2009-08-20

The Inner Light

Someone wrote about Quaker belief in the Inner Light. He was objecting to it. Here is the link:

http://apprising.org/2008/08/contemplating-the-inner-light-of-the-quakers/

Here is the letter I wrote him:

Hi. I am a Quaker, and read your posting. In many ways you aren't off base. However, I think you could write an even better argument or critique if you have a few more facts. First, there is a LARGE number of Evangelical Quakers who have rejected the belief of the Inner Light. Second, there is a new book (text book) on Quakerism which I think you'd find fascinating. It explains what early (17th & 18th century) Quakers believed of experience and of the Inner Light. The concept of the Inner Light about which you write is commonly held by LIBERAL (maybe 22-35%) of European and American Quakers but not by the majority of Quakers world wide who still do believe in the Light (but use the term synonymously with "Holy Spirit." The book is by Pink Dandelion (yeah that's really his name, and he's legit) called Introduction to Quakerism. Then I would suggest, if you have the patience for it, the basis of Quaker theologies (both liberal and evangelical) from the 2nd generation of Quakers Barclay's Apology in Modern English, ed. Dean Freiday. I don't think this will convince you of anything, other than perhaps, as Dandelion writes, you will conclude that the concept of Inner Light about which you write is NOT what was originally meant, that one DOES have to be born again (be Justified and sanctified) and that EXPERIENCE is NOT what early Quakers would have said is a good measure of knowing God. In fact, I'd LOVE to see you as a 3rd party compare what you've written about modern Quakers and where we came from. I think you'll disagree with even our early teachings, but will also find where we've... well, strayed. If you do actually do this and write about it, I'd be eager to read what you wrote. In any event, I love my Religious Society, and I love Jesus. I do disagree with you here and there, but appreciate your passion for bringing people to the Word (Jesus) and for people understanding Scripture more (too many of us do not). Peace, KD

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