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Largest group of Mennonite churches leaves denomination

Birds take flight from a frozen field in Lancaster, Pa., on Jan. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(RNS) — The Lancaster Mennonite Conference, the largest group of Mennonite congregations in the U.S., has officially separated from the broader Mennonite community after a long-term disagreement over sexuality and the church.

The LMC, with 179 churches in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, voted to leave the Mennonite Church USA, the umbrella organization of Mennonite congregations, in November 2015. The decision to leave went into effect Monday (Jan. 1).

The two groups fractured over the definition of marriage — an issue roiling virtually every U.S. religious denomination in the wake of the 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. The LMC opposes same-sex marriage and members were increasingly uncomfortable with some Mennonite Church USA policies that affirmed it, including hiring policies that address LGBT people.

But the issue of sexuality has riven the Mennonite community — and many other Protestant denominations — for decades. The Mennonite Church USA officially views homosexual activity as a sin and defines marriage as between one man and one woman, but there has been pushback against that from within as several pastors have performed same-sex marriages (and been censured or resigned) and smaller regional conferences that affirm LGBT relationships have departed.


READ: Mennonite Church coming apart over sexuality issues


The chaos has prompted some Mennonites to call for re-evaluating the relationship of individual congregations to the broader community. In Canada, fracturing and declining membership has led to the formation of regional bands of congregations that share similar views.

“Typically, when you have social change, it may occur over one or two generations,” Donald Kraybill, a professor who studies Mennonites and their cousins, the Amish, told NPR at the time of the LMC’s decision in 2015. “To put it in a fast track and to try to make decisions about it in a matter of two or three years can be very dangerous for the health of a community.”

Mennonites are Anabaptists — Protestants who believe in the validity of adult baptism only — and are among the smallest groups of Protestants, with about 2 million members worldwide. In 2016, there were about 78,000 members of the Mennonite Church USA, a decline from about 133,000 in the 1990s.

About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

151 Comments

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  • LMC’s decision makes perfect sense. Here’s my spin, stated elsewhere:

    QUESTION: Starting in the New Year 2018 Anno Domini, what should my NON-AFFIRMING born-again Christian brothers & sisters do, now that, though “none of America’s 100 largest churches are LGBTQ-AFFIRMING”, in actuality “a paltry 35% of these mega-churches have clear LGBTQ+ policies, and 54% actually hide their positions”?

    ANSWER: According to The Apostolic Rule of Christian Conduct Outside the Church, it’s time for them to leave their congregations that (eventually) are LGBTQ-AFFIRMING, then find a new church that’s NON-AFFIRMING. Or stop going to church altogether. Why? Because they can no longer do this, as per 1 Corinthians 5:12 – “Are you not to judge those who are within [krinete tous eso] the church?”

  • Best separate. Otherwise nasty internal fights are going to happen. You want that?

    LGTBQism is creating new church spinoffs & wholesale denominations. So be it.

  • More and more, Christian churches are defining themselves by who they hate. There is a reason that the Nones are the fastest growing ‘religion’.

  • Wrong. The reality is, as more and more churches move further and further away from God’s word, there are a few churches that stand by Bible morality and they are accused by perverts of being hateful.

  • Wrong. The reality is, as more and more churches move further and further away from God’s word, there are a few churches that stand by Bible morality and they are accused by perverts of being hateful.

    Wrong. The reality is, as more and more churches move further and further away from the most absurd claims of ignorant ancient people who invented God’s word, there are a few churches refusing to utilize reason/evidence/logic that stand by mindless Bible morality, and they are rightly accused by rational people of being hateful.

  • I don’t believe HpO meant that in a negative way.
    “Peace” doesn’t have to be synonymous with inclusion. For people to just go their own way and live in Peace HAS to be the message going forward.
    As they say — “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.” We must all learn to live in Peace. But forcing people to do things against their will is NOT the way.
    Bayonets may work; but only temporary.

  • Thanks for verifying my point. Much of the Christian Church now seems to be built on hate. Back when I was a kid we sang ‘They will know we are Christian by our love’. That song is no longer applicable.

  • “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:128

  • “LGTBQism” aka treating LGBT people, as human beings. I can see why this creates tensions between those who want to use religion as an excuse for bigotry and those who aspire to moral and decent conduct by their church and fellow congregation.

    I agree with you here. Splitting off to form a new church is far better than trying to hide one’s views to fit in with its leadership. Unity is overrated. In Christianity, it is ridiculously quixotic. There are literally hundreds of sects out there and the faith had a habit from inception of creating schisms.

  • Hate — 1) Feel intense dislike for. 2) have a strong aversion to something. Standard Oxford Dictionary.

    John wrote — ” Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

    If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

    For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
    “Intolerance” is a Christian Trait.

  • *ahem* *cough* Actually churches have always had standards by which they defined themselves, and those who kept to them are the one’s who stayed strongest. Just ask the Eastern Orthodox.

  • “It is my nephew”

    I have an in-law that probably also includes. But it would be an “ism” as soon as it becomes something one person uses as a defining moment to included or exclude others. So cut the drama, tyvm.

