Update: I have made an attempt to “tone down” most of my blogs about Evangelical Friends/Quakers, to not be so hurtful to my many friends in the EFCI (and EFC-ER). Yet when I see what is going on, I still feel compelled to speak out. Read on.
I grew up in the Ohio Yearly Meeting of the Friends Church (Gurneyite), which for years consisted of born again, godly Christians with a Wesleyan/ Holiness theology. The Ohio Yearly Meeting was later renamed the Evangelical Friends Church Eastern Region (EFC-ER). Today the EFC-ER falls under the denominational umbrella of the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) denomination. The following is a good article on the history of the EFCI (the article seems to be relatively accurate):
A more detailed history of the various Friends branches (evangelical and liberal) can be found at the following link:
(Warning – both of the above articles lean toward being theologically liberal – especially the second.)
At several points in Quaker history, born again, Wesleyan/ Holiness Friends have separated from the other “nonchristian” Quaker branches. Consider the following excerpt from:
During the nineteenth century two major separations took place. The first caused serious divisions: the orthodox party emphasizing biblical authority and the historical aspects of salvation [emphasis mine], and the liberal party (Hicksite) emphasizing individual conscience and the inward aspects of religion. Later in the century differences arose within the orthodox party concerning the appropriateness of planned worship and ministry. The Wilburites wanted to preserve the quietist tradition of immediate spiritual guidance; the Gurneyites wanted to acknowledge biblical and rational preparation for ministry under the Spirit’s guidance [emphasis mine]...
Various discernment ministries have condemned all Friends/ Quaker denominations, claiming they all admire their founder George Fox. But we do not all admire his New Age-ish “inner light” teaching. I know from experience there were and are born again, godly Evangelical Friends Christians. I grew up in the Ohio Yearly Meeting described at the beginning of this blog. I hold to the biblically sound theology of the 18th century orthodox and Gurneyite Quaker traditions. [I wrote a blog more recently – in May 2011 – about the Ohio Yearly Meeting.]
Tragically, the EFCI in recent years has shown a swing back towards acceptance of the ungodly theology found in liberal Friends denominations (primarily Friends General Conference and Friends United Meeting). We are seeing what appears to be a “theological merging” between the EFCI and these more liberal/progressive Friends denominations.
This ungodly merging of theological views is due in large part to Richard Foster, whose book Celebration of Discipline first came out in 1978, popularizing occult contemplative practices within Spiritual Formation. Foster is a liberal Quaker. Ironically, he did not introduce Celebration of Discipline while in one of the more liberal Quaker denominations. Foster has associated himself off and on with the EFCI for years. The Spiritual Formation writings of Foster, Dallas Willard and others have played a huge part in the theological liberalization of numerous EFCI congregations.
In light of the EFCI’s close ties with Richard Foster, I am amazed that more has not been written exposing these liberal ties. So… here is my effort at doing so. Following are some articles which show EFCI ties with Foster:
1) Quakerinfo.com article (note the first two paragraphs):
2) Wikipedia article (see the first paragraph):
3) EFCI Home Page (start clicking on the various links found here – you will very quickly come across liberal Quaker teachings in EFCI churches):
There many more Internet articles showing the ties between the EFCI and liberal Friends/Quakers, especially Richard Foster – I will add additional links here as I locate them.
One final note. It is not my intent to maliciously criticize and tear down other born again Christians in my birthright yearly meeting (the EFC-ER). On the contrary, I love the born again, biblically sound, evangelistic stance that the EFC-ER held in years past. It appears to me that the EFC-ER has always been more biblically sound than the other yearly meetings in the EFCI.
I would make the following plea to those in the EFC-ER. Please, please, please, if your local church becomes involved in Spiritual Formation and Emerging/Emergent teachings, LEAVE. Run as far away as you can, as fast as you can. Look to the Truth of God’s Word alone, and stand strong on it.