| Ellen G. White Estate

Are Adventists forbidden to have church socials?

Mrs. White was not opposed to all such things. For instance, she wrote, “Our social entertainments should not be governed by the dictates of worldly custom, but by the Spirit of Christ and the teaching of His Word” (The Ministry of Healing, 352, 353). That is the difference. She condemned the church socials of the other churches that were incompatible with Christian values and standards. She was not here speaking of church social gatherings in which people didn’t “engage in feastings and in scenes of amusements which degrade the religion of Jesus Christ.”

Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pages 82, 83, contains the following note about social gatherings. Notice the contrast:

Gatherings for social intercourse [interchange, communication] may be made in the highest degree profitable and instructive when those who meet together have the love of God glowing in their hearts, when they meet to exchange thoughts in regard to the word of God, or to consider methods for advancing His work, and doing good to their fellowmen. When nothing is said or done to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, but it is regarded as a welcome guest, then God is honored, and those who meet together will be refreshed and strengthened. . . .

But there has been a class of social gatherings in Battle Creek of an entirely different character, parties of pleasure that have been a disgrace to our institutions and to the church. They encourage pride of dress, pride of appearance, self-gratification, hilarity, and trifling. Satan is entertained as an honored guest, and he takes possession of those who patronize these gatherings. . . .

Many such gatherings have been presented to me. I have seen the gaiety, the display in dress, the personal adornment. All want to be thought brilliant, and give themselves up to hilarity, foolish jesting, cheap, coarse flattery, and uproarious laughter. The eyes sparkle, the cheek is flushed, conscience sleeps. With eating and drinking and merrymaking, they do their best to forget God. The scene of pleasure is their paradise.

Mrs. White indicated that Jesus was not opposed to proper gatherings.

Jesus reproved self-indulgence in all its forms, yet He was social in His nature. He accepted the hospitality of all classes, visiting the homes of the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, and seeking to elevate their thoughts from questions of commonplace life to those things that are spiritual and eternal. He gave no license to dissipation, and no shadow of worldly levity marred His conduct; yet He found pleasure in scenes of innocent happiness and by His presence sanctioned the social gathering (The Adventist Home, 503).

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