A loving message from Jesus to the Laodicean Church



(Be sure to read the quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy at the end of this article!)

What is a religious fanatic? Generally, they are irrational, extreme, over-zealous, passionate, unbalanced, obsessive enthusiasts who are excessively intolerant of opposing views.

Nobody wants to be considered a fanatic. It's a major put-down to be labeled as one.

Society declares that those outside the norm should be labeled as fanatics. The norms of society aren't the standard for a Christian. So, while it is not good to be a fanatic, we must recognize that to be labeled a fanatic does not make it so.

The Spirit of Prophecy speaks largely on the topic of fanaticism. A search on the CD-ROM generates nearly 1000 hits on this topic. It is represented as a terrible wrong, a huge evil. We are warned strongly against the spirit of fanaticism. So, how are we to know who really are the fanatics, and who are the godly people that others label fanatical?

Many of God's champions have been considered fanatics through the years: Noah, John the Baptist, Lot, William Miller and Ellen White were all labeled fanatics.

•  Then they [the ungodly] held a carnival over the words of Noah, calling him a crazy fanatic. {CC 33.7}

•  They had pointed in scorn to his [John the Baptist's] abstemious life, his simple habits, his coarse garments, and had declared him a fanatic. {DA 275.5}

•  When Lot warned the members of his family of the destruction of Sodom, they would not heed his words, but looked upon him as a fanatical enthusiast. {LDE 232.4}

•  Soon after my work there commenced, an article appeared in one of the papers, representing me as among the greatest fanatics. {RH, January 26, 1897 par. 6}

•  The gray-headed man [William Miller] who had left a comfortable home to travel at his own expense from city to city, from town to village, toiling unceasingly to bear to the world the solemn warning of the judgment near, was sneeringly denounced as a fanatic, a liar, a speculating knave. {CTr 336.2}

These godly people were NOT fanatics. They were all led by God to give a powerful message to their peers. The Holy Spirit was speaking through them. Yet, ungodly society called them fanatics.

Fanaticism is extremely dangerous! We want to discover how we can make sure we are NOT fanatics. We also want to see how, as we are led by the Holy Spirit, we may be called fanatics. How can we recognize the difference between these two roles?

The Spirit of Prophecy is clear. We are to carefully guard against becoming fanatics, and also to be careful not to be influenced by fanatics.

Fanatics exhibit some distinguishing characteristics; They may be overly emotional, unreasonable, and unstable. They are not abiding in Christ, they have not surrendered their wills to God, they are not led by the Holy Spirit and they are not diligent, humble students of the Word. They exalt their own opinions, and they enjoy stirring up controversy and division. They focus on one point, and blow it out of proportion. They have extreme opinions and radical ideas. They aren't content to quietly follow their own convictions; they like to control the consciences of others. They want to force everyone to see things their way. They create man-made tests and try to impose them on others. They tend to be harsh and critical. They won't listen to godly counsel, but are impulsive and overbearing. They tend to be good actors who can put on a show of piety to deceive others.

Sister White faced fanaticism many times in her work for God. These fanatics promoted a variety of ridiculous ideas, such as, creeping around on the floor to "humble" themselves, turning cartwheels in church, speaking in false tongues, jumping around, shouting, taking off all their clothes in meetings, pretending to cast out devils, declaring it was a sin to work, declaring they couldn't sin, burning Bibles, and teaching many other dangerous errors.

Fanaticism manifests itself in a variety of ways. Some, like the Pharisees, make up rules not based on inspiration, and try to push people to extremes. If we try to be "more holy" than God requires, we end up honoring Satan, not God. It ends up being like the penance of Catholicism. Rigorous exactions not founded on truth serve to exalt self, and bring in self-righteousness. God wants our hearts, not our groveling for the purpose of impressing Him with how holy we are! These fanatical exercises draw attention to self.

It's impossible for us to be too zealous, too consecrated, to dedicated to God's cause. We don't need to worry about that. The problem comes when we focus on external ways to prove our worth, while closing our hearts to the internal transformation brought about by the Holy Spirit. If we listen to the Holy Spirit, He will keep us in balance. He will give us spiritual discernment that will protect us from all fanaticism.

