Belonging to the Mennonite tradition of Christian faith, means believing and practicing the beliefs of this distinct Christian group. For one to be considered as a Mennonite, he or she needs to uphold the teachings envisaged, and help in propelling future prospects. Mennonites are a Christian denomination that is based around the Anabaptist beliefs. This Christian group has revolutionized with time, though it has not lost the touch and meaning of its teachings. The group was formed in the 16th century. This occurred when it differentiated itself from both the Catholic Church and other Protestants. In 2012, the group is believed to have around 1.7 million followers all over the world (Perez, 2012). Most of these individuals are found in both Canada and United States.
For one to belong to the Mennonite Christian faith, first he needs to proclaim that he is neither a protestant nor a catholic. This is then followed by upholding and enhancing the group’s beliefs. An individual is expected to believe that the Bible in inspired by God through Holy Spirit. It is inspired to instruct people in matters regarding salvation and training them righteousness. One should not believe in eternal security. This is because the Mennonites believe that every human being has a free will of choosing the life they want to lead (Perez, 2012). There are beliefs that Heaven and Hell exist. According to the Mennonites, Heaven belongs to those individuals that accept Christ in their lives while of earth. There is no expansive detail regarding Hell, except to the fact that it entails eternal separation from God.
An individual also needs to renounce the oath and the sword. Mennonites do not believe in war regardless of the situation in hand. This is because Jesus taught people on the need of loving each other. The aspect explains why many Mennonites do not serve in the military. Swearing in order to prove one’s innocence is prohibited by the faith. Individuals practicing these acts would be considered as outcasts in the group. A Mennonite also needs to accept that Jesus Christ is the son of God and savior of the world. Holy Spirit is also the eternal spirit of God, and dwelt on Jesus while on earth (Richardson, 2009). The main practices that an individual belonging to Mennonite should observe are ordinance and worship. Baptism is conducted on adults who have the capacity to differentiate good and evil. It is done either through sprinkling, immersion or pouring of water. Communion is partaken for remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. Foot washing is also conducted as a sign of servant hood. Worship services are also conducted on Sunday. Any individual belonging to the Mennonites is expected to attend these services.
There are several Mennonite scholars that can be used to prove the stance above. Among them is Harold Bender, who was a theology professor at Goshen College. He founded both the Mennonite Quarterly Review and the Mennonite Historical Library. He was recognized through his book “The Anabaptist Vision”. It aimed at helping Mennonites to refocus during the times of World War 2. His main concepts were that discipleship creates the essence of Christianity. He believed that the church grows by assuming a central principle of adopting new life. According to Bender, non-resistance and love apply in all human relationships (McGrath, 2011). Christopher Dock was also another popular scholar that professed the Mennonite faith. He was a Mennonite educator and worked in south east Pennsylvania. His methodology of teaching was quite different from what was being practiced during his time. Dock emphasized on character building and discussion of physical punishment. He aimed at instilling student character through discussion, persuasion and positive peer pressure. This was one of the teachings associated with the Mennonites.
There are also several past theologians that can be used to ascertain the Mennonite writings. Among them is John H Yoder, who was an American ethicist and theologian. Yoder was best recognized for his defense of Christian pacifism. “The politics of Jesus” was his most influential book, and was published in 1972. Most of his perspectives emanated from the Anabaptist and Mennonite Christian faith. Most of his works were related to the Christian ethics. He rejected the idea that coercive powers drove human history. Yoder’s argument was that it was God working with, in and through the non-resistant, non-violent community of disciples of Jesus. He regarded the arrangement whereby the church and state support the goals of each other as constant temptation and dangerous. This is because the church has come to desire power and political influence. He argued that Jesus rejected this temptation, something that resulted to his death (McGrath, 2011). From his teachings, it is evident that Yoder was an advocate of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. These two aspects are highly emphasized in the Mennonite teachings.
Guy Hershberger was also an American Mennonite theologian who concentrated on Mennonite ethics. He was an advocate of strict biblicalism. This was due to the call that Jesus emphasized on the need of loving one’s enemy. Hershberger emphasized on the Mennonite teachings that its followers should not use war as a way of vengeance. This was against Jesus teachings of loving one’s enemies.
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