Oliver Heywood on the Christological heresy of the Quakers

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... And herein I am afraid the Quakers are guilty of a gross Heresy, who call us from a Christ without us, to a Christ within us: yea, it hath been a dispute in the Plantation, called Pennsylvania, whether we must believe only in a Christ within us, or a Christ both within and without us, and it was carried mostly in the former Sense: But let no man be drawn from placing his entire confidence in Christ the Son of God, both God and Man in one Person, who suffered Death on the Cross, to make atonement for Sinners, and now sits on the right hand of God to make intercession for us.

2. If by a Christ within, they mean that called Light within, either Free will or Natural Conscience, or a power to help our selves without special Grace, its an exploded Error, and it’s to be feared, the Jesuits deliver their Popish stuff out of these men’s Mouths with refined Language. 3. If by Christ within, be meant Christ’s Person in the Believer, that he is Christed or Goded, ’tis blasphemy. 4. If by this expression, Christ within us, the hope of glory, Col. 1.27. or Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith, Eph. 3.17. ...

For more, see Oliver Heywood on the Christological heresy of the Quakers.


Staff member
My family were Friends and their meeting was established in the Pennsylvania plantation when this was written. (They moved to modern day Fallsington around 1710 since they were not particularly welcome in England.)

What initially flagged me to their error was the doctrine of an age for accountability. If a child is innocent until a particular age, he has not been subject to the fall. This is a beginning point for so many heresies. If man can begin his life innocent, it makes perfect sense he can look to his own inner light to save him.

All that said, there has been enough of the Scripture in their life to raise the hope that its truth may have been illuminated by the Spirit, genuinely bringing some to faith. Not as readily as where sound doctrine informs sound preaching, but where the Word is heard, there is hope.
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