This brief account refers to Quakers in Britain. See Quakers World Wide
for information on
other Quakers, many of whom are Evangelical Christians, and reject the liberal approach
Quakerism is rooted in Christianity, but many of us would say we were post-Christian.
fact some Quakers reject association with Christian churches. However, after much debate,
British Quakers officially joined the CCBI - the Ecumenical Christian organisation in Britain
Quakers are active in ecumenical and inter-Faith activity.
Within British Quakerism a wide range of beliefs are held and are respected.
and find great support in the Bible and traditional Christian doctrine. However they reject
Baptism, the Eucarist, the Creed, appointed priests, and many other practices found in other
Quakers are more interested in putting their "Faith into Action"
than in agonising over Belief. It
is an experiential faith - we accept what we find to be true.
God in Everyone.The core of Quaker belief is that there is that of God
in everyone. Many other religious
groups accept this concept but Quakers emphasise it. One effect of this emphasis is that
Quakers believe passionately that one must never kill or otherwise abuse other humans. So
Quakers were prominent in the anti slavery movement, against capital punishment, and are
pacifist. Not willing to be merely against these evils, Quakers have been and still are
innovators and activists for peace and social and penal reform.
Quakers believe all people are equal in the eyes of God. One effect was that
earliest days Quaker women were encouraged to minister in meetings for worship.
God within each person is also known by Quakers as The Inner (or Inward) Light
or The Seed. It is this presence of God within which we try to heed, in order to guide, to
encourage, and to sustain us. This Inner Light is in all humans, whether or not they are
The Spirit. Quakers seek to be guided by the Spirit, rather than the
Bible or creeds or professional
religious leaders. We value our traditions but take care not to be enslaved by them.
While rejecting credal statements, we accept what we call Testimonies.
These are not
statements but rather they are customs, conventions, or approaches to daily living. The four
most relevant Testimonies relate to Peace, Equality, Truth, and Simplicity.
Almost all Quakers believe in God, or a divine, creative and ultimately good
the universe. But there is lively discussion on the nature of God.
Quaker meetings for worship (see What we do) can be understood
as a form of mystical
My view, having joined Quakers over 30 years ago, is that British Quakerism
all other faith groups) is not belief-centred, but action- (or experience-) centred. What one
does and what one seeks is more relevant than what one believes.
Quakers are individualists and object to others who claim to state their opinion.
So I repeat,
the foregoing in no more than my personal view.
Some favourite Quaker quotations:
Truth is a Path, not a possession.
Walk cheerfully over the earth, answering to that of God in everyone
Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your
hearts. Trust them as
the leadings of God...
We can worship alone, but when we join with others in expectant waiting
we may discover a
deeper sense of Gods presence.
Be honest with yourself. ... When you recognise your shortcomings, do
not let that
Do you respect that of God in everyone...?
Do you work gladly with other religious groups in pursuit of common goals?
Let your life speak.
Are you alert to practices ... which discriminate against people on the
basis of who or what
... The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.
Respect the laws of the state but let your first loyalty be to Gods purposes.
Are you honest and truthful in all you say and do?
Try to live simply.
We do not own the world...Show a loving concern for all creatures.
Stephen Petter, 10/7/03
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