Fall 1996 · Vol. 25 No. 2 · pp. 3–4 

From the Editors: Post Modernism

Allen R. Guenther

Elmer A. Martens

The church’s leaders are most frequently canonized after death. While this issue is not intended to canonize Elmer Martens, it will serve as an acknowledgment of his significant academic and churchly leadership over a span of forty years. This recognition comes at the height of an impressive career of this churchman, scholar, administrator, writer, preacher, and mentor. Anyone familiar with Dr. Martens’ personal schedule would concur that his pace has not slackened since he resigned as full-time faculty member at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary. He is very much alive; indeed, it is our prayer that God would grant you many more years of energetic and insightful leadership. Nothing would please us more than to know that this issue of Direction represented an acknowledgment of your contributions in midstream.

The scope of Elmer’s ministry has stretched to approximate the dimensions of his vision. That vision is global in character, missional in design, didactic and proclamatory in method, and reflects his engagement with the thought and life of our day. His writings deserve close attention for their scholarship, their insight, their crafted quality, and their creative engagement with contemporary issues.

It seems particularly appropriate to honor Dr. Martens in Direction inasmuch as he has been an advocate for the continued role of this journal for Mennonite Brethren scholars and institutions. His years of editorial involvement with this journal illustrate his concern to leave a legacy of thought and faith for succeeding generations. Elmer does few things without passion.

The overarching theme of this tribute issue is The Old Testament in a Post Modern World. Both poles of that theme reflect Elmer’s deep concern: To make the Scriptures come alive and to dialogue with our culture concerning the “Good News.”

The writers are with one exception Elmer’s former students. His preoccupation with biblical theology is evident in his lead article.

Ted Hiebert invites readers to rethink the way we have read and used the dominion theology of Genesis One to justify our abuse of nature.

Ben Ollenburger reflects on the nature and the effects of communicating the Old Testament in the church, providing us with an example of such communication in a sermon from Isaiah 42, 43. He reminds us of the incarnational nature of God’s self-disclosure.

Lynn Jost explores the impact that post modernity makes on the public preaching of the Old Testament. He calls for a revision of our preaching styles and methods to address post modern thinking and living.

Randy Klassen sees in Job’s Thirst for Righteousness a parable portraying the shape of moral qualities which last through the ages.

Doug Heidebrecht mines Romans 12:2 for the basis of the ethical challenge for today. {4}

Steve Reimer, using the tools of archaeology, illustrates the task of the modern exegete who applies the currently-available scientific data to inform the exegetical task and probe a new thesis of a familiar text.

A bibliography of Elmer’s numerous publications rounds out this issue of representative themes and papers by which we wish to express our gratitude and to honor Dr. Elmer A. Martens.

Allen R. Guenther
Guest Editor