  • Except that, even by that standard, the Lancaster Mennonite Conference is getting it wrong. As the article states, “The Mennonite Church USA officially views homosexual activity as a sin and defines marriage as between one man and one woman”… but even that isn’t enough for the LMC. What they are demanding from the main body is unclear from this article, but it’s not as if the Mennonite Church USA supports same-sex marriage: the institution clearly does not.

    So, even though you think anyone who calls this decision hateful is a “pervert”, I’d say that it’s well within fair speculation to consider that LMC’s decision was, yes, based on hatred of gay people.

  • Did you read the article? It specifically stated that “The Mennonite Church USA officially views homosexual activity as a sin and defines marriage as between one man and one woman”. In other words, they are doing everything you claim you want them to do… and even that isn’t enough!

  • Ten years ago both Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton were still claiming to believe that marriage is the union of a man and woman. Twenty years ago, the United States Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which outlawed same gender “marriage” at the national level, and it was signed into law by then President William Jefferson Clinton.

    Forty years ago sodomy was a punishable crime in most of the United States. At that time the perverts were still claiming they were not aiming to legalize same gender “marriage”. Fifty years ago sodomy was defined as a psychological disorder by recognized psychiatric institutions.

    So you hate people who still hold to what this whole nation, just a few years past, defined as abnormal and immoral behavior. According to you, those who refuse to change their opinion hate sexually perverted people.

    So who has the greater sin?

  • Seems “now” to be built on hate? Excuse me, but just a few years past sodomy was illegal in most of the United States. You obviously don’t have any comprehension of how “now” and “then” relate to this topic.

  • This is interesting.

    It seems that, even though the Mennonite Church, USA officially condemns sexual perversion, the Lancaster Mennonite Conference has foreseen that change is coming and have taken proactive measures to protect themselves from infestation by the agnostic hordes that have invaded almost all denominations.

    This stands in sharp contrast to the United Methodist Church, in which the authentic Methodists have continued to work with the agnostics in an effort to maintain unity at all cost.

    Hmmmmm…….

  • Thank you Mark. It is quite amazing how the Wordsmiths have been able to ‘change’ words to mean something other than it’s intended meaning. “Intolerance” is another one. We can thank Sigmeud Freud’s Uncle for being apart of that Cultural Marxist Technique. The Bolsheviks just changed their titles.

  • I won’t, and it doesn’t. It is difficult to know the intent of the original poster, but this is a common tactic in our age — to rail against all the allowance for “multiculturalism” or “lgbtqism” and forget that people are asking for fairness and inclusion of actual people.

  • Paul railed about disunity in the church at Corinth. He did not tell them to go their own separate ways, but to be subject to the actual demands of the gospel. It is not a simple picture.

  • If you are concerned about “intended meaning”, then taking a flat, English translation of “Jacob have I loved . . .” wouldn’t be the approach of most interpreters Using opposites was a way to show contrast, and not meant to be understood as literal. Jacob was said to have hated Leah too, though that was never apparent in his treatment of her. It is only clear that he loved Rachel more.

  • Obadiah helps us further translate ‘hate’ in this context —

    “And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.”
    Otherwise I agree with your balance/temperance.

  • “this is a common tactic in our age”

    It’s actually a “tactic” in any age, where Holiness standards are held up in order to stay faithful to God over the whims of public opinion.

  • “LMC’s decision was, yes, based on hatred”

    Or based on the hypocrisy of a denomination that says one thing in it’s doctrinal statements and does another thing altogether.

  • We’re only following our marching orders from Agnostic Central, because we really have nothing better to with our sunday mornings.

  • I would say YOU.
    Obama was for gay marriage long before he was against it. And he was FOR civil unions.
    Same thing for Mrs. Clinton.
    Bill just showed what he always showed: he was a political creature.
    Fifty years ago HOMOSEXUALITY, not sodomy, was defined as a disorder, based upon the same prejudices that you so happily display. Science actually took over, and overnight, millions of people were cured of an illness that they never had. almost like religion giving them an illness they never knew they had.
    for the record: I feel just fine.

  • The best thing we could do with our with Sunday mornings is to empty ourselves in abject worship before the true and living God, who made us male and female, and plead with Him not to destroy us for having wickedly and summarily ignored His commandments.

  • Actually, There there. Poor boy. It upsets him ever so much that that the legalized prejudice and hatred towards gay people has been officially recognized for what it has always been, as decent, kind, intelligent, and compassionate people have seen it for what ti is.

  • like divorce and not murdering the unbelievers in your town and not going to Walmart on Sunday?

  • Baloney – When Malachi said that God hated Esau, he said they were,

    “The people against whom the Lord has indignation forever.”

    If that doesn’t constitute hate then the word “hate” has no meaning.

  • “….ignorant ancient people…”

    Yes, those people were just ignorant enough to think that sexuality was grounded in gender. ROFL! You are one mixed up man.

