WHAT DO FRIENDS BELIEVE?
Friends hold many beliefs in common with other Protestant denominations. As Protestants we emphasize the redeeming Grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. We believe in the Life Everlasting. We believe in the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and we especially emphasize the continued guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit which gave us the Scriptures. Our statements of faith are based upon the teachings of Jesus as we understand them, and upon the realities of our own spiritual experiences.
WE BELIEVE that true religion involves an immediate, inward, personal encounter with God - that this, rather than ritual and ceremony, is what we must experience to obtain salvation.
WE BELIEVE that each individual has worth, dignity, freedom, and responsibility before God. (John 1: 9)
WE BELIEVE that worship is a personal, positive act of seeking, rather than a performance- that communion is an inner spiritual experience rather than an outward observance.
WE BELIEVE that moral purity, integrity, honesty, simplicity, and humility are essential to the Christian life.
WE BELIEVE in Christian love and goodwill as a way of life which makes hatred and violence impossible.
WE BELIEVE that Christ-like love and concern for the suffering and unfortunate people must find expression in humanitarian service and social justice.
WE BELIEVE that in the continuing revelation of the Holy Spirit of God, who grants us new openings, insights and revelation of spiritual truth.
FOR FULL AND COMPREHENSIVE STATEMENTS OF THE QUAKER FAITH, THE READER IS REFERRED TO THE BOOK OF DISCIPLINE, FAITH AND PRACTICE.
"Therefore keep your meetings and dwell in the power of truth, and know it in one another, and be one in the light, that you may be kept in peace and love in the power of God, that you may know the mystery of the gospel: and all that you ever do, do in love; do nothing in strife, but in love, that edifies the body of Christ, which is the church."-George Fox
The purpose of the Queries is to direct attention to the true source of spiritual strength, to promote individual faithfulness to Christ, and to keep the church in a healthy condition. They are of value in appraising the state of society and in helping each member to determine through self-examination whether he/she is living a consistent Christian life. The Queries should be read frequently in private devotions and at specified intervals both in monthly and in quarterly meetings.
Meetings should find a method to share The Queries on a regular and frequent basis.
1. Do you strive for the constant realization of God's presence in your life? Do you profess your unwavering allegiance to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Are you sensitive and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit? Do you endeavor to advance your spiritual growth by the prayerful study of the Bible and other devotional literature?
Meetings for Worship and Business
2. Are all meetings for worship and for business held regularly and are you regular and punctual in attending? Do you come with heart and mind prepared for communion with God and fellowship with one another? Do you individually assume your rightful share in the responsibility of the work and worship of the meeting? Are your meetings for business times of spiritual concern and prayerful search for the way of truth?
3. Do you love one another as become the followers of Christ? Are you careful of the reputation of others? When differences arise, do you make an earnest effort to end them speedily?
Home and Family
4. Do you practice the daily reading of the scriptures in your families, giving time for reverent meditation? Do you make your home a place of hospitality, friendliness, peace, and Christian fellowship? Do you promote the moral and spiritual life of your children through careful supervision of their education, recreation, and friendships?
Youth and the Church
5. Do you seek the conversion to Jesus Christ and the spiritual development of your young people? Do you instruct them in the principles and practices of Friends? Do you strive to create a community life that will promote their mental and physical well-being?
Standards of Life
6. Do you observe simplicity and moderation in your manner of living? Do you give proper attention to the rules of health? As ambassadors of Christ, are you careful to avoid activities and the use of substances that adversely affect your Christian witness?
7. Are you careful to keep service to Christ’s Kingdom before professional/career responsibilities? Are you truthful and honest in your business transactions, punctual in fulling your promises, and prompt in the payment of your debts? Do you give an honest day’s work for a day’s pay?
8. Do you make a diligent effort to acquaint yourselves and those under your care with spiritual needs locally and globally? Do you support by prayer and systematic giving those who are laboring to extend Christ’s Kingdom? Do you use your spiritual gifts in serving humanity as God grants you light to see such service?
9. Do you consistently practice the Christian principles of love and goodwill toward all people? Do you work actively for peace and for the removal of the causes of war? Do you observe the testimony of Friends against military training and service? Do you endeavor to make clear to all whom you can influence, that war is inconsistent with the spirit and teaching of Jesus?
Attitudes in Race Relations
10. Does your attitude toward people of other races indicate your belief in their right to equal opportunity? Do you believe in the spiritual capacity of individuals of all races and do you recognize their equality in the sight of God? Are you aware of your responsibility as a Christian to help in the elimination of racial discrimination and prejudice?
11. Do you minister to others, understanding that when you minister to “the least of these...” you are ministering to Christ as well? Do you as workers, employers, producers, consumers, and investors endeavor to cultivate goodwill and mutual understanding in your economic relationships? Do you intelligently exercise all of your constitutional privileges and thus seek to promote Christian influence locally, nationally, and internationally?
Queries for Meetings on Ministry and Counsel
Responsibilities of Membership
1. Do you as elders and ministers recognize your responsibility in setting an example of faithfulness and loyalty to the meetings for worship and business? Do you accept appointment to this group as a definite response to the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus”? Are you concerned that the needs of all are ministered to in your meetings, whether by silent worship, inspirational speaking, or reverent music?
Relations with Other Members
2. Are you aware of the necessity of harmonious relations with your fellow members as a basis for the most effective service to the church? Do you as leaders in the meeting earnestly try to win individuals to Christ and to strengthen the faith and loyalty of fellow Christians?
3. Do you endeavor to recognize and develop your special talents and abilities for service in the meeting, and do you pray for divine guidance in their use? Do you cultivate the spiritual gifts of the members of your meeting? Are you always ready to encourage and advise those who engage in the vocal ministry or in other Christian work?
Personal Life and Conduct
4. Do you provide in your schedule of activities an opportunity for daily devotions? Do you prayerfully seek the leading of the Holy Spirit in the interpretation of scriptural truth? Does your personal conduct reflect the true dignity of Christian character as set forth in the Scriptures? Do you strive to live so that others see Christ in you?