Meine Gemeinde

(A guest blogger today….)

My Church.  Hiram I have been reading your articles in which you demean me and try to destroy my people’s belief in the One True Visible Church.  I felt to reply to you and show you why you are in error.  I have done much writing which should have convinced you beyond a shadow if doubt of my rightness, but you continue to discredit me and meine gemeinde.

Let me give you a little history of meine gemeinde, and how it came to fall into my hands.  As the biographical information in the introduction to my large book, The Mirror of Truth states, I was converted at the age of 12.  I felt the light of salvation in my life at that time, but the thing that they so kindly, or perhaps out of a failure to know all of the details of my life, forgot to mention is that I fell away most sharply before my restoration at the age of 21.  Details are unnecessary and embarrassing, but I believe that it is known to you that before my reconsecration I fell into moral sin.  My wife Elizabeth and I became parents shortly after our marriage and it was during this shameful and degraded time in my life that I came to a full repentance and restoration of God’s grace.  This was to be an incident that haunted me my entire life, and apparently still follows me.

During this time the travail of my soul was great and I gave myself very much to prayer and fasting, as the decayed state of the gemeinde was very much on my mind and heavy on my heart.  My restoration served very much to remind me of how I had been picked up from the dung and set on higher ground. I wanted to see the church restored in the same way I had been. Once a man has been picked up from the gutter he is suddenly very intolerant of others who are still there.

There were a number of things that concerned me at this time, as you may very well know.  I had been thoroughly instructed in the religious ways of the Old Mennonite Church and these principles were very dear to me.  When I began to see a falling away I was very much troubled and prayed the more for guidance.  God showed me during this time that excommunication and avoidance had fallen by the wayside, and because of this, I was shown in a dream that the candlestick was mine to take if I would but be willing to humble myself and speak out.  I began to rebuke the elders but sadly they would not hear me.  I spoke to them of their laxness in childrearing and such.  I determined within myself that if my brethren would not hear me then I would take the candlestick and go.  During this time I was shown the pride and hardness of their hearts, as they refused to hear my reproof.  I had already been called by God to preach and I knew that their lack of understanding of this calling was further proof of their decay and falling away.

Even as a young man I was much given to study and prayer and it was through this that God began to show me the extent of the decay of the church and he began to impress upon my mind that unless I was willing to take the candlestick and go it could very well be lost forever.  This so much alarmed me that I prayed ever the more, asking God to help me to be willing to suffer whatever I must to keep meine gemeinde safe from decay.  In this he was faithful and he led me to speak out more.  There were those among the brethren who knew the truth that I was speaking, yet they were weak and fearful.  They desired the praise of men rather than the praise of God.

During this time I did much study of the writings of Menno and Dietrich and others.  I could see clearly the line of succession from the time of the apostles right down to me and I was very much humbled. I determined the more that I would rescue meine gemeinde from decay and keep the candlestick safe.  I began to write, often late at night, much to the sorrow of my dear wife, who was left alone to discipline the children and teach them in the right way. I do regret some of this now as I look back, for not all of them came into meine gemeinde.  Surely this was due in some part to the heavy burden that had been placed upon me.  There are those who are critical of me, but I always had meine gemeinde on my mind before all else, and I believe God will overlook this failure to bring my children into the one true sheepfold.

