New Foundation Fellowship

Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel

In this age of toleration there are two questions that are not tolerated. The first question is, "Can you be a Quaker without being a Christian?" One's first impulse, on hearing such a question, is to look about at various groups claiming the name of Christian and to wonder, "Does he think I have to be like that?" This brings us to the realm of the second question. "Can you be a Christian without being a Quaker?"

It is time to define our terms. Christian is much the older word and therefore perhaps the most familiar to people. It could be defined many ways. But for my purposes, I will begin its definition with, "A Christian is one who hears and follows the voice of Christ." In other words, a Christ-ian. We will leave the definition there for the moment.

George Fox wrote in his Journal that in the year of 1648, "…the Lord God opened to me by his invisible power, how that every man was enlightened by the divine light of Christ. I saw it shine through all; and that they that believe in it came out of condemnation to the light of life and became the children of it; but they that hated it and did not believe in it were condemned by it, though they made a profession of Christ." (Works, Vol. 1, p. 89) "Then sometime after, the Lord commanded me to go abroad into the world which was like a briery, thorny wilderness. When I came, in the Lord's mighty power, with the word of life into the world, the world swelled and made a noise, like the great raging waves of the sea. Priests and professors [i.e. those professing faith in Christ], magistrates and people were all like a sea, when I came to proclaim the day of the Lord amongst them, and to preach repentance to them." (Ibid., pp. 89-90)

Fox's commission for the work he did was as follows:

  • He was sent to turn people from darkness to the light, that they might receive Christ Jesus. Those who would receive him in his light, he would give the power to become sons of God.
  • He was to direct people to the Spirit that gave forth the scriptures, by which Spirit they will be led into all truth and up to Christ and God.
  • He was to turn people to the grace of God and to the truth in the heart which came by Jesus. Being taught by this grace would bring their salvation, establish their hearts, and season their words. Christ had died for all, was a propitiation for all, and had enlightened all with his light. No one was a true believer but who believed in this light.
  • He was to bring people off from their own ways to come to Christ the new and living way.
  • He was sent to bring people out of the churches made and gathered by man to the church in God of which Christ is functional the head.
  • He was to bring people off from the world's teachers which men made to learn from Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life.
  • He was to bring them off all the world's worships that they might know and be led by the Spirit of truth in the inward parts and thereby worship the Father of spirits in spirit and truth.
  • He was to bring people off all the world's religions, which are vain, that they might know the pure religion, might visit the fatherless, widows and strangers, and keep themselves from the spots of the world.
  • He was to bring people off from all the world's fellowships, which stood in forms without power, all their prayings and singings; so that their fellowship might be in the Holy Ghost, and in the eternal spirit of God.
  • He was sent to bring people off from Jewish ceremonies, heathenish fables, and men's invented and worldly doctrines by which people were blown about from sect to sect.
  • He was sent to bring people off from ministers made by man, not by Christ, ministers who preach and not freely for they have not received freely from Christ.

For a complete statement of Fox's commission, see his Journal or the Works of Fox, Vol. 1, pp. 90-92.

The definition of Quaker is seen in the people of God, in scorn called Quaker, gathered by this work which Fox and others undertook and who were made alive by the appearance of Jesus in their midst.

The work which Fox and others were sent by God to accomplish could be summed up as follows. They were sent to call people away from being man-ians or serpent-ians that they might become true Christ-ians.

That is a big claim to make about the message and work of the early Quakers. Many think it preposterous, deluded, or Quixotic to claim that there is as much need today for the gospel preached by Fox and for the life of obedience lived by the early Quakers. When we claim that this same gospel must be preached again today, when we say we are called to re-proclaim the everlasting gospel preached by Fox and the early Quakers, we are stepping into an unequivocal commission to be clear and to draw distinct lines between truth and falsehood, between what brings life and what brings death, who is the author of each, and how man is to be restored to the image of God--a living being.

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