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Hiding Place From Every Wind | Lesson 4, Part 2

Greetings MOL Family!

Last week, we began to understand satan’s goal for causing the burning winds of fanaticism. In today’s class, we will seek to understand exactly why this matter is so serious.


Beware of Fanaticism

 

The word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. – Ibid., Volume 3, pg. 428

Shall we read that again?

The word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. – Ibid

Now does that mean, friends, that the true church of God is to follow the Roman Catholic Church in attempting to coerce the consciences of men? Not at all. Nobody can decide for you what to believe, even if you wanted them to decide what you were to believe. You believe whatever you believe, don’t you?

But I’ll tell you, my dear friends, what the church can do. The church can do two things, if we’ll listen. The first is to point out reasons for the truth, and the error in false teachings. The second is to give us advice on what to push and what to keep quiet about. And both of these points are covered in the statement that we’ve read.

The word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. – Ibid

Oh, what a world of turmoil we would be saved from, what burning winds of fanaticism would be shut out, if we’d just follow this simple, wonderful, heaven-sent counsel. Let’s do it. What do you say, friends?

With that, I’d like to read from the book Acts of the Apostles, page 163:

God has made His church on the earth a channel of light, and through it He communicates His purposes and His will. He does not give to one of His servants an experience independent of and contrary to the experience of the church itself. Neither does he give one man a knowledge of His will for the entire church while the church – Christ’s body – is left in darkness.

 

…There have ever been in the church those who are constantly inclined toward individual independence. They seem unable to realize that independence of spirit is liable to lead the human agent to have too much confidence in himself and to trust in his own judgment rather than to respect the counsel and highly esteem the judgment of his brethren, especially of those in the offices that God has appointed for the leadership of His people. – Acts of the Apostles, pg. 163

What are these offices that God has appointed for the leadership of His people? Why, we read them in Ephesians – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These are the great major gifts of the Spirit of God. Through these gifts, the divine Shepherd leads His flock. Through these gifts, Jesus in Heaven is guiding a people home to the Promised Land. Oh, that these warnings may be received into our hearts and keep us from every fanatical movement.

You know, friends, one reason that fanatical movements have such appeal is that there are dear, honest souls in the church who are longing for a true revival and reformation. They long for something that has more warmth in it.

Well, I can assure you that the fires of fanaticism won’t leave you cold. But do you remember some men who went into the sanctuary with fire, and God had to burn them up? What were their names? Nadab and Abihu. What was the matter? It was “strange fire.”

It makes a difference whether the warmth in our hearts comes from Jesus or comes from the enemy. It makes a difference whether the zeal and ardor that we manifest comes from the Holy Spirit or comes from the spirit of insubordination and dissatisfaction and restlessness and rebellion. satan can be very active, but his activity, friends, is no reason to compliment him. What do you say?


Avoid All Extremes

 

Now, we need to watch against these extremes and fanatical ideas even in little things, in our own personal experience. I think I’ll take as an example of that something interesting in the little book, Counsels on Diet and Foods. It’s in the chapter on extremes:

You need not go into the water, or into the fire, but take the middle path, avoiding all extremes. – Counsels on Diet and Foods, pg. 211

Don’t you like that?

If you err, let it not be in getting as far from the people as possible…Better err on the side of the people than altogether away from them…but there is no need of error on either side. – Ibid

I like that. I hear people quote part of this sometimes on the thought that it’s better to err on the side of the people so that they can go ahead and err on the side of the people. But the rest of the paragraph says there’s “no need of error on either side.” Well, why, then, go into the error on either side?

You need not go into the water, or into the fire, but take the middle path, avoiding all extremes. – Ibid

You’ll be interested in the background of this letter. Some people in one of our early sanitariums had been putting on the table a diet that was rich and unhealthful. And now came along some new managers, and the enemy tried to push them, this says, into the opposite extreme of a poverty-stricken diet. You see how the devil would like to do that, wouldn’t he, in a health institution – part of the time have it full of rich food, carrying out worldly practices, and then part of the time have it very extreme?

