-day Adventist Academies: Academy (Grade 12, 2002-2003 Boys Basketball Division
IVAA, All CIF Southern Section, Second Team), Academy (Grade 12, 2002-2003 Boys Basketball Division IVA,
All CIF Southern Section, First Team), and Academy (Grade 11, 2002-2003 Boys Basketball Division VAA, All
CIF-Southern Section, second team).


                                                         20
Fund-Raising and Booster Events


Finally, booster events and fund-raising for the teams was mentioned as indicative of “league play.”
We have noted the fund-raising activities associated with nearby Seventh-day Adventist academies
in our geographical area. We know this occurs regularly. Check the website of your local Seventh-
day Adventist academy and see if there isn’t some section where you can be involved in fund-raising.
Since it is not our purpose in this document to present certain academies as offenders but to weigh
the problem and purpose already noted in Chapter I, dealing with the larger problem of inter-school
competitive sports, we instead note that Brian Sather’s studies have shown that the second highest
factor listed in the negatives associated with competitive inter-school sports, is fund-raising.13


Is the “Occasional Friendship Games” Argument Pursued in the SDA-HPERA
Guidelines?

Since the AAC Guidelines make the “occasional friendship games” argument very prominent, in-
deed, foundational as the basis of their justification for their program, it is of interest to examine
the SDA-HPERA Guidelines14 to see if this rationale continues to be strongly emphasized. As a
matter of fact, you will read the new SDA-HPERA Guidelines through from start to finish and
find no mention of the “occasional friendship games” argument. There are a few lines that speak
of proper behavior toward the visiting team,15 but nothing on friendship games at all. Has this
idea been abandoned because it is not found in the new CIF-based guidelines? Why is it missing?
General Conference Working Policy FE 85 is still current.

The games we are considering are not “occasional friendship games.” Remember Appendix H.
Games are carefully scheduled with numerous schools, in the week we surveyed, a half-dozen of
them. There is an enormous amount of preparation to undertake. Gasoline for school buses, water,
restroom needs—there is considerable planning and logistics involved. This is not a few students
meeting at a random social occasion and they say, “Hey, anyone have a basketball? Let’s shoot a few
hoops together.” This is thoroughly organized, pre-planned, varsity and inter-school competitive
sports.


Are the SDA-HPERA Guidelines Closely Adapted from the CIF and Does CIF
Consider the Activities it Sponsors to be “League Play”?

According to a member of the AAC we contacted, the new NAD Guidelines (actually SDA-HPERA
Guidelines!) are closely adapted from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). We thought
  13
     See Brian Sather, “The Role of Interscholastic Sports in SDA Education,” Table 3, Google-cached online at
http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:esd2rfdP-swJ:www2.swau.edu/˜bsather/
thesis abridged.html+fund+raising+sports+athletics+adventist+academies&hl=en&start=5&ie=UTF-8, accessed
February 18, 2004, 4:47 p.m. PST.
  14
     http://www.lasierra.edu/departments/hesa/sdahpera/GuidelinesforSDAAthleticsFeb20034circle.pdf,             accessed
March 28, 2004, 4:00 p.m. PST.
  15
     See p. 7, Section III. Student-athletes, Section C, Spiritual growth Opportunities, and p. 9, Section V. Hospitality
for the Visiting Team.



                                                           21
it would be potentially insightful to read the CIF’s own rules and guidelines and see if they consider
whether what they are doing is or is not league play. In fact, CIF league play is mentioned over
two dozen times in the CIF’s “Bluebook FAQ.”16 The CIF is all about league play.


Are AAC Games Incidental to Other Social Gatherings, or Vice Versa?

We should ask a question: Would an “incidental” game occurring at a joint social gathering be the
primary focus of attention, or secondary or tertiary? Are uniforms, medical emergency kits, hel-
mets, pads, chalked playing-field, referees, score-keeping, official sanction, schedules, pre-arranged
meeting times and locations, fund-raising, practice time, increased academy insurance rates, and
more, needed for an “incidental friendship game”?

Again, since our students are participating in sports leagues, tournaments and playoffs, can anyone
keep a straight face and characterize these as “incidental”? The fact is, 95% of the activity at a
given competitive inter-school sports gathering is directly attributable to the competitive event. If
there is anything “social” in the gathering, it is the incidental 5%. This is not persuasive even as
a loophole. To hide under it is so ludicrous that the SDA-HPERA Guidelines do not even attempt
to make the argument!


Cheerleaders


Although the AAC Guidelines state, “At this time, we are discouraging the use of cheerleaders,
mascots, team busses, MVP’s or other trappings that would foster rivalry or unnecessarily pro-
mote the athletic portion of the joint social gatherings planned,”17 multiple Seventh-day Adventist
academies in Southern California presently field cheerleader squads. It might be added, the man-
ner of dress of the cheerleaders is considered by many who have seen them to be immodest and
inappropriate.

We are thankful that the AAC Guidelines “discourage” the use of cheerleaders. In fact, these
Guidelines actually contain a prohibition: “The following actions are prohibited before, during,
and after all contests:... cheerleaders.”18 Of course, a “cheerleader” is not an action, but we
understand that cheerleaders, if not cheerleader actions are prohibited. Therefore, we wonder why
multiple schools field cheerleader squads?


Concept of Competition as “Neither Bad nor Good”—and its Friends

Recognizing that many Christian people have a concern over the issue of competition, the AAC
Handbook Statement of Philosophy asserts the following major point:
  16
     http://www.cifss.org/, About CIFSS menu item, left column, “Bluebook FAQ” item, accessed January 20, 2004,
6:13 p.m. PST.
  17
     AAC Guidelines, p. i.
  18
     AAC Guidelines, p. 8.



                                                      22
        Many question competition itself. But competition is neither bad nor good. It is
        simply a normal experience of life. It is the manner in which we allow our values
        to guide our behavior in competition that makes it good or bad. A Christian brings
        his higher values to competition [bold print in original].19


We do not deny that the current situation on earth is one in which competition is present. However,
we question whether moral neutrality accurately characterizes this phenomenon as it is found
in competitive inter-school sports. This idea reaches full bloom in the SDA-HPERA Guidelines
reviewed in the next chapter of this Response.

Remember, we are citiizens of another world. Survival of the fittest was not God’s plan. How
much competition was there in the garden of Eden? All the animals ate plant-based food; no living
creature had to die. Ellen White’s use of the concept of competition is almost entirely negative.
The one positive use is this:


        [1 Cor. 9:24-27 quoted.] This glorious contest is before us. The apostle seeks to inspire
        us to enter into a noble emulation, a competition in which will be seen no selfishness,
        unfairness, or underhanded work. We are to use every spiritual nerve and muscle in the
        contest for the crown of life. No one who does his best will fail in this contest.20


Notice that the “competition” marked out by inspiration is one “in which will be seen no selfishness,
unfairness, or underhanded work.” Is this the kind of unselfishness that characterizes competitive
inter-school sports? Yes, the Guidelines developed consistently ask the participants to have a higher
standard than the world, but that is not enough. We have already seen that AAC “discouragement”
of cheerleaders has not prevented them from propagating. Notice that Mrs. White points out that
Paul is talking about a different kind of competition here. Whereas competitive inter-school sports
are inevitably zero-sum competitions, Mrs. White advocates participation in an activity in which
all who enter can win.

The Bible text used by Mrs. White was this:


        Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So
        run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in
        all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I
        therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I
        keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have
        preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).


Paul points out the great contrast between the Grecian competition and the Christian life. Many
run in a Grecian competitive footrace, but there is only one winner. Like a race, there is something
to be obtained at the end of the Christian pathway. We too are to be active so that we may
 19
      AAC Guidelines, p. 1.
 20
      Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1089.


                                                        23
successfully obtain that. But in what particular way are we to be active? As the runners strive
for mastery, they engage in a careful, temperate lifestyle to reach peak performance. And if they
win, what do they receive? A corruptible crown. What do we in the Christian walk receive? An
incorruptible crown. In other words, the contrast is between a fleeting temporal victory, or an
eternal result beyond measure in value.

Paul insists then that he is not running uncertainly, not competing for a prize which, odds are, he
is unlikely to obtain. The value of the prize before him in mind, Paul runs, he fights, he exercises
self-discipline. He is very alert to the necessity of maintaining control over the sin nature. He
knows that it is ever ready to rise up and express itself in evil poured out of us and into the world,
shaming our Christian witness for God.

The whole thrust of Paul’s argument is that if even the non-Christian is willing to go to so great
lengths to obtain a temporary crown that wilts, how much more should the Christian strive to
live-out the fullness of Christianity! Indeed, how would the following verses fit in the gospel of
sports:


        Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall
        be exalted (Matthew 23:12).
        Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be
        chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be
        ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew
        20:26-28).
        For he that is least among you all, the same shall be great (Luke 9:48).


The Christian would have a difficult time competing if he held to the Christian philosophy of
humility outlined in such statements. Whereas modern competitive sport is by nature a zero-sum
game, the Christian worldview operates outside that box. In a zero-sum activity, all the numbers
even-out at the end. If you have a competitive event between schools, you will have one team that
wins, and one team that loses the same match. One positive added to one negative equals a sum
of zero. There is always a winner, and there is always a looser.

But in the Christian worldview, all who strive for God’s will can win; there need be no losers.
There is a fundamental disconnect between the gospel of God and the gospel of sports. Following
the words of Jesus in Luke, being least, would result in a poor showing in competitive sports.
God’s “competition” is entirely different at its core nature than anything coming to us—as we shall
see—tainted with the miasma of Social Darwinism. It is a poor hour for Seventh-day Adventists
to teach our young people that competition in the contemporary athletic vein, with its heritage
tracing back to Baron de Coubertin and his Darwinist viewpoint of survival of the fittest, is “simply
a normal experience of life.21

We included in the heading to this section “And its Friends” for a reason. Several times the AAC
Guidelines Preface and Statement of Philosophy mention particular concerns found in the Ellen G.
White writings. They do not refer the reader to those writings, but they do mention several of the
 21
      This contemporary background is explored in more detail on pages 34, 35, and 37 of this paper.


                                                         24
same topics. They are concerned about competitive sports leading to hard feelings,22 rivalry and
recognition,23 use of time,24 money,25 recklessness,26 anger,27 poor sportsmanship,28 cheating.29

All these concerns are not random; but they are understandable as “friends” to the kind of com-
petitive inter-school sports that we find embracing worldly competition. These things go together.
They are weeds not planted by God in His school of character development.



General Conclusion: Analysis and Critique of
Adventist Athletic Commission Handbook

Again, we would like to remind the reader that our intention is not to single out those who quite
thoughtfully put together the AAC Guidelines, but to carefully weigh those guidelines to see whether
they have provided an adequate means of regulating competitive sports between Adventist educa-
tional institutions. It is clear to us that while an attempt has been made to find such a pathway,
it has been only as successful as trying to make a square circle. It is the nature at the core of
competitive sports that makes impossible the preparation of any ideal handbook or guidelines. The
fact that the schools are presently seeking to transition to a new guideline suggests that the current
system has not been sufficient.

Interestingly, the AAC Handbook 2001 ed. indicated that, “We are not interested in developing
this structure beyond what it is now. That means that it is better to keep it small and somewhat
informal.”30 The SDA-HPERA Guidelines go considerably farther, as will be seen in Chapters V
and VI of this Response.

We can only conclude that there is no serious way in which what is currently occurring in AAC
member SDA academies, and even more clearly those which have joined the CIF, differs from
competitive league play. To insist that “This is not a league,” is to propose a distinction without
a difference.

We cannot know for certain the original intent of those who founded the AAC. While the AAC
Handbook looks like a tunnel through the “friendship games” loophole of FE 85, the handbook itself
says the AAC wished to keep what is happening small and informal. Whatever their intention,
the process appears to have spiraled out of control. Today there are cheerleaders, lawsuits, even
one Adventist University joining the NCAA! Regrettably, if the AAC Guidelines are problematic,
you will be much more astonished at what is in the SDA-HPERA Guidelines examined in our next
chapter.
  22
     AAC Guidelines, p.   i.
  23
     AAC Guidelines, p.   i, 1.
  24
     AAC Guidelines, p.   1, 2.
  25
     AAC Guidelines, p.   1, 2.
  26
     AAC Guidelines, p.   1.
  27
     AAC Guidelines, p.   1.
  28
     AAC Guidelines, p.   1, 2 (“Poor sportsmanship” is conspicuously absent from Mrs. White’s concerns, but why?
Did she not even expect   that young people attending our schools would be involved in such competitions?)
  29
     AAC Guidelines, p.   1.
  30
     AAC Guidelines, p.   i.


                                                        25
Although the geographically localized Adventist Athletic Commission and its Guidelines have
largely transitioned to obsolescence, of special interest to the reader will be changes in the ar-
guments presented to the church in justification of inter-school competitive sports between the old
AAC Guidelines and the SDA-HPERA Guidelines. These are highlighted in Section VI.




                                               26
27
Chapter V


Analysis and Critique of the
Seventh-day Adventist-Health,
Physical Education, Recreation
Association Document, “Guidelines
for Athletics in Seventh-day Adventist
Institutions”

Because a primary purpose of this Response is to critique the SDA-HPERA Guidelines, and we will
be addressing them in some detail, we below reproduce two of the most important pages from that
document. A careful reading of the following extract will greatly aid the reader in understanding
our careful and sometimes vigorous accompanying reaction.


     Guidelines for Athletics
     in Seventh-day Adventist Institutions
     For it is in Him that we live and move and exist. Acts 17:28 Moffatt


     Introduction
     Perhaps no phenomenon, except politics, war, or religion, is as ubiquitous as sport. All
     forms of the news media give copious space to this topic. Although Ellen G. White
     cautioned against games and recreation, we must not ignore sport. It is too entrenched
     in our society. Rather, we should educate our membership on how to relate to sport
     with a Seventh-day Adventist Christian focus. Too many have learned what sport is by
     listening, observing, or reading what happens in the popular venues of sport throughout

                                               28
the world. However, it is not inevitable that sport be like these representations. There
is a Christian model of sport, and we have not totally fulfilled the mission of Seventh-
day Adventist education unless we teach this model to administrators, players, parents,
and spectators.
Sport can result in a growing, maturing, and self-actualizing experience. However,
Christian ethics must control sport. We have a responsibility to help build noble char-
acters in students, to educate their minds, and to motivate their spirits to make our
society better by applying core values to real-life situations. It is far more important
to develop the whole person than to win such a comparatively insignificant thing as
a game. The greatest value of sport can be its ability to enhance the character and
elevate the ethics of participants and spectators.
A person must experience the joy of movement before it becomes a reality. There is
nothing quite like the kinesthetic exaltation of hitting a ball on the sweet spot of a bat
or knowing the moment the ball leaves your hand that it will go through the hoop. In
such experiences we transcend ourselves into a realm reserved only for the participant.
Sport provides an opportunity for a person to expand his or her dimension, integrating
mind and body while moving through space with perfect harmony. Sport potentially
offers the sense of accomplishment, the reward for hours of intense effort, the integration
of self with self for the common good, and the feeling of “team.” These all enrich a
person’s soul and experience.
The mandate of Seventh-day Adventist schools is to educate the whole person academi-
cally, spiritually, physically, and socially. In addition, students should encounter ethics,
social issues, various cultures, and athletics. A liberal education helps one become more
fully human and better able to integrate religious principles into life. Students must
learn to make value judgments, to analyze activities and events, and to determine if
they should be a part of their experience. God has given us rational, moral, and artistic
powers that we should invest in His cause. There is no dichotomy between what is secu-
lar and what is sacred. Playing a musical instrument, repairing an automobile, playing
a game, or preaching a sermon are all religious activities. God does not ask us only to
honor Him on the Sabbath but to reflect His image everyday in whatever we do.
Although these guidelines focus on athletic programs, the institution must maintain an
appropriate balance among academics, the instructional aspects of physical education,
recreational opportunities, intramurals, and athletics.
Our first duty to God and to others is to develop ourselves for greater service to hu-
manity. In order to accomplish the greatest good, we should cultivate as perfectly as
possible each of the abilities that the Creator has given us. Religion and sport are not
two separate entities; they are one. We should weave biblical principles into all we say
and do. We must cooperate with God in our acts of play as well as in our acts of
Christian work.
A Christian athlete should be a better-behaved athlete for being Christian. While
Christians do not necessarily perform better or win more games, they are motivated by
different principles and approach activities differently from non-Christians. A Christian
should be truer to the spirit of sport and to the fulfilling of its essence.
The Christian spectator should also be better. Christians should be different from typi-
cal fans. They should relate to opponents and officials in the same way they would wish


                                            29
      to be treated. Christian institutions include sport to help their graduates participate
      better in the culture of their society while honoring God.
      The key to a successful athletic program is Christ-centered, competent leadership. We
      must have leaders who emphasize the thrill of participation and the challenge of doing
      one’s best. We should be known for our outstanding sportsmanship and should display
      Christian principles in our play. Our schools, players, and spectators must learn that
      sport is not an activity in which we suspend Christian values but one that is transformed
      by such values.1



Analysis and Critique

At the very beginning of the SDA-HPERA Guidelines (and left by them unexplained) we have
Moffatt’s paraphrased version of Acts 17:28: “For it is in Him that we live and move and exist.”
This is where the apostle Paul, in addressing the Greeks at the Areopagus in Athens, quotes the
words of sixth century B.C. Cretan poet and philosopher Epimenides. Athens had been struck by
a terrible plague at that time and sacrifices to the known gods had offered no respite. Sending to
Epimenides, his response was that doubtless an unknown God had been offended. He counselled
them to loose sheep in Athens and let them wander about the city. Wherever they stop to lay
down, they were to be there sacrificed to the unknown God. This was done and the plague ceased.

Epimenides was saying that because the Athenians lived at the sufferance of the unknown God, he
ought to be appeased. Paul was saying that a God unknown to them was the one whom he was
there to teach them about. We might be forgiven for, after evaluating the SDA-HPERA Guidelines
thinking that in many ways, the God we serve is an unknown God to those who drafted them. These
Guidelines, as we shall show, appear to develop a religion of competitive sports, in which “the joy of
movement,” “the kinesthetic exaltation of hitting a ball,” and participation in competitive athletic
experiences in which we “transcend ourselves,” become “religious activities.”

Paul used Epimenides’ quotation to try to build a bridge for his pagan audience to help them
understand Christianity. In contrast, the authors of the new “Guidelines” use the quote in an
attempt to justify the incorporation of a pagan practice into Christianity.


Starting on the Wrong Foot

After the unexplained quotation from Moffatt’s translation, the main text of the SDA-HPERA
Guidelines document opens with two assertions that surprise and offend. One of these is that
because sport is “ubiquitous” in “our society,”2 it is “too entrenched” a phenomenon for us to
ignore. Instead, we should educate our members, and in fact, “we have not totally fulfilled the
mission of Seventh-day Adventist education unless” we teach our people “a Christian model of
sport.”3
  1
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, pp. 2, 3.
  2
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 2.
  3
    Ibid.


