Thursday, February 11, 2010

Principles and Testimonies

Do Quakers have any principles or testimonies? Of course we do.

These Quaker Principles as defined by George Fox, an early Quaker:

* God is directly accessible to all persons without the need of an intermediary priest or ritual;
* There is in all persons an in-dwelling Seed or Christ or Light (early Quakers used all these metaphors) which is of God and which, if they will but heed it, will guide them and shape their lives in accordance with the will of God;
* True religion cannot be learned from books or set prayers, words or rituals, which early Quakers called "empty forms," but comes only from direct experience of God, known through the Seed or Christ or Light within;
* The Scriptures can be understood only as one enters into the Spirit which gave them forth;
* There is an ocean of darkness and death--of sin and misery--over the world but also an ocean of light and love, which flows over the ocean of darkness, revealing the infinite love of God;
* The power and love of God are over all, erasing the artificial division between the secular and religious so that all of life, when lived in the Spirit, becomes sacramental. The traditional outward sacraments, again characterized as empty forms, are to be discarded in favor of the spiritual reality they symbolize.

Basically, from these general Quaker principles, these principles have grown some specific applications which Friends call their 'testimonies'. These change in a variety of ways, but the basic testimonies are basically are simplified to only four:

* Equality * Peace * Simplicity * Community *

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