Fanaticism can include promoting sinful, worldly ways as religious exercises. We are told that, just before the close of probation, worldly music will be brought into the church: "There will be shouting, with drums, music and dancing." {LDE 159.1} Fanatics, filled with unholy zeal try to push worldly worship styles, worldly music, and emphasize emotional religion. Fanatics also bring in false theories and try to spread them around. Fanatics also include those who are determined to pull the standards of the church down into a worldly mode, promoting the use of jewelry, bringing in worldly entertainment and junk food as a way to reach the youth. All those with a burning passion for change which is not solidly based on the Word of God are fanatics whom Satan is using to destroy God's church.

Do we see fanaticism at work in our church today? Certainly, we do. Perhaps we haven't properly labeled it as such. That's because Satan has an agenda he is promoting in the church. It goes like this: He has brainwashed us to believe that the fanatics are those who have genuine zeal, fervor and deep consecration for God. He gets the lukewarm Laodiceans to label as fanatics anyone more dedicated to God than they are. That is why the term is generally used today to denote those who are conscientiously following the reforms found in the Spirit of Prophecy.

It is true, there can be fanaticism in this area as well. There are those who go beyond what God requires, and become imbalanced and myopic. They have wrong motives. They are not following the prompting of God. Satan uses them as his tools to disgust others because of their extremism.

Satan doesn't care whether we're in the ice of indifference or in the fire of fanaticism. Both extremes are his tools to wreck havoc on the church. When Satan sees a sleepy Laodicean waking up, and investigating the Straight Testimony, he does what he can to push him from his cold indifference into fiery fanaticism. The person who falls into this trap is one who is not willing to die to self. They want God to accept them on the basis of their merits. They are worse off than if they'd stayed in sleepy lethargy, because now they assuage their guilt by their rigorous behavior.

The only way to be safe from Satan's traps is to humble ourselves before God, and experience genuine repentance and conversion. Only as we remain in close connection with God are we safe from extremism.

While fanaticism is a dangerous and deadly condition, we must also remember that, in the end, all of God's faithful people will be considered fanatics, not only by the world but by the unfaithful church members. That's going to be hard to take. But God will give us the strength and fortitude to withstand the persecution. Listen to this quotation:

When we reach the standard that the Lord would have us reach, worldlings will regard Seventh-day Adventists as odd, singular, straight-laced extremists. {RH, January 9, 1894 par. 10}

The fact that they world accepts us so readily at the present time should tells us that we have not reached the standard that God would have us reach. That is the purpose of the Straight Testimony, to help us be aware of our need, and lead us to repentance and genuine conversion at the foot of the cross.

We must remember that the Straight Testimony is God's message to us individually, that we may apply it to our hearts. As we accept it, we will experience a revival of true godliness which leads to reformation. To bypass this purifying process, and then to try to force it on others will lead to fanaticism.

As was mentioned, the Spirit of Prophecy contains a multitude of references to fanaticism. By reading the quotations below, you will come to a clearer understanding of this very important topic.

Do we all have the potential to become fanatics in one way or the other?

There is in human nature a tendency to run to extremes and from one extreme to another entirely opposite. Many are fanatics. They are consumed by a fiery zeal which is mistaken for religion, but character is the true test of discipleship. {5T 305.4}

Are you in the fire or in the ice?

When the enemy sees that the Lord is blessing His people, and preparing them to discern his delusions, he will work with his masterly power to bring in fanaticism on one hand and cold formalism on the other, that he may gather in a harvest of souls. {ChS 40.1}

Those whose moral faculties are beclouded by disease are not the ones rightly to represent the Christian life or the beauties of holiness. They are too often in the fire of fanaticism, or the water of cold indifference or stolid gloom. {CTBH 162.1}

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. {Ev 611.2}

Careful management on all points is needed, so that we shall neither run into the fire of fanaticism nor drift into formalism, which will freeze our own souls and the souls of others. {RH, February 12, 1901 par. 18}

