Dutch Mennonite Mission in Indonesia: Historical Essays. By Alle Hoekema. Elkhart, Ind.: Institute of Mennonite Studies. 2001. Pp. 148. $15.
Six essays with an introduction compose this book inviting English-speakers into the story of the Dutch Mennonite mission launched 155 years ago. A seminary professor and former missionary, Alle Hoekema displays deep empathy for the people that carried on this mission and eventually sent him and his family to Indonesia as missionaries for most of the 1970s. Nevertheless, with careful, thorough research and creative analysis, he generates even-handed and insightful accounts of various aspects of this story. Though the essays were originally published individually in other settings, including three in The Mennonite Quarterly Review, it is remarkable how well they flow and connect in this book.
Hoekema begins by asking why the Dutch were the first Mennonites to organize a mission board and send missionaries overseas. He discusses dynamics that he believes had to be present to make such a mission possible. Starting much sooner or much later would not have been possible. It would be a half century before similar factors would come together making it possible for North American Mennonites to launch such a mission.
Essays two and three focus on the first missionaries sent to Java, Pieter Jansz and H. C. Klinkert. Both men made important contributions in Bible translation: Jansz in Javanese language and Klinkert in Malay (Indonesian). Hoekema shows that Jansz?s theory of translation corresponds remarkably with present-day communication theory. Jansz and his wife went to Java in 1851, remaining there until they died more than fifty years later, never having returned to Holland. Hoekema does not romanticize these people; rather he points out remarkable features and challenges, particularly in the life and ministry of Jansz, such as engaging a predominately Islamic context and a sometimes troublesome colonial government, as well as envisioning an agricultural community contrasting with the forced cultivation colonial system in which people could respond to the Gospel without harassment. Jansz?s son, Pieter Anton, took up the work when Jansz retired in 1881. The son put a form of his father?s vision for agricultural community development into practice and carried on his father?s translation work.
The fourth essay recounts the spiritual renewal that provided the impulse for Russian Mennonites to join in the Dutch Mennonite mission work. Between 1871 and 1917 Russian Mennonites sent seven missionaries with names like Heinrichs, Dirks, Nachtigal, Weibe and Nikkel to a new field in Mandailing, in southern North Sumatra. By 1900 the mission was drawing heavily on personnel and financial resources from Russia for their work in Java as well, sending missionaries like Johann Fast, Johann Hbert, Johann Klaassen and Nikolai Thiessen. Hoekema indicates that the context of the Mennonite colonies in Russia seems to have disposed these new missionaries in an overly positive way to the method of agricultural community formation the Janszes had developed. The Russian Revolution and the destruction of the Mennonite communities there brought an abrupt end to Russian Mennonite support for the mission. This had various dramatic impacts on the mission in Indonesia, including the abandonment of the Mandailing field in 1928, after the death of Peter Nachtigal, the last missionary there, and the closing of the teacher training school in Margorejo, Java, the graduates of which were intended to double as ministerial assistants.
The educational preparation of evangelists and preachers is the subject of the fifth essay and ecumenical relations the focus of the sixth. In the latter case much attention is given to the tension between Mennonite identity, belief and practice, on the one hand, particularly adult baptism, and the call to closer relationships or even integration with other missions or churches on the other. In discussing several situations in which baptism was a significant factor inhibiting or complicating the integration of Mennonite missions or churches with others, Hoekema only briefly mentions the integration of the Mandailing Mennonite congregations with the Angkola synod without discussing how the difference in baptismal practice has worked out there.
Hoekema does not remind us that by the 1850s the small kingdom of the Netherlands had already, for 250 years, been heavily involved in the East Indies. The high social position of many Mennonites in Dutch society over several centuries meant that significant numbers of them were involved in various ways with colonial activities such as trade, finance and administration.
By about 1800 Dutch Mennonites were among the members of Nederlands Zendelinggenootschap (NZG), the first Dutch Protestant mission society formed in 1797. In 1821, Dutch Mennonites formed a branch of the English Baptist Missionary Society in Holland. Finally, in 1847, they organized the Doopsgezinde Zendingsvereeniging (Dutch Mennonite Mission Association). Clearly Dutch Mennonites were well on board with the much broader 19th century Protestant mission movement, and now they were doing it in a way that allowed them to work as Mennonites and do it in the Dutch East Indies, which had a geographical expanse nearly as great as the United States.
Hoekema discusses the dynamics contributing to the development of this mission: the relationships of Dutch Mennonites with other mission groups and organizations, their interests in Dutch colonies and the influence of Pietist renewal. He concludes that ?Dutch Mennonites were not more pious than Mennonites elsewhere in the world. Neither were they less pious, in spite of the liberal attitude of many of them. Their context was different. They lived in a country, and in a capital, at a time and within social circles that enabled them to broaden their horizons enormously.? Further ?the group of Dutch Mennonites who started mission work belonged to a network of strong, wealthy, and influential people who took initiatives in many areas. They were children of the Enlightenment even though they were Pietists? (p. 22).
Hoekema suggests in the case of North American Mennonites it would be several decades before a similar set of favorable factors would come together enabling the launch of overseas missions. I would suggest that in North America the dynamics at the turn of the 20th century that made overseas missions possible were significantly different from those Hoekema outlines for the Dutch Mennonites. American Mennonites who took the initiative in launching overseas missions did not have the same kind of broad, high-level positions and connections in business, finance, government and society in general that Dutch Mennonites had. Further, the United States did not have much by way of overseas colonies for mission-minded Christians to be concerned about. They sent missionaries to English colonies instead, beginning with India.
In his journal and reports, Pieter Jansz frequently decried the long-term impact of Dutch colonialism on Indonesia, appealing for repentance and change in colonial policy. American Mennonites working in English colonies half a century later did not have the same sense of national responsibility for the colonial enterprise. This left them significantly less thoughtful on this score than was Jansz.
This is an excellent contribution to Mennonite mission literature. On style, the voluminous footnotes divert the reader away from the narrative at every turn. More of the footnote material could be integrated into the text.
Eastern Mennonite University LAWRENCE YODER
J. J. Thiessen: A Leader for His Time. By Esther Epp-Tiessen. Winnipeg: CMBC Publications. 2001. Pp. 344. $24, Can.
This is a biography about a church leader who served at a time when key leaders shaped Mennonite churches. The author?s title states it well and signals the implicit critique Mennonite readers today would presume??a leader for his time,? not necessarily now. Epp-Tiessen?s substantial, largely conventional biographical treatment is indeed a ?life and times? focus, and does not disappoint on that score, when compared to the biography of Thiessen?s contemporary Harold S. Bender by Albert Keim. Although comparisons with Bender have their place, since for many in Canada Bender?s impact was minimal and Thiessen often clashed with him on the M.C.C. board, it may be more appropriate to compare J. J. Thiessen with his predecessor, David Toews?between them they led the Conference of Mennonites in Canada (C.M.C.) from 1903-1959. But then, since Thiessen was a leader who immigrated, his career and style of church leadership bears comparison with leaders who stayed. For example, with Heinrich Voth, who survived the Gulag and is widely regarded as having guided the re-establishment of Kirchliche Mennonite communities in the U.S.S.R., until his death in 1973. Like Toews, Voth and so many others, J. J. Thiessen was a graduate of the teacher training program of the Russian Mennonites, the academic starting point for preaching and practical theology.
So reading this biography turns out to be a fruitful and essential way of understanding the history of the Mennonites who were part of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada, especially its Russlnder contingent that dominated the conference between 1930 and Thiessen?s retirement. Some even spoke of it as the Saskatchewan mafia, also reminding one of the circle of prominent leaders of like mind with which Bender managed to give Elkhart County, Indiana, a key place in the ?Old Mennonite? map. The book is organized into 11 chapters with epilogue: the first four show his emergence to leadership in Russia; 5 and 6 follow his rise to leadership (minister, Aeltester and administrator of the immigration committees) in Saskatchewan; then chapters 7-9 highlight three chronological phases of leadership in Canada, North America and globally. The final two chapters serve to show how he was succeeded in pastoral ministry, conference leadership and board activism not only by younger men, but also by new structures and new definitions of ministry and leadership. Throughout, the author draws on existing research for the context, though her rendering of the Soviet setting is from the typical insider Mennonite perspective, with no references to general scholarship on the revolution and the rise of church-state policy.
We still lack systematic studies of relatively recent developments within major Mennonite denominations in North America that are essential for present leaders to build continuity and to seek out the new with a clear sense of the reasons why and why not. Here too Epp-Thiessen?s biography of ?J. J.? fills an important gap, and reveals an individual whose legacy was a successful mix of respect for tradition and readiness to adapt to changing times. J.J. Thiessen appeared in a 1999 listing by Christian Living of ?ten outstanding twentieth century leaders among North American Mennonites? (p. 305). In her epilogue, Epp-Tiessen proposed ten reasons for his inclusion, which are themselves a useful summary of the leadership qualities that were vital and are still worth pondering in changing times. Thiessen was a key leader (one also thinks of B.B. Janz, C.F. Klassen, D.H. Epp) who was able to guide the Russian Mennonite immigrants who came to Canada between 1923 and 1926 through the phases of sorting out their identity to become Canadian Mennonites. Further, Thiessen?s ability to adapt, his passion for unity (even to including the Kanadier elements within C.M.C. and with the American G.C.s), his vision and hopefulness, skills in mobilizing people and the inner strength of a profound faith regularly nurtured, all helped to account for his leadership. Epp-Thiessen also drew attention to Thiessen?s personal ambition, how he ?grew to bask in the power and influence he wielded,? and the good fortune of being from a family of influence so he was noticed early. In largely implicit criticism, Epp-Tiessen noted that Thiessen served when strong leadership was expected and respected, that this happened within ?a patriarchal Mennonite community? looking to men to lead and that approved of the extensive work done by his wife, Tina, and secretarial assistant, Katie Hooge, as the appropriate service of helpmates adding to his accomplishments.
The story of J. J. Thiessen is also the story of what it took to pastor an urban mission church. It began in 1930 as little more than a Sunday School and chaperoning young women living in a Maedchenheim, but at his retirement in 1964 First Mennonite Church had over 500 members, not counting the three other congregations that the church and Thiessen as pastor had initiated. Epp-Tiessen used selected incidents to communicate why so many people loved Thiessen most as pastor?he took a personal interest, not just when members were sick and in trouble, but by tapping the shoulders of many young people at crucial moments that set them off for careers in ministry. That often got him involved in the overseas ministries of the General Conference, of M.C.C., and of the many who became pastors after graduating from Canadian Mennonite Bible College (C.M.B.C.). Thiessen was supported by the G.C. Home Mission Board for many years, was the chair of C.M.C. from 1943-59, served on the six-person M.C.C. Executive Committee from 1948 to 1964, and at its 25th anniversary in 1972, he was referred to as ?Father? of C.M.B.C.
This biography of J. J. Thiessen also helps one understand what happened during several points of crisis within Canadian Mennonite history between 1930 and 1977, when Thiessen died at age 84. Three of the four worth mentioning here provide insight into the theological struggles at C.M.B.C., a school that has established a reputation for extensive faculty cohesiveness and strong constituency support. That record was the fruit of the work of Henry Poettcker, Waldemar Janzen, David Schroeder and a younger generation of professors after 1958, but the Thiessen biography helps one understand the inauspicious settings within which Poettcker, Janzen and Schroeder got their start. C.M.B.C. was the fruit of Thiessen?s vision for theological education within a Mennonite context, and a vision to provide acceptable training for future ministers without needing to send them to the newly founded M.B. Bible College (1944f) or to the Americans at Bethel College. Finding a teacher and president sufficiently trained (as Thiessen never was) who was fluent in English and German proved to be so difficult that C.M.B.C. could only open its doors in 1947 under the leadership of an American, Arnold Regier, who, though married to Helen Buhr of southern Manitoba, was not very adept at German. By 1950 Regier had been ousted through the heavy-handed objections of Kanadier Mennonite leaders. At issue were suspicions about Bethel College influence, about modernism evident in Regier?s teaching style (seminars) and, above all, their insistence on heavy use of German in the curriculum. Thiessen?s effort to keep C.M.B.C. on a moderate course away from Fundamentalism by compromising on a new leader, I.I. Friesen, was nevertheless inexcusably flawed by the way in which he failed to keep Regier informed of behind-the-scenes machinations, and his failure to assist Regier pastorally. They never reconciled.
