Note: I wrote much of this post in October 2017. I decided to let it stew for a few days because I felt some parts might come across as too critical or harsh, and after reflecting further I decided to hold it indefinitely. This past July, I put in my notice to leave the Mennonite World Review staff this October, so I feel like now is the time to share this.
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
That Jesus, my Savior, did come for to die
For poor ornery people like you and like I
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
— John Jacob Niles
(Audrey Assad’s version has a been a theme for this season of my life)
Losing Plow Creek last summer was devastating — not just because of the obvious losses of my community and my house (as well as my health, which was coincidental), but because Plow Creek was the closest thing I thought I might ever find to the mythical “perfect church.” (Christiana Peterson’s description, titled “Your Ideal Church,” gives a good picture of what Plow Creek was like.) Of course I knew the perfect church didn’t exist, but ever since I was old enough to think seriously about these things, I had been determined to find and labor to perpetuate the closest thing possible.
Since Plow Creek ended, I would commonly have non-Mennonite friends ask me, “What are you looking for in a church?” It would be nearly impossible for me to adequately condense an answer, because my non-Mennonite friends were largely clueless about who Mennonites are, what they believe, and why that was important to me (not to mention how wonderful Plow Creek was). To do that, I would have had to recount years of spiritual pilgrimage.
So that’s what I’m going to do now.
‘We need that Mennonite stuff’
When I was 12 years old, getting close to 13, I discovered Anabaptism in the pages of the catalogs from Christian Light Publications and Rod & Staff Publishers, both of which are plain/conservative Mennonite. It was the summer of 2001 — a time in my life when I was beginning to gain a more adult consciousness of God, of the spiritual realm, of the conflict between good and evil and my response to it all. My parents were committed, “first-generation” Christians who had a high view of the Bible as the Word of God and worshiped in Baptist churches, and that was my foundation from before I was born.
When I was 3, I was told that if I believed in Jesus and confessed it, I would go to a place with no more death, mourning, crying or pain (Revelation 21:4) after I died. A simple confession in exchange for an eternity with no more scraped knees (my greatest woe at the time) sounded like a fabulous deal, so I gladly accepted and professed my faith immediately.
(I didn’t actually get baptized until I was 17, though, because… Well, the reasons evolved from being afraid of water to being afraid of a crowd of people looking at me to being afraid of being baptized in a church that might be erring in doctrine and/or practice. And I was told it had to be my decision, so of course I took it so seriously that I might have delayed it indefinitely for fear of making a mistake.)
When I was around 8, I mentally connected our act of going to church and worshiping God with Jesus’ sacrifice for us. I thought that since Jesus died for us, we owed him our thankfulness expressed by praying to him, singing songs to him and feeling love for him.
But when I was 12, I began to see holes in my childish views of the gospel. I understood that it wasn’t enough to intellectually believe true statements and to feel emotionally positive things about God. It was impressed upon me that true Christianity should notably affect our entire lives — righteous day-to-day living was an essential marker of salvation. We should be visibly different from the world. I was shaken by my prior ignorance. I distinctly remember one evening on which I wept heartily for a long time. I want to be good, I remember saying again and again. I didn’t know exactly what that looked like, but I began to ruminate on what that could be.
That’s when I found Anabaptism inside conservative Mennonite publishers’ catalogs. I had never heard of these teachings before. Nonresistance? Women’s prayer veils? I had grown up with the Bible, but I had never seen this. Yet there it was. If the Bible is God’s Word, and the New Testament is authoritative for Christian practice, how come no one talks about this stuff? Did the Anabaptists get killed for all this stuff? Is it safe to talk about? These were the questions I mulled over as I approached my 13th birthday.
The day after I turned 13 was Sept. 11, 2001. In the aftermath of the brutal airplane-hijacking attacks on the U.S. East Coast, I watched my small Christian world around me blend into the unbelieving world. I heard no talk about loving or praying for enemies — just calls for war and revenge. We had always made much of our Christian identity, but it now seemed indistinguishable from a non-Christian identity.
The inconsistency jarred me. If we were going to be ruled by the same destructive passions that unbelievers were ruled by when times were hard, then was the Christian faith real? Did we actually believe that our union with Christ would grant us his victory over death, making it worthless of our fear? I couldn’t formulate my thoughts then, but I knew somehow that: If we are believers in Christ and the reality of his resurrection and his kingdom, our response should be different. What I remember clearly thinking at the time was: We need that Mennonite stuff. This wasn’t right. I had to say something.
