What Can We Do?
What we are doing
-The Conservative Mennonite education system is a bright spot on our horizon. It is growing and offers an important socializing effect in the community.
-Many Choruses bless the singers and the hearers.
-Solid businesses are a witness to the world around them.
-Missions and outreach share our blessings worldwide.
-Publishing and home-school materials provide needed services.
-Many men and women of absolute integrity are the backbone of our families and churches and communities.
-Too many Churches falling apart or splitting apart – some divisions are necessary but there has been too much of it.
-Dysfunction and abuse in families indicates weakness at this most basic level. Sadly there are too many men who are passive and/or are involved in pornography. Too many women are overly aggressive and controlling. Too many children confused and angry.
-The expansion of counseling ministries indicates need for emotional health.
What we need to do
-Worship – is the anchor of life. We were made to worship. As we worship so our life will go.
-Teach the Scripture – make the Bible come alive for the people. That is our first item of Church. Church leaders must learn how to do this. The people need to see how the Scriptures impact their lives. I have listened to many sermons in my life. Most of them were not useful.
-Develop sensitivity to the Holy Spirit of truth. He is the living God living in our hearts and teaching us truth.
-Know our history – the study of Church history has changed my life. It needs to be part of leadership training. The lessons are there so we do not make the same mistakes.
-Shepherds – our leaders must be shepherds. God calls men to be shepherds. We desperately need shepherds today.
Shepherds cannot be politicians.
Politicians cannot be shepherds.
-Teachers – are called to instruct. They are given the Spiritual gift of teaching.
Disciplined life – no one can live without personal discipline. It must be instilled in early childhood and then it will result in a beautiful life.
-Emotionally healthy leaders – somehow we have too placed too many unhealthy leaders. This must be addressed.
-Accountability for leaders based on Scripture. If they are not Biblical they must be confronted and, if not repentant, they must be replaced with Godly men.
-Gelassenheit – historically this did not allow for following leadership that was not Biblical. It does not mean that today either.
My Personal Journey
I am a committed Anabaptist. I have sought and obtained training in Bible and church history so as to better serve my people and have neglected personal life and business to serve the community. I have served as teacher and administrator in various areas of Mennonite and Brethren education.
I love our Biblical heritage. It has no counterpart anywhere in the world. We need to make sure that it is not replaced by a created culture that does not accurately reflect the Scripture. Created cultures can replace God in our lives and become idols in their own right.
My ardent approach has been labeled by some as a bad attitude. That is not true. I am heart-broken. I have been quietly doing good for many years. I cannot be silent any longer.
I watched my grandfather and my father in law die from church struggles. How sad can that be?
This winter my life was nearly taken in an auto accident. God placed me on my back for months. He spared my life for a reason. He called me to contentment, contemplation and study.
A Way Forward
From “Proscription to Prescription” has not been a useful move.
Proscription lists and forbids things that are harmful for you and for us.
Prescription requires things that may or may not be Biblical at all. This provides for measurable, external, objective factors to determine internal holiness. It also provides for control of an entire community. A nice system but hardly Biblical.
This is not to allow any and all behaviors, but to call attention to modesty and frugality and healthy, useful behaviors in all areas of life. Proscription will help to provide this.
This quote from Alexander Mack will resolve many issues if followed.
“Where sin and error is not rebuked, but where it is said, ‘leave me alone in my own self-will, opinion and doing, and I will leave thee alone likewise; we will love one another, and be brethren.’ Alas! We have but too long stood in such pernicious, hypocritical love…. But now we have learned such a love, and have yet to learn it, which hate and reproves evil and wickedness.”
The Bible says that, we have the mind of Christ. I believe that to be true. It is critical that we are one body. The only way that can be true is if we have the same head. We do have the same head – Jesus Christ our Lord. That is the unity of the body of Christ today.
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.
The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63
May this be our experience now and in the coming days.