  • Well….it is. “Intolerance” is not necessarily a bad thing.
    Do you allow people to come into your house and raid your fridge and rape your husband?

  • You re smart enough to understand the difference between intolerance of a group of people for existing, and intolerance of acts which harm other people

  • Please stop with the silly proof texts. They hold no credibility with people outside of your bubble.

  • The world has moved on. Your past is hateful and hate-filled. Again, Christians keep preaching love while practicing hate. Most of America now does not hate people based on race and sexual orientation. If you persist in this, you will be left behind by the younger generations.

  • Um you mean the church which has gotten into bed with the Russian dictator and his oligarchs for access to political power. 🙂

    They had standards which they defined themselves. Not moral or ethical ones, but political ones.

  • Marriage is best defined by its purpose. Suppose its Primary Purpose were companionable love? And its secondary purpose, generative love, that is, making a contribution to the next generation and a healthy future? This would include, procreation, and other contributions: paying taxes for schools and environmental health, adopting, supporting orphans through private and public means, assuring universal health care for children, supporting mothers and fathers in those roles., etc. etc. And the third purpose would be Helping to Create a Healthy Community. All of these purposes are in accord with marriage traditions and the evolutionary process of our species. The order is different, of course, from conservative voiews of marraige, and this order would include gay marriage and therefore the legitmacy of gay sex.

  • This is pretty tedious for a comment section but one statement is a comparison, the other is not. I didn’t say “hate” has no meaning I said the idioms of comparison are just that.

  • “Um you mean the church which has gotten into bed with the Russian dictator and his oligarchs for access to political power”

    In your opinion 🙂

  • You’re basically moving the goalpost and engaging in a classic derailing tactic. Any church that is worth being associated with Christ’s name is going to have holiness standards of “some” sort. That there are those who – like most humans – are not perfect and miss the mark in a different area are a given. That’s of course assuming your opinionated assessment is correct.

    Changes what I said about the standards the EOC hold to not one iota – and the fact that they have held strong as a denomination for WAY longer than the ever-fracturing Mennonites is proof of that. All you’re doing is trying to engage in a smear tactic against them because you don’t like to be faced with the notion that what I pointed out is correct.

  • I am simply criticizing a church which has entangled itself with a dictatorship, promoted oppressive actions by it and forgone any claim of moral authority by doing so.

    Any church which chooses to join itself with autocratic politics deserves the utmost opposition.

    Your denialism and excuses do little to demonstrate the kind of moral authority churches and their followers claim to hold (and try to wield against others).

  • So, where is this true and living god of yours? And why should I give up Sunday mornings to it?

  • Aww c’mon, that’s Part 1!

    Part 2 says, “… but there has been pushback against that from within as several pastors have performed same-sex marriages (and been censured or resigned) and smaller regional conferences that affirm LGBT relationships have departed.” LMC can no longer “judge whose who are within the denomination” (1 Corinthians 5:12) and so they left. Good for them.

  • Look, LCM’s copping out here by leaving this “LGBTQism” be. My guess is many a “nephew … and … daughter” of families leaving with LCM are already struggling with “LGBTQism”. All the more reason to leave with LCM.

    And by the way, “It [IS] ‘LGTBQism.’ It is my [loved one, too].” But what do you care? All this for you is win-win … in the name of – wait for it – LGBTQism.

    And they’ll win big time, too. I was sharing with Ben in Oakland the other day, that it’ll be a local & global culture and me & my born-again Christian brethren & cisterns better get used to it, accepting, not persecuting, not harming. But if we can no longer “judge whose who are within our denominations” (1 Corinthians 5:12) – bye bye, LGBTQism. For now.

    For I predict, generations from now these LCM folks will have to splinter again, because LGTBQism will win over the majority among them.

    I care for these non-afffirming Christians – you don’t. I care for affirming Christians – you do too.

  • The other day our sandinwindsor disagreed with my application of 1 Corinthians 5:12. I think this LCM decision is consistent with it. But you nailed it, ‘bruh. It is so as “to live in Peace.”

  • It is not an idiom of comparison. That is a cop-out which ignores the plain definition of “hate” given in the text:

    “And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever.”

  • So if you say lying is immoral, that means you hate people who lie – which would probably be everyone.

  • I do not care about non-affirming Christians? Please remember that you don’t know me. You don’t know anyone on a comments thread.

    I think you are inordinately afraid of disagreement and conflict. They are part of community also.

  • That is true. Things are looking very fatal for the United Methodist Church at this point, and it’s a slo-mo death.

  • I’d say anyone who spends time and imagination on who other adults are fvcking, or how they do so, is the one demonstrably with the psychological disorder, spitefulness, and deficiency of character. Worry about your own sins, demonstrable moral
    failures and hatreds. Don’t be such a prurient obsessive busybody.

  • Who? Someone who is not relevant in the world today in any way. That was a rather weak irrelevant rhetort. You do not sound like someone who wants to discuss the subject in an honest or mature fashion. Oh well.

