Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: mutual aid

Five reasons Christian communes don’t work

1. They isolate members from other people

Relationships with family and friends outside the community that do not further the goals of the community become suspect.

2. They disconnect members from the reality of the world around them

People who don’t have to choose and pay for their own food, clothing and shelter can hardly relate to the people around them who do.

3. Giving is mandatory, not voluntary

When someone joins a commune, he voluntarily gives all he has to the community. After that he is assigned tasks to do for the well-being of the community.

4. Conversion becomes merely assent to the values of the community

When one’s home and livelihood are tied to being a member, young people who grow up in the community face enormous pressure to make an outward commitment to the faith of the community. Those who are already members also face pressure to admit young people on such a basis, for the continuation of the community.

5. Allegiance to the community outranks a relationship with God

Since the community is believed to be the ultimate expression of the will of God, a personal relationship with God and being led of the Holy Spirit are taught to be synonymous with living in accordance with the values of the community.

Sharing of material blessings received from God, mutual aid, bearing one another’s burdens, helping the poor and the weak are all values clearly taught in the New Testament. But they are taught as voluntary actions proceeding from a heart that is transformed by the Spirit of God.

2 Corinthians 9:7 – Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Brotherhood aid

The Church of God in Christ, Mennonite began mission work in the Philippines about thirty years ago (I couldn’t find an exact date).  A number of small congregations have been established and ministers and deacons have been ordained.  While the numerical growth has not been rapid, there has been real spiritual growth in the members and the leadership.  Last year the General Mission Board approached the Filipino church with the question of whether they felt ready for the Mission Board to withdraw from the country.

There was some trepidation at first, but the conviction grew that the church in the Philippines was ready to become indigenous.  However, the ministers and deacons requested that there could be revival meetings for themselves before they were left to shoulder this responsibility.  In response to this request, a minister from Nigeria and another from the USA came and all the Filipino ministers and deacons, with their wives, gathered in a central location for several days of preaching and fellowship.

This opened the way and in the early months of this year the remaining missionary families began saying their good-byes and disposing of mission property.  By spring the Filipino church was on its own.

This fall two disasters occurred, first an earthquake on one of the islands, then the typhoon that hit the island of Leyte, causing damage beyond the financial resources  of the local membership.  Fifty homes of our Filipino brothers and sisters have been destroyed, plus ten chapels.  The damage is so extensive that the ability of these brethren to earn a livelihood has been compromised.

The Filipino brethren formed a committee to guide and supervise the rebuilding of members’ homes.  Several North American brethren, acting as liaison to the North American churches, have participated in the planning.  The work has begun and a collection was announced today, probably in most all of our North American congregations, for funds to assist this work.

It was observed that houses built of hardwood stood up the best in the storm, so the new houses will have concrete block foundations and the framing will be of Canadian Douglas Fir, which is readily available in the Philippines.

Though this project involves only brethren working to help each other replace destroyed homes, the church is involved in other aid work.  Filipino brethren are helping in cleanup work and the humanitarian aid agency of the North American church is also at  work (their mandate is to help the general populace and not to favour church members).

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