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The standard accounting of evangelical Christians in North America as God-and-country hawks and Mennonites as countercultural doves is problematized in The Activist Impulse. The authors of the fourteen chapters in this edited volume do more than take apart the stereotypes and myths. Through careful scholarship, accessible writing, and keen historical and social analysis, they piece together a fascinating and elaborate mosaic of the evangelical-Anabaptist nexus. The portrait that emerges is of evangelicals and Anabaptists as spiritual sibling who sometimes disagree the stronger for having so much in common. Not the least of their commonalities is the impulse toward activism based on a serious reading of the Scriptures and the call of Jesus to not only believe but be doers of the gospel. The book is unparalleled in documenting how the crosscurrents of thought, practice, biblical hermeneutics, church politics, and outside social forces have mixed and matched the members and ideas of these two movements in interesting and unexpected ways.
A case example of this crosspollination is the Missionary Church. A largely mainstream evangelical denomination today, its early name was the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church. In a chapter entitled "Practicing Peace, Embracing Evangelicalism: Missional Tensions in the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church," Matthew Eaton and Joel Boehner argue that the Missionary Church's present accommodation and blessing of members enlisting in the military, for example, emerged gradually--and in departure-- from a historic belief that held peace and purity in tandem.Read more ›
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