"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
| A Quake That Shook England (Pensketch Of George Fox) by Greg Gordon|
"George Fox alone has, without human learning, done more than any other reformer in Protestant Christendom towards the restoration of real, primitive, unadulterated Christianity and the destruction of priest craft, superstition, and ridiculous, unavailing rites and ceremonies." - Leonard Ravenhill
As an earthquake shakes the earth bringing keen awareness to its activity so our subject George Fox quaked with such force that the england was made aware of this young firebrand in the hand of the Lord. With not man as his teacher but God; he brought messages upon common folk and priests alike, with prophetic force and unction this mans voice shattered the religious status quo of the day. As Leonard Ravenhill remarks of this man, ""Though he made others shake, no man could make him shake." Clothed in an leather suit, boots and hat, he appeared much like a John the Baptist character to the church of England professors of religion. In Church history we see God raise up prophets to do His will and correct large unbalances that are prevalent in the body of Christ. This spirit of prophecy that was in George Fox was the same voice that corrected the 7 churches in revelation, in some cases very severely (Revelation 3:20). In most cases it is very hard to embrace the message these prophets bring, though they can even be imbalanced at times they still bring a corrective measure against gross mis-using of the scriptures and of Gods authority.
In the beginning of the Journal of George Fox he entails the reason of writing the accounts of his life: "That all may know the dealings of the Lord with me... to prepare and fit me for the work unto which he had appointed me." George Fox was an God appointed, His calling by the Spirit of God, His life was wholly given to Christ the saviour of mens souls. He took no heed to professors, books, and men. Such a Spirit was that of the Apostle Paul who stated: "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10-11). May God raise up more men who know their calling and are able to walk in that authority from God (Galatians 1:1).
A Stranger To All
George Fox was born in 1624, and was raised in an religious home in the shoemaker trade. Being keenly aware of the spiritual he had many experiences of God in his heart as the spirt of God was wooing this young man to Himself. At the age of 19 he had familiarity with some puritans who at peradventure one day at a tavern had him to drink, so much so their worldly actions grieved George Fox to a point of leaving and not being able to sleep that entire night. As He sought the Lord with tears the Lord spoke to his servant saying: "Thou seest how young people go together into vanity, and old people into the earth; thou must forsake all, young and old, keep out of all, and be as a stranger to all." And this he did! Obeying the voice of the Lord he left his town, his family, his life, without any notice or farewell's this desperate young men left as Abraham of old left 'and he went out, not knowing whither he went.' Passing from town to town professors of religion where keen to speak to this unusual young man but as he confesses in his journal, "but I was afraid of them: for I was sensible they did not possess what they professed."
For the next few years his time was spent in agony of body and soul, being grieved at the state of religion and man's hearts, even so much that at points in time he wished in his own words: "I had never been born." Then came a voice to him as clear as the one that called him from his home: "There is one, even Jesus Christ, that can speak to thy condition.' and he says 'When I heard it, my heart did leap for joy.
David Smithers an contemporary revival historian shares some great insight into this remarkable life: "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 healing 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."
A Free Gospel
God had burdened George Fox to speak to the shepherds of his day who were taking care of the flocks of God's people in england. He had a peculiar spiritual gifting of being able to discern true and spurious profession thus saw that many of the shepherds were just hirelings who were in priestcraft for the wages and prominence and not love of the body of Christ. He seemed to trumpet this message against the selling of Christ and religion with a burdened jealous heart, much in the likes of Christ Himself toppling the moneychangers tables. The worldly spirit of the priests made him suffer: and when he heard the bells ring to call worshippers to the steeple-houses, it struck him to the heart, 'for it was just like a market-bell to gather people together that the priest might set forth his ware to sale. Oh, the vast sums of money that are gotten by trade they make of selling the Scriptures, and by their preaching... notwithstanding the Scriptures were given forth freely, and Christ commanded his ministers to preach freely."
Another point that touches at the very heart of George Fox's ministry was the telling people that God has come to teach them Himself. It is brought out clearly in his journal when he said: "These things I did not see by the help of man, nor by the letter, though they are written in the letter, but I saw them in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by his immediate Spirit and power, as did the holy men of God, by whom the Holy Scriptures were written." Though in our day there is a sad neglect of authority and submission to authority which is strongly commanded in scripture (Hebrews 13:17). Yet the need for the people of God to come to maturity (Ephesians 4:13) so that we can all be taught of God (1 John 2:27). Such a ministry George Fox had to bring people to this "light" that Christ was in them by His Spirit to teach and grow them into His likeness (Romans 8:29).
