Pitting truth against truth

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Fifth Heresy: Repudiation of Sanctuary & 1844
A distorted focus on the Spirit assures the development of heresy, as in Pentecostalism that leads to numerous other heresies. Such a distortion not only produced the “Holy Flesh” heresy, but blinded the eyes of key men to the reality and danger of Panentheism and produced the fourth heresy, individualism and a false concept of the Spirit’s function.”

And A. F. Ballenger’s earlier involvement with Jones and Prescott's individualism and imbalanced focus on the Spirit gave him a false sense of being Spirit-led, which caused him not only to reject our sanctuary message but also all efforts to save him from this fifth heresy.

Ballenger united with Jones in his intense 1890s focus on the Holy Spirit, characterized by high emotions and the same confusion characterizing the Pentecostal holiness movement that was then sweeping the evangelical churches. The General Conference Bulletin reports a praise service at the close of one of Jones’ sermons as follows:

    “a Baptist minister who was present, seeing the large numbers praising God all at once, remarked: ‘Some might be ready to say that such a number of voices makes confusion. But with all speaking together the praises of the Lord, surely the Lord and the angels see only perfect harmony, and so do we (1895 GCB p. 368).

Ellen White had warned Jones and Prescott a year before that they depended too much on emotion and that in trying “to create an excitement of feeling” they would stimulate more than they would “possibly know how to manage” (EGW to WWP & ATJ, Apr 16, 1894).

In the 1897 General Conference Jones and Ballenger urged the people to “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” now. The problem was not in seeking the Spirit, for which we are urged to pray -- but in extremism and lack of the humble waiting, preparing posture for which God calls:

    Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given. The power of God awaits their demand and reception. This promised blessing, claimed by faith, brings all other blessings in its train. It is given according to the riches of the grace of Christ, and He is ready to supply every soul according to the capacity to receive (DA p. 672).

The problem was two-fold: the influence of the holiness movement, which identifies the Holy Spirit with emotional feeling; and an attempt to precipitate the Spirit rather than to wait and watch for divine guidance. In the same year (1897), with Jones as preaching assistant, Ballenger began a year long, “Receive Ye the Holy Ghost” revival in the Battle Creek Tabernacle. Significantly, he reported September 6 to General Conference President, George A. Irwin that he had preached his message with great success in Indiana. For shortly thereafter Indiana evangelist, SS Davis began preaching his Pentecostal, cleansing message.

Meantime, in London, Ballenger became so discouraged in trying to proclaim our sanctuary message that he told his partner, E. E. Andross, he would not preach it again until he understood it. But, he exclaimed, “I am not going to get it from our books. ... I will go to the books or commentaries ... from which Elder Uriah Smith obtained light.” (see The Early Elmshaven Years, p. 406). He, unfortunately, was blind to where Smith got his light.

The basic principles had been well established when Smith was a small boy who knew nothing about our message. Our pioneers spent time studying the Bible alone on their knees and then came together for earnest study and prayer, sometimes praying and pleading all night for divine guidance. That guidance was then affirmed by vision.

Ballenger, by contrast, developed his view from rejecters of the Advent message. Thus, contrary to corporate Bible study confirmed by vision, he concluded that Jesus entered the Most Holy Place (heaven itself) in AD 31 to begin his Day of Atonement ministry.

Thus to a misunderstanding of the role and function of the Holy Spirit Ballenger united confusion and misunderstanding of the function of Christ Himself. Nor would he, having absorbed the independent spirit of his mentor Jones (who for three years by this time defended Kellogg in his Pantheism and rebellion against church administrators and Ellen White) listen to fellow leaders who sought to correct him, or even to the messenger of God who in vain sought to rescue him. She warned:

    I declare in the name of the Lord that the most dangerous heresies are seeking to find entrance to us as a people, and Elder Ballenger is making spoil of his own soul (Ms 59, 1905).

I am instructed to say to Ballenger, Your theories, which have multitudes of fine threads, and need so many explanations, are not truth, ... the good that you and your associates might have received at this meeting you have not received. God forbids your course of action—making the blessed Scriptures, by grouping them in your way, to testify to build up falsehood (ibid; see Arthur White, The Early Elmshaven Years, p. 410).

Next: “Daily Controversy”: Conservatives Unite