Holy Spirit and Fanaticism

Ellen G. White counsel on the work of the Holy Spirit in worship.

Healthy Enthusiasm

 

"The Holy Spirit of God alone can create a healthy enthusiasm. Let God work, and let the human agent walk softly before Him, watching, waiting, praying, looking unto Jesus every moment, led and controlled by the precious Spirit, which is light and life" (2SM 16, 17 [Letter 68, 1894]).

 

Build Experience on the Word

 

"The Lord desires His servants today to preach the old gospel doctrine, sorrow for sin, repentance, and confession. We want old-fashioned sermons, old-fashioned customs, old-fashioned fathers and mothers in Israel. The sinner must be labored for, perserveringly, earnestly, wisely, until he shall see that he is a transgressor of God's law, and shall exercise repentance toward God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ" (2SM 19 [Undated manuscript 111]).

"It is through the Word-not feeling, not excitement-that we want to influence the people to obey the truth. On the platform of God's Word we can stand with safety" (3SM 375 [MS 115, 1908], emphasis in original).

"They flatter themselves that they are in conformity to the will of God because they feel happy; but when they are tested, when the Word of God is brought to bear upon their experience, they stop their ears from hearing the truth, saying, `I am sanctified,' and that puts an end to the controversy. They will have nothing to do with searching the Scriptures to know what is truth, and prove that they are fearfully self-deceived. Sanctification means very much more than a flight of feeling.

"Excitement is not sanctification. Entire conformity to the will of our Father which is in heaven is alone sanctification, and the will of God is expressed in His holy law. The keeping of all the commandments of God is sanctification. Proving yourselves obedient children to God's Word is sanctification. The Word of God is to be our guide, not the opinions or ideas of men" (3SM 204 [RH, March 25, 1902]).

 

Holy Spirit Not in Bedlam and Noise

 

"True religion does not demand great bodily demonstrations. . . . These are no evidence of the presence of the Spirit of God" (2SM 26 [MS 97, 1909]).

"The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.

"The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none evffect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time" (2SM 36 [Letter 132, 1900]).

"During those trying days some of our most precious believers were led into fanaticism. I said further that before the end we would see strange manifestations by those who professed to be led by the Holy Spirit. There are those who will treat as something of great importance those peculiar manifestations, which are not of God, but which are calculated to divert the minds of many away from the teachings of the Word" (2SM 41 [Letter 338, 1908]).

"No greater harm could be done to the work of God at this time than for us to allow a spirit of fanaticism to come into our churches, accompanied by strange workings which are incorrectly supposed to be operations of the Spirit of God" (2SM 42 [Letter 338, 1908]).

"Fearful waves of faniticism will come. But God will deliver the people who will earnestly seek the Lord, and consecrate themselves to His service" (2SM 47 [Pacific Union Recorder, December 31, 1908]).

 

Music a Problem

 

"The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit" (2SM 36 [Letter 132, 1900]).

"Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted" (2SM 38 [Letter 132, 1900]).

"Any oddity or pecularity cultivated attracts the attention of the people and destroys the serious, solemn impression which should be the result of sacred music. Anything strange and eccentric in singing detracts from the seriousness and sacredness of religious service.

"Bodily exercise profiteth little. Everything that is connected in any way with religious worship should be dignified, solemn, and impressive. God is not pleased when ministers professing to be Christ's represnetatives so misrepresent Christ as to throw the body into acting attitudes, making undignified and coarse gestures, unrefined, coarse gesticulations. All this amuses, and will excite the curiosity of those who wish to see strange, odd, and exciting things, but these things will not elevate the minds and hearts of those who witness them.

"The very same may be said of singing. You assume undignified attitudes. You put in all the power and volume of the voice you can. You drown the finer strains and notes of voices more musical than you own. This bodily exercise and the harsh, loud voice makes no melody to those who hear on earth and those who listen in heaven. This singing is defective and not acceptable to God as perfect, softened, sweet strains of music. There are no such exhibitions among the angels as I have sometimes eeen in our meetings. Such harsh notes and gesticulations are not exhibited among the angel choir. Their singing does not grate upon the ear. It is soft and melodious and comes without this great effort I have witnessed. It is not forced and strained, requiring physical exercise" (3SM 333 [MS 5, 1874]).

 

Satan's Counterfeit in the Church

 

"It would be surprising if there were not some, who, not being well-balanced in mind, have spoken and acted indiscreetly; for whenever and wherever the Lord works in giving a genuine blessing, a counterfeit is also revealed, in order to make of no effect the true work of God. Therefore we need to be exceeding careful, and walk humbly before God, that we may have spiritual eyesalve that we may distinguish the working of the Holy Spirit of God from the working of that spirit that would bring in wild license and fanaticism. `By their fruits ye shall know them' (Matt. 7:20). Those who are really beholding Christ will be changed into His image, even by the Spirit of the Lord, and will grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit of God will inspire men with love and purity; and refinement will be manifest in their characters" (1SM 142).

 

Calmness of Spirit's Presence

 

"Let us give no place to strange exercisings, which really take the mind away from the deep movings of the Holy Spirit. God's work is ever characterized by calmness and dignity" (2SM 42 [Letter 338, 1908]).

"We must go to the people with the solid Word of God; and when they receive that Word, the Holy Spirit may come, but it always comes, as I have stated before, in a way that commends itself to the judgment of the people. In our speaking, our singing, and in all our spiritual exercises, we are to reveal that calmness and dignity and godly fear that actuates every true child of God" (2SM 43 [MS 115, 1908]).

"In God's dealings with His people, all is quiet; with those who trust in Him, all is calm and unpretending" (2SM 97 [Letter 102, 1894]).

 

Ellen G. White, Selected Mesages, vols. 1, 2, 3 (Review &  Herald Pub. Assoc. 1958, 1980).

Date: 
7/23/98