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Friday, September 28, 2018

Were the Quakers Christian?

When I've talked with people about my Colonial-era trilogy involving the Quakers, I've found that many - perhaps most - believe that the Quakers were a religious sect, perhaps even a cult, but that they were not Christian.

George Fox, the acknowledged founder of the Quaker movement, penned these words in a letter to the governor and assembly of the Barbados Islands in 1671:

"And we own and believe in Jesus Christ, his beloved and only begotten Son, in whom he is well pleased; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the express image of the Invisible God, the first-born of every creature, by whom were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, principalities, or powers, all things were created by him. And we do own and believe that He was made a sacrifice for sin, who knew no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; that he was crucified for us in the flesh, without the gates of Jerusalem; and that he was buried, and rose again the third day by the power of his Father, for our justification; and that he ascended up into heaven, and now sitteth at the right hand of God. This Jesus, who was the foundation of the holy prophets and apostles, is our foundation; and we believe that there is no other foundation to be laid than that which is laid, even Christ Jesus; who tasted death for every man, shed his blood for all men, and is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world; according as John the Baptist testified of him, when he said, ' Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.' John i. 29.

Now ... what say you?

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  1. Is it possible that rituals and regulations were added over the years that became just as important to the Quakers as this belief statement? I am no theological expert, but the above statement sounds authentic to me.

    1. Yes, there have been many changes since the Society of Friends was founded, many splits within the church just like most denominations.

  2. It seems to me he was quoting a lot of scripture! So remincent of our Creeds. We say the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed every week and the Athenasian Creed once a year( because it is sooooo long) These cement what we believe and unite us. I’ve heard it said that if you have the Apostles Creed memorized then you have your witnessing tool!
    I agree that the founder, as far as this statement goes, had it correct. Like the last commenter, I don’t know if the adherents kept to that.

    1. Some of the current Quaker churches are nothing like the original comments above, but then, few denominations could say they've not morphed with time either.

  3. By what you shared, I would say they were Christians. Like with most religions though, I imagine through the years that things have changed and some may say that it was a cult. Only God knows the hearts of those part of the Quakers. He alone, will be the judge. Just like He will be for us.


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