So I did. And I did again. And again. And again. For the next decade. No one tried to kill me. There was just some scoffing and arguing, but mostly a lot of misunderstanding and loneliness. I did not know one other person who shared my Anabaptist-inspired views on Christian nonviolence (and radical discipleship/literal New Testament obedience in general). I could only experience Christian fellowship with people up to a point, and then there was a big disconnect.
I call this period in my life, from age 13-25, a desert. I won’t bog down this post with extended descriptions of prolonged frustration, hopelessness and thirst regarding my unrealized desires for whatever “real Christianity” was. This is all merely background information to ground the following analysis.
What a world
Now I’m almost 30, and my job with Mennonite World Review for the past three years has allowed me to immerse myself in the Anabaptist-Mennonite world (in the U.S.). And what a world it is.
Since Plow Creek was gone, I had to take a hard look at what my church options were in the Mennonite realm, which is where I identified doctrinally. But the Mennonite world is complicated. It’s not one denomination, but many — dizzyingly many. Once I recovered from my surgery, my plan was to choose from somewhere among this spectrum that was closest to my own beliefs and make a move — most likely to another state — to join a congregation in that group (there was nothing near my position on the Mennonite spectrum that was in my area at that point).
There seemed to be three broad options and a couple emerging movements. I’m going to include affirmations and criticisms of each. I’m aware my observations are limited. These mainly focus on Mennonites in the U.S., because that’s what I know. I’m aware that present-day Anabaptists include more than Mennonites — Amish, Brethren, Hutterites are other main groups with which I’m less familiar.
Mainline Mennonites (Mennonite Church USA/Canada): The merged denominations of the former General Conference Mennonite Church and the former Mennonite Church.
Pros: MC USA/Canada has a lot of wonderfully kind and loving people, a growing openness to expressions of worship/spirituality from other Christian traditions, and a presently active tradition of social/humanitarian service and peacemaking. Notably in the U.S., there’s a strong witness against the right-wing Americanized Christianity that is present in much of mainstream evangelicalism.
Cons: The major con that negates everything good is an increasing move away from New Testament teaching as authoritative for Christian practice, as most strongly evidenced by the increasing affirmation of same-sex marriage in the church (though this is by no means the only evidence — the affirmation of remarriage after divorce and women as teaching pastors of the whole congregation were similar wrong moves). In fact, despite mainline Mennonites’ retention of esteem for conscientious objectors to war, I’m not sure any of their congregations would actually discipline a member who joined the military as a combatant. Once you flout New Testament authority in one area, you can’t use it well to uphold a difficult teaching in another area.
My take: MC USA was the denomination my church was part of before it dissolved. There’s a diversity of belief throughout the denomination, with some people holding holding fairly traditional Christian views and others advocating religion that barely resembles Christianity. Due to past abuses of church discipline, many of its leaders are incapable of exercising healthy church discipline when it has become necessary. It’s deeply divided, and the fault lines are ugly. The direction it’s moving is not good. I like many things about it, and I love many people who are part of it, but after Plow Creek was gone, I reasoned that I couldn’t — in good conscience — go back.
Evangelical Mennonites (Mennonite Brethren, Conservative Mennonite Conference, Evana Network, Lancaster Mennonite Conference): It might be a stretch to lump all these groups together like this (although their leaders recently met to explore their shared affinity, so it’s not as much of a stretch as it might have been in the past), but all of them would align as some form of “evangelical Anabaptist.” Still, I must note that not all the following observations apply to all these groups equally.
Pros: These groups tend to have a more solid traditional view of Scripture as the authoritative Word of God, greater appreciation for the reality of the spiritual realm and our response to it, and greater emphasis on making new disciples and planting churches. Particularly in Lancaster Conference, there’s a lot of openness to influence from the early church, which is a very positive development.
