We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Friends who have permitted
us to use material for this Faith and Practice.
encourage one another, in John Woolman’s phrase, “to
distinguish the language of the pure Spirit which inwardly moves
upon the heart,” rather than focusing on seeking names for God.
The Light of Christ to one may be what another understands as the
Inner Light; the Spirit to one may roughly be what another
understands by the Christ Spirit. The Eternal, the Divine, and God
may mean the same or not, depending on the context, the speaker
or the reader.† The language used in all Quaker writing (including
this Faith and Practice) varies with the source of material. Friends
should temper their interpretations, knowing that any specific
phrase may have different connotations to different Friends.
In the course
of following their spiritual paths, many Friends find great depth
of meaning in familiar Christian concepts and
language, while others find more universalist language speaks to
their condition. Although this phenomenon may seem perplexing
to a casual observer, it does not trouble many seasoned Friends who
have discovered deep unity with one another in the Spirit. The
breadth of Friends’ terminology promotes latitude in expression
and appreciation for what may be subtle differences in
them in the name of God that there is to be no wrangling about words: all that this ever achieves is the destruction of those who are listening.
2 timothy 2: 14. the new jerusalem bible.
fact one can find many terms for the same or similar concepts
books of Faith and Practice of other Yearly Meetings. Inner Light,
Spirit of God, Risen Christ, Truth, Light, Light of Christ, Light
Divine Spark, Holy Spirit, Living Christ, Jesus Christ, Inner Teacher,
of God, Spirit of Christ, Divine Light, Divine Presence, God’s
Spirit, Presence, Eternal, and Divine are found in the vocabulary