The Good Old Black and White Days

For today’s modern Mennonites who are interested in seeing their heritage in the good old black and white days . . .

New online Mennonite photo database “shows the future of community archives”
Monday, March 2, 2015

After two years of design and development, the Mennonite Archival Image Database (MAID) goes live for public use today at archives.mhsc.ca. Currently MAID holds over 80,000 descriptions of photos and over 9,000 images. These number will be expanding, explains Laureen Harder-Gissing of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario. “The technology provided by MAID is energizing our partner archives to digitize our photo collections. Having all our photos searchable through one source will be a boon for genealogists, historians, and anyone interested in finding out more about Mennonite and Canadian history. Local communities across Canada will also find their histories represented.”

The on-line solution is a project of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada and includes Mennonite archival partners in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.

SOURCE:
https://uwaterloo.ca/mennonite-archives-ontario/news/new-online-mennonite-photo-database-shows-future-community

*Discover photographs of Mennonite life in Canada and around the world @
Mennonite Archival Image Database
MAID

http://archives.mhsc.ca/

From buttons to bonnets to LGBTQ

Menno Simons rolls over in his grave and gasps, “How did we get here?”

“Since the first Mennonites arrived in America from Germany in 1683, the denomination has gone through many schisms, often over issues of tradition and modernity. At one time, it was buttons vs. eyehooks on blouses, and whether women should have to wear bonnets; more recently, it’s been women’s leadership in the church and acceptance of those who identify as LGBTQ. Each time a split happens, a new version of the faith is created, while an older version is preserved as if in amber—even now, many people associate Mennonites with anachronisms like horses and buggies, when in reality, this kind of traditional lifestyle is only followed by roughly 13,000 American adults, called Old-Order Mennonites. (People often confuse Mennonites with the Amish, too; although both groups are part of the Anabaptist tradition, meaning that they baptize believers as adults rather than infants, Mennonites were historically followers of Menno Simons, a 16th-century preacher.)
Now, Mennonites are wrestling with the same questions faced by other churches across the country, made all the more complicated by their heritage: How should the faithful balance tradition and modern life? How should scripture inform people’s understandings of same-sex relationships? And when members of a denomination disagree, how should they find their way forward?”

SOURCE (for research purposes):
Gay and Mennonite
They vote on everything. They’re committed to peace. Can a church that defines itself by harmony survive dissonance over homosexuality?
Emma Green
MARCH 18, 2015
http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/03/gay-and-mennonite/388060/

RELATED:

The New Inclusive Mennonites
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/the-new-inclusive-mennonites-2/

Is Positive Biblical?
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/is-positive-biblical-2/

NEW:

Is there an agenda behind this trend? See:

NIGHT IS FALLING
The real agenda – marginalize Christians
Olive Tree Ministries
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com

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

The New Inclusive Mennonites

Why has the same sex conversation come to the forefront in so many Mennonite churches? Is there an organized force at work? Will your church and college soon be joining the new inclusive Mennonites? The following information may be a surprise for many Bible believing Mennonites. Please read carefully and prayerfully.

The Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests, Minneapolis, MN (www.bmclgbt.org/index.shtml) are Brethren and Mennonites who say they “do not subscribe to formal creeds or doctrines developed by a church hierarchy: our only written authority is the Bible. Interpretation is done by the body of believers themselves. However, through an emphasis on strict application of the Scripture our churches have developed guidelines of faith and witness which often distinguish us from other Christian denominations.” These differences allow them to encourage like minded people to join their BMCList, a ‘Lesbigay MennoLink’, and consider sending them the following…

• Tell us what Lesbigay Anabaptists are thinking and doing in your hometown. (We promise not to call it gossip.)
• Send everyone an action alert. Get everyone moving and shaking.
• Tell us how we can help you.
• Send everyone current events stuff about religion and sexual orientation.

One project of BMCLGBT has been the formation of Kaleidoscope, a network for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied people on peace church campuses. Part of their purpose, or agenda, is to:

• Increase the visibility of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender alumni, faculty, staff and students.
• Improve the lgbt student experience by connecting with alumni and creating professional and social network opportunities.
• Communicate events of interest to the lgbta community.
• Provide opportunities to share information and resources to encourage advocacy on behalf of lgbt alumni and students.
• Increase support of lgbt interests on campus, support the activities of lgbt and lgbta campus groups, and help effect positive change in campus policy and programming.

Members of Kaleidoscope are encouraged to “join the group from your college, university, or seminary and to start making engaging connections” using the following list of college and seminary links provided to get to their sites:

• Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
• Bethany Theological Seminary
• Bethel College
• Bluffton College
• Bridgewater College
• Canadian Mennonite University
• Conrad Grebel University College
• Eastern Mennonite Seminary
• Eastern Mennonite University
• Elizabethtown College
• Goshen College
• Hesston College
• Juniata College
• Manchester College
• McPherson College
• University of La Verne

This coming May, the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests is offering a safe space for families with lgbtq members and for individuals who identify as lgbtq:

Connecting Families East Retreat
May 15-17, 2015
Laurelville Mennonite Church Center
Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania
Communicating a Theology of Holy Inclusion
Connecting Families East welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and their families and allies. Connecting Families weekend is intended to be a safe, relaxing time to share our common thoughts regarding sexual minority issues as they affect our families, our friends, our churches, and ourselves.
We are a group of people, each on our own journey. Through listening and sharing our stories, we seek to provide support for families whose children are coming out to them and/or to their church. We are committed to maintaining confidentiality within the group, to providing a place to speak in safety or to remain silent, and to sharing in a non-judgmental atmosphere. As a group, we work to find ways to educate and engage our churches in dialogue and to help them understand and accept our families.
Loren L Johns will share his journey toward affirming LGBTQ persons in the church and offer assistance in reading the Bible with people who have varying perspectives on inclusivity. He is Professor of New Testament at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana and author of “Homosexuality and the Bible: A Case Study in the Use of the Bible for Ethics.” Loren is passionate about teaching and studying the Bible. Prior to joining the Seminary in 2000, he was a pastor, theology book editor and college Bible professor.

A panel of LGBTQ persons will discuss their vision for a more affirming and inclusive church. Panel members include Theo Baer, Michelle Burkholder, Dwayne Hess, and Kelli Holsopple.

Matthew Hunsburger will coordinate times of singing together. He serves as Seminary Music Coordinator, assisting with chapel and other worship services at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and assists in directing EMU’s Chamber Singers.

(www.bmclgbt.org/ConnectingFamiliesEastRetreatMay15-222015.shtml)

Another Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests project underway to ‘help churches become more inclusive’ is a series of training events:

Welcoming Church Trainings – Building an Inclusive Church
A Training Resource for Congregations Affiliated with:
• Alliance of Baptists
• American Baptist Convention
• Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
• Church of the Brethren
• Community of Christ
• Mennonite Church USA
• Mennonite Church Canada

The link provided to this year’s training events brings you to The National LGBTQ Task Force, Institute for Welcoming Resources. The events are called:

Faith-Based Community Organizing
What if our welcome to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people sparked a renewal of our entire community’s faith life
(www.welcomingresources.org/communityorg.htm)

Related:

Gay advocacy group gets $150,000 grant
http://mennoworld.org/2015/03/02/news/gay-advocacy-group-gets-150000-grant/

____________

The above information has been provided merely to inform, bring awareness to, and spark concern in the hearts of those who love the Lord Jesus, believe His Word is true, and are called to pray in these perilous times for this generation.

As the church slides. . .

*NEW: Note: Tony Campolo’s pathway of choice had led him to accept homosexuality in the church:
Tony Campolo Comes Out of Closet in Support of ‘Full Acceptance’ of Homosexuality in Church
http://www.submergingchurch.com/2015/06/10/tony-campolo-comes-out-of-closet-in-support-of-full-acceptance-of-homosexuality-in-church/

Also related in the world. . .

*A SNEAKY LITTLE LETTER SHOWS HOW THE LGBTQ IS MINISTERING TO KIDS
http://standupforthetruth.com/2015/06/a-sneaky-little-letter-shows-how-the-lgbtq-is-ministering-to-kids/

*AMERICAN PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE OFFICIALLY GAY
http://standupforthetruth.com/2015/06/american-public-schools-are-officially-gay/

*“SUPREME COURT” VOTES FOR WRATH OF GOD UPON AMERICA
http://standupforthetruth.com/2015/06/supreme-court-votes-for-wrath-of-god-upon-america/

*NIGHT IS FALLING
The real agenda – marginalize Christians
Olive Tree Ministries
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com

***NEW: Also see:

A Public Service Announcement Regarding Goshen and EMU.
https://mennoknight.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/a-public-service-announcement-regarding-goshen-and-emu/#more-5371

Is Positive Biblical?

A positive space to speak out
Churches hear stories of gender and sexual diversity

Story and Photos by Rachel Bergen
Special to Canadian Mennonite
SASKATOON, SASK.

It was a “magical” and “spirit-filled” Jan. 24 evening for many who attended a Wildwood Mennonite Church event, held to provide a positive space for members of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/ transgender/queer (LGBTQ) community, family and friends to tell their stories and be vulnerable with each other. Some people felt safe to share publicly, even those who have had no connection to a church in many years.
Krista Loewen, a pastor of Wildwood Mennonite Church, was one of the organizers of the event. “There are so many misunderstandings and assumptions about people that are prevalent during discussions on sexuality,” she said. “We wanted to create a space for people to actually learn what it is like to be a part of this marginalized community.”

