Holy Flesh Quotes

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In the 19th century, sporadic outbreaks of emotionally expressive and body-centered worship styles occurred in various branches of evangelical Protestantism. The Holiness movement in particular spawned dozens of these, each with unique doctrinal content and associated personalities. An Adventist version, the so-called "holy flesh movement," followed the teachings of A. F. Ballenger (1861–1921),[1] who was in turn influenced by the Holiness movement and who advocated an emphasis on the Holy Spirit in Christian thought and life.[2][3]

In Indiana, Ballenger's ideas were picked up by S. S. Davis, a minister and evangelist, who was supported by his Conference president, Robert Donnell (1844–1937).[4][5] Davis was impressed by the enthusiasm of a group of Pentecostals he worked with[citation needed].

"The Holy Flesh theory alleged that those who follow the Saviour must have their fallen natures perfected by passing through a “Garden of Gethsemane” experience... Eyewitness accounts report that in their services the fanatics worked up a high pitch of excitement by use of musical instruments such as organs, flutes, fiddles, tambourines, horns, and even a big bass drum. They sought a physical demonstration and shouted and prayed and sang until someone in the congregation would fall, prostrate and unconscious, from his seat. One or two men, walking up and down the aisle for the purpose, would drag the fallen person up on the rostrum. Then about a dozen individuals would gather around the prostrate body, some singing, some shouting, and some praying, all at the same time. When the subject revived, he was counted among those who had passed through the Gethsemane experience, had obtained holy flesh, and had translation faith. Thereafter, it was asserted, he could not sin and would never die." [6]

In January 1900, Ellen White received a vision about it while in Australia. S. N. Haskell (1833–1922) and A. J. Breed were sent to the campmeeting at Muncie to meet this "fanaticism". At the 1901 General Conference Session, Ellen White criticized the Holy Flesh teachings as "error" on April 17 stating:

"It is impossible to estimate too largely the work that the Lord will accomplish through His proposed vessels carrying out His mind and purpose. 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."[7]

"The Holy Spirit never reveals Itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise.