New Foundation Fellowship

Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel

Ellis has made a comment on my latest post, posing three important questions. He has given me permission to include the full text of his comment here. In this post, I’ll attempt to address those questions. Hopefully this will be helpful to other readers as well.   Here is his comment:

Comment by Ellis Hein

Bill,

You stated: "Preterism gives powerful biblical support to some of Fox’s most controversial ideas." I am coming from a background where, upon reading Fox, I could exclaim, "Now this makes sense." So I am at a loss to grasp what you see as Fox's "most controversial ideas." Can you give examples?

Again you state: "In my last post I pointed out that he viewed the time of the Revelation to John as coinciding with the coming of Christ (as do preterists)." I have been looking for this in previous postings and have not been able to come up with it. I must be reading over it and missing it. Can you give examples from Fox that point to Fox viewing the timing of the Revelation to John coinciding with the coming of Christ?

And, you stated: " Fox’s theology drew heavily on John’s gospel, just as it did the book of Revelation." Here I want to point out that Fox's understanding of Scripture was based upon openings he received from Christ rather than being the result of careful study. I'll try to provide a few quotes that I hope will make the point plain.

I had great openings concerning the things written in the Revelations ; and when I spoke of them,the priests and professors would say, that was a sealed book, and would have kept me out of it. But I told them, Christ could open the seals, and that they were the nearest thing to us; for the epistles were written to the saints that lived in former ages, but the Revelations were written of things to come. (vol. 1, p. 72)

When I had openings they answered one another, and answered the scriptures; for I had great openings of the scriptures... (vol. 1, p. 73)

These things I did not see by the help of man, nor by the letter, though they are written in the letter; but I saw them in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by his immediate spirit and power, as did the holy men of God by whom the holy scriptures were written. Yet I had no slight esteem of the holy scriptures, they were very precious to me ; for I was in that spirit by which they were given forth ; and what the Lord opened in me, I afterwards found was agreeable to them. (p. 89)

I'll look forward to your answers and return comments.

Ellis,

I’ll answer your questions, to the best of my ability, in reverse order:


First, I understand very well that Fox’s insights were due to his prophetic openings, and they didn’t spring from a process of Bible interpretation or exegetical analysis. Nor were they the result of consultation with biblical scholars and theologians. This is true of the biblical prophets as well… Fox’s use of the Bible was a lot like the way the Psalmists used the books of Moses, or the way Paul and Peter applied the Old Testament scriptures in their teaching. From their example we can see that true prophets build and expand on each other, but they never contradict each other when understood contextually.


Whenever I remark that Fox drew on particular biblical material I don't mean to imply that he was interpreting it in a systematic way or approaching it according to a set of hermeneutical rules. Fox was a remarkably gifted man of God. He was (in my opinion) a true prophet who drew on scripture through prophetic inspiration, not with human techniques of biblical analysis, and he did so in a very rich, creative and perceptive way.


However, the point I’m trying to make is this: just as all the biblical prophets can be understood, affirmed, and harmonized by studying and comparing their messages contextually (seeing their consistency and their common, cumulative truth) so we should be able to study Fox and find that same underlying consistency and commonality with the biblical writers. This is because the same Holy Spirit was at work in all of them; we should be able to see how all the prophets dovetail together when taken seriously within their own contexts. The fact that these prophetic openings (both those of the biblical prophets and of Fox) were given in supernatural power does not nullify the importance, or the validity, of trying to make the best sense possible of them with good scholarship and sound methods of contextual study.


It may be difficult for you to see the value in such a process, Ellis, because you’re already a convinced and deeply committed follower of George Fox. But people who are from entirely other backgrounds and contexts (like myself) cannot reasonably be expected to embrace Fox as a legitimate prophetic figure until they’ve been able to see how his teaching is consistent with a rational, systematic approach to biblical interpretation. This approach does not detract in any way from Fox’s message or from the unique value of his prophetic gift (any more than it would from that of the biblical prophets). It simply puts Fox and his message in a context that is reasonable, understandable and accessible to people in the wider world. It is a way of bringing them the message in a language that is comprehensible to them, thus making it possible for the Spirit to eventually lead them to a place of embracing it. This is my burden, and I believe it was also Lewis Benson’s burden. Benson often approvingly quoted select nuggets of truth from contemporary theologians and scholars in order to highlight the remarkable insights that Fox was given prophetically.


