THE "BEACONITE" CONTROVERSY AND THE "WILBURITE" SEPARATIONS
AFTER the Hicksite separations in America the zeal of the English Evangelicals was increased to guard against the spread of "Hicksism" to Britain. Ever since the "rationalism" of 1789-1801 Irish Friends were also on the watch for any fresh unsoundness.
The intensified Evangelical tendencies resulted in two developments of special importance. One of these was the "Beaconite" controversy in England and the other the Gurney influence and consequent "Wilburite" separations in America. The increasing emphasis on the authority of the Bible led to the formation of Bible classes in various centers. In Manchester, England, William Boulton, an elder, became the leader of a Bible class for the younger members of the meeting,1 in which were taught extreme views of the final authority of the Bible, of which Isaac Crewdson ( 1780-1840), his brother-in-law and a prominent merchant became the chief exponent. A native of Kendal, he resided in or near Manchester from 1795-1844. He was a keen practical business man; a recorded minister and not at all mystical in his religious experience; intellectual in a superficial way and quite opinionated; -- neither saint nor scholar____________________