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  • Direction: Christians in Andra Pradesh: The Mennonites of Mahbubnagar
    as church membership the role of women divorce peace politics and music Don Loewen in his Experience and Action at Curitiba 88 provides an overview of the Curitiba event the emotion the shift in focus and the new commitment By contrast Paul Wiebe a direct descendant of some of the first American MB Missionaries to India who grew up in Mahbubnagar in South India examines the background development and social features of the India MB Church from a sociological perspective He demonstrates how North American MBs representing one civilization impinged on another Hinduism in the area east and south of Hyderabad City Wiebe raises a key question Could the new wine from MB wineskins burst the old social boundaries among the Telegus or did the compartmentalizing tendencies of Indian civilization retain their strengths despite all To answer that question he had to ask Who responded and who were recruited as members and leaders Clearly it was not the caste people Brahmans and the like who responded The vast majority of respondents to the gospel and its accompanying educational and medical ministries came from the Madiga and Mala divisions Both of these ranked lowest in the social scale considered untouchables in 117 pre independence days They had been consigned to the outskirts of caste villages and were employed as leather workers but were detested as carrion eaters What has complicated social life within the large Christian community which developed in nine principal stations such as Mahbubnagar is the discovery that even as Christians Madigas and Malas remain distinct They have not intermarried or easily intermingled and have competed for positions of power and control of property since indigenization came into force in the 1970s This development has completely altered the pattern established by the missionaries Whereas the missionaries intended that pastors

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/20/1/christians-in-andra-pradesh-mennonites.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Committed to World Mission: A Focus on International Strategy
    such as church membership the role of women divorce peace politics and music Don Loewen in his Experience and Action at Curitiba 88 provides an overview of the Curitiba event the emotion the shift in focus and the new commitment By contrast Paul Wiebe a direct descendant of some of the first American MB Missionaries to India who grew up in Mahbubnagar in South India examines the background development and social features of the India MB Church from a sociological perspective He demonstrates how North American MBs representing one civilization impinged on another Hinduism in the area east and south of Hyderabad City Wiebe raises a key question Could the new wine from MB wineskins burst the old social boundaries among the Telegus or did the compartmentalizing tendencies of Indian civilization retain their strengths despite all To answer that question he had to ask Who responded and who were recruited as members and leaders Clearly it was not the caste people Brahmans and the like who responded The vast majority of respondents to the gospel and its accompanying educational and medical ministries came from the Madiga and Mala divisions Both of these ranked lowest in the social scale considered untouchables in 117 pre independence days They had been consigned to the outskirts of caste villages and were employed as leather workers but were detested as carrion eaters What has complicated social life within the large Christian community which developed in nine principal stations such as Mahbubnagar is the discovery that even as Christians Madigas and Malas remain distinct They have not intermarried or easily intermingled and have competed for positions of power and control of property since indigenization came into force in the 1970s This development has completely altered the pattern established by the missionaries Whereas the missionaries intended that

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/20/1/committed-to-world-mission-focus-on.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Gustav Warneck's missiologisches Erbe
    relevance in today s world mission context The subtitle of the book reads A Biographical Historical Investigation and was originally written as a doctoral dissertation in 1976 In this book Kasdorf goes beyond an historical investigation He practically unravels the whole spectrum of missiological theological thinking of the world in the time of Warneck He presents a short overview of selected writings by Warneck hundreds of books booklets and articles then surveys the thinking of Warneck s predecessors and also his contemporaries even beyond the European continent into the Anglo Saxon world and finally also the thinking of Warneck s closest co workers six of them one his own son Warneck s missiology according to Kasdorf is based on a sound interpretation of the Bible both Old and New Testament with an emphasis on the church s need for mission The character of God is mission and the church is God s instrument for his mission in this world The missions of the church come only out of the mission of God p 211 Since Warneck was Lutheran he belonged to a state church but he was raised in the spirit of pietism However in 119 Kasdorf s interpretation as I read him Warneck comes very close to the biblical Anabaptist view and practice of mission His strong emphasis that mission is the work of the believers church and not that of a state church as the sending agency is reminiscent of the mission and church concept of the Anabaptists in the 16th century p 226 Could it be that the author put his own deep Anabaptist Mennonite convictions into the writings and thoughts of Warneck Kasdorf cites the following basic concepts of Warneck s missiology Christ is the only salvation for all humanity salvation is only through the grace

