What (or who) are Mennonites?
First, and foremost, Mennonites are Christian. We share a number of the beliefs endorsed by the larger Christian tradition. For example, we believe that God inspired the writing of the scriptures. Further, we believe in the Trinity, sin, and salvation in Jesus Christ. . At the same time, Mennonites maintain that doctrines of the church mean little unless they are lived out in our daily lives (see below). Mennonite roots go back to the Reformation period, in the 16th century, when Anabaptists felt the reformation fell short of the renewal the church needed to experience. Many Anabaptists were willing to follow the teachings of the Bible at any cost (including their lives). One of the early Anabaptist leaders was Menno Simons, for which the Mennonite church was later named.
While Mennonites affirm a number of the basic Christian beliefs, as mentioned above, there are also several key areas in which we are distinctly Anabaptist/Mennonite Christians. These include the following:
- Only people who are old enough to understand and take responsibility for their own voluntary decision to follow Jesus Christ in life should be baptized and become members of the church. (During the Reformation baptizing babies was mandatory. Since adults that had already been baptized as babies were being re-baptized or again-baptized, they were referred to as Anabaptists by their opponents.)
- Being a Christian and a church member is voluntary; hence, the church and state should be two separate entities (during the Reformation this was a radical departure from the norm). The church transcends political, racial, or other man-made barriers. Our primary allegiance is to Christ and the church; allegiance to the state is secondary.
- Interpretation of scripture is to be done in community and not merely by a few select theologians or church leaders. The community’s understanding of scripture is illuminated by the teachings and life of Jesus and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- As followers of Jesus we strive to share our possessions with those in need, love our enemies, avoid perpetrating violence, and seek peace and justice. Thus, a call to arms creates conflict for Mennonites because we take seriously Jesus’ call to love our enemies.
- As individuals and a faith community we seek to turn away from sin and acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord and become more like Him. Hence, a commitment is made to give and receive counsel within the faith community in regard to conduct and doctrine, as we endeavor to separate ourselves from evil and live holy lives for God.
How do I become a member of the Springs Mennonite Church?
Anyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ, is committed to following Him, and is willing to participate in the life and work of the Springs Mennonite Church is eligible to become a member of the Springs congregation. An individual can become a member by believers’ baptism, transfer of church membership (via a qualified church letter), or by a personal confession of faith in Jesus Christ. Persons with any interest in considering church membership are encouraged to contact the pastor.