In what manner has QLCC not met its Terms of Reference (as last amended October 2008)

Item in T/Rs

Quote from Terms of Reference (T/Rs)


(Note: I am grateful for, and in the past (when on MfS) I have strongly supported, the work of QL. I am critical only in the areas described here.)

1. Summary.

'to help deepen our experience of God's grace...'

a. In practice, QL emphasises spirituality rather than religion, or 'God'.
(Spirituality is an important part of religion but not its totality)  
b. QL has supported Non-theism (NT)

5.1. Responsibility

'The committee's main responsibility is the discernment of policy...'

'Discernment' in a Quaker context implies being informed by God/The Inward Light, etc. Thus this and other phrases can be assumed to regard as axiomatic that God exists. Thus QL should not support NT.


'...keep Friends informed of the opportunities available through co-operation within the Christian church and dialogue with other faiths.'

Again an assumption that were are religious and associate with other (religious) organisations, particularly Christian ones.
(Note the implication of saying 'within the Christain church' i.e. we are in it, with 'dialogue with other faiths'.)
QL seems seldom/never to inform us of such.


Right holding of Meeting for Worship.

This is 'defined' in Advice 8, which says MfW is about awareness of God.


… religious learning ...

Similar comment.

In general

The whole thrust of the T/Rs (and relevant passages in QF&P) is based on an assumption that God exists and that we are God-centred.

QL fails to ensure that all Friends and Attenders are aware that God is central to Quaker faith and Quaker practice, with the result that many Friends do not appreciate this, and many feel free to deny it.

QL has supported Non-theism. NT is not advocated in QL's T/Rs, and moreover NTism is contrary to God - by definition.

"Quaker Faith and Practice" and Central Committees.

Relating to the duties of all Central Committees, QFP 8.02a includes, "...maintaining the yearly meeting itself as responsive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit..."

and in 8.02c "raising awareness and developing understanding ... about the basic tenets of Quaker faith and practice...

The 'basic tenets' being, in my opinion, clearly expressed in QF&P 1.01, the first paragrah of Chapter 1,  and Advices 1 and 8. 


Lets look at the first lines of the some of the Advices:

1. Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. TRUST THEM AS THE LEADINGS OF GOD...

2. Bring the whole of your life under the ordering of the spirit of Christ...

3. ...set aside times of quiet for openness to the Holy Spirit...

4. The Religious Society of Friends is rooted in Christianity and has always found inspiration in the life and teachings of Jesus.

5. ... Remember the importance of the Bible, ...and all writings that reveal the ways of God...

6. Do you work gladly with other religious groups...

7. Be aware of the spirit of God at work in ... your daily life.

8. Worship is our response to an awareness of God.

9. In worship we enter with reverence into communion with God and respond to ... the Holy Spirit.

etc. etc.


Has Quaker Life actively supported Non-Theism?
My reason for saying QL has supported NT-ism is mainly based on my attendance at the QL conference mis-titled “Quaker Identity - the Heart of Our Faith'. In this conference there was virtually no discussion on the twin concepts in the title. Instead, the conference might have been called “Possible future spiritual directions for the Society”.

Of the three main invited speakers (each of whom was excellent and stimulating):
One simply reviewed a vast range of new or 'revolutionary' spiritualities, a few of which emanated from the Christian faith (but none from Quaker);
One gave a brilliant talk on some radical associates of the C17 Quakers. This might be said to reflect the heart of Quakerism, but not particularly modern British Quakerism - the talk would have been as appropriate in an Evangelical Friends Conference;
The third (David Boulton) gave a (brilliant, amusing) talk about Non-theism, during which he asserted that anyone believing in 'the delusion' of God might as well believe in Harry Potter.
Three other speakers were given time to gave short talks: One was about how to attract and hold newcomers. One was about a near-perfect Quaker Meeting, and the third (whose talk was not included in the Proceedings) announced himself apologetically as a Christian and gave several examples of God's guidance in his experience. These latter two did in fact respond to the conference title.

There was almost no time for plenary contributions, until a session at the end in which contrary (i.e. normal, Quaker) views were strongly expressed, as also in the Meeting for Worship.
In my Home Group the only member who supported David Boulton's model was a leading member of QL, and one of the conference organisers.
SP, 21/7/09, and 26/7/09 

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