This morning Jonathan posted this comment over on the Young (White) Anabaptists Radicals post:
If you have any concern for new believers please read this…
It didn’t quite fit with the existing discussion there, so I thought I’d move it to a new post for further comments. If you click on the link, you’ll find yourself at MennoDiscuss, a lively forum for Mennonite conversations.
The post that Johnathan wanted to draw our attention to begins with a repost of an open letter from fellow missionary of Johnathan’s named David Keeling. Here’s an excerpt:
We were ask to go to Peru and given the names and address of the people we met with, with the desire of building churches there because NO ONE was doing anything toward that end.
The people there ALL begged us. “Will you stat a church here?” and told us “the Mennonites and those working here have been coming for years and each have a different agenda and say that they are not going to, will you?” So we began trying to gather the people together and began teaching them, some began covering, one became committed to becoming an evangelist and another has come to the understanding of the cross and began walking in it. All things that any CHRISTIAN should become excited about. And how was this met with among the religious vipers of this day?
The letter seems to have have stirred up quite a bit of controversy on MennoDiscuss. Jonathan elaborated on why he originally posted the letter in a second post:
We posted this letter in the wake of situation in Peru which involved a certain “conservative” Mennonite group turning away certain “little ones” interested in learning The Gospel
This letter is not a backlash of bitterness as if we have been personally hurt by the Mennonite denominations. If we were to be bitter towards the Mennonite Churches than we would be guilty of not going our way and reconciling first, and then offering our gift of the Gospel.
Our concerns are not tainted with an “anti Mennonite” spirit. The term anti Mennonite spirit has become a cliché term used to ignore anyone who voices a concern toward you’re Church(es). We very deeply respect Anabaptism in it’s grass-roots. Sadly what we have found in Anabaptism is nothing more than a skeletal frame of what it used to be, dead and without life. A never moving frame grounded in tradition and held up by suspenders.
I thought this final sentence was a particularly vivid image. Johnathan goes on to invoke the pulpit-storming habits of Grebel and Blaurock in condemning the “hyper religious structures” rather then being content to content to “build pole-barns and eat shoe fly pie in a tucked away little farm house with a F-350 parked outside.”
If this sounds interesting to you, take a peak at the whole discussion. Johnathan if there are particular aspects of your message you’d like to highlight for folks here at YAR, I’d welcome further specifics on how your concerns with Mennonites. I’d also be interested to hear more about what aspects of the early Anabaptists you find inspiring.