The Straight Testimony guards against fanaticism

The design of the message to the Laodiceans was to rid the church of just such fanatical influences; but the effort of Satan has been to corrupt the message and to prevent its proper effect. He would be better pleased to have fanatical persons embrace the testimony and use it in his cause, than to have them remain in a lukewarm state. I have seen that it was not the design of the message to lead any one to sit in judgment upon his brother, to tell him what to do and just how far to go; but for each individual to search his own heart, and

attend to his own individual work. It is the work of the angels to watch the development of character, and weigh moral worth." [The testimony to the Laodiceans here referred to may be found in "Testimony for the Church" No. 5, to which the reader's attention is specially called.] {LS88 333.2}

The testimony to the Laodicean church had been generally received, but some in the East were making bad use of it. Instead of applying it to their own hearts, so as to be benefited by it themselves, they were using the testimony to oppress others. A few taught that the brethren must sell all before they could be free, while some others dwelt much upon dress, carrying the subject to an extreme. With a few others there was a narrowing up of the work of the third message, and following of impressions, and casting fear upon the conscientious. These things had a blighting influence, and caused us to lay down our testimony on the subject almost entirely. {LS88 333.1}

What are some of the distinguishing characteristics of a fanatic?

Those taken in Satan's snare have not yet come to a healthy mental attitude. They are dazed, self-important, self-sufficient. Lt. 126, 1906. {1MCP 39.1}

You follow feelings too much, and if you feel clouds come over you, you let it influence you too much. Feeling is as unsafe a guide as you can follow. You make altogether too much of a happy flight of feeling or a shouting time. These times will come, but they are not always an undoubted evidence that we are right. You have made too much of these seasons, and in some of them there has been a fanatical spirit not in accordance with the spirit of truth. I saw that there was a more useful place for your gifts to be occupied where they can move and stir souls. {18MR 251.3}

You are inclined to fanatical sentiments on some things, and you regard your strong feelings as presentiments from the Lord, when He has nothing to do with it. Now, please stop walking in this unsanctified independence and self-confidence, for it will prove your ruin unless you see the evil and repent of it and submit to follow the way of the Lord. {20MR 119.4}

There are some whose feelings are quickly stirred by strong assertions, and their imagination magnifies the statement to large dimensions; it all appears real to them, and they become fanatical. The spiritual experience is fevered, diseased. When persons yield their will in perfect submission to the will of God, and the spirit is humble and teachable, the Lord will correct them by His Holy Spirit, and lead them into safe paths.--Letter 66, 1894. {2SM 93.3}

It is the desire and plan of Satan to bring in among us those who will go to great extremes,--people of narrow minds, who are critical and sharp, and very tenacious in holding their own conceptions of what the truth means. They will be exacting, and will seek to enforce rigorous duties, and go to great lengths in matters of minor importance, while they neglect the weightier matters of the law,--judgment and mercy and the love of God. Through the work of a few of this class of persons, the whole body of Sabbath-keepers will be designated as bigoted, Pharisaical, and fanatical. The work of the truth, because of these workers, will be thought to be unworthy of notice. {RH, May 29, 1888 par. 6}

Your peculiar ideas have had so powerful a control upon your mind [that] you could not dwell upon anything else. In meeting, you thought it your special duty to urge your opinions. You have taken your position above the church as though you were exalted and in the light and [as though] they must come up to your position, receive your views. You are fanatical; you have not a healthy imagination. Your influence will do harm and only harm, unless you become humble and teachable. . . . {UL 231.4}

A fanatical spirit is with you, that you take to be God's Spirit. You are deceived. You cannot bear the plain, cutting testimony. You would have a smooth testimony borne to you; but when anyone reproves your wrongs, how quick self rises. Your spirits are not humbled. You have a work to do. . . . Such acts, such a spirit, I saw, was the fruit of your errors, and the fruit of setting up your judgment and notions as a rule for others, and against those whom God has called into the field. You have both overreached the mark. {1T 207.2}

