Peace Shall Destroy Many, By Rudy Wiebe, Published by W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
The Mennonite community of Wapiti lived in peace. The people had all of their farms close together and tried their best to remain separate from the outside wicked world. But many threats arose to imperil this seclusion, by the wartime recruiters of the Canadian government, by outsiders, and by the people themselves.
Thom Wiens, the central character, comes to realize that outward separation does not necessarily solve all problems, nor does tradition always have the answers. He begins to question some Mennonite practices largely because of the influence of his school teacher. However, he remains true to the faith, although believing that the church receives its direction from Scripture and not from rules. Thom disagreed strongly with Deacon Block, the leader of the church, who set up tradition as the absolute standard of right and wrong and who believed that no one should ever deviate from what he has been taught.
His theory is proved wrong when suppressed violence always lurking just beneath the surface, flares up and into the open to create discord in the church community. Indeed, the passing of time and events affected these people no matter how hard they tried to live the old, staid way.
An interesting, lively story well written, the book shows that the church must always leave room for development in its doctrine and practice.