Good to talk with you today. I found the article in "Notes and Papers," and one part of it dealt more directly with your concerns than the rest did. That part is also published in Selected Messages, Book 3, so I was able to pull it off the CD-ROM and enclose it below. After that I also included a chapter from 2SM on "The Visions of Anna Phillips." I have indicated one paragraph in particular that may be helpful to you, about 3 or 4 paragraphs into the chapter. But I included the whole chapter as well, if that should prove convenient for you. I would suggest that you might take a look at the chapters surrounding this one in 2SM. There is substantial relevant material there on this subject.
I hope this helps. Thanks for getting in touch. God bless.
-------- William Fagal, Director Ellen G. White Estate Branch Office Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI 49104-1400 USA Phone: 616 471-3209 FAX: 616 471-6166 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Selected Messages Book 3
Can All Have the Gift of Prophecy?
From time to time reports come to me concerning statements that Sister White is said to have made but which are entirely new to me, and which cannot fail to mislead the people as to my real views and teaching. A sister, in a letter to her friends speaks with much enthusiasm of a statement by Brother Jones that Sister White has seen that the time has come when, if we hold the right relation to God, all can have the gift of prophecy to the same extent as do those who are now having visions. Where is the authority for this statement? I must believe that the sister failed to understand Brother Jones, for I cannot think that he made the statement. The writer continues: "Brother Jones said last night that is the case, not that God will speak to all for the benefit of every one else but to each for his own benefit, and this will fulfill the prophecy of Joel." He stated that this is already being developed in numerous instances. He spoke as if he thought none would hold such a leading position as Sister White had done and will still do. Referred to Moses as a parallel. He was a leader, but many others are re- ferred to as prophesying, though their prophecies are not pub- lished. He (Brother Jones) will
341 not give permission to have the matter copied for general circu- lation, that has been read here from some sister. . . . These ideas in relation to prophesying, I do not hesitate to say, might better never have been expressed. Such statements prepare the way for a state of things that Satan will surely take advantage of to bring in spurious exercises. 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. Jesus has raised His voice in warning: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matt. 7:15, 16). "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord" (Jer. 23:16). "If any man shall say to you, Lo here is Christ, or lo, he is there, believe him not; for false Christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall shew signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed; behold, I have foretold you all things" (Mark 13:21-23).--Letter 6a, 1894.
Selected Messages Book 2
The Visions of Anna Phillips
[* IN 1893 ANNA PHILLIPS, A YOUNG WOMAN RESIDING IN BATTLE CREEK, WAS LED TO BELIEVE THAT HER IMPRESSIONS AND DREAMS WERE THE INTIMATIONS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD. SHE WAS ENCOURAGED IN HER WORK WHEN HER SO-CALLED TESTIMONIES, PLACED IN THE HANDS OF A LEADING WORKER, WERE READ BY HIM BEFORE THE BATTLE CREEK CHURCH AS DIVINELY INSPIRED COMMUNICATIONS. THE NEXT MORNING THIS WORKER RECEIVED THE COMMUNICATION HERE PRESENTED. ON HEARING THIS READ, ANNA PHILLIPS DISCERNED AND ACKNOWLEDGED THE DELUSION, REPUDIATED HER PAST WORK, AND BECAME A TRUSTED, FRUITFUL BIBLE INSTRUCTOR IN THE WORK OF THE CHURCH.--COMPILERS.]
Does Not Bear Signature of Heaven
I know that we are living near the close of this earth's history; startling events are preparing for development. I am fully in harmony with you in 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. . . . Do not belittle the work by mingling with it produc- tions that you have no positive evidence are from the Lord of life and glory. . . . 86
My dear brother, I wish to present before you some things concerning the dangers that threaten the work at the present time. The work of Anna Phillips does not bear the signature of Heaven. I know what I am talking about. In our first experience in the infancy of this cause we had to meet similar manifesta- tions. Many such revelations were given, and we had a most disagreeable work in meeting this element and giving it no place. Some things stated in these revelations were fulfilled, and this led some to accept them as genuine. . . . God has not called Anna Phillips to follow on after the testimonies He has given to His people, and repeat their purport. But such her work is and has been. Persons did exactly the same thing in the first experience in this cause. We had every phase of these false revelations to meet.
[Note especially the following paragraph.--WAF]
How is it, my brother, that you have taken up these communi- cations, and presented them before the people, weaving them in with the testimonies God has given Sister White? Where is your evidence that these are of God? You cannot be too careful how you hear, how you receive, how you believe. You cannot be too careful how you talk of the gift of prophesying, and state that I have said this and that in reference to this matter. Such statements, I well know, encourage men and women and children to imagine that they have special light in revelations from God, when they have not received such light. This, I have been shown, would be one of Satan's masterpieces of deception. 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 fanati- cism. . . .