Some were fanatical and moved from impulse. They possessed a zeal, but not according to knowledge. Some looked at the great thing to be accomplished in this case and began to triumph before the victory was gained. There was much of the Jehu spirit manifested: "Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord." In place of this self-confident assurance, the case should have been presented to God with a spirit of humbleness and distrustfulness of self, and with a broken and a contrite heart. {2T 147.1}

One F. T. Howland, a notable fanatic, was present. He had long troubled God's children with his errors and harsh spirit. {LS80 260.2}

These one-idea men can see nothing except to press the one thing that presents itself to their minds.. One fanatic, with his strong spirit and radical ideas, who will oppress the conscience of those who want to be right, will do great harm. The church needs to be purified from all such influences. {HS 212.1}

These persons had laid aside reason and judgment; they trusted every impression of their excitable and over-wrought minds{LS80 201.2}

We trembled for the churches that were to be subjected to this spirit of fanaticism. My heart ached for God's people. Must they be deceived and led away by this false enthusiasm? {CET 73.3}

With much that is truth there is mingled error that is accepted in its extreme meaning, and acted upon by persons of excitable temperament. Thus fanaticism will take the place of well-regulated, well-disciplined, heaven-ordained efforts to carry forward the work to its completion. . . . {2SM 17.2}

If the members of the church are not subject one to another, if they go here and there with a message God has not given them, the church will become demoralized, and fanaticism of the worst order will come in.. {ST, June 2, 1890 par. 8}

How do fanatics behave?

The fanatical teachers gave themselves up to be governed by impressions, calling every thought of the mind the voice of God; consequently they went to great extremes. "Jesus," said they, "commanded his followers to be as little children;" therefore they would dance through the streets, clap their hands, and even tumble one another in the sand. Some burned their Bibles, at the same time exclaiming, "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." Ministers indulged in the most violent and unbecoming behavior in the desk, sometimes leaping from the pulpit into the congregation. Thus they gave practical illustration of their teaching, that all forms and order proceeded from Satan, and that it was their duty to break every yoke, and to act just as they felt. {ST, October 25, 1883 par. 27}

Conscientious souls were deceived by the pretended piety of these fanatics. .This class urged upon the people human tests and manufactured crosses, which Christ had not given them to bear. {2SM 27.1}

The experience of some had been obtained among a class of religious fanatics who had no true sense of the exalted character of the work. .They were self-confident, and boastful. Their religion did not consist in righteous acts, true humility of soul, and sincere devotion to God, but in impulse, in noise and confusion, spiced with eccentricities and oddities. . These persons had no love for union and harmony of action. They delighted in disorder. Confusion, distraction, and diversity of opinion were their choice. They were ungovernable, unsubdued, unregenerated, and unconsecrated, and this element of confusion suited their undisciplined minds. They were a curse to the cause of God and brought the name of Seventh-day Adventists into disrepute. {2T 553.2}

Fanaticism, false excitement, false talking in tongues, and noisy exercises have been considered gifts which God has placed in the Church. Some have been deceived here. The fruits of all this have not been good. . . . {Mar 154.3}

By such fanaticism as we have lately had among us in California in peculiar exercises and the claim of power to cast out devils, Satan is seeking to deceive if possible the very elect. {1MCP 40.1}

There are also fanatical ministers, who, in attempting to preach Christ, storm, halloo, jump up and down, and pound the desk before them, as if this bodily exercise profited anything. Such antics lend no force to the truths uttered, but, on the contrary, disgust men and women of calm judgment and elevated views. It is the duty of men who give themselves to the ministry to leave all coarseness and boisterous conduct outside the desk at least. {Ev 640.1}

About this time, fanaticism began to appear. Some who had professed to be zealous believers in the message rejected the word of God as the one infallible guide and, claiming to be led by the Spirit, gave themselves up to the control of their own feelings, impressions, and imaginations. There were some who manifested a blind and bigoted zeal, denouncing all who would not sanction their course. Their fanatical ideas and exercises met with no sympathy from the great body of Adventists; yet they served to bring reproach upon the cause of truth. {GC 395.1}

You will take passages in the Testimonies that speak of the close of probation, of the shaking among God's people, and you will talk of a coming out from this people of a purer, holier people that will arise. Now all this pleases the enemy. . . . Should many accept the views you advance, and talk and act upon them, we would see one of the greatest fanatical excitements that has ever been witnessed among Seventh-day Adventists. This is what Satan wants.--1SM 179 (1890). {LDE 51.1}

What are some of the motivations behind fanaticism?