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  • Direction: None But Saints: The Transformation of Mennonite Life in Russia, 1789-1889
    own history of the Russian experience have usually written from what might be labeled a triumphalist perspective The Mennonite colonies which were established in the Ukraine were seen as models for the rest of society to emulate Mennonites were a hard working people who sought to retain their special religious privileges such as exemption from military service Although religious life was often not what it should have been new movements such as the Brethren brought religious vitality and essentially the Mennonite commonwealth emerged and developed with its integrity intact Urry an outsider challenges the traditional picture although perhaps not as radically as is suggested by David G Rempel in the Foreword Urry seldom challenges other interpretations directly and is fairly cautious in his conclusions But he does succeed in placing the Mennonite experience into the larger context of Russian and European social economic and political transformation Mennonites he states provide a special view of the larger transformation of European society 23 Nevertheless Urry does not argue that Mennonite transformation was similar to the transformation of other European societies Rather Mennonites maintained a distinctive identity as a commonwealth while permitting much variation within and while adapting to forces of change The book is about a people whose faith formed the primary basis for self definition And yet the nature of their religious faith is not a prominent theme in the book Economic and social factors are seen as very significant in shaping the community and determining its actions Mennonite life is examined in its very mundane aspects and all is not saintly The extensive documentation reveals tremendous depth and breadth of research even though Urry laments his lack of knowledge of the Russian language Despite this however 121 many Russian sources are cited Urry regards his work as only the beginning

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/20/1/none-but-saints-transformation-of.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Vision, Doctrine, War: Mennonite Identity and Organization in America, 1890-1930
    the often forgotten early North American Mennonite women ministers echo the emerging broader scholarship of authors like Janette Hassey and Tony 122 Campolo That fact suggests that the phenomenon of women ministers is much older than commonly believed Readers acquainted with current Mennonite Brethren reluctance to engage in civil disobedience may also be surprised at the account of World War I Krimmer Mennonite Brethren draft resistance The volume is notable for its fairness in explaining the significant issues represented by seemingly petty controversies such as a visit to the Chicago stockyards the adoption of Sunday schools or the use of pulpits Some may take offense however at the author s description of a bishop s statement supporting conservative dress as embarrassingly hysterical Noteworthy is the sympathetic attention given to those who have left the Mennonite fold and are making significant contributions to the larger society Juhnke challenges the popular assumption that conservatives lack vitality and influence He notes how they provide disenchanted members for more progressive groups He also questions conventional views that progressives are younger that wealth erodes conservative ideals and that schism lowers membership rolls For example he explains that independent mission outreach though often short lived invigorated

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/20/1/vision-doctrine-war-mennonite-identity.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Mennonites in Winnipeg
    which Mennonites moved Intrigued with patterns of settlement Driedger traces the development of North Kildonan where many Mennonites eventually were to settle from a small village on the outskirts of Winnipeg into a Rurban settlement within the borders of the city Movement outward from North Kildonan as well as the transformation of this village into a typical urban centre is described Along with urbanization Driedger notes how quickly the Mennonites were to acculturate on some levels For example on the economic front Driedger notes that the barriers of cultural differences were soon scaled as Mennonites became involved in a variety of commercial activity Some of their cottage industries grew rapidly to become leading industries in Canada However he never adequately addresses the fact that within this acculturation a separateness from the world was still maintained Language and the tightly bounded congregational communities still remained as barriers to mass acculturation This duality existed for a considerable period of time the issue is not adequately addressed Replete with numerous photographs maps and charts the booklet is written in a clear and relatively jargon less style However given its intended audience one wonders whether a glossary identifying the various church groups together with

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/20/1/mennonites-in-winnipeg.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Historical Endnotes
