What Do Conservative Friends Believe?


The following is not intended to be a creedal statement,
nor is it an exhaustive statement.



What do Conservative Friends believe?

 We believe in one God, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, Creator of the universe, manifest to us in three aspects as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God (and therefore God), Incarnate among us during His ministry, Messiah and Savior.  We believe He lived a perfect and blameless life, and died on the cross as the full, complete and perfect sacrifice for the remission of the sins of all humankind.

We believe salvation is universally accessible to all who accept Jesus as Savior and ask forgiveness of sins.  We believe salvation is by faith, not works, and that works flow from faith.

We believe no intercessor is needed between humankind and God.  Christ is present in our midst, and within us as the Holy Spirit or Comforter, and guides and teaches us, so long as our hearts remain open and we are willing to hear His words.  Outward sacraments are neither efficacious nor necessary, and foster a priesthood empowered to administer sacraments and thereby intercessory between humankind and God.

We believe Christ is the Word of God, and the holy scriptures are the words of God, given to us through the prophets and apostles of old.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

We believe continuing revelation is available to us; we test the value and veracity of possible revelation by measuring it against scripture and against past revelations accepted by Friends, as well as by prayer.

We believe God hears and answers all prayer in His name, and that His wisdom is beyond the compass of the human mind.  Thus, His answer to prayer may differ from our petition, but is a far better and wiser answer.


How do we differ from other Christians and other Friends?

 We differ from the majority of Christians in our return to early Christianity.  In many respects, our beliefs are not vastly different, but our practice and application of our beliefs displays a difference.  Other Christians may profess the priesthood of all believers, but still maintain a class of “hireling priests,” while we practice this universal priesthood.  Similarly, most Christians embrace the same scriptures and records of the teachings of Christ, but many have been led astray and do not honor the Peace Testimony, Simplicity and other teachings which have proven inconvenient socially or politically.  Few other Christians accept the idea of continuing revelation as do Friends.

We differ from “liberal” Friends in many ways: many liberal meetings have ceased to be Christian, and have become at best ecumenical, permitting and even embracing the beliefs and practices of other, non-Christian and even pagan faiths.

We differ from pastoral Friends in the practice of worship, on the question of a priesthood, and possibly in other ways.  Those of us gathered here have had little contact with pastoral Friends.


How do we experience Jesus in our lives?

 We experience Jesus Christ in our lives in every moment and every location.  There are times at which we are more acutely aware of His presence and action in our lives, but we recognize that this is due to our varying level of awareness and attention to His presence and guidance.

He said, “[L]o, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)


What about sacraments?

 John the Baptist said, “[H]e that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.”  (Matthew 3:11)

We believe the need for water baptism passed with John’s ministry.  The baptism of Christ is the only effective baptism, and that is inward, with the Holy Ghost and with fire.  Baptism with water performed by humankind is at best a symbol, and does not of necessity coincide with the true and inward baptism of Christ.

Communion likewise is inward, and may be continual and continuous if our hearts are open and responsive to His loving guidance.  The ritual and sacrament reduce the spiritual to the mechanical, administered by a human, rather than flowing from genuine communion with our Savior and Teacher.


What about salvation?

 We believe salvation is universally accessible to all who accept Jesus as Savior and ask forgiveness of sins.  We believe salvation is by faith, not works, and that works flow from faith.


Are the devil and hell real?

 We are uncertain whether the Enemy exists as an independent entity, or may be the personification of our human weakness and tendency toward error and evil.  We heed the scriptural image of a lake of fire which has shaped the popular image of hell, but we also recognize the view that eternal torment may arise, not from physical flames, but from being forever excluded from the presence of God.  We are uncertain regarding the nature or form of hell, but we believe punishment awaits the unrepentant and those who deny Christ.


What about membership?  Don’t you have to be born into Quakerism?

 Most of us in Crossroads Friends are Friends by convincement.  We believe Friends’ beliefs and practices speak to the condition of humankind, whether raised as Friends or not.  The admonition to share the Good News embraces the preaching of the Gospel as widely as possible.  We believe Friends’ beliefs and practices are the best representation of the Good News in practice among humankind.

Membership is a function of the monthly meeting.  Crossroads is now a Monthly Meeting, and those seeking membership may address their requests to Crossroads directly.


- Phil Helms