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  • Direction: The Evangelical Church and Social Change: Toward a Broader Perspective
    Christian faith and sustained by the living Spirit of Christ Reginald White includes many such instances in his impressive survey of the historical development of Christian ethics Christian Ethics The Historical Development He pauses to indicate along the way how or why the Christian Church and its prophetic leaders arrived at certain doctrinal and ethical views and what they learned or failed to learn at given junctures in history from earlier teaching or practice He describes how the early church appealed to both the Old Testament and to nature or at least to natural condition in dealing with the issues of economics and justice and charity 66 He discusses both the achievements and failures of the great Protestant reformers And he shows that Pietists overcame the temptation of withdrawal from the world to initiate far reaching social reforms White also points to the lessons which contemporary evangelicals can learn from the remarkable achievements and sometimes failures of our spiritual forebears Their wisdom can illuminate our own search for ways to cope with specific crises and changes 4 While we seek answers to specific ethical problems and issues we must honestly recognize that the interpretation of individual texts of Scripture is always a more open and variable matter than the Biblical canon itself This can easily be misunderstood even stoutly resisted by evangelicals who fear that to tolerate variations in the interpretation and application of Biblical texts which support traditional positions is to question and undermine the very authority of the Scriptures themselves But to recognize hermeneutical difficulties in the process of interpreting given texts is not necessarily a sign of unbelief As the 1983 Wheaton Statement already referred to as Consultation says a local church always lives on the edge of compromise with its context Romans 12 3 18 and is prone to view and apply Biblical texts in ways which are excessively influenced by its own inherited traditions or by its own social expectations and aspirations John H Yoder is surely on the right track when he asserts In short there are genuinely difficult exegetical issues which cannot be glossed over by saying that if we both love the Lord and believe the Scriptures they will become unimportant There are hard ecumenical issues laid upon us by our separate historical identities There are perplexing apologetic issues laid upon us by our differing responses to the challenges of unbelief Pietistic anti intellectualism and primitive forms of rationalism which both deny any real complexity to being faithful must be overcome in the discovery that the theological task in ethics is both a genuine necessity and raises tough problems 1985 28 31 White s reiterated contention in Christian Ethics is a valid one one wholesome outcome of the Christian Church s 67 continuing struggle with the meaning and import of certain Biblical texts has been a more flexible conception of revelation and inspiration a conception which recognizes the possibility of some variation and some progression in the understanding and application of Biblical

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/16/2/evangelical-church-and-social-change.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Witnesses of a Third Way: A Fresh Look at Evangelism
    the content and context of the Third Way a term used to describe the alternative which Anabaptism represents Although the term Third Way is not defined with clarity it is described amply in the introduction as the historic Anabaptist demand for commitment to Jesus Christ in radical biblicism and discipleship According to most church historians the people of God known as the Anabaptists were originally effective and dynamic communicators of the gospel as they went about calling people to commitment to the Lord and to His church as communities of believers It is most appropriate that we unitedly give time energy and attention to this theme in an era when we apparently suffer from a dearth of radical discipleship within our tradition Since the material is written by representatives of the seven Anabaptist denominations and one Baptist a fraternal guest it is understandable that diversity in style content and approach would appear Hence the book represents a chapter to chapter resource rather than a composite which brings together any conclusion or summary Without question however the conference s theme and message is carried out in the presentations 72 The Mennonite Brethren will be pleased to note that they are represented in each of the two sections David Ewert gives a timeless biblical statement based upon a textual treatment of a Pauline letter Henry Schmidt calls us to accountability in the urban scene in a very practical way with keen insight based on current data Then the book concludes with an illustration of churches who are experiencing the blessing of church growth and God s favor The last one listed is a Mennonite Brethren church namely Laurel Glen Bible Church of Bakersfield California which Ed Boschman pastors Readers should be aware that some of the content of the presentations has been

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/16/2/witnesses-of-third-way-fresh-look-at.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: The Power of the Lamb
    10 pages each and is written in a style that is readable by lay people The book includes an appendix of Mennonite Brethren statements on war and peace in North America since 1902 The chapters bring together biblical historical and theological reflections John Toews writes three chapters on the New Testament basis of peacemaking and Elmer Martens two on the Old Testament John Fast s chapter surveys the various positions on war and peace throughout church history Mervin Dick has two chapters on the Anabaptists while Henry Schmidt surveys Mennonite Brethren history Howard Loewen engages the just war position in two chapters And Wesley Prieb concludes with a creative essay which uses the image of the power of the lamb to contrast with tiger power The biblical chapters rightly view the teaching on peace not as something optional in a Christian understanding but as central to the Christian life and mission in the world The chapters on the Old Testament creatively explore the central role of the peace theme in what is often assumed to be a more militarist document The chapters on just war appropriately criticize the theory but do not adequately recognize the positive role of just war

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/16/2/power-of-lamb.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: God's New Envoys
    his witness to the Japanese people seriously Dr Yamamori has substantial training in Bible Theology as well as a doctorate in Sociology of Religion and has served as a minister He brings a full orbed biblical view to the proclamation development issue by saying The battle over evangelism versus social action in the Church s mission is both wasteful and unnecessary Even today traditional missionary methods can be applied only to a shrinking minority of the world s unevangelized peoples To realistically address this situation Dr Yamamori is calling for a new force of 100 000 envoys who must find their own employment and point of contact in these closed countries Because many countries more or less closed to traditional missionary work are developing nations they need a great variety of professional and semi professional skills for which envoys can train and find ready employment These 75 envoys through a positive lifestyle and in a very discreet manner call subtle yet powerful attention to their faith As social contacts open up and questions are asked they share their faith in complete dependence confidence and patience trusting the Holy Spirit to produce spiritual fruit If as is hoped a fellowship of believers develops the envoys seek to develop leadership within that group so as to make it as indigenous as possible from the very beginning Full cognizance must be taken of the potential for insecurity hardship and perhaps even persecution This calls for courage deep commitment to Christ and His mission and where indicated a call to celibate service A special kind of resilience vitality sensitivity and training will be required Besides excellent chapters on the mandate selection training and strategy of God s New Envoys a very helpful chapter on the growing unfinished task uses charts and graphs to show

