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Diversified Group

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The range of congregations which make up the "Church" are incredibly broad both in the aspects of their teaching, lifestyle differences, and in regards to their doctrinal distinctions. Within this diversified group which sits under the umbrella of the name Christian, there are some congregations which due to their doctrines, find themselves heavily scrutinized by the general mass of Evangelical Christians. One such group is that of the Quakers, which due to some of their less orthodox teachings and religious practices have landed themselves under this scrutiny.

This is for the most part justified for not only is their style of worship different, but there are a number of their teaching which could not be called one hundred percent Biblically traditional. Such doctrines include those on sin, Heaven, Hell, communion and something which Quakers call the doctrine of inner light.

The Religious Society of Friends arose in seventeenth-century England, at a time of religious and political turmoil. There was great dissatisfaction with the established Church of England, with its legal monopoly of public worship, oppressive tithes, and corruption. Dissenting groups, including Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Puritans, Ranters, and Muggletonians vied for the spiritual and political loyalties of the populace, and in the case of the first two, for control of the government. During this time of civil war, Oliver Cromwell, the leader of the puritanical revolutionaries called "roundheads," held the title of Protector, and was the head of the government after ousting the late king. (www.Quaker.org)

As many say, it was at this time that George Fox, a leather worker, walked throughout England seeking someone who could guide him to authentic religious experience. He was reportedly exposed to many of the theological ideas and practices of the time, but found no satisfaction until a day in 1651 when he had a profound religious experience, which he recorded in his Journal: "And when all my hopes 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." (www.Quaker.org)

Thereafter, Fox became the leader of a loosely-knit group of traveling evangelists, some of whom were already convinced of the same truths Fox was preaching, and some of whom were convinced by him or others. The founding of Quakerism is generally given as 1652. Fox climbed a large rock ridge in northwest England, called Pendle Hill, and looking westward toward the sea, had a vision of "a great people to be gathered." Soon thereafter, he preached to a large gathering at Firbank Fell, starting a wave of conversions. About half of the early Quaker leaders came from this event. (www.Quaker.org)

One young convert was William Penn, son of the Admiral of the same name. Trained in law and theology, both profoundly spiritual and sufficiently worldly, with useful aristocratic connections, he rose rapidly to a position of leadership after he became a Friend. He wrote well and extensively, defended himself in a trial which established the independent power of the jury in English law. He was given land in the New World in settlement of a debt owed by the King to his father, Admiral Penn. The King named this land Pennsylvania, in honor of Admiral Penn. Pennsylvania became a haven for religious refugees from Britain and the Continent and contributed to the ultimate establishment of religious freedom in the United States. (totallyhistory.com)

For the most part their doctrines are normal. They believe in salvation through Christ and the Trinity just to name a few, but other then the basics they do have some very quirky thinking. The first of which is their doctrine on the topic of the what they call "Inner Light." This doctrine says different things depending on how liberal the Quaker being asks happens to be. Yet in general Quakers say that the "inner light" is the Holy Spirit who will speak and give direction

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