Here is my reason for saying the above: prior to 1965, the EFC-ER (formerly called the Ohio Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite) was the only Friends/Quaker Yearly Meeting in the United States that – in my opinion – still held strongly to the biblically sound beliefs of Wesleyan Holiness Friends/Gurneyite Friends. I believe that, if it had remained its own entity, there would have been a chance for Ohio Yearly Meeting to hold on to their unique beliefs and keep them from being lost. Here is the key: to me, this separation would have included keeping out all traces of Spiritual Formation and postmodern (Emerging/Emergent/Emergence) teachings.
Now, over 45 years later, the EFC-ER shows no signs of separating from the EFCI. Nor does it appear that Spiritual Formation and postmodern teachings will disappear from the EFC-ER. How tragic!
Bottom line – I’m just trying to blog my feelings, some way, somehow, that in my mind the “pure” faith and practices of of Holiness Friends/Gurneyite Friends have died out. Or, that they are very close to dying out, as “the older generation” passes on. And as earnestly and as passionately as I can say this, I truly mourn this passing.
In his memoir, Sixty Years of Gospel Ministry, Edward Mott decades ago stated, “The attempt to fellowship and work with unbelievers [non-evangelical Quaker denominations] spells death. Any conclusion to the contrary is ruinous to all concerned.” Although Mott was referring to non-evangelical Quaker denominations, today there are many Evangelical Friends in yearly meetings/regions other than the EFC-ER whom I believe are, in reality, unbelievers.
As I have stated elsewhere, I am not the only Wesleyan Holiness Friend/Gurneyite Friend that has felt this way. I believe there is a great cloud of witnesses, including many of my deceased Friends pastor relatives and missionary relatives, who would have agreed with me that the Ohio Yearly Meeting in essence “died” when it joined the EFA in 1965, then opened the door to Spiritual Formation and Emerging/Emergent teachings. [Perhaps I should cut people some slack here. It is very possible that Ohio Yearly Meeting still would have become involved in Spiritual Formation and Emerging/Emergent teachings, even if it had not joined the EFA in 1965.]
As I look back on the recent passing of my father, a wonderful Holiness Friends/Gurneyite Friends pastor, I can’t help but think of what we have lost since 1965. Wonderful church services, the King James Version (call me old fashioned), those wonderful old gospel hymns and choruses, testimony time, frequent salvation messages with altar calls, Sunday evening services, Wednesday night prayer meetings – all those wonderful “old fashioned” things. (I thank the Lord there are many churches – albeit outside of Quakerism – that have managed to hang on to all these church practices. These are primarily Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches.)
I have been hoping – perhaps hoping beyond hope – that Evangelical Friends would be able to converse. That Evangelical Friends would be able to follow the Quaker tradition of being a people of truth. That we would be able to openly dialogue and/or debate about these issues. I have had Evangelical Friends contact me in private, stating their disappointment and frustration that they have not been able to present their concerns openly on these very issues. Some have been afraid of offending other Evangelical Friends. Others have been afraid of reprisal or ostracism. When did the EFCI reach this state? Why can’t the EFCI just be open and honest, telling EFC-ER members clearly how Emerging/Emergent the denomination is becoming?
And so I have created this blogsite. If it creates strife, so be it – EFC-ER members need to know what changes are transpiring in the EFCI. (I’m used to strife over theological issues – anyone who has attended seminary will know what I mean, LOL.)
Now for the good news – if any is to been seen in such a mournful situation (or angering situation, depending on which side of the fence you stand concerning my blogsite). Blogging is certainly not the most diplomatic way to get a conversation going, but a conversation has begun nonetheless. So far the conversation has been very encouraging. I’ve received more compliments than complaints from readers. A number of readers have thanked me for my research, and for opening their eyes to what is going on in the EFCI and EFC-ER.
To locate my other blogs on this denomination, simply search on my blogsite for Quakers, Friends, EFCI, EFC-ER, etc.