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Spring 2013 · Vol. 42 No. 1 · pp. 2–3 

From the Editor: Miscellaneous Essays

Vic Froese

The most important benefit of assigning a theme to each issue of our journal is that it gets a number of thoughtful writers addressing the same topic from their unique perspectives. And this gives readers a wider range of scholarly insights to consider and a better appreciation of the subtleties involved in dealing with a particular topic responsibly. A primary objective of the journal, after all, is to serve the church and its mission by encouraging a “well-considered, relevant witness to Christ and his kingdom.” Carefully-chosen themes dealt with by diverse but wise and learned writers can serve that goal well.

This issue has no theme. Instead we’ve taken some unsolicited but well-written essays and thrown them together more or less haphazardly. But rather than compromising our mission, we’re hoping that this issue might be the occasion for serendipity—that our readers will stumble upon at least one article they didn’t know they were looking for but which will make them both happy they found it and better informed for having done so. In any case, if a wind blowing who-knows-where in some way describes those who are Spirit-born, perhaps it’s not entirely inappropriate that we let the selection and arrangement of articles be somewhat random every so often.

Featured in these pages is a fine study by John B. Toews of the complex dynamics that gave shape to the early Mennonite Brethren Church in North America. Darrin Snyder Belousek offers a thoughtful proposal for coherently proclaiming the cross to a world beset by a deep insecurity. Anxiety, an emotional state connected with insecurity, is part of the answer to the question Richard Kyle asks in the title of his article, “Why Do Americans Love Doomsday?” Len Hjalmarson explores how seminaries and Christian colleges might foster the kind of spirituality that best expresses the missional essence of the church. Revisiting Paul’s apparently mixed messages on women in church in 1 Corinthians 14, Marshall Janzen reconsiders an older argument that neatly, if not conclusively, resolves the issue. And Gay Lynn Voth ponders the role of theological boundaries in Mennonite Brethren identity and the relationship between the notion of deviance, on the one hand, and the biblical injunction to pursue reconciliation, on the other.

For our Recommended Reading feature, we invited the faculty of our sponsoring schools to share titles they’ve recently read. The resulting annotated bibliography makes for interesting reading on its own. In Ministry Compass we have a thought-provoking sermon, delivered last summer by Paul Doerksen, on the right ordering of our often confusing desires. Our book reviewers for this issue critically assess six books: a commentary on the book of Joshua, another on the letters to Timothy and Titus, a treatise on {3} Genesis and Revelation, a book on Russian evangelical spirituality in the nineteenth century, a philosophical defense of evangelism, and an award-winning novel by a Canadian MB writer. Finally, our annual Current Research bibliography will show readers what our faculty have been doing with all their spare time.

Happy reading!

Vic Froese
General Editor

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