THE HISTORIC AND THE INWARD CHRIST
Author EDWARD GRUBB
Publisher GYAN BOOKS PVT. LTD INDIA
Here is a facsimile publication from Delhi India making an older out of print book available at a reasonable cost. Those who have some links with Quakers might recognise the author, a prominent and perceptive member of the Quaker movement in the United Kingdom in the early 20th Century. These chapters are a record of the Swarthmore Lecture that took place in 1914. The subtitle is “A Study in Quaker Thought” and in his lectures the author examines both the strengths and the theological weaknesses, particularly of the early Quakers of the seventeenth century. For them, the essence of true Christianity was to be found in a saving experience of the life of God in the soul. This brought about a transformation of character in the lives of those who experienced it. They became Christ like in character. The thrust of the Quaker message was an inward and life transforming experience that changed them morally and ethically. Because of this they found themselves vulnerable to attack from some Puritan Divines. For some of these the emphasis on people becoming ‘living epistles’ and the sometimes apparently secondary place the Quakers accorded to the Scriptures warranted objection and even public attack. These chapters show clearly both the power and the vulnerability especially in the preaching and writings of these men and women. The vulnerability has led to the vague mysticism on the one hand, and the preoccupation with social issues and the pacifist mindset on the other, so prominent in the Quakerism of today. This author particularly examines and discloses the necessity of a balance between the Christ experienced personally and the Christ revealed Biblically and historically. A reading of the great Quaker literature is to be recommended. Here was a clear and wonderful move of God in the context of an often dead and ritualistic and hypocritical church setting. However, sadly, the tendency to magnify felt experience against theological thought led to confusion. Many know the sad events surrounding the ride into Bristol of James Naylor though not so many know of the reconciliation that took place and the lessons that were learned. Here is a short book that illustrates something of the tensions that are being experienced nowadays in certain Charismatic and non Charismatic circles. The Quaker emphasis on the inward witness and the inward Teacher Christ are so needed in the latter circles whereas the ‘sound words’ of thoughtful Biblical theology are needed in the former. History is repeating itself. At least in some respects and that is why this little book can be a helpful read.