Summer Vacation

As of today…

The Olives, which comprise a group of several blogs with various intertwining themes, will be officially ON VACATION FOR THE SUMMER.


Menno Simons on … the church


“…Some of the…parables, as of the net in which good and bad fishes are caught; of the wise and foolish virgins and their lamps; of the wedding of the king’s son and the guests, and of the threshing floor with wheat and chaff, although the Lord spoke them in allusion to the church, yet they were not spoken for the purpose that the church should knowingly and willfully accept and suffer open transgressors, drunkards, carousers, defilers of women, avaricious, robbers, gamblers, and usurers, in their communion; because, then, Christ and Paul would differ in doctrine; for Paul says that we should avoid and shun such. But they were spoken because many intermix with the christians, in semblance only, and place themselves under the word and sacraments, who, in fact, are no christians, but are hypocrites and enemies before their God; and these are likened unto the refuse fish; unto the foolish virgins who had no oil in their lamps; unto the guest without a wedding garment, and unto the chaff, which will be cast out by the angels, at the day of Christ. For they pretend that they fear God and seek Christ; they receive baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and outwardly act in semblance, but, in fact, no faith, repentance, true fear and love of God; no Spirit, power, fruit nor work is found in them.” [p. 88]

An excerpt from: The complete works of Menno Simon (Elkhart, Ind., 1871).

SOURCE: Menno Simons on … the church

If any man shall add unto these things…

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

– Revelation 22: 18-19

Rather than studying and taking heed to the warnings of Jesus in His letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, some Mennonite church leaders have instead changed them and re-written their own versions. Is the Bible not specific or thorough enough for the Mennonites? Is God not feared enough? Could it be that maybe they have not read to the end of the Bible? For if they had read and heeded the sober warnings in Revelation 22 about changing the words of the prophecy of this book, would these replacement letters have been published in the June 2011 MB Herald?

These four admonitions were modelled after the letters to the churches in Revelation 2–3 given to delegates at the 2011 B.C. MB convention, “Hearing the Spirit speak to the BCMB churches,” Apr. 29–30.
Read here:
To the angel of the church…

Claiborne’s next stop – Emerging Festival (UPDATED)

Two weeks from now, Shane Claiborne will be meeting up with old friends Brian McLaren, Richard Rohr, Phyllis Tickle and Tony Campolo, where they will all be speakers at the Wild Goose Festival. (See Wild Goose Festival’s Emerging Spirituality.) Watch the promotional:

Wild Goose Festival – June 23 – 26, 2011 – Shakori Hills Farm, NC

= = =

*Claiborne recently spoke to the Mennonite Brethren youth, as seen in the latest MB Herald report here:

Contentious convention charges up youth

*Read more about Claiborne’s appearance at the MB youth convention here:

MB Youth hear controversial Claiborne – UPDATED

*Read more on the Claiborne/McLaren/Rohr/Campolo connection here:

The NCR Sheds More Light on the Mennonite Brethren’s 2011 Youth Convention Speaker, Shane Claiborne

*Also related is this Eastern Mennonite University 2008 Podcast:

Shane Claiborne – Sustainability God’s Way

Shane Claiborne of The Simple Way speaks on “Sustainability God’s Way: Earth Care, People Care.”This service is part of a chapel series focused on the theme of sustainability – part of a year-long emphasis on creation care at EMU.

*More on the connection Mennonites have with the Wild Goose Festival here:

Naked Emperors, Undead Christians, & Seedling Signs

And here:

Wild Goose Chasers (***NEW!!!)




Outreach Report 6-23-2011: The Wild Goose Chase
[HT: Apprising Ministries]

A broader church
Fun in the woods with gay, tattooed and generally liberal folk


Mennonites and Sustainable Development

Are the Mennonites falling for Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development? It appears so…

“Ministry Advantage offered me a variety of resources to help create sustainability in order to advance God’s kingdom…”
-pastor Philip Vallelly, Winkler MB Church
[MB pastors gain Canadian ‘advantage’?]

“How can we mobilize creativity-in-community to fashion lives of simplicity and sustainability for the future?”
Re-Visioning: Evolving Toward Simplicity and Sustainability Workshop led by Mark Burch, former director of the Campus Sustainability Office at the University of Winnipeg, trainer for the the Canadian School of Peacebuilding at Canadian Mennonite University
[Mennonites and World Peace]

“Eastern Mennonite University has been honored as a winner of the National Wildlife Federation’s annual competition “Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus.” This award program recognizes U.S. schools that are designing and implementing creative approaches to advance sustainability on campuses.”
EMU Sustainability Video Wins National Award

EMU: Going Green in Royal Blue

What exactly is Sustainable Development?

There is no doubt that sustainable development in the United States is a concept that arose from the United Nations with the clear purpose of managing societies around the world to achieve environmental protection, equal economic opportunity, and social equity. The United States was founded on the principles of limited government, individual freedom, reward for individual achievement, and free markets that produce maximum prosperity. Government is imposing sustainable development and its inevitable government management. Only an informed, involved, and determined people can stop and reverse this erosion of freedom.

