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 Anabaptism

This year i completed an applied christian studies course which i started mainly to learn more about church history, to get an overview of the history of my faith as i feel there is much to be learnt from those who have gone before us. On this course some of the teachers held Anabaptist beliefs. My knowledge of the anabaptists is still a little vague although i do know many were martyred. Does anyone know who they are today? I have a book on the subject which i should read up on but i just wanted to know if anyone here could fill me in on this branch of our faith. There seems to be a lot of christians whom i've met recently who hold the values of the anabaptists.
Can anyone help?
In His love, Geraldine

 2004/11/1 17:16
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 Re: Anabaptism

Quote:
Can anyone help?


The term anabaptist was used to describe and define certain Christians during the Reformation. These Christians rejected infant baptism, choosing instead believer's baptism. Since many of them had been baptized in their infancy, they chose to be rebaptized as believing adults. So their enemies called them anabaptists -- "re-baptizers."

The Anabaptist Story
(scroll down the page):
http://www.anabaptists.org/history/

Anabaptist
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabaptist

Hope that helps..


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/11/1 18:15Profile
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 Re: Anabaptism

The anabaptist's story is another testimony of how in the dark people were. At that time, it was illegal to be baptized more than once, so being baptized as an adult was illegal, because most people had been baptized as infants ignorantly, and in the context to keep people subject to the ruler and have unity among the people, not really for obedience to the living God. So the christians who actually considered the bible's example of baptism were seen as troublemakers. Churches' corruption has been all over christian history, even still today. I am thankful for our freedoms here, and for the abundance of bibles. Too bad there are persecutions and oppression in other parts of the world, like so many christian brothers and sisters have endured. Let's support those in prison and bonds, and pray for their oppressors, like in Africa and other parts of the world. Voice of the Martyrs organization and Gospel for Asia will give you specific things to pray for and ways to help. We should help those who are enduring such terrible oppression and persecution. We can help ease some suffering today, giving light and spreading truth. I am thankful for the abundance of knowledge we have (esp in America), we can help people in faraway places suffering persecution so easily.


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Jina

 2004/11/1 19:45Profile
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 Re:

Hi Geraldine

Quote:
On this course some of the teachers held Anabaptist beliefs. My knowledge of the anabaptists is still a little vague although i do know many were martyred. Does anyone know who they are today?


Others have commented on the historical roots of the anabaptists. Ana-meaning again. This was a derogatory title (similar to Christian!) given by their opponents. People attitudes to the Anabaptists depends on their stance on other issues. They have been called 'The Step Children of the Reformation', 'The Left Wing of the Reformation', 'The Third Wing of the Reformation' (the other two being Lutheran and Reformed) and the 'Lunatic Fringe'. There are elements of truth in all these descriptions.

Their physical descendents are to be found among the Mennonites and Hamish. The history of the 17th century marked something of a watershed in styles. In the UK the compromisers won the day with James 1 and his compromise King James Version with its reworking of language to support bishops and hierarchy. During the time of the translation 'extremists' were pushed out; this included Catholic extremist, Puritan extremists and Anabaptist extremist. The dividing line was often church and state. The KJV favours a state-church, government-based christianity; this may come as a surprize to some! But the Geneva Bible was much more in line with a definite separation between church and state. The popularity of the Geneva Bible and James' paranoia was partly the reason for the KJV translation.

The Bible of the Pilgrim Fathers (paying attention? you folks over the water?) was the Geneva Bible and this has had a permanent impact upon North American church and state understandings. In many ways the historical differences in church life between the UK and the USA are due to different Bibles! An Englishman reading Charles Finney is often surprized at how republican and democratic his theology is. (thought I'd better use both adjectives today;-)) His theology for 'just revolution' would have lost him his head under James' reign.

The physical remnant of the Anabaptists tended to become exclusive in their life patterns and more and more remote from comtemporary life and styles. Historical and to some extent modern ana-baptists believe in a gathered church with clear discipline. Local, independent, churches are very much the continuing heritage of anabaptism.

Quote:
Does anyone know who they are today?


I suspect this is the main part of your question and from where I see things I can identify two answers. There are two groups of folks who are keen to recognize their links to and are comfortable with the name of Anabaptist. Both groups have links in the UK and I am not sure which groups you may have had contact with.
1. There is a very able and vocal minority group in the UK with fairly high profile names attached. One is a lecturer at London Bible College, now known as the London School of Theology. Some of these folks would readily support 'armed struggle' if they felt the facts justified it. They would have a strong link with Finney's theology here. There are sometimes associated with proponents of 'Open Theology'; the idea that nothing is fixed in the future and that God is fundamentally pragmatist. You mentioned Bible College links and this may be the 'Anabaptists Today' that you have in mind.

2. There is another group which is represented in the noble halls of SermonIndex with the ministry of Keith Daniels. This group is marked by an strong conservatism in dress and behaviour, and sometimes with external ordinances which take 'ordinary' evangelicals by surprize; head covering, foot washing. They are strongly family orientated and their lives are marked by a simplicity of life which stands in stark contrast to much that is known as Christianity. This group, some of which have now separated from Mennonite or Hamish style communities, have some very attractive features. They also have some features which will certainly attract SermonIndexers in that they are 'restless for more of God' and often scathing in their attitudes to the Christian Club.

They have produced some books which give an important slant to church history. One such is Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up by David Bercot. (isbn 092-4722-022) Not currently in the SermonIndex bookstore. This is a ramble through church history and has some excellent points to make. His views of English Church History are a little odd; he includes the Oxford Movement among the good guys!

There is a loose federation of churches associated with this grouping with a website Keith Daniel's meetings are publicized on this website. There is also a publishing site that might interest you if you really want to dig into this topic.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/11/2 5:35Profile









 Re:

Quote:
Hope that helps..


Thank you, yes all replies are greatfully recieved and very helpfull!
Quote:
Does anyone know who they are today?

Quote:
I suspect this is the main part of your question and from where I see things I can identify two answers.


Yes, this was the main reason for my post.
Quote:
As the culture of Christendom gradually fades and the church at the centre gives way to a church on the margins, Anabaptism now seems surprisingly relevant and helpful.


This quote comes from an introduction to anabaptism and it caused me to think that the church being pushed out on to the margins is one reason why the church has become what it is today.
Quote:
They also have some features which will certainly attract SermonIndexers in that they are 'restless for more of God' and often scathing in their attitudes to the Christian Club.


These are the qualities i could see in the beliefs of the anabaptists which was another reason for me to look into who they were/are.
Thanks again for all your help guys. :-)
In his love, Geraldine

 2004/11/2 6:13
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
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 Re:

Quote:
As the culture of Christendom gradually fades and the church at the centre gives way to a church on the margins, Anabaptism now seems surprisingly relevant and helpful.


This sounds much more like Group 1 in my list. This is a website associated with them. The Anabaptist Network


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Ron Bailey

 2004/11/2 6:32Profile









 Re:

Yes, Stuart Murray Williams was one of our guest teachers on a couple of occasions and i believe him to be one of the trustees of the Anabaptist network. I have also heard of a couple of his books although i have not read any.
Geraldine.

 2004/11/2 7:23





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