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Quakers-Are They Christians?
Answering an original article by K. B. Napier.
By: Themis J. Papaioannou and Allistair A. Lomax 1/18/2004 *see footnote
Some time ago K. B. Napier published on the Bible Theology Ministries Web Site an article criticizing the Religious Society of Friends commonly known as Quakers . He starts his article with the question: “Quakers – Are they Christians?” He then admits that most Christians would say “of course Quakers are Christians” but then in the rest of the article he proceeds to prove them wrong. Barry Napier wants us to believe that “'Quakerism' is a foe of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ”.
Before we examine, criticize and therefore answer Barry Napier’s article we must first ponder some very important things. Criticising and questioning the salvation of another group of Christians is a very serious matter. So to make claims of unsoundness a critic must go firstly to the sources - something that Napier does not do and then cite clear evidence. In the article posted on the Barry Napier’s website, there is not a single quotation in support of any the claims made. We consider that anyone who makes such claims should bring proper proof; this is in accord with God’s Law. At the time writing, the only piece of evidence provided by the website is a link to a testimony from an ex-Quaker, which simply states ‘Sorry Not Ready Yet’.
Now let’s examine the article. Napier writes, “There are other forms of Quakerism, which claim to be Christian and which would disassociate themselves from mainstream Quakers”. What is ‘mainstream’ Quakerism? Nowhere does Barry Napier define it. Now which group of Quakers is Barry Napier is talking about? We are simply not told. There is a brief reference to the ‘official UK form’, but a reader could easily be misled to believing that the article concerns all groups of Quakers. Is that Barry Napier’s intention? Only he can answer that question.
In our opinion, these are not signs of a sincere researcher but of someone who has an agenda. No serious researcher can claim a group to be “mainstream” when it so differs in doctrine and practice from the originators of the group. Any group which changes its Faith and Practice - automatically cuts itself off from the mainstream line. But did Napier examine the sources? We don’t believe he did. How can we when no evidence is sighted? We can rightly claim that Barry Napier in his article is not examining mainstream Quakerism.
Our greatest concern with this article is that Barry Napier then tries to convince us that he studied Fox writings. He tries to put doubts in his readers’ hearts concerning the motives of George Fox but without saying anything specific.
These are not the actions of a serious historian or researcher or one of God’s labourers. After trying to create doubts concerning George Fox’s salvation and motives he writes, “For example, in his own writings he refers to the 'light (of God) in every man'...but does not appear to differentiate the saved and the unsaved. When he talks about being saved and unsaved, it seems he is saying that to be saved is more or less a matter of not doing bad things. At other times, he appears to talk in orthodox gospel terms. The confusion may just be in the way the writer of this Outline interprets the work of Fox...but a similar confusion of ideas seems to run throughout Fox's writings. There are other problems with what Fox does and says, too, and I am not the only writer to see them.” So does Fox differentiate between saved and unsaved? Does Barry Napier know for certain? We invite him to comment. If he is not sure, then he has no right to make such statements.
Since the article is published on a web site called, “Bible Theology Ministries” we suppose he knows what Holy Scripture says. So we would like to ask him if he gets confused while studying Holy Scripture, in the above ways. We read in John 1:9, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world”, does this verse appear to differentiate the saved from the unsaved? Where does Fox say that being saved is just not doing bad things?
One of us has studied George Fox’s writings for nearly 20 years. The fact is George Fox is very clear on this point, salvation comes through belief, faith and obedience to Jesus Christ, and in answer to some Calvinists, he says;
“you say … that God hath ordained the greater part of men for hell … Doth not the Scripture say God would have all men to be saved .. The law of God was given to Israel, but the gospel was to be preached to all nations … he that believes is saved, but he that doth not believe is condemned already, so the condemnation comes through unbelief … When you are born again, you will know election, and reprobation lies in the evil seed, since the world began” (Bicentennial Journal II, p112-113)
And of salvation, George Fox says;
“There is no salvation by any other name under the whole heaven but the name of Jesus … They which have been dead in sin and transgression he makes them to sit together in heavenly places … and … come to be gathered in the name of Jesus. So, gathered in the name of Jesus we have salvation of life and redeemer[ship] and mediatorship and peace with God is known [and] he is in the midst of them. For … Christ saith "Where two or three are gathered in my name I am in the midst of them". Then [if Christ be in the midst] there is righteousness in the midst, life in the midst … light and truth and a saviour and redeemer in the midst to you that be gathered in his name and refresh you. And so he is the head and they are the church and then the head is in the midst of the church ordering the body and ordering the church and ordering his faithful ones and saints.” Aa mss, p17.
To end this article we would like to mention what an anti-cultic English group wrote about Quakers, concerning if they are a cult or not, “Neither group of Quakers are a cult in the sense that those joining will not be subject to mind control techniques or other harmful human activities.” The same article recognizes that Quakers are not a unified body. Would Barry Napier care to comment on their views? (The Reachout Trust)
We invite Barry Napier to comment on this article, if he wishes, and we will, of course, publish any response made by him, unedited and unabridged.
My (Allistair Lomax) first contact with Barry Napier was over 10 years ago when a friend showed me a large publication expounding much the same views as the article above, but in much greater detail. I was led to believe that this book was to be published but I never seen a copy since published. I do not know whether it was or not. Also, on a couple of occasions I did invite Barry Napier to meet me publicly to discuss this matter. On these occasions he refused.