    Some light reading if you want to come back and have a conversation like an adult.
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/30/europe/russian-orthodox-church-resurgence/index.html

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russian-federation/2016-02-11/putins-patriarch

  • **I am simply criticizing a church which has entangled itself with a dictatorship**

    Opinion.

    **promoted oppressive actions by it**

    Opinion. Forgone conclusion.

    **and forgone any claim of moral authority by doing so**

    Then you have no basis for making claims to moral authority, either. Romans 3:23 But what you’ve missed here as you rant and rave and charge headlong into your smear campaign is that the moral authority of the Eastern Orthodox Church has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    **Any church which chooses to join itself with autocratic politics deserves the utmost opposition**

    Whatevs. Just make sure that you don’t bracket out the fact that you’re referring to one faction, one piece of the larger whole. Whatever the ROC does reflects absolutely nothing on the EOC as a whole, nor does it even begin to address my original point. Which you are straining hard to not go back to.

    **Your denialism**

    LOL No, not really. Just trying to steer clear of derailing smear tactics and keeping on the topic at hand.

  • The Eastern Orthodox churches have had more than their share of fractures. Their denominational strength derives in large measure from their support for corrupt national governments.

  • “Opinion.”

    Hardly. Well documented by a variety of sources. The current law criminalizing gays came straight from the desk of Patriarch Kirill.

    “Then you have no basis for making claims to moral authority, either. ”

    Of course I do. Morals have zero to do with religious dogma or belief. They are a function of how we deal with others and the effect of our actions upon them.

    ” the moral authority of the Eastern Orthodox Church has nothing to do with the topic at hand.”

    You brought them up as an example of a church whose traditional views have been unchanging and therefore in your mind strong.

    “Whatever the ROC does reflects absolutely nothing on the EOC as a whole”

    I will grant you that. Fair enough It is one part of a whole which are not centrally controlled.

    “Just trying to steer clear of derailing smear tactics ”

    You brought up a terrible example with a lot of well earned negative press. 🙂

  • Fair enough. It was a conflation. Eastern Orthodox is the entire sect name, Russian Orthodox is an autonomous subset of it. I overreached there.

  • I am not aware of any major fractures in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Please elaborate.

  • **That was a rather weak irrelevant rhetort**

    Truth hurt?

    **You do not sound like someone who wants to discuss the subject in an honest or mature fashion**

    http://i2.wp.com/www.votersopinion.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Extreme-Irony.gif

    **Some light reading if you want to come back and have a conversation like an adult**

    Your 1st link: About returning a church to it’s rightful owners, which it should be. And removing one of the last vestiges of the USSR. Nothing to see here.

    PS: Pussy Riot SHOULD have been put in jail. They got off light as far as I’m concerned.

    Your 2nd link: Unfortunately for you, I actually read it:

    Outward appearances of a strong bond, however, can be deceiving. The church’s and Kremlin’s preferences do not always align, and the church’s worldly influence, in any case, is quite circumscribed. Although Putin is more than willing to invoke the church’s imprimatur when it suits his agenda, the church does not have much independent ability to either set or sway that agenda. Indeed, since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Orthodox Church has had surprisingly little success in pursuing its political goals when these did not coincide with the Kremlin’s interests.

    It is thus too simplistic to view the church as simply an extension of the state, just as it is naive to assume that it has much power to achieve political objectives over the state’s head. The truth falls in between, with Putin’s government leaning on the church to provide it a veneer of historical and cultural legitimacy, and the church relying on the Kremlin to uphold its position as a moral arbiter for society. The tensions in this convoluted relationship have revealed themselves in Russia’s soft-power promotion efforts, as well as during its interventions in Ukraine and Syria.

    Not much in terms of your smear campaign to try and rattle the Church/State hobgoblin, I’m afraid.

    Oh, and a lot of virtual ink is spilled on Ukraine/Crimea. Russia had every single right to do what it did, most prominently because they have the support of the people. Certainly more than Clinton & Obama did when it came to their illegal invasion of Libya.

  • The current law criminalizing gays came straight from the desk of Patriarch Kirill

    Oh. Biased, much?

    Of course I do

    Nope. Not unless you can claim to not be a sinner.

    Morals have zero to do with religious dogma or belief

    Thanks for admitting your smear tactics have therefore no relevance to the conversation.

    You brought them up as an example of a church whose traditional views have been unchanging and therefore in your mind strong

    Mhmmm, your point?

    I will grant you that. Fair enough It is one part of a whole which are not centrally controlled

    You admit this, but then:

    You brought up a terrible example with a lot of well earned negative press

    Go right back to the smear campaign by continuing to harp on one part of the the whole.

  • News stories are somehow offensive to your sensibilities? Oh well.

    “Not unless you can claim to not be a sinner.”

    Sin is a sectarian religious construct not a moral one. Sin is not synonymous with what is immoral. What is immoral is not necessarily sinful either.

    “Thanks for admitting your smear tactics have therefore no relevance to the conversation.”

    That reaction had zero to do with what I said, nor are giving facts considered smear tactics.

