Friday, June 13, 2008

Quakers vs. Puritans

I have been researching Friends (aka Quakers) in all capacities. I will refrain from all the details of my reading.

I have learned that the Quakers and Puritans were always opposites and I did not know that before.

I have learned that the Puritans are now called Reformed or Baptists or the best name for them currently is Reformed Baptist. SEE NOTE BELOW

I have had an open mind in my research and I have found a lot of Christianity in the early history of the Quakers but this group of people has now become a mixture of Christians and non-Christians.

The older the literature one reads the more convincing it is that Quakers are Christian. The reverse is true as well. The newer the literature one reads the more evident it becomes that Quakers are not necessarily Christian.

There are Christian Quakers.

On page 177 of "Friends for 300 Years" it says, "Much emphasis was placed on the significance of the historical events which gave rise to the Christian religion, including especially the life, teachings and sacrificial death of Christ. This emphasis was prominent in the writings by which the Quakers defended themselves against opponents who claimed they were not Christians because of their universalism, their opposition to the doctrine of imputed righteousness and the their belief in the supremacy of the Light Within over the Bible. "

It goes on to say that the Puritans had a main purpose of "preaching the Word to assure right belief" but the Quakers thought that of less importance.

The Quakers look to the "Light" as the teacher and have made every effort to led their people to the light. The Puritans have made every effort to concentrate on the Bible and get good, solid doctrine from the Word of God.

I respect and believe in being quiet before the Lord. I do not thrive in the noisy Evangelical church with the large Public Address Systems.

However, I am not ready to abandon the Bible entirely for the "Light." In fact, the Bible teaches us that Satan *can* disguise himself as an angel of light.

I know there is a balance between going over-board on "inwardness" to the exclusion of inspired Holy doctrine and the rigid, so called "head-knowledge" with its making the Bible a textbook to be dissected.

I have read a lot and I find that others before me have noted the extremes. One person or group meditates too much, as it were, to the exclusion of being an useful, engaged human participant. Think desert hermit for an extreme case of this.

Another group has every Bible passage memorized but will not set aside the time to pray sufficiently, to be quiet, to spend time with the Lord, and for some of them "meditation" is a profane word.

I believe in imputed Righteousness. I believe that I have no righteousness to offer the Lord, the little bit I may think that I have, I don't, and we all know that verse about the filthy rags.

I believe I am a sinner and I know that I can barely get through a few hours without sinning. Yes, I have the fruit of the Holy Spirit and yes, I am being sanctified and I am becoming more Holy as I abide in the Vine.

I believe Jesus Christ when He compares me to a sheep and He calls Himself a Shepherd.

He teaches us, in the Bible, that the Sheep will know His voice...I want to know that voice.

The Bible also teaches us that Jesus Christ is the Word of God, it stands to reason then that the more I know the Bible, the more I know about Jesus Christ, the Word incarnate, God incarnate in human flesh.

Jesus Christ is the Light of the World. God's Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path. There is no darkness in God. Without salvation we wonder around in the darkness---all Biblical truths.

The Bible is the Truth and I will not forsake it, ignore it or teach others to do so. It is the very WORD of God and can be trusted.

NOTE: I have been corrected by someone more knowledgeable than myself. The Puritans are now the Reformed Baptists. The Reformed Baptists "reformed" from the Anglican Church in England and they did not "reform" from the Catholics. Otherwise, one could wrongly think that all the Lutherans, Presbyterians, and all holding to the original Reformers were all of the Puritan branch of Christianity. Both the Reformed and the Reformed Baptists agree with John Calvin and John Knox to the best of my knowledge.