Much Good and Just a Little Seed of Error
Do you not think I know something about these matters? All along our pathway to the heavenly Canaan we see many souls that have made shipwreck of faith, and in their false movements have led others astray through the supposition that they were led of God in special revelations. I have had to write many, many pages to correct these errors. I have been burdened and oppressed night
87 after night, unable to sleep because of the agony of my soul for God's heritage, His people, who are in danger of being misled. Many things in these visions and dreams seem to be all straight, a repetition of that which has been in the field for many years; but soon they introduce a jot here, a tittle of error there, just a little seed which takes root and flourishes, and many are defiled therewith. Oh, I wish that we had far greater wisdom in all things than we now have! One thing every worker in the vineyard of the Lord must learn, that is, to practice the prayer of Christ, to move as one in Christ Jesus. Jesus prayed that His disciples might be one, as He is one with the Father. The enemy is at work, to divide, to scatter. Now as never before he will make determined efforts to scatter our forces. Above every other period it is unsafe now for us to move out in lines of our own. The truth for this time is broad in its outlines, far reaching, embracing many doctrines; but these doctrines are not detached items, which mean little; they are united by golden threads, forming a complete whole, with Christ as the living center. The truths we present from the Bible are as firm and immovable as the throne of God. My brother, why should Elder R and yourself pursue the course you have taken in regard to Anna Phillips without a greater certainty that the Lord has chosen her as His mouthpiece to the people, His channel through which to communicate light? If you accept everything of this order that shall come up purporting to be a revelation from God, if you continue to encourage these supposed prophets as you have done, giving the influence of your testimony to sustain their work, you will not be a safe keeper of the Lord's heritage. The warnings Christ has given mean something to us. See Matthew 24:21-23. Satan will work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness to personate Jesus Christ; if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect. Now if the counterfeit bears so close a resem- blance to the genuine, is it not essential to be on your guard, that no man deceive you? Christ enforces His warnings, saying, "Behold, I have told you 88 before" (Matt. 24:25). Brethren, preach the Word, call not the people to rest their faith upon uncertain things or to place confidence in the human agent. I have the word from the Lord. I was shown Elder R before a number of persons reading from the professed revelations of Anna Phillips. A noble, dignified Person was present, and with a grieved expression upon His countenance He removed the written document, placed in Brother R's hand the Bible, and said, "Take the Word of God as your textbook, 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righ- teousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly fur- nished unto all good works'" (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). Those who search the Scriptures will find explicit instruc- tion as to what God requires of them on points of practical religious life. You are making in mistake in calling the atten- tion of the flock of God from the Word, the unerring word of prophecy. Take heed what you hear, and be cautious what you receive. There is need of caution lest the minds of the little flock shall be found accrediting that which is not the genuine work of the Holy Spirit. There is very great danger here. Satan is ever seeking to introduce spurious material into the work, in order that he may mar the testimony, and bring discredit upon the truth. He would mingle with it an element that would be a stum- bling block in the pathway of God's people. The commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus is the message we have to bear to the world. The Word of God is not one-sided, it is truth to be practiced. It is light extending on every side like the rays of the sun. It is light to lighten every man who will read and understand and practice its teachings. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5).--Letter 103, 1894.
"Believe Them Not"
I have a message to you from the Lord. Brother R is not engaged in the work which the Lord would have him
89 do. God has given to every man his work, and Brother R is step- ping out of the lines to which the Lord has appointed him. He cannot see the outcome of this work which he has taken up. Anna Phillips is being injured, she is led on, encouraged in a work which will not bear the test of God. Anna Garmire was thus injured. Her father and mother made her believe that her childish dreams were revelations from God. Her father talked to the child as one chosen of God; all her fancies and dreams were written down as ___________'s visions. She had figures and symbols presented to her, and had reproofs for her mother and for her father. After a scathing reproof, there followed the most flattering representations of the wonderful things the Lord would do for them. These things I was pointed to as spurious, a deception. They descended to the most minute and trifling matters, commingled common, cheap things with important subjects. The imagination was largely developed, there was a mingling of the sacred and the common. The truth of God was belittled, and yet some received these pretended revelations, and carried out their teaching. A little party was formed who were apparently inspired by them, and the visions were declared to be more spiritual than the visions of Sister White.... The Mingling of the Sublime and the Ridiculous
I have received from God the warning which I now send to you. Anna Phillips should not have been given the encouragement she has had; it has been a great injury to her--fastened her in a deception. I am sorry that any of our brethren and sisters are ready to take up with these supposed revelations, and imagine they see in them the divine credentials. These things are not of the right character to accomplish the work essential for this time. Childish figures and illustrations are employed in describ- ing sacred, heavenly things, and there is a mingling of the sublime and the ridiculous. While the work has an appearance of great sanctity, it is calculated to ensnare and mislead souls....