    other way will God be with you We will pray for you I believe the dear Lord will give you the necessary strength for this for you cannot find peace in any other way I have just received a document from Hamburg whose contents indicate the Russian government is not against the Baptists Brother Oneken has travelled to St Petersburg in order to represent before the Czar his brethren who live in Russia and they have the highest hopes that they will receive freedom in Russia and Poland This will surely also benefit us as we already have about a thousand 129 members in Russia and Poland The Lord willing we will soon have a closer association with the Baptists which I see as absolutely necessary According to the document a school for missions has been opened in Hamburg with 24 brethren enrolled in its courses Brethren are accepted there whom the Lord has endowed with gifts to bear witness for him They possess the full confidence of their congregations and have shown themselves to be diligent in the furthering of the kingdom of God They probably have an open mind and are totally committed to the Lord and serve him willingly They request that if we have such brethren we recommend them to them They will give us free tuition lodging and board The program of studies consists of religion German English composition mathematics literature geometry church history geography sermon outlining etc The students would remain there from six months to a year Then they would be sent out in all directions wherever there is a need Most students have their assignments already They are also asking for financial support from here if it is possible Maintaining the school costs a great deal of money per student Despite great thriftiness it comes to three Taler per week Dear brethren I would like to write to the New Danzig Brethren but do not know whom to approach or who would also respond If you can please direct this letter to them Abraham Unger As you can see from the preceeding letter Brother Unger has corresponded with the brethren in Hamburg Consequently they were familiar with our situation and were aware that there was no organized congregation here In 1866 Abraham Unger made a proposal to several brethren to write to Hamburg to ask for a teacher who would assist us in organizing a congregation The following eight brethren gave their signature for this Abraham Unger Kornelius Unger Heinrich Epp Kornelius Fast Johann Neufeld Johann Loewen and Hermann Borm These brethren wished that the congregation be placed on an organized footing which thus far had not been achieved We sent the request to Hamburg immediately and in the spring of 1866 we received word from them The Hamburg 130 congregation already had a mission in Turkey Brother August Liebig had been assigned to travel there and he would also come to see us that spring What did he find Disruption and strife God is a God of order and that we did not have On Sunday he preached an earnest and invitational sermon and a membership meeting was arranged to follow it Brother Liebig was named chairman He requested the secretary to keep minutes which was entirely new to us The chairman gave us good instruction by asking us what would be the use of holding a business meeting if no report was kept To many brethren this made good sense and we proceeded accordingly The brethren who were the ablest speakers were the most vocal Before one had concluded the next had already started and everyone remained seated The chairman interrupted with the following comment Brethren that is not the way with God s children God is a God of order Each person who has something to say must rise from his seat and address the congregation one after the other Everyone may speak at most three times on one topic thus giving the other brethren a chance to speak This allows the thoughts of the whole congregation to be heard This was enlightening to us The brethren who wanted to talk all the time and have their opinions prevail did not like this suggestion Brother Liebig s work among us was not for long He had been here barely two weeks when the authorities became aware he was uniting the scattered children of God The report from Chortitza said he was to be taken into custody and he was arrested by the Chortitza district court He was taken to the government center of Jekaterinoslav then to Odessa and then sent over the border Once again we were helpless although we had been greatly blessed through him But the Lord was not lacking in means Through his wondrous leading Brother Karl Benzin and family moved into our midst in the spring of 1868 from the Dirschau congregation in Germany He was familiar with church structure for he had been active as a deacon in his congregation He was able to give us substantial help at a most crucial time At a meeting in Einlage on 10 July 1868 where Brother Benzin was named chairman the following resolutions were made Our congregation should be named Einlage Congregation Besides Einlage there are congregations at Markusland 131 Chernoglas and others The serving members of the congregation such as elders teachers and deacons all of whom must be elected were named The duties of the elder were baptism communion weddings to comfort and admonish to keep the books of the congregation and to carry out whatever written work or correspondence was necessary For this he would require a church seal stamp Thus one thing after another was discussed and concluded but not all is enumerated here Another church membership meeting was called on 14 July with Karl Benzin as chairman once again He opened the meeting by asking if everyone was still in agreement with the resolutions of the previous meeting The yes was indicated by a show of hands Karl Benzin moved that the congregation should proceed to the election of an elder that afternoon This was unanimously accepted as indicated by a show of hands At two o clock the afternoon meeting began After a hymn and a prayer the chairman asked if the election should be determined by majority vote This was also unanimously accepted Karl Benzin and the elderly Brother Wieler went into the next room and received the votes According to majority count the election was won by Abraham Unger who received 21 votes Aron Lepp had 9 Peter Friesen had 5 and the others had fewer votes The congregation now had an elder and teachers Matters should have gone according to the scriptures but because different interpretations still persisted among the members God s Word was often individually and variously understood The situation was still not smooth leaving much to be desired