The great Friends writer D. Elton Trueblood recounts in his book, The People Called Quakers, the “great insights” of George Fox (the founder of Quakers/Friends) as he grew in his new-found faith in Jesus Christ. The key questions and insights were:
What is a Christian?
Christians are those that not only believe, but are transformed by Christ Jesus. “The mark of a true believer is a changed life!” No changed life, means no true conversion. Evidence of Jesus abounds in the experience of the believer.
What does it mean to be a minister?
It is one who ministers. Very simply put…it is not education, ordination, or ceremony but evidence of doing ministry. Furthermore, it is a holy calling open to all, men and women (this belief is why there have been so many significant women preachers in the Friends movement). “If God really sets a man [or woman] on fire, he [or she] will ignite others, and that, Fox thought, is what the ministry means.”
What is the Church?
The Church is the transformed people of God. Jesus dwells in the hearts of people, not in temples or buildings made by human hands. There is no such thing as holy ground. Sanctuaries are not any more sacred than anywhere else, but the hearts of men who have been redeemed are holy, set apart. This is why George Fox, and Quakers, did not call the building where believers assembled a “church”, but a “steeple-house” or later a “meeting house”.
What do Quakers believe?
The most significant insight that George Fox had in his spiritual formation was that Jesus Christ can be personally, and directly, experienced without the intercession or the so-called experiences of others. Jesus can be known first-hand in the present age. He gave testimony to hearing the Holy Spirit speak directly to his spirit saying, “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition; and when I heard it my heart did leap for joy.” What has been known as “The Quaker Way” is built upon this insight.
How have you experienced Christ? How do you live that experience out daily? Does your life show a difference?