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City Articles of Faith]
Confession of Faith, 1921
RULES AND DISCIPLINE (Part Two)
1. A conferring fellowship is necessary so that ordained brethren
can be of mutual assistance to each other in continuing to
maintain the standards of the Gospel and the evangelical discipline
of the Mennonite Church and to promote the general
welfare of the Church of Jesus Christ.
2. The bishops shall plan to
conferring fellowship meetings to be held at least twice a year.
The bishop in charge of the church
where the meeting is held shall serve as moderator. The brotherhood
is invited to attend. Additional ministerial meetings may
be called as the bishops direct.
3. The bishops shall organize
themselves as necessary to assist each other to carry out their
responsibilities. A 75% affirmative vote of the bishops shall
be required to consider a matter passed.
4. When difficulties occur, the
persons involved may appeal to the bishops and seek help to resolve
the said difficulties. No
complaint may be received unless the scriptural rule of 1 Tim.
5:19 be diligently followed.
1. We believe the church is an institution divine in its origin,
plan, and destiny. We recognize the visible church as a body
believers organized for their mutual edification and for the
advancement of the cause of Christ. We recognize her right to
choose officials, to regulate the ordinances of the household
of God., her authority from Christ to exercise discipline and
maintain the standards of faith and practice required by the
Inasmuch as the apostles filled
a vacancy among themselves by the use of the lot as recorded
in Acts 1:15-26, and since the
use of the lot with prayer and dependence upon God is also advocated
in other scriptures for use in important matters, we
believe the use of the lot is a scriptural way of finding gods
will and promoting peace and unity in the church. Pro. 16:33.
We believe the ministry is called
by the Holy Ghost and chosen by nominations and the casting of
the lot when there are more
nominees than needed.
2. When congregational ordinations
are called for and are approved by the bishops and the local
ministry, the counsel of the
brotherhood is asked. If this counsel is favorable, the nominations
may be received from the brotherhood.
The brethren who receive the
required nominations (five for bishop, two or three for minister
and deacon) and through
examination and instruction give clear evidence of the qualifications
given in I tom. 3-13;2 Tim. 2:2, and Tit. 1:6-9 shall share
3. It is the duty of the bishops
to direct the instruction of applicants for church membership,
to baptize the penitent believers,
and receive them into the church with the counsel of the church,
to administer the ordinances and to direct the suspension or
excommunication of the disobedient in accordance with the Word
and the discipline of the church.
4. It is the duty of the minister
to preach the Word of God, to visit the sick, to warn sinners,
to comfort and penitent, and to
point them to faith in Jesus Christ. He may administer the ordinances
in case of emergency when the services of a bishop
cannot be secured at the time.
5. It is the duty of the deacon
to visit the sick, and to receive and distribute charities to
the needy members of the church. If
difficulties arise in the church, the deacons upon approval of
the ministerial body, shall investigate and endeavor to effect
peace and unity. When no minister is present in the regular preaching
service or by the direction of the ministry, the deacon
shall conduct the service by scripture reading, exhortation,
6. Bishops, ministers, and deacons
shall cooperate in the administration of the discipline and in
directing the engagements and appointments of speakers for public
7. According to Acts 20:33; 1
Cor. 9; 2 Thes. 3:8 and Gal. 6:6, the ministry shall not be salaried,
but should support
themselves as much as possible. The brotherhood should consider
it a responsibility and a privilege to share their material
blessings with the faithful ministry.
8. When an ordained brother moves
from the appointed field to another area, his ministry shall
be transferred upon the
agreement of the ministry of the districts involved and also
of the congregations involved.
9. Inasmuch as ordained brethren
and their companions exert an influence in the constituency by
their teaching and example., it is required for the spiritual
welfare of the church that they give evidence of willingness
to subscribe to and promote in their
ministry these standards herein set forth.
10. Any ordained brother may
be dismissed from office if he gives evidence of unfaithfulness
in his Christian life if he teaches
false doctrine, or if he refuses to accept counsel of the district
ministry and Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church bishops.
1. The church consists of penitent believing, obedient members.
Jno. 3:1-16; 1 Jno. 5:1; The ministry responsible for the
instruction of applicants should be diligent in giving through
teaching on the way of salvation., helping living the Christian
and preparation for Christian service. After a period of such
instruction applicants shall be examined to learn whether they
at peace, are penitent, believing, and willing to submit to the
evangelical doctrine of nonconformity and nonresistance and the
discipline of the church. Upon such evidence and with the counsel
for the congregation they shall be received in the church
upon confession of faith and water baptism.
2. The congregation shall be
examined before communion to learn if the members are at peace
and are willing to work in
harmony with the discipline of the church. all members desiring
to commune, should give their counsel. The following
scriptures will be helpful to be used in this council service.
