Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 12, 1967
NUMBER 23, PAGE 4-5a


Are You A Quaker?

We don't mean are you a Big Q Quaker; we mean are you a little "q "quaker. You'd better be! The Big Q Quakers are known to themselves and among one another as the "religious Society of Friends." They form a world-wide religious denomination of about 200,000 members (123, 000 in the United States). Founder of the denomination was George Fox. Son of a weaver in Leicestershire, England, he was born in 1624, and grew up in the seething religious chaos in England that produced the Pilgrims and the Puritans. Tormented by a desire for a closer contact with God, he finally came to the conclusion that all Christians were rightly priests before God, and that any one of them was capable of holding immediate, mystic communion with God. In 1654 Fox had only sixty followers; Five years later, he had thirty thousand.

The epithet "Quaker" was contemptuously assigned to Fox and his followers by a judge in Derby, England, before whom Fox was being tried. Fox admonished the judge that in reality he, the judge, was on trial, and that he ought to "quake with fear and tremble at the word of the Lord." The magistrate derisively called Fox a "quaker." The name stuck. The best known early American to follow the Quaker religion was William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. In modern times perhaps the best known national figure among the Quakers was the late Herbert Hoover.

But we aren't concerned so much with the Quakers - the Big Q Quakers, that is. We do truly believe, however, that George Fox was speaking the highest of wisdom and prudence when he admonished the Derby judge that he ought to "quake with fear and tremble at the word of the Lord." That attitude ought to characterize every person on this earth who has any respect at all for Divinity. Indeed, how can any man truly believe in God, understand his own position in relationship to God, and fail to "quake with fear" at the word of the Lord!

Paul reminded the Corinthians of Titus' visit to them (following the stern rebukes and admonitions carried in the First Corinthian letter), and told them that Titus "remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him." (II Cor. 7:15.) Indeed, they had! And well might they have feared and trembled; for Titus brought them not the word of man or of men, but the very word of God himself. The words of that letter to Corinth were not words Paul had chosen or selected from his own great knowledge; but they were words which had been "taught" him by the Holy Spirit

(I Cor. 2:13.) The Galatians also had Paul preach, and he says to them in his letter written some time later, "but ye received me as an angel of God, even as Jesus Christ." (Gal. 4:14.)

It has long since become axiomatic that modern religious differences generally are rooted not in differing interpretations of the Bible but in differing attitudes toward the Bible. That this is the case becomes rather evident when one notes the great degree of agreement (almost unanimity) with which scholars from varying backgrounds and religions write their "commentaries" on the Holy Scriptures. Be he Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, or Lutheran, the Biblical commentator usually differs only moderately from his fellow-commentators. The Presbyterian and Methodist scholars, for example, will nearly always comment on the verses about baptism with some statement to the effect that the word signifies "immersion", and then will explain that immersion was the practice of the primitive church. And Baptist scholars will usually agree that in the apostolic age (as set forth in inspired writings) baptism was the formal, "initiating rite" by which an alien sinner was inducted into the kingdom of God. "But now it is different," they will tell us. Well, maybe so. But when they lay their "scholarship" on the line, they usually come through with a pretty accurate explanation of what the Bible actually teaches.

Why then the differences and the divisions? The whole sad story is summed up in the simple statement that men do NOT differ over what the Bible teaches, but do differ widely as to the importance and authority of Bible teaching. If all men were disposed to "quake with fear and tremble at the word of the Lord' It seems more than likely that the major portion of our religious differences would dissipate over night.

Our generation has become hardened and insensitive to the word of God. Even among those professing to follow Christ there is a manifest lack of respect for his word. Men feel free to pick and choose which parts of it they will obey, which parts are "relevant" to today's world, and which parts they may safely ignore. We can understand, of course, that there may be some instances in which uncertainty may, exist as to the precise and definite teaching set forth; but we are speaking not of these isolated examples, but of the clear, positive, and undeniable utterances concerning which there is unanimous agreement among the Biblical students of the world.

In such things, for instance, as baptism for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38), baptism a burial (Romans 6:1-4; Col. 2:12), the one body, the church (Eph. 4:4; 1:22, 23), and many, many others too plain to misunderstand, it will be obvious that differences exist because men are NOT "quakers"; they simply are not impressed or affected by the Lord! And why not? Does it not seem perfectly clear that such men do not BELIEVE? They either do not believe that this is the will or word of God, or, more likely, they simply do not believe in God! It is the sane hardness of heart which has destroyed men in all ages. Even ancient Israel was not permitted to enter into the land of Canaan "because of unbelief!"

Let every reader of this page take stock of his own life. And if you are not a "quaker" at the word of God, become one today.

-F. Y. T.