Don’t be ashamed of Christ

For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
Luke 9:25-26

Some of you may have read a recent newspaper article in which it was stated that “The Quakers” are considering dropping any reference to the word “God” in their meetings, literature, publicity, etc.

As so often happens with newspaper articles, clarity and accuracy is sacrificed for the sake of brevity. In the context of the article, “The Quakers” refers only to the body in the UK properly known as Britain Yearly Meeting (that body also affects the title ‘The Religious Society of Friends in Britain’, as though claiming exclusivity to name and territory). BYM has inherited the organisation and property of the Society of Friends, though, for a long time, it has abandoned the Society’s faith and testimonies for ones based on worldly values. We know BYM folk to be well-meaning people, but being well-meaning is not enough. Indeed their well-meaning-ness has gained them the respect of the world – but what does that profit them if that respect is gained at the loss of their soul. Their organisation may continue to function, but it will never again live.

We take no pleasure in their failure. Their being named in the context of the article, however, means that those of us who are not associated with them but who bear the same outward name – “Quaker” – are obliged to work doubly hard to re-affirm that BYM does not speak for us, nor does it speak in the name of Quakerism, nor does it express the ground of our faith in Jesus Christ.

We do not have creeds that we recite, as the churches of the world do, but we do find unity in the statement our ancient friend George Fox made to the Governor of Barbados in 1671, as reproduced below.

“We own and believe in God, the only wise, omnipotent and everlasting God, the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth, and the Preserver of all that he hath made; who is God over all, blessed for ever. And we own and believe in Jesus Christ his beloved and only begotten Son, in whom he is well pleased. And we own and believe that he was made a sacrifice for sin, who knew no sin, and that he was buried and rose again on the third day by the power of his Father, for our justification, and that he ascended up into heaven. This Jesus who was the foundation of the holy prophets and apostles, is our foundation and we believe there is no other foundation to be laid but that which is laid, even Christ Jesus who tasted death for every man, shed his blood for all men, is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. We believe that he alone is our Redeemer and Saviour. Christ Jesus the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last. He is (as the Scriptures of Truth say of him) our wisdom, righteousness, justification, and redemption, neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. He rules in our hearts, by his law of love and life, and made us free from the law of sin and death. We have no life but by him, for he is the quickening Spirit, the second Adam. He is our Mediator who makes peace and reconciliation between God offended and us offending. He being the Oath of God, the new Covenant of Light, Life, Grace, and Peace, the author and finisher of our faith. This we say is that Lord Jesus Christ, whom we own to be our life and salvation.”

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