Although nonresistance was held as a doctrine since the early days of Anabaptism in the sixteenth century, Hershberger helped expand the concept. Many of the new ideas that Hershberger posed were explorations of the social implications of nonresistance. Particularly as Mennonites assimilated into society, their neighbors pressed them with questions about social responsibility.
At the time when Hershberger penned this volume, nonresistance and nonconformity were intimately linked. Together they formed the two primary distinctives of the Mennonite Church at mid-century.