The Doctrines and Discipline
Evangelical United Mennonites
Canada and the United States
Acts 3:22 A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
Published by the E. U. Mennonite Pub. Soc’y 1880
That as a church organization it is meet and right, as well as a necessity to have written discipline, for the sake of convenience and harmony amongst the members of the church in reference to doctrine, as well as Church government; we are fully decided in our minds. Although we are conscious, that many will raise objections against a discipline, or any form of government, only as we find them in God’s Word. Notwithstanding, we doubt very much, whether there be at the present day a church organization, which has not a form of church discipline or code of laws, rules and recognition in reference to church government, church doctrine and peculiar faith; either written or verbal; and hence, we would be at a loss to know, if any wrong were connected with having a discipline at all; wherein a just cause might be attributed against the one over the other. The only difference observable by us, in a written or verbal discipline, is the decided preference of the former over the latter, for the reasons already assigned, in connection with many others, which might be given; but for the sake of brevity, we which to say, that we have no scruples in presenting to the public, these, our views in reference to God’s Word, as we understand it. Hence, we wish to say, kindly to all, into whose hands it may fall: “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.” If there is any thing therein contained, which is not in harmony with the sacred teachings of the Bible, receive it not; if it is God’s truth, then it is as sacred and binding upon you, as though you read it from the sacred page or heard it sounded from the pulpit. That its principles be strictly adhered to, and carried out to the honor and glory of God, and not alone professed on the part of Christian professors, is the greatest care and desire of those, whose sentiments are herein expressed as a church’s organization.
The confession of faith, and the discipline of the EVANGELICAL UNITED MENNONITES were originally composed from the Holy Scriptures, and through the aid of disciplines of other Christian Denominations, by a Committee, appointed for that purpose by the conference.
Origin of the Evangelical United Mennonite Church.
Origin of the Reformed Mennonites
Through the direction of God and the instrumentality of the Holy Ghost, a number of ministers of the Mennonite Church were brought to realize and deeply feel the responsibility weighing upon them, as the ambassadors for Christ who were from time to time seriously impressed with convictions that greater and more earnest efforts should be put forth to promote the glory of God, and build up his Zion on earth, by extending the borders of the Church, and practically carrying out the principles of Christianity.
In order to accomplish this more fully, they were inclined to believe that protracted, prayer and fellowship meetings were essential means thereto, which were not practiced in the Church at that time.
In the year 1869, December, one of the ministers of the Canada Conference, who hitherto had not experienced a change of heart, was happily converted to God thro’ Christ; and at once introduced these means of grace above referred to, on his field of labor. In taking this step, he incurred upon himself the displeasure and disapproval of the Bishops generally. But it was the means resulting in a glorious revival of the Christian religion, and in the conversion of many precious souls, throughout the Church, both in Canada and in the United States, which consequently resulted in an excommunication of all who believed in this way, from Church fellowship.
On the 15th day of May, 1874, a conference was called at Eby’s meeting house, Berlin, Ontario; at which place such that believed in present salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and those who had experienced the pardon of their sins, and had the evidence of their acceptance with Christ, formed themselves into a Church organization, and as a name of distinction, adopted REFORMED MENNONITES.
The following year-1875-it became evident that the New Mennonites apparently manifested a desire to become one with them, inasmuch as no material differences existed between the two branches, who also, from similar circumstances, had formed into a separate body a number of years previous.
At a special meeting held at the Bloomingdale meeting house, Waterloo county, Ontario, the 23rd day of March, 1875, the two branches formed into one society, by uniting with each other into one body, and adopted the name UNITED MENNONITES.
Names of Elders;
Solomon Eby Samuel Sherk
John Krupp Peter Geiger
Daniel Brenneman John McNally
John Steckley John Bear
Henry Wismer Noah Detwiler
Names of Probationers:
Joseph Raymer, Menno Bowman, Michael Hang
Name of Deacons:
William Hembling, Joseph Schneider, Amos Bowman
Origin of the Evangelical Mennonites
Of the origin of the Evangelical Mennonites suffice it to say that in the State of Pennsylvania, in 1853, several Mennonite ministers, with a number of their members, united together to labor for the conversion of souls; through whose efforts, accompanied by the Holy Spirit, many were brought to Christ and happily converted.
On the 24th day of September, 1858, they held their first conference in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania; and by the Divine influence and blessing of God, have been sustained as a branch of the vine, notwithstanding the various disadvantages under which they have labored. In the providence of God an acquaintance was formed between them and the United Mennonites, and a desire was soon cherished on the part of each society that a union might be effected between them, which, by the blessing of God, was accomplished at a special conference called expressly for that purpose, Nov. 8, 1879.
To ratify and confirm the union, the following acknowledgement was subscribed to by the conference:
This is to certify, that we the undersigned members of the Evangelical Mennonite conference of Pennsylvania, and the United Mennonite conferences of Canada, and Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, upon authority, and in the name of the several general conferences, upon due consideration and prayerful investigation, by mutual agreement, have, in the fear of God, united together as one body, adopting as a name of distinction, EVANGELICAL UNITED MENNONITES.
William Gehman Joel Rosenberger
Solomon Eby Abraham Kauffman
Samuel Musselman Sidenham Lambert
Daniel Brenneman Joseph Schneider
John Baer Jacob Ruch
Eusebius Hershey Daniel Koch
David Henning William Yeakel
Jonas Musselman Michael Landis
Abel Strawn David Gehman
The above is a brief account of the origin of the EVANGLICAL UNITED MENNONITE CHURCH.
Articles of Faith
The following Articles contain our unanimous confession of Christian Faith.
Of God, the Creation of all things, and of Man.