    “Mhmmm, your point?”

    You had a bad example.

    “Go right back to the smear campaign by continuing to harp on one part of the the whole.”

    You use the words “smear campaign” but it doesn’t appear to be the correct term for what is being said. I am not sure you understand what it means.

    🙂

  • Hardly. What I said was correct, and you have done squat to refute it. Where I failed was in taking a small example and holding it out against the larger whole.

    Moral authority had zero to do with our discussion.

  • ” …as more and more churches move further and further away from God’s word… ”

    Could these be the reason? Could these be a better answer? —–

    1. The Kingdom of God is not in “word” or scripture verse, but “power” which is the ‘Spirit’ working in all of us especially those that believe……1 Cor 4:20

    2. The Kingdom of God is not food and drink but “righteousness” which is simply doing good works and deeds, showing loving attitudes, and living with peace and joy in the Holy Spirit………..Rom 14:17

    3. If you serve God with this attitude, you will please him, and others will approve of you, too…….Rom 14:18

  • What I said was correct, and you have done squat to refute it

    There was no need to. It was a fatuous claim to begin with.

    Where I failed was in taking a small example and holding it out against the larger whole

    And as such, blew your whole case to smithereens. At least as far as it’s relevance to anything I said in the very beginning.

    Moral authority had zero to do with our discussion

    It had/has nothing to do with my original point. It has everything to do with your point, because you brought it up. But thanks for admitting where you effed up 😉

  • News stories are somehow offensive to your sensibilities

    No, don’t believe I’ve ever indicated that.

    Sin is a sectarian religious construct not a moral one

    No, actually it is quite reflective of morals on a secular level. And it has to do with exactly the reasons for why I cited the EOC to begin with.

    Sin is not synonymous with what is immoral. What is immoral is not necessarily sinful either

    In Christian parlance, it is. And that was the basis for what I said to begin with, which you increasingly appear to not understand.

    That reaction had zero to do with what I said, nor are giving facts considered smear tactics

    If they are irrelevant “facts” then they are. Your own sources don’t even fully support your fatuous claims to begin with.

    You had a bad example

    Nope. I had an excellent example, One that can even be proven from looking at things with secular eyes.

    I am not sure you understand what it means

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smear_campaign#Definition

    100% on the money.

  • OK, this conversation is becoming silly and wayyyyyy off topic.
    1. Yes I conflated the Russian Orthodox Church’s well publicized bad actions with the entire Eastern Orthodox Church. Bad on my part

    2. No, you did not say anything of value in response except that ROC is not the entirety of EOC.

    Everything else has more or less a morass of confused incoherent points and responses.

    Bless your heart. 🙂

  • We rely on our fellow blogger to give us the *correct* application of holy scripture to various situations. Only *he* knows.

  • “If you persist in this, you will be left behind by the younger generations.”

    Lord, we beseech Thee to let this prognostication come to pass.

    Amen.

  • OK, this conversation is becoming silly and wayyyyyy off topic

    It was so the second you entered it.

    No, you did not say anything of value in response except that ROC is not the entirety of EOC

    I made the claim that the EOC has held strong in terms of it’s organizational principles [as opposed to the ever fracturing, ever new denomination-starting Mennonites] and I stand by that claim. You not only did nothing to address that, you attempted to move the goalposts by a long rant against the ROC for it’s policies on LGTBQ. Except you really didn’t talk so much about that, you waved around a hobgoblin that’s down to opinion and how you view things. Your Foreign Affairs source backed me up on that.

    My claim was that on an organizational basis, the EOC has held to good moral standards in terms of inclusion and exclusion. The fact that they’ve survived almost 2 millenia now is proof positive of this.

    You not only did not address that point, but you tried to smear the EOC by rattling a hobgoblin about one faction of it. You admitted this was in error, but then went on to rant and rave against the EOC, obvious to the fact that you just admitted your case was on shaky ground to begin with, because the ROC alleged “sins” don’t really reflect back on the EOC as a whole. I used “alleged,” because your sources seem to indicate that to be the case. Especially your 2nd link.

    confused

    Try knowing what you’re talking about next time and you won’t be 😉

  • There were a lot of denominational splits over slavery, segregation, and women’s rights more recently. Now we’re seeing the same thing over gay people. There have always been those in religion who don’t want to treat others well and view certain human beings as “less than”. Religious traditionalists, conservatives, etc. have always looked askance at the inclusion of those that are different from them.

    The interesting thing is that while denominations and churches are still fighting over whether they will or won’t treat gay people human dignity and respect, the rest of America has quietly moved on. Given that most Americans know and love the gay people around them, treating them decently and fairly is now a given. The fight is over among the general population, and as usual, it’s the religious conservatives who will have to be dragged (kicking and screaming all the way) into treating gay people fairly and decently.

    The other thing is that gay people aren’t one bit impressed by the religious feuding over them. The feuding is quaint and dated. They wouldn’t darken the doors of those churches if they paid them to come. Like many other Americans, gay people found out they can be good and live a good life just fine without belonging to a church (or religion generally). The Mennonites (like other denominations and churches) are a day late and a dollar short.

