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Fall 2013 · Vol. 42 No. 2 · pp. 195–206 

What it Means to be Human: Anabaptism and New Calvinism in Conversation

Jon Isaak

The Mennonite Brethren (MB) story begins with and continues to be a family story that can best be described as “blended.” It blends three faith traditions—Anabaptist, Lutheran Pietist, and Baptist/Evangelical. 1 Currently, the influence of the New Reformed or New Calvinist movement 2 is also shaping the discourse among conservative evangelicals, including MB churches. 3 This is not surprising, as MB churches have historically been open to new movements within evangelicalism. 4

New Testament writers never assume an anthropological norm other than Jesus.

The New Calvinist movement carries forward the classic Calvinist doctrines (i.e., total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and preservation of the saints), but has a more open stance to the world, culture, spiritual gifts, and other Christian traditions. 5 It is often associated with the views expressed by organizations like the Gospel Coalition. 6

I appreciate many of the views that New Calvinist thinkers and leaders bring to the MB conversation table: the emphasis on the sovereignty of God in all things; the preference for logic, symmetry, and order; and the proclamation of God’s grace as expressed in cross of Christ. Often, these complement nicely the MB or Anabaptist-Mennonite articulation of the way of Jesus, as empowerment for personal discipleship, community {196} discernment, and peacemaking. 7 At other times, it is more difficult to hold these two traditions together. 8

Current MB theological conversation is more willing to live with tension than earlier generations and less likely to force resolution of theological differences. 9 Most of our families carry differences or challenges that are virtually impossible to resolve. Instead of giving up hope, we are learning (even if reluctantly) to leave final assessments in the hands of God, pushing final judgments out to the future at the end of time. The development of postmodernity in the Western world has left its mark on all institutions, including Christian denominational traditions. This is may be one reason why MBs are now more able to work together with those who practice their Christian faith differently. 10

This does not mean, however, that we are released from our God-given mandate to think carefully and biblically about matters of importance, those specific to every age. But we are becoming more chastened in our declarations. We more commonly say, “This is how I see or understand God to be working.” And we are more likely to defer the final evaluation, leaving it to God, always aware that our conversation partner’s way of seeing may ultimately prove to be valid also.

Christian history has made it abundantly clear that it would be foolish to assume our knowledge or grasp of God’s ways is precise enough to make final determinations with certitude before the end of time. All of our ethical and theological determinations and decisions must necessarily be stamped “interim” and “subject to change.” A review of the evolving MB Conference resolutions on various topics makes this the most prudent course of action. 11

MBs have not always been gracious enough to recognize that there may be more than one right answer to a theological question. 12 However, increasing partnerships with other denominational traditions show that MBs are slowly moving in a more collaborative direction. 13

In the spirit of collaboration, I turn now to show how an Anabaptist theology shapes anthropology in response to evil in ways that differ from those usually espoused by New Calvinist theology. This is not to declare one right and the other wrong, but like normal family interactions, this is about learning to work together in spite of our differences. I believe we need not give up deeply held convictions, but we must find ways to live with those holding opposing convictions.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HUMAN?

The topic of anthropology or being human 14 continues to capture the imagination of people, given the technological advances relating to gene therapy and medical care. We marvel at the creative ingenuity of our {197} species. However, terrorist activity, genocide, and environmental degradation remind us how destructive human beings can be.

Two related anthropological issues form the framework of the following discussion: (1) the character of the image of God (imago dei) with which all human beings are imprinted and (2) the implications of setting Jesus as the anthropological norm.

New Calvinism and Anabaptism have differing ways of understanding these anthropological issues. For example, stated in bald, binary terms for the sake of discussion: Is salvation in Jesus primarily about restoring fallen humanity to the perfection of Eden in Genesis 1–2, or taking humanity and God’s creation project forward to the point intended by God from the beginning? Or this question: Is Jesus’ ministry/mission mostly about preserving/defending God’s holiness, or empowering humanity to resist evil and finally live as God intended?

New Calvinism would tend to support the first affirmation on both these discussion questions and Anabaptism, the second. 15 According to Richard Kyle, the basic difference is that Calvinism has its roots in the Old Testament (OT), while Anabaptism turns to the New Testament (NT) for biblical support. 16

My intention here is not to argue that one anthropological view is better or more biblically faithful than the other—biblical support can be found for both views! What I hope to do is enlarge the spectrum of valid responses espoused by MBs today—to show how it is possible for Calvinists and Anabaptists to worship together without necessarily agreeing.

