by Ervin Stutzman
Last Tuesday I spoke in chapel at Eastern Mennonite Seminary as part of a two-day official visit to Eastern Mennonite University. The highlight of my time at the seminary was the way I was introduced by the dean—Dr. Michael King. He celebrated a milestone with me by first telling the audience about my writing and then handing me the first copy of my latest book. It is called Discerning God’s Will Together: Biblical Interpretation in the Free Church Tradition. See an introduction of the book at the Cascadia Publishing House website.
As the publisher of this volume through Cascadia Publishing House, Michael King has particular interest in the book. But beyond that, he is promoting this volume on behalf of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, who will use the book as part of the resources for the 2014 School for Leadership Training. The focus of that week will be on discernment as a practice in the church.
As Mennonites, we draw on the Free Church Tradition, which approaches the scripture in a unique way, particularly as we seek God’s direction for our lives. We believe that through the work of the Holy Spirit, God guides our community toward discernment in important matters of faith. Discerning God’s Will Together shows how the Anabaptists relied on the community of faith to guide their interpretation of scripture, particularly for moral issues.
This book also examines the ways that various kinds of communities that may function as discerning communities of faith. And it shows the way forward toward discernment through thorny or conflictual issues.
I’m convinced that God is calling Mennonite Church USA to exercise new level of discernment across our whole church. We must not simply rely on human wisdom or bow to societal pressure from either the left or the right. Rather, God is calling us to rely on the guidance of the Spirit as we gather around the scripture in the community of faith. I’m praying that God may use this new book in some small way to bring about that end.
Follow this link for more information and to buy the book online.