Tuesday, August 10, 2010

George Fox's Message Via His Scripture Quotations - Part 6

This is a continuation of part 5 of my School of the Spirit research paper.

Brings Into Unity

Fox emphasizes the importance of the spiritual community. While he often refers to the body in order to emphasize the headship of Christ, he also makes references to the body in terms of unity, as described in 1 Corinthians 12:13, "For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one spirit." Fox seems to use this verse more often in his later epistles, perhaps reflecting the difficulties in dealing with the growth of Quakerism and maintaining more and more meetings.

Part of Friends’ witness to peace was in maintaining a peaceful community amongst themselves. Fox usually describes this as being in "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace", taking the phrase from Ephesians 4:3. In epistle 180 he tells Friends to keep in the power of the Lord, "that to the Lord ye may be a blessing in your generation, and a peculiar people in tenderness, and full of that faith which overcomes the world and all things in it; through which ye may come all up into the unity of the spirit which is the bond of peace." Fox tends to use the phrase in relation to meetings, as he does in epistle 18, urging Friends to "meet together every where, and keep the unity of the spirit, which is the bond of peace."

Fox also refers to the "unity of the faith" in various forms, quoting Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." He often couples this phrase with "in which ye have the victory", alluding to 1 John 5:4 "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." In other words, it is our faith that is the victory.

This paper continues in part 7.

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