On February 20, I will be giving my testimony and helping with a youth break out session in Lansdale, PA. The theme of the day is “Affirming the Faith“. It is being done in response to several Mennonite Churches that are wanting to include gays and lesbians into membership, marriage, and leadership positions within the Mennonite denomination. (In the days to come I will be posting my responses to these ideas.)
I’m excited about this conference for two reasons: I get to see some friends from Harvest USA (who are also helping out with this conference) that I haven’t seen in a while; and this is a conversation that has lacked in the Mennonite Church for too long. I am really praying that God’s Spirit and Mission moves throughout this conference and Mennonite denomination!
Below is specific information about the conference:
At a time when there is growing pressure on the church to change our denominational position, the purpose of this conference is to provide Biblical teaching on homosexuality as affirmed by our Mennonite Confession of Faith and other denominational documents. The conference is open to all members of Franconia and Eastern District Conference churches, as well as other Mennonite congregations, offering an opportunity for the Mennonite Church to speak with a unified voice to educate, equip and encourage its members in what God’s word teaches on this subject.The conference will feature sermons and teaching sessions led by MCUSA Pastors from Eastern District and Franconia Conferences, who will seek to give attendees a better understanding of pertinent Biblical texts and help them better discern and respond to teachings and claims regarding aspects of human sexuality that are at odds with the Scriptures. The conference will also provide a Biblical approach to shaping a redemptive, rather than enabling, message for persons trapped by sin, affirming God’s love and compassion for all sinners, and His desire for all people to walk in holiness.
Testimonies will also be shared from persons who have experienced the forgiving, healing work of Christ in their lives, bringing them out of the homosexual lifestyle. The conference will also include a youth breakout session.
- “And they will become one flesh.”
Genesis 2; other texts :: This session will survey the theological position of the people of God through the ages concerning homosexual practice. We will look at the Biblical texts in Genesis that establish God’s plan for healthy sexuality, but also consider the historical stance of the church and the scriptural—and unscriptural—responses to those who struggle with homosexuality.
- “Therefore, God gave them over.”
Romans 1: 16-32 :: Most of us would put Romans 1:16 on a plaque and hang it in our kitchen. But have you ever seen a plaque with Romans 1:18? What comes to your mind when you think about God’s wrath? This text invites us to consider three powerful words: wrath, abandonment and grace.
- “Such were some of you.”
I Corinthians 6:9-20 :: Homosexuality, as with all sexual sins, is a perversion of God’s purpose for our bodies, and a violation of God’s ownership of our bodies. Our bodies are to be the place in which the sanctifying work of Christ is being realized and expressed, giving us an identity no longer as sinner, but as saint. This is the work of God’s grace, which should be understood as freeing us from sin—not being freed to sin.
- “Neither do I condemn you; go now and leave your life of sin.”
Matthew 19:3-6, John 8:1-11 :: Jesus upheld the teaching in Genesis that marriage is a permanent bond between a man and a woman—but also extended forgiveness to persons who had failed to live up to God’s standard. The church today is God’s agent to show Christ’s compassion and bring healing and hope to those struggling with sexual identity issues.
- “They will turn their ears away from the truth.”
2 Timothy 4:1-8 :: Christians today are increasingly looking to other sources for truth and guidance besides the Bible. Our culture seems to have more influence over the church than the church has over the culture. The Bible teaches a higher morality and standard than the world does. Yet as Christians, we are constantly under attack for our faith, doctrine and theology. Paul instructed Timothy how to take a stand in a world that was unfriendly and hostile toward Biblical truth. How can this passage teach us to do the same?
Grace Mennonite Church with Line Lexington Mennonite Church as co-sponsor, will hold a conference entitled Affirming the Faith: What the Mennonite Church Believes about Homosexuality. This event will be held at Grace Mennonite Church, Saturday, February 20, 8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
The conference is open to all members of Mennonite churches and will feature MC USA Pastors from Eastern District and Franconia Conferences providing Biblical teaching on homosexuality as affirmed by the Mennonite Confession of Faith.
Registration is $15.00 for adults, free for persons 18 and under, and includes lunch, coffee breaks, and conference materials. A portion of each paid registration will go toward Harvest USA and six11 Ministries.