Friendly Witness: The Spiritual Ground of Quaker Social Action4th mo. 19, 2023 from 1pm to 6pm
Quaker Theological Discussion Group 202312th mo. 1, 2023 at 8am to 12th mo. 2, 2023 at 10am
Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Just read George Fox autobiography. There is a man who believed the Word of God enough to get moving for God -- and enough to stand against the established religion of the day. He condemned Anglican priests as "hirelings" and insisted that the Lord Himself would teach the believer. Not surprisingly he suffered great opposition - imprisonment and beatings - for standing up for the Word of God against the heresies of the day.
What is the heresy of established religion today? There are probably many, but I have encountered one in particular as I lead music for Methodist Church in rural North Carolina. It well known that many seminaries are turning out pastors who no longer believe the Word of God. They are not forthright about it because their congregations wouldn't accept them if they knew. In fact, the congregations are more faithful to the Word of God than their leaders.
Poses problems in denominations where the pastors cycle through churches, and leadership is responsible for choosing their pastors for them.
I was encouraged to attend a Bible Study called, DISCIPLE. This is a widely popular Bible study
In this study, which is supposed to take the Christian through the entire Bible, I discovered that denomination is pushing theories that run counter to the clear meaning of the Biblical text. And doing so as if it were established fact.
For example, in ISAIAH - one of the most remarkable prophetic books which deals with the kingdoms of Assyria and Babylon and their exiling God's people - in order to explain away the supernatural - they say, there were several Isaiahs - writing over hundreds of years.
Another example, in DANIEL - in which prophesies cover the rise and fall of four world powers as well as the coming of the Christ and the end times -- they don't even cover Daniel's prophesies in the DISCIPLE STUDY but instead cover the fiery furnace account - a bedtime story compared to the book's powerful prophesies.
Finally, JONAH -- DISCIPLE STUDY lumps together the mid-eighth century prophet, Jonah, with the post-exilic writings of Ezra saying Jonah was influenced by Ezra's xenophobia. But the Bible says Jonah was a contemporary of Jeroboam II.
What has this review of the DISCIPLE STUDY got to do with anything? Well, for one thing, the Methodist church is about to formalize their heresy. The split of the Methodist church which is likely to happen formally in 2022 - is likely to result in a slicing away of Bible-believers - likely only 20% of Methodist churches are still led by conservative pastors - though a majority of their congregations are still conservative.
Just as George Fox stood against errors of the 17th century - all Bible-believing Christians - not just Quakers - need to stand against the lies of the errant church. Perhaps it is time for all of us to follow the methods of George Fox (as well as the methods of the early Methodist movement) and take it to the streets.
I wrote "Secularization for the sake of religion" from the reality of Dutch society, as experienced and acknowledged by most Christians here: we are quickly becoming marginalized. Not persecuted, but irrelevant. Political parties who explicitly claim Christian inspiration only got 22 out of 150 seats in Parliament in the last elections (last week). I will spare you the sociological explanation. Quoting the Bible doesn't get you anywhere here.
With f&Friendly greetings,
By the way, I just saw a video -- U.S. former national security director, John Ratcliffe, saying on the Maria Bartiromo show that there have been a lot of UFO sightings - objects flying faster than the sound barrier - but without a sonic boom.
No matter what is causing this -- there is no reason to worry. Because God has this. We may be powerless but he is not.
As it is written:
...we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
Yet, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Being found in Christ is the only safe place to be at a time like -- and in fact, at any time, ever.
I wonder where this dialogue is taking us??? I believe that Wim and Coleen express lots of opinions, some of which are rather judgmental but do they really come to grips with what others are saying. Condemning professional ministers categorically (as Coleen seems wont to do) and calling one's own pastor-father a "hireling" as Wim has done won't do much to move our discussion forward. I think we need to cut out much of this judgmentalism and zero in on fundamental issues. Is there someone following this barrage of comments (which I do not condemn--it has livened up the discussion, almost beyond belief) who can state in a succinct way what is under examination here?? I urge Wim and Coleen not to attempt such clarification. Leave it for others to attempt! Any takers?? Debbie Elder???
