Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
My very first meeting for worship brought me back to my loving friend, Jesus. I have known God since early childhood and had an argument with my Christ when my first born son Jared (father of Enoch who walked with God) died a horrible death after only a few weeks of life. This traumatic event separated me from my God for forty years. I failed the test; I turned away from Christ and searched the world for a faith which would speak to me but when I walked into meeting, and found that special place of silence, it was Jesus who spoke to me. Since then (Nov 4 last year) I have been through a whirlwind of experience. I joined the RSoF within a few months and now I am in great need of Christian guidance. My problem is finding someone who actually is Christian in the sense of following his way, accepting his truth and living in him. As exemplified by early Friends. This golden calf which wears diversity as its crown seems to be gaining momentum within our Society. I am told that we are living in a different era and that I should compromise...I answered that if one was prepared to compromise on matters of faith then one's faith was already compromised and therefor lacking in truth.
On three occasions different elders have admonished me and I would not accept their admonishment.
After I had attended four meetings I was rebuked for using "Christ" language: by an atheist elder!
After seven months I was told I may be thought of as boasting because I wore a t-shirt embroidered with "Friend of Truth" I was told it was no longer done to say I have met with the seed. I answered that I had indeed met with the seed, my God; and that I was aware of my over large ego.
Three weeks ago I was given a powerful ministry in which I said we should recover our roots and tend to them because they were beset with weeds. I also said that if you believed there was no God, you were not yet A Quaker.
Whilst I was taking my seat a member rebuked me from within the silence; and immediately after worship, an elder loudly took me to task asking where I had such gall to say such things; I said that I was true to the ministry given to me. Although I agreed with the content. I asked how could we speak truth to power when we couldn't hear it ourselves. The elder said she was a Christian but she was prepared to compromise, I said "then your faith is already compromised".
A meeting for clearness is now being arranged..me and up to four elders, including he who says there is no God (I requested his presence). What can you say? Am I mistaken?
In love of God
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Michael, No, NO! You are not mistaken. You have come to the truth and the world is howling and raging round about. I am reminded of Fox's experience of how the priests and professors were like the raging sea when he was sent forth to declare the truth. Stand true to what you have been given. You will be given the strength, stand in Christ's strength not your own. You will be given wisdom. Look not to your own wisdom. Wait in the light of Christ who IS the treasury of wisdom and the source of strength. Faith has its rise in the experience of the life of Christ within you overcoming the world and sustaining you through all that the world can throw at you. I am going to send you an email regarding the possibility of a phone conversation. Ellis
If I may echo Ellis' words, Michael, I hope you will stand fast to the Truth that Christ has revealed to you. If you are truly following Christ's leadings in your life, you will not be mistaken.
When I read your words, I was also reminded of Fox's experience of the world rising like a sea,
"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, 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..." (Journal, 1649). This is what happens when the earth comes to be disturbed.
I certainly think a meeting for clearness is needed for the elders. If one claims that there is no God, then I would ask them what need they have with a meeting for worship?
To bear witness to the Truth is life-affirming, and if you hold to the spirit of Christ during conflict, you will walk away unscathed regardless of what is said by others. For, life comes inwardly through Christ, and is not bestowed or reflected from other human beings.
And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them (Eze. 2:5).
I know my worldly self is becoming enamoured with my walk with God. But I walked far from my God and now am as a child who has much to learn. I am yet unsure as to my discernment and am too easily swayed by those whom early Friends called professors. I have found that here I can find validation (or otherwise) in truth from others who are truly children of light. Your words, and the spirit in which they are given are a balm to my soul. To hear words of truth from those who have met with the seed is a gift of grace. I deserve so little and yet my cup overflows.
I have read a lot of different dictionary definitions of atheist and realise that atheism is not "a lack of belief in God" That definition refers to the agnostic (non-theist?) Atheism is a belief! An atheist is one who believes that there is no God. several dictionaries give a second meaning...Atheist= a person who is godless. There will be Quakers who see little difference in that a non theist has not met with the seed. My feeling is that a non theist is able to, with one tiny step of faith (which is, itself, a gift from God). An atheist has no possibility of any communion with God because he has hardened his heart and the still small voice, were it a blaring trumpet could not be heard because they have no ears that that can hear and they can, in no worldly sense perceive our God. The Merriam-Webster on line dictionary defines the archaic meaning of atheism = ungodliness, wickedness. and the psalms;
Psalms 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good. This repeated in Psalm 53:1
In the upcoming meeting I will stand. I will quote from scripture and ask those present to show scripture, whereby an atheist can know God except that he be apostate. a snake in the garden and a wolf amongst his sheep. I am yet unsure of my discernment and my understanding is not in accord with others who would walk with God. And still, one question remains, that I may yet be mistaken....I have met this elder who is atheist in the silence of worship! if he has a belief that there is no God, how can this be? My worldly self says I should just keep silent and follow my own path with God and leave others to follow theirs. In the silence I am led to stay true to my covenant with Christ. If the cost of obedience is alienation from my meeting? My God is sufficient. I welcome any to enter into worship with me, I exclude none. But the atheist excludes himself.... he is enthralled by other than God. and knows not how to worship him. As a Quaker, I am still in the day of small things. Who am I to declare to Friends that they are in error? Can I be silent and yet remain true to my God? I would that this be taken from me and given to a more "weighty" Quaker but his will is that to which I must cleave, with all that I am.
Michael, you have said, "Who am I to declare to Friends that they are in error? Can I be silent and yet remain true to my God? I would that this be taken from me and given to a more "weighty" Quaker but his will is that to which I must cleave, with all that I am."
How do you think others have been made to be more "weighty" except to have been led through such fires as you are encountering? Oh, how well I know the sentiment you express. But you are dealing with matters of life and death. Life and death. What is at stake is your life or death, the life or death of members of that meeting, etc. Read and consider the opening chapters of Jeremiah. He was not to plead youth. He was not given the option to have a more weighty prophet sent to declare the words of the Lord. The Lord does not make mistakes in choosing his vessels, nor will he abandon you. That is not to say that your words will sway or convince those who have hardened their hearts against the voice of the Lord, who choose darkness rather than light. But you will be given strength to stand, even though your knees shake like leaves in the wind. Your strength is in Christ, not in your resolve, not in your intellect, not in knowledge of scripture. Stand in Him. He can make use of those faculties to meet his purpose only as our feet are firmly rooted on Him, our rock and sure foundation. My prayers are with you even though I can't be there in person. I look forward to hearing how this meeting went. Ellis
I have to keep confidentiality.
What I can say is that there were only two elders none of whom was atheist. he couldn't make any of the dates offered.
We found not a single pertinent point on which we agree. and it was soon apparent that I was the only Christian present.
Conclusion: I know my words weren't heard, they had no ears to hear. I am truly sad.
Thanks to all on this forum for your support, I enjoyed reading a few chapters of Jeremiah.