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Radical Ecumenicity: Pursuing Unity and Continuity after John Howard Yoder Paperback – March 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


John Yoder would have liked this book. He would have liked it because of the conversations made possible by the critical yet constructive essays engaging his work. As this book makes clear, conversation was the heart of Yoder s life and work. We are extremely fortunate to have this book, which exemplifies not only Yoder's thought but also his life. --Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University

A thoroughly engaging collection. You ll finish these essays not only wanting to read more Yoder, but more importantly, you ll find yourself caring more passionately about the concerns to which Yoder doggedly committed his life: standing in faithful continuity with the church catholic and fostering an honest and robust ecumenism. A wonderful example of first-rate scholarship and theological reflection in service of the church. --Philip D. Kenneson, Milligan College, author of Life on the Vine: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in Christian Community

During his lifetime, John Howard Yoder engaged the heirs of the Stone-Campbell Movement in the context of Believers Church Conferences and many other occasions. It is fitting, therefore, that Yoder s important study of the ecumenical movement and the faithful church is being republished alongside a set of probing essays by theologians and biblical scholars from several Restorationist churches. These essays extend the conversation about radical approaches to ecumenism. In the process, they also demonstrate the theological vitality of the Restorationist vision of Christian renewal. The authors raise important questions about the possibilities and limitations of Yoder s theological legacy. I highly recommend this book to those seeking to understand Yoder s contributions to ecclesiology, as well as the ecumenical challenges of the 21st century. --Michael G. Cartwright, dean for Ecumenical & Interfaith Programs, University of Indianapolis

About the Author

John C. Nugent is a Long Island native and Professor of Old Testament at his alma mater, Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, Michigan. His Ph.D. is from Calvin Theological Seminary where he wrote a dissertation on John Howard Yoder s appropriation of the Old Testament for ecclesiology. He holds additional graduate degrees from Duke Divinity School (Th.M.) and Emmanuel School of Religion (M.Div.). John has published articles in books, academic journals, and popular level magazines in a wide variety of areas including Bible, theology, Christian ethics, church planting, Yoder studies, and Stone-Campbellite history. John, his wife Beth, and their three girls are committed members of Delta Community Christian Church in Lansing, MI.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Abilene Christian University Press (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891120424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891120421
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,089,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. Troxell on March 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
I appreciate this book for several reasons. First, Yoder is an important figure in 20th-century theology and it is good to see robust engagement with his work. Second, the Stone-Campbell tradition is sometimes known -- not entirely without warrant -- for insularity, and the particular circumstances of this book's genesis speak to what I think is a renewed sense of, well, radical ecumenicity. Third, I appreciate the breadth of engagement and the depth of scholarship represented by the various submissions. They vary somewhat in strength and relevance, but certainly the aggregate offers a multifaceted and fascinating look at this important figure, and is helpful collection of secondary sources. Finally, I enjoy the (hopefully intentional) double entendre of the title -- that the selections are, to some extent, about Yoder's ecumenism, but the simple fact that scholars in the Stone-Campbell movement were willing to engage the work of a Mennonite scholar who taught for part of his career at a high-profile Catholic university also exemplifies that ecumenicity. Kudos to Nugent and the other contributors for a fine work.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Regan N. Clem on May 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Radical ecumenicity is the idea of being unified through an approach that might seem radical to us. In the Restoration movement, we have tried to be unified, but our approach does not seem to be working. This book, through the study of the writings from John Howard Yoder, a scholar from another background, hopes to provide as a radical approach to our ancient desire of unity.

Members of the Stone-Campbell movement (non-instrumental Churches of Christ, Independent Churches of Christ/Christian Churches, and Disciples of Christ) would benefit greatly from this exploration of the writings of John Howard Yoder. It is an interesting collection of essays: Four from Mennonites, four from Campbellites, one Reformed, and one Baptist on the teachings of John Howard Yoder, a Mennonite most noted for his book The Politics of Jesus.

Believers seeking unity from outside of the Stone-Campbell movement would find the essays in this book to be insightful, inspiring, and invigorating. It is helpful if you have a basic understanding of the teachings of John Howard Yoder, but the writers generally do a good job of explaining Yoder's writings that they are addressing. The book also includes two essays by Yoder himself: "The Ecumenical Movement and the Faithful Church" and "Is There Historical Development of Theological Thought?".

The first essay alone is worth the price of admission. Lee Camp, the Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at Lipscomb University, writes a piece exploring unity. He states, "The Mennonites are of significance to those in the Stone-Campbell Movement for our shared historical agenda: attempting to take seriously the witness of the New Testament as the ground and basis for Christian faith and practice" (21).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Kellicut on May 10, 2010
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"Radical Ecumenicity" is a collection of essays emerging from a multi-denominational conference on the intersections of the Stone-Campbell Movement (SCM) and the ecumenical work of Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder. Both the SCM and Yoder share a passion for Christian unity, yet as "free-churcher's" both also understand the complexity of that project. This collection of essays engages that complexity.

The essays in this volume will be of interest to those who value the free-church. Each essay seeks to argue for an ecumenical posture while taking seriously the danger of losing the integrity of the uniquely free-church voice. This is also a must read for those interested in Yoder's theology. They bring both further elucidation of Yoder's theology. For instance Mark Thiessen Nation offers a great intro to Yoder's thought; and Branson Parler offers a helpful corrective in understanding Yoder as more than an ethicist. They also press Yoder's own work further. Of note is Gayle Koontz who uses Yoder to argue for a uniquely free-church ecumenicity; and John Nugent who takes Yoder farther by developing a theology of vocation; and also Craig Carter's argument against liberal readings of Yoder, which leads to shocking conclusions. Moreover, as a part of the SCM I found Nugent, Camp, Jones, and Kissling's essays to be a must read for anyone in one of our three branches. Of course what takes this volume over the top is the inclusion of two previously unpublished articles by Yoder himself. In these Yoder does an excellent job of ending the book in his typical over-analytical approach, which encourages everyone to think deeply, carefully and seriously about Christian unity.

In short these essays really do extend Yoder's ecumenicity, and thus by extension our own. This is a fantastic volume, carefully written and edited. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Blakely on May 21, 2010
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There are several recent collections of essays on Yoder; this should be among the works that all those interested in questions of ecumenism, free church ecclesiology, hermeneutics, and liturgy would do very well to read. Not only are the new essays emerging from diverse authors and addressing a variety of topics in fresh ways; this book contains two vital and hard-to-find essays from Yoder himself, "The Ecumenical Movement and the Faithful Church," and "Is There Historical Development of Theological Thought?" All in all, this book is a must-read for all those already familiar with Yoder's work and also a helpful introduction for those who have not (yet) read extensively. I say "yet" intentionally... Yoder's work is compelling in its own right, and each of these authors masterfully demonstrate just how timely his thinking is, even and perhaps especially now.

Each essay engages different components of Yoder's thought in a way that showcases both his original versatility and the extensions towards which his contributions push. That so many topics can be so readily addressed using Yoder as a lens speaks to his theological foresight and ongoing significance. Although Yoder is popularly known primarily as an advocate for nonviolent resistance, his interactions with ecclesiology, liturgy, the Old Testament, vocation, and ecumenicity flesh out the real backbone of his work: his commitment to asking how the Lordship of Christ can be made evident in all Christian thinking and being. These essays are well worth the price, and the purchase of this book will encourage additional publications on such a significant theologian's work.
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