In this blog about the history of the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI), particularly the EFC-ER (formerly Ohio Yearly Meeting), I wrote that Quakers from George Fox through the Orthodox Friends [before Gurney’s missionary visits to America circa 1854] were not born again – in spite of what Evangelical Friends have been taught.
My comments are confirmed in a blog by Dr. Napier, which I have reposted below. Click here for the original source of this blog; in this repost I have omitted some comments which do not deal directly with nonevangelical Quakers. I should point out that Quakers have their own terminology, their own definitions for “evangelical” Quakers and “non-evangelical” Quakers:
Evangelical Quakers/Friends – Traditionally, “evangelical” refers to Quakers/Friends who believe in being born again (see John Chapter 3), accepting Christ as Saviour and Lord. They come to Christ by conversion. Traditionally they oppose George Fox’s heresy of the Inner Light/the Light of Christ in every man. In fact, in 1877-1879 Ohio Yearly Meeting of the Gurneyite/Evangelical Friends made an official statement condemning the Inner Light teaching. Evangelical Friends held tenaciously to Wesleyan Holiness teachings between approximately 1854 (with the influence of John Joseph Gurney) and 1965 (when Ohio Yearly Meeting joined the Evangelical Friends Alliance – now the EFCI). The height of Wesleyan Holiness doctrine in OYM, in its most born again “fundamentalist” form, was between approx. 1892-1942. Historically, OYM (now EFC-ER) was the most biblically sound/ fundamentalist/separatist of the Evangelical Friends Yearly Meetings (now referred to as Regions of the EFCI-NA).
Unfortunately, following the lead of Northwest Yearly Meeting of the EFCI-NA, many Evangelical Friends today are open to ecumenical ties with non-evangelical Quakers/Friends (as defined below). Also, following the lead of Northwest Yearly Meeting, they are becoming increasingly involved in Richard Foster’s Spiritual Formation as well as Brian McLaren’s postmodern (Emerging/Emergent) teachings. (Both Foster and McLaren – and many other postmoderns – have taught/preached in Northwest Yearly Meeting’s churches and schools.) Like many so-called “evangelical” denominations today, the EFCI is leaning further and further away from biblically sound, born again, “fundamentalist” Christian doctrine.
Non-evangelical Quakers/Friends – They oppose the concept of being born again, believing in Christ as Teacher and Lord. They come to Christ by convincement. They do believe in the Inner Light/the Light of Christ in every man. Non-evangelical Quakers/Friends include many ungodly groups, including extremely far left liberal Quakers, LGBT Quakers, Christian universalist Quakers, “nonchristian” universalist Quakers, New Age Quakers, Buddhist Quakers, etc., even atheist (nontheist) Quakers. Most of these non-evangelical Quaker groups believe in the Inner Light, “Christ in every man” – a concept that fits in very neatly with today’s New Age teachings of “Christ consciousness“, “the cosmic Christ”, etc. Non-evangelical Quakers/Friends comprise a number of denominations.
Non-evangelical Quakers can be very vocal about their non-belief in being born again. In this YouTube video, a liberal Quaker raps these lyrics:
“I’m not a Christian but I’m a Quaker,
I’ve got Christ’s Inner Light but he’s not my Saviour…”
In the repost below, I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]. I should point out that Dr. Napier and I come from different vantage points theologically, but we reach the same conclusion: most Quakers (including George Fox and other early Quakers) were/are not born again.
Some readers will say “What a stupid question! Of course Quakers are Christians!” Almost all Believers will say this. But, is it true? To put it bluntly, it does not really matter what your opinion is on the issue. Come to that, it does not matter what my opinion is, either! In fact, the same principle applies to all Biblically-based truths. What matters is WHAT GOD SAYS IN HIS WORD. God’s word is declared with authority. It is never offered as a possible answer, but as THE answer. And this is the way we must always approach the question of whether or not somebody (or a group) is Christian. In other words, what God says is law. If we say something different to that law, then what we think is irrelevant, if not sinful.
With that in mind: are Quakers Christians? If they are not, then Quakerism is a cult and Quakers are cult members. Quakers are usually represented on major Christian committees, but that is no guarantee of their Christian status. In this brief paper, we will show that mainstream Quakerism is not Christian, but is a cult. (There are other forms of Quakerism, which claim to be Christian and which would disassociate themselves from the Quaker beliefs mentioned here. [Sentence omitted from repost-DM (1).] They would also not accept the doubts [about Quakers being Christians] expressed in this paper).
