Just What is the Holdeman Religion?
Note, although this article might seem critical to some, please take time to honestly and carefully examine the various things contained herein, which things others also are discovering and examining.
It is a religion which has various good qualities and which contains many sincere people. Yet it is a religion which also has various inconsistencies which this article very distinctly focuses upon, and which very much need examined and dealt with. yJ-1
It is a religious organization whose leaders in being officially placed into office must promise to teach and preach the doctrines of the Bible according to the interpretation of the conference and councils of this particularly named organization and to abide in them with unchanging fidelity unto the end, and thus an organization having leaders significantly promised to be unquestioning followers of this organization rather than an organization having leaders prepared to stand in the gap and apart from possible errors as did Apostle Paul and the prophets in old times who were particularly called of God. (Ministers and deacons vow no 4 i ). What would John Holdeman who initiated the Holdeman religion, and who together with his dad and two others separated from the main church have done had he vowed loyalty to his church as Holdeman leaders now must do? yJ-2
It is a very church oriented religion whose religious publication actually advocated that the Biblical bride of Christ consists of those who the church has baptized and received into the church, rather than those whom God has called, saved, and gathered to Himself throughout the world. (Sunday School Lesson Introduction July 1 2001 ii). yJ-3
It is a religion that realizes that in old times the prophets repeatedly stood alone in opposition to God's erring people, and which freely sings "dare to be a Daniel dare to stand alone", and then without giving indication of exceptions often teaches it's people that they dare not stand alone but must unreservedly accept the unified light of their church. yJ-4
It is a religion having people who God loves and wants to cleanse, enlighten, and bless with an excellent spirit. yJ-5
It is a religion that very much holds to Menno Simons' teaching that Jesus in being born of Mary did not inherit any physical aspect from Mary or humanity, even though Menno in advocating such therewith quite foolishly advocated that no children inherit any physical aspect from their mother. (Menno Simon's, Wenger Translation Pages 767-770). yJ-6
It is a religion, which together with Menno Simons, advocates that the Eternal Word became Christ's flesh (and thus it did not derive from Mary), while yet Rueben Koehn their most predominate leader of the 20th century in a very official writing correctly and emphatically taught (yet opposite of Menno) that the Word did not turn into and become Christ's flesh, but rather the Word simply entered into a fleshly existence where human experiences could be His. (Messenger of Truth, Feb 15 1989, Last Paragraph of Page 2 iii). Note, Menno's central emphasis was that the Word simply became Christ's flesh and he very many times strongly advocated such, while he therewith advocated that the Word did not take upon Himself flesh. yJ-7
It is a religion that claims to believe that Jesus was a true descendent of Abraham and David according to the flesh (one who came in the flesh), and thus a Savior who could be and was tempted like we humans are, while yet advocating Jesus inherited nothing at all from humanity and was a Savior who had no possibility to sin! yJ-8
It is a religion which makes Jesus sinless because of not encountering our very flesh and situation rather than sinless because of overcoming it, and which makes Jesus' temptations significantly unreal. yJ-9
It is a religion that doesn't realize that Jesus was a Spiritual Son from heaven who grafted upon Himself humanities very flesh and problem, and overcame it and resurrected from it, thus becoming the first fruit of the resurrection and paving the way for us humans to do the same, which issues are simple and vital basics of Christianity. yJ-10
It is a religion that doesn't understand God's wondrous proof of human resurrection as is revealed in Christ's resurrection, because it in reality denies that Jesus came in the flesh which error the Bible says is the Spirit of the anti christ. (1 John 4:2-3, 2 John 1:7). yJ-11
It is a religion which also largely advocates that true baptism should involve less water than drinking water, while rather, firstly the word baptize itself means to wash, secondly up till approximately year 1400 the Martyr's Mirror speaks of baptism being a washing and of applicants going into the water to be baptized, thirdly both John the Baptist and Jesus in baptizing were baptizing in a special geographical area because much water was there (John 3:22-23), forthly early Christian pictorial representations of baptism, as on the catacomb walls, show applicants in water with water being poured over them, and fifthly baptism with an abundance of water very properly symbolizes being washed from our sins, burying the old man, and resurrecting to a clean new life in Christ. yJ-12
It is a religion having sincere ones who God loves, and to whom He wants to reveal numerous vital truths, which have been sadly hidden for many years. yJ-13
