About a year ago I read the recently re-published edition of Aruthur Roberts' Through Flaming Sword. I was in my first trimester of pregnancy at the time so I read a bunch of books, laying in bed moaning because I felt sick, and didn't have enough energy to write anything about them. So now that I have a 5-month-old, I'm getting back around to writing this entry.
I enjoyed reading Through Flaming Sword. It's a brief overview of George Fox's life, ministry and Journal. For someone who hasn't read Fox's Journal and isn't planning on wading through 600+ pages of 17th century text, this book is a good speed, I would imagine. It covers the highs and lows of Fox's experience, and connects his ministry with Friends testimony and sense of calling in the 350 years since. I would definitely recommend this book to people interested in learning about Fox and the beginnings of Quakerism.
That said, even if Arthur didn't attend my meeting, I would definitely have been able to tell he's an Evangelical Friend. The things he chose to emphasize about Fox's life and the things he pointed to as most important about his writing are things that most closely align with the beliefs of Evangelical Friends. In that way it seemed somewhat preachy, if one knows the broader context of Friends (as Arthur does, quite well). It seemed like perhaps he was writing to convince people of the direct line of connection between Fox and Evangelical Friends. While I agree that Evangelical Friends do come in a direct line of tradition from Fox and his teachings, I also know that there are other things Fox said and did that don't fit as well with the Evangelical message! That's why I feel like Evangelical Friends hold an unique tension, since we're not exactly Evangelicals, nor are we exactly Friends, in the way many people stereotype either of these groups. I feel that when we try to convince people that we're really not that different--really we're pretty normal, just your average non-denominational, nice evangelical group--we lose something of importance. It's not that we just want to be different, but it's that we have truth to share with the wider body of the Church. I think Arthur definitely believes this as well, but perhaps was somewhat tired of seeing Fox claimed by those who don't consider themselves Christians.
At any rate, I found this to be a helpful book, and one that I would use in a course on Quakerism, or perhaps a small group that wanted to learn more about Fox and the history of Friends. You can buy this book from Barclay Press.