If you are a Mennonite or another branch of Anabaptist, you are probably familiar with the words of Menno Simons in which he describes the nature of true evangelical faith. A beautiful song has been written using some of the words and titled True Evangelical Faith. The words in the song are highlighted below.
For true evangelical faith is of such a nature that it cannot lie dormant,
but manifests itself in all righteousness and works of love;
It dies unto all flesh and blood;
it destroys all forbidden lusts and desires;
it seeks and serves and fears God;
it clothes the naked;
it feeds the hungry;
it comforts the sorrowful;
it shelters the destitute;
it aids and consoles the sad;
it returns good for evil;
it serves those who harm it;
it prays for those that persecute it;
teaches, admonishes, and reproves with the Word of the Lord;
it seeks that which is lost;
it binds up that which is wounded;
it heals that which is diseased and it saves that which is sound.
It becomes all things to all men.
Menno Simons, 1539
In statements flanking either side of the highlighted text above, Menno emphasized how true faith will press on to righteousness, love and obedience. True faith results in love for God which leads to obedience to the commandments of God.
I'm not saying this song is wrong, but the truncated quote emphasizes a social gospel and leaves out the aspects of evangelism, righteousness, and suffering which were very much part of the original Anabaptist vision.
As we reflect on Menno’s full version, let us awaken the other areas that embody true faith. Self-denial and obedience are qualities that the majority of American Mennonites are not familiar with. Prosperity has made us soft and we know nothing of the persecution that was part of everyday life for our Anabaptist forefathers. While true evangelical faith does meet the physical needs of the suffering, it is much more than that and we dare not omit the more weighty matters such as righteous living, self-denial and obedience.