The Shaking Quakers, a lesson for the Church today.

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Matt Maher concert in Yorba Linda at a Catholic Church. Where all were welcome and praised The Lord free of charge. A Love offering was taken. All one in the Body of Christ. My friend and Brother in The Lord, Richard played the drums while on tour with Matt, who is a very Spirit led Catholic Brother in the Faith. Matt gave a great testimony and teaching that night.

Have you ever sang a praise song and felt just so close to The Lord that the feeling 

was palpable? As if the Holy Spirit was in the midst of the assembly of believers, as 

if Christ Himself was in the midst of you. Church historians say that the Shakers
actually “Quaked in the Spirit” and thus were known as “Shaking Quakers” because
of the ecstatic nature of their worship services.

I grew up in a small, Pentecostal church, seems like all Pentecostal churches are
rather small. I suppose there are a few large Pentecostal churches, but it would be
rather hard to have them all rolling in the isles at the same time. The Denomination I
was in, as was Chuck Smith, who left to be the founder of the Calvary Chapel
Movement back in the Jesus People era, was quite boisterous. Then again by
reading the epistles to the Corinthian church it seems that they were too. So much
that Paul had to warn them saying,

1Cr 14:23Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in

tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?

This has always been the reason to use discernment and to tame the tongue and
discipline the body to bring the flesh into subjection to the Spirit.

Jam 1:26If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue
but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.

Jam 1:27Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to
visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the
world.

Now about the Shaking Quakers. As a child I wondered what happened to them? My
Pastor told me about the shaking and all. Quaking in the Spirit and how they were a
very pious sect of Christianity, but he didn’t tell me about their demise. From
studying history I found out that they made several fine contributions to society and
their furniture is highly prized today in the Antiques market, but what about the sect
itself?

Begun in 1747, the members looked to women for leadership. Jane Wardley and
Ann Lee were the most important. Jane Wardley was an articulate preacher who 

urged her followers to:

Repent. For the kingdom of God is at hand. The new heaven and new earth
prophesied of old is about to come. The marriage of the Lamb, the first resurrection,
the new Jerusalem descended from above, these are even now at the door. And
when Christ appears again, and the true church rises in full and transcendent glory,
then all anti-Christian denominations—the priests, the Church, the pope—will be
swept away.

I find this teaching still exists today in churches that are very caught up in the
eventual catching up of the Bride Church, that is the “Rapture of the Church” and of
course The Lord is going to come one day in the clouds, part the veil and rapture the
church, His Church. But I do have some concern for those who think that they are
the only ones who will be ruptured, that they and their sect are the only ones who
are “saved”. Remember the words of Paul,

1Ti 2:12But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to
remain quiet. NASB
Now don’t think I’m picking on the women, for there are and have been many men
who have come along and taught the sheep to do things and believe theologies that
are not scriptural, but simply worthless traditions handed down from their fathers. As
our Lord warned,

Mar 7:9He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the
commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. NASB

What is the commandment of God?

Jhn 13:34″A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I
have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that
you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Who is apart of the Body of Christ? Paul said in his letter to the Colossians 3:15 “Let
the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body;
and be thankful.” NASB. Just one body with many diverse members.

So back to the Shakers. They disappeared from the church scene, why? Ann Lee 

joined the small sect around 1758 and quickly assumed leadership. She claimed 

numerous revelations regarding the fall of Adam and Eve and its relationship to
sexual intercourse. She had become the “Mother of the new creation,” who called
her followers to confess their sins, give up all their worldly goods, and take up the
cross of celibacy.

Paul warned of this when he wrote to Timothy, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in
latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and
doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience
seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods
which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know
the truth. 1 Timothy 1-4

It seems that Paul himself was celibate, but he said, “Do not deprive one another
except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer;
and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of
self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:5 NKJV This is a clear statement for those who are
married not to abstain from normal sexual intercourse in the state of marriage.

Now what happened to the “Shaking Quakers”? They all but died out. Strict
believers in celibacy, Shakers acquired their members through conversion,
indenturing children, and adoption of orphans. Some children, such as Isaac N.
Youngs, came to the Shakers when their parents joined, then grew up to become
faithful members as adults. Once the child reached twenty-one years of age, they
were given the option to remain Shakers. Less than 25 percent of the young adults
remained in the community. Turnover was high; the group reached maximum size of
about 5,000 full members in 1840, but as of December 2009 had only three
members left. They currently reside in Sabbathday Lake, Maine.

I think this should be a warning to us. When we feel so close to God in praise and at
times ecstatic worship, we might also remember to study to show ourselves
approved. A workman that needs not to be ashamed rightly interpreting the word of
God. “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught,
whether by word or our epistle.”2 Thes. 2:15. We do have the Apostles word, it’s in our
Bible. We do have their letters and we can worship God in spirit and in truth. Ask
and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it will be opened to you.

May the One God, the Creator of the cosmos be with you as you worship Him in the
Spirit and in the Truth. May His Will and His Word be with you all the days of your
life. In the name of our God the Father, His only begotten Son Jesus the Christ and their Holy Spirit bless and keep all of us in Their Ways.

Agape,
Norm

 

 

 

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About didaskologos

Hi, my name is Norm Robinson and I'm a grateful believer. I have been on a quest to discover authentic Christianity and essential theology for over forty years and I invite all who are called by His name to join me. You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ's authority, knowing that God is watching us. 2 Corinthians 2:17 NLT.
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3 Responses to The Shaking Quakers, a lesson for the Church today.

  1. Debi says:

    I’m a bit confused. Jane Wardly says “….Christ appears again and the true church rises in full and
    transcendent glory – then all anti-Christian denominations – the priests, the church, the pope, will be swept away. Who then is the true church? Then you mention, …part the veil and rapture the church, His church. Again, who is His church? Mark 7:9 says, “you are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition”. But, 2 Thes. 2:15 says, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistles.”
    Please explain why it is don’t then do.

    Like

  2. Dave k. says:

    Norm, I don’t believe that you have ever experienced the holy ghost in its fullness as the shakers, quakers, or early Pentecostals did. If you would have you would not be so incredibly cautious about each and every detail. God is spirit and not flesh. We don’t need man to tell us how so carefully we must be to worship him. You need to allow the holy spirit to move you past the flesh and take you into spiritual freedom and into the full view of that eternal substance that is within you. You need to grow and let loose of fear. Blessings and love to you in the name of Jesus Christ

    Like

    • didaskologos says:

      Dear Brother Dave.

      I thank you for your comment. I did grow up in a Pentecostal church and I have experienced the Holy Spirit in my life. His anointing to proclaim the gospel and to exercise the gifts of the Spirit, but I was addressing the error of the Shakers in their strict celibacy. It is the Spiritual freedom to worship God in an intimate way and not in learned behavior as some do.

      1Jo 4:2
      By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
      Agape,
      Norm

      Like

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