                                                 30
First, it should be noted that the SDA-HPERA Guidelines begin with a misstatement of the
facts: no one is being asked to ignore sport. Inspiration does not ignore it, but speaks with all
plainness, as elsewhere in this Response noted. We are, however, asked, not by man but by God,
to be faithful and to heed the counsels of Heaven. Neither can we ignore God and His counsels.
When we at Mentone express our convictions concerning inter-school competitive sports, we are
making a conscientious choice to act upon a carefully developed moral position. We have sought
for information bearing upon the question from pro and con angles, and we have sought for the
counsels of divine revelation. We have gathered and interacted, with the explicit purpose of fairly
evaluating the facts surrounding this topic. Repeatedly for the past year we have come together,
studying, praying, and dialoging. Our position developed as we sought to determine what was the
inspired consensus, and then to react to that inspired consensus by developing a congregational
consensus.

It is obnoxious for the authors of the SDA-HPERA Guidelines to suggest that we or anyone else
is seeking to ignore sport. A position that says, “We conscientiously refuse to participate in
competitive inter-school sports” is not a decision to ignore, but to react to the phenomenon.

The argument that we must participate in sport because it is “too entrenched in our society” is
ludicrous. Sexual sin is very entrenched in our society. Shall we shrug our shoulders and join in
those practices too? For that matter, any number of sins are firmly entrenched in our society. Since
when was ubiquity an excuse for ignoring God’s counsels?


Ignoring Sport or Revelation?

The second surprising assertion is found already in the third sentence: “Although Ellen G. White
cautioned against games and recreation, we must not ignore sport.”4 Remember, on the one hand,
Ellen White said she did not condemn the simple playing of ball.5 The SDA-HPERA Guidelines
sentence could lead the reader to think that Ellen G. White opposed everything including “the
simple playing of ball.” Such clearly was not her position. In fact, she wrote much that was
positive concerning recreation.

However, many of her counsels were much more than mere cautions. She explicitly commented on
several competitive sports even as she also made general statements giving unambiguous warning
against participation in those and similar activities.6 To call these mere cautions is to decrease the
magnitude of the objections she expressed. Such also misrepresents her viewpoint.

It is also curious to know what the authors of the SDA-HPERA Guidelines meant by using “games”
and “recreation” to describe that which Mrs. White cautioned against, and then to use the word
“sport,” possibly as a third category unaddressed by her. If this is the intent, it represents an
ethical failure on the part of the authors, for as we next point out, we are not lacking in discovering
pages and pages of inspired material commenting on God’s view of sport.
  4
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 2.
  5
    Ellen G. White, Adventist Home, p. 499.
  6
    See this Response, Appendices B, C, D, and E.




                                                    31
Yet another problem in this part of the SDA-HPERA Guidelines is that the sentence as offered
opposes Mrs. White’s “cautions” about sport with the statement that—regardless of what she
said—“we must not ignore sport.” Realize that this is the longest discussion of Ellen White’s
counsels offered in the SDA-HPERA Guidelines. This is it; this is the closest the document comes
to actually discussing them!

At this point, we want to suggest to the reader, if you have not already done so, do turn to
Appendices B, C, D, and E at the end of this document and invest some time. You will there
locate several unambiguous statements concerning competitive sport. Now realize that not one of
her statements receives even the beginning of a serious treatment in the SDA-HPERA Guidelines.
That is, very considerable material that directly bears on the viability or even the existence of
a “Christian model of sport,” is not acknowledged, definitely not addressed, and is positively set
aside with the assertion that whatever counsel God may have given His church through her, “we
must not ignore sport.”

What she writes for us are no mere human opinions. “In the testimonies sent to Battle Creek, I
have given you the light God has given to me. In no case have I given my own judgment or opinion.
I have enough to write of what has been shown me, without falling back on my own opinions.”7
Sometimes persons had sought to sort for themselves between what they considered was inspired
in her writings and what they considered was not. She spoke to this:


      Many times in my experience I have been called upon to meet the attitude of a certain
      class, who acknowledged that the testimonies were from God, but took the position
      that this matter and that matter were Sister White’s opinion and judgment. This suits
      those who do not love reproof and correction, and who, if their ideas are crossed, have
      occasion to explain the difference between the human and the divine.
      If the preconceived opinions or particular ideas of some are crossed in being reproved
      by testimonies, they have a burden at once to make plain their position to discriminate
      between the testimonies, defining what is Sister White’s human judgment, and what is
      the word of the Lord. Everything that sustains their cherished ideas is divine, and the
      testimonies to correct their errors are human—Sister White’s opinions. They make of
      none effect the counsel of God by their tradition. —Manuscript 16, 1889.8


It is clear that in the Spirit of Prophecy writings we have been granted much more than some
inconsequential opinion. God is speaking to us through this gracious gift from Himself to His
church. Therefore, to ignore what Mrs. White has to say, is to ignore what revelation has to
say. To ignore what revelation has to say is to ignore what God has to say. We mustn’t do this.
“Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper”
(2 Chronicles 20:20).

Remember, the world church has plainly stated that the writings of Ellen G. White function for
us as “a continuing and authoritative source of truth.”9 Since the SDA-HPERA Guidelines ignore
  7
     Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 70.
  8
     Ibid., p. 68.
   9
     Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, Revised 2000 16th Edition, Fundamental Beliefs #17, The Gift of
Prophecy, p. 15.


                                                   32
them, the only way of describing the approach taken toward the Ellen G. White writings is that
it is a flippant one. Unfortunately, this represents the highpoint of the SDA-HPERA Guidelines.
From here onward, they spiral further downward.


The Real Issue: Not “Athletics” or “Sport”

A third point of special interest and concern is that the real issue at hand is not over “athletics” or
“sport,” but over competitive sports. A superficial read-through might not spot this, but it is a sly
approach that has been used to justify inter-school competition by Adventists for many years. The
emphasis is taken off of the issue of participation in competitive sports, and shifted to the question
of whether we should have athletics programs in our schools or not. In sales this tactic is called a
“presumptive close.” In argumentation it is called a red-herring or a straw man. In philosophy it
is called subterfuge. In the Bible it is called a lie.

While boards and committees have often been guided into this subtle shift in what they were
to consider, whole documents such as the AAC Guidelines or the SDA-HPERA’s Guidelines for
Athletics in Seventh-day Adventist Institutions have been created whose primary purpose is to
provide the framework that governs inter-school competition within the Seventh-day Adventist
context.

Read these documents. Talk of “athletics” and “sport,” has the appearance of camouflage. Often
when you see these words in such documents, you will much better understand by replacing these
with the concept “competitive inter-school sports.”

Recognizing that the maxim, “the best defense is a good offense” is often true, the authors of the
SDA-HPERA Guidelines totally ignore the General Conference Working Policy concerning these
matters (“The Seventh-day Adventist Church is opposed to inter-school league play (commonly
known as varsity athletics) in its educational system”10 and engage in a backflip, asserting that
if we do not teach our people to engage in competitive inter-school sports, “we have not totally
fulfilled the mission of Seventh-day Adventist education.”

How many of our pioneer Seventh-day Adventists participated in competitive sports? Remember,
most of these were young people! Yet we do not read of James or Ellen White, or J. N. Andrews, or
anyone else in the pioneer Adventist crowd doing these things. Were they not fulfilling the mission
of Seventh-day Adventism? We read Ellen White’s books on education, filled with inspired counsel
(Education, Fundamentals of Christian Education, Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students),
never once finding this mandate, this requirement to include inter-school competitive sports. On
the contrary, in her writings we discover the most explicit counsel opposing it.
  10
     See this Response, Appendix F: Complete Text of General Conference Working Policy FE 85 05 and Fe 85 10
inter-school Sports, 2001-2002, pp. 281, 282.




                                                    33
Can We Tame That Which Has “A Power to Demoralize”?

We are told in the SDA-HPERA Guidelines that, “we should educate our membership on how
to relate to sport with a Seventh-day Adventist Christian focus.”11 The document opines that,
“Too many have learned what sport is by listening, observing, or reading what happens in the
popular venues of sport throughout the world. However, it is not inevitable that sport be like
these representations.”12 But consider the information we have assembled in this Response in the
Appendices from the writings of Ellen G. White. According to her Holy Spirit-inspired counsel,
there is both a certainty and an inevitability in what sport is:


      The tendency of most athletic sports is a subject of anxious thought to those who have
      at heart the well-being of the youth. Teachers are troubled as they consider the influence
      of these sports both on the student’s progress in school and on his success in afterlife.
      The games that occupy so much of his time are diverting the mind from study. They
      are not helping to prepare the youth for practical, earnest work in life. Their influence
      does not tend toward refinement, generosity, or real manliness.
      Some of the most popular amusements, such as football and boxing, have become schools
      of brutality. They are developing the same characteristics as did the games of ancient
      Rome. The love of domination, the pride in mere brute force, the reckless disregard of
      life, are exerting upon the youth a power to demoralize that is appalling.13


      The amusements and expenditures of means for self-pleasing, which lead on step by
      step to self-glorifying, and the educating in these games for pleasure produce a love and
      passion for such things that is not favorable to the perfection of Christian character.14


The problems noted above boil down to two main heads: (1) diversion, distraction, and loss of
time, and (2) developing a love of domination, pride in mere brute force, self-glorying, and reckless
disregard for life. These character traits are developed by competitive sport, which has “a power
to demoralize.”15 These are interesting points, especially as compared with the claims made for
competitive inter-school athletics for their supposedly beneficial effectiveness with reference to self-
actualization and character development.16

The claim made by the SDA-HPERA Guidelines is that sport can “enhance the character and
elevate the ethics.” But even those advocating this are careful not to claim very much. Sport
“can”17 improve character. I can travel from Loma Linda to Los Angeles by going north on highway
395 to Reno, Nevada, turning west onto Interstate-80, and then proceeding south on Interstate-5
and thus arrive in LA. But because I can choose this route to my destination does not mean it is
wise or even reasonable. Yet even these are not the facts concerning sport. We are not left unaware
 11
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 2.
 12
    Ibid.
 13
    Ellen G. White, Adventist Home, p. 500.
 14
    Ellen G. White, Adventist Home, p. 499.
 15
    Ibid., p. 500.
 16
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 2.
 17
    Ibid.


                                                 34
of the ultimate facts about sport and its impact upon character. We are not left room even to say
that competitive sports can enhance character. We are shown they cannot.

First, as we saw, participation in competitive inter-school sports activities means the expenditure
of time, the precious hours of life’s opportunity for personal spiritual growth and for service for God
to others. Inspiration speaks of sports negatively on this point, in terms of diversion, distraction,
and loss of time. There is no positive comment on this feature in competitive sports found in
inspiration. But this is only a byproduct of competitive sports. The time wasted is taken out of
the 100% we are given by God.

There is no halftime for the Christian. “The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was
ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the
soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness.”18 The report from inspiration is
that “Young men, as well as young women indulge their passion for amusement... It is painful to
think of the time thus misspent. Hours that should be given to the study of the Scriptures or to
active labor for Christ, are worse than wasted.”19 “O, that we would remember that it is court
week with us, and that our cases are pending! Now is the time to watch and pray, to put away all
self-indulgence, all pride, all selfishness. The precious moments that are now by many worse than
wasted should be spent in meditation and prayer.”20

How can we educate our young people about the importance of a spiritual preparation for life when
we encourage them to expend so much time and energy in inter-school competitive sports? Parents,
students, and teachers in Seventh-day Adventist schools that operate a program of competitive
inter-school sports often invest a very considerable proportion of time and energy into their sports
programs. Coaches are hired, equipment is purchased, meetings are held to schedule events, travel
between schools is involved, and that is just for the games. Preparation and practice swallows
another whole tract of time besides. Who modified the mission of God’s people so that competitive
inter-school sports would become such a prominent consumer of the time of a people who are
preparing for Jesus’ imminent return?

Consider for a moment the time investment, not only of the students, the coaches, bus drivers and
others, but also of the spectators. Consider for a moment a situation where you have two football
teams meeting along with a crowd to sit and watch the sports event. Let’s just say we are dealing
with a relatively small group of 200 people spending three hours apiece; that is a total man-hour
investment of 600 hours, just for one event. We are talking about spending 25 days total of human
lifetime on just one meaningless game. We can think of this more precisely as 25 days lost out of
probationary time. Not one of those 200 people for whom Jesus died really has any time to spare.
For each and every one, “it is court week our cases are pending.”

And we are teaching our young people to kick a ball.

But the most objectionable of the two problems is not the expenditure of time. It is, rather, the
character developed by competitive sport. This is not a mystery or a maybe. Inspiration says
that specific character qualities are developed: love of domination, pride in mere brute force, self-
 18
    Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 43.
 19
    Ellen G. White, Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 97.
 20
    Ellen G. White, Maranatha, p. 39.



                                                      35
glorying, and reckless disregard for life. But does Jesus love domination? Did Jesus take pride
in mere brute force? Does Jesus want to develop in us self-glorying? Did Jesus teach reckless
disregard for life? Never. The divine analysis of these things is unambiguous.

Such activities exert “upon the youth a power to demoralize.” A practice which demoralizes is one
which removes morals. But we build Christian institutions to re-moralize our children, to help them
in the spiritual warfare. Can we send our children to, for their Christian education, a school which
subjects its precious young charges to what is actually and indisputably a demoralizing influence?


Can Ethics Control the Unethical?

“Ethics must control sport”; so we are told in the SDA-HPERA Guidelines. An ethic is a set of
moral principles fitting together within a self-consistent system. To say then that “ethics must
control sport” is to say that there is a way to reconcile inter-school competitive sports with the
principles of Christianity.

But what if Christian ethics actually require the surrender of a practice? What if, in order to
remain coherent as an internally consistent system, what God reveals to us indicates a fundamental
incompatibility between Christianity and sport? Can ethics control a divinely rejected practice?
If God’s will is against it, then how is this different than saying that, “stealing is entrenched in
our society, so we cannot ignore it; nevertheless there is a Christian model of theft—but Christian
ethics must control thievery”? What if the aim of one practice is to re-moralize people, and the
effect of another practice is to demoralize them?

The SDA-HPERA Guidelines urge, “Students must learn to make value judgments, to analyze
activities and events, and to determine if they should be part of their experience.”21 So do we; we
urge the same. But where, in the SDA-HPERA Guidelines is presented the counsel of inspiration
concerning these things? Presenting a one-sentence inspiration ejection-button (“Although Ellen
G. White cautioned against games and recreation, we must not ignore sport”22 ) and proceeding to
ignore so many pages of inspired data in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy writings,23 does little to
help students learn to make such value judgments!

How is embracing a competitive inter-school sports program that the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy
writings, and the General Conference condemn, “applying core values to real-life situations”?24
The core values of the gospel are indicated in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. They are not
found in the SDA-HPERA Guidelines. What are found there are the core values of a condemned
world, noxious plants that our Father has not planted, and which Jesus warns will, at the last, be
rooted up, every last one (Matthew 15:13).
 21
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p.2.
 22
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 2.
 23
    See this Response, Appendices A, B, C, D, and E.
 24
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 2.




                                                       36
Sport as a Religion

Let us pause for what may appear a momentary digression. When, after a millennia and a half of
their absence, Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1896 succeeded in reintroducing the Olympic Games,
he sold the idea as a new religion. The original Olympics had been held in a stadium in Olympia,
southwest of Athens, Greece, near the 45 foot tall statue of Zeus made of ivory and gold. Feats
of agility and prowess were understood to please Zeus.25 As a child, Coubertin had read Thomas
Hughes extremely influential book, Tom Brown’s Schooldays, and begun to form the ideas for
his “modern religion.” Educated by Jesuit Priests in France at College Externat Saint-Ignace,26
Coubertin said, “The ancient as well as the modern Olympic Games have one most important
feature in common: They are a religion... The religious idea of sport, the religio athletae, has
entered very slowly into the consciousness of the athlete, and many of them act accordingly only
by instinct.”27

Coubertin said in a 1935 radio address that from the beginning he had sought to incorporate the
games with, and sell them as bearing “a religious feeling.”28 But Coubertin’s new religion arose as
a species of Social Darwinism, a philosophy in which the fittest rise to the top, and a scenario in
which Nations fight wars by proxy athletes.29 For Europeans populating lands ravaged by a history
of ever-more devastating wars, the idea of the Olympics being a restorer of peace and hope was
difficult to resist against the dismal backdrop upon which few answers were painted.

Nor is this view held by Westerners alone. The 1972 Olympics in Munich saw the murder of 11
Israeli athletes. After the attacks, a Palestinian spokesman said, “that sport is the modern religion
of the Western world; So we decided to use the Olympics, the most sacred ceremony of this religion,
to make the world pay attention to us.”30

A century later, in our postmodern milieu, Coubertin’s humanistic religion is transformed to a
religion centered on sensual experience. It is here that we return to the SDA-HPERA Guidelines.
Notice their description of sport:


       A person must experience the joy of movement before it becomes a reality. There is
       nothing quite like the kinesthetic exaltation of hitting a ball on the sweet spot of a bat or
       knowing the moment the ball leaves your hand that it will go through the hoop. In such
  25
      Peggy Fletcher Steck, “The Olympics are Rooted in Religion,” Salt Lake Tribune, February 3, 2001,
http://corinth.sas.upenn.edu/dgr/otherclips/olyreligion.html, accessed on February 2, 2004, 3:57 p.m. PST.
   26
      George Hirthler, “Passion. Coubertin: An appreciation,” http://www.helikonmedia.com/coubertin.htm, accessed
February 2, 2004, 6:22 p.m. PST.
   27
      Pierre de Coubertin, quoted by Arnd Kruger in “Notes and Commentary: The Origins of Pierre de Coubertin’s re-
ligio Athletae,” http://www.aafla.org/SportsLibrary/Olympika/Olympika 1993/olympika0201g.pdf, accessed Febru-
ary 2, 2004, 5:20 p.m. PST.
   28
      Ibid.
   29
      Ibid., “For centuries athleticism, its home in Olympia, remained pure and magnificent. There states and cities
met in the persons of their young men, who, imbued with a sense of the moral grandeur of the games went to them
in a spirit of almost religious reverence.” (Emphasis in original), Coubertin, quoted in Kruger. “Sport... can be seen
as an indirect preparation for war. In sports all the same qualities flourish which serve for warfare...” Coubertin,
quoted in Kruger.
   30
      “1972 Munich,” http://www.learntoquestion.com/seevak/groups/2002/sites/decoubertin/1972Munich.html, ac-
cessed February 2, 2004, 4:14 p.m. PST.



                                                         37
      experiences we transcend ourselves into a realm reserved only for the participant. Sport
      provides an opportunity for a person to expand his or her dimension, integrating mind
      and body while moving through space with perfect harmony. Sport potentially offers
      the sense of accomplishment, the reward for hours of intense effort, the integration of
      self with self for the common good, and the feeling of ‘team.’ These all enrich a person’s
      soul and experience.31


Catch the kinesthetic focus, the “religious feeling” in the above: “experience the joy of movement,”
“kinesthetic exaltation,” “in such experiences we transcend ourselves,” “expand his or her dimen-
sion, integrating mind and body while moving through space with perfect harmony,” “integration
of self,” “these all enrich a person’s soul and experience.” What is being pitched here is sensual
experience. It is a change of focus in life from the moral horizon to the sensory horizon. Why is it
that the experience of competitive inter-school sports is so important in order for us to “transcend
ourselves”?

