Tenets of Quakerism

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. http://iws.collin.edu/mizell/2327/Quakerism.htm

Humanitarianism: the best way to love God is through practical helpfulness to man

In 1647 George Fox founded the Society of Friends in England. Because the members trembled or quaked before the Lord, they received the name "Quakers" from scoffers. Believing that each man had a source of divine inspiration, this new sect worshipped God without a church, minister, or creed. Instead, they quietly waited for an "opening"{ in which God reveled himself through their "inner light." The converts spread throughout England, the Continent, and the colonies. To escape the persecution of both the Church of England and the Puritans, the Quakers migrated to the colonies. In 1681 the king grated William Penn a charter to establish a haven for the Quakers in Pennsylvania. The movement flourished during the period of the Great Awakening. Both movements had a similar belief in personal revelation.

The Quakers, or Society of Friends, exerted an influence in American life totally disproportionate to their number. For example, their leadership in the humanitarian efforts to abolish slavery brought about significant changes. Also, their toleration of other faiths, stations in life, and groups of people influenced the thinking in the new nation and created a democratizing phenomenon.

While the Quakers avoided formulating any creeds, they did have basic principles:

Concept of God: belief in a loving God

Concept of Love: the best way to serve God is to love Him and His creation

The "Inner Light": the mystical "Inner Light" by which God personally reveals His immanence. A quietness of spirit results from Quakers waiting for the revelation. Such revelation then becomes the supreme authority for interpreting God's will in conduct and belief.

Equality before God: belief that Christ's sacrifice atones for all men's sins. In contrast to the Puritan belief in predestination, this position held that all men are capable of achieving the Inner Light and thereby finding salvation.

Church Structure: no clergy or structure for formal worship, such as sermons; all men are equally capable of religious experience without the intercession of church discipline.

Humanitarianism: the best way to love God is through practical helpfulness to man. Their humanitarian treatment of the Indians and their opposition to slavery influenced others. Quaker humanitarianism also expressed itself in pacifism, an opposition to war and violence.

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