Faith Expressed As Witness

Faith Expressed As Witness

  1. Christian Witness Through Ministry: We believe that the Holy Spirit bestows gifts on the followers of Christ for them to use on behalf of church and society (see “Gifts,”) and that these gifts should be exercised in all of life, not just at religious gatherings. We believe God calls the Church to encourage the general ministry of all Christians and to facilitate the special work of the men and women He ordains for public ministry. Friends desiring to be of service should remain open to the leading of the Spirit. Service and ministry should spring from a devotion to the will of God.
  2. 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.”)
  3. 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.
  4. Commitment to Simplicity: As Friends we have a long tradition for adhering to scriptural injunctions for plain living. In this respect, we are encouraged to work toward transforming the values of our culture rather than conforming without question. We recognize our responsibility for the care and use of the earth and, therefore, our obligation to maintain a style of living that will conserve resources for future generations.
  5. Commitment to Integrity: We believe that integrity of speech and action honors Christ as it advances truth and, therefore, should characterize our social and business relationships. In allegiance to Christ’s command, we refrain from swearing oaths and from profanity of speech. We consider integrity a mark of Christian holiness.
  6. Respect for Human Life: We reject the unchristian preempting of God’s authority over human life. Because we trust God as the righteous and final judge before whom we spend our lives in probation, we oppose capital punishment. Because we believe in the sacredness of human life, we oppose abortion for personal convenience.
  7. Respect for the Body:  We affirm the sacredness of body, mind, and spirit, and the necessity for Christians to conduct themselves in ways that honor God. Out of respect for ourselves and consideration for those we influence, we refuse to be defiled by salacious literature and amusements, and we reject involvement that could lead to drug or alcohol abuse, or to occult religious practices. We consider the body a temple of God to be cared for with respect, the mind a gift from God to be developed for personal and social enrichment, and the spirit an inner place for God to dwell.
  8. Christian Witness to Human Sexuality: We hold that only marriage is conducive to godly fulfillment in sexual relationships for the purposes of reproduction and enrichment of life. We consider sexual intimacy outside marriage as sinful because it distorts God’s purposes for human sexuality. We denounce, as contrary to the moral laws of God, acts of homosexuality, sexual abuse, and any other form of sexual perversion (see “Human Sexuality,” ). The church, however, as a community of forgiven persons, remains loving and sensitive to those we consider in error. Because God’s grace can deliver from sins of any kind, we are called to forgive those who have repented and to free them for participation in the church.
  9. Christian Witness to the Home: We believe the church sustains the home whether the home consists of immediate family members, persons together because of need, or one person alone. We value the single person and respect singleness whether by choice or circumstance. Gospel order affords equality to single and married persons. We believe that marriage is ordained of God to order the human family in love and that it is a lifetime commitment, not to be broken except on scriptural grounds; but we also recognize the church as a place for the healing of hurts, including those of broken marriages. We hold the godly home accountable for the nurture and care of those within its circle, particularly the children and the aged. For all in our various homes, the church provides support for the disciplines of truth and love and sustenance in times of distress.
  10. Commitment to Christian Faith and Witness: We believe the Christian life is characterized by disciplined devotion and commitment, by a hunger for God and a thirst for righteousness. This commitment is strengthened by habits of prayer and Bible reading. For us this Christian faith involves commitment to the work of Friends. Although we respect freedom of conscience and honor diversity in the family of God, we affirm our covenant with God as Friends people. Therefore, we aim to be faithful to those structures of our denominational life through which our Gospel witness is made clear.