Another, known as the ?Winnipeg Controversy,? began in 1946 when D.G. Rempel, the elder who succeeded David Toews at Rosthern, attacked the theology of Johann Enns, Aeltester of the Schoenwieser churches in Winnipeg. Since Enns was also teaching at C.M.B.C. and seemed a potential candidate for its presidency, this was a further exercise in fighting liberal theology at C.M.B.C. Enns in 1944 had expounded at a Manitoba minister?s conference on Hans Denck?s theology and tendency toward universalism. Rempel aired his views that Enns seemed universalist in the C.M.C.-related periodical Der Bote. The result was the Schoenwieser withdrawal from C.M.C. (though remaining within the General Conference) until some reconciliation in 1949. The third event was the dismissal of David Janzen as C.M.B.C. teacher in 1957 following a series of book reviews by him in the new English language Canadian Mennonite periodical in which he attacked Fundamentalism. Once again, the Aeltesten (six of them in southern Manitoba) got the C.M.B.C. board to refuse to renew Janzen?s contract, and Thiessen ultimately failed to support Janzen. Instead Thiessen hired Waldemar Janzen and David Schroeder, whose approach to Biblical studies was similar to Janzen?s, to come teach, and managed to have Henry Poettcker replace I. I. Friesen as president. The style of the three new teachers was much more diplomatic than that of Janzen. In Epp-Tiessen?s rendering of these accounts, she successfully guides the reader to seeing how J. J. Thiessen succeeded in finding the compromise that retained C.M.C. unity and also support for a moderate course at C.M.B.C., but at the expense of personal relations and careers of gifted persons. This presentation also serves to make vivid the need for professional policies for the reorganization of C.M.C. and for policies at C.M.B.C., which soon followed.
Esther Epp-Tiessen has produced a worthy biography with craftsmanship also worthy of respect. Having obtained an M.A. in history with a thesis on the origins of M.C.C. Canada, she brought those skills to this task. The footnotes are full of the many archival resources she consulted, mainly at the Heritage Center in Winnipeg, plus interviews and conversations with 52 individuals (reads like a who?s who of C.M.C. activists), other studies and books. At times the source or person referred to needs a broader background explanation. This biography was semi-official in that the historical committee of C.M.C. provided the author with a five-person committee of readers. In this case that appears to have furthered the maturity of interpretation at points, rather than a sanitization, and it also enabled Epp-Tiessen to deal with issues in which her father, Frank, was involved, without sounding partisan. In particular is this true on the major controversy in the early 1970s when a former Nazi supporter, Walter Quiring, became editor of Der Bote, with Thiessen as chair of the board. Quiring attacked chapter 21 of Frank Epp?s Mennonite Exodus, a book sponsored by the Canadian Mennonite Relief Council of which Thiessen was also chair?perhaps one of his strongest sources of institutional power. Thiessen waffled between toning down the clear evidence of National Socialist loyalties among numerous Canadian Mennonite leaders in the 1930s, yet also supporting Epp?s book, which, when it appeared, resulted in considerable airing of that record.
Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary WALTER SAWATSKY
Challenge to Mars: Pacifism from 1918 to 1945. Edited by Peter Brock and Thomas P. Socknat. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1999. Pp. xiv + 474. $75., Can.
This volume of essays by a wide range of authors, spanning a large slice of twentieth-century history and examining developments on three continents, poses the usual difficult choice for the reviewer: to catalog and summarize, in the manner of the editors in their preface, or to pick-and-choose among the diverse offerings and highlight a select few? In the spirit of trying to remain on, rather than escape from, the horns of this dilemma, this review will attempt a bit of both approaches.
Defining pacifism in ?the sense generally accepted in English-speaking areas?an unconditional rejection of all forms of warfare,? the editors, Peter Brock and Thomas Socknat, have selected essays that ?illustrate the changes and tribulations experienced by the pacifist movement? (ix) over nearly three decades. While paying attention to ?the mainstream,? they also have attempted ?to bring into prominence aspects of pacifism and areas of pacifist activity for which few, if any, sources of information are otherwise readily available? (x). Included under their big tent are studies of Christian pacifist groups and individuals, anarchists, women?s movements and human rights advocates. Two major sections contain all but two of the twenty-eight essays: the first examines the twenty-year period from the end of the First World War to the end of the troubled peace that followed it; the second examines the experiences of pacifists and war resisters during the Second World War. With studies of Japanese pacifism and the Indian roots of Gandhi?s thought and practice, a very short third section widens what up to then had been an exclusive focus on European, North American and British settler (Australia and New Zealand) societies.
Collections like this one are salutary for Mennonites, for they insert our own expression(s) of Christian pacifism into a wider framework, reminding us?just in case it is necessary?that ?we are not alone? in raising a challenge to Mars. But they are also potentially troubling, for they show how relatively insignificant and ineffective in dethroning war Mennonites and other pacifists were in one of the bloodiest centuries in the recorded history of humanity.
Five studies, several by Mennonite scholars, will attract particular interest from students of the Mennonite experience in Europe and North America in this troubled era. Lawrence Klippenstein looks at Mennonites and military service in the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union up to 1939. While provisions for conscientious objection steadily narrowed until they were totally eliminated in the 1936 Soviet constitution, Klippenstein notes that ?it was not until community and church appeared to collapse entirely under collectivization, together with the pressures of the Second World War and the early postwar years? that ?Mennonites decided to abandon a group approach to the issue and instead to leave decisions about military service up to the individual? (15).
