Queries and Reflections for Peace Month
But I tell you: Love your enemies… Matt 5:44
Christian Faith and Practice in the Experience of the Society of Friends
“Most, if not all, people admit the transcendent excellency of peace. All who adopt the petition, ‘Thy kingdom come’, pray for its universal establishment. Some people then must begin to fulfil the evangelical promise, and cease to learn war any more.” (Issued by Yearly Meeting 1804, 1085, during the Napoleonic Wars. Quoted in Christian Faith and Practice 616.)
Northwest Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice
8. God’s Kingdom
We believe the Church is called to demonstrate in this life the righteous character of Christ’s present and coming Kingdom. The Kingdom is present now to the extent that the people of God hear His voice and obey it. The coming Kingdom will be initiated by the second appearing of Jesus Christ (as foretold by the prophets) and by the resurrection of the dead.The world will then be judged righteously by Jesus Christ and there will come everlasting punishment for the finally unrepentant wicked and everlasting blessedness for the righteous. At that time the world will be freed from the grip of evil and satanic power, and Christ will reign over a restored universe.
12. Christian Witness to Peace
We believe the precepts of Christ our Lord and the whole spirit of His Gospel call us to live at peace with all people.Therefore we consider war and violence incompatible with the holiness we profess. We ask our leaders to choose nonviolent alternatives for sustaining economic and civil order. We respect government as an instrument of God to restrain evil and promote justice, and we submit to it in matters that do not interfere with obedience to Christ our Lord.When conflicts arise among persons, we will resolve them in a spirit of humility, with love for those who oppose us, and in accordance with biblical methods of peacemaking. (See Matthew 18 and George Fox’s “Gospel Order.”)
13. Christian Witness to Justice
We witness to the dignity and worth of all persons before God. We repudiate and seek to remove discrimination based on gender, race, nationality, or class. We deplore the use of selfish ends to gain unfair advantage, and we urge political, economic, and social justice for all peoples. We consider civil order most just when conscience is free and religious faith uncoerced.
Concerns for Society
Do you exercise your civic responsibilities and support acceptable legislation? Do you pray for those in authority? Are you careful to avoid defrauding the public treasury? In or out of court do you affirm instead of taking oaths?
Do you speak out for justice and morality, and against oppression, exploitation, and public wrong? Do you recognize the equality of persons regardless of race, gender, or economic status?
As a Christian steward, do you treat the earth with respect and with a sense of God’s splendor in creation, guarding it against abuse by greed, misapplied technology, or your own carelessness?
Do you observe and teach the Friends testimony against military training and service, making clear that war is incompatible with the spirit and teachings of the Gospel? Do you find appropriate ways to work for peace?
Queries on Peace from the North Pacific Yearly Meeting
- Do we live in the virtue of that life and power which takes away the occasion of all war?
- Do we refrain from taking part in war as inconsistent with the spirit of Christ?
- What are we doing to remove the causes of war and to bring about the conditions of peace?
- Where there are hatred, division, and strife, how are we instruments of reconciliation and love?
- How do we communicate to others an understanding of the basis of our peace testimony?
- As we work for peace in the world, are we nourished by peace within ourselves?
Declaration of Faith Issued by the Richmond Conference in 1887
We feel bound explicitly to avow our unshaken persuasion that all war is utterly incompatible with the plain precepts of our divine Lord and Law-giver, and the whole spirit of His Gospel, and that no plea of necessity or policy, however urgent or peculiar, can avail to release either individuals or nations from the paramount allegiance which they owe to Him who hath said, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27). In enjoining this love, and the forgiveness of injuries, He who has bought us to Himself has not prescribed for man precepts which are incapable of being carried into practice, or of which the practice is to be postponed until all shall be persuaded to act upon them. We cannot doubt that they are incumbent now, and that we have in the prophetic Scriptures the distinct intimation of their direct application not only to individuals, but to nations also (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:1). When nations conform their laws to this divine teaching, wars must necessarily cease.
We would, in humility, but in faithfulness to our Lord, express our firm persuasion that all the exigencies of civil government and social order may be met under the banner of the Prince of Peace, in strict conformity with His commands.