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  • Direction: Hubmaier's Concord of Predestination with Free Will
    although normally elected based on God s foreknowledge of their future faith do not predestine themselves since it is God who chose to create a world in which he foreknew that the elect by their own freedom would choose eternal life rather than no world at all or although not an option explored by Hubmaier a different world where he foreknew that the same persons would freely choose damnation 36 Thus we could summarize these implications of Hubmaier s view by affirming that it is up to God whether persons find themselves in a world in which they are predestined but it is typically up to persons whether they are predestined in the world in which they find themselves 37 Hence Hubmaier maintains that election and God s universal salvific will are entirely compatible Those whom God has elected to salvation and selected by his sovereign choice concerns the decision of God but it is certain and guaranteed that the crucified Christ wants all persons to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth 38 In this proposed rapprochement Hubmaier asserts that divine grace is ultimately responsible for the salvation of the elect while the reprobate bear full accountability for their condemnation and thus have only themselves to blame Whoever is not persuaded by this answer namely that the mercy of God is the cause of our salvation and our malice to blame for our damnation must ask God himself 39 Assessing the plausibility of this sovereignty freedom synthesis it seems that Hubmaier fashions the philosophical building blocks necessary for assembling a sophisticated and logically coherent solution to the perennial theological quandary between predestination and human freedom While Hubmaier does not himself give any formal sequential arrangement of these blocks but he does informally as we shall see in the next section the resulting theological edifice after so doing possesses in my judgment great explanatory power in accounting for both sets of biblical texts respectively affirming God s sovereign predestination and genuine human freedom 40 We shall now proceed to two provocative corollaries which follow from Hubmaier s sovereignty freedom synthesis one explicitly drawn by the reformer and the other implicit yet furnishing great insight into his precise placement within the philosophico historical trajectory of reflection on divine sovereignty HUBMAIER ON GOD S JUST HARDENING OF EVILDOERS As an application of his synthesis between grace and free will Hubmaier affirming the literal truth of the scriptural claim that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh Exod 7 13 Rom 9 17 attempts to explain precisely how God could perform such hardening without devolving into the author of evil 41 While not tracing the cognitive events as they transpire in the scientia Dei with philosophical formality or exactitude Hubmaier lists the temporal consequences of each divine cognitive event as it pertains to Pharaoh in exactly the same order as suggested by our formal arrangement of these events in logical sequence In our arrangement God would first perceive in his foreknowledge of future contingents that in spite of his voluntas ordinata or revealed moral will that Pharaoh never sin Pharaoh would at the temporal moments described in Exodus irrevocably reject the lordship of God as evidenced by his decision to enslave the Israelites and commit infanticide against their children Similarly Hubmaier explains that before Pharaoh was hardened by God he had first already abandoned God which rejection was borne out by the fact that Pharaoh burdened the Israelites with unbearable labor and caused their children to be drowned contrary both to natural law and to his own conscience 42 Here Hubmaier s insistence should be noted that in the moral sphere it is always God s desire for humans in every set of circumstances to perform good rather than evil Anyone who claims that God wills sin does not know who God is or what sin is since sinning always means doing or not doing something in violation of God s will 43 In addition God would discern through his counterfactual knowledge that if he according to his voluntas aversiva would in time abandon Pharaoh to his own evil devices starting at the moment when Pharaoh rejected him then Pharaoh would freely harden his own resolve not to release the Israelites from slavery God also foreknew that he could use Pharaoh s wickedness to make both his omnipotence and the riches of his glory known to the Israelites to the Egyptians and subsequently to all Christian believers thus creating good out of evil 44 Consequently God decided in his voluntas aversiva to turn away from Pharaoh in time and to reprobate Pharaoh from all eternity Hubmaier stresses in his exegesis of Romans 9 17 that using Pharaoh in this way was not the reason God created him as Pharaoh was created to freely appropriate God s salvific grace But God given his foreknowledge that Pharaoh would irrevocably reject such grace thought it better to use Pharaoh as an instrument for his good ends before his eternal condemnation rather than condemning him immediately via death Although after Pharaoh s infanticide Exod 1 15ff God could have destroyed Pharaoh from that moment on nevertheless he preserved Pharaoh in the calmness of his disposition as an instrument of wrath so that he might demonstrate through Pharaoh his power for our good even more powerfully at the right time This is why the Scripture says For this reason I raised you up not For this reason I created you that I might display my power in you Rom 9 17 But Pharaoh made himself a vessel of wrath as seen in his infanticide and God allowed him to remain that way and used him as his instrument insofar as he was useful 45 Finally God decreed to create the world wherein Pharaoh s wickedness would transpire Thus for Hubmaier God hardened Pharaoh s heart by actualizing a set of circumstances in which he foreknew which foreknowledge