An Apology for Perfection

An Apology for Perfection

by Cecil E. Hinshaw

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An attempt to understand and evaluate a religious movement properly begins with the search for its essential foundations – its meaning at the point of its origin. Then the faith, understood historically, must be tested in the crucible of contemporary struggles and problems. Like the view through a stereoscope, the resultant picture, doubly viewed through lenses of a past age and the present scene, offers a truer insight into the meaning of a religious faith than can be obtained without such a perspective.

The marks of an era – its aspirations and achievements, its doubts and failures – are indelibly written on a religious movement at the time of its birth. Every religious movement is a response to the problems and questions that men struggle with at that point in history. The measure of success attained is not only the number of its adherents, but also the ability of the faith to provide for its devotees assurance that they are rising above the doubts and despair of their age, achieving answers that can stand against the storms and winds that shattered or weakened other faiths. Sometimes it happens that the religious problems and issues of one age become the inescapable battles of a later age. The description and the superficial appearance of the problems vary, but the basic issues remain unchanged. So in the cycle of human events our present age struggles again with some of the religious problems that gave rise to Quakerism in the seventeenth century. The conflicts of thought that marked the differentiation of Quakerism from Calvinism and from materialism are repeated again today under new names.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940157056063
Publisher: Pendle Hill Publications
Publication date: 07/18/2016
Series: Pendle Hill Pamphlets , #138
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 276 KB

About the Author

For five years president of William Penn College, Cecil Hinshaw turned to a broader though less specified field of education when, in 1949, he became a free lance lecturer. Since 1956 he has been on the staff of the American Friends Service Committee, and is presently the executive secretary of its North Central Region.

His interest in social action has always been undergirded by the religious vocation of his youth, which was spent in pastoral work and the teaching of Bible and religion. This religious foundation also serves him well in the present pamphlet. It is an evaluation of Quakerism, which, he feels, owes more to ethical perfectionism than to the mysticism often ascribed to it. It was this perfectionism which, above all else, separated George Fox and his followers from the Calvinism of their time. Substituting neo-orthodoxy for Calvinism, the author draws a modern parallel.

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