There are many restless spirits who will not submit to discipline, system, and order. They think that their liberties would be abridged were they to lay aside their own judgment and submit to the judgment of those of experience. The work of God will not progress unless there is a disposition to submit to order and expel the reckless, disorderly spirit of fanaticism from their meetings{Mar 154.4}

There is danger, not only that unbalanced minds will be led into fanaticism, but that designing persons will take advantage of this excitement to further their own selfish purposes. . . . {2SM 17.3}

Great reproach has been cast upon the work of the Holy Spirit by the errors of a class that, claiming its enlightenment, profess to have no further need of guidance from the word of God. They are governed by impressions which they regard as the voice of God in the soul. But the spirit that controls them is not the Spirit of God. This following of impressions, to the neglect of the Scriptures, can lead only to confusion, to deception and ruin. It serves only to further the designs of the evil one. Since the ministry of the Holy Spirit is of vital importance to the church of Christ, it is one of the devices of Satan, through the errors of extremists and fanatics, to cast contempt upon the work of the Spirit and cause the people of God to neglect this source of strength which our Lord Himself has provided. {GC vii.4}

There will always be false and fanatical movements made by persons in the church who claim to be led of God--those who will run before they are sent and will give day and date for the occurrence of unfulfilled prophecy. The enemy is pleased to have them do this, for their successive failures and leading into false lines cause confusion and unbelief.--2SM 84 (1897). {LDE 35.2}

It is the desire and plan of Satan to bring in among us those who will go to great extremes--people of narrow minds, who are critical and sharp, and very tenacious in holding their own conceptions of what the truth means. They will be exacting, and will seek to enforce rigorous duties, and go to great lengths in matters of minor importance, while they neglect the weightier matters of the law--judgment and mercy and the love of God. Through the work of a few of this class of persons, the whole body of Sabbathkeepers will be designated as bigoted, Pharisaical, and fanatical. The work of the truth, because of these workers, will be thought to be unworthy of notice. {Ev 212.2}

What is so bad about fanaticism?

Satan will be willing a people who profess to be keeping the law of God should represent themselves before the world in words and deportment as fanatics, for this disgusts unbelievers; and they cast the truth and the fanaticism in the same scale and count it of the same value. {5MR 60.1}

Fanaticism, once started and left unchecked, is as hard to quench as a fire which has obtained hold of a building..--GCB, Apr 23, 1901. (2SM 35.) {1MCP 43.1}

One manifestation of fanaticism among us will close many doors against the soundest principles of truth.--Undated Manuscript 111. {Ev 611.3}

Any manifestation of fanaticism takes the mind away from the evidence of truth--the Word itself. {2SM 42.6}

We shall have to meet in our experience with men having fanatical zeal which will provoke those who hate the truth and it will be necessary to preserve a calm attitude and not state all we do know, for impressions will be made upon human minds that will, under the influence of Satan, grow to large proportions. {TDG 250.2}

I was shown the danger that will threaten the church, because here and there persons will be rising up, proclaiming that they have new light. They may be those who have been regarded as humble Christians, and very conscientious in all their doings, but they do not have a good conscience. Reason and common sense are laid aside, and they become fanatical. Religious fanatics will certainly appear among us, and they will cause much care and much grief to those who have the honor of the cause of God at heart. They will not consider it their duty to counsel with their brethren. {GCB, October 1, 1896 par. 12}

I bore my testimony, declaring that these fanatical movements, this din and noise, were inspired by the spirit of Satan, who was working miracles to deceive if possible the very elect. {NL 52.2}

