Present Day Concerns
Present Day Concerns
As Christian pilgrims in an alien society, we find ourselves under constant pressure to compromise our principles and standards. In order to strengthen and safeguard the beliefs and practices of the Biblical Mennonite Alliance (BMA), we urge members to give careful attention to the following issues:
New Apostolic Reformation and Reformed Theology
In a world of many voices and competing ideas, we urge special attention be given to biblical and systematic theology to equip our churches to discern truth from error. Many in our Anabaptist circles are being led astray by false teaching such as Word of Faith. This movement distorts biblical faith, deifies man and devalues Christ by making God man’s servant with a demand for miracles, signs, and wonders. We also warn against the New Apostolic Reformation with its glorification of present-day apostles and prophets claiming ongoing revelation and a top-down leadership model. In addition, we express concern regarding the influence of Reformed Theology. While we agree with its high view of Scripture and the sovereignty of God, five-point Calvinism is a serious challenge to our Anabaptist emphasis on personal responsibility, discipleship, lordship, and holy living. (See the BMA statement on Salvation).
There are biblical principles and compelling reasons to completely abstain from the use of beverage alcohol even though scripture does not directly command total abstinence from it or other mood-altering and addictive substances. Abuse and addiction are in direct conflict with the works of the Spirit and can ensnare and destroy lives. We urge abstinence and encourage brothers and sisters to avoid the use of these substances to maintain a consistent testimony avoiding offense and potentially causing fellow believers to sin.
Everything we own belongs to God, and we are called to be faithful stewards of all that He entrusts to us. This stewardship includes our talents and gifts, possessions and money, as well as our time. We are to use these things for God’s glory and not for self-centered and prideful purposes. The excessive accumulation of possessions and wasteful consumption of resources are practices contrary to Christ’s example and scriptural principles of simplicity.
The New Testament Church observed the resurrection by gathering on the first day of the week for worship. The Lord’s Day should be kept as a day of devotion, worship, and rest. Secular business and labor should be avoided as much as possible. Corporate worship and commitment to the local church should take precedence over sports and recreation.
Our society is enamored with sports and recreation. Kingdom priorities require that the follower of Jesus will avoid over-involvement, either as participants or spectators.
We encourage our churches to teach biblical principles of music. Because music involves elements that appeal to the spirit, the soul, and the body, discernment should be exercised in our personal and corporate music choices that reflect biblical balance and godliness. We should strive for our corporate worship to be truly spiritual rather than emotionally manipulative or prideful performance and production. To respect the consciences of others and to avoid offense we use acapella singing at our conjoint BMA meetings.
Society’s media is almost entirely controlled by the ungodly. We call on our constituency to beware of the dangers of all present-day forms of media, whether in the use of computers, internet, DVD, social media, TV, books, magazines, etc. This includes where we go for news and research information. We strongly urge that all “spiritually detrimental programming” be removed from access in the home and personal devices. There is wisdom in installing filters and accountability features; however, these are minimal measures and more drastic measures may also be needed. Media that is acceptable can also be detrimental if not used thoughtfully and deliberately. We must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in controlling their impact on our lives, and refrain from practices that would grieve the Holy Spirit, hinder our witness for Christ, and contaminate the soul. When one is in the presence of others who are offended by our use of any form of media, we should abstain for our brother’s conscience’s sake.
Modesty & Separation
Jesus and the Scriptures call us to a simple, modest, unadorned lifestyle, separate from the world and its fads, fashions, and ornamentation. Our personal appearance should present a clear witness to Biblical teachings in such matters as modesty, gender distinction, and simplicity. Jesus’ followers will avoid immodest and form revealing clothing, seeking to find their value in the pursuit of godliness and the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit by wearing simple, economical, and modest clothing.
As a witness against the increasing nakedness of our culture, to reinforce the principle of headship and modesty in our homes, and to respect the conscience of others, we strongly encourage men to wear full-length pants for all public life. Exceptions may include the privacy of the home or water-related activities. Churches should have practical applications reflecting these principles.
We ask our constituency to respect the convictions of others by refraining from wearing a tie at any conjoint BMA related activity.
