A Touch of History

 


/files/Images/The Body 208.jpg

St. John is Mennonite in its heritage, which means different things to different people. Historically, Mennonites originated shortly after the Reformation, which began in the early 1500's. The goal of reformers like Martin Luther was to "reform" the Roman Catholic Church. Some of the followers of the reformers did not believe the Catholic Church could be "reformed" and that true "believers" should separate from it.

One of the key issues for separation was the practice of infant baptism. The early Anabaptists (or "rebaptizers") followed the teaching of the Bible that baptism is for those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Therefore, infant baptism does not give eternal life. Rather, eternal life is granted by God upon a person's trust in Jesus Christ for salvation from the penalty of sin. Water baptism is an outward sign of the inner work of God's Spirit in a person. Anabaptists (later to be called Mennonites, after Menno Simons) were also known for their belief that it was wrong to take up arms (the sword in those days). Thus, you have an emphasis on "peace" in many Mennonite churches today. Since those early days, there have been many splits, divisions, and schisms among Mennonite or Amish groups and it is sometimes hard to know where a group fits in the whole scheme of things.

At St. John, our emphasis is on teaching Scripture because it is God's revelation of Himself to us. The Bible is our authority, meaning that we strive to align ourselves with its teaching. This is why we preach from the Bible during our services, teach the Bible to the kids, and study the Bible in our adult classes.

As a local body of believers, our mission is to join with Christ in building His Church, the Universal Church. We do that through prayer, preaching the word, being led by the spirit, worship, discipleship, building oneness, loving our neighbor, and going out into all the world. Those are the key words of our church Mission & Vision.