Mt. 18:1-22; 5:21-26; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; 1 Cor. 3:12; 1 Cor. 13;
Eph. 4; Col 2.
3. Confession of sin shall be
made personally to God. Inasmuch as sin influences the lives
of other individuals and also brings
reproach upon the church, therefore the church holds that where
individual relationships and influence are involved the
involved persons should make suitable confession one to another
in the church when necessary to acquire peace in
accordance with the teaching of Mt. 5:23, 24; Mt. 18:15-20; Jas.
Sins such as fornication, adultery,
lawsuits, drunkenness and persistent worldliness and pleasure
seeking shall be confessed
publicly in accordance with the principles of such scriptures
as Jos. 7:19; Acts 5:1-11;; 1 Tim. 5:20
4. When members absent themselves
from communion or are unfaithful in the church they shall be
visited and admonished. If,
after receiving such admonition, giving with patience and love,
they still refuse to support the church, they forfeit their
5. Where grievances or differences
arise between members, the members involved shall observe Mt.
18:15-18 and Mt. 5:23,
24. No bishop, minister, or deacon shall receive a complaint
before the aforementioned scriptures have been complied with.
6. When members move from one
bishop district to another, they shall present membership letters
of standing from the
congregation from which they came.
7. The brother hood should participate
in and promote such agencies for teaching, fellowship, and Christian
service that are
consistent for the spiritual benefit of the brother hood, and
for the carrying out of the great commission of our Lord in giving
the Gospel to the world.
These agencies include Sunday
schools, Bible instruction meetings, missionary meetings, church
schools for youth, summer
Bible schools, week day Bible schools, young peoples meetings,
revival meetings, and Christian worker's meetings.
Evangelists and all church workers
shall be Spirit filled, consistent members who are in the order
of the church and shall be
approved by the local ministry.
8. The education of our children
in a wholesome Christian atmosphere is a Biblical imperative.
We believe the church should
assist parents in fulfilling this responsibility by sponsoring
Christian day schools with a Bible-based curriculum Ps. 111:10;
Deut. 6:6, 7.
Spiritual life and consistency
shall be primary qualifications for all school personnel. The
church administrators, to promote a
Scriptural philosophy of education, and to encourage academic
competence. We discourage our members from pursuing
institutional higher education because of its emphasis on secularism
and humanism. 1 Cor. 1:18-31; Col 2:3,8.
In order to maintain separation
of church and state, our schools shall not accept government
9. Books for church libraries
shall be approved by the local ministry.
10. Since the New Testament teaches
individual relationship with the Lord and since the Holy Spirit
is given to every believer
giving him joy which may be expressed in singing, and since spiritual
life devotion are promoted by participation,
congregational singing shall be engaged in in all regular worship,
services. Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16
Singing in small groups may be
engaged in for personal enjoyment and inspiration in the private
gatherings in our homes, for
the benefit of the sick and aged, as a Christian testimony in
street meetings, in institutions such as jails, hospitals and
charitable homes, and in a school setting.
11. Members shall support the
activities of their own denomination rather that give active
support to groups who do no uphold
the doctrine of nonconformity, nonresistance, believers
baptism, and separation of church and state.
12. Due to the contribution that
mixed seating makes tot he moral breakdown, we will follow the
practice of segregated
seating for worship services. Weddings and funeral may be considered
13. In keeping with the following
scriptures. Ps 95:6; Phil. 2:10; Lk. 22:41; Acts 20:36, we will
continue the practice of
kneeling prayer in our worship services
1. Baptism shall be administered upon confession of faith, with
pouring as the scriptural mode. Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 8:12; Acts
1-:44-48; Mt. 28:19, 20.
2. Communion is observed semiannually.
We advocate a time of prayer and fasting previous to communion.
Lk. 22:1-23; 1
3. Feet washing is observed immediately
after communion. Jno. 13:1-17.
4. The church sanctions Christian
marriage when both are believers and live a non-conformed and
non-resistant life. Our
members shall find their companions among those of like faith.
The nuptials shall be announced in the church.
Members marrying otherwise are
not privileged to counsel and commune until they acknowledge
that they have transgressed
the evangelical discipline of the church.
If a member marries one who is
divorced, such a member forfeits his membership. Anyone married
to and living with one
divorced cannot be received into church fellowship. Persons with
more than one marriage partner, living may be received into
the church only if they live in celibacy. Members shall under
not circumstances initiate nor agree to divorce proceedings.
10:1-12; Lk. 16:18; Eph. 5; Heb. 13:4.
When members marry, the bishop
of the bride shall officiate. members who engage a minister of
some other denomination to
officiate in their marriage are under censure.
