This week's DQ handouts
Marge spoke about Transformation,
using examples from the journals of early Friends.
This is the handout of Early Quaker understandings
and definitions of some of the words used to describe
Different Words for Transformation
Baptism: "Now here is the baptism of Christ by fire: this Holy Spirit to plunge down the foul spirit and power that has got into man, which fills him with chaff and corruption. This baptism destroys him and his work in man, and burns him up and his chaff with his fire. So man and woman have had this chaff in them, with which the god of the world hath fed them. Now every one must know the baptism with the Spirit before they can come up into the garden in Paradise again; every man and woman must know this without book, in their own particulars " [George Fox, 1680]
Conversion: "(4) Spiritual change from sinfulness to righteousness; change from one religion, political belief, viewpoint, etc. to another; (5) a change of attitude, emotion, or viewpoint from one of indifference, disbelief, or antagonism to one of acceptance, faith or enthusiastic support." [Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary]
Convincement: "Convincement or ‘conviction’ in its original 17th century sense, was the name given to a two-stage experience common among the first Quakers. Initially, the Light would reveal a person’s sins and he or she would be convicted of them. The same Light, however, would then set this person free from sin and release him or her into a new and renewed intimacy with God. Over the centuries, the term has remained but has taken on new emphases. The chief aim of the preaching of Quaker evangelists is to effect a conversion in a person from being a nonbeliever to being a believer. ‘Conviction’ and ‘conversion’ are used to describe a spiritual process involving the relationship of the individual with God. The process of convincement specifically indicates the decision of the believer or convert that Friends’ faith, practice, and fellowship are the best ways and the best places to live out this relationship." [William F. Medlin, The Historical Dictionary of the Friends (Quakers).]
Conviction: "a fixed or firm belief (2) the act of convincing (3) the state of being convicted" Convicted – (1) to prove or declare guilty of an offense . . .(2) to impress with a sense of guilt . . . " [Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary] Early Friends spoke of "being convicted of sin" as part of the work of the Light in the human soul.
Justification: "The act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin." [Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary]
Perfection: Many pilgrimages of faith ahve begun from hunger for moral perfection, dedication, and personal purity. Early Friends took seriously Jesus’ admonition to his disciples to ‘Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect’ in loving everyone impartially (Matthew 5:48) and to the rich young man: ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions. . . . Then come, follow me’ (Matthew 19:21). Quakers, like many Christians – and also Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and Muslims – rejected moral compromise." [Hugh Barbour, The Historical Dictionary of the Friends (Quakers).]
Redemption: "Redemption is a central category of Christian theology, for it explicates the Christian proclamation fo Jesus at the Christ, as our Redeemer and Savior. The English work ‘redemption’ literally means buying back. The term ‘redemption’ is closely related to but distinct from three other terms. ‘Atonement,’ which is often used to express a kind of propitiation of God by Jesus, literally means at-one-ment,. a bringing together of parties divided against each other. ‘Reconciliation’ refers to the bringing together of parties that have been estranged and separated from one another. Strained relations of discord and hostility are brought back to harmony and peace. ‘Salvation’ refers to a healing, a bringing to health or making whole and well. All terms refer to a transition from one state or status to another. The term ‘redemption’ is best understood as a liberation from one state to another: from bondage to liberation. Redemption is the act or process by which the change takes place." [Joseph Komonchak, etal. The New Dictionary of Theology]
Salvation: "Thus, ‘to be saved’ can mean to be made whole again’ or ‘to be restored’ to a condition of spiritual health. Most traditional discussions of salvation also speak of the Christian understanding of redemption as a process involving stages of spiritual development. Beginning with the assumption that human beings are in a state of sin and separation from God, the first step is to reverse this by repentance and conversion , which means to change (turn around) one’s direction of life. This entails a human response based on an act of free will. Next comes justification , or God’s acceptance and affirmation of us. Justification is seen as a necessary action of the part of God to complete the process of salvation, the assumption being that we cannot save ourselves, but by the grace of God we can be restored to a right relationship with God. A number of Christian groups, including Friends, believe that the redemption/salvation process is not authentic until we enter into holy obedience to God. In some traditions, including evangelical Quakerism, this stage of spiritual development is called sanctification – that is, being made holy in the presence of God." [Wilmer Cooper, A Living Faith, p. 66]
Sanctification: "Derived from the Latin term for holiness, ‘sanctification’ means to make holy; to be set apart for a special work of God; to be full of love and free of evil. Early Friends spoke of this as ‘perfection’, a doctrine that at times resulted in imprisonment for blasphemy. The earliest Friends believed in the possibility of total eradication of sin, emphasizing the active work of God in this life. George Fox believed that complete sanctification was both possible and the intended design for Christian living. Robert Barclay modified Fox’s position, seeing perfection in this life as attainable but rare. Neither man emphasized sanctification and conversion as separate works of the Holy Spirit. Both saw the Light of Christ working to seal human salvation and ensure conformity to the life of Jesus Christ. William Penn articulated clearly Friends’ view that every individual must experience the cross and daily die to sin. In this way the cross – the power of God – would obliterate sin and sanctify those who submitted to its discipline." [Gayle Beebe, The Historical Dictionary of the Friends (Quakers).]
Taking Up The Cross: "For all Christians the cross refers to the crucifixion and atonement of Jesus on the cross. Friends have historically referred to the cross of Jesus as the way of self-denial and simplicity in Christian living. Early Friends often spoke of ‘taking up the cross daily’, whereby they sought to set aside the ego and be faithful to the Light in their words and actions. They also defined the word ‘cross’ as the power of God." [Wilmer Cooper, The Historical Dictionary of the Friends (Quakers).]
Transformation: "(3) change in form, appearance, nature, or character . . . " [Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary]
Turning Point: "(1) a point at which a decisive change takes place; critical point, crisis (2) a point at which something changes direction . . ." [Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary]
Some phrases of George Fox from his Journal (references are to page and line numbers in the Nickalls’ edition)
"Which of you convinces me of sin?" (John 8:46) "be . . . still in the Light that convinces you" (283/40-41)
"In that which convinced you, wait, that you may have that removed you are convinced of." (228/14-15)
Convert – "from death to life, from darkness to life" (283/16, 376/32)
"They that are in the Life are justified; they are they who have unity with God and with one another" (The Papists’ Strength, p. 26)
"There is no justification out of the Light, out of Christ" (175/6-7) "many cannot justify himself by the [outward] law . . .; for he cannot get out of that state but by abiding in the Light" (60/22-24); "There is no salvation, justification, sanctification, but to them who believe in the Light" (Epistle 265)
"In Christ’s Power and Light, translation (into the Kingdom) from the power of Satan is known" (p. 283/13-18, 367/21-27)
So are you teaching Dangerous Quakers at Freedom Friends or at Reedwood or somewhere else? Inquiring minds want to know - even if the commute is a little long for some of us.
Margery Post Abbott and I have taken the material from Quaker Heritage Days last spring, added to it and are teaching it as a ten week class at Reedwood Friends Church, Portland Oregon, (NWYM). I got the idea of posting our handouts on my blog so that the students could steal our stuff with greater effciency.
Ha! This proves something! I was driving around with my wife this weekend asking, "so, 'justification,' 'sanctification,' 'salvation', what do they all mean?" And here you had posted this before I'd even asked!Post a Comment
Links to this post: