Mennonite Ethics: From Isolation to Engagement


SKU: 9781525534263 Category: Product ID: 7283


J. Lawrence Burkholder was a sectarian realist who advocated nonviolent activism in order to engage the faith community with the power structures that guide society and politics. He encouraged the Mennonite church to move beyond its tradition of withdrawal and separatism in order to renew its moribund spirit. Burkholder assumed that people of faith, and especially Mennonites, should impact social and political structures through nonviolent action, and thereby make those systems more just and peaceful. Any withdrawal of that responsibility was, according to his thinking, a denial of the gospel itself. Efforts to hold onto the principle of a withdrawn or separate community were, for Lawrence, a delusion the Mennonite church could no longer afford. In his final essay he observed, “It is not enough for churches to be committed to love and justice while ignoring power.” “The Anabaptist mind is one of paradox. On the one hand, the Anabaptist expressed joy and victory in this world claiming that the possibilities of life are virtually unlimited. Anabaptists were not conscious, as was Luther, of the legacy of original sin which placed a limit to human attainment. They claimed that Jesus came to bring life here and now, which means inexpressible joy and satisfaction. On the other hand, Anabaptists took a sober attitude toward life and at times this developed into a near morbidity…”.

Additional information