The following Minute of Declaration by Southwest Yearly Meeting was posted to Quaker-L by Daniel Chase in March of 1994.

We, Friends Church Southwest Yearly Meeting, believe that our only true identity as Friends is found in Jesus Christ, who is the only way to salvation and fellowship with God. We as Friends also believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures. Since His present leadings never contradict the Scriptures, they are our authority and standard for our faith, practice, and the moral principles which are to regulate our actions. In short, the only way to real unity among Friends is through obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. Unfortunately, these affirmations are not shared by all who call themselves Friends, and within these groups, there has been a growing tolerance and even encouragement of behaviors and beliefs which are plainly unchristian and not in keeping with clear biblical teachings.

There are two particular issues which have occasioned this minute: the affirmation and encouragement of non-Christian religious beliefs and practices; and the affirmation and encouragement of homosexual and extramarital sexual activity. We realize that these are not the only sins being committed by Friends. However, these unchristian and sinful practices are being publicly endorsed and encouraged by different groups calling themselves Friends. We recognize that some Friends have addressed these issues, but lest there be any doubt or confusion concerning our views on these practices, we make this declaration.

We declare that our Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and fellowship with God. We reject and utterly oppose all forms of idolatry, which is the worship, religious service, or invocation of any being other than the one true God who is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To our sorrow, we find idolatry revived and encouraged today under various names, including goddess worship, "New Age" practices, Wicca and neo-paganism. We reject and disown all non-Christian practices, and spiritualities as contrary to true Christianity. We urge everyone, and particularly any who profess the name of Friends, to avoid with absolute vigilance any form of idolatry, no matter who subtle or innocent it may be made to appear.

We declare that our sexuality is God's gift, and that sexual intercourse is to be enjoyed, as the Scriptures teach, only within the marriage of one man and one woman. We reject and utterly oppose homosexual activity, especially the "blessing" of same sex unions, as sinful and displeasing to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Right reason, Holy Scripture and the Spirit of Christ within us unitedly testify that homosexual practice is contrary to God's will. We also observe that homosexual practice is portrayed in the Scriptures as one of the awful consequences of humanity's pursuit of idolatry. (Romans 1:18-32)

We want to be clear that we welcome those who struggle with homosexual temptation. The gospel of Jesus welcomes all who turn to Him in the hope of a new and remade life. Our Lord Jesus offers that power for real change. We must also be equally clear, however, that we cannot welcome or tolerate the teaching that homosexual or extramarital sexual activity is acceptable to Friends. Without hate or fear we must reject these behaviors because they are both sinful and displeasing to our Lord, and because they are ultimately hurtful and destructive to those who participate in them.

This minute is not meant to strike out in anger at those caught in the web of homosexuality or of non-Christian beliefs. We are angered, however, by the fact that some Friends organizations not only fail to give a clear witness to the gospel in the face of these false beliefs, but actually encourage people to approve and explore these dangerous and destructive paths.

It is our hope that this minute will not be heard merely as a word of condemnation, but also as an invitation to all who call themselves Friends to the truth and life which is found only in our Lord Jesus Christ. While we reject these sins, we humbly acknowledge that we fall short in many ways and invite the Holy Spirit to bring our sins to the light of Christ. Our desire is to repent of them and renounce them as well.

We earnestly pray for the guidance of our Lord Jesus for the future of Friends.

Approved by Friends Church Southwest Yearly Meeting in session at Midyear Conference, 1/24/92


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