Friday, August 6, 2010

George Fox's Message Via His Scripture Quotations - Part 2

This is a continuation to part 1 of my School of the Spirit research paper.

Christ, the Light and Seed, Enlightens All

George Fox uses a wide variety of terms to refer to Christ, sometimes with simple titles like "the light" or "the seed", sometimes with more formal titles such as "the Lord Jesus Christ", and still other times with descriptions such as "that which is pure" or "that which shows and discovers." Fox uses the title "the light" frequently, as does the Gospel of John (e.g. "I am the light of the world", John 8:121). Particularly, Fox makes many references to John 1:9, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." [All scripture quotations in this paper are from the King James Version]

The idea that the light of Christ is available in every person was of central importance to Fox’s message, but it is not the whole message. In Fox’s teachings, the light of Christ is present in every person so that if they turn towards it, they might experience a transformation and be brought closer to God. For example, in epistle 366, Fox writes that the light enlightens every person so that "every one may believe in the light, and may become a child of the light, and have eternal life, and be saved." The phrase "be saved", as we shall see shortly, refers to the inward transformation that takes place. The universal presence of this light means that every person has this potential.

Fox also makes many references to Christ as "the seed", which typically refers to either of two promises. First, in Genesis 3:15, God tells the serpent that "[the seed of the woman] shall bruise thy head." Typically, the references to this verse are in the context of destroying sin, and will be discussed in more detail shortly. The other common reference to "the seed" originates in Genesis 22:18, in which God tells Abraham "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." The Apostle Paul refers to this promise to Abraham several times, especially in chapter 3 of the epistle to the Galatians. In Galatians 3:16, Paul says that Christ is Abraham’s seed to which the promises had been made (with a similar statement in Romans 4:13). Fox echoes this idea frequently by referring to Christ as the seed "that is heir to the promise". In calling Christ the seed of Abraham, Fox is not just making a theological statement describing some aspect of God that needs to be believed. These references are frequently accompanied with exhortations to know the seed, or feel it, or dwell in it, implying that the important thing is in doing, not just believing.

This paper continues in part 3.

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