Why I Left the Mennonite Church Part 3
The broad road and narrow road in Mathew is not talking about non-believers and Christians but rather Christians and false converts. People who claim to be Christians but have never experienced salvation. These are the deceived the Judas’s of this world. The Bible says a true Christian’s life will have sin but it will be characterized by a hatred of that sin and a constant striving for victory. If you see a person who does not strive for victory and it appears that they may not have the Holy Spirit working in their lives that is because they most likely are a false convert. And in our Mennonite Churches it is quite possible to be a false convert and not be aware of your condition. It is the extra biblical rules that cause many people to have a false sense of security they do not see their sinful nature and rely on Christ alone they believe they are safe because their church puts so much emphasis on being united in traditions and fails to teach the true gospel! So when the rules are gone they go into sin because they were not saved in the first place. I heard about a family who was catholic and then attended nationwide or eastern churches for a while then went back to being catholic. There is no way those people were saved ever! If they were truly saved they never would have returned to the false religion of Catholicism! The fact that they supposedly “got saved” while attending a Mennonite church explains what happened, as they were attending churches were the true gospel was hidden from their view by the rules and focus on extra biblical things. Instead of getting the truth they got more deception in the Mennonite church. Thus resulting in false conversions. This is why I believe Jesus would say too many Mennonites today exactly what he had to say to the Scribes and Pharisees of his day.
The doctrine of eternal security does not teach that you can live how you want because you cannot lose your salvation. It does say that a truly saved person will endure to the end and persevere. “He that endures to the end shall be saved” The Bible tells us ye shall know them by their fruit. So those who you see enduring will be saved. In other words endurance is a sign you are saved. Those who do not endure the scriptures say were never saved. To not endure is not to sin we all sin but it means to fall away apostatize and in so doing you prove that you never were saved. Jesus did say depart from me ye who work iniquity I NEVER KNEW YOU! Not I knew you one time then you were lost. But I never knew you. Those who ask the question “why would you care to do what is right if you cannot lose your salvation?” do not truly understand the gospel message. The Bible says we are “slaves unto righteousness” “We are not our own” and “we love Him because He first loved us”. Christ transforms our Heart and mind gives us new desires and while we still struggle with the flesh we desire to do right because we have been regenerated. The desire to do right does not come from within ourselves but from God! We must understand this! And this is why a Christian desires to live for God! And the fact that Jesus has secured us eternally and saved us from a huge debt we could never pay should in fact drive us to want to live for him out of so much gratitude!
Many verses are ripped out of context to prove a Christian can lose their salvation but once again if the Bible clearly teaches that a Christian will persevere then we have created a conflict in scripture that we cannot ignore.
Hebrews 6:4-6 are verses used to say a Christian can lose their salvation.
Hebrews 10:26-29 are also used the same way.
Let’s look at Hebrews 6 first.
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Now if you take these verses to be talking about a Christian losing his salvation then you must also say if that happens that that person can never be saved again.
Rather the context is one of people who live their whole life knowing the truth they go to church they know the truth yet they refuse to depend on Jesus Christ alone for their salvation.
A person may be enlightened you can taste and partake of some of the blessing of the Holy Ghost at work in the lives of people around you.
How many Mennonites do you know who are “enlightened” (have no excuse to be ignorant) they taste of the good work of God they may even have a life that is affected by the truth. And yet to fall away to not choose Christ despite their knowledge of Him. To taste of the heavenly gift is not to fully digest or partake. Mennonites have created a false reality to the point that many believe they are saved but you cannot be saved if you are self-righteous. To crucify the Son of God afresh is not to be a Christian and choose to sin and thus lose your salvation. But it is to know the truth to know who Jesus is and to know what is required and yet refuse to trust him alone to insist on your way of making you righteous rather than Gods way. This is self-righteousness to the max. This was the Pharisee problem. And In the book of Hebrews Paul is talking to a mixed crowd. The point of Hebrews is to point the Jews to a better way to convince them that they can trust Jesus who is a better high priest to convince them that you can trust grace which is better than the law! To convince them that Jesus sacrifice is so much better than that of the blood of bulls and goats. So Paul warns over and over that to reject this truth to know the truth to experience the truth but not be converted by the truth is to fall away from the grace of God. To Reject the Gospel is to crucify the Son of God afresh!
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Hebrews 10:26-28
These verses are twisted just like Hebrews 6. It is said that to sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth is to be saved and lose your salvation.
On the contrary to know the truth and sin willfully is to reject the truth. If we reject the truth of the Gospel there is no other sacrifice that can save us.
Paul says that for those who reject the truth they have no promise of security but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation,
Once again who does Gods word say will face Gods wrath? Those he saved or the unsaved? “There is now there for no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…”!
