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Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel

John Wesley and the Holiness Movement.

Hello long time ago friends,

First I have a question. Is there a better recordng than the one I found here of Lewis Benson speaking on:

The Gospel Preached by John Wesley and its Echoes in Modern Christi...

I was very interested to find this as I am looking at Wesley's role and influence in the later Holiness Movement and the error he brought into it, that is to say, that justification and sanctification are two seperate events, where Fox and the Quakers placed them together (and in fact Calvinists). When I have spoken on holiness in the past, I wonder if people have confused me as holding to this error.

But first I will wait to see if there is a better recording before I will have to suffer another hour of trying to hear Benson. Thank you.


Views: 198

Comment by Brenda Redshaw on Secondday

It does not sound like George however, an oral tradition will not remain word for word, not in our culture anyway which has had the written word for so long.

He was brought up in a religious home and in this way knew right from wrong, and as many have testified the Lord kept them from serious sin, though those brought up in ungodly homes do not seem to have this protection in the same manner. But he grew up to be self righteous and judgemental, as usually is the case, his mother not teaching him that man can only be holy  through a work of grace out side of conversion. Jesus ate and drank with sinners but George was shocked by their behaviour and departed from them instead of teaching them the gospel.

Fox "With these I had some meetings and discourses; but my troubles continued, and I was often under great temptations.

I fasted much, walked abroad in solitary places many days, and often took my Bible, and sat in hollow trees and lonesome places till night came on; and frequently in the night walked mournfully about by myself; for I was a man of sorrows in the time of the first workings of the Lord in me."  His need at the time was to learn how to overcome unintentional sin like despair and how to deal with temptations which in Jude says we are to be kept. Paul struggled with the same thing in Romans 7. Later of course Fox was able to counsel others to keep in the power that they would have come to obtain when they too were receivers of the same grace but may have slipped from it.

It was when he reached the end of himself that he truth came - that man is freed from sin through the holiness of Christ being imparted to him because the blood washes him from all sin when he submits and humbles himself.

Comment by Ellis Hein on Secondday

How far from the original must an ″oral tradition″ become before it can no longer be attributed to Fox?

Now, concerning the rest of what you write. Here, again, you are distorting what Fox had to say. He does not say that at eleven he only knew right from wrong. Read and see whom he says was his teacher. His words are: "When I came to eleven years of age, I knew pureness and righteousess; for while I was a child I was taught how to walk so as to keep pure. The Lord taught me to be faithful in all things, and to act faithfully two ways, viz. inwardly to God, and outwardly to man; and to keep to yea and nay in all things.″ Nor does he say that the Lord kept him from serious sin. He said: ″Thus in the deepest miseries, and in the greatest sorrows and temptations that beset me, the Lord in his mercy did keep me″ There is no indication that the Lord abandoned him in shallower miseries and lesser sorrows.

Again, you are not reading Fox’s words when you accuse him of being self-righteous and judgmental or of committing unintentional sin such as despair. These are your projections onto the words of Fox that distort the gospel he preached beyond recognition. Fox does not teach of works of grace nor does he write about ″sin nature″ or ″nature of sin″ (as you used in your previous comment). When he reached the end of himself, what does he say that made his heart leap for joy? ″There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition...″ and what does he say about how to be brought up into the state of perfection? ″None come to the perfection, out of the delusion, but they who come to the light within, and follow that; it gives him the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.″ (vol.III:p.304) ″But when Christ opened to me how he was tempted by the same devil, and had overcome him, and had bruised his head; and that through him and his power, light, grace, and spirit, I should overcome also, I had confidence in him.″ (vol.I,p.74-75) ″So mind the faith of Christ, and the anointing which is in you, to be taught by it, which will discover all workings in you. As he teacheth you, so obey and forsake; else you will not grow in the faith, nor in the life of Christ, where the love of God is received.″ (Vol. I,p.106)

You also imply that Fox was negligent in ″George was shocked by their behaviour and departed from them instead of teaching them the gospel.″ Why should he have run before he was sent? When the Lord sent him forth into the world, then he preached the gospel, which none can preach without being sent. The words wrought in the will of man do not reach the witness of Christ within.

All these concepts and loaded terms that you are projecting onto Fox are from outside theologies that have nothing to do with what Fox taught. If you want to know what he had to say, read his works without these projections.

Comment by Brenda Redshaw on Thirdday

Ellis, what Fox talks about during his time of wandering, is very common in a tradition that stretches back to scripture. It is a process whereby the person, is increasingly convicted of their inward state, though previously they were unaware of the problem. Fox became aware of it when previously he had been well behaved after a religious upbringing with the help of the Lord. But then he became increasingly troubled and to the point of despair at his inner state. It is easy to miss things in his words, like when the annointing takes place. In his histroy he did not have the annointing at his point. It occured later and many of his followers were also in that state after listening to him guide them to the light.

Many have gone this way, and as Fox says, it went underground early on due to persecution, and there was not a movement of it in the church. The authorities always tried to crush it and so in the early days, those who preached it had to flee. Through Fox it became mainsteam, but had always been there. One of the writers of it was John of the Cross who describes the process in detail and was persecuted himself for it.

