Home > Christianity, Jesus, Quakers > Quakers and Jesus – A Quaker Apology, part 3

Quakers and Jesus – A Quaker Apology, part 3

I’ve been enjoying conversations at Friends Summit 2010, a national gathering of 16-25 year olds from Christ-centered Quaker churches throughout the US. Because of Dan Kimball’s book, They Like Jesus but Not the Church, and his speaking in the main sessions, there has been a fair amount of discussion about Jesus. It is refreshing to hear this generation thinking and talking about the place of Jesus in the Friends church.

What is the place of Jesus in the Quaker church? This needs more than one posting, but I’ll trust you to carry on the conversation – here and in other places. As Anderson has noted in his article (QRT 114), biblical history “shows a God who is on the move, seeking to restore the relationship between the Lover and the Beloved, which suffered on account of human rebellion” (25).

This pursuit of humanity was made known the only way it could fully be made known – through a living, breathing person – Jesus Christ. The Light of Christ, the promise of full life, is accessible to all though not universally received. Jesus is the way, truth, and life, through whom anyone can come into the already-and-not-yet presence of the Triune God. Again, Anderson states it well:

“The only hope for humanity is the Divine Initiative – what God has done, and is doing, to restore the human-divine relationship. And, that saving/revealing action is carried out in world-changing, time-changing, space-changing ways in the flesh-becoming Word (Jesus), whose ministry continues even now through the Spirit of Truth – leading us all into truth” (26).

This requires, ultimately, a human response of faith – faith that the person and work of Jesus is the crux upon which true life rests.

The challenge is, though, that human tendency is to make Jesus into what we desire him to be and do not allow him to be who he truly is. As we learn to release our grip on Jesus and allow him to instead form us to his grip, we begin to live in the same power he lived as a human – the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what is available to us through the person of Jesus, and the reason the Quaker church needs Jesus.

 

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Categories: Christianity, Jesus, Quakers
  1. Tom Smith
    January 2, 2011 at 5:20 AM

    I have little argument with much of what is said regarding “Jesus” but am concerned that too often “Christ” is limited to Jesus. I believe that many have been “taught” by “Christ,” who has “come to teach his people himself,” but have not heard the name Jesus.

  2. January 2, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    I don’t remember Jesus saying anything about “This is the only way God could have approached us…” But I do recall something about Jesus wanting people to honor him by believing and seeking to understand what he did say.

    And what Jesus says about God, via telling us how we should behave to be “like” God, “children of” God etc, is that God effectively loves and supports every person. This explicitly includes “the Just and the Unjust”, and presumably also includes people lacking any notion that “the person and work of Jesus is the crux upon which true life rests.”

    God, on another hand, is in fact the very life in each person (among other things.) This, which Jesus most certainly recognized, suggests that the workings of God within each person are what brings us, ultimately, to know God, to become and remain in tune with God’s life in us.

    I won’t deny that Jesus was a potent influence in bringing people to realize this– and would serve as a great help to many other people, if they only gave him the respectful attention he deserves. But talk about him, no, is not what it takes. To “eat his body and drink his blood” means to know what he was saying, the same way he knew it.

  3. January 7, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    hi,

    i enjoyed the article. i liked this part:

    ‘The challenge is, though, that human tendency is to make Jesus into what we desire him to be and do not allow him to be who he truly is. As we learn to release our grip on Jesus and allow him to instead form us to his….’

    what a temptation that is eh?

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