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Beliefs of the Quakers

(Shaking Quakers, Shakers, Friends)

(This paper documents the belief system of historical Quakers. Modern Quakers, like
most Pentecostals, are all over the map in doctrine.)
Quakers (Friends) beliefs are a little hard to quantify, since Friends do not believe in having a
fixed Creed or Dogma, but rather in seeking for the leadings of God within ourselves. Some
generalizations are possible however:
1. Some, but not all Quakers, view the doctrine of Jesus' and the virgin birth as nonessential and
not accepted as fact.
2. Primacy of "feelings" over scripture as source of testing doctrine.
3. Acceptance of any document as valid for doctrine, i.e. Tao Te Ching, Koran, etc. (Society of
4. Some, but not all Quakers are Unitarian Universalists (by their own description) (i.e. all
religions and beliefs are correct and of equal value.)
5. Great manifestations including trembling and shaking.
6. George Fox saw himself as an apostle restoring the true church.

George Fox in 1658 AD.

What to Quakers Historically Believe

The Quakers started in England the 17th Century by George Fox. George Fox asked his friend
and Quaker Theologian Robert Barclay to write an Apology of the Quaker Faith, which he did.
Robert Barclay also wrote a catechism on the Quakers Faith using as answer Book only the Holy
Scriptures. Following are the doctrinal believes he and Friends until the schism believed in.
Conservative or Wilburite Friends still hold this Faith today, therefore are the true Society of
What some Quakers believe today:

1. Of God: God is a Spirit (Jn 4:24). God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three in One, yet
not three Gods but One (Jn 5:7).

2. Of Christ: Christ is God (Jn 1:1). Christ Jesus was born from the Virgin Mary by the
power of the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:18). Jesus Christ, God made flesh (Jn 1:14). Jesus Christ
died for our sins but rose again the third day according to Scripture (1 Cor. 15:3,4). Christ
is the only Mediator between man and God (1 Tim. 2:5).

3. Of the Holy Scriptures: The Holy Scriptures are inspired by God, therefore true and
profitable (2 Tim. 3:15,16,17). But only Christ Jesus is the Word of God (Rev.19: 13-15)
as the Scriptures clearly testify. Christians must study the Holy Scriptures (Jn 5:39). One
must be led by the Holy Spirit in order to understand the Scriptures if not then there is the
danger to fall into heresy (2 Peter 3:16). The Scriptures were written under the inspiration
of the Holy Ghost (2 Pet. 1:20, 21).

4. Of the Light of Christ within: Christ has enlightened every man on earth (Jn. 1:9). This
means that all people can if they repent of their sins turn to the Light Jesus Christ and be
saved (Jn. 12:25). Those who deny the Light (Jesus Christ) do it because they love sin (Jn
3:20) and are already judged for denying Christ. True Christians must walk in the Light (1
John 1:7). The Light can teach all Christians, which is Jesus Christ teaching through the
anointing of the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:27).

5. Of Salvation: We are saved through Faith, the grace of God, (Eph.2: 8, 9, 10).

6. Of Freedom from Sin: Christians are free from sin (Rom. 6:2, 7, 11,12, 13,16, 23). And
they should aim for perfection in Christ (Matt.5: 48).

7. Of the Church: Christ is the Head of the Church (Col. 1:13 and 2:19). The Church is the
body of Christ, the people of God.

8. Of Worship: True worship is done in Spirit and in Truth (Jn. 4: 23,24).

9. Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper: There is only one Baptism (Eph. 4:5). This is the
Baptism of the Holy Spirit not the baptism in water (Acts 1:4,5). The Lord’s Supper is
also Spiritual (not with the elements of bread and wine) (Jn. 6:32-58 and Rev.3: 20).

10.Of quaking and trembling: We must tremble at the Word of God (Isa.66: 5, Jer.33: 9).

11.Of pacifism: Christians should not fight with carnal weapons (Matt5: 39, Lk 6:27, 28, 29,
2 Cor. 10: 3,4,5).

12.Of oaths: We should not swear at all (Matt. 5:33-37).

13.Concerning End Times: Christ will return in body to judge the world. On that day the
dead will be resurrected and accordingly some will go to Eternal Salvation and some to
Eternal Damnation with Satan (Acts 224:15).

