Benjamin Eby’s “Origin and Doctrine of the Mennonites” – part 1
August 19, 2012
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Since there are many opinions regarding the Christian faith among Christians, and on this account each religious denomination has and seeks to make known its own individual beliefs, it is therefore necessary that each one, who searches for the truth, can prove the same by the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, I also thought it advisable to publish the articles of faith of our church, namely those of the Mennonites or Baptists, in conjunction with our church history, so as to prove our origin and that we do not originate from Musterites, but that the foundation of our faith coincides with the teaching of our Lord and His apostles; and also to show that our teachings and religion have existed from the apostles’ time down through the centuries until the present time. Many have proved and sealed these beliefs with their blood, of which a few examples will be mentioned. These beliefs will be clearly set forth so that any one who is so inclined, may delve into and prove them for himself and so that in the shortest time our gracious reader may receive a clear view of our entire faith and belief.
Here, in this land our religious denomination is not generally known, for I have been asked about it by many. This finally prompted me to give a written statement according to the instruction of Peter: “Be always ready to give an answer to every man that askesth you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15.
This history and doctrinal theology also serves the youth of our own religion not only with regard to historical information, but rather to the all important right acknowledgement of the Almighty God and His holy will, and the way to blessedness, through which the living faith is strengthened and grounded on our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (in whom alone we can receive forgiveness of our sins), and which leads to an upright obedience in imitation of Him. Therefore, I heartily wish that the perpetual blessing of the Blessed Savior may rest on this writing, which is being written only to His honor and for the help of my fellow travellers to eternal blessedness.
Berlin, Canada, the 30day of August, 1841.
NOTE—In the following work the word Baptists refers to Christians who objected to child baptism.