Anabaptist Mission & Peace – Day 2

The second day of my class last weekend, “Anabaptist Mission and Peace,” is harder to write about. (Of course, it probably would have been easier if I’d done it several days ago!) We got a little deeper into theology, and without writing at length to build that theological framework, a lot of my notes wouldn’t make sense because they’d be without context. But I’ll share some of the highlights. The following are quotes from our teacher, David Shenk:

  • “Be people of the Word, folks. Be people of the Word.”
  • “The work of the Holy Spirit is to bear witness to the Truth…. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is always centered in Jesus.”
  • “Within God there is loving fellowship, but He doesn’t just keep this loving fellowship to Himself–He pursues us.”
  • “Begin your days being filled with the Holy Spirit.”
  • “Let’s embrace all that the cross is, in all its marvelous dimensions.”
  • “We will never fully fathom the depths of what the cross is all about–it’s truly astounding…. No philosophies or religious categories can contain it.”
  • “Let God bust open your categories. That’s the Gospel. That’s the cross.”
  • The Gospel message–that we are sinners who are forgiven because Jesus died for our sins–is “a lesson that we never graduate from.”
  • “The most important business in history is proclaiming the Gospel around the world.”
  • This might be more of a paraphrase than a quote–I didn’t catch it all word for word, but it’s something like this: “The power center of the universe is the crucified God. The cross turns the whole universe upside down.”
  • “Why are Mennonites so afraid of grace?”
  • “Ethics without grace is a dry orange.”
  • Another paraphrase: “Ethics isn’t the all-in-all. At the end of the day, I’m a sinner saved by grace…. We need to keep grace and ethics together.”

Interesting fact: There are more Anabaptists in Africa than any other continent on the planet. Of the 1.4 million Anabaptists in the world, half a million are in Africa.

Another interesting fact: Felix Manz, one of the first Anabaptist leaders and martyrs, held his Bible studies at the same spot in Zurich where Karl Marx would later hold his communist meetings.

Lloyd Hoover was one of our guest speakers. After his session I had the opportunity to talk with him about reconciliation efforts in Munster. Lloyd once shared communion in the hall where the “King David” guy in the Munster Rebellion had his throne.  Very, very interesting fellow. Notes from his presentation:

  • “Reconciliation” is one word that describes how God is moving in the world.
  • Reconciliation is deepening intimacy between each other and God.
  • Reconciliation catches how God is bringing His body together and healing relationships.
  • “Unforgiveness is a seedbed for strongholds.” It opens the door for the enemy to interfere and wield authority in the affairs of the church.
  • Walk in forgiveness!
  • Forgiveness is the way of Christ, so it must be our way too.
  • Christ is the only valid reason in this world for forgiveness, so He is the only hope for the division and hostility in the world.
  • If we deal with our past, we are prepared to move forward redemptively into our future.

Notes from guest speaker Keith Weaver:

  • “Peace and missions are inseparable.”
  • Reconciliation is God’s agenda.
  • The cross is what crumbles walls of division.
  • To respond to the Gospel is to take the message of reconciliation throughout the world.
  • “I’m not sure that we haven’t bought into the American Dream and lost sight of the values of the Kingdom.”

Here are some notes from our last speaker, John something:

  • “Whenever the Gospel is attached to violence, it will never live up to our expectations.”
  • “Violence never delivers what it promises.”

One final comment from David Shenk to wrap up the weekend: “Pray and cultivate the soil, and the harvest will come in  God’s time and in God’s way.”

I’m looking forward to our next two-day session!  It will include a field trip to Philadelphia and some time with Ron Sider.

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