To answer your second question, you must read carefully what Fox is saying in the passage I quoted in my fourth post to see its significance, giving special attention to the biblical material he uses. The passage is from Fox’s Gospel Truths, Edition 1706, found here: https://books.google.com/books?id=3JoqAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA17&lpg=...


When you read this passage with great care, noting the contexts of the scriptures he refers to, it becomes clear that Fox is affirming a First Century coming of Christ that is coincident with Christ's giving of the Revelation to John. The second paragraph in my quotation in Post # 4 is especially enlightening. Note particularly how Fox goes about contrasting the last supper which John celebrated with Jesus before His crucifixion (the one with real bread and wine) with the spiritual supper that is revealed to John in his Revelation vision (Rev. 3:20).

But before doing so, please consider some very important and highly relevant biblical/historical background:
At the “last supper” Jesus told his disciples that He would not drink again of the fruit of the vine until He did so with them in His Kingdom (Matt. 26:29). In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Paul (writing about 25 years after the crucifixion and perhaps 10-12 years prior to the giving of the Revelation to John) picked up on that statement and re-stated it, saying that their continuing practice of eating the meal together was an ongoing opportunity for remembrance of Jesus “until He comes”. So Jesus had clearly not yet come when Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians (mid-fifties AD). Keep this in mind as you read what Fox says.


Fox clearly states that the time for that communal meal of literal bread and wine (which Christians had been practicing as a remembrance since Jesus’ resurrection) was ended when John received his Revelation of the risen and ascended Christ. Fox says: “for its (speaking of that “last supper” which John had celebrated with Jesus and the disciples) like (that is, the New Testament practice described by Paul in 1 Corinthians) they had taken the Bread and the Cup in remembrance of Christ’s death till He came, and now (that is, at the time John received the Revelation) John tells them Christ is come. Later in the same paragraph Fox doubles down on this same thought. Speaking of his contemporaries in traditional Christendom as “Reprobates”, Fox says “May not Reprobates take the elements of Bread and Wine in remembrance of Christ’s death, and say they will do it till Christ come, yet Christ sayeth Behold I stand at the door and knock (remember Christ first said this at the time of the giving of the Revelation to John) and though He is come yet they will not open the door and hear His Spiritual voice…”


You see, Fox could not be saying that the practice of the communal meal among early Christians (before the giving of Revelation to John) was invalid at that time. Jesus had instructed them (in AD 30) to remember Him in that communal practice until the full coming of His Kingdom. Paul clearly said that the practice was still valid in his day (mid-50s AD), and would continue to be valid until Christ came. What Fox must be saying then is that the purpose of the old literal practice of the communal meal had come to its end when John received his vision on Patmos of the risen and ascended Christ (this was probably no more than 2-3 years before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70). Thus Fox identifies the coming of Christ and the fulness of His Kingdom with the appearance of Christ to John in the first chapters of the book of Revelation. It’s clear that, in Fox's thought, Christ had come at that point because this is when He invited all to open the door to Him in His resurrected and ascended spiritual presence (parousia) and to join Him in the true spiritual Supper. Jesus had told His disciples that he would not sup (drink the fruit of the vine) with them until He could do so with them in the Kingdom. So this invitation extended in Revelation 3:20 signified that His Kingdom was arriving in power and fullness at that very time. As I also noted in my fourth post, Fox’s application of the biblical imagery of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is another way he ties Second Coming events to the time of Jesus’ visionary appearance to John. That is, he equates the spiritual fellowship Jesus offers us in Revelation 3:20 with the Marriage Supper (which is set squarely in the midst of the symbolic picture of the Second Coming in Revelation chapter 19).


As to your first question, Ellis, the answer is related very much to your final question (which I answered first!). What I mean is this. As you readily admit yourself, you are necessarily viewing things from the standpoint of your own Quaker background and perspective. For you, everything you read from George Fox makes perfect sense! But this is not the case for the typical Christian, and especially for those who are very Bible-oriented Christians (most of whom tend to read the Bible very “literally” as their default method). And yet, it is these very people who would be most inclined to embrace the Christ-centered message and power of the early Quakers if only they could see how biblical it really is (and if it could be made understandable to them in their “language”).


