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  • Direction: On Mennonitica
    about the impact of modernization and pluralism Dyck Cornelius J An Introduction to Mennonite History Third edition Scottdale PA Herald Press 1993 452 pp A revision and expansion of the earlier editions the best introduction to Mennonite history It provides a good chronological survey as well as a survey of Mennonites in every part of the globe Dyck Cornelius J and Dennis D Martin editors Mennonite Encyclopedia Vol V Scottdale PA Herald Press 1990 962 pp Volume V is an important update of the previous four volumes and 89 contains information on topics A Z An indispensable tool for academics and lay people George Timothy Theology of the Reformers Nashville TN Broadman Press 1988 337 pp Provides a good introduction to the theology of four reformers Martin Luther Huldrych Zwingli John Calvin and Menno Simons The chapter on Menno is an excellent contemporary treatment of his theology by a reputable Baptist scholar The final chapter of the book focuses on The Abiding Validity of Reformation Theology Klaassen Walter editor Anabaptism Revisited Essays on Anabaptist Mennonite Studies in Honor of C J Dyck Scottdale PA Herald Press 1992 210 pp Essays of specialized studies by European and North American scholars Part II in particular which focuses on Mennonites today has essays on Mennonite pluralism Rodney Sawatsky Mennonite Brethren identity Paul Toews and on the Free Church Paul Peachy Rempel John D The Lord s Supper in Anabaptism A Study in the Christology of Balthaser Hubmaier Pilgram Marpeck and Dirk Philips Scottdale PA Herald Press 1993 272 pp Particularly relevant in view of recent concerns and discussions about the Lord s Supper as well as on Christology Mennonite Brethren along with other Protestants have emphasized the memorial aspects of the Lord s Supper Rempel shows that we have neglected some potentially enriching

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  • Direction: Submission to Governing Authorities: A Study of Romans 13:1-7
    in love to divinely instituted authorities Underlying Paul s argument in Romans 13 1 7 is the conviction that the authorities have been instituted tass 6 by God Tass has numerous nuances meaning to appoint to order to ordain or to determine John H Yoder has argued that tass should be translated ordered in Romans 13 2 because God does not take responsibility for the State as such but brings it into line 7 Ernst Käsemann asserts that the term deals only with the sovereign action of God by which he makes arrangements in creation 8 Whether Paul is saying that God instituted or arranged the authorities exousia it is clear that Paul believes God did not err in his actions regarding the authorities powers and rulers The Greek terms that refer to the governing authorities exousiais hyperechousais are exousia powers and archontes rulers 9 In Classical Greek exousia refers to an ability to perform an action and the right or permission to perform that action while archon means one who exercises a divinely willed rule over individual parts of the world In the New Testament power is linked with the power of God in nature referring as well to both earthly and angelic beings A ruler may imply a supernatural commander of spiritual forces or one who leads and oversees human beings The ambiguous nature of these two words leads one to a major textual problem of Romans 13 1 7 The Identity of the Authorities Rulers One difficulty facing an interpreter of Romans 13 1 7 is the identity of the authorities rulers 13 1 2 3 4 6 Are they spiritual or secular powers and rulers Should the Christians in Rome submit to their Imperial masters or only to the spiritual power which is the basis of Rome s power and authority Oscar Cullmann believes that the powers are angelic beings which he links to a Jewish idea of a supernatural council of nations with a different angel representing each country 10 The consensus view however is that Paul was referring to human beings in positions of authority hence the NRSV translation of exousia as authorities Walter Wink has pointed out however that Paul did not have a modern secular view of the State and that it is improper for us to interpret the text by separating the earthly authorities from the heavenly powers because Paul would have acknowledged their interconnectedness 11 Nonetheless it 94 appears that Paul had human powers in mind when he wrote to the Roman Church That the archontes bear the sword is strong evidence for the view that Paul was concerned with the type of authorities Roman Christians might encounter in their everyday lives POSSIBLE HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL CIRCUMSTANCES BEHIND ROMANS 13 1 7 There are three main hypotheses for the historical and social context in Rome that formed the background to Paul s argument in 13 1 7 Käsemann believes that Paul s exhortation in chapter 12 is against enthusiasm and that this carries over into chapter 13 where Paul is resisting the attitude which in virtue of heavenly citizenship views earthly authorities with indifference or contempt 12 The problem with this view is that enthusiasm is not apparent within the argument itself Caution must be used with Käsemann s conclusions he has a tendency to draw questionable parallels between the situation in the Corinthian community and the one in Rome Another view held by J I H McDonald is that the text refers to the problem of taxation during the beginning of Nero s reign 56 58 CE 13 This is supported by the inner logic of the text and what we now know of the popular outcry against taxation from the Roman