QUIET SHOUTS IS MUST READING for North American Mennonites. Embedded in these true stories of Mennonite women is an overview of the twentieth-century experience of Lancaster Mennonite Conference congregations and members. What began as a turn-of-the-century revival among these eastern Pennsylvania Mennonites moved my mid-century toward a legalistic stranglehold. Then in the last third of the century, the winds of the Holy Spirit caused new life to break out. Women lived these themes more than men and the stories in this book take one into the reality of these experiences.
This book gives insight into the missionary movement among Lancaster Conference Mennonites by looking through the eyes of women deeply involved in overseas and home missions. One senses the excitement experienced as women prayed, then found God leading them to the mission field. One also feels the strain of restraint placed on many of these women by godly men trying to work within the culture and ecclesiology of that day. Reading this book will open eyes to the great hand of God breaking through in the lives of ordinary people who through their parents influence, and sometimes their congregations encouragement, experienced Gods call into kingdom work.
As we enter the twenty-first century another revival is taking place. This revival is gradually opening insights into the New Testament regarding women in ministry which will, no doubt, bring change to the church for the next century. New Testament evangelical scholars such as F. F. Bruce, Gordon Fee, James D. G. Dunn, Mary J. Evans, Craig S. Keener, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, Stanley Grenz, and E. Earl Ellis all have shown the New Testament church not only taught women can be involved in ministry, but also showed by practice in the New Testament this was the case. Evangelical scholars like Ben Witherington have shown that Galatians 3:27-28 was a baptismal formula used by the early church. The New Testament church felt so deeply about the gospel changing peoples lives by the power of the crucified and resurrected Lord that the barriers of race, economics, and gender dare not stand in the way of Gods work of reconciliation in the world.
It is fitting, therefore, that the stories in this book come to light, for in them we discover the hand of God both in thrusting women into mission and in calling them to leadership roles. These accounts are not unlike the experience of the New Testament church.
Louise Stoltzfus, who gathered these chapters and wrote them in their final form, is to be congratulated for the quality of her work. With the encouragement of the Women in Leadership Subcommittee of the Leadership Council of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, Louise has given us a fine book.
I commend Quiet Shouts to you as a source of insight
into what God has done and is now doing among us. As
readers we are invited to join Gods great work and
reverently thank God for leading these women, as well as
many others whose stories have not yet been told, in
Gods great reconciling mission in the world.
Copyright © 1999 by Herald Press and used by Pandora Press U.S. with Herald Press permission