1963 mennonite confession of faith

1963 mennonite confession of faith DEFAULT

Mennonite Confession of Faith, 1963

Mennonite Confession of Faith

Adopted by Mennonite General Conference August 22, 1963

Preamble

The Mennonite Church, begun in Switzerland in 1525, was a part of the Reformation which attempted to restore the New Testament church. We conceive the church to be a body of regenerated believers, a fellowship of holy pilgrims baptized upon confession of faith in Christ. As committed believers we seek to follow the way of Christian love and nonresistance, and to live separate from the evil of the world. We earnestly endeavor to make Christian disciples of all the nations.

In its beliefs the Mennonite Church is bound ultimately to the Holy Scriptures, not to any human formulation of doctrine. We regard this present confession as a restatement of the Eighteen Articles adopted at Dordrecht in the Netherlands in 1632 and of the other statements adopted by our church. In this expression of our faith we sincerely accept the lordship of Jesus Christ and the full authority of the written Word of God, the Bible, and seek to promote the unity of the brotherhood, to safeguard sound doctrine and life, and to serve as a testimony to others.

  • Scriptures cited after each article are representative, but not exhaustive.

Article 1. God and His Attributes

We believe in almighty God, the eternal Spirit who is infinite in His attributes of holiness, love, righteousness, truth, power, goodness, and mercy. This one and only God has revealed Himself as existing eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Father

We believe that God is the Creator of all things, a God of providence, and the Author of our salvation through Christ. Although He is too great to be comprehended by the human mind, through Christ we can truly know Him. In redeeming love He entered into a covenant relationship with Abraham, later with the people of Israel, and has now made through Christ an eternal covenant in which He offers to the human race the forgiveness of sins and the blessings of divine sonship to those who will repent and believe.

The Son

We believe in Jesus Christ the divine Son of God, who was with the Father from all eternity, who for our salvation took upon Himself human nature, and who by His redemptive death and resurrection conquered the forces of sin and Satan and atoned for the sins of mankind. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, and in God's redemptive purpose was crucified. He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now as Lord and Christ at the right hand of the Father intercedes for the saints. He is the Lord and Saviour of all Christian believers, and the coming judge of the living and the dead. We believe in His full deity and full humanity according to the Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit

We believe in the Holy Spirit, who was sent by the Father and the Son to bring to individuals the redemption of Christ. We believe in His personality as set forth in the Scriptures: that He loves, searches, testifies, guides, empowers, and intercedes for the saints.

Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; Matthew 22:37; John 1:18; John 3:16; Romans 8:1-17; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 11:6.*

Article 2. Divine Revelation

We believe that the God of creation and redemption has revealed Himself and His will for men in the Holy Scriptures, and supremely and finally in His incarnate Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God's purpose in this revelation is the salvation of all men. Although God's power and deity are revealed in His creation, so that the nations are without excuse, this knowledge of Him cannot save men, for it cannot make Christ known. God revealed Himself in saving word and deed to Israel as recorded in the Old Testament; He fulfilled this revelation of Himself in the word and deed of Christ as recorded in the New Testament. We believe that all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, that men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. We accept the Scriptures as the authoritative Word of God, and through the Holy Spirit as the infallible Guide to lead men to faith in Christ and to guide them in the life of Christian discipleship.

We believe that the Old Testament and the New Testament together constitute the Word of God, that the Old Covenant was preparatory, that its institutions were temporary in character, and that the New Covenant in Christ is the fulfillment of the Old. We believe that the Old Testament writings are inspired and profitable, and as the divine word of promise are to be interpreted in conjunction with the divine act of fulfillment recorded in the New. Christian doctrine and practice are based upon the whole Word of God, the word of promise of the Old Covenant as fulfilled in the New.

The message of the Bible points to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to Him that the Scriptures of the Old Testament bear witness, and He is the One whom the Scriptures of the New Testament proclaim. He is the key to the proper understanding of the entire Bible.

Psalm 19; Luke 24:27, 44; John 1:1-16; John 20:31; Romans 1:19, 20; 2 Timothy 3:15, 16; Hebrews 1:1, 2; Hebrews 8:6, 7; 1 John 1:1-5.

Article 3. God's Creation and Providence

We believe that in the beginning God created all things by His Son, and that all existence is therefore finite and dependent upon God, the Source and End of all things visible and invisible. He created man in His own image, which set man apart from the animal creation. In free will, moral character, superior intellect, and spiritual nature, man bore the image of his Creator.

In His providence God is concerned with the lives of His children, and in everything works for their eternal good. He hears and answers their prayers. By Jesus Christ He upholds the entire creation. He is Sovereign over all things, but He is not the author of sin. He has endowed man with the power of self-determination, and He holds him responsible for his moral choices.

Genesis1:1, 26, 27; Psalm 139:7-12; Matthew 10:29; John 1:3; Romans 8:28; Colossians 1:16, 17; James 5:16.

Article 4. Man and His Sin

We believe that God created man sinless and holy, and subjected man to a moral test as a means of bringing him to full spiritual maturity. Man yielded, however, to the temptation of Satan and by willful disobedience to God failed to maintain that holy condition in which he had been created. This sin brought depravity and death to the race, Although men are sinners by nature because of Adam's fall, they are not guilty of his sin. Those who perish eternally do so only because of their own sin. The most grievous sin is the stubborn refusal to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. As a fallen creature man is self-centered, self-willed, rebellious toward God, unwilling to yield to Christ, unable to break with sin, and under divine judgment.

We believe that children are born with a nature which will manifest itself as sinful as they mature. When they come to know themselves to be responsible to God, they must repent and believe in Christ in order to be saved. Before the age when children are accountable to God, their sins are atoned for through the sacrifice of Christ. Jesus Himself assured us that children are in the kingdom of God.

Genesis 1:27, 31; Genesis 3:1-19; Matthew 18:1-14; Luke 18:16; Romans 5:12-21; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:10.

Article 5. Christ, the Saviour from Sin

We believe that there is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. The purpose of the incarnation of God's eternal Son was to redeem men from sin and death, to destroy the power and works of the devil, and to reconcile men to God. As a prophet, the Lord Jesus not only proclaimed God's Word; He was in His very person the Word of God. As a priest, He Himself was the sacrifice for sin, and now makes intercession with the Father for the saints. As our risen Lord and King He is vested with all authority in heaven and on earth.

In His life the Lord Jesus demonstrated perfectly the will of God. Although tempted in all points as we are, yet He never sinned. Through the shedding of His blood He inaugurated the New Covenant, broke the power of sin for those who exercise faith in Him, and triumphed over Satan. By His resurrection from the dead, Christ accomplished the full justification of those who believe in Him. By faith each believer is united with the risen and glorified Christ, the Lord of glory.

Luke 19:10; John 1:1; Acts 2:33; Romans 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 2:15; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:14, 15; Hebrews 4:15; 7:11.

