Letters February 2015

Nothing like a good story

I’ve been very happy with the last few editions of the Herald. Stories such as “Put your shoes on and go” by Angeline Schellenberg (Features, September) reminded me of the cheerful, selfless witness of Salome Hiebert. Associate editor Karla Braun also gave us some valuable insights through her stories.

But the story I connected with best was Mary Anne Isaak’s Text Message from Luke 1:26–56 (December). I never knew there was so much to learn from the narrative of Mary and the angel. We learn better from a well-told story than a preachy sermon!

I hope the Herald will continue in this direction. Maybe our young people will pick it up and enjoy it, too.

Shirley Bergen

Opening our eyes to First Nations peoples

Re “Don’t read this book if…” (Viewpoint, January). MB Herald readers should also be aware that the winter 2015 Direction Journal has devoted its entire issue to the matter of our Mennonite Brethren relationship to First Nations peoples. This, too, is very important reading.

It occurred to me that the shared history between First Nations peoples and Europeans covers almost exactly the same period as Anabaptist history. While we North American Anabaptists are currently on the winning side and successful in our culture, I believe this is recent, local and possibly atypical.

Thanks to our history of knowing oppression, I believe we’ve been given some unique tools to be a blessing to First Nations. It has to begin with understanding and I’m realizing I have a long-overdue responsibility to become informed.

God repeatedly warned the Israelites that they must never forget they were once an oppressed people. I wonder if we Anabaptists need to be reminded of that, too.

James Toews
Online comment

Good can come from dialogue

Re “Overheard online” (Letters, December). It’s hard not to be disappointed with Greg Good’s critique of Christians and Muslims gathering for dialogue in Edmonton. It was an attempt by religious institutions to love their neighbours, which is a commendable alternative to religious enmity that has been the norm through the ages and is still a major cause of horrible human atrocities.

Good’s comments suggest Christianity owns God and has exclusive access to him. It’s highly likely that interreligious peace will facilitate more people discovering God than conflict has for the past 2,000 years. Life today is intensely global, and the dialogue initiative tried to respect that. Interreligious conflict is not an acceptable testimony of love for God and neighbour.

Jake Janzen
Abbotsford, B.C.


Letters to the editor 

Mennonite Brethren Herald welcomes your letters of 150–200 words on issues relevant to the Mennonite Brethren church, especially in response to material published in the Herald. Please include name, address and phone number, and keep your letters courteous and about one subject only. We will edit letters for length and clarity. We will not publish letters sent anonymously, although we may withhold names from publication at the request of the letter writer and at our discretion. Publication is subject to space limitations. Letters also appear online. Because the Letters column is a free forum for discussion, it should be understood that letters represent the position of the letter writer, not necessarily the position of the Herald or the Mennonite Brethren church. Send letters to: Letters, MB Herald, 1310 Taylor Avenue, Winnipeg, Man. R3M 3Z6, or by email to mbherald@mbchurches.ca.

2 Comments on “Letters February 2015

  1. Expressing disappointment with Greg Good’s comment from last month, Jake Janzen writes, “Good’s comments suggest Christianity owns God and has exclusive access to him.”

    Well, the Bible is pretty clear: there is absolutely no access to God the Father but through Jesus Christ his Son. To reject the Christ of Christianity is to deny oneself access to God.

    Standard Muslim teaching is that Jesus is not the Son of God, and that he did not die on the cross to save sinners. Anyone who holds to standard Muslim teaching will thereby cut himself off from the only method of access that God has supplied.

    “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7)

    “He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him.” (John 5:23)

    “But now in Christ Jesus you [Gentiles] who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. . . . For through him we both [Jews and Gentiles] have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:13,18)

    “Jesus answered, ‘. . . No one comes to the Father except through me.'” (John 14:6)

    Greg Good’s excellent comment can be read here:

  2. I would like to offer a response to Jake Janzen’s comments in the MB Herald in “Good can come from dialogue.”
    We as Christians do not rejoice over conflict in general or division within the Body, but our allegiance first and foremost is to the Lord Jesus Christ, even when it is at the expense of human relationships between individuals or groups of people (i.e. differing religious groups).
    Richard Peachey said it well and I would say too in response to the comment about Christianity owning God and having exclusive access to Him: Of course! Jesus is the only way to the Father. We have been given the words of eternal life and the mandate to spread this Good News throughout the earth.
    In regards to interreligious peace as mentioned by Mr. Janzen, I do not think there is such a thing. There is only one truth – biblical Christianity. All other religions and “faiths” are false. How can there be true spiritual fellowship and peace between light and darkness?
    In 2 Cor. 6 Paul speaks about Christians not being yoked together with unbelievers. I would apply that to Christianity not being yoked with false religions. This is a principle that runs throughout Scripture – the Israelites were called out from the nations, to be set apart, to be holy unto God. We as believers are called out from the peoples, to be set apart, to be holy unto God, and that is always and only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Church is called to be holy and set apart. The Church has exclusive access to God through His Son – if that truth is forfeited, what do we have to offer this lost and dying world?
    In regards to Janzen’s comment about interreligious conflict – if he means offending others with the exclusive message of the cross of Jesus, of speaking truth and saying that Jesus is the only way to the Father, of saying that Allah is a false god and that Christians should not try to mesh our faith with a false religion like Islam, then yes, I adhere to that. Do I endorse any kind of conflict involving violence or religious wars, of course not! But as believers, are we not compelled to speak the truth?

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