shows and the Word of God confirms that fanatics and disorderly
elements have always been associated with the work of reformation.
all the history of the church no reformation has been carried
forward without encountering serious obstacles. Thus it was in
Pauls day. Wherever the apostle raised up a church, there
were some who professed to receive the faith, but who brought
in heresies that, if received, would eventually crowd out the
love of the truth. Luther also suffered great perplexity and distress
from the course of fanatical persons. . . . And the Wesleys, and
others who blessed the world by their influence and their faith,
encountered at every step the wiles of Satan in pushing overzealous,
unbalanced, and unsanctified ones into fanaticism of every grade.
. . .
the days of the Reformation its enemies charged all the evils
of fanaticism upon the very ones who were laboring most earnestly
against it. A similar course was pursued by the opposers of the
advent movement. And not content with misrepresenting and exaggerating
the errors of extremists and fanatics, they circulated unfavorable
reports that had not the slightest semblance of truth. . . .
fact that a few fanatics worked their way into the ranks of Adventists
is no more reason to decide that the movement was not of God than
was the presence of fanatics and deceivers in the church in Pauls
or Luthers day a sufficient excuse for condemning their
work."The Great Controversy, pp. 396398.
give the reader an idea of the different forms of fanaticism associated
with Seventh-day Adventists in the early days of the movement,
we quote from an Adventist book:
Within the Movement
1844 and the organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
nearly twenty years later, but especially in the first few years
after the disappointment, the Adventist believers were at times
embarrassed by extremes and fanatical movements. A part of Ellen
Whites work was to witness against these movements.
of her early experiences, Mrs. White tells of a trip taken with
her husband through the New England States in 1850. Many former
believers had become bitter from the disappointment. Some were
still looking for truth. But we had a still worse element
to meet, she writes, in a class who claimed that they
were sanctified, and they could not sin, that they were sealed
and holy, and that all their impressions and notions were the
mind of God. . . .
claimed to heal the sick and to work miracles. They had a satanic,
bewitching power; yet they were overbearing, dictatorial, and
cruelly oppressive. The Lord used us as instruments to rebuke
these fanatics, and to open the eyes of His faithful people to
the true character of their work.Ellen G. White, in
Review, Nov. 20, 1883.
group claimed to be sanctified so that they could not sin. Yet
they were immoral in their actions, following their own lust and
committing presumptuous sin. They even advocated spiritual
showed up in some other strange forms. Some got the idea that
religion consisted in great excitement and noise. Their behavior
irritated unbelievers and aroused hatred against themselves and
the doctrines they taught. When they were opposed or mistreated
because of their annoying ways, they rejoiced because of the persecution.
White had to rebuke some people who professed great humility and
tried to demonstrate it by creeping on the floor like children.
They would creep around their houses, on the street, over bridges,
and in the church itself.
group believed it was a sin to work, although they seemed to think
it quite consistent for their wives and others to do the necessary
work for them. Animal magnetism, or mesmerism, the forerunner
of hypnotism, was practiced by some. The supposed gift of tongues,
accompanied by shouting and confusion, appeared in a few places.
From time to time some small group would announce a new time for
Christ to appear."Department of Education, General
Conference of SDAs, The Story of Our Church, pp. 238, 239.
the previous statement from The Great Controversy is correctly
understood, similar difficulties should also be expected in connection
with the present-day SDA Reform Movement. There must be a parallel.
to realize, history repeats itself also in the distorted picture
presented about the relationship of some fanatics with the Reform
Movement. In the past, as we just read, the enemies of the reformation
made it their business to establish confusion between wild fanatics
and true reformers, bunching them together as birds of the same
nest. Today the enemies of Reform are doing exactly the same thing.
This is as preposterous as affirming that those fanatics mentioned
in The Story of Our Church were actually the pioneers of
the SDA Church. Worse than that, to create a still more distorted
picture, SDA leaders associate with Reform certain elements who
never belonged to the organized Reform Movement.
Rowen, a false prophetess, was a member of the SDA Church, not
of Reform. Yet her name is often used for the purpose of smudging
the name of the Reform Movement.
Wieck, a member of the SDA Church, was jailed for refusing to
be vaccinated. January 21, 1915, he had some visions in which,
he declared, God had shown him that the end of probation would
come in the spring of that year. He wanted to see his visions
published by the church. As the SDA leaders refused, he got them
published on his own and forwarded a copy to each minister and
to each church all over Germany. He never belonged to the Reform
Movement, but his name is still being used for maligning and slandering
us. It has even been declared that he was the founder of the Reform
Movement. What an absurd and irresponsible figment!
the discussion that took place in Friedensau, Germany, July 2123,
1920, this was stated:
A. G. Daniells [the General Conference president]: These here
are the documents that were handed to us by Brother Conradi. They
should show what relationship they have with this movement. We
can select and separate those that you brethren do not regard
as belonging to your movement. The first writing is by Wieck.
Doerschler [representative of the disfellowshiped minority]: He
never belonged to this movement. I have had the privilege of belonging
to this movement from the very beginning.
A. G. Daniells: Then how about this second documentby Stobbe?
Doerschler: Yes, that belongs to us. . . . I would like to give
a short explanation on this subject. Some very unsober people
came to us. We could not see what kind of people they were, and
they went ahead and published different writings without consulting
the committee, because at the beginning we were not as organized
as we are now. . . .
A. G. Daniells: Was this Herms with you?
Doerschler: For a short time. We marked these people immediately
when they did these things behind our backs."
discussion, quoted from the Minutes of the Conference with
the Movement of Opposition (held in Friedensau, July 2123,
1920), published by the three German Unions of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church, is sufficient evidence that fanaticism was not
the origin of the SDA Reform Movement any more than it had been
(as quoted from The Story of Our Church pp. 238, 239) the
starting point of the SDA Church.
in a libel entitled The Aftermath of Fanaticism or A Counterfeit
Reformation, published by the General Conference of Seventh-day
Adventists, Elder L. H. Christian makes this gross overstatement:
"This fanaticism in Germany as well as in the other countries
in Europe is the true origin of the counterfeit reformation movement."
This simplistic conclusion is an offense to an honest and intelligent
person who can weigh the evidence for himself.
more recent years the SDA leadership published a more decent,
but not entirely correct, report about the rise of the Reform
Movement. In the SDA Encyclopedia, Commentary Reference
Series, vol. 10, p. 1183, they say: "Though the original
issue was over visions and time setting, the bone of contention
through the years has been the stand taken by the SDA Church concerning
the duty of its members in military service." There is at
least half a truth in this statement. While it is not true that
"visions and time setting" brought the Reform Movement
into existence, it is true that the stand taken by the SDA Church
concerning the duty of its members in military service and in
war, in the light of Gods law, has always been the main
bone of contention from the very beginning. The holy law of God
has always been the real issue. But, since 19141918, new
controversial points have arisen, which were briefly mentioned
in the preface to this book.