  • They wouldn’t darken the doors of those churches if they paid them to come. Like many other Americans, gay people found out they can be good and live a good life just fine without belonging to a church

    Good. So be it 😉

  • You wrote —
    Ten years ago both Barack…
    Twenty years ago, the United…
    Forty years ago sodomy…
    Fifty years ago sodomy…

    Paul wrote —
    But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to the [good] things that are ahead………Philippians 3:13

    I put the word [good] in there because that’s the nature of the work of the Holy Spirit in our world today.

    I quote —
    All things are allowable for me, all things are lawful for me, and all things are permissible for me, but all things are not necessarily beneficial for me………1 Corinthians 6:12……1 Corinthians 10:23

    Love bears all things, ‘believes all things’, hopes all things, endures all things…….1 Cor 13:7

  • Good heavens, is anyone ‘not’ knowledgeable about Jesus and his teachings [2 John 1:9] an enemy? A doer of evil deeds?

    Are unbelievers really evil and wicked people? Does the knowledge of Jesus and his teachings cause people to be ‘doers of the word, not hearers only’…..James 1:22 ?

    Certain Christians often quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 —
    Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways……

    Here’s how to turn from wicked ways. Following these comments or verses can help transform the Christian experience or any ones life into good results —

    1. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way…..Romans 14:13
    2. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God…..Romans 15:7
    3. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love….Ephesians 4:2
    4. …all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble….1 Peter 3:8
    5. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…..Philippians 2:3
    6. Be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone…..Titus 3:2
    7. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven…..Luke 6:37
    8. ABOVE ALL, LOVE EACH OTHER DEEPLY, because love covers over a multitude of sins..….1 Peter 4:8
    9. Let your gentle spirit be known to all men…..Philippians 4:5
    10. Don’t seek your own good, but the good of others…….. 1 Corinthians 10:24
    11. Follow after the things that make for peace……Romans 14:19

    Here’s a big one —
    12. In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets………Matthew 7:12

    …then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

  • To clarify my statement, I didn’t say that the “few churches” which are standing by “Bible morality” know “the truth of the Bible.” I just said they are standing by Bible morality.

    The fact is, there are many churches which teach Bible morality but don’t know the truth of the Bible. The Mennonites are a prime example. If they knew the truth of the Bible, they’d be Baptists, not Mennonites.

  • Right…………passages with the word ‘hate’ are irrelevant to the discussion of hate. Got it.

  • You sound like Ray Comfort in those silly man on the street videos he does. But no, I go by the tried and true grade school adage, ‘Actions speak louder than words’. The actions of the Republican party show how they hate the people. How is it ‘Christian’ to take health care from 9 million children?

  • My interpretation is based on the actions of the people involved. When they take health care from children, that says they hate children. Republican policies show they hate all who are not wealthy. Actions speak louder than words.

  • Long comment………….but I am not sure how it either confirms or denies my comment. The point I was making was just to define the word ‘hate’ and then reveal from Scripture an example of ‘hate’ and how ‘hate’ and ‘intolerance’ is a quality of Christianity. The problem is in ‘word association’. That is propaganda and programming.
    Word Association is far more powerful than the actual word.

  • Tervuren……The Scripture’s prophecy of that which you speak.
    The road is ‘narrow’ and only a FEW will find it.
    “Christian” is not Synonymous with those who are “doers” of the Word.
    Why do you assume “Republicans” are followers of the Christ?

  • Tervuren….I’m interested in your last question. I do not follow politics. I haven’t voted at the Federal level since the 80’s.
    So…I know nothing of that which you ask/speak. But I do have a question — How did they do that? Can’t any one person go to a hospital and pay for the service that they need?
    How did the Republican Party deny health care to 9 million children? How can they stop families from using medical services. I’m confused.

  • They have refused to fund CHIP. Your hate is showing. Silly me, I thought Christians were supposed to help their fellow humans.

  • Tervuren…first of all……you know nothing about me. You have no idea who I have helped out of my own pocket, so grow up for a minute. I’m asking you a serious question.
    Is CHIP a voluntary program? I know nothing about it. Where does the money come from? Voluntary or is it Taxed?
    Do you contribute to CHIP voluntarily?

  • I didn’t know it’d take this quickly to get the “gay people should be put in prisons” crowd in here, but there we have it.

  • What is this “another thing” that you speak of? From looking at this and a few other articles on this story, there’s no indication.

  • Sad to see that the defining issue for so many so called Christians seems to be “get the gays.”

    But there you hAve it.

  • Well, Roy. Here’s some reality on that subject of going to a hospital and getting what they need. My husband works in a hospital.

    People without insurance often go to the emergency room. The emergency room must take them by law. A typical emergency room visit can cost thousands of dollars. If these people had money, they would t be going to an emergency room. So they don’t pay their bills.

  • So, the dictionary is your final authority. Thank you for revealing your intolerance. Now turn from it and you will live without carrying a huge burden on your shoulders.

