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Concern is the name given to a series of pamphlets initiated by a group of young American Mennonite graduate students, relief workers, and missionaries who met in [[Amsterdam (Noord-Holland, Netherlands)|Amsterdam]] in 1952 to address issues confronting the Mennonite church in Europe. Although the "Concern Group" preferred not to be known as an organization or even as a fellowship with defined membership, the initiating participants consisted of Irvin Horst, David Shank, Orley Swartzendruber, John W. Miller, Paul Peachey, Calvin Redekop, and [[Yoder, John Howard (1927-1997)|John Howard Yoder]]. They felt led to further discussions focusing upon the condition of the American Mennonite church in relation to its founding principles as represented by the "Anabaptist Vision."
 
Concern is the name given to a series of pamphlets initiated by a group of young American Mennonite graduate students, relief workers, and missionaries who met in [[Amsterdam (Noord-Holland, Netherlands)|Amsterdam]] in 1952 to address issues confronting the Mennonite church in Europe. Although the "Concern Group" preferred not to be known as an organization or even as a fellowship with defined membership, the initiating participants consisted of Irvin Horst, David Shank, Orley Swartzendruber, John W. Miller, Paul Peachey, Calvin Redekop, and [[Yoder, John Howard (1927-1997)|John Howard Yoder]]. They felt led to further discussions focusing upon the condition of the American Mennonite church in relation to its founding principles as represented by the "Anabaptist Vision."
  
[[File:RedekopCal.jpg|300px|thumb|right|''Cal Redekop in 1978  
+
[[File:RedekopCal.jpg|300px|thumb|right|''Cal Redekop in 1978'']]    It is difficult to characterize Concern as a group because of its informal way of working. For a number of years Concern held annual retreats but elected no officers. The Concern pamphlet series appeared without an announced editor, though an editorial secretariat and an editorial council appeared with issue no. 5 in 1958. Concern's reluctance to define itself seems to have been deliberate. It preferred not to add to the organizational structures of the Mennonite church, which were considered excessive. Ambiguity regarding Concern's identity led to recurring internal questions as to what Concern is and gave rise to external fears that it might become an alienating movement or even a dissenting church. Eventually suspicions were allayed somewhat as internal dynamics demonstrated less than unanimity among its participants. As its early supporters scattered and assumed professional duties, and as publication tended to take precedence over fellowship, Concern came to be remembered primarily for its pamphlet series.
 
+
'']]    It is difficult to characterize Concern as a group because of its informal way of working. For a number of years Concern held annual retreats but elected no officers. The Concern pamphlet series appeared without an announced editor, though an editorial secretariat and an editorial council appeared with issue no. 5 in 1958. Concern's reluctance to define itself seems to have been deliberate. It preferred not to add to the organizational structures of the Mennonite church, which were considered excessive. Ambiguity regarding Concern's identity led to recurring internal questions as to what Concern is and gave rise to external fears that it might become an alienating movement or even a dissenting church. Eventually suspicions were allayed somewhat as internal dynamics demonstrated less than unanimity among its participants. As its early supporters scattered and assumed professional duties, and as publication tended to take precedence over fellowship, Concern came to be remembered primarily for its pamphlet series.
+
  
 
In order to understand Concern, we must recall theological developments following World War II. With respect to Mennonite theology, the dominating themes were set by the "Anabaptist vision" as articulated by the first generation of American Anabaptist-Mennonite scholars, of which Harold S. Bender may be considered the most influential advocate. Early participants in Concern were young second-generation Mennonite scholars who, having received their undergraduate [[Education, Mennonite|education]] at Mennonite institutions, were committed to the extension of theology based upon Anabaptist studies.
 
In order to understand Concern, we must recall theological developments following World War II. With respect to Mennonite theology, the dominating themes were set by the "Anabaptist vision" as articulated by the first generation of American Anabaptist-Mennonite scholars, of which Harold S. Bender may be considered the most influential advocate. Early participants in Concern were young second-generation Mennonite scholars who, having received their undergraduate [[Education, Mennonite|education]] at Mennonite institutions, were committed to the extension of theology based upon Anabaptist studies.
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The Concern group was affected by theological postwar developments by virtue of the fact that several of its initiating participants studied under Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, and Oscar Cullmann. Others participated in ecumenical discussions about church renewal. Thus within the European theological context, Mennonite students were led to ask fundamental questions about Mennonite theology, questions having to do with the nature of the church, its mission, its polity, and its relation to Christendom and society at large.
 
The Concern group was affected by theological postwar developments by virtue of the fact that several of its initiating participants studied under Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, and Oscar Cullmann. Others participated in ecumenical discussions about church renewal. Thus within the European theological context, Mennonite students were led to ask fundamental questions about Mennonite theology, questions having to do with the nature of the church, its mission, its polity, and its relation to Christendom and society at large.
  
[[File:PeacheyPaul.jpg|300px|thumb|right|''Paul Peachey  
+
[[File:PeacheyPaul.jpg|300px|thumb|right|''Paul Peachey'']]    An examination of the early issues of the pamphlet series would give some indications of major themes and Concern's point of view. In the first pamphlet (1954), Paul Peachey presented an article titled "Toward an understanding of the decline of the West." This article illustrates both the manner and the content of Anabaptist-Mennonite thinking at that time. It was ideological in manner and sectarian in content. It was ideological in the sense that it attempted to bring all relevant considerations together in relatively simple, comprehensible, and uncompromising terms; and it was sectarian in the sense that it relied upon the methodologies and sharp antitheses of [[Troeltsch, Ernst (1865-1923)|Ernst Troeltsch]] in <em>The social teachings of the Christian churches</em>.
 