the reformer maintains is infallible that Pharaoh would freely harden his own heart Therefore God can be said to harden Pharaoh since his creation of a world where he would deal with Pharaoh in voluntas aversiva constituted the ultimate yet indirect reason for his hardening Now God is the preeminent agent of the deed itself but not of the blame of the deed which stems from the wickedness of the worker or instrument 46 Transposing Hubmaier s logic into philosophical terms God hardened Pharaoh in sensu composito by choosing to actualize a world in which he infallibly foreknew that Pharaoh if treated according to voluntas aversiva would sin Thus Hubmaier explains We know that Pharaoh acted unjustly and for this reason he was justly abandoned by God and hardened in his sins due to his own guilt In view of this it was not possible for Pharaoh to will and do anything but evil just as if inevitably falling from one vice into another although this impossibility does not come from God but from his own guilt For it is fair and just that God abandon everyone who has already abandoned him first 47 However God did not harden Pharaoh in sensu diviso since Pharaoh after being rejected by God in voluntas aversiva still possessed his libertarian freedom and hence could have freely chosen to heed the request of Moses instead of hardening his heart against the Israelites As Hubmaier points out According to his voluntas ordinata God does not want to harden darken or eternally condemn anyone except those who out of their own wickedness and freedom of the will want to be hardened darkened and eternally condemned so God is not guilty of their hardening Pharaoh out of his own internal evil himself wanted to be hardened and wrong regardless of what anyone said to him yet he thereby spurned the revealed moral truth contrary to his own conscience In this way Pharaoh acted against the words and miracles of Moses 48 Since Pharaoh was the direct cause of his own hardening and since God at no time placed any causal restraints on Pharaoh compelling him to be hardened Hubmaier insists that God cannot legitimately be indicted as the author of evil That which God does not plant he neither does nor effects But it can never be proven that in eternity God planted sin Thus we will not confess that God is a doer or effecter of sin 49 Hubmaier gives the analogy of a lord who delays a captured murderer s execution for the greater good of his subjects to illustrate the point Consider this parable If a lord has a murderer in his dungeon he could justly kill him from that moment on However the lord allows the murderer to remain alive until a crowd of people come together in order to demonstrate his power and justice even more powerfully through the murderer s punishment which serves to the benefit and fear of the lord s subjects who will now restrain themselves from committing similar evil deeds Although the lord raises the murderer up from the dungeon calls him before the court and has him broken on the wheel thereby employing his evil and shameful death as an example to the lord s own people and to others for good the lord is clearly not guilty of the murderer s death This is exactly the same way that God acted with Pharaoh 50 Hubmaier emphasizes that God hardens all other evildoers he chooses to harden in precisely the same manner and for precisely the same reason as Pharaoh 51 Rather than immediately consigning them to eternal damnation God actualizes sets of circumstances in which he foreknows that persons who irrevocably reject him would freely choose to grow more obstinate in their sin upon coming under the judgment of his voluntas aversiva However God only performs such hardening when he also foreknows that he could bring good for his faithful servants out of the further rebellion of these evildoers 52 In this way Hubmaier crafts a provocative and in my judgment logically satisfying solution to the paradox of how an omnibeneficent God hardens the hearts of the wicked HUBMAIER ON DIVINE OMNISCIENCE In the process of delineating his position on election and reprobation and illustrating how God hardens the wicked through rather than against their free choice Hubmaier offers a number of important reflections on divine omniscience appearing in the form of incidental rather than central points to his arguments These reflections are surprising in light of Hubmaier s reluctance to propose any overarching theory of divine omniscience due largely to his antipathy to Scholasticism an antipathy common to many Magisterial and Radical Reformers 53 and what he considers its presumptuous speculations Our desire arising from grand brazenness to unravel and know the causes of divine foreknowledge omnipotence future events and his voluntas absoluta is an attempt to eat the forbidden heavenly fruit analyze the divine hiddenness and become gods ourselves knowing good and evil which is entirely forbidden for us to do 54 Notwithstanding this caveat Hubmaier s reflections do furnish the elemental data from which a full doctrine of divine omniscience can be formulated including both its mode i e how God apprehends his knowledge and logical structure Hubmaier s comments regarding the mode of omniscience occur in the context of his polemics against the view of Luther and Zwingli that God s foreknowledge is grounded in his foreordination i e God knows what will happen because he makes it happen via his divine creative decree and then foresees the result 55 which he believes renders God the author of evil 56 Thus Hubmaier assesses his opponents exegesis of Romans 9 My good friend Eliphaz a satirical comparison of his opponents to Job s erring friend raises so definitively the Scripture on Esau whereby he believes he can prove that since we have originally been predestined from all eternity we are already foreordained to good or evil by God If so then we cannot do other than how and what God has made us do Esau had to sell his birthright for a pot of stew Pharaoh had to pursue the children of Israel Judas had to betray Christ and Pilate