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Discussing the U.S. Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith Article on Love, Peacemaking, and Reconciliation

Living as People of Peace – Faith & Life Pamphlet Series

The USMB Board of Faith and Life has recently published a pamphlet:

Living as People of Peace

Please download the pamphlet from the link above, read through it, and share your thoughts.

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Some important Definitions:

We ALL want Peace.

We don’t disagree that peace is the goal. The discussion isn’t about peace, it’s about the way to peace. We disagree on which methods and actions are appropriate as Christ-followers to employ in the pursuit of peace. Pursuing peace and reconciliation is not about the avoidance of conflict, it’s about handling conflict appropriately.

 

God is talking about “Shalom”

When God/Jesus and the Bible talk about peace they’re talking about “Shalom.” Shalom is a Hebrew word which often is translated as “peace,” but it means more than a lack of violence or strife. Shalom means “right-relationship.” Shalom means that everything is “right” between oneself and God, themselves, family, neighbors, community, country, world, and creation. Shalom is bigger than peace, it includes ideas like “justice,” “righteousness,” “hospitality,” etc. and it’s what God calls us to throughout scripture.

Continue reading “Some important Definitions:”

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Starting Here:

In July of 2014 the U.S. Mennonite Brethren (USMB) conference ratified a revision to its Confession of Faith article 13 entitled “Love, Peacemaking, and Reconciliation.” The purpose of this site is to help facilitate further conversation among USMBs on the topics discussed in the revised article.

The eggshells are set… the powder is kegged… the minefield is laid… could there be a more challenging time to discuss peace, violence, reconciliation, Jesus, and us than right now?

Continue reading “Starting Here:”

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What Article 13 Says:

Article 13: Love, Peacemaking and Reconciliation

God’s Community of Peace

We believe that God in Christ reconciles people to Himself and to one another, making peace through the cross. The church is the fellowship of redeemed people living by love. The bond between followers of Jesus transcends all racial, social and national barriers.

Christian Peacemaking
We actively pursue peace and reconciliation in all relationships by following Christ’s example and His command to love God, neighbors and even enemies. We strive to be peacemakers and agents of reconciliation in families, churches, communities, in our nation, and throughout the world.

As peacemakers we alleviate suffering, reduce strife, promote justice, and work to end violence and war, that others may see a demonstration of Christ’s love. As in other Peace Churches, many of us choose alternative service rather than military participation. Because Jesus is Lord, His example and teaching take priority over nationalism and the demands of human authorities.

Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 5:9,17-28,38-48; Romans 12:9-21; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:15-20; Ephesians 2:14-18; 1 Peter 2:19-23

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Join the Conversations

Visit the Discussion Forum – choose a topic, read, and join the conversation(s).

What’s “at stake” in our Discussion?

It’s valuable to understand what motivates our various positions. Giving space for us to voice what’s “at stake” for each of us can grow our empathy for each other’s perspectives.

For example, among us, what’s “at stake” might be (just to name a few):

More than Self-Defense and War

Whenever the topic of Christian pacifism comes up there are two discussions that frequently seem to take center stage:

1.) Whether it is appropriate for a Christian to use violence in self-defense?
… or the defense of others?

2.) Whether it is appropriate for a Christian to serve in the military?
… or police forces?

While these are important discussions and we will engage them, part of the revision to the USMB article 13 was intended to expand the discussion beyond simply these two topics. The questions of how we pursue peace and reconciliation within the home; within our neighborhoods; within our local congregations and larger denomination; and within our relationship to ourselves and God creation are equally important. Therefore this site hosts conversations on all these topics and which Biblical scripture passages upon which we ought to build our positions.

What Conversations would YOU like to explore?

This site is meant to facilitate conversation about USMB Article 13. That shouldn’t be limited merely to the conversations I think are important. It’s your conversation. So what would you like to discuss?

Post conversation topics, starters, or questions in the comment section below.

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