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Background

A few years ago, a concern was raised by a member of a local Mennonite congregation about the use of citations from the Shepherd of Hermas. At the time, the concern was alleviated when it was mentioned that the Mennonite council endorsed its use as a secondary text.

Recently, the concern was raised again. This time the member would like a citation or reference in order to substantiate either the endorsement, repudiation, or neutrality toward this text by Mennonite Bretheren.

Question

Does anyone have a cite or reference that discusses whether and to what extent the following extra-biblical sources are considered appropriate for teaching and instruction for Mennonite congregations?

  • Epistle of Barnabas,
  • The Shepherd of Hermas
  • The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians,

Any citation or reference either supporting or repudiating these texts from a Mennonite denomination or organization is requested.

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1 Answer

Having been a Mennonite for all my adult life, and attending a Mennonite Brethren church for the last 8 years or so, I have never heard of The Shepherd of Hermas, or any of the other books you mentioned.

However, Mennonites, and many other denominations, often use written resources in sermons, corporate worship (recitations, hymns, songs), etc, that are extra-Biblical.

The official stand of the U.S. Mennonite Brethren Church on the use of such teachings is summed up in Article 2 of the Confession of Faith:

The Holy Spirit continues to make God known to individuals and the church; this revelation is always consistent with the Scriptures.

According to this, any extra-Biblical teaching which claims to be revelation of God ought to be permitted, so long as it is consistent with the Scriptures.

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Note that I have not been able to find any official definition, from the MB church, of "scripture," to know whether the Apocrypha is or can be considered "scripture." I know from experience it is not, but I don't know how to prove that. –  Flimzy Jun 27 '13 at 16:31
    
Thing is, one report showed that there was a web link out there that included references to these other texts on a MB church, but the link was not saved and repeated google searches have not been able to turn it up again. –  dreftymac Jul 10 '13 at 23:48
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@dreftymac Have you tried the Wayback Machine (archive.org/web/web.php)? –  John Peyton Aug 10 '13 at 21:54
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