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Beliefs

Mennonite Faith and Practice
Beliefs

By author: John D Roth
Product Code: 9270
ISBN: 9780836192704
Pages: 150
Binding Information: Paper
Size: 8.00 x 5.00 inches

Publication Date: 2/3/2005
Availability: In stock.

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Ask any person randomly on the sidewalk what they know about the Mennonites and chances are their answer will include Mormons, black clothes and buggies, or general confusion. This short, engaging book gives a brief account of what Mennonites believe. From the beginnings of the Anabaptist (or Mennonite) movement in the 16th-century, to biblical interpretation, baptism, understandings of the church, ethics, and the complex question of denominationalism, John D. Roth provides a solid framework for on-going conversations about faithful discipleship in the Mennonite church today.

An online study guide is available for this title.

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Preface ... 9

  1. Christian Foundations: What Mennonites Believe ... 19
  2. Christian Foundations: How Mennonites Believe ... 27
  3. Interpreting Scripture: Through a Mennonite Lens ... 37
  4. Interpreting Scripture: A Critique... and Ongoing Questions ... 48
  5. Believers Baptism: Choosing Our King ... 59
  6. Believers Baptism: A Critique... and Ongoing Questions ... 74
  7. Faith as Discipleship: Christian Practices in the Mennonite Tradition 1 ... 86
  8. Faith as Discipleship: Christian Practices in the Mennonite Tradition 2 ... 99
  9. Faith as Discipleship: A Critique... and Ongoing Questions ... 111
  10. The Visible Church: Commitment and Worship ... 122
  11. The Visible Church: Practices that Shape Community ... 132
  12. The Visible Church: A Critique... and Ongoing Questions ... 144
  13. An Invitation: Mennonites in the (post)Modern World ... 157

“John Roth has written a wonderful introduction to Mennonite life and theology. With admirable candor he exposes the controverted and undecided aspects of Mennonite ecclesial practices and theology. This book will serve not only to introduce Mennonite life to Mennonites but to anyone wanting to know what makes Mennonites Mennonites.” —Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School


As the multilayered meanings of baptism suggest, baptism in the Mennonite tradition is neither the beginning nor the end of the Christian journey. Like a wedding, baptism is a public statement of commitment offered before God and other witnesses reflecting a relationship that has existed long before the decision to make a formal and public vow. Like a wedding, it is an announcement of allegiances ("forsaking all others") clarifying that this relationship is now taking on a concrete and permanent character.

But just as the wedding is not yet a marriage, so too baptism should not be confused with what it means to be Christian. The wedding defines some crucial understandings for the marriage ahead, but the real adventure of marriage is learning how to make a life together. Marriage is what it means to grow in the relationship, to establish a home, to raise a family, to adjust to inevitable changes and unexpected challenges, and to practice daily the virtues of love, compassion, trust, forgiveness, and fidelity.

Mennonites understand baptism in much the same way. It is an event of utmost importance that gives public witness to our allegiances and celebrates God's transforming work in our lives. Yet baptism is really only a point of reference for the real adventure of Christian discipleship. Like a wedding, it is not the culmination of a relationship but a moment of conscious commitment that points ahead to a lifetime relationship with God and with fellow believers. This relationship is filled with further opportunities for confession and repentance, adjusting to surprising changes, and deepening in the love as the mystery of intimacy and the joy of relationship are renewed every day.

—"Mennonite Understandings of Baptism: A Summary," p. 73


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