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A Tale of Three Churches – Observations – Personal

by on October 19, 2015

A Tale of Three Churches – Observations – Personal
Mennonite – I grew up in a predominately Brethren community. Many of the farms were owned by Brethren families. There were four Brethren meeting houses in the local area and many more within a short driving distance. Today, many of the farms are owned by Mennonites. Many properties offered for sale have been purchased by Mennonites. All this happened in my lifetime. How did this happen?

Brethren saw the farms as hindrances to progress. Their children left the community for college and career. Family became scattered and fragmented. Marriage was postponed. Family size shrank. Churches declined in number and influence. That decline continues. Brethren communities lost their cohesion. Mennonites were looking for farms and formed communities where the Brethren once flourished. They work together and are building new communities and congregations and schools. Time has totally changed the landscape.

Brethren in Christ – As a late teenager, I diligently attempted to challenge the local
Brethren in Christ to maintain their historic, Biblical legacy. They listened but had already charted their liberal course and were not really interested. I met with the pastor and spoke with the bishop, all to no avail. They agreed that I was correct about the Bible teaching but insisted that it was wrong to require members to continue the historic, Biblical, distinct practices

Brethren – In the Church of the Brethren and among Brethren groups I have been a quiet teacher and supporter. In more recent years the urgency in my voice has increased. As my urgency has increased, the resistance to the message has also increased. Brethren are divided between those hungry for truth and those loyal to the Brethren system. Loyalty is the primary determining factor.

Mennonite – Building Church buildings, building schools, intentional instruction, functional boards, strong families, cohesive communities and perceptive leaders are the key ingredients of their success and prosperity. Farmland that was thought of as marginal has produced well under their careful cultivation. Businesses are flourishing.

Observations for Brethren
Somehow, this does not all seem difficult to understand. The history is on the table. Read it. Observe it. The question, however, is also on the table. What will the Brethren do? The time is now. The people are you. What will you do? Does it matter?

Today there are many good, solid conservative Brethren families with many children. The future could look bright for the Brethren groups if they will endorse their historical and Biblical heritage.

Be men of God in this day. Follow Scripture. Follow the Holy Spirit. Do not follow the wisdom of men. Do not follow blind loyalty. Do not simply follow church politics.

God has the answers. The answers will not be fun. They will not be popular, but they are right.
It is time to sorrow.
It is time to reconsider our ways.
It is time to hear the prophets.
It is time for real revival.
What will you do?
Will you preserve a church for your grandchildren?
You have to decide.

I am for peace; But when I speak, they are for war. Psalms 120:7

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