But the Lord who began this also knew how to continue it In 1869 Brother Oncken came from Hamburg to Russia to visit his brethren with whom he had been deeply involved in Old Danzig On this occasion he wanted to help us and to unify the brethren who were preaching the Word Since Brother Lepp relinquished his temporary position during the presence of Brother Oneken the congregation was obliged to elect a teacher once more Brother Lepp was elected again On October 1869 a service was held at the home of Abraham Unger in Einlage Here Brother Oneken ordained Abraham Unger as elder and Aron Lepp Karl Benzin and two other brethren as deacons Unfortunately Brother Oneken could 132 remain with us for only 10 days Some brethren would have liked him to continue in our midst for a longer time but because winter was near and the return journey was being made by water and stagecoach without any traveling companions he was in a hurry The congregation was on its own and worked as hard as it could In 1870 the elder of the congregation was given the assignment to go to Old Danzig to make the Macedonian call From time to time we had fellowship with them and they were happy to see Abraham Unger in their midst in fact they were soon one in heart and soul On the second day of Pentecost the congregation decided to hold a baptism Brother Unger was asked to officiate He stepped into the water and baptised 53 souls including two Russians The Russian girl had been brought up in a German home A Russian brother had hurried into the water saying Who will baptize me if you will not do it A brother who had compassion for him said Go into the water No sooner said than done He threw off his tschumarka and hurried to the officiating minister Brother Unger suddenly saw a Russian in front of him and was not quite sure what he should do That he was a believing brother he knew but he was also a member of the Orthodox Church Secondly there were many Russian spectators present Abraham Unger put his faith in God s hands and baptized the Russian Immediately following the baptism the brethren went home In the event that they would be imprisoned they wanted to be with their families for a little while God moves in mysterious ways Although the Odessa Zeitung reported that Abraham Unger had baptized two Russians there was no further development To God be the glory for ever Amen That was the beginning of the Russian Baptist or the Baptist Congregation in the province of Jekaterinoslav Eight years ago Gerhard Wielder had baptised a Russian from Volovkaia who was persecuted and fled to Turkey Later he was excommunicated and nothing is known about the fruit of his activity There were several points of view in our congregation One point of division was that Brother Oneken was a Baptist and that those baptized by him were likewise Baptists Therefore our leader teachers and deacons must be Baptists This 133 thought filled many minds with concern The question of military service and the fact that we had Holy Communion with the Baptists was also discussed A further point discussed was tobacco smoking The Baptists do not forbid it as adamantly as we do occasionally Brother Oneken smoked when he was with us A few brethren emulated him and this did not help the matter of peace All this led many brethren to desire that we should separate completely from the Baptists Brother Lepp supported this wish Several brethren feared that by our association with the Baptists we would lose our Mennonite privileges Brother Unger on the other hand believed we could go hand in hand with them without jeopardizing our privileges This led to debates on military service which the Baptists accept To some military service was wrong others thought that in the time of need they would submit to government authority in this matter also The debate produced arguments both for and against In the meantime Brother Liebig who had come from Turkey to visit us suggested we could be two separate congregations while still maintaining a spiritual fellowship and sharing in Holy Communion This was agreeable to Aron Lepp and the Brethren and so it was concluded This was a big step towards peace in the congregation For this we thank God and Brother Liebig Those who did not have the Mennonite privileges were counted as Baptists The congregation found smoking unacceptable and Brother Lepp felt excommunication would be necessary Brother Unger felt excommunication was too harsh Brother Lepp persisted in his conviction It was resolved to look upon the 10 to 12 Brethren who smoked as no longer members of the congregation This was distressful for the congregation as they were gifted and highly respected men This created an outcry among the outsiders Thus the congregation had one battle after the other One battle had hardly been settled when the next one appeared before the door The Brethren who were preaching the Word disagreed so strongly in their doctrine that it appeared the congregation might be forced to separate A members meeting was called on 6 January 1871 in order to decide what was to be done Aron Lepp suggested 134 Brother Liebig now serving a Baptist congregation in Dobrudscha Romania be asked to visit us The members agreed to this The Lord who guides the hearts of people like a brook made Brother Liebig willing to visit us once more In the meantime the Baptists had received official status between 1867 and 1871 Brother Liebig together with wife and child arrived in Andreasfeld in June of 1871 They lived in a small house on Peter Froese s property He found the congregation here in a lamentable state some held on to this interpretation others held on to that one Much work had to be done to calm and unify the spirits He spoke little but was in private communion with the Lord through prayer asking Him to soften the hearts of the Brethren He was careful to avoid partisanship Soon we saw that the Lord was with him and that he would be successful in uniting the parties The Lord