The Power of the Lord
Arthur Berk

For the past century some Friends have been using the phrase "That of God" in reference to the Peace Testimony and other facets of Quaker theology. George Fox first used that expression in his epistles and some other writings. Shortly after Fox's passing, Friends seemed to abandon that phrase until Rufus Jones revived it towards the end of the Nineteenth Century. Needless to say, Jones' interpretation and use of this concept was much different from Fox's understanding.

Let us examine Fox's reference to "that of God" that appears in two early epistles: "And dwell in the power of God, and stand in it, which comprehends the whole world that through it ye may answer the witness of God in every one . . ." and "Be faithful, and spread the truth abroad, and walk in the wisdom of God, answering that of God in everyone . . ."

According to George Fox, that of God - the Holy Spirit, the anointing within, is a witness of God in the human souls directing us in the righteousness of the everlasting Son, Christ Jesus. In other words, God is witnessing in our various consciences in the same Inward Light. We humans are receiving the same Light that our brothers and sisters receive from the Holy One.

This light, in addition, enables us to respond to the "witness of God. . . That power enables us to elucidate error in our fellow humans and direct them to God's light within them to confirm the truths we espouse in our allegiance to Christ.

What God affords us is His witness, His communication, that endures after our physical demise. Of course, God may have different messages for His listeners but they do not contradict each other because God is Truth. But we may have different weaknesses that the Lord confronts us in His grace. But Fox never implied that God is a living being within us. To the contrary, each one of us is a creation of the Lord.

Today some Friends, in unity with Rufus Jones, claim that God directly lives within us - even stating that if we kill someone we are destroying our creator. Of course, it is contrary to the Lord's will when we become violent towards our brothers and sisters. But we do not annihilate our Creator by acting in disobedience. We disappoint our loving Lord when we do sin. But God has sent His Everlasting Son to expurgate our sinfulness and He does eliminate our sinful rebellion when we listen and obey Him.

Let us welcome the witness of God within to serve Him in all aspects of life in Christ.

That phrase is not merely an individual revelation of God's communication with and in individuals souls but, more important, it relates to the Lord's contact with the body of Christ. When we meet as a community of believers and empty ourselves from our human illusions, God promulgates what His friends need to comprehend, spiritually speaking often leading us to share Jesus's Truth with humans who have not received Christ.

In this gathering, God affords us the inward talent to minister to our friends when needed in addition to acting as a group witnessing to the needs of individuals who may be suffering from economic poverty or family troubles. At our best, we are Jesus' community waiting on His benevolence in His everlasting community.

- printed by permission from the author

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