Confession of Faith (1902) - Article 9
IX. Concerning the Office of Power; Concerning the Taking of an Oath; Concerning Revenge, Non-Resistance and Love of Enemies; and Concerning the Kingdom of God.
Concerning the Office of Powers.
¶64. We believe and confess: That God, who is a King of all kings and Lord of all lords has put into all lands rulers and powers for the common good and welfare and the leading of a good honorable civil life. For there is no power but of God:the powers that be, are ordained of God . . . . . For he is the minister of God and beareth not the sword in vain. He (the ruler) is for the protection of the just but a revenge to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For this reason are all believers, yea, all men subject to fear the powers and bound by the word of God to honor them and obey them in all things not conflicting with the Word of God. They are bound to pay tribute and duties and taxes according to the teaching and example of the Savior: Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's (Matthew 17:24-27; 22:15-21) ; and according to the words of the apostle Peter: Submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the king as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. Likewise is it our duty to pray for these according to command of Paul: I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of our God and Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. Daniel 2:21, 37, 38; Proverbs 8:16; Romans 13:1-7; Acts 4:19; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14.
May the Almighty give them wisdom and grace to rule their lands, cities and subjects in righteousness and peace and to inherit eternal salvation hereafter.
Now, unto the King eternal, imperishable, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen Thy Kingdom come!"'
Concerning the Taking of an Oath.
¶65. We believe and confess, that to the fathers under the old covenant it was permitted to take a true oath by the name of God. But the Lord Jesus, the Son of the living God, the King and Founder of the new covenant, has in the following words forbidden believers to swear with an oath: Again, ye have heard that it hath been said to them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne, etc.... But let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Also the apostle James exhorts: But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. But our words must be true and your "yea" and "nay" must stand for as complete truth as the highest oath. Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12; Matthew 12:36; Colossians 3:9.
Concerning Revenge, Non-resistance and Love of Enemies.
¶66. We believe and confess, according to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ: Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. No one may practice revenge against his enemies. We also do not feel justified to carry the sword. The apostle Paul teaches thus. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written: Vengeance is mine; I will repay, the Lord. Therefore, thine enemy saith hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. The apostle Peter also says: For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief , suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if , when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps: who did no Sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously. Matthew 5:21, 25, 38, 40, 48; 26:52-53; John 18:11; Romans 12:19-21; 1 Peter 2:19-23; 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.
¶67. But our longing, prayer and effort shall be more and more directed toward the Kingdom foretold by the prophets and by Christ and His apostles, which God from heaven shall establish through His Son Jesus Christ, in whom He has resolved it, where none shall do harm nor learn to war, where righteousness, love and peace shall reign. Daniel 2:44; 7:27; Isaiah 2:4; 9:4-7; 11:1-9; 57:15-19; 61:1-11; 65:17-25; 66:10-14; Luke 4:18-19; Matthew 6:10:13; 13:43; 24:17 etc.; 26:29; Luke 22:29-30; Acts 1:6-7; 17:31; 2 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 11:15; 12:10; Revelation ch. 20; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation ch. 21-22.
Confession of Faith of the Mennonite Brethren Church of North America. American ed. Hillsboro, KS : Mennonite Brethren Pub. House, 1917.
Loewen, Howard John. One Lord, One Church, One Hope, and One God : Mennonite Confessions of Faith. Elkhart, IN. : Institute of Mennonite Studies, 1985.
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