‘The Question betwixt us is not who is the best Christian, but who is the best Quaker.’

Debates about Christian identity have always been a part of Quakerism. Madeleine Ward takes a look at one of the very first.

George Keith. | Photo: Public domain.

Modern British Quakerism is often (unhelpfully) portrayed as an intractable battle between polarised groups: theists versus nontheists, modernisers versus traditionalists, liberals versus the intolerant. But underlying these purported dichotomies lies a whole range of more fundamental questions: what do we mean by ‘that of God in everyone’? Is anything apart from personal experience necessary for spiritual growth? In fact, are any specific beliefs at all necessary to be a Quaker?

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