historians Suetonius and Tacitus Paul is thus warning his readers in 13 1 7 against joining a selfish opposition to excessive taxation which is a form of conforming to this world 12 1 2 A third way of understanding the social context has been proposed by Marcus Borg a scholar known most recently for his work on the historical Jesus 14 Borg believes that the Church in Rome had a sizable Jewish element who kept in contact with their kinsfolk in Palestine These Roman Jewish Christians often suffered from anti Jewish imperial policy in the capital and were also aware of the hardships facing their brothers and sisters in Palestine the land of God s promise and elect people Borg argues that some Jewish Christians linked to Palestine by family and commercial ties may have developed nationalistic anti Roman sentiments around 56 CE a date accepted for the epistle s composition Such sentiments could only serve to fragment the Christian community in Rome along ethnic lines After having argued for the equality of Jews and Gentiles in God s plan of salvation Rom 1 16 11 36 Paul perhaps realized the need to address concerns specific to his audience Rom 12 In 13 1 7 Paul advises Jewish Christians recently returned to the Empire s capital after having been exiled by Emperor Claudius against becoming involved in any 95 Palestinian Jewish nationalist fervor Unity among the Roman believers would be impossible in mixed Jew Gentile communities were the Jews to be voicing or even thinking anti Roman and anti Gentile ideas Culpepper agrees with Borg that Paul s specific concern in Romans 13 1 7 is that Jewish Christians refrain from joining a revolutionary nationalistic movement which might undermine the unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Roman Church 15 Borg s understanding of the social context behind Romans 13 is most compelling Paul expressed his understanding of the problem of the Jews rejection of the gospel chaps 9 11 and in chapter 13 turns to a problem that could potentially divide Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome their attitude towards the Empire If the Jewish Christians in Rome were to agitate for the cleansing of the Holy Land from Roman Gentile rule a true spirit of

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  • Direction: The Teaching of Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies in American Mennonite Brethren Colleges
    to Pacific College in 1962 having just completed a dissertation on the Economics of Anabaptism at the University of Southern California This work had been done with the close cooperation of Harold Bender whose Anabaptist Vision was to shape the thinking of two generations of Mennonite Brethren leaders 16 As a Canadian Klassen was in contact with the emergence of Bender s Anabaptist Vision which was known to have influenced some Canadian Mennonite Brethren since J A Toews and F C Peters had come into contact with the Goshen school in the 1940s The Anabaptist Vision saw the essence of sixteenth century Anabaptism as stressing discipleship issuing in a new conception of the church as a brotherhood and expressing an ethic of love and nonresistance Other faculty at Pacific came into contact with Anabaptist studies through the graduate student seminars which were being offered in the 1960s These occasions exposed these faculty to the writings of the Concern generation a group of young American service workers in 102 postwar Europe who began meeting in Amsterdam for critical discussions on the state of the Mennonite largely Old Mennonite church 17 It was their refashioned vision which caught the imagination of these Pacific faculty a decade later Especially influential was the charismatic figure of John Howard Yoder 18 It was partly through these contacts and lively internal discussion that the original Pacific College Idea a philosophical theological declaration on the nature of the college was produced Pacific defined itself as a Christian college a community a liberal arts college an experimental college an Anabaptist Mennonite college a nonsectarian college and finally a prophetic college This vision fired the imagination of many college faculty through the 1960s and 1970s and has been seen as one of the most explicit institutional reflections of Anabaptist inspired thinking 19 While writing a dissertation on Anabaptism in sixteenth century Strasbourg Henry Krahn came to teach at Pacific College in 1967 He continued the emphasis on Anabaptist studies at the college This interest generated a course in the Radical Reformation which was offered from 1968 until his departure for Mennonite Brethren Bible College Winnipeg Manitoba in 1974 A number of Mennonite Brethren scholars taught Anabaptist Theology at the college over the next fifteen years including Peter Klassen and Abe Friesen both professors of history in California s public universities However with the departure of Krahn no member of the Fresno Pacific College faculty was particularly responsible for or professionally engaged in Anabaptist studies After G W Peters left Fresno Waldo Hiebert taught the Mennonite Brethren Church course at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary from 1960 to 1967 The seminary catalogue had been changed in 1962 63 there the Anabaptist Theology course was dropped 20 From an analysis of course schedules it is striking to note that it was apparently never taught until A J Klassen arrived in 1966 21 Klassen was completing a doctorate in theology at the Claremont School of Theology He like his brother Peter had worked in Goshen and reflected this close relationship with the Bender school Now both Fresno