Here is a short list of a few of the "controversial" ideas found in George Fox and early Quakerism which need to be addressed biblically:


1. Most controversial of all – the Second Coming has already happened and is in ongoing fulfillment!


2. Related to Point 1 – celebration of the eucharist is no longer necessary; it was only to be practiced “until Christ comes.”


3. Related to Point 2 – the true Supper is spiritual, not literal and material; it is the real substance of Christ’s presence, not the shadow.


4. The New Heavens and Earth, and the New Jerusalem, are symbolic of the present New Covenant Age  (spiritual realities here and now), not a yet future literal change in the state of the material Universe.


5. Related to Point 4 – the New Creation in Christ is now available to transform our lives, and to give us an intimate relationship of real interaction and dialogue with the Voice of Christ (and this is what the New Covenant is really all about!).


From where you stand, Ellis, all of these ideas may make perfect sense and seem unquestionably true. But you certainly must know that for the typical, traditional Christian these ideas are unorthodox and controversial in the extreme. If you can’t make a reasonable case for them with sound biblical exegesis, and in language that is familiar and understandable, what are the odds of these folks ever giving Fox and the Quaker message a second glance, much less a fair hearing? I know for a fact that the chances are slim to none, because this is the world I’ve lived in.


As things stand now, given the chaotic, hopelessly confused and diverse state of sectarian Quakerism, what real prospect is there for the message to be heard? The world deserves to have the opportunity for an honest exposure to the Christ-centered Quaker message. But truthfully, it seems to me that in the current Quaker climate the world has no way of even knowing that such a message exists. Millions of people are out there wandering like sheep without a shepherd. I believe Jesus has compassion on them, just as He did when He was here in the flesh (Matt. 9:36). I also believe that God has a multitude of people dwelling in Babylon, who love Christ and are honestly following the best light they have. If this were not so, He would not call them “My people” in calling them out (Rev. 18:4). But they need to hear! Many are longing for the full gospel message and, like George Fox, don't even know what it is they're longing for (this was me). Lewis Benson put the situation this way:


“I believe that the most important church activity within the compass of gospel order is the work of preaching the everlasting gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. The foundation of gospel order is the gospel, and this gospel foundation cannot be laid just once with the expectation that it will furnish a foundation for all future generations. If the gospel is not preached, it gradually ceases to be the rock and foundation on which the whole superstructure of the church is built. The gospel is not “the power of God” unless it is proclaimed.”  (Benson, What Did George Fox Teach About Christ? , page 32).

For centuries God’s poor lost sheep have been misled, in one way or another, by the Babylon of institutional religions (including institutional Quakerism!). There’s a gigantic communication and culture gap between Fox’s world and our world today. The question I’m asking is this: “Who’s going to stand in the gap? Who will care enough to bridge this chasm?  And who will God hold accountable if no reasonable attempt is made to do it?"

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Comment by Earlon William (Bill) Carsley on 3rdMo. 25, 2015 at 1:15

Allan, thank you for sharing these thoughts.  You've packed a lot in here, and it will take me some time to absorb it all!  My sense is that we are not really that far apart on the essentials, although there are some differences.  One question that does come immediately to mind... if you could clarify your view on it for me I'd appreciate it.

What about Paul's discussion, in 1 Corinthians 11, of the communal meal which he said should be celebrated "until He comes"?  As you know, it's on this basis that most Christians celebrate a material eucharist to this day - because in their view Christ still has not come. You seem to be saying that Fox would view Pentecost as the "coming" of Christ in Spirit which makes a material eucharist unnecessary.  But if that is true, then Paul was mistaken to practice the communal supper in his day, some 25 years after Pentecost.  Yet Paul does clearly state that the practice was valid then, and would continue to be valid until the coming of Christ (sometime still in his future).  How do you account for the contradiction that this poses?  My interpretation of Fox's statement, as outlined in this post, accounts for both Fox's view of the annulling of the material "supper" at Christ's coming (at the Revelation to John) and the teaching of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. I don't see how your explanation of Fox's view of Christ's coming can reconcile the two. Thank you, Allan.

Comment by Ellis Hein on 3rdMo. 25, 2015 at 12:23

Bill,

I have been asking questions both to gain understanding of what you are talking about and to see where you are taking these ideas. You may want to tell me you haven't gotten to where you are taking these ideas. But what I am seeing is not anything that enhances the gospel. I do not see that preterism makes the everlasting gospel one bit more accessible to modern Christianity. Fox does not need any extra Biblical undergirding.