As you know, I labored in vain for some years, my group being very small.  Nevertheless, I did not lose heart, no matter what discouragements came my way.  I felt that I had been called as a prophet, evangelist and great reformer, and therefore I put a great deal of stock in my dreams and visions.  I had a dream that assured me that my mother would one day unite with meine gemeinde.  I spoke of this to her and others and therefore was greatly troubled when this failed to come to pass.  However, I began to see that the test of a true prophet is whether or not he can continue in his calling even when there is discouragement and doubt. I was able to persuade my daughter Anna that she must join the gemeinde or I should lose credibility.  This she did, although not without some struggle,  However she did remain faithful til her death. One of my sons also joined us but fell away. However I have hope that he reconsecrated himself and was restored to the flock of the faithful before his death.  Many of these things have been used to discredit me, but I never allowed myself to be discouraged.  So convinced was I of the lineage and my rightness that I never falterd, even when I misjudged the popularity of my writings and paid for a very large print run of one of my books. This caused me some financial distress, and once again my dear wife was patient with me, and I felt that I must submit myself to the brethren so that the hand of discipline might fall upon me if this was what was necessary to save my soul.  I felt much cleansed by this, as I from time became unsure of my salvation.  The sins of my early youth, though purged through much suffering and shame often rose up to haunt me and I myself learned firsthand the value of excommunication to help one be delivered from sin.  There are those who argue that the blood of Christ is sufficient for all, but I can testify of my own experience, and that is that excommunication had a cleansing effect on me that added together with Christ’s death seemed to have a more complete and purging effect.  Because of this I taught all the more strongly that we must not abandon the teachings of excommunication and avoidance.  I am happy to see that many of the brethren even now understand the importance of this and are teaching that the power of meine gemeinde lies in holding to this very important teaching.  After this experience of excommunication I began to see even more clearly why many other groups had fallen away.  They began to leave off this important teaching and soon much decay and lightness began to infiltrate the church.  But thanks be to God he raised up yet one more prophet to see this gemeinde through to the end.  It is my firm belief that meine gemeinde will endure til the end and the gates of hell will never prevail against it.  If in fact decay should set in, I would trust someone like you Hiram, to sound the alarm, but I very much doubt that this will ever be the case. The candlestick is hidden in a very safe place and I left no instructions for it to ever be removed.  However, if you should ever see a time when decay sets in, I may well reconsider and give out this information. If the day comes when you see large and beautiful buildings, places of worship  being constructed, please let me know. If you see a time when children have become unruly and disorderly, likewise, notify me.  If you see expensive homes and carriages, if you see a time when congregations cannot go to communion for several years running, and the ministry seems to have fallen into decay, I want to know.  If you see a time there is a time of unrest in which a drift into worldliness cannot be halted, contact me.  We must not ever allow the church to be too light, or to be seen as agreeing with the world or any other church in any single point.  I labored much for meine gemeinde.  I will contact you again. In the meantime, please be aware that I am watching you and you will never destroy the lineage.  I love it way too much. I wrote too much about  it. It will never fall.  The gates of  hell will never prevail against it.  It will take us straight to heaven. I beieve that excommunication is the key to keeping it safe. As long as my ministers can expel all who disagree, how can I fail?

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11 Responses to Meine Gemeinde

  1. James says:

    I notice one thing as I read this post, Hiram. What John Holdeman called decay is now called a drift. It might be time for you to contact Holdeman and find out where he hid the candlestick. I have noticed that the brethren today also resist being corrected. Could it be time?

  2. wink says:

    Mine. Meine Gemeinde. My church. That’s very funny Hiram!

  3. Hiram says:

    I don’t know that the purpose is so much to be funny, wink, as it is to make a point using humor. As this website says, this is the voice of the people, even if it is John Holdeman, or someone speaking as him. I think this article made a very good point.

  4. Godfather says:

    This seems to sum up John Holdeman. It’s all about ME, MY CHURCH and MY RIGHTNESS. I hope the people can see that it should never be about a man. We’re ripe for trouble when we follow a man!

  5. Pingback: Meine Gemeinde | ChristianBookBarn.com

  6. Chris Frase alias: (Set Free) says:

    I too notice the “Me, Mine, I” aspect and I believe this is where all the trouble is. A certain man I know is bound and determined to get back “His” ministry, he said, It’s “mine” I want it, I want it now. You know, Moses did the same thing when he killed the Egyptian and tried to use “his” authority to settle a dispute among “the brethren”. He spent 40 years in the wilderness before he was given back “his” call and then he recognized that it wasn’t “his” call but God’s. He was a great leader as far as leaders go and commended of God as being meek. Yet we will notice…there is No Mercy…In the Law of “Moses”. Truth and justice yes, but not the love and mercy necessary. John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress demonstrated this when Christian was on the hill difficult and forgot/lost his scroll. He came along and beat him unmercifully and he was “right”.
    Because he usurped God’s authority and struck the rock instead of speaking to it Moses was denied entrance into the promised land although he got to see it from afar off. Hmmm Skeery anology ??? Jerimiah has a very strong prophecy to the shepherds that destroy the flock as well as some comforting words “for the flock”.

