Where are all the Discerning Menno Blogs?

Where are all the writers? The Mennonite writers who are concerned about what is coming out of MB seminary and into MB churches (as evidenced in so many recent issues of the MB Herald)?

Where are all the concerned MB bloggers in all of this mess? Are they even aware of these things? So far, most MB bloggers seem to have well written blogs that address an issue here and there. But where is the concern about the down slide that is happening and what is being disguised as evangelical Christianity in the latest MB Herald? Who is sounding the alarm?

The Mennonites are blogging, but what are they blogging about?

There are lots of them, from nice Mennonite cooking blogs to gay Mennonite blogs, Mennonite writer’s blogs, and even a hateful Mennonite anti-israel anti-zionist blog.

One of the better Canadian Mennonite blogs called Borrowing Bones is pleasant reading, but offers no warnings. Another Mennonite blogger writes about hockey, NT Wright and Phyllis Tickle’s divine hours. Believe it or not, this blogger is an Associate pastor of the the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. Another blog by a pastor of a BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Church seemed hopeful, until it became evident that he has been blogging about lent, Henri Nouwen, and resonating with Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet, thanks to Regent college.

What we are left with are the blogs of Mennonite organizations, which offer no warnings, but only endorsements of new emerging trends, such as the Menno Weekly Review blog, where Brian McLaren’s articles are at the top of the list.

As this (Menno-lite) blog has recently shown, and will continue to reveal (stay tuned), the bloggers of the Mennonite Brethren Conference and her churches are not much better in the discernment department, promoting emerging trends such as the new monasticism, contemplative spiritual formation and Ignatian spirituality.

The search for discerning bloggers so far has only revealed how far the Mennonites have come in the last few years, thanks to the MB Seminary and their new line up of emergent post-modern clones. Their frog in the pot experiment has been a success, and the Mennonite masses are readily accepting the ‘new Christianity’ as gospel truth. But not all of them.

Where are all those Mennonite writers they keep talking about? Doesn’t anyone else care except for a few discerning Mennonite bloggers?

If Menno Simons had a blog today, what would he say?

If there are discerning Mennonite writers and bloggers out there, please get the word out! Your heritage, and the purity of the gospel in the MB denomination, depends on it!

“Go to the exiles, to the sons of your people, and speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.'” Ezekiel 3:11

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17 thoughts on “Where are all the Discerning Menno Blogs?

  1. Menno-Lite,

    I’d simply suggest that few man rise above their teachers, and many MB’s are taught be mediocre teachers, if not outright false teachers/apostates.

    John Neufeld has said that the Canadian MB conference doesn’t have any leadership or pastors bearing a terminal degree (D.Min, PhD or ThD) from what would be considered a Conservative, Evangelical Seminary/School. He knows more pastors and leaders in the MB Conference than I do. If we don’t have Conservative Evangelicals teaching anywhere, can we expect our conference to contain any Conservative Evangelicals?

    We cannot honestly expect evangelical doctrine or discernment from men who, in actuality, only know evangelicalism by forms of misrepresentation. None of the bloggers or pastors you listed would ever be able to play “devil’s advocate” in a debate on certain issues and reproduce a strong case for many conservative positions. The theological positions we have are mostly the corpses remaining from the battles for orthodoxy fought 2 or 3 generations ago, and few of us remember the fights or the reasons why our forefathers rejected the ideas we’re now drowning in.

    I’ve often and recently had meals with pastors and leaders where the subject got onto issues of doctrine (inspiration, inerrancy, creationism, cessationism, demonology, eschatology, etc.) and I articulated a conservative biblical position. Almost every time, it’s been a debate for a while and then turned into a “Huh? I thought you believed (insert misrepresentation)…but I’ve never heard that before!” conversation.

  2. Mennoknight,
    When did a terminal degree from a conservative evangelical seminary come to be THE indicator of faithfulness to Jesus?? Did Jesus have a PhD from Dallas Theological Seminary? I’m pretty sure he’s a leader we’d both agree was worth following.

    I’m continually amazed by views like yours where “conservative” and”evangelical” function so easily as synonyms for “correct.”

  3. Menno Simons,

    You said, “I think if Menno Simons had a blog, he would include his name.”

    I’m laughing at the epic irony of being insulted by an anonymous troll who’s slamming someone else for being anonymous on a blog post about anonymous blogging.

  4. I never insulted you at all. I asked a legitimate question about your claim that true leaders needed to come from conservative evangelical seminaries (a question which you dodged).

    And just so I’m clear – you’re suggesting that people who go onto blogs with false names beginning with “Menno” are trolls. Got it.

  5. Menno,

    1. “I asked a legitimate question about your claim that true leaders needed to come from conservative evangelical seminaries (a question which you dodged).”

    Uh, I never made that claim. I never claimed that “true leaders” need to come from conservative evangelical seminaries. What I said was:

    – Few MBs rise above those who teach them

    – Many MBs are taught be mediocre teachers (mediocre representations of conservative evangelicalism) or actual false teachers.

    – John Neufeld said that there are no conservative evangelicals teaching/leading anywhere.

    – If this is the case, we cannot expect to find sold examples of conservative evangelicals in MB circles. We MAY find some, but that’s not what’s expected.

    You’re don’t seem to be paying much attention to what I wrote.

    Let’s look back at what you asked:

    1a. “When did a terminal degree from a conservative evangelical seminary come to be THE indicator of faithfulness to Jesus?”

    Well, I responded to this by asking what the mark of faithfulness is. Nothing about “true leaders” in there.

    1b. “Did Jesus have a PhD from Dallas Theological Seminary?”

    I don’t honestly think I had to answer a rhetorical question like that. Besides, it’s quite obvious from documented history that he Jesus didn’t show up in the Americas until around 500 AD when he delivered the his “other” testament, right?

    So, not only did I not say anything about it, but you didn’t even ask me the question you claim you did. You don’t look like you’re paying much attention to what you’re saying, let alone me.

    So, was my clarifying question a dodge?

    Well, no.

    Your question was a clear and obvious logical fallacy of question begging. You were assuming that I equated having a terminal degree from a conservative, evangelical seminary with faithfulness to Christ. I was not, and never did, make that equation.

    I did equate having a terminal degree from a conservative, evangelical seminary with being a conservative evangelical.

    So now, please ask a question related to what I actually say or argue…unless we’re just being silly and random. That’s welcome too. I like questions about sharing the gospel with Wookies.

    2. “And just so I’m clear – you’re suggesting that people who go onto blogs with false names beginning with “Menno” are trolls. Got it.”

    Avast me hearties! There be a comedian off the starboard bow!

    I’m not anonymous. I’m Lyndon Unger. Every post at my blog says so.
    “Mennoknight” is a handle, not a name. I’m all over the web with that handle.

    Where’s the link I can go to in order to uncover your mysterious origin?

  6. Wow, bit of a testy response…

    But at the end of the day you’re still claiming that “mediocre or false teaching” and “weak leadership” in the MB church are results of not having enough leaders with terminal degrees from conservative evangelical seminaries. You can scrutinize the grammar and syntax of every individual statement you’ve made all you like and it’s still pretty difficult to avoid that conclusion.

    My suggestion is that this assertion contains massive assumptions about:

    1) the “rightness” of conservative evangelicalism (as defined by you or John Neufeld presumably)

    2) the effectiveness of traditional forms of education (i.e. getting a terminal degree) in forming leaders. By both of these criteria, I submit, Jesus would not qualify as the kind of leader you seem to be wanting.

    I hope I’ve paid enough attention to what you’ve written this time

  7. As to my identity – I think I’m content to remain a mystery. Double-standard? Definitely.

    Then I again, I haven’t devoted much of my time to calling out individual leaders, publications and institutions by name and publicly questioning their orthodoxy as some of these anonymous blogs have done. That’s the heart of my complaint.

  8. Menno,

    Testy? Ha! You guys generally hear “anger” when a conservative writes stuff…but that’s fair I guess. I hear the hippy art teacher from my high school when I read liberals.

    You can hear whatever you want. From now on, I’m going to read you with a pirate voice. That’s much better!

    Let me restate again:

    ***The fact that the Canadian MB Conference has few conservative evangelicals in it is because we have no conservative evangelicals teaching or in leaderhsip.***

    1. Now, you are fully right in that I consider conservative evangelicalism as much closer to Biblical Christianity than liberal non-evangelicalism. I’m not sure where to go with this point, since it’s rather monumental and covers almost every biblical doctrine. In the end, conservative evangelicalism generally tries to build doctrine and practice from the exegesis and application of individual texts of scripture, as read in their grammatical and historical context.