Article 6. Salvation by Grace through Faith

We believe that men are saved, not by character, law, good works, or ceremonies, but by the grace of God. The merits of the death and resurrection of Christ are adequate for the salvation of all men, are offered to all, and are intended for all. Salvation is appropriated by faith in Christ. From all eternity God knew who would be the believers in Christ, and these persons foreknown as believers are elect according to the foreknowledge of God. Those who repent and believe in Christ as Saviour and Lord receive the gift of righteousness, are born again, and are adopted into the family of God. Saving faith involves the giving of the self to Christ, a full surrender of the will, a confident trust in Him, a joyful obedience to His Word as a faithful disciple, and an attitude of love to all men. It is the privilege of every believer to have the assurance of salvation. The God who saves is also able to keep each believer unto a happy end in Christ. As long as the believer lives, he stands in need of the forgiveness, cleansing, and grace of Christ.

John 3:16; John 10:27-29; Romans 4; Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 1:8-10; 1 John 5:13; Jude 24.

Article 7. The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life

We believe that Christ as Lord and Saviour does His work through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin. Through the Holy Spirit those who believe are born again. The supreme ministry of the Spirit is to lead men to Christ and His salvation. As Christians yield to Christ and obey His Word, the Holy Spirit transforms them into the spiritual image of Jesus Christ, and enables perseverance in faith and holiness. He empowers them as effective witnesses to Christ and His salvation, fills their hearts with love for all men, and moves them to practice Christian discipleship. The Holy Spirit bestows upon each believer such gifts as He wills for the building up of the body of Christ. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is God's seal of ownership of the Christian believer. He is God's guarantee that He will also redeem the bodies of believers on the day of Christ.

John 16:7-15; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-21; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 12:11-13; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 1:13, 14; Ephesians 5:30.

Article 8. The Church of Christ

Nature

We believe that God's redemptive work in history has led to the establishment of the Christian church. Christ established His church when He poured out His Spirit on the day of Pentecost. In preparation for this church He entered into covenant relationships with Abraham and his seed. Today the spiritual "seed of Abraham" are those who have faith in Christ, the people of God, the body of Christ, composed of believers from all races and nations. The church is the fellowship of those who are in the kingdom of Christ, the assembly of those who believe in Him, the brotherhood of the saints. The church is corporately the dwelling place of God in the Spirit, His holy temple. It is the visible body of those who are Christian disciples. Membership in the church is dependent upon a voluntary response to God's offer of salvation in Christ.

The primary unit of the church is the local assembly of believers. It is in the congregation that the work of teaching, witnessing, and disciplining is carried on. In order to maintain the unity of the church it is Scriptural and profitable for congregational representatives to meet together in conferences. The concern for the welfare of the whole church calls for Spirit-led conferences to assist local congregations in maintaining Biblical standards of faith, conduct, stewardship, and missions. The decisions of such conferences should be respected by the individual congregations and members.

Function

It is the function of the church to demonstrate to the world the will of God, to witness to all men of the saving power and intention of God in Christ, and to make disciples of all the nations. The church seeks to lead all men to the obedience of faith. Believers unite in the church for instruction and nurture, for worship, for inclusion in the witnessing and evangelizing body of Christ, for the observance of the ordinances, for Christian fellowship, and for the discipline of the Word and the Spirit of God. The Spirit leads the church to discover the gifts which He has bestowed upon the members for the building up of the body. The church has the obligation to speak authoritatively on God's will. It shall listen to the Word of God and obey it in the moral and spiritual conflicts of each era of history.

The church is called to be a brotherhood under the lordship of Jesus Christ, a loving fellowship of brethren and sisters who are concerned for the total welfare, both spiritual and material, of one another. This concern results in the attempt to help the erring brother find the right path; it includes sharing generously both financial aid and the word of encouragement, and a willingness to give and receive counsel.

Discipline

We believe that the Lord Jesus has given authority to His church to exercise discipline. The purposes of discipline are to lead each member to full stature in Christ, to restore to full fellowship the members who fall into sin, to clarify for all members the meaning of Christian discipleship, to promote the purity of the church, to warn the weak and immature of the serious character of sin and disobedience to God's Word, and to maintain the good name and witness of the church before the world. In this work the church employs public teaching, private counseling, intercessory prayer, earnest warning and rebuke, and sympathetic encouragement. If disobedience persists, the church may withhold the right to commune until the individual repents. And the church must, with a deep sense of loss, recognize that the one who goes on to full apostasy and spiritual ruin has severed his relation with Christ and His body. The standard in church discipline is the Word of God as interpreted by the brotherhood. The entire congregation should share in the work of discipline and seek earnestly to win the fallen member.

Ceremonies and Practices

The Lord Jesus and His apostles instituted ordinances for the church to observe permanently as symbols of Christian truths. The apostolic church literally observed them. Among these are baptism with water, the communion of the Lord's Supper, the washing of the saints' feet, the holy kiss, the laying-on of hands in ordination, the veiling of Christian women, the anointing of the sick with oil, and the institution of Christian marriage. When the church observes ordinances as expressions of a heart of faith, divine blessings are received, and a Christian witness is given.

Since the Lord Jesus arose from the dead on the first day of the week, the Christian church, following apostolic precedent, observes the first day of each week in memory of the Lord's resurrection.

The Church and Healing

We believe that the church should exercise a ministry of prayer for those who are in need. Prayer for the sick may be accompanied by a symbolic anointing with oil by the elders of the church. In response to the prayer of faith, and in accordance with His will, God heals in various ways, through the use of the healing arts, or by direct intervention. When healing does not occur, we believe that God's grace is sufficient. The full redemption of the body will come only at the return of Christ.

Exodus 2:24; 24:8; Matthew 5:13, 14, 23, 24; Matthew 18:15-18; Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 15; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 5:11-13; 2 Corinthians 2:6-11; 2 Corinthians 3:2; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Galatians 3:6-9; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 2:11-22;Ephesians 4:13; 1 Timothy 5:20; James 2:14-17; James 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:9.

Article 9. The Mission of the Church to Society

We believe that Christ has commissioned the church to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe His commandments. Jesus entrusted to the church the stewardship of the Gospel, and promised the power of the Holy Spirit for the work of evangelism and missions. This ministry of reconciliation is inherent in the very nature of the church. The church is interested not only in the spiritual welfare of men but in their total wellbeing. Jesus Himself fed the hungry, healed the sick, and had compassion on the poor. The church should likewise minister to those who are in physical or social need and to those who are physically or emotionally ill. The church should witness against racial discrimination, economic injustice, and all forms of human slavery and moral degradation.

Amos 5:21-24; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 6:56; Romans 1:16; Romans 8:23.

Article 10. The Ministers of the Church

We believe that it is the intention of Christ that there should be shepherds in His congregations to feed the flock, to serve as leaders, to expound the Word of God, to administer the ordinances, to exercise, in co-operation with the congregation, a Scriptural church discipline, and in general to function as servants of the church. Ordination is accompanied by a laying-on of hands, symbolic of the church assigning responsibility and of God imparting strength for the assignment. In addition to the primary office of apostle, in the New Testament church there were such gifts as prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The early church had regional overseers such as Timothy, and bishops (pastors) and deacons in the local congregations. Upon the pastors lay the responsibility for the leadership and pastoral care of the congregations, and the deacons served as their helpers. In each era of the life of the church , Christ through His Spirit seeks to lead the church to adapt its organization to the needs of time and place. The church is a brotherhood, and its organizational structure should insure the full participation of the members with their spiritual gifts in its life and discipline. It is the duty of the church to give financial support to those whom it asks to serve as evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

Matthew 23:8; Matthew 28:19; Acts 15:6; Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 9:14; Ephesians 4:11, 12; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:2, 3.