There is but one Eternal, Omnipotent, Incomprehensible and Triune God – the Father, Son and Holy Ghost – who is the Creator of the heavens, earth and sea; and all that is therein, visible and invisible; Governor and Upholder of the same, by His wisdom and by the word of His mighty power. Amongst which He created man after His own image, and formed him of the dust of the ground, and breathed in his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, indued with many great gifts; placed him in the garden of Eden or Paradise, where he enjoyed sweet fellowship and communion with Him and gave him both a command and prohibition. – Rev. 19:6; 1 John 5:7; Isa. 50:28; and John 10:30.
The Fall of Man.
Our first parents did not remain in this glorious and happy state of their original creation, but, being deluded through subtlety and deception of the devil, disobeyed and transgressed the high command of; their God and Creator, incurring upon themselves and their posterity the sentence of death. – Gen 3:5, 7:17.
Of the Restoration of Man.
Notwithstanding the fall of our first parents from the happy state of their original purity and happiness, into a state of unhappiness, degredation and death, God devised for them a way of salvation through the Gift of His beloved Son, of whom He gave promise and testified through all His Prophets, and who, in due time, came into the world, “tasted death for every man,” became the propitiation for
the sins of the whole world, and has thus “brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” – John 3:17; Matt. 10:28; and 1 Cor. 6:20.
Of the Word or Son of God, Who Became Man.
The Son of God is the Word. The Eternal and true God, of one substance with the Father, who took man’s nature upon Him, by being conceived and born of the Virgin Mary; so that both natures, Divine and human, are perfectly and inseparably joined in Him. Therefore He is Christ, (the anointed), very God and very man, who suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, and rose again, in order to reconcile the Eternal Father to us, and to present Himself a sacrifice for both our original and actual sins. – John 1:1-3.
Of the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Ghost who is in unity with, and proceedeth from the Father and the Son, is in no way inferior to either: whose office and work it is, to reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment; also to imbue the children of God with power, stability and energy; to contend earnestly for the faith of the Gospel to comfort and lead them into all truth. – John 15:26; Gal. 4:6; John 20:22 and John 5:7.
Of the Holy Scriptures.
The canonical books of the Holy Scriptures contain all the instructions necessary to salvation, and whatsoever is not contained therein nor can be proven thereby, is not to be required, nor believed as an article of faith; neither to be received as necessary to salvation. – 2 Tim. 15:17; Luke 24:27, and 32:45.
Of Original Sin.
Original sin is that corruption and depravity of the human nature in consequence of the fall, through sin and transgression, whereby man has become estranged from God, and is utterly disqualified for His service, and is not in any way susceptible of accomplishing anything good because of his will and desire inclines to evil continually. – Gen 6:5; John 17:9; Psalms 14:1-3, and Rom. 8:7.
Of Free Will.
Man, having become so completely ruined, has neither the will nor power to turn to God by his own exertions, and if left to himself, would remain in his wretched and miserable condition forever. But, blessed thought, the “grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men;” hence, God graciously employs the means of enlightening and awakening the mind of the sinner to a sense of his doverty and wretchedness, and then extends the invitation that “whosoever will may come and take of the water of life freely.” But just so long as man refuses a compliance with the requirements of God, and rejects the invitations of His word, salvation can not be secured by him. – Mica 7:9; Psalms 36:10; John1:9, 5:4, 6:44, 8:12; 7:17; Phil.2, 12; Heb. 12:2, and Rev. 12:17.
Genuine repentance towards God consists in a godly sorrow for sin, through which, by the convincing power of the Spirit of God, accompanying the truth, as it is preached or read, the sinner is brought to see the error of his ways, and with a sense of guilt to make confession of his sins, before God with an earnest desire, to be forgiven and to sin no more and renouncing all evil. – Matt 4:7, Matt 3:2 and Acts 20:21.
Genuine and saving faith includes that simple trust in the promises of God, which excludes all doubts from the heart, and produces peace and rest to the soul. According to the language of the Holy Scriptures, faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. – Heb 11:1 and Mark 11:22.
Of Justification and Regeneration.
Justification and regeneration imply the forgiveness of sins, and a change of heart, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Rom 5:1; Acts 13:39, and Rom. 5:9, 4:25.
Sanctification necessarily follows justification and regeneration; for, by it, is implied a setting apart for the continual service of God, the individual, justified and regenerated; also a cleansing from inbred or original depravity, which is removed only be the application and cleansing process of Christ’s blood. It is an instantaneous act of God, through the Holy Ghost, by faith, in the atoning merits of Christ’s blood; and constitutes the believer holy; inasmuch, as it excludes depravity and all unrighteousness from the heart. He, therefore, is perfect- perfectly saved- the will of God perfectly performed in the soul.
By sanctification, or perfect love, is also implied a development, or perfection of those heaven-born principles, imparted to us, or imbibed in the heart in regeneration; and it is a state, which is not only the privilege of Christians to enjoy, but the duty of every child of God, to seek after and attain unto, which is evident from the word of God, as it is said: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification” and again: “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” – Matt. 22:37,38; Lev. 19:2, Heb 12:14, I Cor. 1:30, and Eph. 1:4.
Of Sin After Justification.
Not every sin, committed after justification, is therefore the sin against the Holy Ghost, and impardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not denied, to such, as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost, it may so happen, that we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and we may even then, by the Grace of God, rise again through the workings of the Spirit and turn to God and receive forgiveness of our sins. – Rev. 2:5; Rev. 2:16-21; Rev 3:3-10, and 2 Tim. 4:10.
Of the Church of Christ.
The church of Jesus Christ is composed of all true believers, who are designated His “sheep”, who hear His voice and follow Him, who know Him and are known by Him and who are a separate people from the world, “a peculiar people”. Supreme love to God and love to all men (enemies included), being a true characteristic feature, peculiar to them only, they may readily be distinguished from the world. The ground and pillar of hope being, that of “Apostles and Prophets”, Jesus Christ being the chief Corner Stone;” “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”. Blessed is that people, whose God is the Lord. – 1 Cor. 3:9-17; 1 Peter 2:5.
