“Christian Atheists” – Guest Post by Frank Reed

Hopefully some of you have already read this. Several days ago Frank Reed wrote this piece on his blog, Biblical Brethren Fellowship. I asked him if I could re-post it here, since it connects so well with several of my recent posts, including yesterday’s, which prompted my busiest-yet day on this blog.

Who is Frank Reed? Here’s how he described himself just yesterday on his blog (in another post well worth your time):

I am a committed Anabaptist. I have sought and obtained training in Bible and church history so as to better serve my people and have neglected personal life and business to serve the community. I have served as teacher and administrator in various areas of Mennonite and Brethren education.

I know Frank from his involvement as a teacher at Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute and from listening to several talks he gave at Anabaptist Identity Conferences. We’ve only met briefly a time or two, but Frank has my respect and the respect of others I respect. I know that he loves the Lord and that he loves people (what better reputation could one want?), including the youth he has taught for many years. He also deeply loves the church of Christ—deeply enough to take risks for her good, as you will soon see.

One more thing before I share Frank’s post: I encourage you to subscribe to his blog. You will find Frank a worshipful, insightful, and seasoned voice. Frank has been blogging there since 2012, and I think he just might be entering his best blogging season. This winter his life was nearly taken in an auto accident, and now Frank is speaking with new urgency. Listen, pray, and act.


Christian Atheists
(by Frank Reed)

What is Anabaptism when it is not cloaked in Mennonite or Amish or Hutterite or Brethren cultural dress? In other Words, What if we could separate our current cultures from the earliest Biblical/Anabaptist concepts? What would our churches look like then? Would there be enough Biblical content in our cultures to continue to exist as churches?

That is a legitimate and important question. That is the question that many people (especially youth) are asking. That is the question that most church groups are not answering.

Most church groups are insisting on their view of Anabaptism or Pietism while ignoring their Biblical heritage – ignoring it to the extent of marginalizing those who deviate from their specific definitions.

So, whether it is the church rules or the minute book or the denomination or anything else, groups are insisting on their specifics and labeling others as disrespectful of authority. This is essentially idolatry. We have come so far from our Biblical heritage that we now have adopted our own version of culture as god.

This has resulted in a long-term selection process. Compliants are retained while leaders are eliminated. Group maintenance is the primary objective. The group has become god and when you challenge god you are an atheist.

Christians in Rome were called Atheists. Atheists? How could Christians be atheists? All you have to do to become an atheist is to deny god. The Christians denied the god(s) of the Romans and so Rome would not tolerate the Christians.

If you do not do obeisance to the denominational gods of today, you will not be tolerated. I know.

The only choice we have is to change our gods. There is only one God and He will not tolerate rivals.

For the sake of the next generations, I beg of you, we are running out of time to change our gods…

The Bible says:
I am the LORD,
That is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.
Isaiah 42:8

What about you? Is your heart right with God or are you dependent on a cultural system? It is possible to worship idols with a clear conscience. Many people in this world do exactly that.

Examine the Word of God and hear what He says to you through the Holy Spirit. Only then can you be sure that you are a Christian who rejects the gods of this world for the one true God who will tolerate no rivals – not even good cultural rivals.


Frank doesn’t have a comments section on his blog, but you can find his email there if you want to message him privately. He might enjoy hearing from you, but I think he’d be most honored if you simply stop right now and open your heart honestly to the Lord about whatever you’re thinking after reading Frank’s words.

Ask for renewal in your heart and mine. Ask for a deeper work of the Spirit of Christ within our churches.

Also feel free to comment here if you wish. Thanks for reading!

For Christ and his Church,
Dwight


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5 thoughts on ““Christian Atheists” – Guest Post by Frank Reed”

  1. Interesting article.
    I have found that our small Mennonite church has in the past ten years somewhat escaped from the “church rules” and absolute belief that “Obey” means absolute blind expedience of leaders in Heb 13:7.

    However this is an evolution of years, thankfully in a true love of Christ direction.

    The largest problem I see in many Anabaptist church is I see is “Family Churches”. What I mean is churches in which everyone in the Church are related. Churches where if you FAIL the “Mennonite Game” (sitting with strangers to see how the newbie friend is related – i.e. “Your my distant cousin Rob Yoder’s nephew.”) your welcome to visit, but are never really welcome within that family base members of the church. Churches that send missionaries to Haiti, Africa and China but have never invited local Christians to church or events (more-less join). Churches who may have none family Mennonites attending, but discourage their children from seeking companions with them, and if the do and marry, they may be discouraged by actions not to attend.

    i have seen changes, and have really heard large changes from older members tales of the past.. Perhaps that is the solution. If a church is truly live Christ driven, perhaps it is the children that bring in the changes. As stated, many of the past horror stories of “unofficial dis-fellowship” for marrying a non-Mennonite has changed in the past 40 years, i have seen personally those ignored in the past welcomed back and hearts mended… perhaps the next generation will usher through a true Anabaptist church of biblical understanding and union of belief.

    As for me, a former Baptist who found the Anabaptist faith… I truly wish my church had a heart of saving and offering all, not just those outside the area, the faith and love of Christ of their fathers.

    Just some rambling… In love. FJM

    1. Good thoughts, Fred, and thanks for sharing them. Your words remind me of something I have observed: It is one thing to be passionate and active in reaching out with gospel proclamation and deeds of mercy, and it is another thing to learn how to welcome the people we reach back into our churches. We usually find it easier to do the former than the latter. It would be interesting to hear more of your journey from Baptist to Anabaptist, and what insights you have to offer us life-long Anabaptists based on your journey.

      Regarding Hebrews 13 (did you mean Heb. 13:17, perhaps?), you might find it interesting to read my essay, where I suggest we’ve often misunderstood what it says about our responsibilities to leaders.

  2. Brother Frank, I believe you have hit the nail on the head! This has been the cry of my heart, but just not able to put it into words. Let God be true and every man a liar;
    Blessings

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