There is an eye, which in seeing sees not. There is an ear, which in hearing hears not. There is a heart that in perceiving understands not. This eye, ear, and heart must be made blind, deaf, and hard before the the one having that eye, ear, and heart turns from them to that sight that can receive the light of Christ, to that yearning that can only be satisfied by the voice of Christ, and to that heart that perceives the coming of the kingdom like a thief in the night, without expected signs and wonders. This was the effect of the early Quaker gospel. It caused one (maybe Anthony Pearson or maybe Alexander Parker, I'll have to look it up) after an encounter with Fox to write in a letter, “Woe is me for my faith is undone,” or words to that effect. He went on to state that all his attainments in religion were just high-flown notions, devoid of life. Edward Burrrough wrote of how they ceased from all men's words and from their own words and from all their own practices in religion zealously performed in the past that they might wait in silence to experience the Word of God to beat down and burn up all that was contrary to God. Fox's commission was to bring men off from all the world's religions, which are in vain, and from man-made churches that they might come to the Church in God of which Christ is the head. It is this confrontation with the living Christ that will cause people to hear and understand the gospel preached by the apostles, by the early Friends, and rising again in this day. “If you had stood in my council,” said the Lord through Jeremiah to the prophets who ran but were not sent, “You would have announced my words to the people and turned them from their wickedness.” It is Christ whom they must hear in all things if they are to have any part in the people of God.

The debate about whether or not Jesus' return occurred at the time of the Revelation to John adds nothing to the gospel. What is going to make the difference to the people to whom you are sent is whether or not you are living in that same life and power that made the prophets to be prophets and the apostles to be the apostles. Are you bringing people into real encounter with the living Christ who is their present teacher? This is the question that needs to be uppermost in your mind.

Christ is the light of the world. He is the truth and the life. He is the way to the Father. Whenever and wherever anyone has come into the light, the life and the truth; whenever and wherever anyone has come to the Father, there is the coming of Christ.

Now, it seems necessary to fill you in on my background. You are making some assumptions that are not true. I grew up in an evangelical church, which having the name “Friends” attached still did not know anything about Fox or other early Friends. They were typical protestants adhering to such things as the Bible being the Word of God and our primary authority. One side of my family was part of the Mennonite migration out of Russia into central Kansas in the 1800s. There was nothing in either of those traditions to prepare my heart for receiving the truth of what Fox and the early Friends taught. But there was one thing I had from my earliest memories and that was a taste of life and a hunger after that life. Because of that taste for life I was able to understand that many things I was being taught were not the truth. They did not lead to the life for which I hungered. When I was caught up in my own selfish ends, the yearning after life drew me back. I came across a Rufus Jones edition of Fox's Journal when a freshman in college. Even though Rufus Jones made a mess of Fox's journal, I caught a glimpse of that same life that I had known since a young child. And in the writings of Barclay's Apology (modern English) I found a declaration of that same life. In reading these two works I discovered a people who experienced the living reality of Christ as the head of his church who is actively present in the midst of those who gather to hear Him. My experience of church life had been of a human institution with Christ as a figure head. Later, I have had opportunity to read the works of other early Friends. The power behind the gospel they preached and that must be preached again today is Christ himself. He is the gospel. He is the covenant. He is to be experienced in all his offices by his people who gather in His name.

If you have it upon your heart to preach this everlasting gospel to the inhabitants of the Earth, if you are given a word from the Lord and sent to a particular work, you will reach to that life in people that has lain dormant and buried. It is this life that, rising up in the heart, will convict and convince them of the everlasting truth. This is what it means to be a minister of Christ.

Comment by Allan Halton on 3rdMo. 25, 2015 at 15:37

Bill, in response to your question, I have not been able to find in Fox’s writings any comment on John 14:18—“I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.”  (If anyone can direct me to where I can find any comments he’s made on this I’d be glad to hear of it.)  I do find several places in His “Works” where he speaks of the Spirit of God, and the Holy Ghost, and the Comforter, and the importance of Spirit baptism in the context of John the Baptist’s words in Matthew Ch. 3, but no direct statements about Pentecost. 

 

So I am not saying that Fox considered Pentecost the parousia.  (Did you misunderstand me on that?)  From what you have said about John’s vision in Rev. Ch. One, it appears that he felt this was the parousia.

