Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
William Rogers - Christian Quaker - First Part - Section 4 - pages 23-27
It has been suggested the Rogers' text is difficult to read. I'm working on a way to share Rogers' "Christian Quaker" by making it easier to experience his work. This is a beginning. I offer an overview and then link to the original text with somewhat of a paraphrase along side.
In this section Rogers deals with the contention, by some, that it is silly for someone to call themselves a member of the Church and not adhere to the outward creeds codified by the institutionalized Church.
Rogers, amongst the founding Quakers, expresses complete dissatisfaction with the insistence that people follow the outward creeds of the outward Church. He admonishes instead holding to the inward manifestation and revelation of God’s Spirit within each person. He even goes so far as to suggest that establishing creeds for members to adhere to is, in itself, a turning away from the inward manifestation and revelation of God’s Spirit and that no Quaker up to 1680 had penned anything with the intention of suggesting all should follow what they have written or they are not a true Quaker. In truth, he says, Quakers were not described using outward marks and tokens.
When the Light came into the consciences of the founding Quakers, Rogers says, they came to see that others (not in the Light) used visible order and written faiths of the visible church to guide their paths. However, Quakers did not establish their faith in visible orders and written faiths; they had entered into a new dawning because they were guided by and established within the inward manifestation and revelation of the Light within themselves. It is essential to the testimony of the founding Quakers that the Light entered their consciences and works and guides them from within the conscience and not from outward orders and faiths.
Rogers shares that, when the Quaker gathering just beginning, people (Church Leaders of the time) whose faith was in outward orders and faiths to guide them came to the Quakers and expressed (calling Quakers confused) heir exasperation that the gathering of Quakers did not set down creeds so that people may know what they must believe to be a part of the Quaker gathering and so others may assess Quaker articles of faith. The founding Quakers replied by saying that the inward Light itself is sufficient and that they did not hold to any marks or signs by which they would be under the pale of a Church. They also did not establish articles to which all members must adhere.
Rogers points out differences among founding Quakers did not translate into a judging of each other as fools or hypocrites. Instead, there was Charity in differences. He quotes Romans 14:3,4,22,23 to point out that it is a fact that there has always been differences but such differences are embraced with patience and are no excuse to impose adherence to outward forms in the outward church to resolve differences.