In 1676 Robert Barclay wrote An Apology for True Christian Divinity. The whole Apology is rooted in the Second Proposition concerning Immediate Revelation: affirming that “the testimony of the Spirit is that alone by which the true knowledge of God hath been, is, and can be only revealed.” The remainder of the Apology describes how this Quaker understanding and experience of direct revelation informs and shapes Friends’ understanding and practices of spiritual leadership, worship, civil government, and how we live in and relate to the world.
This website is rooted in the belief that 21st Quakerism in its truest form is built on this same fundamental understanding of God and how God relates to our faith community.
[Also, please see this site’s Table of Contents]
This website is divided into four sections:
Faith describes what we believe as Friends and how this shapes our practice as a faith community: God as a living Spirit shaping and guiding our faith community in this present moment through Spirit-filled and Spirit-led worship, nurture of spiritual gifts through “eldership”, and other dimensions of what Friends traditionally referred to as “Gospel Order”.
Witness describes how our community of faith interacts with the world around us. A God-led community lives in this world but not “of it”. God conveys to us as a community a prophetic vision of new heaven and earth that is radically different from the values and institutions of “Empire”. We are called as a movement of God’s people to prophetic work, transforming the world around us and drawing it ever closer over time to God’s hopes and plan. Early Friends referred to this as “The War of the Lamb”. Friends today often speak and think of this as a bundle of separate social “testimonies”. In truth these ways of living and transforming the world all derive from a single vision of God and God’s relationship with creation.
Healing addresses personal dimensions of transformation. These all begin with “willingness” – an inward attitude of leaning on God – in contrast to willful resistance to God’s hopes for our lives. There are many barriers to healing: the scars of our upbringing that may have taught us that we do not deserve to be well cared for, addictions that lie to us and block us off hearing God’s voice in our lives, and the values and behaviors that Empire has sown in our hearts and relationships. But we do nor have to tackle these challenges alone. If we are able to trust others in our faith community enough to share vulnerably our own struggles with other, we can help each other on our personal journeys to wholeness.
Formation describes a variety of spiritual disciplines, resources, and tools that can help us grow closer to God, deepen our faith community, and strengthen our capacity to carry forward God’s work in the world.
This website does not speak for any official body of Friends. It expresses the understanding and experience of Quakerism held by the writers whose pieces are posted here. It is rooted in our understanding of the faith and practices of the first generation of Friends, drawing significantly on the experience of Conservative or “Wilburite” Friends, but drawing heavily on the many recent Friends’ sense of where God is calling Friends today.
I, Peter Blood-Patterson of Mt Toby Meeting in New England Yearly Meeting, am at this stage as the curator of what gets posted on this site. I am doing this work under a ministry oversight committee of Mt Toby Meeting. I have been consulting regularly with many other Quakerism teachers and writers on this project. If you have written or are aware of articles that are in harmony with this vision of Christ-led Quakerism, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome your feedback and prayers—and partners to help build this online library and fulfill its mission.