Being a Faithful Church 1 Document (2009): Testing the Spirits in the Midst of Hermeneutical Ferment

2009, 7 pp
This paper is a resource to help us think together how spiritual discernment may nourish our faithfulness to God’s will for the church in our world.

As a national church we are facing the complex reality that while different parts of our Body (Priesthood of Believers) are reflecting on the same foundational scripture, guided by the same Holy Spirit, revealing the mind/will of the same God, we are discerning what appear, at times, to be contradictory and irreconcilable directions in understanding Christian faithfulness. Hermeneutical diversity in not new, neither in Christian ecumenical nor Mennonite experience. Such diversity has been/is present in understanding God’s will in: circumcision, slavery, the role of women in ministry, pacifism, economic models, relation to creation, church structure, ecclesial authority and autonomy, and so on. It is important, therefore, to ask why we need to pay special attention to our capacity to discern within our denomination now. The answer, by necessity, is more related to the art of being the church than to the science of hermeneutical process. Basically, we believe that churchly faithfulness to scripture comes to life within an Anabaptist community through our common commitment to “sift,” and to seek clarity in our desire to be God’s obedient people.

Also see the accompanying presentation, Discerning the Scriptures.

Also available in Spanish.

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