+
'']]    An examination of the early issues of the pamphlet series would give some indications of major themes and Concern's point of view. In the first pamphlet (1954), Paul Peachey presented an article titled "Toward an understanding of the decline of the West." This article illustrates both the manner and the content of Anabaptist-Mennonite thinking at that time. It was ideological in manner and sectarian in content. It was ideological in the sense that it attempted to bring all relevant considerations together in relatively simple, comprehensible, and uncompromising terms; and it was sectarian in the sense that it relied upon the methodologies and sharp antitheses of [[Troeltsch, Ernst (1865-1923)|Ernst Troeltsch]] in <em>The social teachings of the Christian churches</em>.
+
  
 
In one grand sweep, Peachey attributed the "Decline of the West," to the "dilution of christianity itself rather than to the secularization of culture in general." Such sectarian interpretation of western history rests upon Troeltsch's typology in which the church-type and the sect-type were thought to represent fundamental and inexorable alternatives facing Christendom. The mission of Concern was to develop a consistent sectarian theology and a practical polity based upon Anabaptist sectarian principles.
 
In one grand sweep, Peachey attributed the "Decline of the West," to the "dilution of christianity itself rather than to the secularization of culture in general." Such sectarian interpretation of western history rests upon Troeltsch's typology in which the church-type and the sect-type were thought to represent fundamental and inexorable alternatives facing Christendom. The mission of Concern was to develop a consistent sectarian theology and a practical polity based upon Anabaptist sectarian principles.
  
[[File:YoderJohnH1.jpg|300px|thumb|right|''John Howard Yoder  
+
[[File:YoderJohnH1.jpg|300px|thumb|right|''John Howard Yoder'']]    In the same pamphlet John Howard Yoder offered a seminal article entitled "The logic of the place of the disciple in society," in which he set out some of the assumptions of a sectarian ethic, such as the lordship of Christ, [[Discipleship|discipleship]], and separation from the world. Without apologies and without concessions to those who commonly interpreted withdrawal as personal conviction or "talent," Yoder advocated "social withdrawal" as a consequence of the uncompromising ethic of Christ. "The Anabaptist-Mennonite position of 'dissent' represents an historical incarnation of an entirely different view of the Christian life, of the work and nature of the church and fundamentally also the meaning of redemption."
 
+
'']]    In the same pamphlet John Howard Yoder offered a seminal article entitled "The logic of the place of the disciple in society," in which he set out some of the assumptions of a sectarian ethic, such as the lordship of Christ, [[Discipleship|discipleship]], and separation from the world. Without apologies and without concessions to those who commonly interpreted withdrawal as personal conviction or "talent," Yoder advocated "social withdrawal" as a consequence of the uncompromising ethic of Christ. "The Anabaptist-Mennonite position of 'dissent' represents an historical incarnation of an entirely different view of the Christian life, of the work and nature of the church and fundamentally also the meaning of redemption."
+
  
 
Although the development of a consistent Mennonite sectarian theology persisted, a diffusion of interests and points of view characterized later pamphlets. Ideological consistency waned in the 1960s as problems became increasingly practical in nature, and as authors were featured from a rather broad spectrum of Mennonite life. Eventually non-Mennonites found their way into Concern's pages. Reprints from such prominent theologians as Karl Barth, Edmund Perry, and Hans-Rüdi Weber were featured. Even such an occasional problem as "the meaning of Christmas" merited an entire issue (no. 16, 1968). Sometimes articles reflected a tendency toward self-criticism. As reported in pamphlet number 3 (1956), the leaders, having returned from Europe, held a retreat at Camp Luz in Ohio and discussed the meaning of fellowship. Out of this emerged questions as to whether Concern itself should function as a [[Community|community]] along New Testament lines.
 
Although the development of a consistent Mennonite sectarian theology persisted, a diffusion of interests and points of view characterized later pamphlets. Ideological consistency waned in the 1960s as problems became increasingly practical in nature, and as authors were featured from a rather broad spectrum of Mennonite life. Eventually non-Mennonites found their way into Concern's pages. Reprints from such prominent theologians as Karl Barth, Edmund Perry, and Hans-Rüdi Weber were featured. Even such an occasional problem as "the meaning of Christmas" merited an entire issue (no. 16, 1968). Sometimes articles reflected a tendency toward self-criticism. As reported in pamphlet number 3 (1956), the leaders, having returned from Europe, held a retreat at Camp Luz in Ohio and discussed the meaning of fellowship. Out of this emerged questions as to whether Concern itself should function as a [[Community|community]] along New Testament lines.
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With respect to the nature of the church, articles appeared from the outset that expressed disillusionment with the Mennonite church for its alleged conformity to [[Denominationalism|denominational]] patterns of organization and religious life. Especially offensive was the apparent identification of the church with vertical structures, as represented by conferences, ministerial boards, and institutions. Also, it was claimed that ethnicity was frequently confused with spiritual reality. Members of Concern insisted that tendencies, both social and theological, that led historically from New Testament Christianity to the Corpus Christianum and from early [[Anabaptism|Anabaptism]] to Dutch Mennonite formalism, were at work among American Mennonites as well. What emerged was a vision of the church according to which spirit supersedes structure, essence transcends form, and the simple resists the complex. The church is not to be understood as a building or as an institution but as an intimate fellowship of believers within which interaction includes mutual support, Bible study, edification, and discipline. The church is defined as "where two or three are gathered together in the presence of Jesus.
 
With respect to the nature of the church, articles appeared from the outset that expressed disillusionment with the Mennonite church for its alleged conformity to [[Denominationalism|denominational]] patterns of organization and religious life. Especially offensive was the apparent identification of the church with vertical structures, as represented by conferences, ministerial boards, and institutions. Also, it was claimed that ethnicity was frequently confused with spiritual reality. Members of Concern insisted that tendencies, both social and theological, that led historically from New Testament Christianity to the Corpus Christianum and from early [[Anabaptism|Anabaptism]] to Dutch Mennonite formalism, were at work among American Mennonites as well. What emerged was a vision of the church according to which spirit supersedes structure, essence transcends form, and the simple resists the complex. The church is not to be understood as a building or as an institution but as an intimate fellowship of believers within which interaction includes mutual support, Bible study, edification, and discipline. The church is defined as "where two or three are gathered together in the presence of Jesus.
  
