The latest issue of the Quaker Christian quarterly Foundation Papers(double number 110-111, published by the New Foundation Fellowship, http://nffquaker.org/) contains a brief review of David W. Bercot’s The Kingdom That Turned the World Upside Down (ISBN 0-9244-72217-7 ). The review, “A Different View of Quaker History,” p. 7) ends with a query: “whatever happened to the Quakers to bring so many of them away from the gospel?” and invites readers to submit “input… in the form of short letters of 250 words.” I hoped, and still hope, that the Lord will raise up a prophet to shed 250 words of brilliant light on this question, which, in truth, exercises me whenever I go to my mixed Christian-and-non-Christian meeting or do committee work for it. My own light on it may not rise to the level of brilliance, but I did feel the Lord’s permission to offer these 250 words, first to Foundation Papers and then to the readers of this blog:
God created paradise for us, but we, choosing self-will, darkened our own eyes and now only see this glorious creation as a world of separation, scarcity and death. This was our doing (Romans 1:19-23), not a distant Adam and Eve’s outside of us, else our “Thy will be done” would be automatic and frictionless, as it eventually will be again.
Our Savior gathers His people and leads them out of this darkness, but some slip back, for there are many things working to keep us addicted to its false promises of refuge and fulfillment. Nonetheless, when the sheep mind the Good Shepherd, He doesn’t let them stray. “I am with you always,” He said, “even unto the end of the world.” This means that we have the Mind of Christ for the asking; we just don’t always ask for it. The flesh is weak.
No sooner had Moses gone up the mountain than the Israelites turned idolater. The disciples fled the garden on Jesus’ arrest. Need we be surprised that Paul’s “foolish Galatians” were so soon removed to another gospel, that Constantine’s church took up the carnal sword, or that Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, within a generation of William Penn’s death, fell under the clerkship of a power-hungry embezzler?
The problem is not “bad guys” other than ourselves. A moment’s lapse in faithfulness, and we’re gone, and what’s worse, we don’t realize it. We’d rather believe the untrue account we conspire to reinforce in one another. The alternative is too frightening.