Of course Friends have other doctrines too which come from our understanding of the Holy
Scriptures but these are the main ones. There is a minority of Liberals who call themselves
"Universalist Friends" and deny these doctrines but can they be really Quakers when they deny
our historical Faith? The answer is NO! Most Quakers today are Pastoral (Evangelical) Friends
and believe in the main doctrines of Christianity.

One can also read George Fox’s letter to the Governor of Barbados in 1671 where he states
clearly what Quakers believe about God, the Scriptures, Salvation, etc.

Written by:

Themistoklis Papaioannou

Affiliate member of O.Y.M. (Conservative)

"Friends Christian Ministries" (Quakers).

1. Striking parallels exist between Quaker silent worship and the practice glossolalia [modern
Pentecostalism]. At its best Quaker silent worship involves a kind of letting go, a lack of strain
or effortful attention, a willingness to "flow" with the leading of the Spirit and with the larger
movement of the entire meeting. ... As in the case of glossolalia, the process of speaking out of
the silence and of listening in the silence involves a resting of the analytical mind, a refusal to
let deliberative, objective thinking dominate the meeting. Rather, one tries to "center down" and
become open to the ''inner light" within himself, to "that of God in every man,'' to the "leading
of the Spirit.'' (Perspectives on the New Pentecostalism, Spitter, Richard A. Baer, 1976, p 154)
2. This kind of letting go of self be let the spirit flow, is present in many occult world religions like
Subud. The Quaker religion is historically occult like the Shakers.
3. Quakers, England. (Bloesch, II, 115-16; "Charismata," ERE, III, 370; Schaff, I, 114.) A group
that emphasized spiritual experience and waited on the moving of the Spirit in their services.
The early Quakers received their name because they literally "quaked" under the power of the
4. John Wimber began as a Quaker, originally being a member of the Quaker church. George Fox
is deemed to be the "prophet" whose teachings tend to be the prime source of guidance for the
philosophy followed in the Quaker faith. Gunner Payne was the person who initially had the
primary influence in John Wimber's life.
5. Historically, the Shakers got their roots from the Quakers, and were known originally as the
Shaking Quakers. The Quakers trace their roots back to a heretical group known as the French
6. "Shaker dissent from orthodox beliefs and practices was so extreme as to be heretical: hence the
prejudice, alarm, and violent opposition." (The People Called the Shakers, p 44, Edward
Deming Andrews)
7. About the year 1747, some members of the Society of Quakers, who had become subjects of the
revival, formed themselves into a society, of which Jane and James Wardley were the lead. Of
this little society Ann Lee and her parents were members. (Ch #1, Origin of the Society,
Compendium, 1859, F. W. Evans)
8. Ranters, 1649-1654, The Ranters appealed to an inward Christ, denying the external authority
of creeds and clerics in much the same way as did the Quakers. Both Ranter and early Quaker
worship contained an emotional element, as both consciously endeavored to follow the
promptings of the Spirit as he directed from within. Early accounts of meetings of both groups
contain many references to "the Power of the Lord" which "uttered through them" or "wrought
mightily" upon them, compelling them to weep, sing, or speak. (For the visions and inspired
utterances of a sixteenth-century Familist see Tobias, Mirabilia opera Dei (London, 1575).
Geoffrey F. Nuttall comments on Quaker and Ranter experiences in Studies in Christian
Enthusiasm, Illustrated from Early Quakerism (WaUingford, Pa., 1948).) "The Lord's power"
was frequently "so mighty upon" George Fox that he "could not hold, but was made to cry out."
(George Fox, Journal, passim; Hannah Whitall Smith, The Early Friends (Philadelphia, n.d. ).)
(The Charismatic Movement, 1975, Michael P. Hamilton, p 71)
9. The Camisards or Cevennes or Cevennol Prophets, 1700 AD
• Quakers have roots of origin within the Camisards
• Camisards: "Probably from camise, a black blouse worn as a uniform"
• Camisards, southern France (often called the Prophets of the Cevennes). ("Tongues, Gift
of," Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, IV, 3310-11.; "Camisards," ERE, 111,175-176;
"Pentecostal Churches," EB XIV, 31; Schaff, I, 114; "Tongues, Gift of," B, IV, 796.) A
group of Huguenots (French Protestants), mostly peasants, who resisted the attempts of
Louis XIV's government to convert them to Roman Catholicism. Many were
