14 Chapters
Medium 978087178064x

Another Way of Believing

Dale W. Brown Brethren Press PDF

another way body.qxd6/8/051:17 PMPage 2Benjamin Franklin Meets Michael WohlfahrtA founding father of our nation, Benjamin Franklin could be labeled a secular humanist if living today. He absorbed the skepticism of his English philosopher friend, David Hume. An apocryphal story by Wesleyan scholars relates that the free-thinking Franklin was so moved by George Whitefield’s preaching that he placed a coin in the offering. Franklin seemed to enjoy his relationships with the sects. As a competitor to the Sauer press, he accepted printing jobs from the Ephrata community. In his Autobiography, Franklin recalls a conversation with Michael Wohlfahrt, a leader in the cloisters (11516). Wohlfahrt complained about the “abominable,” unfair charges of zealots of other persuasions. Franklin explained that such had always been the case with new sects and advised him “to publish articles of their belief and the rules of their discipline.” Wohlfahrt responded that such had been proposed and rejected for this reason:

See All Chapters
Medium 978087178064x

Whither Brethren?

Dale W. Brown Brethren Press PDF

another way body.qxd6/8/051:17 PMPage 218position’ as part of the total witness of a new church, but not as yet central and primary?”Some eighty percent of the delegates voted for the committee’s recommendation against joining. We still could have maintained our observer status. As a member of the committee and one of our representatives to COCU,I recall my passionate speech to the body. I believed this rejection would only be compelling if our denomination would revive our peace witness and make it central in our life and thought. We probably could have worked out other differences in belief and practice more readily than gaining acceptance of our peace heritage. I remembered the opinion of a German theologian,Otto Piper. He reminded us that our peace witness is the only justification we have to continue to exist as a denomination.J. Denny Weaver is raising this same challenge to Mennonites. He points out that Mennonites have a list of good beliefs in which peace is but one. He advocates, however, that Mennonites be a peace church in which New

See All Chapters
Medium 978087178064x

Original Blessedness or Original Sin?

Dale W. Brown Brethren Press PDF

another way body.qxd6/8/051:17 PMPage 50As human beings, are we naturally good or bad? Opinions about human nature have not been extensively debated, divisive, or resolved among our people. In spite of assumptions of theologians that what we believe about this doctrine affects how we shape other convictions, Brethren have generally remained confused or silent about this one. The committee responsible for The Brethren Hymnal (1951) changed the first line of hymn number 433 to read: “Amazing Grace! how sweet the sound, That saveth men like me.” At that time many ardently opposed calling themselves or others a “wretch,” defined as a wicked or despicable person. Due to the growing concern for inclusive language, the next hymnal committee needed to change our identity again. So in number 143 of Hymnal: A Worship Book, published by the believers churches in 1992, we sing “Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”A feminist member of our class had recently given birth to her first child.

See All Chapters
Medium 978087178064x

Jesus the Christ

Dale W. Brown Brethren Press PDF

another way body.qxd6/8/051:17 PMPage 61Chapter 5Jesus the ChristJesus of history and Christ of faithLet the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death. . . . Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.—Philippians 2:5-11This early Christ hymn is filled with christological statements. Christology is a word that refers to thoughts, interpretations, or convictions about Jesus.Brethren have been interpreted to be a people who keep their eyes on Jesus and center their minds on the mind of Christ (Mallott, ch. 31). Since the

See All Chapters
Medium 978087178064x

Living in the Spirit

Dale W. Brown Brethren Press PDF

another way body.qxd6/8/051:17 PMPage 76baptism, one early convert wrote: “I was deeply moved by voices of the sweetly singing congregation. The emotion of the worship kindled an inner passion. My tears burst forth so that I felt myself to be wholly united with them.” These so-called primitive Christians taught their children, farmers, and wine growers songs they could sing from their hearts while playing and working. Arnold revealed a prejudice likely imparted to the first Brethren. He regretted that in subsequent generations singers or cantors were appointed to replace congregational voices. By the seventh century, bells, cymbals, and pipe organs made so much noise that common folks became more and more silent (First Love . . .1696, Book 2, Chapter 2, Sections 4-12). Arnold was not alone in his assessments. Church historians have often described the firstChristians as an enthusiastic sect within first-century Judaism.In studies of Brethren hymnody, Hedwig Durnbaugh reveals that the first Brethren, likewise, loved to sing. Their own members added many hymns to those of their German pietist associates. In the hymns they authored, Spirit language was not used profusely. Nevertheless, such language was implied in expressions such as “penetrating light.” Hedda’s research discerns that for the most part the mysticism of the Brethren expressed “a desire to seek spiritual union with Jesus rather than God”

See All Chapters

See All Chapters