 

Pentecost does not do away with “the Lord’s supper,” for, as you said, Paul considered the communal meal still valid after Pentecost—and after he himself had received his own Pentecost as recorded in Acts 9:17.

 

And I don’t accept that Christ’s invitation to the Laodicean church to sup with Him, and He with them, is grounds for doing away the communal supper, either.  For one thing, it’s not clear to me that the appearance of Christ to John in Revelation Chapter One was the Parousia.  John called it a prophecy (Rev. 1:3).  When it is fulfilled, I believe it certainly is the Parousia, just as when the transfiguration vision (Jesus called it a vision, Mt. 17:9) is fulfilled, it is the Parousia, the “power and coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pt. 1:16).  I certainly think these are under way, but are not yet fulfilled.  In order for the parousia to be fulfilled, those who hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches become intimately involved in the Parousia, just as Paul taught the Thessalonians—that the day would come when Christ would come “to be glorified in His saints, and admired in all them that believed” (2 Thes. 1:10). That is the Parousia, and it had not taken place in the days of Paul and John, as we see in John’s record of the seven churches of Asia.  There was still a lot of work to be done (and still remains to be done) to bring forth churches that are perfectly one with that Man John saw in The Revelation.  It is through such churches that the Parousia comes forth.

 

So, what did Christ have in mind with regard to the church of Laodicea?  He was simply saying to this backslidden church that He was not in their midst, He was outside, yet standing at the door knocking and hoping to be invited in.  He said, “If you open the door and invite Me in, I will come in and sup with you.  We will have fellowship together.  I will sup with you, I will partake of what’s “on your plate.”  And you can sup with Me—partake of what’s on “My plate.”  I don’t think it’s right to read into this that He is replacing the outward ordinance of the Lord’s supper with something spiritual. 

      

The Quakers and the Salvation Army are two groups that did away with the outward observances of water baptism and communion.   But the New Covenant apostles taught that both of these are still valid facets of truth.  The apostles did not teach that Spirit baptism replaced water baptism, and they didn’t teach that the fellowship of the Spirit replaced the bread and the wine of the New Covenant supper.  Granted that both of these outward ordinances had become mere ritual in many churches back then (as also today), and that is likely why the Quakers and the Salvation Army dispensed with them in their day.  But this moves away from apostolic revelation, and so is not grounds for us to do the same.  Personally I feel that water baptism can be greatly elevated by sensitivity to the Spirit of God, and so can the New Covenant meal.  In the days of the early church it was observed as part of a meal among brethren, but because of the Lordship of the Spirit in their lives it was far more than a mere outward observance.

 

That is what it must be to us.  The breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup in no way suffices apart from our communion, our fellowship, in the blood of Christ and the broken body of Christ. The Lord’s supper is meant to be spiritual—which is the very thing Paul was addressing in 1 Corinthians Ch. 11, and he did not advise them that they were no longer to partake of the bread and the wine but only in a spiritual sense. 

 

Christ said He would no more eat of the Passover supper “till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Lk. 22:16).  He said also He would not drink of the fruit of the vine “until the day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom of God” (Mt. 26:29).  So we have the privilege of sitting down with Him at His table in His kingdom and partaking of these with Him now.   At the same time, Paul, who was in the kingdom of God and went everywhere preaching the kingdom of God (and this before John’s vision in Rev. Ch. One) taught that the bread and the wine of the Lord’s supper were to be observed, as I have already pointed out. 

 

So, personally I think it wise to do both of these as led by the Spirit, anticipating an enlarging of my understanding of the Kingdom and coming (Parousia) of Jesus Christ.  For, as I said, the New Covenant writers who had received the Spirit at Pentecost still anticipated and wrote about a coming Parousia. (See list of scriptures in previous post.)  So it cannot be said that in any sense of fullness, Pentecost is the Parousia.  But it is certainly a “coming” that sadly has been overlooked, even missed, by much of Christendom.

 

Am I suggesting that George Fox was wrong in teaching that these were no longer to be observed—water baptism and the Lord’s supper?  Let me say that I have the greatest respect for that man, and have learned much from him.  I rejoice for the day that he crossed my path.  But I dare not take him as my Sun, my Star.  That I reserve for Christ alone, as Fox Himself did.  So if there is any area where I am not clear that Fox is seeing that Sun, that Star, my commitment must be not to Fox, but to Christ my Sun, my Star.   