[[File:MillerJohnW.jpg|300px|thumb|right|''John W. Miller  
+
[[File:MillerJohnW.jpg|300px|thumb|right|''John W. Miller'']]    "Intimations of Another Way" is the title that C. Norman Kraus and John W. Miller gave to a seminal article appearing in Concern no. 3 (1956), in which the church was defined in singular terms as a fellowship. To "gather" in Jesus' name is to bring together the essentials of what it means to be the church. The church is where Christ is and "not necessarily where the membership rolls are kept, not necessarily where the preacher stands Sunday by Sunday to present his discourse ... but where Christ is reigning in the midst of His gathered people."
 
+
'']]    "Intimations of Another Way" is the title that C. Norman Kraus and John W. Miller gave to a seminal article appearing in Concern no. 3 (1956), in which the church was defined in singular terms as a fellowship. To "gather" in Jesus' name is to bring together the essentials of what it means to be the church. The church is where Christ is and "not necessarily where the membership rolls are kept, not necessarily where the preacher stands Sunday by Sunday to present his discourse ... but where Christ is reigning in the midst of His gathered people."
+
  
 
With the church defined as koinonia (community), many questions emerged as to just what the church should do. Subsequent issues filled out the vision of a renewed Mennonite church. Articles supporting small-group dynamics, Bible study, ethical discernment, discipline, mutual aid, caring, vocational counseling, teaching, and preaching appeared. All of these functions were to be located in the local congregation meeting possibly, though not necessarily, in homes (house churches).
 
With the church defined as koinonia (community), many questions emerged as to just what the church should do. Subsequent issues filled out the vision of a renewed Mennonite church. Articles supporting small-group dynamics, Bible study, ethical discernment, discipline, mutual aid, caring, vocational counseling, teaching, and preaching appeared. All of these functions were to be located in the local congregation meeting possibly, though not necessarily, in homes (house churches).

Revision as of 13:58, 23 August 2013

Concern is the name given to a series of pamphlets initiated by a group of young American Mennonite graduate students, relief workers, and missionaries who met in Amsterdam in 1952 to address issues confronting the Mennonite church in Europe. Although the "Concern Group" preferred not to be known as an organization or even as a fellowship with defined membership, the initiating participants consisted of Irvin Horst, David Shank, Orley Swartzendruber, John W. Miller, Paul Peachey, Calvin Redekop, and John Howard Yoder. They felt led to further discussions focusing upon the condition of the American Mennonite church in relation to its founding principles as represented by the "Anabaptist Vision."

Cal Redekop in 1978
It is difficult to characterize Concern as a group because of its informal way of working. For a number of years Concern held annual retreats but elected no officers. The Concern pamphlet series appeared without an announced editor, though an editorial secretariat and an editorial council appeared with issue no. 5 in 1958. Concern's reluctance to define itself seems to have been deliberate. It preferred not to add to the organizational structures of the Mennonite church, which were considered excessive. Ambiguity regarding Concern's identity led to recurring internal questions as to what Concern is and gave rise to external fears that it might become an alienating movement or even a dissenting church. Eventually suspicions were allayed somewhat as internal dynamics demonstrated less than unanimity among its participants. As its early supporters scattered and assumed professional duties, and as publication tended to take precedence over fellowship, Concern came to be remembered primarily for its pamphlet series.

In order to understand Concern, we must recall theological developments following World War II. With respect to Mennonite theology, the dominating themes were set by the "Anabaptist vision" as articulated by the first generation of American Anabaptist-Mennonite scholars, of which Harold S. Bender may be considered the most influential advocate. Early participants in Concern were young second-generation Mennonite scholars who, having received their undergraduate education at Mennonite institutions, were committed to the extension of theology based upon Anabaptist studies.

Simultaneously, major Protestant denominations in Europe and America engaged in theological reconstruction with great creativity and intensity. The postwar period produced such famous European theologians as Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, and Rudolf Bultmann, and such outstanding American theologians as Reinhold Niebuhr, H. Richard Niebuhr, and Paul Tillich. The World Council of Churches as well as major denominations engaged in studies of all aspects of church life from both historical and biblical perspectives. Theological thinking at that time was sweeping and thorough, as the church sought to come to terms with existential philosophies and monumental political developments. It was assumed that Protestant theology only in the grand tradition of theological systems could stand over against such threatening ideologies as fascism, communism, and such cultural tendencies as secularism and empiricism.

The Concern group was affected by theological postwar developments by virtue of the fact that several of its initiating participants studied under Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, and Oscar Cullmann. Others participated in ecumenical discussions about church renewal. Thus within the European theological context, Mennonite students were led to ask fundamental questions about Mennonite theology, questions having to do with the nature of the church, its mission, its polity, and its relation to Christendom and society at large.

Paul Peachey
An examination of the early issues of the pamphlet series would give some indications of major themes and Concern's point of view. In the first pamphlet (1954), Paul Peachey presented an article titled "Toward an understanding of the decline of the West." This article illustrates both the manner and the content of Anabaptist-Mennonite thinking at that time. It was ideological in manner and sectarian in content. It was ideological in the sense that it attempted to bring all relevant considerations together in relatively simple, comprehensible, and uncompromising terms; and it was sectarian in the sense that it relied upon the methodologies and sharp antitheses of Ernst Troeltsch in The social teachings of the Christian churches.

In one grand sweep, Peachey attributed the "Decline of the West," to the "dilution of christianity itself rather than to the secularization of culture in general." Such sectarian interpretation of western history rests upon Troeltsch's typology in which the church-type and the sect-type were thought to represent fundamental and inexorable alternatives facing Christendom. The mission of Concern was to develop a consistent sectarian theology and a practical polity based upon Anabaptist sectarian principles.

