A Friend recently wrote about Rufus Jones, "From what I can tell Rufus Jones was trying to slip some 20th Century modern liberal progressivism into Quaker theology by claiming that this was a core belief of George Fox. As you point out, Fox never used the phrase we use it today. All this isn't to say there isn't something to the phrase but it misrepresents the relationship of the divine to the individual. " and goes on to suggest Friends read, "None Were So Clear: Prophetic Quaker Faith and the Ministry of Lewis Benson"
So... is this a divergence or an attempt to return to the divisions of the great schism, and if it is, is this in the spirit of our faith or is this simply an affirmation of base tribalism. To answer this, I think we might examine the effect of Rufus Jones on our community of faith.
Rufus Jones, was instrumental in ending the schism, which lasted from 1828 - 1955. He was the director of the American Friends Service Committee for some thirty years, and under his leadership the AFSC won the Nobel Peace Prize - he was a genuine peace activist.
Jones mentored Howard Thurman, whose works inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jones mysticism, with its practical application of addressing evil with love, healing division not sowing disunity is in many ways the modern popular view of what it is to be Quaker. Unlike Fox, who did little to oppose such wrongs as slavery, he was in the mold of John Wollman and Elias Hicks, who felt it the concrete expression of duty to God, to oppose the evils of the world through positive acts of love. Jones' real success is measured, not only in his own accomplishments but in the seeds he sowed in such theologians as Thomas Merton or Harry Emerson Fosdick.
The difference I have noticed between the life of Rufus Jones, and the author of this odd statement about him, is that Jones' life spoke of bringing the world together, not the creation of cliques and divisions. His life spoke of the power of being an activist for peace.