Further on in this letter she says:

The great backsliding upon health reform is because unwise minds have handled it and carried it to such extremes that it has disgusted in place of converting people to it. I have been where these radical ideas have been carried out. Vegetables prepared with only water, and everything else in like manner. This kind of cookery is health deform, and there are some minds so constituted that they will accept anything that bears the features of rigorous diet or reform of any kind Ibid., pg. 212

Now, here’s the warning, dear friends:

Some minds are so constituted that they will accept anything that bears the features of rigorous diet or reform of any kind. – Ibid

I’ll use an illustration (which probably isn’t a very accurate one, but I don’t want to use an accurate one. You’ll see why): Suppose, now, that here I am. I come in from the world and I give up liquor and tobacco. Later I learn to give up pork. Later I find that it’s better to give up meat of any kind. And so I continue, from step to step, giving up things, giving up things…

But unless someone has taught me wisely, unless I’ve listened to the good instruction of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers; if instead of doing that I’ve listened to some food faddist, do you know what I may be in danger of doing? I keep giving up this and keep giving up that and now I come to my illustration.

Suppose that the food faddist (he won’t say this, but I’ll just illustrate it with this) should say, “I think, brother, if you want to be closer to Heaven, it’d be a good thing for you to give up whole wheat bread.” “Well, why?” He has his fine-spun theories. (Remember, this is an illustration.)

And so I finally decide, “Yes, I can be more holy and closer to Heaven if I give up bread.”

Then he comes along with another thing and another thing. And finally, friends, I’m down to the place where I have just two or three things left to eat. Now, I don’t think there’s anybody reading this like that, and I’m using an absurd illustration. But I wonder if you can get my point?

My point is this, dear friends: health reform is not primarily ‘giving up’ things. It’s primarily eating the good food that God has provided in abundance. Health reform is not primarily quitting this and that which the world is doing. Health reform is basically taking on a positive program of life, including getting enough sleep at night, including healthful, happy, outdoor exercise – regular, systematic. Health reform includes everything that ministers to the health and life of the body. Nothing extreme about it, nothing fanatical.

So I urge you, dear friends, in your zeal, be sure that you study what God has given us through these wonderful gifts of the Spirit of God. And as this message that we’ve just read says, do not take any man’s notions. This is so important.

 


Can You Hear The Voice?

 

Now, I want to mention another phase of fanaticism. Back in the 1890s there was a woman by the name of Anna Phillips. She was a Bible worker in this denomination, and she had what she thought were some visions. She wrote them out and sent them to some of the leaders of the church, among them, Elder A. T. Jones, who was at that time one of the greatest preachers among us. Sister White was clear over on the other side of the world, about as far from Battle Creek as you could get on this round world, way down in Australia.

Elder A. T. Jones and others with him were quite taken with these visions and testimonies that Anna Phillips wrote. One Sabbath morning Elder A. T. Jones got up in the large Battle Creek tabernacle, and he read from the Bible about the Shepherd’s voice and the sheep hearing the Shepherd’s voice. Then he called attention to the fact that in the Bible the true child of God can hear the voice of Jesus. Is that right?

Then he took some of the testimonies of Sister White and he read them. And he said, “Can you hear the voice?” And the congregation, of course, said, “Yes.” Then he took some of these testimonies of Anna Phillips, and he read them to the congregation and he said, “Can you hear the voice?”

Well, the meeting closed, the benediction was pronounced, and the people went their ways wondering whether or not this was correct. And of course, as always happens in a thing of that kind, some thought one way and some another.

But the next morning, Sunday morning, Elder Jones went into the little post office in connection with the Review and Herald and General Conference office, where the brethren got their mail. Of course, that wasn’t open on Sabbath, but Sunday morning he went in there and asked for his mail. There was a long envelope and on the corner was the return address: Mrs. E. G. White in Australia. He went over to one side of the post office little room and sat down, opened the letter, and began to read it. Pretty soon someone watching noticed that the tears began to trickle down his face.