Cons: These groups are so much like (or becoming like) mainstream/conservative evangelicalism that they’re less recognizable as Anabaptist. Anabaptist theological/practice distinctives are being downplayed and disappearing. They’re more likely than mainline Mennonites to have some level of affinity with the right-wing Americanized Christianity that plagues the U.S. church’s collective witness. While they’ve drawn the line at affirming same-sex marriage, they generally don’t take much of a stand on remarriage after divorce, and many (not all) are OK with women as teaching pastors. I’m not really sure how many of these churches would discipline a member for joining the military as a combatant, either. I’d like to be wrong about this, but I think the congregation that would practice discipline in this case would be an outlier.
My take: What is the point of taking a stand against affirming same-sex marriage while allowing remarriage after divorce, allowing women in teaching positions over men in the church assembly, doing away with the prayer veiling, and downplaying the importance of Christian nonviolence? If these groups are going to be “biblical” when it comes to same-sex marriage but not as much about other things, they shouldn’t be too surprised to be accused of gay-hating. Inconsistency doesn’t look good. I like a lot about LMC and CMC in particular, but I had to seriously question whether I was willing to make a long-distance move to be part of a congregation that was still tolerating things I believed were sinful.
Plain/culturally conservative/nonconformed Mennonites (Old Order, Beachy Amish, Amish-Mennonite, Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church, Church of God in Christ Mennonite, Biblical Mennonite Alliance, and several others): A wide variety of denominations and independent congregations make up this broad grouping, from horse-and-buggy-driving Old Order Mennonites to the Biblical Mennonite Alliance folks on the “liberal” end of the plain spectrum.
It’s hard to separate pros and cons here. The very things that are these groups’ strengths are also their weaknesses. They have generally done a good job of maintaining certain beliefs and practices of the early Anabaptists. They also participate in humanitarian work around the world. They’re known for upholding Christian modesty, simplicity, brotherhood and nonresistance. These are NOT easy practices, which is why they impressed me so much when I first read about them. Because of the unpopularity of (and hostility toward) these beliefs, these groups have — to varying extents — closed in on themselves over time and through endogamy (marriage within the group) have become tribalistic, with their faith and biological heritage bound up in ways that are unhealthy.
My take: When people are observing practices “because our church tells us to” or “because this is what our people do,” rather than “because we love and fear God and we want to obey his Word,” these practices are easily jettisoned when they become too burdensome. Because these groups enforce (via church discipline, which involves some form of excommunication — I can hardly imagine how heightened that pain must be when one is cut off not only from his spiritual community but his biological one as well!) extrabiblical regulations alongside genuine New Testament instruction, sometimes their members cannot easily tell the difference. The real tragedy here is that in their quest for purity, these groups crack down on extrabiblical regulation violations, and this drives the offenders into the loving arms of more “liberal” Mennonite groups, where they put off not only the extrabiblical regulation but the genuine New Testament teaching as well. As much as I respect these groups’ commitment to their beliefs, I cannot join myself to a tribalistic, overbearing community that will punish me for wearing jeans and a T-shirt. That’s just not what Christianity is about. (I also have to note that the very conservative cultures feel particularly stifling to me as a woman — particularly as a single woman who wants to stay that way.)
Neo-Anabaptism: I know no one who self-identifies as “neo-Anabaptist.” The term is applied to popular teachers and their followers, mostly from evangelical backgrounds who are disaffected with the cultural-political and theological aspects of American evangelicalism. Some well-known ones in North America are Greg Boyd, Brian Zahnd, Benjamin L. Corey, Shane Claiborne and Bruxy Cavey.
Pros: Neo-Anabaptists typically have some of the strongest condemnations of American nationalism and civil religion in Christian circles, likely because they’re from evangelical backgrounds and are reacting to that (like I was and still am). They’re known for vocal emphasis on the kingdom of God and critique of empire, linking that to their refusal of violence and war. In this sense, they gloriously channel the ancient church, who defied the power of Rome with her declaration, “Jesus is Lord!” In rhetoric, at least, they outdo the traditional “peace churches” in their teaching on Christian nonviolence. They also retain a traditionally evangelical emphasis on making disciples, are open to nourishing spiritual/liturgical practices from other Christian traditions, and actively cultivate a social conscience out of concern for the poor and marginalized in society.
