Doctrine and Conduct Committee (General Conference Mennonite Church)
The Doctrine and Conduct Committee was a unique committee in the General Conference Mennonite Church, for it was not a standing committee, and had to be completely re-elected at every session of the General Conference. This close control of the committee by the conference reflected something of the controversial issues under which it arose in the early 1920s.
The principal issue giving rise to the committee was the traditional testimony against secret orders. Particularly vigorous leadership was given when the late P. R. Schroeder was secretary of the committee. From 1929 to 1933 the committee sent out 22,000 anti-secrecy leaflets featuring the conference anti-secrecy resolution and article twelve of the constitution, the longest single item in the doctrinal area.
Meanwhile, the committee began to broaden its work to include other questions such as the oath, the nature of baptism, the nature of the church and modernistic theological tendencies. Another trend in the church was the growing disinclination to enter into distinctly disciplinary problems and the development of a broadly educational approach to controversial issues in the conference.
In later years the committee continued to have a conservative orientation. But it worked closely with the fundamental purposes of the conference in a wide range of educational activity, including the following: reprinting of the Ris confession, a statistical and descriptive study of divorce trends in the conference, a study of stewardship, preliminary studies of Christianity and communism, church discipline, universalism, as well as the production of an over-all book on the theology of the conference.
At the conference held at Freeman, South Dakota, in 1950 the Doctrine and Conduct Committee was absorbed by the Board of Education and Publication, and placed in a subcommittee on Education in Church, Home and Community. This was part of a major reorganization of the conference structure.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 79. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Smucker, Donovan E. "Doctrine and Conduct Committee (General Conference Mennonite Church)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/doctrine_and_conduct_committee_general_conference.
APA style: Smucker, Donovan E. (1956). Doctrine and Conduct Committee (General Conference Mennonite Church). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/doctrine_and_conduct_committee_general_conference.