In the aftermath of World War II, seven American Mennonite graduate students spent eleven days together in Amsterdam discussing their concerns around the state of North American Mennonite churches. Out of this historic gathering came a publication project known as Concern: A Pamphlet Series for Questions of Christian Renewal. While the series extended from 1952 to the early 1970s, the first four volumes, now printed in this single volume, comprise the roots, that is, the foundations that preceded the many articles that were written thereafter.
Throughout The Roots of Concern, the discussion revolves around the recovery of an Anabaptist view of church life and discipleship. Here we find the seeds of a theme that would gain much attention in later years: the primary identity of the church as alternative community as opposed to its positive identification with the world. The fourteen articles in this volume cover a variety of issues such as form and spirit in the church, preaching, fellowship, discipleship, dissent, and property. An article coauthored by Yoder reveals his seminal thoughts around Mennonite church organization in relation to both biblical and contemporary denominational structures.
""In these essays we see the excitement of discovery and the enthusiasm and passion of youth. We see a theological engagement with 'the Anabaptist vision,' offered, as the 1954 editorial note said, 'For a strengthening of prophetic Christian faith and conduct.' Here we have, among these essays, some of the first incisive theological reflections of John Howard Yoder.""
- Mark Thiessen Nation, Eastern Mennonite Seminary
""The larger world opened to us via a college education was breathtaking. As newly minted Anabaptists the realities of post-World War II Europe confronted us with serious cognitive dissonances. There seemed to be a need for firm 'markers' to deal with these dissonances, but what and where were they?""
- Calvin Redekop, Harrisonburg, VA
About the Contributor(s):
John H. Yoder