Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]


MR No. 1530—Fanaticism May Accompany a Genuine Revival

(Written in 1886 to Elders A. T. Jones, J. N. Loughborough, E. J. Waggoner, and J. H. Waggoner.)

I wish to say some things in reference to the revival at Healdsburg. 21MR 147.1

I wish to say I am not in harmony with your treatment of this matter. That there were fanatical ones who pressed into that work I would not deny. But if you move in the future as you have done in this matter, you may be assured of one thing, you will condemn the work of the latter rain when it shall come. For you will see at that time far greater evidences of fanaticism. 21MR 147.2

I believe the work at Healdsburg to be genuine. I believe there were the deep movings of the Spirit of God. I believe unconsecrated, unconverted ones urged themselves to the front. The enemy always works through those of unbalanced minds and imperfect characters. I do not believe that Elder E. P. Daniels moved wisely in all things, and it would be a new chapter in the experience of workers if there was not a mistake made in some things. 21MR 147.3

Has not God presented before you the defects and want of wisdom in your ways and in your management? If Elder Daniels erred in some things, who of you dared to tell him to preach no more? Who of you dared to stop the work because in your finite judgment everything did not appear to meet your ideas? Every time I think of this matter I am so pained I try to put it out of my mind at once. 21MR 147.4

When an effort shall be made in the work of God, Satan will be on the ground to urge himself to notice, but shall it be the work of ministers to stretch out the hand and say, This must go no farther, for it is not the work of God? I believe that God was giving the people in Healdsburg a warning and I believe that some would have taken hold of the truth; and I believe you had no right whatever to lay your hand on that work, but should have joined yourself to it. If you saw errors—as there must have been errors—then you should have corrected them in as private a manner as possible and put no arguments or excuses in the minds of the opposers of truth, to resist the truth. 21MR 147.5

I wish you could see what a delicate, dangerous matter it is to meddle with the work of God unless you have light from heaven to guide you in your decisions. I have not the confidence in Elder J. H. Waggoner's judgment in these matters that you have. I know that he needs his soul as well as lips touched with live coals from off the altar, that shall refine and purify the uncleanness from his lips and from his soul. I fear you have grieved the Spirit of God. The fruits were good in the work at Healdsburg, but the spurious was brought in as well as the genuine. Then it needed men of discernment, of calm, well-balanced minds, to come in when there was peril and indiscretion, to have a molding influence upon the work. You could have done this. You had no moral right to stop the meetings and to stop Elder Daniels from going right forward with the work and making the very most of the interest started, to gather outsiders into the interest if possible. 21MR 147.6

I cannot sanction your course. I cannot see that while you were working to correct evils, as you might have done, that you should stop the work. If this is the way you manage when God sends good, be assured the revivals will be rare. When the Spirit of God comes it will be called fanaticism, as on the day of Pentecost. “These men are filled with new wine,” was the saying of those who took no decided interest in the work. 21MR 148.1

Now Elder Waggoner's prejudice came in, causing him to pass his judgment on the work, and others followed in its wake. I verily believe you had but little of the Spirit of God in your camp meeting, for I cannot see how God could work with your efforts—at least with some who were leaders in the meeting—because they were not where the Lord could bless their efforts. I beseech of you, brethren, to study more thoroughly in the school of Christ and be sure that self and personal feelings do not mingle with your judgment of the work of God. We must have more spiritual power, individually, and when you see persons confessing their sins, let the current of the Spirit of God flow and wash out and cleanse the moral impurities. We are very destitute of the quickening influences of the Spirit of God because, as in the case at Healdsburg, we would not recognize God, but, like Jacob, think it was an enemy that visited us. 21MR 148.2

In regard to Elder Daniels, he is finite; he is not infallible. But there is such a disposition to judge others. They do not keep in view that God works by whom He will. Christ is to be seen as officiating through the delegated servant. The great evil is that the mind becomes narrowed and loses sight of the chief Worker; it gets on the instrument and decides the people cannot be advantaged unless the manners and the habits of the worker meet their own pattern exactly. They regard the speaker as a man merely, not a messenger whom God may use to deliver a message or do a certain work. 21MR 148.3

God has chosen man to do a certain work. His mental capacities may be weak, but then the evidence is more apparent that God works. His speech may not be eloquent, but that is no evidence that he has not a message from God. His knowledge may be limited, but in many cases God can work with His wisdom through such an agent, and the power be seen of God, more than through one possessing natural and acquired abilities and who knows it, and has confidence in himself, in his judgment, in his knowledge, in his manner of address. 21MR 149.1

Elder Daniels is an acceptable speaker and [he is], as I have been shown, a man of not the deepest judgment, one who needed a counselor. But he is a man who could come close to the hearts of the people, one who possesses sympathy in personal efforts that would penetrate the barriers built up about the soul that resisted the influence of the truth. God works in and through frail instruments, and He is not discerned. 21MR 149.2

Now with the fruits of a good work evidenced before your senses, that you should feel competent to come in and hinder the work or to be sufficient to say, Thus far shall you go and no farther, is a work I would not have dared to do, unless God had given me a message direct from His throne. I tell you plainly, I have no confidence in Elder Waggoner's decisions or feelings. His son would naturally take his view of the case and seek to make his decisions appear true and righteous, because these decisions must be maintained.—Letter 76, 1886. 21MR 149.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Silver Spring, Maryland,

October 25, 1990.

Entire Letter.