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Radical Ecumenicity: Pursuing Unity and Continuity after John Howard Yoder Paperback – March 1, 2010
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
From the Inside Flap
In the Spring of 2009 a group of scholars, ministers, and lay persons associated with the Stone-Campbell tradition gathered to discuss the significance of John Howard Yoder's work. This was the first time adherents of a single tradition beyond Yoder's Mennonite heritage had gathered for this purpose. Radical Ecumenicity brings together six papers from this gathering, two additional essays by Stone-Campbell scholars, and two of Yoder's own lesser-known essays. Though these essays were not originally written with a common theme in mind, they nonetheless dovetail nicely with the prominent emphases of unity and continuity, two themes relevant to all disciples who strive to be ecumenically active and theologically grounded in the broader Christian tradition.
Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
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.
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.