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The Mennonite Church USA was formed in 2002 out of two mainstream Mennonite bodies: the (old) Mennonite Church and the General Conference Mennonite Church, the former being the original body formed in the 18th Century by German and Swiss immigrants. Mennonite churches adhere to a decentralised, "democratic" government structure with mostly regional conferences often acting as semi-independent denominations.

While churches in the Anabaptist tradition, ironically representing the Radical Reformation, are generally conservative or traditionalist by contemporary Protestant standards, the Mennonite Church USA has turned increasingly liberal in recent times over such issues as WO and LGBT. This has led to the withdrawal of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference and the Franklin Mennonite Conference, two large bodies based around Pennsylvania and Maryland:

In Mennonite history, there have been two major schisms by which traditionalist and conservative Mennonites withdrew from the mainstream church:

- Old Order Mennonites who broke away in the 19th Century, similar in many ways to the Old Order Amish with whom they share, after all, a common cultural and spiritual heritage. They are more liberal than the Amish, and the same applies to Old Order strands of the Schwarzenau (German Baptist) Brethren or Dunkards and the River Brethren. The Hutterites and Bruderhof are also considered similar in some ways.

Conservative Mennonites who broke away in the mid-20th Century. They accepted most 19th Century reforms (e.g. vernacular language, Sunday schools and revival meetings) and accommodation with modernity, but continue to adhere to traditional religious and social practice.

In short, the Mennonite Church USA is falling apart and going the same way as liberal Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Reformed and United Church of Christ. Now we see the third wave of schisms represented by the Lancaster and Franklin withdrawals. Ironically, the Lancaster conference is the "parent" of many Old Order and Conservative Mennonite denominations.

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Reply with quote  #2 
Schisms are never good, especially as Christianity and Judaism have both never been under such a sustained attack from the forces of left, the secular and of other religions. It is a shame that it has gone this way.
Yours Sincerely Queenslander

Posts: 4,638
Reply with quote  #3 
Protestant churches began schisms among themselves long ago. The Anglican Communion, Presbyterian Church USA, ELCA, United Methodists, United Church of Christ... don't get me started about those.

The mainstream Protestant churches in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe are now more socially and theologically conservative than those in Western Europe and North America. We can't make generalisations, though, given that American Protestantism and its Australian counterpart are already deeply divided.
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