imprisoned, tortured, and martyred. Observers reported tongues, uneducated peasants
and young children prophesying in pure, elegant French, enthusiastic, demonstrative
worship, and people "seized by the Spirit."
• Cevennes: After Montanus, the next time any significant tongues-speaking movement
arose was with the Cevennol Prophets of the seventeenth century. The Cevennol
prophets likewise were outside of the church – their primary emphasis was on politics
and the military.
• Converts of Camisards, England. ("Tongues, Gift of," Smith's Dictionary of the Bible,
IV, 3310-11.) Some Camisards fled to England to avoid persecution, making converts
• Camisards, or Prophets of the Cevennes: The rapid growth of an enthusiastic group
among those who endorsed resistance, largely confined to the Cevennes mountains,
further complicated the divisions. These Camisards, or Prophets of the Cevennes
mountains, claimed that they were directly inspired by the Holy Spirit. Their religious
"enthusiasm" as well as their political resistance made them special targets of the king's
wrath. In the course of prolonged armed conflict, thousands on both sides were killed.
Under divine inspiration, their prophets encouraged the Camisards to wage war against
Louis' dragoons from 1701 until 1710. They fought for religious reasons, but the
intensity of their political opposition was reflected in the increasing enthusiasm of their
spiritual experiences. (Andre Ducasse, La Guerre des camisards (Paris, 1946).) The
Camisards maintained that "God has no where in the Scriptures concluded himself from
dispensing again the extraordinary Gifts of His Spirit unto Men." Indeed, a "more full
Accomplishment" of Joel's prophecy than that of Acts could be awaited. They found
historical roots by developing an interesting view of church history: "the Christian Truth
survived the Deluge of the Grand Apostacy, and rested upon the Mountains of Piemont,
Dauphine, and Languedocq, as the Ark once upon Mount Ararat; the Waldenses and
Albigenses could never be quite rooted out by the Legions of Hell in Croisade; and when
the great Tribulations of the modern Pharaoh had extinguished in appearance the other
Churches of France, out of the Ashes of those of Languedocq there arose within a few
Years last past, a powerful Testimony of Jesus, animated by immediate Inspiration...."
(John Lacy, A Cry from the Desert (London, 1708), pp. v-vi. This includes
reminiscences of Camisard refugees in England.) This "inspiration" had startling results.
Those so moved "struck themselves with the Hand, they fell on their Backs, they shut
their Eyes, they heaved with the Breast, they remained a while in Trances, and coming
out of them with Twitchings, they uttered all that came into their Mouths." (De Brueys,
Histoire du fanatisme de notre temps (Paris, 1692), p. 137.) Children as well as adults
were so affected, and illiterates of the "Dregs of Mankind" amazed their hearers by
quoting Scripture texts at length. (De Brueys, Histoire du fanatisme de notre temps
(Paris, 1692), p. 89.) John Vernett, who escaped from Bois-Chastel to England, recalled
that when under this power of the Holy Spirit his mother spoke only French. This
"surprized [him] exceedingly, because she never before attempted to speak a Word in
that Language, nor has since to my Knowledge, and I am certain she could not do
it."(John Lacy, A Cry from the Desert (London, 1708), p. 14) This testimony was given
in London on January 14, 1706. His mother had first experienced this linguistic ability in
1693 and had been imprisoned because of her spiritual gifts since 1695. Similar
phenomena occurred repeatedly, and often when the operation had ceased the inspired
had no memory of what he had uttered. Another strange phenomenon which occurred
quite frequently among the Camisards was the sudden ability of infants who could not
yet speak to deliver discourses in perfect, fluent French. In 1701, for example, a child
about fourteen months old "which had never of itself spoken a Word, nor could it go
alone," in a loud, childish voice began exhorting "to the Works of Repentance." (John
Lacy, A Cry from the Desert (London, 1708), p. 15) The Camisards also spoke
sometimes in languages that were unknown: "Several persons of both Sexes," James Du
Bois of Montpellier recalled, "I have heard in their Extasies pronounce certain words,
which seem'd to the Standers-by, to be some Foreign Language." These utterances were
sometimes accompanied by the gift of interpretation exercised, in Du Bois' experience,
by the same person who had spoken in tongues. (John Lacy, A Cry from the Desert
(London, 1708), p. 32) (The Charismatic Movement, 1975, Michael P. Hamilton, p 75)