Before a satellite of our congregation was started I had an overwhelming sense that there was a lack of clarity in our minds as to what it was that disillusioned us in the Conservative Mennonite churches of which we were once a part. In addition to this, it seemed to me that we were unsure of our identity as a group of believers and what we perceived the essence of the gospel to be. When members began to leave our numbers, I realized that my fears were not unfounded.
The spiritual wellbeing of our church family is a matter very close to my heart. The words of the song, “For her my tears shall fall; for her my prayers ascend; for her my cares and toils be given, till toils and cares shall end.”, well addresses my sentiment towards God’s people. As I meditated over what I saw taking place, it became an urgent issue in my mind to address the situation as I see it in an attempt to bring us together into true unity. As a result I wrote the article, “Another Gospel?” to share my personal journey as part of the Mennonite community.
Because I have been immersed into Mennonite culture for a lifetime I can view this ethnically segregated group as an informed insider. However, as one who is desperately pursuing the reality of knowing the God of the Bible, I have experienced great disillusionment with the religious environment of which I am a part. In spite of this, I believe God placed me into this culture with a distinct agenda as to how I am to serve Him where I am. He is a gracious God Who desires to draw all people to Himself. When a people group who once was His delight wanders away from Him, it is His desire to again show them the ancient Way. This Way is to be close to His Heart as beloved sons and daughters. I believe that we, as Mennonites have long been trapped in a tradition of our own making. My passion is for us to find Him as did our fathers who offered up their lives for His sake.
“Another Gospel?” is not an article written as a result of “listening to preachers” or reading books written by religious commentators. Rather, it is a product of a long and often painful journey. In this quest, God reached down to me and revealed Himself as a loving Father Who longs to have sons and daughters who rest in His goodness and walk in His ways. The church primarily taught doctrines and beliefs which were to be intellectually embraced along with strictly enforced rules to follow – in contrast God brought me to realize the Father-child relationship which sin had broken but Jesus came to restore. The Biblical God Who communicated directly with people, led them distinctly in the way He had chosen and gave explicit answers to prayer became my God. The Holy Spirit vacated the theological box into which men had placed Him (actually He was only there in their misguided minds) and took up residence in my heart to manifest Himself in my experience. This quote from Scripture well sums up where I believe we have fallen as a religious institution: “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof”.
David Jantzi July 24 2020