Furthermore, the SDA-HPERA Guidelines continue to promote this flattened horizon when it comes
to categories of the secular and the profane. Say the Guidelines:“There is no dichotomy between
what is secular and what is sacred. Playing a musical instrument, repairing an automobile, playing
a game, or preaching a sermon are all religious activities.”32 “Religion and sport are not two
separate entities; they are one. We should weave biblical principles into all we say and do. We
must cooperate with God in our acts of play as well as in our acts of Christian work.”33 Are these
assertions sound?

Do not tell John there is no dichotomy between the secular and the sacred. There is, in Scripture,
quite a sharp distinction between what is holy and what is profane. Merely to sample the tiny
book of 1 John, we find repeated unambiguous assertion of a difference between darkness and light
(1 John 1:5; 2:8, 9), between lies and truth (1 John 1:6; 2:4, 21, 27), between truth and error
(1 John 4:6), between what is righteousness and what is not (1 John 3:7, 10). Peter likewise asserts
a sharp difference between what is holy and what is not (1 Peter 2:9; 3:5; 2 Peter 2:21; 3:11). Isaiah
speaks with equal plainness for God: “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!” (Isaiah
5:20).

It is true that we are to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:11), but it is untrue to say
“religion and sport are not two separate entities.” It is untrue to say that there is no difference
between the secular and the sacred (holy). Consider the examples presented in the SDA-HPERA
Guidelines! “Playing a musical instrument, repairing an automobile, playing a game, or preaching
a sermon are all religious activities.” What is appropriate for the Sabbath, a holy day? Is repairing
an automobile appropriate for the Sabbath? Replacing a flat tire is one thing; it is unexpected,
unanticipated, an irregular occurrence. If such an event occurs in the middle of nowhere on your
way to church, most Adventists would go ahead and replace the flat with a spare. But this is not
the picture one gathers when reading the lines of the SDA-HPERA Guidelines.

“Repairing an automobile” is put side-by-side with “playing a game,” which is put side-by-side
 31
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 2.
 32
    Ibid, p. 2.
 33
    Ibid, p. 3.


                                                 38
with “preaching a sermon.” It sounds as if I am justified in changing my car’s oil, giving it a
tune-up, or having a game of football, or preaching a sermon on the Sabbath. What other would
we gather from the assertion that “Religion and sport are not two separate entities; they are one”?
Is there no difference between the zero-sum race of men with men, one winning, others losing, and
the gospel race in which every participant may gain the victory crown? There is all the difference
in the world.

If it is no different to preach Christ and His eternal kingdom as a religious activity than it is to make
a touchdown in a game in a world that is passing away, we have lost our sight as a people. It is true
that preaching and playing occur in the same world. So do righteousness and sin, so does obedience
to God’s will and disobedience to it. How can that which re-moralizes people be placed at the same
moral level as that which demoralizes people? Why should we remove from membership church
members who violate the Sabbath? How can we condone the buying and selling of a shop-owner’s
goods in a store he keeps open on the Sabbath? Then we have come into contradiction to the
Sabbath commandment (Exodus 20:8-11).

God has a character. God has a law. Satan has a character. Satan has an alternative to obedience.
Which then are we choosing when we proclaim there is no difference between darkness and light,
the secular and the sacred, the profane and the holy! It is as Satan’s garden claim: “Thou shalt not
surely die” (Genesis 3:4). He teaches there is no difference between obedience and disobedience,
“religion and sport are not two separate entities.” And what do we find the SDA-HPERA teaching
our youth? Where is the NAD?

Rather, this is a new religion which celebrates sensation, physical movement “through space with
perfect harmony,” while causing spiritual movement through God’s ethics with all the grace of a
lame hippo. If there is no difference between the holy and the profane then light has been put
for darkness and darkness for light. Just as competitive sports rose back into prominence in the
19th century via Coubertin’s religion of sports, Seventh-day Adventist Schools in North America
are at risk of joining him in his counterfeit faith of humanism tainted with sensationism. The
SDA-HPERA Guidelines amalgamate the sacred and the profane.


The Missing Christian/Seventh-day Adventist Philosophy of Sport

One more item, at least, is still missing. Although asserted, although affirmed, although repeatedly
stated—no “Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of sport” is to be found herein. There is no creation
or validation by mere assertion but for God alone. Man is to look after His will and hear it.

And live by it.

The theory that such a thing as “a Christian Philosophy of Sport” exists, is mistaken. It is one
thing for Bible writers to use imagery taken from secular and pagan cultures to illustrate lessons of
perseverance and endurance, but quite another to draw from such imagery that which could truly
qualify as “a Christian philosophy of sport.” Nor do the SDA-HPERA Guidelines even attempt it.
Perhaps even the authors of the document know that in the Scripture passages where Paul drew
illustrations from Grecian competitive athletics, he was drawing lessons from, not elucidating a


                                                  39
philosophy of, sport. Is the SDA-HPERA merely asking our people to take their word for it that
such a philosophy exists? It is not in their document. Religion by assertion will never do.

The closest the SDA-HPERA Guidelines come to a philosophy of such is in the third sentence when
Ellen White’s name was mentioned. The only “Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of sport” to be
found on planet earth is located in Appendices B, C, D, and E at the end of this Response, in the
revelations there listed.


General Conclusion: Analysis and Critique of SDA-HPERA’s, “Guidelines for
Athletics in Seventh-day Adventist Institutions”

Much more might be said, reviewed, explained, refuted. Besides those sentences, the document
abounds in friendly and frothy statements no one would dispute (“It is far more important to
develop the whole person than to win such a comparatively insignificant thing as a game,”34 “The
mandate of Seventh-day Adventist schools is to educate the whole person academically, spiritually,
physically, and socially,”35 “We should weave biblical principles into all we say and do,”36 and
more). In terms of substance, the document is an utter failure.

The SDA-HPERA Guidelines appear boldly defiant of the current working policies of the church.
Their content is testimony to the possibility of emptying words of all meaning, and make light of
the sincere beliefs of a people who have unambiguous counsel from God which opposes competitive
inter-school sports. No amorphous policy strung together with obscure unsupported maxims like
the SDA-HPERA Guidelines should ever get this far. Someone—some group—has been asleep at
the switch while competitive inter-school sports and the SDA-HPERA Guidelines have taken on
life and come to be a substantial influence in the secularization of our schools. But Ellen White
was not asleep when she wrote a century ago, and today we are not either. We reject the Seventh-
day Adventist—Health, Physical Education, Recreation Association’s, “Guidelines for Athletics in
Seventh-day Adventist Institutions” as so deeply flawed to be unredeemable.




 34
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 2.
 35
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 2.
 36
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 3.


                                               40
41
Chapter VI


Comparison of AAC Guidelines With
SDA-HPERA Guidelines

Comparison of Practical Implementation

There are both positives and negatives in the implementation of the AAC Guidelines. To make
these easier to view we have opted for list and chart forms in this chapter.


The AAC Guidelines

       • In the positive column, “No school has to participate in this commission.”1

       • Concerns that the competition not assume inordinate priority occur repeatedly in the AAC
         Guidelines.2

       • One of the positive elements of the soon-to-be obsoleted AAC rules is their recognition that
         some schools, some churches, some Seventh-day Adventists, might, for conscience’s sake, opt-
         out of competitive inter-school sports. The SDA-HPERA Guidelines offer no such respect.

       • The AAC rules were primarily for Adventist academies to conduct inter-school competi-
         tive sports with other Adventist academies.3 Provision was made for participation by non-
         Adventist schools, but this was to be minimized.4 “The AAC Commissioners are not encour-
   1
     AAC Guidelines, p. i.
   2
     AAC Guidelines, “...it is better to keep it [the competitive inter-school sports program] small and somewhat
informal,” p. i. “...we are discouraging... or other trappings that would foster rivalry or unnecessarily promote the
athletic portion of the joint social gatherings planned.” p. i., “Life must be kept in balance. Expenditure of time
or money on the athletic program should be weighed carefully and a proper priority kept,” p. 2, “The Commission
shall review each school’s AAC budget. The purpose shall be to keep things in perspective and to avoid AAC events
becoming a drain on the rest of the school’s budget.” p. 10.
   3
     AAC Guidelines, p. 3.
   4
     AAC Guidelines, p. 3, 4.




                                                         42
        aging a proliferation of non-Adventist academies to be sanctioned.”5 The Appendix of the
        AAC Guidelines for 2001 listed over a dozen Seventh-day Adventist academies participating
        in inter-school competitive sports.


The SDA-HPERA Guidelines

      • The SDA-HPERA Guidelines demonstrate no concern for “Keeping things small.” In fact,
        their exactly opposite approach demands that schools have a P.E. staff and a substantial
        budget to pay coaches.

      • The AAC Guidelines say nothing about Sabbath and time issues. No doubt the commission
        members expected respect for the Sabbath would be rendered implicitly. The SDA-HPERA
        Guidelines actually indicate explicitly that the Sabbath hours are not to be violated in any
        way.6 This is an improvement. However, it—as the Mentone Church discovered in its own
        case—more likely signals that Sabbath and competitive sports conflicts were a greater problem
        than initially expected. Indeed, in one case, an Adventist academy hired lawyers over its right
        to be a part of a worldly sports league and refuse to participate on the Sabbath.7 Are we
        serving our cause well this way? Furthermore, the SDA-HPERA Guidelines do not specify
        what activities count as infringing “upon the Sabbath hours.” Does travel? Does the travel
        by a non-Adventist school infringe?

      • The SDA-HPERA Guidelines tend to grow the sports program, for example by insisting on
        separate budgets for academics and athletics.8 It requires full scale financial reimbursement
        of the coaching staff.9 We believe a worker should be reimbursed according to his work;
        we question the elevation of what initially had been a peripheral activity to equal status
        with other legitimate activities. A Bible teacher who truly teaches Seventh-day Adventist
        doctrines is a necessity at an Adventist school; a coach for competitive inter-school sports is
        not a necessity.

      • The SDA-HPERA Guidelines approve fund-raising and booster clubs.10

      • The SDA-HPERA Guidelines are open about developing schedules and calling them that.11
        (The AAC Guidelines had insisted there were no schedules.) While the SDA-HPERA Guide-
        lines no longer obfuscate the existence of a schedule by making a distinction without a differ-
        ence (claiming there is no league and no schedule, while still competing in a league according
        to a schedule), it is still difficult to see the publishing of formal schedules as a positive devel-
        opment.

      • The SDA-HPERA Guidelines urge that win/loss scores be openly published and maintained.12
  5
     AAC Guidelines, p. 4.
  6
     “The institution should schedule games so as not to infringe upon the hours of the Sabbath.” SDA-HPERA
Guidelines, p. 4.
   7
     “Fourth Commandment Goes to Court,” http://adventistreview.org/2003-1525/news.html, accessed February
19, 2004, 9:45 p.m. PST.
   8
     SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 4.
   9
     SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 5.
  10
     SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 4.
  11
     SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 4.
  12
     SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 5.



                                                    43
      • The SDA-HPERA Guidelines require that personnel hired as coaching staff be those whose
        personal views “reflect the principles outlined in this document.”13 This creates a self-
        perpetuating, circular situation in which the principles of inter-school competitive sports
        upheld in it shall continually persist, since new personnel will hold to the same philosophy or
        else not be hired.


Some of the items gleaned from the camparisons made in sections IV, V, and VI of this document
can be tabulated as follows:


          AAC Guidelines                                SDA − HP ERA Guidelines
          We are not a league                           No prohibition of league participation
          We do not have a prescribed schedule          Publish schedule on website
          Scores, what scores?                          Publish scores on website
          These are incidental friendship games         These are scheduled competitions
          Loophole compliance with General              Total disregard for General
          Conference Working Policy FE 85               Conference Working Policy FE 85
          Limit primarily to SDA academies              Wide-open, no limitation to SDA
          No mention of Bible/EGW                       EGW mentioned, ejected
          Similar concerns to EGW’s mentioned           No similar concerns as EGW’s noted
          Inter-school competitive sports an option     Inter-school competitive sports
                                                        necessary to fulfill educational mission
          No specific Sabbath prohibition                Specific Sabbath prohibition
          No “religion of sport” tone                   Practically makes sport a religion
          Limit prominence sports program               Increase prominence


The SDA-HPERA Guidelines do not represent an advancement of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church, but a retreat, a malformation instead of a reformation. We must not go backwards. We
must declare in a straightforward manner that neither the AAC Guidelines nor the SDA-HPERA
Guidelines are acceptable.




 13
      SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 4.


                                                   44
45
Chapter VII


The Arguments of Brian Sather

One of the primary sources for competitive inter-school sports advocacy within Adventism are
the writings of Brian Sather. Earning his MS at Brigham Young University, Sather has done an
excellent job of collating the basic historical facts of the development of competitive inter-school
sports within Adventism.1 Sather notes “A struggle within the Seventh-day Adventist church is
taking place over the presence and role of interscholastic competition in SDA schools.”2


Sather Addresses Ellen G. White and Competitive Sports

Sather is practically the only voice which even has addressed the issue of the Ellen G. White writings
in relation to competitive sports. Regretably, he relies upon arguments by Alden Thompson and
George R. Knight showing, it is claimed,


       ...that White’s understanding of issues ranging from home education, phrenology, and
       diet, among others, changed over time depending upon the needs and conditions of
       Adventist education and progress in physiological and nutritional science. In particular
       and novel circumstances, White encouraged solving problems based sensibly on careful
       thought, prayer, and interpretation of scriptures.”3


Sather goes into more detail in his thesis.4 His basic argument is that the claims made by those
opposed to competitive inter-school sports are based on the writings of Ellen G. White, and that
   1
     Brian Sather documents several of these and the years they were made at http://cosmic.swau.edu/˜
bsather/coaching/gc statements sda discussion.htm, accessed February 23, 2004, 11:21 p.m.          PST. His ma-
terials include a timeline.      For another timeline, download the PDF by Larry Kirkpatrick found at
http://www.greatcontroversy.org/pdf/cstimeline.pdf.
   2
     Brian Sather, “The Role of Interscholastic Sports in SDA Education,” (abridged version of his thesis), p. 1, at
http://www2.swau.edu/˜bsather/thesis abridged.html, accessed February 22, 2004, 11:34 a.m. PST.
   3
     Ibid., p. 1.
   4
     Brian A. Sather, “The Development of Interscholastic Sports at Seventh-day Adventist Academies and Colleges,”
August 1996, online at http://www2.swau.edu/˜bsather/thesis.html, accessed February 22, 2004, 12:54 p.m., PST.


                                                        46
“such programs go directly against inspired counsel.”5 Sather in his thesis states:


      However, for this claim to be upheld, opponents of interschool competition bear the
      burden of proof showing irrefutably that White’s teachings about education, sports,
      and the plan of physical activities in the curriculum never changed over time. We must
      understand that White’s writings should be carefully interpreted in the proper historical
      and social context.6


Finally, Sather argues that “Wholesome physical activities are consistent with the doctrines of the
SDA church and the writings of Ellen G. White.”7



Reaction to Sather’s Arguments

What to make of all this? First, Sather’s solution to the insoluble dilemma faced by inter-school
competitive sports advocates by the writings of Ellen G. White is to suggest that her views changed
over time. But this is an ambiguous place to leave the question hanging. In what way did they
change? Several factors must be taken into account. One is the principle of progressive revelation.
God did not reveal everything to Ellen White or any other prophet, at once. Revelation is presented
to God’s people diachronically, through time. Those who would like to make obsolete some portions
of Mrs. White’s writings tend to come to confusion at this point. It is profitable to their thesis to
be in confusion at it, too.

Next, we want to keep in mind that there is a difference between new revelation filling in gaps
and new revelation changing or overruling prior revelation. It is noteworthy that Sather developed
his thesis and included this argument in work done at Brigham Young University. This is the
primary educational institution operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS),
otherwise known as the Mormon Church. As a part of its doctrinal and theological heritage, the LDS
church has from its inception considered its president to be a living prophet. The upshot of this is
that since the beginning of that church in the same century as our own, new LDS church presidents
have repeatedly changed church doctrine by new revelations which sometimes have conflicted with
previous revelations.8

For example, well known changes include geographic locations where the LDS should establish
themselves (three divine “mind-changes,” from Missouri9 to Illinois10 to Utah11 ), the practice of
  5
     Ibid., p. 4.
  6
     Ibid.
   7
     Ibid., p. 8.
   8
     This from the standpoint of LDS belief; Seventh-day Adventists who have examined the writings of Joseph
Smith, Brigham Young, and other LDS “prophets” have concluded that these writings do not constitute cases of the
operation of divine revelation.
   9
     Doctrine & Covenants, 52:42; 57:2, 3.
  10
     Doctrine & Covenants, Section 125:3, 4.
  11
     Occurred after the Book of Mormon and other initial LDS “Scriptures” were prepared, in the time of Brigham
Young.



                                                      47
polygamy (yes at first, no later12 ), and whether blacks can be in the priesthood (no at first, but
yes later13 ). What would seem a perfectly reasonable solution to a Latter-day Saint, a superce-
dence understanding of revelation, differs greatly from the Seventh-day Adventist understanding
of accretion-revelation, all revelations being equally valid and authentic, newer revelations adding
specificity but not changing the basic thrust of previous revelation. It is replace versus append;
supercede versus increase the stack of material.

Another kind of change is change in emphasis. Alden Thompson, referenced by Sather, in his
major arguments tends to argue for a change in emphasis, not content. Thus, in his “From Sinai
to Golgotha” material, Thompson argues for a change of emphasis in Ellen G. White’s writings
from the law to the Cross. Thompson’s viewpoints have never been widely accepted within the
Adventist Church.

Many of Knight’s arguments are considered even more dubious. Knight points out Mrs. White’s
shift in position on pork eating (from advocacy to opposition). But her statement in the Testi-
monies,14 was no advocacy of pork eating which she later reversed. Rather, she urged that at
a certain point in time, those advocating abstinence from pork meat were not to agitate their
view any further until God should see fit to give additional light indicating it was time to make
it a prominent issue. Thus, later when Ellen White indicated that the use of swine’s flesh should
be discontinued,15 it was no change of root position, but acknowledgment that the situation had
changed, it now was time to change emphasis on that point.

The kind of alleged change in Ellen White’s view becomes important. Cases of actual change in root
position are not documented, merely vague assertion is made on the basis of undisclosed evidence
from George Knight and Alden Thompson that Mrs. White “changed” her viewpoint over time.
So we are left without evidence by Sather or anyone else that Mrs. White’s views on competitive
sports changed over time; only assertions. We are presented with no clarity concerning what kind
of revelation model (change according to the supercedence or the accretionist model) Sather uses,
nor what kind of change he proposes occurred (change of emphasis or change in root position). His
position implies root change. The evidence presented in Appendices B, C, D, and E of this paper
doesn’t support it. Perhaps this is why he asserts the argument but refuses to provide evidence for
it or pursue it. His LDS instructors were satisfied with his thesis, doubtless on the basis of their
supercedence-modeled understanding of revelation. This is regarded by Seventh-day Adventists as
an unsound approach to interpreting the writings of Ellen G. White.

Finally, it is an abrogation of duty for Sather to make his assertion and then throw the burden
of proof upon Adventists who reject his position. Remember, according to Sather, “opponents of
interschool competition bear the burden of proof showing irrefutably that White’s teachings about
education, sports, and the plan of physical activities in the curriculum never changed over time.”
There is no ambiguity here. It is questionable methodology to argue that your position is correct
unless those holding a different view (in this case, the view with the overwhelming preponderance
of evidence) must give “irrefutable” proof that her teachings did not change over time.
  12
       Doctrine & Covenants Section 132:1-66, compare with Doctrine & Covenants, Official Declaration—1, pp. 291-
293.
  13
     Doctrine & Covenants, Official Declaration—2, pp. 293, 294.
  14
     Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 204-209.
  15
     Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 93.



                                                       48
We will gladly provide evidence that her writings were fleshed-out over the passage of time, but
the ball is in the court of those who assert her views changed. In this case, has Sather or anyone
else provided evidence that Mrs. White’s root teaching on this topic changed over time? No. The
argument that her view on this changed is very weak. Those who wish to advocate the “changed”
view on competition in sports activities can begin by providing a small number of references from
the writings of Ellen G. White as evidence for their position.

Even one such reference would help. But the bucket is empty.


Never Officially Reprimanded or Negatively Sanctioned

Among Sather’s arguments are that Seventh-day Adventist schools that began sports programs
“have never been officially reprimanded or negatively sanctioned by the General Conference for
their participation in interscholastic sports.”16 However, he overlooks that (A) many of these very
programs were the reason the General Conference Working Policy FE 8517 was developed, and (B)
that this same Working Policy states that,


       The Seventh-day Adventist Church is opposed to inter-school league play (commonly
       known as varsity athletics) in its educational system.18


The above stated policy is a general policy, applicable to all Seventh-day Adventist schools. This is
why it singles out no specific school or program for reprimand. If this is not a “negative sanction,”
we do not know what is.


Argument From Pragmatic Experience

Sather argues that the General Conference’s refusal to support competitive inter-school sports
has been practically ignored.19 He argues that benefits in developing “school spirit” and increased
community awareness concerning Adventists and their beliefs has resulted from the practice of inter-
school sports. He argues in addition that sports develop character.20 However, since his writing,
one example he cites actually has entered into litigation with the sports league it is member of over
the issue of Sabbath accommodation during playoffs and tournament games.21 While the official
report in the church magazine carries a positive tone, that is not the whole story.

There is considerably more negativity among observers than has been mentioned. For example, after
studying proposals by the Adventist academy, the Oregon School Activities Association concluded
  16
     Ibid., p. 1.
  17
     See Appendix F.
  18
     Ibid.
  19
     Brian Sather, “The Role of Interscholastic Sports in SDA Education,” (abridged version of his thesis), p. 2, at
http://www2.swau.edu/˜bsather/thesis abridged.html, accessed February 22, 2004, 11:34 a.m. PST.
  20
     Ibid, p. 2.
  21
     See “Fourth Commandment Goes to Court,” http://adventistreview.org/2003-1525/news.html, accessed Febru-
ary 19, 2004, 9:45 p.m. PST.


                                                        49
that the options advocated would, “create undue burdens, such as additional expense to either
the OSAA or fans or participants, loss of school time, loss of revenue, additional work for OSAA,
or would inconvenience too many people who wish to attend the tournament.”22 In fact, at a
2002 tournament game held on a Sabbath, which the Adventist academy (commendably) refused
to participate in, the game was forfeited, and “The OSAA cited the school for poor sportsmanship
for the first forfeiture at a championship event since the association was established in 1918.”23

Is it really in the best interests of God’s people to enter into competitive inter-school sports where,
inevitably, if our young people score well, participation in playoffs and tournaments results in ill-
will and litigation? Although as Sather says, those employed by our schools as coaches point to
anecdotal evidence that their competition with other schools has increased community awareness
of Adventist beliefs, how can this be in light of the fact that (A) the Bible and the Ellen G. White
writings thoroughly condemn the practice, and (B) the General Conference refuses to support it?
These sources of authority are the very ones that most define what is “Seventh-day Adventist.” If
our teams are doing what our very beliefs and organization condemn, it becomes axiomatic that no
team from a Seventh-day Adventist school competing with another school can actually represent
the Seventh-day Adventist Church or its teachings.


Charge of Ambiguity

Sather claims that the current General Conference Working Policy is ambiguous.24 But three
sentences later he admits, “Under the current policy, interschool sports programs that do exist
operate without support of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”25 So which is it?



Conclusion: The Arguments of Brian Sather

Sather argues that “Wholesome physical activities are consistent with the doctrines of the SDA
church and the writings of Ellen G. White.”26 We agree. What we cannot agree with Mr. Sather
on is that such activities would be inclusive of inter-school competitive sports. Although we are
thankful that he has at least tackled the dilemma facing inter-school competitive sports advocates
who find themselves faced with the impossible task of reconciling Mrs. White’s writings with the
practice of inter-school competitive sports, we do not see how he has made an effective case in favor
of Seventh-day Adventists competing in these sports.

We welcome Sather’s suggestion that “new sports programs develop in ways that are consistent with
  22
     Tracy Jan, “Portland Adventist Loses Appeal,” January 22, 2004, The Oregonian,
at http://oregonlive.com/prepsports/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/exclude/107477661098861.xml, accessed February
22, 2004, 12:14 p.m. PST.
  23
     Ibid.
  24
     Brian A. Sather, “The Development of Interscholastic Sports at Seventh-day Adventist Academies and Colleges,”
August 1996, online at http://www2.swau.edu/˜bsather/thesis.html, accessed February 22, 2004, 12:54 p.m., PST.
  25
     Ibid.
  26
     Ibid., p. 8.




                                                       50
church doctrines and the writings of Ellen G. White.”27 We would counsel, however, that where we
come to the specifics of inter-school competitive sports, no advocacy position can harmonize with
the writings of Ellen G. White.




 27
      Ibid., p. 7.


                                              51
Chapter VIII


Testimonies

Lest this document seem especially to focus on technical questions and definitions and compliance or
failure to comply with the voted Working Policies and the inspired biblical and Spirit of Prophecy
quotations, we sought also to include testimonies by persons who have either previously been
involved in competitive sports on the professional level or with competitive sports in Seventh-
day Adventist Schools. The few testimonies following are intended to add a human, real-to-life
dimension and show how competition philosophy has negatively impacted real people, who since
have come to personal convictions against the practice of competition.


Scott Higgins, former professional competitive surfer

     I was raised as a Baptist and believed in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. At the
     early age of six years old, I was introduced to the sport of surfing. At first I enjoyed it
     for the mere pleasure of being in nature and closer to God. As I grew older and more
     proficient in the sport, I, as well as others, recognized that I had some talent and I was
     urged to participate in competitions. All through the younger divisions, I was still in it
     “for the fun of it,” until I realized that I did not like to lose. By the age of 14 years old,
     I dropped all my other organized team sports (football, basketball, and soccer) pouring
     all my energies into surfing. I was naive in thinking that I could focus on God and on
     surfing. “No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the
     other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and
     mammon” (Matt 6:24). Slowly my mind became engrossed with competition so much
     that I walked, talked, ate, and slept surfing.
     By the age of 16 years old, I received one of my first sponsorships from a surfboard
     manufacturer that was willing to give me free surfboards. This opportunity motivated
     me even more to win at all costs. It did not matter if we were friends on the beach
     because in the water you were my enemy. I became angry at anyone who got in my
     way and soon this attitude carried over into my family, school, and even church. That’s
     when God tried to intervene. One day while at the age of 17 years old, I was free surfing
     at my local beach on a 2-3 ft shallow beach break day. I caught an edge coming off a
     back-handed top turn and went head-first into a sandbar. I heard a snap and a white

                                                  52
light flashed before my eye. I quickly jumped to my feet in the waist deep water. I
did not want to believe that I broke my neck but the pain was excruciatingly sharp. I
walked in and pulled the wetsuit vest I wearing, up over my head. The pain was now
running down my back. I sat down at my friend’s car and we drove home.
That night I could not sleep but for a few hours. When I awoke in the morning, I was
stiff and the pain was now in my lower back and running down my legs. That’s when
I realized I needed to see a doctor. My mother contacted a specialist and off we went.
The doctor did a series of tests and then took an x-ray of my neck. When the results
came back, it seemed as if all the doctors and nurses that were on duty, came into my
room. That was a little overwhelming and I knew, by the way they were staring at
me that something was wrong. The doctor that first examined me, spoke up and said,
“you broke your C-1 Vertebrate. I haven’t seen anyone live, let alone walk away from
this type of injury. You are a very fortunate young man.” The break was clean and
since it was my first vertebrate, it would not move out of place. The doctor showed me
the x-rays and you could not have fitted a hair between my bone and my brain-stem.
The bone had broken on both sides of the vertebrate and the doctor said “if that bone
would have touched your brain-stem, it would have been lights out.” Then he added
these words “you are to never surf again.” That’s all I heard that morning. “You are
to never surf again.” Even though it was a complete miracle that I was still alive and
was able to walk out of his office with only a soft collar neck-brace on, I walked out
bitter. Bitter that this happened, bitter at the doctor, and bitter at God. So I asked
this question, “Why God, why did this happen? My surfing career was just taking off.
Why now?” I did not see that He was trying to “win” me back and I did not realize
that surfing and competition had become my god. Anything we put before God is our
god.
Twelve long and angry weeks passed until I was due to revisit the neck specialist. He
took another x-ray and said, “Your bone has healed perfectly, you can now take off your
brace.” It did not matter. Life was over. I disregarded the fact that I was blessed; that
God was there for me and was watching over me. I did not even take time to think
of all the people that have died or are sitting paralyzed in a wheelchair. Shortly after
that visit, my competitiveness started to churn within me and I quickly brushed-aside
the voice of the Holy Spirit. I thought to myself: I don’t need the doctor, I don’t need
my parents and I certainly don’t need God. So I started surfing again. It took me a
little while to rise back up the rankings in competitive surfing, but soon sponsors were
approaching me again, offering free merchandise if I would only ride for them. Soon I
was traveling up and down the eastern seaboard, over to the west coast of California
and beyond for competitions and on photo shoots.
Soon came my first full-color page advertisement in a surfing magazine. I was even on
E.S.P.N. and was also filmed and aired on Channel 2 news who were covering a large
pro-surfing event. I even accepted a position in the surfing industry as a purchasing
agent and team manager. I thought for myself, “Yes, I have arrived, and I have fulfilled
my goals. I am being paid to do something I love to do.” And yet I felt so empty
and unsatisfied. I wondered why? Then I started to think back, back to when I was
six years old, back to when I first started surfing. Back to when it was for recreation
and being alone out there with God. I sensed my deep need to get back with my “first
Love,” to get back with God. I thought surfing, fame, and worldly gain would make
me happy. I thought these external things would complete me, but you see, aside from

                                           53
    having a relationship with Christ, nothing will complete us. Not our jobs, not our
    money, degrees, unhealthy relationships or in my case, sports. Nothing will make us
    whole. “And you are complete in Him, who is the Head of all principality and power”
    (Colossians 2:10).
    About this time, A.S.I. came to Orlando. A young, godly evangelist was preaching, and
    I was ripe for the seeds of truth. No Bible worker came to my door, no handbill was
    delivered to my mailbox. The phone hadn’t rung with any invitation for me to attend
    the meeting. Praise the Lord that the Holy Spirit is still at work today. I went to
    those meetings and was pricked to the heart when I looked upon the countenance of the
    young people that were leading out. They had such a happy and peaceful look about
    them and that was what I was looking for and that is what was missing from life. I had
    become so hardened by competition and the lifestyle that went with it. I know from
    experience that there is a lot of hate involved with competition even in the so-called
    “friendly games.” We as Christians should not place ourselves in these arenas. It is my
    belief that there is nothing of God in it when we pit ourselves one against another. “For
    we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
    against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in
    high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
    Mrs. White’s statement is balanced when she writes, “I do not condemn the simple
    exercise of playing ball, but this, even in its simplicity may be overdone.” We should
    remain active and participate in different activities. Praise the Lord, I am still able to
    surf, but I no longer do it competitively. Today I am drawing others to Christ, not away
    from Him. We should ask ourselves whether an activity is of God in whatever situation
    we find ourselves. When it comes to competitive sports, I have learned the answer.


Darren Randell, principal, Cayman Academy, Grand Cayman Islands,
British West Indies

    I really didn’t believe it when it happened, but sure enough, she hit me in the chest.
    Although I had been involved with sports before my conversion to the Seventh-day
    Adventist movement—I was still shocked. I had attended a large public high school
    and had the opportunity to play basketball there as well. Now I had the opportunity
    to attend an organized basketball tournament put on by a Seventh-day Adventist uni-
    versity. I was asked to sponsor, or really to travel with, the boys and girls basketball
    teams from the school where I was employed as a teacher. I enjoyed the trip and the
    kids. Over the year I had really come to appreciate them. Let me explain.
    In the tournament, each team was to play another team in a round-robin system. Our
    guy’s and our girl’s teams in their respective brackets won only one game a piece. The
    kids laughed it off, but I knew they really didn’t like being the teams that were in last
    place. Neither did I enjoy watching them go through the feelings of being in last place.
    One particular incident that was really unfortunate in regards to the so-called Christian
    tournament was in the area of the worldly element of “trash talk.” This was by no means
    an isolated event. In one of the games near the end of the tournament, our girls team
    came up against a team that was more talented and better prepared. Before this game,
    a contingent of roughly twenty academy-aged kids came to watch the upcoming game.


                                               54
Our girls, as well as the coaching staff, discovered that these fans were both noisy and
rude, not to mention in favor of the other team.
These students that came in before the game had an incredible knack at being able
to raise their voices above the crowd. They began to “trash talk” on virtually every
court incident. They would laugh hysterically when our girls made a bad play, yell
aggressively when the other team dominated, and give the referees a piece of their mind
on any call that was in favor of our team. It was a mess. One young lady on our team
who felt so much pressure because her father was the coach, showed her frustration
by sulking at the end of the bench. Through this situation our girl’s team became so
frustrated that they began to get annoyed with each other. Needless to say, our girls
lost the game. At the end of the game our “star player” was in tears. I went to tell her
something to the effect that in the scheme of eternal matters the game didn’t warrant
this much emotion. That’s when she hit me or shall I say, punched me in the chest. It
didn’t hurt, but it did surprise me.
It was also interesting to note that those fans that humiliated our girls for over an hour
came over to apologize. I guess they believe you can do pretty much anything you want,
as long as later you say you’re sorry. I hope this mentality does not work its way into
their personal walk with the Creator of the universe.
All things considered, I didn’t like seeing students that I care about having to needlessly
go through such an experience. Where was the edifying element that so many people
talk about? Where was the character building? We have counsel in regards to not
being involved in these activities, both in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. I wish
Seventh-day Adventists would someday learn that the devil deals in packages. There
are consequences for our decisions and our policies. We can’t drink and not get drunk.
The sealing is a settling into the Truth, both spiritually and intellectually. At the end
of the game, are our kids closer—or farther away—from heaven? Our schools should
repent and then distance themselves from inter-school competitive sports. And fast!




                                            55
Chapter IX


Cultural Collapse

The SDA-HPERA Guidelines assert that competitive sports are “ubiquitous... entrenched in our
society.”1 (This is true, but it is not a valid justification for the practice of competitive inter-school
sports.) What is happening in our society right now points out, however, that our culture is in an
increasingly steepening cultural collapse.

While the Competitive Sports Study Group was meeting on Sunday, February 1, 2004, some
Seventh-day Adventist Churches were holding Super Bowl parties. On this particular day of Super
Bowl XXXVIII, the annual championship of the National Football League, the halftime entertain-
ment was arranged for by CBS and provided by MTV. The next day, we learned of what had
occurred.

A lewd halftime performance by Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson, broadcast nationwide, ended
in the following manner. Immediately after singing the lyric, “I’m gonna’ have you naked by the end
of this song,” Timberlake pulled off a portion of Jackson’s costume and exposed her breast. After
the incident, there were profuse apologies all around, and repeated claims that this incident was
unplanned and unintentional. However, previous to the event MTV had hinted that in Jackson’s
performance there would be “shocking moments.”2 The fact that underneath Ms. Jackson was
wearing a tiny item covering a minute portion of her breast would appear to indicate that the event
was planned.

The occurrence of this event symbolizes the dramatic incompatibility between a sensual and
entertainment-oriented worldview, and a moral, theistic worldview. Whereas competitive sports
demoralize, God’s kinds of recreation help the soul. When attempts are made to blend these two
worlds, there will always be embarrassing moments. Seventh-day Adventist Churches that were
viewing the Super Bowl halftime show, for a moment at least before the camera shot was quickly
   1
    SDA-HPERA Guidelines, p. 2.
   2
    Eonline confirmed the existence of the statement with the following: “Considering Jackson and Timber-
lake’s bump-and-grind performance, their cozy off-stage relationship (they were briefly linked romantically follow-
ing his bust-up with Spears), the fact that Jackson appeared to be wearing a star-shaped pasty over her nipple
and MTV’s reputation for too-hot TV moments (the network’s Website featured the headline ‘Janet Jackson’s
Super Bowl Show Promises “Shocking Moments”’), many viewers believed the incident to have been staged.”
http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,13400,00.html?tnews, accessed February 2, 2004, 9:22 a.m. PST.


                                                       56
averted to something else, were host to scenes of public nudity. This is a lesson to us that two
kingdoms are at irreconcilable war with each other, and cannot mesh. Competitive sports, although
widely permeating the culture around us, is not of God’s kingdom.

Super Bowl has also become the annual scene of riots and mayhem in the streets.3 A year ago
Oakland, California became a scene of mobbing crowds, wrecked police cars, police-fired tear gas and
wooden bullets, and streets blocked by burning dumpsters. This year in Boston, Massachussetts
rioting crowds started fires, flipped over several automobiles, and a drunk driver killed one and
injured numerous others as he maneuvered in a crowd. Of what kingdom are such fruits?