End of Life
God is the Creator of life, which begins at conception. God also determines the length of our lives. We believe the taking of human life, whether by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, or any other active termination of life is wrong and forbidden by scripture. We discourage the use of extraordinary methods to prolong life. In recognition of a biblical worldview, we hold that cremation dishonors the physical temple that the Holy Spirit indwelt.
Politics and Submission to Civil Government
As non-resistant followers of Christ who recognize the reality of the two kingdoms, we desire to hold a biblical view of government and our relationship to it. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world; therefore, the use of the sword and involvement in politics is “outside the perfection of Christ.”(See 1963 Confession of Faith, article 18) In addition, alignment with the political left or right clouds our discernment and compromises our testimony. While conscience may allow or prohibit minor involvement in such things as voting or jury duty for non-capital cases, we should always seek to honor our civil authorities and to obey them until they ask us to violate God’s Word and/or our conscience.
Church and Family Authority
Living in an age of increasing lawlessness, we urge a proper view of authority in the home and the church. Scripture is clear that parents are to exercise biblical authority and control in the home and family, seeking to teach, train, and govern to maintain godly order and nurture in age-appropriate ways. Similarly, local congregations should do the same under the leadership of godly pastors and elders. It is authorized by Christ Himself (Matthew 16 and 18) to exercise formative discipline (teaching and training) and corrective discipline (rebuke and/or dismissal) of its members. This includes setting guidelines to give clarity in the practical application of biblical principles.
We are called to honor the larger principle of Biblical submission to God’s Headship order. God’s glory in the headship order is given witness by the Christian woman’s long hair and covered/veiled head (see BMA Position & Policy). It is with deep concern that we see a diminishing of veiling size on the part of some sisters. We strongly encourage a covering or hanging veil of sufficient size to cover a substantial part of the head, free from fashion and decorative appearance. Men are primarily responsible in the home and church for practicing and exemplifying this principle. Therefore, men are to give expression of submission under the authority of Jesus Christ by having their head uncovered.
Because we are human and live in a broken world, conflict will at times arise. As Christ’s servants, we should seek to resolve conflict spiritually and biblically rather than selfishly and carnally, exemplifying the biblical principles of love, humility, self-reflection and forgiveness. Matthew 18 properly implemented is God’s direction for resolving conflict. By each party heeding these principles and accepting personal responsibility, healing and restoration can be reached. Seek to involve those who are Christ-like and neutral. In difficult cases, it can be helpful to involve fellow Christians who have experience in conflict resolution.
Critical Race Theory
Mankind, from God’s perspective, is one race, a beloved creation that He was willing to die to redeem. God created man as inclusive beings, but Satan’s deception and the Fall brought accusation and division. As Christians we should desire to view and treat all persons as equals, just as our Lord does. Racism and discrimination are deeply contrary to the spirit of Christ. CRT and other humanistic constructs are ways to explain man’s brokenness based on the “thinking” of man and as such are prone to cause division. This humanistic thinking works against the Gospel message of reconciliation. Focusing on mankind through the lens of our Lord will guide our thinking to His truth, enable us to view all persons as equally loved and valuable, and manifest God’s love in words and actions.
We desire to make our church environment a safe place for all who worship and fellowship with us, especially our children and the vulnerable. Every church should have a safe church policy detailing what protections are in place and how infringements will be handled. Thorough investigation of even minor sounding allegations should be the practice. Prevention should be a priority, therefore basic common sense practices should be taught to all in contact with children. When incidents occur, we should follow Christ’s example where He addressed evil with the ultimate goal of bringing wholeness and healing to all. To do that, we will seek and support healing measures for the victim and also for the alleged perpetrator.
As society around us embraces an increasingly perverse and destructive divergence from the Creator’s design, we must guard against deception in sexual practices and beliefs. As stated in the BMA Statement on Sexuality and The Danver’s Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, we stand against all ungodly deviations promoted by the LGBTQ+ agenda. We hold to the reality of two genders, male and female, determined genetically by the Creator and not assigned at birth or chosen by the individual. The biblical standard of one man and one woman united in marriage is the only legitimate expression of sexuality. All other deviations are sinful aberrations from God’s design. Individuals who struggle with these biblical principles should be lovingly guided in the pursuit of truth concerning human sexuality as God has designed and commands it in scripture.
– Biblical Mennonite Alliance Council of Overseers, January, 2022