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Evangelical Quakers- are they Christians?

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I was recently contacted by a Quaker lady who claimed to be a Christian. She also admitted that it was she who persuaded a certain Christian ministry that teaches against cults to discard a leaflet I had written for it on Quakerism. From the information she gave to me, that ministry should never have listened to her, and is therefore accepting a cult as legitimate. Worse, the ministry never contacted me with a complaint or to tell me about it, assuming I was wrong.

This paper is in response to her definition of what a Christian is, and what predestination means. If, as I suspect, her claim to being a Christian rests on her definitions, then she is not one of the brethren, and the ministry that discarded my leaflet should think again.

She picked up on a statement I had made: that I will no longer respond to Quakers. This is not because I am afraid of criticism, or of being shown an error, but because I have responded many times, often in great detail, only to find that they have not been interested in any details, but only in criticising and in imposing their own heretical ideas onto me. They ignore all proper Biblical interpretation. This also applies to ‘evangelical’ Quakers, because, from what I have seen, they are Arminians, and therefore heretics.

I was asked why I had ‘singled out’ Quakerism instead of singling out Arminianism. I found this to be a very odd question, for I did not ‘single out’ Quakerism. Rather, I had been introduced to the liberal wing of Quakerism whilst still a very immature Christian, and was almost sucked into its brand of belief. Thankfully, God’s prompting allowed me to escape it. It was because a young Christian can so easily be deceived that I first wrote about Quakerism. At the time, I was unaware of any other form of Quakerism. Once I discovered there were other branches, I said so.

The lady told me she had persuaded a Christian ministry to discard my leaflet about Quakers. Frankly, I had forgotten it still existed. My concern is that the ministry did not contact me to discuss the matter, but simply stopped stocking it! They listened to the lady and, if she told them what she told me, they were duped by words and did not probe what she meant. She told them that she was ‘born again’ and that other Quakers were ‘born again’.

Later in her communication she says: “It is how we understand the meaning that counts”. She is very right! And, from her notes, it seems she does NOT understand the meaning. I have found this when dealing with charismatics and Romanists in particular: they use exactly the same words for salvation, etc., but, when we look below the surface, what they mean by those same words is very different.

I am never persuaded by any man or woman who claims to be ‘saved’ or ‘born again’, for I have heard the same words coming from dedicated Roman Catholics as well as rampant charismatics! Because of the deception and superficiality within the churches I am always led to ask a person what they mean by their words. It seems that the ministry to the cults did not look deeply into the woman’s claims.

The woman tells me she, too, used to be a Calvinist; I do not know why this was necessary, as I am not myself a ‘Calvinist’ as such. I refuse all labels, except those given in scripture. Anyway, quite unusually for a non-Calvinist, she says she believes in predestination. Did the ministry to the cults simply accept this, or did she not mention it? As she said, it is meaning that counts, and she gives me the meaning applied to it by herself and, I assume, by other Quakers who are of the same branch. She thinks that perhaps the other Quakers who contacted me did not make their meanings plain. But they did, and that is why I continue to say all Quakers* are enemies of Christ! (* Including ‘evangelicals’, if they are Arminian).

Her definition of predestination (the crux of salvation) is this: “To be conformed to the image of Christ and therefore holy as He is holy, and as He has commanded us.” For those of you who know your scriptures, this is nothing like what God’s word says! She has got this mixed up with sanctification, etc. It definitely is not a definition of predestination! The true definition is the interpretation found in scripture itself, taken from its own words. The word means that God called out those who would be saved, by name, before the world was made. So, where did Quakers get their definition from? It certainly was not from scripture.

When we follow this true interpretation (given by scripture itself) we see that God chose only a few to be saved, and the rest He chose to damnation. No man can, by the power of this interpretation, ever choose to be saved of his own volition. He is incapable of doing so, according to scripture. But, Arminianists ignore all this.

The lady thinks that we can only adhere to these interpretations if we ignore others and by taking them ‘out of context’. But, predestination is defined by scripture, and if we give that definition, how can it be ‘out of context’? It is context that usually gives us the final meanings of words, so what on earth is this lady talking about? Especially as she has just given me a corrupt and irrelevant meaning for ‘predestination’, one that the word or the various contexts cannot supply!

The lady tells me I may criticise Arminianism but not Quakerism, even though evangelical Quakerism is Arminian! Also, Quakerism is subsumed in Arminianism anyway. I cannot follow her logic. She goes on to say she does not believe Christ is in every man; that is, not until the man is born again. But, she says, “Christ lightens every man who comes into the world.” It is this core Quaker belief, found throughout all branches, that is the key, so let me explain what it means – not from Quaker definitions but direct from scripture.

This is a vital matter, for it is used to say that every man may be saved or born again if he wishes it. It is the very heart of Arminianism. And those who believe it do not believe in predestination as interpreted by God’s word. Rather, they believe in their own corruption of it, as we have seen above. All men are without excuse, because God’s truth has been made plain, re the next verse:

“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:9). Quakers believe that this Light predisposes all men to choose salvation if they wish. This is in defiance of predestination and election. ‘Light’, phos, means, in this context, to make manifest (from phao) and it also refers to God’s purity and utter brilliance, His truth and His knowledge, exposed to all, regardless of who they are. This is behind the statements made in Romans 1.

The word following, ‘lighteth’, photizo, means, in this context, to render evident – that is, the truth of God. It DOES NOT mean that every man is so enlightened he can come to salvation by his own reasoning or choice! To choose such a meaning would corrupt the meaning of predestination and election. That this is the case is found in the very next verse, which tells us that though the Light came to the world, it did not know Him! Only those who received Him became sons of God. These were not born again by their own will and choice, but by the will of God (verse 13: “[not] of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man…”).

John 3:16 expands on this, telling us that Christ came into the world to save only those who are predestinated by God. But, Arminian thinkers twist this to mean ‘all’ men universally. It is this meaning that I see in the teaching of Fox, the founder of Quakerism. He did not set out to found a new denomination, but that was the effect anyway. And the same denomination continues to believe that the light in every man means that every man can choose salvation.

This being the case, all of Quakerism is wrong and is an enemy of Christ, regardless of which branch it happens to be.

(Sadly, organisations that belong to the Evangelical Alliance all appear to be Arminian in character. If some are not, why do they persist in their membership and why do they not speak out against this heresy? It is the fight against this heresy that made Calvin respond with his famed words that later became known as the ‘five points’ [though they originated with Arminius, not Calvin]. Why fight it? Because it is at the centre of a false gospel that is, to quote Paul, anathema. That is sufficient reason… let God be true and every man a liar)!

© February 2005

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
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