The “New” Evangelical Traditions

Are Lenten abstinences a rejection of the completed substitutionary atonement of Christ?

Former Roman Catholic T.A. McMahon writes:

I trusted in relics of dead so-called Saints; holy water; making the sign of the cross; votive candles; baptism for salvation (infant or otherwise); a “transubstantiated” piece of bread alleged to be Christ; apparitions of Mary; a scapular; a “miraculous medal”; statues and images of Jesus, Mary, and the saints; endless Rosaries, Novenas, the Stations of the Cross; abstaining from meat on Friday; Lenten abstinences; the Last Rites to get me into Purgatory and indulgences to get me out of Purgatory; Mass cards; graces dispensed from Mary; the confessional, with absolution of my sins by a priest; penance and personal suffering to purify me of my sin; worshiping a piece of bread at the Eucharistic Holy Hour; the Holy Father as the Vicar of Christ on earth, etc., etc. Therein lies a bondage that few evangelicals understand.
Many brush these things aside as non-essentials of the Christian faith or minor theological aberrations unique to Catholicism. Not true. They are essential to the gospel that Rome declares-a gospel of meritorious works that the Bible condemns (see Galatians, Romans, Ephesians, et al.) as a rejection of the completed substitutionary atonement of Christ our Savior. Catholicism’s Tradition, which is declared to be equal in authority to Scripture, is made up of those things (such as cited above) that are necessary for, or supportive of, a Catholic’s entrance into heaven.
According to the Word of God, anything that is added to Christ’s finished work on the cross is a denial of the gospel: that Christ paid the full penalty for the sins of humanity.

Source: Evangelical Mysticism?
McMahon, T.A
http://www.thebereancall.org/content/evangelical-mysticism

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Why Lent?

Once again the Mennonite Brethren are promoting their new ancient tradition of Lent. In the February 2015 issue of the MB Herald[1] are two plugs. The first is an article by Norm Funk, founding pastor of Westside Church, Vancouver, B.C. (Canada). He begins with a very good question . . .

Why Lent, why Now?

There were certain traditions in my Mennonite Brethren upbringing; Lent wasn’t one of them.
So why Lent, and why now?
I’ve wrestled with this. Here’s my answer: my main motivation is birthed out of what I see as a lack of preparation and thoughtfulness connected to the Easter season.
Lent helps battle that tendency. Lent doesn’t just remind us of the cross; it prepares us for it.
Lent invites people to join Jesus on the way to the crucifixion. Fasts – one or many – assist in that process. Obviously, the joy of Good Friday comes because the tomb was empty Sunday; however, in the sacrament of communion we are called to remember Jesus’ death. . .

More here:
http://mbherald.com/lent-now/

[Note: The comment thread following this article at the above link is quite informative.]

We also discover in this same MB Herald issue that the MB Biblical Seminary Canada has produced a devotional resource for the MB family this Lent and Easter called “Waiting for the Resurrection: A Collection of Readings for Lent and Easter”.[2]

Turning toward the resurrection

“The resurrection changes everything,” says Jeff Peters, director of advancement at MB Biblical Seminary Canada. “Christians should spend time contemplating and celebrating this pivotal event.”
The seminary has produced a devotional resource for the MB family this Lent and Easter.
Available for download, “Waiting for the Resurrection: A Collection of Readings for Lent and Easter” contains forty-one 300–400 word devotionals reflecting on a Scripture passage.
For each of the six Sundays of the Lenten season, a poem, song, reflection or prayers from the history of the Christian church foster excitement about the coming resurrection.
Contributors are Canadian pastors, scholars and leaders from MB and other traditions.
The seminary resources the MB family in Canada with training and special initiatives like this devotional. A limited number of hard copies will be sent to churches and supporters. Donations to cover costs are welcome.

SOURCE: http://mbherald.com/turning-toward-resurrection/

The Mennonites who download the recommended devotional will now be taught through a collection of meditations about the new traditions of Lent (Lenten Season, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Holy Saturday). The contributions of these Lenten Devotionals are from various Mennonite Brethren pastors and seminary leaders, and a few surprises, including one by Rachel Twigg Boyce[3], Pastor of House Blend Ministries in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Why Lent? The answer appears to be obviously simple. The spread of ecumenical yeast seems to have spread through the whole lump of Mennonite dough.

____________

Endnotes:

[1] http://mbherald.com/february-2015-issue/
[2] http://www.mbseminary.ca/devotional
[3] For previous blog posts on Rachel Twigg-Boyce, see:
WHY IS THE MB HERALD FEATURING “A RADICAL PRAYER GATHERING” LED BY RACHEL TWIGG-BOYCE?
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/why-is-the-mb-herald-featuring-a-radical-prayer-gathering-led-by-rachel-twigg-boyce/
Is the MB Conference Knowingly Condoning Ecumencial Inter-spiritual Practices?
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/is-the-mb-conference-knowingly-condoning-ecumencial-inter-spiritual-practices/
More House Blend
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/more-house-blend/
MB Herald promotes Ecumenism, New Monasticism
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/mb-herald-promotes-ecumenism-new-monasticism/

____________

* Related blog posts on Mennonites and Lent:

Bent on Lent
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/bent-on-lent/

Mennonites, Lent, and Spiritual Direction (Updated)
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/mennonites-lent-and-spiritual-direction/

Lent, the New Mennonite Tradition
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/lent-the-new-mennonite-tradition/

Also of interest:

The pagan goddess behind the holiday of ‘Easter’
http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-pagan-goddess-behind-the-holiday-of-easter/

Researching The Labyrinth

As today’s Christians are justifying the revival of the ancient labyrinth in their universities, colleges, church camps, retreats, and youth conferences, here is some interesting research on its origins . . .

