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Defenseless Christianity
Anabaptism for a Nonviolent Church

Gerald J. Mast and J. Denny Weaver

Summary: Entering a field of ongoing controversy, this book dares to offer a new model or vision—defenseless Christianity—for understanding Anabaptism, both present and past. An Anabaptism defined as defenseless Christianity should be seen as a nonviolent Christian movement with a world-reconciling theology despite the fact that some first-generation Anabaptists were not pacifists.

In answer to recent challenges, the authors contend that Anabaptism as it developed and survived is properly understood as a nonviolent movement. At the same time, the authors acknowledge that there were multiple forms of Anabaptism in the sixteenth-century, requiring ongoing discussion within the movement about the meaning and purpose of the church.

Since a prime characteristic of Anabaptism is the call to shape Christian practices within the story and life of Jesus Christ, the authors describe Anabaptism in a way to speaks to every Christian, whether or not they belong to one of the historic peace churches. The authors believe that the defenseless Christianity of historic Anabaptism has much to offer contemporary peace churches as well as the Christian church as a whole.

Comment: "I've been reading with interest the important work being done by Denny Weaver and others on violence in relation to our understandings of God, atonement, and eschatology. I've also been watching, with joy, the growing rediscovery of the nonviolent heritage of the Radical Reformation. So I enthusiastically await the release of Defenseless Christianity." 
Brian D. McLaren, Author/Activist (

"My first reaction on reading Defenseless Christianity was, 'Them’s fightin’ words!' On further reflection, I’m gratefel for the gift Weaver and Mast have offered by provocatively addressing a host of issues in Anabaptist historiography and theology on behalf of 21st-century communities of Christ’s followers."
—Nancy R. Heisey, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Church History, Eastern Mennonite University; President, Mennonite World Conference. 

"My hope is that God uses this book to call Anabaptists along with other Jesus-followers back to the beautifully foolish, enemy-loving, cross-bearing center of our faith."
—Greg Boyd, Author, The Myth of a Christian Nation; Pastor, Woodland Hills Church; and Adjunct Professor, Bethel College (St. Paul, MN); in the Foreword

"This book does not only present the peaceful Anabaptist-Mennonite vision for the church but issues a compelling call to faithful living." 
—Elaine Moyer, Associate Director, Mennonite Education Agency

"Mast and Weaver offer a persuasive, urgent, and provocative call for all who follow the way of Jesus Christ to embrace the practice of defenseless, nonviolent Christianity." More. . . .
Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm, Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship, Bethany Theological Seminary

Market: Church and thought leaders; pastors; college, seminary, or graduate students; theologians; scholars; anyone interested in defenseless-Christianity theology, ethics, and polity.

Shelving: Anabaptist-Mennonite thought; Anabaptist-Mennonites—history, doctrine, ethics; Peace church; History—of Reformation and sixteenth-century Europe; Nonresistance, Nonviolence, Pacifism. BISAC: History, Religion. RTM:  690 Religion/Ethics

The Authors: Gerald J. Mast is Professor of Communication at Bluffton University and author of Separation and the Sword in Anabaptist Persuasion. His speaking and writing has addressed a variety of topics related to Anabaptist persuasion, including peace rhetoric, the Amish in American culture, martyrdom, and Christian vocation. He serves as vice-chair of The Mennonite magazine board and as editor of Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History. J. Denny Weaver, editor of the C. Henry Smith Series, has written four other books and many shorter contributions, co-edited a book with Mast, and is a frequent speaker in a variety of academic and church settings. His foreign experience includes service with Mennonite Central Committee, Christian Peacemaker Teams, and short-term teaching in Kenya and Congo

Publisher: Cascadia Publishing House LLC
Copublisher: Herald Press, Scottdale, PA
Publication date: August 31, 2009
Approximate Pages: 136
Tentative Format: 5.5 x 8.5" trade paper
Prices: $12.95 US/Can. ISBN 13:  978-1-931038-63-8; ISBN 10: 1-931038-63-5


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