More here:

http://www.canadianmennonite.org/articles/positive-space-speak-out

Related:

ROB BELL: WE’RE MOMENTS AWAY FROM THE CHURCH EMBRACING GAY MARRIAGE
http://standupforthetruth.com/2015/02/rob-bell-moments-away-church-embracing-gay-marriage/

Saskatoon gay couple 1st to be married in Mennonite church
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/saskatoon-gay-couple-1st-to-be-married-in-mennonite-church/

Year in review: Sexuality issues test unity
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/year-in-review-sexuality-issues-test-unity/

Where will the Same-Sex Conversation Lead?
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/where-will-the-same-sex-conversation-lead/

Mennonite Brethren still okay with Brian McLaren

It appears that the Mennonites are still praising the false teachings and ‘beautifully poetic moving’ ideas of Brian McLaren. In the Cross Currents section of the February 2015 issue of the MB Herald is a book review of the newest Brian McLaren book called We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation and Activation. The review is written by Brad Sumner, regular writer for the MB Herald and pastor at a Mennonite Brethren church plant (Jericho Ridge, B.C. Canada). A mixture of light criticism and praise, the review leans toward applause and affirmation of the book’s commendable emphasis on spiritual formation among many other things – McLaren’s approach to scripture, emphasis on justice and nonresistance that resonates with the Mennonite Brethren, caring for creation, and enough ‘skillfully phrased’ family/child inclusive questions to sustain conversations for a year. The following excerpt is from the review:

Concerning reorientation toward the Bible

What will likely create some tension, however, is the elasticity with which McLaren treats the Bible itself. For him, Scripture seems to be an allegory of possibilities where factual truth and actual truth become interchangeable and sometimes intermingled.
McLaren has a tendency to denigrate biblical authority to make a contemporary point. For example, when discussing violence in the Old Testament, he indicates that “in the minds of the originators of these stories, God as they understood God did indeed command these things.” He goes on to suggest that what is truly important is how we understand God, not necessarily how the original writers or hearers heard or understood him…
As Mennonite Brethren, we have a very different outlook, as expressed in Article 2 of our CCMBC Confession of Faith: “We accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God and the authoritative guide for faith and practice.”

Community emphasis on activation

For those with an already firm view of biblical authority, the book holds wonderful benefit for personal contemplative reading…I could see the material being used as a post-Alpha learning circle that meets weekly to journey deeper into the themes of Scripture.
…on the whole, the book is pithy and full of vitality and worthwhile topics for conversation along the road.

Source:
http://mbherald.com/we-make-road-walking/

Why recommend ANY teacher who does not submit to the Bible as the inspired Word of God? Why promote the ‘skillfully phrased’ (some might say “hissed”) questions of a false teacher as a good source for teaching children and new Christians?

This review by Pastor Sumner, an avid reader and prolific blogger, is also posted at his blog Leadership Confessions, where admiration for Brian McLaren, whom Sumner calls “a sometimes controversial author and public theologian,” is expressed more than once. Previous book reviews and author promotions on his blog include (among many others) many such “controversial” authors. Such as Danny Silk of Bethel Church, Henri Nouwen, Parker Palmer, George Fox, Kathleen Norris, Ann Voskamp, Leonard Sweet, Gary Thomas, and Larry Crabb. Sumner also refers to “The Emotionally Healthy Church”, by Peter Scazzero, and Shane Claiborne’s “Common Prayer – A Liturgy For Ordinary Radicals” as ‘helpful’ books. Also included among his many postings is a quote from Understanding the Ennegram (“Psychology without spirituality is arid and ultimately meaningless, while spirituality without grounding in psychological work leads to vanity and illusions”). Many of these are authors are leaders in the emerging church and contemplative spirituality movements. The Ennegram, which quite a few of them also promote, is an occult tool.

There is an old quote by Oscar Wilde, whose life turned out to be a tragic mess, that goes like this: “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” Sadly, many of today’s pastors and Christian leaders read more books off the shelf than they do the books of the Bible.

“And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Ecclesiastes 12:12

It is time to weep and pray for the pastors.

“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4

__________

Related:

*Find out more about Mennonites and McLaren’s book here:

McLaren’s New Book – A New Kind of Year Long Church Curriculum
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/mclarens-new-book-a-new-kind-of-year-long-church-curriculum/

*Learn more about McLaren’s Bible interpretation methods and plans to influence children, here:

Muddy Emerging Convergence in Sunday School Curriculum
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/muddy-emerging-convergence-in-sunday-school-curriculum/

Note: to read previous articles on this blog about Mennonite and their enchantment with Brian McLaren, enter his name in the search box.

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