Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1


Chapter 46—Fanaticism in Wisconsin

I saw that the Lord especially directed my husband in going west last fall instead of going east as he at first decided. In Wisconsin there was a wrong to be corrected. The work of Satan was taking effect, and would destroy souls if not rebuked. The Lord saw fit to choose one who had had experience with fanaticism in the past, and had witnessed the working of Satan's power. Those who received this instrument of God's choosing were corrected, and souls were rescued from the snare which Satan had prepared for them. 1T 228.3

I was shown that this device of Satan would not have taken so readily in Wisconsin if the minds and hearts of God's people had been united and in union with the work. The spirit of jealousy and suspicion still existed in the minds of some. The seed sown by the Messenger party had not been entirely rooted out. And while they professed to receive the third angel's message, their former feelings and prejudices had not been given up. Their faith was adulterated, and they were prepared for Satan's deception. Those who drank in the Messenger spirit must make clean work, and have every particle of it rooted out, and receive the spirit of the third angel's message, or it will cleave to them like the leprosy, making it easy for them to draw off from their brethren in present truth. It will be easy for them to think that they can go, an independent company, alone to heaven, and easy for them to fall into Satan's snare. He is very unwilling to let go his hold in Wisconsin. He has other deceptions prepared for those who are not united with the body. 1T 229.1

I saw that persons who had been so enshrouded in darkness and deception that Satan had controlled not only the mind but the body, would have to take a most humble place in the church of God. He will not commit the care of His flock to unwise shepherds, who would mistake and feed them poison instead of wholesome food. God will have men care for the flock who can feed them with clean provender, thoroughly winnowed. Oh, what a blot, what a reproach, have these fanatical movements brought upon the cause of God! And those who held so fast to this spirit of dark fanaticism, notwithstanding the plain evidences that it was from Satan, are not to be relied upon; their judgment is not to be considered of any weight. God sent His servants to Brother and Sister G. They despised correction, and chose their own course. Brother G was jealous and stubborn, and his future course must be marked with great humility; for he has proved himself unworthy of the confidence of God's people. His heart is not right with God, neither has it been for a long time. 1T 229.2

I saw that Satan's object has been to lead persons in Wisconsin into gross fanaticism. He has controlled their minds, and led them to act in accordance with the deception they were under. When his object was accomplished, and they had run the length of the course which he had marked out for them, he was willing that they should acknowledge that wrong, and then he would try to push them to an opposite extreme, to deny the gifts and operations of God's Spirit. Satan took advantage of Brother and Sister G's lack of union with the body. They desired to take an independent course, and to lead instead of yielding to be led. Brother G has a jealous disposition, which, together with his independence, has kept him to one side; for with this spirit he could not be a true yokefellow with his ministering brethren. Sister G is of a jealous disposition, and possesses much firmness. She lacks experience, and has not been sound in the faith or united with the body. Her heart has risen up against the gifts of the church. There was a lack of meekness and humility in her articles sent to the Review for publication. 1T 230.1

Everything seemed prepared for the work of Satan. He led many on to lay aside reason and judgment, and to be governed by impressions. The Lord requires His people to use their reason, and not lay it aside for impressions. His work will be intelligible to all His children. His teaching will be such as will commend itself to the understanding of intelligent minds. It is calculated to elevate the mind. God's power is not manifested upon every occasion. Man's necessity is God's opportunity. 1T 230.2

I was shown companies in confusion, exercised by a wrong spirit, all making loud prayers together, some crying one thing and some another; and it was impossible to tell what was piped and what was harped. “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” Satan stepped in and controlled matters as he pleased. Reason and health were sacrificed to this delusion. 1T 230.3

God does not require His people to imitate Baal's prophets, to afflict their bodies and cry out and shout, and throw themselves into almost every attitude, having no regard for order, until their strength fails through sheer exhaustion. Religion does not consist in making a noise; yet when the soul is filled with the Spirit of the Lord, sweet, heartfelt praise to God glorifies Him. Some have professed to have great faith in God, and to have special gifts and special answers to their prayers, although the evidence was lacking. They mistook presumption for faith. The prayer of faith is never lost; but to claim that it will be always answered in the very way and for the particular thing we have expected, is presumption. 1T 231.1

When the servants of God visited —— and ——, this delusion was sifted. Evidence was given that this work was spurious. But the spirit of fanaticism was stubborn, and would not yield to the light there given. Oh, that those who were in error had been corrected by God's servants whom He sent to them! Then and there God wished them to acknowledge that they had been led by a wrong spirit. Then there would have been virtue in the confession of their wrongs. Then they would have been saved any further following out of Satan's plans, and would have made no further progress in this dreadful delusion. But they would not be convinced. Brother G had sufficient light to take his stand against that fanatical work; but he would not decide from the weight of evidence. His stubborn spirit refused to yield to the light brought him by the servants of God; for he had regarded them with suspicion, and watched them with a jealous eye. 1T 231.2

I saw that the greater the light which the people reject, the greater will be the power of deception and darkness which will come upon them. The rejection of truth leaves men captives, the subjects of Satan's deception. After the Conferences at —— and ——, the subjects of this delusion were left to still greater darkness, to enter deeper into this strong delusion, and bring upon the cause of God a stain which would not soon be wiped away. A fearful responsibility is resting upon Brother G. While professing to be a shepherd he suffered the devourer to enter the flock, and looked on while the sheep were torn and devoured. God's frown is upon him. He has not watched for souls as one who must give account. 1T 232.1

I was pointed back, and saw that God had not blessed his labors for some time past. The Lord's hand has not been with him to build up the church, and convert souls to the truth. His heart is not right with God. He has not possessed the spirit of the third angel's message. He shut himself away from union and sympathy with God's people before this delusion arose, and this is one reason why he was left in such darkness. God does not leave His faithful, consecrated servants in darkness as to the character of such a fanatical spirit, to raise no cry to warn the people. When the servants of God brought the light, and raised their voices against this delusion, he knew not the voice of the True Shepherd speaking through them; his jealousy and stubbornness led him to regard it as the voice of a stranger. Shepherds of the flock, above all others, should understand the voice of the Chief Shepherd. God wants His people to be a holy and powerful people. When the spirit of holiness and perfect love abounds in the heart, working in those who profess the name of Christ, it will be like a refining fire, consuming the dross and scattering the darkness. Whatever is of the spirit of Satan takes the attitude of defense, and quickly works out its own destruction. But truth will triumph. 1T 232.2