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Discerning God's Will Together
Biblical Interpretation in the Free Church Tradition

Summary: This book invites congregations to learn communal forms of biblical interpretation through which to implement practices of discernment offering guidance amid today’s challenging ethical and theological riddles.

“How timely it is in the hurly burly fractiousness of our times for Ervin Stutzman . . . to lift up the core practice of discernment for all to consider afresh.”—Sara Wenger Shenk, President, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, in the Foreword

Excerpts from the Responses Chapter

“Stutzman proposes that the contemporary church, faced with difficult decisions about moral and practical issues, can learn from the long tradition of communal discernment and biblical interpretation that goes hand-in-hand with the Anabaptist understanding of the congregation as a voluntary community of believers. . . .” —Sally Weaver Glick, Author, In Tune with God: The Art of Congregational Discernment

“Every community of faith has to wrestle the understanding and application of biblical interpretation for faithfulness in the present moment. Ervin Stutzman is envisioning an increased role of congregational discernment as one of the tools of faithful hermeneutics in the Anabaptist tradition. He explicates the role and complexities of group discernment well and provides a rich treasure trove of insights and information.” —Jan Wood, Author (with Lon Fendall and Bruce Bishop) of Practicing Discernment Together: Finding God’s Way Forward in Decision Making

"While the Constantinian model of Christianity requires an assembled hierarchy and sameness of belief and practice, the early church and the Anabaptist movement both embraced local expressions and diversity of practice. Genuine discernment in the future will require not only the theology and tools that Stutzman carefully develops but also a firm rejection of Constantinian models of monolithic decision-making." —David Brubaker, Associate Professor of Organizational Studies at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University

Market: Discussion groups, students, church libraries, pastors, congregational leaders; anyone interested in an indepth yet accessible guide to the theory and practice of biblical interpretation and its contributions to discernment from an Anabaptist-Mennonite and free church perspective.

Shelving:  Discernment; Biblical interpretation; Communal hermeneutics—Anabaptist-Mennonite, Free Church

The Author: Ervin R. Stutzman, Harrisonburg, Virginia, is Executive Director, Mennonite Church USA and was previously Dean, Eastern Mennonite Seminary . He is author of From Nonresistance to Justice: The Transformation of Mennonite Church Peace Rhetoric, 1908-2008 (Herald Press, 2011) and of several other books, including Tobias and Emma.

Publisher: Cascadia Publishing House LLC
Potential Copublisher: None
Publication date: May 2013
Tentative Pages: 176
Format: 5.5 x 8.5" trade paper
Prices: $16.95 US/Can. ISBN 13:  978-1-931038-95-9; ISBN 10: 1-931038-95-3


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