Commendation, and warning of compromise

Dec 3, 2018 by

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Listening to a sermon on the letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor in the Book of Revelation, I thought: “What would a letter say if it were written to the Mennonite church today?”

I believe Mennonites would be commended for our acts of service. From January through May, I was in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, under Mennonite Voluntary Service. What a privilege it is for Mennonite young adults to have this life-changing opportunity! My assignment was at Academia Menonita Betania. The kinder­gar­ten teacher I worked with had recently started attending a Mennonite church in Puerto Rico. It was a delight to see her excitement.

But, in Revelation, the letters to all but two of the seven churches start with praise followed by something like, “Nevertheless, I have this against you.” For what would the Mennonite church be reprimanded? The letter to the church in Per­gamum sheds a light on the problem of compromise. Little by little, compromise on homosexuality, and discounting books in the Bible such as Jonah and Esther, are creeping into Mennonite theology.

When did God ever tell us that homosexuality was an acceptable practice? When did loving the sinner include accepting the sin?

The issue of discrediting God’s Word hit home to me at a Mennonite women’s retreat this fall. The speaker said the Book of Esther was a fictitious story. Although the Bible contains parables, they are identified as such. God can use anything, from a whale to a woman, to fulfill his plan, even if it seems improbable. Once you start picking and choosing what is inspired by God, where does one stop? This kind of thinking eventually discredits the whole Bible.

No one in the audience disputed what the speaker said about the invalidity of Esther. God has convicted me that I should have spoken up. Now I challenge myself, along with you, to stand up for God’s Word and to spend time in the Bible to see for yourself what God tells us is right and wrong.

When the teach­­er in Puerto Rico asked if I had always gone to a Mennonite church, I re­plied that I had. As a Mennonite young adult, I wonder what my answer will be a decade from now. If God and his Word come back to be the center of the Mennonite church, I will be honored to be a Mennonite.

Kendra Selzer
Canton, Kan.

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