"You're a Quaker? You mean, like, Amish?" It's something every Quaker has heard. Max Carter, professor of Quaker religion studies at Guilford College, tells ...

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Comment by Patricia Dallmann on 7th mo. 21, 2014 at 1:05pm

Thank you, William. Your explanation clears up the matter for me, and I now see that the doctrine not only fits but is crucial to original theology. The verse that you quoted in 1st Peter strikes me as encapsulating the gospel account: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Thanks again for your help.

Comment by William F Rushby on 7th mo. 21, 2014 at 11:53am

Hello, Patricia!

I lost my reply, but will try to reconstruct it.

Wikipedia's essay on assurance of salvation states: "Assurance is a Protestant Christian doctrine that states that the inner witness of the Holy Spirit allows the justified disciple to know that he or she is saved."

The alternative would be " a lively hope" theology: 1 Peter 1:3 English Standard Version (ESV)Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...

The "lively hope" position holds that we cannot be assured of salvation until we have "finished the course", remaining faithful until life's journey ends.

In actual practice, most Friends probably hold to "assurance of salvation", whether they would own this as a doctrine or not.

My wife once spoke of assurance of salvation, in so many words, to a member of the Horning Mennonite church.  The Horning lady corrected Darlene, saying that we have "a lively hope" rather than a "blessed assurance".

I hope I have addressed your question.  Traditionalist Conservative Friends nowadays would typically believe in assurance of salvation, even if they couldn't verbalize it in so many words.

Comment by Patricia Dallmann on 7th mo. 21, 2014 at 11:10am

Hi William. Would you explain the doctrine "assurance of salvation" and Conservative Friends position on it? I've never come across this doctrine, but the sense of the words themselves doesn't fit with original theology of Friends.

Comment by William F Rushby on 7th mo. 21, 2014 at 10:07am

Two comments:  There are many varieties of Amish.  They do not all see things alike, any more than Friends do. To illustrate, "assurance of salvation" is accepted as doctrine by the New Order Amish, but not generally by the others.  In times past, it was not accepted by traditional Conservative Friends, as far as I know.

Another difference concerns demography.  The Amish are a rapidly growing group: http://amishamerica.com/2014-amish-population-infographic/  Friends, on the other hand, are a rapidly declining group, in Great Britain and North America.

One influential Friend disparaged the Amish in the 1970s as an anachronism in modern society.  Ironically, they now drive briskly by his home in their horse-drawn vehicles, while his own Quaker group continues to shrivel in size and in spiritual vigor.  Let the reader decide who is out of date!!

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