Conformity or Persecution in the church

Christian ethics and theology with an Anabaptist perspective
Wade
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby Wade » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:15 pm

MaxPC wrote:
JimFoxvog wrote:
gcdonner wrote:It has always been a point of sadness to me, that those who were persecuted have often become persecutors themselves. I have seen this in the Mennonite circles even in our own days and in Baptist circles as well. I suspect it is not unique to these denominations, only that I have experienced it in these circles.

Since becoming a Mennonite, I have become more aware of persecution in the church of those who do not conform in many outward cultural expressions. Looking at Romans 14, I wonder how this can be defended.
....
When brothers and sisters make different choices as to what to eat, drink, celebrate or wear, they do it to honor the Lord. I pray that we could obey "let us no longer criticize [or pass judgement on] one another." I pray that we would no longer despise one another. I'm concerned that people may use "never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother" to criticize and pass judgement on one another, hindering them and placing stumbling blocks.

My experience can give one example: We have practices such as abstaining from meat and fasting during Friday's in Lent and Good Friday. With this practice we also have exceptions to the rules such as it only applies to ages 18-59 and does not apply to anyone with illness or disability.

Even with the exceptions clearly explained every Lent, we still encounter self-appointed "parish police" who want to know why someone is having a hamburger on Friday or something similar. These types of individuals "lean legalistic" in all the areas of their lives. For some it's a form of OCD or other emotional illness; for others it's a bad case of busy-bodyitis.

My experience tells me that every fellowship and denomination has people who do this.

The pastors/elders/deacons can do some interventions to keep the whole situation from becoming a stumbling block. In the case of those with emotional issues, the fellowship realizes it's a situation that calls for compassion for the one who is sick (unless a threat is made).

We take each case individually and go from there. I don't know if that's of any help but that's what we've experienced.


Maybe sharing scripture could help?:

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
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MaxPC
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby MaxPC » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:19 pm

Good one, Wade :clap:

Self-appointed parish police don't respond at all to Scripture. They have been known to argue loudly with the pastor. These individuals imagine they know more than the Bible, Magisterium and the Catechism. :P :D
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Josh
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby Josh » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:27 pm

Heirbyadoption wrote:
Josh wrote:
Heirbyadoption wrote:I, too, would be interested in hearing some perspectives on Jim's question, especially those in congregations with more defined group practices. Boot, Lester, Josh, Appleman, Robert, George, anybody?


In my experience many people from the outside who are already Christians end up with us because as a woman with a head covering (for example) they will simply never be accepted/tolerated in a mainstream evangelical church. The same goes for other expressions like modest attire, avoiding TV/movies, etc.
Josh, maybe I'm misunderstanding your thought, but I took Jim's question to be referring to conformity/persecution within the context of the mennonite church people come to, not where they were before...


I guess I haven't experienced that, having only been in moderately conservative settings.

I know someone who complained his moderate conservative church was overly judgmental of him for joining the military, for example. I don't have many examples in my own life of anyone being expected to conform too much.

Maybe it's different in some congregations.
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temporal1
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Re: Conformity or judgement in the church

Postby temporal1 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:19 am

JimFoxvog wrote:I chose the word "persecution" from jcdonner's post that I quoted. I agree that churches treating nonconformists in ways that could be experienced as unkind is different from the persecution of torture and execution that our forebearers received. I know the criticism and judgement met out in churches can be very painful, might at times lead to suicide, but it's different. I see Romans 14 calls for accepting one another, even if we our opinions differ on what practices best glorify God. Shouldn't we do that unless the different practices are actual violations of New Testament teachings? Should we have a pink shoelace sect and a white shoelace sect?
i want to express this without being contentious, this is a question as much as an observation ..
if all reasoning/decisions were left to liberal believers, more conservative believers would quickly cease to exist. this, across denominations. it's not (always) willful intent to destroy, but destruction results.

there is more than human reasoning.
(it appears to me) the more liberal believers become, the more reliance on human reasoning, alone. important matters are lost when human reasoning is central:

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not on thine own understanding.


there is no reference to pink shoelaces in scriptures. but there are references to submission to the church. the concepts of submission and obedience are easily rejected. there is no one answer, scriptures acknowledge this:

Romans 14:4
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls.
And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.


i'm thankful we have no state church, folks are allowed to worship if+how they believe.

paradoxically, (liberal) human reasoning (likes) national decrees (conformity) for all matters.
when they do it, they call it freedom, and/or human rights. :?

.. appleman, where is your book?! :)
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Josh
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Re: Conformity or judgement in the church

Postby Josh » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:26 am

temporal1 wrote:
JimFoxvog wrote:I chose the word "persecution" from jcdonner's post that I quoted. I agree that churches treating nonconformists in ways that could be experienced as unkind is different from the persecution of torture and execution that our forebearers received. I know the criticism and judgement met out in churches can be very painful, might at times lead to suicide, but it's different. I see Romans 14 calls for accepting one another, even if we our opinions differ on what practices best glorify God. Shouldn't we do that unless the different practices are actual violations of New Testament teachings? Should we have a pink shoelace sect and a white shoelace sect?
i want to express this without being contentious, this is a question as much as an observation ..
if all reasoning/decisions were left to liberal believers, more conservative believers would quickly cease to exist. this, across denominations. it's not (always) willful intent to destroy, but destruction results.

there is more than human reasoning.
(it appears to me) the more liberal believers become, the more reliance on human reasoning, alone. important matters are lost when human reasoning is central:

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not on thine own understanding.


there is no reference to pink shoelaces in scriptures. but there are references to submission to the church. the concepts of submission and obedience are easily rejected. there is no one answer, scriptures acknowledge this:

Romans 14:4
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls.
And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.


i'm thankful we have no state church, folks are allowed to worship if+how they believe.

paradoxically, (liberal) human reasoning (likes) national decrees (conformity) for all matters.
when they do it, they call it freedom, and/or human rights. :?