Cons: I suspect that most of the pros are more motivated by current socio-political factors than by a commitment to the authority of New Testament teaching. An understandable disdain for the negative aspects of American evangelicalism has led to a questioning (increasingly, rejection) of some foundational beliefs such as the inerrancy of Scripture. Greg Boyd’s popular teaching that God is fundamentally nonviolent and won’t do violence has diminished a healthy fear of God in these circles. Whether Boyd and co. intend it or not, the logical pathway of this teaching ends in universalism, making the need for salvation and the pursuit of righteousness unnecessary. This is evidenced by (among other things) increasing affirmation of same-sex marriage in the church. Of course, other sins such as remarriage after divorce and women teaching men in the church assembly are affirmed as well.
My take: There is A LOT to like about neo-Anabaptism. I really related with it in my late teens and early 20s. I was also caught up in the reaction against the right-wing political fervor in evangelical circles after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. I think a lot of young Christians my age (and some older ones, too) were really disgusted with the political passion and rage throughout professing Christian circles, and we wanted out. (We see this phenomenon on an even bigger scale since the 2016 election of President Donald Trump.) Neo-Anabaptism was our movement. As a college student, I read Boyd’s The Myth of a Christian Nation and Claiborne’s Jesus for President, and I found them exhilarating. Finally, Christians who were rebuking the idolatry of American nationalism and civil religion among their own people AND who were more accessible than the closed conservative Mennonites. Since then, though, I’ve become disturbed by the downplaying of New Testament authority and the fear of God. If neo-Anabaptists could commit to a higher view of Scripture, fear God and pursue righteousness in all areas of New Testament teaching, I might have been able to find a home there. But now I’m not sure “neo-Anabaptism” is as accurate a term as “progressive evangelicalism.” It’s hard to tell the difference.
Kingdom Christianity: I would loosely describe this movement as the neo-Anabaptism of the plain Mennonite world. (See my feature story exploring the movement.) Its leaders are split between plain Mennonite background and non-Anabaptist background, while most of the movement’s followers are from conservative Mennonite and Brethren churches (as well as some Amish). Leaders include David Bercot, Dean Taylor, John D. Martin and Finny Kuruvilla.
Pros: The Kingdom Christianity movement seeks to reclaim the teaching and practice of both the early Anabaptists and the ante-Nicene (period of church history before the Council of Nicaea in 325) church. Radical Christianity is their goal, like many church renewal movements before them. Just as the Jews in the early church learned to see gentile believers as equals and leaders, many people from conservative Anabaptist backgrounds are open to learning and critiques from leaders of non-Anabaptist backgrounds who bring fresh vitality to the movement. Like the neo-Anabaptists, the Kingdom Christians have a strong anti-empire bent, but it’s not as politically pronounced — because it is better rooted in New Testament/apostolic/early church teaching, as are all the movement’s emphases. Kingdom Christians have a passion for sharing the gospel and planting churches around the world. They are open to questioning their traditional culturally conservative Anabaptist practices that might be unnecessary barriers to new believers.
Cons: Because the majority of Kingdom Christians are from a plain Mennonite/Brethren/Amish background, they’re still rather hesitant about accepting practices that deviate too far from a very conservative way of doing things. Although they’re better than typical plain Anabaptist groups in this respect, they’re still fairly intimidating for non-plain-background people to integrate with. While Kingdom Christians tend to rightly critique the extrabiblical regulations found in plain Anabaptist groups, the reality is that they still carry over some of those ideas and practices that can be burdensome and austere.
My take: I really, really, really wanted to fit in with these people. So badly. I really wanted this movement to be the answer to the church I was looking for. But I had a lot of misgivings due to the highly conservative cultures (which feel particularly stifling to me as a woman, and even more as a single woman) that dominate the movement. At the same time, there’s a spirit of fidelity to New Testament teaching that I hoped would soften some of those hard edges. I’ve been intrigued by Bercot’s work of making the Ante-Nicene Fathers accessible and digestible for average Jesus-followers, and I think these writings should be studied by every Christian.
So where do I go from here?
At the time I originally wrote this post, I said I was I looking for Christian fellowship that is committed to upholding the teaching of Jesus and the apostles as non-negotiable but also doesn’t resemble a strict, conservative cult.
In theory, this shouldn’t have been that hard to find. In reality, the quest became a nightmare. If I had to classify myself on a scale of Mennonite conservatism, I would point to Tabitha Driver’s graph, where she places herself between Conservative Mennonite Conference (the most “conservative” of the evangelical groups) and Biblical Mennonite Alliance (the most “liberal” of the plain groups). But as far as I know, no organized Mennonite group like this exists, leaving me in a quandary as my quest for consistency and faithfulness to New Testament teaching and healthy, nourishing church life drove me into an ecclesiological rut that was turning toxic.