Donald Durnbaugh writes on the ?fight against war? of the historic peace churches (Quakers, Mennonites, Church of the Brethren) in North America between 1919 and 1941. He includes developments within each of these denominations and their growing cooperation in relief work, peace conferences, peace education and lobbying the U.S. Congress for provisions for conscientious objection in the 1940 Selective Training and Service Act. He notes that because of the uneven response of the churches to the challenge of conscription in the First World War, leading figures in all three denominations were moved to become more active in peacemaking in the period under study.
Conscientious objection in both Canada and the United States, where Mennonites were the most numerous religious group peforming alternative service to armed military service during the Second World War, is treated respectively by Thomas Socknat and Mitchell Robinson. The latter examines the four principal kinds of work?work camps, agriculture, hospitals and medical experiments?carried out by nearly 12,000 men through Civilian Public Service (C.P.S.) between 1941 and 1947. Rachel Waltner Goossen completes the picture in the United States with her study of the job experiences of pacifist professional women during the same years. Through telling the stories of several women, she ?explores the dynamics of wartime work? for professional teachers, nurses and dieticians ?who obtained wartime jobs but viewed themselves as conscientious objectors and resisted any kind of war-related work? (332).
One additional essay deserves note, not so much for the light it sheds on the Mennonite past, but for understanding the Mennonite present and future. It comes from Martin Ceadel, a lecturer in politics at the University of Oxford, and is entitled ?A Legitimate Peace Movement: The Case of Britain, 1918-1945.? Ceadel distinguishes between two streams of ideas that share the goal of abolishing war. On the one hand is pacifism, with its ?absolute renunciation of military force?; on the other hand is pacificism, defined by Ceadel as ?the reform of international or domestic politics so as to remove the structural causes of war but without the renunciation of such defensive force as may be needed to protect such a reform? (135). The latter, Ceadel argues, is ?the application to the international sphere of reformist ideologies? such as liberalism, nationalism, socialism or feminism. Mennonites already may have moved, and may be moving increasingly in the future, into a kind of halfway house between pacifism?though we have never claimed it could abolish war?and pacifism. We have been developing, notably through peacebuilding theorists such as John Paul Lederach, ideas and practices for constructing peaceful societies at the grass-roots level, even if we are not yet sure how (or if) this could lead to the reform of international or domestic politics. Yet the idea that any such construction might need a defensive force to protect it is still anathema to us. But for how long? In our desire to challenge Mars more rationally and effectively, might we unwittingly be moving away from Christian pacifism as we have understood and practiced it in the past?
Goshen, Ind. J. ROBERT CHARLES
Power, Authority, and the Anabaptist Tradition. Edited by Benjamin W. Redekop and Calvin W. Redekop. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2001. Pp. 246. $47.
What do Anabaptists, who have traditionally rejected the use of force and clear coercion, have to say about the use of power and authority? This question forms the basis for this collection of articles. Benjamin and Calvin Redekop begin by assuming that this question is likely to be filled with ambiguity, controversy and contradiction in lived Anabaptist experience. The resulting book is not a coherent picture of consistent theology in practice nor does it attempt to state a clear Anabaptist theology of power. Rather what emerges is a collage of different groups in differing times and places, each struggling to determine what is legitimate ?biblical? authority to be embraced and what is ?worldly? power to be rejected. Some attention is given to ?plain? communities that include Amish Anabaptists and one article notes the historical Hutterite response, but the collection focuses heavily on the Mennonite tradition.
In the first chapter, J. Lawrence Burkholder lays out the philosophical problems that issues of power raise for Christians in general and Mennonites in particular. He calls for a place for a view of power in Mennonite ethics. While he never articulates what the key points of such an ethic should be, he proceeds to ask a series of wonderfully probing questions that can be applied to the articles that follow, or to one?s own experience of faith and power. Benjamin Redekop?s chapter on power and religion in the Western tradition follows with a panoramic sweep of ethical thought from Plato to Foucault. This is not easy going, but if Burkholder and Redekop are correct that Anabaptists have long avoided the issue of power, here is a strong beginning to correct that. James Stayer then narrows the focus to political and religious power among the early Anabaptists. The chapter is sometimes less than coherent, due largely to the fact that Anabaptist thinking and practice was often less than coherent. This may frustrate the philosophically minded hoping to refine the questions raised in the previous article, but may delight the historically minded who relish the complexity of the Anabaptist tradition. The fourth chapter highlights the Mennonite struggle, from Menno Simons to John Howard Yoder, to bring coherence to this rich but often contradictory heritage.
Chapter five brings the most blunt and disturbing look at Mennonite history, with Jacob Loewen and Wesley Prieb examining the abuse of power in Mennonite communities in the Ukraine. They begin with Menno Simons?s rejection of the use of the sword, whether to defend, discipline or convert, and then go on to look at how these were forgotten in the abuses of power, particularly power afforded by class and gender in South Russia. This controversial account suggests that later persecution of Mennonite communities in Russia was at least in part due to the ways that the Mennonites themselves had abused access to wealth and privilege. Not much more heartening is the description by Joel Hartman, in the sixth chapter, of a ?plain? community trying to deal with an incidence of AIDS among its members. Although AIDS entered the community through a contaminated blood transfusion, Hartman suggests that ?power under the cover of tradition? led to the tragic and unnecessary infection of the infected man?s wife and child. Hartman contends that the real issue is not one of authority?who holds legitimate power?but whether the use of that power is wedded to justice and mercy.
In chapter seven Stephen Ainlay uses what he terms the ?Mennonite culture wars,? as Mennonites were drawn into fundamentalist versus liberal disputes, to explore power and authority. He uses the concept of ?power-knowledge,? both the power drawn from claims to knowledge and the power to define legitimate knowledge, to explore these controversies. The complex conceptual framework of the chapter makes it difficult going, especially if readers are more interested in the specifics of the fundamental-liberal disputes, yet he raises important questions for Mennonite leadership.