 

And if any have greater light on these matters than I have, and can convince me it comes from my Sun, my Star, I am happy to receive it.

 

 

Comment by Rebecca Hein on 3rdMo. 25, 2015 at 18:23

Dear Bill,

It seems to me pointless to debate when the “Second Coming” occurred. That issue is a sidetrack and a distraction from the most important reality we face: Christ is present and speaking to us now, and our job is to listen.

Imagine how ludicrous it would be if a group of people held a dinner party and invited a special guest to sup with them and speak to them, and then, after that guest arrived and was speaking, they were all talking as follows:

“But when did he get here?”

“Is he here yet?”

“Oh, he's here, my book says he arrived...let's see...15 minutes ago.”

“Fifteen minutes ago? That can't be right. I have a different passage in that same book that says he's just now walking in the door.”

“But that's not right because my book has a prediction that he would have arrived 2 days ago.”

Under such circumstances, who could hear anything but their own arguments?

As to the many out there who are hungering for direct contact with the risen Christ, we in the NFF recognize their need and stand ready for our Lord's direction in this matter. That is the entire reason our group came into being.

Many have mistaken the directness of our speech (Lewis Benson's and now Pat's, for example) for an attitude of “extreme sectarian isolation”--it is not a new reaction. I believe it stems from our refusal to allow the truth we have received from God (and which Fox is constantly pointing to in his writings) to be in any way compromised or diluted.

After all, how does it serve the world to “play down” or “broaden” God's most important requirements such as “Hear my voice [and obey}” or “I will give you full power to obey if you listen with your whole heart”? Or just “Shut up [stand silent before Me] and listen”?

Certainly we cannot expect modern readers to leap into full-fledged interest in and study of Fox and the writings of other early Quakers. I agree that's unrealistic. It is our responsibility to make the message accessible and clear to today's hungry hearts. Many of us in the NFF have written articles, books, pamphlets, etc. in our own voices, and these publications are available.

But there's a reason we always refer back to Fox: because he stubbornly and consistently points the reader to the “Light that lighteth all men.”

Becky Hein

Comment by Earlon William (Bill) Carsley on 3rdMo. 26, 2015 at 0:15

Dear Allan,

I am sorry that I have misunderstood you, and I owe you a sincere apology.  I assumed that you were a Quaker, but it is clear to me now that you are not; although you certainly are a Quaker sympathizer (as I am!).  Your views on the "Lords Supper" are very far from those of Fox and the Quakers.  My concern about the timing of Christ's coming is not really relevant to you at this time, since you are not opposed to Christians celebrating a communal meal.  For you it doesn't matter much whether or not Christ has yet come in the manner Paul was expecting in the New Testament.  But for Quakers, although they fail to realize it, it is very important.

This is because, depending on the timing, it becomes an issue of choosing between the teaching of the apostle Paul or that of George Fox.  My proposal (and that's all it is - a proposal) is my way of trying to resolve that issue.  If Fox meant to teach that the communal meal was invalid from the time of Christ's Spirit presence at Pentecost then his teaching clearly contradicts Paul's in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (as you noted yourself).  Likewise, if Paul was referring to a "coming" later than AD 70 (perhaps still even in our future) then Fox and the Quakers have always been wrong to condemn other Christians for practicing a memorial meal. 

I am only trying to resolve that dilemma with my preterist proposal.  Again, I emphasize, my proposal is only tentative; I don't claim that it is a certainty.  I would welcome an evaluation and assessment of my proposal from others who are more knowledgeable about Fox than I am.  But unfortunately I have not been able to elicit any interest or meaningful discussion about it on this website.  I may have to go elsewhere to have that discussion.

It seems that my intentions are misunderstood here at NFF.  I am a friend of Quakers, and my desire is to offer some reasonable ideas about biblical issues that would be affirming to Fox and his message.  This is my honest intention, nothing more and nothing less.  I had hoped that my presence here would be a positive thing, providing some helpful perspective from a sympathetic outsider, whose only wish is to see Lewis Benson's vision become a reality.

Regardless of how that is working out, I want to say, Allan, that I have appreciated your deep spiritual tone and attitude and your obvious love for Christ since I first met you at the telephone conference. I say that sincerely.  Your grace and gentleness in the Spirit of Christ are most welcomed and appreciated.  God bless you, my friend.  I wish you well.

