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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 76a, 1901

    Regarding the late movement in Indiana


    April 17, 1901

    This manuscript is published in entirety in GCB 04/23/1901.

    Article read by Mrs. E. G. White before the ministers.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 1

    Instruction has been given me in regard to the late experience of brethren in Indiana and the teaching they have given to the churches. Through this experience and teaching the enemy has been working to lead souls astray.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 2

    The teaching given in regard to what is termed “holy flesh” is an error. All may now obtain holy hearts, but it is not correct to claim in this life to have holy flesh. The apostle Paul declares, “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.” [Romans 7:18.] To those who have tried so hard to obtain by faith so-called holy flesh, I would say, You cannot obtain it. Not a soul of you has holy flesh now. (No human being on the earth has holy flesh. It is an impossibility.)16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 3

    If those who speak so freely of perfection in the flesh could see things in the true light, they would recoil with horror from their presumptuous ideas. In showing the fallacy of their assumptions in regard to holy flesh, the Lord is seeking to prevent men and women from putting on His words a construction which will lead to pollution of body, soul, and spirit. Let this phase of doctrine be carried a little further, and it will lead to the claim that its advocates cannot sin; that since they have holy flesh their actions are all holy. What a door of temptation would thus be opened!16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 4

    The Scriptures teach us to seek for the sanctification to God of body, soul, and spirit. In this work we are to be laborers together with God. Much may be done to restore the moral image of God in man, to improve the physical, mental, and moral capabilities. Great changes can be made in the physical system by obeying the laws of God and bringing into the body nothing that defiles. And while we cannot claim perfection of the flesh, we may have Christian perfection of the soul. Through the sacrifice made in our behalf, sins may be perfectly forgiven. Our dependence is not in what man can do; it is in what God can do for man through Christ. When we surrender ourselves wholly to God and fully believe, the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin. The conscience can be freed from condemnation. Through faith in His blood, all may be made perfect in Christ Jesus. Thank God that we are not dealing with impossibilities! We may claim sanctification. We may enjoy the favor of God. We are not to be anxious about what Christ and God think of us, but about what God thinks of Christ, our Substitute. The Lord shows to the repenting, believing one that Christ accepts the surrender of the soul to be molded and fashioned after His own likeness.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 5

    In His life on earth, Christ could have made disclosures which would have eclipsed and assigned to oblivion all human discoveries. He could have opened door after door to mysterious things, and many revelations of eternal realities would have been the sure result. He could have uttered words which would have been as a key to unlock mysteries that would have captivated the minds of generations to the close of time.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 6

    But Christ does not open the numerous doors at which human curiosity has been striving to obtain entrance. He does not spread for men a feast that would prove deleterious to their highest interests. He came to plant for men, not the tree of knowledge, but the tree of life.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 7

    Adam’s transgression of God’s law involved the entire future of the human family. All nature is confused, for God forbade the earth to carry out the purpose He had originally designed for it. Let there be no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord. The curse of God is upon all creation. Every year it makes itself more decidedly felt. But God is moving slowly in His great purpose for the benefit of the righteous. Soon the vials of His wrath will be poured out. If but ten righteous persons had been found in Sodom, God would not have devoted the city to destruction. Let us see that our hearts are right with God, and He will be our defense in the time of trouble.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 8

    “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:19-25.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 9

    I have been instructed to say to those in Indiana who are advocating strange doctrines, You are giving a wrong mold to the precious and important work of God. Keep within the bounds of the Bible. Take Christ’s lessons and repeat them over and over again. Remember that “the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:17, 18.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 10

    When human beings receive holy flesh, they will not remain on the earth, but will be taken to heaven. While sin is forgiven in this life, its results are not now wholly removed. It is at His coming that Christ is to “change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” Philippians 3:21. When Christ shall come with a great sound of a trumpet, and shall call the dead from their prison house, then the saints will receive holy flesh. Then this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruptible shall put on incorruption. Then Christ will be admired in all them that believe. He will see of the travail of His soul, and will be satisfied. Then will break forth from immortal beings the song of triumph, “Worthy, worthy is the Lamb.”16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 11

    “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear; for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28, 29. Those who meet Christ in peace at His coming must in this life walk before Him in humility, meekness, and lowliness of mind. It becomes every human being to walk modestly and circumspectly before God, in harmony with the great testing truths He has given to the world. But the late experience of brethren in Indiana has not been in accordance with the Lord’s instruction. I have not during this conference held conversation with any one in regard to this matter, but the Lord has given me a definite testimony that a strange work is being done in Indiana, the results of which are not after His order. This phase of religious enthusiasm is a dangerous delusion. The sentiments and exercises are not prompted by the Holy Spirit. They have led to very sad results.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 12

    Again and again in the progress of our work, fanatical movements have arisen; and when the matter was presented before me, I have had to bear a message similar to the message I am bearing to my brethren from Indiana. I have been instructed by the Lord that this movement in Indiana is of the same character as have been the movements in years past. In your religious meetings there have been exercises similar to those I have witnessed in connection with these movements in the past.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 13

