This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

MBs have retreated from Anabaptist roots

The U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches’ refusal to act in solidarity with virtually all other Mennonite groups in attempting to influence the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service is proof of how far the MBs have retreated from our Anabaptist roots (“Consultation Offers Peace-Church Voice on Military Service,” Oct. 14).

To explain this absence, USMB executive director Don Morris cited a “large percentage” of MBs who might take up arms in a just-war situation and who might be offended if MBs participated in ways that reflect our historic peace position. He did not cite even a shred of New Testament teaching to justify just-war theory, because there is none.

The historic peace position had already been watered down in changes to the USMB Confession of Faith in 2014. Now we have further evidence of an almost complete severance of our roots to Anabaptist views of peacekeeping and Christ’s call to love our enemies.

We do not know if a military draft will ever return. It seems doubtful that large land armies will be amassed in the future. But we don’t know. If a draft comes, where will that leave MB young men, and possibly women?

They could still appeal to be conscientious objectors or noncombatants as a matter of personal ethical or religious views. But, in the past, such appeals were often denied. It seems doubtful MB youth could still be covered under the collective conscience of a historic peace church when the MBs have isolated themselves from this list of churches.

James David Toews
Portland, Ore.

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