Fundamentalism, Gnosticism, and Quaker "inner light"

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Siegfried, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. Siegfried

    Siegfried
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    Over the past several months I have been studying church history in general and Baptist history in particular. Some of the historical facts I've encountered have interacted with some strains of modern Fundamentalism in a manner I did not expect.

    First, Gnosticism was more than just a heresy with bad Christology. Although Gnosticism was remarkably nebulous and diffuse, even for a cult, a primary principle was its unique view of special revelation. Gnostics emphasized a special revelation of Christian knowledge that was only available to the elite few.

    Second, some of the early English Baptists, John Smyth and Roger Wiliams among them, spoke out against the Quaker "inner light" theology. Quakers believed that God guided people in life's decisions by some internal revelation of truth.

    Here's my conclusion. Much of Fundamentalism's modern day terminology and theology was rejected by both the early church fathers and our Baptist ancestors as heresy.

    How many times have we heard someone say these things?
    1. "God told me to . . ."
    2. "I prayed and God led me to . . ."
    3. "God called me to . . ."
    4. "I know that [fill in the blank] is true because God showed me . . ."
    5. "I believe that the [translation acronym] is the only Word of God because God speaks to me through it.

    Please understand, I am not attacking the conclusions these individuals reach. I am simply pointing out that the methods of reaching those conclusions have historically been rejected as un-Scriptural and heretical.
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    I think you are exactly right. (God told me to say that :D ). I think there have been some seriously misguided attempts to justify things on bases such as these. It does open a whole can of very problemmatic worms.
     
  3. stubbornkelly

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    Sorry - posted here without realizing where I was. I saw "Quaker" and thought to reply. If a moderator wants to delete this, please go ahead.

    [ December 16, 2002, 12:07 PM: Message edited by: stubbornkelly ]
     
  4. 2peter1_10

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    Each of those phrases have problems. However, some of them can be used in a particular way.

    The difference is between revelation and illumination.

    Revelation (not the book of) is God making known truth that was previously unknown. There is no new revelation, God's Word is perfect and complete for our present age (God may or may not have another testament after the Second Coming - it is speculative and not worth discussing).

    Illumination is where the Holy Spirit causes us to understand his message that we personally did not understand. There are things that you understand that I do not and vise versa.

    Anyone who tries to tell you about some revelation that God only told them they are an heretic even if the call themselves a fundamentalist.
     
  5. Siegfried

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    I think I basically agree with you. Perhaps to clarify a little, I do not believe most of the issues we usually hear these phrases used in reference to are issues of illumination.

    Illumination helps us understand what the Bible teaches. The terminology I'm rejecting is much more often used in reference to life decisions that are not spelled out in Scripture.

    It may be true that sometimes people who use these terms are really saying that they believe that the Bible teaches that they ought to do such-and-such. If that's the case, they should say that rather than speak in revelatory terms. We could then debate whether the Bible teaches [fill in the blank], but it's impossible to argue with "God told me that I needed to buy the house on Elm Street."

    This type of argument grasps for an authority that is subjective, extra-biblical (at best), and undeserved.
     
  6. Daniel David

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    Siegfried, don't forget the classic line about having a peace about something.
     
  7. C.S. Murphy

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    PTW nice family, thanks for sharing the picture.
    Murph
     
  8. Daniel David

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    Thank you. A few more months from now, I will have to update the picture.
     
  9. 2peter1_10

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    Siegfried - most people do not understand that God giving them peace about a decision has nothing to do with a revelation question. They probably think that God is somehow giving them a special ear to him. I believe that if they understood better that God is giving an illuminating guidance on a detail of life they would be not as proud. I am also wonder (do not know nor accusing) how many Christians that use that phrasing are not really living a godly life or a life for God.
     
  10. Refreshed

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    I have heard many preachers talking about when they were "called" to preach. How exactly does God go about "calling?"

    Those of you who were "called" to preach, tell me what is meant by this, please.
     
  11. Ben W

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    Simply my friend it is to be in relationship with the Holy Spirit. He leads and speaks to us. It is the Holy Spirit who "calls" us.

    Knowing inner lights and etc are a cop out, from not knowing the Person of the Holy Spirit.
     
  12. Siegfried

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    Would you mind defining what you mean by God "giving an illuminating guidance on a detail of life"?

    If you mean that God is giving them some kind of illumination of the right decision in a particular set of circumstances, then I question whether your view has biblical basis.

    On the other hand, if you mean that God helps believers understand the Bible so they can apply it to real life circumstances, then I would agree with your perspective.
     
  13. Siegfried

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    Regardless of whether you call it an "inner light" or not, I think what you are advocating is essentially the same.

    Could you explain to me how Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit "speaks to us" and "calls us"?
     
  14. Siegfried

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    I don't think such terminology is biblical. 1 Timothy 3:1 says, "If any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do." [NASV] It seems that what many people refer to as "The Call" is really the development in their hearts of a desire to pastor brought about by God's working of sanctification in their lives.
     
  15. Pastor_Bob

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    I don't think Paul would agree with you.

    Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle , separated unto the gospel of God,
    Rom 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints : Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    1Cor 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God , and Sosthenes [our] brother,
    1Cor 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints , with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
     
  16. Daniel David

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    Paul could claim that because he had direct revelation and contact with Christ. So, I think Siegfried has a very good point. It is time we do away with terminology that isn't supported in Scripture.
     
  17. just-want-peace

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    ///Sarcasm mode on/// Boy, this means the debate between KJVOers and MVers is over!!?? Glory!! Peace at last!! ///Sarcasm mode off///

    Seriously, if we accept this as true, then we all have to go back to speaking the "KING'S ENGLISH", OR let the KJVs become just a coffee table decoration!
     
  18. Siegfried

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    I don't think Paul would agree with you.

    Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle , separated unto the gospel of God,
    Rom 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints : Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    1Cor 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God , and Sosthenes [our] brother,
    1Cor 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints , with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
    </font>[/QUOTE]The original question referred to the call to preach, not the call to salvation.

    Paul was called by a visible appearance of Christ. Is that what happens to people today? If so, I want to hear about it. He was also called to be an apostle. I don't think any of them are running around anymore.
     
  19. Pastor_Bob

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    To say that one is "called of God" is most certainly supported in Scripture. Consider the following:

    Rom 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

    1Cor 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]:

    1Cor 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

    Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

    Eph 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation (klesis) wherewith ye are called, (kaleo)

    Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

    2Th 1:11 ΒΆ Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power: {count: or, vouchsafe}

    2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

    2Pe 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

    Calling = klesis which means "an invitation." It comes from the root word kaleo which means to "call" (properly, aloud, but used in a variety of applications, directly or otherwise):--bid, call (forth)

    How are you arriving at the conclusion that this terminology is unbiblical?
     
  20. Siegfried

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    Uh, did anyone say it's not supported in Scripture?

    If you'll read the thread, you'll see that the original question referred to the call to preach. I think your excellent work in the concordance demonstrates that the specific call to preach is not found in the New Testament. On the other hand, the call to salvation and the call for all believers to service is quite common. I think you made my point better than I did.
     

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