Quaker Resources: Quakerism, The Surprising Quakers, Christian History Magazine

Christian History Magazine issue #117, on Quakers

The following is most of the text and links from a promotional email from Christian History Magazine, slightly edited.

The 117th issue Continues the Magazine Series and Website Study Resource Available to the Home, Church Libraries, Homeschoolers, Middle/High Schools & Colleges/Universities


Worcester, PA, March, 11, 2016 – Christian History Institute (CHI), publisher of Christian History magazine (CHM), announces its latest issue titled: "The Surprising Quakers, Heralds of Peace in a World of Conflict." The Quaker movement, variously self-identified as “Primitive Christianity Restored,” “Children of Light,” “Friends of Jesus,” and “Publishers of Truth,” eventually accepted the term “Quaker”, consistent with a spirit-led experience of “trembling before the Lord.” Quakers also referred to themselves as “Friends” and are known by both terms, to this day.

This CHM issue, #117, contains 10 feature articles; a time-line chronology, rare archive art-work & photos along with an extensive reading list, compiled by the CHM editorial-staff. The entire magazine is available on-line and can be read in its entirety at: www.christianhistoryinstitute.org.  All previous one hundred and sixteen issues, which can be searched along with books and study-guides, are accessible using the site’s search engine capability. The entire CHM archived content is offered primarily for the home & homeschoolers, church libraries, middle/high schools, as well as to colleges & universities, as a study resource on a no-cost basis, donations are gratefully accepted.

The Surprising Quakers, Christian History MagazineThis issue examines the Quaker movement, begun in the mid-seventeenth century by two foundational leaders, George Fox (1624-1691) and Margaret Fell (1614-1702). The movement was a reaction to the established church in England that was elitist, man-centered and deeply divided, at the time. From its beginning, Quakerism has been marked by distinctive principles and disciplines, referred to as “testimonies”, such as: simplicity, silence, nonviolence, equality, and communal decision-making. However, the practice of distinctive Quaker groups varied widely, over time. Modern Quakers range from groups almost indistinguishable from American evangelicals to those who frame the “Inner Light” (traditionally, Christ’s light within) as a universal divine entity.

During their 350-year history, Quakers distinguished themselves as slavery abolitionists, prison reformers, and peace makers. But, they were also known as  protestors who went naked, as a sign of impending judgment; corporate chocolate makers who set up humane workplaces during the Industrial Revolution, and, in spite of their reputation as pacifists, soldiers who fought with distinction in the Civil War and other wars “to end all wars.”

“Quakerism began in a time of political and religious unrest in seventeenth-century England, in the chaos of a country that had beheaded its king and changed its religious course,” said Jennifer Woodruff Tait, managing editor, Christian History magazine. “After it crossed the ocean to America, Quakers got an entire colony to run in Pennsylvania and today it continues in great numbers in Africa where new generations are hearing the Quaker message.”

Issue #117 contributing authors:

Max L. Carter, article titled:  SEEKING THE LIGHT OF CHRIST, George Fox and Margaret Fell formed their movement in a turbulent era of church history - Max L. Carter is an adjunct professor of religious studies and peace and conflict studies at Guilford College in North Carolina and the former director of Friends Center at Guilford

Thomas D. Hamm, article titles: QUAKER SPEAK, The meaning of Quaker terms - Thomas D. Hamm, professor of history, director of special collections, and curator of the Quaker Collection at Earlham College

Paul N. Anderson, article titled: TESTIMONIES OF TRUTH, What have Quakers believed over 350 years - Paul N. Anderson is professor of biblical and Quaker studies at George Fox University

J. William Frost, article titled: ALL WHO BELIEVED IN GOD WERE WELCOME, William Penn’s idealistic creation of Pennsylvania - J. William Frost is Jenkins Professor of Quaker History and Research, emeritus, Swarthmore College

Stephen W. Angell, article titled: SEEKING FREEDOM, Quakers developed a strong antislavery witness over time - Stephen W. Angell is Geraldine Leatherock Professor of Quaker Studies at Earlham School of Religion

Alice Almond Shrock, article titled: TO ACT IN THE SPIRIT “NOT OF JUDGMENT, BUT OF MERCY”, Quaker activist Elizabeth Fry pioneered a new approach to prison reform - Alice Almond Shrock is professor emeritus of history at Earlham College

Chuck Fager, article titled: BEARING AND NOT BEARING THE SWORD, The Friends’ “Peace Testimony” has a long and complicated history - Chuck Fager edits the journal Quaker Theology, blogs at A Friendly Letter, and is the author or editor of over 30 books on Quakerism and civil rights

Robert J. Wafula, article titled: FROM MUD HUTS TO YEARLY MEETINGS, Quaker missions resulted in Africa having the world’s largest concentration of Friends today - Robert J. Wafula is principal of Friends Theological College in Kaimosi, Kenya

Carole Dale Spencer, article titled: A FOUNDATION OF FRIENDS, Quakers were at the forefront of many nineteenth-century social issues - Carole Dale Spencer is associate professor of Christian spirituality at Earlham School of Religion and a recorded Friends minister.

D. Elton Trueblood, article titled: A RADICAL EXPERIMENT, Quakers should lead the way to redemptive fellowship - D. Elton Trueblood (1900–1994), professor of philosophy at Earlham College; from “A Radical Experiment,” delivered at Arch Street Meetinghouse, Philadelphia, April 1947.

Why Christian History?

“Christian history has been largely removed from the American public education system that Christian leaders began in the early years of this nation,” said Michael Austin, a Christian commentator. “After years of decline, our public schools no longer teach the Bible’s founding contribution to Western Civilization. Quakers have influenced our culture’s values regarding faith, freedom and mercy. Yet, today, faith in God is being openly questioned and attacked.”

George Barna, speaking of data gathered in a recent survey, said, “Young people couldn’t think of anything positive that the church stood for.” In a video interview, Barna Further reported, “We’re essentially in the Dark Ages, in America today.” (View YouTube, Titled: ‘Young Americans see nothing positive in church - says George Barna.’) 

Christian History Institute (CHI) is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation founded in 1982. CHI publishes Christian History magazine and also produces books and videos featuring important Christian history, including Torchlighters®, an animated history series for children. CHI is a donor-supported organization providing church history resources and self-study material to make Christian history accessible to the widest possible audience, via video and the Internet. Contact Christian History Institute, Box 540, Worcester, PA 19490, www.ChristianHistoryInstitute.org.