Proverbs 2 (KJV)

10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;

11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;

13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;

14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;

15 Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths

‘Sacred Space Holy Time’ at Mennonite College

Another Mennonite youth labyrinth experience took place recently, this time at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ontario.

Sacred Space Holy Time
by Lorie Williams
Rockway Mennonite Collegiate
KITCHENER, ONT.
Posted Jan. 28, 2015

On Friday, December 13, students in Ms. Bauman’s grade 10 Church History course had the unique opportunity of experiencing a prayer labyrinth.
Patricia Horst Wagler, a pastor and trained labyrinth facilitator, led students and staff in exploring the history of the labyrinth as a Christian tool for prayer. She explained the meaning and symbolism of the shape and various features of the labyrinth, and the benefits for many of an active, physical way to pray. She described walking the labyrinth as a way to focus the mind and give insight into one’s life and spiritual journey.
She then invited students to walk the labyrinth in silence. While this was a new experience for many students, they respected the silence, took their time and reflected thoughtfully on this experience of active prayer. Some found it a bit weird! Some found it calming, some noticed it helped them find clarity with a problem or decision, and some liked the way they could use their whole body to connect with God.
An open invitation was extended to anyone else who wanted to walk the labyrinth during their spare or at lunch during Friday’s Sabbath Space.
Warm thanks are extended to Patricia for helping us to create this sacred space and holy time.

SOURCE:
http://www.canadianmennonite.org/articles/sacred-space-holy-time

ALSO HERE:
http://rockway.ca/2015/01/13/sacred-space-holy-time/

Patricia Wagler, who led the grade 10 class through the labyrinth, was recently ordained (Jan. 11) at Tavistock Mennonite Church, where she is the associate pastor. She is also a labyrinth retreat workshop facilitator and a spiritual director, having received her spiritual formation and direction training from Jubilee Ontario. Wagler became a certified labyrinth facilitator through Veriditas, whose mission is to connect people with the labyrinth. This season of Lent (Feb. 18 – April 8 from 3 – 8 p.m. on Wednesdays) Tavistock Mennonite Church offers an open invitation to walk the labyrinth (www.tavistockmennonitechurch.ca).

What would Menno Simons say about that?

Related:

Labyrinths – Popping Up at Lots of Seminaries and Christian Colleges
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=7933

Labyrinth at USMB Youth Conference this Spring – UPDATE!!!

UPDATE!!! February 24th

Menno-lite was notified this morning that the Named 2015 committee had ‘recently decided to cancel the labyrinth’ but had neglected to remove the information about the labyrinth from the website.

They are to be commended for doing so, however, perhaps they should be asked to publish their reasons for putting it there in the first place, and for leaving it on the website after they had decided against it.

The alert will remain as posted as a reminder to pray for and keep the leaders of the Mennonite youth accountable. Bless the prayers of the faithful!

************

This April 9-12 the National Youth Conference of the US Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches called NAMED 2015 will be held in Denver, Colorado.[1]

The following is one of the activities listed under “ATTRACTIONS” on the website of Named Denver 2015.[2]

PRAYER LABYRINTH

The Labyrinth is an interactive installation for spiritual journeys. It’s for anyone who wants a break from surfing the surface of culture to contemplate the deeper things of life. The Labyrinth reshapes a 12th-century ritual for the 21st century. Its maze-like path takes you on a symbolic journey, creates space to unwind and think—in particular about our relationships with ourselves, one another, our planet and God. Designed for young and old alike, it provides a mixture of rituals and visuals, of contemplative words and contemporary ambient music, of symbols and media to help guide the spiritual traveler.
Labyrinths were a feature of many medieval cathedrals, one of the best remaining examples is found in Chartres Cathedral in northern France. Unlike a maze they have only one path—there are no dead ends. People walk labyrinths slowly, as an aid to contemplative prayer and reflection, as a spiritual exercise or as a form of pilgrimage. This contemporary version includes music, meditations, art, media and symbolic activities at intervals along the path. Participants walk the Labyrinth with a MP3 player and headphones, in their own relaxing soundworld, at their own pace. Each track contains meditations, instructions and music relating to a part of Labyrinth.

SOURCE: http://www.Named2015.com/contentpages/32538/bc907310-f3d8-4d4a-b0a4-f2cb97b04af2/PrayerLabyrinth.aspx

This is not the first time that Mennonites have sent their youth to events where they learn to walk the labyrinth.[3] In fact, it is becoming increasingly more common. Is this spiritual trend something that youth should be exposed to at a Christian conference? Read the following links and decide.

LABYRINTHS, Prayer Paths That Promote the Occult
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/labyrinth.htm

Enter the labyrinth
http://www.letusreason.org/Nam30.htm

________
Endnotes:

[1] The National Youth Conference will be held April 9-12, 2015, at Hyatt Regency Downtown and Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colo.
http://www.usmb.org/departments/National-Youth-Conference/page/named-2015.html
[2] http://www.Named2015.com/
[3] See previous posts:
Mennonite College Dedicates New Prayer Labyrinth
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/mennonite-college-dedicates-new-prayer-labyrinth/
Children Experiencing Mennonite Labyrinth
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/children-experiencing-mennonite-labyrinth/
Mennonite Brethren Sponsored University Promoting the Labyrinth and Taize?
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/mennonite-brethren-sponsored-university-promoting-the-labyrinth/
Mennonite Labyrinths
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/mennonite-labyrinths/
Mennonites and Prayer Labyrinths
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/mennonites-and-prayer-labyrinths/
MB YOUTH SOARING WITH CONTEMPLATIVE MINISTRY?
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/mb-youth-soaring-with-contemplative-ministry/