We take our Sunday school classes for granted, but before the Sunday school movement began in the mid to late 1800’s, it was unknown in the Mennonite Church. The movement was influenced by the wider “Great Awakening” experienced in the Protestant churches. The Sunday school injected new life into the general spiritual laxness that was prevalent in a lot of Mennonite churches.
Pacifism and its influence on the Mennonite church
In conservative Mennonite circles, one sometimes grapples with this question: Why should nonresistant people be interested in the teaching of war and related issues, especially in the classroom? Several reasons could be given; one in particular, though, stands out, and that is because wars have a profound influence on society. Wars change the status quo, and that seems to be just as relevant in general society as it is in the Mennonite church.
At first glance, one could suggest that these two terms might be synonymous. In fact, one hundred years ago they sometimes were used interchangeably.1 but as the English language continues its evolutionary process, it becomes necessary to define these terms separately.
What is nonresistance?
The term nonresistance is taken from Matthew 5:39, where Jesus tells us to “resist not evil.” It is not resisting in any form, militarily or personally. It means showing genuine love to all, friend or foe.
From day to day, our lives revolve around the future. We live moment by moment in anticipation of what the morrow may hold. Many of the anticipated events are quite mundane such as meal and work schedules; however, others we may look forward to with trepidation or concern such as looming crises or obligations.
From the beginning of time, faithful believers have looked forward to the future when the trials and the stresses of the present age pass, and entry into the eternal state becomes reality. Revelation 21 and 22 are not only a dramatic climax to the written Word, but they give us a tiny glimpse of the Heavenly glory that shall envelop the stage on which the final events of the dispensation are played out.