Define and Identify Fanaticism

Occasionally I find that the words of another express my thoughts better than my own words. Such is the case of a description of fanaticism.

“…Somewhere the idea got started, and it has influenced most of us, that a fanatic is a wild-eyed, unreasonable, screaming, jumping, ignorant person; and they are easily recognized by their outward appearance and action. Perhaps this is true at times. However, there is an altogether different type of fanatic; and he is the sort who vows and declares that he is not one, and that he hates them, and may even wage war against those he believes to be such. He is a fanatic against the fanatics! This sort may come with stilt and style, with elegance and eloquence, and would likely appear to be very calm, calculating and reasonable. Actually, there may even be times when he appears to be a fully rational and logical being, and a stalwart defender of the faith!”

“…a fanatic is not simply a dedicated and consecrated person. A fanatic or zealot is more readily recognized by his attitude and disposition which shows itself in various ways, more often than not showing how pompous, arrogant, and self-righteous this type is. Those of this attitude and disposition in the Lord’s day on earth were described as those who ‘trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked upon all others with contempt.’ The fanatic of whatever brand is without fairness and honor: it is his party right or wrong, and he is bent on the destruction of all those who will not ‘line up’ and conform with his own ideas and submit to his pontifical judgment! Along these lines, the fanatic is never moved by honor nor fairness, nor governed by reason or logic – their mind is made up and they already KNOW all that they intended to know–they are ‘right and cannot possibly be wrong’ on any point. A fanatic is a ‘one man mob.'”

“The fanatic or zealot is recognized in his ‘reviews’ or ‘observations’ of others or their works. His fanaticism does ‘heat the mind,’ and the very first thing done is to spread this ‘heat of mind’ to others whose fanatical impulses can also be stirred and enraged. So this type of fanatic does not really and actually deal with issues or arguments . . . This is indeed the worst sort of fanaticism, which does heat the mind indeed, but heats without purifying.”

“…So the fanatic, the type we are considering, first seeks to arouse and enrage the ‘mob’– the people, and move them to ‘purge’ our holy ranks of such undesirable! Prejudice is skillfully employed: anathemas are hurled against such men, and the ‘mob’ is told how awful and terrible the views of these men are and what disastrous results will follow! Thus the emotions are aroused and passions inflamed, and these men are scathed with pontifical condemnation and the campaign to hate, mark, and isolate them is launched.”

(Charles A. Holt, Sentinel of Truth, Volume I, Number 2, October, 1965, pages 25, 26)


I know of no one who better fits the above description of “Fanaticism” more than the author of the above article. He gave a vivid picture of “Fanaticism” in his work in Sentinel of Truth for over three and one half years, beginning in 1965, and also his work with The Examiner, which he edited until it closed publication a year or two ago.

Charles Holt follows the contrived pattern of selecting out some abuse or radical person and attributes the consequences of that abuse or extreme person to everyone who does not stand with him. He then selects terms and slanderous names that ridicule and blaspheme all those whom he classifies as the “clergy” or “board of directors” and the “dumb sheep” in the pews. He and his associates sneer and vilify those who believe that the New Testament church is an organized functional entity, and operates only as the local congregation (Phil. 1:1). All of these false and unscriptural terms and allegations are denied by those whom he assaults, but that means nothing to him. Finally, he slips in his despicable doctrine which would negate the only collective working unit of God’s people in a locality: the local church. Notice some of the verbal pictures that Charles Holt uses that exhibit exactly his own “fanatic” attitude that is shown in his teaching.

He says the “corporate treasury,” ”the church treasury,” as we have it today in “the local church” organization, is borrowed from the Roman Catholic Church and other denominations. He says it is a source of great trouble and evil among the people of God. It is a concentration of power; and power often corrupts. He says it is a vital part of the organization or institution we have formed called ”the corporate body” or ”the local church.” He says it is the funding source for the operation of our institution, with its highly paid staff, its massive buildings, its recreation programs, and all the necessary expenses of a big business. “The operational budget must be bigger and bigger. The largest part of it is spent on ourselves, while the world remains lost in sin and bound for hell! How terrible.”

Charles Holt has supplanted the church with his own church organization. It is called Truth and Freedom Ministry, Inc. in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He wants the contributions you are now giving to “the corporate body” or “the local church” so he can fund his operation: The Examiner. He begs for money to support his religious organization, and he says it is growing and he wants more and more money to support its appetite.

The following quotes are taken from several issues of The Examiner to show that Holt begs for money to support his religious operation while opposing the treasury of the local church. He says: “WE NEED YOUR HELP FINANCIALLY to keep The Examiner going to thousands of disciples all over the world . . . ”

“Please help us with a regular contribution to: Truth and Freedom Ministry, P.O. Box 21584, Chattanooga, TN 37421. Your gift is also tax deductible. THANKS.” “If you see the need to continue publishing this paper and you are able to help financially, then please do so. It is needed now. This is the way the paper has been financed from the beginning. The financial burden is heavy, but with more of you helping we can reach out to more and more saints with this paper. Please help us with a regular contribution if you can. Remember your gift is tax deductible. Send to: Truth and Freedom Ministry, Inc. . . . ” “YOUR FINANCIAL HELP IS NEEDED.”

Holt’s religious “corporate body” sponsored the 1989 Truth And Freedom Forum/Fellowship, a five day/night lectureship, from Wednesday through Sunday, in July, 1989.

Charles Holt has not changed the plan for operation, he has just changed the ORGANIZATION. He wants that “corporate treasury.” He wants as many as possible to surrender their money to his organization instead of the church of the Lord. He does not want “elders, overseers, bishops” to direct its use; he wants to direct its use. He does not want the church to spend the money for evangelism, he wants his organization (The Truth and Freedom Ministry, Inc.) to spend the money under his control. He mocks the “Corporate Body” (church), but praises his “Corporate Body” (The Truth and Freedom Ministry, Inc.). He doesn’t want the “local church” to exist, but he wants his LOCAL BODY to exist. (It operates from Chattanooga, TN and under his control. It has corporate officers and functions from one location.) Charles Holt has simply changed the ORGANIZATION from the Lord’s church to his own church, and from the Lord’s control to his own control. The money, the operation to indoctrinate and a “Corporate Body” remain the same. He has changed the organization from a divinely ordained body to a humanly devised body.

There are many, many false things taught in The Examiner that only serve to destroy the work of the gospel in this generation. May God have mercy upon all who contribute to such an operation!