A Response to P. Travis Kroeker’s ‘Messianic Political Theology: Yoder contra Redekop’
Since I take seriously the editor’s request to respond to P. Travis Kroeker’s review of my book and his comparison of Politics Under God with the relevant writings of John Howard Yoder, I shall provide a candid response. I thank Travis for the major effort he put into his analysis. Not surprisingly, we have points of disagreement. Unfortunately, I may come across as overly defensive. I shall attempt to avoid such a stance, however, in a fairly sharp exchange of ideas, that may not be entirely avoidable.
Some basic questions which needed to be addressed were, unfortunately, not adequately analyzed by Kroeker
We read that I am “appreciative, it seems, of the role models for Christian political ethics provided by Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.” That’s a perplexing observation since I mention neither of these U.S. presidents in my book. Indeed, on page 194 and elsewhere I am very critical of American Christians who speak about the U.S. as “God’s Country” the way both of these presidents have done. For many years I have been critical of their notions of American political uniqueness, their assertions of American exceptionalism in relation to God and government, their messianic stance, their insistence that the U.S. is the last bastion of freedom, and their general Christian-Americanism. All of these beliefs are directly or indirectly rejected in my book.
Our reviewer identifies “a basic problem of Redekop’s book: what kind of study is it and to whom is it addressed?” The nature of the study is stated succinctly in the introductory blurb on the back cover:
John H. Redekop’s biblically focused consideration of church-state relations weighs the challenge of political involvement for Christians. Drawing on decades of writing about public policy issues in Canada and the United States, Redekop affirms politics as an appropriate arena of Christian service and government as an institution established by and accountable to God.
Other descriptive comments are found in excerpts from reviewers, provided on the first page. “Those who recognize that both church and state are established and guided by God will find this book to be an important asset in assisting them in harmonizing their relationship with each institution in a principled fashion” (Victor Toews, Minister of Justice for Canada). “This book is . . . a thoughtful reflection on the relationship between Mennonite faith and politics. There is much wisdom here. I will plan to use it in my teaching” (Ted Koontz, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary). “John Redekop knows his subject, both as an academician and as a practitioner. He writes for followers of Jesus who need to come to terms with the church-state problematic and offers a reformed Anabaptist view that is positive about government generally. He is clear and balanced as he offers guidelines for involvement. In challenging long-held views he is provocative; in some circles he will be controversial. I highly commend this book . . . as a way of sorting out the confusions in the tangled labyrinth of policy-making and politics” (Elmer Martens, President Emeritus, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary). Given these items, together with John Lapp’s Foreword and the detailed Table of Contents it should not have been a great challenge to ascertain what type of book this is.
Kroeker wonders “to whom is it addressed?” In part the answer is given above. More importantly, very few books stipulate a specific audience. In his work, The Original Revolution, Yoder states that his book on the problem of war is “for anyone interested in answers to the problem” (Yoder 1972, 3 but unnumbered). That’s good enough for me. I’m not sure why Kroeker faults me for not specifying an audience when authors generally, including Yoder, don’t do so.
My critic writes that my book “purports to be a Christian account of church-state relations.” The derogatory term “purports” is puzzling. I root all of my main arguments in biblical passages. Kroeker adds that Politics Under God “is certainly not a work of political theology.” The best definition that I can find is that political theology is “A rational analysis of religious faith and teaching as these relate to politics.” It seems to me that anyone who reads the book will agree that this is exactly what I have done. Kroeker states that I claim my “approach is Anabaptist insofar as it insists on the separation of church and state and a ‘full religious freedom,’ . . . [and that] these claims are more asserted than explored or elaborated.” Both parts of this statement are not true. All of Chapter 3, “An Anabaptist/Mennonite Understanding of Church-State Relations,” explores this topic. In fact, in four pages dealing with the topic “Church-State Principles of the Anabaptists,” I carefully explore and elaborate on six fundamental principles. Elsewhere also I posit and analyze many elements of the Anabaptist perspective.
Kroeker continues: “rather than being rooted in biblical political theology, the operative assumptions of ‘church’ and ‘state’ in the book are more indebted to a vague political liberalism . . . and a conventional American evangelical moralism. . . .” I suggest that my critic errs on both counts. On pages 20, 23, 30, 39 and 99 I describe the state, including its origins, nature, and purpose, in biblical terms. On pages 20–21, 39, and 149–150, I provide an introductory biblical analysis of the state. Further, throughout the book I specifically reject what Kroeker terms “conventional American moralism.”
By inference our critic faults me for stating that the Judeo-Christian ethic “is easily the most useful . . . in helping governments to achieve a free, democratic, tolerant, and respectful society in which human dignity is affirmed. . . .” My statement is not novel; the reality is widely affirmed. Reinhold Niebuhr, for example, asserted that “democracy is that child of which Christianity need not be ashamed.” Countless scholars have concurred with his conclusion.
ON CHURCH-STATE DUALISM
Kroeker is very critical of my dualistic description of church and state which he sees as being “in contrast to the political theologies of Yoder, the early Anabaptists, Luther and Augustine.” He states that they stressed that Yahweh is sovereign. The concepts of sovereignty and dualism are, of course, not mutually exclusive. He claims that I differ by presenting a “worldly ethical dualism.” The Anabaptists, Luther, and Augustine all stressed dualistic interpretations of church and state. What is the basis for the derogatory term “worldly”? On page 156, in a chart, I explain how the church is inherently God’s agent and spell out its biblical traits. Numerous other sections address this fact.
Contrary to what Kroeker states, I am insistent that the political realm functions under the sovereignty of God: “secular governments are outside the perfection of Christ, they are not outside the perfection of God’s love. Governments function outside the realm of redemption but not outside the realm of God’s concern and compassion” (33). On pages 79 and 80 I elaborate on the assertions that “All governments should acknowledge that they are servants of God” and that “All governments should acknowledge that they are accountable to God.” I also emphasize that “God is King of kings and Lord of lords.” And on pages 189–190 I develop the truth that “our own kings and rulers . . . need to understand that God is Lord of all, that God sometimes uses governments as instruments of his power, and that all rulers will some day have to give account to him.”
Our critic states that “Redekop’s definition of ‘politics’ precludes a biblical messianic definition insofar as he defines it in terms of modern western liberalism as ‘activity related to governments, including the actions of public officeholders, of those seeking to become officeholders, and of political parties and organizations seeking to place candidates in government positions.’ ” My standard textbook definition of politics is a good, generic one. It applies as much to the times of Solomon and Daniel as to the contemporary Canadian and American scene. If one wants to talk about the rule of Christ as Messiah, then one is talking theology, not politics.
Kroeker asserts that in my analysis “there can be no ‘politics of Jesus’ since such terminology is by definition irrelevant to liberal politics.” I make no such statement. I do, however, explain in several chapters why it is that the New Testament ethic given to Christians and the church is not also an ethical instruction for the state. The Christian gospel, I stress, is, however, still relevant for the state; it ought to play a major contributory role in the development of public policies and should positively impact political behavior.
Concerning the place of Christianity in politics, I draw attention to some of Yoder’s relevant views as contrasting with my own. In response Kroeker writes that “Redekop mistakenly asserts that Yoder stands for ‘the political irrelevance of Christian pacifism’, advocates ‘the minimization of any political involvement’ and holds ‘a rather low view of politics as an arena of Christian service.’ ” Let us review what Yoder has written about these three ideas, keeping in mind that my comments derive from Yoder’s writings generally and not only from The Politics of Jesus. I should add that having read Yoder widely, I note that his basic perspective and assertions did not change from his early years to his last writings.
Concerning “the political irrelevance of Christian pacifism” we read that “with regard to the possibility of the state’s fulfilling the requirements of Christian ethics . . . neither a careful study of the Bible nor a realistic interpretation of current events can admit” this as a “possibility” (Yoder 1964, 6). We also read “that in our society we cannot expect the social order at large to function without the use of force, . . . The very nature of the state is force, and the Christian has committed himself to have no recourse to force, not only in his own interest but even for the sake of justice” (Yoder 1964, 6–7). Yoder adds, “by far the most current interpretation of this problem in contemporary American thought is that the consistent Christian pacifist must accept the verdict of political irrelevance for his position” (Yoder 1964, 7). And again, “this symbolic ‘prophetic’ irrelevance, this uncompromising effort at moral purity, is justified and meaningful, but only insofar as it accepts the verdict of immediate irrelevance” (Yoder 1964, 7). We also read “that Christian moral judgments are related to regeneration, to forgiveness, to the church, and to the Christian hope in such a way that they cannot have the same relevance outside the circle of faith. That the state might listen to the Christian message and obey it to the point of ceasing to exist is by definition impossible . . .” (Yoder 1964, 78).
