Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes; Fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. – Proverbs 3:5-8
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Many of us today acknowledge that we are biblically illiterate – if not outright hostile. I recall one Meeting, for instance, where a Friend asserted, “The Bible’s nothing more than a bunch of nonsense like Grimm’s fairy tales” – and I was surprised that someone holding a doctorate in psychology could think so little of the Grimm stories, which can take us so deeply into the human psyche. (The collection, by the way, is much earthier and far more devious in the original than in the sanitized versions we usually encounter.) There has been widespread hostility – the “ABC” meetings (Anything But Christ), where anyone quoting Scripture will be accused of being judgmental (an action that is in itself judgmental!) by individuals who see no hypocrisy in their self-righteous admission of intolerance of intolerance.
What I have noticed over the past few decades, however, is a revived interest in understanding the Bible – often with revolutionary insights along the way. Like Grimm, too much of what we encountered was in sanitized versions. Guess what? Many of these are stories about people facing struggles much like our own. Let’s be honest.
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A Second Charge which I have heard brought in against the Quakers, is, That they deny the Humanity of Christ Jesus, and the Obedience that he yielded in the Days of his Flesh, by his Sufferings, Death, Burial, Resurrection from the Dead, together with all the Benefits that thereby accrue unto Believers; as also Justification by Faith, and the imputed Righteousness of Christ. Now that this hath been as falsly charged upon them as the former, I shall undertake to prove by Scripture … (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)