Friends believe (because they have experienced it themselves) that . . .
- God calls each of us into a direct, personal, and unmediated relationship.
- God also calls the community into a direct and unmediated relationship.
- God is continually revealing God’s self through God’s ongoing presence.
- God calls us to live our faith in practice.
Subsumed under these principles are the Quaker distinctives, the elements of tradition that make up Quaker faith and practice:
1. God calls each of us into a direct, personal, and unmediated relationship.
- The Light—there is a principle in every person (often called the Light, the Seed, ‘that of God’) that can know God directly.
- Experience—what canst thou say? Friends base their religious lives on what they themselves have experienced.
- No outward sacraments.
- Universal grace.
- Equality before God.
- Ministry—God can call anyone into service.
2. God calls the community into a direct and unmediated relationship.
- Silent, waiting worship.
- Business under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
- Ministry—God generates ministry in the meeting for worship through the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This alone qualifies a minister, not formal training, certification, or outward liturgical forms like ordination.
- Corporate discernment: the meeting for business in worship, minutes for travel or service, released ministry, recording.
- Corporate discernment: clearness committees, meetings for threshing.
- Gospel order.
- No ‘days and occasions’.
- Advices & Queries.
- State of society reports.
3. God is continually revealing, through God’s ongoing presence.
- Continuing revelation/illumination.
- Openings, leadings, and callings.
- Biblical authority secondary to that of the spirit of Christ, and interpretation of Scripture “in the Spirit in which they were given forth”.
- No creeds.
4. God calls us to live our outward lives as testimony to the Truth that has been awakened in us inwardly.
- Quaker spirituality of inward “listening”.
- Ministry—God reveals the Truth through the prophetic ministry of Friends whom God has prompted to serve. This involves discipline, discernment, and discipleship on the part of the individual minister, and discipline, discernment, and eldership (both nurture and oversight) on the part of the meeting.
- The commandment of love.
- The testimonies.
- Missions and evangelism