By Harold S. Bender

ISBN-10: 058521946X

ISBN-13: 9780585219462

ISBN-10: 0836113055

ISBN-13: 9780836113051

"Judged by means of the reception it met by the hands of these in energy, either in Church and kingdom, both in Roman Catholic and in Protestant nations, the Anabaptist circulate used to be probably the most tragic within the heritage of Christianity; yet, judged by means of the rules, that have been positioned into play by way of the boys who bore this reproachful nickname, it needs to be suggested some of the most momentous and critical undertakings in man’s eventful non secular fight after the reality. It collected up the earnings of previous routine, it's the religious soil out of which all nonconformist sects have sprung, and it's the first undeniable declaration in sleek background of a programme for a brand new kind of Christian society which the trendy global, specially in the US and England, has been slowly realizing—an totally unfastened and self sufficient spiritual society, and a country during which each guy counts as a guy, and has his percentage in shaping either Church and State." those phrases of Rufus M. Jones represent the best characterizations of Anabaptism and its contribution to our sleek Christian tradition to be present in the English language.

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For the Anabaptist, the church was neither an institution (Catholicism), nor the instrument of God for the proclamation of the divine Word Page 34 (Lutheranism), nor a resource group for individual piety (Pietism). It was a brotherhood of love in which the fullness of the Christian life ideal is to be expressed. The Anabaptist vision may be further clarified by comparison of the social ethics of the four main Christian groups of the Reformation period, Catholic, Calvinist, Lutheran, and Anabaptist.

The line of descent through the centuries since that time may not always be clear, and may have passed through other intermediate movements and groups, but the debt to original Anabaptism is unquestioned. The sixteenth-century reformers understood the Anabaptist position on this point all too well, and deliberately rejected it. The best witness is Heinrich Bullinger, Zwingli's successor in Zurich, whose active life-span covers the first fifty years of the history of the Swiss Anabaptists and who knew them so well that he published two extensive treatises against them in 1531 and 1561.

I found them men who had surrendered themselves to the doctrine of Christ by "Bussfertigkeit" [repentance evidenced by fruits]. With their assistance we established a congregation in which repentance was in evidence by newness of life in Christ. 20 It is evident from these statements that the Anabaptists were concerned most of all about "a true Christian life," that is, a life patterned after the teaching and example of Christ. The reformers, they believed, whatever their profession may have been, did not secure among the people true repentance, regeneration, and Christian living as a result of their preaching.

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Anabaptist Vision by Harold S. Bender


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