… And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. – 1 Corinthians 15:45-47 and 49 (NIV)
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Each human bears a unique double nature. On one hand, we are one of the animals, existing in a body that is ultimately mortal. On the other hand, among the animals, we appear to be the only ones aware of our impending fate. The psychiatrist Otto Rank, one of Freud’s two key disciples, builds his own psychological system on this duality. In addition, while our bodies soon begin their slow decline, our minds are capable of continual growth throughout our lives: here, then, is where we welcome “the likeness of the man from heaven.”
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Christ Jesus invites us to go further than any other religion – actually, I prefer to say that He invites us to go beyond all religion. Nowhere else, as far as I know, do we find this concept of the suffering servant, this fellowship in the body, this selfless love, this self-sacrifice and its complex of repentance, atonement, salvation, and eternal life.
For me, to be a “universalist Quaker” means a sense that Christ came for the salvation of all people.
Too often Christians stop short of the fullness Jesus brought to us. When I examined several Confessions of Faith for other denominations, I found many passages quite wonderful in their expression – but others drove me right up the wall, for when they couldn’t find Scriptural basis for a practice, they would fall back on noting that the early church did it. Even though we were given a New Covenant, old practices kept creeping in. And still do. (1 Timothy 4 rebukes that tendency, even in the early Church.)
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And thus being prepared by him, then did he send his Spirit to convince me both of Righteousness and of Judgment, as well as Sin; yea, to convince me of that Righteousness and religious Way of Worship, which I formerly walked in; whereby he let me see it was but a human Righteousness, and an invented traditional Worship, set up by the Will, and performed in the Spirit of Man, and derived to me by outward Instruction and Education; so that I had a Form, which the Power did not attend, for want of having Regard to the Movings and Guidance of God’s own Spirit, in which alone he delights to be worshipped. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)