gave him wisdom The group which stood closest to him he chastised the most showing no favoritism He made many improvements He introduced the time of prayer preceeding the morning worship service the church membership meeting and recording the minutes at these meetings He also thought a mission school would be a good thing Brother Lepp later participated in a mission school in Odessa August Liebig also started a Sunday School and did many other good things not included in this account The year passed too quickly and Brother Liebig had to return to his field work in Turkey Romania was part of Turkey at that time As far as the general feeling of the teachers and congregation was concerned Brother Liebig had done much good among them and they were on their way to unification The itinerant preachers ministry had been organized so that everyone knew when and where he was to serve Baptist preachers were also active in the itinerant ministry here In 1872 Eduard Leppky came from Prussia and in 1873 Wilhelm Schulz came from Germany Brother Schulz was sent into the Don River area Since he was a gifted speaker and would appear freely at open gatherings the local pastors became aware of him and asked him who had granted him permission to speak He would answer that the king of kings had given him permission to go into all the world and to preach the gospel This aroused the pastors so much that they placed an accusation against him with the government He 135 was arrested and brought to Andreasfeld under guard and then sent over the border In 1875 his field of service was given to Eduard Leppky In the meantime Brother Leppky had come to a new conviction He had accepted the Mennonite confession of faith and was now teaching it in the area He was well received and spoke with much success As it so often has happened in the past Satan was able to mislead a soul Leppky was held in too high esteem Everything he said was accepted as heaven sent God permitted him to fall into an erroneous doctrine He began to teach that only those who do not take the sword shall be saved According to this only Mennonites could then be saved With this he came into conflict with the whole brotherhood In spite of this he continued to speak here as well as in the Molotschna being zealous to undo all that August Liebig had done In addition to this after a 14 year ministry as elder Abraham Unger resigned his position in 1876 due to his depressing economic situation The congregation elected Aron Lepp to this position Since Brother Leppky had already done the groundwork Brother Lepp believed that the time was right to separate from the Baptists in the celebration of communion A church membership meeting was held to discuss Brother Leppky s viewpoint But man s ways are not necessarily God s ways The separation did not take place and everything remained as it had been Eduard Leppky now wrote highly derogatory letters about the church leadership Division among the membership was aroused once more Negative aspects about the Baptists were exposed and emphasized Once Brother Liebig was not permitted to participate in communion because he was a Baptist Thereupon he modestly refrained from attending The majority were on Eduard Leppky s side and Aron Lepp supported this Abraham Unger and several brethren were of a different opinion As the time for the Rueckenau Molotschna General Conference of 1877 drew near the discussion on this point was shelved until the time when the point could be decided The time came and the Conference was well attended One of the most important items was the discussion of Leppky s viewpoint Opinions were expressed in an orderly way one after the other No final consensus could be reached During the discussion several brethren silently prayed Lord 136 you show us the way At this point Johann Siemens rose from his seat with the question Would the brotherhood agree to put off a decision for a year to see if the Lord would have something to say on this matter This was accepted Some brethren expressed the hope privately that this point would not be raised again that it would rest until the day of resurrection It was never discussed at a subsequent conference At the membership meeting of 27 December 1879 the most important item on the agenda concerned the marriage of our children not yet members of any church but who wished to be married The question to be resolved by the brethren was What do we do in this situation Do we

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  • Direction: From the Editors: Working Together in the Church
    The possibility of working together rests in the new creation of persons now directed by the Holy Spirit the practice of working together requires attention to polity and skill in management of conflict Working together is often tested in decision making Dalton Reimer takes a close look at the report of the Jerusalem Council Acts 15 and uncovers there the importance of narrative in the decision making process Since leadership is a key factor for a church working together Abe Dueck reviews leadership patterns Leadership practices are chronicled from another century and from another continent in a newly translated document by Ken Reddig in the section Historical Endnotes As for the contemporary scene several leaders from several continents identify current issues in church polity The more a church has moved into a pastoral system of polity the more deliberate must be the attempt to bridge the gap between clergy and laity Pastor Vern Heidebrecht offers some thoughts on affirming laity Karen Heidebrecht Thiessen explores three narratives about Jesus and women in order to assist in the current discussion about women in ministry Since lapses in collaborative working do occur Marlin Thomas s insights on church conflict are apropos Whether working

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/19/2/editorial.html (2016-02-16)
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