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October 6, 2016 | History

A People Apart: Ethnicity and the Mennonite Brethren 1 edition

Cover of: A People Apart | John H. Redekop
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About the Book

This book represents the findings of a 1985 research project undertaken by Dr. John H. Redekop, commissioned by the Board of Spiritual and Social Concerns of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches to study the issue of ethnicity and Mennonite Brethren. The first part of the book summarizes the responses to a national survey administered by Redekop. He then concludes with a three-fold proposal, calling on Mennonite Brethren: 1) to adopt a more welcoming attitude toward non-ethnic Mennonites who have joined their church, 2) to demonstrate full acceptance of the various ethnic and racial backgrounds represented by fellow Christian believers in their church, and 3) to change their denominational name from Mennonite Brethren to Evangelical Anabaptist, swapping the ethnic category for a theological category.

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A People Apart
Ethnicity and the Mennonite Brethren
by John H. Redekop

Published 1987 by Kindred Productions in Winnipeg, MB, Canada, Hillsboro, KS, USA .
Written in English.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction
1. Why study the question of ethnicity? 1
2. Terms and definitions 2
3. Research methods 6
4. Are we truly open-minded? 7
5. Author's personal stance and commitment 8
6. The scope of the study 9
Chapter 2: Questions, Assumptions, Hypotheses
Part A. The Basic Questions 11
Part B. Some Key Assumptions 12
1. The term "Mennonite" has a positive connotation. 12
2. The Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith must be retained. 13
3. The retention of the Evangelical-Anabaptist distinctiveness is not necessarily related to the retention of the name "Mennonite." 15
4. If Mennonite Brethren do not take corrective action, retention of Anabaptist theology will become problematic. 17
5. Mennonite Brethren should be guided by our understanding of God's word. 17
6. The present generation has a responsibility to do what needs to be done. 18
7. The strong arguments are not all on one side. 18
8. There is no option which will please everyone. 19
9. It is possible to deal with this topic and maintain unity and good will. 19
10. We commit ourselves to consider all evidence fairly. 19
11. Unless there are compelling reasons, there should be no change. 19
12. It is more important to agree on goals than on interpretation of past or present. 19
Part C: The Basic Hypotheses 19
Chapter 3. Religion and Ethnicity: A National Survey
1. Introduction 22
2. Explanation concerning the questionnaire 25
3. Life situation response (national sample) 26
4. Comparison of opinions and perceptions 27
5. Conclusion 54
Questionnaire 55
Chapter 4. Are Mennonites Ethnic?
1. Is ethno-religious ethnic? 57
2. Mennonites listed as ethnics 58
3. Teaching about Mennonites in schools 58
4. The Mennonite press 59
Mennonitische Rundschau 59
Mennonite Mirror 60
Festival Quarterly 61
Mennonite Reporter 61
Mennonite Brethren Herald 62
5. Mennonite culture 65
Mennonite names 69
Mennonite clothing 70
Mennonite quilts 71
Mennonite painting 71
Mennonite music 72
Mennonite drama and film 73
Mennonite literature 74
Mennonite language; Low German 74
Mennonite food 75
Mennonite religion 77
Mennonite museums 78
Mennonite relief sales 79
6. Views of "new" Mennonites 81
7. Mennonites as tourist attractions 84
8. Mennonites in the Media 86
9. Statements by Mennonites about Mennonites 87
10. Views of Mennonites who have left the Mennonite Church 90
11. Description of Mennonites in scholarly literature 92
12. Field research dealing with Mennonite ethnicity 95
13. Statements by governmental and other officials concerning Mennonite ethnicity 97
14. Conclusion: Mennonites are ethnic 112
Chapter 5. Are Mennonite Brethren Ethnic?
1. The present situation 119
2. The San Jose survey 122
Chapter 6. Mennonites and Ethnicity; Some Religious and Historical Considerations
1. Ethnicity as a problem in church ministries 131
2. What does the Bible say about ethnicity? 132
3. What did the early Anabaptists say about ethnicity? 135
4. The development of ethnicity 137
Chapter 7. Coming to Terms with Ethnicity: The Options
1. Fusing Mennonite ethnicity and Anabaptist Christianity 143
2. Seeing the Anabaptist church as part of the Mennonite ethnic group 144
3. Seeing the Mennonite ethnic group and the Anabaptist church as overlapping communities 144
4. Viewing the Mennonite ethnic groups and the Anabaptist church as distinct entities but still calling both Mennonite 145
5. Trying to reform and revise Mennonite ethnicity 146
6. Denying Mennonite ethnicity 146
7. Denying Mennonite ethnicity and rejecting Anabaptist theology 147
8. Partially separating Mennonite ethnicity from Anabaptist theology and affirming both 148
Chapter 8. A Modest Proposal
1. Concerning attitude 152
2. Concerning actions 152
3. Concerning the name 153
a. How serious is the erosion of Anabaptist theology 154
b. Must we take action now? 155
c. Should we "risk" a name change? 156
d. Have there been other name changes? 160
e. Is "Evangelical Anabaptist" the best alternative? 160
Chapter 9. Questions Commonly Asked
1. Why talk about Mennonitism? There is no problem. 167
2. Would a name change constitute a betrayal of our Anabaptist traditions and beliefs? 168
3. Would a formal name change create a loss of identity? 169
4. "But I don't want a name change!" 173
5. Does Mennonite diversity in the global scene not prove that "Mennonite" does not mean a particular ethnicity? 173
6. Would a change of name confuse people? 175
7. Is not the situation already improving? 175
8. What's wrong with being an ethnic church? Aren't all people ethnic? 176
9. Are not the ethnic churches in North America growing rapidly? 177
10. Would any other name not produce the same problems? 177
11. Can't we educate the public? 177
12. How would a name change affect our relationship with other Mennonite conferences and inter-Mennonite agencies? 178
13. How would a Canadian conference name change affect our mission work overseas? 178
14. How would the proposed name change affect our denominational institutions? 179
15. Would Mennonite Brethren cease to be Mennonite Brethren? 179
16. Would a conference name change not make us appear to be dishonest? 179
17. Could a name change be undertaken without a similar change occurring in our sister MB conferences in the U.S.? 180
18. Would keeping the name Mennonite Brethren not help us to retain our theological distinctives? 180
Chapter 10. Conclusion
Concluding comments 181
Chapter 11. Postscript
Answering early responses 185
Subject Index 189
Name Index 197

Edition Notes

Copyright Date

The Physical Object

xi, 198p.
Number of pages
6.0 x 9.0 x 0.75 inches

ID Numbers

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Internet Archive
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October 6, 2016 Edited by Jon Isaak Edited without comment.
October 6, 2016 Edited by Jon Isaak Edited without comment.
October 6, 2016 Edited by Jon Isaak Added new cover
October 6, 2016 Edited by Jon Isaak Edited without comment.
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