Concerning “the minimization of any political involvement” we note the following. Having defined the state, rather narrowly, as based on the use of force, Yoder writes that “We know that he [every Christian] is called to be an agent of reconciliation. Does that general call, valid for every Christian, take for certain individuals a form of a specific call to be also an agent of the wrath of God?” Answering his own question Yoder says that “The present writer has met no one testifying to such an exceptional call. Generally those who seek political positions do not admit a need to justify their actions as discipleship . . .” (Yoder 1964, 56–57).
The minimization of political involvement is clear. That Yoder did not change his mind when writing The Politics of Jesus is evident from the following quotations. “Love, self-sacrifice, and nonviolence provide no basis for taking responsibility in this world. Dependent on the grace of God alone, one cannot act in history” (Yoder 1994, 104). We also read that Christians “need to challenge the integral distinction between good governments . . . and bad ones” because they are still all part of a political system, “a system we basically reject” (Yoder 1994, 200).
Concerning “a rather low view of politics as an arena of Christian service” the substantiating evidence is clear. As we have seen, Yoder consistently emphasizes that a Christian “can have no recourse to force, not only in his own interest but even for the sake of justice” (Yoder 1964, 7). Also, “the consistent Christian pacifist must accept the verdict of political irrelevance” (Yoder 1964, 7). Obviously one cannot be politically involved if one’s ethic makes one politically irrelevant! Not wanting to overstate the case, I used the phrase “minimization of any political involvement.” I might have used rejectionist language given Yoder’s description of “The state being, in its judicial and police functions, the major incarnation of this channeled evil, . . .” (Yoder 1964, 12–13). Yoder also writes that “there is a very strong strand of Gospel teaching which sees secular government as the province of the sovereignty of Satan” (Yoder 1994, 194).
THE MEANING OF POLITICS
Kroeker states that I define “the meaning of politics” in “radically different terms,” describing “the governing authority in terms of absolutist state power.” He further asserts that my statement “begins to sound positively idolatrous.” I wrote that “In other words, political power is distinctive because government is the only power center that potentially or actually controls and sets the guidelines for all other power centers in its realm, ranging from the family and school to business corporations and labor unions.” Kroeker calls this a “coercive definition of political power.” He then distorts my standard, widely held, definition by stating that I say that the state “trumps the limited power of all other institutions, including the church.” That is not the case and that is not what I said. Within the sphere of legality, “limited rights” if you will, the rights of the church, the family, a business corporation, etc. are not trumped by a democratic state; they are upheld.
May I suggest that Kroeker misses the point. My definition of government is a standard and valid one. Apparently two key concepts require simplification. First, if a so-called government does not have the ultimate power, if some other power center in a given society is stronger than it is, then the so-called government is not, in fact, the government because it is not in control. It is illogical to think that a power center in society is the government when some other power center is more powerful and can dictate to it, direct it, or control it. Only one agency can exercise the right to impose obligations without getting permission from any other agency.
Second, the difference between actual and potential use of ultimate power is crucial. In a totalitarian government, as in the cases of the Soviet Union under Stalin or China under Mao, the government tended to use its ultimate power widely and brutally. But in a democracy, in a free society, governments do not do so. They grant broad freedoms and regulate other power centers and individuals to the extent that justice, fairness, and respect for human dignity require. Only in restricting crime do they use their ultimate power as in imprisonment of citizens or the use of capital punishment if that is legal. Members of society enjoy very broad rights and freedoms. Kroeker, in sum, fails to make the crucial distinction between the potential use of ultimate power and the actual use of ultimate power. Despite his assertion, the former does not create an “absolutist state.”
Several times in Politics Under God I state that every society requires some governing agency to be “the ultimate referee, the final arbiter, the overarching power center.” Kroeker then criticizes “this legitimation of the coercive, military state.” A “military state” is a specific, formal category. I did not use the term “military.” Kroeker added it and then criticizes me for making such a point. He states that “the fallen powers” are “precisely not [italics in the original] the final arbiters or ultimate powers of good and evil in the world.” I agree. I never said that they were! I stated that government is the final arbiter involving relationships among organizations and people; I did not mention good and evil.