Dorothy Yoder Nyce and Lynda Nyce bring a feminist critique to the arguments about power and authority in a chapter on Mennonite ecclesiology. Finding Mennonite church structure dominated by what they term ?power-over? relationships in spite of its anti-hierarchical origins, they contend that all free church traditions could learn from feminist understandings of power in egalitarian settings, in which power is shared by men and women, insiders and outsiders, as ?power to? achieve common goals rather than ?power over? others. This view seems closer to what social activists have termed ?power among,? a shared sense of ability to effect change. The Nyces contend that Anabaptists have not been radical enough in their understanding of power.
In the final chapter Calvin Redekop attempts to pull some of these threads together for a new view of power in the Anabaptist community. The problem is that the threads are still too dispersed and frayed to come together into a whole. He contrasts a ?natural? view, that power is for the taking, with a ?pro-humana? view, that power is limited for the common good. He concludes by calling on Anabaptists to reconsider Christ?s model of power and their own historical struggles with power to develop a truly ?pro-humana? view. He challenges Anabaptists to develop and nurture structures of accountability in all aspects of their common life. How these structures would be formed, and how they would remain nurturing rather than abusive, appears left to future discussion and a future volume.
This book will frustrate those who want a clear and consistent Anabaptist theology of power, or even a consistent set of guidelines in developing such a theology. It will, however, intrigue readers who enjoy delving into the ambiguities and controversies of contentious Anabaptist communities. The chapters are weighty but most avoid becoming ponderous. They will provide good fodder for thought and discussion among Anabaptists, particularly Mennonites, who have never thought much about the nature of legitimate authority and compassionate uses of power. They may also interest a broader audience who have never realized that Mennonites and other Anabaptists had much to contribute to this dialogue.
Indiana University South Bend SCOTT SERNAU
Vivre Pleinement: Principes de Vie Chrtienne. By Pierre Widmer. Flavion, Belgique: Editions Le Phare. 2001. Pp. 127.
Vivre Pleinement: Principes de Vie Chrtienne (Living Fully: Principles of the Christian Life) is the second edition of a Christian ethics course offered to youth in the French section of the Mennonite European Bible School (Liestal, Switzerland) in the early 1960s and first published in 1966. Pierre Widmer (1912-99) was a public school teacher, and the leading French Mennonite elder for forty years after World War II.
The eight chapter headings summarize well the contents of the book: morality and its foundation; the nature of man; the goal of life; fall and redemption; duty towards ourselves; duty towards our neighbor; familial duties; and life in society. Read from within the current postmodern ethos of desire and power, the emphasis on ?duty? is striking. Indeed, detailed subtitles further accent one?s duties to one?s body, soul and spirit; the reciprocal duties of spouses; the duties of parents towards children; and the duties of children towards parents.
This is all the more striking when noting the subtitles for the final chapter: an ethic of love; suffer without defense; attitude [not duty!] towards authorities; know and do the good; and strangers and travelers on the earth. The book is a remarkable plea for renewal of nonresistance from a former French army lieutenant, who spent five years as a war prisoner in Germany. A preface by J. M. Nicole, director of the Bible Institute of Nogent-sur-Marne, pointedly notes this ?Mennonite? objection to the use of arms, but Nicole also observes that this objection comes with a spirit of comprehension and charity for those whose opinions differ from those of the author. Nicole would have liked more accent on ?duty to God.?
In addition to its inherent value as a popular exposition of ethics for Christian youth, Vivre Pleinement portrays the dominant spirituality of the French Mennonites during a half-century of renewal, mission and transition out of an inward-looking piety. That story has been told well by the sociologist Jean Sguy (Les Assembles Anabaptistes-Mennonites de France, The Hague, 1977), but the present volume permits one to penetrate the heart and soul of that renewal, to understand Widmer in his use of the Bible and his illustrations from life. ?I lived, even in captivity, out of a fullness of life which did not come from me ? but which I received by faith in Jesus Christ,? he wrote. The book breathes the warm piety of evangelical revival grounded in ?the Bible, the Word of God,? an expression Widmer returns to repeatedly. The book ?is to be read with the Bible in hand,? Widmer counsels in the foreword. And he adds: ?Read attentively the notes at the bottom of the page, with their illustrations taken from current life situations.?
On the whole the text reveals strong Biblicist accents: the trichotomy of body, soul, spirit; an insistence upon the paternity of God; the need for parental use of corporal punishment; and the Lord?s seeming to leave an open door for remarriage after divorce (Matt. 19), ?but Luke 16:8 is stricter.? Tensions with current French culture are reflected in the notes: a woman?s spike heels have nothing to do with comfort or convenience; cycling, skiing or a job in the professional world do not justify having women or girls wear pants all day long. The Christian is to abstain from balls and surprise parties; and in the domain of dance ?we are persuaded that it leads often to an unhealthy erotic excitation; we speak of our modern society sexualized to the extreme ? [or] the well-known Carnival of the city of Basel which each year leads to hundreds of illegitimate births.? Living close to Alsatian wine country, he further counseled: ?. . . all do not feel called to total abstinence from alcoholic drinks, but we have warned against immoderate usage, particularly cocktails and other aperitifs leading almost infallibly to alcoholism.?
A brief biography of Pierre Widmer by the Belgian Mennonite publisher Jules Lambotte, Jr. notes that Widmer served as secretary of the French Mennonite Conference, editor of the French Mennonite monthly Christ Seul and president of the French Mennonite Mission Committee, through which he contributed to the creation of the Evangelical College at N?Djamena and a children?s village in Chad. The author of numerous publications, Widmer was also active in evangelical cooperation, and was both a co-founder of the Evangelical Theological Faculty at Vaux-sur-Seine and a member of its Administrative Council. As a skilled pedagogue and minister of the Gospel, Widmer?s personal influence amidst French Mennonitism was unmatched. This volume details his impact on a whole generation of its youth, who currently bear the responsibilities of its leadership.