Article 11. Christian Baptism

We believe in obeying the instruction of the Lord Jesus to baptize believers with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In order to qualify for baptism one must repent, turn to Christ in sincere faith, and accept Him as Lord. We regard water baptism as an ordinance of Christ which symbolizes the baptism of the Holy Spirit, divine cleansing from sin and its guilt, identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and the commitment to follow Him in a life of faithful discipleship. Since baptism with the Holy Spirit is a pouring out, we generally practice pouring as our mode of water baptism.

Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:16-21; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Peter 3:21.

Article 12. The Lord's Supper

We believe in observing the communion of the Lord's Supper as an ordinance instituted by Jesus Christ to symbolize the New Covenant. We recognize the bread and the cup as symbols commemorating Christ's broken body and shed blood, of our spiritual life in Him, and of the spiritual unity and fellowship of the body of Christ. Each believer shall examine himself so as not to partake of the sacred emblems carelessly or while living in sin. The church shall invite to the Lord's table only those who have peace with God and with their fellow men, and who share the faith of the church. The Lord's Supper shall be observed faithfully until the Lord comes.

Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 5:13; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 11:24, 26.

Article 13. Symbols of Christian Brotherhood

We believe in the observance of the washing of the saints' feet as an ordinance instituted by the Lord Jesus. By His example Christ rebuked the pride and rivalry of the apostles and showed them that Christian discipleship involves obedience to His lordship and loving service. This ordinance reminds us of the brotherhood character of the church, of our mutual duty to serve and admonish one another, and of our need for continuous cleansing in our daily walk. In the New Testament the holy kiss and the right hand of fellowship are also symbols of Christian love in the church of Christ.

Luke 22:24; John 13:1-17; Romans 16:16; Galatians 2:9; 1 Timothy 5:10.

Article 14. Symbols of Christian Order

We believe that in their relation to the Lord men and women are equal, for in Christ there is neither male nor female. But in the order of creation God has fitted man and woman for differing functions; man has been given a primary leadership role, while the woman is especially fitted for nurture and service. Being in Christ does not nullify these natural endowments, either in the home or in the church. The New Testament symbols of man's headship are to be his short hair and uncovered head while praying or prophesying, and the symbols of woman's role are her long hair and her veiled head. The acceptance by both men and women of the order of creation in no way limits their rightful freedom, but rather ensures their finding the respective roles in which they can most fruitfully and happily serve.

Genesis 2:18-25; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; Galatians 3:28.

Article 15. Marriage and the Home

We believe that at the beginning of human history God instituted marriage. He ordained that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two shall become one in love and mutual submission. It is God's will that marriage be a holy state, monogamous, and for life. It is also fully acceptable to God to serve Christ unmarried. Marriage was instituted for the happiness of the husband and wife and for the procreation and Christian nurture of children. Christians shall marry only in the Lord, and for the sake of spiritual unity in the home they should become members of the same congregation. The Christian home ought regularly to have family worship, to seek faithfully to live according to the Word of God, and to support loyally the church in its mission. We believe it is appropriate for parents to pledge themselves to the faithful Christian nurture of their children.

Genesis 1:27, 28; Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Ephesians 6:1, 4.

Article 16. Discipleship and Nonconformity

We believe that there are two opposing kingdoms to which men give their spiritual allegiance, that of Christ and that of Satan. Those who belong to Satan's kingdom live for sin and self, and refuse the obedience of faith. The kingdom of Christ is composed of those who have been born again and who have entered into, a faith union with the Lord Jesus Christ. In them the fruit of the Spirit is in evidence. They recognize the lordship of Christ, and perform all manner of good works. They seek for holiness of heart, life, and speech, and refuse any unequal yoke with unbelievers. They manifest only love toward those of. other races, cultures, and economic levels. They regard their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit and crucify their flesh with its affections and lusts. They therefore avoid such things as harmful drugs, beverage alcohol, and tobacco. We believe that their adornment should be a beauty of spirit, expressed in attire that is modest, economical, simple, and becoming to those professing Christian faith. They should seek to be Christian in their stewardship of money and possessions. Their recreational life should be consistent with the Christian walk. Through the Spirit they should put off the old man and put on the new.

Matthew 7:13, 14; Luke 9:23-26; Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 6:12, 19; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 4:20-32; Colossians 1:13; 1 Timothy 2.9, 10; 1 Peter 3:3, 4.

Article 17. Christian Integrity

We believe that it is a major Christian obligation to be strictly truthful and transparent in life and doctrine, with no secrecy or hypocrisy. The Lord Jesus Christ has forbidden to His followers the use of any and all oaths, because of the finite limitations of human beings, and the obligation always to speak the truth. In legal matters we therefore simply affirm the truth. We are opposed to membership in secret societies or lodges, because such membership would involve an unequal yoke with unbelievers, and because these organizations employ hierarchical titles, require oaths, stand for organized secrecy, and may offer salvation on grounds other than faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that it is in the church that we should find love, fellowship, and security.

Matthew 5:33-37; Matthew 23:7-10, 16-22; John 18:20; Acts 4:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; James 5:12.

Article 18. Love and Nonresistance

We believe that it is the will of God for His children to follow Christian love in all human relationships. Such a life of love excludes retaliation and revenge. God pours His love into the hearts of Christians so that they desire the welfare of all men. The supreme example of nonresistance is the Lord Jesus Himself. The teaching of Jesus not to resist him who is evil requires the renunciation by His disciples of all violence in human relations. Only love must be shown to all men. We believe that this applies to every area of life: to personal injustice, to situations in which people commonly resort to litigation, to industrial strife, and to international tensions and wars. As nonresistant Christians we cannot serve in any office which employs the use of force. Nor can we participate in military service, or in military training, or in the voluntary financial support of war. But we must aggressively, at the risk of life itself, do whatever we can for the alleviation of human distress and suffering.

Matthew 5:38-48; John 18:36; Romans 5:5; Romans 12:18-21; 1 Corinthians 6:1-8; 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4; James 2:8; 1 Peter 2:23; 1 Peter 4:1.

Article 19. The Christian and the State

We believe that the state is ordained of God to maintain law and order. We seek to obey the New Testament commands to render honor to the authorities, to pay our taxes, to obey all laws which do not conflict with the higher law of God, and to pray for our rulers. The church should also witness to, the authorities of God's redeeming love in Christ, and of His sovereignty over all men. In law enforcement the state does not and cannot operate on the nonresistant principles of Christ's kingdom. Therefore, nonresistant Christians cannot undertake any service in the state or in society which would violate the principles of love and holiness as taught by Christ and His inspired apostles.

Acts 4:19; 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 1:20-22; Ephesians 5:23; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2.

Article 20. The Final Consummation

We believe that in addition to the physical order with which our senses are related, there also exists an eternal spiritual order, the realm of God, of Christ, of the Holy Spirit, of the angels, and of the church triumphant. We believe that at death the righteous enter at once into conscious joy and fellowship with Christ, while the wicked are in a state of conscious suffering. The church militant lives and witnesses in this present evil world, a world in which apostasy from God is to become even more pronounced. The church also looks forward with hope to the day of the Lord, to the personal return of Christ, and the glorious future of the kingdom of God. In His triumphant Second Coming Christ will judge Satan, and usher in the consummation of all things. His coming will introduce the resurrection, the transformation of the living saints, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of His glorious reign. He will deliver the kingdom to God the Father, cleanse the world by fire, create new heavens and a new earth, consign unbelievers to eternal punishment, and usher His children into the eternal bliss of the world to come.

Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:34, 41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:22, 23; John 5:22; 1 Corinthians 15:24, 35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:4; 1 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 3:3-13; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 21:4; Revelation 22:3.

May God enable us all to attain His eternal kingdom prepared for us from the foundation of the world, that with His blessed Son we may enjoy fullness of life for ever and ever.


Background to the Confession

As early as 1527 the Swiss Anabaptists adopted the Schleitheim Confession of Faith. In the following century the European Mennonites wrote many confessions of faith, one of the most influential being that of Dordrecht, 1632. The Dordrecht Confession was adopted at a conference of Pennsylvania Mennonite ministers in 1725, and continued until the 1960s as the official statement of doctrine of the Mennonite Church (MC).

In 1921 Mennonite General Conference, the deliberative body for that denomination, adopted a statement on the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith consisting of eighteen articles. But in the 1950s the view developed that it was time to draw up a new confession of faith, not to repudiate earlier confessions, but to restate the doctrinal position of the church in terms relevant to contemporary issues, and especially to incorporate the insights of the various doctrinal pronouncements of Mennonite General Conference.

Consequently in the biennial sessions of 1957, the Mennonite General Conference officially authorized the preparation of a new confession of faith. A committee was then appointed to take up the work. The committee sought to prepare a statement which was Biblical in character, rather than theological; positive, rather than polemical; and simple, rather than technical or philosophical. Members of the committee included Harold E. Bauman, chair; John C. Wenger, secretary; Clayton Beyler, John E. Lapp and Chester K. Lehman. Later Paul Erb was asked to assist in drafting. J.C. Wenger is generally credited as the primary drafter of the confession.

The semifinal draft was presented to the delegates of the 1963 sessions of the Mennonite General Conference. After discussion and final revisions, the new confession was unanimously adopted.

A summary form of the confession was also drafted, to be used as a responsive or unison reading.

Ironically aspects of the confession became controversial almost immediately. The articles teaching the prayer veiling for women soon faced rejection in parts of the denomination. Within two years of the acceptance of the Confession, the Mennonite Conference of Ontario ceased making wearing the prayer veiling a matter for discipline.

Reports submitted to Mennonite General Conference at Kalona, Iowa, August 20-23, 1963, 17-18.

We consider 1 Corinthians II: 1-16  prepared for the Mennonite Conference of Ontario Under the Direction of Its Executive Committee. Kitchener, ON : The Conference, 1965.

Author(s) Mennonite Church
Date Published 1963

MLA style

Mennonite Church, . "Mennonite Confession of Faith, 1963." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1963. Web. 19 Oct 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Confession_of_Faith,_1963&oldid=100737.

APA style

Mennonite Church, . (1963). Mennonite Confession of Faith, 1963. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 October 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Confession_of_Faith,_1963&oldid=100737.



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Fellowship Of Concerned Mennonites

Confession of Faith

The Mennonite Church began in Switzerland in 1525. It was a part of the Reformation which attempted, in accord with biblical principles, to revive and restore New Testament Christianity.

As early as 1527, the Swiss Anabaptists adopted the Schleitheim Confession of Faith. In the following century, the European Mennonites wrote many confessions of faith, one of the best being that of Dordrecht, 1632. This Dordrecht Confession was adopted at a conference of American Mennonite ministers in 1725.

This present Confession, reflecting current issues, is a re-statement of the Dordrecht Confession, the 1963 Confession, and other statements adopted by the Mennonite Church at various times. In this expression of our faith, we accept without reservation, Jesus Christ as the only Savior and Lord. Regarding the Bible, we accept it as the inerrant and fully inspired Word of God.

As Mennonites, we understand the Church to be a body of regenerated believers, a fellowship of holy pilgrims baptized upon confession of faith in Christ. As committed believers, we seek to follow the way of Christian love and nonresistance, and to live separate from the evils of the world. It is our earnest desire to make Christian disciples of all nations.

This Confession of Faith sets forth our position before the world and defines our relations with God and with one another.

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ARTICLE 1. GOD AND HIS ATTRIBUTES

II Cor. 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

I Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

We believe in the Almighty God, who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and unchanging, the Eternal Spirit who is infinite in His holiness, love, righteousness, truth, goodness and mercy. This One and only God has revealed Himself as existing eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Father

We believe that God is the Creator of all things visible and invisible, a God of providence and sovereignty, the Author of our salvation through Jesus Christ. Although He is too high and holy to be totally comprehended by the human mind, through Christ we can truly know Him. In redeeming love, He entered into a covenant relationship with Abraham, later with the people of Israel, and now through Jesus Christ has made an eternal covenant in which He offers to the human race the forgiveness of sins and the blessings of divine sonship to all those who will repent and believe.

The Son

We believe in Jesus Christ the divine Son of God, who was with the Father from all eternity, who for our salvation took upon Himself unfallen human nature, and who by His redemptive substitutionary death and resurrection conquered the forces of sin and Satan and atoned for the sins of mankind. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, and in the shedding of His blood on the cross fulfilled God’s redemptive purpose. He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now as High Priest seated at the right hand of the Father, intercedes for the saints. He is the Lord and Savior of all true believers, the coming Judge of the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom. We believe in His full deity and full humanity according to the Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit

We believe in the deity and personality of the Holy Spirit: that He convinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of the judgment; that He indwells and comforts believers, guides them into all truth, empowers them and bestows certain gifts upon them for service as He wills, and enables them to live lives of righteousness.

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ARTICLE 2. DIVINE REVELATION

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

II Timothy 3:15,16 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

We believe that the God of creation and redemption has revealed Himself and His will for men of all time in the Holy Scriptures. His supreme and final revelation is in His Incarnate Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the plenary and verbal inspiration of the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament, as the Word of God: that it is authentic in its matter, authoritative in its counsels, inerrant in its original writings, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We believe holy men of God moved by the Holy Spirit recorded and communicated divine truth without any mixture of error.

We believe in the unity of both covenants and that the New Covenant is the culmination and climax of all revelation. The Lord Jesus Christ is the central message of the Covenants. He is the key to the proper understanding of the entire Bible.

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ARTICLE 3. GOD’S CREATION AND PROVIDENCE

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Colossians 1:16, 17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

We believe the Genesis account of creation is a historic fact and literally true, that in the beginning God created all things by His Son, who upholds all things which were created for His pleasure. We believe God created man in His own image with free will, moral character, superior intellect, and a spiritual nature which sets him apart from the animal creation.

We believe that God by His providence is concerned with the lives of His children, in everything working for their eternal welfare by hearing and answering their prayers. Though He is sovereign over all things, He is not the author of sin. God holds man as a creature of free will responsible for his moral choices.