John Howard Yoder
In the same pamphlet John Howard Yoder offered a seminal article entitled "The logic of the place of the disciple in society," in which he set out some of the assumptions of a sectarian ethic, such as the lordship of Christ, discipleship, and separation from the world. Without apologies and without concessions to those who commonly interpreted withdrawal as personal conviction or "talent," Yoder advocated "social withdrawal" as a consequence of the uncompromising ethic of Christ. "The Anabaptist-Mennonite position of 'dissent' represents an historical incarnation of an entirely different view of the Christian life, of the work and nature of the church and fundamentally also the meaning of redemption."

Although the development of a consistent Mennonite sectarian theology persisted, a diffusion of interests and points of view characterized later pamphlets. Ideological consistency waned in the 1960s as problems became increasingly practical in nature, and as authors were featured from a rather broad spectrum of Mennonite life. Eventually non-Mennonites found their way into Concern's pages. Reprints from such prominent theologians as Karl Barth, Edmund Perry, and Hans-Rüdi Weber were featured. Even such an occasional problem as "the meaning of Christmas" merited an entire issue (no. 16, 1968). Sometimes articles reflected a tendency toward self-criticism. As reported in pamphlet number 3 (1956), the leaders, having returned from Europe, held a retreat at Camp Luz in Ohio and discussed the meaning of fellowship. Out of this emerged questions as to whether Concern itself should function as a community along New Testament lines.

As a sign of the times, a parallel renewal movement among the Quakers was initiated. It published a quarterly series named The Call. This movement sought to encourage the Friends to return more closely to their Christian origins. Concern kept in touch with leaders of The Call, since the objectives of both renewal efforts were similar. In fact, Lewis Benson, a Quaker leader of The Call, permitted his name to appear on the editorial masthead of Concern. It may be conjectured that the name "Concern" was drawn from traditional Quaker language.

It is impossible to find a rubric by which to epitomize numerous articles that found their way into Concern's 18 issues, the last one appearing in 1971. However, one can delineate two main, interrelated areas. They are (1) the nature and mission of the church, and (2) the relation of the church to society.

With respect to the nature of the church, articles appeared from the outset that expressed disillusionment with the Mennonite church for its alleged conformity to denominational patterns of organization and religious life. Especially offensive was the apparent identification of the church with vertical structures, as represented by conferences, ministerial boards, and institutions. Also, it was claimed that ethnicity was frequently confused with spiritual reality. Members of Concern insisted that tendencies, both social and theological, that led historically from New Testament Christianity to the Corpus Christianum and from early Anabaptism to Dutch Mennonite formalism, were at work among American Mennonites as well. What emerged was a vision of the church according to which spirit supersedes structure, essence transcends form, and the simple resists the complex. The church is not to be understood as a building or as an institution but as an intimate fellowship of believers within which interaction includes mutual support, Bible study, edification, and discipline. The church is defined as "where two or three are gathered together in the presence of Jesus.

John W. Miller
"Intimations of Another Way" is the title that C. Norman Kraus and John W. Miller gave to a seminal article appearing in Concern no. 3 (1956), in which the church was defined in singular terms as a fellowship. To "gather" in Jesus' name is to bring together the essentials of what it means to be the church. The church is where Christ is and "not necessarily where the membership rolls are kept, not necessarily where the preacher stands Sunday by Sunday to present his discourse ... but where Christ is reigning in the midst of His gathered people."

With the church defined as koinonia (community), many questions emerged as to just what the church should do. Subsequent issues filled out the vision of a renewed Mennonite church. Articles supporting small-group dynamics, Bible study, ethical discernment, discipline, mutual aid, caring, vocational counseling, teaching, and preaching appeared. All of these functions were to be located in the local congregation meeting possibly, though not necessarily, in homes (house churches).

Inevitably, the logic of the mutuality of love led to discussions about "full community," and especially as the leaders of Concern entered into conversations with representatives of the Society of Brothers at Rifton, New York. Given the principles of nonconformity to world systems, including the capitalistic economic order, and the necessity to break with western individualism, not to speak of the need to "bear one another's burdens," the leaders of Concern wrestled with the Hutterian ideal. Predictably, differences of opinion emerged regarding the structural implications of communal love. Would Concern follow the ideal of community to its logical conclusion? Although, Concern generally stopped short of "full community," one may be justified in making a connection between Concern and the Reba Place fellowship, which was founded in 1957 through the instrumentality of John W. Miller.

With respect to the second major issue, namely, the relation of the church to society, discussion centered on the concept of "social responsibility." Social responsibility entered ecumenical discussion through the World Council of Churches meeting in Amsterdam in 1948. It served as a comprehensive framework by which to define how the churches should relate to democratic society.

At the outset leaders of Concern saw "responsibility" as an "unbiblical presupposition" of Christian social ethics because it violated the fundamental division between the "two kingdoms," most clearly delineated by the Schleitheim Confession. John Howard Yoder in "The Anabaptist dissent," Concern no. 1 (1954), insisted that the sect is by necessity withdrawn from the world. "The basic 'dissent' of the sect as here spoken of is its refusal to assume responsibility for the moral structure of non-Christian society." He pointed out that "social responsibility" is grounded in the Constantinian Corpus Christianum, within which the church ceases to be an "autonomous moral force." Responsibility is ethically ambiguous since it "says nothing definite about ends and means." To be responsible for society is to compromise especially in the areas of war and the police functions of the state. At that time Yoder seemed to have represented not only the traditional Mennonite position but also the position of most of his contemporaries when he wrote, "Because the work of the church is what gives real meaning to history, we need not be ashamed of our irresponsibility in giving our attention as Christians to the church's peculiar tasks, and thus leaving to the 'good heathen' the functions necessary but nonredemptive, which fail to accord with our particular mission."

