Ruffled by Ruffles?
Tom and I had never met before, but a rainstorm was holding us hostage in an old garage. All I knew was that Tom was only visiting in the community (same as I was) and that he had come from non-Mennonite background. He was now a member in one of the Mennonite churches. Thinking we may as well fill in the time with spiritual discussion I plunged in.
“Tom, why don’t you tell me how you became a Christian?” I asked.
“Well, I was raised in a Christian home, and we always were Christians,” was his response. I waited, but it became obvious he had nothing else to share.
The Martyrs Mirror is a work by Thielemen J. van Braght who recorded a history of the sufferings and martyrdom of the Anabaptist people throughout history. It is not my goal to give a thorough history of the Anabaptist Martyrs here, because you can read it for yourself in the pages of the Bloody Theater. I hope to pique your interest in reading that book and stimulate your faith so you can grow in your personal walk with God. I believe that as we look into history that we should be challenged today to “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:12b).
“And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:36-37).
We as an older generation are passing off the scene. We sense that we have been blessed above measure. We have been given a priceless heritage of seeing the New Testament as a book to be lived out in everyday life because of our love for the Lord Jesus. We have no greater joy than to see that vision embraced by younger ones coming on.
In the conservative sector of the Mennonite Church one will hear teaching about the seven ordinances. This is in a large degree because the Mennonite church published Daniel Kauffman’s Doctrines of the Bible in 1928, and this doctrinal study highlighted seven ordinances. Daniel gave this teaching in this way:
Robert is angry. One of the causes for his anger is because he has not learned to accept a “no” from his parents when he was young. His parents were easy going. Robert could pretty well have his way in whatever he set out to do. Now Robert has younger brothers and they are treated the same way. Mom and Dad seem to look the other way when the household erupts into vicious sibling rivalry. Schedules are made to be broken. all this makes Robert angry and bitter. He has been secretly viewing DVD’s and listening to rock music, but he is not sure it would matter if his parents would catch him.
“And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country. And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
"I am not worthy..." What a humiliating thought! This little phrase is degrading to self-esteem, the element so necessary for success to the natural man. Move on, self urges, you don't need that to stifle your potential.
The Scriptures often use word pictures to help us understand the fullness of Spiritual realities. But since we do not live in the land of the Bible or the times of its writing, we may at times miss the impact of some of these illustrations.