    Liberals generally don’t.

    2. Nice “let’s just focus on Jesus” smokescreen. Jesus didn’t go to seminary, so we don’t need to? Christ’s omniscience isn’t something that I can emulate.

    Beyond that, Jesus wasn’t a conservative evangelical? Okay. Those categories didn’t exist back then, sure. Christ would have never used those titles in reference to himself, agreed.

    So, how many liberals believe that the Pentateuch was written by Moses, that Isaiah wrote all 66 chapters of Isaiah, or that Daniel wrote the book of Daniel? How many liberals believe in the deity of Christ? The historicity of Christ’s miracles? The penal substitutionary nature of the atonement? The sinfulness of homosexuality? The sinfulness of abortion? The absolute, divine authority of the scriptures? The inspiration and inerrancy of the scriptures? The absolute sovereignty of God? The comprehensive depravity of mankind in sin? The coming judgment for sin by Christ? The reality of hell? The consciousness and eternality of divine judgment? The need for unilateral, divine, spiritual regeneration for the inheritance of eternal life? The literal establishment of the kingdom of God upon the earth? The bodily resurrection of all mankind?

    Christ clearly believed and taught all those things.

    Who is closer in teaching and belief to what Christ taught?

    Conservative Evangelicals or Liberal non-Evangelicals?

  9. You sound much more pleasant in a pirate voice 🙂 Thanks.

    First of all “you guys”?? Which group are you referring to? I don’t remember identifying myself as a liberal and (as far as I can recall) I haven’t stated any of my theological views. So should I assume that the very fact that I challenged the assumption that “conservative evangelical” = “true Christian” puts me in the liberal category? I suppose even saying this much makes me sound like your hippie high school art teacher…

    Second, I’ll try not to read too much into you characterizing the idea of “just focusing on Jesus” as a “smokescreen.” But isn’t it even a little strange that Jesus wouldn’t fit the bill for the kind of leader you think the MB church needs? I don’t think a casual reference to his omniscience really settles the issue.

    If the “liberal-conservative” spectrum existed in Jesus’ time as it does in ours, I wonder which of the two he would have been called? My suspicion is that he would have rejected the spectrum altogether and chided us for narrowly assuming that there were only two options.

  10. Okie Dokie Menno.

    I’m glad you like the pirate voice! It always makes interaction more sporting!

    1. As for the “you guys”, I recant and ask for your forgiveness there. No edits on someone elses blog. If it talks like a duck, it might not be a duck.

    2. Jesus is the kind of leader we need, yeah. We’re really talking past each othere here, so I’ll simply let you ask the questions and I’ll answer as best I can.

    3. Of course the liberal conservative spectrum existed in Jesus day, but then again that all depends on your definitions of “liberal” and “conservative”.

    How about you tell me what those definitions are for you? That will likely help this be a more productive conversation.

  11. This long conversation began with a disagreement about your assessment of the leadership situation in the MB conference. Obviously it has ranged widely since then and I bear my share the responsibility for that.

    But I really have no interest in quibbling about terminology along the liberal/conservative divide. I think those kinds of debates have pretty much shown themselves to be dead ends that do not lead toward either common understanding or greater unity.

    Does theology matter? Absolutely. Do the convictions that you have highlighted earlier in this conversation matter. Definitely. But there is something about the WAY these conversations tend to go – something about the air of suspicion and hostility that some eager conservatives give off as they hunt for heresy within the flock that, in my opinion, poisons the conversation and damages the reputation of Christ’s church. I’m sure the blame is not all on that side, I’m sure examples could be multiplied of self-righteous liberals looking down their noses at conservatives (not to mention the sins of the fence sitters that are caught in the middle).

    But in my experience, I’ve mainly seen the relational and spiritual wreckage that has come from people having to defend themselves against the zeal of certain self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy.

    I’m not accusing you of any of the things that I’ve described above. I don’t know anything about you or your situation so it would be wrong of me to pass judgment on you personally. But reading this blog and others like it reminds me of those experiences so that is why I react quite negatively to some of these posts.

    So I’ll respectfully check out at this point. Thanks for the conversation.

