Our Role in the Ultimate Story

Yesterday at CrossWay Church we kicked off our “Creed” series. During this series, we’ll examine the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective to learn more about who we are as a church, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going.

The message yesterday was an introduction to Mennonite history, belief, and practice. We explored the origins of the Mennonite denomination, but we didn’t just start with the Anabaptists–we backed up all the way to God making the universe and took it from there.

In order for us to live lives of genuine significance, we have to understand our role in the ultimate story. And we have to choose what we believe, because our beliefs determine our actions. Once we understand where we’ve come from, how we got here, and what we believe, we are equipped to discover our role in the grand story–we’re ready to head into the future with confidence and a clear direction.

In the past, God used our Mennonite ancestors to call the Christian church back to a radical life of following Jesus. The Anabaptists–our Mennonite predecessors–reformed the Reformation. They didn’t believe that the original Reformers went far enough. Today the worldwide Christian church, especially in the United States, takes for granted things like the priesthood of believers (in other words, the belief that every Christian has a personal relationship with God) and the separation of church and state. But these biblical ideals actually disappeared from the time of Constantine (fourth century) up to the Anabaptists. The Reformers still had government-controlled churches, where every baby was baptized and considered a member of the church, and the state paid the clergy.

The Anabaptists changed all that–but most of them didn’t live to see the changes take effect. They were persecuted to the point of death. As the persecution scattered them, they began to develop written creeds to unify their diverse congregations and guide them in their belief and practice.  Likewise, we have our own written creed which guides Mennonites in belief and practice today, and provides a framework for interpreting Scripture.

God used this tiny minority of Christians to pioneer modern Christianity. In the same way, I believe that God wants to use Mennonites today to be the pioneers of Christianity’s future. Once again, government and church have gotten too cozy in many circles. I believe that God desires to use us to call His church back to a radical Jesus life.

We’ll learn what exactly this means for us in the days and weeks and months and years ahead, as we discover together our role in the ultimate story.

Next week: We begin a three-part exploration of what our creed teaches about God.

Published in: on September 10, 2007 at 7:17 am  Leave a Comment  

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