Quaker Studies. Volume 19(1). pp 7-196
Whilst based on Traditional Christian theology, Quakerism is distinct from other Christian groups in terms of the non-hierarchical structure of the group, a lack of clergy and a particular style of worship. The British Quaker worshipping style, characterised by still and silent waiting, allows for a diversity of beliefs to be held that may not necessarily be recognised by the group. It is argued that it is the conservative attitude towards how the Society is organised and certain behaviours (such as how decisions for church affairs are conducted), rather than coherence of belief, that unites the group. However, some researchers have voiced concern that diversity of belief, if taken to the extreme, may lead to a disruption of adherence to this ‘behavioural creed’ and thus disrupt the Society as a whole. This concern, coupled with declining numbers, has inspired research to be conducted that examines the types and trends of those who call themselves Quaker.