Brethren Life & Thought

A scholarly journal published in the interest of the Church of the Brethren

Brethren Life & Thought is a joint publication of Bethany Theological Seminary and the Brethren Journal Association (BJA). The journal solicits thoughtful interpretive essays, scholarly articles, and short creative works, including poetry reflecting the faith, heritage, and practices of the Church of the Brethren and related movements.

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 Current Issue

Vol 62 No. 1 (Spring 2017) consists of six diverse articles plus book reviews. This issue should be in the mail to subscribers as of July 12, 2017.

  • Covenant and Conscience: Biblical Principles for Living in Community Together by Steven Schweitzer
  • Reclaiming My Faith in a Land of Conflict: My Journey to the Holy Land by Melanee Hamilton
  • The Reverend Osagyefo Sekou: Dreaming of Peace, On Fire for Justice by Bryan Hanger (Bethany Peace Essay Contest winner)
  • The Influences of Pietism on the Development of the Church of the Brethren by Dan Poole
  • President Vernon F. Schwalm: Church of the Brethren Leader as Founder of the 1948 Manchester College Peace Studies Program by Toru Kataoka
  • Violence and Vengeance, Mimesis and Murder, Conflict and Cross: A Critical-Constructive Engagement with Rene Girard by Darrin Belousek

Coming Soon

Vol 62 No. 2 (Fall 2017) This issue will have the theme of ecotheology and will include articles and poetry.

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    Most Recent Past Issues

    Vol 61 No. 2 (Fall 2016) focuses on conflict transformation. An ecumenical array of writers draw from scholarship and personal experience as they engage a wide range of views on the theory and practice of conflict transformation.

    • Ellen Ott Marshall shares an overview of the theology of conflict transformation.
    • Nathan Hollenberg considers conflict in light of Matthew 18.
    • Amy Todd Kelly touches on “intractable conflicts,” in which divisions are so deep that reconciliation might not be possible.
    • The transcript from Samuel Sarpiya’s insight session at Annual Conference 2016 is included.
    • In annotated form, Matt Guynn shares a workshop he presented.
    • Gertrude Fester, a black South African feminist scholar, gives voice to African women’s experiences.
    • The guest editor is Debbie Roberts, assistant professor of reconciliation studies at Bethany.

    Vol. 61 Supplement (Summer 2016)
    Brethren and Evangelicalism  is an extra issue published in partnership with BLT Vol 61 SupplementBridgewater College. The issue features the papers from the 2015 Bridgewater symposium, Brethren Evangelicalism in the Twenty-First Century. Authors include voices from the Mennonite Church; Church of the Brethren; Brethren Church; Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches; and Old German Baptist Brethren, New Conference. Single copies are available.

    Vol. 61 No. 1 (Spring 2016): Continuing the celebration!
    This collection of articles includes the topics current racism challenges, Revelation 17-18, mission and patronage, foot washing, and simplicity. Single copies are available.

    Vol. 60 No. 2 (Fall 2015)BLT Fall 15
    In this issue we go Back to the Archives as a tribute to longtime Brethren Life & Thought book review editor and Church of the Brethren archivist Ken Shaffer. The articles discuss a variety of historical topics where research began or most certainly included a visit to an archive. There are also short reflections on Shaffer’s contributions among the Brethren and some of his original writing. Authors of the articles are listed below.

    • Kelley Brenneman: “The Life of Andrew Cordier”
    • Denise D. Kettering-Lane: “Anointing for Healing”
    • H. Kendall Rogers: “Early Brethren and Celibacy in Marriage”
    • Dale R. Stoffer: “John Kline and the 1861 Annual Meeting”
    • Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm and Carol A. Scheppard: John Kline Lectures

    Vol. 60 No. 1 (Spring 2015)BLT_Spring 15
    Our series entitled Celebrating 60 Years! begins with this issue. We revisit some of our popular articles from the past and offer contemporary reflections on topics such as women in ministry, the peace position, adult baptism, worship, and church leadership. Authors include John Ballinger, Christina Bucher, Dana Cassell, Samuel Funkhouser, Scott Holland, and Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm.

    Past Issues

    Vol. 59 No. 2 (Fall 2014)
    This themed issue was inspired by a symposium held at Bridgewater College in 2013. The symposium brought together diverse voices to consider what the denomination might look like in twenty years. The articles in this issue by Ruthann Knechel Johansen, Brian Messler, David R. Miller, Julie M. Hostetter, and Mary Jo Flory-Steury were papers presented at that event. To those voices we added

    • an article on a multicultural vision for the church by Darla Deardorff;
    • an article on church revitalization by Leah J. Hileman;
    • an article by Russell Haitch on the relationship of Christianity to culture through the lens of parenting.

    Also featured are two essays that were entries in the 2013 Baker Peace Essay contest. One is by Kyle Riege, addressing the problem of bullying, and the other is by Aidan Ottoni-Wilhelm on the challenges experienced by high school students trying to embrace peace. In addition to all this, we include the 2014 Bethany Theological Seminary commencement address by Chris Bowman, “God Ordained a Worm,” based on Jonah 4.

    Vol. 59 No. 1 (Spring 2014)
    This is the first issue compiled under the direction of editor Denise Kettering-Lane. It is an eclectic issue presenting articles on a variety of topics, a something-for-everyone kind of issue. Dale Stoffer tackles the topic of refellowshipped Brethren, focusing on two nineteenth-century Brethren groups, the Leedy Brethren and the Congregational Brethren. Diane Mason offers an overview of conscientious objection in the twentieth century, considering the different ways Brethren interpreted nonresistance and peace in the face of war. Raj Bhagat discusses the success of the Brethren mission to India. Dennis Webb, pastor of a multicultural congregation, offers a forward-looking discussion of multiculturalism from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Josh Brockway discusses spiritual gifts and the way that Brethren might discern these gifts within the life of the congregation. Stephen Thomas August exegetes John 21 in light of the notion of call and particularly highlights the difference between communal and individual call. The issue concludes with a reflection by Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary, on some interesting points of continuity between the mission of Bethany Theological Seminary and the work of John Kline.

    Summaries of Additional Past Issues

    Access Back Issues on ATLA

    Members and subscribers are now able to access articles in all back issues of Brethren Life & Thought through this website. A secure login is required, consisting of an ID and PIN. Your ID number is your customer number and appears with the PIN on your mailing label for your convenience. ID numbers and PINs can also be obtained by e-mailing blt@bethanyseminary.edu. Once you have your login information, you may access ATLA here.

    Disclaimer: Authors are solely responsible for the contents of their articles. The Brethren Journal Association and Bethany Theological Seminary disclaim responsibility for statements, either of fact or opinion, made by the contributors.