Quakers, or the Religious Society of Friends as they are known, came up during the Protestant Reformation in 1640 and have had relatively a significant impact since then. So maybe you are curious about them. What do they believe? Do Quakers believe in Jesus?
For the most part, yes. Quakers do believe in Jesus Christ. While their conviction in Him may vary depending on if they are conservative or liberal, Quakers believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Man.
What do Quakers believe about Jesus Christ? What do they teach about Him? What are the differences between liberal and conservative Quakers regarding their belief in Jesus Christ? This article will answer these questions in-depth while drawing from writings of early founding Quakers and Bible Scriptures.
What Do Quakers Teach About Jesus?
Early Quakers in the 17th century had teachings about Jesus Christ similar to those of the Church it broke away from. They believed in the Bible and consider it to be accurate. These are the Conservative or Evangelical Quakers. Here are some of the teachings that the Conservative Quakers have about Jesus:
- Jesus’ life and work are found in the Bible. Quakers believe that the Holy Book accurately and authentically depicts the life of Christ and so we can learn about Him from the Bible. Robert Barclay, an influential early Quaker, has stated, “We believe that everything which is recorded in the holy scriptures concerning the birth, life, miracles, suffering, resurrection, and ascension of Christ actually happened.” Quakers are thus encouraged to look to the Bible to learn about Jesus.
- Jesus Christ is present. They teach that Jesus Christ never left us, and He is still among us. He resides in us as a Savior, Healer, and Friend. We can easily access Him by meditating and taking the time to listen to His voice.
- Jesus Christ uses His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) to transform us. He transforms us by speaking to us and by us obeying. Quakers believe we are called to preach what is revealed to us by Jesus Christ. According to Quaker faith, Jesus carries the perfect message of God. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “In the past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”
- Jesus Christ is love. According to Quakers, the love of Jesus is the fullest measure and example of God’s love. By dying on the Cross, Jesus showed His undying love for us. Quakers are called on to emulate this love and spread it. This is encompassed in John 15:9-12 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
- Jesus Christ is not bound by time. According to Quakers, Jesus can mystically bend time and eternity. Quakers acknowledge Jesus’ long lineage from David and His Heavenly Father, which makes his presence eternal.
Quakers believe that they embody Jesus Christ in several ways. For example:
- They live a humble life just as Jesus Christ did on Earth. He left His Throne in Heaven to come down and die on the cross for our sins. Many Quakers do the same by foregoing the comforts of this world and choosing a simpler life.
- Quakers believe that their spirits naturally emulate Jesus, as we all have an innate inclination to do good.
- As Christ went through trials and tribulations, the persecution that early Quakers faced upon breaking away from the Church is seen as similar.
- Quakers believe we are all made in the image of God, and therefore we embody Christ.
What Are Quakers’ Beliefs on Jesus?
Many Quakers’ beliefs about Jesus mirror that of most conventional Churches, while others do not. Some of the beliefs that Conventional Quakers have about Jesus Christ are:
- Jesus Christ is the Sacrament. Quakers do not believe sacraments such as Baptism and Holy Communion are necessary. They believe that accepting Jesus Christ and having a relationship with Him is all you need. They understand that meditating on His word and having communion with Him is their doctrine.
- That Jesus Christ resurrected and showed that there is life after death. Gusten Lutter Jr., a famous contemporary Friend or Quaker, says: “God raised Jesus from the dead,” we are giving what we saw (through the eyes of the disciples) in three dimensions greater depth. The three-dimensional surface of Jesus’ body becomes transparent to the eyes of the spirit, and we see God in and through him. The incarnation & resurrection make claims about the world without which the New Testament (the books of the New Covenant of God with God’s People) is a nice story.”
- Jesus Christ died for mankind’s sins. George Fox, the founder of Quakers, has stated, “there is no salvation in any other name under heaven, whereby they must be saved but in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, crucified and raised from the dead.” Quakers believe Christ died for all our sins, whether Jew, Turk, Christian, or heathen.
- Jesus reveals Himself to us through personal experiences. According to Quaker faith, divine inward revelations are integral to true Christianity, and these revelations give clarity and “serve as their evidence.”
- Jesus is one with the spirit. Quakers refer to Jesus Christ as ‘Light,’ ‘Seed,’ or ‘Spirit.’ They believe in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and that it is intrinsically linked to Jesus. They believe that this light is available to everyone, and it guides one in their faith.
- Jesus may return in the future. Even though Quakers believe Christ’s presence is still on Earth residing in all of us, this does not completely rule out the possibility of Him coming back in a fuller way. While other denominations of Christianity are sure of Jesus’ return and a final judgment, they do not believe in its certainty.
Liberal Quakers, on the other hand, tend to follow beliefs that are not as Christ-centered. They embrace science, the concept of ‘self-sovereignty, and neo-animism. Many conservative Quakers shun liberal Quakers’ beliefs as they are seen to lean towards paganism and heresy.
Do Quakers Identify as Christians?
Quakers first came about in the 1600s when the founder George Fox, began rejecting the Church of England for apparent institutional corruption. Like many other Churches that arose during the Protestant Reformation, the Quakers say that they do not reject Christianity but rather the Church. So, yes. Many Quakers do identify as Christians. They consider themselves followers of true Christianity as it was intended by God or the Holy Spirit.
Quakers reject firm religious practices and beliefs and the system of priests or spiritual leaders, but not the teachings of Christ, whose spirit they believe resides in everything and everyone according to John 1:3 “Through him, all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made” and John 1:9-10 “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” Christianity is essentially emulating the love and persona of Jesus Christ, which is what Quakers do. Quakers also draw a lot from the New Testament (especially the book of John), which is very Christ-centered.
While there are many Quakers who believe and identify with Christianity, there is a section of the religion (liberal Quakers) that does not focus on the character of Christ and instead rely on spirituality. The modern Quakers channel their personal feelings and knowledge to make decisions instead of Scripture and the Holy Spirit. These are the liberal ones who believe in a remote God that is detached from the world. These Quakers do not necessarily classify themselves as Christians. They embrace spiritualism.
- A Quaker Understanding of Jesus Christ, Arthur O. Roberts
- Are Quakers Christian?
- God, Jesus, Christianity, and Quakers
- Are Quakers Christian, Non-Christian, or Both?
- Faith & Practice
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.