A New Foundation to Build On: Introduction to “The Power of the Gospel”

The Quaker’s revolution was a movement to recover the experience of the power of God through the recovery of that gospel of power which had been lost “since the Apostles’ days.” -- Lewis Benson

In August 1976 at Haverford College, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lewis Benson gave a series of five lectures titled “A New Foundation to Build On.” The second lecture in this series is called “The Power of the Gospel.” It begins with a brief history of George Fox’s early life at the time he felt near despair of finding a way to live a right and true life, a crisis that was resolved when he was given to know Christ experientially. In this essay, Benson alludes to the same stultifying difficulty early in his own life. As a result of having passed from darkness to light, both Fox and Benson, for the remainder of their lives, made their first concern the presentation of the gospel and its message, for the gospel conveyed the power to overcome the human condition of alienation from God.

Though Scriptures bear witness to the availability of and necessity for coming into the gospel, the church of Fox’s time no longer taught this message, and it was no longer known. Though isolated groups throughout the centuries had known and practiced this faith, it had been absent from the church for 1600 years. It was the Quaker mission to recover the gospel and present it to the world.

Benson spends a major portion of the lecture describing the content of the gospel message that Quakers preached; it was most briefly formulated in the statement “Christ is come to teach his people himself.” In the seventeenth century, this summary expressed a unique understanding of Christ’s salvific work: his being present and active, with particular emphasis on his prophetic office or function as the teacher of righteousness.

Whenever [Fox] preached the gospel, he preached the “offices of Christ,” and especially the office of prophet, because it is by hearing Christ the prophet that the knowledge of God’s righteousness is received and the power to obey is given (Benson).

The essay concludes by referring to the 1945 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a discovery that confirmed seventeenth-century Friends’ assertion that the gospel they preached was the same that was held by the Jewish Christians of the first century. Though it was a significant discovery, it had little impact on Quakers then or since, nor on Christians in general, for an apostasy is overcome not through gospel-corroborating scholarship but through the gospel itself.

This lecture series can be found at the New Foundation Fellowship site (nffquaker.org) under the Resources tab and Lewis Benson’s writings.

Views: 91

Comment

You need to be a member of QuakerQuaker to add comments!

Join QuakerQuaker

Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.


You can also make a one-time donation.

Latest Activity

Mike Shell posted a discussion

"From the Editor's Desk" - January/February Western Friend

Friends,Mary Klein has a gift for going to the essence of a concern and expressing it simply and…See More
yesterday
Rah "Francis" O'Hara left a comment for Donn Weinholtz
"Hi ! I'm in Ellington CT attending Storrs Friends Meeting care to carpool sometime?"
1st month 8
Rah "Francis" O'Hara left a comment for karima nur
"alHamdulillah !"
1st month 8
Rah "Francis" O'Hara updated their profile
1st month 8
Kirby Urner posted a discussion

Are the Great Religions Fighting?

I'd say the short answer is no, the great religions are not at war with one another, but that…See More
1st month 8
Mike Shell posted a discussion
1st month 7
Kim Salsman liked Howard Brod's discussion Mysticism: The 'Engine' of liberal Quakerism (anonymous article from a Quaker library)
1st month 5
Jim Wilson liked Howard Brod's discussion Mysticism: The 'Engine' of liberal Quakerism (anonymous article from a Quaker library)
1st month 3

© 2019   Created by QuakerQuaker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service