Irrelevant to what is happening in Seventh-day Adventist schools that participate in inter-school
competitive sports? Not so. The chaos, carousing, violence, and immorality highlighted each year
at the Super Bowl is present in lesser extent in Adventist schools. In an article, “College Drinking:
A Culture of Learning?” Peter N. Landless writes in the Adventist Review,


      It is sad to note that Seventh-day Adventist colleges and schools throughout the world
      have not been left untouched by this problem [use of alcohol]. Although the figures
      quoted above are drawn from sources in the United States, the worldwide situation in
      colleges is similar.
      There are many other factors that influence student drinking behavior. Included in
      these are biological and genetic predisposition, belief system and personality, as well
      as the expectations of the effects of alcohol. Size of the student body, geographical
      location, and importance of athletics in campus life also affect drinking patterns.
      It is not surprising that commercial interests fuel the fire of college drinking. The pricing
      and availability of alcohol in surrounding areas influence consumption. Advertising
      at sports events further influences drinking practices. The advertising is blatant and
      unashamed, going to the extent of naming liquor stores near the college campus!4


Recall what we noted near the beginning of this paper:


      It is not God’s will that we should seclude ourselves from the world. But while in the
      world we should sanctify ourselves to God. We should not pattern after the world. We
      are to be in the world as a corrective influence, as salt that retains its savor. Among
      an unholy, impure, idolatrous generation we are to be pure and holy, showing that the
      grace of Christ has power to restore in man the divine likeness. We are to exert a saving
      influence upon the world.5


The spirit of rivalry and competition encouraged by competitive sports is destructive to our society.
It is so destructive that we cannot participate. Do we wish to educate our young so that they can
   3
     “American Football Fans Riot After Super Bowl,” http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm 744005.html, ac-
cessed March 25, 2004, 11:33 a.m. PST.
   4
     Peter N. Landless, “College Drinking: A Culture of Learning?” Adventist Review, July 31, 2003, online at
http://www.adventistreview.org/2003-1531/story5-1.html, accessed February 18, 2004, 4:33 p.m. PST.
   5
     Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 218.


                                                     57
be part of the problem, or part of the solution? The burning question remains: Which kingdom
will we advocate to our young?




                                            58
59
Chapter X


The Mysterious Relationship Between
SDA-HPERA and the North
American Division

SDA-HPERA: NAD or Not NAD?

One of the most disturbing features of the inter-school competitive sports question is the fact
that although there are policies—voted policies—in the church’s General Conference and Division
level documents in North America, these are not being enforced. Authorities within the church,
supposedly representative are interacting with a private, independent organization (SDA-HPERA)
which, although it uses the name “Seventh-day Adventist,” is operating outside of policy and
inculcating competitive inter-school sports in our Christian school system also outside of policy.
SDA-HPERA is exactly at cross-purposes with the voted policy.

The SDA-HPERA website states the following concerning their identity:


      Established in 1981, the Seventh-day Adventist Health, Physical Education, Recreation
      Association (SDA-HPERA), is the professional organization representing physical ed-
      ucation, recreation and athletic programs in the North American Division, as well as
      the , of the Seventh-dayAdventist Church. All individuals employed in the area of
      health, physical education, recreation and athletics, as well as individuals interested in
      the same, are welcomed into the membership.1


According to the same webpage, “Comments and inquiries should be addressed to the President or
the Executive Director.”
  1
   http://www.lasierra.edu/departments/hesa/sdahpera/about us2.html, accessed February 26, 2004, 10:55 a.m.
PST.



                                                    60
The question of SDA-HPERA’s relationship to the NAD was asked of the SDA-HPERA president.
about half of his reply was,


      There is no direct relationship with NAD, the members of SDAHPERA are health,
      physical education and recreation teachers (elementary, secondary and college). We
      are interested in professionalism in our chosen profession. We meet once a year in
      conjunction with the National meeting of AAHPERD. From time to time position papers
      are prepared and passed to appropriate bodies that we hope we can influence or express
      our judgments concerning current issues. This is a thumbnail sketch.2


In a follow-up reply, Pr. Kirkpatrick asked,


      Thank you for your swift reply. The information is helpful. I wonder if you are aware
      that Guidelines SDA-HPERA has crafted appear to be in direct conflict with the Work-
      ing Policy of the GC and the NAD concerning interschool competitive sports. As
      you may know, these documents state clearly, “The Seventh-day Adventist Church is
      opposed to inter-school league play (commonly known as varsity athletics) in its edu-
      cational system.”
      As I read through the Guidelines drafted by SDA-HPERA I wondered how such a
      document could be created and fly directly in the face of the convictions many have that
      are expressed in the Working Policy? What is the SDA-HPERA position concerning
      the General Conference Working Policy FE 85 05 and NAD Working Policy FG 05 45?
      I reproduce the full text of FE 85 05 10 [same text found in this response, Appendix F]
      .... Thank you in advance for your earnest reply.3


The reply included the following:


      I do not desire to carry on a dialog concerning this topic, as I have many more crucial
      items pending... The Guidelines are intended to be distributed to the Education Depart-
      ments of the Union and Conferences. As a matter of fact, The items have already been
      distributed to the conference and union education departments, including the NAD.
             has met with               (NAD          Director) who subsequently met with all
      the Education Directors in         California this past January. SDA-HPERA is aware
      of the Working Policy of NAD. We are also aware that there are numerous elementary,
      secondary and college athletic programs funded and competing at various levels (league,
      etc.), without the policy being implemented. Our organization felt that if no enforce-
      ment was forthcoming guidelines must be brought into play, hence the distribution to
      the education departments to do their will and some semblance of control. We are not
      working against our church and are presenting our actions clearly, openly and in proper
  2
     E-mail correspondence, Delmar Lovejoy to Larry Kirkpatrick, “Re: Relationship of SDAHPERA to NAD,”
February 25, 2004 6:05:07 p.m. PST.
   3
     E-mail correspondence, Larry Kirkpatrick to Delmar Lovejoy, “Re: Relationship of SDAHPERA to NAD,”
February 26, 2004 8:02:36 a.m. PST.


                                                  61
        manner, in no clandestine fashion. Recognize that this interpretation is my personal
        view (however, I feel it is close to the feeling of the organization’s reason for presenting
        the Guidelines....) I feel that the issue has been presented to the proper authorities for
        their consideration. Thank you, for keeping us on our toes and not letting us go astray.4


We had spoken by telephone the previous day to the NAD official mentioned, who indicated to us
that the NAD sustains the Working Policy found in this Response’s Appendix G, but that many
of our schools are operating outside of policy. In fact, as the concerns of the Mentone Church were
related to him, he indicated that he was favorable to having us forward these concerns to the NAD
in order that the issue might be revisited. This we shall immediately do.



Weighing the Relationship

Let’s summarize the information here regarding the relationship between SDA-HPERA and the
NAD.


      • The NAD has an official, formally voted Working Policy that says it is opposed to inter-school
        competitive sports

      • The NAD indicates that they uphold that Working Policy

      • The SDA-HPERA is using the church’s name (“Seventh-day Adventist”)

      • The SDA-HPERA says of itself that it is “the professional organization representing physical
        education, recreation and athletic programs in the North American Division, as well as the
        world field, of the Seventh-dayAdventist Church”

      • The SDA-HPERA has no direct relationship with the NAD

      • The SDA-HPERA prepares position papers that are passed to appropriate bodies they hope
        can influence or express SDA-HPERA’s judgments concerning current issues

      • The SDA-HPERA Guidelines are intended to be distributed to the Education Departments
        of the Union and Conferences. As a matter of fact, The items have already been distributed
        to the conference and union education departments, including the NAD.        has met with
                      (NAD         Director) who subsequently met with all the Education Directors
        in       California this past January.

      • SDA-HPERA is aware of the Working Policy of NAD

      • The president of the SDA-HPERA indicated that “Our organization felt that if no enforcement
        was forthcoming guidelines must be brought into play, hence the distribution to the education
        departments”
  4
    E-mail correspondence, Delmar Lovejoy to Larry Kirkpatrick, “Re: Relationship of SDAHPERA to NAD,”
February 26, 2004 8:02:36 a.m. PST.




                                                    62
   • SDA-HPERA leadership feels that it is “not working against our church and are presenting
     our actions clearly, openly and in proper manner, in no clandestine fashion”


We appreciate the NAD’s insistence that its policy has not changed. We understand by a second
telephone conversation with the NAD individual that at the meeting mentioned in Lovejoy’s letter
that the NAD representative reiterated to the Union leaders present that the NAD’s position had
not changed. Nevertheless, at that meeting the SDA-HPERA document was distributed to our
Union leaders with what could have been seen as the tacit endorsement of the NAD. Our leaders
need to be very careful that inaction does not appear to be endorsement.

Remember what the president of SDA-HPERA said: “Our organization felt that if no enforcement
was forthcoming guidelines must be brought into play, hence the distribution to the education
departments.” Well, no “enforcement” has been forthcoming. And the SDA-HPERA Guidelines
have been distributed. The entire situation is appalling.



Our Dilemma

Which brings us to our own dilemma. The Mentone Seventh-day Adventist Church is in support of
the teachings of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy that bear upon inter-school competitive sports.
The Mentone Seventh-day Adventist Church is in support of the General Conference Working Policy
on inter-school competitive sports. The Mentone Seventh-day Adventist Church is in support of the
North American Division Working Policy on inter-school competitive sports. However, the Mentone
Seventh-day Adventist Church has been a constituent member of a Seventh-day Adventist academy
which is not in compliance with the above. We have been forced to support the unsound practice
because there is no school within reasonable driving distance that is in compliance.

This Response shows that we have carefully explored the issues and reached a consensus and a clear,
definite position. We are informed of our Lord’s gracious plan for developing character and integrity
for our youth. We know what the counsels of inspiration say about inter-school competition. We
have become very responsible for what we do or fail to do at this point. We are in support of the
GC and the NAD. We will no longer be party to disobedience. We now present our findings and
calls to the reader.




                                                 63
Chapter XI


Findings of the Competitive Sports
Study Group

Findings

In sections I, II, and III of this paper we set forth some of the prominent questions surrounding
Seventh-day Adventist participation in inter-school competitive sports. We saw that at its earliest
interface with Christianity, sports was not our friend. Arenas filled with roaring crowds rejoiced as
Christians were torn limb-from-limb.

In section IV we reviewed the AAC Guidelines and found that although arguing that their imple-
mentation of competitive inter-school sports was in harmony with the General Conference, their
assertion was unconvincing when compared to actual practice. Their activities were league play,
disguised by a distinction without a difference.

In section V we reviewed the SDA-HPERA Guidelines in some detail, and found them not only
wanting, but positively offensive at several points. They move to incorporate a pagan practice into
Christianity. They start by throwing out whatever God may have to say through the contemporary
gift of prophecy, ejecting Ellen G. White from the discussion with a flippant assertion: “Although
Ellen G. White cautioned against games and recreation, we must not ignore sport.” We saw that the
trend of the SDA-HPERA Guidelines is to confuse the issue by blending non-competitive physical
activities with competitive physical activities. No one is against legitimate physical recreation!
Nevertheless, we are shown by inspiration that competitive activities have “a power to demoralize.”1
Indeed, endeavoring to “do” sports in a Christian manner presupposes that there is such a thing
as a Christian/Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of sport. There is not, nor do the AAC or SDA-
HPERA documents provide evidence of the existence of such. In fact, the kind of statements
made in the SDA-HPERA Guidelines is traceable to the same philosophy upon which the modern
Olympic Games were founded: sport as a religion.

In section VI we compared the SDA-HPERA Guidelines, concluding that they are not only not in
  1
      Ellen G. White, Adventist Home, p. 499.


                                                64
harmony with the General Conference Working Policy, nor the North American Division Working
Policy, but flagrantly abandon the “friendship games” loophole in FE 85. The SDA-HPERA
Guidelines don’t even attempt to claim that what they are doing so qualifies. Honesty is usually
refreshing. Here it is not, for it is honesty in terms of open defiance. Neither the AAC nor the
SDA-HPERA Guidelines are acceptable. Nor is flaunting them through a loophole. They are out
of harmony with what God has revealed.

In section VII we explored the arguments of Brian Sather. Sather’s work is unique because he traces
the development of interscholastic sports in Seventh-day Adventist academies and colleges, and also
addresses a response to the considerable material in the Ellen G. White writings that opposes this
practice. We appreciate his willingness to report what God has shown His people through Mrs.
White, even if we must object to the nature of his conclusions. He may have mistaken a non-
Seventh-day Adventist viewpoint on how contemporary revelation works with the Adventist view.
Regrettably, even he cannot solve an insoluble position: reconciling competitive sports with the
writings of Ellen G. White.

In section VIII we gave limited space to some personal testimonies and reflected on how competitive
sports damages our society. In section IX we paused to consider how Adventists must face the
cultural collapse underway. In section X we weighed the ambiguous relationship between the NAD
and the SDA-HPERA group. We de-ambiguized it.

Finally we came to this place. The light is shining. We are answerable for how we respond to it. If
we would have God’s blessing, we must respond to His love with our love. We are ready to obey.

Having, as a group, invested approximately a year in this study, we must indicate to the reader our
informed conclusion and conviction that, as we stated in the Preface, participation in competitive
inter-school athletics is against the counsel of God. In applying this finding to our own situation,
we thus:


  1. Declare as a congregation that this Response, “COMPETITIVE INTER-SCHOOL SPORTS
     REVISITED: Study, Findings, Calls, Resources,” constitutes the official and binding position
     of the Mentone Seventh-day Adventist Church on competitive inter-school sports.

  2. Declare that we cannot support any Seventh-day Adventist school which practices inter-school
     competitive sports; we cannot (A) remain a constituent member of, or (B) support financially
     any school which is operating outside of God’s revealed will on this point.

  3. Declare that it is our purpose to work in harmony with our conference to develop a Seventh-
     day Adventist Church school, of which Mentone Church shall be a constituent member, which
     operates in harmony with the official position of the Mentone Seventh-day Adventist Church.


Calls

Furthermore, we make the following calls. The Working Policy of the General Conference states:



                                                65
       Whereas each [local churches/local conferences/missions, unions of churches, and in-
       stitutions] has accepted the privilege and responsibility of representing the Church in
       its part of the world, each is therefore required to operate and minister in harmony
       with the teachings and policies of the Church, and the actions of the world Church in
       session.2


As a member of the General Conference, the North American Division is “required” to sustain
General Conference Working Policy FE 85, not to mention its own North American Division Work-
ing Policy FG 05 45 inter-school Sports, which is identical. Furthermore, the same section of the
General Conference’s Working Policy noted above requires us, as a local church, to operate in
accordance with the policy approved by our brethren of the world church.

We therefore make the following calls:


 Call #1: We call upon the North American Division to formally state that the SDA-HPERA
      Guidelines are outside of the Working Policy of the North American Division and to issue a
      statement indicating NAD’s renewed commitment to faithfully support the current Working
      Policy of the World Church.

 Call #2: Because the SDA-HPERA organization is entirely independent of the Seventh-day Ad-
      ventist Church, and its name makes its status and authority within the church structure
      ambiguous,3 it is imperative for the General Conference to see to it that SDA-HPERA discon-
      tinue the use of the name “Seventh-day Adventist,” selecting a different name for themselves
      that does not carry the authority of the name “Seventh-day Adventist”—an authority they
      do not have. The SDA-HPERA group should be granted 90 days to change their name.

 Call #3: We call upon the North American Division to appoint a special commission to prepare
      and implement by March 2005 (one year from now) a plan for action to actively uphold FE
      85 and FG 05 45 within its territory. This plan would require the elimination of inter-school
      competitive sports in Seventh-day Adventist educational institutions within the geographical
      territory of the North American Division. In the case of any school’s refusal to comply,
      implementation could be accompanied by withholding denominational recognition of such
      schools and/or the withholding of funding.

 Call #4: We call upon the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to assist the North
      American Division in undertaking the actions indicated in Calls #1, #2, #3.


The SDA-HPERA Guidelines proposed are irreconcilable with the position held by the world church.
The Mentone Seventh-day Adventist Church positively refuses to accept them. This is our position
as a congregation. Here we stand.
   2
    General Conference Working Policy, 2001-2002 B 05 25 Structural Stability, p. 48.
   3
    The Competitive Sports Study Group, during many months of its study understood itself to be critiquing the
proposed new Guidelines of the North American Division! This was because a conference officer indicated to us that
the SDA-HPERA Guidelines were the draft Guidelines of the North American Division. It was very disheartening
to think we were drafting this paper in opposition to our own North American Division! It is readily apparent that
the use of the “Seventh-day Adventist” name by SDA-HPERA is confusing and improper, especially by a group that
issues papers and Guidelines that are directly opposed to the Working Policies of the Church.


                                                       66
67
Chapter XII


Conclusion

In Support of a Good Conscience

We wish to respectfully indicate that we do not recognize the right of a conference to enforce
upon us the support of that which we cannot in good conscience sustain with reference to the
issue at hand. The world church has agreed upon 27 fundamental beliefs; it has agreed upon an
organizational structure through which it carries forward the giving of the third angel’s message in
its varied venues. We agree with these and are glad to be a sister church with others so engaged.
The church is even instrumental in upholding the Constitutional rights of its members, of guarding
their liberty of conscience.

Yet in this same light we respectfully submit that it would be improper for a conference to require
a church, which has systematically explored and developed its position and provided substantial
evidence from the Bible, the authoritative writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, and the church’s own
Working Policy, to require that congregation to violate conscientious convictions it has arrived at
prayerfully. No conference should endeavor to force a constituent church of itself to support that
of which the world church has denied the legitimacy.

In fact, the Working Policy of the General Conference speaks plainly to this question: “Whereas
each [local churches/local conferences/missions, unions of churches, and institutions] has accepted
the privilege and responsibility of representing the Church in its part of the world, each is therefore
required to operate and minister in harmony with the teachings and policies of the Church, and
the actions of the world Church in session.”1 Our local church is “required” to sustain General
Conference Working Policy FE 85. This we shall do.

If a colonel commands a soldier to dig a hole at such-and-such a spot, and the General comes along
and commands him to stop, what then must he do? He must stop digging. The General outranks
the Colonel. While we recognize the good intentions of so many who have sought to do what they
have thought was right for our youth, we have been commanded by God to stop digging this hole.
  1
      General Conference Working Policy 2001-2002, B 05 25 Structural Stability, p. 48.



                                                         68
The inspired writings and the General Conference both have spoken. We therefore make it our
intention henceforth to work with our conference to support a conference-affiliated school program
which does not operate any athletic program which includes competitive inter-school sports. We
have no choice but to stop digging the hole, and to avoid that which inspiration plainly and
authoritatively insists “is not favorable to the perfection of Christian character.”2 Let us dig our
young people out of, rather than bury them in that which we know is contrary to God’s will.

The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy not only do not support, but they oppose inter-school compet-
itive sports. The Working Policy of both the NAD and the General Conference refuse to support
inter-school competitive sports. No matter how powerful educational institutions have become
within the Seventh-day Adventist ecclesiastical system, even they cannot with impunity disregard
the sheer weight of evidence from inspired writings and from church policy statements. The detour
into competitive sports must not be sustained. This matter is in need of re-evaluation by church ad-
ministrators with a will to follow their Lord’s plain instruction forbidding inter-school competitive
sports.

What you have read in the foregoing pages may on the surface sound like rebellion. But please
remember: we are Seventh-day Adventists—Seventh-day Adventists.

What you hear is the sound of obedience.

