Quaker Universalist Conversations

By Whose Authority

On October 1st, Friend Clem Gerdelmann of Chester (PA ) Monthly Meeting introduced our topic of Judaism and Quakerism with “Isn’t That Peculiar.” Here is his second contribution.

Quakerism, like Judaism, has always had and honored its human Publishers of Truth. Yet unlike some Protestant selfsame People of the Book, peculiar people of God cry out “Author, author” when presented with Power and Life. No wonder, then, that the Author of these would hold the exclusive right of leadership for Jews and Quakers alike.

As both King and Lawgiver, the only God of the Jews was unrivaled until Saul, David, and Solomon usurped Authority. For with no other means of earthly propagation, the Author humbly depends upon mere mortals for the dissemination of His-story. True to the business model, however, such comes not without a cost to the Author and a price to be paid for the delivered goods.

Ten Commandments become 613 precepts of a law named for the Ghost Writer. Two creation and deluge stories instead of only One – with all kinds of bloody rites and wrongs added to the Master Copy. Fights to gain, then keep what was meant to be shared, then developed. Restless movement of plot and character leading to corrupted characters in burial plots. The Original Version made estranged from the Author’s original vision – needing some sort of redemption.

So, another attempt offered for a New Testament, now faced with the same peril at the hands of a christianized Judaism. No wonder we cannot even recognize the Word as given by the Author; nor abide by the prophetic injunction of a Quaker to respect it as what

All the faithful men and women in every county, city, and nation whose faith stands in the power of God, the Gospel of Christ, and have received this Gospel and are in possession of this Gospel, the power of God, they have all right to the power of the meeting, for they be heirs of the power and the authority…. (Minutes of the Yearly Meeting, 1676)

Respectively submitted,
Clem Gerdelmann,
Chester (PA) Monthly Meeting