• Return to Grindleton

Therefore, the central question has to be whether Grindleton had an Elect? And there is a complication: just because Brierley’s theology did does not imply that all of his ‘followers’ held to the same viewpoint.

However, certain characteristics are hinted at within the fifty High Commission charges of 1616. Hearing a minister preach, they knew how far down the road towards Christianity he was. This is a recognition capability and it implies possible recognition of Election. It was also a [supposed] common characteristic of the ‘sects before sects’; Stephen Dennison accused Etherington’s ‘Church of Christ’ of claiming to have the capacity to recognise one another.

The Grindletonians were either beyond prayer, which was seen as appropriate only for ‘beginner’ Christians or else they advocated prayer devoid of meditation. The sinner should put no prayer to God. This set of accusations may ultimately be connected with the materiality of the word but also suggests that prayer was viewed to have no influence on grace. The Elect were elect and did not need prayer; the reprobate were damned and no prayer could aid them.

But there is something within the accusations which is nothing less than a genuine departure. The Grindletonians claimed that God has not revealed himself enough to deliver salvation without further Spiritual exploration. This might be the beginning of ‘continuous revelation’ in Northern Non-Conformism, especially in Quaker thought. ‘Direct’ revelation was not to be instantaneous; it was to be an unfolding process.

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Unless otherwise stated, all images may be subject to copyright of the British Library where they have been photographed by the author. Otherwise this text is copyright – Simon J Kyte.