On February 28, our Bishop J. Carl Sensenig started our current sermon series Peculiar. We explored a number of Biblical understandings that early Reformers and Anabaptists insisted were necessary for faithful Christian living. For many of us, these “peculiar” doctrines or beliefs just made sense in light of the Bible. This Sunday marks the conclusion of this study and what a great way to end—with the Lord’s Supper.
Some people wonder how they can learn more about some of the doctrines and beliefs we studied. Let me share with you some of the resources I used while preparing for the messages I preached.
First of all, the series was born out of J.C. Wenger’s book What Mennonites Believe originally published in 1977. Wenger was a historian, writer, teacher, and theologian. I’ve appreciated many of his works over the years. In fact, in my message God Loves Through Us, I leaned heavily on Wenger’s book The Way of Peace. Both of these books are well written, easy to read, and short. I commend both of these books for those looking to explore Anabaptism more.
Another great book, which is sadly no longer in print but was so important in my understanding of non-resistance, is Nonresistance and Pacifism by John R. Mumaw. In this short 1952 publication, Mumaw differentiates between nonresistance and pacifism, making it clear that we are the former not the latter. On this same topic is Robert G. Clouse’s book War: Four Christian Views. Herman A. Hoyt and Myron S. Augsburger make some nice contributions to the book, both outlining a distinct view. One other strange book that has helped shape my understanding about nonresistance is Dispensationalism by Charles C. Ryrie. This theological book helped me reconcile all the wars in the Old Testament with Jesus’ teachings of peace and love in the New Testament. Although, unless you like to read difficult books or you have a college course on it, I would not suggest spending time reading it.
If you want to learn more about Anabaptist history, Through Fire & Water by Harry Loewen and Steven Nolt, is filled with great stories spanning centuries of Anabaptism. Of course, John Roth has some books related to Anabaptist history, beliefs, and practices, which could prove helpful for some. Lastly, my go to book when it comes to Anabaptist theology is Doctrines of the Bible by Daniel Kauffman. Stop by Ken’s Educational Joys in Hinkletown to procure a copy for yourself. It does not need to be read as a book but as a study resource. Instead of flipping through a magazine to some random article, open up Doctrines of the Bible and read a short section or two about Anabaptist theology.
I look forward to sharing in the Lord’s Supper with you this Sunday!
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Eric grew up in the little town of Gibraltar, PA with his grandparents. He met his wife Cheryl while working at Good’s Greenhouse in Bowmansville, PA. He has three adult children and values watching them grow into the people God wants them to be.