Asher Witmer

rediscovering Jesus

Dropping Denominationalism and Rediscovering Jesus communities of Gospel-centered faith

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Throughout this whole series we’ve been looking at the question “What’s the big deal about being Mennonite?” This whole discussion surfaces primarily because so many are leaving Mennonite churches, today.

But leaving one’s church isn’t only a Mennonite phenomenon. It’s happening nationwide. Contrary to popular opinion, however, people are not necessarily leaving because of biblical illiteracy or because they are throwing out their faith.

What Are We Looking For? in search of something we are not getting where we are

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If I were to ask you what you are looking for in a church, would you know? If I were to ask you what you value, could you put words to it?

Many of us could probably come up with a few things like community, life, faithfulness to God’s Word, family, peace-making, brotherhood, and many other things. But those are all actually really vague. None of them differentiate one church from another.

When People Leave the Mennonite Church is it just me, or are things not as they appear?

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Most people who have commented on this series so far have strong opinions one way or the other. There is a wide vacuum of people who are silent. People who don’t want to cause conflict. People who, like me, have had a good experience in their Mennonite upbringing, but also see areas of weakness that need radical change. Only, they’re at a loss for how to change it because either they’re written off as a rebel, or their questions and comments are hijacked by people with an agenda for the opposite of the Mennonite tradition.

Allow me, if for a moment, to wrestle aloud with the questions of someone who identifies with his friends who are leaving, but is concerned with whether we’re finding anything better.

To Be Mennonite, Or a Disciple of Christ? the reason most people leave the Mennonite church

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If the early Anabaptists were alive today, I am quite certain the Mennonite church would run them out of their congregations.

I realize that’s a pretty strong statement, and not altogether fair. But I’m willing to stand by it, nonetheless.

You see, the early Anabaptist leaders, such as Grebel, Manz, Blaurock, Sattler, and others, began to question the status quo of the institutionalized church. Should the church really baptize infants? Should a believer take oaths or go to war? Even more, they questioned the ruling of a council as being more authoritative than the Spirit’s leading in people’s lives, as was commonly accepted in their day.

Waking Up Mennonite my story of being born into a strong denomination without a choice

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Everyone spoke in hushed tones. Mom cried silently, dabbing her eyes with a Kleenex. What was going on?

Moments before, I sat in the back row, behind the Vinar family, copying the gibberish I saw in a hymnbook onto a blank piece of paper my older sister had given me. Now, everyone was huddled into groups, solemn, and praying. Something important was happening. Something big!

This is church.

Homosexuality and the Conservative Mennonite Church starting a conversation

aw_homosexualityPatron-only posts are only available to Exclusive Access Level Patrons. In Patron-only posts, we take it up a notch. Either I answer a specific question one of my Patrons has, or I wrestle with a current issue facing us today. These posts are less edited; more real and raw. If you would like to read these posts (and also submit a question for me to write about) become a Patron today.

RESULTS ARE IN: My 2017 Reader Survey Feedback 23 peeks into an average reader of this blog

A month ago I launched my 2017 reader survey, and now the results are in. I’ve compiled some general graphs to give you a look into the average reader of this blog. The survey consisted of 37 questions; I’m showing results for 23 of them, here. 658 respondents took part in the survey. 71% of those completed each question, and it took them an average of 7 minutes to fill out the whole survey.

Without further ado, here are the results to my 2017 reader survey.

Lover or Prostitute? the question that changed my life

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Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.”

After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?”

Do Not Resist the One Who Is Evil, But… warfare the way God designed

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For too long the church in America has walked under the intoxication of militarism. We’ve been duped into believing that it is our responsibility to protect our lives on this earth, whether by providing churches with armed security guards or by preaching a gospel compatible with materialism and the building of wealth.

But this is not the way of Christ. Not as laid out in Scripture, at least.

How the Anabaptist Church Is Changing where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re headed

Question Submitted: When did a passionate movement about believer’s baptism and separation from church and state (and eventually pacifism) become a movement of sullen, strict, sticklers for coverings and modest clothing? Patron-only posts are only available to Exclusive Access Level Patrons. Someone submits a question, and I write about it. If you would like to read these posts (and also submit a question for me to write about) become a Patron today.