January 1976 · Vol. 5 No. 1 · p. 2 

In This Issue

Elmer A. Martens

Direction enters its fifth year with a focus on life in one current community of believers, the Mennonite Brethren church.

Historically, a variety of issues have confronted believers in their life together. Sometimes purity of doctrine was a foremost concern; sometimes worship practices were hotly debated; sometimes eccentric personalities challenged the church’s cohesiveness.

In the following pages Herb Giesbrecht examines the formulation and place of ethical covenants for church members. He alludes to a theology that should inform consideration of church rules, and points to the difference between principles and prescriptions. The choice counsel of leaders from the larger church—William Law, John Wesley, Robert Raines or Thomas Kelly, deserves a hearing. The essay was prepared and presented, though in fuller form, at the request of the church council to the congregation of the Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church (Winnipeg).

Hedy Martens calls upon the church community to lend an ear to a concern which has gained increasing attention in the church in the last decade: the place of women. She investigates Scripture texts, but of particular significance is the articulate way in which she communicates at the feeling level. The church is accustomed to an analysis of argument, but the believing community needs perception also at the affective level. Readers, whether men or women, are here exposed to a pilgrimage which may well be more representative than church leaders are prepared to admit.

In a column that has undergone modification of design and appears now as Hearing the Word instead of Preaching Lab, contributing editor John Regehr pursues the subject of the church, defined now as world-wide community. While preachers will continue to follow the column, Hearing the Word is intended to appeal to a broader group of Christians than pastors. As Hearing the Word makes clear, we err when we draw the circle with too small a compass.