Water baptism has no saving or cleansing efficacy. It is a visible or outward sign of an internal work of grace, in regeneration and of consecration to the service of God. It is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God; hence, cannot with propriety be administered, only to such as have by faith, in the Lord Jesus Christ, realized the forgiveness of sins, and the evidence of their acceptance with Him. – Matt 28:19-20; 1 Peter 3:21.
Of the Lord’s Supper,
By the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, we understand the ordinance instituted by our Savior in the night of his betrayal, with bread and the fruit of the vine, which are commemorative of our gracious deliverance from the thralldom of sin and death through his broken body and shed blood upon the cross. That only the bread of communion and the cup of blessing are intended to constitute the supper of the Lord, and that the eating of a full meal, similar to Jewish Passover, is not required; we infer from the language of Paul, when he says: “if any man hunger, let him eat at home.” “What have ye not houses to eat and drink in?” and again: “As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, & etc.” Also Christ himself says: “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you”. Hence, we understand it to imply a spiritual feast or supper, rather than gratifying the natural appetite.
The Lord’s Supper is intended to be observed by His children only, and as to the decision in reference to the proper subjects, who shall participate, God has wisely directed, that personal examination shall be the test. Hence, the responsibility incurred by eating and drinking unworthily, rests upon the individual, who is guilty. – Matt. 26:26; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 10:16 and 1 Cor. 11:23-26.
Of Feet Washing.
The Lord Jesus has instituted and commanded feet washing, who also himself washed the Disciples feet, and has hereby given an example that we “ought to wash one another’s feet.” – John 13:4-17, and 1 Tim. 7:10.
Holy matrimony is a sacred institution of Divine origin; and believers should enter into so solemn an engagement in the fear of God, seeking direction and guidance of Him who knoweth to direct all things according to the good pleasure of His will, and to the teachings of God’s Word. This solemn engagement should be “only in the Lord.”
Believers should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. The trouble and despair subsequent upon entering the marriage state of those whom God hath not joined together, is incalculable, and should be a solemn warning to any and all who contemplate this step, to take the matter with all sincerity of heart to God in prayer., - Gen 1:27, 2:28; 22:24;Num. 36:6-9; 1 Cor. 7:39, and 2 Cor. 6:14.
Of Civil Government.
God ordained and instituted the civil government for the punishment of the evil and for the protection and defense of the good. We duly respect these powers in loyalty and are willing to be submissive, subjective, and obedient to their authority, so long as not intruded upon in things which
should militate against the supreme Law and will of God. We pay willingly and cheerfully the tribute and customs demanded of us, and pray for their protection, prosperity, and welfare, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” – Rom 13:1-17; Matt. 17:27; 1 Tim. 2:13; Tit. 3:1-2, and 1 Peter 2:17.
Jesus has forbidden His disciples and followers all revenge and resistance, with the Divine injunction, “resist not evil;” and again, “my kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
The prophet, when he alludes to Christ’s kingdom, says “They shall beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more.”
Christ’s followers are denominated his sheep, whose nature is the direct opposite of the wolf or lion. Christ, in His suffering, has given us an example, that we should follow His steps. “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.” We are commanded to “recompense to no man evil for evil,” nor to occasion grief or suffering upon any one; and if required, for conscience sake, at the Lord’s bidding; if persecuted in one place, flee into another; and also take the spoiling of our goods joyfully for the Lord’s sake, “knowing that there is reserved for us in heaven a better and enduring substance.” – Gal. 4:4; Mica. 4:3; Matt. 5:39-44; Rom. 13:14, and 1 Peter 3:9.
Christ has strictly forbidden the swearing of oaths, when He says, “I say unto you, swear not at all; but let your communication be yea, yea, and nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than those cometh of evil.” It is evident that the apostles regarded it, and strictly observed and insisted upon its careful observance. James says,: “Above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath; but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay, lest ye fall into condemnation.”
From these clear testimonies we conclude that the swearing of oaths is forbidden and not tolerated; and that anything beyond an affirmation is violating the command of our Savior. We regard our affirmation as sacred and binding as though we had confirmed it by an oath. – Matt. 5:24-39; James 5:13, and 2 Cor. 1:17.
Of the Call of the Ministry.
The call of the ministry is of such vast importance, that anything short of God and His infinite wisdom, falls short of being able to decide as to who shall go forth as laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, as ministers of the Gospel.
The Savior says: “Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest,” and Paul says: How shall they preach, except they be sent?” Hence, such as the Lord has called, qualified and sent forth to preach the gospel, can only be efficient means in his hand, to further His cause, prosper the Church, and be successful in winning souls to Christ. – Matt. 9:38; Isa. 6:8,9; Jer. 1:7; Ez. 2:3-5; Matt. 4:18-22, and Rom. 10:5.
Of the Last Judgment.
God has appointed a day in the end of time, called the “Day of Judgment”, in the Scripture, “in the which He will judge the world in righteousness. The Son of man shall come, and all the holy angels with Him in the clouds of heaven, in power and great glory, and sit upon His throne; and the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall arise incorruptible; and those living shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye; and all nations shall be gathered together; and each one will receive according to the deeds done in the body, be it good or be it evil And He shall separate them as a shepherd divideth his sheep from goats, the sheep on His right hand and the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto those on His right hand, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Then shall He also say unto them on the left, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” – Job 19:25-26; Dan. 12:2; Matt. 22:30-31;, Matt. 25:31;, Matt.41:6; Mark 9:46; John 5: 28,39; 1 Cor. 15; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Thes. 4: 13-18; 2 Thes.1:6-10; Rev. 14:11, and Rev. 22:11.
General Rules of Our Society
Of Public Worship
Of General Service
1. We esteem it as becoming the true worshippers, upon entering the place of worship, in reverence to God, and from a sense of gratitude, for being permitted to meet with His people, to kneel in silent prayer before the Lord.
