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date: 25 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The spiritual autobiography of early Friends stressed human powerlessness apart from justification by faith, yet Friends differed from their Puritan contemporaries in rejecting imputed original sin. They described their convincement as an experience of spiritual warfare that exposed and purged sin, allowing perfect, sinless obedience to God’s will. Eighteenth-century Quakers understood sanctification as a more gradual growth towards perfection, which was the foundation of both rigorous communal discipline and commitment to social testimonies. Atonement and salvation were central issues in the separations of the nineteenth century, and the emerging branches of Quakerism developed different theologies of sin and perfection. Hicksite Friends minimized sin while maintaining a strong sense of ethical integrity. Orthodox Friends stressed the conversion experience and the role of the Spirit in a new life of perfection, particularly where Friends were most influenced by Wesleyan revivalism and the Holiness movement.

Keywords: conversion, convincement, Holiness, justification, perfection, Quakerism, Religious Society of Friends, sanctification, sin, spiritual autobiography, spiritual warfare

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