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January 31, 2011


Dear brother,
can you explain the terms in this to a dumb-dumb like me? Especially #'s 1,2,&3.

Tim, I ran into and read the Direction article. A good piece! I didn't know you did that. Good work. Thanks for being an ongoing voice of shaping us as followers of Jesus, and as MB's who are trying to move forward into what God has for us.

Hi Kim, The article is a bit technical because it was written for a journal. I'll be glad to simplify.

#1 A distrust of creedal and dogmatic formulations and a reliance on the biblical witness. This means that Anabaptists didn't rely on creeds and tightly crafted statements of faith. They preferred to approach the Bible as a community and interpret it in the "here and now" of their own (often persecuted) context. To this day Mennonites don't put a lot of energy into creedal statements. This has both pros and cons.

#2 A corporate hermeneutic that honors the local community rather than an institution. Anabaptists, and thus Mennonites, have encouraged a plurality of voices when it comes to interpreting the Bible. We have never looked to one leader (such as the Pope) to tell us what to do, but have invested a great deal of energy into hearing God speak through his Word and through the words of each other. Historically, we have said that we are "a people of the Book."

#3 A holistic witness incarnated as a liberating gospel in both word and deed. Anabaptism has been viewed by many as a "third way" (as opposed to the Catholic church and the Protestant reformers like Luther and Calvin). We believe that the gospel should not just be spoken, but also lived out as we care for the world that God has created. A common theological understanding is that liberals tend to favor social justice and conservatives favor evangelism. As Mennonites, we are both Anabaptist and Evangelical which means that we are invested in meeting both physical and spiritual needs. This is a "holistic gospel."

I hope that helps!

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