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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : To The Prisoners - Fox

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HeartSong
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 To The Prisoners - Fox

To The Prisoners (1657)

Friends, - Ye that are the prisoners of the the Lord Jesus Christ in outward bonds, who witness him by whom the world was made, who is the King of saints, and who are his, and come under his dominion and government, ye are not your own; but purchased with his blood, which washes and makes you clean, and justifies, whose bodies are his temple. Though he suffers you to be imprisoned, yet in his power your bodies are kept, and your spirits also; ye standing witnesses for your master, for your king, for your prophet, for your covenant of light, for your wisdom of God, (him by whom all things were made,) for the word and power, by which all things were made and upheld, against the powers of darkness, who are out of the light, out of the truth, who cannot bind, stop, nor limit the unlimited power, which is over it, and comprehends it. They who are born of the world, and in the power which upholds all things, over that, (and the power of the evil one,) have victory, and sing over the false prophet. For the devil was the deceiver, who abode not in the truth; and there is the false prophet, who speaks of his own, and not from the Lord; and there is the beast, that makes the war against the lamb and his saints , who witness the testimony of Jesus, and the word of God. Therefore mind the word of God, ye children of the light, who are in the light, that comes from the word; mind the word of the Lord, which is a hammer, and as a fire, and sharper than a two-edged sword. And ye who are the Lord's, are not your own; but they who are in their own time, see not the time which is in the Father's hand; their time is always,and they do their own works, and not the works of God, which the son of God did.

- George Fox

 2008/1/29 22:39Profile









 Re: To The Prisoners - Fox

Heartsong,

are you a Friend (Quaker)? do you know about George Fox and his teachings?

this is from his journal:

"I was to bring them off from all the world's fellowships, and prayings, and singings, which stood in forms without power; that their fellowship might be in the Holy Ghost, and in the Eternal Spirit of God; that they might pray in the Holy Ghost, and sing in the Spirit and with the grace that comes by Jesus; making melody in their hearts to the Lord, who hath sent His beloved Son to be their Saviour, and hath caused His heavenly sun to shine upon all the world, and His heavenly rain to fall upon the just and the unjust, as His outward rain doth fall, and His outward sun doth shine on all.

I was to bring people off from Jewish ceremonies, and from heathenish fables, and from men's inventions and worldly doctrines, by which they blew the people about this way and the other, from sect to sect; and from all their beggarly rudiments, with their schools and colleges for making ministers of Christ, -- who are indeed ministers of their own making, but not of Christ's; and from all their images, and crosses, and sprinkling of infants, with all their holy-days (so called), and all their vain traditions, which they had instituted since the Apostles' days, against all of which the Lord's power was set: in the dread and authority of which power I was moved to declare against them all, and against all that preached and not freely, as being such as had not received freely from Christ."

Fox opposed programmed worship, public congregational prayer, "the sprinkling" (water baptism), crosses (and all other graven images) and much that is standard practice in the vast majority of worship services of today's Churches. If your form of worship does not invite the active presence of the Holy Spirit and allow for people moved by this Spirit to speak for it, then Fox would not approve.

bub

 2008/1/30 17:00
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 Re:

sounds ok to me

David

 2008/1/30 18:59Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
For the devil was the deceiver, who abode not in the truth; and there is the false prophet, who speaks of his own, and not from the Lord; and there is the beast, that makes the war against the lamb and his saints , who witness the testimony of Jesus, and the word of God. Therefore mind the word of God, ye children of the light, who are in the light, that comes from the word; mind the word of the Lord, which is a hammer, and as a fire, and sharper than a two-edged sword.


Amen.


Quote:
I was to bring people off from Jewish ceremonies, and from heathenish fables, and from men's inventions and worldly doctrines, by which they blew the people about this way and the other, from sect to sect; and from all their beggarly rudiments, with their schools and colleges for making ministers of Christ, -- who are indeed ministers of their own making, but not of Christ's; and from all their images, and crosses, and sprinkling of infants, with all their holy-days (so called), and all their vain traditions, which they had instituted since the Apostles' days, against all of which the Lord's power was set: in the dread and authority of which power I was moved to declare against them all, and against all that preached and not freely, as being such as had not received freely from Christ."


Fox was reacting against dead "form" in the Church of England. He was a reformer and revolutionary in his day. And surely a modern day apostle. A reading of all of his journals and works will show a good balance in his beliefs. He was a man used of God to bring life back into dead religion in his day.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2008/1/30 21:22Profile
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 Re: George Fox

I understand from a Quaker who mails out George Fox'es writings that there is a renewed interest in this early Quaker apostle these days. But it is coming from people who don't consider themselves Quakers.

