This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

It’s the culture war

D.R. Yoder’s parable, “If Faced With This Choice, What Would You Do?” (Letters, Jan. 5), seems to be based on the assumption that those who tolerate churches that welcome LGBT people would not extend the same freedom to congregations that do not hold to a strict peace position. But many Mennonite churches already include members who are not pacifists, and no one is talking about splitting the church over this. Indeed, whole Anabaptist denominations have abandoned or weakened the peace position. Moreover, no one is talking about splitting the church over congregations that accept as members individuals who were baptized as infants without requiring adult baptism, or congregations that offer the Lord’s Supper to nonbaptized individuals or even children, contrary to our church’s teachings. When did you last hear a sermon about refusing to swear an oath, a biblically based teaching that our Anabaptist ancestors suffered for? When was the last time a congregation was expelled for tolerating members, or even pastors, who have been divorced? Our struggles over the gay issue are far more related to society’s culture wars — and our cultural assimilation — than they are to core Anabaptist beliefs or biblical teaching, on which we are willing to tolerate diversity.

Timothy Stoltzfus Jost
Harrisonburg, Va.

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