HUMANITY IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

All NT writers agree that human beings are not what they should be. Each one has chosen to go his or her own way, which means giving allegiance to the way of death, decay, and destruction (Rom. 3:19; 5:12; 8:22–25; 1 Pet. 1:18–19). Yet, a deeper longing remains for something better, for something more whole, healthier, and authentic. This reality gives expression to the imago Dei that characterizes all human beings (Gen. 1:27).

While language like the “image of God” has multiple layers, it speaks primarily of the God-given potential or capacity for relationships in varying degrees of commitment. Each person, no matter how badly “messed up”—whether by their own doing, the abuse of others, or some combination—carries the image of God, that capacity for relationships, which tenaciously resists obliteration.

NT writers testify to the gospel invitation that God extends to all: namely, to abandon allegiance to the deceptive, death-dealing spell that sin has managed to cast over creation at humanity’s initiative (Gen. 3; 6:5–6) and to be reconnected with God, others, our true selves, and creation. {198}

Both New Calvinists and Anabaptists understand humanity to be lost, unable to disentangle itself from the web of sin that we have gotten ourselves into. For New Calvinists the accent of “lostness” is on humanity’s inability to do right; 17 for Anabaptists the accent is rather on the overwhelming power of sin to enslave all humanity. 18

The painful truth is that humanity has chosen rebellion (sin) and is in need of forgiveness and ongoing transformation (Rom. 3:9, 23). The foundational assumption of NT writers is that humanity needs God’s forgiveness as well as the follow-up practice of forgiving others (Matt. 6:12; Luke 11:4), in order to rebuild the multiple levels of damaged relationships (2 Cor. 3:18).

So, what is the nature of forgiveness? According to Luke Johnson, 19 we learn the true nature of forgiveness from the way that God forgives. The biblical writers testify to a conviction that God knows human beings completely and therefore is able to see that they are not totally identified with their sinful behavior, even if they think of themselves as defined by sin. In other words, God is able to see and to summon a self that people may not be able to see. As Johnson states, “God calls into being that which is as yet only potential within us, namely a self that is not a sinner. In this sense, God forgives us rather than the sin. The sinful self is allowed to die. The self that can live to righteousness is raised by God. When we are able to trust that God forgives us, we are able to ‘turn’ or ‘convert’ to the self that God sees and calls into being.” 20 As we cultivate the habit of seeing in others a self not defined by sin, we learn how to forgive each other as well—we learn how to be truly human.

The transformational dynamic of becoming truly human picks up the ancient Israelite contribution to understanding creation. Genesis 1:1 reads, “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void.” Israel’s relational understanding of creation meant that instead of seeing creation emerge as an almost unintended by-product of violence and warfare between the gods, as Israel’s neighbors commonly thought, 21 Israel’s God does the more difficult thing! God, the master of the universe and mightiest of all warriors, triumphs over the primeval chaos-dragon (Isa. 51:9–11), by taking that which is chaotic, useless, disorganized, indistinct, and good for nothing (“a formless void”), and actively calling into being a world that is good, fruitful, beautiful, and new. How? By taking the pre-existent chaotic matter, God gathered, separated, and ordered the world, creating differentiated, distinguishable, and productive beings.

Yet, even this classic understanding of the Israelite creation story has another dynamic in play: namely, that God is known as the creating God, from the beginning and through to the end. In the Israelite understanding {199} of things, creation is always relational and organic. Creation is launched but not yet finished; good but not yet perfected; fully present but not yet ultimately realized; now, yet deferred.

From the start, human beings are chosen and mandated to work with God, participating as co-creators in God’s creation project, helping to bring creation step-by-step closer to completion, wholeness, and perfection. This is a huge affirmation of the human being; and at the same time, it comes with a huge responsibility for taking seriously our mandate as stewards, managers, organizers, and co-creators—to make something out of what we have been given. There may not be much, but there is always just enough to make something beautiful. The ongoing challenge remains; humanity is invited to step up and do its part in taking creation forward, affirmed in who we are and challenged with who we are becoming.

JESUS AS THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL NORM

At the heart of the NT writers’ proclamation is their experience of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. They experienced Jesus not only as the one who, on God’s behalf recalled Israel to be and to do what had always been intended for God’s people—to be “a light to the nations” (Isa. 49:6)—but also as the one who actualized the potential for being truly human, like no one else had.

