Quakers and the Witness of Suffering

Adrian Chastain Weimer

in Martyrs' Mirror

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199743117
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918744 | DOI:
Quakers and the Witness of Suffering

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Chapter 5 analyzes the multi-layered polemics between Quakers and Congregationalists over suffering and political legitimacy. Believing that suffering was a crucial weapon in the apocalyptic Lamb's War, Quakers expertly inverted corporal punishment into a platform for spiritual authority. Quickly publicizing their ordeals, they framed New Englanders as cruel persecutors and Quakers as innocent martyrs. Congregationalists in turn argued for their own status as the true persecuted church and Quakers as dangerous weapons of Antichrist, aimed at the heart of New England society. By the time Mary Dyer and three other Quaker missionaries were hanged, Congregationalists hearing Quaker claims to be the true persecuted church were deeply troubled that New England leaders were acting more like the Marian bishops than they liked to admit.

Keywords: Mary Dyer; Quakers; martyrs; corporal punishment; religious legitimacy; persecuted church; spiritual authority; Antichrist; Congregationalists

Chapter.  9734 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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