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F.C.M. Turns Twenty Years Old
Reliving the F.C.M. Story
By Todd Neuschwander
Anabaptist Currents
A prophetic voice was born in 1983. The booklet, Crisis
Among Mennonites by George R. Brunk II had hit the
church like a lightning bolt. Liberalism and apostasy in
publishing and education were the areas of concern and
Bro. George attempted to sound the alarm and awaken a
sleeping church. Much to his surprise, instead of the church
standing with him the leadership of the church turned against
him. It was at the Bethlehem '83 that an attempt was made
to censor George for allegedly disturbing the peace,
drumming up controversy, and trying to split the church.
It was at that General Assembly that Bro. George along
with Brothers Sanford Shetler and J. Otis Yoder rallied a
group of concerned supporters and the Fellowship of
Concerned Mennonites was born. The vision was to come
together from a variety of Mennonite Conferences and groups
to appeal to the leadership of the Mennonite Church to deal
with doctrinal corruption swiftly and surely. Consultations
were called with both conservatives and liberals making their
case to the larger church.
The inerrency, inspiration, and authority of Scripture;
the ordination of women, divorce and remarriage, Christology,
the nature of the atonement, and the cardinal doctrines of
the faith were being eroded and here was a group of men
who felt passionate enough about it to lay their reputations
on the line for the sake of truth. (Incidentally all these issues
and more are still with us today). In the mid-1980's Bro.
George wrote a second crisis book, much to the chagrin of
his critics. The doctrine of Christ was under attack and the
church had to be warned. He sounded the trumpet clearly.
This writer watched this happen from a distance. As a
young man he was grieved over the direction that the church
was taking, and his heart resonated with the concerns that
were being expressed. In 1987 this young minister was
invited to attend a board meeting and was welcomed by
these faithful brethren to a place on the board. It has been
a great privilege to sit many times and hear the passion,
burden, and prophetic voice of these mentors.
It soon became evident that the denominational
leadership was not responding, the pastors were busy with
other things, and much of the laity didn't care. Some of the
F.C.M. board became tired and the vision grew dim. In the
mid 1990's the board came close to disbanding. During that
time we prayed for a new sense of direction and new
leadership. God gave us both. Bro. Paul Emerson came on
as our new Executive Director in 1999, and our vision was
redefined.
The concerns of F.C.M. are the same as they have
always been, but our target audience has changed. Instead
of appealing to the leadership of the Mennonites we have
taken our message to the grass roots people. Those who
are attempting to remain faithful in this age of apostasy and
doctrinal deviancy need to be encouraged. We aim to do
that while identifying current issues that warrant concern
and alarm. We do these things through The Informer which
you hold in your hand, and through Bible Conferences in
various parts of the U.S. and Canada.
F.C.M. has always been controversial. It has even born
names of ridicule such as "Folks Complaining Most." It has
been misrepresented as a group of old conservatives who
were out of power and out of touch. Several years ago one
party went so far as to suggest that the Mennonite Church
needed a few more funerals! Well, some of those funerals
have happened and still F.C.M. is here. And those who
have spoken with such fervor were amazingly correct in
their predictions of the issues that the church is dealing with
today. We are convinced that the need for F.C.M. has not
gone away. It is needed now more than ever.
As chairman of the board I am asking, will you stand
with us? We have bills that are due and staff whose
salaries have not been paid. We operate on a modest
budget of about $2,000.00 per month. Financial
statements are available upon request. Above that we
have some special printing projects that are awaiting
publication as funds become available. Please consider
supporting this ministry on a regular basis. May God
bless you and establish His Word!