Manuscript Releases, vol. 3 [Nos. 162-209]


MR No. 163—Fanaticism and Side Issues

The Lord is soon to work among us in greater power, but there is danger of allowing our impulses to carry us where He does not want us to go. We must not take one step that we shall have to retrace. We must move solemnly, prudently, and not make use of extravagant expressions, or allow our feelings to become overwrought. We must think calmly, and work without excitement; for there will be those who become easily wrought up, who will catch up unguarded expressions, and make use of extreme utterances to create excitement, and thus counteract the very work that God desires us to do. 3MR 25.1

There is a class of people who are always ready to go off on some tangent, who want to catch up something strange and wonderful and new; but God desires us all to move calmly, considerately, choosing our words in harmony with the solid truth for this time. The truth should be presented to the mind as free as possible from that which is emotional, while still bearing the intensity and solemnity befitting its character. We must guard against encouraging extremists, those who would be either in the fire or in the water. 3MR 25.2

I beseech you to weed out of your teachings every extravagant expression, everything that unbalanced minds, and those who are inexperienced, will catch up, and which will lead them to make wild, immature movements. It is necessary for you to cultivate caution in every statement, lest you start some on a wrong track, and make confusion that will require much sorrowful labor to set in order, thus diverting the strength of the laborers into lines which God does not design shall be entered. One manifestation of fanaticism among us will close many doors against the soundest principles of truth. 3MR 25.3

Oh, how careful should every worker be not to rush on before the Master, but to follow where He leads the way! How it would rejoice the enemies of our faith to get hold of some statement made by our people which would have to be retracted! We must move discreetly, sensibly, for this is our strength; then God will work with us, and by us, and for us. 3MR 26.1

Oh, how Satan would rejoice to get in among this people, and disorganize the work at a time when thorough organization is essential, and will be the greatest power to keep out spurious uprisings, and to refute claims not endorsed by the word of God. We want to hold the lines evenly, that there may be no breaking down of the system of regulation and order. In this way license will not be given to disorderly elements to control the work. 3MR 26.2

We are living in a time when order, system, and unity of action are most essential. And the truth must bind us together like strong cords in order that no distracted efforts may be witnessed among the workers. If disorderly manifestations appear, we must have clear discernment to distinguish the spurious from the genuine. Let no messages be proclaimed until they have borne a careful scrutiny in every jot and tittle. 3MR 26.3

My soul is much burdened, for I know what is before us. Every conceivable deception will be brought to bear upon those who have not a daily, living connection with God. Satan's angels are wise to do evil, and they will create that which some will claim to be advanced light, and will proclaim it as new and wonderful; yet while in some respects the message may be truth, it will be mingled with human inventions, and will teach for doctrine the commandments of men. If there was ever a time when we should watch and pray in real earnest, it is now. Many apparently good things will need to be carefully considered with much prayer; for they are specious devices of the enemy to lead souls in a path which lies so close to the path of truth that it will be scarcely distinguishable from it. But the eye of faith may discern that it is diverging, though almost imperceptibly, from the right path. At first it may be thought positively right, but after a while it is seen to be widely divergent from the way which leads to holiness and heaven. My brethren, I warn you to make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. 3MR 26.4

In the work of ministers and laymen who have not a daily connection with God there is not that which will stand the test of storm and tempest. A new order of things has come into the ministry. There is a desire to pattern after other churches and simplicity and humility are almost unknown. The young ministers seek to be original, and to introduce new ideas and new plans for labor. Some open revival meetings, and by this means call large numbers into the church. But when the excitement is over, where are the converted ones? Repentance and confession of sin are not seen. The sinner is entreated to believe in Christ and accept Him, without regard to his past life of sin and rebellion. The heart is not broken. There is no contrition of soul. The supposed converted ones have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus. 3MR 27.1

The Old and New Testament Scriptures show us the only way in which this work should be done. Repent, repent, repent, was the message rung out by John the Baptist in the wilderness. Christ's message to the people was “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5. And the apostles were commanded to preach everywhere that men should repent. 3MR 27.2

The Lord desires His servant 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, perseveringly, 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. When the sinner is conscious of his helpless condition, and feels his need of a Saviour, he may come with hope and faith to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. Christ will accept the soul that comes to Him in true repentance. A broken and contrite heart He will not despise. 3MR 28.1

Brethren should not feel that it is a virtue to stand apart because they do not see all minor points in exactly the same light. If they agree on fundamental truths, they should not differ and dispute about matters of little real importance. To dwell on perplexing questions, that after all are of no vital consequence, tends to call the mind away from truths vital to the saving of the soul. Brethren should be very modest in urging these side-issues, which often they do not themselves understand, points that they do not know to be truth, and that are not essential to salvation. When there is difference of opinion on such points, the less prominence you give to them the better it will be for your own spirituality and for the peace and unity of the church. 3MR 28.2

Unbelievers are critical, and they seek to frame some excuse for not receiving the truth as it is in Jesus. Where these differences exist among us, those who stand outside will say, “It will be time enough for us to believe as you do when you can agree among yourselves as to what constitutes truth.” Thus the ungodly take advantage of the divisions and controversies among Christians. 3MR 28.3

We are to pray for divine enlightenment, and at the same time we should be careful about receiving everything termed new light. We must beware, lest, under cover of searching for new truth, we allow Satan to divert our minds from Christ and the special truths for this time. I have been shown that it is the device of the enemy to divert men's minds to some obscure or unimportant point, something that is not fully revealed or is not essential to salvation. This is made the absorbing theme, the “present truth,” when all the investigations and suppositions only serve to make matters more obscure, and to confuse the minds of some who ought to be seeking for oneness through sanctification of the truth. 3MR 29.1

All must be careful what they present to the people as truth. Do not present your own imaginations. The enemy tries to warp and twist human minds. To the one who will listen to him, he will present ideas which are odd and peculiar, which will create a sensation. These he leads him to present to others, with a test which he has imagined. Thus Satan sets minds running in wrong channels, diverting them from the genuine tests which God has presented in His Word. 3MR 29.2

There is no need of entering into controversy with the poor souls who think they are doing God's service when they are believing fables. When our young ministers hurt themselves and bring reproach upon God's cause by placing solemn, sacred truth on a level with fables, let them be advised to become converted by closely studying the Word with men of experience, who for years have understood the truth. Let them turn from romance, from the fanciful interpretations which have no foundation in God's Word. “What is the chaff to the wheat?” Jeremiah 23:28. 3MR 29.3

In this age of error, of daydreaming and reverie, we need to learn the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. Let us strive to be able to say with the apostle, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:16. The Lord calls upon us to follow high and noble principles. We must let the principles of the third angel's message stand out clear and distinct. The great pillars of our faith will hold all the weight that can be placed upon them. Young men must be educated to keep within the bounds of “It is written.” Paul writes, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” That time has come. I present the word of warning: “Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” [2 Timothy 4:1-5].—Manuscript 82, 1894. 3MR 30.1