We support the voted policy of our General Conference and our Division in relation to inter-school
competitive sports. We request that they support us. It is time for them to stand up with their
people.




  2
      Ellen G. White, Adventist Home, p. 499.


                                                 69
Appendix A: Bible Materials Relating
to Competition

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3).

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not
bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting
the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that
hate Me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.
(Exodus 20:4-6).

Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted
(Matthew 23:12).

Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among
you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:26-28).

And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came
not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:44,
45).

For he that is least among you all, the same shall be great (Luke 9:48).

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down
of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against
the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2
Corinthians 10:4, 5).

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other
better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things
of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of
God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took
upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion
as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.


                                                70
(Philippians 2:3-8).

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that
war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye
fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss,
that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, 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. (James 4:1-4).




                                               71
Appendix B: A Compilation of
Inspired Statements from the
Writings of Ellen G. White

Rivalry and Recognition

Your energy and efficiency in the upbuilding of My kingdom, Jesus says, depend upon your receiving
of My Spirit. You must be partakers of My grace, in order to be a savor of life unto life. Then
there will be no rivalry, no self-seeking, no desire for the highest place. You will have that love
which seeks not her own, but another’s wealth. (Desire of Ages, p. 439).

The leaven of truth will not produce the spirit of rivalry, the love of ambition, the desire to be first.
True, heaven-born love is not selfish and changeable. It is not dependent on human praise. The
heart of him who receives the grace of God overflows with love for God and for those for whom
Christ died. Self is not struggling for recognition. (Christs Object Lessons, p. 101).

Not consolidation, not rivalry or criticism, but co-operation, is God’s plan for His institutions.
(Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 174).


Worldliness

In all who are under the training of God is to be revealed a life that is not in harmony with the
world, its customs, or its practices. (Desire of Ages, p. 363).

We cannot earn salvation, but we are to seek for it with as much interest and perseverance as
though we would abandon everything in the world for it....

There are some who seem to be always seeking for the heavenly pearl. But they do not make
an entire surrender of their wrong habits. They do not die to self that Christ may live in them.
Therefore they do not find the precious pearl. They have not overcome unholy ambition and their
love for worldly attractions. They do not take up the cross and follow Christ in the path of self-
denial and sacrifice. Almost Christians, yet not fully Christians, they seem near the kingdom of
heaven, but they cannot enter there. Almost but not wholly saved, means to be not almost but

                                                  72
wholly lost.

The parable of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls has a double significance: it applies not only
to men as seeking the kingdom of heaven, but to Christ as seeking His lost inheritance. Christ,
the heavenly merchantman seeking goodly pearls, saw in lost humanity the pearl of price. In
man, defiled and ruined by sin, He saw the possibilities of redemption. Hearts that have been the
battleground of the conflict with Satan, and that have been rescued by the power of love, are more
precious to the Redeemer than are those who have never fallen. God looked upon humanity, not
as vile and worthless; He looked upon it in Christ, saw it as it might become through redeeming
love. He collected all the riches of the universe, and laid them down in order to buy the pearl. And
Jesus, having found it, resets it in His own diadem. “For they shall be as the stones of a crown,
lifted up as an ensign upon His land.” Zech. 9:16. “They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in
that day when I make up My jewels.” Mal. 3:17. (Christs Object Lessons, pp. 117, 118).


Pleasures and Amusements

Diligent study is essential, and diligent hard work. Play is not essential. The influence has been
growing among students in their devotion to amusements, to a fascinating, bewitching power, to
the counteracting of the influence of the truth upon the human mind and character...What force of
powers is put into your games of football and your other inventions after the way of the Gentiles—
exercises which bless no one!... 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... and yet Christ was our pattern in all
things. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 228, 229).

In the night seasons messages have been given to me to give to you in Battle Creek, and to all our
schools...Thus Satan and his angels are laying their snares for your souls...“ ‘Be sober, be vigilant’
[not in kicking football and in educating yourselves in the objectionable games which ought to
make every Christian blush with mortification at the afterthoughts] ‘be sober, be vigilant’; because
your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Yes,
he is on your playground watching your amusements, catching every soul that he finds off his
guard, sowing his seeds in human minds, and controlling the human intellect. For Christ’s sake
call a halt at the Battle Creek College, and consider the after-workings upon the heart and the
character and principles, of these amusements copied after the fashion of other schools. You have
been steadily progressing in the ways of the Gentiles, and not after the example of Jesus Christ.
Satan is on the schoolground; he is present in every exercise in the schoolroom. The students that
have had their minds deeply excited in their games, are not in the best condition to receive the
instruction, the counsel, the reproof, most essential for them in this life and for the future immortal
life. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 225, Note: bracketed material within this quotation
is Mrs. White’s comment).

A view of things was presented before me in which the students were playing games of tennis and
cricket. Then I was given instruction regarding the character of these amusements. They were
presented to me as a species of idolatry, like the idols of the nations.



                                                  73
There were more than visible spectators on the ground. Satan and his angels were there, making
impressions on human minds. Angels of God, who minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation,
were also present, not to approve, but to disapprove. (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students,
p. 350).

Among the youth the passion for football games and other kindred selfish gratifications have been
misleading in their influence. Watchfulness and prayer and daily consecration to God have not been
maintained. Converse, communion with God, is life to the soul. The light has been beclouded, and
it was well pleasing to Satan to have the impression go forth that notwithstanding the wonderful
work of the Holy Spirit in behalf of our institutions of learning, and the office of publication and
the church, they fell back to be overcome by temptation. Satan and evil workers cast reflection
upon God, and His name has been dishonored....

The instructors ought to have had wisdom to follow the indications of the Holy Spirit, and go on
from grace to grace, leading the youth to make the most of the light and grace given. They should
have taught the youth that the Holy Spirit, which was imparted in great measure, was to help
them to use their time and ability to do the very highest service for the Master, showing forth the
praises of Him who had called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. But instead of this,
many went more eagerly in pursuit of pleasure. There were witnesses upon the pleasure-grounds,
heavenly intelligences that made the records in the book of God of transactions that many will not
care to meet in the day when every work shall be manifest. Not only were heavenly messengers
present, but the synagogue of Satan were on the ground to exult that his ingenious methods had
in a great measure thwarted the purpose for which God gave the Holy Spirit. God desired to carry
the youth forward and upward that they might understand by experience the words of the inspired
apostle, “We are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”
Of how many who exhibited their qualifications in the games could this be said?... (Manuscript
Releases, vol. 6, p. 127).

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. (Adventist Home, p. 401).

The world has many holidays, and men become engrossed with games, with horse races, with
gambling, smoking, and drunkenness.... (Adventist Home, p. 475).

Is the eye single to the glory of God in these games? I know that this is not so. There is a losing
sight of God’s way and His purpose. The employment of intelligent beings, in probationary time, is
superseding God’s revealed will and substituting for it the speculations and inventions of the human
agent, with Satan by his side to imbue with his spirit.... The Lord God of heaven protests against
the burning passion cultivated for supremacy in the games that are so engrossing. (Adventist Home,
p. 500).

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



                                                74
Other athletic games, though not so brutalizing, are scarcely less objectionable because of the
excess to which they are carried. They stimulate the love of pleasure and excitement, thus fostering
a distaste for useful labor, a disposition to shun practical duties and responsibilities. They tend to
destroy a relish for life’s sober realities and its tranquil enjoyments. Thus the door is opened to
dissipation and lawlessness with their terrible results. (Education, p. 210).

The world is full of excitement. Men act as though they had gone mad over low, cheap, unsatisfying
things. How excited have I seen them over the result of a cricket match! I have seen the streets in
Sydney densely crowded for blocks and, on inquiring what was the occasion of the excitement, was
told that some expert player of cricket had won the game. I felt disgusted. (Counsels to Parents,
Teachers, and Students, p. 343).

Youth cannot be made as sedate and grave as old age, the child as sober as the sire. While sinful
amusements are condemned, as they should be, let parents, teachers, and guardians of youth provide
in their stead innocent pleasures which will not taint or corrupt the morals. Do not bind down the
young to rigid rules and restraints that will lead them to feel themselves oppressed and to break
over and rush into paths of folly and destruction. With a firm, kind, considerate hand hold the
lines of government, guiding and controlling their minds and purposes, yet so gently, so wisely, so
lovingly, that they will still know that you have their best good in view.

There are amusements, such as dancing, card playing, chess, checkers, etc., which we cannot approve
because Heaven condemns them. These amusements open the door for great evil. They are not
beneficial in their tendency, but have an exciting influence, producing in some minds a passion
for those plays which lead to gambling and dissipation. All such plays should be condemned by
Christians, and something perfectly harmless should be substituted in their place.

While we restrain our children from worldly pleasures that have a tendency to corrupt and mislead,
we ought to provide them innocent recreation, to lead them in pleasant paths where there is no
danger. No child of God need have a sad or mournful experience. Divine commands, divine
promises, show that this is so. Wisdom’s ways “are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are
peace.”

While we shun the false and artificial, discarding horse racing, card playing, lotteries, prize fights,
liquor drinking, and tobacco using, we must supply sources of pleasure that are pure and noble and
elevating. (Adventist Home, pp. 498,499).


Exercise

Every day there is housework to be done—cooking, washing dishes, sweeping, and dusting. Mothers,
have you taught your daughters to do these daily duties?... Their muscles need exercise. In the
place of getting exercise by jumping and playing ball or croquet, let their exercise be to some
purpose. (Child Guidance, p. 352)

Gymnastic exercises fill a useful place in many schools, but without careful supervision they are
often carried to excess. In the gymnasium many youth, by their attempted feats of strength, have


                                                 75
done themselves lifelong injury.

Exercise in a gymnasium, however well conducted, cannot supply the place of recreation in the
open air, and for this our schools should afford better opportunity.

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

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

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

Is the eye single to the glory of God in these games? I know that this is not so. There is a losing
sight of God’s way and His purpose. The employment of intelligent beings, in probationary time,
is superseding God’s revealed will and substituting for it the speculations and inventions of the
human agent, with Satan by his side to imbue with his spirit.... The Lord God of heaven protests
against the burning passion cultivated for supremacy in the games that are so engrossing.

Vigorous exercise the pupils must have. Few evils are more to be dreaded than indolence and
aimlessness. Yet the tendency of most athletic sports is a subject of anxious thought to those who
have at heart the well-being of the youth. Teachers are troubled as they consider the influence of
these sports both on the student’s progress in school and on his success in afterlife. The games that
occupy so much of his time are diverting the mind from study. They are not helping to prepare
the youth for practical, earnest work in life. Their influence does not tend toward refinement,
generosity, or real manliness. (Adventist Home, pp. 499, 500).

The public feeling is that manual labor is degrading, yet men may exert themselves as much as they
choose at cricket, baseball, or in pugilistic contests, without being regarded as 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 the youth are becoming expert in games that are of no real value to themselves or to
others, Satan is playing the game of life for their souls. taking from them the talents that God has
given them, and placing in their stead his own evil attributes. It is his effort to lead men to ignore
God. He seeks to engross and absorb the mind so completely that God will find no place in the
thoughts. He does not wish people to have a knowledge of their Maker, and he is well pleased if he
can set in operation games and theatrical performances that will so confuse the senses of the youth
that God and heaven will be forgotten.


                                                 76
One of the surest safeguards against evil is useful occupation, while idleness is one of the greatest
curses; for vice, crime, and poverty follow in its wake. Those who are always busy, who go cheerfully
about their daily tasks, are the useful members of society. In the faithful discharge of the various
duties that lie in their pathway, they make their lives a blessing to themselves and to others.
Diligent labor keeps them from many of the snares of him who “finds some mischief still for idle
hands to do.”

A stagnant pool soon becomes offensive; but a flowing brook spreads health and gladness over the
land. The one is a symbol of the idle, the other of the industrious....

The path of toil appointed to the dwellers on earth may be hard and wearisome, but it is honored
by the footprints of the Redeemer, and he is safe who follows in this sacred way. By precept and
example, Christ has dignified useful labor. From His earliest years He lived a life of toil. The
greater part of His earthly life was spent in patient work in the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. In
the garb of a common laborer the Lord of life trod the streets of the little town in which He lived,
going to and returning from His humble toil; and ministering angels attended Him as He walked
side by side with peasants and laborers, unrecognized and unhonored....

Judicious labor is a healthful tonic for the human race. It makes the feeble strong, the poor rich, the
wretched happy. Satan lies in ambush, ready to destroy those whose leisure gives him opportunity
to approach them under some attractive disguise. He is never more successful than when he comes
to men in their idle hours. (Messages to Young People, pp. 213-215).


Use of Money

Use your God-entrusted capital of means to arm and equip men to enlist in the army of the Lord as
soldiers of Jesus Christ. Teach them that it is not the indulgence of every whim which youth may
suggest that will facilitate their growth in Christian experience. Selfish gratification is the snare
and curse of our youth. Their abilities are misapplied. Through erroneous ideas parents, friends,
and guardians—whose money supports them in the school—seek to gratify their desires in order, as
they suppose, to make them happy. This very course of action is blocking their way; it encourages
selfish indulgence; it prevents them from entering the narrow, heavenward path. O that the Lord
may anoint the blind eyes, that they may see!

It is not impressed upon the minds of the young that self-denial, cross-bearing for Christ’s sake,
is to be a part of their religious experience. They think it all right for them to be sustained and
educated, and to spend money to gratify their desires for selfish indulgence. There is danger that
these poor souls will never understand what it means to follow Christ in self-denial and bearing the
cross and to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. They will be like a reed in the wind.
Let the youth consider that they are deciding their own destiny for eternity by the characters they
form in this life....

The heavenly intelligences are waiting to cooperate with the human agent in reshaping his character
according to the divine model. Will the human agent do his God-given work, or will he bend all
his efforts toward shaping the character after the worldly pattern? See 1 Cor. 1:3-8—Letter 47,


                                                  77
1893, pp. 3, 5-9. (To W. W. Prescott, October 25, 1893.) Released April 16, 1974. (Manuscript
Releases, vol. 6, p. 128).

Life in the cities is false and artificial. The intense passion for money getting, the whirl of excitement
and pleasure seeking, the thirst for display, the luxury and extravagance—all are forces that, with
the great masses of mankind, are turning the mind from life’s true purpose. They are opening
the door to a thousand evils. Upon the youth they have almost irresistible power. One of the
most subtle and dangerous temptations that assails the children and youth in the cities is the love
of pleasure. Holidays are numerous; games and horse racing draw thousands, and the whirl of
excitement and pleasure attracts them away from the sober duties of life. Money that should have
been saved for better uses is frittered away for amusements. (Adventist Home, p. 135).

The amusements and expenditures of means for self-pleasing, which lead on step by step to self-
glorifying, and the educating in these games for pleasure produce a love and passion for such things
that is not favorable to the perfection of Christian character. (Adventist Home, p. 499).

Among the youth the passion for football games and other kindred selfish gratifications have been
misleading in their influence. Watchfulness and prayer and daily consecration to God have not been
maintained. Converse, communion with God, is life to the soul. The light has been beclouded, and
it was well pleasing to Satan to have the impression go forth that notwithstanding the wonderful
work of the Holy Spirit in behalf of our institutions of learning, and the office of publication and
the church, they fell back to be overcome by temptation. Satan and evil workers cast reflection
upon God, and His name has been dishonored....

The instructors ought to have had wisdom to follow the indications of the Holy Spirit, and go on
from grace to grace, leading the youth to make the most of the light and grace given. They should
have taught the youth that the Holy Spirit, which was imparted in great measure, was to help
them to use their time and ability to do the very highest service for the Master, showing forth the
praises of Him who had called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. But instead of this,
many went more eagerly in pursuit of pleasure. There were witnesses upon the pleasure-grounds,
heavenly intelligences that made the records in the book of God of transactions that many will not
care to meet in the day when every work shall be manifest. Not only were heavenly messengers
present, but the synagogue of Satan were on the ground to exult that his ingenious methods had
in a great measure thwarted the purpose for which God gave the Holy Spirit. God desired to carry
the youth forward and upward that they might understand by experience the words of the inspired
apostle, “We are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Of
how many who exhibited their qualifications in the games could this be said?...

Use your God-entrusted capital of means to arm and equip men to enlist in the army of the Lord as
soldiers of Jesus Christ. Teach them that it is not the indulgence of every whim which youth may
suggest that will facilitate their growth in Christian experience. Selfish gratification is the snare
and curse of our youth. Their abilities are misapplied. Through erroneous ideas parents, friends,
and guardians—whose money supports them in the school—seek to gratify their desires in order, as
they suppose, to make them happy. This very course of action is blocking their way; it encourages
selfish indulgence; it prevents them from entering the narrow, heavenward path. O that the Lord
may anoint the blind eyes, that they may see!



                                                   78
It is not impressed upon the minds of the young that self-denial, cross-bearing for Christ’s sake,
is to be a part of their religious experience. They think it all right for them to be sustained and
educated, and to spend money to gratify their desires for selfish indulgence. There is danger that
these poor souls will never understand what it means to follow Christ in self-denial and bearing the
cross and to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. They will be like a reed in the wind.
Let the youth consider that they are deciding their own destiny for eternity by the characters they
form in this life.... (Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, pp. 127, 128).


Education

The public feeling is that manual labor is degrading, yet men may exert themselves as much as they
choose at cricket, baseball, or in pugilistic contests, without being regarded as 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 the youth are becoming expert in games that are of no real value to themselves or to
others, Satan is playing the game of life for their souls, taking from them the talents that God has
given them, and placing in their stead his own evil attributes. It is his effort to lead men to ignore
God. He seeks to engross and absorb the mind so completely that God will find no place in the
thoughts. He does not wish people to have a knowledge of their Maker, and he is well pleased if he
can set in operation games and theatrical performances that will so confuse the senses of the youth
that God and heaven will be forgotten. (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 274).

Those students who allow their minds to be deeply excited over games are not in the best condition
to receive the instruction, the counsel, the reproof, most essential for them. (Counsels to Parents,
Teachers, and Students, p. 283).

In early ages, with the people who were under God’s direction, life was simple. They lived close to
the heart of nature. Their children shared in the labor of the parents and studied the beauties and
mysteries of nature’s treasure house. And in the quiet of field and wood they pondered those mighty
truths handed down as a sacred trust from generation to generation. Such training produced strong
men.

In this age life has become artificial, and men have degenerated. While we may not return fully
to the simple habits of those early times, we may learn from them lessons that will make our
seasons of recreation what the name implies—seasons of true upbuilding for body and mind and
soul. (Adventist Home, p. 501).

I do not condemn the simple exercise of playing ball; but this, even in its simplicity, may be overdone.
I shrink always from the almost sure result which follows in the wake of these amusements. It leads
to an outlay of means that should be expended in bringing the light of truth to souls that are
perishing out of Christ. The amusements and expenditures of means for self-pleasing, which lead
on step by step to self-glorifying, and the educating in these games for pleasure, produce a love and
passion for such things that is not favorable to the perfection of Christian character.

