The Armchair Theologian

Quaker Identity and the Church

For at least the last two centuries, British Friends have been attempting to develop a coherent account of the relationship between the Quaker Way and other Christian confessions. Are Quakers part of the Christian Church? And if so, in what respects? Answers to these questions have varied widely, ranging from a radical rejection of wider ties (see recurrent Quaker disquiet about membership of organisations like Churches Together) to a renewed hope of sustained reconciliation. And it is undeniably this latter tendency which has carried the day.  In general Friends are outward facing and generous towards other churches and can frequently be found at the forefront of inter-church dialogue. What frames these activities? The contours of this generosity can be summarised in the following terms:

1) Quakers are part of ‘the Church Eternal’.

2) We need the notion of Church ‘to remind us that a…

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