had to crucify him But if all things happened from necessity as my friends say and God effected good and evil in us he would no longer have the right to condemn people for their sin he would instead have to condemn himself 57 While refuting this position Hubmaier posited what in philosophical nomenclature is dubbed a conceptualist model of divine omniscience wherein God s knowledge is self contained analogous to the human soul s understanding of innate ideas 58 By contrast the perceptualist model which is implicit to Luther and Zwingli 59 construes prescience on the analogy of sense perception such that God definitively residing outside the universe 60 looks into the four dimensional space time block the events within which he has already predetermined from without and sees what lies from a human vantage point in the future 61 Unlike the perceptualist model Hubmaier insists that scriptural language depicting God s foreseeing the future must be understood figuratively as he does not for this reason have eyes as the anthropomorphites say however the text accommodates itself to speak according to our human ignorance 62 Rather Hubmaier reasons that as an omniscient being God essentially possesses the property of knowing all truths since potential states of affairs exist it follows deductively that God knows all truths about potential states of affairs God s omniscience includes his foreknowledge of all possibilities as seen in the case of Esau and Jacob 63 Hubmaier reinforces this deduction concerning the mode of divine omniscience with a remarkable threefold statement pregnant with theological significance concerning the logical structure of omniscience Indeed it is true that God knows all possibilities truly necessarily and unchangeably from eternity Which one of two opposite possibilities he knows would happen however is still unknown to us U ndoubtedly God knew from eternity that Esau and other people would sin but without causing them to sin 64 HUBMAIER AND LUIS DE MOLINA Here Hubmaier delineates from his concept of omniscience in order an underdeveloped sequence of steps which would fifty years later be expanded almost certainly without knowledge of Hubmaier by Jesuit philosophical theologian Luis de Molina 1535 1600 into the doctrine of scientia media or middle knowledge According to Molina the structure of God s omniscience can be understood as a succession of logical moments not chronological moments as an omniscient being cannot know less or more at one point in time than another 65 First in his scientia naturalis or natural knowledge God knows all possibilia including all necessary truths all the possible individuals and world orders he might create as well as everything that every possible individual could freely do in any set of circumstances in which that individual found itself Indispensable to God s nature this type of knowledge is also called scientia necessaria or necessary knowledge since God could not lack this knowledge and still be God 66 The essence of scientia naturalis is found in Hubmaier s first sentiment which declares that God immutably possesses knowledge of all possibilities and that such knowledge is necessary to him According to Molina the second moment of God s omniscience the name of which doubles in philosophical nomenclature for Molina s doctrine of omniscience as a whole is scientia media or middle knowledge in which God knows all counterfactual truths including that which every possible individual would freely do in every possible set of circumstances as well as all world orders called feasible worlds resulting from logically compatible or compossible combinations of these free decisions 67 To illustrate the distinction between scientia naturalis and scientia media God apprehended in his natural knowledge that Peter if placed in the courtyard of the Sanhedrin could freely affirm or deny Christ but God discerned in his middle knowledge that Peter would freely deny Christ under those circumstances This is not because the circumstances compelled him to deny Christ but simply that God knew which way he would freely choose 68 As we have already seen the notion that God has counterfactual knowledge is implicit to Hubmaier s dialectics of the voluntas Dei and proposed reconciliation between predestination and free will However the second step in Hubmaier s description explicitly affirms that God knows the truth value of all counterfactual propositions including those where it is possible for humans to choose between opposite courses of action Moreover Hubmaier s third step almost precisely anticipates Molina by claiming that God knew Esau and other evildoers would freely sin even though it would be possible for them under the same circumstances to do right and that God s knowledge of such contingents of creaturely freedom exerts no compulsion upon the agents to sin Thus the evidence indicates that Hubmaier subscribed to a primitive form of what Molina would later denominate as scientia media For Molina God who is equipped with his middle knowledge of all feasible worlds worlds consistent with human freedom then chooses to actualize one of these worlds in his divine creative decree Stemming from this decree is Molina s third moment of divine omniscience scientia libera or free knowledge of all past present and future tense truths in the actual world so called because this knowledge is based upon his free decision of which world to create 69 Hence if God had chosen to create a different world then the content of his free knowledge would be different 70 Although Hubmaier does not discuss God s knowledge after his creative decree he only treats omniscience and foreknowledge prior to the creative act 71 his differentiation between the two kinds of role resulting from this decree philosophically referred to as the sensus compositius and the sensus divisius indicates his concurrence with the substance of scientia libera That is to say in his category

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  • Direction: Can Pastors Have a Good Time?