Weddings shall be conducted in
a Christian manner avoiding all vain display and in accordance
with the prescribed regulations
5. The Christian Woman's Veiling
We recognize divine order of headship as it is taught in 1 Cor.
11:1-16; 1 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 14:34-38.
Every sister shall wear an appropriate veiling at all times for
a constant testimony that she accepts her position as a Christian
The hair shall not be cut and shall be free from current worldly
hair arrangements which do not express a spirit of meekness
and sobriety. We believe that it is the properly veiled head
which is the sign of the Christian woman in Gods divine
covering shall be a two piece type of sufficient size to adequately
cover the hair with the front piece being at least one and
one-half inches side. The use of covering ties is considered
an appropriate practice.
6. The salutation of the holy
kiss should be observed and practiced by the believers, brethren
among brethren and sisters
among sisters, as an expression of fervent charity. It should
be practiced when meeting for worship as well as when meeting
for social fellowship and not only when observing the other ordinances.
1 Pet. 4:8; Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12,
1 Thes. 5:26; 1 Pet. 5:14.
7. According to James 5 we believe
our members should avail themselves of the privilege to call
for anointing with oil
accompanied by the prayer of faith for healing Jas. 5:13-18;
SEPARATION AND NONCONFORMITY
1. The Lord's Day shall be well observed by Gods people
and shall be made a day of devotion and worship, Church services
and Sunday schools shall be regularly attended, feasting and
pleasure seeking shall be strictly avoided.
Members shall seek to avoid labor and business on the Lord's
Day as much as possible. Both young and old shall be taught
how to keep the Lord's Day holy and exercise themselves constantly
in showing reverence for gods house and all that
pertains to it. Isa. 58:13; Rev. 1:10; 1 Cor. 16:2.
2. Gospel simplicity and economy
should characterize our funerals. Flowers shall not be used in
our funeral services. The service shall be spiritually supportive.
We encourage that the viewing be held after the message in the
presence of the
audience. Rom. 12:15
3. Inasmuch as our automobiles
as well as all our possessions, are gifts from God, they should
be in keeping with Biblical
modesty and separation, and the use of them should always glorify
God. The more expensive cars, cars with contrasting
colors, sports cars as well as sports features on regular cars,
and all striped tires, shall be avoided. The appearance and use
of all our vehicles shall be consistent with these principles
4. The church endeavors to give
assistance in promoting spiritual growth among its constituency.
Because of the value to our
members and the testimony to the world, the practice of a uniform
garb is urged in accordance with the principles and teaching
in the following scriptures: Num. 15:37-41; Isa. 2:16-26; 1 Tim.
2:9, 10, 1 Pet. 3:3, 4; Rom. 12:1, 2; 2 Cor. 6:14-18.
The scriptural sense of modesty
includes orderliness and consistency. Modest apparel expresses
a sense of propriety and
indicates the choice of a virtuous mind. To avoid the changing
suits of apparel which are so common in the world today gives
credence to uniformity in t he church. Church regulations are
a solution to the problem of worldliness in attire.
Christian properly calls for
one to be modestly dressed when in public and causes on to shun
the unrestrained boldness
manifest in present world practices such as superfluous, abbreviated,
and form fitting articles of clothing. Recognizing these
standards of the church are in accordance with scriptural requirement.
5. The following are accepted
standards: For the brethren the regulation coat, plain hat, and
black footwear. Other clothing or
footwear shall not be of fashionable sporty, or Western styles.
We believe that a necktie is unnecessary and shall not be worn.
1 Pet. 3:3, 4.
For the sisters. A modest plain
cape dress without trimming shall be worn in all areas of public
life. The dress shall have a least a mid-calf length skirt and
three-quarter length or longer sleeves. Materials shall not be
transparent and shall be of subdued modest colors.
The maternity dress shall be
recognizable as a cape dress.
The protective head dress should
be a bonnet of consistent size with ties or bands of a serviceable
type, suitable to be worn
over the veiling. Fashionable head dress shall not be worn.
Hosiery should be black and of
serviceable weight (at least 30 denier or its equivalent). Flesh
colored hosiery shall not be
worn. Isa. 47:1-3. Hosiery shall be worn in all areas of public
For all members appearing in
public with immodest types of clothes and footwear, anklet, low
necklines, and those who
expose their bodies in an immodest manner are subject to censure.
The wedding ring is forbidden. Bracelet type watch bands,
(including those with gold or silver edges), pins, and other
ornamental extras shall be eliminated 1 Tim. 2:9; 1 Pet. 3:3,
Parents should dress their children according to Gospel simplicity
and teach them the serious results of following worldly
practices and vanities prevalent today. Rom. 8:12, 13; Rom. 12:2.