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


                                                  79
not strengthen the intellect. It does not refine and purify the character. There are threads leading
out through the habits and customs and worldly practices, and the actors become so engrossed and
infatuated that they are pronounced in heaven, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. In the
place of the intellect becoming strengthened to do better work as students, to be better qualified as
Christians to perform the Christian duties, the exercise in these games is filling their brains with
thoughts that distract the mind from their studies. (Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 322).

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

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

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

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

With the question of recreation the surroundings of the home and the school have much to do. In
the choice of a home or the location of a school these things should be considered. Those with
whom mental and physical well-being is of greater moment than money or the claims and customs
of society, should seek for their children the benefit of nature’s teaching, and recreation amidst her
surroundings. It would be a great aid in educational work could every school be so situated as to
afford the pupils land for cultivation, and access to the fields and woods. (Education, pp. 210,
211).

Those who will not accept the last solemn message of warning sent to our world, will pervert
the Scriptures; they will attack the character, and make false statements in regard to the faith
and doctrines of the advocates of Bible truth. Every possible means will be employed to divert the
attention. Shows, games, horseraces, and various other kinds of amusement will be set in operation.
An intense power from beneath will stir them up to oppose the message from heaven.... Let us
rally under the banner of Prince Immanuel, and in the name and strength of Jesus press the battle
home.

There are souls perishing. They must know the terms of salvation.... Many appear to be entombed
in the darkness of ignorance, intrenched behind an invincible barrier.... but bear in mind that
heavenly intelligences are working with the human agents. The Holy Spirit can pierce the stronghold
of unbelief. Jesus is leading His army to the field of battle.... Our General leads to victory.


                                                 80
When the members of the church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and
abroad, in fulfilment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned, and the Lord
Jesus will return to this earth with power and great glory.

God will do the work if we will furnish Him the instruments. (Sons and Daughters of God, p. 280).

The public feeling is that manual labor is degrading, yet men may exert themselves as much as they
choose at cricket, baseball, or in pugilistic contests, without being regarded as 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 the youth are becoming expert in games that are of no real value to themselves or to
others, Satan is playing the game of life for their souls. taking from them the talents that God has
given them, and placing in their stead his own evil attributes. It is his effort to lead men to ignore
God. He seeks to engross and absorb the mind so completely that God will find no place in the
thoughts. (Messages to Young People, p. 213), (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p.
275).

I entreat the students in our schools to be sober-minded. The frivolity of the young is not pleasing
to God. Their sports and games open the door to a flood of temptations. They are in possession of
God’s heavenly endowment in their intellectual faculties, and they should not allow their thoughts
to be cheap and low. A character formed in accordance with the precepts of God’s word will reveal
steadfast principles, pure, noble aspirations. The Holy Spirit co-operates with the powers of the
human mind, and high and holy impulses are the sure result....

The low, common pleasure parties, gatherings for eating and drinking, singing and playing on
instruments of music, are inspired by a spirit that is from beneath. They are an oblation unto
Satan....

Those who take the lead in these frivolities bring upon the cause a stain not easily effaced. They
wound their own souls, and will carry the scars through their lifetime. The evil-doer may see his
sins, and repent, and God may pardon the transgressor; but the power of discernment which ought
ever to be kept keen and sensitive to distinguish between the sacred and the common, is in a great
measure destroyed.—“Counsels to Teachers, Parents, and Students,” pp. 366-368. (Messages to
Young People, p. 382).


Use of Time

He does not wish people to have a knowledge of their Maker, and he is well pleased if he can set in
operation games and theatrical performances that will so confuse the senses of the youth that God
and heaven will be forgotten.

One of the surest safeguards against evil is useful occupation, while idleness is one of the greatest
curses; for vice, crime, and poverty follow in its wake. Those who are always busy, who go cheerfully
about their daily tasks, are the useful members of society. In the faithful discharge of the various
duties that lie in their pathway, they make their lives a blessing to themselves and to others.


                                                 81
Diligent labor keeps them from many of the snares of him who “finds some mischief still for idle
hands to do.”

A stagnant pool soon becomes offensive; but a flowing brook spreads health and gladness over the
land. The one is a symbol of the idle, the other of the industrious.... (Messages to Young People,
pp. 213, 214).


Rest

Recreation is needful to those who are engaged in physical labor, and is still more essential for
those whose labor is principally mental. It is not essential to our salvation nor for the glory of
God to keep the mind laboring constantly and exclusively, even upon religious themes. There are
amusements, such as dancing, card playing, chess, checkers, etc., which we cannot approve, because
Heaven condemns them. These amusements open the door for great evil. They are not beneficial in
their tendency, but have an exciting influence, producing in some minds a passion for those plays
which lead to gambling and dissipation. All such plays should be condemned by Christians, and
something perfectly harmless should be substituted in their place.

I saw that our holidays should not be spent in patterning after the world, yet they should not be
passed by unnoticed, for this will bring dissatisfaction to our children. On these days when there is
danger that our children will be exposed to evil influences and become corrupted by the pleasures
and excitement of the world, let the parents study to get up something to take the place of these
dangerous amusements. Give your children to understand that you have their good and happiness
in view.

Let several families living in a city or village unite and leave the occupations which have taxed them
physically and mentally, and take an excursion into the country, to the side of a fine lake or to a
nice grove, where the scenery of nature is beautiful. They should provide themselves with plain,
hygienic food, the very best fruits and grains, and spread their table under the shade of some tree or
under the canopy of heaven. The ride, the exercise, and the scenery will quicken the appetite, and
they can enjoy a repast which kings might envy. On such occasions parents and children should feel
free from care, labor, and perplexity. Parents should become children with their children, making
everything as pleasant for them as possible. Let the whole day be given to recreation.

Exercise in the open air for those whose employment has been within doors and sedentary will be
beneficial to health. All who can should feel it a duty to pursue this course. Nothing will be lost,
but much gained. They can return to their occupations with new life and new courage to engage
in their labor with zeal, and they are better prepared to resist disease. (Testimonies, vol. 1, pp.
514, 515).

Many allow the youth to attend parties of pleasure, thinking that amusement is essential for health
and happiness; but what dangers are in this path! The more the desire for pleasure is gratified,
the more it is cultivated and the stronger it becomes. The life experience is largely made up of
self-gratification in amusement. God bids us beware. ”Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed
lest he fall.” (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 347.


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Burdened with many cares, the mother may sometimes feel that she cannot take time patiently
to instruct her little ones and to give them love and sympathy. But she should remember that if
the children do not find in their parents and in their homes that which will satisfy their desire for
sympathy and companionship, they will look to other sources, where both mind and character may
be endangered.

Give some of your leisure hours to your children; associate with them in their work and in their
sports, and win their confidence. Cultivate their friendship. Give them responsibilities to bear,
small at first, and larger as they grow older. (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 124).




                                                83
Appendix C: Ellen G. White
Materials—Ancient Games

Called to Reach a Higher Standard

In the hope of impressing vividly upon the minds of the Corinthian believers the importance of
firm self-control, strict temperance, and unflagging zeal in the service of Christ, Paul in his letter to
them made a striking comparison between the Christian warfare and the celebrated foot races held
at stated intervals near Corinth. Of all the games instituted among the Greeks and the Romans,
the foot races were the most ancient and the most highly esteemed. They were witnessed by kings,
nobles, and statesmen. Young men of rank and wealth took part in them and shrank from no effort
or discipline necessary to obtain the prize.

The contests were governed by strict regulations, from which there was no appeal. Those who
desired their names entered as competitors for the prize had first to undergo a severe preparatory
training. Harmful indulgence of appetite, or any other gratification that would lower mental or
physical vigor, was strictly forbidden. For one to have any hope of success in these trials of
strength and speed, the muscles must be strong and supple, and the nerves well under control.
Every movement must be certain, every step swift and unswerving; the physical powers must reach
the highest mark.

As the contestants in the race made their appearance before the waiting multitude, their names
were heralded, and the rules of the race were distinctly stated. Then they all started together,
the fixed attention of the spectators inspiring them with a determination to win. The judges were
seated near the goal, that they might watch the race from its beginning to its close and give the
prize to the true victor. If a man reached the goal first by taking an unlawful advantage, he was
not awarded the prize.

In these contests great risks were run. Some never recovered from the terrible physical strain. It
was not unusual for men to fall on the course, bleeding at the mouth and nose, and sometimes a
contestant would drop dead when about to seize the prize. But the possibility of lifelong injury
or of death was not looked upon as too great a risk to run for the sake of the honor awarded the
successful contestant.

As the winner reached the goal, the applause of the vast multitude of onlookers rent the air and


                                                  84
awoke the echoes of the surrounding hills and mountains. In full view of the spectators, the judge
presented him with the emblems of victory—a laurel crown and a palm branch to carry in his right
hand. His praise was sung throughout the land; his parents received their share of honor; and even
the city in which he lived was held in high esteem for having produced so great an athlete.

In referring to these races as a figure of the Christian warfare, Paul emphasized the preparation
necessary to the success of the contestants in the race—the preliminary discipline, the abstemious
diet, the necessity for temperance. “Every man that striveth for the mastery,” he declared, “is
temperate in all things.” The runners put aside every indulgence that would tend to weaken the
physical powers, and by severe and continuous discipline trained their muscles to strength and
endurance, that when the day of the contest should arrive, they might put the heaviest tax upon
their powers. How much more important that the Christian, whose eternal interests are at stake,
bring appetite and passion under subjection to reason and the will of God! Never must he allow
his attention to be diverted by amusements, luxuries, or ease. All his habits and passions must
be brought under the strictest discipline. Reason, enlightened by the teachings of God’s word and
guided by His Spirit, must hold the reins of control.

And after this has been done, the Christian must put forth the utmost exertion in order to gain
the victory. In the Corinthian games the last few strides of the contestants in the race were made
with agonizing effort to keep up undiminished speed. So the Christian, as he nears the goal, will
press onward with even more zeal and determination than at the first of his course.

Paul presents the contrast between the chaplet of fading laurel received by the victor in the foot
races, and the crown of immortal glory that will be given to him who runs with triumph the
Christian race. “They do it,” he declares, “to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
To win a perishable prize, the Grecian runners spared themselves no toil or discipline. We are
striving for a prize infinitely more valuable, even the crown of everlasting life. How much more
careful should be our striving, how much more willing our sacrifice and self-denial!

In the epistle to the Hebrews is pointed out the single-hearted purpose that should characterize
the Christian’s race for eternal life: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so
easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1, 2. Envy, malice, evil thinking, evilspeaking,
covetousness—these are weights that the Christian must lay aside if he would run successfully the
race for immortality. Every habit or practice that leads into sin and brings dishonor upon Christ
must be put away, whatever the sacrifice. The blessing of heaven cannot attend any man in violating
the eternal principles of right. One sin cherished is sufficient to work degradation of character and
to mislead others.

“If thy hand cause thee to stumble,” the Saviour said, “Cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into
life maimed, rather than having thy two hands to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire. And if
thy foot cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life halt, rather than
having thy two feet to be cast into hell.” Mark 9:43-45, R.V. If to save the body from death, the
foot or the hand should be cut off, or even the eye plucked out, how much more earnest should the
Christian be to put away sin, which brings death to the soul!

The competitors in the ancient games, after they had submitted to self-denial and rigid discipline,


                                                85
were not even then sure of the victory. “Know ye not,” Paul asked, “that they which run in a race
run all, but one receiveth the prize?” However eagerly and earnestly the runners might strive, the
prize could be awarded to but one. One hand only could grasp the coveted garland. Some might
put forth the utmost effort to obtain the prize, but as they reached forth the hand to secure it,
another, an instant before them, might grasp the coveted treasure.

Such is not the case in the Christian warfare. Not one who complies with the conditions will be
disappointed at the end of the race. Not one who is earnest and persevering will fail of success. The
race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. The weakest saint, as well as the strongest,
may wear the crown of immortal glory. All may win who, through the power of divine grace, bring
their lives into conformity to the will of Christ. The practice, in the details of life, of the principles
laid down in God’s word, is too often looked upon as unimportant—a matter too trivial to demand
attention. But in view of the issue at stake, nothing is small that will help or hinder. Every act
casts its weight into the scale that determines life’s victory or defeat. And the reward given to
those who win will be in proportion to the energy and earnestness with which they have striven.

The apostle compared himself to a man running in a race, straining every nerve to win the prize.
“I therefore so run,” he says, “not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I
keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached
to others, I myself should be a castaway.” That he might not run uncertainly or at random in
the Christian race, Paul subjected himself to severe training. The words, “I keep under my body,”
literally mean to beat back by severe discipline the desires, impulses, and passions.

Paul feared lest, having preached to others, he himself should be a castaway. He realized that if he
did not carry out in his life the principles he believed and preached, his labors in behalf of others
would avail him nothing. His conversation, his influence, his refusal to yield to self-gratification,
must show that his religion was not a profession merely, but a daily, living connection with God.
One goal he kept ever before him, and strove earnestly to reach—“the righteousness which is of
God by faith.” Philippians 3:9.

Paul knew that his warfare against evil would not end so long as life should last. Ever he realized
the need of putting a strict guard upon himself, that earthly desires might not overcome spiritual
zeal. With all his power he continued to strive against natural inclinations. Ever he kept before
him the ideal to be attained, and this ideal he strove to reach by willing obedience to the law of
God. His words, his practices, his passions—all were brought under the control of the Spirit of
God.

It was this singlehearted purpose to win the race for eternal life that Paul longed to see revealed in
the lives of the Corinthian believers. He knew that in order to reach Christ’s ideal for them, they
had before them a life struggle from which there would be no release. He entreated them to strive
lawfully, day by day seeking for piety and moral excellence. He pleaded with them to lay aside
every weight and to press forward to the goal of perfection in Christ.

Paul pointed the Corinthians to the experience of ancient Israel, to the blessings that rewarded
their obedience, and to the judgments that followed their transgressions. He reminded them of the
miraculous way in which the Hebrews were led from Egypt under the protection of the cloud by
day and the pillar of fire by night. Thus they were safely conducted through the Red Sea, while the


                                                   86
Egyptians, essaying to cross in like manner, were all drowned. By these acts God had acknowledged
Israel as His church. They “did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual
drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” The
Hebrews, in all their travels, had Christ as a leader. The smitten rock typified Christ, who was to
be wounded for men’s transgressions, that the stream of salvation might flow to all.

Notwithstanding the favor that God showed to the Hebrews, yet because of their lust for the
luxuries left behind in Egypt, and because of their sin and rebellion, the judgments of God came
upon them. The apostle enjoined the Corinthian believers to heed the lesson contained in Israel’s
experience. “Now these things were our examples,” he declared, “to the intent we should not lust
after evil things, as they also lusted.” He showed how love of ease and pleasure had prepared the
way for sins that called forth the signal vengeance of God. It was when the children of Israel sat
down to eat and drink, and rose up to play, that they threw off the fear of God, which they had
felt as they listened to the giving of the law; and, making a golden calf to represent God, they
worshiped it. And it was after enjoying a luxurious feast connected with the worship of Baalpeor,
that many of the Hebrews fell through licentiousness. The anger of God was aroused, and at His
command “three and twenty thousand” were slain by the plague in one day.

The apostle adjured the Corinthians, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
Should they become boastful and self-confident, neglecting to watch and pray, they would fall into
grievous sin, calling down upon themselves the wrath of God. Yet Paul would not have them yield
to despondency or discouragement. He gave them the assurance: “God is faithful, who will not
suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of
escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Paul urged his brethren to ask themselves what influence their words and deeds would have upon
others and to do nothing, however innocent in itself, that would seem to sanction idolatry or offend
the scruples of those who might be weak in the faith. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or
whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the
Gentiles, nor to the church of God.”

The apostle’s words of warning to the Corinthian church are applicable to all time and are especially
adapted to our day. By idolatry he meant not only the worship of idols, but self-serving, love of
ease, the gratification of appetite and passion. A mere profession of faith in Christ, a boastful
knowledge of the truth, does not make a man a Christian. A religion that seeks only to gratify the
eye, the ear, and the taste, or that sanctions self-indulgence, is not the religion of Christ.

By a comparison of the church with the human body, the apostle aptly illustrated the close and
harmonious relationship that should exist among all members of the church of Christ. “By one
Spirit,” he wrote, “are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we
be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member,
but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore
not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it
therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole
were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in
the body, as it hath pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But
now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no


                                                 87
need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.... God hath tempered the body
together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: that there should be no
schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether
one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members
rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

And then, in words which from that day to this have been to men and women a source of inspiration
and encouragement, Paul set forth the importance of that love which should be cherished by the
followers of Christ: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity,
I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and
understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove
mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the
poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

No matter how high the profession, he whose heart is not filled with love for God and his fellow
men is not a true disciple of Christ. Though he should possess great faith and have power even to
work miracles, yet without love his faith would be worthless. He might display great liberality; but
should he, from some other motive than genuine love, bestow all his goods to feed the poor, the
act would not commend him to the favor of God. In his zeal he might even meet a martyr’s death,
yet if not actuated by love, he would be regarded by God as a deluded enthusiast or an ambitious
hypocrite.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed
up.” The purest joy springs from the deepest humiliation. The strongest and noblest characters
are built on the foundation of patience, love, and submission to God’s will. (Acts of the Apostles,
pp. 309-319).




                                                88
89
Appendix D: Statements From the
Writings of Ellen G. White
Concerning Competitive Sports at
Battle Creek College in 1893

But what returns have our young people made to the Lord? Has it been as it was with the people
of Israel on the most solemn occasion described in Exodus? Moses had gone up into the mount to
receive instruction from the Lord, and the whole congregation should have been in humble attitude
before God; but instead of that they ate and drank and rose up to play. Has there been a similar
experience in Battle Creek? Have not many lost their hold on God? Did the exercise in games of
football bring the participants into more close relation to God?

In the night season messages have been given to me to give to you in Battle Creek, and to all our
schools. While it is in the order of God that the physical powers shall be trained as well as the
mental, yet the physical exercise should in character be in complete harmony with the lessons given
by Jesus Christ to His disciples. That which is given to the world should be seen in the lives of
Christians; so that in education and in self-training the heavenly intelligences should not record
in the books that the students and the teachers in our schools are “lovers of pleasure more than
lovers of God.”—Ms 51, 1893, pp. 1, 2. (To teachers and students of Battle Creek College and all
educational institutions, December, 1893.) (Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, pp. 247, 248).

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another,
and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble
yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” All your
self-uplifting works out the natural result, and makes you in character such as God will not for
a moment approve. “Without Me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” Work and teach, work in
Christ’s lines, and then you will never work in your own weak ability, but will have the co-operation
of the divine, combined with the God-given human ability. “Casting all your care upon Him; for
He careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant” [not in kicking football and in educating yourselves
in the objectionable games which ought to make every Christian blush with mortification at the
afterthoughts] “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh
about, seeking whom he may devour.” Yes, he is on your playground watching your amusements,
catching every soul that he finds off his guard, sowing his seeds in human minds, and controlling
the human intellect. For Christ’s sake call a halt at the Battle Creek College, and consider the


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after-workings upon the heart and the character and principles, of these amusements copied after
the fashion of other schools. You have been steadily progressing in the ways of the Gentiles, and
not after the example of Jesus Christ. Satan is on the schoolground; he is present in every exercise
in the schoolroom. The students that have had their minds deeply excited in their games, are not
in the best condition to receive the instruction, the counsel, the reproof, most essential for them
in this life and for the future immortal life. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 225, Note:
bracketed material within this quotation is Mrs. White’s comment).