    15 1 5 If someone is going to be upset with my candor I would prefer to look back on the incident as having flowed out of a time when my relationship with Christ was intimate and strong rather than out of a lack of spiritual sensitivity borne of inattention to that relationship In Faith I interpret this to mean first that I must set an example in my personal spiritual life the time spent in prayer Scripture reading and memorization and in other spiritual disciplines I wonder whether Paul also calls me to be an example in the faith I have in God I find inspiration in the example of the father in Mark 9 14 29 He asked Jesus to heal his son Jesus replied that healing required faith of the one who sought the miracle The father s response was to bring his lack of faith to Jesus as well There was enough faith for Jesus to be willing to answer the prayer for healing I don t need to feel inadequate in faith so long as I am taking to Jesus all my questions needs and inadequacies Romans 10 17 says So then faith comes from hearing the message and the message comes through preaching Christ Good News A pastor can feel helpless when confronted with death illness unemployment or injustice Early in my pastoral ministry one of my mentors told me Speak the Word of God into the situation The same mentor advised me to preach the whole counsel of God by expositorily preaching every type of biblical literature in a cycle There are sixty six books in the Bible waiting to be mined for their messages of correction and hope The danger of topical preaching is that of repeating oneself Let the Scripture passage not your personal opinions drive the message As I explore one book of Scripture after another I find great joy in message preparation and presentation In Purity The call to purity clean thoughts Living Bible is critical Moral failure happens in congregations and it happens to pastors This is nothing new It is safe to say that most likely did not intend their lives to take that course How do you plan to avoid that which tripped others up To whom do you go for advice Prov 11 14 12 15 What mentoring and accountability relationships do you maintain Who has the right to question you about your priorities With whom are you being honest about what is happening in your life Who is God s iron keeping you sharp Prov 27 17 To whom are you that iron Curt Swindoll advises the formation of honesty relationships Your honesty group shouldn t include anyone who d be professionally or financially impacted by any mistake you might make T hose in business know they re indebted to their clients their boss their subordinates or even professional and legal counsel 2 For a pastor this advice presumably means accountability relationships outside the

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  • Direction: A Select Bibliography of Ronald J. Sider's Published Work and Additional Vitae
    Skillen 454 79 Grand Rapids Eerdmans 1996 Seeking the Face of Jesus In Godward Personal Stories of Grace ed Ted Koontz ch 21 Herald 1996 Evaluating the Triumph of the Market Where Do We Go from Here In The Jubilee Challenge Utopia or Possibility ed Hans Ucko 112 33 Geneva WCC Publications 1997 Economic Justice A Biblical Paradigm with Stephen Mott In Toward a Just and Caring Society Christian Responses to Poverty in America ed David P Gushee ch 1 Grand Rapids Baker 1999 An Ana Baptist Theological Perspective on Church State Partnership Evaluating Charitable Choice with Heidi Rolland Unruh In Welfare Reform and Faith Based Organizations ed Derek Davis and Barry Hankins 89 138 Waco TX J W Dawson Institute of Church State Studies Baylor University 1999 No Aid to Religion Charitable Choice and the First Amendment with Heidi Rolland Unruh In What s God Got to Do with the American Experiment ed E J Dionne Jr and John J DiIulio Jr ch 18 Washington Brookings Institution 2000 Toward an Evangelical Political Philosophy In Christians and Politics Beyond the Culture Wars An Agenda for Engagement ed David P Gushee ch 6 Grand Rapids Baker 2000 Why Would Anyone Ever Want to Be an Evangelical In The Gospel with Extra Salt Friends of Tony Campolo Celebrate His Passions for Ministry ed Joseph B Modica ch 5 Valley Forge Judson 2000 Naming Sin and Communicating Compassion In What Mennonites Are Thinking 2001 ed Merle and Phyllis Pellman Good Intercourse PA Good 2001 How Should Christians Respond In Strike Terror No More ed Jon L Berquist St Louis Chalice 2002 Evangelism and Social Services with Heidi Rolland Unruh In Christianity and Social Work Readings on the Integration of Christian Faith and Social Work Practice ed Beryl Hugen and T Laine Scales 305 26 Botsford CT NACSW 2002 Articles Troeltsch Revisited Perkins School of Theology