Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do all Quakers practice silent worship?
No. There are many "programmed" or "pastoral"
Friends Churches where the worship service is similar to that in other
Protestant denominations. Quakers in the programmed and unprogrammed traditions
share many beliefs and testimonies, but are also different in significant ways.
For more information on the programmed branch of Friends, go to
Where did Quakerism come
Quakerism started in England in the 1650s, during a
time of civil war and religious turmoil. It grew out of the preaching of George
Fox, who rejected the hierarchy and rituals of existing churches, and challenged
all people to encounter God directly and to experience the Kingdom of Heaven as
a present, living reality.
How many Quakers are there?
There are perhaps 300,000 Quakers in the world
today, in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North and South America. About
one third of all Quakers live in the United States and Canada.
Are Quakers Christians?
Not all of them. Quakerism has deep Christian roots,
and most Quakers consider themselves Christian, but many do not. Quakers have
always held that Christ as spirit is universally available, and has been at work
since the beginning of creation. This "universalist" perspective is especially
strong in the unprogrammed branch of Quakerism. Unprogrammed Meetings are often
characterized by great theological diversity, while still experiencing profound
How do Quakers view Christ?
Many Quakers see Jesus Christ as a great religious
teacher, or someone inspired by God to live an exemplary life. Others see Christ
as a source of salvation, although in a different sense than most other
Christian churches. Quakerism is concerned with life in this world rather than
the next, and has no theology of heaven and hell. George Fox taught that
redemption through Christ and the Second Coming should not to be thought of as
past and future events. Both can only be experienced in the present, as
spiritual truth, independent of history. He believed that "Christ has come to
teach his people himself," and that we can be as Adam was before the Fall if we
open our hearts to the Inward Teacher.
Do Quakers have a creed?
No. Quakers have tried to avoid written creeds,
especially in unprogrammed Meetings. We want people to attend very carefully to
what the Inward Guide is trying to open to them, and to express whatever truth
they discover as honestly as they can in their own words. Pre-formulated
statements can short-circuit this process and may hamper true spiritual growth.
Are Quakers the same as the
No. Both are "peace" churches, but otherwise they
have few similarities.
What are Friends attitudes
toward sacraments and Scripture?
Friends do not believe in outward
sacraments--communion and baptism as variously practiced in Christian churches.
We seek an inward reality. We believe that all of life is sacred, and that all
great human experiences are of a sacramental nature. We value Scripture as it
helps us to encounter the Spirit that inspired it. We do not believe that the
words themselves are sacred, but only the Spirit. We believe in continuing
revelation, and use many different doors to enter into an experience of the
What is the Quaker peace
When George Fox was asked to take sides in the
English Civil War, he answered that "he lived in the Life and Power that takes
away the occasion for war." Quakers seek to avoid violence on both the personal
and the societal level, and affirm that the Spirit that takes away the occasion
for war is available to everyone, everywhere, in all situations.
What are the other Quaker
Our testimonies are not formulated rules, but ways
of being in the world. They are based on our accumulated corporate experience of
the divine, including what is written in the Bible, but also including modern
day experience. The basic Quaker testimonies have been described as: simplicity,
integrity, equality, community, and peace.
Where can I find out more about Quakerism?
Many books and pamphlets on the beliefs, practices,
social witness and history of Quakerism are available QuakerBooks of Friends General Conference.