It is a religion having sincere ones to whom God wants to reveal His goodness insomuch that they can understand in a new way why King David so greatly rejoiced in His God, and even spoke of His statutes and judgments being sweeter than honey on the honey comb (Psa 19:7-11, Psa 119)! yJ-14
It (Holdemanism) is a religion wherein many might feel that almost every thing beautiful, pleasant, and enjoyable is nigh unto being unlawful, although rather God withholds no good thing from those that walk uprightly (Psa 84:11), and giveth us richly all things to enjoy (1 Tim 6:17), and although Jesus abhorred and broke manmade religious laws and came to set the captives free, and although God's laws actually are laws of liberty. (Psa 119:45, Jam 1:25, 2:12, John 8:32 &36,). Note, God's laws very much are designed and intended to prevent people from harming each other or themselves, and as Apostle Paul said, are good laws if applied lawfully (1 Tim 1:8). yJ-15
It is a religion that claims it understands, firstly the importance of having God's laws written on the heart, secondly the principle of living under grace rather than under the bondage of the law(s) (Gal 4), and thirdly that God's law actually is the perfect law of liberty, and yet must outlaw things that can be very beneficial and useful simply because they can also be misused. yJ-16
It is a religion that freely uses tape recorders for saving telephone messages, but rejects tape recorders as for missionary language study and Bible study, and says tape recorders are against Christian warfare. yJ-17
It is a religion which largely rejects cameras, because photos are likenesses of things in heaven and earth and which could pertain to idolatry, and because of possible misuse. Thus it's people cannot even take discreet photos of missionary or humanitarian activities in foreign lands to show people at home what is there and is happening, or use such photos in introducing and preparing future workers. Thus this use and many other helpful and practical uses of photography cannot be utilized within this religion. Yet it is a religion whose people will draw or paint pictures, and who will freely buy post cards with great care for the photos thereon, and whose book shelves and magazine racks are full of quite unimportant photos which are very much appreciated and enjoyed. yJ-18
It is a religion (like many religions) very effected by the Docetic and Ascetic religions of the early centuries, which religions largely felt anything material or physical was evil, greatly denied Christ came in the flesh, and were largely opposed to anything that might be pleasing, beautiful, and enjoyable. It appears these early religions in their peculiar emphasis against the material and physical, were opposed to anything that the physical might enjoy. This self depriving emphasis was opposed to musical instruments as well as many other things. Early Christian religions like these also were very negative towards marriage and the special blessings God intended therein, and even foolishly restricted intimacy in marriage as only for creating offspring. Note, if Apostle Paul would have actually believed intimacy in marriage was permissible only for creating offspring, he instead of saying, "it is better to marry than to burn", would have said, "it is better to stay away from the marriage environment than to burn" (1 Cor 7:9)! yJ-19
Holdemanism is a religion which for some time mostly held to single voice soprano singing, and was significantly opposed to singing with four voice harmony, and which still rejects singing with the accompaniment of any musical instruments. (Note, comments on musical instruments are given in the endnotes iv). yJ-20
Holdemanism is a religion that rejects various particular and convenient ways of attaining beauty, while yet carefully trying to attain beauty without those particular and convenient ways of attaining it, and whose people might even put more into attaining beauty in their peculiar way, than many who are not trying to avoid beauty or decorations at all! yJ-21
It is a religion whose people might too much think humility pertains to their peculiar ways of avoiding beauty, modernism, and enjoyment, while rather true humility really pertains to personally knowing God, and realizing our nothingness and unworthiness before Him. Note, although some might relate self deprivation with humility, yet contrariwise Christians taken up with manmade religious restrictions often instead of truly being humble and feeling unworthy before God, rather feel sufficient and full of good works before Him, while neither perceiving God as the gracious, wondrous, and thankworthy Father that He truly is. Thus the restrictions of men, which might be thought to be the way of humility, can instead generate a false feeling of worthiness before God, while also obscuring the goodness and liberality of God. One should here remember how King David so greatly rejoiced in his God and His goodness towards him. One should also very much remember how Jesus emphatically rebuked the commandments and traditions of men, and was considered a liberal by many (Matt 11:19, Mark 7:6-9). Note God's people are to be different than the world because of not conforming to the world's evil ways and vain fads, and not to be made different than the world through manmade traditions and laws of self affliction. yJ-22
