This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

When culture is right

Letters to MWR have suggested that some Mennonites are changing our views on homosexuality and accepting gay and lesbian people because we are being influenced by our degenerate culture and not sticking to the Bible. It is true that a degenerate culture pursues a lot of things that we as Christians do not. But some cultural changes push us toward the truth. Sixty years ago people of color could not sleep overnight in some of our predominantly Mennonite communities, nor could they marry a white person. The Civil War was fought because the South justified slavery by quoting the Bible — and, indeed, the Bible does not negate slavery. But has not the Spirit taught us, since the Bible was last written almost 2,000 years ago, that all races of people can rightfully intermarry? Have we not learned, from the Spirit, that it is reprehensible to own slaves? Are we not open to the truth that many people are born homosexual and that this cannot be changed? To accept Christian homosexuals in the Mennonite church is a new truth that we can accept — just as Christ changed the rules and let his disciples thresh wheat on the Sabbath, as Paul did away with biblically taught circumcision and welcomed Gentiles into the kingdom, as Peter did away with biblically taught kosher food laws and as Philip baptized the “unclean” Ethiopian eunuch. Let us maintain togetherness in spite of our diversity of thought.

Evan Oswald
Glendale, Ariz.

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