“Although each congregation has its own history and social and cultural background, it is common to experience the same sorts of conflicts, troubles and situations,” says Ellul Yongha Bae, a Mennonite church leader and publisher in South Korea.
“[Mennonite World Conference] communications is very helpful to show that, as Mennonite churches, we have raised similar questions and tried to figure out solutions with a focus on community, discipleship and peace issues.”
Daejanggan Publishing Company has been translating Mennonite books into Korean since 2010, including the 2015 Global Anabaptist Mennonite Shelf of Literature book, Life in the Spirit by John Driver.
“It is not easy to find a good model about radical movements in Korean Christian history,” says Ellul. Teaching on peace is crucial in Korea because of the continuing wound created by the split between North and South Korea. “We believe that Mennonite peace theology can be a good way to teach Christian ethics and a practical way of life,” he says.
Daejanggan pays translators a small stipend to work on these books to help the Korean Anabaptist churches learn alongside other Mennonite World Conference (MWC) churches. “It guides us to see there are other possible ways that we can see other than Christendom.”
The publisher is part of an organization that includes a web-design firm and a small farm. Donations, some from international Anabaptist partners like Hutterites and Bruderhof communities, help finance the translations.
The Mennonite books are mostly read by seminarians and lay leaders in Anabaptist house churches. But they also appeal to other Christians in Korea who seek alternative ways of living out a Christian life, says Ellul. “Although we are small, it is very meaningful to confess that we are followers of Jesus Christ in the context of Anabaptist ways of discipleship.”
“The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Shelf of Literature invites our members to participate in a global conversation about matters of faith and practice from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective,” says John D. Roth, secretary of the MWC Faith and Life Commission. “Many of the books are co-authored by leaders from different cultural contexts; most of the books include study questions, which aid small group discussion; and all of them are deeply rooted in Scripture.”
Find links to all eight titles in the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Shelf of Literature here.