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ERIC Number: ED410629
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 25
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Tested in the Faith Community: The Congregational Hermeneutics of the Mennonites.
Siebert, Bradley G.
The social epistemic that the Mennonite-Anabaptists have been cultivating as their hermeneutic method for 470 years focuses on local congregations as discourse communities of faith, promoting egalitarian lay participation equal to that of members with formal ministries. "The Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective" features a renewal of the Mennonite tradition of congregational hermeneutics. The Mennonites' aim is to be faithful and obedient, in whatever circumstance, to their faith. Biblical scripture is foundational to this obedience; consequently, hermeneutical processes are essential. Religious histories reveal that, although Anabaptism moved away from Catholicism, it was not a part of the Protestant mainstream. One dispute centered on the church's authority over civil governments in making decisions regarding faith and Christian conduct. Also, the validity of infant baptism was rejected in favor of adult, believer's baptism. Over the years, Mennonites have used formal and informal discourse processes to develop consensus about how the biblical message speaks to issues that arise in and around the congregation, and such dialogue extends to and draws from the wider church as a community of congregations. Congregations seek to "discern" how to be the church in their current situations. P. Yoder (1982) writes about how individuals can develop more systematic hermeneutic approaches to their Bible study and become more sophisticated readers of the Bible. But this does not mean that lay people are to defer completely to scholars or specialists. J. Yoder (1984) has studied four types of specialists he identifies in scripture for congregations to exploit: agents of direction, of memory, of linguistic self-consciousness, and of order and due process. (Contains 48 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A