Since the ministry of the Holy Spirit is of vital importance to the church of Christ, it is one of the devices of Satan, through the errors of extremists and fanatics, to cast contempt upon the work of the Spirit and cause the people of God to neglect this source of strength which our Lord Himself has provided.--The Great Controversy, pp. vii, viii. {YRP 122.6}

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 42.1}

Unwarranted fear of fanaticism

There are many who have heard the message for this time and have seen its results, and they cannot but acknowledge that the work is good, but from fear that some will take extreme positions, and that fanaticism may arise in our ranks, they have permitted their imagination to create many obstacles to hinder the advance of the work, and they have presented these difficulties to others, expatiating on the dangers of accepting the doctrine. They have sought to counteract the influence of the message of truth. Suppose they should succeed in these efforts, what would be the result?--the message to arouse a lukewarm church should cease, and the testimony exalting the righteousness of Christ would be silenced. {11MR 294.1}

When souls long after Christ, and seek to become one with him, then those who are content with the form of godliness, exclaim "Be careful, do not go to extremes." When the angels of heaven come among us, and work through human agents, there will be solid, substantial conversions, after the order of the conversions after the day of Pentecost. Now brethren, be careful and do not go into or try to create human excitement. But while we should be careful not to go into human excitement, we should not be among those who will raise inquiries, and cherish doubts in reference to the work of the Spirit of God; for there will be those who will question and criticize when the Spirit of God takes possession of men and women, because their own hearts are not moved; but are cold and unimpressible. {1888 1250.1}

How can we discern between fanatics and sincere, godly people?

The peace of Christ is not a boisterous, untamable element made manifest in loud voices and bodily exercises. The peace of Christ is an intelligent peace, and it does not make those who possess it bear the marks of fanaticism and extravagance. It is not a rambling impulse, but an emanation from God. {ST, May 19, 1890 par. 6}

There was nothing of this character found in the life or teachings of Jesus. All that is of heaven is pure, peaceable, refined, and ennobling, free from everything that is extravagant or fanatical in thought, word, or action. The religion of Christ bears the heavenly credentials, and when the heart has been impressed with the divine image, the soul is in harmony with all God's commandments. {ST, February 28, 1895 par. 6}

New and strange things will continually arise to lead God's people into false excitement, religious revivals, and curious developments; but our people should not be subjected to any tests of human invention that will create controversy in any line.--MS 167, 1897. {1MCP 42.1}

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. {1MCP 42.2}

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.--MS 82, 1894.

Can we expect to see an increase of fanaticism?

We are living in a time when every phase of fanaticism will press its way in among believers and unbelievers. Satan will come in, speaking lies in hypocrisy. Everything that he can invent to deceive men and women will be brought forward.--Lt 121, 1901. (MM 114.) {1MCP 38.1}

I have long known that fanaticism will be manifest again, in different ways. {2SM 44.1}

As the end draws near, the enemy will work with all his power to bring in fanaticism among us. He would rejoice to see Seventh-day Adventists going to such extremes that they would be branded by the world as a body of fanatics. Against this danger I am bidden to warn ministers and lay members. Our work is to teach men and women to build on a true foundation, to plant their feet on a plain "Thus saith the Lord."--GW 316 (1915). {1MCP 46.2}

Every phase of fanaticism and erroneous theories, claiming to be the truth, will be brought in among the remnant people of God.. {2SM 14.2}

Fanaticism will appear in the very midst of us. Deceptions will come, and of such a character that if it were possible they would mislead the very elect. If marked inconsistencies and untruthful utterances were apparent in these manifestations, the words from the lips of the Great Teacher would not be needed. It is because of the many and varied dangers that would arise, that this warning is given. {2SM 16.4}

Great light has been given to the people of God. Let our people awake, and go forward to perfection. You will be exposed to the fallacies of satanic agencies. Fearful waves of fanaticism will come. But God will deliver the people who will earnestly seek the Lord, and consecrate themselves to His service.--Pacific Union Recorder, Dec. 31, 1908. {2SM 47.3}

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. {21MR 128.5}

How can we avoid becoming fanatics?

