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Cover of: Only the Sword of the Spirit | Jacob A. Loewen and Wesley J. Prieb
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About the Book

Jacob A. Loewen, former Mennonite Brethren missionary in Columbia, professor at Tabor College 1958–1965, and later Bible translation consultant with the Unite Bible Societies in South America and Africa, and Wesley J. Prieb, lifelong professor of English at Tabor College, co-authored this volume as a very personal testimony to the Mennonite Brethren Church and as an appeal to the larger Anabaptist/Mennonite world.

Only the Sword of the Spirit reconstructs the developments of Menno Simons's Anabaptist Vision and methodically traces its evolution through the entire northern stream of Mennonites─Holland, Prussia, North Germany, Russia, and North America. It highlights some testimonies of fidelity and some embarrassing accounts of slippage in the almost 500 year pilgrimage of these Mennonite peoples. It concludes with an appeal for the recovery of a relevant version of Menno Simons's sixteenth-century vision for our own times.

According to the authors, "an underlying thesis of this book is that by emphasizing nonresistance during war as a single agenda and test of fidelity, Mennonites have often closed other doors. It is as if we want Jesus to enter our peace room during wartime, but not when it concerns everyday issues of peace and peacemaking. And what about other rooms, our financial room or stewardship room? Unless all the rooms are occupied by the Lord of the House, even the peace room will eventually be closed. Jesus knocks at all our doors (Rev 3:20–22)" (from the Introduction, xi).

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Only the Sword of the Spirit
by Jacob A. Loewen and Wesley J. Prieb

Published 1997 by Kindred Productions in Winnipeg, MB, Canada, Hillsboro, KS, USA .
Written in English.

Table of Contents

Preface i
Introduction vii
Part One: Menno's Vision
1. "Only the Sword of the Spirit!" 3
2. The Significance of Menno Simons's Only-the-Sword-of-the-Spirit Stance in World History and in Scripture 19
i. In World History 19
ii. In Scripture 22
iii. In Mennonite Experience 26
3. Menno's Feet of Clay 29
Part Two: The Story of the Northern Stream of Mennonites: In Northern Europe, Southern Russia, and America
4. The Doopsgezinde of the Netherlands 37
5. Mennonites in Northwest Germany 53
6. Mennonites in the Prussias 67
7. The Mennonite Commonwealth in South Russia 1789–1860 85
8. Awakening in Russia 99
9. Johann Cornies and his Vision 105
10. Pietist and Baptist Influences 113
11. The Outworking of Borrowed Pietist Values in the Mennonite Brethren Context 123
12. The Emergence of the Selbstschutz and the Mennonite Brethren Contribution to it 135
Situating the Mennonites in North America 142
13. American Mennonites: Citizenship and Property 145
14. Social Class and Wealth 155
15. The Canon and the Congregation 163
16. Vulnerability to Outside Influences 179
Part Three: The Twelve Anabaptist Values and Readers's Responses
17. When Mennonites Adjusted Their Worldview to become Two-Kingdom Citizens 189
18. From Stewardship to Ownership and a Social-class-based Society 195
19. When Mennonites Developed a Church State and Decided to Defend it with the Sword 201
20. When Mennonites Shifted Their View of the Canon 207
21. When the Function of the Mennonite Congregation Changed 213
22. When Mennonites Achieved Physical Isolation as "God's Chosen People" in Their Own "Promised Land" and Then Lost Their Reason to be 223
Part Four: The Hope
23. Stories of Fidelity 231
24. The Hope for Ongoing Renewal 243
Personal Reflections on the Only-the-Sword-of-the-Spirit Ideal, by Jacob A. Loewen 253
How I Found my Roots in Gewaltverzicht 253
How I Became Proud to be a Mennonite 261
Bibliography 265
Index 329

Edition Notes

Includes bibliographical references and index

Perspectives on Mennonite Life and Thought, No. 11
Copyright Date


Library of Congress
MLCM 2001/01368 (B)

The Physical Object

xiv, 346p.
Number of pages
8.75 x 5.75 x 1 inches

ID Numbers

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Internet Archive
LC Control Number
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March 19, 2015 Edited by Jon Isaak Edited without comment.
March 19, 2015 Edited by Jon Isaak Edited without comment.
March 19, 2015 Edited by Jon Isaak Edited without comment.
March 19, 2015 Edited by Jon Isaak Edited without comment.
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