This point of view, however, was challenged by Gordon Kaufman in an article entitled 'Non-resistance and Responsibility,' Concern no. 6 (1958). Kaufman upheld responsibility as a "derivative of Christian love." Love drives Christians to the political sphere, since this is where love is most needed. Love means accepting the neighbor where he is "in hope that the neighbor may be transformed and the situation may be redeemed." Willingness to participate in decision-making, even for a military budget, despite one's own personal Christian desires, can be justified as an implication of Christian freedom to love. Kaufman acknowledged the church-world dichotomy in principle, but he refused to define it objectively with discernible boundaries.

Kaufman's article set the agenda for a spirited "Second Look at Responsibility" as Albert Meyer and others responded critically. Their criticism centered upon Kaufman's apparent failure to carry out the implications of the church-world dichotomy. The dichotomy disappears in Kaufman's essay, it was claimed, when the Christian as a moral agent allows his actions to be determined by others. " 'Love' is no longer Christian love when it is supporting every neighbor in terms of his own understanding or misunderstanding," wrote Meyer.

As issue followed issue, leaders throughout the Mennonite Church pondered what to make of Concern. To some it could be interpreted as normal generational conflict, to which the Mennonite church needs to pay attention. Leaders of Concern were young men full of idealism as yet untempered by experiences in life which come to beads of families, business leaders, and professionals, so some declared.

But others saw Concern as unreasonable rebellion against the church and especially against its institutions. Some of the most prominent leaders of the Mennonite Church (MC), including heads of institutions, felt threatened. Suspicions and misunderstandings led to some heated, and in retrospect, tragic correspondence and even broken relationships. The conflict ensued between first- and second-generation advocates of the "Anabaptist vision" over what it means to live as disciples and to bring to order churches in the Anabaptist tradition. In general, the first generation claimed that, despite obvious shortcomings, American Mennonitism maintained continuity with the original vision while Concern saw discontinuity, compromise, social accommodation, materialisrn, institutional rigidities, apathy, and excessive and manipulative power by a few well-known leaders. The second generation said in effect to the first generation, You led us to the trough (Anabaptist vision), but you won't let us drink.

Problems of misunderstanding were augmented by Concern's uncertainty about its own identity. Was it simply an informal fellowship of concerned Mennonites? Or was it, given its definition of the church as where "two or three are gathered together," an incipient congregation? Was it a reform movement reminiscent of Anabaptism, Methodism, and the Oxford Movement in relation to the religious establishments? Or was it simply a vehicle for publication?

In reality Concern was all of these, yet without the consistency that would grant a clear sense of identity either to its insiders or its observers. Its ambiguity became increasingly evident at Goshen College when some group members dared to conduct communion in the house context without the approval and presence of a minister. Even in historical perspective it is difficult to measure the impact of Concern upon the Mennonite Church. To be sure, Concern fathered no sectarian children in the pure sense, except possibly Reba Place. But certain Concern ideas found their way into traditional Mennonite congregational life. Some of these would be the transfer of authority from conference leadership to the congregation. In fact, the radical shift toward congregational freedom vis-à-vis conference authority may be attributed in part to Concern's insistence that the congregation is the basic unit of the church of Christ. Also, Concern's emphasis upon primary fellowship found expression, however indirectly, in the development of koinonia groups within existing congregations. And theological education for the pastorate, while proceeding at Mennonite seminaries in the general direction of the professional ministry, included a search for alternative patterns within the tradition of the plural ministry. In summary, it may be said that many of the essential elements of the "believer's church" concept were set forth initially by Concern.

Furthermore, one of the most significant services of Concern to the Mennonite church was the opportunity it provided for young theologians and potential church leaders to express their thoughts and convictions. Few avenues for expression existed in the 1950s and 1960s except in the field of church history. Although Concern seemed to have lost much of its unity and revolutionary zeal by 1972, as the inner circle branched out into active church work of various kinds, it nevertheless made a mark upon the Mennonite church, along with the inevitable confluence of numerous historical developments.

Concern illustrates the strength and the weakness of ideological thinking. Ideological thinking may be appreciated for its capacity to epitomize essential truths. But it is invariably too simple to communicate the whole truth. The contribution of Concern lies in the fact that it articulated alternative conceptions of the church as represented by sectarian Anabaptism and the Corpus Christianum of "placed Christianity." But Concern lacked the imagination and the experience to understand the pathos of its own strengths and weaknesses and the historical logic of the Corpus Christianum Ironically, while some of the most enthusiastic leaders of Concern found their way vocationally into positions of responsibility within the Mennonite church as pastors, teachers, and missionaries, others joined faculties of Catholic and state universities. Still others left the Mennonite church altogether as pastors and missionaries of other denominations, all having matured in the process, including the Mennonite Church (MC) itself.

See Additional Information for the Table of Contents of the 18 published pamphlets.


Contents

Additional Information

Concern Pamphlets Contents List

Provided courtesy of Joe Springer, Curator, Mennonite Historical Library (Goshen, Indiana)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Concern No. 1 (June 1954)

Introduction [not signed]. Pp. 3-7

Peachey, Paul. Toward an understanding of the decline of the West. Pp. 8-44

Yoder, John Howard. The Anabaptist dissent: the logic of the place of the disciple in society. Pp. 45-68

Concern No. 2 (1955)

[Peachey, Paul]. Preface. P. 3

Miller, John W. The church in the Old Testament. Pp. 4-14.

Peachey, Paul. Spirit and form in the church of Christ. Pp. 15-25.

Shank, David A. & Yoder, John Howard. Biblicism and the church. Pp. 26-69.

   1. The problem defined.

   2. Historic background of the discussion

   3. Principles of consistent biblicism

   4. The ministry in the New Testament

   5. The ministry in the contemporary church

   6. The institutional problem

   7. The denominational problem

   Appendix: Close communion – On what lines?

Concern No. 3 (1956)

[Peachey, Paul]. Preface. Pp. 3-4.

Kraus, C. Norman & Miller, John W. Intimations of another way: a progress report. Pp. 5-19

Wiehler, Hans Joachim. Preaching in the church? Pp. 20-27.