Bill

Comment by Earlon William (Bill) Carsley on 3rdMo. 26, 2015 at 0:32

Dear Becky,

I could not agree with you more that the timing of Christ's coming, in and of itself, is not a matter of vital importance.  Everyone seems to misunderstand why I have raised the issue.  It is because the timing is very important for Quakers.  This is because it becomes a matter, depending on how Fox is interpreted on the timing issue, of whether he contradicts the plain teaching of the apostle Paul (please see my most recent comment to Allan).  I have made the proposal I have because I want to support the concept that Fox and Paul are not contradicting each other!  My intentions are not to detract from the true gospel message, or focus on side issues.  I just realize how important this can be in helping non-Quaker Christians to be open to Fox and the early Quaker message.  If they believe Fox is contradicting the apostle Paul, then it will be very difficult for them to take him seriously as an inspired prophet (and rightly so).

I appreciate the fact that you and others at NFF are making an effort to get the message out, Becky.  I support you in that.  But I also honestly believe there is so much more that could be done.  The only reason I'm here participating in this forum is that I believe in Lewis Benson's vision, and I think it could be genuinely helpful for you folks to be engaged, and perhaps sometimes challenged, by the objective perceptions of a sympathetic outsider.  I just want you to know that, whether you think my presence here is helpful or not, I am sincere in my desire to see this work progress.  I wish only God's blessing to you and Ellis, and to the work of NFF.

Bill

Comment by Earlon William (Bill) Carsley on 3rdMo. 26, 2015 at 0:42

Ellis,

I have no argument with you about anything you have said about the true gospel.  The issue of the timing of Christ's coming is only important because of the points I have just made to Allan and Becky.  You may still feel that it is irrelevant to the work of reaching the world, but I would respectfully disagree.  It is an issue, along with many of the others that I've tried to raise here,  which can be either a stumbling block or a stepping stone, depending on how it is handled.  I am not your enemy.  If you would prefer that I discontinue trying to engage folks here at NFF, I will honor that.  All I ask is that you allow me to post a final (very brief and courteous) blog post, and that you be willing to leave my posts up on the website for the benefit of those who may have an interest in them.  I do want to thank you sincerely for giving me the opportunity to share what's on my heart in this forum, Ellis.  God bless you.

Bill

Comment by Allan Halton on 3rdMo. 26, 2015 at 15:12

Bill, thank you for your kind words.  You are right, I am not a Quaker.  But neither am I a Baptist, nor a Pentecostal, nor a Presbyterian, nor any of the designations by which Christians have been named or name themselves, although I have experienced water baptism, and Spirit baptism, and believe in the leadership of a plurality of elders... and, among other things, tremble at His word.  I am happy to walk with anyone who is in the Way—our Lord Jesus Christ—and count the Quakers I have met through the New Foundation Fellowship among my dearest friends.

Comment by Ellis Hein on 3rdMo. 26, 2015 at 15:32

Bill, You have not been prohibited from putting up posts. And as far as I know there has not been any discussion of removing them. However, if you remove yourself from membership in the site, your posts and all comments on those posts and all comments you have made will automatically disappear and there is nothing I can do as administrator to prevent that. 

I now have a better understanding of what you are discussing. (Sorry to be slow to catch on.) I may have something rising within me in addition to what I commented earlier, but I am waiting to see just what I am to do.

Ellis

Comment by Earlon William (Bill) Carsley on 3rdMo. 26, 2015 at 15:44

Ok, Ellis.  All I wanted to do is say to the NFF community is that it's become apparent to me that the website managers don't see my contributions as being compatible with their aspirations and goals.  I'm sorry about that, because my intentions have only been pure and sincere.  And I only wanted to thank you publicly for giving me an opportunity to share what's on my heart and mind.  I also wanted to give my contact information for the sake of any who would wish to engage with me.  I don't intend to surrender my membership.  And you really didn't need to put me under "prohibition."  I told you I would not post if you asked me not to, and I am a man of my word.  My contact info, for any who read this and desire it:

Bill Carsley, 91 Buckfield Rd., South Paris, ME 04281

email: billcars@myfairpoint.net

Telephone:  207-744-0680

Thank you, Ellis.  God bless.

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