Jesus fulfilled Adamic humanity (Rom. 5), and therefore became the primary source and paradigm for the new humanity: “the last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45), the “firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15). In Jesus, creation is taken up and moved forward from where Adam left off. Jesus brings the whole creation enterprise to its goal of shalom, life, and wholeness—the goal for which creation was launched in the first place.

Still, the ministry of Jesus and how it relates to other human beings is viewed differently by New Calvinists and Anabaptists. New Calvinists see Jesus’ life as important, but his death tends to outweigh everything. 22 Jesus is God’s ultimate gift of self, destined by God to release humanity from the guilt of sin. The crucifixion provides the payment required by God to deal with humanity’s debt of sin. The emphasis is on joy or gratitude for the good fortune that humanity experiences (positional righteousness) as the result of Jesus’ self-sacrifice.

Anabaptists tend to see Jesus’ death flowing out of the life he lived for others: Jesus willingly sacrifices himself for humanity. The crucifixion illustrates the lengths to which evil will go to silence all challengers. Evil orchestrated the death of Jesus, only to find that it had outed itself and lost. The resurrection shows the lengths to which God will go to reverse the effects of evil, so that death does not have the last word. 23 The emphasis is on empowerment, as humanity is released from the bondage of sin and {200} enfolded into a new identity within the community of Jesus, growing in capacity to resist evil, beginning to live as always intended (transformational righteousness).

The NT writers repeatedly assert the significance of Jesus’ ministry, showing how he comes to take up into himself the traditional Israelite religious symbols: Jesus is the temple (Mark 14:58; John 7–8; Eph. 2:20; Rev. 21:22), Jesus is the Torah (Rom. 10:4; Heb. 10:1–18), and Jesus is Israel (Heb. 8:6). Furthermore, Jesus actualized the potential for being truly human as no one else had. Jesus re-gathered God’s people so that they could do and be what God had always intended.

The NT witness is that Jesus revealed fully the character of God and completed fully the goal for humanity, intended by God all along. This is why later proto-orthodox theologians came to describe Jesus as fully divine and fully human (the Chalcedonian Creed). Such “fully”-“fully” language attempted to articulate the new anthropological and theological reality accomplished by Jesus, the one who helped people understand who they really are as human beings and what God really desires.

Thus, Jesus embodied the climax and culmination of what God means for humanity to be. As individuals are identified with and attached to the community of Jesus, they can finally access the truth of who they are as God’s beloved. In this way, the imprint of God’s image that all share is liberated from sin’s grip to emerge and to flourish as God always intended.

In other words, Jesus’ life and ministry are mostly about taking God’s creation that final step forward to being what God intended for creation in the first place. In this way, incarnation and atonement have their origin in the unchanging purpose and love of God.

Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” teaching (e.g., truth telling, care for marginalized, love for enemies, marital faithfulness, etc.) provides a good measure for how seriously the anthropological norm of Jesus is understood. It would be easy to dismiss Jesus’ teaching as an ethic unworkable in public life, in the marketplace; operative perhaps in the age to come, but not in the present. After all, so the rationalization goes, the way of non-retaliation that led him to the cross may have been fine for Jesus, but it has little significance for guiding public policy or interpersonal relations today.

From what we know of the NT writings, there should be a great deal of skepticism regarding any view that trivializes the anthropological norm of Jesus for the Christian community today. All of the NT writers expected the cruciform life of Jesus to shape each Christian community’s interactions with the world, even though they expected the broken, old-age world order to continue for some indefinite time as the dominant system. 24 {201}

Given their Jewish worldview, they only had end-time vocabulary in their “toolbox” of theological terms to talk about the defeat of sin and the birth of the new age. Jesus’ resurrection and the recollections of his life and ministry gave rise to this new language. They had little choice but to use end-time language to talk about what is truly representative of the end, even though the end was not in sight. They had no other terms of reference available.

As it turns out, it was not the scarcity of options, but the accuracy of the strange “already/not yet” language that made these images stick. Such language proved to be the best way to characterize the reality out of which God’s end-time people were now living.

The history of the church, however, shows that this new end-time language has not always been well understood. 25 While the new age did dawn (1 Cor. 10:11) and is dawning, it did not consist of the abolition of history, but in the defeat of sin’s power to oppress humankind and in the formation of resistance communities of faith. These new communities of “resident aliens” 26 were indwelt by the Spirit of the risen Lord and now, for the first time, had the power and the potential to resist the evil one and say no.