Kroeker states that “Redekop repeatedly cites Romans 13 [but] . . . never bothers to engage the complex political and exegetical account given by Yoder in The Politics of Jesus.” Kroeker is correct. I make a few allusions to Yoder’s phenomenal contributions to the topics at issue but go no further. I have two responses. First, given that my book is a short introduction to the topic, I did not have the space to address Yoder’s treatment of Romans 13 nor his broader analysis of church-state relations. If I had done so, the whole thrust of Politics Under God would have changed. Second, although I realize that Yoder’s analysis has gained wide acceptance, I have come to the conclusion, after years of study, that it requires modification, even serious revision.
PROBLEMS IN YODER’S ANALYSIS
Given space and time limitations, I can only provide a few selected examples of important problems in Yoder’s analysis of church-state relations. Let me begin by noting Yoder’s depiction of the state as essentially evil. That many governments have been and are evil is not in dispute. But that the state is inherently evil and something to be opposed, as Yoder has stated, cannot be reconciled with the numerous New Testament exhortations to pay taxes (Matt. 22:15–22), to submit to the political authorities (Rom. 13:1–7), to pray for and express thanks for government (1 Tim. 2:1–3), to submit to government (Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13–15), and to acknowledge that God “created . . . thrones or powers or rulers or authorities” (Col. 1:15–17). No amount of exegetical dexterity can marginalize the obvious teaching of Scripture.
Yoder’s analysis of Romans 13 brings great insight to this text, as also to many others, but here, as elsewhere, the text’s central thrust is marginalized by Yoder’s emphasis on a supposedly over-riding larger context. “Therefore any interpretation of 13:1–7 which is not also an expression of suffering and serving love must be a misunderstanding of the text in its context” (Yoder 1994, 196). An even more perplexing suggestion is that the description of government as “ministers of God,” which occurs three times in these verses, somehow refers, in at least one instance, to “ministers of God” as in the clergy sense (Yoder 1994, 206).
Yoder is all over the definitional map concerning the establishment, nature, and role of the state. In part, I suggest, this flows from his conception of the state mostly in terms of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: “we are here working with a definition of the state as sword [italics in the original]” (Yoder 1964, 59). Yoder thus seriously shortchanges what the state was in ancient times, in the Greco-Roman era, even in many regions in later centuries, and particularly in the modern age.
Yoder’s explanation of the origin and relationship of the state and of government to God is particularly inconsistent. We read of “the divinely sanctioned legitimacy of the Roman government” (Yoder 1994, 10); that “[political] power is the good creation of God” (Yoder 1994, 154); and that “the powers” are part of “the good creation of God” (Yoder 1994, 141), to quote only a few of the many similar statements, but we also read that “God is not said to create or institute or ordain the powers that be, but only to order them” (Yoder 1994, 201; italics in the original). Such a statement specifically contradicts Yoder’s assertions, quoted above, and, more importantly, the two statements in Romans 13 that God “established” government, the statement in Romans 13 that God “instituted” government; and the assertion in Colossians 1:16 that God “created . . . thrones . . . powers . . . rulers . . . [and] authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Equally relevant is Jesus’ statement to Pilate that he would have no power “if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:10–12).
Kroeker adds to the confusion by asserting that “For Yoder, Romans 13 may therefore not be read as authorizing the divine ‘establishment’ of state authority or a divine ‘mandate’ for government ‘outside the perfection of Christ’ ”; “there is in Romans no authorization of a governing agency outside the perfection of Christ.” That’s truly amazing! Our critic is saying that “outside the perfection of Christ” there can be no government. But government, as Yoder and I agree, functions outside the perfection of Christ; government must possess coercive power. “The very nature of the state is force” (Yoder 1964, 7). Kroeker’s reasoning flies in the face of logic and of Yoder’s basic insistence that “The Christian pacifist must accept the verdict of political irrelevance” (Yoder 1964, 7). Note also his assertion that “A given government is not mandated or saved or made a channel of the will of God . . .” (Yoder 1994, 202).
