Introduction

Category: Confession of Faith Published: Wednesday, 06 November 2013 Written by Joseph Kwan

Introduction

The Mennonite Brethren Church is rooted in the evangelical Anabaptist sixteenth-century Reformation, a movement that sought to recapture the faith and life of the New Testament church. The Mennonite Brethren Church was born as a renewal movement in Russia on 1860. World mission efforts and widespread migrations have produced a movement that circles the globe. The Mennonite Brethren Church emphasized the centrality of biblical authority, articulating confessions of faith in order to connect scriptural teaching with contemporary discipleship. With Menno Simons, we hold central the biblical statement, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ” (1Cor.3:11).

The 1999 North American confession is a complete revision of earlier Mennonite Brethren confessions of faith. The 1902 confession, adopted in Russia and North America, was revised in 1975. The 1999 confession was written and adopted by the North American Mennonite Brethren Church for use in the United States and Canada. The framers of the present confession gratefully acknowledge our indebtedness to the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective. The present confession is the result of a decade-long process of writing, consulting Mennonite Brethren congregations and sister national conferences, revising, and final approval at the General Conference meeting in Wichita, Kansas, in July 1999. It was submitted to the International Committee of Mennonite Brethren meeting in Buhler, Kansas, in July 1999 for final acceptance.

The Bible is our written authority. As Anabaptists, we believe that authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the result of corporate reflection under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This confession is the result of such a process and not only describes how the Mennonite Brethren Church in Canada and the United States interprets the Bible for our context but is also an authoritative guide for biblical interpretation, theological identity, and ethical practice.

The reader should be alert to the following literary conventions adopted for this confession. Scripture references are listed at the conclusion of each article. These references are not meant to be exhaustive nor do they serve primarily as proof-texts for the articles. Pronouns referring to God are uniformly upper case top remind the reader that the use of the masculine pronoun is a convention of human language. God is neither male nor female; human male and female, are created in the image of God. A more complete commentary and pastoral application of this confession is available from Kindred Productions. A liturgical version of this confession, Confessing Together, is also commended for use in congregational worship.

Herb Koop, Moderator, General Conference of MB Churches in North America
Lynn Jost, Chair, Confession of Faith Task Force and the Board of Faith and Life
Copyright 1999, Kindred Productions
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