Blog

Mennonite World Review curates a blog, The World Together, of Anabaptist-themed writing from a wide variety of sources across the Anabaptist world. To submit a blog post, email rstella@mennoworld.org.

Prophecy doesn’t justify Trump’s Jerusalem statement

By on Dec 14, 2017 in The World Together | 1 comment

The World Together Blog

In a recent broadcast of The 700 Club, the evangelist Pat Robertson welcomed President Trump’s announcement about moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. “It’s absolutely crucial in terms of biblical prophecy,” Robertson said. While I know firsthand the harsh conditions imposed on Palestinians, my comments here focus on the claim that actions today by and for modern Israel are justified by “biblical prophecy.” Like many evangelicals, Robertson believes the modern state of Israel fulfills a biblical prediction that was a...

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How often should the Lord’s Supper be?

By on Dec 13, 2017 in The World Together | 4 comments

The World Together Blog

The issue on the table today is how often we should celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Whether we call it Mass, Communion, Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper, how often? Here’s a reality: Some today are weekly communicants (Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Plymouth Brethren, Restoration movement churches) while others are monthly, quarterly or annually. A second reality: Some in monthly or quarterly tradition — low church evangelical types — are moving into the weekly churches because they believe the Lord’s Supper ought to be central to worship...

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Good news for Jerusalem?

By on Dec 12, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

My wife and I have led 13 groups of college students to the Middle East since 1991 as part of Eastern Mennonite University’s required cross-cultural program. During the semester-long immersive travel, we stop each year at a special chapel. The Dominus Flevit overlooks the city walls of ancient Jerusalem and the stunning golden dome of the Al Aqsa Mosque. According to tradition, Jesus paused here on the Mount of Olives on his way to cleanse the temple. “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” Jesus cries as he laments the corruption of...

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Of saints and crusaders

By on Dec 11, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Some time around 1190 AD, a handful of barefoot Christian monks in plain, ragged robes had an audience with a powerful Muslim sultan in his grand and glorious palace in Egypt. The leader of these monks was Francis of Assisi; the sultan was the cousin of Saladin, the general leading the Muslim armies that were soon to defeat the Christian knights in their Third Crusade to retake the Holy Land. Before the sultan, Francis witnessed to two things that, for him, were joined at the hip: the gospel of Jesus Christ and his desire for peace between...

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Our higher calling: Jesus’ rival nation

By on Dec 8, 2017 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

I was recently exploring how different institutions use vision statements to appeal to their audience. One statement stood out to me from a college that professes Christianity in New York: “We exist to graduate students who will go on to positions of leadership in our strategic national institutions: government, business, media, law, education, and the church.” It is shocking how these words present the church as an equal and mutually exclusive choice among institutions for Christians. We must not capitulate to the notion that being...

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Our trickle-down congregational economics

By on Dec 7, 2017 in The World Together | 5 comments

The World Together Blog

A proposed congregational mission statement: To be good news for the poor, to heal the broken, to proclaim release for prisoners, to restore sight to the blind, to advocate for the oppressed, and to celebrate God’s jubilee for all. If we were to truly represent Jesus’ inside-out kingdom, how would that be reflected in our congregational budgets? Church budgets are moral documents, a reflection of our actual values. Follow the money, we are told. This is not to say that alleviating the needs of the homeless and destitute is the only...

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A ‘Buy Nothing Christmas’

By on Dec 5, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

A few years ago some Canadian Mennonites came up with the idea of “Buy Nothing Christmas.” Check out their website at buynothingchristmas.org. With humor they direct you to a “Buy Nothing Catalogue” that lists the things you already have and need that cost nothing. There’s also a free downloadable poster of Jesus with the caption: “Where did I say that you should buy so much stuff to celebrate my birth?” A variety of other resources are also offered for re-directing our observance of Christ’s birth. I appreciate this seditious...

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The missional nature of the Incarnation

By on Dec 4, 2017 in The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

As I enter this Christmas season, I am reminded again and again of the ways in which we have co-opted the story of the birth of Jesus as another ploy to get people saved (lead people to jesus, get people to heaven, save souls, etc. whichever phrase you prefer to use for the transformation that occurs in the revelation that Jesus is Lord of the world and is working in the world to make it right). We miss out on many of the themes and nuances of the Christmas story when we can only see Jesus’ birth as the middle passage to Jesus’ soon-coming...

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Oppose repealing the Johnson Amendment

By on Nov 30, 2017 in The World Together | 3 comments

The World Together Blog

Pastors in the USA have learned that church and state are separate. They have learned not to support candidates or a political party from the church or in their public ministries connected to the church. At least they are supposed to have both learned and practiced this non-support of a political candidate. The IRS puts it this way: Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one “which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or...

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Did the Anabaptist reformers ‘win’?

By and on Nov 29, 2017 in The World Together | 2 comments

The World Together Blog

Theologian Karl Barth, a supreme definer of Christianity in the twentieth century, continues to influence Christian thinkers, notably with his admonition, “The church must always be reformed.” Not many worldlings, though secularly molded, would disagree. While Christianity is not their game, they applaud when the church is reformed—as when it promotes positive human actions: for peace, justice, equality. But what does “being reformed” mean, and how does it work in the world? Now, at the end of this month in which celebration of the...

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