Race Relations (Mennonite Brethren Church, 1963)

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Race Relations (Mennonite Brethren Church, 1963)

That the Mennonite Brethren Church declare its position on race relations at the General Conference, assembled at Winnipeg, Manitoba, on August 3-7, 1963, to this effect:

Whereas every redeemed individual regardless of race or ethnic origin, is most precious in the sight of God; and, whereas it is the duty and desire of the church to bring the gospel to all people in order to win them for Christ; and, whereas the church will measure its task and opportunities in the light of our Lord's imminent return to judgment, and will hold itself accountable to its Lord, looking forward to the great day of His appearing when men of all nations and kindreds and tongues shall gather around His throne and praise Him eternally for having washed their sin-stained "robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14); that, therefore be it resolved:

  1. That the Mennonite Brethren Church affirm its adherence to and application of the Scriptural principles concerning race relations and church work, to wit:
    1. "God will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).
    2. His plan of salvation embraces the world. "God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). "He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2).
    3. God's grace in Christ Jesus should be proclaimed to all nations in accordance with the Savior's Great Commission to His church: "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
    4. In the execution of Christ's command, viz. "to preach the gospel to every creature" no line of demarcation should be drawn relative to nationality, race, color, "for there is no respect of persons with God" (Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 3:25, Acts 10:34).
    5. The Christian Church is the recipient of Christ's injunction to "teach the nations to observe all things whatsoever He has commanded." Not only did Christ instruct His church to "teach all nations," but also to "baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19, 20).
    6. The church's chief function and task is to spread the news of Christ and His salvation to men, women, and children, irrespective of any national or race makeup, so that souls may be won for and retained with Christ, in whom alone they "have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:17).
  2. That in all problems which arise in connection with the application and conduct of these above-mentioned principles of Scripture, all members of our church unreservedly obey the Savior's command "that ye love one another" and practice Christian charity, forbearance and understanding with each other, knowing that the same Lord is Head over all, and that His Spirit dwells in all the churches.
    1. That all congregations of the Mennonite Brethren Conference regard all persons regardless of race or ethnic origin living within the limits of their respective parishes as individuals whom God would reach with the gospel of His saving grace through the ministry of the local congregation.
    2. That congregations operating in changing communities be encouraged to continue operations in those areas rather than relinquish their properties through sale to other denominations, and that the various district mission boards be encouraged to help these congregations when this becomes necessary, so that the souls in those communities, regardless of race or ethnic origin, may be won and served.
    3. That conference institutions, agencies, and offices make no distinction based on race or color in their entrance requirements or employment policies.
  3. That since Christians are constrained to do justice and to love mercy, we acknowledge our responsibility as a church to provide guidance for our members to work in the capacity of Christian citizens for the elimination of discrimination wherever it may exist in community, city, state, nation, and the world.

[edit] Bibliography

We recommend... : Recommendations and Resolutions of the General Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches. Fresno, Calif. : Board of Christian Literature of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, 1978: 147-148.

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