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Quaker Worship 101

Brief History Rough Organization Primary Theological assumptions Practice Levels of Silence - experience Questions
by

mark inglis

on 18 April 2010

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Transcript of Quaker Worship 101

Live Up to the Light that thou hast

The first gleam of light
the cold light of morning
brings the promise of day
with its noontime glory
It dawned on me
as I mused on my state
in great sadness
The words that came to my spirit
how true and how clearly they rang: Oh, live up to the light
the light that thou hast
live up to the truth
and remember, my child
you are never alone
no, never
oh, live up to the light that thou hast
and more will be granted thee
will be granted thee
oh, live up to the light thou hast. I do not regret
the troubles and doubts
that I have journeyed through
They keep teaching me
patience and humble devotion
Forget not in darkness
what, in the light,
you knew to be the truth
Oh, live up to the light
the light that thou hast
live up to the truth
and remember, my child
you are never alone
no, never
oh, live up to the light that thou hast
and more will be granted thee
will be granted thee
oh, live up to the light thou hast.
The Inward Light That Thou Hast Brief History
Rough Organization
Primary Theological assumptions
Practice
Levels of Silence - experience
Questions G. Fox (1624-1691)

• After the Reformation
• Establishment of mainline denominations, decline of some of the protestant enthusiasm, but not the arrogance of victory over the Catholics.
• Politics and religion usually one and the same.
• New non-conformist (Dissenters) sects, schisms common
• 1599 Geneva Bible - used by Fox & early Friends
• 1611 King James Version
• 1647 Fox begins to preach openly. Communities begin to form shortly thereafter. • Programmed & Unprogrammed

○ Unprogrammed:
§ Most inline with original friends practice, but not necessarily theology.
§ Meeting for worship is based on silence and people speaking out of the silence.

○ Programmed:
§ Largely similar to mainline protestant practice,
§ Meeting (or service) is laid out, with often (not always) inclusion of a significant period of silence
§ Most similar to Methodist (largely influenced by the Methodist revival of the 19th Cent)
• Modern structure

○ Unprogrammed
§ Friends General Conference (FGC) - liberal theologically & politically, not necessarily Christian
§ Conservative Friends - theologically Christ centered, liberal politically, consider themselves "orthodox" (and probably are the most true to early Friends)

○ Programmed
§ Friends United Meeting (FUM) - mainline; theology is regional and varies across the spectrum, but majority within mainline protestant theology and politics
§ Evangelical Friends Alliance (EFA) - conservative theologically & politically, strongly evangelical, often bears little difference from other evangelical churches.
§ "But as I had forsaken the priests, so I left the separate preachers also, and those esteemed the most experienced people; for I saw there was none among them all that could speak to my condition. And when all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could tell what to do, then, oh, then, I heard a voice which said, "There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition"; and when I heard it my heart did leap for joy. Then the Lord let me see why there was none upon the earth that could speak to my condition, namely, that I might give Him all the glory; for all are concluded under sin, and shut up in unbelief as I had been, that Jesus Christ might have the pre-eminence who enlightens, and gives grace, and faith, and power. Thus when God doth work, who shall let it? And this I knew experimentally."
Essential beliefs:

□ Rituals (including the sacraments) can be safely ignored

□ Qualification for ministry is given by the Holy Spirit, not by ecclesiastical study

□ "Christ has come to teach his people himself": religious experience is not confined to a church building or church clerics or polity

□ Fox reasoned that, because God was within the faithful, believers must follow their own inner Light of Christ rather than rely on a strict reading of Scripture

□ This resulted in no "doctrines" or rules, but rather Queries & Testimonies

□ As the Bible makes no mention of the Trinity, Fox & early Friends made no clear distinction between Father, Son and Holy Spirit

□ John 1:9 "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Christ was the Light that indwelt every human being

□ Vices (or sin), including social vices, war, greed, drunkenness, etc. were the result of disobedience to one's Inward Light
• Quaker Worship, Open Worship, Unprogrammed Worship, Quaker Meeting, Waiting on the Spirit

○ Not "Silent Worship"
○ Waiting, listening, openness
○ God is present, it's our job to "wake up", to be open, to hear The Garden—Willingness to Submit The Cross—Willingness to Endure Resurrection—Willingness to Receive Ascension—Willingness to Hope "I was glad that I was commanded to turn people to that Inward Light, spirit, and grace, by which all might know their salvation, and their way to God; even that divine Spirit which would lead them into all Truth, and which I infallibly knew would never deceive any." Christ, the Light, had come to teach his people himself; "people had no need of any teacher but the Light that was in all men and women";

○ if people would be silent, waiting on God, the Light would teach them
-how to conduct their lives,
-teach them about Christ,
-show them the condition of their hearts;
by loving the Light, it would rid them of the "cause of sin"; and soon after, Christ would return in his glory to establish his Kingdom in their hearts.
○ Fox called the Light, destroying sin within, the Cross of Christ, the Power of God.
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