Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
First, a little about myself. I’ve been a school teacher, a social worker, and a newspaper reporter, but spent most of my working years doing various jobs in a limestone operation in southern Alberta. I’m now retired.
I’ve been a Christian since 1972 when the Lord finally succeeded in bringing me down to my knees, and up out of a miry pit of alcohol and drugs and all that went with it—a dissolute life. He lifted up a beggar from a dunghill, and set me among princes.
My adventure with George Fox began when one of the friends I found myself in fellowship with was browsing one day through a second-hand bookstore. There, in a bargain bin among a jumble of other books considered not of much worth, he discovered the two-volume set of Fox’s journal. He casually leafed through one of them and, suddenly realizing what he’d found, clutched the set to his chest while looking around furtively to see if anyone had noticed his excitement. Then he nonchalantly walked up to the till, paid the give-away price, and fled the store.
It’s not every day that you find gold in the bargain bin of a used book store.
After he read the journal himself, my friend passed it on to two or three others in our fellowship. (We were not involved in any of the denominations, we were just a small group who met in homes.) Thus it came into my hands, and it was not long before I realized I needed my own copies, first purchasing the Nickalls edition, and then later the eight-volume set of the Works of George Fox, which included the two-volume set of his journal—with the same cover my friend found in the bookstore bargain bin.
What I think is most encouraging about Fox and the early Friends is the way one of our leaders often spoke of them. He called the early Quakers a harbinger of what is yet to come. What shape this yet-to-come expression of the living Christ will take I don’t know. The only way we will discover that is by walking with Him today. As Fox often taught, Jesus Christ is of no profit to anyone as a mere historical figure, neither is He of any profit when relegated to the future, either. In like manner, studying Fox and the early Quakers as a mere historical movement has little value. We must embrace what they embraced—walking with a present Christ as He moves forward in His eternal purposes. There is more before us than there is behind us.