By Annette Brill Bergstresser
ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — David C. Cramer, Ph.D., a pastor-theologian who is on staff at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana, launched the Patheos.com blog Anabaptist Revisions on Jan. 1.
Cramer’s new blog appears in Patheos’ Evangelical Channel, one of 11 “faith channels” on the site, which describes itself as a place “to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality.” The nondenominational, nonpartisan online media company provides commentary and news from various global religions and worldviews, according to Wikipedia.
Cramer — who serves as teaching pastor of Keller Park Church, a small, urban, evangelical Anabaptist congregation in South Bend, Indiana, and lectures on Christian theology and ethics at AMBS — said he had been in talks with Patheos editors about an Anabaptist-themed blog on their Evangelical Channel for a few years, but the timing never seemed quite right. When he came on staff in August 2018 as managing editor of the Institute of Mennonite Studies (IMS), AMBS’s research agency, he finally felt he was well positioned to present the Anabaptist world to an evangelical audience.
He writes that Anabaptist Revisions is devoted to all things Anabaptist-Mennonite, including theology, ethics, history, church life, preaching, nonviolence and more.
“I grew up within evangelicalism and currently pastor in an evangelical congregation, so I know that culture well,” he said. “At the same time, my personal journey has led me into the Anabaptist fold, where I’ve discovered a richness to the Christian faith that is a well-kept secret to many outside the fold. My hope in starting Anabaptist Revisions is to get the secret out to a wider audience of everyday evangelicals and others interested in Anabaptism.”
In an early blog entry, Cramer explained that the title “Anabaptist Revisions” is a play on Harold S. Bender’s classic essay, “The Anabaptist Vision.”
“As an editor, my job is to offer revisions to other people’s words — not to rewrite them but to enrich and deepen them,” he said. “I hope Anabaptist Revisions will round out the Anabaptist vision by presenting some of what historian John Roth calls the ‘joyful messiness’ of lived Mennonite experience.”
Jamie Pitts, Ph.D., IMS director and associate professor of Anabaptist studies at AMBS, affirmed the inclusion of Cramer as a Patheos blog author.
“David is a scholar, pastor and public theologian whose writings teach us that ‘evangelical Anabaptism’ need not be an oxymoron; it is in fact a living tradition,” said Pitts. “His blog invites conversation around this tradition’s complex reality and by doing so, helps us see its promise beyond simplistic, idealized versions or ‘visions.’”
Cramer, who earned his Ph.D. in Theology and Ethics from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is co-editor of The Activist Impulse: Essays on the Intersection of Evangelicalism and Anabaptism (Pickwick, 2012). He has written for Christian Century, Priscilla Papers, The Mennonite, Sojourners and other popular and academic outlets. He is also co-author of a forthcoming book on Christian nonviolence, tentatively titled A Field Guide to Christian Nonviolence (Baker Academic).