.. appleman, where is your book?! :)


This is a point that bears repeating. So-called "liberals" often demand extreme levels of conformity to their own morals and values. In a sense, they're really just conservatives too - they're just conserving something different.
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temporal1
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Re: Conformity or judgement in the church

Postby temporal1 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:29 am

Josh wrote:This is a point that bears repeating. So-called "liberals" often demand extreme levels of conformity to their own morals and values. In a sense, they're really just conservatives too - they're just conserving something different.
truthfully, it's a point that's repeated now+then on this forum, by different members using different words .. the point doesn't seem to register, except with those who already understand it.
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JimFoxvog
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Re: Conformity or judgement in the church

Postby JimFoxvog » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:15 am

temporal1 wrote:
Josh wrote:This is a point that bears repeating. So-called "liberals" often demand extreme levels of conformity to their own morals and values. In a sense, they're really just conservatives too - they're just conserving something different.
truthfully, it's a point that's repeated now+then on this forum, by different members using different words .. the point doesn't seem to register, except with those who already understand it.

I think of the ACLU, which defends KKK and communists, Christians and atheists. This seems to be a counter example. Are you thinking of those who are intolerant of intolerance?
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Hats Off
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby Hats Off » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:27 am

When brothers and sisters make different choices as to what to eat, drink, celebrate or wear, they do it to honor the Lord. I pray that we could obey "let us no longer criticize [or pass judgement on] one another." I pray that we would no longer despise one another. I'm concerned that people may use "never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother" to criticize and pass judgement on one another, hindering them and placing stumbling blocks.


I appreciate the point you make here - even while having standards we need to appreciate and respect what other groups, whether more conservative or liberal, are trying to achieve. We can agree that we will be more moderate without disrespecting others or passing judgement.

I personally prefer a set of reasonably well defined standards, which my church has. I think one of the things our old order church does best though is, whether officially or unofficially, we allow or tolerate what I consider a reasonable amount of room for difference of practise within the standard. We have "recommendations" for dress and other standards; it is only when blatant disregard is shown that action is taken. At that point it is no longer the violation of the standard that is the problem but the disrespect for the brotherhood and the disobedient spirit.

Too often we hear people say "This or that just doesn't make any sense!" when talking about other groups and I then tell them that we too have standards that others would say just don't make sense. I find I can even appreciate the local Brethern assemblies for the way they attempt to live, even when the girls' shorts are way-too-short and the tops way-too-revealing. When they have youth activities, they always seem to have proper adult supervision, which is something we can't say. They have some very good teaching and I enjoy working with them because of their ethics, their sense of right and wrong.

I appreciate Appleman and his Mid West Fellowship even while hoping my family will stay where we are.
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appleman2006
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby appleman2006 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:23 am

Hats Off wrote:
When brothers and sisters make different choices as to what to eat, drink, celebrate or wear, they do it to honor the Lord. I pray that we could obey "let us no longer criticize [or pass judgement on] one another." I pray that we would no longer despise one another. I'm concerned that people may use "never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother" to criticize and pass judgement on one another, hindering them and placing stumbling blocks.


I appreciate the point you make here - even while having standards we need to appreciate and respect what other groups, whether more conservative or liberal, are trying to achieve. We can agree that we will be more moderate without disrespecting others or passing judgement.

I personally prefer a set of reasonably well defined standards, which my church has. I think one of the things our old order church does best though is, whether officially or unofficially, we allow or tolerate what I consider a reasonable amount of room for difference of practise within the standard. We have "recommendations" for dress and other standards; it is only when blatant disregard is shown that action is taken. At that point it is no longer the violation of the standard that is the problem but the disrespect for the brotherhood and the disobedient spirit.

Too often we hear people say "This or that just doesn't make any sense!" when talking about other groups and I then tell them that we too have standards that others would say just don't make sense. I find I can even appreciate the local Brethern assemblies for the way they attempt to live, even when the girls' shorts are way-too-short and the tops way-too-revealing. When they have youth activities, they always seem to have proper adult supervision, which is something we can't say. They have some very good teaching and I enjoy working with them because of their ethics, their sense of right and wrong.

I appreciate Appleman and his Mid West Fellowship even while hoping my family will stay where we are.


I can really appreciate much of what you say here. I may go into more detail at a future time.
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Wade
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby Wade » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:33 am

From first hand experience regarding this title, I highly recommend this sermon!

The ideas shared reminds me of the early Anabaptists, which is full of faith in Christ - rather than sectarianism...

http://www.followers-of-the-way.org/med ... nvideo/255
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