I later returned to editing this post in April, and to give you the best understanding of how I was feeling then, the paragraphs that follow are from that time.
My conscience cannot bear to participate in communion with churches who claim to be “theologically conservative” but somehow find a way around so many New Testament teachings (except the prohibition on same-sex marriage). Of course, the “theologically liberal” ones are off the table for obvious reasons — they’re not even trying to mask their flouting of God’s Word. And most of the groups who are obeying God’s commands are these culturally conservative and austere groups that aren’t really that pleasant to be around. While I’m encouraged by some aspects of the renewal/restoration/reformation/revival movements that are present, the truth is that they are small, scattered and still have problems.
Almost no one understands my dilemma, except for a very few people who have either taken the time to really listen to me over many long conversations or who are walking the same path. A lot of people think I’m making too big a deal over being right or being too judgmental of people who aren’t perfect.
But I’m not looking for perfection — I’m simply looking for obedience, with joy and freedom. For whatever reason, finding both sides of this equilibrium eludes me, and I feel like my only choices are to join a half-way solid church and violate my conscience, join a conservative church and be miserable, or starve out here in the church-homeless desert. I don’t have the words to describe how frustrated and thirsty I am, and when people I thought were my friends tell me to give up and that I’m wrong for wanting to be right and that I should just accept things I think are wrong, it’s utterly demoralizing.
Many nights I hope God takes my spirit while I sleep and ends this pilgrimage. I have no idea how many more Sundays I have to wander in the wilderness before I’m home. These days I like to sit in Catholic and Orthodox services (real talk: their liturgy beats the pants off anything else out there) and think about how glorious they’d be if only they’d reclaim the early Christian view of the two kingdoms or better yet if they had never lost it in the first place and then the Anabaptist movement would never have existed and how much hellish misery could have been avoided and oh, I’m in love with the mystery of how our sad history can turn out for good! And how lovely it would be to just throw my obnoxious conscience out the window and just enjoy some great liturgy and not have to be my sister’s keeper. But that’s not what God’s Word teaches it’s OK to do.
Since I can’t separate my conscience from my living self, and since God won’t take my life, I just keep hoping that whatever answer he has for me is not much farther now. He did promise that the one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness shall be filled (Matthew 5:6). I need to hear those words louder than the naysaying. And when I feel like I can’t go on any longer, someone is there to help me get through the next few days or weeks of wondering and wandering.
God put this passion for truth and righteousness into me before I was born, so I have to believe it’s part of his agenda to make himself more known, more loved and more glorified. Now, if I can participate in that, that should more than compensate me for all of this — indeed, I could not give enough of myself to that unending endeavor.
In the end, I trust God’s mercy to cover the deficit of all I get wrong. His blood is the credit applied to my fault — which makes me want to be all the more faithful, not to take it for granted — even though it is granted. Wow. It’s the middle of the night, and I don’t know if my gibberish is even orthodox at this point. Maybe this is all a giant misadventure involving me being wrong about everything and receiving his mercy anyway. What a mystery — to trust in his mercy but to avoid presuming upon it. I am so tiny — just a grain in this story. Probably wrong about all kinds of stuff.
Lord, have mercy. I’ll never really understand why you would, but please do. Amen.
This brings us to the most recent developments of how I am resolving this internal conflict, coming in part 2…
14 thoughts on “No church home for me in the Mennonite world (Part 1)”
Wow, what a post! I identify with much of what you wrote, particular your analysis of strengths and weaknesses of various groups. Good insights clearly expressed. Thanks for sharing. May God grant you faithfulness, peace, and sufficient clarity of his purposes for you.
I relate to this on a visceral level. God bless your journey!
PS. That picture of you is beautiful!
Rachel, I love your honesty in this post. Even though I’m part of EVANA, it was helpful to look at your assessment of the pros and cons.
God bless you on your journey.
I was a little curious about not mentioning the Holy Spirit as a factor in your comparisons.
May God continue to guide you as you look for Christian fellowship. I believe God hears your hearts cry and has a “home” for you.