Various things will appear claiming to be revelations from God, but which flow from the imagination of a conceited and deceived mind. We had to meet these things in our early experi- ence. There were youth and children as well as those of mature age who claimed to be led and taught of God, having a special message to declare. They were springing up on every side, having the truth on some points, and error upon other points. For years the message from God came to me, "Believe them not, for they lead into false paths. God hath not sent them." --Letter 4, 1893.
Test All So-Called Visions
As the report has been quite widely circulated that Sister White has endorsed what has been written and circulated as revelations from God to Miss Anna Phillips, I feel that it is my duty to speak. I have not endorsed these productions. Warnings have been given to me in reference to them, that they will most certainly mislead. Woven in them will be statements that will lead to extremes, and to wrong actions on the part of those who accept them. It would be well for our brethren and sisters to move more cautiously, in accordance with the light given them. They should test these so-called visions before accepting them, and presenting them in connection with the light God has given me. I see that our people are in danger of making grave blunders and premature movements. God says of these prophets that are springing up, "I have not sent them, and yet they ran. Believe them not." But that which grieves me is that some of our brethren have associated the exercise of Anna Phillips with the testimonies of Sister White, and have presented the two to the people as one and the same thing. Many have accepted the whole as proceeding from me. And when the result of such productions shall be seen in their true character, when falsehoods are presented as truths from God, and individuals act upon these things, believing them to be a message from the Lord, movements will be
91 made that bear not the divine credentials, doubt will be cast upon the true work of the Spirit of prophecy. And the testimonies that God sends to the people will bear the stigma of these false utterances. These revelations are largely a repetition of that which has been before the people in publication for years; and yet mingled with this are some things that will lead astray.... I have a warning to give to our brethren, that they shall follow their Leader and not run ahead of Christ. Let there be no haphazard work in these times. Beware of making strong expres- sions which will lead unbalanced minds to think that they have wonderful light from God. The one who bears a message to the people from God must exercise perfect control. He should ever bear in mind that the path of presumption lies close beside the path of faith. In no case should he make use of extravagant expressions, for a certain class are sure to be affected, and influences are set in motion that can no more be controlled than can an impetuous horse. Once let impulse and emotion get the mastery over calm judgment, and there may be altogether too much speed, even in traveling a right road. He who travels too fast, will find it perilous in more ways than one. It may not be long before he will branch off from the right road into a wrong path. Not once should feeling be allowed to get the mastery over judgment. There is danger of excess in that which is lawful, and that which is not lawful will surely lead into false paths. If there is not careful, earnest, sensible work, solid as a rock, in the advancement of every idea and principle, and in every repre- sentation given, souls will be ruined.... The greatest care should be exercised concerning those who claim to receive revela- tions from God. There needs to be much close watching and much praying. Those who are acting a part in the great work for these last days need to counsel together in regard to every new thing that shall be introduced, for no one man's mind is to be left to judge of, or to place before the public, important matters which have a relation to the cause of God.--Letter 6a, 1894. 92
Without Sufficient Evidence
I want to say just as little as possible in regard to Anna Phillips. The less this matter is talked over and agitated, the better. There is a "dead fly in the ointment." Before this reaches you, you will have received a letter giving a more complete statement in regard to what we may expect in the case. I am more sorry than I can express to you that the matter has been handled unwisely. We shall have scores of just such developments, and if our leading brethren shall catch up things of this charac- ter and endorse them as they have done in this case, we shall have one of the most sweeping tidal waves of fanaticism that has been seen in our experience. There will be the wildest perfor- mances. Satan has already begun his work. To give ready credence to these things, and make loose, unguarded statements endorsing them without sufficient evidence of their genuine character, is one of Satan's devices. The Lord Jesus has certainly given cautions sufficient in regard to this matter, so that none need be deceived. In such cases as these, it is essential that we let our moderation be seen. The Lord is at hand. We cannot afford to work in such a way as those have done who have given the productions of Anna Phillips to our churches without clear and certain evidence that God is speaking to His people through her. For our ministers to rush a thing before the people as bearing the divine credentials, unless they know for a surety that it is of God, will do a work that God has told them not to do. Many things intended to deceive will come, bearing some of the marks of truth. Just as soon as these shall be set forth as the great power of God, Satan is all ready to weave in that which he has prepared to lead souls from the truth for this time....
