Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Quakerism 101 - session 1

So I'm taking this class to learn about Quaker History.

Here are some interesting things that came up:

In contrast to the Puritans, Catholics and the Church of England, Quakers went for:
• Free will over predestination
• Church governed by the laity rather than pope or King
• Ministry free and open to all rather than restricted and hereditary
• Religious authority directly from God, rather than from priest or scripture alone
• God is Unity, not Trinity
• Sin comes from our own actions, not Adam's fall
• The state should not be involved in the business of the church

George Fox describes the torment he experienced as a young man searching for theological answers and spiritual meaning in his life. He was disappointed by the answers he received from priests of all denominations and eventually discovered that the answers were revealed to him directly through "openings" in which God spoke to him.

Was the term openings one that was in common use at the time or was it coined by Fox?

Selected early Openings of George Fox - Chapter One of his Journal

• God does not dwell in temples made with hands but within the hearts of people.
"God, who made the world, did not dwell in temples made with hands... 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."

• To be born into the priesthood is not sufficient to make one a minister of Christ.
"...as I was walking in a field on a First-day morning, the Lord opened unto me that being bred at Oxford or Cambridge was not enough and fit to qualify men to be ministers of Christ."

• The priests and other holy people could not speak to Fox's condition, but Christ himself held the answers and would reveal them.
"And when all my hopes in [preachers and priests] and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could tell what to do, then, Oh then, I heard a voice which said, 'There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition.'"

• Everyone is enlightened by the divine light of Christ.
"and I saw it shine through all, and that they believed in it came out of condemnation and came to the light of life and became the children of it, but they that hated it, and did not believe in it, were condemned by it, though they made a profession of Christ."

• Through the example and the inner spirit of Christ Fox could overcome temptation
"Christ opened to me how he was tempted by the same Devil and had overcome him and bruised his head, and through him and his power, light, grace and spirit, I should overcome also, I had confidence in him. So he it was who opened to me when I was shut up and had not hope nor faith."
• The temptations and torments Fox experienced helped to strengthen his faith

"I was taken up in the love of God so that I could not but admire the greatness of his love And while I was in that condition it was opened unto me by the eternal Light and power, and I therein saw clearly that all was done and to be done in and by Christ, and how he conquers and destroys this tempter, the Devil and all his works, and is atop of him, and that all these troubles were good for me, and temptations for the trial of my faith which Christ had given me."

• Many people who spoke the words of Jesus and quoted scripture ignored the example of Christ's life and the things he taught.

"As the Lord spoke he opened it to me how that the people and professors did trample upon the life, even the life of Christ was trampled upon; and they fed upon words, and fed one another with words, but trampled upon the life, and trampled underfoot the blood of the Son of God, which blood was my life, and they lived in their airy notions, talking of him."


Blogger Robin M. said...

I know this post was a while ago, but I hope you'll notice this comment. I would like to use this useful set of quotes for our First Day School program with our older (10-18) kids. Would this be all right with you? Are you quoting some other source that I should give credit to? Other than Fox's Journal, I mean. Was this a handout in your class?

2:08 PM  
Blogger Kiara said...

Robin, t

hat would be completely fine with me. This came from Fox's Journal. Not a handout. If I recall correctly I was in a discussion group that was plowing through the journal in search of "openings."

7:07 AM  

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