Do Quakers Believe in Jesus? (Quakers Religious Beliefs

By Paul King •  Updated: 09/21/23 •  13 min read

According to the Bible, Jesus is the central figure in the Christian faith. He is considered the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. Quakers, also known as the Religious Society of Friends, have a unique perspective on Jesus that is rooted in their beliefs and practices.

Quakers believe in the divinity of Jesus and recognize him as a teacher and a prophet. They believe that Jesus’ life and teachings provide guidance on how to live a righteous and compassionate life. One of the foundational Quaker beliefs is the Inner Light, which is the belief that there is a spark of God’s presence within every person. Quakers believe that Jesus exemplified this Inner Light and that his teachings can help individuals connect with their own inner divinity.

In the Bible, Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6). Quakers interpret this verse to mean that Jesus’ teachings show the way to connect with God and live a fulfilling spiritual life.

Quakers emphasize the importance of direct communion with God and believe that each individual can have a personal relationship with Jesus. They do not rely heavily on formal rituals or sacraments but instead focus on silent worship and listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Quaker worship is often characterized by quiet reflection and waiting for divine inspiration.

One story from the Bible that resonates with Quaker beliefs is the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42). In this story, Jesus engages in a compassionate and transformative conversation with a Samaritan woman. He speaks to her with love and acceptance, breaking down social and cultural barriers. Quakers see this story as an example of Jesus’ teachings on love, inclusivity, and the power of transformation.

Quakers also draw inspiration from other stories and teachings of Jesus, such as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). These stories highlight Jesus’ call to love one another, care for the marginalized, and seek justice and peace.

In conclusion, Quakers believe in Jesus and see him as a guide and teacher. They interpret his teachings as a way to connect with God and live a compassionate and righteous life. Through their emphasis on the Inner Light and direct communion with God, Quakers strive to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and embody his teachings of love, inclusivity, and social justice.

Key Takeaways

Historical Background of Quakerism

The historical background of Quakerism is deeply rooted in the emergence of the religious movement and its development over time. Quakerism, also known as the Religious Society of Friends, originated in England during the 17th century. It was founded by George Fox, a man who sought an alternative to the formalism and hierarchical structure of the established churches of the time.

The Quaker philosophy is firmly grounded in the belief in the inward light of Christ within every individual. This belief is beautifully captured in the book of John, where Jesus says, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ (John 8:12) Quakers believe that this divine light guides and speaks to them directly, allowing them to experience a deep and personal communion with God.

Quakers have always rejected the need for clergy, recognizing that all individuals can have direct access to the divine. This belief is echoed in the letter of Peter, where it is written, ‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.’ (1 Peter 2:9) Quakers emphasize the importance of personal spiritual experience, understanding that each person has the ability to connect with God in their own unique way.

The Quaker commitment to equality, simplicity, peace, and social justice is deeply rooted in their understanding of the teachings of Jesus. Jesus’ commandment to love one another is at the core of Quakerism. As Jesus himself said, ‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ (John 13:34) Quakers strive to live out this commandment in their daily lives, seeking to build a more just and peaceful world.

Throughout history, Quakerism has seen various schisms and diversification of beliefs and practices. However, the foundational principles of the movement remain rooted in the teachings of Jesus and the personal experiences of Quakers throughout the centuries. The historical context of Quakerism is crucial in understanding the beliefs and practices that have developed over time and continue to shape the different branches of Quakerism that exist today.

Quaker Beliefs and Practices

Quaker beliefs and practices are rooted in the teachings of the Bible and revolve around principles of simplicity, equality, community, and inner spiritual guidance. As stated in John 4:24, ‘God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’ Quakers interpret this verse as an invitation to seek a deeper connection with the divine through silent worship and stillness.

The Quaker belief in the direct experience and communication with God is supported by various Bible verses. In Psalm 46:10, it is written, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ This verse encourages Quakers to enter into a state of silence and stillness, allowing them to experience the presence of God within themselves.

Quakers also draw inspiration from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. They believe that Jesus serves as a model for living a righteous and compassionate life. In Matthew 5:9, Jesus says, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.’ This verse resonates deeply with Quakers, who strive to embody the testimony of peace in their actions and relationships.

The Quaker testimonies, which include peace, simplicity, integrity, equality, and community, are expressed through both individual and collective actions. Quakers are guided by their inner spiritual guidance, which they believe comes from God. This guidance influences their decision-making processes and shapes their interactions with others.

One example of Quaker testimonies in action can be seen in the story of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. Penn, a Quaker, believed in treating Native Americans with respect and fairness. He negotiated treaties with the Native American tribes based on principles of equality and justice, striving to create peace and harmony between different communities. This exemplifies the Quaker testimony of equality and the belief that all individuals, regardless of their background, are equal in the eyes of God.

Understanding the Quaker Perspective on Jesus

Interpreting Biblical teachings, Quaker beliefs and practices emphasize the significance of Jesus Christ as a moral exemplar. As the Bible states in Matthew 19:16-17, a rich young man came to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ Jesus replied, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good.’ This passage highlights Jesus’ moral authority and his role as a teacher.