  • Why, from right wing Christians who are willing to split their denomination over the issue, but not over other issues. From right wing Christians who claim that their religious freedom should include the right to discriminate on the basis of religious belief, a right which no one else has. From right wing Christians who make a pile of money attacking gay people and lying about it. From right wing Christian who foment, man, and finance political campaigns intended to enforce any of the above. From right wing Christians who rail on and on about values, and then vote for a fourtimes bankrupt, three times married, Two Corinthians guy named Grabby McPussy.

  • Silly me, I forgot the direct answer to your question.
    FROM THE POSTERS ON THESE VERY PAGES WHO TALK ABOUT APOSTATES, TRUE CHRISTIANS (and who is and who isn’t) BASED UPON, AS FAR AS I CAN TELL, THIS SINGLE ISSUE.

  • LOL!!! How do you think we come to understand what a word means. Unbelievable. What are dictionaries for then??? I have no problem discussing word “Etymology”. And that is ultimately the point, isn’t it. We need to understand those words used during that time. We need to understand how the word for ‘hate’ was understood in Greek. Shame on you if you ever open a dictionary. LOL!

  • Anabaptists are not protestants. They came about several years after the Protestant Reformation. Their movement was called the Radical Reformation. They were thankful for many of the things the Protestant Reformation brought about but didn’t feel the reformers had gone far enough. Many protestants and catholics alike killed anabaptists for their work in continuing to refine the faith.

  • I thought it was pretty clear that I answered your question. But, I understand. For snowflake Christians, all dissent must be silenced, or at least ignored. It really does show the intellectual and moral poverty of your position, though. Thanks.

  • How do you think we come to understand what a word means. Unbelievable. What are dictionaries for then? I have no problem discussing word “Etymology”. And that is ultimately the point, isn’t it. We need to understand those words used during that time. We need to understand how the word for ‘hate’ was understood in Greek. Shame on you if you ever open a dictionary.

  • You miss the point. I was not discussing meaning of words but ultimate authority. You shift the issue, and then engage in personal attack. Please do not reply until you wish to engage in reasoned discussion. You will be blocked.

  • You are clearly lacking in the department of basic reading comprehension:

    The two groups fractured over the definition of marriage — an issue roiling virtually every U.S. religious denomination in the wake of the 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. The LMC opposes same-sex marriage and members were increasingly uncomfortable with some Mennonite Church USA policies that affirmed it, including hiring policies that address LGBT people

  • >”Can we use Scripture?”

    Be my guest. Be sure, though, that I know them well and catch fallacious readings out of contexts; and I don’t mind calling the out. I will ignore personal attacks except to call them out. If they persist, I will let you know that the discussion ends.

  • You do know the definition of sodomy includes oral sex, yes? And did 50 years ago? And that lots of heterosexuals, particularly evangelical kids, use anal sex for birth control, because they don’t think that’s a sin, only “real” sex is? And that only 30% of gay men have anal sex? There are more heterosexual “sodomites” than gay people, period.

    You need to read some real research.

  • Please read your Bible. Women in Biblical times were owned by their fathers and sold to their husbands. They were valued only for the sons they produced. This is why an adulteress was stoned. if there was any question as to who the father of a child may be, her value was gone.

  • I am referring to the 81% White Evangelicals and 60% White Catholics who voted Trump. I have never written about prophesy.

  • You can look up CHIP. I try to help my fellow human by voting for people who want to help others, and paying my taxes. That is what responsible people do.

  • There have been a few. The big split was when what we now call the Roman Catholic church split off, but there have been splits from the earliest times up to the present. A few of them in no particular order are the Nestorians, or Assyrian church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Patriarchate of Antioch, and the Armenian Orthodox Church. Then there is the Russian Orthodox Church, which is part of Eastern Orthodoxy. In the 1600’s a number of “Old Believers” churches split of from it, as have more recent groups that call themselves “True” orthodoxy. The Russian OC has in recent years been feuding with the Armenian OC and the Ukrainian OC. The Orthodox Church in America originated with the ROC, but now we have the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which is trying to get a congregation started in the next town over from where I live, which I gather is a turf battle. I believe I heard something about the OCA has had several bishops to resign because of misbehavior. Then there is the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church of the USA, which figures in the mix someway.

  • Apples and oranges, comparing like with unlike.

    The Mennonite split is within the Mennonite denomination.

    Roman Catholics, Oriental Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Assyrians are none of them Eastern Orthodox, so not a split within the Eastern Orthodox denomination.

    The Russian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, Orthodox Church in America, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Carpatho-Russian, Patriarchate of Antioch, Patriarchate of Antioch, etc., are not splits, but represent local/regional synods of bishops within the Eastern Orthodox denomination. The polity of the Orthodox Church has always been organized that way, since ancient times. They all are in communion with each other, and profess the same doctrines, as part of a single Orthodox Church. So Mr. Wayne is essentially correct in his evaluation.

    Old Believers are indeed a split. They are of different varieties. In recent years, a few have reconciled with the Russian Orthodox Church.