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/16/2/gods-new-envoys.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Three Mennonite Poets
    of the three writers anthologized here is worthy of respect as a poet Surely none of them is eager to be read only because he or she is Mennonite any more than Wole Soyinka wants to be read because he s black or Philip Roth because he s Jewish The collection in fact raises the larger question of what distinctives characterize a Mennonite poet or a Mennonite novelist composer painter or sculptor Is it an orientation towards peace An interest in Anabaptist history A unique world view Janzen and Waltner Toews both relate to the German Russian ethnicity of many North American Mennonites Janzen addresses one poem to Conrad Grebel but the heart of her poetry is more surely with Reimers and Kroegers and Saskatchewan than with doctrinal ideals Waltner Toews practices more name dropping moving past Brauda Friesen and Eric Reimer to zwieback borscht and platz Janzen and Waltner Toews both reveal a loving respect for the past especially as it unfolds in personal and family history Both recreate genuine emotion never slipping into sentimentality or soft nostalgia The constant awareness of life s pain its bitter edge prevents even deeply emotional passages from becoming maudlin North American Mennonites may appreciate these poets and Yaguchi as well but will Japanese Mennonites digest the Low German cuisine served up by this volume Is this a book for African or Indian Mennonites too We re told that Yaguchi is a Mennonite pastor and several of his poems allude to pacifism but it is never apparent in the poems themselves that Yaguchi is being Mennonite He is much more clearly being an artist sometimes reflecting the traditionally expected Japanese gift for compression other times sounding vaguely imitative of E E Cummings or William Carlos Williams Some of his blatant sexual imagery may

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/16/2/three-mennonite-poets.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Where We Stand: An Index to Statements by Mennonite and Brethren in Christ in Canada, 1787-1982
    questions of faith and action Conference reports and minutes are filled with discussions and resolutions concerning matters such as military service and nonresistance clothing and dress amusements and relief work to name but a few of the relevant issues We have not always agreed on these things but we have debated them vigorously and at length To this point it has been difficult to locate and document these statements Few persons have the time to search page by page through countless yearbooks and minutes in order to find the various positions on any given social issue Happily the publication of Bert Friesen s Where We Stand has made this task infinitely easier It indexes Canadian Mennonite and Brethren in Christ statements on peace and social concerns both by topic and conference Accompanying the index are three microfilm reels containing all of the statements listed in the index further simplifying the researcher s task This is a valuable and important work and should be 78 purchased by all libraries interested in Mennonite history It is a worthy companion to its United States counterpart Mennonite Statements on Peace and Social Concerns 1900 1978 edited by Urbane Peachey Akron Mennonite Central Committee U

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/16/2/where-we-stand-index-to-statements-by.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Historical Endnotes
    Mennonite Brethren congregations in Russia The correspondence is composed mainly of communication between the Friesens and the American Baptist Missionary Union the organization with whom the Friesens were working Beginning in 1889 and ending in 1916 these letters were located and copies supplied by the American Baptist Historical Society Valley Forge Pennsylvania FRENCH CONGREGATIONAL RECORDS MICROFILMED The records of the Quebec Mennonite Brethren Conference the Institute Biblique Laval and three Quebec congregations were recently collected by the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies in Canada Since the congregational holdings in Quebec are quite extensive another trip to that province will be required before all congregational records are gathered Microfilm copies of these records will be housed in Fresno Winnipeg and at the Institute Biblique Laval in Montreal HISTORY OF CANADIAN PACIFISM NOW COMPLETED A new book on pacifism in Canada entitled Witness Against War Pacifism in Canada 1900 1945 compares the responses of various individuals activist groups and religious groups to war Seen within the broad Canadian mosaic Mennonites are viewed as separational pacifists urging withdrawal from the world rather than attempting to transform the world Written by Thomas P Socknat and published by the University of Toronto Press the author

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/16/2/historical-endnotes.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: From the Editors: Mission and Creative Worship
    in particular The lead article by Victor Adrian opens the debate and charts the present directions He presses home the priority of evangelism in the mission enterprise Peter Kroeker a Consultant on Development to the M B mission board encourages a broad missions vision while keeping Christ central Hans Kasdorf argues that historically M B mission rhetoric and performance have been at odds with one another precisely because we have conceptualized mission in the language of priority He challenges that notion and offers an alternative way of thinking and speaking about the Church s task Missionary statesman Paul Hiebert explores world trends which mission theology and policy will need to address if they are to be current in the last decade of this century Juan Martinez pictures the shape of mission to the ethnic community with which he is so well acquainted He explodes many of the myths which reflect confused thinking and traditional practice in mission to Hispanics in the United States And Nzash U Lumeya helps us conceptualize the need for indigenization of the Gospel by introducing us to some of the problems and misperceptions created by importing Western agenda and interpretations into other mission contexts Esther Wiens

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/16/1/editorial.html (2016-02-16)
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