| Ellen G. White Estate

What did Ellen White say about Christian drama?

Here is the opening portion of a document that deals with that subject:

Inquiries have been received at the Ellen G. White Estate office about materials from the pen of Mrs. White that may bear on the question of using skits, plays, or other types of dramatic programs in Seventh-day Adventist institutions. The Ellen White counsels discussing this question deal with several situations. In so doing, principles are enumerated that should still serve as guidelines for Adventists today.

Throughout the Spirit of Prophecy writings, God has given through Ellen White principles to help us determine what we should do. He then allows us the freedom to best work out our own actions in harmony with these principles. In so doing, it is important to remember that God always points us to the ideal. His supreme desire always is that we reach our maximum spiritually, and in every other way that affects our eternal salvation. . . .

A survey of [Ellen White’s] counsels fails to reveal an across-the-board condemnation of all dramatic productions. In other words, Ellen White does not condemn a program just because it may be dramatized. In this respect, counsels touching dramatic productions are much like those pertaining to sports. . . .

Mrs. White did not condemn the “simple exercise of playing ball” (AH 499), but as she enumerated the principles involved, she pointed out the grave perils that usually accompany sports activities. Likewise, Mrs. White did not condemn the simple enacted program put on by the Battle Creek Sabbath school in 1888, but in several places she clearly points out the many and almost sure perils that often accompany “plays” and “theatrical programs.”

It would then appear that the questions relating to both sports and dramatic productions in SDA institutions must be settled on the basis of fundamental principles rather than on a simple “yes” or “no.” This poses a real challenge, one that calls for a careful analysis of the principles involved, plus a determination to be guided by them. If Adventist young people can be taught to understand and apply Christian principles in their personal lives, they will be far ahead of many adults who, tragically, never have learned that the life of the Christian is guided not by arbitrary Do’s or Don’ts, but by principle.

For more on these principles, see the previous question and answer and question 89: Do our angels leave us at the theater door? and Dramatic Productions in SDA Institutions by Arthur L. White—available on the Ellen G. White Estate Digital Resource Center Web site.

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