Menno Monday

“I say, If any one would hear the voice of the devil, he need not go far; alas! he can hear him every where. All who speak lies, speak of the devil. In the beginning he spoke through the serpent; in Israel through the false prophets, and now through his preachers, in order to deceive the people of the world, and divert them from the truth, that they never can be saved.
Since then, that from the beginning he has been, and still is a lying spirit, an adversary of God, a falsifier of the Scriptures, and a murderer of souls, and will eternally be such, who can neither teach nor endure any thing good, because he is by nature unclean, a liar, and a deceiver, always the enemy of every thing that is good, we will therefore stop our ears, through God’s grace, and not hear such blasphemous speaking; turn our backs upon the devil, with all his lying preachers, as the Scriptures teach; and we will sincerely believe the Scriptures, which direct us to Christ to hear him. Christ directs us to his disciples, and they direct us to such teachers who are blameless in doctrine and life, as related. May the merciful and gracious Lord eternally preserve all the pious hearts against this Herodian generation, and against the devil’s preachers, Amen.”

-Menno Simons
COUNTER ARGUMENTS OF BABYLON AND ITS BUILDERS, WITH THEIR REPLICATIONS.
http://www.mennosimons.net/ft015-counterarguments.html

Menno Monday

“In short, where the church of Christ is, there his word is preached purely and rightly; but where the church of anti-christ is, there the word of God is adulterated; there we are pointed to an earthly and unclean Christ and to means of salvation which are strange to the Scriptures; there we are taught a broad and easy way; there the great are flattered, truth perverted into falsehood; there easy things are taught, such as the poor, ignorant people will gladly hear. In short, there they are consoled in their unhappy state, that they may underrate it, and say, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace,” Jer. 8:11. They promise life to the impenitent, while the Scriptures say, that they shall not inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:21.”

-Menno Simons
THE SIGNS BY WHICH BOTH CHURCHES MAY BE KNOWN.
http://www.mennosimons.net/ft069-signs.html

Menno Monday

In light of what some Mennonites have been promoting recently (i.e. labyrinths, pagan rituals, the new church of anti-Christ, etc.) in the name of Christ . . .

“. . . it should be observed that the church of Christ is begotten by the Spirit and word of Christ. For as an honorable woman can bring forth no legitimate children but from the seed of her lawful husband, so, also, the bride of Christ, namely, the church, can bring forth no true Christians but from the legitimate seed of Christ, that is, from the unadulterated word, rightly preached through the Holy Spirit, and conceived in the heart of the hearers. Paul says, “In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel,” 1 Cor. 4:15; James says, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,” Jas. 1:18; also read Rom. 10; 1 Pet. 1.
On the other hand the church of anti-christ is begotten of deceiving doctrine, through the spirit of error. Paul says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy,” 1 Tim. 4:1.
The prophets on every hand complained that Israel inclined their ears to false preachers, Isaiah 30:9; Jer. 8:8; 14:14.”

– Menno Simons, CONCERNING THE CHURCH, AND AN INSTRUCTIVE COMPARISON HOW WE MAY DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST, AND THE CHURCH OF ANTI-CHRIST. http://www.mennosimons.net/ft068-concerningthechurch.html

Mennonites ask ‘What is Truth?’

Recently, a reader e-mailed Menno-lite with concerns about Mennonite Church Canada. One of these included a portion of an article in The Canadian Mennonite[1] (called What is Truth?) that deals with contemplative spirituality in a positive light. The reader commented that . . .

“It is interesting that the MC Canada writer confirms what your blog has said all along, that contemplative spirituality leads to an interspiritual “religion”. This is not new, see Ezekiel 8 for the description of the first “interfaith worship center” that the temple was turned into.”

The following is a quote from The Canadian Mennonite article called “What is Truth?”:

“It has become clear that there is a need to have some truths upon which many can agree, and it has become clear that there are different ways of finding truth. These ways are not the old ways of an individual studying and developing truth, nor of an individual prophet receiving a revealed truth that all must obey.

Historians like Karen Armstrong have come to the conclusion that there is truth to be found by studying the wide experience of many people over time and space. In her book A History of God, Armstrong proposes that mystics past and present, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and beyond, have come to truths through lives of contemplation. These truths include:

• There is a god/God who can be approached, found and communicated with through contemplative prayer.
• This god/God works to change people from the inside out into empathic and love-driven workers for change in society.

Because she finds this in many religions, she does not depend on outside influences like religious texts and practice, or hierarchies, to influence people. Instead, god/God works from the inside out to influence and change people no matter which religion nurtured and matured them. The Golden Rule—“Do to others what you want them to do to you” (Matthew 7:12)—is an example of this. Jesus’ two great commandments—“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength and with all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’ ” (Luke 10:25-28)—is a Jewish/Christian summary of the same.

