Counsel on SDA School Sports
Basketballagression.jpg (6389 bytes)"Their influence does not tend toward refinement, generosity, or real manliness."

Spor3.jpg (19831 bytes)"What force of power is put into your games of football and your other inventions after the ways of the gentiles-- exercises that bless no one!"

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 these amusements. It leads to an outlay of means that should be expended in bringing the light of truth to souls. 1

This is no time to foster pleasure loving by providing the youth, as they enter upon their student’s life, with facilities for the playing of games which are a snare to all who engage in them.2

I cannot find an instance in the life of Christ where he devoted time to play and amusement. He was the Educator for the present and future life. I have not been able to find one instance where He educated His disciples to engage in amusements of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical exercise, or in theatrical performances; yet Christ was our pattern in all things.3

"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 after-thoughts].4

What force of power is put into your games of football and your other inventions after the ways of the gentiles--exercises that bless no one!5

Their influence does not tend toward refinement, generosity, or real manliness.6

A view was presented before me in which the students were playing games of tennis and cricket. Then I was given instruction regarding the character of the amusements. They were presented to me as a species of idolatry like the idols of the nations.7

These things are a repetition of the course of Aaron when at the foot of Sinai...8

How much time is spent by intelligent human beings in horse racing, cricket matches, and ball playing!9

Satan would lead them to believe that amusements are necessary for health; but the Lord has declared that the better way is for them to get physical exercise through manual training and by letting useful employment take the place of selfish pleasure. 10

They act as if the school were a place where they were to perfect themselves in sports, as if this were an important branch of their education, and they come armed and equipped for this kind of training. This is all wrong, from beginning to end. It is not in any way appropriate for this time; it is not qualifying the youth to go forth as missionaries, to endure hardship and privation, and to use their powers for the glory of God.11


1. Selected messages, Vol. 3, page 322.

2. Letter 47, 1893, page 5. (Manuscript Release, Vol. 4, p. 255)

3. Fundaments of Christian Education, page 229.

4. Ibid. p.255.

5. Ibid. p. 229

6. Education, p.210.

7. Counsels to Parents Teachers and Students, p. 350.

8. Ibid. p. 351.

9. Ibid. p. 456.

10. Ibid. p. 354.

11. Letter 47, 1893, page 6. (Manuscript Release, Vol. 4, p. 255)

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