At the end of Chapter ten of Hebrews Paul says this and puts the chapter in perspective and indeed the previous chapters in this entire book.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
Once again as a Jew are they going to believe Jesus died for their sins or choose to continue in their traditions? Paul says we are not of those who draw back unto perdition (destruction). Draw back from what? Belief in Jesus Christ being a better and the only way of course! To draw back is to choose to reject to not believe the truth. We know this because those people who draw back are contrasted with those who believe to the saving of the soul. So a Jew and we today have two options mainly to believe Jesus is who he says he is and respond to the Gospel call to lay down our self-righteous ways and repent or to go proudly on in our own power trying to show to others that we really can maintain our salvation our own way!
Verse 38 also mentions if any man draw back. Once again draw back from what? Draw back from believing the Gospel! “The Just shall live by faith” these verses contrast the just with those who draw back... So the just live by faith and the unjust or unjustified you could even say will draw back choosing instead to reject the truth.
This is the context of Hebrews these verses cannot be used to talk about a believer losing their salvation.
Another Popular passage that is used to prove a Christian can lose his/her salvation is 2 Peter 2:1-22
Certain verses are yanked out of their context to make a point.
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
But if we read this entire passage from beginning to end we see the context is false teachers and false teaching. These verses actually apply very well to the Word of Faith crowd today the crowd that binds Satan and casts out Demons. These people the passage says in verse 12 are “natural brute beasts” These false teachers and heretics are not saved nor were they ever saved.
Once again the knowledge of the savior Jesus Christ in verse 20 does not mean a saving knowledge these false teachers are those in John 10 who climb over the wall to steal kill and destroy they are in the church they claim to be Christians so they Have a knowledge they know the truth if they would truly believe they would not be teaching this false teaching. The Holy commandment in verse 21 is the commandment to repent. This they refused to do knowing the truth they refuse it! They escaped the pollutions of the world for a while by hanging out with Gods people. Any of us can do this, if we hang out with Christians we can escape the pollutions of the World without ever being saved.
They were shown the truth by God’s people and yet they return to their evil ways without repentance. There is no indication these people were ever saved. To have the sanctifying effect on your life from hanging out with Godly people will not save you. Verse 14 says they “having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin.” One would cease from sin if they were saved. These people could not cease long term they tried for a while on their own power and for a while escaped the pollutions of this world but returned to their evil ways without repentance. Their end is worse than the first. Chances are when these false teachers come into the church they are told the truth ultimately they reject it and leave again.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 1 John 2:19
There are a few more passages and a few parables one could go over that are used to say a person can lose their salvation. All of those passages are as clearly taken out of context to prove a point as the ones I just listed.
I have seen quite a bit of this in messages from all sort of Mennonite preachers. This is simply the belief that the apostolic gifts (casting out demons is the most popular among Mennonites) are carried through and still in existence today. It comes from the Pentecostal movement, which Mennonites are sympathetic to because they look much like us. But their doctrine is in error. The danger in this teaching is that along with this belief comes the idea that apostles are still in place. The Roman Catholic Church for example believes its bishops are apostles. Could this be why the Mennonite church has bishops that can make rules that over-rule a congregations desires? The apostles could write Scriptures… do our bishops basically write Scriptures by adding to God’s Word when they make requirements for church membership that are not in God’s Word? I think of the example of a certain conference’s bishop meeting in PA where they all gather together to discuss church matters and one bishop remarks “this would be far easier if we had one man at the top over all of us yet”. That reminds me of another false religious system, doesn’t it you?
Word of Faith Charismatic theology.
This is shown in many ways. From a preacher stating that God promises blessings when we give financially, to a preacher claiming that a Christian can be possessed by a demon. You may here that there is different fillings of the Holy Spirit. When have you heard somebody say God told me? My friend He "God" only speaks through His word the Bible. To claim that a Christian can be possessed by a demon is to deny the sufficiency of the Cross. To pray a hedge of protection around Christians is totally unbiblical and to pray that God would bind the power of Satan in a church service is also unbiblical. These all stem from Charismatic theology and have their roots in pagan rituals. As Christians we are never told to be scared of Satan or His angles we are free from their rule and possession because “What fellowship has light with darkness” praise God for what he has done on the Cross to set us free from Satan’s power.
There is so much more that could have been said in this article. And the longer I am away from the Mennonite church the more stuff I see so I am sure there will be follow up articles on this subject. A few disclaimers here at the end. I recognize that within the Mennonite church "as in any church" their does exist people who are sincere and saved, sincere and lost, and just plain lost. I know this that on the judgment day we must be found with Christ righteousness imputed to our account and not our own righteousness or we will be lost. This issue of extra biblical rules for many people has lead them to trust more on their outward garb than on Christ blood and in that there can be no salvation. So I beg you to listen and ponder what I have had to say. Like I have said a church can teach faith alone but unless they eliminate the extra biblical rules they will continue to spread the lie of faith +tradition or works = salvation. It is inevitable you cannot get around it. For myself I must start by understanding salvation properly and biblically and then work out from their and explore other doctrines. But the gospel message is the most important and if you’re church has it wrong then nothing else you believe or do matters period!
In Christ Lyndon Bechtel
In : Warnings Given
Tags: mennonites legalism eternal security standards