Brubaker, J. Lester & Yoder, Sol. A Concern retreat [Concern and Camp Luz]. Pp. 28-34.

A New Quaker Quarterly. Benson, Lewis. The Call/What is spiritual reformation? Pp. 35-39

Notes on books. Pp. 40-[41].

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Concern No. 4 (June 1957)

[Peachey, Paul]. Preface. P. 3.

Epistolary. [Excerpts and letters from Irvin B. Horst, John W. Miller, Paul Peachey, Calvin Redekop, David A. Shank, A. Orley Swartzentruber, John Howard Yoder, Rbert Friedmann, J. Richard Burkholder, Guy F. Hershberger, Paul Verghese, Paul H. Martin, Lewis Benson]. Pp. 4-13.

Peachey, Paul. What is Concern? Pp. 14-19

Yoder, John Howard. What are our concerns? Pp. 20-32.

Miller, John W. Organization and church. Pp. 33-41.

Klassen, Herbert. Property: a problem in Christian ethics. Pp. 42-56.

Concern No. 5 (June 1958)

[Yoder, John Howard.] Preface. P. 3.

Weber, Hans-Ruedi. The church in the house. Pp. 7-28.

   1. The house-church: something new?

   2. The constituent elements

   3. Let the church be the church

   4. The whole people of God

Leatherman, Quintus. The house church in the New Testament. Pp. 29-32

Miller, Paul M. Can the adult Sunday school class be the “house” within which the true church is experienced? Pp. 33-42.

   1. The search for renewal today and for “the church within the church”

   2. The deeper meaning of “the church which is in thy house”

   3. What is required for any group to consider itself the church?

   4. Can adult Sunday school classes become “the house” in which the reality of the church emerges?

   Conclusion

Studer, Gerald C. Evangelism through the dynamics of a Christian group. Pp. 43-51.

Vogt, Virgil. Small congregations. Pp. 52-67.

   1. The grounds for this proposal

   2. The nature of these groups

   3. Concluding reflections

Schmauch, Werner. The prophetic office in the church. Pp. 68-76.

Ediger, Elmer. Studies in church discipline: a review article. Pp. 77-88.

[Yoder, John Howard]. Marginalia. Pp. 89-92.

Concern No. 6 (Nov. 1958)

Kaufman, Gordon D. Nonresistance and responsibility. Pp. 5-29

Meyer, Albert J. A second look at responsibility. Pp. 30-39.

Studer, Gerald C. Second thoughts on the pastoral ministry. Pp. 40-45.

Marginalia [not signed]. Pp. 46-[49].

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Concern No. 7 (July 1959)

Bakker, A. H. A. Efficiency in the church. Pp. 5-9.

Metzler, Edgar. The need to which we minister. Pp. 10-15.

Peachey, Paul. Churchless Christianity. Pp. 16-32.

Habegger, David. “Nonresistance and responsibility”: a critical analysis. Pp. 33-40.

   1. Love is righteous

   2. The relativity of truth

   3. Our responsibility

Benson, Lewis. The order that belongs to the Gospel. Pp. 41-55.

[Yoder, John Howard.] Marginalia. Pp. 56-63.

Concern No. 8 (May 1960)

Klassen, William. Some neglected aspects in the biblical view of the church. Pp. 5-18.

   1. What constitutes a church?

   2. What about the practice of church discipline?

   3. What is the mission of the church?

Yoder, John Howard. The otherness of the church. Pp. 19-29.

Benson, Lewis. The church’s one foundation. Pp. 30-34.

Grumm, M. H. The search for guaranteed survival. Pp. 35-41.

   1. Problems in the Indian situation

   2. The question of continuity

   3. The grand inquisitor

   4. The foolishness of God

   5. God’s way

   6. What can we do?

Steiner, Albert. Group dynamics in evangelism: a review article. Pp. 42-43.

[Yoder, John Howard]. Marginalia. Pp. 44-[49].

Concern No. 9 (Mar. 1961)

Perry, Edmund. The Christian mission to the resurgent religions. Pp. 5-13.

Yoder, John Howard. A light to the nations. Pp. 14-18.

Peachey, Paul. The end of Christendom. Pp. 19-23.

Klaassen, Walter. The preacher and preaching. Pp. 24-32.

Redekop, Calvin. Postulates concerning religious intentional ethnic groups. Pp. 33-37.

Klassen, William. Discipleship and church order: a review and discussion. Pp. 38-43.

[Yoder, John Howard]. Marginalia. Pp. 44-48.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Concern No. 10 (Nov. 1961)

Lochmann, Jan M. Christian thought in the age of the Cold War. Pp. 5-12.

   The unconditional yea of the Gospel

   1. The curtailment of the promise of the Gospel

   2. The curtailment of the claim of the Gospel

   3. The curtailment of the Gospel as the point of entry for Cold War into the church.

   4. Banning Cold War from the church

Gaillard, Albert. Christians and Marxists. Pp. 13-20.

Drimmelen, Katharina van. Where are the Firemen? Pp. 21-25.

   1. Communism, a challenge to Christianity

   2. Communism has to be taken seriously

   3. Communism as an Atheism

   4. Communism promotes a classless anti-capitalistic society.

   5. Communism hitting the weak spots of Christianity

   6. Communism, a challenge?

Yoder, John Howard. The Christian answer to Communism. Pp. 26-31.

   1. The answer is repentance

   2. The answer is no answer

   3. The answer is Christ

   4. Prayer

[Yoder, John Howard]. Marginalia. Pp. 32-39.

   1. Marxism is a humanism

   2. Marxism is Western

   3. Marxism is the rod of God

   4. Marxism, where politically dominant, is to be accepted by Christians as constituting the “higher powers” of Romans 13

Concern No. 11 (Mar. 1963)

Barth, Karl. Poverty. Pp. 5-7.

Murray, Andrew. The poverty of Christ. Pp. 8-14.

Mehl, R. Money. Pp. 15-21.