  • No, Herman (and I will call thee Herman, since Jesus tells us we are to call no one Father except God alone). If thee wants to say it is a case of apples and oranges, tell; it to Kevin Wayne, since he is the one who made the comparison. He was wrong about that and he was wrong about a lot of other things.
    Before I go on, I should stop and point out what no one else has pointed out in over a hundred replies to this article, and that the article was poorly written and incomplete. What is significant, and was left out, is that while issues of sexuality have gotten the most attention, the issue of polity has been a big part of the splits in the Mennonite Church USA. The merger of The Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church General Conference in 2002 was a mistake. The General Conference Church was essentially a congregational denomination, while the MC had a very top down organization. While many congregations are thriving in spite of the changes that came with the merger, others do not like the changes and are now leaving.
    Also, it should be noted that of the various Mennonite denominations, some of the groupings represent geographic areas and others are differences in polity, and others are the results of their ancestors coming to this country at differing times. Just like the Orthodox groupings, all have their history that explains why they are not all one big happy family.
    Still the fact remains that there have been splits in Orthodoxy, sometimes bitter. I am not going to waste time arguing about it. It is in the history books and those who want to know can look it up, and those who want to remain ignorant can remain ignorant.
    I am not trying to be critical of either the Mennonites or the Orthodox churches. They both have done good and been faithful at times, and at other times they have fallen short.

  • I am referring to the 81% White Evangelicals and 60% White Catholics who voted Trump.
    What about them? Why do you assume they have the Holy Spirit?
    Not that it matters to you, but in my social circle — neighbors, associations etc. — those who admitted to voting for Trump, did so NOT because they liked Trump, but because they did not want Clinton. Kind of a “lesser of two evils” vote. I would venture to guess 80% of those voting for Trump had that same philosophy in mind.
    For me personally……………I believe the entire Political System at the Federal Level is 100% co-opted. There is no two party system. It is ONE party serving the same master. I mean seriously………..for one to run for President today you have to be a multi-millionaire. This one single fact throws the whole system into the trash bin for me. The whole thing is one large joke!
    The Whole Thing is one large Reality Tv Show. We are all being played.
    If you like Podcasts……………find a man who goes by Eric Williams. He also uses a nickname — Eric WhoRu. You can find his archives and download them. He has a very unique story. He was given up by his mother and a family found him in a basket at the post office. Or something like that. When he was an adult, he tried to do things like – get a drivers license as an example; but didn’t have a social security number. This led him to some very revealing REALITY about our system. He also has a great plan to get rid of ALL taxation and yet continue to fund everything we are already funding. Fascinating. Peace to you Tervuren.

  • Still, I believe Mr. Wayne is correct in that with respect to standards (whether moral or doctrinal) – which was the context of his comment – the Eastern Orthodox have been conspicuous in their unanimity.

    With respect to the term “Father”, since you are not in any sense one of my spiritual children, there is really no reason why you should follow the ancient Biblical and Church practice and address me as such.

    Wishing you God’s blessings in the new year,

    Archpriest Herman

  • Well, being a poster on these very pages, I would base the designation “apostate” on a far greater number of issues, such as whether or not they accept the unadulterated Nicene Creed, the Seven Ecumenical councils, the Palamite Councils (14th Century), etc. Although in no way acceptable, homosexuality is relatively small potatoes compared to them.

  • Yet, according to those very posters, homosexuality is big potatoes, defines whether you are a Christian. Despite all of the people who define themselves as Christians who have no issue with it.

  • So if you dare to disagree with a lifestyle of someone, you are a hater? I disagree with my neighbour having multiple outside sex partners while married. Does this mean I HATE him?

  • When your policies take health care away from people, yes that is an expression of hate. It has to do with how your beliefs affect other people.

  • Maybe I can give some direction. The last two commandments from Jesus were “Love God” and Love your neighbor”. And something else stressed was forgive everyone. So it is really simple, love the sinner as we all sin so that is everyone and hate the sin. That means we don’t judge as it is Gods job but it also means we stay the path and love the sinner but don’t accept the action which may be a sin. Simple huh.

  • If a church hates everyone it is not Christian. God wants us to love everyone and not hate any one. If you are hating you then are judging and that is Gods job not yours or others.

  • Roy – kudos for trying. Dog-face isn’t looking for God, he’s comfortable in his damnation. He’s just looking to waste time that could be put to profitable use elsewhere. He carefully lies to prolong the conversation, watch how he steers you, a slander here, but a concession here to keep you in the game. That’s all it is to him, a prideful exercise. Wipe the dust off the bottom of your feet and move on.

  • Thanks Madmouse. Narrow Road Christians are a dime a dozen on this forum; so I appreciate the ‘appreciation’. Hopefully…see you around. Peace.

  • The early church in the NT excluded people. Jesus called out Judas who would eventually exclude himself. There’s nothing that says Christians have to be one big happy family representative of the whole human race everywhere, any time, any place. It’s not even logistically possible.

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