Group Study Guide for

Teaching That Transforms

[Cover of Teaching That Transforms]

Why Anabaptist-Mennonite Education Matters

by John D. Roth

Study Guide written by Leonard Beechy, Goshen, Indiana.

This study guide is for those in communities where there are no Anabaptist-Mennonite educational institutions or those unfamiliar with Anabaptist-Mennonite education. The questions are intended to expand and deepen appreciation for Roth's book. These questions are also available for download as a Word document or in PDF format.

Also see Teaching That Transforms in the MennoMedia online catalog.

Introduction Chapter 4
Chapter 1 Chapter 5
Chapter 2 Chapter 6 / Conclusion
Chapter 3  

Chapter 2: Theological Starting Points: The Incarnation as the Foundation of Anabaptist-Mennonite Education

  1. This chapter begins by recalling the tensions that arose for Mennonite schools in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001. Similar tensions were experienced by individuals and congregations within the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition.
    • What are your recollections of those tensions? As you have reflected in the years since, how has your thinking about those events—and the U.S. response to them—changed or developed?
  2. What Roth calls "the embarrassment of particularity" is an issue not just for schools, but also for congregations and individuals.
    • If you belong to a Mennonite congregation, how have you dealt with the issue of "branding"? In other words, to what extent is Mennonite identity a part of your public "face" and communications?
    • As a congregation and as an individual, when do you emphasize you commonality with all Christians and when do you emphasize distinctive Anabaptist-Mennonite beliefs and practices?
    • In discussing the role of rational arguments and doctrinal statements, Roth concludes, "In the end, what we truly believe will be made evident in how we live" (76). Do you agree with him that our habits, attitudes and practices are a truer expression of our beliefs than statements of belief or theology?
  3. In a stretch of barely five pages (77-82), Roth attempts something that seems breathtakingly ambitious: to lay out a biblical theology of redemption through the theme of incarnation.
    • How would you assess the success—the accuracy and completeness—of this statement?
    • Because this statement is so brief, Roth uses relatively few citations of scripture. What scriptural themes or passages would you use to support—or to counter—the theology Roth proposes.
  4. After establishing this theological foundation, the chapter goes on to suggest five different "consequences" of the incarnation for the educational task.
    • For each of these consequences, 1) note what implications Roth sees for what education in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition should care about, and 2) think of any further implications that may be suggested to you.
      1. Because of the Incarnation Creation Matters
      2. Because of the Incarnation History Matters
      3. Because of the Incarnation Community Matters
      4. Because of the Incarnation Individuals Matter
      5. Because of the Incarnation the World Matters
    • To test the usefulness of this incarnational model, what other practices of Christian education have you encountered that seem to arise from different assumptions? What might be lost or corrected in these practices by incorporating Roth's ideas?
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