Holdemanism is a religion whose leaders might often mistake the special warmth and pleasant fellowship as is naturally felt among people who have confidence in each other and share a common emphasis, as a special witness of the flowing and presence of the Holy Spirit, while it might merely be a kindred or friendship spirit, rather than the witness and flowing of the genuine Holy Spirit of truth which is very concerned about the truth (John 16:13). yJ-23
Holdemanism is a religion which is very difficult if not impossible to help or correct, since it claims it has always been true, and it's people are taught to trust the church rather than their own thinking, and then often don't want to study in a aggressive or original manner, because such takes effort and might even end up dividing them from their church and the pleasant social life they enjoy therein, and even cause them to become religiously shunned by friends and family. yJ-24
It is a religion whose people rather need to be like the open hearted and noble Bereans who received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17:10-11). yJ-25
It is a religion whose people need to remember that Jesus in His famous beatitudes, gave the blessings to the poor in spirit, the mourning and meek, and to those who were hungering and thirsting after righteousness (Matt 5:3-6). yJ-26
It is a religion whose people need to be more interested in serious Bible study, solid truth, and seeking God's rewards for today and eternity, and less interested in playing games, material pursuits, wealth, luxuries, and fitting in. yJ-27
It is a religion wherein God at times still wondrously reveals Himself as He in His mercy does in many churches when sincere ones are found trying to do His will. yJ-27
It is a religion and church that quite strongly believes herself to be the one and only true church, and oh may God help her to at least be true regardless of the only. Note, the Holdeman religion within it's one and only true church belief, also largely believes that God has designed that He will absolutely never establish or accept any Christian assemblage throughout the world, as a true and authentic Christian church without them having first been physically accepted and authorized by the true church, being their church. Although such a one true church belief appears to be erroneous, yet the Christian church still very much is ordained to be both one and true as Jesus earnestly desired and prayed for in John 17. Thus may all Christians and churches be both one and true as in being appropriately united and one with all true Christians and churches, and separate from all false Christians and churches. yJ-28
In conclusion the writer very much invites the reader to read the article entitled "God and Religion, What's it all About" posted at www.TeachMeGod.com as it extensively considers the basics and blessings of true religion. And, Oh may God greatly transform the Holdeman religion, or at least deliver the writer and his family and many others from the blindness, erroneous influence, and great difficulties often resulting from this religion! Farewell. 2348 010310 yJ-29
i Ministers Vow (Deacons vow very similar)
"Do you promise to give heed to all the doctrines of the Word of God, and to teach and preach them in accordance with the interpretation of the Conference and the councils of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, and to abide in them with unchanging fidelity unto the end?"
ii Sunday School Lesson Introduction
"The kingdom of Christ is made up of born-again believers, the world over, who are following the examples and teachings of Jesus. The bride of Christ refers to the church, the visible body of believers who have been joined together through baptism. The love of Jesus Christ for His bride is beyond human comprehension. "
iii Rueben Koehn Article
John's Gospel treats on Christ's part in the Godhead, developing the matter of the incarnation. He declares that "The Word" became flesh," not that the substance of God became that substance which we know as body matter. "The Word" is a name for God, and "flesh" is a name for humanity in its entirety. It simply means that the Son of God by a voluntary act became a man. He entered into an existence where human experiences would also be His.
iv Musical Instruments
Christians should be aware that in old Biblical times musical instruments were significantly commanded to be used in worshiping and praising God (1 Chr 15:16-21, 2 Chr 29:25-26), secondly be aware that God would particularly manifest Himself and words of prophesy be inspired while instruments were being played (1 Chr 25:1&3, 2 King 3:15, 1 Sam 10:5), thirdly be aware that the Bible speaks about the musical instruments of God and speaks of the Angels in heaven playing on harps of gold (1 Chr 16:42, Rev 14:2 & 15:2-3), and forthly be aware that the main Scripture in the Bible that speaks negatively about musical instruments is Amos 6:4-6, and it is addressing a situation of their misuse as in luxurious and careless living, while within that context this Scripture also speaks negatively about lying on beds and couches and eating meat! It should also be noticed that the New Testament in speaking of edifying Christian fellowship particularly encourages the employment of psalms as well as hymns and Spiritual songs, while it is quite certain the word psalms (according to it's Hebrew and Greek roots and as used in the Psalms), especially pertains to music involving musical instruments. Note, simply tapping one's foot or fingers on something while singing to give additional accent to the song is a form of instrumental music.