I myself fall into this category.

And in fact the early Quakers did not call themselves by that name. They called themselves the Friends.

Is there a greater calling than to be in spirit and in truth a Friend of God? And to be no fair-weather friend of His?

Fox says in one of his writings (Complete Works, Volume 5) that they were "a people who the world in scorn calls Quakers," but that Christ was known to them as the "divine heavenly Light, which we own and believe in, as He commands, who are children of the Light; which name Christ bestowed upon us before you professors nicknamed us Quakers in the year 1650, which name one Bennet, at Darby, gave us, when he cast us into prison..."

So... "children of Light." They believed in the Light, and became "the children of Light" (Jn. 12.36).

...But I think the word Quaker was well given, for they were a people "who trembled at His Word."

As with all the movements of God throughout history, the Quaker movement is pretty much in apostasy these days. (George Fox would certainly agree with this statement, as do many modern-day Quakers themselves.)

...By "professors" Fox meant Christians who claimed an outward "profession" of Christ but had merely an outward form of it that lacked the power of the Spirit. These latter he called "possessors."

I find his writings, particularly his journal, convicting.

AD




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Allan Halton

 2008/1/30 22:06Profile









 Re:

"He (Fox) was a man used of God to bring life back into dead religion in his day."


Greg, we agree on something!! :-)

Unfortunately, i think Fox would be discouraged by the dead religion (Church) of today. Raised as a Lutheran, I experienced the deadness of the "form" of religion that is called Protestant. Stand up now, sit down now, say this prayer, sing this song together, now say the Lord's Prayer in unison, listen with attention to the prepared words of our worship leader, and DO NOT pay any attention to that still, quite, small voice inside of you telling you that God is ignoring this worship service because it is little more than a weekly ritual practiced by sinners who want to be entertained and reassured that God will forgive them as long as they give 10% to the church, are baptised, take communion, and utter publicly the Creed.


Where are those who are willing to worship by quitely waiting upon the Lord, keep their confessions in the prayer closet and between themselves and God, and act in daily life as if they are following after Jesus????

bub

 2008/1/31 10:24
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 Re:

Quote:
Unfortunately, i think Fox would be discouraged by the dead religion (Church) of today.


Fox would be grieved over what is called friends today. The quakers are very very far from the original. Personally I see barely any connect in most friends societies.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2008/1/31 10:29Profile









 Re:

Here is some more information on George Fox and the Religious Society of Friends

The origins of the Society are found in the seventeenth century in England, a time when many were questioning the established beliefs of the age. George Fox (1625-1691) did not find answers to his questions in any of the churches of his day. Out of his searching came the spiritual message which swept a large part of the country and which resulted in the formation of the Religious Society of Friends.

Friends witnessed to an Alternative Christianity quite distinct from the churches of the time. As a result they were persecuted both by Cromwell's Puritan government and by the restored government of Charles II. Fox did not intend to start a new sect. He wanted to persuade the church to return to what it had been in the days of the Apostles. He proclaimed the early preaching of Peter (Acts, chapter 2 and 3) that Jesus, who had been present in the flesh, had risen from the dead and was now come in the Spirit. That Jesus acted in the hearts of his followers purifying and empowering them.

Pursuing Peter's teaching, Fox called for a radical, egalitarian, spirit-filled Christianity that would not be oppressive of people on account of race, sex, or class. He maintained that the message of the early church had been lost when the church became institutionalized and believed that he, and others with him, could stand in exactly the same state as Apostles, with the same power to teach, to heal, and to prophesy that the Apostles had.

The Ministry of All Believers
George Fox challenged the belief of the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches in the necessity for, and the authority of, a hierarchical structure of Priests and Bishops. He claimed that everyone was able to have a personal relationship with the living Jesus without having to depend on the intercessions of a Priest or Minister. He taught that there is one, Jesus Christ, who can speak to each person's condition and the responsibility for ministry therefore rested upon all.

The Place of the Bible
Friends hold that the words of the Bible should not be taken as the final revelation of God. The Books had been written by men who were acting under the power of the Holy Spirit and it was necessary to read the words in the power of the same spirit and to listen to what the Spirit then spoke in your heart. The words were active agents in the sense that, when read in the Spirit at the appropriate time, they would spring to life for the reader and take the reader forward on his or her spiritual journey.

The Light Within
George Fox preached the Good News that we were all children of God and that, as children of God, we had inherited powers from God. Each of us was given a measure of this power or light and in accordance with how we used it, so more would be given to us. Jesus had possessed this power or light, without measure so that he became the Light and the Light within is Jesus Christ.

The Inner Voice
Friends believe that if they wait silently upon God there will be times when God will speak to them in the heart. The silent Meeting of Friends is therefore the sacrament of communion with God during which Friends lay themselves open to the leading of the Spirit. George Fox often wrote about his ``openings'', meaning revelations and it has been the experience of Quakers over the centuries that ``openings'' will occur in the mind of that ``a way will open''.
Openings can come to individuals when they are alone or may come out of the silence of a gathered Meeting for Worship. It is a perennial question as to whether a leading comes from God, from one's own ego, or from another power and it is the practice in the Society of Friends to test a leading or a concern in a meeting with others.

When they meet for business Friends strive to obtain the ``sense of the meeting'' from those present before taking action for they recognize the light as a force which creates unity among all who respond to it or who ``answer it in one another''. It does not follow that a majority is always right; a prophetic role is a lonely one and, if a concern is deeply felt and continues to be raised, the Meeting will continue to hear it and may later come to recognize its validity.

Equality before God
From the beginning Friends gave women and men equal status, for the fact that we are all children of God bestowed an equality upon all. This concept led to the testimony that one person should not set himself above others through human honors and distinctions which were meaningless in the sight of God. From this came the Quaker practices of simple living, plain dress and plain speech.

The Inward and Outward Journeys
One of the most important messages that Quakers have to offer is that religion, or belief, is experiential. It is not just a matter of accepting words or practices but of experiencing God for oneself.
The fact that God is always present means that the whole of a person's life is sacramental; Friends affirm the need to practice the presence of God in all activity. It follows, therefore, that Friends emphasize the importance of combining the inward and outward journeys. To take the inward without the outward will lead to selfishness. You go inward to wait upon and receive the word and support of God and then take this out to action in the world. To take the outward journey without the inward leads to ``burn out'' because the essential support is not there to be called upon. The Inward/Outward Journey is the practical application of Jesus' summary of the Law: ``Love God and your neighbor as yourself.''

It is the inward/outward process that has led Friends into pioneering social action such as reforms of prisons, schools and mental institutions, improving conditions of employment, supporting refugees and others in need, providing an ambulance service in wartime and examining the consequences of proposed legislation.

The Peace Testimony
As a Peace Church, the Society of Friends has always played a leading part in opposing preparations for war. The Peace Testimony, which is a very important Quaker principle, arose out of the belief in the in-dwelling Light or ``that of God'' in people. If that of God was a reality within oneself it would be denying the inner Spirit to take up arms against another.
Quaker practice does not permit the overcoming of some persons by other persons but tends toward the integration of various points of view into a new and higher level, for they recognize the Light as a force which creates unity amongst all who respond to it or answer it in one another. In appealing to the Light within another we also appeal to the Light within ourselves; as a result, we may find that the other is right and we are wrong. The Light is a source of unity. Force may create a superficial unity but it cannot provide organic unity.

Quaker Practices
Over the years the practice of Quakerism has developed in different ways in different regions. Members of the Society have been affected by varying influences such as the greater awareness of Eastern religions, the growth of psychology and the development of scientific knowledge. Since the Society is non-creedal, the spectrum of belief held by Friends has widened and different opinions may be held in different places or cultures. When one considers the diversity in other denominations, the differences between Friends are less remarkable. Friends Meetings may be either unprogrammed or programmed, the latter normally being led by a pastor.

Friends and other Faiths
Quakers have always taught that the Light of Christ has been given to all people everywhere. They maintained that many persons who never heard the historic Christ have had experiential knowledge of the Christ within and would hold, with Paul, that the Eternal Christ was known before the historic Christ. However, Friends are prepared to receive insights from wheresoever they may come and agree that there are things to be learned from contact with other religions. Friends are therefore ready to dialogue with people of other faiths and to share with them insights from our respective inheritances. However, Quakerism remains rooted in the Christian faith and the centrality of Jesus is paramount, although his sovereignty is not unanimously upheld.