Pacific and Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno reflected the impact of the Anabaptist Vision 22 Tabor simultaneously experienced a renaissance in the teaching of Anabaptist Mennonite studies After the departure of F C Peters little attention was given to teaching in this area Clarence Hiebert came to teach at Tabor also in 1962 after spending two years teaching at the European Mennonite Bible School His interest in the field was demonstrated by the two theses he had produced on Mennonite history during the previous decade 23 Hiebert s arrival was to signal the most continuous attention to the teaching of Mennonite history at Tabor since the departure of Cornelius 103 Krahn and the most sustained effort since D E Harder to inform a generation concerning their historical and theological roots PHASE FOUR THE CRISIS OF THE 1970S AND THE RESULTING SHIFTS OF INTEREST The decade of the seventies began to produce a crisis in the larger Mennonite world Hans Jürgen Goertz reflected on the previous decade as follows the cognitive center dissolved and created a vacuum into which other nontraditional viewpoints have flooded struggling with one another to become the determiner of a new center The old has dissolved and the new is not yet in sight 24 It was during this period that the Mennonite Brethren began to have ever increasing contacts with the larger Mennonite world agencies such as Mennonite Central Committee Mennonite Economic Development Association and Mennonite World Conference Part of this dissolution was the demise of the Bender vision of normative Anabaptism 25 Although the process had manifested itself primarily in Europe even before Bender s death it became obvious when three historians challenged the Bender inspired historiography in a 1975 essay From Monogenesis to Polygenesis The Historical Discussion of Anabaptist Origins 26 Revisionism in Anabaptist studies reflected the larger trend in the study of the Reformation which had moved from a methodology based on theology to one of social history Mennonite scholars were particularly affected by this demise of normative Anabaptism as it had served as a central tool in their attempt to reshape the theological focus of the tradition The crisis engendered by the new understanding of Anabaptist history came at a time when the Mennonite Brethren were beginning to become interested in their own denomination s history Thus begins the fourth and present phase of our treatment J A Toews History of the Mennonite Brethren Church was published in the same year as the essay From Monogenesis to Polygenesis 27 It signalled the beginning of a focus upon Mennonite Brethren history especially in its Russian context Coincidentally the Historical Commission was also established by the General Conference at the same time In addition Centers for Mennonite Brethren Studies were established at Fresno Hillsboro and Winnipeg The first effort of the commission was the translation of the scholarly masterpiece of the Russian experience P M Friesen s The

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  • Direction: Connecting Mennonite Studies with the Christian Faith at Columbia
    as taught at the Bible college connect with Christian faith in three fundamental ways At the very center these 109 studies reaffirm the great Reformation truth that salvation for the human family is found in Christ alone Such as assertion jars modern sensitivities In our increasingly pluralistic North American culture the inclination is nearly irresistible to extend some legitimacy to all religious expressions Moreover dramatic demographic changes are forcing us into some precarious philosophical reassessments Not only are people of all faiths becoming our neighbors non Christian religious communities are beginning to occupy a very noticeable public presence and influence political decision making How then do we rationalize our belief that salvation is in Christ alone and yet live with each other s deepest differences That simple question says Os Guinness has been transformed by modernity into the world s most pressing issues Keidel 3 The times make it imperative that we enter into this debate with great deliberation and disciplined sensitivity However to do so with credibility Mennonite Bible colleges must encourage a deep love for Christ attended by an obedient commitment to His rule Christ must be courageously proclaimed as the foundation which anchors our understanding of the past makes intelligible the perilous drama of the present and animates our vision of the future Furthermore Anabaptist Mennonite studies connect with Christian faith because they publicly affirm that the Bible the primary document on which our faith rests is relevant to the needs of contemporary society Although the Bible may well lie at the foundation of Western culture it has lost much of its once preeminent stature Scholars like Gordon Kaufman assure us that The Bible no longer has unique authority for Western man It has become a great but archaic monument in our midst Miller 3 By sharp contrast Bible colleges stand in the historic tradition that practices a vibrant biblicism Bible colleges serve their students well when they foster a respect for the Bible and turn to it as the early Anabaptists did not to construct a system of theology but to find solutions to their spiritual problems Toews 368 As Menno Simons and Martin Luther did in their day Bible colleges today forcefully unleash the Scriptures on a culture which is largely ignorant of their content and indifferent to their power Young adults are questioners and experimenters In a fast paced and ethically volatile world they must be taught the profound relevance of a solid biblical foundation in formulating their belief structures and in processing personal decisions The centrality of the Bible in the curriculum of the Bible college may well be the enduring energy that allows these institutions to survive The late F E Gaebelein put it well To take as the center of the Bible College curriculum the one book to which alone the superlative greatness 110 can be applied this is neither narrow nor naive It is just good judgement to center on the best Unger 13 THE CHURCH VULNERABLE BUT VIABLE The