2. We recommend, that the time be properly occupied by singing and prayer, to the edification of those assembled, until the time of opening service. The minister will read a portion of God’s Word, and at his direction, the congregation will rise and sing, and then kneel in united prayer; after prayer a verse or two may be sung, then preaching, prayer, singing and benediction.
Of Special or Protracted Meetings.
In addition to the regular appointments for public worship, we make special efforts in the way of protracted meetings, for the awakening and conversion of sinners; we believe these to be the most efficient means available to this end, and, when entered into, in the true Spirit of faith, are a successful means of reviving religion into the hearts of God’s people.
Of Prayer Meetings.
1. Prayer meetings are essentially necessary in the Church, not only for the benefit of its members, to preserve them from falling into luke-warmness, but have a powerful influence upon the rising generation, or any who may attend.
2. They are Scriptural, and approved of God, and when held one a week, or even more, in the spirit of true love to God and the brethren, they will prove to be efficient means against the enemy, and preserve life and power in the Church.
3. They are to be opened by singing and prayer, then the leader will read a portion of God’s Word, suited to the occasion, with appropriate remarks, when the privilege is extended to all, to exercise themselves in prayer, according to the promptings and desires of their hearts.
Of Fellowship Meetings.
Fellowship meetings are essential to the furtherance of the Church, and their growth in grace. They are in harmony with the Spirit of Christ, who says; “From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh”; “and with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” They are to be held once a month, and oftener, as necessity demands them.
Of the Admission of Members.
1. We receive only such, that have been baptized on confession of their faith.
2. We receive them in a public manner at a time previously announced.
3. The minister in charge, or presiding elder, will extend to them the right hand of fellowship, in the name of Christ and His Church.
4. That a suitable number of members greet them, with a hearty welcome.
Of Duties of Members.
1. It is expected of all, who desire to continue as members of this society, that they continue to evidence their desire of salvation, by attending to all the ordinances of God’s house, namely: public worship, ministry of the Word, either read or expounded, the supper of the Lord, family devotions, secret prayer, searching the Scriptures, and fasting or abstinence.
2. We strictly enforce upon each member of the society, the duties toward each other, which the Savior inculcated, namely: “If they brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou has gained they brother But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established, and if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church, but if he shall neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and publican.” Matt 18: 15-17. And again, “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember, that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way. First be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Matt. 5: 23-24.
3. No one shall have any right to receive a complaint, or in any way encourage any member, before the above injunctions have been complied with.
Singing, as an important part of worship, has held a prominent place in the Church of God, in all ages, and is one of the most soul-cheering, and life-animating exercises, belonging to the solemn worship of God; and when Christians unite together in singing the praises of God, “with the Spirit, and with the understanding”, it is truly sublime; and in its effects calculated to elevate the minds and affections above the things of time and sense, to things heavenly and divine. It is very desirable that all who can, should participate in this part of the divine service of God. The Psalmist says, “I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live, and praise my God while I have my being;” and again, “Sing unto the Lord a new song; let all the earth sing unto the Lord”
The Apostle says, “Sing and make melody in your hearts unto the Lord.”
1. In reference to wearing of apparel, the holy Scripture gives us no definite instructions, as regard to the mode and style; only that Christians should adorn themselves in “modest apparel, with (the following bracketed section is unclear in copy) [and sobriety; not with broid, or gold, or pearls, or costly
2. Is not specially taught in God’s Word to mode or style of dressing, yet these directions given, strongly protect against extravagances and in temporate extremes in dressing, as well as in eating and drinking.
3. Simplicity in a manner of dressing, has more saving efficacy, than anything else of like nature. We must be clothed with the garments of salvation, and covered with the robe of righteousness. ]
4. Be it known that our influence is decidedly against the useless practice, vain indulgence and sinful habit, of wearing sumptuous attire, costly array, or any of those articles which are strictly prohibited in the Holy Scriptures. We admire neatness and cleanliness, and insist on decency with becoming propriety, in wearing of modest apparel 1 Tim 5: 9-10; 1 Peter 3: 3-6 Isa. 3:16-26.
Of Intoxicating Liquors.
The use of intoxicating liquors, as a beverage, being the cause of incalculable misery in the world, the evil influences of which are enormous in their effects upon society at large, no member shall be permitted to make or prepare ardent or intoxicating liquors, to deal in them or use them, except as medicine.
Of Needless Indulgences.
All needless indulgence, such as snuffing, chewing and smoking tobacco, using opium, and any kindred habit, which are only for the gratification of the depraved appetite, and when used are unbecoming and not consistent with our Christian profession, therefore, let it be known that our influence is strictly against them.
Of Secret Societies.
It is inconsistent and anti-Scriptural for Christians as devoted followers to belong to secret societies. There is nothing belonging to the religion of Jesus of which His followers need be ashamed, or kept concealed from the eyes of men, for Christ says, “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” and further, “I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogues and in the temple – in secret I have said nothing.” Upon these and like considerations no member of this society shall be allowed to belong to any secret organization.
Of Conformity to the World.
As regards to conformity to the world in participating in festivals, socials and similar gatherings, the object of which is to merely gratify the carnal mind or will of the flesh, trifling conduct and conversation, and the needless waste of time in idle games, shall be earnestly protested against by us.
Of Bringing to Trial, Finding Guilty, and Reproving, Suspending,
or Excluding Disorderly Persons from the Society on Church Privileges.
Question: How shall an accused member be brought to trial?
1. Before the society of which he is a member, or a select number of them. In the presence of the presiding elder or preacher, in the following manner:
Let the accused and the accuser be brought face to face: but if this cannot be done, let the next best evidence be produced. If the accused person be found guilty by the decision of the members before whom he is brought , to trial, and the crime be such as is expressly forbidden by the Word of God, sufficient to exclude a person from the kingdom of grace and glory, let the minister or preacher in charge expel such member. If the accused person evade a trial, by absenting himself, after sufficient notice, and the circumstances of the accusation be strong and presumptive, let him be esteemed guilty, and accordingly be expelled. Trustworthy witnesses from without shall not be rejected.
2. But in case of neglect of duties of any kind, imprudent conduct, indulging sinful tempers or words, or disobedience to the order and discipline of the Church, let private reproof be given by a leader or preacher; and if there be an acknowledgement of the fault, and proper humiliation, the person may remain on trial. On a second offense the preacher may take one or two faithful members. On a third offense, let the case be brought before the society, or a select number, and if there be no sign of real humiliation, the offender must cut off.
a. If a member of our Church shall be clearly convicted of endeavoring to sow dissensions in our society by inveighing against either doctrines or discipline, such persons so offending shall be first reproved by the preacher of his circuit, and if he persist in such pernicious practices, he shall be expelled from the Church.
3. Nevertheless, in any of the above mentioned cases, the preacher differ from a majority of the society, or the select number, concerning the innocence or guilt of the accused person, the trial, in such case, may be referred by the preacher, to the ensuing quarterly meeting.
4. If there be a murmur or complaint from any excluded person, in any of the above mentioned instances, that justice has not been done, he shall be allowed an appeal to the next quarterly meeting; except such as absent themselves from trial, after sufficient notice is given them; and the majority of travelling and local preachers, and class leaders present, shall finally determine the case. After such form of trial and expulsion, such persons shall be excluded from Church fellowship until contrition be manifested, and confession be made.
These are the general rules of our society, all of which we are taught of God to observe, even in His written Word, and all these we know His Spirit writes on truly awakened hearts. If there be any among us who observe them not, who habitually break any of them, let it be known unto them who watch over that soul, as they who must give an account, we will admonish him of the error of his ways; we will bear with him for a season; but if then he repent not, he hath no more place among us. We have delivered our own souls.
We recommend that baptism be administered in the water, and the mode be left to the choice of the candidate.
Questions to candidates for baptism.
1. Can you testify that you through repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have experienced the forgiveness of your sins, and enjoy peace with God?
2. Are you willing to renounce the world with all sinful gratifications, and cleave unto the Lord, and consecrate your all to His service?
3. Are you willing to be taught from the Word of God, and to yield obedience to all which He enjoins upon you?
Of Quarterly Meetings.
1. We recommend that feet-washing be observed previous to communion.
2. At the time when the communion is to be administered, there shall be a preparatory discourse and exhortation delivered to invite self-examination, according to the words of the Apostle. – 1 Cor. 11: 23-29.
3. The communicants gather around the altar, kneel, uniting in prayer, led by the elder in giving thanks for the emblem representing the broken body of Christ, then arise and partake. Then likewise kneel and give thanks for the cup representing the blood of Christ, which was “shed for many.” Then arise and partake.
At the time appointed, the persons to be married present themselves before the minister, the bride on the left hand of the bride-groom, when the minister addresses them in the following manner:
Question; Are you respectively resolved still to enter into the state of holy matrimony with each other? If so, you will answer, yes.
Question; Do you each confess that you are free from all others, so far as matrimony is concerned? If so, you will in the presence of God and these witnesses, answer, yes.
You will then join your right hands.
Question; Do you (A. B.), as bride-groom, promise to take the woman, who right hand you embrace, to be your lawful and wedded wife; to comfort and sustain her in sickness and adversity, and cleave to her alone until death? If you will do this, answer, yes.
Question; Do you (C.D.), as bride, promise to take this man, whose right hand you embrace, to be your lawful and wedded husband and subject yourself to him, as becometh your duty as wife, and cleave to him alone until death? If you will do this, you will answer, yes.
When the minister will complete the ceremony by saying:
According to the authority vested in me as a minister of the Gospel, I pronounce you to be husband and wife. “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” The blessing and grace of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, be with you, Amen.
Ceremony to be opened and closed by singing and prayer.
Of Funeral Occasions.
Before leaving the house, the minister will be governed more or less by circumstances. If time permit, will give a short exhortation, or offer a few words of comfort to the bereaved, and sing and pray, when, if convenient, he will lead the procession to the place of services or burial; as may be decided upon. The burial before or after services, to be governed by circumstances, or the choice of relatives or interested parties. Let there be singing during the closing of the grave, and benediction in conclusion.
At the time of dedication the minister in charge, or some other minister, appointed to officiate, shall read one of the following Scripture passages: Psalm 24, Psalm 84, Psalm 132, or John 17. Then a dedicatory hymn sung, followed by prayer, then the sermon. After this 2 Chron. 6: 12-31, or a suitable part of 1 Kings 8, be read.
Then the congregation shall rise before the Lord, and the following declaration be made by the preacher:
Beloved: It behooves us, in this solemn hour, to appear before the Lord, the God of Heaven and earth, the source and giver of all good, who has given us the intention and ability to build a house for His name, and it being now accomplished by His help, to dedicate it to His service.
Although the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, for heaven is His throne, and earth His foot-stool; and the heaven of heavens may not contain Him, much less this house, prepared by our hands; yet He commanded His servant, Moses to build a tabernacle, and prepare a place for Him, where His honor should dwell and did, at the dedication of the tabernacle; and afterward, at the temple, sanction and confirm the work by the revelation of His glory; He also Subsequently, graciously accepted the worship and sacrifice offered, and blessed His people there. And our Divine Redeemer gives us the precious assurance that He will meet with his people where they assemble themselves.
Thus, encouraged and strengthened in faith, we have confidence that the most High, who inhabiteth eternity and dwelleth also in those who are of a contrite and humble spirit, to comfort them, will accept this house which we have built to His glory, at our hands, and regard it with His good pleasure, to the salvation and benefit of those who may from time to time here assemble to magnify His holy name.
Having this confidence, we now declare, designate and consecrate this house, as the (name of Church) of the Evangelical United Mennonites, (name of place) unto the Triune God, to be His sanctuary and dwelling place; where by the singing of His praise, the offering of thanksgiving, prayer, reading, expounding and preaching of His word, the administration of the sacraments, and the observance of such other devotional services, rules and customs, are as adopted and practiced in public worship by the Evangelical United Mennonites, agreeable with His Word, His honor shall be magnified, and His kingdom be built up to the salvation of men.
And that this dedication be confirmed by God, let us also consecrate ourselves, and all we are and possess, without reservation or condition, to Him as His property, and for His service, in accordance with His rightful claim, through the covenant of grace by Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Then the congregation shall kneel in prayer to God to accept the offering.
Doxology and benediction.
Ordination of Elders.
1. On the day appointed there shall be a suitable sermon or exhortation delivered.
2. After the names of those to be ordained have been read aloud, the presiding elder shall read the following articles to all who may be chosen for ordination;
“A bishop must be blameless as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given filthy lucre, but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate, holding fast to the faithful Word, as he hath been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convince the gain-sayers.” – Titus 1: 7-9.
Question; Do you feel inwardly persuaded that you are moved upon by the Holy Ghost to take upon you the office of the ministry of the Gospel, to serve God in the Church of Christ, to honor and glory His holy name? Answer: Of this I am persuaded.
Question; Do you believe the Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testament? Answer: I do believe them.
Question; Will you apply due diligence to frame and fashion your life according to the doctrines of Christ; and to make yourself as much as in you lieth, a worthy example of the flock of Christ? Answer: I will, the Lord being my helper.
Question; Will You obey them to whom the charge and government over you is committed, and follow their Godly admonitions with a willing and ready mind? Answer: I will, by the grace of God.
After prayer, the presiding elder and elders present, shall lay their hands upon the heads of every one of them, and say: “Take thou authority to execute the office of an elder in the Church of God, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.”
Then the presiding elder shall present to each one a copy of the Holy Bible, saying: “Take thou authority to read and preach the Word of God, and administer the ordinances in the Church of Christ.”
After prayer, read Luke 15: 35-38. “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he shall return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.” “Blessed are those servants whom the Lord, when He cometh, shall find watching. Verily, I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them sit down to eat, and will come forth and serve them. And if He shall come in the second watch, or in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.”
After this, the following benediction is to be pronounced: “The peace of God keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
Ordination of Deacons.
At the time of ordination an appropriate sermon or exhortation shall be delivered.
After the names of those to be ordained have been read aloud, the presiding elder shall read the following passages of Scripture to those who may be chosen for ordination;
“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre, holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.”
“And let these also be first proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.”
“Even so must their wives be grave; not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.”
“Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well; for they that have used the office of a deacon, well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Then shall the presiding elder propound to those to be ordained the following questions:
Since it seems to have pleased God and the Church to recognize you, dear brother, the qualifications necessary to the fulfillment of the office of deacon, and the Church places in you the trust and confidence, that, by the assistance of God, you will continue to merit and retain the confidence which is placed in you, because of the satisfaction rendered during the time of your probation; do you promise, by the assisting grace of God, to continue according to the ability which God shall bestow upon you, to perform the several duties enjoined, relative to your office as a deacon? Answer: By the assisting grace of God, I will.
Then the presiding elder or elders, with the laying on of hands will say; “Take thou authority to execute the office of deacon in the Church of Christ. The peace of God which passeth all understanding, keep your heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God, and His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. The blessing of God, the Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost rest upon and remain in you always. Amen”
Officers- Their Election and Duties
Presiding Elders, Elders, Deacons and Class Leaders.
Of election of Officers.
The officers are all to be elected by ballot. Namely: Presiding Elders, Elders, Deacons and Class Leaders.
1. Presiding Elders to be elected from among the elders at the last annual conference in the general conference term.
2. Deacons to be elected and taken on probation for the term of three years.
3. Class Leaders to be elected by the class, at the close of each annual conference year.
Of the Reception of Elders.
1. If there is a brother who has convictions that he is called of God to preach the Gospel (see section XX) he shall make it known to the minister in charge.
2. If the minister considers him a proper subject, as Paul writes in 1 Tim. 3, he will bring it before the class, and if two-thirds of the class are in favor, he will recommend him to the quarterly conference.
3. Then the presiding elder with the minister in charge, will examine his state of grace, nature of his call, and moral character; and with the consent of two-thirds of the quarterly conference, he shall be permitted to labor as God directs until the next annual conference.
Of the Qualifications and Duties of Class Leaders.
Question: What are the necessary qualifications of the Class Leaders?
Answer: He shall be a man of deep piety, and have Christ’s cause at heart.
Question: What are the duties of the Class Leaders?
1. That he never cease praying for, and watching over himself, to obtain such grace from God, that he may, in observing these rules according to the commandments of God, be a faithful leader, and give his brethren and sisters good instruction by his own deportment. – 1 Peter 5:2-3.
2. That he cordially love the class committed to his charge, frequently pray for them in secret and visit them, and hold public prayer meetings at least once a week, and be diligent in supplication, in intercession, in deprecation, and in thanksgiving; thus like exercises being commanded by Jesus Christ and His holy apostles.
3. That he do not seek to dominate over his brethren and sisters, but watch over them in love, and see that they progress in the divine life; not only according to the form, but to see that they grow in the true knowledge and love of God; and in love advise them, teach them, reprove, comfort, and admonish them, as circumstances may require.
4. That he be careful that all things are conducted in his class according to Divine and human order; to inform the preacher of such as lead a disorderly life, and will not be admonished; as well as of those who purposely or habitually neglect their duty of doing good.
Of the Qualifications and Duties of Deacons.
Question: What are the necessary qualifications of a deacon?
Answer: They shall be men of sound piety, who are familiar with our rules of disciple and possess the necessary ability to transact temporal business.
Question: What are the duties of a deacon?
1. As soon as is practicable after the session of the annual conference, they shall meet and inquire of their preachers what their disciplinary claims are for the current year, and shall see to it that each class contributes quarterly its proportionate amount for meeting such claims.