He further illustrates this important truth of not just having the scriptures for teaching but the Holy Spirit Himself who is the one that the scriptures came from and He is the one that leads into all truth. He gives this truth to a congregation in 1649: "And when I came there, all the people looked like fallow ground, and the priest, like a great lump of earth, stood in his pulpit above. He took for his text these words of Peter, 'We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.' And he told the people that the Scriptures were the touchstone and judge by which they were to try all doctrines, religions, and opinions... I.... was made to cry out and say, 'Oh, no, it is not the Scriptures,' ... But I told them what it was, namely, the Holy Spirit, by which the holy men of God gave forth the Scriptures... for it led into all Truth, and so gave the knowledge of all Truth. For the Jews had the Scriptures, and yet resisted the Holy Ghost, and rejected Christ... and took upon them to try their doctrines by the Scriptures, but erred in judgement, and did not try them aright, because they tried without the Holy Ghost. Now as I spoke thus amongst them, the officers came and took me away and put me into prison, a pitiful stinking place."
Holy Men's Words
George Fox taught one subject very strongly which he faced much opposition even from some of the godliest puritans of the day such as Owen and Bunyan, and that is purity and holiness of the Christian life. In that day there were puritans who were formed to face the dead orthodoxy of the day and encourage their churches to holiness of heart and life. Yet though there was much teaching on holiness there was little appropriation of these truths by the followers of the puritans hence they opposed movements like the quakers who walked in the truths they taught. Hear the lament of Fox over this opposition to the truth: "But they could not endure to hear of purity, and of victory over sin and the devil. They said they could not believe any could be free from sin on this side of the grave. I bade them give over babbling about the Scriptures, which were holy men's words, whilst they pleaded for unholiness. Then I bade them forbear talking of the Scriptures, which were the holy men's words; "for," said I, "the holy men that wrote the Scriptures pleaded for holiness in heart, life, and conversation here; but since you plead for impurity and sin, which is of the devil, what have you to do with the holy men's words?"
He had a boldness before men because he had a familiarity with God. He feared God more then men. And was partial to no man (James 2:1). Therefore he could say: When the Lord sent me forth into the world, He forbade me to put off my hat to any, high or low. To live for the glory of God was his supreme desire over worldly vanity and success. The Lord spoke directly and clearly to his heart and he walked in that revelation. The Lord showed me, so that I did see clearly, that he did not dwell in these temples which men had commanded and set up, but in people's hearts . . . his people were his temple, and he dwelt in them. Oh how we need many George Foxs to rise up and proclaim fearlessly the apostolic truths that have been long lost in evangelical circles.
Thomas Ellwood a fellow 'friend' speaks of George Fox: "This Holy man was raised up by God in an extraordinary manner, for an extraordinary work, even to awaken the sleeping world. He was valiant for truth, bold in asserting it, patient in suffering for it, unwearied in laboring in it, steady in his testimony to it; immovable as a rock." William Penn one of the early leaders of the Quaker movement wrote of Fox: "His ministry and writings show they are from one that was not taught of man... Nor were they notional or speculative, but sensible and practical truths, tending to conversion and regeneration and the setting up of the kingdom of God in the hearts of men... He had an extraordinary gift in opening the Scriptures. He would go to the marrow of things... But above all he excelled in prayer."
The impact of his life can be hardly measured, his name carries along with it the life that was burnt out for God for on his tombstone reads simply: "Here lies George Fox!"
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2012/4/24 23:56||Profile|
| Re: A Quake That Shook England (Pensketch Of George Fox) by Greg Gordon|
I am very pleased to see the recent interest in George Fox on SI but would like to correct Leonard Ravenhill on his statement that Fox was a Protestant reformer.
Fox was very anti-Protestant and disagreed strongly on their main tenant which was/is `sola scriptura` the essential reason for the protest against Roman Catholicism`s claim for authority as tradition. We now see the fruit of `sola scriptura` in the tens of thousands of denominations whereas in the time of the early Quakers, when they believed that direct inspiration of the Spirit or hearing Christ speak was the primary authority and which would not contradict scripture, there was consensus in all things.
The consensus however, could only exist if it was amongst men who had been baptised in the Holy Spirit, in the true meaning of the word, and that is to make a man holy and without sin and not what is held in Pentecostalism as `power to witness and speaking in tongues`.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully" (Psalms xxiv. 3, 4). Protestantism said that man cannot be without sin until he dies, though some section have said that man can be without conscious sin but this is not what Fox taught.
At last they asked me whether I was sanctified. I said Sanctified? Yes, for I was in the Paradise of God They said had I no sin Sin? said I Christ my Saviour hath taken away my sin and in Him there is no sin They asked how we knew that Christ did abide in us I said By His Spirit that He has given us They temptingly asked if any of us were Christ I answered Nay, we are nothing, Christ is all They said If any man steal is it no sin? I answered All unrighteousness is sin. (Journal)
Fox made it clear that he was not talking about being sanctified as a position nor that the blood of Jesus hides our sins and God does not see them. He said that all unrighteousness in actions is sin, but further, that the holy men pleaded for holiness in HEART and life, and conversation here (Journal) He was in agreement with the Apostle John in his first letter, who said in 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you, he that doth righteousness IS righteous, even as He is righteous. There is no imputed righteousness, the doctrine over which the Puritans refuted Fox. It is an imparted righteousness.
