Spring 1990 · Vol. 19 No. 1 · p. 2 

From the Editors: Family and Church: Growing Together

Elmer A. Martens

A recent poll of readers of Direction surfaced the subject of “family.” “Family” ranged at the top of the list of issues which Direction was encouraged to address. The following pages are a response to the expressed need.

A church whose gospel is reconciliation and shalom has work to do in helping the basic unit of society, the family.

This was one of several conclusions reached by a conference on “Family and Church Growing Together” sponsored as the biennial School for Ministry by the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in January of 1990. Direction is pleased to carry the substance of the papers and the workshop presentations. Readers will find the analyses and the statistics helpful, even if sometimes a bit overwhelming. More helpful still will be the suggestions throughout for ways of helping with the nurturing of families, whether traditional or whether in the newer constellations. Choice resources are found in the bibliographies, especially in the five subsections of “Books I Recommend.”

The dearth of theologizing about family, together with some attempts at beginning the theologizing process, is documented by Professor Dennis Guernsey of Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, the guest plenary speaker. Professors Al Dueck and Delores Friesen, who anchored the conference, catapult the reader into the assorted family constellations of a changing world. Three vignettes of transcultural marriage open yet other dimensions of the modern family. One essay focuses on sexuality. To bring a Biblical perspective on the subject, so that in all the turmoil the norm be not lost, Professors John E. Toews (NT) and Allen Guenther (OT) present some Biblical teaching. Stabilization of the family through ritual is treated by Dr. John Friesen (Vancouver); and Dr. Karl Bartsch (Pennsylvania) offers instruction by means of a checklist on how to get underway in counseling families.

New in this issue is an entry under “Current Research,” listing the publications of faculty from the institutions sponsoring Direction. The contributor to “Historical Endnotes” has served up a concise essay on Mennonite Brethren historiography.

The Fall 1990 edition of Direction will address further issues in practical ministries of the church: decision-making, polity, and conflict resolution.