Journal 21 1967 68 40 44 Karlstadt and Luther s Doctorate Journal of Theological Studies 22 1971 168 69 Historical Methodology and Alleged Miracles A Reply to Van A Harvey Fides et Historia 2 1970 22 40 Karlstadt s Orlamunde Theology A Theology of Regeneration Mennonite Quarterly Review 45 1971 191 218 352 76 A Case for Easter HIS April 1972 27 31 The Historian the Miraculous and Post Newtonian Man Scottish Journal of Theology 25 1972 309 19 The Ministry of Affluence A Graduated Tithe HIS December 1972 6 8 Spirituality and Social Concern The Other Side January February 1973 8 11 38 41 Allegiance Communal Love Conflict of Duties Interest Zeal Zealot in Baker s Dictionary of Christian Ethics ed Carl F H Henry Baker 1973 Christian Cluster Colleges Christianity Today 18 1974 982 86 The Pauline Conception of the Resurrection Body in 1 Corinthians 15 35 54 New Testament Studies 21 1975 428 39 The Values Oriented Cluster College CASC Newsletter 17 March 1974 13 15 Watching Over One Another in Love The Other Side May June 1975 1Off Evangelism Salvation and Social Justice International Review of Mission 64 1975 251 67 Evangelicals and the WCC Engage Social Action 4 February March 1976 41 45 Where Have All the Liberals Gone The Other Side May June 1976 42 44 Mischief by Statute How We Oppress the Poor Christianity Today 16 July 1976 14 19 A Call for Evangelical Nonviolence Christian Century 15 September 1976 753 57 Evangelism or Social Justice Eliminating the Options Christianity Today 8 October 1976 26 29 Spare the Rod and Spoil the Church Eternity October 1976 18ff The Values Oriented Cluster College A New Model for Christian Higher Education Religion in Life fall 1976 436 48 Corporate Guilt and Institutionalized Racism Action 36 spring 1977 11 12 26 28 Sharing the Wealth The Church as Biblical Model for Public Policy Christian Century 8 15 June 1977 560 66 St Paul s Understanding of the Nature and Significance of the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 1 19 Novum Testamentum 19 1977 1 18 A Biblical Perspective on Stewardship New Catholic World September October 1977 212 20 Is God Really on the Side of the Poor Sojourners October 1977 11 14 The Christian College Beachhead or Bulwark The Other Side August 1978 17 25 Reconciling Our Enemies Sojourners January 1979 14 17 Cautions Against Ecclesiastical Elegance Christianity Today 17 August 1979 15 19 Jesus Resurrection and Radical Discipleship Presbyterian Communiques November December 1979 3 4 12 15 Kreuz und Gewalt Evangelische Mission Jahrbuch 1979 75 94 Christ and Power International Review of Mission January 1980 8 20 Words and Deeds Journal of Theology for Southern Africa Fall l979 31 50 The Awesome Danger of Nuclear War with Richard K Taylor The Other Side January 1982 10 17 Jesus Resurrection and the Search for Peace and Justice Christian Century 3 November 1982 1103 08 Fighting Fire with Water with Richard K Taylor Sojourners April 1983 14 17 International Aggression and Nonmilitary Defense with Richard K Taylor Christian Century 6 13 July 1983 643 47 Let s Get the Church Off the Soapbox Christianity Today 16 March 1984 54 Are We Willing to Die for Peace Gospel Herald 25 December 1984 898 901 Why Me Lord Reluctant Reflections on the Trip to Nicaragua The Other Side May 1985 20 25 An Evangelical Vision for Public Life Transformation July September 1985 1 9 13 14 Green Politics Biblical or Buddhist SCP Newsletter fall 1985 7 11 Returning to Our Roots Evangelical Visitor October 1986 4 9 The Hottest Race Issue in the World with Donald McGavran World Christian September October 1987 19 24 A Plea for Conservative Radicals and Radical Conservatives Christian Century 1 October 1986 834 38 AIDS An Evangelical Perspective Christian Century 6 13 January 1988 11 14 Toward a Biblical Perspective on Equality Steps on the Way Toward Christian Political Engagement Interpretation April 1989 156 69 Uncle Jesse Moody Monthly 10 June 1989 71 73 Babies Bombs and the Bible Abortion Is Not the Only Issue Christianity Today 14 July 1989 28 32

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  • Direction: Viewing New Creations with Anabaptist Eyes: Ethics of Biotechnology
