Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Feeling Like an Unpersecuted Anabaptist

The more I study the Anabaptists the more I like them. When I look back at the time of the Reformation, it is the Anabaptists who seem to have tried to follow biblical teachings more than any other group. Several characteristics stand out:

First, the Anabaptists believed in and lived out a simple church life. They met as the church did in scripture.

Second, the Anabaptists encouraged the priesthood of all believers. No clergy existed.

Third, the Anabaptists held to a true separation of church and state. Because of this, many of them were slaughtered.

Fourth, the Anabaptists were pacifists. This was a reason they were relatively easy to kill.

I've agreed with the first three above characteristics for quite a while. It is the fourth that is beginning to both intrigue and attract me more and more. When I look at the life of Jesus Christ I see a man of peace. Jesus cared for others, took care of their needs, and proclaimed a message of love. When attacked He did not respond in kind. He prayed for those who crucified him.

I want to be like Jesus. Since he was a man of peace, I desire to be the same. I have a long way to go to get there. The Anabaptists provide us with Christians in history who exemplified peaceful living. I'm thankful for this.

One big difference, of course, is that even if I try to live like the Anabaptists (to some extent) I'll never face the persecution they did during the 1500's. I'm not complaining. Persecution is not exactly something I crave.

I'm increasingly feeling like an unpersecuted Anabaptist. I don't know where this will lead, but I'm glad it's happening.


Randi Jo :) said...

I've heard the name often but really don't know who the anabaptists are. Did they live in a specific area? Who/what got them started/branched off? and what/who did they turn into? Do we see remnants of them today? what does it have to do with "baptists" today? Thanks for whatever u can offer.

Eric said...

Randi Jo,

The term "Anabaptist" means to baptize again. This was originally a negative term foisted upon them during the Reformation by folks who baptized their infants. The Anabaptists were adult Christians who believed that baptism should occur after salvation.

The Anabaptists were composed of several different groups in Europe during the Reformation era. Unlike the Reformers, the Anabaptists embraced what the bible has to say about both salvation and church. They attempted to live simple church life. Unfortunately for them, most of their leaders were killed off fairly quickly. They believed in a strict separation of church and state, and thus had no protection from the state.

The most well-known modern Christian group that stems from the Anabaptists are the Mennonites.

Baptists today are similar to Anabaptists in their belief that baptism should be by immersion after salvation. However, most Baptists do not believe in or practice simple church life.

A good blog to read about the Anabaptists in on my blogroll; it is called "Abnormal Anabaptist."

I hope this helps a little. God bless.