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ARTICLE 4. MAN AND HIS SIN

I Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Romans 5:12, 19 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

We believe that God created man and woman sinless and holy by an immediate act. Then He subjected them to a moral test. They yielded to the temptation of Satan, and by willful disobedience to God, failed to maintain that holy condition in which they were created. By this act of disobedience, depravity and death were brought upon the entire human race. Although the human race has inherited a sinful nature because of Adam’s original sin, yet they do not stand guilty of his disobedience. Those who perish eternally do so only because of their own sin. A most grievous sin is the refusal to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Man as a fallen creature is self-centered, self-willed, rebellious toward God, unwilling to yield to Christ, unable to break the bondage of sin, and is, therefore, under divine judgment.

We believe that as children mature, their sinful nature will be manifest. When they come to know themselves responsible to God, they then must repent and believe in Christ in order to be saved. During their age of innocence, the sins of children are atoned for through the sacrifice of Christ. Jesus Christ Himself assured us that children are in the kingdom of God.

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ARTICLE 5. CHRIST, THE SAVIOR FROM SIN

Hebrews 2:14, 15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

We believe that there is only one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. The purpose of the incarnation of God’s eternal Son is to redeem mankind from sin and death, to reconcile them to God and to destroy the power and works of the devil. As a prophet, the Lord Jesus not only proclaimed God’s Word, but He was also in His very person the eternal Word of God. As a priest, He Himself became the sacrifice for sin, and now makes intercession before the Father on behalf of all true believers. As our risen Lord and coming King, He is vested with all authority in heaven and on earth.

During His earthly life, the Lord Jesus demonstrated perfectly the will of God. While being tempted in all points as we are, He was without sin. Through the shedding of His blood, He provided the propitiatory sacrifice for sin and inaugurated the New Covenant. By His death, He triumphed over Satan and broke the power and bondage of sin for those who exercise faith in Him. By His resurrection from the dead, Christ accomplished the full justification of all those who truly believe in Him. By faith, each believer is kept united with the risen and glorified Christ, who is the Lord of glory.

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ARTICLE 6. SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We believe that one is saved by the grace of God and not by character, law, good works, or ceremonies. The merits of the death and resurrection of Christ are adequate for the salvation of all, offered to all, and intended for all. However, salvation is appropriated only by faith in Christ. Those who repent and believe in Christ as Savior and Lord are born again, adopted into the family of God, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Saving faith involves a full surrender of the will, a confident trust in Christ, the giving of self to Him, a joyful obedience to His Word as a faithful disciple, and an attitude of love to all people. It is the privilege of every believer to have the full assurance of salvation through the keeping power of God. As long as the believer lives, he stands in constant need of forgiveness, cleansing, and the grace of Christ.

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ARTICLE 7. THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

John 16:13, 14 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Ephesians 1:13,14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

We believe the supreme ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin and lead to salvation through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit transforms believers into the spiritual image of Jesus Christ as they yield to Him and obey His Word. The Spirit enables believers to persevere in faith and holiness, empowers them to be effective witnesses to Christ, fills their hearts with love for all men, and leads them in Christian discipleship. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is God’s seal of His ownership of the believer.

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ARTICLE 8. THE CHURCH OF CHRIST

Nature

We believe that Christ established His church when He poured out His Spirit on the day of Pentecost. We believe that the church is the body of Christ composed of all those who through repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ have been born again and have been baptized by one Spirit into one body. We believe that it is her divinely appointed mission to preach the Gospel of Christ to every creature, teaching obedience to all of Christ’s commands. The church is corporately the dwelling place of God, His holy temple, the visible body of those who are disciples. Membership in the church is conditioned upon a voluntary response to God’s offer of salvation in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:19-22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The primary worshiping and working unit of the church is a local assembly of believers for teaching, witnessing, and disciplining. It is scripturally profitable for congregational representatives to meet together in conferences in order to maintain biblical standards of faith, conduct, stewardship and missions. Such Spirit-led conference decisions should be adopted by the congregations as a means of maintaining unity in the brotherhood.

General Function

We believe the church is a body of believers under the lordship of Christ, a loving fellowship concerned for the spiritual and material welfare of one another. This means helping the erring ones, sharing generously, and being willing to give and receive counsel.

The church as the body of Christ gathers for worship, for fellowship, for the observance of the ordinances and for the building up of the body. Having heard and obeyed the Word of God, the church has the obligation to speak authoritatively regarding moral and spiritual issues.

Discipline

We believe the Lord Jesus Christ has given authority to His church to exercise discipline. The purposes of discipline are to clarify for all members the meaning of Christian discipleship, to lead each member to full stature in Christ, to promote the purity of the church, to warn the weak and immature of the serious character of sin and disobedience to God’s Word, to restore to full fellowship the members who may fall into sin, and to maintain the good name and witness of the church before the world. The church employs public teaching, private counseling, intercessory prayer, sympathetic encouragement, earnest warning and rebuke. Any member who persists in disobedience or maintains an unrepentant attitude shall be excluded from the Lord’s table. The Body of Christ, the church, senses a deep loss when anyone goes on to spiritual ruin and thereby forfeits his relationship with Christ and His body. The Word of God is the standard for church discipline.

Ceremonies and Practices

We believe the Lord Jesus and His apostles instituted ordinances for the church of all time to observe as expressions of divine truths. The apostolic church is the example of observing them literally. We believe these ordinances are: baptism with water, the Lord’s Supper, the washing of the saints’ feet, the holy kiss, the veiling of Christian women, the anointing of the sick with oil, and Christian marriage.

Since the Lord Jesus arose from the dead on the first day of the week, the Christian community in general has observed the first day of the week in appropriate worship, rest, and Christian service.

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ARTICLE 9. THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

We believe Jesus entrusted the church with the stewardship of the Gospel and promised the power of the Holy Spirit for the work of missions and evangelism. While the church’s primary interest is in the salvation and spiritual welfare of men, she should also minister to those who are in physical, social, and emotional need. The church should give appropriate witness against racial discrimination, economic injustice, and all other forms of human slavery and moral degradation, avoiding coercive tactics, political pressure and planned civil disobedience as inappropriate to the body of Christ.

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ARTICLE 10. THE MINISTERS OF THE CHURCH

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

I Peter 5:2, 3 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

We believe Christ authorized the ordination and appointment of men as pastors for the congregations, to expound the Word of God, to feed the flock, to serve as leaders, to administer the ordinances, to exercise scriptural church discipline, and to function as servant/leaders of the church. Ordination includes the setting apart for a particular responsibility by the church through the laying on of hands and the invocation of divine strength for the assignment. In the New Testament, the primary office was that of the apostle; others were gifted as prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The early church had regional overseers or bishops, such as Timothy, and pastors and deacons in the local congregations. These brethren were responsible for the leadership and pastoral care of the congregations and the maintenance of order in the church. We believe the New Testament provides us with the pattern of leadership for the continuing life of the church. Since the church is a brotherhood, the organizational structure shall insure the full participation of the members with their spiritual gifts. It is the scriptural duty of the church to give financial support to those whom it asks to serve as evangelists, pastors, and teachers. We believe that there is room in the church for both men and women, in their respective roles, to exercise their individual gifts.

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ARTICLE 11. CHRISTIAN BAPTISM

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

We believe water baptism to be an ordinance of Christ which symbolizes divine cleansing from sin and its guilt, identification with Christ in death and resurrection, the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the commitment to follow Christ in a life of faithful discipleship. Candidates for water baptism must repent, turn to Christ as Savior in sincere faith, and accept Him as Lord. Therefore, only believers (not infants) are to be baptized with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Since we consider baptism to be symbolic of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we also consider pouring to be a scriptural mode of baptism. By baptism, the applicant identifies as a member of the body of Christ and should identify with the local congregation.