    human genetic therapies respectively while Dr Carol L Cramer gives an insightful description for the potential of genetically modified plants Laypersons will appreciate their clear and concise writing styles that integrate technological and biological terminology into an easy to read format Responses to the scientific essays provided by Dr James C Peterson are presented in an ethical and theological framework through the lenses of Anabaptism Part 2 represents an interdisciplinary approach to issues in biotechnology The essays represent such diverse fields as nursing presented in An Ethic of Caring by Dr Beryl H Brubaker to poetry presented in Biotechnology Through the Lens of the Poet s Pen by Professor Barbra R Graber For readers new to the Anabaptist tradition Dr Conrad G Brunk s essay effectively relates biotechnology to Anabaptist values Additional essays focus on biotechnology as it influences farming prenatal screening family values and public policy Part 3 presents a synthesis and constructive criticism of the various ideas presented at the conference Two essays of note are Anabaptist Eyes on Biotechnology by Dr Stanley M Hauerwas and Facing Biotechnology as an Alternative Community of Worship Character and Discernment by Dr Joseph J Kotva Jr This section represents one of the major strengths of this text The authors of the essays in this section do a phenomenal job of tying together and analyzing the essays from part 1 and part 2 This is an advantage to the reader as it can be quite daunting to remember all of the points raised in the previous writings Viewing New Creations with Anabaptist Eyes is a compelling collection of short essays by a diverse body of Anabaptists and friends of Anabaptists Unlike other collective works the writing is uniformly well done This work is special in that it views biotechnology from the perspective

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  • Direction: Between Pacifism and Jihad
    to embrace the consensual view of the church on war the just war tradition While suggesting that this tradition represents a mediating orthodox alternative to the extremist views of holy war jihad and pacifism the text reveals an author still struggling with his own Mennonite angst concerning the legitimacy of Christian involvement with war the criminal justice system and even the state In spite of the title the book does not seriously engage Christian or Islamic views of holy war or crusades to achieve Christian or Islamic ends It is the author s response to traditional teachings of the Mennonite Church For Charles Jesus is interpreted in the light of Augustine and Augustine s anguished defense of the church against generations of pagan critics who insisted that Christian political hesitancy contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire In fact Charles quotes approvingly Reinhold Niebuhr s statement that modern society in the face of Hitler and later Communism cannot afford to follow the literal teachings of Jesus The author would have been greatly helped by exploring the full range and complexity of pacifist or even Mennonite thought In fact I found his critique of the shortcomings of some forms of pacifism less convincing than John H Yoder s analysis in Nevertheless The Varieties and Shortcomings of Religious Pacifism Herald rev ed 1992 His discussion of the role of war in the Old Testament and its ethical relevance for modern Christians would have been greatly enriched by exploring the nuanced thought of Mennonite Old Testament scholar Millard Lind Further he seems completely unfamiliar with the significant Niebuhrian engaged reflections of such Mennonite pacifists as Donovan Smucker Guy F Hershberger and J R Burkholder In Charles s mind the reality is that society without coercive powers is an impossibility 127 He seems

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  • Direction: Evangelicals in the Public Square
    Bible is the evangelical earmark 20 However the Bible does not provide enough by itself for an adequate political theory 23 Thus an evangelical political theory would depend on Scripture but not singularly In addition evangelicals should draw from the other major source of revelation the book of nature If evangelicals are to fashion a systematic political theology they will need a robust theology of creation both to supplement the claims of special revelation and also to provide a more general vocabulary with which to articulate Christian truths to persons who are not persuaded by recitations of Scripture Having offered an account of what an evangelical political theory should contain Budziszewski sets out to explore the thought of Henry Kuyper Schaeffer and Yoder He argues that Henry is unhelpful to evangelicals in the public square because of his wariness of natural law and his overconfidence in the power of personal regeneration to effect large scale political transformation Kuyper s theory of sphere sovereignty is the most promising evangelical attempt at political theory relying heavily on general revelation without acknowledging it But a lack of clarity about the precise nature of a sphere and a negative view of the state detract from its viability Schaeffer is simply too rash calling for radical resistance before engaging in the steady plodding incrementalism that is the hallmark of ordinary politics 81 And Yoder is so focused on the particularity of Jesus that he fails to recognize that state government is also an order of providence built partly into the design of creation 104 Although Budziszewski is a charitable reader and a careful thinker his argument is less than convincing for several reasons First if as Budziszewski rightly claims the Bible lacks a political theory might that not suggest that constructing such a theory is

