Separated Unto God – J.C.Wenger
Separated Unto God – J. C. Wenger
During the last century, when Mennonites in North America made the transition from German to English, they suddenly found themselves cut off from the writings of Menno Simons, Dirck Philips, T.J. van Braght, and Thomas von Imbroich, as well as their confessions of faith, catechisms, and devotional literature. This brought about a certain disorientation, a cutting loose from the historical moorings.
…there arose a generation of leaders who were but superficially acquainted with the fundamental doctrines and insights of the Anabaptist forefathers. These new leaders attempted to formulate singlehandedly the outlines of a theology which would give our people a renewed sense of mission and thus prevent the further exodus of the ablest young people, and subsequent disintegration of the group. These formulations tended to cluster about nonresistance, nonconformity, and the ordinances: but nonresistance was thought of too exclusively in terms of a rejection of military service in time of war and little effort was made to develop a broad social ethic in terms of New Testament Christianity; nonconformity was often misunderstood as involving merely the maintenance of a cultural status quo rather than a dynamic spiritual tension with a Christ-rejecting world; and there developed an enumeration of “ordinances” which was utterly foreign to the Anabaptist tradition, as well as an undue emphasis on outward forms.
Selected quotes from Introduction to Theology, J. C. Wenger (1954) p.vii.
Note- many of the German writings have been translated and are available in English.