Sturgis, Mich. DAVID A. SHANK
Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims. By Howard Zehr. Intercourse, Pa.: Good Books. 2001. Pp. 202. $29.95, cloth; $18.95, paper.
The depth of grieving following a violent crime is beyond our wildest imaginations. Howard Zehr walks us through this process via the voices of thirty-nine victims of violence. The interviews demonstrate both the common experiences of crime victims and the variety of paths in recovery toward wholeness.
The journey begins with a mother whose ex-husband killed her two young children and continues on to include such crimes as a women coping with her repeated childhood sexual abuse and parents whose teenage daughter was raped and murdered.
Survivors graphically share the depth of their personal destruction and the rebuilding that must take place. Some shut down emotionally for years. One woman speaks of experiencing a destruction of the God she had known. Others must bury and grieve the loss of the person they were prior to the crime. One survivor speaks of needing to decide whether to continue living.
Victims identify clear lifelines that pulled them out of the black holes in which they found themselves. A strong faith kept some from losing their minds. Having other people hear and believe their stories and their array of contradictory emotions was healing for many. For others simply rising each morning to the ritual of bathing and dressing got them through the fog of the early months. Therapy and journaling sustained some.
Others found great peace in finally forgiving the perpetrator. For some this became a daily choice to be made. One father whose son was murdered observed that ?forgiving was our only opportunity to exercise control in the whole process. When you forgive, you actually have some power.?˙˙ One survivor describes forgiveness as an act of will and for many this is the beginning of acceptance and personal liberation from the depression that sets in after the crime.
The interviews reveal rage, bitterness and lives deadened by the loss of loved ones or personal assault. But we also find rebirth. A mother whose daughter was murdered describes herself as a walking dead person until she was asked to participate in a victim-offender mediation program and talk to the offender. Participation in the program, she said, gave her back her life.
The closing stories leave us hopeful as we hear from survivors who have forgiven the perpetrators and are learning to cope with the damage that is their new life. We learn of the overwhelming release some feel when they finally receive an admission of guilt from their attacker. This ?rebirth, redemption and new life? is a frequent result of the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program.
In Part II of the book, Zehr pulls the stories together with common stages of the recovery experience. The trauma of victimization leaves disorder, disempowerment and disconnection from others. Thus, the path to recovery requires first a ?Journey Toward Meaning? in making order and sense of our lives. Victims must create revised narratives of their lives that take into account the awful things that happened. They must believe a wrong was done and someone else is responsible.
A second stage, the ?Journey Toward Honor,? occurs once the memories of humiliation and shame are transformed into stories that include dignity and triumph. These stories must be heard and validated by others, sometimes again and again.
The ?Journey Toward Vindication? demands a sense of payback for what victims have lost. By publicly denouncing the wrong, establishing responsibility and requiring appropriate restitution, the criminal justice system helps the victim achieve a sense of vindication.
Finally, in the ?Journey To Justice,? we address the need for safety, reparation, answers and truth-telling. Victims need to know what happened and why to restore their sense of order in life. They need to retell their stories and to vent their anger, betrayal and grief. Victims need experiences of involvement with the community. They seek to become empowered human beings.
Zehr argues that our current retributive criminal justice system ignores the victims? needs and leaves them to flounder in the adversarial system where they are often further victimized in court processes. In contrast, the restorative justice paradigm focuses on the needs of the victims for safety, honor and vindication, and which may, when desired, include a carefully orchestrated encounter with the offender.
Throughout the interviews, Zehr demonstrates a deep respect for the victims, their stories and their unique journeys even as they share such uncomfortable emotions as rage and a desire for revenge. He never dwells on the sensationalism of the crime but instead on the journey beyond the event(s) that tore their lives apart. Zehr offers an honest picture of individuals who are mired in trauma, and at times destroyed by it, and those who seem to have transcended it and turned their wounds into lifelines for others. For those who have never experienced violent crime, this book is a window on the soul of deeply wounded people, sensitizing us to the ever-changing needs of those on the road to recovery.
For victims of crime and their loved ones, these stories can be a lifeline in the tidal wave of emotions that follow. For victims to hear others speak of seemingly losing their minds, getting eaten alive by their rage and being grateful for periods of numbness, is to know that they are not crazy nor alone, but on a journey.
For offenders in general, hearing these stories may aid in connecting them with their own memories of victimization so that they may begin to sense the terrible sequence of events their choice of violence has begun. The stories may help offenders see how powerful their apologies can be. They may begin to see how their answers to such simple questions from victims as ?Why me?? can move a crime ?victim? into a newly empowered identity called ?survivor.?
Photographs of each crime victim accompany their story, humanizing them further. By gazing into their eyes, we see both the unbearable pain and, often, the signs of transcendence, acceptance or healing. The pictures remind us that victims are people of our age, ethnicity and gender. They could be us.
Readers who have followed Zehr?s previous work in Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Sentences, emphasizing offender?s stories, will find his confession in the closing pages revealing. Zehr recognizes that he once avoided the victim?s perspective altogether. After listening to victims, he felt he knew best what they needed and designed victim offender reconciliation programs without their direct input. Today he admits that without the full involvement of victims and victim advocates in the criminal justice system, justice is not possible.
In dividing the book into two parts?the victims? stories and then Zehr?s analysis of the journey to recovery and his own journey?some confusion results. The victims? stories are divided into sections. Zehr chooses victims? quotes to introduce and title each section. This was often confusing, as a common theme to each section was not always obvious. It made the sense of journey harder to follow.
Zehr takes trauma healing a step further in his closing section by giving us new language to view the journey of recovery in relation to the criminal justice system. Existing literature on trauma healing focuses on victims of trauma in their personal journeys outside of the criminal justice system while much of Zehr?s work focuses on individuals and families as they walk through the court process.
˙Much of what we know of trauma healing is written from a psychologist?s or a psychiatrist?s perspective and is designed for health care providers. Zehr?s firsthand accounts and observations are less clinical and perhaps more useful for laypersons who are recovering after the death of a loved one or personal assault. With his decades of experience working with and listening to both victims and offenders in the criminal justice system, he is able to make suggestions for systemic change that might directly impact the recovery of thousands of victims each year.
Bethel College, North Newton, Kan. JULIE P. HART
Reclaiming the Old Testament: Essays in Honour of Waldemar Janzen. Edited by Gordon Zerbe. Winnipeg: CMBC Publications. 2001. Pp. 263. $22, Can.
Reclaiming the Old Testament collects eighteen essays that focus on the meaning of the Old Testament in today?s world. The lead essay is written by Waldemar Janzen, professor emeritus of Old Testament and German at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Canada. The collection as a whole was developed as a festschrift for Janzen at the time of his retirement. Gerald Gerbrandt introduces the volume with a short tribute that highlights professional and personal aspects of Janzen?s life. The volume concludes with a select bibliography of Janzen?s publications.
In the opening essay, Janzen proposes a rethinking of the traditional Anabaptist supersessionist view that gives priority to the New Testament in terms of biblical authority. Critical of this approach, Janzen identifies ways in which the neglect of the Old Testament witness has been detrimental to Anabaptist theology. For example, Anabaptists have not developed biblical theologies of family and land, in large part because the New Testament pays those two topics scant attention. In a constructive section, Janzen presents a hermeneutical model that builds upon canonical criticism, especially the work of Brevard S. Childs.
Essays in the first half of the volume are more theoretical than those in the second half. Proposing ways we might ?free the Old Testament to speak,? biblical scholars and theologians respond to Janzen?s claim that Anabaptists have neglected the Old Testament. Adolf Ens and John H. Neufeld both explore the use of the Old Testament in Mennonite preaching, and Helmut Harder examines its use in the 1994 Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1995).
Emphasizing a reader-oriented criticism, Wesley J. Bergen proposes entering into a dialogue with the Old Testament, and illustrates his approach with a creative conversation about 2 Kings 8:1-6 (?Can New Methods Free Us to Listen to the Old Testament??). Elmer A. Martens makes three concrete proposals in his essay (?Reaching for a Biblical Theology of the Whole Bible?): (1) We should minimize the differences between the two testaments. (2) We should not automatically grant the New Testament greater authority than the Old. (3) We would benefit by exploring the intertextuality of biblical texts.
Essays in the second half of the volume examine specific Old Testament texts, themes or problems. Margaret Loewen Reimer focuses on the problems modern readers have with Old Testament texts (?Hebrew Magic: ?If the Bible is so patriarchal, how come I love it so much?? ?). Emphasizing the distance between us and the Old Testament texts, she suggests that the real question is ?How can we sing a strange song in a familiar land?? As her essay title suggests, Loewen Reimer feels ambivalent about the Old Testament, which leads her to recommend a reading strategy that wrestles imaginatively with the biblical texts.
Many Anabaptists struggle with the violence that runs through many Old Testament texts. Examining Psalm 139 (?Reading Psalm 139: Opting for a Realistic Reading?), Lydia Harder asks, ?What do we do when the biblical text doesn?t fit well with Mennonite theology?? Employing theological, psychological and socio-political approaches to Psalm 139, Harder concludes that Mennonites can read the entire Psalm, not as a vision of the way things should be, but as a prayer to God that asks for transformation.
In one of the longer and more exegetically oriented essays, Ben C. Ollenburger examines the biblical concept of jubilee (?Jubilee: ?The land is mine; you are aliens and tenants with me? ?). Analyzing both Old and New Testament texts, Ollenburger also briefly examines jubilee in the early and medieval church before concluding with some theological observations on the church?s practice of jubilee today. Ollenburger?s essay in particular shows the fruitfulness of a canonical approach.
Gordon Zerbe?s essay reclaims the Old Testament for the church?s understanding of ?forgiveness? (?Forgiveness and the Transformation of Conflict?). Zerbe looks at forgiveness in both testaments, including paradigms from the ancestral stories of Genesis and narratives in the books of Samuel that illuminate paths toward reconciliation. He concludes, ?On the subject of forgiveness, the Old and New Testaments display a remarkable continuity? (258). Rather than contrasting the Old Testament and New Testament, Zerbe finds that both testaments reflect a ?forthright dialogue between Mercy and Justice? (258).
Daniel Epp-Tiessen extrapolates from the Old Testament four criteria for distinguishing between true and false prophets (?The Lord Has Truly Sent the Prophet?). He concludes with reflections on the usefulness of the biblical discussion of true and false prophecy to contemporary church struggles about discernment. Employing a combination of criticisms?form, historical and canonical?Millard C. Lind analyzes the interrelation of prophecy, law and worship in a short pericope in the book of Exodus (?The Prophetic Emphasis of the Sinai Tabernacle Pericope, Exodus 25:10-22?).
Victor G. Doerksen examines the use of the Psalter in both traditional Anabaptist hymnody and contemporary praise songs (?The Poetry of Praise: Some Comments on the Old Testament and the New Music?). Titus F. Guenther concludes that the church depends upon the Old Testament as the foundation of its mission work, but it also must turn to the New Testament for a more complete understanding of mission (?Missionary Vision and Practice in the Old Testament?). Jo-Ann A. Brant draws upon the work of Paul Ricoeur in her proposal that in the Bible the sword can serve as a divine instrument of creation and re-creation, as well as an instrument of violence (?The Sword, the Stone, and the Holy Grail?). Gary F. Daught suggests that the Old Testament can help us with problems relating to land use and agriculture (?Farming Encounters the Bible?). Dorothy Jean Weaver likens Christian political advocacy to Moses? experience of the burning bush (?Beware of Burning Bushes: A Biblical-Theological Foundation for the Ministry of Political Advocacy?).
Methods vary among the contributors. Some employ more traditional historical-critical exegesis (Ollenburger and Zerbe), sometimes also using canonical criticism (Janzen and Lind), psychological and socio-political criticism (Harder), or intertextual analysis (Martens). Others advocate postmodern and reader-oriented literary criticisms (Bergen) or the methods of comparative literature (Loewen Reimer). Nevertheless, all the contributors engage in some fashion with Waldemar Janzen?s call to rethink canonically the Anabaptist orientation to the New Testament.
