Letters January 2014

The great omission

Re “The converted life” (Features, October). From my own experience and observation, Phil Wagler’s assessment rings true: the fully converted life is neither offered to nor expected of people in church. We’re guilty of committing what Dallas Willard calls “the great omission”: not making apprentices to Jesus, not immersing them in the reality of the Trinity, and especially, not teaching them to do everything he has commanded (Matthew 28:18–20).

However, like Wagler, I’m heartened by the signs of change. There’s a growing sense of discontent with non-discipleship Christianity, given its inability to produce the abundant life Jesus offered. This has resulted in Christians searching out resources that have been used by apprentices of Jesus, both ancient and modern, to live out this kind of life.

Mark H. Friesen


Can we learn from the past?

Re “My spirit was laid down, but now it stands strong” (Editorial, November). It’s easy to recognize the folly of a past event, particularly when the injustice can be laid at the feet of previous generations. To evaluate actions in the present is much harder. Do the missteps of government and religions toward aboriginal people in the past not bear a resemblance in our self-righteous reluctance to engage in self-examination to confrontations between religions in the present?

Christian institutions fall short in advocating peace with other religions. They proselytize aggressively in the name of evangelism and hold a high priority on winning others over. They readily follow to the foot of the cross to claim access to eternal life, but aren’t so ready to follow Christ onto the cross to crucify self and be resurrected into God’s kingdom. Spiritual wellness doesn’t judge another’s lack of it, rather recognizes followers of other religions as having souls with a yearning to experience God. It realizes their journey can only begin where God in his wisdom placed them.

Jake Janzen
Abbotsford, B.C.

Peace a personal decision   

Re “#InDialogue on ‘Peace – The Exhibit’” (Viewpoint, November). Thank you for acknowledging that our denomination has a diversity of opinion on what it means to uphold our Confession of Faith in regard to war and peace. Conscientious objectors (COs) may face mistreatment and misunderstanding from the general public, but unfortunately, it seems those who enlist may face similar rejection from the denomination. I was interested to read that “about half of all military-aged Mennonite Canadian men” made the choice to enlist in WWII. We don’t need to be ashamed or judgmental about that. We just regret the war wasn’t stopped before it began, and we work for peace in the future.

Katie Deneiko
Young, Sask.

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@mbconf.ca.

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