Is this ‘Mennonite’?

Feb 13, 2017 by

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I was shocked and saddened to read the advertisement, “Declaration of the Marginal Mennonite Society” (in the Jan. 16 print edition). I have questions for those in the society and for the MWR editor.

To those in the society: You have a right to believe what you wish, but why refer to it as related to the Mennonite church? What is your definition of Mennonite, and what is it based on?

Throughout our history, the Mennonite church has been defined by doctrinal beliefs, which were the basis of internal and external life. In the early Anabaptist era, it was the Schleitheim Confession. Today, for many North Americans, it is the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective. So in what sense are you a Mennonite society? The least you could do would be to put quotation marks around “Mennonite,” as you did for “beliefs.”

To the editor: I assume you have guidelines identifying material you will and will not publish. What guidelines were you following when you decided to include this ad?

John R. Martin
Harrisonburg, Va.

Editor Paul Schrag responds: MWR welcomes diverse views about Christian faith and life, especially from those who consider themselves Mennonite or Anabaptist. Published opinions do not necessarily conform to any Mennonite denomination’s Confession of Faith. Submissions must meet our standards of constructive dialogue, refraining from attacking or disrespecting individuals or groups. In accepting the Marginal Mennonite Society ad, we considered that readers might be interested to know the views of the society, whose Facebook page has more than 9,100 “likes.” Acceptance of the ad does not imply endorsement of the society’s statement.


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Mennonite World Review invites readers’ comments on articles. To promote constructive dialogue, editors select the comments that appear, just as we do with letters to the editor in print. These decisions are final. Writers must sign their first and last names; anonymous comments are not accepted. Comments do not appear until approved and are posted during business hours. Comments may be reproduced in print, and may be edited if selected for print.

  • Ken Fellenbaum

    The answer is NO. Menno Simons listed 9 attributes of born-again church members – these people aren’t Mennonites. You can find his list & comments in the excellent book MENNO SIMONS by Abraham Friesen. Disappointed that MWR choose to carry that adv.

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