The Religious Society of Friends
9/20/06 updated 9/23/06
While in Princeton recently, we visited the Stony Brook Quaker Meeting House built in 1760 and still in use.
Consider the following quotes from a Quaker pamphlet available at the meeting house:
"The Light Within, which is the central Quaker idea, is no abstract phrase. It is an experience."
"... it is clear on the basis of the Quaker faith, that scripture cannot be thought of as the one source of truth and revelation, the one and only word of God. It takes its place rather as a pattern of spiritual literature, rich with the experience of saintly human lives and raised by unmistakable inspiration to an incomparable religious value."
From "An Interpretation of Quakerism" by Rufus M. Jones, 1930
Read about Rufus M. Jones and Mysticism at Wikipedia.
In what ways has Quakerism influenced modern Evangelicalism? Are their convictions Biblical?
In Quakerism, I'm having a hard time finding the preaching of the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ, alone.
At it's most basic, how is Quakerism really that different from Unitarian Universalism?
Richard Foster is a Quaker. He is the founder of Renovare and author of many books, including Celebration of Discipline.
The late John Wimber, a founder of the Vineyard Movement, began his religious life as a Quaker.
George Fox University associates itself with Quakerism but has a fairly sound Evangelical Statement of Faith.
Comments about Quakerism 9/28/06
My beloved friend whom I greatly respect, Carl Mease, sent me the following comments about Quakerism:
"I noticed your comments on Quakerism from your trip. [My wife] was raised a Quaker, her dad still being a Friends pastor, and I was saved in the Friends Church. There are two distinctly different denominations, with the same name, only because they have the same roots. The only written distinction is that some are called Evangelical Friends. The other group, which is basically Unitarian, is commonly called the Eastern Quakers because they are mostly in Penna. and the Eastern states. Interestingly enough, it is my understanding the original split came over whether to have a pastoral system. Even more interesting is that the group (I believe originally called the Hicksites) that wanted to maintain the leading of the Spirit in worship without a pastor leader/coordinator; devolved into the Unitarian types today. The group that wanted a pastoral system is the present Evangelical Friends. The pastor in the Evangelical group actually does not have power or superior authority as in many groups. The name Society of Friends merely comes from that time in England when it was illegal to start a church, but you could have a religious society, much like the Wesleys were first involved in."
"Quite frankly, the Friends in Kansas that I was a part of would look like the local Nazarene or Weslyian church as far as plan of salvation and maintaining the Christlike walk.
"Yet they are different in church government, and still maintain with the Salvation Army - no water baptism and what most would call the communion service. These things seem to have been a reaction to the Roman Cath church of the 1600's which said both were necessary for salvation. A defense of these and other early Quaker belief are found in Barclay's "Apology, by Robert Barclay in the late 1600's. It is still in print, and I may have a copy if you want to look at it.
"The early Quakers were far from Unitarianism, e.g. William Penn's writings which include "No Cross, No Crown".
"I have had some personal experiences with the Eastern Quakers which put them into the anything goes (except the message of the Lord), and of course their statements and writings also expose them as Unitarians. As the denominations go it appears that Mid-America Yearly Meeting and NW Yearly Meeting are alright. Friends United Meeting may be the middle ground folks, who have some of each group within their Yearly Meeting. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is the outspoken of the 'Eastern' Friends. (Yearly Meeting is comparable to a denominational convention, as it is the time all the meetings (churches) of the same persuation get together for business etc.). The American Friends Service "Committee is a function of the Unitarian types."