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CT is ‘Shaken Up by the Peace-Lovers’

Nov 24, 2004

Chris Armstrong, one of the editors and writers at Christianity Today magazine, shares his thoughts as the CTI staff was preparing the current special issue which focuses on some of the Anabaptist groups that figure in the history of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. His comments include:

Our hosts at the center— Steve [Scott, administrative assistant of the Young Center of Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania], director David Eller, Brethren historian Donald Durnbaugh, and historian of the Amish Donald Kraybill—convinced us that an excellent way to communicate the inner workings of the Anabaptists was to ask Anabaptists to write our articles.

This we have done in most of this issue’s theme articles, and I am glad we did it this way. Through meeting these authors over the phone and reading their articles, I feel I have been introduced not just to a set of beliefs, but to a family of believers. Indeed, not just introduced, but invited to dinner—even to the famous Brethren “love feast.”…

Consider the list of core values of these groups’ “Old Order” branches presented by Donald Kraybill and Carl Desportes Bowman in their acclaimed book On the Backroad to Heaven (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001). These groups, the authors argue persuasively, are above all (1) relational, (2) practical, (3) constant, and (4) gentle…

The Anabaptists challenge almost every one of what Kraybill and Bowman call America’s “core values”: individual rights, moral autonomy, competition, success, participation in government, and the yearning for progress and material improvement.

Against such modern values, many Anabaptists espouse a church-centered, anti-individualist way of life so diametrically opposite to modern sensibilities that the fact they are able to sustain it is nearly miraculous. To read Armstrong’s full article, click here.