From my perspective there is nothing "under examination" between Coleen and me, except maybe our ability to connect despite differences of perspective. We are primarily building a relation rather than exchanging information and opinions. We have come further than could be expected at the beginning and may have reached the limits of mutual understanding in this thread. We may meet again in other threads and will see then whether the growth of understanding here will help us connect faster there.
How would you clarify what we have been doing here? Where did it take you?
With f&Friendly greetings,
"Yet, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
"Being found in Christ is the only safe place to be ..."
Thank you for this testimony to your witness and conviction of the love of God through the establishment of the immanent presence of the spirit of Christ in our hearts. I share your witness (experience) and affirm and uphold the living presence of the spirit of Jesus Christ as the one heavenly place of safe being and consciousness. When we reach down and feel for the foundation (in the well of the heart) in all things, we touch Jesus Christ and face the very countenance of God. It is our turning our minds and hearts from the direct and living countenance of God through the power and presence of Jesus Christ in our conscience that we lose our place of safety or inheritance and our eternal habitation is forfeit. In the living power and presence of the spirit of Jesus Christ in our conscience we have inherited a new habitation and have taken up residence in it. Amen.
I have found the writings of Lewis Benson very helpful in finding my way through the thicket of Quaker writing. None Were So Clear, edited by Terry Wallace, is probably a good place to start. I do not regard Benson's work as "definitive", which many of his devotees do. But it is still very helpful.
In general Quaker Religious Thought has over many years published valuable essays reflecting sound Christian Quakerism. Of late it has become dominated by a clique formerly part of Northwest Yearly Meeting. And it is now focussing on establishing itself as a reputable academic publication. When I first became acquainted with it, QRT had a broader base and made "renewal" of Quaker Religious thought, especially of its Christian basis, its raison d'etre.
If you want to dig deeper, there is no substitute for the vast array of ministers' journals published by Friends. Many of these can be accessed through the Earlham School of Religion's Digital Quaker Collection:a href="https://esr.earlham.edu/dqc/index.html%3E" target="_blank">https://esr.earlham.edu/dqc/index.html>; ; I would personally prefer to identify journals I want to read and order them through Bookfinder.com or from Vintage Quaker Books at Bath Maine: a href="https://www.biblio.com/bookstore/vintage-quaker-books-bath%3E" target="_blank">https://www.biblio.com/bookstore/vintage-quaker-books-bath>;;
Quaker Heritage Press: http://www.qhpress.org/ has published many works, including several otherwise not in print, for understanding Quaker history and theology. Be sure to check their website out.
If I can be of further help, let me know. Thanks for your contribution to the dialogue on QQ. I still plan to do more on The Question of God but I am bogged down right now by trying to get established in our new home and farm and relating to my large kin group in this area.
Licia Kuenning: "So I do not say to Friends that if they study the Quaker past they will learn how to recreate it. The seventeenth century will not come again. I have the more modest hope that we will learn to tell the truth about it."
This is really interesting Coleen. Thanks for posting. I read the scriptures daily as part of my prayer time. I think reading the scriptures helps me get over myself and connect to the ancient and present wisdom of God's presence. Not a distraction from Christ but a help towards him. So, closer to you, and I think to Fox, than some.
Thanks for your post Alice. I agree with you - for me too the regular reading of Scriptures keeps me close to Him.
The biggest mistakes I made in life are when I was not regularly reading his word. My life experience reinforces that the Scriptures (Old Testament and New) are dependable for instruction in righteousness. (Not my own idea of righteousness -- but His idea of righteousnss -- I want to satisfy the One who will ultimately judge me.)
We need a God-centered faith rather than a self-centered or peer-centered one. "Ego", what I think I (or, Heaven forbid, my friends) can accept as Truth, will never take us where we need to go! Draw close to Christ and learn of Him.
I watched Rick Steves on PBS last night -- journeying through Egypt. I thought it was an indicator of the times - and culture in America - when Rick Steves said that America too has a problem with fundamentalists.
Really? He would compare Conservative Christians with Jihadists? It is shocking -- how fast my fellow Americans, and public television has become so intolerant of a Biblical worldview.