How would you define “true faith” as it relates to discipleship and christian living? I’ve been reading through Confession of Faith in Mennonite Perspective on my lunch hour for the past few weeks. Today, I came across this bit in Article 17:
Conformity to Christ necessarily implies nonconformity to the world. 1 True faith in Christ means willingness to do the will of God, rather than willful pursuit of individual happiness. 2 True faith means seeking first the reign of God in simplicity, rather than pursuing materialism. 3 True faith means acting in peace and justice, rather than with violence or military means. 4 True faith means giving first loyalty to God’s kingdom, rather than to any nation-state or ethnic group that claims our allegiance. 5 True faith means honest affirmation of the truth, rather than reliance on oaths to guarantee our truth telling. 6 True faith means chastity and loving faithfulness to marriage vows, rather than the distortion of sexual relationships, contrary to God’s intention. 7 True faith means treating our bodies as God’s temples, rather than allowing addictive behaviors to take hold. True faith means performing deeds of compassion and reconciliation, in holiness of life, instead of letting sin rule over us. 8 Our faithfulness to Christ is lived out in the loving life and witness of the church community, which is to be a separated people, holy to God.
In all areas of life, we are called to be Jesus’ disciples. Jesus is our example, especially in his suffering for the right without retaliation, 9 in his love for enemies, and in his forgiveness of those who persecuted him. Yet, as we follow Jesus, we look not only to the cross, but through the cross, to the joy of the resurrection. We place our hope in God’s vindication of those who take the narrow way that leads to life. 10 “If we have died with him, we will also live with him. If we endure, we will also reign with him.” 11
– from ‘Article 17. Discipleship and the Christian Life’ in Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective
You can find the rest of Article 17, including commentary, here: http://www.mennolink.org/doc/cof/art.17.html
It strikes me as countercultural, subversive, and hard. And I kind of like it. For those looking for a Way that doesn’t require answering violence with violence or equate one’s faith with a particular political party, perhaps you ought to give the “small-‘b’-baptists” (anabaptists) a look.