Vogt, Virgil. God or Mammon. Pp. 22-58.

   1. Introduction

   2. Accumulating possessions (Matthew 6:19-21).

   3. Insurance (Ps. 23:1)

   4. Voluntary indebtedness (I Cor. 7:23)

   5. Brotherly sharing (Acts. 4:32)

   6. Church institutions – A Post Script

[Yoder, John Howard]. Marginalia. P. 59.

Concern No. 12 (Feb. 1966)

Harder, Leland. Changing forms of the church and her witness. Pp. 3-31.

   1. The indictments against the church

   2. The quest for remedies

   3. New forms of the congregation

Miller, John W. The renewal of the church. Pp. 32-50.

[Yoder, John Howard]. Marginalia: a syllabus of issues. Pp. 51-56.

   1. Leland Harder’s basic stance

   2. Leland Harder’s new forms

   3. John Miller’s indictment: apostasy

   4. John Miller’s diagnosis: hypocrisy

   5. Thus saith the Lord

   6. The Christian style of life

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Concern No. 13 (Sept. 1966)

Meyer, Albert J. & Klaassen, Walter. Church and Mennonite colleges. Pp. 5-42.

   1. The Church’s mandate in the words of Christ

      1. Sharing

      2. Binding and loosing

      3. Discipling

      4. Serving

   2. Sociological forms assumed by the church

   3. The church and the Mennonite college

   4. The sponsoring denomination

   5. Academic community and spiritual community

   6. Freedom of decision

   7. Division: an inevitable consequence of freedom of decision

   8.Congregation-church life in the Mennonite college campus

   9. Small group-churches on the Mennonite college campus

   10. The student’s home congregation

   11. The witness of the church on campus

   12. Ecumenical witness

   Appendix I- The relevance of a Mennonite college’s right to set religious standards.

   Appendix II- The relevance of the fact that most college students are late adolescents, not adults.

   Appendix III- The Mennonite understanding of the church and the structure and functioning of the academic community.

Janzen, Joanne Zerger. The Bethel experience in retrospect. Pp. 43-45.

Klaassen, Walter. Christian life at Conrad Grebel College. Pp. 46-58.

   1. The congregational program

      1. Introduction

      2. Suppositions and basic intentions

      3. What actually happened in 1964-65.

      4. Preparing for 1965-66

      5. Events of 1965-66 to the present

      6. Evaluation and questions

   2. Counseling

   3. The instructional program

Rempel, Henry. The Bluffton College Christian Fellowship. Pp. 59-64.

   1. Historical background

   2. The reason for existence

   3. The nature of the fellowship

   4. Lessons we have learned

Behrends, Steve. Christian communal living on the Tabor campus. Pp. 65-66.

Tabor Christian Fellowship Association. [Not signed]. Pp. 67-68.

Lehman, Glenn M. The church on Eastern Mennonite College campus. Pp. 69-71.

Bauman, Harold E. The church on campus, present and future: what are the issues? Pp. 72-78.

[Vogt, Virgil]. Marginalia. Pp. 79-80.

Concern No. 14 (Feb. 1967)

Yoder, John Howard. Binding and loosing. Pp. 2-32.

   Preface

   1. The key test- Matthew 18:15-20

   2. The twofold meaning of binding and loosing

   3. The source of the authority to bind and loose

   4. The way of dealing with the brother is determined by the reconciling intent

   5. The centrality of this forgiving function in the New Testament.

   6. The centrality of binding and loosing in the life of free-church Protestantism

   7. The congregational method of decision making

   8. Misunderstandings of the concept of “discipline”

   9. Misunderstandings of the meaning of “love”

   10. Diversions and evasions

   11. What is the price of the neglect of this function of the church?

   12. Wider implications

Hubmaier, Balthasar. On fraternal admonition. Pp. 33-43.

   Fraternal admonition

   Suppression of vice

   Sins which are private

   On accepting admonition

   How to admonish one another

   Source of authority

   What of sacraments?

Jacobs, Don. Walking together in East Africa. Pp. 44-48.

   Attempts unsuccessful

   Discovered koinonia

   Meetings described

   Extent of membership

Shoemaker, Samuel. Dealing with other people’s sins. Pp. 49-55.

   Our attitudes

   Results in relationships

   Help to cure

   The next alternative

Bibliographical notes:

Stott, John R.W. Confess your sins: the way of reconciliation. Pp. 56-57 [by John Howard Yoder].

Thurian, Max. Confession. Pp. 57-58 [by John Howard Yoder].

Jeschke, Marlin. Toward an evangelical conception of corrective church discipline. Pp. 58-59 [by John W. Miller].

Mills, Liston. The relationship of discipline to pastoral care in frontier churches, 1800-1850. Pp. 60-61 [by Virgil Vogt].

Loewen, Jacob A. Self-exposure: bridge to fellowship. Pp. 61-62 [by John Howard Yoder].

Mowrer. O. Hobart. The crisis in psychiatry and religion [and] The new group therapy. Pp. 63-64 [by John W. Miller].

Klassen, William. The forgiving community. Pp. 64-66 [by Virgil Vogt].

Southard, Samuel. Discipline or die. Pp. 66-67 [by Virgil Vogt].

Schmauch, Werner. The prophetic office in the church. Pp. 67-68 [by John Howard Yoder].

Brinton, Howard. Reaching decisions. Pp. 68-70 [by John Howard Yoder].

Littell, Franklin. The work of the Holy Spirit in group decisions. Pp. 70-72 [by Virgil Vogt].

Burkholder, J. Lawrence. The concept of the hermeneutic community. P. 72 [by John Howard Yoder].

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Concern No. 15 (July 1967)

Fairfield, James. Tongues, a testimony. Pp. 5-9.

Klassen, Herb & Maureen. “You shall receive…”. Pp. 10-24.