The founder of Quakerism, George Fox, did not set out to call his followers ‘Quakers’. His concern was with the falsity and stagnation within the churches of his day. So he traveled Britain warning people of their spiritual danger. A problem arises because we cannot be all that sure about his personal salvation or about his real motives. For example, in his own writings he refers to the ‘light (of God) in every man’, but does not appear to differentiate the saved and the unsaved. When he talks about being saved and unsaved, it seems he is saying that to be saved is more or less a matter of not doing bad things (a particular strain of Arminianism). At other times, he appears to talk in orthodox gospel terms. The confusion may just be in the way I have interpreted the work of Fox, though I do not think so, for a similar confusion of ideas seems to run throughout Fox’s writings. There are other problems with what Fox does and says, as even some Quaker writers have admitted.
Today, there are several different types of Quakerism, which could easily be called ‘denominations’. One even refers to itself as being ‘evangelical’, but what seems to be the mainstream U.K. form of Quakerism referred to here is a cult from top to toe! Why say this? Just a brief examination of its basic beliefs should be sufficient to convince the reader…
In mainstream Quakerism, few Quakers believe in the need for Biblical-salvation. This is because few of them accept the reality of Satan, or of sin. Obviously, if there is no sin, there is no need for salvation! To many Quakers, ‘sin’ is merely a vestigial remain within a man which can be removed by doing good. Satan is said to be a figment of the imagination and Jesus Christ is said to have been just a very good man.
With this as a basis, there is no need to repent either! If we do not sin, then what is there to repent of? As for the Bible, well, individual Quakers may take it or leave it. However, some Quakers may, if they wish, read certain texts at their meetings, just for ‘inspiration’. The Bible is viewed as merely one of many books of inspiration. Any ‘uplifting’ piece of literature will do, even that of a pagan Roman emperor known for his savagery against early Christians!
Modern Quakers specialise in doing good works and encouraging peace initiatives. This they see as of vital importance. Many are archetypal New Agers for they mix their good works/peace ideas with ancient Eastern beliefs and all kinds of esoteric/occult teachings. (Note: ‘Many’ not ‘all’!).
Those who call themselves ‘evangelical Quakers’ complain when they are referred to as ‘cult members’. This is a problem of their own making. Even if they are real Believers, they have no business being amongst those who are predominantly unbelievers. The Bible clearly tells us we are to mark those who pretend to be of God but who, by their actions and words, defy Him. We are told that we must separate from them immediately and must then shun them. The reason for this is that their beliefs and teachings are ‘works of darkness’, inspired by Satan, corrupting the best of men. [Sentence omitted from repost-DM (2).] If they wish to be known as ‘Christians’ then they must leave and stop affiliating with a known cult.
Thus, for a saved person to be a part of Quakerism (or any other cult) which, by definition, is predominantly evil, is to oppose God’s commands. There is no reason whatever for a Believer to be known by any other names than those found in scripture e.g. ‘Believer’ or ‘Christian’… for any other title is superfluous. Indeed, to be called by the title ‘Quaker’ is to indicate one’s real loyalty, a loyalty to a man-made organisation and not to the authentic relationship between a person and God which has been effected through the salvation given by Jesus Christ.
In a very real sense, then, the movement/denomination of ‘Quakerism’ is a foe of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ, whether ‘official’ or Arminian. Do not be misled by its outward show of goodness. As for genuine Believers in the Quaker camp – they must come out from it! There is no alternative for a Believer.
(See also O-085, a testimony against Quakerism by an ex-Quaker and the book, ‘Quakers’, published by Petra Press/BTM)
© June 1992
Published on http://www.christiandoctrine.com
Bible Theology Ministries – PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH Wales United Kingdom
(1) In the omitted sentence, Dr. Napier states that Evangelical Friends are heretical because they are Arminian (he opposes even the milder forms of Arminianism held to by Evangelical Friends). With all due respect to Dr. Napier, I view this differently. I would say Evangelical Friends are heretical because they are New Evangelical (since approx. 1942), ecumenical with non-evangelical Quakers (since 1970), contemplative (since Evangelical Friend Richard Foster’s bestseller was published in 1978), and Emerging/Emergent (since the early 1990s, particularly in Northwest Yearly Meeting).
(2) Same issue as Endnote #1. My Comment to author 07/24/12
Greetings! I was searching for articles and blogs about the heresies of George Fox and other Quakers. I grew up in the Evangelical Friends denomination (EFCI). I now have a blogsite critiquing and exposing their many heresies.
I found this article of yours very helpful: http://www.christiandoctrine.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=649:quakers-are-they-christians-or-are-they-members-of-a-cult&catid=186:other-religions-cults-and-sects&Itemid=715 This is my blog which includes my view on the subject of George Fox, etc. – they were not Christians: https://davemosher.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/a-great-cloud-of-witnesses-my-favorite-godly-leaders-in-holiness-friends-gurneyite-quaker-history/
BTW, I see you mentioned Arminianism as cultic. I would have to agree. Growing up Wesleyan-Holiness, I do see the problems in Arminianism, which is more extreme than the Wesleyan-Holiness movement.
God bless you – Dave