What we believe
What do Mennonite Brethren believe? Does our theology have any emphases that are different from the theology of other Christian denominations? We continue our series looking at our new Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith, approved at the last North American MB Conference convention in 1999, and what it means for the average church member. Writer for the series is Reuben Pauls, pastor of River of Life Community Church in Sorrento, B.C., and former Canadian MB Conference executive minister.
Article 2: Revelation of God
MB Confession of Faith
This article is helpful in addressing the question, “What about those who have never heard of Jesus Christ? Are they doomed for eternity outside of heaven?” This article addresses that issue by stating that “God has made Himself known to all people.” Evidence of God in creation and in one’s conscience, as stated in Romans 1:18ff, is our starting point.
However God’s general revelation, visible to all humanity, does not constitute all of God’s revelation. Jesus and Scripture (the Bible) are also significant parts of God’s revelation. Mennonite Brethren are “a biblical people.” We believe that “the entire Bible was inspired by God.” This should come as no surprise, as a commitment to Scripture was the basis of the renewal which birthed the MB Church in 1860. Also, it is not surprising to find many Scripture references added at the end of each Confession Article, allowing for further study.
Mennonite Brethren also have a particular understanding when it comes to interpretation of God’s written word. In our 21st century, there are many who have a “God and me” understanding of the Bible. Mennonite Brethren confess that the community of faith is the place to study and come to understand what the biblical text means and how it applies. Instead of “God and me,” it is “God and the faith community” that properly interprets Scripture. This understanding is very necessary in addressing individualism. It is also essential in discerning whether modern “prophetic proclamations” may be attributable to God and are in agreement with His word.
This Article, maybe more than others, shows that humility needs to be present when one approaches the Word of God. Absence of this grace means that our understanding of Scripture on a particular issue may be temporarily skewed, in part because of pride (as in “My understanding is right, and if you disagree, too bad” or “I’m biblical on this, and you’re not”).
Finally, this Article closes with the familiar statement that the Bible is “the authoritative guide for faith and practice.” The importance of the phrase “faith and practice” is simple-to separate faith from practice is to miss the essential teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Faith and life need to grow together.
Revelation of God
|We believe that God has made Himself known to all people.|
|God’s power and nature have always been evident in creation. The Old Testament reveals God as the one who established a covenant relationship with Israel to make known to all people the eternal plan of salvation. God revealed Himself supremely in Jesus Christ, as recorded in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit continues to make God known to individuals and the church; this revelation is always consistent with the Scriptures.|
The Written Word of God
|We believe that the entire Bible was inspired by God through the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit guides the community of faith in the interpretation of Scripture. The person, teaching and life of Jesus Christ bring continuity and clarity to both the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament bears witness to Christ, and Christ is the One whom the New Testament proclaims. We accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God and the authoritative guide for faith and practice.|
|Genesis 9:1-17; Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 6:2-8; Psalm 19:1-11; Psalm 119; Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 24:27, 44-47; John 1:16-18; John 16:13; Acts 8:34-35; Romans 1:18-21; Hebrews 1:1-2; Colossians 1:15-23; II Timothy 3:14-17; II Peter 1:16-21.|