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    Spring 1999 -- Special MC/GC Assembly Issue [Newsletter Banner]

Cracks in the Foundation

Perceptive observers know that homosexuality is not the real issue here -- it is only the most visible manifestation of the

The Heart of the Matter
A Matter of Faith
The Cause of Disunity
Cracks in the Foundation
EAF Update
real issue. Much more subtle and much more serious evidences of the real problem lie just under the surface. Those who know where to look see them emerging already. The same attitude toward the Bible which allows for, and even encourages, the practice of homosexuality also tolerates, and even fosters, a view of God and Christ and sin and salvation at odds with historical Christian orthodoxy. These are the tremors that produce ever-widening cracks in our doctrinal and spiritual foundation. This is why EAF, at the risk of being portrayed as obstructionist and/or divisive, continues to address these issues.

EAF was chartered nearly seven years ago with the goal of raising a voice for spiritual renewal among Anabaptist/Mennonite Christians. While we have striven to define evangelical Anabaptism in positive terms, it has also been necessary to identify the forces and influences, such as liberalism and postmodernism, which distort the perception of truth and undermine our historical and theological foundations. In a "non-credal" communion, concerned more with behavior than with belief, our task has not been easy. The issue of homosexuality affords us another opportunity to make the case for biblical authority and to call on contemporary Anabaptist Christians to emulate their sixteenth century forebears in exhibiting the courage of their convictions.

The Real Risk

For many in denominational leadership, the current disagreement over homosexuality is lamentable because it poses a threat to the merger process. At risk, they say, is the principle of unity. For others, including EAF, the current debate is lamentable because it denigrates the authority of the Bible. At risk, we say, is the principle of timeless truth, plainly revealed.

These statements declare the practice of same-sex genital activity sinful and inappropriate for Christians. Still the debate continues. Why is that?

Most EAF members identify with either the MC or the GC. Many of us came to the Anabaptist communion from other traditions, inexorably drawn by the example and testimony of believers who stood by their convictions even in the face of persecution and death. Historically, Mennonites were known as people of simple faith who took the scriptures at face value. Today, however, that same communion devotes inordinate time, energy and resources to explaining away the clear sense of scripture in order to accommodate a pattern of behavior which it once found repugnant.

We in EAF support the efforts of those groups and individuals dedicated to a ministry of extending care and the message of God's grace to persons seeking deliverance from the confusion and frustration of attraction to members of the same sex. We know this is a complex issue, and we deeply regret any pain we may have caused anyone struggling with this sin. Nevertheless, we stand opposed to congregational membership for persons who openly flout the clear teaching of scripture by their involvement in noncelibate same-sex relationships. And we call upon the leadership of the Mennonite Church and the General Conference Mennonite Church to end the debate on this issue, which is depleting our spiritual energy and undermining our effectiveness as a community of faith.

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