[b]GEORGE FOX - the HOLY RADICAL[/b]
[i]by David Smithers[/i]
In the year of 1647, a large man with piercing eyes named George
Fox started preaching throughout the towns and villages of England.
He prayed and fasted often, traveling with no other companion but
his Bible. He proclaimed a gospel of purity, power and repentance.
When George Fox began preaching, many churches were dead
and bound in man-made traditions and formalism. When the Church
drifts into formalism, the world drifts into further ungodliness. The
methods and appearance of George Fox to some, seemed quite
offensive and extreme. It is sometimes necessary for God's
prophets to be unconventional in order to thoroughly awaken the
indifferent and hard hearted.
Soon after George Fox began to preach, he had a remarkable
spiritual experience that lasted fourteen days. A certain Mr. Brown,
while on his death bed prophesied many great things concerning
Fox. "When this man was buried," says Fox, "a great work of the
Lord fell on me." During this mighty baptism of the Spirit, Fox
received a remarkable gift of discernment. "He seemed to be able
to read the character of men by looking at them." Miraculous
healings also accompanied his ministry. Through prayer and the
laying on of hands, the sick were often healed and devils were
cast out to the glory of Christ. When George Fox preached men
would shake and tremble. "The name Quaker was given to Fox
and his followers because of the quaking of the men who came
to scoff but stayed to pray." This remarkable power seemed to
accompany the preaching of Fox wherever he went.
Fox preached that Jesus Christ is the author of a faith which
purifies and gives victory over sin. He fervently exhorted men to
pursue complete holiness rather than empty religious ceremonies.
As a result, he was often beaten, stoned and driven out of town.
It is estimated that perhaps no other man since the time of the
Reformation was persecuted and imprisoned as often as George
Fox. He usually went about the country on foot, dressed in his
famous suit of leather clothes, which it is believed he made
himself. He often slept outside under a tree or in some haystack.
Fox also often pointed out that what was commonly called the
Church was only a building. He boldly declared that only the
fervent believers of Christ were the living stones of the true Church.
"Above all George Fox excelled in prayer." It was his habit to wait
in silence for the movement of the Holy Spirit and then begin to
pray, causing whole congregations to be shaken and humbled
under the hand of God Almighty. "As he prayed the power of God
came down in such a marvelous manner the very building seemed
to rock." Through the ministry of George Fox, a glimmer of Apostolic
power was revealed to seventeenth century England. He was a man
of the Spirit in an age that emphasized theological and scriptural
accuracy at the expense of the power of the Holy Ghost. He always
stressed the importance of a Spirit filled life and refused to let dead
orthodoxy be a veil for the works of the flesh.
If we as believers are content with a gospel that merely comforts
our conscience and perseveres our traditions, then we are also
content to forsake the gospel of Christ and the Apostles. God
help us to truly seek the kind of praying and preaching that will
once again make men tremble in the presence of Jesus Christ.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon