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Anabaptist Vision by Harold S. Bender

By Harold S. Bender

"Judged through the reception it met by the hands of these in strength, either in Church and country, both in Roman Catholic and in Protestant international locations, the Anabaptist flow was once probably the most tragic within the heritage of Christianity; yet, judged through the rules, that have been positioned into play via the boys who bore this reproachful nickname, it needs to be stated essentially the most momentous and critical undertakings in man’s eventful non secular fight after the reality. It accrued up the profits of past events, it's the religious soil out of which all nonconformist sects have sprung, and it's the first simple assertion in sleek background of a programme for a brand new kind of Christian society which the fashionable global, particularly in the USA and England, has been slowly realizing—an totally unfastened and self reliant non secular society, and a nation within which each guy counts as a guy, and has his proportion in shaping either Church and State." those phrases of Rufus M. Jones represent the best characterizations of Anabaptism and its contribution to our smooth Christian tradition to be present in the English language.

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Have declared, and to some extent are still declaring; so today, too, every man Page 15 wants to be saved by superficial faith, without fruits of faith, without the baptism of test and probation, without love and hope, without right Christian practices, and wants to persist in all the old fashion of personal vices, and in the common ritualistic and anti-Christian customs of baptism and of the Lord's Supper, in disrespect for the divine word and in respect for the word of the pope and of the antipapal preachers, which yet is not equal to the divine word nor in harmony with it.

An inevitable corollary of the concept of the church as a body of committed and practicing Christians pledged to the highest standard of New Testament living was the insistence on the separation of the church from the world, that is nonconformity of the Christian to the worldly way of life. The world would not tolerate the practice of true Christian principles in society, and the church could not tolerate the practice of worldly ways among its membership. Hence, the only way out was separation ("Absonderung"), the gathering of true Christians into their own Christian society where Christ's way could and would be practiced.

Page 38 8. Letter of Zwingli to Vadian, May 28, 1525, Huldreich Zwinglis Sämtliche Werke ed. Egli, Finsler, Köhler, et al. (Leipzig, 1914) VII, 332. 9. The full official text of the decree may be found in Aller des Heiligen Roemischen Reichs gehaltene Reichstage, Abschiede und Satzungen (Mainz, 1666), 210, 211. It is also edited by Ludwig Keller in Monatshefte der Comenius Gesellschaft (Berlin, 1900), IX, 5557, and by Bossert in "Die Reichsgesetze über die Wiedertäufer" in Quellen zur Geschichte der Wiedertäufer, I.

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