    In the period of disappointment after the passing of the time in 1844, fanaticism in various forms arose. Some held that the resurrection of the righteous dead had already taken place. I was sent to bear a message to those believing this, as I am now bearing a message to you. They declared that they were perfected, that body, soul, and spirit were holy. They made demonstrations similar to those you have made, and confused their own minds and the minds of others by their wonderful suppositions. Yet these persons were our beloved brethren, and we were longing to help them. I went into their meetings. There was much excitement, with noise and confusion. One could not tell what was piped or what was harped. Some appeared to be in vision and fell to the floor. Others were jumping, dancing, and shouting. They declared that as their flesh was purified, they were ready for translation. This they repeated again and again. I bore my testimony in the name of the Lord, placing His rebuke upon these manifestations.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 14

    Some who had engaged in these movements were brought to their right mind and saw their delusion. Some had been excellent, honest people, but they thought that sanctified flesh could not sin, and thus they had been taken in Satan’s trap. They had carried their strong ideas so far that they became a reproach to the precious cause of God. These sorely repented, and some were afterward among our most reliable men and women. But there were others who ever after walked in sadness. We could not at any time make them feel that they were worthy to work for the Master whose precious cause they had so greatly dishonored.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 15

    As the result of fanatical movements such as I have described, persons in no way responsible for them have in some cases lost their reason. They could not harmonize the scenes of excitement and tumult with their own past, precious experience; they were pressed beyond measure to receive the message of error; it was represented to them that unless they did this they would be lost; and as the result their minds were unbalanced, and some became insane. These things bring a reproach upon the cause of truth, and hinder the proclamation of the last message of mercy to the world.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 16

    The manner in which the meetings in Indiana have been carried on, with noise and confusion, does not commend them to thoughtful, intelligent minds. There is nothing in these demonstrations which will convince the world that we have the truth. Mere noise and shouting are no evidence of sanctification nor of the descent of the Holy Spirit. Your wild demonstrations create only disgust in the minds of unbelievers. The fewer of such demonstrations there are, the better it will be for the actors and for the people in general.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 17

    Fanaticism, once started and left unchecked, is as hard to quench as a fire which has obtained hold of a building. Those who have entered into and sustained this fanaticism might far better be engaged in secular labor, for by their inconsistent course of action they are dishonoring the Lord and imperilling His people. Many such movements will arise at this time, when the Lord’s work should stand elevated, pure, unadulterated with superstition and fables. We need to be on our guard, to maintain a close connection with Christ, that we be not deceived by Satan’s devices.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 18

    The Lord desires to have in His service order and discipline, not excitement and confusion. We are not now able to describe with accuracy the scenes to be enacted in our world in the future; but this we do know, that this is a time when we must watch unto prayer; for the great day of the Lord is at hand. Satan is rallying his forces. We need to be thoughtful and still, and to contemplate the truths of revelation. Excitement is not favorable to growth in grace, to true purity and sanctification of the Spirit. God wants us to deal with sacred truth. This alone will convince the gainsayer. Calm, sensible labor must be put forth to convince souls of their condition, to show them the character-building which must be carried on if a beautiful structure is raised for the Lord. Minds that are awakened must be patiently instructed if they [are] rightly [to] understand and duly appreciate the truths of the Word.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 19

    God calls upon His people to walk with sobriety and holy consistency. They should be very careful not to misrepresent and dishonor the holy doctrines of truth by strange performances, by confusion and tumult. By this, unbelievers are led to think that Seventh-day Adventists are a set of fanatics. Thus prejudice is created that prevents souls from receiving the message for this time. When believers speak the truth as it is in Jesus, they reveal a holy, sensible calm, not a storm of confusion.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 20

    At our camp-meetings we are to preach the Word, defending the reasons of our faith. God will give us the rich endowments of His grace in proportion to our knowledge and practice of the truth as it is in Jesus.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 21

    There are few who really taste the sweetness of communion with the risen Saviour. All are too largely occupied with the things of this earth. Worldly things are too much thought of and talked of. We are too well satisfied with breathing the atmosphere of earth. Self is too often consulted, and it sways the perception and judgment into wrong channels. There must be more beholding of our Saviour and more talking of heavenly things. Our secular work must be done, but every business transaction needs the closest criticism, else we shall find interwoven with it threads of selfishness, and it will become a snare to our feet. The Lord will not serve with our sins. There is no virtue in judging others. Our time and work are too important for this. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 22

    “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:19-27.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 23

    Brethren from Indiana, the word of the Lord to you and to all who are misled by your influence is: “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.” “Let not then your good be evil spoken of; for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Hebrews 13:9; Romans 14:16-19.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 24

    “I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him; rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:1-10.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 25

    “Speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. ... Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Titus 2:1, 2, 6-8.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 26

    The work of self-examination must go forward. When Christ is enshrined in our hearts, we have reached the position which God desires us to occupy. The example and lessons of Christ are to be our study, for in Christ dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we are to move onward and upward. And who can describe the benefits of appreciating Him who is invisible? “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory,”—from character to character—“even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 27

    We need to contemplate Christ and become assimilated to His image through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. This is our only safeguard against being entangled in Satan’s delusive snares.16LtMs, Ms 76a, 1901, par. 28

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