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  • Direction: Journeyings Outward and Journeyings Inward
    arts education at Tabor was exhilarating I dreamed about teaching It was here I met Ferne Kornelsen from Henderson Nebraska We found ourselves attracted to each other as persons and life purposes and goals Our courtship included many conversations sorting out ideas making music and reading books together We married in 1950 By then I had graduated from Topeka s Menninger Clinic one year psychiatric nursing course Following our marriage we moved to Winnipeg for one year where I enrolled at the Mennonite Brethren Bible College to major in any class taught by A H Unruh His teachings and relational style left a significant impact on me Then for three years we lived in New York City central Manhattan where I completed seminary studies Going there felt risky to both of us but we were intrigued by the orientation of the Biblical Seminary in New York their inductive Bible study emphasis We experienced East Coast culture For instance we were delighted to broaden our music making interests by singing in the Robert Shaw Amateur Collegiate Chorale We received an invitation to pastor the Enid Oklahoma North Mennonite Brethren Church This surprised us They didn t know us we thought they insisted they did The older generation were satisfied with knowing I was C N Hiebert s son That was challenging Could I should I act like C N or myself We were in ministry there for five years Here we had our first child Tim whom we adopted after seven years of marriage At Enid s Phillips University I completed a Master s degree in music and was part time instructor of worship music My dream of teaching at Tabor began to seem more realistic STRETCHED THROUGH TRAVEL There followed a time full of events two years in Europe under MCC acquiring a better command of German being inspired under Samuel Gerber the principal of the European Mennonite Bible School by the idea of incarnational ministry a three month tour to America with the school s 16 person German French ensemble This first experience abroad triggered a growing interest in internationalism which ultimately resulted in more than 30 trips abroad to more than 40 countries This led to a shift in my study and teaching interests in areas like missiology world religions cross cultural communications and for over 24 years serving on boards focused on international agendas The most life stretching experiences came through visits to socialist countries Russia 12 times China 3 times India and the jungles of 115 Panama I had a six month sabbatical as interim pastor of the international congregation in Kabul Afghanistan and spent a winter teaching in Paraguay I would be hard pressed to decide which shaping experiences have been most significant in my life my 24 years in formal studies the extensive cross cultural exposures or the personal experiences resulting from reflection and commitments In Europe we adopted a second son Bob After returning to Hillsboro where I accepted a half time teaching

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  • Direction: Tribute to a Colleague: Clarence R. Hiebert
    reasons but more often for counseling He had a deep compassion for human needs He listened and advised If he was compassionate he was also passionate about certain matters like displaying flags and singing patriotic songs about war and violence A LOVER OF MUSIC At the General Conference Convention of Mennonite Brethren in Winnipeg in 1993 when the motion regarding publication of a new hymnal was brought up Clarence said I m not really a musician yet one of his most prominent contributions to the church is in music In My Father Was C N Hiebert by Esther Horch he gives credit to his musicologist brother in law Ben Horch of Winnipeg for expanding his world of ideas His experience singing with the Robert Shaw Chorale in New York provided him with a remarkable repertoire of music and fascinating anecdotes 119 Clarence worked hard over a period of years to ensure the publication of the new hymnal He is convinced that singing hymns not just choruses is important to the identity and theology of the Mennonite Brethren Church For many years the Tabor College community has sung the college hymn Redeemed of God come let us sing for which he wrote the words Esther Horch Clarence s sister writes that he came closest to his father s expectations in the field of spiritual endeavor C N Hiebert was proud of the caboose the youngest of eleven children Esther describes Clarence as having a great deal of energy always full of pranks and mischief as a young boy He loved people and enjoyed an uninhibited approach to life That is the way I learned to know him Yet I value Clarence s contribution as a fixer of broken things and lives He believed God s will was beauty and wholeness in relationships and in God s creation He had a personal concern for the individual and for keeping relationships whole He wanted to pass on to students the God givenness of life He enjoyed seeing the campus