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ARTICLE 12. THE LORD’S SUPPER

I Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

We believe the Lord’s Supper is an ordinance instituted by Jesus Christ to establish the New Covenant. We recognize the bread and the cup as symbols commemorating Christ’s broken body and shed blood. By observing the Lord’s Supper, we also symbolize our spiritual life in Him as well as the spiritual unity and fellowship of the body of Christ. Only those who have peace with God and with their fellowmen and who share in the faith of the church should be invited to the Lord’s table. All believers should examine themselves and avoid partaking of the sacred emblems carelessly or while living in sin. The Lord’s Supper should be regularly and faithfully observed until the Lord returns.

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ARTICLE 13. SYMBOLS OF CHRISTIAN BROTHERHOOD

Romans 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

John 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

We believe the washing of the saints’ feet is an ordinance instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ to be observed by His followers. By observing this ordinance we are reminded of the brotherhood character of the church, of our mutual duty to love, to serve, and to admonish one another, and of our need for continuous cleansing in our daily walk. The holy kiss and the right hand of fellowship are also New Testament symbols of Christian love in the church of Christ.

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ARTICLE 14. SYMBOLS OF CHRISTIAN ORDER

Genesis 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

I Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

We believe in the order of creation God has fitted man and woman for different functions. Man has been given a primary leadership role; woman is especially fitted for nurture and service. We believe that, in their relation to the Lord, men and women are equal, for in Christ there is neither male nor female. Being in Christ does not nullify their natural endowments, either in the home or in the church. The New Testament symbols of man’s headship are his short hair and uncovered head while praying or prophesying, and the symbols of woman’s role are her naturally long hair and her veiled (covered) head. The acceptance by both men and women of the order of creation in no way limits their freedom in Christ but rather ensures their finding the respective role in which they can most fruitfully and happily serve the Lord.

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ARTICLE 15. MARRIAGE AND THE HOME

Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Mark 10:9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

We believe God instituted only heterosexual marriage at the beginning of human history according to the Genesis account of creation. By this He ordained that man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they two shall become one flesh in love and mutual submission. It is God’s will that marriage be monogamous, holy, and indissoluble, except by death. Christians should marry only in the Lord, and for the sake of spiritual unity in the home they should become members of the same congregation. Marriage was instituted for the happiness of the husband and the wife and for the procreation and Christian nurture of children. The Christian family ought to have family worship regularly, to seek to live faithfully according to the teaching of the Word of God, and to support loyally the church in her mission. It is essential for parents to pledge themselves to the faithful Christian nurture of their children. The married and unmarried can serve Christ acceptably.

We believe that practicing homosexuals and lesbians are in direct violation of the Word of God.

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ARTICLE 16. DISCIPLESHIP AND NONCONFORMITY

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Romans 12:1, 2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We believe that followers of Christ are called with a holy calling to a life of separation from the world and its follies, its sinful practices and methods. Followers of Christ recognize the lordship of Christ. They seek for holiness of heart, life, and speech, and refuse any unequal yoke with unbelievers. They regard their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit and crucify their flesh with its affections and lusts. Therefore, they will avoid such things as harmful drugs, beverage alcohol, and tobacco. Their adornment should be a beauty of spirit, expressed in attire that is modest, economical, simple, and becoming to those professing Christian faith. They will avoid the wearing of makeup or jewelry, and the blurring of sex distinction in attire and hair styles. They will follow the biblical principles in their stewardship of money and possessions. They will avoid the excesses of the unbelieving world in the areas of leisure entertainment and recreation, especially professional sports.

Followers of Christ also believe there are two opposing kingdoms to which one may give allegiance, that of Christ or that of Satan. Those who belong to Satan’s kingdom live for sin and self, refusing obedience to Christ, instead giving expression to the works of the flesh.

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ARTICLE 17. CHRISTIAN INTEGRITY

Matthew 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

II Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

We believe that it is a major Christian obligation to be strictly truthful and transparent in life and doctrine, with no secrecy or hypocrisy. The Lord Jesus Christ has forbidden to His followers the use of any and all oaths, because of the infinite limitations of human beings and the obligation always to speak the truth. In legal matters, we therefore simply affirm the truth. We are opposed to membership in secret societies or lodges, because such membership often involves an unequal yoke with unbelievers and because these organizations employ hierarchical titles, require oaths, stand for organized secrecy, and may seek to offer salvation on grounds other than faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe it is in the church that one can find love, fellowship and security.

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ARTICLE 18. LOVE AND NONRESISTANCE

Romans 12:20-21 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

We believe it is the will of God for His children to express divine love in all human relationships. God pours His love into the hearts of Christians so that they desire the welfare of all and express only love toward those of other races, cultures, and various economic levels. Such a life of love excludes retaliation, revenge, and prejudice.

Jesus Christ in His earthly life was the supreme example of love and nonresistance. The teaching of Jesus requires His disciples to renounce all violence in human relations. We believe this applies to every area of life–to personal injustice, to situations in which people commonly resort to litigation, to industrial strife, and to international tensions and wars.

As nonresistant Christians we cannot become involved in any situation or office which violates the New Testament principles of peace and nonresistance. Therefore, we cannot participate in military service, in military training, or in the voluntary/financial support of war. On the other hand, consistent with the teachings of Jesus and at the risk of life itself, we must do whatever we can for the alleviation of human distress and suffering. We must remember that the basic human problem is spiritual alienation from God because of sin; consequently, we should devote our resolute energies to reconciling people to God.

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ARTICLE 19. THE CHRISTIAN AND CIVIL GOVERNMENT

Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

We believe that the civil government is ordained of God to maintain law and order in society. We seek to obey the New Testament commands to render honor to the civil authorities, to pay our taxes, to obey all the laws which do not come into direct conflict with the higher law of God, and to pray for our rulers. The Christian is obligated to obey the civil laws which are not in direct violation of the higher law of God. The church should also witness to the civil authorities of God’s redeeming love in Christ and of His sovereignty over all men. However, “witnessing to the state” concerning matters affecting domestic or foreign policy is not within the realm of the church’s responsibility. Individual Christians are, however, permitted to speak to civil authorities in the form of pleas for consideration of clemency.

We believe there are more consistent ways of witnessing against public evil than participating in organized marches and coercive public demonstrations directed against actions, laws, or people considered to be out of harmony with Christian ethics. We are in proper order to accept protection from the government. We should not initiate court proceedings of a vindictive nature to avenge personal loss. Noting the character of the two kingdoms–church and state–we recognize that the state does not and cannot operate according to the teaching of Christ regarding nonresistance. Nonresistant Christians cannot undertake any service in the state which would violate the principles of love and holiness as taught by Christ and His inspired apostles.

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ARTICLE 20. THE FINAL CONSUMMATION

II Peter 3:12-13 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

We believe that the Eternal Sovereign God, who created all things and upholds all things by the word of His power, in the fullness of time will gather together all things in Christ. As commanded by Christ and His apostles, we believe the true church in this present age is to witness to the hope of the coming age ushered in by the glorious personal return of Jesus Christ.

