This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

View from the outside

Since the late 1950s my wife and I have never lived in a Mennonite community but have kept in touch with the faith of my childhood by subscribing to Mennonite publications. As we participated with another Prot­estant denomination, we became part of a disgruntled denominational laity. Our congregation left our denomination in the mid-1980s. In the ensuing 30 years that trickle has become a tide of desertion. I see many similarities between what we experienced and what I currently read in MWR. The issues are different, but the cause is virtually the same. In both cases it is not a grassroots movement but an emphasis of needed social change coming from our pulpits. If one takes any recent issue of MWR and tabulates the comments about the strife taking place, the results always contain a dearth of deep scriptural and doctrinal discussion. One cannot help but conclude that most Mennonite seminaries are no longer preparing young men and women to systematically teach Scripture first and let the Holy Spirit move in the lives of people who have been correctly taught. As adults, we are no different than our children in receiving guidance. We need pastoral “statesmen” who faithfully teach Scripture and then let social involvement follow naturally from that. This emphasis must come from our seminaries. Is it possible that instead of seminaries being the “salt” of the inspired Word of God they have been “salted” by the world?

Floyd Thiessen
Frisco, Texas

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