7. Ordained brethren shall teach
these standards diligently and admonish the brotherhood to teach
1. Members shall not indulge in the world's methods of pleasure
seeking, amusements and entertainments, patronizing or
taking part in fairs, parades, circuses, moving picture shows,
theaters, drama, public bathing resorts, organized contesting
teams, dancing, card parties, races, various forms of gambling,
scavenger hunts, mystery suppers, hayrides and such like.
2. In order to make the testimony
of the church as clear and positive as possible, we urge that
the brotherhood engage in such
employment and follow such vocations as are helpful to physical
and spiritual well-being and in harmony with spiritual
principles. 1 Cor. 10:31.
3. Since the production and use
of tobacco seriously affects our Christian witness and because
of the harmful effects on the
body, members shall abstain form the use, distribution, and production
of tobacco. 1 Cor. 10:31; Isa. 55:2.
4. Members are not allowed to
manufacture, use, sell or distribute intoxicating drinks. Pro.
20:1; Hab. 2:15; 1 Cor. 6:10.
5. Membership in secret societies,
labor unions, and taking out life insurance are forbidden because
in many ways such
memberships necessitate transgressing the teaching of scriptures
as related to nonresistance and nonconformity. 2 Cor.
6. We believe the church should
rise to her Christian stewardship privileges and obligations.
Members should therefore not
need to receive government subsidies, or social security and
health care benefits and are encouraged not to do so.
7. Because of the effectiveness
of the radio, to propagate evil and increased endtime deception,
thereby destroying true
spirituality in the home and church, its use is not permitted
among our brotherhood. The use of a private system for business
shall be considered an exception. Because of the evils of television,
brethren and sisters who are responsible for the sale or
use of the same forfeit their membership Video cassette recorder
(VCR) entertainment systems shall not be used. We likewise
sense the dangers of the new media such as daily papers and magazines
in the home Ps. 101:3; Ps. 1:2.
Computers shall not be used for
Internet connections to information pools such as
the World Wide Web because of the
detrimental effects that can have on spiritual life. computers
with audio features capable of sight and sound combinations
similar to videos and television shall not be used. Using the
computer for games and entertainment is not permitted. We
caution against the conditioning effect of the screen
upon the separated way of life. 1 Cor. 15:33; 1 Thes. 5:21; Rom.
8. Recorded music should build
appreciation for worship hymns of the church, and for congregational
type singing. We
believe that a capella singing is the form that most accurately
represents new Testament principles as well as the historic
Anabaptist, Mennonite faith.
Because of the highly emotional
appeal of stringed instruments, and their prominent place in
modern sensual music, they are
not permitted for actual use or in our recorded selections. Electronic
keyboard instruments which can automatically simulate
the rhythm and temp of secular music are also objectionable,
and are not permitted. We also sense the possible conditioning
effect of the traditional keyboard interments.
A cappella singing and recorded
selections that reflect the emphasis of modern gospel song
performer with their entertaining
appeal should be eliminated. The songs we sing and to which we
listen should be Biblically sound in content, and sung in a
manner that glorifies God rather than man. Ps 40:3; 1 Cor. 14:15;
Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16.
9. The above regulations are
for the guidance and blessing of the membership. All applicants
shall accept the foregoing
regulations and conform to them as soon as possible. Those who
do not willingly accept them cannot be received into
If members become proud and vain
or show evidence of vanity and worldliness, they are to be visited
and questioned as to
the life and conduct. If, after a reasonable time they still
remain obstinate they forfeit their membership.
If members shall willfully and
knowingly violate the teachings of the scriptures as interpreted
by the church such offending
members shall be visited and the mater be requested to come before
the church to acknowledge their error and ask for
forgiveness. If they refuse to do so, they forfeit their membership.
those members who stand by such who are our of
fellowship place themselves in the same state.
WORKING PROCEDURE AND OUTREACH
1. This statement of Christian doctrine and rules and discipline
shall be the working standard of the congregations and
ordained Brethren of the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church
and Related Areas. This is considered the minimum standard.
2. Procedure of Ratification
of the Rules and Discipline:
After clear explanation to the membership, the ordained group
shall have 50% of the vote, 80% is required to carry.
3. Changes and Revisions:
Inasmuch as issues will continue to arise to threaten the spiritual
life of the church and because spiritual growth may lead to
more scriptural forms of applying principles of the gospel, this
statement of doctrine and church discipline shall be reviewed
approximately every three years for the purpose of strengthening
the church in her expression of Biblical principles.
A committee consisting of the bishops and an ordained bother
from each district elected at a conferring meeting will serve
discipline reviewing committee.
Any changes or amendments will follow the aforementioned procedure
This committee shall not be a standing committee but will be
appointed for each occasion.
4. Organized Outreach
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