We believe, according to the Scriptures, that as the consummation draws nearer, evil men and seducers will become worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, iniquity will abound, false prophets and false christs will arise, and the love of many will grow cold, resulting in widespread apostasy among churches. With confidence in the promise of Jesus, we believe “he that endures unto the end shall be saved.”

We believe that at the glorious appearing of the great God, even our Savior, Jesus Christ, He will put down all enemies and take His appointed place as King of kings and Lord of lords to rule the nations with a rod of iron until He will deliver up the kingdom unto God the Father, that God may be all in all.

We believe that at death the righteous enter at once into conscious joy and fellowship with Christ, while the wicked are in a state of conscious suffering. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all the dead: the just unto life eternal in the presence of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit forever to enjoy the riches of His grace; the unjust unto eternal death to suffer the righteous wrath of God in the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

We believe that in the consummation God will destroy the present cosmos by fire and will create a new heaven and a new earth which will be the eternal habitation of the righteous. God Himself will dwell among them. All sorrow, pain and death will have passed away.

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Based on A MENNONITE CONFESSION OF FAITH formulated by The Fellowship of Concerned Mennonites in 1990.

  1. We believe in one eternally existing Almighty God who has manifested Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who is Creator of all things visible and invisible.
  2. We believe that God has revealed Himself in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the inspired, inerrant Word of God, and in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. We believe that God created all things by and for His Son who upholds all things. He created man in His own image with free will, moral purity and the capability of communion with Himself.
  4. We believe that man by disobedience lost his fellowship with God which brought depravity and death upon the entire human race.
  5. We believe that man is utterly unable to free himself from the curse of sin and that Jesus Christ is the only Savior and Mediator between God and man.
  6. We believe that upon true repentance one is saved only by the grace of God through faith in the reconciling work of Jesus Christ.
  7. We believe the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, transforms believers into new persons in Christ, then guides, empowers, and protects those who belong to Him.
  8. We believe that the church is the body of Christ, the community of the redeemed, baptized by the Spirit and under the lordship of Christ.
  9. We believe Christ commissioned the church to make disciples of all nations. We are also called to minister to the physical, social, and emotional needs of mankind, in ways appropriate to the body of Christ.
  10. We believe that Christ authorized the church to appoint and to ordain men as pastors and teachers who are responsible to serve as leaders under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to the Word.
  11. We believe that water baptism is commanded by Christ as a symbol of Holy Spirit baptism and identification with Christ in His death and resurrection.
  12. We believe that the Lord’s Supper which was instituted by Jesus Christ as a symbol of His broken body and shed blood is intended to preserve the memory of His sacrifice and the promise of His return.
  13. We believe that the observance of the washing of the saints’ feet, the holy kiss, and the right hand of fellowship are biblical expressions of love, equality, and service in the body of Christ.
  14. We believe that God created man and woman for specific roles and functions. These are symbolized by the woman’s naturally long hair and veiled head and by the man’s short hair and uncovered head when praying and prophesying.
  15. We believe that God instituted marriage to be the union of one man and one woman for life and that believers are to marry only in the Lord.
  16. We believe that followers of Christ are not to be conformed to the secular culture in which they live, but are to live in holiness and in obedience to Christ in every area of life, recognizing their bodies to be temples of the Holy Spirit.
  17. We believe that Christian commitment calls for honesty, integrity, and truthfulness, with no swearing of oaths or membership in secret societies or lodges.
  18. We believe it is the will of God for His children to show love that holds all human life sacred. Therefore, participation in warfare, euthanasia, abortion, retaliation, revenge, and prejudice are forbidden for the believers.
  19. We believe that civil government is ordained of God to restrain evil and to maintain order in society. Although Christians are citizens of the heavenly kingdom they will honor, obey, pray for, and pay tribute to civil government.
  20. We believe that there will be a bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust. At the final judgment the wicked will go into everlasting punishment but the righteous will enter into the glorious kingdom of our God and Savior Jesus Christ who is KING of kings and LORD of lords! Hallelujah!

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(Old Facebook Post – Revised)

Two questions:

  • Does a Christian still have a sinful nature?
  • Did Adam’s sin cause everyone to be born with a sinful nature?

A definition: I’m understanding sinful nature to mean: an inner identity that naturally tends toward sin.

To supplement my original questions:

  • Is it correct to consider Adam our federal head–that he is our representative and, since he as our representative died, we also died “in” him? (Similar to how we say Christ is our representative and that we participated in his death and resurrection.)
  • If so, are we being punished for Adam’s sin? Or are we only judged for our own sins (into which we have been led, thanks to Adam’s influence)?
  • Would it be more accurate to say (with Rom. 5) that Adam’s trespass brought sin into the world (rather than that it gave us a sinful nature) and that sin overpowers us and reigns over us? If so, then when we die with Christ in conversion, what dies is not so much a sinful nature that by its very nature was guilty, but a powerless self that was ruled by sin. This seems to better fit the vocabulary of Romans (sin reigning over the Spirit-less man and taking up residence in our flesh, contaminating it–but no mention of a sinful nature) and also seems to make better sense of the idea of children not being accountable for their sins.

gift-from-adam1

Sinful nature is, arguably, not a biblical term. The phrase is never found in the KJV, nor in two of my favorite modern translations, the NASB and the ESV. Even the latest version of the NIV now only contains that phrase twice (both in Romans 7, where the actual word is sarx–“flesh”). So if we want to affirm the concept of a sinful nature, we will need to deduce it from other terms, much as we deduce the concept of the Trinity from various texts that describe the unity and divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Perhaps the closest Paul comes to directly mentioning a sinful nature is when he says that we were “by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:3). But in the same context he describes our sinfulness as a combination of outward realities and of the flesh–no mention of a sinful nature. He says we are “dead” Ephesians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)Buy on Amazon(“alienation from the one who gives life,” a relational problem), “under the control of the age of this world” and “under the control of the ruler of the realm of the air” So our outward sin problem is that we are separated from God and under the control of the world and the devil. The inner aspect of sin Paul locates in our flesh, not in some sinful nature: “We all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body [literally, flesh] and of the mind.” We were “children of wrath” when the world, our flesh, and the devil met apart from Christ’s saving presence. In this context, sin ruled us, leaving us “dead” under God’s wrath. Notice also that this passage speaks only in the past tense: Paul does not say that Christians are still “by nature children of wrath,” let alone that they still have a sinful nature.

It seems to me that sinful nature tends to blend together what Paul carefully separates when he says, “Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Rom. 7:20). Sinful nature, though usually phrased as something we have, is sometimes treated as an identity, as if sinful nature = I. But Paul says sin = an it inside of I.

Another way of getting at my central question here is to ask these questions:

* Do we sin because we are sinners?
* Or are we sinners because we sin?

Perhaps neither, ultimately? Perhaps we sin because, apart from God’s Spirit, we are powerless in this post-Adamic world where sin and death reign. Then secondarily, because we sin, we are sinners.

