“Tell us about Mennonites.” We get that request a lot! In fact, Mennonites are a Christian faith group with roots in the 16th century reformation. Perhaps our most visible distinctive is that Mennonites advocate living out the holistic gospel, that is nurturing strong relationship with God and also emphasizing doing justice and peacemaking. Mennonites (along with the Church of the Brethren and Quakers), are one of the faith communities known as the Historic Peace Churches in which men and women often are conscientious objectors in times of war. Currently there are over one million Mennonites worldwide. As with other Christian groups, beliefs and practices vary widely but following Jesus in everyday life is a consistent value across this spectrum of faith.
The following tenets often characterize Mennonites in this modern day context:
- Mennonites seek a personal, vibrant Christ-centered relationship with God with following Jesus central to that faith. Ethics are an important part of Mennonite theology.
- Mennonites are non-doctrinal and non-creedal and generally have not chosen to affirm detailed doctrine such as the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed. They instead are guided by the narrative stories of Jesus and most importantly, the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7.
- Mennonites affirm voluntary, adult baptism and do not practice baptism until a person is old enough to make an adult decision to follow Jesus.
- Guided by the narratives of Jesus, Mennonites do not participate in war, but rather practice non-violent, peaceful resistance to evil. They seek to do non-violent peacemaking, including restorative justice, in all parts of their lives at all times, not just in times of conflict.
- Mennonites emphasize the congregation as being Christ-centered community, including small groups, where participants follow Jesus, simply, faithfully, together.
- Mennonites strive to be a biblical people, but do not follow a flat bible. The four gospels, the Pauline letters, Genesis, Exodus, the OT prophets and the Psalms tend to be their guiding scripture.
For more information, we highly recommend the Third Way website and the pamphlet What is an Anabaptist Christian? Here you will find excellent resources of accessible information including basic tenets of faith of Mennonites, with links to our historical roots within the Anabaptist stream of Christianity.