1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email

Mennonite Beliefs and Practices

Distinctive Mennonite Beliefs and Unique Practices

By

Members of the Mennonite Church USA consider themselves neither Catholic nor Protestant, yet they hold much in common with other Christian denominations. The church places strong emphasis on peacemaking, service to others, and living a holy, Christ-centered life.

Mennonite Beliefs

Baptism - Water baptism is a sign of cleansing from sin and a pledge to follow Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a public act "because baptism means a commitment to membership and service in a particular congregation."

Bible - "Mennonites believe that all Scripture is inspired by God through the Holy Spirit for instruction in salvation and training in righteousness. We accept the Scriptures as the Word of God and as the fully reliable and trustworthy standard for Christian faith and life..."

Communion - The Lord's Supper is a sign to remember the new covenant Jesus established with his death on the cross.

Eternal Security - Mennonites do not believe in eternal security. Everyone has free will and can choose to live a sinful life, forfeiting their salvation.

Government - The decision of whether to vote varies greatly among Mennonites. Conservative groups often do not; modern Mennonites frequently do. The same holds true of jury duty. Scripture warns against taking oaths and judging others, but some Mennonites do welcome jury duty. As a rule, Mennonites try to avoid lawsuits, seeking negotiation or some other form of reconciliation. Some Mennonites seek public office or government employment, always asking whether the position will let them further Christ's work in the world.

Heaven, Hell - Mennonite beliefs say those who have received Christ into their life as Lord and Savior will go to heaven. The church has no detailed position on hell except that it consists of eternal separation from God.

Holy Spirit - Mennonites believe the Holy Spirit is the eternal Spirit of God, who dwelt in Jesus Christ, empowers the church, and is the source of the believer's life in Christ.

Jesus Christ - Mennonite beliefs hold that Christ is the Son of God, Savior of the world, fully human and fully God. He reconciled humanity to God through his sacrificial death on the cross.

Ordinances - Mennonites refer to their practices as ordinances or acts, instead of the word sacrament. They recognize seven "biblical ordinances": baptism on confession of faith; the Lord's Supper; washing of the saints' feet; the holy kiss; marriage; ordination of elders/bishops, ministers/preachers of the Word, deacons; and anointing with oil for healing.

Peace / Pacifism - Because Jesus taught his followers to love everyone, killing, even in war, is not a Christian response. Most young Mennonites do not serve in the military, although they are encouraged to spend a year in service in missions or in the local community.

Sabbath - Mennonites meet for worship services on Sunday, following the tradition of the early church. They base that on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week.

Salvation - The Holy Spirit is the agent of salvation, who moves people to accept this gift from God. The believer accepts God's grace, trusts in God alone, repents, joins a church, and lives a life of obedience.

Trinity - Mennonites believe in the Trinity as "three aspects of the Divine, all in one": Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Mennonite Practices

Ordinances - Baptism is performed on adults who are able to confess their faith in Christ. The act may be by immersion, sprinkling, or pouring water from a pitcher. Communion is a symbolic act in remembrance of Christ's sacrifice, with the partaking of bread and wine. Footwashing is done to recall Christ's servanthood; some churches do it regularly while others do not. The Holy Kiss, on the cheek, is shared only among members of the same sex in conservative churches. Modern Mennonites usually just shake hands with each other.

Worship Service - Sunday worship services resemble those in evangelical churches, with a minister leading prayers, soliciting testimonies from members, and giving a sermon. Many Mennonite churches feature traditional four-part a cappella singing, although organs, pianos and other musical instruments are common. In most churches members sing hymns together.

To learn more about Mennonite beliefs, visit the official Mennonite Church USA Website.

(Source: MennoniteChurchUSA.org)

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.