  12. Relationship and spiritual wreckage, yes that is what happens when the truth about false teaching comes to light, but it is sometimes warranted, and it is not usually caused by the one doing the confronting. How can one defend the truth and not create division? The truth unites, but it also divides those who stand on the truth from those who are more interested in their reputation, their position or their paycheque.

    The truth is no minor thing; it sets a man free, but it can also offend. There are those who risk much by standing for the truth, and yes friendship can be one of those, especially if the person being confronted is too proud to admit that there might be a problem with something they are teaching. I have been in situations where people are grateful I warned them about false teaching. These individuals have a different spirit about them, a spirit of humility. Most of the bloggers who are the warning voices are actually doing a very good job confronting in love, but are getting angry, defensive, or artificially sweet responses which evade the issues. As far as spiritual wreckage, I have done my utmost to be as gentle as possible, not engaging in character assassinations, slander and the like. Most of the bloggers speaking out about these issues seem to stick to the issues. The wreckage is being caused by those too arrogant and proud to have a decent conversation about the issue and become defensive because they are actually involved in spreading the false teaching. Those who have a genuine love for the truth and fear God rather than man have no problem examining the issue.

    I recommend an excellent article: IS CHRISTIANITY ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS? by Paul Proctor (http://www.newswithviews.com/PaulProctor/proctor187.htm).

    I suppose that the real Menno Simons lost many friends and even created some enemies when he defended the truth of Scripture as well. So did many martyrs.

    PS: I am not self-appointed. I believe God has gifted me to discern false doctrine and has called me to defend the truth. Many times I have wondered why God had to choose me for such a job. The prophets of Israel were generally hated by those they were warning. Kinda goes with the territory. Sometimes I wonder why God has picked me for such a miserable job. It’s not fun. I don’t gain any sort of pleasure from doing what I do as a blogger, but God grants me the all the courage and the peace I need. Who loves the sound of a fire alarm? Only those who realize they are in imminent danger and know that they have been saved from injury or death. It has its place. Most of the NT books contain warnings about deception, false teachers, and false doctrine. It has to be done if the truth is to be spoken. No gettin’ round it! The watchman who refuses to warn of imminent danger he sees has blood on his hands, but if he warns and people don’t heed the warning, the blood is on their own heads.

  13. 1. “But in my experience, I’ve mainly seen the relational and spiritual wreckage that has come from people having to defend themselves against the zeal of certain self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy.”

    Okay. I would actually agree with you.

    I’ve seen a whole lot of biblically unqualified “elders” getting all worked up in their defense of what they think is conservative theology, which is really only their misunderstood tradition. I’ve seen people leave the church after getting shunned/yelled at/mistreated by people who were simply angry because others didn’t agree with them. I would submit that if you have a biblically consistent view of eldership and church leadership, you cannot avoid the reality that “self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy” are just that – self-appointed.

    There are still biblically qualified elders who are actually appointed and commissioned by the church to teach sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it (Titus 1:9).

    2. In a second response to your quote, I’d suggest that people who are at odds with orthodox Christianity place themselves in that sphere. Those who make themselves enemies of Christ are enemies because they’re in rebellion, and much of the “relational and spiritual wreckage” that they leave behind is the cost and fruit of their own personal rebellion against God and his word.

    If I’m an elder or pastor in a church, I am concerned with being faithful to the Lord, his word, and his church. If anyone rebells against the church or the word of God, I don’t make apologies if they get hurt when I’m neither accepting or tolerant of their rebellion. They place themselves at odds with God and I only call them back. Whether or not someone is in rebellion needs to be established, but you don’t dialogue with people who are clearly in rebellion; you explain their error and call them to repentance.

    I DO have to obey the scripture that tells me how to deal with such people (i.e. Eph. 4:29-30; 1 Tim. 1:3-8; 1 Tim. 4:6-16; 2 Tim. 2:23-26; Gal. 6:1-10; Jude 22-23, etc.). If I call names, or slander, or speak in an unloving fashion to such people, I’m also sinning and need to be called to repentance. If I’m impatient, or if I’m prayerless in my interaction with such people, again I’m also sinning. I don’t get a free pass to get angry or be unloving because someone has bad theology or is actually attacking the church.

    It grieves me that many, on both sides of the theological fence, have lived in reckless disregard for God’s word over the years…but decades of hypocrisy don’t negate the factual truth of God’s word or the binding nature of his commands to those on both sides of the fence.

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