Dialogue on Peace with Non-Mennonites MCC World Report, 1976, p. 122 - 123
courtesy of Mennonite Church Historical Archives, Goshen, Indiana
One of the striking phenomena of 1976 on the US church scene has been the rising visibility of Christians identifying themselves as Evangelical. All of the evangelicals have in common an explicit emphasis on the Bible as the source of their authority and direction. But with that the similarities cease. One type of emerging evangelicalism is represented fairly typically by the Campus Crusade style of evangelistic activity. This movement is characterized by ‘God and country’ mentality, an individualized and spiritualized definition of the Kingdom of God and more interest in doctrinal than discipleship questions.
Another emerging form of evangelicalism is characterized by the Sojourners’ style with an emphasis on the church’s duty to stand outside of and critique the state, an understanding of the Kingdom of God which encompasses as well as individual aspects of life and an examination of the hard sayings of Jesus about discipleship. Peace Section (US) has maintained some dialog with representatives of this latter type of evangelicalism where it finds great interest in the Anabaptist point of view. A cooperative adventure is emerging with Evangelicals for Social Action in Philadelphia where a VS couple will have a shared assignment under Evangelicals for Social Action and Peace Section (US). The possibilities for extending a peace witness in this direction are great.
Another striking development in 1976 has been the emergence of New Call to Peacemaking. This is an initiative which comes from the evangelical Quakers who have been feeling they need to rediscover the peace testimony and base it solidly on a scriptural foundation. They have taken steps during the past two years to dialog with other Quakers about this and in the spring of 1976 the Mennonites and Brethren were invited to join. A Central Planning Committee made [up of] 15 persons -- five representatives from each of the three historic peace churches -- has been formed and has met twice. A series of regional conferences across the United States during 1977 will be followed by a national conference in October 1978 at Great Lake, Wisconsin. Each historic peace church will send 75 delegates to the national conference. It is the goal of New Call to Peacemaking to articulate a united voice from the historic peace churches bearing testimony to the way of peace in a very militarized nation and world.
We are in correspondence also with Christians from the more ecumenical perspective and consider it part of the opportunity and duty of MCC Peace Section (US) to be in dialog with Christians all across the confessional spectrum.