The light shines from the sacred pages, in clear, glorious beams, showing us God, the living God,
as represented in the laws of His government, in the creation of the world, in the heavens which
He hath garnished. His power is to be recognized as the only means of redeeming a world from
degrading superstitions which are so dishonoring to God and man. Every student of the Bible
who not only becomes familiar with revealed truth through the education of the intellect, but also
through its transforming power upon heart and character, will represent the character of God to
our world in a well-ordered life and a godly conversation. The entrance of the word giveth light.
The mind is expanded, elevated, purified. But many have pursued a course of action inconsistent
with the knowledge of truth and the wonderful light through the descent of the Holy Spirit of
God in so marked a manner upon hearts in Battle Creek. Great sin and loss resulted from the
neglect to walk in the light from heaven. In plunging into amusements, match games, pugilistic
performances, they declared to the world that Christ was not their leader in any of these things.
All this called forth the warning from God. Now that which burdens me is the danger of going
into extremes on the other side; there is no necessity for this; if the Bible is made the guide, the
counselor, it is calculated to have an influence on the mind and heart of the unconverted. Its study,
more than any other, will leave a divine impress. It will enlarge the mind of the candid student, it
will endow it with new impulses and fresh vigor. It will give greater efficiency to the faculties by
bringing them in contact with grand and far-reaching truths. It is ever working, drawing; it is an
effective instrument in the converting of the soul. If the human mind becomes dwarfed and feeble
and inefficient, it is because it is left to deal with commonplace subjects only. (Fundamentals of
Christian Education, p. 377).

Every believer forms a link in the golden chain connecting the soul to Jesus Christ, and is the
channel of communication of that light to those who are in darkness. Let one lose his connection
with Christ, and Satan seizes the opportunity to lead him to dishonor Christ by words, by spirit, by
action, and thus Christ’s character is misinterpreted. I ask you, my brother, if the religion of Jesus
Christ is not by the excess of the amusements misunderstood. When the Lord gave to Battle Creek
the riches of His grace, were there those in responsibility who could have directed these souls as to
how to improve upon the endowment given, in doing good, useful work that would give a change
from their studies, other than the excitement and emotions caused by their games? This kind of
pastime is not improving mind or spirit or manners for the preparation for the scenes of trial that
they must soon enter. The superficial piety that passes for religion will be consumed when tried in
the furnace.

The Lord would have the teachers consider the contagion of their own example. They need to pray
much more and consider that the convictions which flow out from a well-ordered life and a godly
conversation, from a living, decided Christianity, are the preparation of the garden of the heart for
the seeds of truth to be planted for a fruitful harvest, and for the Sun of Righteousness when He
comes with healing in His beams. Let your righteousness so shine before men, “that they may see


                                                 91
your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). “Ye are,” said Christ
to His disciples, “the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be
salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men”
(Matt. 5:13). The church illuminates the world, not by their profession of godliness, but by their
manifestation of the transforming, sanctifying power of the truth on life and character....

The time is altogether too full of tokens of the coming conflict to be educating the youth in fun
and games.—Letter 46, 1893. (Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 132).

To spend money, which is so hard to obtain, on materials with which to play tennis and cricket
is not in harmony with the testimonies which have been given to our school in Battle Creek. The
danger of playing these games is pointed out, and those in the school discarded them.

It has been understood all through our ranks that these games are not the proper education to be
given in any of our schools. (Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, p. 74).

...be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking
whom he may devour.”

Yes, he is on your playground watching your amusements, catching every soul that he finds off his
guard, sowing his seeds in human minds and controlling the human intellect. For Christ’s sake call
a halt at the Battle Creek College and consider the after-workings upon the heart and character and
principles, of these amusements copied after the fashion of other schools. You have been steadily
progressing in the the ways of the Gentiles, and not after the example of Jesus Christ. Satan is on
the school ground, he is present in every exercise in the school-rooms. The students that have had
their minds deeply excited in their games are not in the best condition to receive the instruction, the
counsel, the reproof most essential for them in this life, and in the future immortal life. (Spalding
and Magan Collection, p. 72).

It is an easy matter to idle away, talk and play away, the Holy Spirit’s influence. To walk in the
light is to keep moving onward in the direction of light. If the one blessed becomes negligent and
inattentive and does not watch unto prayer, if he does not lift the cross and bear the yoke of Christ,
if his love of amusements and strivings for the mastery absorb his power or ability, then God is not
made the first and best and last in everything, and Satan comes in to act his part in playing the
game of life for his soul. He can play much more earnestly than they can play, and make deep-laid
plots for the ruin of the soul....

The results after the working of the Spirit of God in Battle Creek are not because of fanaticism,
but because those who were blessed did not show forth the praises of Him who called them out of
darkness into His marvelous light; and when the earth is lightened with the glory of God, some
will not know what it is, and from whence it came, because they misapplied and misinterpreted the
Spirit shed upon them. God is a jealous God of His own glory. He will not honor those who dishonor
Him. Some persons living in the light ought to have instructed these souls young in experience to
walk in the light after they had received the light. I wish I had time to write more fully, but I fear
I have not.—Letter 58, 1893.

Some things have been urged upon my mind with great force of late, and I feel constrained by the


                                                  92
Spirit of God to write in reference to them. [ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF BATTLE
CREEK COLLEGE.] Has the Lord graciously opened to you the windows of heaven and poured
you out a blessing? Oh! Then, that was the very time to educate the teachers and students how
to retain the precious favor of God by working in accordance with increased light, and send its
precious rays to others. Has Heaven’s light been given? And for what purpose has it been given?
That the light should shine forth in practical works of righteousness. When those so abundantly
blessed shall be seen with deeper and more fervent piety, having a sense that they have been bought
with the precious blood of the Lamb of God, and are clothed with the garments of His salvation,
will they not represent Christ?

Have not the playing of games, and rewards, and the using of the boxing glove been educating and
training after Satan’s direction to lead to the possession of his attributes? What if they could see
Jesus, the Man of Calvary looking upon them in sorrow, as was represented to me. Things are
certainly receiving a wrong mold, and are counteracting the work of the divine power which has
been graciously bestowed. The work of every true Christian is to represent Christ, to reflect light,
to elevate the standard of morals, and by words and influence consecrated to God, to compel the
careless and reckless to think of God and eternity. The world would gladly drop eternity out of
their reckoning, but they cannot succeed so long as there are those who represent Christ in their
practical life. (Selected Messages, vol. 1, pp. 131, 132).




                                                93
Appendix E: Statements From the
Writings of Ellen G. White
Concerning Competitive Sports at
Avondale in 1900

The Avondale School Holiday

Recent experiences in our colleges and sanitariums lead me to present again instruction that the
Lord gave me for the teachers and students in our school at Cooranbong, Australia.

In April, 1900, a holiday was appointed at the Avondale school for Christian workers. The program
for the day provided for a meeting in the chapel in the morning, at which I and others addressed
the students, calling their attention to what God had wrought in the building up of this school,
and to their privilege and opportunities as students.

After the meeting, the remainder of the day was spent by the students in various games and sports,
some of which were frivolous, rude, and grotesque.

During the following night I seemed to be witnessing the performances of the afternoon. The scene
was clearly laid out before me, and I was given a message for the manager and teachers of the
school.

I was shown that in the amusements carried on at the school that afternoon the enemy gained a
victory, and teachers were weighed in the balances and found wanting. I was greatly distressed
and burdened to think that those standing in responsible positions should open the door and, as
it were, invite the enemy in; for this they did in permitting the exhibitions that took place. As
teachers, they should have stood firm against giving place to the enemy in any such line. By
what they permitted they marred their record and grieved the Spirit of God. The students were
encouraged in a course the effects of which were not easily effaced. There is no end to the path of
vain amusements, and every step taken in it is a step in a path which Christ has not traveled.

This introduction of wrong plans was the very thing that should have been jealously guarded
against. The Avondale school was established, not to be like the schools of the world, but, as God


                                               94
revealed, to be a pattern school. And since it was to be a pattern school, those in charge of it
should have perfected everything after God’s plan, discarding all that was not in harmony with His
will. Had their eyes been anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, they would have realized that they
could not permit the exhibition that took place that afternoon, without dishonoring God.

On Wednesday morning when I spoke to the students and to the others who had assembled, the
words that the Lord gave me to speak, I did not know anything of what was to take place afterward;
for no intimation of it had come to me. How could those at the head of the school harmonize with
the words spoken the proceedings that followed, which were of a character to make of no effect
the instruction that had just come to them from God? If their perceptions had not been greatly
beclouded, they would have understood this instruction as rebuking all such proceedings.

I felt deeply the importance of the words that the Lord gave me at this time for teachers and
students. This instruction presented before the students duties of the highest order; and to efface
by the amusements afterward entered into, the good impressions made, was virtually saying, “We
want not Thy way, O God; we want our own way; we want to follow our own wisdom.”

In the night season I was a witness to the performance that was carried on on the school grounds.
The students who engaged in the grotesque mimicry that was seen, acted out the mind of the
enemy, some in a very unbecoming manner. A view of things was presented before me in which
the students were playing games of tennis and cricket. Then I was given instruction regarding the
character of these amusements. They were presented to me as a species of idolatry, like the idols
of the nations.

There were more than visible spectators on the ground. Satan and his angels were there, making
impressions on human minds. Angels of God, who minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation,
were also present, not to approve, but to disapprove. They were ashamed that such an exhibition
should be given by the professed children of God. The forces of the enemy gained a decided victory,
and God was dishonored. He who gave His life to refine, ennoble, and sanctify human beings was
grieved at the performance.

Hearing a voice, I turned to see who spoke to me. Then with dignity and solemnity One said, “Is
this the celebration for the anniversary of the opening of the school? Is this the gratitude offering
you present to God for the blessings He has given you? The world could render as acceptable an
offering on this memorial occasion. The teachers are making the same mistake that has been made
over and over again. They should learn wisdom from the experiences of the past. The careless,
godless world can offer an abundance of such offerings as these, in a much more acceptable manner.”

Turning to the teachers, He said, “You have made a mistake the effects of which it will be hard to
efface. The Lord God of Israel is not glorified in the school. If at this time the Lord should permit
your life to end, many would be lost, eternally separated from God and the righteous.”

These things are a repetition of the course of Aaron, when at the foot of Sinai he allowed the first
beginning of wrong by permitting a spirit of reveling and commonness to come into the camp of
Israel. Moses was in the mount with God, and Aaron had been left in charge. He showed his
weakness by not standing firmly against the propositions of the people. He could have exercised
his authority to hold the congregation back from wrong-doing; but just as in his home he failed


                                                95
with his children, so he showed the same defective administration in his management of Israel. His
weakness as a general was seen in his desire to please the people, even at the sacrifice of principle.
He lost his power of command at the very first permission that he gave which allowed them to go
contrary to God’s commands in the least particular. And as a result the spirit of idolatry came
in, and the current set in motion could not be stayed until stern and decisive measures had been
taken.

It took time and a vast amount of labor and sorrow to wipe out the influence of the proceedings
at the Avondale school on that Wednesday afternoon. But the experience was a lesson that helped
those in charge of the school to realize the tendency of such amusements.

What an exhibition was this to be reported by the students to their distant friends and acquain-
tances! It was a witness that showed, not what God has accomplished in the school, but what Satan
had accomplished. Serious is the consequence of even one such departure from the instruction that
God has given concerning our schools. Once the barriers are broken down, the advance of the
enemy will be marked, unless the Lord shall humble hearts and convert minds.

The effort to regain that which was lost by the proceedings of that afternoon cost the teachers much
labor. They were severely tried. With the students there was seen a desire for further pleasure and
less regard for the instruction of God’s word. The Lord of heaven was thus dishonored, and the
indulgence of the desires of the human heart in sin and love of pleasure was the education received.

Let those who are educating the youth govern themselves according to the high and holy principles
that Christ has given in His word. Let them remember that, as far as possible, they are to recover
the ground that has been lost, that they may bring into our schools the spirituality that was seen
in the schools of the prophets....

Our schools are to be as the schools of the prophets. In them the truths of the Bible are to be
earnestly studied. If rightly brought before the mind and thoughtfully dwelt upon, these truths
will give the students a desire for that which is infinitely higher than worldly amusement. As they
draw near to God, becoming partakers of the divine nature, earthborn amusements will sink into
nothingness. The minds of the students will take a higher turn, and beholding the character of
Jesus, they will strive to be like Him. (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, pp. 348-353)


Associated Ellen G. White Diary Entries

Cooranbong, Monday, April 16, 1900.—We had interesting conversation in reference to the impor-
tant work to be done and we could only see that our success to keep in the way of the Lord was to
keep, with determined persevering effort, our own souls in strict obedience to the light given us.

To spend money, which is so hard to obtain, on materials with which to play tennis and cricket
is not in harmony with the testimonies which have been given to our school in Battle Creek. The
danger of playing these games is pointed out, and those in the school discarded them.

It has been understood all through our ranks that these games are not the proper education to be


                                                 96
given in any of our schools.

The school in Avondale is to be a pattern for other schools which shall be established among our
people. Games and amusements are the curse of the Colonies, and they must not be allowed in our
school here....

Tuesday, April 17, 1900.—My heart was pained to hear that notwithstanding my talk before the
school on Friday morning, when I read a testimony on amusements, and presented before the
students the danger of games, the faculty had not wisdom or discernment to understand how to
deepen the impression made....

One thing is to be plainly and decidedly carried out. Amusements are not to be a part of the
education given to the students in our school in this place.

Wednesday, April 18, 1900.—The Lord has blessed me, greatly blessed me, as I have taken my
position in regard to the amusement question and the games which have been unwisely introduced
by the faculty, without one word of counsel with me. We should not forget the things which have
happened in the past in America. Little did I suppose that these games would be introduced and
carried on upon the anniversary of the opening of our school in Cooranbong. Was this the service
of thanksgiving that should have been rendered to God? I feel so sorry as I think of this, and I am
instructed to say, All these movements should be sharply rebuked; for there has been no sparing of
instruction on this point.—Ms 92, 1900, pp. 6-8. (Diary, April 16 to 18, 1900.) Released May 20,
1977. (Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, pp. 74, 75).




                                                97
Appendix F: Complete Text of
General Conference Working Policy
FE 85 05 and FE 85 10 Interschool
Sports, 2001-2002, pp. 281, 282.

FE 85 05 Rationale—

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is opposed to inter-school league play (commonly known as
varsity athletics) in its educational system. The major rationale for this is:


  1. The inherent hazards of competitive rivalry have the potential to be exaggerated in interor-
     ganizational events.

  2. The commitments of time, personnel, and finances are usually disproportionate to the number
     of individuals able to participate.


FE 85 10 Conclusions—


  1. Christians should function with the highest motives in their quest for athletic excellence.

  2. Occasional friendship games or matches involving institutions at joint social gatherings are
     not classified as intermural or inter-school athletics.

  3. All people have talents—some more, some less. God expects faithfulness in service regardless
     of talents or pay (Matt 20:1-16). Even though talents are distributed differently, God expects
     individuals to develop what they have to the best of their ability; and they will be given
     responsibility according to their faithfulness. The scriptures remind us, “Whatever you are
     doing, put your whole heart into it, as if you were doing it for the Lord and not for men,
     knowing that there is a Master who will give you your heritage as a reward for your service.”
     (Col 3:23, NEB).




                                                98
99
Appendix G: Complete Text of North
American Division of General
Conference Working Policy FG 05 45
inter-school Sports, 2000-2001 ed., p.
287.

FG 05 45 inter-school Sports—Rationale–

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is opposed to inter-school league play (commonly known as
varsity athletics) in its educational system. The major rationale for this is:


  1. The inherent hazards of competitive rivalry have the potential to be exaggerated in interor-
     ganizational events.

  2. The commitments of time, personnel, and finances are usually disproportionate to the number
     of individuals able to participate.


Conclusions—


  1. Christians should function with the highest motives in their quest for athletic excellence.

  2. Occasional friendship games or matches involving institutions at joint social gatherings are
     not classified as intermural or inter-school athletics.

  3. All people have talents—some more, some less. God expects faithfulness in service regardless
     of talents or pay (Matt 20:1-16). Even though talents are distributed differently, God expects
     individuals to develop what they have to the best of their ability; and they will be given
     responsibility according to their faithfulness. The scriptures remind us, “Whatever you are
     doing, put your whole heart into it, as if you were doing it for the Lord and not for men,
     knowing that there is a Master who will give you your heritage as a reward for your service”—
     (Col 3:23, NEB).


                                               100
101
Appendix H:
Sample Actual Sports Schedule

BULLDOGS SPORTS SCHEDULE JAN. 25—Feb. 1 [2004]

Jr. High Boys Basketball:


 S 1/25–Practice @ 10:00–12:00

 M 1/26–Practice @ 3:30–5:00

 W 1/28–Practice @ 3:30–4:30

 Th 1/29–AWAY GAME @ 3:30 vs LL

 S 2/1–Practice @ 10:00–12:00


Jr. High Girls Basketball:


 S 1/25–Practice @ 12:00–2:00

 M 1/26–Practice @ 3:30–5:00

 W 1/28–Practice @ 3:30–4:30

 Th 1/29–HOME GAME @ 3:30 vs LL

 Fr. 1/30–Practice @ 1:00–3:00

 S 2/1–Practice @ 12:00–2:00


Jr. High Soccer:


 M 1/26–HOME GAME @ 3:30 vs AAE

 Th 1/19–HOME GAME @ 3:30 vs RC

                                    102
JV Boys Basketball:


 S 1/25–Practice @ 6:00–8:00

 M 1/26–Practice @ 5:00–7:00

 T 1/27–HOME GAME @ 4:30 vs Desert Chr

 1/28–HOME GAME @ 5:30 vs CCMV

 Th 1/29–HOME GAME @ 5:00 vs Baptist Chr

 S 2/1–Practice @ 6:00–8:00


Varsity Girls Basketball:


 S 1/25–Practice @ 4:00–6:00

 M 1/26–Practice @ 5:00–7:00

 T 1/27–HOME GAME @ 6:00 vs Desert Chr

 W 1/28–Practice @ ?

 Th 1/29–HOME GAME @ 6:30 vs Baptist Chr

 S 2/1–Practice @ 4:00–6:00


Varsity Boys Basketball:


 S 1/25–Practice @ 2:00–4:00

 M 1/26–Practice @ 7:00–9:30

 T 1/27–HOME GAME @ 7:30 vs Desert Chr

 W 1/28–Practice @ ?

 Th 1/29–HOME GAME @ 8:00 vs Baptist Chr.

 S 2/1–Practice @ 2:00–4:00




                                         103

				
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