Yoder’s definitions of “politics” and “political” are confusing. We read that “in biblical thought the church is properly a political entity” (Yoder 1964, 18). Unless the term “political” is robbed of all its distinctive meaning, Yoder’s statement is simply false. Elsewhere Yoder seems to yield the point when he writes that in the political realm “some men exercise power over others” (Yoder 1964, 26), which should not occur in the church, and that “the state [the main political structure] may with some legitimacy be violent” (Yoder 1964, 57). Obviously, such correct description of the state does not apply to the church of Jesus Christ.
OTHER WEAKNESSES IN YODER
I find numerous specific weaknesses in Yoder’s analysis and prescriptions. He states, for example, that “in real history there is no such thing as anarchy. Where one power does not rule, another does” (Yoder 1994, 202). He is in error. History recounts, as does the present global situation, that large areas exist where no authority is in control and anarchy prevails. Further, in a very confusing manner Yoder tends to equate “social” and “political.” They are not equivalent. “Social” refers to the voluntary sphere; “political” to the ultimately coercive over-arching governmental realm. Yoder’s widespread confusion of “social” and “political” is clearly focused in the statement about “a visible socio-political, economic restructuring of relations among the people of God” (Yoder 1994, 32). As we know, the people of God have social but not political structures and relationships. “Social” and “political” are not synonyms. Social activity occurs in the voluntary sector. Addressing social issues, as Jesus did, does not in itself make a person a political actor. When Jesus challenged political figures and structures, then he was, of course, acting politically. Yoder’s failure to distinguish clearly between the social order and the political order, between society and polity, between the voluntary realm and the political realm weakens his analysis.
Yoder insists that we can no longer speak of an “apolitical Jesus” (Yoder 1994, 14). Jesus is “politically relevant” (Yoder 1994, 17). “Jesus was, in his divinely mandated . . . prophethood, priesthood, and kingship, the bearer of a new possibility of . . . political relationships” (Yoder 1994, 52). That Jesus’ life and teachings were and are politically relevant is not in question. However, despite Yoder’s insistence that Jesus acted politically, we frequently find that when Yoder develops the point, he is actually showing that Jesus was dealing with social issues, not political concerns. Jesus called “into being a community of voluntary [italics in the original] commitments” (Yoder 1994, 37). Jesus was tempted “to exercise social responsibility” (Yoder 1994, 96). And again, “To organized opposition he [Jesus] responds with the formal founding of a new social reality” (Yoder 1994, 33). Jesus’ “deeds show a coherent, conscious socio-political character and direction . . .” (Yoder 1994, 112).
Unfortunately we encounter more than a little inconsistency. Although Yoder has repeatedly asserted that pacifist Christians must not use force, he also states that “The reason he [Jesus] refused to be king or to defend himself was not that there was anything wrong with kingship or self-defense; he just could not have met his destined cross that way” (Yoder 1994, 100). Yoder also shifts back and forth in discussing the “Powers” (upper case) as evil spirits and “powers” (lower case) as referring to governments. For example, “Most of the references to the ‘Powers’ in the New Testament consider them as fallen” (Yoder 1994, 141). We read of “the rebellious powers of a fallen world . . .” but then the puzzling comment that “Subordination to these Powers is what makes us human, for if they did not exist there would be no history nor society nor humanity” (Yoder 1994, 144). Such inconsistent usage occurs frequently.
Some of Yoder’s discussion of the church-state issue is truly perplexing. He writes that “ ‘Render to each his due’ cannot normally be assumed to mean ‘render everything to government’ ” (Yoder 1994, 207). Of course not. No one suggests that is what it means. On numerous occasions Yoder speaks of “pagan governments”; for example, “we are reminded that Romans 13 was written about pagan governments” (Yoder 1994, 195; see also 200, etc.). What difference is that supposed to make! Moreover, what other types are there?
Yoder has argued, and I concur, that there cannot be Christian governments, but in defining “political structures” Yoder writes that they include “the tyrant, the market, the school, the courts, race and nation” (Yoder 1994, 143). In fact, according to any reasonable definition of “political structures” they do not include “the market,” “the school,” and certainly not “race.” Again we encounter flawed argumentation and the blurring of the distinction between society and polity. Yoder adds, “Looking at the human situation from within, it is not possible to conceive how, once unconditionally subjected to these Powers, humankind can ever again become free” (Yoder 1994, 143). First of all it is possible for anyone in any situation to conceive of becoming free. Second the sweeping generalization is unwarranted. Third, not only are many peoples of the world becoming free but both the author and I, together with hundreds of millions of people in North America and elsewhere, presently enjoy freedom!