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  • Direction: The Dominance of Evangelicalism: The Age of Spurgeon and Moody
    Varieties of Evangelicalism dispels the notion that evangelicalism is a homogeneous movement Its adherents differed significantly in respect to theology denominations geographical location and social characteristics While evangelicalism had considerable diversity its variety was reduced by adherence to the previously noted characteristics cooperation between various groups and a general upward social trend Evangelicals not only shared certain beliefs but they had common practices which are described in chapter three The Practice of Faith Here Bebbington looks at evangelical spirituality patterns of worship methods of outreach mission to the youth revivals and overseas missions In chapters 4 and 5 the author examines how two intellectual trends the Enlightenment and the Romantic movement impacted evangelical theology He points out that the antagonism between evangelicalism and the Enlightenment has been overdrawn In general most evangelicals viewed the advance of knowledge as in harmony with the Christian faith In particular evangelicals embraced commonsense philosophy Yet there existed tensions between Calvinism and Arminianism and while some attempted to embrace both in general Calvinism decayed Romanticism influenced evangelicals in two ways On one hand it alarmed them They viewed it as undoing the Reformation and opening the door to liberalism On the other it permeated their beliefs regarding prophecy missions and sanctification in subtle ways These two intellectual trends did not go unchallenged by conservative evangelicals Chapter 6 notes several conservative theological movements especially the rise of premillennialism holiness teachings the Keswick movement and the roots of Pentecostalism In much of this one can note the development of protofundamentalism Chapter 7 takes us to Evangelicals and Society Here Bebbington emphasizes three issues the relationship between the sexes the relationship of the races and the attitude of Christians toward leisure What role did women have in light of the gospel They could have an important job in

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  • Direction: John Howard Yoder: Mennonite Patience, Evangelical Witness, Catholic Convictions
    Eastern Mennonite Seminary has been on the Yoder trail for over a quarter of a century He knows the complex and vast Yoder corpus with rare intimacy given the ease with which Yoder crossed the frontiers separating the academic disciplines of history biblical studies and ethics In five carefully crafted chapters Nation tells the story of Yoder s roots in the Oak Grove Ohio Mennonite Church and his education at Goshen College the College of Wooster and the University of Basil He tells the story of Yoder s relation to the emerging Neo Anabaptist movement among Mennonites and his rich and diverse ecumenical engagements He reviews Yoder s most famous work the above mentioned Politics of Jesus Eerdmans 2d ed 1994 and deals with the often repeated charge that Yoder urged political noninvolvement and celebrated Christian social irresponsibility Finally he concludes with a brief critique of Yoder s work Nation s work is most helpful on three fronts First it clearly explains the key role played by Yoder s family and home congregation in his development and the subsequent role played by Harold Bender in the growing maturity of his thought Also emphasized is the way his experiences as a relief worker and church leader in Europe during the 1950s led to his growing ecumenical commitments Second Nation s emphasis on Yoder s important 1984 book The Priestly Kingdom Social Ethics as Gospel University of Notre Dame Press as a work which moves beyond the exegetical foundations developed in the Politics of Jesus greatly enriches our understanding of Yoder s maturing thought Third Nation answers a charge made as early as the 1950s by Gordon Kaufman and repeated later that Yoder s formulation encouraged social withdrawal and that Yoder himself engaged in little direct social action Given the complexity and

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