October 1978 · Vol. 7 No. 4 · p. 2 

In This Issue: Mennonite Brethren Higher Education

John E. Toews

This issue of Direction addresses the crisis in Mennonite Brethren education. Since 1954 the U.S. Mennonite Brethren Church has sought to operate two liberal arts colleges. Both colleges are experiencing difficult times now, as are many private colleges in North America.

This issue is a case study of how Mennonite Brethren got into trouble in higher education and how they might resolve current problems. Analysis and proposals are combined in the hope of offering direction.

Four themes reoccur in this issue. First, the Mennonite Brethren Church faces a crisis in higher education and must make some fundamental changes. Secondly, the schools of the Church must become more distinctively peoplehood colleges of the Church. Thirdly, the mission of the church in education must take priority over the location of an institution or two. Fourthly, the Mennonite Brethren model in Canada of a Bible College associated with a public university may represent the best option for U.S. Mennonite Brethren.

The reflections on the past and the dreams for the future contained in this issue indicate the absence of a clearly defined model of how Anabaptist-Mennonites ought to do higher education in and for the church. Both the current crisis and the lack of inherited models offer an opportune moment for creativity and renewal.

The regular feature “Hearing the Word” was deleted in this issue for reasons of space.

This issue was coordinated and edited by John E. Toews, Consulting Editor.