   1. Two criteria

   2. In England

   3. In Holland

   4. In Germany

   5. In America

   6. Typical American situation

   7. History’s experience

   8. In 20th century

   9. Evidences of gifts

   10 Effect upon church

Djojodihardijo, S. An experience in my life. Pp. 25-35.

   1. Introduction

   2. What in fact did happen?

   3. The “before” and “after” in my life

   4. Praying and laying on of hands

   5. Concluding remarks

Jacobs, Donald R. The charismatic in East Africa [interviewed by James Fairfield]. Pp. 36-39.

Augsburger, Myron S. The charismatic aspects of the work of the Spirit [interviewed by James Fairfield]. Pp. 40-44.

Horst, Irvin B. A historical estimate of the charismatic movement [interviewed by James Fairfield]. Pp. 45-50.

Studer, Gerald C. The charismatic revival: a survey of the literature. Pp. 51-76.

   1. The beginning

   2. General observations

   3. Critiques of representative books

   4. Concluding remarks

Yoder, John Howard. Marginalia. Pp. 77-80.

Concern No. 16 (Nov. 1968)

Nylrod, Henderson. Nasty Noel [poem]. Pp. 2-3.

Miller, William Robert. Pious jingle bells and the coming of Christ. Pp. 4-8.

Jeschke, Marlin. Getting Christ back out of Christmas. Pp. 9-13.

Yoder, John Howard. On the meaning of Christmas. Pp. 14-19.

[Yoder, John Howard]. Marginalia: The case against Christmas. Pp. 19-22.

[Vogt, Virgil]. [Marginalia]. Pp. 22-24.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Concern No. 17 (Feb. 1969)

Klaassen, Walter. “New presbyter is old priest writ large”. Pp. 5-9.

Burkholder, J. Lawrence. Theological education for the Believers’ Church. Pp. 10-32.

   1. Professional theological education

   2. Nonprofessional theological education

Yoder, John Howard. The fullness of Christ. Pp. 33-93.

   1. The universality of the religious specialist

   2 Religion in the Old Testament

   3. The vocabulary of ministry in the New Testament

   4. The meaning of ministry in the New Testament.

   5. Renewal efforts

   6. Ecumenical review

   7. Wellhausen’s children [misnumbered “VI.” in text]

   8. Offices and charismata

   9. Redefinition from the center

   10. The Centrality of preaching

   11. Context and content in New Testament preaching

   12. Magisterum and magistracy

   13. Professionalism

        Addendum to Section XIII

   14. Primitivism

   15. Directions

   16. A fraternal side glance

   17. Too soon for a conclusion.

Vogt, Virgil. Marginalia. Pp. 94-96.

Concern No. 18 (July 1971)

Vogt, Virgil. Introduction. Pp. 3-4.

Yoder, John Howard. The recovery of the Anabaptist vision. Pp. 5-23.

   1. Scholarly development in its sociological context

   2. The recovery of Anabaptist history

   3. What happened in the 16th century?

   4. The church is visible

   5. The church is missionary

   6. The church is a brotherhood

   7. The church is led by the Word and the Spirit

   8. The contemporary theological significance of the Anabaptist vision

   9. Anabaptism versus Mennonites

Bender, Harold S. The Mennonite conception of the church and its relation to community building. Pp. 24-35.

   1. The concept of the church as the body of Christ

   2. The concept of the church as the temple of God

   3. The concept of the church as a brotherhood

   4. The concept of the church as a body separated from the world

   5. The concept of the church as a disciplinary body

   6. The concept of the suffering church

   7. The concept of the church as a witness to the Gospel

   8. The concept of the church as the final goal of all christian work

Bender, Harold S. The Anabaptist theology of discipleship. Pp. 36-44.

Klassen, William. Anabaptist studies. Pp. 45-107.

1. The Anabaptist dissent: Swiss origins and issues. Pp. 45-56.

   Introduction

   Act I: The beginning of alienation

   Act II: A plan that failed.

   Act III: The new program

   Act IV: Final attempts at reconciliation

   Act V: The break

   Bibliography

   Theses

2. Advance and consolidation: South Germany and the vision refocused. Pp. 57-66.

   Hans Denck

   Hans Hut

   Moravia

   Summary

   Bibliography

   Theses

3. Pilgram Marpeck: covenant community. Pp. 67-75.

   The early life of Marpeck (1500-1528)

   Strasbourg (1528-1532)

   The years in Switzerland and Moravia (1532-1544)

   Augsburg (1544-1556)

   Conclusion

   Bibliography

4. The state and its place: rebellion and rebuke. Pp. 76-89

   Münster

   The place of the state

   The Old Testament

   The Old Testament as preparation

   Bibliography

5. The style of the new life in Christ as viewed in Anabaptist history and theology. Pp. 90-107.

   The center of Anabaptism

   New power

   New loyalty

   New love

   Christians are different

   Summary

Klaassen, Walter. Radical Reformation. Pp. 108-157.

Introduction. Pp. 108-109.

   1. Radical religion: Anabaptism and the sacred. Pp. 110-117.

   2. Radical discipleship: Anabaptism and ethics. Pp. 118-126.

   3. Radical theology: Anabaptism and idealism. Pp. 127-137.

   4. Radical freedom: Anabaptism and legalism. Pp. 138-146.

   5. Radical politics: Anabaptism and revolution. Pp. 147-157.

      Refusal to participate in the magistracy

      Refusal to take the oath

      Refusal to participate in war

      Insistence on religious freedom

Bender, Harold S. The pacifism of the sixteenth century Anabaptists. Pp. 158-174.

Anabaptism: an introductory bibliography. [Not signed]. Pp. 175-176.

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Author(s) J. Lawrence Burkholder
Date Published 1989


Cite This Article

MLA style

Burkholder, J. Lawrence. "Concern Pamphlets Movement." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 28 Dec 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Concern_Pamphlets_Movement&oldid=91486.

APA style

Burkholder, J. Lawrence. (1989). Concern Pamphlets Movement. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 December 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Concern_Pamphlets_Movement&oldid=91486.




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