What did Ellen White counsel about observing Christmas? Noting her prophetic gift, some today might expect her to shun Christmas. They trace Christmas through the Roman Catholic Church back to paganism, which gave rise to the December 25 date and various other customs. They find no biblical command or example to observe the birth of Jesus, and they see little that reflects or honors the Master in the usual celebrations of Christmas.
Ellen White was aware of these concerns, but they did not lead her to reject Christmas. While she acknowledged that “the Bible does not give us the precise time”¹ of Jesus’ birth and “there is no divine sanctity resting upon the twenty-fifth of December,”² she did not urge us to ignore the day. Rather, she said that “it can be made to serve a very good purpose,”³ and she urged parents to turn “the minds and the offerings of their children to God and his cause and the salvation of souls.”⁴
“Christmas is coming,” she wrote. “May you all have wisdom to make
it a precious season. Let the older church members unite, heart and soul, with their children in this innocent amusement and recreation, in devising ways and means to show true respect to Jesus by bringing to Him gifts and offerings. Let everyone remember the claims of God. His cause cannot go forward without your aid. Let the gifts you have usually bestowed upon one another be placed in the Lord’s treasury.”⁵
Does this mean that we shouldn’t give each other gifts? Not necessarily. “Brethren and sisters, while you are devising gifts for one another, I would remind you of our heavenly Friend, lest you should be unmindful of His claims. Will He not be pleased if we show that we have not forgotten Him?”⁶ She saw purpose in both kinds of giving, one that recognizes family and friends, and the other that honors our Saviour. “It is right to bestow upon one another tokens of love and remembrance if we do not in this forget God, our best friend.”⁷
The gifts we give to one another should be useful and helpful. “We should make our gifts such as will prove a real benefit to the receiver. I would recommend such books as will be an aid in understanding the Word of God or that will increase our love for its precepts.”⁸ Other kinds of gifts, carefully chosen, may also be a benefit to the recipient.
Ellen White’s view of holiday gift-giving is clearly a departure from custom. It puts Jesus first. If this requires scaling back on gifts to each other so that we may give where God would have us direct the funds, we will be the stronger—and happier—for having done so. “Come, brethren and sisters, come with your children, even the babes in your arms, and bring your offerings to God according to your ability. Make melody to Him in your hearts, and let His praise be upon your lips.”⁹
TEACH THE CHILDREN
Won’t children be disappointed if we make changes like this? Ellen White, a wise and experienced mother, had thought about this. “There are many things which can be devised with taste and cost far less than the unnecessary presents that are so frequently bestowed upon our children and relatives, and thus courtesy can be shown and happiness brought into the home.
“You can teach your children a lesson while you explain to them the reason why you have made a change in the value of their presents, telling them that you are convinced that you have hitherto considered their pleasure more than the glory of God. Tell them that you have thought more of your own pleasure and of their gratification and of keeping in harmony with the customs and traditions of the world, in making presents to those who did not need them, than you have of advancing the cause of God.
“Like the wise men of old, you may offer to God your best gifts and show by your offerings to Him that you appreciate His Gift to a sinful world. Set your children’s thoughts running in a new, unselfish channel by inciting them to present offerings to God for the gift of His only-begotten Son.”¹⁰
THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Ellen White did not forbid the Christmas tree, even urging that such a tree be placed in the church and adorned with special “decorations.” When many of our congregations struggled to have a church building, she wrote:
“God would be well pleased if on Christmas each church would have a Christmas tree on which shall be hung offerings, great and small, for these houses of worship. . . . Let its boughs be laden with the golden and silver fruit of your beneficence, and present this to Him as your Christmas gift. Let your donations be sanctified by prayer.”¹¹
The principle may apply to helping other aspects of the Lord’s work as well, such as ministry to the needy. “Christmas and New Year celebrations can and should be held in behalf of those who are helpless. God is glorified when we give to help those who have large families to support.”¹²
Some may ask, “Isn’t a Christmas tree forbidden by Jeremiah 10:1-5, which speaks against cutting a tree and decorating it with gold and silver?” Verse 3 refers to the one who takes the axe to the tree as a “craftsman” (RSV),¹³ translating a Hebrew word that means “artificer, engraver.” This passage refers to fashioning an idol, one that cannot walk or speak and must be carried, and which a person need not fear (verse 5). It deals with false gods rather than Christmas trees.
How may we best celebrate Christmas? Ellen White challenges us to make our Lord the focus of it, reserving our best gifts for Him. We will be blessed when we observe it that way.
¹Ellen G. White, The Adventist Home (Nashville: Southern Pub. Assn., 1952), p. 477.
²Ellen G. White, in Review and Herald, Dec. 9, 1884.
³E. G. White, The Adventist Home, p. 478.
⁵E. G. White, in Review and Herald, Dec. 9, 1844.
⁶E. G. White, The Adventist Home, p. 480.
⁷Ibid., p. 479.
⁹Ibid., p. 480.
¹⁰Ibid., p. 481.
¹¹Ibid., p. 482.
