Once a highly respected Anabaptist theologian and ethicist, Ohio-born John Howard Yoder has fallen into disfavour with the Mennonite community since allegations of widespread abuse came to light in the 1990s.
“I’m truly embarrassed,” said Luke Willems of Goshen, whose stash of Yoder books was discovered recently by his mother. “It’s just that Yoder’s theological writing is so compelling, I couldn’t help myself. I know it’s wrong. I’m very sorry.”
Yoder’s most widely known book The Politics of Jesus is still required-reading in some Anabaptist colleges, despite the fact that the author was a complete douchebag. It was in an undergraduate course on ethics that Willems came into contact with Yoder’s writing for the first time.
“They didn’t tell me Yoder was such a hypocrite and downright evil person. It was just on the syllabus, so I read it,” said Willems. “Once I read his book, though, I thought his writing was great. I kind of got hooked and started reading more and more. By the time I found out what a horrible person he was, it was too late. I had already read four of his books.”
Willems said his ex-girlfriend Amber once walked in on him while he was consulting a blog post about John Howard Yoder.
“She broke up with me immediately,” said Willems, “which is completely understandable. Out of respect for Amber, and out of respect for women in general, I shouldn’t be looking at filth like that.”
(Photo Credit: by Mennonite Church USA Archives)