What is Anabaptism?
Anabaptism is a marginalized Christian tradition that arose in the early sixteenth century, survived vicious and sustained persecution and has become a global movement.
The Anabaptist tradition emphasizes the centrality of the life and teaching of Jesus as well as his death and resurrection, radical discipleship, the church as community, baptism for believers, peace at the heart of the gospel, truth-telling and a link between spirituality and economics. It is coming into its own as western societies transition into post-Christendom.
Post Christendom: “the culture that emerges as the Christian faith loses coherence within a society that has been definitively shaped by the Christian story and as the institutions that have been developed to express Christian convictions decline in influence.” (Post-Christendom, p.19)
I’m a Christian, as I continue to live my life my faith is becoming stronger. I finally feel a confidence and a certain power within with my belief. The hard part now is destroying my old self and acting upon my faith. I will never be perfect and certain aspects of my personality don’t necessarily fit your “traditional” christian. I have a strange sense of humor, I like to drink, beer, wine, etc. I tend to drink too much at times. I like heavy metal, aggressive music, (I love all types of music just picking out the styles that most Christians might not listen to, I am a music lover of all genres), I like dark images, pictures, etc. and I like tattoos. I still have to be me and can’t totally transform my personality and traits. Instead I would call it “rounding the edges” and cleaning some things up a bit.
My faith in God was always there, even a child I had this sense of strong faith towards God, but couldn’t say the same about Jesus. My belief in Jesus Christ was skeptical for quite some time. I had doubts, I wrestled with his existence, and what he stood for. Now I’m a warrior and disciple of Christ.
I was born and raised a Catholic, the church I grew up in is a very small neighborly church and I always found it peaceful. But as we all know the Catholic religion has its own major issues, as with every organized religion. I have always had this different, more radical view of Christianity. I have no interests in politics, I think state and religion should absolutely be separated, and I think most religions are confused, and do not advocate the Kingdom that Jesus was talking about in bible. As of now I don’t label myself as catholic, or any denomination. That doesn’t mean I will stop attending mass at my church, I will attend mass anywhere as long as the message they are sending is the right message.
There is this new radical movement happening with some old and young Christians. I have been drawn to a few blogs of these individuals whose mindset on the Kingdom of God, and what it’s like to be a Christian totally fit how i felt for a long time. The one person who completely has opened my mind to a new level of thinking is Gregory Boyd. You would think God should be opening my mind, which is true to say, and he does, but God draws us to fellow believers to increase his fellowship. I re-read “The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel a few months back and one of the people Strobel interviewed was Greg Boyd. The second time around reading this book Boyd’s interview really jumped out and grabbed my attention, I then researched more about Greg Boyd and really happy I did. Now I follow his blog, listen to his sermons, even look forward to reading his books.
The word Anabaptist gets mentioned a lot within this new radical movement of Christian thinking. So with having no knowledge of knowing what an Anabaptist was I looked into it. Their beliefs and their radical reformation just totally fit with my personal beliefs.
The following is a list of seven core convictions set forth by The Anabaptist Network, expounded upon in Murray’s book. These core convictions are aspirations of an Anabaptism creatively at work in the world today:
Jesus is our example, teacher, friend, redeemer, and Lord. He is the source of our life, the central reference point for our faith and lifestyle, for our understanding of church, and our engagement with society. We are committed to following Jesus as well as worshipping him.
Jesus is the focal point of God’s revelation. We are committed to a Jesus-centered approach to the Bible, and to the community of faith as the primary context in which we read the Bible and discern and apply its implications for discipleship.
Western culture is slowly emerging from the Christendom era, when church and state jointly presided over a society in which almost all were assumed to be Christian. Whatever its positive contributions on values and institutions, Christendom seriously distorted the gospel, marginalized Jesus, and has left the churches ill equipped for mission to a post-Christendom culture. As we reflect on this, we are committed to learning from the experience and perspectives of movements such as Anabaptism that rejected standard Christendom assumptions and pursued alternative ways of thinking and behaving.
The frequent association of the church with status, wealth, and force is inappropriate for followers of Jesus and damages our witness. We are committed to exploring ways of being good news to the poor, powerless, and persecuted, aware that such discipleship may attract opposition, resulting in suffering and sometimes ultimately martyrdom.
Churches are called to be committed communities of discipleship and mission, places of friendship, mutual accountability, and multivoiced worship. As we eat together, sharing bread and wine, we sustain hope as we seek God’s kingdom together. We are committed to nurturing and developing such churches, in which young and old are valued, leadership is consultative, roles are related to gifts rather than gender, and baptism is for believers.
Spirituality and economics are interconnected. In an individualist and consumerist culture and in a world where economic injustice is rife, we are committed to finding ways of living simply, sharing generously, caring for creation, and working for justice.
Peace is at the heart of the gospel. As followers of Jesus in a divided and violent world, we are committed to finding nonviolent alternatives and to learning how to make a peace between individuals, within and among churches, in society, and between nations.