¹³Bible texts credited to RSV are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, 1971, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission.
Prof. Ademola Tayo, the Vice Chancellor of Babcock University, has explained why the institution took the decision to expel the female student in the sex video that went viral last month.
According to him, the decision was to protect what the institution stands for. However, he said the institution was still in contact with the girl’s family and may take her back if she was repentant.
Last month a video surfaced of two students making out in what was later said to be a hospital ward. The boy was said to have been expelled before the incident while the girl was expelled as a result of the video.
Speaking during a luncheon with journalists at the Babcock Guest House on Sunday the VC said:
“We had to take that decision in order to protect this institution and to protect its alumni. Because anywhere they go they say the University where they are all prostitutes. They said the girls are always swallowing …and all kinds of ridicule. If we keep mute, in the public opinion they would think that anything goes in the institution. We had to make a statement to show discipline.
“But I need to tell you that I signed it off with tears in my eyes as a responsible father. But we are not leaving this young lady to her doom. The pastor called me last week and I prayed with the family. The father called me and said pray with your daughter. I said she is still my daughter. Sometimes discipline is therapeutic. It is when you go that you realise that this is not right what I have done and then you go back to yourself.
“I look forward to a time when this young girl would graduate and be celebrated. It may not be here; I don’t know where but we are not throwing the baby out with the bath water.”
Tayo described the act by the girl giving the boy a Mouth Action as abnormal.
It is not normal for a young woman to take the manhood of the man and be swallowing. That is a very dirty thing which supposed not to be heard,” he said, adding that the institution had to apply discipline but with love.
The VC however said some stakeholders commended the university’s decision to expel the student, saying that they would have pulled their wards out of the University.
Tayo also described as mischievous a publication by an online publication that listed the institution as the third worst to attend in the country.
“I see that as a sponsored campaign to smear the institution. I know where it is coming from but we will not relent because we will do our best to offer holistic education to the children.
He said Babcock had achieved a lot with 36 fully accredited programmes and alumni who were making waves in various fields of endeavour, including the alumnus, Oladapo Oluwatoyin who made the overall best result in the 2019 bar exams, among others.
The management of Babcock University has released a statement concerning the leaked sex tape involving two of its former students.
In a video that sparked reaction on social media on Wednesday, a male and female student of the missionary school were seen having sex in a hospital.
In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, Joshua Suleiman, the varsity’s director, communication and marketing, said the persons involved in the sex tape have since been expelled.
He said, “the boy was expelled from the school in February this year”, while his girlfriend was asked to leave the school shortly after the video broke out some months ago.
“The video above referred is, unfortunately, a sad commentary on the moral decadence that has assailed our society at large, a manner of behaviour that is alien and antithetical to the value of our university. It is not worth a tinge of fascination, but a ground of great concern for all,” the statement read.
“The boy in the video was expelled from Babcock University in February this year after investigation and the due process proved that he was into certain grievous misconducts, the acts for which the university has zero-tolerance.
“His girlfriend in the same video, until the video broke out, a third-year student of accounting of this university. After due process, she was expelled from the university for violation of university rules and regulations.
Read Also: Sex Tape Of Babcock Students Leaks Online
“The place where the immoral act took place, according to her written statement, was at Saint Bridget Hospital, Abeokuta, Ogun State, where the boy has been undergoing rehabilitation for different destructive addictions. ”
“According to the girl, the incident took place in April this year during school vacation when she visited the boy at the hospital. The act did not take place at Babcock University. ”
“Babcock University remains committed to the highest moral standards and would remain a standard-bearer for quality education in standard character, learning and in service to humanity. We are happy to be saddled with this challenge as an institution because it propels us to contribute to the greatness of this nation and the security of a bright future for our children.”
This petition addressed to INEC, Presidency, senate, etc is just one of the attempts to make our position known to government on the issues of Sabbath exams, Sabbath elections, etc.
Your signing the online petition will only show the number of those who are concerned about the sanctity of the Sabbath and will want the government to do something about it. Yesterday, we made contact with our Union presidents through the president of ENUC and he gladly promised to contact others, so that together they can swing into action in this regard.
If you want to be part of securing our right to the sanctity of the Sabbath. Sign the petition and send it to all your Adventist contacts. Don’t neglect it, in democracy, number matters and number is power, therefore be part of this move to honor God and his Holy Sabbath. See and follow the link below.
God bless you as you join hands with others to demand our right to the sanctity of the Sabbath in Nigeria. With you it is possible!
Andrews University Church History professor, Nicholas Miller, in the opening plenary of the “Situating Adventist History” conference on the campus of Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland, United States, on Jan. 8. said “Seventh-day Adventists are not fundamentalists,”
The Association of Seventh-day Adventist Historians event, sponsored by the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research and Washington Adventist University, brought dozens of Seventh-day Adventist historians, researchers, and professors together for two days of presentations, Q&A sessions, and discussions.