and buildings repaired painted and neat He was as handy with a hammer and saw as with a recorder He was a beauty gatherer not a wealth gatherer apparent in his and Ferne s home in the refined display of works of art brought back from overseas The Hiebert home is the frequent scene of gatherings of people both planned and spontaneous A VISIONARY Students and faculty remember him as an idea man a visionary He spoke of his vision for the college the humanities division the religion and Bible department and wrote long memos For a long time he resisted learning to use a computer Instead he wrote his long memos on his Selectric typewriter using the font he loved mos script I recall him advising me when I was having difficulty getting action from others to send copies of correspondence to anyone who might have some responsibility for the issue It was his way of keeping people accountable All his students and

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  • Direction: Current Research
    Beyond Isaak Jon Brevard S Childs and a Canonical Approach to 1 Corinthians 14 34 35 Klassen Joanne Women s Experience as the Pivotal Premise for the Integration of Psychology and Theology Jean Baker Miller and Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza Starcher Steven The Pentecostal Ordo Salutis Thiessen Roger G The Hermeneutical Shift from Modernism to Postmodernism A Study of Clark H Pinnock and David Tracy Theses 100 120 pp were completed to meet M A and M Div requirements at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary 1994 and are catalogued in Hiebert Library A MANUAL FOR CHURCHES Growth Plateau Decline by Ken Peters is a 50 page booklet detailing membership fluctuations in Canadian and U S Mennonite Brethren Churches in urban centers over 100 000 population Designed as a help for churches in cities the book is a mini kit containing a selected bibliography of books dealing with the subject Especially helpful are the annotations of the 100 best books in the field The book includes a helpful listing of consulting agencies journals manuals and resourcing institutes together with phone numbers and publication data Ken Peters a senior student at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary was the commissioned researcher who prepared the document

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  • Direction: A Pilgrimage of Faith. The Mennonite Brethren Church in Russia and North America, 1860-1990
    earlier forms of church leadership were not necessarily more successful in harmonizing faith and practice than are the leaders of today Various restrictions on personal appearance lifestyle etc were condemned on the basis of worldliness yet later such restrictions were simply forgotten Was the earlier church too rigid Are we seeing this scenario being replayed in instances such as those of congregations recently formed in Germany by emigrants from Russia Again I believe that the stature and experience of the author could have provided incisive analysis Elsewhere Toews has noted significant shifts in cultural accommodation I would have liked Toews to explain more fully why he feels Pietism and the Alliance Movement stimulated nationalism and military accommodation The Dutch and German Mennonites didn t seem to need such a stimulus when they surrendered their peace position Or was the Selbstschutz self defense in significant measure an outgrowth of self preservation interests on the part of estate owners Is it coincidental that these estate owners were also often the sponsors of Bible conferences Toews deserves to be congratulated for having addressed the thorny question of rigid legalism that ostensibly drew its inspiration from spiritual concern e g pp 75ff In view of his own broad range of experience and observation it would have been most instructive if he had provided not only a narrative account but also incisive examination of the purposes of these restrictive policies and the reasons for their subsequent relaxation then eventual rejection Curiously subsequent accommodations were often justified by changing interpretations of biblical passages Were our forebears wrong in demanding external conformity to standards later dismissed as irrelevant To justify rigidity on the basis of resisting worldliness is not convincing since presumably our surrounding culture is no less worldly today than it was half a century ago Is it too much to ask that we should sometimes admit that positions we once championed indeed defended on biblical grounds were wrong that too often we have used Scripture to control the church to protect culture power and authority 124 ABOUT LEADERSHIP One of the more important aspects of MBC life that Toews examines is that of leadership in the church He notes that the advent of the pastor as CEO p 227 has robbed the congregation of the use of many of its spiritual resources His wide experience and perceptive observation allow him to express some very sobering concerns I suspect many pastors would have welcomed a prescription for reform and renewal No doubt Toews is right when he speaks of the individualism that undermines the covenant community Members assert their right to individual freedom from community direction congregations express the same independence vis à vis the conference Toews calls the reader to reflect on what may well be one of the church s most pressing and divisive dilemmas At the same time Toews notes that sometimes as in the discussion of the mode of baptism extensive dialogue and significant congregational involvement can help to bring resolution Toews

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