2. They shall receive quarterly all funds intended for the support of the ministers, and annually the missionary fund, and pay it over to the quarterly conference.
3. They shall provide the emblems and other necessities for the Lord’s Supper.
4. They shall procure dwellings for the preachers, or assist procuring them.
5. They shall see if there are poor in the district over which they preside, and if there are such, to inquire into the cause of their need and nature of their wants. If in a helpless condition, make it known to the quarterly conference; but should the wants be very pressing, make it known to the minister in charge, and he shall make it known to the congregation, so that all may know their circumstances and sympathize with such poor brothers and sisters.
Question: To whom are the deacons accountable for the performance of their official duties?
Answer: To the Quarterly Conference.
Question: How many deacons are necessary at each Church house?
Answer: One or more, or as quarterly conference decides.
Of Duties of Local Preachers.
They are to assist the preacher in charge, as they mutually agree, or as quarterly conference directs.
Of Duties of Traveling Elders.
Question: What is the duty of elders?
Answer: To preach, to meet the societies and classes, to visit the sick, to hold class meeting four times a year in each class, to see that our Church discipline is observed with respect on his charge, and to read the general rules or get them read once a year.
Question: What are the directions given to elders?
Answer: Be diligent, never unemployed, never be triflingly employed, never trifle away time, neither spend any more time at any place than is strictly necessary. Be serious, let your motto be, “Holiness to the Lord.” Avoid all lightness, jesting and foolish talking; conduct yourself prudently with women, take no step towards marriage without first consulting with your brethren, believe evil of no one without good evidence; unless you see it done, take heed how you credit it. Speak evil of no one; because your word especially, would eat as doth a canker. Keep your thoughts within your own breast, till you come to the person concerned. Tell everyone under your care what you think wrong in his conduct and temper, and that lovingly and plainly, as soon as may be; and that lovingly and plainly, as soon as may be; else it will fester in your heart. Make all haste to cast the fire out of your bosom. Avoid all false show. A preacher of the Gospel is servant of all. Be ashamed of nothing but sin. Be punctual, do everything exactly at the time, and do not mend our rules but keep them. You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore, spend and be spent in God’s cause; and go always, not only to those that want you, but to those that need you most.
Observe! It is not your business only to preach so many times, and take care of many this or that society, but to save as many as you can – to bring as many sinners to repentance as you can; and with all your power to build them up in holiness, without which they cannot see the Lord. Therefore you will need to exercise all the faith, sense and grace you have.
Act in all things not according to your own will, but as a son in the Gospel – in preaching and visiting from house to house – in reading, meditation and prayer.
Of the Duties of Presiding Elders.
Question: What is the duty of a presiding elder?
1. To travel and preach in the district assigned him.
2. To preside over all the societies of his district, over the itinerant and local preachers, deacons and class elders.
3. In case of necessity, he has the power, in the interval of the annual conference, to change or transfer preachers, to receive preachers on trial, and to remove immoral ones within the bounds of his district, according to the direction of Church discipline.
4. He shall take heed not to be remiss in attending his appointed meetings, and in holding quarterly conferences; and at his discretion, appoint and hold grove meetings, preach and exhort according to ability, and ever be intent to set his brethren in office a good example in godliness.
5. He shall take special care that our discipline be inculcated in all its parts, within the bounds of his district.
6. He has the superintendence of all the societies within the bounds of his district.
7. He shall hold missionary meetings at ever appointment, with the assistance of the minister in charge, and take up collections for the missionary cause.
Our conferences are:
The first is held quarterly on each charge.
The second annually on each conference district.
The third every four years for the whole society.
All sessions to be opened and closed with singing and prayer.
Let all upon conference occasions consider themselves as in the presence of God, and as laboring for Him. Let each be open-hearted, and speak freely the convictions of his heart. Let the intermediate time be improved by private prayer for ourselves and one another, and especially that God may direct the business transactions of the conference.
Of Quarterly Conferences.
Question: Who are the members of the quarterly conference?
Answer: All the brethren in full connection.
Question: Who shall appoint the time and place?
Answer: The presiding elder shall appoint the time on each charge, but the quarterly conference shall appoint the place.
Question: Who shall be the chairman of the quarterly conference?
Answer: The presiding elder; but if he is not present, then the minister in charge shall take his place.
The conference is to choose the secretary for the occasion.
The S.S. Superintendents, class leaders, deacons, and local and itinerant preachers, whether they have been faithful, godly and unblamable in their demeanor and to charge entrusted to their care, and whether the members have conducted themselves properly and godly.
Order of Procedure.
1. That the ministers give in their reports.
2. Each minister shall be examined with regard to his moral and official conduct, and whether he employs as much time as practicable to promote the kingdom of God according to Titus 1:7-9, and 2 Tim. 2: 15; and if charges should be brought, the defendant shall be granted a hearing in the presence of the conference; and he shall be admonished or advised as the case may require. But, should all admonitions or advice fail in any case, then the name of the delinquent person shall be erased from the Church connection.
3. The transactions of quarterly conferences shall be examined and decided.
4. What are the statistics of the conference?
1. How many ordained ministers?
2. How many ministers on probation?
3. Any on probation to be ordained?
4. How many applications for the ministry?
5. How many deacons?
6. Any deacons on probation to be ordained?
7. How many members died during the past year?
8. How many withdrawn?
9. How many moved away?
10. How many new converts?
11. How many baptized?
12. How many received?
13. Whole number of members?
16. How many Churches?
17. How many appointments?
18. Any new appointments?
19. How many sermons preached?
20. How many prayer meetings visited?
21. How many classes visited?
22. Any new classes organized?
23. How many class leaders?
24. How many Sabbath Schools?
25. How many officers and teachers?
26. How many scholars?
27. How often Sabbath Schools visited?
28. Any new Sabbath Schools organized?
29. How much collected for ministers?
30. How much collected in money?
31. How much collected in other contributions?
32. How much collected for home mission?
33. How much collected for Sabbath Schools?
34. Bring a written plan of your appointments to give to your successor.
35. Name of pastor.
5. Who are the preachers that are willing to travel this year, according to the directions of the conference and our discipline, and what is their number?
