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date: 23 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

From its origins in the English Civil War in the seventeenth century to this day of ongoing and interconnected warfare across the world, the Religious Society of Friends has struggled with the relationship between what was seen as the ‘leadings of the Spirit’ and civil government. Quakers have struggled with their attitudes and actions regarding warfare throughout these centuries. They have variously enthusiastically joined in wars and just as enthusiastically rejected all wars. Friends have neither accepted whatever governments demanded nor rejected government as of no concern to Friends, and Friends have found they must continuously wrestle with just how to engage with the world. Several underlying spiritual views have contributed to this struggle, including differing apocalyptic expectations, how to understand the teachings of Jesus, and changes in thinking about politics. This chapter explores Quaker thought and action against war and for peace in light of these tensions.

Keywords: peacetestimony, pacifism, peacemaking, conscientious objection, Holy Experiment, peace churches

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