Because Jesus said no to the evil one, they—as his disciples—had the potential to do the same. Since they were attached now to Jesus (“baptized into Christ,” Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27), what was true of him could be true of them—his story became theirs. And so, Christian communities have aspired to live by the real cruciform love of Jesus and thereby to demonstrate the good news of the transformation of all creation that is still to come, but already taking shape.

The bottom line is that NT writers never assume an anthropological norm other than Jesus. Their writings give witness to the church’s active engagement with cultural norms in order to de-center them and bring their communities into realignment according to the norms of Jesus. However, these old-age powers still need to be “respected” in the meantime, without giving them primary allegiance any longer (Rom. 6:12). The Corinthian correspondence records this kind of subversive “de-centering” being launched “in the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:11). So, while Paul’s “eschatological reserve” kept him from affirming the Corinthians’ enthusiastic trivialization of the powers, 27 he along with other early Christians shamelessly held up Jesus as the firstborn and prototype of the new creation (“Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” [Heb. 12:2]; “the firstborn of all creation . . . In him all things in heaven and on earth were created” [Col. 1:15–16]). {202}

A PRACTICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

But how effective or practical is such an anthropology, really? It seems that a people that claims Jesus as its norm could end up killed as he was, or misunderstood as aiding evil by refusing to use violence to stop evil. On the surface, these outcomes are real. In order to drill to the deeper truth, however, there is just no getting around the “conversion of the imagination” required to embrace the Jesus norm.

Yet, the victory of the Lamb at the cross sets in motion both the end of evil and the goal for creation. Now, during these last days, when God is exercising great patience, God’s people are expected to live out of the resources of what is yet to be completed. This is not about being passive, but about being active in our resistance to evil in all its forms, knowing that evil too must be free to be evil and to carry on hell-bent toward separation from God and destruction.

The freedom with which God allows evil to carry on headlong to its self-destruction is characteristic of God’s kind of agape love witnessed in Israel’s own creation stories. God did not create the power of evil but allowed people to rebel against God’s way, permitted them to give evil the allegiance that made it the dominating superpower it has become.

In Israel’s story of origins (Gen. 3:1–19), the sin of Adam and Eve is in “grasping,” taking and eating; that is, appropriating the fruit of the tree for their own selfish enjoyment and advantage without God’s direction. 28 The prohibition against eating from that tree—“of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat” (Gen. 2:17)—does not suggest that human beings should not acquire the knowledge of good and evil. In fact, the command to “fill the earth and subdue it” implies the need of such knowledge for discernment (see 2 Sam. 14:17; 1 Kgs. 3:9). At issue is the way such knowledge is to be developed. Is this knowledge achieved autonomously (in a self-directed process) or theonomously (in a God-directed process)? “It is the tempter who implied that the only way to realize the full potential of the image [imago Dei] was to grasp for the knowledge which would enable them to control their own destiny.” 29

Again, this schema is in glaring contrast to the creation stories told by Israel’s neighbors, stories rooted in violence, deception, and warfare. For Israel, God exists before the chaos (Gen. 1:1–2), and it was God’s loving purpose to create a world of mutual, authentic, and theonomous relationships.

So, it makes sense for God’s people to hold up Jesus as the norm for humanity. Why? Because he is the truly perfect human who refused to live autonomously like Adam and Eve, but instead chose to live theonomously: to live the completely God-filled life in response to God’s call. {203}

However, the NT affirmation of the normative character of Jesus is not based on the illusion that Jesus’ life and ministry of nonviolent resistance to evil will necessarily “work” in the short term. No, Jesus is the anthropological norm because his life and pattern of resistance to evil is rooted in God’s creation purpose, and it anticipates the triumph of the Lamb that was slain.

Of course, this kind of “gracious divine patience” is not the complete answer to evil. Just as the doctrine of creation affirms that God made humanity free and the doctrine of redemption says that sin’s freedom led the God-man, Jesus, to the cross, so also “the doctrine of hell lets sin free, finally and irrevocably, to choose separation from God.” At the final judgment, the old age, dominated by evil, achieves its goal as it is finally left to itself. Having chosen to have nothing to do with God’s life, it excludes itself from “the new heaven and new earth,” the consummation of God’s creation which began in Christ (Rev. 20:14–15).

