Our Position Against Violence
As a Christian fellowship, we deplore and are diametrically opposed to acts of violence and terrorism, and the suffering these inflict on innocent people. We have a clearly articulated position against physical violence, as stated in the following points:
- The Family International is nonviolent. We believe that human life is sacred, and each person should be respected as an individual created in the image of God. It is our belief that God's love is the solution to all of man's problems, even in such a complex, confused, and highly complicated society as that of today. As Christians, our duty is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39) (1), and to share the news of God's love and salvation for humanity and care for the needy. We deplore the loss of life through tragic acts of violence, and more so when religious beliefs are cited as cause or justification for such acts.
- The Family has always deplored the use of violence. We have never condoned the use of firearms or other weapons as a means of settling disputes. Our founder, David Brandt Berg (1919-1994), consistently advised us to rely primarily on God, and secondarily on the police and civil authorities—rather than on physical force or weaponry—for needed protection from hostile forces. We have advised our members and communities against the possession of firearms or other weapons, even where legally allowed.
- The only situations in which we feel the use of force may be justified are in cases of legally sanctioned self-defense—the defense of loved ones and property. We do not condone any means of self-defense prohibited by law. Any acts of violence other than those carried out in self-defense or the defense of others or property are punishable by local laws and excommunication from our fellowship as per the Family's Charter (237).
- The Family has always advocated respect for and compliance with officers of the law engaged in the performance of their duties. We adhere to the scriptural admonition that states that these officers are "the ministers of God, who bear not the sword in vain" (Romans 13:4 NKJ).
- The Family does not sanction suicide—violence against oneself—as an acceptable act in the eyes of God. We believe that life is a priceless gift from God, and as the sole giver of life, God is likewise the only appropriate taker of life. (2)
In conclusion, it is our hope and prayer that the world will see an end to tragic and senseless acts of violence and terrorism, the product of man's inhumanity to man, which result in devastating loss to families and loved ones. We have devoted our lives to the service of God and fellow man in the hope of making a positive difference in the world—aiding the needy, and preaching the message of God's love and salvation to many.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9).
Family, The. Love Charter, The. Bangkok: World Services, 1998.
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What Is the Family International?
The Family International (formerly known as the Children of God) is a fellowship of Christian communities with members in over 100 countries. Our current membership numbers about 8,500 full-time members and 7,000 associates.
The Family has four main objectives:
- To share with others the life-giving message of love, hope, and salvation found in God's Word, conveying the joys of knowing Jesus as a personal Savior.
- To ensure that each of our children receives a godly upbringing in the best possible environment we can provide.
- To produce and distribute a wide selection of devotional, inspirational, and educational materials.
- To actively assist the needy through producing and performing inspirational, dramatic, and musical benefits; serving as volunteers in disaster relief; and seeking ways to provide comfort and material assistance for the disadvantaged.
If you have any questions or comments, we invite you to contact us at one of the following addresses:
Web site: www.thefamily.org
The Family International
2020 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20006-1846
Call in the USA at:
1 (800) 4-A-FAMILY [1 (800) 423-2645], or
1 (202) 298-0838
Family Information Desk
27 Old Gloucester Street
London WC1N 3XX