All God’s children
By Peter Zucconi
As a first-generation American who grew up in the shadow of the New York City metropolitan area, I agree with some of the points Charlie Kraybill makes in “In the City, Might the Saving Process Go Both Ways?” (June 20). Kraybill states that cities are not more inherently evil than rural areas, that ethnic Mennonites can learn much from other cultures, and that there are vibrant Christian communities in our cities.
But I question what he means by “we’re all — literally all of us — God’s children.” Are we all God’s children because God created us, or is Kraybill saying all people are in right standing with God?
The overall tone of the article seems to imply the latter. If that is true, then we need to ask why Jesus told Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house.” Why did Peter need to go to the home of Cornelius? Why did Paul go to the bother of at least three arduous missionary journeys?
Perhaps there are methods and even attitudes that some coming to city might need to reconsider. But the Scriptures teach that not all are in the kingdom. Not all in Washington Square Park are “laughing … smiling … grinning … swooning.” There are many there, as here in rural Pennsylvania, who, like the Samaritan woman at the well, need the words of Jesus: “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
By Simon Schrock
I have a few suggestions for Charlie Kraybill. Read Phil. 1:15-19, where Paul wrote, “Whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed: and in this I rejoice.” The next time the Pilgrim Mennonites come to Union Square to sing, go and simply listen to the gospel being proclaimed “from behind an old hymn book.” Then rejoice in your own experience of God’s grace and that the gospel is being proclaimed by “these peculiar looking Pennsylvanians.”
In the parable of the sower the Lord told us some seed fell on good ground and brought forth fruit. Replace the criticism with a prayer to the Lord of harvest that some seed will take root and grow. It may expand God’s kingdom more than a critical article.
God has used “conservative Mennonites performing public hymn sings” to draw persons to himself. A memorable experience for me was to have witnessed a baptism at a Mennonite church in Washington, D.C., of a young man who was drawn into the joy of the Lord by a group of hymn singers. After singing hymns in the rain they went with the young man to his house, where his wife also surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus. His wife joined him in baptism. They walked faithfully in the joy of the Lord and are now rejoicing in their eternal rest. Seven of their children are now serving the Lord Jesus and raising their families for his glory. The witness of the hymn singers lives on. Having known this couple in their early Christian walk and over the years, I take the attitude of Paul and rejoice that the gospel was proclaimed from “behind an old hymn book.”
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