The anthropological norm of Jesus remains the only effective way to deal with and undo the power of evil. This is what Paul meant when he said, “Christ fulfills the goal of Torah” (Rom. 10:4), and when he said that Christ is the “firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15). In Jesus, we see both the normative self-disclosure of God and the consummation of the imago dei in humanity.

FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION

Ultimately any theological discussion with Calvinists and Anabaptists on what it means to be human must wrestle with the biblical creation stories that have shaped the Judeo-Christian tradition (Gen. 1–3). Instead of polarizing on whether to begin with the OT (Reformed) or the NT (Anabaptism), perhaps there is a way to combine these two starting points. What if the Fall represented “failed potential” and what if Jesus’ ministry was about finally filling out that potential? Would that offer a way forward?

Consider the following diagram. In what ways does it help communicate the potential of being human, the reality of what human beings have done with the “image of God,” and the prospect of setting Jesus as the anthropological norm? What areas of further exploration are raised for you? {204}

Figure 1

Click for enlargement

NOTES

  1. J. B. Toews, “Mennonite Brethren Identity and Theological Adversity,” in Pilgrims and Strangers, ed. Paul Toews (Fresno, CA: Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, 1977), 133–57; and Lynn Jost, “Mennonite Brethren Theology: A Multiple Inheritance,” in For Everything a Season, ed. Paul Toews and Kevin Enns-Rempel (Winnipeg, MB: Kindred, 2002), 43–53.
  2. David Van Biema, “The New Calvinism—10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now,” Time, 12 March 2009.
  3. Already in October 2007, the MB Herald ran two articles on New Calvinist theology and its influence on MB churches: Gay Lynn Voth, “Hidden Beliefs: What’s Behind the Sermons We Hear?” and Barry McMaster “People of the Word: The Importance of Expositional Preaching.”
  4. Two examples of popular evangelical movements that have been influential among MBs are Spiritual Warfare (see Pierre Gilbert, Demons, Lies and Shadows: A Plea for a Return to Text and Reason [Winnipeg, MB: Kindred, 2008]) and Dispensational Eschatology (see Jon Isaak, “Heinrich Regehr [1898–1991] and his Dispensational Chart,” Mennonite Historian 38, no. 4 [December 2012]: 4–5, 9–10, http://www.mennonitehistorian.ca/38.4.MHDec12.pdf).
  5. See Collin Hansen, “Young, Restless, Reformed: Calvinism is Making a Comeback—And Shaking up the Church,” Christianity Today, 22 September 2006; and Mark Driscoll, “More Thoughts on Time Magazine and New Calvinism,” The Resurgence, March 12, 2009, http://theresurgence.com/2009/03/12/time-magazine-names-new-calvinism-3rd-most-powerful-idea. {205}
  6. The Gospel Coalition describes itself as follows: “We are a group of (mostly) pastors and churches in the Reformed heritage who delight in the truth and power of the gospel, and who want the gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected to lie at the center of all we cherish, preach, and teach” (http://vimeo.com/gospelcoalition).
  7. In his October 2007 MB Herald article, McMaster quotes John Neufeld (Willingdon Church) as follows: “Reformed theology needs Anabaptism, and Anabaptism needs Reformed theology. As Anabaptists, we have much to learn from Reformed theologians’ stress on the sovereignty of God and the necessity that God be glorified in everything.”
  8. Voth’s article in the October 2007 MB Herald notes five areas where Anabaptist and Reformed theology differ: atonement, humanity, Scripture, interpretation, and Kingdom of Heaven. She writes, “I value the contributions of Luther, Calvin, and Wuest, even though I continue to disagree with many of their theological points-of-view, or try to balance those views with my Anabaptist convictions.”
  9. Consider the “Women in Church Leadership” discussion. At the Calgary 2006 Gathering, it was agreed that the Conference “bless each member church in its own discernment of Scripture, conviction and practice to call and affirm gifted men and women to serve in ministry and pastoral leadership” (Gathering 2006 Reports, MB Herald, 28 April 2006, 15). A similar resolution thirteen years earlier did not pass at the Winnipeg 1993 General Conference convention (Don Ratzlaff, “Smorgasbord of issues gets mixed reviews,” MB Herald, 6 August 1993, 6–10).
  10. The C2C church planting network, for example, has MBs working together with eleven different denominations (see Jon Isaak, “Being on mission together,” MB Herald, June 2013, 10).
