9 Core Quaker Beliefs

Interview 16 Comments

As a lifelong Quaker, Arthur Larrabee was frustrated that he couldn’t answer the question, “What do Quakers believe?” So he set out to do just that.

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Comments 16

  1. William R Martin

    City & State
    Wilmington, OH
    I agree with most of the points which you have raised. I would want to clarify (at least from my belief system), I’m more in tune with Henry Cadbury’s view on the Bible. The Bible is “one source” not the only source. Many if not most unprogrammed Friends certainly do not accept some of Paul’s writings (ex: homosexuality and more).

    You will say Christ saith this, and the apostles say this, but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of Light and host thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest is it inwardly m God?

    I find Henry Cadbury address “Friends and the Bible” conforms to my beliefs.

  2. Cathy Walling

    City & State
    Fairbanks
    Thank you Arthur for so beautifully articulating these 9 core Quaker Beliefs! I totally resonate with them and am so grateful for the wonderful way you have shared them!

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  4. Larry Muller

    City & State
    VIENNA
    Jon:

    I became a convinced Quaker in the Spring of 2015 after a fairly intense initial study over an 8th month period. Since that time I have read numerous books, pamphlets, online literature, etc and have also taken a few short courses offered by various Quaker authors and teachers. All have added to my understanding and have helped me grow in my faith. But none has described what Quakers believe as well as Arthur has done in this video. I would love to be able to download this video to share with family and friends. Is it possible for me to do that? I would appreciate the guidance in making this happen. Thank you Friends, Arthur and Jon, for this gift you gave me today!

    Larry

  5. Len Cadwallader

    City & State
    Hanover NH
    Arthur Larrabee’s remarks are a lucid summary of what many unprogrammed Friends believe.

  6. benjamin schultz

    City & State
    jacumba
    This is by definition –untrue. Many Quakers may take issue with one or all of these points. When will the experience of being quiet (mostly) for a hour a week stop people from talking to much the rest of the time?Ben Schultz

  7. Janet Lamborn

    City & State
    Reading, PA
    As a life long Friend, it is wonderful to hear Arthur Larrabee’s briliantly worded explanation of Quaker Beliefs that is both concise and accurate. Thanks very much!

  8. Lucy Douthitt

    City & State
    Lihue
    This was so clear and comforting. My favorite video of the series so far.

  9. Jonathan Lee

    City & State
    North Shore Worship Group, Auckland, New Zealand
    Thank you, Arthur, for sharing your beliefs; your summary strikes harmonious chords with many Friends. You speak my mind, when you say there is that of God in everyone (and perhaps every thing); we can discover our truth by experiencing the silence within ourselves; and it’s more convincing to bear witness to our beliefs through our actions than our words.

    However, for me, while recognising the roots of Quakerism are in Christianity, its not rooted there. It’s dynamic – which explains its many schism, and the tension between individualism and corporatism.

    While regarding myself as a Quaker, I, for one, don’t share your belief in God as an omniscient supernatural being responsible for the design and creation of the universe, and revealing the truth to one species on one planet. I see the Bible as a record of Jewish political and spiritual history, as the writers and subsequent Christian editors wished it to be. Like Bishop Sponge of the Episcopalian Church, I see Jesus as more a concept and spiritual experience than an historical figure or divine being.

    I cannot separate God from Nature. I find truth in inner experience, and applying both the Elephant Razor (you know it when you see it) and reason – helped by dialogue. I not only tolerate spiritual texts, other than the Bible, as sources of information and inspiration, but embrace them – as I do with alterative views.

    Likewise, I find the Quaker community both inspirational and challenging – as I believe it should be. One of these challenges is this tension between individualism and corporatism. In the pursuit of both individual and community identity, I understand the desire to say diversity or uncertainty is for the birds; “WE (my emphasis) can do better than this.” However, I see very little need for ‘we’ in my Quaker spiritual practice. If the desired outcome is a spiritual journey, it is by its nature individual, even when aided by community.

    Expousing core beliefs – no matter how well intensioned – risks introducing a creed. In this summary, as with the miss use of other summaries, I see danger in more purpose than need, through striving for identity by exclusion and discipline, and subsequent need for an intermediary interpreter.

    In peace, Jonathan

  10. Irene Oleksiw

    City & State
    Downingtown, PA
    Spot on
    This video will be a resource for new attenders who want to understand the essence of our faith and practice.

    Thank you, Arthur

  11. Robin Gray

    City & State
    Winnemucca, Nevada
    I listened to the video, “What do Quakers believe?” I am in almost total harmony with all of them. I would like to be part of such a community but the nearest one is three hours away.

  12. Gene Hillman

    City & State
    Brookhaven, Pa
    Well done. This should be a useful resource for presentation to those inquiring in Philadelphia and Baltimore yearly meetings (my experience).At the beginning you limit it to unprogrammed Friends. This is a very small minority of Quakers worldwide, and even a minority within Quakers in North America. This needs to be explained.

  13. Joella

    City & State
    B.C., Canada
    I appreciate all the comments and the video. I am not a Quaker, but I find this summary very helpful in showing how Quakers are different from most Christian denominations (all of the ones I am familiar with). Yes, to promote these as a creed would not be the intent of the video. But to help other people who have no idea what Quakers are, I believe it is a great introduction to what is NOT a creed but an “opening”, as it were, to what the Jesus and Biblical traditions provide, more as a starting place rather than what one is supposed to attain. The comments that do not appreciate this summary are just as helpful for realizing that Quakers do not have to adhere to any set of beliefs; so perhaps offering these as a place from which to bounce off of is a very helpful gesture. Thanks.

  14. Alfred Muma

    City & State
    Gillies Bay, BC, Canada
    The nine points are very good. I’m asked the same question when people find out I am a Friend after I explain that Friend is the proper name for Quakers. Quakers is a nick name given as a slur but it stuck and Friends gladly took possession of it. Once past the short history lesson I explain we do not have a creed, sacrements nor ministers, that we all are ministers in a silent meeting for worship. Now I have their interest and wait for the question what do Quakers believe then? My answer is “that of God in every person” and everything else from that becomes self explanatory…nonviolence, and the nine points elegantly outlined above.

  15. Rose Marie Cipryk

    City & State
    St. Catharines, ON, Canada
    Friend Jonathan Lee speaks my mind. “Espousing core beliefs – no matter how well intentioned – risks introducing a creed. In this summary, as with the misuse of other summaries, I see danger… through striving for identity by exclusion and discipline, and subsequent need for an intermediary interpreter.”

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