Error Bears Inscription of Truth
Every conceivable message is coming to counterfeit the work of God, and always bearing the inscription of truth upon its banner....
It is no light matter to substitute for God's revealed will, opinions and assertions, dreams, symbols, and figures from human, finite beings. Our actions, words, spirit, and influence are watched and criticized. Those whom God has chosen to be His ministers are to settle solidly into His Word, and let the Word of God be their authority.... At this time above all others, hasty judgment, opinions formed carelessly, without sufficient evidence, may lead to most disastrous results. When we trace from cause to effect, we shall find that harm has thus been done which in some cases can never be remedied. Oh, what wisdom and fine spiritual perceptions are needed in giving food to the flock of God, that it be pure provender, thoroughly winnowed. The natural, hereditary traits of the character need a firm curb, else earnest zeal, good purposes, will run into evil, and the excess of feeling will produce such impressions upon human hearts that they will be carried away by impulse and will allow impressions to become their guide. A curb must be kept upon the spiritual impulse, that no injudicious words shall be spoken, no overwrought ideas expressed, that shall cause impulsive persons to lose their bearings. 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.
"Nothing Objectionable" an Unsound Basis for Acceptance
You may be perplexed to know just what is the best course to pursue in reference to the writings of Anna Phillips. I would suggest that nothing should be done rashly. I feel very tenderly toward this sister. I would not say or do anything to harm her. And as the writings have been so 94 eagerly grasped and scattered broadcast with so little test and proving, let there be no abrupt moves to call them in and destroy them as if they were poison. Where they have already been sent out with the sanction of our responsible men, let them remain. To make abrupt moves now would do harm. The great wonder to me is that our brethren should accept these writings because they could see nothing objectionable in them. Why did they not consider what there is in them that is of a character to be endorsed and sent forth with the power of influence which gives them their force? There are many things I shall not say now, which it will be necessary to say hereafter. While I would do nothing to hurt this sister, I would not dare to keep silent.... I am placed in a peculiar position, and this matter should never have been so treated as to make it necessary for me to speak on such a sub- ject. It hurts my heart to do it, and were it not that I see the future dangers, I would not utter one word in regard to the matter, but would let it develop, and leave my brethren and sisters to pursue their own course in regard to these manifesta- tions, which are not at all peculiar.... I fail to see in the writings of Sister Phillips anything of a character that should create such movements as have been made. And if things of this nature are to be so eagerly grasped, you will have plenty of them, varied in some respects, yet such as you could treat with as much confidence. I am so sorry, so sorry. You seem to think I should be able to point out just where the particularly objectionable sentiments lie. There is nothing so very apparent in that which has been written; you have been able to discover nothing objectionable; but this is no reason for using these writings as you have done. Your course in this matter is decidedly objectionable. Is it necessary that you should discern at once something that would produce harm to the people of God, to make you cautious? If nothing of this kind appears, is this a sufficient reason for you to set your endorsement to these writings? ... Do not spread abroad writings of this character without
95 more consideration and deep insight as to the after consequences of your course of action. . . . 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. The reason why I hang out the danger signal is that through the enlightenment of the Spirit of God I can see that which my brethren do not discern. It may not be a positive necessity for me to point out all these peculiar phases of deception that they will need to guard against. It is enough for me to tell you, Be on your guard; and as faithful sentinels keep the flock of God from accepting indiscriminately all that professes to be communicated to them from the Lord. If we work to create an excitement of feeling, we shall have all we want, and more than we can possibly know how to manage. Calmly and clearly "preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2). We must not regard it as our work to create an excitement. The Holy Spirit of God alone can create a healthy enthusiasm. Let God work, and let the human agent walk softly before Him, watching, waiting, praying, looking unto Jesus every moment, led and controlled by the precious Spirit which is light and life. The people want a sign, as in the days of Christ. Then the Lord told them that no sign should be given them. The sign that should be manifest now and always is the working of the Holy Spirit upon the mind of the teacher, to make the Word as impres- sive as possible. The Word of God is not a dead, dry theory, but spirit and life. Satan would like nothing better than to call minds away from the Word, to look for and expect something outside of the Word to make them feel. They should not have their attention called to dreams and visions. If they would have eternal life, they must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God.--Letter 68, 1894.