Would you like to read what Sister White wrote him that he got Sunday morning, that had been mailed weeks before over in Australia? Here it is. You’ll find it now in Selected Messages, Book 2, page 85:

I know that we are living near to the close of this earth’s history; startling events are preparing for development. I am fully in harmony with you and your work when you present the Bible, and the Bible alone, as the foundation of our faith. Satan is an artful foe, and he will work where he is by many least expected. I have a message for you. Did you suppose that God had commissioned you to take the burden of presenting the visions of Anna Phillips, reading them in public, and uniting them with the testimonies the Lord has been pleased to give me? No, the Lord has not laid upon you this burden. He has not given you this work to do. – Selected Messages, Book 2, pg. 85

Do you see why the tears were trickling down his face? Thank the Lord he got up the next Sabbath and made his influence right on it. In this same message she says:

You are giving to the work a mold which it will take precious time and wearing soul labor to correct, to save the cause of God from another spasm of fanaticism. – Ibid., pg. 86

This is another blowing of the winds, you see, and God was trying to protect His people. In further warnings on this same line in this same chapter, page 91, you’ll find this:

I have a warning to give to our brethren, that they shall follow their Leader and not run ahead of Christ…Beware of making strong expressions which will lead unbalanced minds to think that they have wonderful light from God. – Ibid., pg. 91

And she speaks of it as like an impetuous horse that’s turned loose, and he can travel too fast and make traveling with him perilous. (I suppose if she were writing today, she’d talk about some of these speed demons with their automobiles.)

Not once should feeling be allowed to get the mastery over judgment. – Ibid

On page 92, speaking still of this Anna Phillips matter, she says:

We shall have scores of just such developments… – Ibid., pg. 92

And she says that if we’re not careful, we’ll have “one of the most sweeping tidal waves of fanaticism.” So, the dangers weren’t all over in the 1890s. They’ve been with us every decade of this movement from 1844 to the present time. And our brethren are having to deal with some of these things at the present time.

Oh, friends, let us thank God for the warnings He’s given us and for the hiding place He’s given us. And now, this concluding statement on page 95 of this same chapter:

Fanaticism will appear in the very midst of us. – Ibid., pg. 95

Some of these winds I’ve been studying with you blow from outside. Here’s one that blows inside:

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. – Ibid

But now, what’s our protection?
From every stormy wind that blows,
From every swelling tide of woes,
There is a calm, a sure retreat;
’Tis found beneath the mercy seat.

Jesus, in the Most Holy Place, is guiding His church, not just an individual here and another one yonder, He’s guiding His church, His people. It’s true, there are many that are frigid with the icy winds of formalism, but that’s no reason, friends, to turn loose the burning winds of fanaticism.

Oh, let us pray for the true Spirit of God. What do you say? Let us listen to the gifts that God has put in His church – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. And if with earnest hearts and honest hearts we will seek for a true revival and a true reformation, we shall be safe from all these winds that blow.

Heavenly Father, add Thy blessing to the preaching of Thy word. May each one of us find in Jesus and in His true church a refuge from every blast. May our love for Thee and our brethren be such that nothing can separate us from Thee and Thy church. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

 


Let us pray that when we come together for our next study, we’ll be ready to discern the character of these winds which are blowing against the church, and be kept from every wind of doctrine.

Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then… 

-Continue on to the next study-


 

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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.

1 Comment

  1. Bro. K

    Hi MOL Family, The first thing came to mind is the rest of Ephesians 4, were it discusses that we are not to be children being tossed about by every doctrine of wind. We have a divine teacher in Jesus, whom defeated the devil with a “Thus saith the Lord”! Simple in to the point. The point is for us not to entangle ourselves with the devil or his minions. We are to trust in the Bile and our Lord.

    Enjoy, :)