Those who are close students of the Word, following Christ in humility of soul, will not go to extremes. The Saviour never went to extremes, never lost self-control, never violated the laws of good taste. {GW 317.2}

Those who follow the example of Christ will not be extremists. They will cultivate calmness and self-possession. The peace that was seen in the life of Christ will be seen in their lives. 318] {GW 317.3}

Solid faith will not lead anyone away into fanaticism or into acting the slothful servant. It is the bewitching power of Satan that leads men to look to themselves in the place of looking to Jesus. {FW 27.2}

The sincere desire to do others good will lead the Christian worker to put away all thought of bringing into the message of present truth any strange teachings leading men and women into fanaticism. {3SM 377.2}

They would have had a correct faith, a settled position upon the truths applicable for this time, and would have been guarded and saved from this fanaticism. The sensibilities of many are blunted; false excitement has destroyed their discernment and spiritual eye-sight. {RH, May 6, 1862 par. 1}

Those who are under the influence of the Spirit of God will not be fanatical, but calm and steadfast, free from extravagance in thought, word, or deed. Amid the confusion of delusive doctrines, the Spirit of God will be a guide and a shield to those who have not resisted the evidences of truth. {FLB 56.5}

Those who are under the influence of the Spirit of God will not be fanatical, but calm, steadfast, free from extravagance. But let all who have had the light of truth shining clear and distinct upon their pathway, be careful how they cry peace and safety. Be careful how you make the first move to suppress the messages of truth. Be careful what influence you exert at this time. {1888 1014.2}

The danger of calling the work of the Holy Spirit fanaticism

We must be very careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in pronouncing the ministration of His Holy Spirit a species of fanaticism. {1SM 130.1}

Are not the teachers in our schools in danger of blasphemy, of charging the Holy Spirit with being a deceiving power and leading into fanaticism? {CT 358.1}

The Spirit of God is not acknowledged and respected; men have passed judgment upon it; its operations have been condemned as fanaticism, enthusiasm, undue excitement. {CT 367.1}

But should the Lord work upon people as He did on and after the day of Pentecost, many who now claim to believe the truth would know so very little of the operation of the Holy Spirit that they would cry, "Beware of fanaticism." {CTr 371.4}

Some have treated the Spirit as an unwelcome guest, refusing to receive the rich gift, refusing to acknowledge it, turning from it, and condemning it as fanaticism. {TM 64.1}

They have been zealously declaiming against enthusiasm and fanaticism. Faith that calls upon God to relieve human suffering, faith that God has enjoined upon His people to exercise, is called fanaticism. {TM 80.1}

The men who close their eyes to the divine light are ignorant, deplorably ignorant, both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. The Holy Spirit's working is not agreeable to them, and they attribute its manifestations to fanaticism. They rebel against the light, and do all they can to shut it out, calling darkness light and light darkness. They complain that the teachings of Christ cause undue excitement and fanaticism, which spoil those who receive them for the proper duties of life. {TM 284.3}

Let no one ray of light from heaven be held in questioning and doubt. In great power the Lord has revealed to you His grace, His mercy, and His love; and He who charges the work of God to undue excitement, and calls it fanaticism, is certainly standing on dangerous ground. {TDG 52.3}

We will not lock the door of our hearts against the Holy Spirit's entrance. When God works, we will not say, "It is fanaticism." No guile will be found on our lips. We will be holy in all manner of conversation, serving God with singleness of purpose. Then we shall be prepared for a pleasant day of reckoning. {17MR 204.3}

God's revealed will has been superseded by the speculations and opinions of finite men who have refused the Holy Spirit's working and called His work fanaticism. {17MR 228.3}

From the crest of Olivet Christ's prophetic eye looked down the stream of time to these last days. He saw the actions of saints and sinners, and the tears He shed were for them, for those who are whispering, " Fanaticism! enthusiasm!" as the voice of God's people is uplifted in earnestness and strength. God bids His servants not to be afraid: "Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!" {20MR 178.2}

