Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me." If you turn that around, we can say, "If you have come to the Father, you have come by the way, you have embraced the truth, you have life within you--you know and are known by Jesus. These three--way, truth, and life--are the most precious assets a human can posses. Allow me to put these three under one umbrella: Truth with a capital T.
In a 1965 paper published by Lewis Benson (Friends and the Truth) he states: "By listening to God and obeying his word man fulfils the basic law of his being. This basic conversational relationship between man and his creator is what Fox means by truth. Truth does not consist of particular propositions or a system of propositions. It is rather a dialogic relationship to God. When this dialogic relationship is broken man ceases to fulfil the purpose and destiny that God intended for him. This is the fall of man – the failure to hear and obey the creator." (see http://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/313075679?profil...) Truth, in order to be Truth, must restore that broken relationship of hearing and obeying the creator. This is the significance of those opening words of John, "In the beginning was the Word (i.e. intelligible communication)...In him was life and the life was the light of men (male and female)...To as many as received him, even to those who believe on his name (i.e. the Word) to them he gave power to become sons of God...And the Word became flesh and dwells among us full of grace and truth."
Friends and the Truth is also included in the booklet, The Truth Is Christ (by Lewis Benson) In the introduction to this booklet, Ursula Windsor stated:
"Friends and the Truth goes back in time to 1964, when Lewis Benson addressed a small group of Friends in Gloucester Friends Meeting House...'Truth', it states, 'comes by obedience in righteousness, and therefore the wisdom of "Friends in the Truth" in not the wisdom of the wise but the wisdom of the just.' But Lewis Benson also says in this address that `Truth is a person to person relationship to a living being—the risen and eternal Christ.' So when Jesus says that 'You are my friends if you do what I command you' (John 15,14), he is stating in personal terms that through obedience to Him we shall know the Truth. For, says Fox, 'the Truth is Christ.'
Friends and the Truth gives us much food for thought, but it is not just an academic discussion. It ends with the moving invitation to 'receive the baptism of Christ's spirit and to be brought out of many ways into the one way, and out of confusion into the knowledge of Truth.' Those of us to whom these words spoke when we first heard them, have found that over the years our lives have changed. We have learnt that single-mindedness is not to be confused with narrowmindedness, rather that commitment to the 'one Way' brings with it a new freedom to work for God. Thus George Fox in an unpublished manuscript of 1670: 'Christ says, "If the Truth makes you free, then you are free indeed"...free from false ways, false worships and teachers...so serve the Lord God as free men and women: there is your joy and peace and comfort...That which makes you free is the Truth, and the Truth is Christ...' This Christ may be a stumbling block to some and folly to others, but to the people 'in scorn called Quakers', who believed that they were called to be the people of God, 'Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.'" (The Truth Is Christ, pp.7-8)
"And let the weight and preciousness of truth be in your eye, and esteemed above all things by you." (Works of George Fox, Vol. VII, p.109) Truth--the way, the truth, and the life--is a treasure beyond all earthly possessions and earthly provisions. For a short while man can amass wealth and fame. The wealth deserts you at death and God pays no heed to worldly fame. Truth is your treasure in this life and in the next.
The weight and preciousness of Truth must overshadow all our earthly conduct and relationships. "You are my friends IF you do what I command you" is the foundation of fellowship--a shared experience of living under the guidance of Christ. The ministry of Jesus Christ has its rise in the fellowship of Truth. There can be no personal pronouns applied to this ministry. If it is "my ministry" or "your ministry" it is not the ministry of Christ. Christ shows the true minister what is needed, and Christ gives the resources to meet that need. The false minister sees an opportunity and records another personal triumph.
Many people argue against Truth on the basis of "Continuing Revelation." Under this guise we can say that the serpent's tempting words were continuing revelation. They certainly revealed something, but the results were disastrous! Continuing revelation does not mean that my revelation is substantially different than nor more sophisticated than what was revealed to the fathers. It means that God, who spoke in times past, has now spoken to me by his son calling me out of darkness into his light, out of death into his life--Truth.
If a minister of Christ speaks words arising in the life of Christ, you are presented with two choices on the menu: feed on the words or feed on the Truth. The result of your meal depends on which item you order. Come stand in the Truth for the love of it that you may live.
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