At the church I attend we run a program called “Living Waters” which is designed to walk with people through all types of sexual and relational healing. There is room for healing and change though the help of the Holy Spirit.
With out a revival organizations that seek to be part in The Church are but a sounding brass and clanging simble.
I don’t know what more we might have asked of you in your decision-making: 1) seeking the spirit of Christ 2) among the fellowship of believers 3) with the guidance of scripture: the Mennonite way.
• I know persons will accuse me for my transgression, but my act of love was done on behalf of the church I love, and my conscience is clear. I feel that my act of love in signing a marriage license for our son and his companion was in line with the actions of Peter and Paul who led the church of Christ to welcome the uncircumcised into the fellowship of the family of God.
What I find surprising is that if this gentleman were truly to understand and teach God’s word, why he would be so eager to totally disobey his Father. Curious…
I am deeply touched by your testimony. I found myself repeatedly moved to tears as I read it aloud to my wife. My heart is filled with sorrow for the pain you’ve sustained and the injuries you’re carrying. My heart is tenderized by your words of what I would call “defiant hope.” Thank you for your strong witness and for your honest naming what needs naming.
What a powerful witness. Thank you C. & S.J. Wenger, for your dedication to the truth of Christ above doctrine.
In 2014, Chester and Sara Jane are again at odds with the leaders of their “beloved church”—different issue, of course, but similar reactions and comparable stakes. Can this retrospective be useful in our current conversation?
I have a dear gay friend who lives in The Netherlands, married to his partner of almost 30 years. My understanding of the law there is that everyone, gay and straight, must be married in a civil ceremony and are all then granted the same legal, civil rights of marriage. A religious ceremony is an option, based on the couple’s desire and the church’s policy. Sounds like a common sense approach to me. Thanks again, Chester. You made my day!
The Mennonite Church USA could have use a whole lot more of Chester Wenger, his humility, integrity and compassion, and now he has been stripped of his credentials. Thank you Chester. Your actions and words humble this observer.
Consider The Golden Rule: We do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Put all the religious dogma and ritual aside, and this is what our laws boil down to. We don’t lie or bear false witness because we won’t want people to lie to us. We don’t steal from other people because we do not want people stealing from us. We don’t betray the trust of our spouses because we wouldn’t want them doing the same to us. Same goes for killing and a variety of other “bad” behaviors.
I am profoundly reluctant to write this letter because I know there are those it will wound deeply. But I have also come to the conviction that I can no longer hide the light the Lord has lit within me, under a bushel. I want to share with you what the Lord has been telling me and my dear life companion.
• When I reported this event to Lancaster Conference leaders, they responded with grace-filled pastoral listening, while acknowledging that what I’d done was out of step with established credentialing agreements with other Mennonite Conferences. Afterward the LMC credentialing committee met on Sept. 10 and retired my credentials and I am at peace with their decision and understand their need to take this action.
Great deceptions spring from the idea that everyone who uses a common word (like “love”) is speaking about the same thing. The Christian paradigm for love is set down in the text of scripture and embodied in the life of Christ. Between the Christian and the unbeliever, there can be no possible consensus on the subject of what love is, because Christ is at it’s very heart.
For Goodness' SteakA wireless belt-clip monitor, the Grill Alert announces when just about any meat is perfectly cooked.
Thank you so much for sharing your story – a journey of faith and integrity. May we learn as you have to follow the spirit of the Scriptures instead of the letter of the law. I believe that was Jesus’ way.
And this is the weird thing: “Straightforward biblical teachings” should at least be understandable to the average person. So often I hear it said, “OUR ways are not GOD’s ways,” as if God was some sort of inscrutable alien being.
The researchers conducted a literature search and reviewed articles that showed positive biologic bases for gender identity. These included disorders of sexual development, such as penile agenesis, neuroanatomical differences, such as grey and white matter studies, and steroid hormone genetics, such as genes associated with sex hormone receptors. They conclude that current data suggests a biological etiology for transgender identity.
Dear Sarah. Are you Protestant or Catholic? I ask because to call out someone as a heretic you sight the former Pope of the same Church that at one time declared Protest-ants to be heretical even as Luther et.all pointed the accusing finger in the other direction.
God’s Word is the standard that I, as a young tomato plant, must tie my life to, in order to be brought up the way that He desires me to grow and live. These two truths do co-exist: I am complete in Christ and I must display fruits of righteousness.
This Father's Day surprise him with one of these awesome, Dad-centric presents
It is strange, to say the least, for someone in the Anabaptist heritage to bring the charge of heresy.
Thank you very much for your kind comments, It does not matter. In fact it matters a lot and you name shall be remembered under the Grace of the Lord.
“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” (I Cor. 7:1.) “It is good for [the unmarried and widows] to stay unmarried, as I do.” (I Cor. 7:8.)
Thank you for these wise words! Thank you for coming out! This is wonderful.
Love is one thing and Good and Godly. Condoning sin and aiding it is not love
I seem to recall that Paul wadn’t married…
I am married to Chester Wenger’s oldest granddaughter, and I am extremely disappointed by this letter.
Grand Opening present for my dad
Maybe you should re-visit the parable about the sheep and the goats.
We are not supposed to compromise, although we are in the world we are not supposed to be of the world.
People raise selfish children and that is very different than being born gay. The lack of compassion or empathy or even love shown by some of you supposed Christians is amazing. The thinking behind some of these rationales is as shallow as Jesus’ love is deep.
Goodness is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Light is stronger than darkness. Life is stronger than death.
Whatever position we take, Chester is our brother and Sara Jane is our sister. His 96 years of life and long and faithful ministry, with or without credentials, call for our respect. With my fallibility ever before me, let me be the last person to condemn this patriarch and this matriarch.
My husband and I left the Mennonite church 20 years ago because we saw this on the horizon. We now belong to a church that preaches the Bible, isn’t afraid to challenge sin, yet is extremely welcoming to the unchurched. God doesn’t change. His definition of sin doesn’t change. The world around us has changed and I’m very sad that the Mennonite church has allowed the world to shape it into its mold.
• Pleaded for patience when my congregation decided to leave Lancaster Conference over the women’s leadership issue to join Atlantic Coast Mennonite Conference.
In his History of Knowledge, Charles Van Doren, wrote that “[t]he earliest protest against slavery in the American colonies dates to 1688, when a Mennonite meeting in Germantown, Pennsylvania, penned a memorandum stating its profound opposition to Negro slavery. These simple libertarians proclaimed, ‘Though they are black, we cannot conceive there is more liberty to have them slaves, as it is to have other white ones.’”
Sara Wenger Shenk is president of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart. Please note: This reflection references an incident of sexual abuse. “But I’ve seen […]
Show me where in the Bible God confirms same-sex marriage. Or even show me where God affirms homosexuality. I’d like book/chapter/verse.
I hope and pray God will enlighten me. I left my church years ago. Forsaken that fellowship, instead seeking fellowship with with a few like minded souls who have been become disheartened by dogma as an answer to an honest desire to understand what was being taught.
In these many responses, there are a number of references to Romans 1:24-27. I am convinced that most people change their minds about LGBT people once they experience it with family or friends rather than through reading scripture (I include myself). However, I think we can better dialogue with each other if we know how to read and interpret relevant texts in their larger literary and historical contexts. At the risk of length, let me try this on Romans 1:24-27: