The Peace Testimony of the Society of Friends

Selected from various Friends’ sources

We consider that no Christian can condon or support the killing of another human. It is the worst blasphemy to destroy what the Lord is prepared to redeem. We stand against murder by personal violence, by execution, by abortion, and by war.

Our stand against war was strongly and clearly stated in 1660, in a Declaration from the Harmless and Innocent People of God called Quakers, which was presented to Charles 11:

“We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fighting with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world. The Spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the Spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of the world.”

We do not regard this as a “peculiarity” of our own denomination, to be questioned by others. Rather it is we that should gently ask others who profess Christianity why they will not obey Christ in this.

For if they can show us where Christ, or any disciple or apostle afterwards, commanded that we should take up the sword again, after he had commanded us to put away the sword [lest we perish by the sword], then we shall confess that we are wrong.

But they cannot show us, for it is expressly against the gospels and against the Spirit of the living Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Although governments may strive after it and many try to obtain it by politically demonstrative means, only Jesus Christ can give us true peace [see John 14:27]. Peace comes within our own hearts, when we surrender our lives to Christ.

“And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” [Philemon 4:7]