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  • By Hugh Rock
    Apr 26, 2019
    It’s an intriguing question, the relationship between Quaker Faith and the Christianity which Michael Langford repudiates as ‘just another form of man-made religion’ (page 63). Moreover, it is a live question. Michael’s refusal of supernaturalism tends toward Humanism. This historical standpoint accounts for the mixed religious and humanist condition of the Society today. Michael’s key points form something of a Quaker catechism, as follows. ‘It is a serious mistake to confuse [the Christian shared way] with a so-called Christian system of beliefs’ (p.8). The Bible is not authoritative revelation, it helps our experiences ‘in the light of the writings of those who had reached the same spiritual depths in former times’ (p.19). There will be no literal second coming of Christ, it is a spiritual event. The Day of Judgement is not a tribunal, it is the occasion when ‘we face the truth about ourselves’ (p.48). The Cross is not any sort of bargain with God that saves us. This repudiation of... More > supernaturalism means that Michael’s creed draws from the potent humanist tendencies of the incarnation. That is exemplified in the title of the book, Becoming Fully Human. ‘If we accept Jesus as our Christ, we are saying that there is something divine about our humanity’ (p.100). To become fully human is to be divine (p.47). God is love in community (p.119). Michael believes that ‘God is in us’ (p.118). That phrase repeats (though without referencing) the title of Anthony Freeman’s atheist, or social conclusion of his experience as a priest. With this decidedly humanist Christian message, why is it that Michael takes issue with the ‘humanist optimism’ (p.445) of Liberal Quakers, and their ‘abandonment of the original Quaker faith’? (p.444). To make this complaint, he contrasts the social contract of Rousseau, (the liberals), with the Covenant of the New Testament, (the first Quakers). There are two types of humanism. One, (scientific) holds that education and technology will progress mankind. The other (religious) holds that to change the world we need first to change ourselves. This book might serve as handbook for all Friends, to ‘think again about their Christian roots’ (p.146). Unfortunately, the compendium is too sprawling to provide such focus. There are two books in one, and a disconcerting amount of duplication. Nevertheless, this compendium provides us with heartfelt testimony, a wide reading of Fox’s writings, and some interesting questions.< Less
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Product Details

Friends of the Light
April 24, 2019
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.66 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
5.83 wide x 8.26 tall
Product ID
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