At the Mennonite Church Canada biennial assembly in Winnipeg this summer, Betty Pries called on participants to turn to contemplative life, surrendering to God all of their lives; abiding in Christ, allowing God to free them from their attachments to anything other than God; and to incarnate Christ in their lives. This directly parallels Armstrong’s findings from her study of the Abrahamic faiths.”

SOURCE-“What is truth?”
By Dave Rogalsky
Eastern Canada Correspondent
Posted Oct. 22, 2014
http://www.canadianmennonite.org/articles/“what-truth”

What is truth?

Jesus said, in his high priestly prayer to the Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17). Jesus is the Word; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1), “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), “and his name is called The Word of God.” (Rev 19:13)

Jesus also said “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”(John 14:6) But the article in The Canadian Mennonite says it has become clear that there are different ways of finding truth. Are there?

Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. (Hos 4:1).

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 1 Thessl 2:13

The article says the ways to find truth are not the old ways, as an individual prophet receiving a revealed truth that all must obey. Is this true?

And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. Ex. 31:18

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

The article says that people need not depend on outside influences like religious texts and practice, or hierarchies, to influence them. Does God work from the inside out? Don’t we need the Bible to know truth?

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Psa 138:2

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

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. Rev 22:19

In summary, truth is not found from contemplating within. God gave us a written record for us to read, by which we can know truth. His Word has been preserved through the ages for our benefit. Martyrs have died for it. Our entire Juedo-Christian system of Law is based on it. In it we find truth, because Jesus is the Word, and He is the truth. We cannot trust any other source that claims to be.

____
[1] The Canadian Mennonite Mission statement: To educate, inspire, inform, and foster dialogue on issues facing Mennonites in Canada as it shares the good news of Jesus Christ from an Anabaptist perspective. We do this through a print publication (published 24 times a year) and through other media, working with our church partners. Canadian Mennonite serves primarily the people and churches of Mennonite Church Canada.

All Who Truly Believe

A reminder from the pen of Menno Simons, preserved for the benefit of modern Mennonites (the Menno-lites) who still identify with his name but not what he believed or stood for….

“All those who sincerely believe the righteous judgment of God and his eternal wrath over all sin and wickedness, and do not doubt in spirit, look at the fallen angels; they look at the first, depraved world, at Sodom and Gomorrah, and upon disobedient, refractory Israel. They take particular notice how God humbled his innocent Son, who knew no sin, and in whose mouth guile was not found; how he was humbled, and made the most miserable among men for the sake of our sins. Yea, that he was so beaten and tortured, that while extended on the cross, he piteously complained to his Father saying, “My God, my God, why halt thou forsaken me?” Matt. 27:45.
All who truly believe this, will certainly flee from all unrighteousness, as they would from the fangs of a serpent; they turn away from all sins, and dread them more than a burning fire, or a piercing sword, for their whole mind and conscience testify to them, that if they knowingly and willfully sin against the law and word of God, and do not receive Christ in a pure and good conscience, live according to the flesh, and despise the inviting voice of God that they will fall under the dreadful, eternal sentence and wrath of God.”

SOURCE: Menno Simons, THE TRUE CHRISTIAN BELIEF.
http://www.mennosimons.net/ft026-truechristianbelief.html

Timothy, Take Heed

In the January 2014[1] issue of the MB Herald is an article called They will know us by our theological arrogance[2] by Tim Neufeld[3]. In it he gives advice to move past all the drama of winning theological differences and arguments, and be known by our “love for one another”. The first suggestion is to read broadly and the last is to practice what you preach. For the second idea, he writes:

2. Learn about traditions outside your own.
The history of the church includes different periods, styles and practices of Christian faith. For example, Richard Foster identifies six historical traditions in Streams of Living Water: contemplative, holiness, charismatic, social justice, evangelical and incarnational influences of spirituality. Exposure to other traditions leads to gracious embrace of those who are theologically dissimilar.
Occasionally, I attend an evening vespers service at a nearby convent where worshipping with a small group of Roman Catholic sisters has taught me the importance of quiet reflection in the presence of Christ. We pray, read Scripture and sing with a serene reverence that ministers to the core of my busy soul. I’ve had similar experiences of prayer and worship at a Greek Orthodox monastery located in the mountains an hour from where I live.
I don’t always understand the observances or agree completely with the theology of these communities, but I’m deeply challenged by the piety of their worship.

The problem with this idea is that there is a difference between learning about other traditions and immersing yourself in them while participating. This is how so many Christians have become involved in contemplative spirituality. Richard Foster[4] not only identifies other traditions, he teaches the spirituality behind them and has led countless sincere Christians onto the path of the contemplative mystics. Neufeld is right that there is piety in the worship of Roman Catholic nuns and the Greek Orthodox tradition, but which Jesus[5] are they worshipping? How can two walk together, unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3)

Neufeld’s third point also involves a caution. While recommending talking to Christians from other cultures to create awareness, he says:

Native American pastor Richard Twiss’s challenge toward reconciliation, especially among and on behalf of First Nations people, has shaped my understanding of forgiveness and oppression.