The true religion, the only religion of the Bible, that teaches forgiveness through the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, that advocates righteousness by the faith of the Son of God, has been slighted, spoken against, ridiculed. It has been denounced as leading to enthusiasm and fanaticism. {1888 444.1

In this time light from the throne of God has been long resisted as an objectionable thing. It has been regarded as darkness and spoke of as fanaticism, as something dangerous, to be shunned. Thus men have become guide-posts pointing in the wrong direction. . . If all those who claim to believe present truth had opened their hearts to receive the message, and the spirit of truth, which is the mercy and justice and love of God, they would not have gathered about the darkness so dense that they could not discern light. They would not have called the operations of the Holy Spirit fanaticism and error. {1888 915.3}

Can we depend upon popular opinion to discern who are the fanatics?

Fanaticism will come in, and will so mingle and interweave itself with the workings of the Spirit of God, that many will accept it all as from God, and will be deceived and misled thereby. {3SM 403.1}

As the natural eyesight of persons becomes so impaired as to be almost useless, so in the case of religious fanaticism and extremists, the eye of the soul through which good and evil may be discerned, becomes so perverted that nothing is distinguished clearly. A healthful discernment is ruined, so the spirit of truth and righteousness cannot be distinguished from the spirit of error and fanaticism. {Ev 610.5}

When the Lord works through human instrumentalities, when men are moved with power from on high, Satan leads his agents to cry, "Fanaticism!" and to warn people not to go to extremes. Let all be careful how they raise this cry; for though there is counterfeit coin, this does not lower the value of that which is genuine. Because there are spurious revivals and spurious conversions, it does not follow that all revivals are to be held in suspicion. {GW 170.2}

The manifestation of God's renewing grace on sinful men causes angels to rejoice, but often this work has, through unbelief, been termed fanaticism, and the messenger through whom God has worked has been spoken of as having zeal that is not according to knowledge. {GW 170.3}

Therefore we need to be exceedingly 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. {1SM 142.1}

Will God's true people be called fanatics?

Let a Christian walk with the Lord in all humility of mind and he is called narrow, bigoted, exclusive. If he is zealous, the world will call him a fanatic. {1888 928.3}

What if the sincere worker for God should be called a fanatic? This is the name that those who have been truly devoted to God have ever been called upon to bear. {RH, March 14, 1893 par. 13}

The friends of Christ's truth will ever be persecuted by a time-serving generation. They will be termed enthusiasts and fanatics by the enemies of reform. {ST, February 7, 1878 par. 2}

The piety and conscientiousness of others are called fanaticism, and those who practise truth and holiness are watched and criticized. (RH Dec. 22, 1896). {4BC 1138.3}

Those who engage in His service must be ready to give up their dearest friends and relatives, to be despised as fanatics and fools, and to suffer bodily harm for His name's sake. {ST, July 21, 1898 par. 2}

In forming your opinions, and choosing your associates, let reason and the fear of God be your guide. Be firm in your purpose here, regardless of the opinions which others may entertain concerning you. When God's requirements lead you to an opposite course from that which your associates are pursuing, go resolutely forward, whether you follow many or few. Whatever God's word condemns, that reject, even though the whole world adopt and advocate it, and ridicule you as singular and fanatical. {YI, October 10, 1883 par. 7}

[A mother talking to Sister White regarding her daughters who went away to an SDA school.] Their love for vanity, for dress, for trimmings and display has become a passion. They laugh at me in the face when I express surprise and tell me that we can be religious without being so prudish and fanatical. {15MR 233.3}

We are sorry to say that there are those who have barricaded themselves with their prejudices; they cling to their own habits and customs and practices, and persistently use their influence against health reform. By this class those who would follow the light God has given, are called narrow, bigoted, and fanatical. {16MR 58.1}

God's servants must arm themselves with the mind of Christ. They must not expect to escape insult and misjudgment. They will be called enthusiasts and fanatics. {OFC 267.4}

May God help us to guard our hearts from fanaticism! May He also help us to be willing to be ridiculed and despised, and falsely labeled as fanatics for His cause!



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© The Straight Testimony 10-10-10


Revelation 3

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.