BACK TO KROEKER
I turn now to some additional specific criticisms; space limitations prevent me from responding to all of them. Kroeker states that when I describe Anabaptists as “ ‘the first champions of the separation of church and state’ and thus ‘the first modern champions of religious freedom’ ” my “idealism begins to show.” The issue is not idealism but, rather, a factual statement, a reality which places the early Anabaptists in a very favorable light. Besides, Christians should surely nurture idealism.
Kroeker further faults me for arguing that “governments cannot be expected to ‘live ethically like the body of Christ’.” Yet that is exactly what both Yoder and I assert. He adds, “And yet if one were simply to replace ‘ruler’ or ‘government’ with ‘parent’ or ‘church’ one might quickly realize that the ethical idealism of Redekop’s ‘Reformed Anabaptism’ does not really address the apocalyptic challenges entailed in messianic ethics. . . .” By simplistically substituting categories from the social realm for those in the political realm, as Kroeker does, the applicability of Christian ethics, of course, changes. One is then asking a different question. Jesus’ ethic applies to the church and, hopefully, also to parents and in some settings also to schools but these function in the social realm.
We read further in Kroeker’s critique that it is not “clear to me [Kroeker] that ‘the Christian ethic, which can also be called the Judeo-Christian ethic, is easily the most useful . . . in helping governments achieve a free, democratic, tolerant, and respectful society in which human dignity is affirmed and serious social needs are addressed.’ ” He also sees “nothing terribly democratic in Jesus’s message.” Nor do I. That’s not the point. I am simply recording a reality, which is explained in the book, that the basic ethical teachings of Judeo-Christianity tend to foster the development of free, democratic, tolerant societies. The evidence has been documented extensively and is compelling.
Concerning values and ethics Kroeker states that “Redekop’s book does not truly help us address this question beyond offering the kinds of problematic vague generalities I have already indicated.” I invite readers to read the book. I mention and describe scores of specific applications of Christian ethics.
Kroeker lists various elements of Yoder’s analysis and prescription for Christian living. Unfortunately, as he progresses we discover that, in the main, he is not talking about the political realm but about society and, in particular, mostly about Christians and the church. Kroeker writes about “twentieth and twenty-first century Christians.” We read about “followers who imitate his [Jesus’] kenotic ‘revolutionary subordination’ ” and about a “pattern of life displayed in the slain Lamb and imitated in the community of disciples that follow him, identified by Paul as the ‘messianic body’.” We read further of “baptism as the initiation into a new humanity of inter-ethnic ecumenicity; the Eucharistic pattern of table fellowship and economic sharing rooted in the liturgical and celebratory receiving of life as divine gift. . . .” This is theology and ecclesiology, not politics.
Kroeker may refer to these statements as relating to “the messianic polis” and some sort of “socio-political” reality and claim to be describing a “five-fold pattern of the messianic body politic” but, in fact, they do not address the real issues which deal with church-state relations. Actually, they mostly blur the distinction between church and state, between the Christian realm of the believers and the political realm with its pattern of behavior.
We have reviewed many issues raised by Kroeker and also some found in John Howard Yoder’s writings. As I see it, some basic questions which needed to be addressed were, unfortunately, not adequately analyzed by Kroeker. Is Yoder fundamentally correct in positing the political realm as inherently evil, no matter who is in office? Is there biblical support for my thesis that government can be seen “as God’s Plan B, a second-best arrangement, an expression of the fact that until the end of the age God never abandons his human creation to their own evil ways”? Further, does scripture support my proposition that although “secular governments are outside the perfection of Christ, they are not outside the perfection of God’s love. Governments function outside the realm of redemption but not outside the realm of God’s concern and compassion”? And in deciding the validity of the two interpretations, the task is not to compare the one to the other but to test both according to New Testament teaching. After that evaluation has been done, important consequences follow.
- Redekop, John H. 2007. Politics under God. Waterloo, ON; Scottdale, PA: Herald.
- Yoder, John Howard. 1964. The Christian witness to the state. Institute of Mennonite Studies Series, Number 3. Newton, KS: Faith and Life.
- Yoder, John Howard. 1972. The original revolution. Scottdale, PA: Herald.
- Yoder, John Howard. 1994. The politics of Jesus: Vicit agnus noster. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.