Chapter 27 » 27.25

Friends and the Christian church


The Quaker objection to credal statements is not to beliefs as such but to the use of an officially sanctioned selection of them to impose a uniformity in things where the gospel proclaims freedom. ‘Credo’ is the Latin for ‘I believe’. The meaning of the word is debased if you confine it to an act of the will giving intellectual assent to articles of faith. It is much better translated as ‘I commit myself to…’ in the sense that one is prepared to take the full consequences of the beliefs one has adopted. One adopts not so much a set of propositions as the discipline of working out in one’s life and experience the consequences of the truth one has espoused. The value of the beliefs lies solely in their outworking. This I take to be the heart of the original Quaker message.

John Punshon, 1978

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