  7. Chris Frase alias: (Set Free) says:

    We do however want to notice that their was mercy in Moses as he pled with the Lord to forgive His people. “The Law” is what has no mercy. Been there, done that…paid dearly for the “My” in my life.

  8. I like that incident that you mention…Exodus 32:32 “Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Moses is actually pleading on behalf of the people, and telling God that if he can’t forgive the people, he, Moses was prepared to be written out of the book. This is an example of sacrificial leadership. He took his responsibility towards the people so seriously that he believed that if he had failed to lead them properly, he deserved the replenishment, and could they please go free? What mercy and love! But God said to Moses in verse 33…. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.” God was holding the people accountable for their own wrongs. However, would it not be something if we had a minister today who would offer himself for the sins of the people? Not happening! Instead these men go around expelling and benching at an alarming rate, as the people languish and the hierarchy grow fat. I’m looking for the answer to a question: Who is at the top of the hierarchy? Who is really, I mean really, in control. Not who appears to be in control, but is REALLY in control. The one/ones in control are not obvious to the observer, they are quietly in control. I want to find out who this is. Whoever it is, they are not offering themselves for the people.

    • lotsaquestions says:

      As far as I can tell the CCC are the top controllers. I have never heard of them answering to anyone.And the ministers nominate and vote them in, not the laity. ( I think, unless they themselves do) If there is someone above them I am not aware.

      • Sometimes I wonder. I wonder if they are just the front men or if they really are the ones in control. Sometimes I think there is an extremely small group behind the scenes pulling the strings.

  9. Chris Frase alias: (Set Free) says:

    {God began to show me the extent of the decay of the church and he began to impress upon my mind that unless I was willing to take the candlestick and go it could very well be lost forever. }

    Can we see the insanity of this statement ? I don’t know that “we'(anybody) can decide for God who, when, where, or how “He” will; set up, put down, remove or establish “His” candlestick. When JH took it upon himself to “take the candlestick and run” and specifically this point; {God showed me during this time that “excommunication and avoidance had fallen by the wayside, and because of this”, “I” was shown in a dream that the candlestick was “mine” to “take if I” would but be willing to humble myself and speak out. I began to rebuke the elders but sadly they would not hear me.}

    Is there an ah ha moment as we see the result ?

    There is no doubt in my mind “Who” is Really in control and “Who” will be the final Judge.

    I too have had numerous dreams. But dreams come from a multitude of business. (Ecclesiastes 5:3 KJV) For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
    I feel like a fool and will gladly “be” a fool for the cause of Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:17-31 KJV (17) For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (18) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (19) For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. (20) Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (21) For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (22) For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: (23) But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (24) But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (25) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (26) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence. (30) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
    In many of JH writings (I am no better) we notice “a multitude of words”. People today and I doubt it was any different “then” are better able to grasp a kernel, a nugget, of truth than be deceived by “a multitude of words” . It has often been impressive to me the amount of effort being put forth in CoGiCm to “make sure” the people are aware of the “danger of being deceived” instead of “simply preaching the Truth and letting “deception” be obvious. Bank tellers don’t try to figure out all the ways people try to make counterfit money. All they need to know is what the Real McCoy is. The error of trying to “make sure you aren’t deceived” lies in the fact that IF you actually ARE deceived you won’t know it because you will be believing a lie. Anything else is stupidity because you “know” the Truth and don’t follow it. Know the Truth…it is the Truth…that Sets you Free. John 14:6 KJV Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
    If you know “the Way” you won’t be lost if you follow Him.
    If you “have Life” you are not dead.
    the “Truth” is obvious to those who really want to know.

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