I read with interest and appreciation Alice Yaxley's post "Why not call yourself a Christian, like Lucretia Mott?"
I keep thinking about the post and the responses. I love that Alice raised this question and I love her blog.
However, having read the comments, I would frame the question differently. When people responded with the reasons that they did not call themselves Christians, I found myself saying yes, yes, you are right not to call yourself a Christian, you are acting with integrity.
I think the real issue is not whether individuals call themselves Christians, as that is a personal decision about accepting Christ into your heart. The question I would pose is: Why contest calling the Religious Society of Friends a Christian faith? As Alice and others so clearly point out, Quakerism, as a collective , is Christian. The majority of its adherents are self-identified as Christians, and it is historically rooted in Christianity. It was and is an attempt to return to the earliest roots of the Christian faith, before Rome adopted Christianity as the state religion. I have heard that the entire Bible, if lost, could be reconstructed by the writings of the early Quakers. And there is no question in my mind that the early Quakers I have read believed fervently in a risen Christ born of a virgin and a historical Jesus who performed miracles and healings.
That's not to say that every individual within Quakerism is a Christian, any more than every individual within any other Christian denomination is a Christian. But that doesn't mean we don't call those denominations Christian. The community has an identity that transcends any one individual or any one period of time. It is rooted in a history and tradition. When you join that community, you are inevitably joining that history and tradition, regardless of your individual beliefs. I suppose what bothers me is the tendency of some to want to rewrite the history of Quakerism as some sort of universalist faith. It is a uniquely Christian story and that story-not just the "principles" we can cull from it-- matters. Quakerism would not have been Quakerism if Fox and his followers had not been born in the seventeenth century, in England, and were Buddhists rather than Christians. So why not embrace and love the story we have?