Olympic View Friends Church affirms as essential Christian truths the following teachings of the apostolic church: the sovereignty of God; the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ; the atonement through Jesus Christ by which persons are reconciled to God; the resurrection of Jesus, which assures the resurrection of all true worshipers; the gift of the Holy Spirit to believers; and the authority of the Holy Scriptures.
Olympic View Friends also endorses traditional statements of Friends, including those emphasizing an inward encounter with God, a worship of communion without ritual, an individual responsibility for ministry and service, and a striving for peace and justice. In addition, our church speaks to contemporary issues concerning morality, human relationships, and Christian commitment.
Friends hold that an authentic Christian belief includes both an inward faith and an outward expression of that belief. Accordingly, the two parts "Faith Expressed as Doctrine" and "Faith Expressed Through Witness" constitute the set of beliefs endorsed by the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Churches.
Faith Expressed as Doctrine
1. God as Creator
We believe God is the Creator and Sustainer of the cosmos, whose creative work provides the basis for order, beauty, purpose, and rationality. God is holy and eternal; He is loving, almighty, and all-wise. He reveals Himself and His will to His creation. He illuminates humankind through rational understanding, experience, and direct revelation. He speaks through the Scriptures. We believe that in redeeming humanity, God is bringing the universe into a glorious expression of His purpose. In joy of this hope we offer Him honor and praise.
2. God's Revelation in Christ
We believe that the word of God spoken into every heart was supremely manifest in Jesus Christ, who in His virgin birth and sinless life was true God and perfect man. Christ is the Word. He is the Light that exposes our sin and brings us into the righteousness of God. He is the Redeemer through whose atoning death and resurrection we receive the forgiveness of God. He is Lord and to Him we give our obedience. Christ is the first and last word of divine wisdom by which God is drawing His creation into a new covenant of peace.
3. God's Revelation by the Spirit
We believe God is the source of truth, that there are no spiritual insights or principles independent of His revelation. God's Spirit teaches us through the Scriptures and through the creation. He convicts and instructs conscience, testifies to salvation through Christ, and gives wisdom and power for holy living. The Spirit gives discernment concerning the purposes of God through natural and social history. The Spirit enlightens reason and quickens human creativity that we might share in the work of the Creator.
4. God's Revelation in the Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God. They are the divinely authorized record of the doctrines that we as Christians are bound to accept, and of the moral principles that are to regulate our lives and actions. By their own declaration, the Scriptures are able to make us "wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15 NIV). Interpreted by the Holy Spirit, they are an unfailing source of truth. We believe the Spirit will not lead persons or groups contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures.
5. Human Redemption
We believe that God created the human being, male and female, in His own image; but that when Adam and Eve fell from a state of holy obedience, the human race lost a perfect relationship to God, and self instead of the Creator became the center of life. Through the blood of Christ our Savior we may be recovered from the fall and made right (justified) before God. To those who put their faith in Christ, God offers forgiveness of sins, regeneration of affections and actions, and final glorification of the resurrected body.
6. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit
We believe Christ's baptism to be the inward receiving of the promised Holy Spirit, whereby the believer is immersed in Jesus' power, purity, and wisdom. This baptism is the essential Christian baptism: an experience of cleansing from sin that supplants old covenant rituals. The sanctification that is initiated with this experience is a continuing work of the Holy Spirit in which we are instructed into righteous living and perfected in love. Thus sanctification is the work of God's grace by which our affections are purified and exalted to a supreme love of God.
7. The Church
We believe the Church is composed of persons who, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, have been born into His Kingdom and baptized with the Holy Spirit into the one Body. These persons agree together to follow Jesus as Lord. This Church is spiritual in nature, universal in scope, holy in character, and redemptive in purpose. Its head is Jesus Christ, who serves immediately as priest and ministers directly as teacher and prophet. The Church exists visibly in local meetings for worship and in groupings of these churches as they are united in common expressions of faith and action.
8. God's Kingdom
We believe the Church is called to demonstrate in this life the righteous character of Christ's present and coming Kingdom. The Kingdom is present now to the extent that the people of God hear His voice and obey it. The coming Kingdom will be initiated by the second appearing of Jesus Christ (as foretold by the prophets) and by the resurrection of the dead. The world will then be judged righteously by Jesus Christ and there will come everlasting punishment for the finally unrepentant wicked and everlasting blessedness for the righteous. At that time the world will be freed from the grip of evil and satanic power, and Christ will reign over a restored universe.
9. The Spiritual Experience
We believe that we may experience Christ directly and immediately without the necessity of priestly or ceremonial intervention and that this experience is available to every person. The spiritual life is nourished by the Holy Spirit, who teaches and guides us both individually and corporately according to His commandments. For Friends the supper of the Lord is an inward feeding on Christ by faith in response to His broken body and shed blood.
Worship is the adoring response of heart and mind to the Spirit of God. The meeting for worship brings a personal and corporate renewal, an edification and communion of believers, and a witness of the Gospel to the unconverted. We recognize the value of silence to center our thoughts upon God. We believe the Spirit speaks to worshipers through persons He has prepared and selected, whose message may be given in various modes by men or women, children or adults. We believe God calls some persons to a special preaching ministry, which the church should respectfully receive. Friends observe the first day of the week for corporate worship and for rest.
Faith Expressed through Witness
11. 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 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.
12. 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)
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.