To the editor:
Re: "New Testament," May 11.
I agree with John Stackhouse in his thoughts about the Westside Church. They describe themselves as forward thinking, flexible, and creative in contrast to the conservative teachings of the Mennonite church with whom they are affiliated. I'm familiar with the Mennonite church. Some are very conservative, and others are more liberal. In my estimation, the Westside Church is much more conservative than the liberal/progressive Mennonite churches today. Westside's teachings about abortion, gays and lesbians, marriage and divorce, and the role of women seem out of step with the year 2012 (shades of Alberta's Wildrose Party, America's Tea Party and TV evangelists).
The rationalizations for their doctrines sound extremely simplistic, a result of the lack of rigorous theological training. As Stackhouse says, "So they have real trouble recognizing certain kinds of intellectual issues, let alone resolving them." And performing baptisms? In the Mennonite church, this is usually performed by an ordained minister.
I'm also wondering what their offerings are used for. The article insinuates that many of their hip young members are not clear on the church's stance on some of the most controversial issues, so they may not be remotely interested in where the money is going.
Jan Benge, Vancouver