Conformity or Persecution in the church

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

Postby Martin » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:25 pm

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?

I am a member of a church with defined group practices. IMO, most Anabaptist groups have defined practices be it Hutterite, conservative Mennonite, or Amish. Personally, the ridicule I've faced was from a "Kingdom Christian" church. It was intimidating to say the least.
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lesterb
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby lesterb » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:06 pm

Martin 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?

I am a member of a church with defined group practices. IMO, most Anabaptist groups have defined practices be it Hutterite, conservative Mennonite, or Amish. Personally, the ridicule I've faced was from a "Kingdom Christian" church. It was intimidating to say the least.

I'm not sure if I understand the question(s). Mostly in the conservative churches I've been part of, you'd get more criticism and sooner if you appeared to be drifting from the beaten path in a "liberal" direction. For instance, the time that the teacher called me because she was "sure" that I hadn't bought hot pink laces for my daughter's skates. I had, and I hadn't even had the remotest thought that it might be a problem. But I discovered that you couldn't even bleach the color out of hot pink skate laces, so I ended up buying a set of kosher white ones.

But I digress.

I think the youth or younger married couples in a conservative church might be quicker to criticize someone who seemed to be more conservative. They are sooner to be afraid that everyone will be required to emulate the more conservative practice. I do remember a situation where the ministry asked a sister to shorten her dresses before they took her and her husband in as members. I'm sure she would have felt persecuted at that point. But I always felt it had more to do with their attitude than the actual practice. They never did really fit in anywhere, though I think they did get membership for a while at least in another congregation.
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When a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Pro 16:7 ESV)

appleman2006
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby appleman2006 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:01 pm

While I understand and appreciate the concern being addressed I feel really uncomfortable with using the word "persecution". I think it minimizes the actual persecution that some have experienced in the past and others are still experiencing. I am not sure the two issues can or should be be compared.
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Heirbyadoption
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby Heirbyadoption » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:49 pm

Perhaps Jim could rephrase for us?
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appleman2006
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby appleman2006 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:26 pm

Heirbyadoption wrote:Perhaps Jim could rephrase for us?


I am alright with it as it is just as long as we understand the difference. I am in no way making light of the very real problem Jim is addressing.
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Heirbyadoption
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby Heirbyadoption » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:40 pm

appleman2006 wrote:
Heirbyadoption wrote:Perhaps Jim could rephrase for us?


I am alright with it as it is just as long as we understand the difference. I am in no way making light of the very real problem Jim is addressing.
Alrighty... How would you explain the very real problem Jim is addressing? 8-)
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appleman2006
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby appleman2006 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:51 pm

:) Oh boy. I just wrote an essay on Valentine's day. I could probably write a book on this subject.
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Signtist
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby Signtist » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:04 pm

If you write a book, I will buy a copy.
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JimFoxvog
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Re: Conformity or judgement in the church

Postby JimFoxvog » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:09 pm

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?
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MaxPC
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Re: Conformity or Persecution in the church

Postby MaxPC » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:05 pm

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.
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