Sunday, July 01, 2012

It's just the same old Protestant stuff, over and over again.

My "experience" is as unreliable a source of grounding and authority as the Bible is.   Both lead me to draw my own inferences and then be guided by these rationalistic notions--instead of being guided, day by day, by what God is telling me directly.

I have laid down both the Protestant notion of reasoning my way to righteousness  from the Bible, and the "Quaker" notion of reasoning my way to righteousness from my own experience.

Neither has or can improve my condition because both come down to worshipping and relying on my own reason.

If I hear God and do as I am told then I am fine.

It's all the theology I need.   In fact, it's all the theology I can handle.   Anything else just gets me in trouble.


Anonymous said...

I don't know where you got the idea that Friends reason their way to righteousness from their own experience. The meaning of the Light Within as Friends have understood it is found in the first chapter of the Gospel of John. "The light that enlightens the world" (John 1:9) is not the light of reason, it is that divine life which took form in the shape of Jesus, who calls us also to embody that same Life or Light as He did. It is experience, true, but it is the direct experience of the Holy Spirit inspiring and guiding each of us, in community with other Friends, to which we submit in humility and gratitude. I know there are Friends who would not say it this way, but I can't think of any group of Friends who envision the kind of radical rationalistic individualism that you describe. How did you come to that conclusion? I'm puzzled by that.

Tmothy Travis said...

I come to that conclusion by reading the blogpost to which I linked.

Rosemary Zimmermann said...

Well, honestly, I was trying to argue AGAINST that sort of reasoning-our-way-to-righteousness! I agree that it's our job to hear God and do what he says . . . but I've noticed that we sometimes have trouble dividing that from our own opinion. That was sorta my point. But . . . it probably wasn't very clear. I imagine I'll do some more rambly exploring over the next few months!

In the Light,