It is with deep sadness that we report that in the same week, two boxers have died as a result of injuries sustained in boxing matches. From CNN, The boxing world was shaken for the second time this week when Argentine boxer Hugo Santillan died after being injured in Saturday's fight with Uruguayan champion Eduardo Abreu. Russian boxer Maxim Dadashev died Tuesday after undergoing emergency brain surgery for a subdural hematoma sustained in his fight with Subriel Matias.” Whenever a life is cut short, it is a tremendous, inestimable loss. As it is said in Ecclesiastes 7:17, “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” Lives with so much potential, souls for whom Christ died, needlessly sacrificed to the god of sports. Sadly, this is not the first time that people have died from boxing. Make no mistake about it, sports related deaths are not singular to boxing. So common however are boxing deaths, that an entire webpage is devoted to chronicling them, not to mention the countless individuals that have long-lasting health impairments including brain damage and other diseases due to their career in boxing and other sports. Imagine the guilt of the other boxer who inflicted the deadly blows that caused the death of his opponent. Is he not a murderer? Are boxing and other extreme fighting competitions organized, legal murder? Yet a person is made to serve serious time in prison if he/she is found to host dogfighting matches because it is torture and inhumane animal abuse. Are not the lives of human beings of more value than those of animals?
Yet many, including Christians condone and support such violent sports as boxing, mixed martial arts and sports in general. The Bible is clear in 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20 that we are not our own, we belong to Christ and our bodies are the temple of God. No sensible person would ever go into a literal temple or church and violently vandalize it or support those who do by cheering and paying to see it done. Yet how many buy high-priced tickets or watch pay-per view to witness people bludgeon and beat each other all the while screaming in delight as one opponent knocks the other one out. We have unfortunately witnessed first hand Seventh-day Adventist pastors and evangelists watch boxing matches and cheer as punches are being landed. Oh what barbarism! Satan delights in the destruction of God’s purchased possessions and he will use any means to accomplish this. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” John 10:10. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.
For this reason, Satan has invented sports: to prematurely end the lives of those engaged in them; and if they do not die he wants to inflict as much pain and suffering as possible. “Satan has devised a multitude of ways in which to keep men from serving God. He has invented sports and games, into which men enter with such intensity that one would suppose a crown of life was to reward the winner. At the horse races and football matches, which are attended by thousands and thousands of people, lives for which Christ shed His blood are thrown away. What will become of the souls of the men and boys whose lives are thus extinguished? Will they be counted worthy of the redemption which Christ died to secure for them?
Again, we are not only condemning boxing, wrestling MMA and other violent sports, but no competitive sport should be played or patronized by Christians, especially those who are looking for the soon return of Jesus. This would also include motocross, horse racing and NASCAR. Strife, emulation and competition are strictly prohibited in the word of God as they are fruits of selfishness (see 2 Corinthians 10:12, Galatians 5:19-20; Philippians 2:3 and 4). For one thing, devoting one’s time to competitive sports is not good stewardship of God’s time neither is it good stewardship of one’s energy, strength or money. Engaging in sports does not glorify God, it glorifies self, promotes pride, selfishness, obsessiveness, aggression/anger and idleness. As former participants in sports at the high school and collegiate levels, we are speaking from first hand experience. Please prayerfully consider the following counsels given.
“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. 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.”
“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.”
“I have not been able to find one instance where he [Jesus] educated his disciples to engage in amusement of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical exercise, or in theatrical performances; and yet Christ was our pattern in all things.”
Oh what a solemn thought that if the hours of probation were to close, and God’s people were engaged in the very act of competing to “be the best” or to win a corruptible crown or if they found themselves engrossed in watching other people endanger their health and lives in sports. Would such individuals be sealed for heaven? Please dear reader, ask God to give you a distaste for sports and anything else that dishonors God so that we can glorify God in our bodies which are his possession.
White, Ellen. The Review and Herald (September 1901), paragraph 5
White, Ellen. The Adventist Home (1952), page 500.
White, Ellen. Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students (1913), page 274
White, Ellen. Special Testimonies on Education (1897), page 191