6. What is to be done in the missionary cause?
7. Who are the preachers newly admitted by the quarterly conference, and what is their name?
8. How are the circuits and missions assigned to the preachers?
9. Election of officers.
10. Where and when, shall our next conference session be held?
11. Have the preachers given their successors sufficient information and written appointments of their field of labor?
12. Is there any other necessary business on hand?
13. After Proceedings of this conference have been correctly recorded, and adopted by the members, as a testimony of acquiescence and obedience, as in the sight of God, then, after the conclusion, let every one cheerfully and in peace, attend to his charge.
Of the General Conference.
Question: Who are the members of the general conference?
Answer: 1. Presiding elder, 2. Editors, 3. Agent of book room, 4. One delegate from every two hundred (200) members, chosen at the last annual conference of general conference term.
Question: Who shall preside over the general conference?
Answer: A chairman elected from among the presiding elders?
Order of Procedure:
1. Who are the delegates?
2. And what is their number?
3. Address of the chairman.
4. Summary statistics of our Church.
5. The transactions of our annual conferences to be examined.
6. Are there any recommendations from the annual conferences to this conference, with regard to the rules, formulas and regulations of our Church, on hand?
7. Is there anything to be done with regard to the rules and regulations of the temporal economy of our church?
8. How are the districts of the annual conferences arranged, and how are they named?
9. What books are to be published, and what is the report concerning the printing and book establishment?
10. Election of officers of the printing and book establishment?
11. Any other business concerning the printing and book establishment?
12. What is to be done in the missionary cause?
13. What is to be done in the Sabbath School cause?
14. Election of chairman and secretary.
15. Is there any other business on hand?
16. Where and when, shall the next general conference be held?
17. After the proceedings of this conference have been correctly recorded, and adopted by the members, as a sign of acquiescence and obedience, as in the sight of God; then after the conclusion, let every member cheerfully, and in peace, attend to his charge.
Of the Constitution and Government Thereof.
1. In our societies there shall be formed Sabbath Schools, which shall, if possible, meet each Sabbath in the year, at an appropriate hour for religious instruction according to the Word of God as expounded in the standard of the discipline.
2. When it is deemed practicable to organize a school, the minister in Charge shall make it known to the quarterly board, and if the quarterly board deem it necessary, then proceed to organize the school by electing officers and teachers.
3. The management of the school to be entrusted to the superintendent, (and the approval of the minister in charge), and shall be elected annually at the close of the year at a regular meeting of the members.
4. The duties of the superintendent are as follows: He shall see that the school is regularly opened, directed and closed; that each class is provided with a teacher of Christian principles and character, and class the scholars as they advance, and that everything in the school is done in a Christian manner. He shall furnish the quarterly conference with a statistical report and other necessary information. In all special occasions, where opportunity is afforded, he shall consult the preacher for direction. In the absence of the superintendent, the assistant superintendent shall occupy his place. The duties of the other officers are such as belong to their respective positions.
5. The preacher shall meet with the officers and teachers of the school once a week, to discuss the lessons of the following Sabbath with them. If he cannot be present, the superintendent shall take his place.
6. There is nothing to be introduced into the schools except by the consent of the quarterly conference.
7. If any difficulties should arise that cannot be settled in the school, they are to be left to the quarterly conference.
Directions Concerning the Building of Meeting Houses,
and Measures to be adopted.
Question: Is there anything advisable in regard to the building of meeting houses?
Answer: Let all our buildings be kept plain, and not more expensive than necessary for comfort and health, and with free seats.
Question: How shall the titles of the Church property be secured and deeded?
Answer: To a board of trustees and their successors in office, in trust, as the property of the Evangelical United Mennonite Society.
Question: How is the board of trustees to be constituted?
Answer: The quarterly conference shall appoint a judicious board of trustees of three or more in number, as may be legally required.
Question: How long shall a board of trustees serve?
Answer: As long as it is deemed advisable by the quarterly conference, and if no more advisable, others are to be elected; and in case of one of them die, or be excluded from the Church, or resign his office, the number shall always be kept up by new elections of the quarterly conference; and no person shall form a part of the board of trustees, who is not a member of this society.
Where ever it is deemed necessary by the brethren of a charge or field to purchase a meeting house, grave yard or lot upon which to erect a house of worship, or a parsonage, it shall be the duty of the officials, to make it known to their quarterly conference.
Question: How are the trustees to proceed in building a meeting house or parsonage?
Answer: No board of trustees shall commence building or purchasing lots, without first getting an act of incorporation when the law of the state requires it. They shall give an estimate of the necessary cost to procure the ground and the building of the house. They shall at no time proceed in the building of a house, before the means are at hand or sufficiently secured; and they must always secure a lawful title for the grounds upon which they intend to build, and when the means are sufficiently secured, they are to proceed according to instructions given by quarterly conference.
The trustees shall hold annual meetings or oftener, as need be. They shall elect chairman, secretary, and treasurer from their number, and it shall be the duty of the secretary to keep a correct record of all the business transactions of the board, in a book provided for that purpose, which shall at all times be open for inspection by the quarterly conference of the charge. The treasurer shall receive funds for meeting house, cemetery and parsonage purposes, and pay out the same under the direction of the board, and report to the board the financial condition at their several meetings.
The board shall make an annual report to the quarterly conference.
Any persons, who from love to the work of the Lord, desire to bequeath anything to the Evangelical United Mennonite Society, in their last will and testament, be it money or the worth of money, should devise it to the annual conference, to be disposed of, according to the good will of the donor, in the missionary cause, or support of the ministry, or left to the conference to be disposed of where most needed, for the advancement of the cause of Christ.