THE NEW AMERICAN COMMENTARY - NIV - EXODUS - D K STUART: 2 (New American Commentary Old Testament)Buy on AmazonAnother factor that got me thinking along these lines was reading a brief essay summarizing what the Bible says about the Book of Life. Perhaps all initially are written in Book of Life and only removed later by God when they have filled up the measure of their sins. From that essay:

“Everyone starts out in the Book of Life. It is a book of the living, and all who are born originally appear in it…. All who come into the world have the potential for eternal life… but most ignore, reject, disdain, put off, or otherwise forfeit that potential—and so their names are eventually blotted out of the Book of Life…. Their rejection of [God] eventually earns them rejection from being listed among the living.” Note: “One could argue that the time of blotting out would be when they died, once they no longer had any opportunity to retain their names in the Book by trusting Christ for their eternal life, but the Bible does not speak to the question of when blotting out occurs” (Douglas Stuart, “Excursus: The Book of Life,” Exodus, pg. 688).

Mennonite Confession of FaithBuy on AmazonThe 1963 Mennonite Confession of Faith tries to get around the problem of guilty-because-we-have-a-sinful-nature by saying:

“Although men are sinners by nature because of Adam’s fall, they are not guilty of his sin. Those who perish eternally do so only because of their own sin…. We believe that children are born with a nature which will manifest itself as sinful as they mature. When they come to know themselves to be responsible to God, they must repent and believe in Christ in order to be saved.”

I think that is essentially accurate, depending on how you understand nature. Perhaps it would be more clear and accurate (and more helpful for understanding the biblical perspective that children are not accountable for their sins) to say:

“Because of Adam’s sin, children are born into a world ruled by sin. They are powerless against sin and fall under its rule. As they mature they become aware of good and evil (see Is. 7:16). They also become aware of God’s Law (Rom. 5:13, “sin is not counted where there is no law”; Rom. 7:9 “I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died”; etc.). As this awareness grows, they become accountable for their sins. If they refuse to repent and trust in Jesus throughout their lives, eventually God in his own time will remove them from his Book of Life.”

In summary: I wonder if it might be more biblical to say we are ruled by sin (as an external force that takes up residency in our flesh) rather than saying we are born with a sinful nature.

The above way of thinking about sin reigning (a powerless old man instead of a sinful nature) and the accountability of children would also have repercussions for evangelism of older children. The “sinful nature paradigm” I have grown up with suggests that children go from saved to damned to born again. The “sin reigning paradigm” would allow for this progression: saved to awareness of danger of losing that security but not yet damned to born again. Thus in coaching children to trust in Christ we would not be so much waiting until they gain consciousness of sin and then telling them “You are sinners who are currently worthy of hell” but rather, when that consciousness of sin begins to arise, we might say: “Do you know why you sin? Sin is a powerful force within you that drives you to do what you don’t want to do. If you place your trust in Jesus and turn away from sin, your old powerless self will die and you will be born again with the powerful Spirit of God inside of you, giving you victory over sin. That way you never need fear the wrath of God. However, if you refuse to trust in Christ, God will eventually–we don’t know when–judge you worthy of eternal death.” Explaining all that (beginning with the basic awareness of why they sin, gradually explaining the hope of the gospel) would be more of a process than a single child-evangelism event. And, if the child responds in faith throughout, it might be right to say they never were “lost.”

Hmm… That’s called thinking aloud.


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-Ephesians 2:1-3-Isaiah 7:16-Romans 5:13-Romans 7:20-Romans 7:91963 Mennonite Confession of FaithAdamage of accountabilityBook of Lifechildren - evangelismClinton Arnoldconfessions of faithDouglas StuartPaulsinsinful natureSours: https://dwightgingrich.com/tag/1963-mennonite-confession-of-faith/
The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith (chapters 1-8)
Brief Statement
of Mennonite Doctrine

The following is taken from Mennonite Yearbook, volume 77 (1986-87).

This is a summary statement based on the confession of faith adopted by Mennonite General Conference in 1963. For a fuller statement see the Mennonite Confession of Faith.

  1. We believe in one God eternally existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  2. We believe that God has revealed himself in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the inspired Word of God, and supremely in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. We believe that in the beginning God created all things by His Son. He made man in the divine image, with free will, moral character, and a spiritual nature.
  4. We believe that man fell into sin, bringing depravity and death upon the race; that as sinner, man is self-centered and self-willed, unwilling and unable to break with sin.
  5. We believe that there is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who died to redeem us from sin and arose for our justification.
  6. We believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ, a free gift bestowed by God on those who repent and believe.
  7. We believe that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, effects the new birth, gives guidance in life, empowers for service, and enables perseverance in faith and holiness.
  8. We believe that the church is the body of Christ, the brotherhood of the redeemed, a disciplined people obedient to the Word of God, and a fellowship of love, intercession, and healing.
  9. We believe that Christ commissioned the church to go into all the world, making disciples of all the nations, and ministering to every human need.
  10. We believe it is the will of God that there should be ministers to teach the Word, to serve as leaders, to administer the ordinances, to lead the church in the exercise of discipline, and to serve as pastors and teachers.
  11. We believe that those who repent and believe should be baptized with water as a symbol of baptism with the Spirit, cleansing from sin, and commitment to Christ.
  12. We believe that the church should observe the communion of the Lord's Supper as a symbol of his broken body and shed blood, and of the fellowship of his church, until his return.
  13. We believe in the washing of the saints' feet as a symbol of brotherhood, cleansing, and service, and in giving the right hand of fellowship and the holy kiss as symbols of Christian love.
  14. We believe that God has established unique roles for man and woman, symbolized by man's bared head in praying and prophesying, and by woman's veiled head.
  15. We believe that Christian marriage is intended by God to be the union of one man and one woman for life, and that Christians shall marry only in the Lord.
  16. We believe that Christians are not to be conformed to the world, but should seek to conform to Christ in every area of life.
  17. We believe that Christians are to be open and transparent in life, ever speaking the truth, and employing no oaths.
  18. We believe that it is the will of God for Christians to refrain from force and violence in human relations and to show Christian love to all men.
  19. We believe that the state is ordained of God to maintain order in society, and that Christians should honor rulers, be subject to authorities, witness to the state, and pray for governments.
  20. We believe that at death the unsaved enter into everlasting punishment and the saved into conscious bliss with Christ, who is coming again, and will raise the dead, sit in judgment, and bring in God's everlasting kingdom.
Supporting Scriptures are cited following each article of the 1963 Mennonite Confession of Faith.

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Some Anabaptist Statements of Faith

[Anabatists: The Web Page]

Sours: https://www.anabaptists.org/history/cof-1963.html

Mennonite faith of 1963 confession

I lifted the dress and put it cancer. She put her hands on the garage so as not to fall. And I started pounding her cunt again, everything was wet andwith every push her hole squelched. My balls were beating against her beautiful ass.

What Makes Anabaptists Different?

I suggested this, not really hoping for success, for a positive reaction - I just "threw in a trial balloon" :-) I did not even know if he. Had an enema at all at home, and whether he had ever given an enema, and how he could enema refers - I just threw the line. To my surprise, Seryozhka did not argue with me and dispute the possible benefits of an enema for headaches, did not begin to be surprised at the idea.

Now discussing:

While one of them and I were discussing the assembly time for tomorrow and I signed the documents, the second unobtrusively went to the bathroom. Our bathroom is large and combined. And when the man came out of the bathroom with a satisfied smile on his face, I felt cold inside. I realized that he saw an uncleaned Esmarch's mug just used for its intended purpose.



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