It is real practical holiness in thought and action which the preacher of righteousness (Apocalypse of the Word, Douglas Gwyn 25) as Fox called himself and testified of himself :-As He is so are we IN THIS PRESENT WORLD, and that the saints are made the righteousness of God, that the saints are ONE in the Father and the Son, that we shall be like Him, that all teaching which is given forth by Christ is to bring the saints to perfection even to the stature and fullness of Christ, this the scripture doth witness and this I DO WITNESS TO BE FULFILLED (Journal 135)
This message, as he went about preaching, produced a violent reaction:- The world swelled and made a great noise like great raging 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 33)
The Day of the Lord is the message in 1John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth because (v5) God is light and in Him is no darkness at all and that (2:6) he that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked and (3:6) Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him neither known Him. Hating the light, you hate Christ (Journal 135)
This put paid to the error on the subject of sanctification, that we are in Christ if we are hoping for sanctification at some time in the future, or as some think, we will gradually sin less and less until one minute we have no control over our thoughts or we have reduced down to having just one sinful thought occurring, and then, lo and behold, the sinful thought will occur no more. Actually no one has ever testified to it happening like this.
Unfortunately in these dark days, we only find these books written in the past. Some claim to be entirely sanctified but it is easily to be seen that they are using the term in a different way. They say that they are positionally so or their idea of sinlessness is a very loose one and anyone can see very soon that they are in fact still sinners. Fox and John are both clear, if we sin then we are not in the light and the Day of Judgment is near. It comes when we are presented with this message and we must make a decision in the same way that men and women had to make that decision when Fox brought them the message.
Will we accept it as the truth and know that God has spoken? If we do not then we have chosen our path and it is the path of darkness, without knowing the cleansing of Christ inwardly. Fox believed that there was only one Day of the Lord.
Fox`s understanding of holiness is clear when he describes the baptism of the Spirit as I knew nothing but pureness, and innocency, and righteousness; being renewed into the image of God by Christ Jesus, to the state of Adam, which he was in before he fell. The creation was opened to me; and it was showed me how all things had their names given them according to their nature and virtue I was at a stand in my mind whether I should practise physic for the good of mankind, seeing the nature and virtues of things were so opened to me by the Lord. But I was immediately taken up in spirit to see into another or more steadfast state than Adam's innocency, even into a state in Christ Jesus that should never fall (Journal).
What he taught was actually sinless perfection.
| 2012/4/25 4:33|
| Re: |
I am encouraged to live seperated unto my lord Jesus by first having been born again of His Holy Spirit through repentance of sin and Faith in God!
I do appreciate George Foxes emphasis on being presently taught by the Holy Spirit as well as other things he proclaimed.
I also am encouraged by other past preachers and some present.
Now my question.
Brenda, can you honestly say that you are perfectly "practicly" without sin in your life?
If you can say that truthfully then great. But if it is something that is still in your mind because of what this great preacher Fox taught....well ?
My intent is not to take away or cause unnecessary stumbling on your part. My intent is to encourage all to live a holy life in the Holy Spirit unto God.
Right now I am trying to be carefull of claims of Practical sinless perfection in this life.
| 2012/4/25 6:43|
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Can I just clarify what you are saying? Are you saying that you believe it is possible and that you believe George Fox was correct when he made that claim, but you would like to warn me of making such a claim that may not be true for me? Thanks.
| 2012/4/25 7:39|
| Re: |
Quote: Some claim to be entirely sanctified but it is easily to be seen that they are using the term in a different way. They say that they are positionally so or their idea of sinlessness is a very loose one and anyone can see very soon that they are in fact still sinners. Fox and John are both clear, if we sin then we are not in the light and the Day of Judgment is near. It comes when we are presented with this message and we must make a decision in the same way that men and women had to make that decision when Fox brought them the message.
Quote: Fox`s understanding of holiness is clear when he describes the baptism of the Spirit as I knew nothing but pureness, and innocency, and righteousness; being renewed into the image of God by Christ Jesus, to the state of Adam, which he was in before he fell.
Keswick: View is that the Christian should move on from his initial conversion experience to also experience a second work of God in his life. This work of God is called entire sanctification, the second blessing, the second touch, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and various other terms. Higher Life teachers promoted the idea that Christians who had received this blessing from God could live a more holy, that is less sinful or even a sinless, life. The so-called Keswick approach seeks to provide a mediating and biblically balanced solution to the problem of subnormal Christian experience. The official teaching has been that every believer in this life is left with the natural proclivity to sin and will do so without the countervailing influence of the Holy Spirit.