Miller’s presentation, entitled “Adventism, Fundamentalism, and the Bible,” provided historical evidence that shows how Adventism, while a Conservative movement, has for the most part being able to steer away from some of the fundamentalist pitfalls, adopting a more balanced approach to various issues, including the inspiration of Scripture. It is something, said Miller, that is rooted in the ideas that influenced the early history of the denomination, something that underlines the importance of researching Adventist history.
Why Adventists Should Care About History
Seventh-day Adventist world church Director of Archives, Statistics, and Research David Trim agreed. In his opening remarks, he said that while research in Adventist history has skyrocketed in the last few decades, it is essential to provide context to many of those studies. “Adventist history is being transformed,” he said, “but we need to contextualize, to put it in a wider context.”
Why? In an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Trim explained that to understand themselves, it is essential Seventh-day Adventists are aware of the forces that shaped what they are today, and how some of those forces are still influencing the way they act and the decisions they make. “[Adventists] do not exist in a vacuum,” he said. “[They] are part of a specific set of geographical and historical circumstances which affects their plans and projects, even the way they see their mission.”
Far from Fundamentalism
In this regard, Miller’s presentation mentioned some of the ideas that provide background and influenced early Adventism. He specifically referred to three notions that, he believes, shaped the thinking of Adventist pioneers. “Pioneers did not believe absolute proof was needed to understand truth. They believed in the role of judgment for apprehending truth,” he said as a first point.
Miller also explained that unlike fundamentalists, Adventist pioneers, including church co-founder Ellen G. White, believed that apprehending truth was based on God’s Word, but that it was also possible to get important insights from “the book of nature,” and “in experiencing God’s working in human lives.” It is something, he said, that allowed Adventist pioneers to arrive at different conclusions from other Christian fundamentalists on topics such as eternal punishment, women speaking in church, and slavery, to name a few.
Finally, early Adventists were influenced by the notion of God’s moral government as an interpretive presupposition, which according to Miller, calls for seeing problematic Bible verses through the lens of God’s goodness. “So, for instance, when the Bible spoke about eternal fire,” said Miller, “early Adventists looked for alternative explanations, since they understood that a good God would never punish His children for eternity.”
“All of this makes Adventism a different religious stream than fundamentalism,” he said.
Conservative and Pragmatic
Underlying this dynamic development of Adventist understanding, Miller discussed some historical Adventist tensions regarding the idea of inspiration. While fundamentalists have usually defended the verbal inerrancy of Scripture—i.e., that the Bible lacks error in every way in all matters—, Seventh-day Adventists, for the most part, have not. “Seventh-day Adventists take a high view of Scripture, but do not believe in the verbal inerrancy of it,” he said. The same applies to White’s writings. She herself did not support it, said Miller.
After Ellen G. White’s death in 1915, her son William White tried to keep alive his mother’s view on inspiration, opposing movements supporting verbal inerrancy, said Miller. But the rise of liberal Christian thought encouraged Adventist leaders to side with fundamentalists on many topics over the next couple of decades, and the idea of verbal inerrancy infiltrated in the church. “It is something that ended up shifting the church’s approach to race and women, for instance, that to that point had been pragmatically progressive.”
Currently, we live in an era of growing internationalism in Adventism, said Miller. “Against that backdrop, we have a Conservative church, but time and again it has proved it is not a fundamentalist one,” he concluded.
Alec Ryrie, a professor and author at the University of Durham, England, seemed to agree with Miller’s thesis. In discussing the place of Adventism in Protestant history, he said that Adventism avoided the pitfalls that sunk other movements.
“Historically, Protestant movements distrusted governments—they refused to get involved in politics, or they just ignored government altogether,” said Ryrie. “But Seventh-day Adventists chose a different way. They talked about voting and participating in government. And in the American Civil War, while opposing slavery, they spoke against both sides of the dispute.”
The same applies to apocalyptic thought. After Jesus did not return to Earth in 1844, Adventists avoided either choosing other dates or moving away from apocalyptic thought. “Seventh-day Adventists chose a third option,” said Ryrie, who is not an Adventist Church member himself. “They explained the date was correct, but not the event.”
Ryrie believes that unlike other denominations, part of the Adventist success is that it has managed to hold on to apocalyptic thought without becoming unbalanced. “Adventism is essentially pragmatic,” he said.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has approved Clifford University alongside seven other new private universities across the country.
The approval was granted, Wednesday, during a meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, which held at the council chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Minister of State for Education, Anthony Onwuka, who briefed State House correspondents, said the ministry “submitted a memo seeking approval for eight private universities after recommendation by the NUC”
He said the eight approved universities include
1. Anchor University, Ayobo, Lagos
2. Arthur Jarvis Akpabuyo University, Calabar, Cross River
3. Clifford University, Owerinta, Abia
4. Coal City University, Enugu
5. Crown Hill University, Kwara
6. Dominican University, Ibadan, Oyo
7. Kola Daisy University, also in Ibadan
8. Legacy University, Okija, Anambra State.
Mr. Onwuka said the new universities were given three years provisional license.
He also said all the new universities are to be mentored older ones.
He said Clifford University will be mentored and by the University of Agriculture, Umudike.