When, if ever, is warfare justifiable? The recent United States war against Iraq has once again prompted a discussion about the theory of justice in warfare.
In this issue we offer a conversation between Mennonite scholars (plus one Lutheran who is active in Lutheran-Mennonite dialogue) and the Catholic theologian George Weigel. We thank Dr. Weigel for permission to republish the essay "Moral Clarity in a Time of War," which first appeared in the religious journal First Things (December 2002). We are especially grateful for his thoughtful response to the Mennonite comments in this issue. Duane Friesen concludes the dialogue with a reflection on Weigel's statements as well as the Mennonite responses.
As this dialogue makes clear, the issues surrounding just war theory are in flux among Catholics as well as Mennonites. Readers of Mennonite Life will remember the analysis by Duane Shank of the United States attack on Afghanistan in terms of the categories of just war theory. ("War in Afghanistan, Was It Just?" March 2002)
This issue of Mennonite Life also celebrates the life and ministries of Ruth Brunk Stoltzfus, a pioneer leader in women's pastoral ministry. Eve MacMaster, pastor of the Emmanuel Mennonite Church at Gainesville, Florida, is the compiler-editor of Brunk's biography. Here she tells of her relationship with Stoltzfus and the editorial challenges of compiling the memoir. MacMaster's essay will appear in print form in the July 2003 issue of Mennonite Historical Bulletin.
We also include both text and audio versions of a chapel address that Stoltzfus presented at Eastern Mennonite College on November 8, 1985. It is fascinating to compare Ruth Brunk Stoltzfus with her revivalist brother, George R. Brunk II. Our September 2002 issue included a George Brunk tent revival sermon of 1952. These two addresses are widely separated in time and context, but both are fervently evangelical and delivered with moral authority. But there are also major differences of preaching style and content. George Brunk's view of the national evangelical revival in the 1950s was thoroughly positive: "God is making a visitation to the nation and to the world today." Ruth Stoltzfus in 1985 critiqued North American evangelicalism for being "tempted to bask in the sun of its present popularity" and reminded her audience of Bible heroes who resisted authority–the mother of Moses, Daniel, and Paul and Silas.
This issue includes the annual Mennonite bibliography, compiled by Barbara Thiesen, co-director of libraries and technical services librarian at Bethel College. Mennonite Life has published this bibliography since 1947, and it remains the most complete available listing of Mennonite publications anywhere.
Our usual set of book reviews completes the issue.