MBs plan to review confession of faith for Canadian churchBy Tim Huber Mennonite Weekly Review
In the Mennonite Brethren church, a global confession of faith adopted in 2004 unites each of the International Community of Mennonite Brethren’s 19 member conferences.
In many ways, ICOMB performs the unifying role once held by the previous General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches in North America, which rewrote its confession in 1999.
As a North American-centric identity has faded, national identities have emerged. In recent years, conferences in Japan and Germany produced their own confessions for their contexts.
That process has also been developing in the U.S. and Canada. The Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches’ Board of Faith and Life is preparing to review the denomination’s confession of faith.
At a meeting Jan. 25-26 in Abbotsford, B.C., the BFL affirmed it will act upon an Executive Board request to conduct the review.
BFL chair Brian Cooper said a 2011 study conference on atonement theology brought attention to the confession, indicating that a review would be appropriate. The review will not focus on any particular issue, but is intended to be general.
“We are open to the possibility of revision if necessary,” he said, “and we will do some research into what changes might be helpful.”
He said the board does not want to see a piecemeal review but thinks a systematic study every 10 years or so is probably good practice.
Cooper said the review is “not about changing what we believe. But we want to ensure our confession expresses as well as it can what Scripture is telling us.”
The review arises out of conversations between the Canadian and U.S. BFLs, which might lead to two unique confessions.
“We recognize that the two conferences serve different constituencies where different dynamics are at play,” he said. “So we want to allow each conference’s leadership the freedom to address them nimbly.
“At the same time, we have renewed our desire to work together collegially and collaboratively, and anticipate that there will continue to be ongoing and regular communication across the 49th parallel.”
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