Travail and counsel

Nov 24, 2014 by

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The church is in pain and feels travail like the earliest church did when it discerned God’s will about the inclusion of Gentiles and circumcision. We have seen the progressive interpretation of Scripture in respect to plain clothes, women in ministry, divorce and racism. On some issues it took centuries to discern the way of Christ, on others only a generation or so. Let us listen to the whole counsel of God, especially the voices of women and young adults — and, in respect to the issue of same-sex relationship, to folks from First Mennonite Church of Denver and Columbus (Ohio) Mennonite Church, who have called gay pastors. It may be that the issue of gays in leadership can only result in the parting of ways, as is already happening. Next July will bring Mennonite Church USA together to discern Jesus’ way in Kansas City, and then Anabaptists will enjoy the fellowship of worldwide communion in Harrisburg, Pa. Will the rock on which Christ builds his church be a stumbling stone to unity? Jesus’ counsel to build his church may even trump Paul’s counsel to the strong not to cause the weak to stumble. Who is building his church after all?

Joe Haines
Ithaca, N.Y.

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