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Theology and misconduct

The case of John Howard Yoder

Thirty years after John Howard Yoder was first accused of sexual misconduct and almost two decades after his death in 1997, the story of his abusive behavior remains painfully unresolved in the Mennonite communities in which he was for decades regarded as the foremost theologian and chief representative of Anabaptist thought.

During his lifetime Yoder faced two separate disciplinary proceedings. The first led to his 1984 resignation from the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries (now Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) in Elkhart, Indiana, after which he became a full-time professor at the University of Notre Dame, where he taught until his death. The second was conducted by the Mennonite Church from 1992 to 1996.

Last year a third discernment process was launched, spurred by women who believe that the church has repeatedly failed to uncover and acknowledge the truth.


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