There is nothing wrong with talking to Christians from other cultures. The difficulty here is that Richard Twiss “continues to teach that the Great Spirit is the Holy Spirit by wearing the cultural items associated with the Great Spirit, even though it is a historical fact that the Great Spirit is a pantheistic god that required blood rituals and human sacrifice. Richard Twiss claims that what he is doing is not syncretism, when it is the very definition of syncretism.”[3] This is something that was further confirmed recently at the Emergent Village Theological Conference that he took part in.[4]

Tim Neufeld’s prayer that those outside the church will know us for our love, not our theological arrogance, should be the prayer of every Christian. We should practice what we preach and learn from others, but not at the expense of compromising doctrine and leading others astray, whether it be into contemplative spirituality or syncretism. Doctrine is important. In the Bible we read Paul exhorting another Timothy to…

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 1 Timothy 4:16

The truth is, we can be known as loving and caring and still hold to doctrine and stand up for truth.

Finally, the MB Herald directs readers to Tim Neufeld’s blog, Occasio (timneufeld.blogs.com), where he promotes Bono, U2 Sermons, and the One Campaign (one.org), of which Bono is on the board of directors.[8]

Timothy, take heed.

Endnotes:

[1] http://mbherald.com/january-14-issue/
[2] http://mbherald.com/they-will-know-us-by-our-theological-arrogance/
[3] Tim Neufeld is associate professor of contemporary Christian ministries at Fresno (Cal.) Pacific University.
[4] Richard Foster:http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/fosterlinks.htm
[5] Watch: Another Jesus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dncdIxJeA8U
[6] “Richard Twiss is spreading the doctrines of the New Apostolic Reformation and is endorsed by them. He claims that the Great Spirit of the Indians is the Holy Spirit of the Bible. . . He continues to teach that the Great Spirit is the Holy Spirit by wearing the cultural items associated with the Great Spirit, even though it is a historical fact that the Great Spirit is a pantheistic god that required blood rituals and human sacrifice. Richard Twiss claims that what he is doing is not syncretism, when it is the very definition of syncretism.”http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/twissquotes.html
Also see: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/reasonstoreject.html
[7] At the 2010 Emergent Village Theological Conference, which Richard Twiss was a part of, a blog for the event states:
“Richard Twiss . . . began by blessing us with sage incense and having a member of his team dance a healing dance. . . . He moved from rejecting his reservation upbringing, to re-discovering his heritage and hating white people, coming to faith in Christ through evangelical churches, walking away again from his heritage, to re-re-discovering his Native culture and integrating it into his faith.” – Emergent Village Theological Conference, http://iowaemergent.blogspot.com/2010/11/emergent-village-theological-conference.html
*Also related: NEW PRINT BOOKLET TRACT: Can Cultures Be Redeemed? (Some Things You Should Know About the Indigenous People’s Movement) http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=11295
[8] For an eye opening revelation on Bono and the One Campaign, please read this informative article with pictures, video clips and links, here:
U2′s Bono, Unorthodox Superman http://www.submergingchurch.com/2013/07/05/u2′s-bono-unorthodox-superman/
Also see:
Bono: David sang the blues and Jesus did some punk rock https://www.thebereancall.org/content/bono-david-sang-blues-and-jesus-did-some-punk-rock
Also related: U2’s Music And Moments Of Vertigo by Tim Neufeld http://www.usmb.org/u2s-music-and-moments-of-vertigo

As Simons Says…

THE DOCTRINE OF THE PREACHERS.

As I have presented to the reader, the first part in relation to the sending and calling of a true preacher, according to the word of God, I will now, through the grace of God, present in like manner the second part, relating to the doctrine; for there is but little difference between their calling and their doctrine, as the calling is, even so, most commonly, is the doctrine.

Where the spirit of God urges or moves to preach, there will the word be incorruptibly taught in the power of God; and upright children of the spirit will thereby be born. But where flesh and blood calls, there will a carnal doctrine be taught and carnal disciples will be made, for that like produces like is incontrovertible. I deem it unnecessary here to prove this with much scripture, for their actions bear testimony.

The Scriptures plainly show how a preacher rightly called by the word of God is to rightly teach that word without perverting glosses, without any mingling of leaven; as Peter says, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God,” 1 Peter 4:11. They are the children of the Holy Ghost who speak the word of the Spirit, as Christ said, “It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you,” Matt. 10:20. “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God,” John 3:34. To preach the word salutarily and unblamably, is one of the highest and greatest commands enjoined by Christ. He said, “Go ye in all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” Mark 16:15.

The Gospel, the word of God, preached unmingled, in the power of the spirit, is the only right, true seed from which are born the truly believing and obedient children of God. If the church of Christ brings forth children from the doctrine of man, and not from God’s word, she is not faithful unto Christ, and her children are not of his seed….

More here:

http://www.mennosimons.net/ft013-doctrineofpreachers.html

From the complete writings of Menno Simons HERE.