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    Summer / Fall 1997 [Newsletter Banner]

The Biblical Basis of Unity

by Eric A. Kouns
Executive Secretary of EAF

Basis of Unity
Built on Truth
Elijah and EAF
EAF Update

[T] his fall marks the fifth anniversary of the founding of EAF. On October 12, 1992, twenty- three persons signed the original charter document, and vision became reality. We have reached this milestone through the grace and faithfulness of God. This work exists because He raised it up. We will continue to serve the Lord and His people, to do what He has called us to do, as long as He provides strength and resources and until He lets us know that our work is done.

New movements frequently grow out of the conviction that an unmet need must be addressed or an error or imbalance must be corrected. Generally the founders perceive that nobody else is doing what they propose to do and that it urgently needs to be done. That was the case with the founding of Evangelical Anabaptist Fellowship. Sometimes, ironically, that sense of urgency is accompanied by a sincere wish that the need did not exist.

[Summer Fall 97 newsletter graphic 1] That, too, was true of the founding of EAF. While we are absolutely convinced of the need for our perspective and emphasis within the contemporary Anabaptist community, we fervently pray for the day when revival and renewal will come to our communion and our existence as an organization will no longer be needed. Until then, we have work to do.

We Are Not As We Are Perceived

It is no fun to be perceived as "doomsayers" and critics, particularly if people think you enjoy what you do. So, while we recognize the prophetic dimensions of our work and readily admit that we exist, in part, because of serious concerns for the spiritual health of our communion, from our inception we have opted to express our purpose and vision as positively as we can.

We have highlighted the evangelical roots of the Anabaptist movement and have emphasized the essential compatibility of Anabaptist Christianity with much of contemporary evangelicalism. We have noted the strengths and weaknesses of both those movements and have tried to make a case for stronger ties between Anabaptist Christians and the rest of the evangelical community, for the good of both. We've tried to make our points in as civil and irenic a fashion as possible. Still, despite our best efforts, the most consistent criticism of EAF is that we are divisive-that we are a threat to the unity of the Anabaptist community in general and the Mennonite Church in particular.

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