Responses from denominational leaders concerning Jim Holm’s resignation as president of MBBS
President Jim Holm’s resignation in August was difficult for everyone at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary because of the key level of trust placed in him. Jim informed the board of his extramarital relationship and offered his resignation. The board acted quickly and appropriately in accepting that resignation.
Jim’s actions do not invalidate the message he had – nor do they invalidate the message the seminary continues to have – regarding the need to prepare pastors to serve the church. MBBS was and is a great Mennonite Brethren graduate school providing theological education and training.
The board has expressed assurance of forgiveness to Jim and has agreed that the Pacific District Conference will oversee his restoration and care.
We are very fortunate to have an academic dean such as Lynn Jost, who is capable and willing to immediately take over as acting president. We’ve now begun the process of filling this role on a permanent basis.
The board, together with the administration led by Lynn, has moved quickly to address a number of priorities, including hosting a summit of North American MB leaders; preparing for an accreditation visit; preparing a major funding grant application; planning for the changing delivery and leadership needs of the church; and searching for a new president.
I’m pleased to report that amidst normal challenges, the seminary continues to fulfill its mission to inspire and equip men and women to live as disciples of Jesus Christ, and to serve and lead in the church and in the world. The board and I have received much support through these leadership changes. I especially value the tremendous help from our two national conference representatives, David Wiebe and Ed Boschman.
Our board, acting president, and faculty remain passionate about our mission and we’re convinced of our ability to deliver on it. We value and need your prayers, your commitment to seminary education, and your financial support to do so.
—Jack Falk, MBBS board chair
For years I’ve had a fist-sized rock in my office, boldly imprinted with the words “First Stone,” a reminder of Jesus’ words in John 8 about stoning an adulterous woman. And etched into my brain is Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 10:12: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” Both humility and grace are God’s gifts to us, and both are to be reinvested. This is a good time to practice humility and grace.
Current research indicates that 60 percent of marriages experience adultery, and that up to 40 percent of women and 60 percent of men succumb to infidelity. Astoundingly, in recent decades, studies indicate that Christians are just as likely to experience failed marriage as non-Christians.
One wonders if the common responses are adequate: “It happens to the best of us,” or “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Perhaps it’s time to look each other in the eye and say, “There, by God’s grace, I will not go.” And to say this with the humble but realistic confidence that is available to us from the One who provides strength to do all things. Cockiness is not appropriate, but neither is casualness.
Humble resolve will honour God, our marriages, and the church. While temptation is unavoidable, God promises the necessary strength to escape. For the sake of Jesus, his church, and our families, let’s practice humility, offer grace, and choose confidence.
—Ed Boschman, U.S. conference executive director
The resignation of our brother Jim Holm has been a challenge to all of us in leadership in the Canadian conference. We’re sorrowful that his ministry concluded as it did. We’re also grateful for the many times he challenged us through pastors’ retreats and church ministry. God’s Word and truth will still bear fruit. We support Jim and Shirley in prayer as they work through this.
We also support the seminary as it regroups. We have full confidence that MBBS will continue to provide quality, spirit-filled ministry training at ACTS, CMU (WCMS), and Fresno.
Through Regenerate 21-01’s leadership development programs, we’ll continue to partner with the seminary in a complementary way. It’s our hope to see young adults heed the call to pastoral ministry and eventually be ready to serve in our churches. The seminary will be part of that path.
—David Wiebe, Canadian conference executive director