This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Are we still radical?

Thanks to Tim Huber for “Criminally Christian” (Editorials, May 7). At times we pride ourselves in our Mennonite history yet neglect our history of being the radical reformers. When my wife and I were being considered for a service assignment with Mennonite Central Committee in 1986, we were required to have an interview with a local Mennonite pastor. He reminded us that the Anabaptist faith was born through civil disobedience: adult baptism. He indicated that many Mennonites seemed to have forgotten these roots.

In a Sunday school class studying Palmer Becker’s Ana­baptist Essentials, a member shared that we must obey not only the Bible but also the U.S. Constitution. I believe this clarifies our faith-civic dilemma: When the convictions of our faith and our government clash, many choose to follow Caesar. Many understand their allegiance to the United States as their ultimate priority and their allegiance to Christ as secondary, relevant only as it fits within the confines of prevailing political views. This was not the understanding I had as a convert who joined the Mennonite church in 1992 and was ordained as a pastor in 2004.

Christ — his life and teachings, sacrificial death and resurrection for all humanity — is at our core as Anabaptists. These are the convictions that draw people to the Anabaptist faith, not our secular views on political issues or human sexuality.

Rob Burdette
Butler, Ohio

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