It is not the way of the Quakers to wrangle over scripture or indeed the words of its leader without looking at the bigger picture.

Indeed Fox was self righteous towards his drinking chums and negligent of his relatives during his time of trial or his dark night of the soul, a saying which is often misinterpreted to mean any troubles in life. It is not, it is specific to what Fox describes. That is not to judge him, it is to show the distress he was under and how his previous standards went astray. It was a man severely troubled and many would have committed much worse sins.

The proof of the pudding, is in the eating. As Fox himself insisted, do we have the proof in our understanding of Fox? Whether we have reached the same level as he had through following his lead. Can you claim to be without sin in word thought and action and be as pure as Adam before he fell? That is the test. By their fruits you shall know them. Hoping for it in the future is not proof. The devil is on the road of good intentions. If we do not have the fruit then according to Fox we should not be preaching it.

Comment by Ellis Hein on Fourthday

Fox dictated the whole of his Journal in the later years of his life. His judgment was just as sound concerning his early years as it was concerning his later years. If one is not to believe Fox’s assessment of his condition during his time of temptation and being fitted for his life of ministry, neither can one believe anything else he had to say. Fox says he was righteous, you say he was not, which is as much as to say he was a liar.

I have eaten many puddings. Your pudding contains poison which closes the ear and blinds the eye. It does not lead to life, and I will eat no more of it. You demonstrate the deaf ear and the blind eye by all your false assertions in what you have written in these comments.

Eating Fox’s pudding, i.e. hearing and obeying the light with which Christ Jesus has enlightened everyone, has led to life. By his light, he has opened my ears and given sight to my eyes.

Comment by Brenda Redshaw on Fourthday

Fox admitted that he was not righteous even though previously he thought that he was when he claimed: "For all are concluded under sin, and shut up in unbelief, as I had been; that Jesus Christ might have the pre-eminence who enlightens, and gives grace, and faith, and power." 

I just do not know how to answer you when you have chosen a guide in George Fox which is a very good decision to make yet you have not come to his position of innocence and sinlessness and argue that all that His Master provides is knowledge. You do not have a testimony of being as He was in the world, yet you feel that you are right and have understood Fox correctly. I am sorry Ellis but you are being deceived and are deceiving others may God have mercy on your soul.

Comment by Ellis Hein yesterday

Here are two conundrums that you have proposed in your comment.

Conundrum (a):

Consider again the two statements in question

1. ″Then the Lord let me see why there was none upon the earth that could speak to my condition, namely, that I might give him all the glory. For all are concluded under sin, and shut up in unbelief, as I had been, that Jesus Christ might have pre-eminence, who enlightens, and gives grace, faith, and power.″ (I:75)

2. ″When I came to eleven years of age, I knew pureness and righteousess; for while I was a child I was, taught how to walk so as to keep pure. The Lord taught me to be faithful in all things, and to act faithfully two ways, viz. inwardly to God, and outwardly to man; and to keep to yea and nay in all things.″ (I:67-68)

Both of these statements were dictated at the same period of Fox’s life. Possibly even on the same day as they are not that many pages apart in the Works. If we assume Fox was in a state of righteousness before God when he was dictating his Journal, then we must assume both statements are true.

If statement #2 is false as you assert, then neither one can be accepted. Because if Fox could be mistaken about #2, he can’t be trusted on #1.

Conundrum (b): If I have chosen George Fox as a guide, I can’t be guided by George Fox. Fox pointed people to the light with which Jesus Christ has enlightened all as the only true guide and source of life. The life in Christ Jesus, the Word, is the light in man. Following the light, we are brought into the life.

Now, regarding my position and testimony. Man's sin or problem is that we have the wrong head, we have the wrong teacher, and we eat the wrong food. Thus we are dead and reside in darkness, having turned aside from the image of God. Jesus is the truth because he restores us to the true condition of our creation. He is the rightful head, he is the true teacher, he is the bread of life. He is the life that brings us out of death, out of darkness and into the light of his life. It is the master-disciple relationship with Christ that frees us from being the liar-and-murderer’s slave and makes us a son that remains in the house of God.

It is because he is the teacher of righteousness, the prophet like Moses raised up by God whom all are to hear else they have no place in the kingdom of God, the priest who can wash us in life, the bishop who oversees us that we do not fall down in the earthly, the king whose order and command we dare not disregard; indeed because he is Emmanuel, God with us, that he fulfills the old covenant and brings us into the new.

In this new covenant, we have a new head, Christ Jesus, who is in us and among those who gather to know and experience him in a functional way. By his functioning as head are we kept in the image of God and are clothed in the breath of life. In this new covenant we have a new teacher who teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, who teaches us to live righteous and godly lives in this present evil age. In this new covenant we have living bread given us to eat. We are led into the pastures of life to graze and are let to drink at the springs of life. Our head is our source of life. ″Behold the Lamb of God,″ said John the Baptist, ″who takes away the sin (the death, darkness, and slavery to Satan) of the world.″

Thus, and in no other way, are we brought out of death and darkness and into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Only thus are we set free from the covenant of death and sin made with the murderer and usurper.

This is and has been my position and testimony.

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