In response to the two articles we have published in ViewPoint, we have received both strong commendation and criticism. A great value in Christian community is that we learn from each other. This letter is a brief response to concerns we have heard from our readers.
First, we want to clarify that our purpose has been to offer a viewpoint, not a directive. And by drawing from a team to produce each article, our purpose has been to increase trust in the minds of our readers, not to increase pressure to agree. But we recognize that for those who have a perspective different from that expressed in ViewPoint, this may feel like stacking the deck instead of safeguarding against individualism.
Some have said the two ViewPoint articles carried a tone indicating that those who disagree with the stated perspectives are not as wise, as intelligent, or as spiritual. While that was not our intention, we realize that offering a perspective on highly controversial subjects without clearly stating how we view other perspectives can carry a posture of arrogance. We deeply regret not acknowledging the respect we have for people we know who do not share our perspective. We personally know godly, trusted, wise people in our circles who do disagree with our perspective. It is not our intention to have the last word.
In these articles, actions such as wearing masks and getting a vaccine were offered as ways to love our neighbors. Some readers read this as implying that those who do not do these actions are unloving. We readily acknowledge that people can be motivated to do these things for reasons other than love, and just as surely, people who do not do these things may be guided by love in other ways and should not automatically be viewed as unloving. It was not our intention to pass judgment on the Christian commitment or the character of those who disagree with the viewpoint presented in our papers. We should have made this clear.
Some readers have pointed out that the speed at which the vaccines were produced is reason for caution. We hear that caution.
On issues that have such strong connections to political left and right, our goal has been to search for Scriptural principles to guide us, not attempt to advocate for or against political positions. The vaccines were developed under one political party (Operation Warp Speed) and are being administered mostly under another. Both parties seem to hold health as an ultimate value. As believers, we “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” and are willing to forgo health and even life itself in our commitment to God and His people.
Where we failed to reckon adequately with these additional thoughts, we sincerely apologize.
We are grateful for the work of the group that produced the vaccine paper. The medical people among us are providing a valuable service to our people as well as the broader community, and we honor their willingness to offer their perspective, experience, and insight on the vaccination question. A number of non-medical leaders also participated in this writing group, and we appreciate their contributions as well.
For Christ and the Church,
David Yoder, Gary Miller, John Coblentz, Matt Landis, Merle Burkholder, Steven Brubaker
builds on the Anabaptist value of community wisdom. A team comprised primarily of older, ordained men forms the core executive group. Subcommittees are then formed to address particular issues, drawing in people experienced in the subject. Viewpoint was formed in response to repeated calls for help in addressing issues facing conservative Anabaptist leaders. A number of church leaders asked Faith Builders (Guys Mills) to facilitate the effort. The Viewpoint executive committee includes Merle Burkholder (ON), John Coblentz (PA), Matt Landis (PA), Gary Miller (ID), David Yoder (KS) and Steven Brubaker (PA). Materials produced by Viewpoint are intended to assist and encourage church leaders, not to dictate or control them. Leaders are free to use the uncopyrighted materials as best suits their needs.
© 2021 ViewPoint group members