Mennonite Brethren on the Move . . .
The 53rd session of the General Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches of North America demonstrated the brotherhood on the move—in certain areas. It also illustrated the paradox inherent in a body where frail human beings caught up in a world of flux and change deal with matters of eternal value.
The “spanking new” facilities of the Winnipeg Convention Centre in which the major devotional sessions were held, the roving radio-microphones, the efficient duplicating equipment, the audiovisual presentations demonstrated that we are in this world and in some ways have to move with the times. The discussion showed that aspects of the faith are meant to stand firm and unchangeable.
The Confession of Faith has been studied for many years. The seventh revised draft was presented to the delegates by the Board of Reference and Counsel. It was presented as “an expression of the biblical ideals of the brotherhood, revised from time to time, reflecting the faith which such a fellowship believes and preaches.” The “biblical ideal” is unequivocal. The Mennonite Brethren Church “has throughout its history emphasized biblical authority in all matters of faith and practice.” Sometimes, however, it has been difficult for the brotherhood to recognize exactly which aspects of faith and practice are changeable and which are not. A small variation in wording will illustrate how our day to day understanding of problems may affect what we read into Scripture.
1975 Seventh Draft—“. . . we should . . . pay taxes and obey all laws. . . .”
1969 Fourth Draft—“. . . we should also pay taxes, vote, respect those in authority . . .”