Same WinemakerBy Ronald Voth Halstead, Kan.
Bruce Bradshaw’s article interpreting Mennonite Central Committee’s motto, “In the name of Christ,” aptly discerns the differences between evangelistic and social action approaches to relief performed in Christ’s name. He accurately points out that God’s kingdom may not always be furthered when those words are required during relief work.
Bradshaw supports ministering “in the name of Christ” but takes issue with constituents at a “New Wine, New Wineskins” meeting who believe “in the name of Christ” should be a non-negotiable aspect of MCC’s ministry. Their issue may not simply be the conflict between evangelism and social action paradigms. It may be a request for Christ to remain the cornerstone for decisions at MCC.
The admonition to maintain Christ in MCC could be in response to questions surrounding MCC’s accountability to constituent churches. For example, is MCC an extension of the Mennonite churches, or is it an independent organization? Second, it could be in response to questions of alternate pathways to God, with Christ serving as just one of the several equal options. Respecting differing cultures and religions is different than submitting to the authority of those religions. The latter position leads to significant gaps in grace, love, forgiveness, reconciliation and the effectiveness of social action.
I endorse MCC’s search for new methods to impact a world in need. I’m comfortable with the “New Wine, New Wineskins” project. However, it is imperative to maintain the same Winemaker as the cornerstone.
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