Summary
The Religious Society of Friends is an Alternative Christianity which emphasizes the personal experience of God in one's life. Quakers understand the necessity of first listening to God before working in the world. They affirm the equality of all people before God regardless of race, station in life, or sex and this belief leads them into a range of social concerns.
Being "Children of Light" they find recourse to violence intolerable. Quaker thought is both mystical (waiting upon God) and prophetic (speaking truth to power). Friends believe that God's revelation is still continuing, that God is not absent or unknowable but that we can find God ourselves and establish a living relationship thus being able to live in the world free from the burden and guilt of sin. It is the search for a closer relationship with God that is the Way.

Religious knowledge, like the appreciation of beauty, is not attained by a logical process of thought but by experience and feeling. Quakers maintain that the teaching of Jesus is a practical method for the guidance of the world today, that religion is concerned with the whole of life, and that, beyond a certain point, definition becomes a limitation.


bub

 2008/1/31 11:20
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 Re:

Worldwide: most recent membership count = 358,923
United States: 2005 membership count = 87,022
http://www.quakerinfo.org/resources/worldstats.html

Most of the modern quakers are "apostate" and do not have the experience of regeneration. This was not so back in George Fox's day when many were regenerated and came to know Christ in a real way experiencing new birth.

Most of quakers are now "liberal" and do not believe the bible truly as the revelation of God whereas George Fox memorized the entire bible and esteemed it "truth".

http://midlothianfriends.org/beliefs/beliefs.asp
Q. What do Quakers believe in?
A. Quakers believe in many things, but the primary belief is that there is 'that of God in everyone'. This is an expression that means that Quakers believe that there is a measure of the divine in each human being, a spark or inner voice that we can attend to. Our mode of silent worship is based on listening for that inner voice to manifest itself, and thus lead and guide our lives.

--
the above George Fox did not teach, his references to the light within where to those who experienced regeneration and would be guided and taught by Christ. The liberal form of quakerism is "new age" and actually guides people to the devil who is a angel of light rather then Christ.

Hartford, CT:
The meeting issued the following statement on 1986-MAR: 4
"The Meeting affirms the goodness of committed, loving relationships and offers recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into a permanent relationship based upon it. By tradition, the Meeting recognizes committed union in a celebration of marriage under the care of the Meeting. The same loving care and consideration should be given to both same-sex and heterosexual applicants as outlined in Faith and Practice."

Beacon Hill, MA:
The meeting issued the following statement on 1988-MAR: 4
"We, the members and attenders of Beacon Hill Monthly Meeting, affirm our belief in that of God in every person. Furthermore, we attest that this belief embraces all persons regardless of sexual orientation."

"Beacon Hill affirms that all couples, including those of the same sex, have equal opportunity to be married within the framework of the meeting process. The love between these couples, as it grows, will enrich their relationship, the Meeting, and the world at large. The Meeting is committed to supporting these couples according to their needs."

"Where there is a genuine tenderness, an openness to responsibility, and the seed of commitment, God is surely not shut out. Can we not say that God can enter any relationship in which there is a measure of selfless love?" This tolerant attitude probably reflects the view of most British Quakers.

Quakers and Homosexuality

One of the most open welcomes for homosexuals may be found in a statement produced by Quakers of Westminster Meeting: "We affirm the love of God for all people, whatever their sexual orientation, and our conviction that sexuality is an important part of human beings as created by God, so that to reject people on the grounds of their sexual behaviour is a denial of God's creation."

http://www.qlgf.org.uk/quakers.htm



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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2008/1/31 12:18Profile









 Re:

Greg,

this issue, homosexuality, is one that divides the Religious Society of Friends. it is not one we have "clearness" on and each Monthly Meeting makes their own choices based upon the leadings of their members and a consensus decision making process among them.

personally, i am uncomfortable with Meetings that welcome same-sex couples and conduct same-sex marriages. yet, i am not "gay" and i understand that there are genetic factors that make some people homosexual from birth. in essence, God made them this way. they didn't choose it and it is not a matter of a person's will.

but i also understand that some people make a choice to be sexually deviant and this is wrong and affects our society, and children in particular, in a negative, harmful way. it leads to confusion and sinful, abusive behavior.

From what i know, the Meetings that are open to homosexuals are not open to "anything goes" but are genuinely seeking to support their members committments to their life partnerships. from what Fox said about the words of the Bible being appropriate in context of the time they were spoken, but not necessarily outside of that context, i can only put my personal feelings aside and pray that Meetings that are inclusive are following the Leadings of the Holy Spirit as made known to them.

bub

 2008/1/31 13:11





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