Within Quaker theology, Jesus’ teachings hold a central place in guiding their spiritual lives. In John 13:34-35, Jesus said, ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.’ Quakers see Jesus as a profound teacher, emphasizing the importance of love, compassion, and justice in their daily lives.

Quakers also find inspiration in Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence, simplicity, and equality. In Matthew 5:39, Jesus taught, ‘But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.’ Quakers see this teaching as a call to reject violence and seek peaceful resolutions to conflicts. They are also drawn to Jesus’ emphasis on simplicity and equality, as seen in Luke 12:15, where he warns against greed, saying, ‘Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’

Quakers strive to follow Jesus’ example by embodying his teachings in their daily lives and interactions with others. They believe in cultivating the virtues of kindness, forgiveness, and humility, as exemplified by Jesus. In Luke 6:35-36, Jesus said, ‘But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.’ Quakers seek to live out these teachings by treating others with love, mercy, and forgiveness.

This emphasis on Jesus’ teachings shapes the Quaker understanding of spirituality and informs their commitment to social justice and peace. Quakers, inspired by Jesus’ teachings on justice, advocate for equality and work towards creating a more just and compassionate society. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Quakers see this as a call to actively serve and uplift marginalized communities, as an expression of their faith in Jesus’ teachings.

Quaker Views on the Divinity of Jesus

One perspective on the divinity of Jesus within the Quaker tradition is rooted in the belief that his teachings and moral authority hold significant importance. Quaker beliefs regarding Jesus’ divinity can vary, but generally, Quakers acknowledge Jesus as more than just a spiritual guide and teacher. Quakers believe in the biblical accounts of Jesus’ life and teachings, finding inspiration and guidance from his example.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6). This verse highlights the central role of Jesus in Quaker beliefs. Quakers believe that Jesus’ teachings are not only applicable to all people, but that he is the ultimate source of truth and the path to a relationship with God.

Jesus’ divinity is also seen in his role as a moral exemplar. Quakers find inspiration in Jesus’ teachings and actions, viewing them as a source of guidance for leading a righteous life. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus delivers the Beatitudes, which include teachings on humility, mercy, and peacemaking (Matthew 5:3-12). Quakers strive to embody these virtues in their own lives, following Jesus’ example.

Furthermore, Quakers emphasize the inner light or divine spark within each individual, which they believe connects them to God. This concept is echoed in the Gospel of John, where Jesus says, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). Quakers see Jesus as a model of living in alignment with this divine presence, guiding them to live with integrity, compassion, and love.

While Quakers emphasize personal experience of God’s grace, they also recognize the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice for redemption. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16). Quakers acknowledge the importance of Jesus’ sacrifice, but they do not rely solely on it for salvation. They believe in the transformative power of God’s grace, which can be experienced by all individuals.

One biblical story that resonates with Quaker beliefs is the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42). In this story, Jesus breaks societal norms by speaking to a Samaritan woman and offers her living water, symbolizing the eternal life he brings. The Samaritan woman becomes a witness and shares this encounter with others, leading many to believe in Jesus. This story highlights Jesus’ inclusive message and the transformative power of encountering him.

Quaker beliefs about Jesus’ divinity bring depth of meaning to their worship and spiritual life. By following Jesus’ teachings, Quakers seek to live in alignment with God’s will and to manifest the divine presence within themselves. They find inspiration and guidance in the Bible, particularly in the life and teachings of Jesus, as they strive to embody love, justice, and compassion in their daily lives.

The Role of Jesus in Quaker Worship and Spiritual Life

The role of Jesus in Quaker worship and spiritual life is central and deeply rooted in the teachings of the Bible. Quakers view Jesus as the ultimate spiritual guide and strive to emulate his example in their daily lives. As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1, ‘Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.’

One powerful story from the Bible that illustrates the importance of Jesus in Quaker worship is the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37. This parable teaches the importance of showing compassion and love to others, regardless of their social status or background. Quakers draw inspiration from this story and strive to embody the same spirit of compassion and love in their interactions with others.

Throughout the Bible, there are numerous verses that emphasize the teachings of Jesus on love, compassion, and social justice. For example, in Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus says, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Quakers hold these words close to their hearts and seek to live out this commandment in their daily lives.

In addition to the teachings of Jesus, Quakers also find guidance and inspiration from other passages in the Bible. For instance, in Micah 6:8, it is written, ‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ This verse reminds Quakers of their responsibility to work for justice, show mercy, and live in humble obedience to God.

Quaker worship often involves silent meditation and listening for the inward voice of God, which can be influenced by the teachings of Jesus. As Jesus himself said in John 10:27, ‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.’ Through this practice, Quakers seek to align themselves with Jesus’ principles and values, allowing for personal growth and transformation.

Paul King

I post written versions of my powerful sermons exploring topics like prayer, praise, biblical truths, and more expressions of faith. My church has a deeply spiritual culture, which I try to convey through vivid storytelling and applications in our everyday life. I spread the Good Word with lots of conviction and passion.