Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
The NFF exists to preach the Christian Message that was proclaimed by the Early Friends. Christ has come to teach his People himself.
I have heard this so many times - I wonder if anyone can explain it fully? I am presuming that it was a reaction against Protestantism, that had reacted against Catholicism and their reliance on Tradition as authority in the church. Protestants said that scripture is the sole source of authority and as Barclay rightly said, scripture is the fountain and not the source. Authority is in the direct and immediate revelation of the Spirit to man, but it will not contradict scripture. We see the results of the Protestant position - thousands of denominations. I am fully in support of the Quaker position and have had many wrangles with Protestants about it. It has been the main issue of whether I can join another holiness church - The Salvation Army as it is their first doctrine.
But was this their foremost reason for existence or just one of the ways they differ, and was this the reason for the persecution?
I don't think so because the major significant thing for me was their preaching against sin - that is - they said that men can only be delivered from their slavery from sin, if it is perfect and complete and occurs through the washing of the blood of Jesus done for us on calvery and if we say that it cannot be complete in this life, or that it occurs slowly, then it is because a man is walking in the flesh and is merely stating his own experience, whereas men like George Fox gave a clear testimony that sanctification which is entire and complete, is to occur, and has for them, as an event (flaming sword).
This is the doctrine that is hated in the church and caused the early believers who claimed it to flee to the desert to avoid persecution and so it went out of manistream teaching as Fox reported and the dark ages came. However, there have been men in the church who have taught that immediate revelation from the Spirit is authoritive. Sorry I do not have referrences atm. but I have read men say this and am not aware that a great persecution came upon them. One is a Nazarene pastor who I will try to recall.
The persecution has been kept for anyone who claims to be without sin - and this is the doctrine and the reason for the true revivals in the church of which early Quakersim is one.
Or does it mean that when men are gathered together, Christ will come into their midst and teach them collectively and if this is so, which scriptures are being used?
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It sounds like you have given yourself a lifetime assignment.
I am giving you a few links to further reading: The Power of Good, A Question of Authority, Faith and Culture, Introduction to Fox's Teaching on the Holy Spirit, and Do We Live by Life or by Death
Thank you Ellis, I have had a great interest in the subject of authority for the Christian for a long time. I believe it is of the utmost importance for us. I am having trouble however understanding the position you are presenting.
A few questions in order to understand you better:
1. If you say that all teaching and authority comes from Jesus appearing when two or three are gathered together in His name, what of those who are unable to attend Meeting because of long term health problems or are in a place where they cannot meet with other Quakers?
2. What safeguard is there, that the teaching given by the presence they think that is there, is of God and not the evil one who poses as an angel of light to feel even the elect?
3. What role does the Holy Spirit have in the guiding and teaching of the people of God?
4. Can you give more than one text to support the doctrine of Jesus coming into the midst of His people who are gathered to hear Him as He is said to already be in the 'midst' or dwelling within those who are 'in His name'.
The verse discussed read in it's context is about judgment not teaching as such.
Matt 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Are these questions from someone wanting to learn or from someone wanting to dispute? The disciple shall be given knowledge; the disputant is never satisfied.
I don't think your atitude is very helpful Ellis.
It is neither a matter of helpfulness nor a matter of attitude. In all our conversations, you have refused help. I wrote to you the words of the Lord’s admonition. You pushed them away from you. I responded to your questions above with the words the Lord gave me. You accuse me of having an attitude of non-helpfulness. This is again the answer the Lord has given me to write to you. There is nothing more I can do.
How can my questioning be against the will of God Ellis? He welcomes anyone wanting a deeper understanding.
I have written the words the Lord gave me. Why do you argue with me about them?
When I first heard the eQuaker way of understanding authority for a Christian, some 18 years ago, it revolutionised my thinking, coming from the evangelical camp that claimed sola scriptura with college men to interpret. According to Robert Barclay:
Seeing "no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son revealeth him"; and seeing the "revelation of the Son is in and by the Spirit" (Matt. 11:27); therefore the testimony of the Spirit is that alone by which the true knowledge of God hath been, is, and can be only revealed; who as, by the moving of his own Spirit, he disposed the chaos of this world into that wonderful order wherein it was in the beginning, and created man a living soul, to rule and govern it, so, by the revelation of the same Spirit, he hath manifested himself all along unto the sons of men, both patriarchs, prophets, and apostles; which revelations of God by the Spirit, whether by outward voices and appearances, dreams, or inward objective manifestations in the heart, were of old the formal object of their faith, and remain yet so to be, since the object of the saints' faith is the same in all ages, though held forth under divers administrations. Moreover, these divine inward revelations, which we make absolutely necessary for the building up of true faith, neither do nor can ever contradict the outward testimony of the Scriptures, or right and sound reason. Yet from hence it will not follow, that the divine revelations are to be subjected to the test, either of the outward testimony of the Scriptures, or of the natural reason of man, as to a more noble or certain rule and touchstone; for this divine revelation and inward illumination, is that which is evident and clear of itself, forcing, by its own evidence and clearness, the well-disposed understanding to assent, irresistibly moving the same thereunto, even as the common principles of natural truths do move and incline the mind to a natural assent: as, that the whole is greater than its part, that two contradictories can neither be both true, nor both false. Apology 1st App.
So from then on, I had the words and scriptures to understood it to be immediate and direct revelation to my spirit which was joined to the Holy Spirit who had come to dwell in me, when Christ was raised in His resurrection in me, from the dead way of the flesh, of my coming up through the flaming sword, when I discovered that sanctification is by faith and as it was done 2.000 years ago, something that would take effect immediately I believed.
And this revelation direct to my spirit would always be confirmed by scripture and never by one verse alone, but also by types and figures from the Old.
I have used this method since, and have only once I think been in a Quaker Meeting when indeed the Lord did speak to us all about something but of course it could not be used as the main method of guidance which needs to be minute by minute, the Lord speaking constantly to His child and giving openings in the scriptures, to such an extent that it would take millions of meetings to do the same.
I use the same method is anyone says they have a word from the Lord, He will confirm it directly and I would hope that the person would be confirming it with scriptures.
What I am saying is that I cannot confirm certain teachings from Lewis Benson from scripture and the eQuakers though I do not undervalue the amount of work he did to bring back the early years. But no man has all of the light, by God's design, even George Fox got a few things wrong and I know that I get a few things wrong and because I know that the eQ were in the light more than any other teachers, I go to them and see that their writings are full of scripture which I judge myself by the discernment I was given.
Even Paul said to check out what he said with scripture.