[blog under construction]
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.
As you will see in the excerpts below, Richard Foster claims that his Renovare Spiritual Formation Study Bible expresses “Quaker theology.” But exactly what brand of Quaker theology?
Foster has had ties for years with the Evangelical Friends (EFCI) denomination. So one might think his study Bible expresses born again Quaker theology (other terms are “Gurneyite”, “Holiness Friends”, and “fundamentalist evangelical”)(1). Nothing could be further from the truth. Unsaved, non-evangelical “Inner Light” Quakers gladly claim Richard Foster as one of their own in theology.
To me, it’s very obvious that Foster is at heart an unsaved, mainline/liberal Quaker to the nth degree. Amazingly, the EFCI has never condemned Foster nor his teachings. On the contrary, the EFCI has welcomed Foster with open arms, to preach and teach in its institutions. What an abomination!
Now on to The Renovare Spiritual Formation Study Bible, which has been renamed The Life with God Bible (NRSV).
I am providing excerpts from an article in which Foster states that his Spiritual Formation Study Bible expresses Quaker theology. Again, the truth is it expresses all Quaker teachings except fundamentalist evangelical Quaker theology. Click here for the entire original article.
I have emphasized certain points by bolding and [bracketing]:
Friends United Meeting
Quaker Life, June 2005
“The With God Life: An Interview with Richard Foster”
By Trish Edwards-Konic
During the month of May , The Renovare Spiritual Formation [Study] Bible appeared in bookstores and began to be seen in the hands of people in churches and on the street. For Friends, it was a great month; for the first time a study Bible was released that reflected [“Inner Light” non-evangelical] Quaker theology.
“There is a great deal of Quaker thinking in this Bible,” stated Richard Foster, Editor. “One of the great gifts Quakerism has is that its greatest treasures are focal and very foundational Quaker insights are found in the pages of this Bible.” Work began five years ago when Steve Hanselman, then Vice President and Publisher for Harper San Francisco approached Richard Foster and Renovare with the idea of working with them to publish a study Bible that looked at Scripture through the lens of spiritual formation. [By extension, it’s pretty obvious that the entire Spiritual Formation movement is saturated with “Inner Light” non-evangelical Quaker theology. Of course there are other major streams of heretical theology also, such as Catholic mysticism.] General Editors were selected: Gayle Beebe (Quaker)[which denomination?], Foster (Quaker)[EFCI], Lynda Graybeal (Renovare staff & nondenominational), Tom Oden (United Methodist) and Dallas Willard (Southern Baptist with many travels among Friends)[EFCI?].
“Dallas Willard understands Quaker thinking about as well as anybody,” Foster acknowledged. “I had him do a study once on George Fox and his insights just blew me away.” [During one time period, Willard co-pastored a Friends Church in California with Foster; I’m trying to locate info on whether this Friends church belonged to the EFCI.]
The other Quaker who worked on this Bible is Howard Macy, Professor at George Fox University [an EFCI university in Northwest Yearly Meeting]. Marva Dawn, although not a Friend, also teaches at George Fox. Other names well-known among Friends [what denomination of Friends?] are Eugene Peterson, Walter Brueggemann, David DeSilva, Emilie Griffin and James Earl Massey, plus 44 other contributors.
A helpful hint for research: to see the list of editors and contributors to this so-called bible (along with short bios), click on the book photo at Amazon.com and read through pages ix to xiv.
I am looking for more connections between Quakers (of various denominations) and the Renovare Spiritual Formation Study Bible. Following are additional Christian critiques:
– mentions Quaker connections of Foster and others
– you may have difficulty downloading this pdf file – I was only able to download part of it
(1) Tragically, most Regions of the EFCI have, for all intents and purposes, shifted from “fundamentalist evangelical” to “progressive evangelical.” This is due in large part to their acceptance of Spiritual Formation, Emerging/Emergent teachings, and Quaker ecumenism. There are holdouts (particularly the “older generation”), mostly in the EFC-ER, who still consider themselves “fundamentalist evangelical”. I am one of those holdouts.