Peace Testimony

One of the several distinctive imperatives held by Quakers is the Peace Testimony. Quakers believe that all warfare is incompatible with the plain precepts of Jesus Christ who said, “Love your enemies,” and “Do good to those who persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27-29). , Jesus told Peter to put away his sword, “for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Mt 26:52, KJV). When his disciples asked to call down fire from heaven upon the Samaritans (in our current language, to bomb them), Jesus rebuked them, saying “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of, for the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” (Lk 9:52-56, KJV)

In demonstrating love toward enemies, Jesus did not make impossible demands nor did He intend to postpone these demands until everyone accepted them. They apply to Christians everywhere at all times. While some Quakers have not been willing to follow the Peace Testimony in all circumstances, Berkeley Friends Church endorses this ancient witness that was embraced by the entire Christian church in its first centuries and by Friends for over 350 years.