Henry Lamb, Sustainable Development or Sustainable Freedom

Are Mennonites so uninformed that they are actually promoting this erosion of freedom? If anyone would like to learn more, they need to read the above article, as well as these very important links:

Sustainable Development: Transforming America
by Henry Lamb

Agenda 21 & the United Nations
By Henry Lamb

To watch:
Sustainable Development (part 1)

MB pastors gain Canadian ‘advantage’?

A Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches news release reports that 

they are excited about a new resource available in Canada this fall for MB pastors and their churches. 

MB pastors gain Canadian advantage
May 26, 2011

Winnipeg, Man.—Ministry Advantage (MA), a U.S.–based coaching program offered by the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC) since 2009, will move forward with a distinctly Canadian MB coaching advantage in the fall of 2011.

 Sixteen MB lead pastors from across the country, along with Willy Reimer, executive director at CCMBC, gathered in Canmore, Alta., May 17–19, for an MA training event where five MB pastors (former MA participants) were equipped to become Canadian coaches for the upcoming programming year. 

“It has been our goal at CCMBC to train Canadian MB coaches for our unique context,” says Reimer.

The article further explains that this credentialing of Ministry Advantage coaches is an important advantage that will help their churches “fulfill God’s call to reach Canadians with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The question is, is this truly an advantage for churches as MB pastors believe? Or is it a disadvantage?

According to the article, Winkler MB Church pastor Philip Vallelly’s response is that “Ministry Advantage offered me a variety of resources to help create sustainability in order to advance God’s kingdom. Now as a coach, I have the privilege of sharing this resource with other kingdom builders.” Winkler MB Church was founded in the 1880’s. Pastor Ed Willms of Southridge Community Church senses that “God is leveraging the experiences and insights I received to encourage and inspire other pastors through MA coaching…The rich operating systems that MA offers are often not taught in seminary; they have benefitted me greatly.” Southridge Community Church’s affiliations include the Ontario and Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches and the Willow Creek Association. Two key elements of the association with Willow Creek are the annual Leadership Summits and Leaders’ Village – a ‘relationally-based leadership development system.’

Willow Creek has also been a longstanding partner with Ministry Advantage, as are various other church marketing businesses. Other’s who partner with Ministry Advantage include:

• Evangelical Covenant
• Church of God
• Reformed Church of America, NW Region
• Bethel Seminary, Minnesota
• Mennonite Brethren, Canada

But is partnering with such a pro-Willow Creek organization like Ministry Advantage really to the advantage of Mennonite churches? Will this help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ? Or will this just bring more change to the already compromised Mennonites?

The three-day Ministry Advantage event which sixteen MB lead pastors from across the country partook in was led by Russ Olmon, founder and president of both Ministry Advantage ( and Church Solutions ( Olmon pastors the very trendy Lake Pointe Church which at first glance seems very vibrant, but a closer look shows cause for concern. For one, they use the 12 step programs, NA and AA (see here), none of which are Biblically based. It is also a church that, like so many tody, offers books (not books of the Bible) for ‘Bible studies’ (for example, the Women’s Summer 2011 Bible Studies are books: Laugh Again, by Chuck Swindoll, The Power of a Whisper, by Bill Hybels, Get Uncomfortable, by Todd Phillips, and Do You Think I’m Beautiful?, by Angela Thomas). Like all Willow Creek style seeker friendly churches, Lake Pointe Church also offers many courses and programs to meet the felt needs of the people and increase growth, such as parenting and leadership classes (i.e., Self Leadership, Leading From Your Strengths, etc.).

If this is what MB pastors want their churches to look like, they will see this MB partnership with these programs and self help church growth solutions as an advantage. But in God’s eyes, wouldn’t it be more of an advantage for church leaders to follow the biblical model and devote themselves to prayer and to the Word of God? (Acts 6:4) And weren’t the Mennonite Brethren on another track just a short time ago when the MB Herald reported that they wanted to go back to the early church model? (See Regenerate 2101.)

Which is it going to be – the early contemplative monastic church model, or the post modern church growth methods? There seems to be confusion in the Mennonite camp, but this is what typically happens when Christians stray away from the Bible and take their eyes off Jesus. They begin to look to man – in this case in the form of Change Agents, Leadership Summits, Leaders’ Villages, and Coaching programs – to create their own sustainability to advance and build God’s kingdom, instead of letting God be their sustenance and trusting in Him to build His church and His Kingdom, as the Bible teaches. Overnight, it seems, their churches become relationally based instead of Bible based.

Mennonites can only wonder what would happen if these MB pastors, instead of availing themselves to these man made methods, would dedicate themselves to prayer and to the Word of God. At this rate, it looks like they may never find out.

Also see:

Twelve-Step Recovery Groups and the Christian

Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounders Were Not Christians

Willow Creek and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality will join forces to promote Contemplative Prayer

Contemplative Emphasis Continues at Willow Creek … Stronger Than Ever

Agenda 21
The U.N. Plan for Your “Sustainable” Community

NOTE: The wife of Willow Creek’s pastor Bill Hybels, Lynne Hybels, has recently joined Obama’s anti-Israel campaign.


White House Pushing Churches to be Green

Obama and Israel: Is it Ignorance or Arrogance?