Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Statement from the Mennonite Brethren

In my quest for a US denomination which claims to be both "evangelical" and "pacifist" I've spent the last two days reading up on the Anabaptist (particularly Mennonite) movement. Churches with origins in the Anabaptist tradition seem to be among the few Christian movements today that still hold on to non-violence as a key value of the Christian life. I would encourage you all to go do some reading up on the history of the Mennonites. I think many of us would find that we hold many values in common with church denominations such as the Mennonite Church USA and the Mennonite Brethren. In particular I find myself drawn to the Mennonite Brethren church in the US, which seems to have a strong evangelical understanding of salvation while also maintaining a statement in their confession for non-violence as a central teaching of Christ's. You can read more about them HERE. Perhaps most interesting is article 13 in their detailed confession of faith which I took the liberty of posting below. Enjoy!:

"Article 13: Love and Nonresistance

God’s Community of Peace
— Believers believe that God in Christ reconciles people to himself and to one another, making peace through the cross. The
church is a fellowship of redeemed people living by love. Our bond with other believers of Jesus transcends all racial, social and national barriers.

Christian Peacemaking
— We seek to be agents of reconciliation in all relationships, to practice love of enemies as taught by Christ, to be
peacemakers in all situations. We view violence in its many different forms as contradictory to the new nature of the
Christian. We believe that the evil and inhumane nature of violence is contrary to the gospel of love and peace. In times of
national conscription or war, we believe we are called to give alternative service where possible. Alleviating suffering, reducing strife, and promoting justice are ways of demonstrating Christ’s love.

Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 5:17-28, 38-48; Romans 12:9-21; Romans 13:8-10; I Peter 2:19-23."

I thought it would be good also to post the documentary we watched last week, "Prince of Peace, God of War" for those who were unable to join us last Saturday. It's a pretty good documentary, although we all agreed that it would have been made better by a more diverse collection of interviewees. I think it does a great job at explaining the historical basis for the churches rejection of Christ's teachings on peace as well as doing a great job at respectfully explaining arguments from both sides of this discussion.