July 1, 2012
I am not sure that we ever met, but I assume that you know much about BRF beliefs and concerns from reading the materials that we have published. We are grateful for your interest and support.
BRF’s position over the years—related to staying in or leaving the Church of the Brethren denomination (which has in many ways departed from the truth)—has been to stay and let a clear testimony as long as the Brotherhood has not officially denied the foundation doctrines of the faith. The Church of the Brethren still officially holds that the Bible is the Word of God, that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that the homosexual lifestyle is not acceptable. However, the actions of our Brotherhood leaders this past year, in not paying heed to the voice of the 2011 Annual Conference regarding homosexuality, are lamentable indeed.
BRF agrees that homosexual conduct is a very serious sin, and that it will bring the judgment of God. We also agree that bringing up a family in a local congregation where most any conduct is tolerated and accepted—is very difficult, and that some families will be wise in seeking spiritual nurture elsewhere. We agree that, if leaders continue to follow the path taken this past year, the departures will become so widespread and eventually official, that a large- scale separation from the denomination by a group of churches will be the only step to take. On the other hand, presently, each congregation has the freedom to map out its own program and set up its own membership standards—and so, until now, BRF has not led in taking such steps.
We do not take lightly concerns about staying within the Church, and we pray that believers everywhere will rise up and stand for the truth. The above paragraphs express what has previously been our position, but we are not saying it will always be so.
Very truly yours,
Harold S. Martin
Editor, BRF Witness