Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Arthur Berk (QQ Profile) lives in New York City Friend but is a member of Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative).
Books and pamphlets by Arthur Berk can be obtained from New Foundation Fellowship. Recorded 6/20/09 at the Conservative Friends Gathering in Lancaster County, Pa.
ARTHUR BERK: Quakerism originated as a Christ-centered Christian religion which accepted Christ not only as the author of the Sermon on the Mount and other great stuff but as a living God, as a living creator, as the one who brings us to peace, and the one who shows us love, as the one who brings us together so we can hear God's voice when he speaks to us. When we are open to Christ we can accept his peace and disarm ourselves, not just with outward weaponry, but with our own hostilities, prejudices and our own thinking.
We're supposed to open ourselves to what God expects of us and not what we expect of each other. Too much in Quakerism is individual expectation and how much intellect one has rather than what one is hearing from the Lord.
QUESTION: What kind of suggestions do you have for people who want to get closer to Christ?
ARTHUR BERK: First, have waiting worship yourself within a group that has experienced Christ. Then you share that experience with others. You'll see that Christ is not only speaking to thee, but to all of us. We have to sometimes suspend intellectual judgement. I'm not anti-intellectual, but we need to be able to hear and do what Jesus expects of us. God created us to bring this world into his Holy Kingdom. When we accept that we can be brought into his Kingdom. When brought into the Kingdom, we can disarm ourselves and stop thinking to exploit others so we can make a bountiful living. We can seek the good in others and encourage them to wait on the Lord so that they too can experience the same Christ that we experience.
QUESTION: People can come to gatherings like this one, an weekend gathering each year happening in Lancaster County and Barnesville, Ohio. This is one of the places people come. What other places might they look?
ARTHUR BERK: You can meet Christ-centered people in other meetings and have gatherings with them. You don't have to wait until Ohio has something. You can encourage those who are inclined to want that type of worship where we hear and love to be able to gather together. We need to encourage that type of gathering. Wwe could go far off and speak to ourselves but that's not the point. The point is to reach people. An important aspect of George Fox's ministry was reaching out to those who could experience Christ. He preached to the Blacks, Native Americans and other people. People can be open to Jesus's message if we're willing to gather and share it.
Photos from the Conservative Gathering