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									6     Canadian Mennonite January 25, 2010




    profess a faith and a spiritual way that        God’s way is revealed to us most fully          mean we give up our responsibility to
    differs from our own. Like the Apostle          through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1), we            share the good news of Jesus Christ. And
    Paul, who engaged with the Stoics in the        should proclaim faithfully and courage-         as Christians committed to peace, we
    market square (Acts 17:16-34), we should        ously the gospel of God’s grace in Christ.      should also have an interest in promoting
    seek common understanding and be slow             While some of us need to grow in our          peace with people of different religious
    to condemn. This requires deep humility         appreciation and respect for the wisdom         persuasions. In a volatile age, where
    and a posture of careful listening on our       from God that may be found outside of           religious and cultural conflicts may
    part. A genuine concern for evangel-            our Christian faith, others of us need to       surface easily, we must find ways of living
    ism and mission does not rule out God’s         take courage to confess and proclaim the        together as neighbours and fostering
    presence in a religious faith or spirituality   truth that has been given to us in Jesus.       community among all people. l
    apart from our own.                             An appreciation for God’s work in the
      At the same time, given that God and          world outside of the church does not




       Speaking prophetically
               The Faith and Life Committee invited Gayle Gerber Koontz, professor of theology and
                ethics at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind., to respond to some
                 questions arising from the Faith and Life presentation at the Saskatoon assembly.

    Q: Not all the beliefs within the spiritual-                                                    divine to a particular familial, racial/eth-
    ities and religions around us—including                                                         nic, denominational or national identity
    within Christianity—are noble and good.                                                         and membership.
    Confessing Jesus in a religiously plural-                                                          Religious views that claim, or more
    istic time also invites us to speak proph-                                                      subtly assume, that “God is on the side of
    etically. How would you respond to this                                                         my nation, not yours,” or “God prefers my
    statement?                                                                                      race or religion to yours,” are suspect. The
    A: Not all religious views and actions are                                                      biblical interpretation offered in the FLC
    compatible with faith in the God of Jesus                                                       document points out that “outsiders”
    Christ described in Confession of Faith         are other dimensions of our lives: family,      to the Hebrew people and Israel were
    in a Mennonite Perspective. Convictions         local organizations, economic arrange-          sometimes instruments of God’s blessing.
    expressed in the FLC document, such as          ments, political entities. One Christian        This would suggest that we should worry
    “God is sovereign, God’s reign is univer-       example is the “health and wealth” gospel       about spiritualities and religious views
    sal,” “We acknowledge that God is greater       that assumes that faithfulness brings           that are secretive, that presume superior-
    than any human construct,” and the Bible        material riches, or that good health is a       ity over those not included in their mem-
    calls humans “to repentance in light of         sign of God’s favour and illness due to         bership, and that are closed to hospitable
    God’s coming judgement grounded in the          lack of faith. Je
								
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