Theological ponderings from William Loewen

What makes a Mennonite?

Mennonite is a term that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Many of those meanings can be summed up in three categories; Mennonites are known by seed, by deed and by creed.

… by seed. – Mennonite is primarily a faith position, but throughout time and in many parts of the world, people with Mennonite convictions have lived together in communities and formed distinctive cultures. Aspects of that culture will reveal itself in our church, but that is not at the heart of what we do and who we want to be. In many places, Mennonites are known for their distinctive dress and exclusive community lifestyle, but you will not find those elements at most contemporary Mennonite churches.

… by deed. – Mennonites take seriously Jesus’ words “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” and the Biblical admonition that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (Matthew 25: 40 & James 2: 17, TNIV) Accordingly, we are happy to participate in and lend our support to various disaster response and global relief and development efforts. Although that work is not done to receive attention or credibility, in many places Mennonites are recognized by the charitable work they have done.

… by creed. At the core of our beliefs are statements about God’s sovereignty, the inspiration of the Bible and the nature of the trinity that would be in keeping with most other churches. Some of our distinctive are as follows:

  • Jesus at the Center – we believe that Jesus reveals to us, better than anything or anyone else, what God is really like. We believe that everything else in the Bible builds up toward his coming or builds on top of the foundation he laid. We seek to follow him before all others.
  • Separation from the world – we believe that the church should be motivated by different things, work toward different goals and be structured differently then mainstream society. Various Mennonite cultural expressions have come from a physical separation from society, but much more than that we emphasize a mental and spiritual separation.
  • Others centered Love – we believe that Love was at the core of what Jesus taught. “Love your neighbours as yourself” calls us to live and give graciously and “Love your enemies” calls us to live peacefully and embrace the people we might otherwise think we should hate.


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