Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Thank you all for contirbuting to this disscussion on Liberal Quakerism; there is much inspiration, personal testimony- and meaningful reply. I would like to contribute a extract from the writings of Edward Grubb's "Quaker Thought and History- A volume of Essays", 1925, New York, the Macmillan Company.
Grubb addresses the concerns of what he termed the "Quaker Rennaissance" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries this way:
"While some Quakers held firm to their Evangelical beliefs, other, mainly in the younger generation, took part in a movment to reformualte Quakersim. Dubbed the Quaker Renainssance, this developement....embraced the scientific and critical attacks on the authority of the Bible, and downgraded the idea of the atonement much more readily than was feasible in most other denominations. Thiw was possible because it was fairly straightforward for proponents of the Quaker Renainssance to appeal to the Society of Friends own distinctive tradtion of the Inner Light as the ultimate religious authority, rather than the Bible. " It is no coincidence that there was a huge revival of interest in early Quaker history and theology amoung Friends in the late 19th century....moreover, the Quaker Renainssance emphasized the necessity to revive Quakerism by making it more relevant to society and more involved with society's concerns; to perform good works, following the EXAMPLE of Christ; and to act with justice and compassion to all human beings as bearers within them of the divine spark of the Inner Light".
There still exists something along the line of a continental divide between the Liberal, and Orthodox, Fundamental and Evangelical groups; the placement of the authority of the Inner Light above the Bible and the decreasing importance of atonement.