What would you say the difference between Keswick teaching on Sanctification and the Quakers teaching on Sanctification?
Why would you say that the Quakers have such a strong view against the Keswick teaching?
| 2012/4/25 7:42||Profile|
| Re: |
"What would you say the difference between Keswick teaching on Sanctification and the Quakers teaching on Sanctification?"
Colin, Keswick teaching is that the sin nature is subdued, Fox`s teaching, is that it is destroyed. He is talking of having the same nature as Christ in that He obeyed the father completely with no will of His own as our example. This is not Keswick. They allow for sin then repentance in this state but Fox would say that if one sins then one has fallen from this state. There have been a few around in Protestantism who said the same but they stayed in their denominations. Fox started a new movement outside of it because there were none but him in that day till the `Seekers` came to the same position.
| 2012/4/25 7:55|
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from what iv read george whitfield had a greater inpact in our western world ,,regarding influence and conversions
and was much closer to a bibical model of christanity
he burned with humility and with the holy spirit
the inerlight teaching has been gleened by many a false prophert to valadate ,false prophetic revalation ,that goes beoned what is writtern by the apostals
even today the quaker movement is devided becasue of going passed what is writtern
a verry dangerous doctrine ,,
when i become the pope of my own innerlight revalation
and i give my self the final say in doctrinal matters ,and push the doctrine of the apostals aside as seconardary or as on par with my revalation ,,,,,
but hey ,,if we keep the bible as the scorce and foundation of gods revlation ,,,,and mine as secondary and falable ,,,o brothers rebuke and reprove me according to scripture that can not be broken ,and scripture that can make us wise unto salvation
but if i am perfect and uterly sinless ,i become infalable ,,,,so here my words thus says the lord
i become gods spoksman ,,,, pope
for a am sinless and and my words are sinless and perfect
the danger in this type of thinking ,goes beoned human thinking ,,,,,
and yea shal be like gods
the red flage goes up in my mind when i hear this type of doctrine
the apostal john never taught this
| 2012/4/26 2:37||Profile|
| Re: |
I don`t have the figures to compare the conversions between Fox and Whitefield, but I know that at least one of my ancestors was saved through the latter as his surname was adopted as a middle name. Leaving that aside, Whitefield was known primarily for his preaching skills, whereas Fox and the early Quakers were primarily known for the social reforms which changed history.
They believed that all men are equal before God and so human rights were positively affected by their influence. The weaker members of society including the mentally ill, women, and prisoners, were henceforth treated much more humanely. The way they treated one another was a great influence and they loved each other in a way that has never been seen since in Christian communities. They would even take the place of weaker members to serve prison sentences due to the extreme persecution they suffered.
They stood for absolute honesty in all dealings with their fellow men and therefore Quaker businessmen gained great respect and became successful, and with the money they made, especially those in the chocolate industry during the 19th century, built whole villages with comfortable housing for their employees. This is only scratching the surface of the result of the values of the early members, and this was because they bore the fruit of walking in the Spirit and were therefore preaching the truth. Christians who are living the life impact their societies for the good.
These values, and also their non violence stance, has made the society attractive to non believers and this has been one the reason for the spiritual decline, and in Britain, most members, but not all, are unsaved but a lot of them are very active in conflict resolution in sensitive places, and do great work for abused minorities and poverty relief whereas the Christian church in general is not know for these things. It is known for internal fighting and division.
i give my self the final say in doctrinal matters ,and push the doctrine of the apostals aside as seconardary or as on par with my revalation ,,,,,
You have not read what I have written. Nothing was accepted unless it was in agreement with scripture but the primary means of communicating truth, is believed to be directly from God, which can be seen in times and places where no scripture has been available.
This `dangerous and proudful doctrine`, is from people who hate their sin as much as God does, and who turn to Him with trust after reading that He came to deliver them, and having faith in His word, that He can keep them from sin, find that He does and they become as perfect as we are commanded to be, whereas the dangerous ones are those who plead for sin.
The apostle John especially taught this doctrine and that is why his was the favourite gospel of the early Quakers.
| 2012/4/26 5:22|
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I am just asking you if you now never sin? If you have now achieved practical, sinless perfection?
That is my question.
| 2012/4/26 6:08|
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I am not going to answer that question. I don`t think that this thread should become focussed on me, and anyway I will not discuss my personal relationship with Christ unless the enquirer has a heart which is open to receive this message. You don`t know how I live so the subject is pointless and it does not affect whether the doctrine is the truth or not. `To the ungodly all things are ungodly.`
What I will say though, is that nothing of me is good, I have no righteousness of my own and whatever is right and good in me is of Christ and Him alone and that by faith and not works.
| 2012/4/26 7:53|