Btw, are you familiar with Alliance of Mennonite Evangelical Congregations, sometimes called AMEC? My brother was refreshed while being a part of one of there congregations.
Wow! You really left us hanging there! I’m looking forward to Part 2.
I’m grateful for your honesty and glad I’m not the only church misfit out there. I dislike it but I recognize that my not fitting in at church makes me value the church more.
I’ve been thinking about our Spring phone conversation a lot lately as I’ve been connecting occasionally with a BMA church that’s 45 min. away from me (while I’m still very much involved at my Southern Baptist church). The question that was clarified in our conversation and continues to haunt me is how much should I be willing to adjust my life to part of a church I’m close doctrinally to? Should I be prioritizing church similarities over job, home, friends, etc…?
Wow, great post and what a journey! My grandpa experienced some of the same angst in the 1950s-60s in his journey from nominal Christian to conservative (currently BMA) Mennonite. Of course, he’s also taken his current ministry to task for using leavened bread for communion, but that’s his style/journey.
I commend you for the thoughtful analysis of the many Anabaptist groups.I have felt many of the same questions from my comfortable vantage point in it’s matrix. I know (by observation) the difficulty of integrating new blood into our churches and the disadvantage of single sisters. However, I suspect that conservative churches connected to a voluntary service unit or in a college town might integrate and accommodate singles more readily.
Blessings on your journey and I look forward to Part 2.
Wow! I resonated with so much of what you wrote! Some of the darkest parts of my life were in a search similar to yours, and some of the biggest discouragement was from people who were closest to me. But it’s with Jesus that we journey, and He is a good shepherd. Sincerely praying for you sister.
Rachel, I get this … Please know that to desire God in this way is to love God, and to desire the best for His Bride.
I humbly accept all of your charges @ LMC; we are quite Laodicean. And yet I believe His Spirit will prevail in the long term …
The love of God,
Wow, I can very much sympathize with your thoughts here. My family met some Mennonite folks when I was around seven. They eventually joined the church. It was an ultra, ultra, conservative church that was very prejudiced to their ideologies. In my teen years, I was trying to sort out life in general. I just knew there was something wrong, but at the time they seemed invincible. Now in hind sight, I am fully aware that they are very human trying to wear superhuman suites more times than not.
I no longer consider myself Mennonite or plain or even conservative, because.the terms are really errelavent and distracting. I have learned that doctrinal issues actually need to come second at times in favor of laying down our lives for each other. If we really follow the golden rule, we will directly and privately entreat our brother about sin. If he hears, then the sprit of God is real in him. If he is hard, then you end up knowing where he stands with God.
I have found that almost every church is mixed with bad stones and good stones. Until we as a people begin to come along side each other on a daily basis, leavening within the church will still affect everyone. May God help up.
Mennonites and anabaptists are far from the super humans that they try to come across as. I have found that at times evangelicals are more humble and changeable at times.
I hope that you can find truth,!
A fellow Pilgrim.
P. S. I have really benefited from.some liturature that comes from http://www.jesuslufetogether.com.
They are not mennonites or anabaptists.or anything. But for 35 years, they have committed themselves to each other and have never had a church split over anything. They have some really good youtube videos that are very helpful.
Sorry, that link was http://www.jesuslifetogether.com
I like what you said here about doctrinal issues coming second to laying down our lives for our brothers. A side note: not all Conservative Mennonite groups by appearance have the same internal struggles as you found in yours, but they are sadly common.
Thank you, Rachel, for such a comprehensive post. I have only just discovered your blog.
My journey has not been too dissimilar (from the Roman Catholic to charismatic, to anabaptist – or is it neo-anabaptist?), although I am in a much different position than you now, as I live in Europe not the USA and the closest Mennonite church we occasionally visit is a day’s drive away – and there are only two on the British Isles! So, we worship at an Evangelical church.
I look forward to your future posts!
Thanks Rachel. I appreciate your post. I’m a rookie pastor in the CMC conference in Virginia. One of the things I appreciate about CMC is that they allow individual congregations to make a lot of the decisions on how they interpret NT teaching on specific subjects. Our congregation requires the veiling for membership and we teach radical non-resistance. We do have a lot of non members that attend regularly but haven’t come to the place of embracing these teachings yet. I would also add that CMC has taken a definite stand against women as teaching pastors.
Blessings on your journey.