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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : The Heroic Witness of The Sixteenth-Century Anabaptist

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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37396
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 The Heroic Witness of The Sixteenth-Century Anabaptist

[i]It is only in recent years that the body of Christ as a whole has come to know and appreciate the witness, in word and deed, "even unto death," of one of the most important Reformation movements, that of the Anabaptists, from whom our modern Mennonites, Amish, and Hutterians have come by direct descent, and our various Baptist bodies, more indirectly. Harrowed un mercifully, persecuted by Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Re formed, the Anabaptists were reduced to a numerically in significant minority in Europe, yet some of the ideas for which they stood have become the common possession and the glory of a large part of Christendom, while others remain to challenge us to discipleship at a deeper level.[/i]

[b]The Heroic Witness of The Sixteenth-Century Anabaptist[/b]


SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2008/1/31 20:46Profile

Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991

 Re: The Heroic Witness of The Sixteenth-Century Anabaptist

these where Godly people, they lived christianity

here is an excerpt from the link by Greg
Faithful Discipleship to the Prince of Peace

The Brethren thought of the essence of the Christian life as discipleship to Christ. This meant walking as he walked, not in human strength but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Although human weakness and infirmity stay with every believer, no matter how mature in faith and experience, yet the Brethren believed that Christ's redemption actually did break the power of sin in the believer. Temptations to hatred, lust, avarice, vengeance, and the like still come to Christians, but in Christ they are able to come off victorious.

The most striking Anabaptist deviation from the traditional Christian ethic was the espousal of the doctrine of absolute love and nonresistance. This was no philosophical pacifism, but it was an effort to walk in love as Christ walked. The Anabaptists sought such an infilling of divine love that they could love even their persecutors. Many martyrs gave evidence of just such love as they forgave their tormentors, the judges who sentenced them, and the executioners who destroyed them. They were willing to die for Jesus, they were prepared to suffer in any way God permitted, but they did not feel free to hate or harm anyone. It was this doctrine of nonresistance which they based squarely on the explicit teaching of Christ and his Apostles which made them refuse both the magistracy and the military. They were ready to die but not to kill.

In his Brief and Clear Confession, 1544, Menno wrote:

Behold, beloved friends and brethren, by these and other Scriptures we are taught and warned not to take up the literal sword nor ever to give our consent thereto (except the ordinary sword of the magistrate when it must be used) but to take up the two-edged, powerful, sharp sword of the Spirit which goes forth from the mouth of God, namely the Word of God.[10]

And in his Reply to False Accusations of 1552 Menno added:

All Christians are commanded to love their enemies, to do good unto those who abuse and persecute them, to give the mantle when the cloak is taken, the other cheek when one is struck. . . .

O beloved reader, our weapons are not swords and spears, but patience, silence, and hope, and the Word of God. . . .

True Christians do not know vengeance, no matter how they are mistreated. . . . They do not cry, Vengeance, vengeance, as does the world; but with Christ they supplicate and pray, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."[11]

In the year 1569, a pious brother named Dirk Willems of Asperen in Holland learned that officers were about to arrest him in his home. He fled out the back door with the officers in pursuit. Coming to a frozen dyke he ventured to flee across on the ice, which he managed to do. But the officer who attempted to follow him broke through and was about to perish in the icy water. Thereupon Dirk, in true compassion, turned back and assisted the officer to safety. Dirk's only reward was to be burned at the stake as an Anabaptist heretic. The Catholic judges passed sentence on him May 16, 1569. On the day of his burning at the stake such a strong wind blew that he suffered a very slow death. He was heard to cry out over seventy times, "O my Lord; O my God." Finally, the bailiff, who was on horseback, wheeled his horse around and shouted, "Dispatch the man with a quick death." The account does not report in what manner his misery was terminated.

A century and a half ago there lived in Philadelphia a prominent leader in Colonial America named Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745-1813). He was a physician, a member of the Continental Congress, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He seems to have given some thought to the matter of war and bloodshed. He ventured this optimistic comment on such groups as the Mennonites and the German Baptists (now known as the Church of the Brethren): "Perhaps those German sects of Christians who refuse to bear arms for the shedding of human blood may be preserved by divine Providence as the center of a circle which shall gradually embrace all nations of the earth in a perpetual treaty of friendship and peace." His prophecy certainly shows little sign of ever being fulfilled. And yet should not this hope be the prayer of all Christendom? Ought not men learn to dwell together in peace and harmony, with young people free to establish Christian homes, and with the whole church unhindered in its great commission to make disciples of all the nations? Ought we not all cry to the Father that through Jesus Christ the day might soon come when people "shall beat their swords into plowshares . . . neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:4).[/i]


 2008/2/1 3:40Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7474

 Re: The Heroic Witness of The Sixteenth-Century Anabaptist

Harrowed unmercifully, persecuted by Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Re formed, the Anabaptists were reduced to a numerically in significant minority in Europe,

Below is an link you might find interesting. It is a report of the Conference of the Reformed Church and Anabaptists in Zurich, Switzerland on June 26, 2004. (Go to page 22.)The Reformed Church invited modern day Anabaptist to come for a conference to express an apology for the persecution their ancestors inflicted on the early Anabaptists.

Recently I read some-one's opinion that this conference by the reformed church was just a way to try to get the modern Anabaptists to compromise their faith. I do not know although that is always a possibility of some. Reckon time will tell. (I looked for the article online but could not find it.)

The book "Martyr's Mirror" has blessed many and remains a classic among conservative Mennonites.


Sandra Miller

 2008/2/1 19:32Profile

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