  11. Consider the changes over time on MB views toward T.V., divorce and remarriage, marriage to non-MBs, ordination, baptism, leadership, peace witness, biblical teaching on creation or eschatology. See Bruce Guenther, “From Isolation and Ethnic Homogeneity to Acculturation and Multi-cultural Diversity: The Mennonite Brethren and Canadian Culture,” Direction 39 (Fall 2010): 138–61, http://www.directionjournal.org/39/2/from-isolation-and-ethnic-homogeneity-to.html.
  12. In 1910, MB historian P.M. Friesen critiqued some of his fellow MBs for their refusal to fellowship with those churches that had differing views of baptism, Christian experience, organizational structure, and peace witness. According to Friesen, the MB church had become so rigid that it hardly compared to the vitality and dynamism of the movement born 50 years earlier in 1860. See P.M. Friesen, The Mennonite Brotherhood in Russia (1789–1910) (Fresno, CA: Board of Christian Literature, 1978), 975–81.
  13. In 2012, Canadian MBs agreed to coordinate their church planting initiatives in what has become known as the C2C Network (www.c2cnetwork.ca).
  14. For a fuller treatment of this topic, see my Anthropology chapter in New Testament Theology: Extending the Table (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2010), 288–300. {206}
  15. See Thomas Finger, “Believers’ Church Theologies,” in Christian Theology: An Eschatological Approach (Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1985), 1:84–88.
  16. Richard Kyle, “Anabaptist and Reformed Attitudes Toward Civil Government: A Factor in Political Involvement,” Direction 14 (Spring 1985): 27–33, http://www.directionjournal.org/14/1/anabaptist-and-reformed-attitudes-toward.html.
  17. John Piper, “TULIP, Part 3, Irresistible Grace: Total Depravity,” Desiring God, http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/seminars/tulip-part-3.
  18. Voth, “Hidden Beliefs,” 10.
  19. Luke Timothy Johnson, The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters (New York: Image, 2003), 284.
  20. Ibid.
  21. See the creation myths of the ancient Near East, Atrahasis and the Enuma Elish in Gilbert, Demons, Lies and Shadows, 50–53.
  22. John Piper, “TULIP, Part 7, Limited Atonement,” Desiring God, http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/seminars/tulip-part-7.
  23. “While justification is the primary penal atonement image linked with Jesus’ death, for Mennonite Brethren justification has consistently been connected to the resurrection” (Doug Heidebrecht, “Atonement in the Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith,” Direction 41 [Spring 2012]: 23), http://www.directionjournal.org/41/1/atonement-in-mennonite-brethren.html. See also Jon Isaak and Andrew Dyck, “Mennonite Brethren Atonement Confessions and Mission,” Direction 41 (Spring 2012): 34–41, especially “Why have Mennonite Brethren put an accent on the resurrection?” http://www.directionjournal.org/41/1/mennonite-brethren-atonement-confessions.html.
  24. Thomas Finger, “A Christological Anthropology is Possible,” in Christian Theology: An Eschatological Approach (Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1989), 2:72–89.
  25. Even some “New Jerusalem” groups of Mennonites in the nineteenth century were obsessed with the end times and second advent preparations (Walter Unger, “Mennonite Millennial Madness: A Case Study [Claas Epp and the Great Trek],” Direction 28 [Fall 1999]: 201–17, http://www.directionjournal.org/28/2/mennonite-millennial-madness-case-study.html).
  26. The title of a book by Stanley Hauerwas, Resident Aliens: A Provocative Christian Assessment of Culture and Ministry for People Who Know that Something is Wrong (Louisville, KY: Abingdon, 1989).
  27. See Paul’s warnings regarding their greed, pride, sexual immorality, idolatry, and so on in his correspondence with the Corinthian churches.
  28. Norman Kraus, “The Primal Temptation,” in God Our Savior: Theology in a Christological Mode (Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1991), 128.
  29. Ibid.
  30. John Howard Yoder, “Peace without Eschatology?” in The Original Revolution: Essays on Christian Pacifism (Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1971), 61.
  31. Ibid., 62.
Jon Isaak (PhD, McGill) is the Director of the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies in Winnipeg. He has served with the Mennonite Brethren Church as missionary (1987–1998), Bible teacher (1998–2011), and historian (2011–).

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