As an Anabaptist Old Testament scholar myself, I wholeheartedly support Waldemar Janzen?s critique and constructive proposals. Although the contributors to this volume offer many different views as to how Anabaptists can reclaim the Old Testament, they all agree that Anabaptists should reclaim the Old Testament. Additionally, several themes surface in multiple essays: (1) Anabaptists should take the Old Testament seriously on its own terms, rather than treating it as simply the prologue to the New Testament (or worse, ignoring it completely). (2) A canonical approach to the Bible offers a fuller appropriation of God?s truth than is possible by reading the New Testament alone. (3) While the Old Testament may be a ?strange song? for Anabaptists, rather than a familiar one, a careful reading of the Old Testament can bear fruit for Anabaptist readers, but we may need to read differently than we have in the past.
Elizabethtown College CHRISTINA BUCHER
Unfailing Vision: The Story of Union Biblical Seminary. Edited by Jey J. Kanagaraj. Pune, India: Union Biblical Seminary. 1999. Pp. 244.
I first became acquainted with Union Biblical Seminar (U.B.S.) in August 1965 when I visited their president, W. Robert Hess. He and I shared the same dissertation advisor, Prof. Holden Furber at the University of Pennsylvania. U.B.S. was then located in the central India town of Yeotmal, now Yavatmal, some forty miles from the Gandhi Ashram at Warda, located on the Bombay to Calcutta Railway. In 1983 the seminary moved to its new campus in Poona, now Pune, a thriving city in the hills two hours south of Bombay on another major railroad line.
For a number of reasons this is an important story for understanding the Christian movement in India. U.B.S. was founded in 1953 as an expression of the vitality of evangelical Christianity. Two years before in 1951 the Evangelical Fellowship of India (E.F.I.) was formed. The same leadership of E.F.I. became the leaders of the seminary. Frank J. Kline,˙a Free Methodist missionary educator, had led a Bible school and regional seminary in Yeotmal since 1939. Everett Cattell was a superintendent of the Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends mission in the 1950s. I. Ben Wati, a Nagaland Christian, followed Cattell˙as executive secretary of E.F.I. and˙chaired the U.B.S. board from 1957 to 1989. He also˙served as acting president in 1994-1995. When the regional seminary became U.B.S. in 1953, English replaced Marathi as the primary language. The student body grew, representing churches from northeast India to Kerala in the South, and the supporting churches grew to include bodies from Madhya Pradesh and Andra Pradesh as well as Maharashtra State. Two of the original and continuing sponsors of U.B.S. were the Mennonite Church of India and the General Conference Mennonite Church.
This fifty-year overview written by several faculty members was˙edited by Kanagaraj, a New Testament Professor, assisted by the Mennonite Brethren historian A. J. Klassen. The text is loaded with factual data regarding faculty, administrators and curriculum. As at many similar institutions, the founding President Kline was˙the source of vision˙and demonstrated enormous energy in creating a vigorous pastoral training program. The fourth president, Sophir Athyal, who served from 1972 to 1987, secured accreditation through the Senate for Serampore College, the degree-granting institution for all Indian seminaries. Athyal, who earned a Princeton Ph. D. in Old Testament, helped to Indianize the curriculum, strengthened financial resources, attracted new faculty and led the move from Yeotmal to Poona (Pune).
Numerous fascinating stories bring to life the history and nature of the seminary. One was the struggle to find a new campus. The first option was Nagpur, the largest city in Central India. Through a variety of circumstances and the guidance of God's spirit, this location did not work out. Pune is surely a more attractive location. Another story one wishes would have been more fully described is the leadership crisis of the 1990s?there were six principals between 1994 and 1997. The authors call this a period when the "vision was lost," in spite of the book title Unfailing Vision. Various terms are used to describe these unhappy times, even "mid-life crises," but the analysis is thin. Fortunately the seminary˙developed a˙more solid footing with a new president, Leaderwell Pohsngap.
Today U.B.S. is a major center for training pastors and teachers for Indian churches. In a time when leadership development is a primary concern, U.B.S. represents one of the best illustrations of seminary education in the churches of the global South. There are problems. Grass-roots Mennonite churches in India, for instance, need pastors trained in local languages such as Hindi, Telegu and Bengali. U.B.S. doesn't serve village-oriented pastors very well.
Readers of Mennonite Quarterly Review will be interested in the very strong Mennonite participation in U.B.S. Mennonite Brethren joined M.C.I. and the G.C.M.C. and the United Missionary Church in sending numerous students and faculty. There were Mennonite board members and faculty from the beginning. Today there are three Indian Mennonite faculty members?Shakhar Singh, Prem and Rachel Bagh. Weyburn Groff served as the first registrar. Kenneth Bauman was the third president. S. Paul Miller, a veteran Mennonite missionary, directed the building of a new campus and the move from Yeotmal to Poona. Pronoy Sarkar, United Missionary pastor in Calcutta, chaired the U.B.S. board˙in the early 1990s. Mennonite agencies, especially Mennonite Board of Missions, Commission on Overseas Mission and Mennonite Central Committee provided considerable funds. More than thirty-five visiting faculty members from North American Mennonite churches served there˙since 1983.
This is an important book for understanding seminary education in India, the Mennonite contributions to˙Christian seminary education in India and the continuing significance of this institution for the worldwide church.
Akron, Pa. JOHN A. LAPP
 Books referred to are Albert Keim, Harold S. Bender 1897-1962 (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1998); Helmut Harder, David Toews Was Here, 1870-1947 (Winnipeg: CMBC Publications, 2002); Hermann Heidebrecht, Ein Hirte der Zerstreuten. Das Leben des Aeltesten Heinrich voth 1887-1973 (Bielefeld: Christlicher Missions-Verlag, 1999). 160 The Mennonite Quarterly Review 159 Book Reviews 141